Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Miyamoto Interview I
Narrator: Frank Miyamoto
Interviewer: Stephen Fugita
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Date: February 26, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mfrank-01-0005

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SF: So, your father, when he first came to this kind of the Nihonmachi here -- what kind of business did he get into and what was his employment history like?

FM: The, he started off when he first came in 1905 as a sawmill worker. Now that's, and I guess most Issei tended to do that. They would go into sawmill work, railroad work, the canneries, or farming, farm laborers to accumulate enough funds so that they could get into something better. And my father I think spent maybe I think about five, six years in sawmill work, initially in a place called Kerestone, which is south of Enumclaw, and later in Winslow. And then finally (be) moved (to Seattle to set up) the furniture business. But one reason that he left Kerestone was that there was the point at which, my mother tells me, at which the white workers of the mill tried to run the Japanese workers out of the area and made it very unpleasant for Japanese workers and Japanese families at that mill. Threatened in various ways, and she said one night my father sent her and, and there was a child I guess, away from the sawmill town to another place so that they might not get hurt and he remained, insisting that he was not going to be run out by a bunch of rowdies. However, it was unpleasant enough and therefore he, they finally moved out. But there was then, there were occasions of anti-Japanese feelings expressed one way or another in places like sawmills and even in the railroads.

SF: In these situations where, like in, where your father worked in the sawmill -- did he work through a labor gang, like a Japanese labor contractor or did he go directly to the sawmill?

FM: That I don't know exactly, but I, I would be fairly sure that's probably what happened. He had to find, he had to find work somewhere, somehow. And usually there was a labor boss who would draw in Japanese workers and send them to Kerestone or wherever, where it was available.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.