Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kay Matsuoka Interview
Narrator: Kay Matsuoka
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 29 & 30, 1999
Densho ID: denshovh-mkay-01-0002

<Begin Segment 2>

AI: Now, do you happen to know much about your father's...

KM: Yeah.

AI: ...and, family?

KM: Yeah. My dad was the only son. And then when he came to America to make his fortune, well there was no one to take over the family name. So they adopted a man from, well they had several sons. And, but he never had gone back to Japan. And as a first son, for the namesake, he should have (taken care of) like a ohaka, cemetery for the, all the generation. (As) he was responsible, it was just left. And so he went back after I made the dressmaking -- I mean I was able to pay his way. But anyway, he was a farmer, and he just had a dream that he wanted to come to America to make his fortune. And his parents, because of being the only son, it kinda tore their hearts. And he never did go back until I sent him, and by that time the parents were gone. But he was a very educated man. And oh, his calligraphy and carving all this letter and (paint) it in gold. He did that in, while he was in camp. And then my mother gave it to me for my children, and they played with it and now I wish I kept it 'cause I could have donated that to the museum. All petrified wood, you know.

AI: So, what was your father's name?

KM: Gosaku, Gosaku Nakahara.

AI: And where was his family from?

KM: Hiroshima. They were both from Hiroshima. But you know, Hiroshima is pretty big prefecture.

AI: Yeah.

KM: So, but he was in a deeper country, countryside I guess.

AI: So, even though his family was a farming family, he was also educated and could...

KM: Uh-huh.

AI: and write?

KM: He was sent to school. And like I said, both of them were for that period's time, very educated. And so, consequently when they came to America and we were born, they really wanted to educate us for bilingual.

AI: I see.

KM: So that was their goal all the time. No matter how poor they are, they sacrificed so much for us.

AI: Do you happen to know when your father immigrated to the U.S.?

KM: Well, it was the early 1900s. He was here several years before my mother was, as a picture bride came.

AI: And do you happen to know about when she came to the U.S.?

KM: Well, you know I really can't tell, but, you know I was born in 1917. And my mother came, she didn't have me for about three or four years. So I kinda estimated around 1912 or so.

AI: Uh-huh.

KM: And Dad was here before, so...

AI: Uh-huh. Right. So, around 1912 your mother came and she was about thirty years old at that time?

KM: Yeah, about thirty. Yeah. Well, maybe not quite thirty. Around, well, approximately. [Laughs]

AI: And do you know your dad's age, about how old he was at that time?

KM: When he came?

AI: Yeah.

KM: My dad was eight years older than my mom, so he was in the thirties, quite, maybe late thirties.

AI: I see.

KM: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.