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Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Ronald Ikejiri Interview
Narrator: Ronald Ikejiri
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: February 6, 2019
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-461-1

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Today is February 6, 2019. We're in Los Angeles at the DoubleTree, I'm Tom Ikeda, the interviewer, and on camera is Dana Hoshide, and so we have Ron Ikejiri here. And so, Ron, just the first question, when and where were you born?

RI: I was born on December 3, 1948, right down here in Boyle Heights in the Japanese Hospital, and it was on Fickett Street. And I understand that it was a large Jewish American community, and I was born in Boyle Heights. Little did I know until when I ran for city council in 2001, that being born in Boyle Heights was a really positive aspect of being born somewhere, because Boyle Heights is now part of the barrio, and people said, "Good, you were born at the right place, these are the kind of people that we know."

TI: Oh, so it kind of gave you, like street cred.

RI: Right.

TI: Just because you were, like in Seattle, in a similar way, I was born and raised in the Rainier Valley.

RI: Oh, beautiful.

TI: Which, again, it's kind of a very diverse, multiethnic, and that gives, in Seattle, that gives you street cred because you grew up in kind of a rough neighborhood. That's good. So what was the name given to you at birth?

RI: Ronald Kunio Ikejiri. And Kunio, I think my father figured it out that it would mean "bountiful country." And Ronald came, actually, my mom told me that I was named after Ronald Reagan. So I was named after...

TI: Oh, and he as a movie star.

RI: Yes.

TI: I was thinking politician, you're too, you were born way before he was...

RI: So I guess she liked his acting, but everyone says, "Well, he was a class B actor," or something. I said, well, I don't know. But it was interesting, though, when I graduated from UCLA, his name was on my diploma from UCLA because he was the governor of California.

TI: That's right, so he shows up in your life several times, that's interesting.

RI: Yes.

TI: And you were named after him. That's a good story.

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