Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Giro Nakagawa Interview
Narrator: Giro Nakagawa
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: South Bend, Washington
Date: April 30, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-ngiro-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Today is Wednesday, April 30, 2014, we're in South Bend, Washington, and this afternoon we are interviewing Giro Nakagawa. So, Giro, just the first question, can you tell me when and where you were born?

GN: March 13, 1921.

TI: And where were you born?

GN: Seattle, Washington, March 15th.

TI: March 15th. And where in Seattle were you living?

GN: I don't think I lived there very long. No, I know what. I must have been about five years old when we went to Japan. Mothers used to go back and forth to Japan all the time, just about every family. And they were always pregnant, it seemed like, because one of my brothers, younger brother is the same age as Miyo, was born in Japan. So I must have been... no, we're four years' difference, she's 1925. So I was four years old when I was in Japan.

TI: And then, so after you returned from Japan, then you moved to Kent?

GN: Yeah.

TI: Before we go there, what was the name given to you at birth?

GN: Giro Nakagawa.

TI: Okay, so I just want to ask, the way you spell it is G-I-R-O. And so I'm more used to seeing it J-I-R-O.

GN: Yes.

TI: So why is it spelled with a G?

GN: We're guessing that it was probably the midwife that misspelled it, because we didn't go to doctors, I don't think. Midwife used it.

TI: So do you think you had a Caucasian midwife or a Japanese midwife?

GN: Probably Japanese.

TI: So why would they misspell it? I would think they would know.

GN: Giro, see, George Washington, what's the difference, see? I think that's why it's spelled with a G, I'm not sure.

TI: Okay. Well, that's unique.

GN: Yes, it's different. I'm the only Giro Nakagawa in the whole U.S.A.

TI: Yeah, that's good. And so you were just talking about your younger sister, I think. Can you tell me all your brothers and sisters?

GN: Oh, yes. I had two older sisters.

TI: And what were their names?

GN: Toshiko is the oldest, and then Masako was the second one. And Masako was born in Japan. And I have eight brothers.

TI: Eight brothers?

GN: There was eight boys.

TI: Wow, okay.

GN: So seven brothers.

TI: So tell me, can you give me all the names?

GN: Fred's the oldest, I'm the number two, and my brother who just recently died was Saburo, Sam Nakagawa, it was changed to Sam. Then below him was Kazuo, see, Kazuo is number two, right? And he was born in Japan. Then below Kaz there was Harry, Setsuko, Betty Nakagawa, and Henry. Did I get Harry in there?

TI: Yeah, Harry, Kaz, Betty, then Henry.

GN: George...

TI: That's ten kids right now.

GN: Oh, Kiku and Ben.

TI: So there were twelve kids?

GN: Twelve kids. Mom and Dad did not lose a single kid. We all grew up to, the youngest one, my youngest sister got killed in an automobile accident when she was nineteen in Seattle.

TI: Well, of those twelve kids, how many are living now?

GN: Me, Kaz, George, and Ben, four.

TI: Well, I think you hold the record of someone I've interviewed having the most brothers and sisters.

GN: Oh?

TI: Twelve, I mean, have you found very many other people that had so many children?

GN: There used to be a Miyagishima family in Auburn, Thomas, that had more, I think. But the good thing is that they didn't lose a single kid, we all grew up.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2014 Densho. All Rights Reserved.