Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hatsuko Mary Higuchi Interview
Narrator: Hatsuko Mary Higuchi
Interviewer: Virginia Yamada
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: February 4, 2019
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-456-1

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VY: Okay, today is Monday, February 4, 2019, and we're here in Los Angeles, California, with Mary Higuchi. And Dana Hoshide is our videographer, and my name is Virginia Yamada. So, Mary, thank you for sitting down with us for this interview today.

HH: You're welcome.

VY: I'd like to get started by asking you where you were born and what name you were given at birth, when and where you were born?

HH: Okay. I was born January 31, 1939. The name I was given was Hatsuko Yoshioka.

VY: And how about your parents? What were their names and where were they born?

HH: My mother was Kiyoko, maiden name Mayeda. She was born May 17, 1916. My father was born January 25th, his name was Goro Yoshioka, January 25, 1905, and he was born in Kagoshima, Japan.

VY: Where was your mom born?

HH: She was born in Santa Monica, California.

VY: Do you know how they met?

HH: I think it was an arranged marriage.

VY: Do you know anything about their early life before they met? For instance, you said your mom was born in Santa Monica.

HH: Right, she was born in Santa Monica, but her mother died after giving birth. Because at that time they had a huge pandemic of influenza, and I guess millions of people died around the world. And her father died when she was three years old, and she was sent to Japan to be raised by an aunt on her mother's side, and this was in Wakayama, Japan.

VY: And when did she come back to the States?

HH: She came back in her thirties, in her early thirties she came back.

VY: And what did she do when she returned?

HH: When she came back, she worked at the fish cannery, Terminal Island, San Pedro, California. And then after that, soon after that, I guess she was introduced to someone and that's when she got married.

VY: Okay, well then, so before the war, what kind of work did your parents do, do you know?

HH: My father was in the hauling business, he hauled crates of vegetables from the farm to the L.A. produce market. And my mother was a housewife before... because before, she was working in the cannery when she got married. She devoted herself to being a mother.

VY: So were they both in their thirties when they got married, do you think?

HH: I think so, yeah. My mother probably early thirties and my father, since he was ten years older, probably the late thirties.

VY: What was your relationship like with your parents? When you were very little, do you have any memories of that?

HH: I remember it as a very happy time. My parents devoted a lot of time to us, although they were working very hard from early morning to late at night, working on the farm. At night we would always sit at the dining room table and we would do homework, and if we didn't have homework, we would draw, we would write, just do all kinds of pictures and stories with our parents. And my mother used to read Japanese stories to us and tell us stories, and teach us some Japanese.

VY: And so that was your time on the farm. Was that before or after you went to camp? Did your parents have a farm before the war?

HH: No.

VY: Okay, so I want to get back to that, then.

HH: Okay, because my father was, he was hauling crates of vegetables and were farming. We lived in L.A.

VY: Okay.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2019 Densho. All Rights Reserved.