Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Lynne Horiuchi Interview
Narrator: Lynne Horiuchi
Interviewer: Brian Niiya
Location: Emeryville, California
Date: April 5, 2022
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-501-1

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BN: Okay. So we are here in... where are we? Emeryville, California, on April 5, 2022, and we're interviewing Lynne Horiuchi. The interviewer is Brian Niiya and Dana Hoshide is the videographer. And let's get started. So, Lynne, as we discussed, we often start by asking about the narrator's parents. And I wanted to start, actually, with your mother, who was a pretty well-known figure in Denver, I may have even met her, I think, Chiyo and the Nakata family. And I was wondering if you could tell me a bit about her and what you know about her grandparents and their story of coming to the U.S.

LH: Okay. So, yeah, Chiyo was the middle child of seven children. My grandparents were both from Shikoku near Tokushima, and the Nakata family lived in a village just close to Hanoura, Japan. And so my grandmother, Han Goto Nakata, was born in Hanoura. And I know the Hanoura relatives a little bit and I visited. And I know a little bit less about the Nakata family, but my grandfather apparently immigrated first about, I'm guessing, fairly early, like 1895 or something like that, but one of the earlier immigrants. And he worked for a family on an island, I don't know which one, but it was a very wealthy family. Of course, in the tradition of Seattle, you built your house on an island, and he apparently learned to cook and do all kinds of things there. And then he went back with the money he earned to marry my grandmother, who, like a lot of Issei women, was very educated. She had graduated from high school and was teaching. And their first child, I think, was, Matsuye was born here in the United States, but their first child (was given) to a very wealthy auntie in Tokyo. It was my grandfather's auntie, my great aunt. The great aunt was his aunt. And that was just one of those things that happened to the Nisei children. So she was brought up in Japan and that nuclear family in Seattle didn't really have much interaction with her for that time. And then the family most of the family was born and raised in Seattle, but I think Tatsuo, the eldest son, he went to Japan very early on. So I know that when he was five years old, my mother's cousin, Kane Goto, told us that he went to school and he came back crying the first day of school because he thought he was a Goto, and he was a Nakata. And so at least at age five, he was in Japan. So that left five of the other children, which would be Mike Nakata whom you might know of, he was pretty famous in the redress push in Seattle. I can't remember them... it was Shosuke, Mike, and one other person that really initiated that whole push for the redress in Seattle.

BN: That's right, yeah. I didn't realize there was that connection. Okay, great. So that's your uncle?

LH: Yeah, that was my Nakata (uncle), yeah. And then my mother Chiyo, oh, Katsuko was the eldest, she was older than Mike, actually, but Katsuko was the eldest and she basically, like, ran the rest of the family for my grandmother, I think. So Mike was the second born son, but he had a lot of privilege, of course, in Seattle as the only male child in Seattle. And there were four sisters, and they're, I think, pretty infamous or famous in Seattle, too. It was Katsuko, Chiyo, my mother Chiyo. Her next sister was Teru Nakata who became a Kiyohara, married a Kiyohara, and then Hisa Nakata Watanabe. She married Mas Watanabe. And then my mother married Robert Horiuchi, Robert Masanori Horiuchi, my father, in 1942, April 1942.

BN: So just to go back, the two eldest, you said the oldest sister pretty much was raised in Japan, did she ever come back or did she stay there throughout?

LH: No, she stayed there and she married there.

BN: So she was there during the war and everything.

LH: She was during the war, yeah. She apparently, she had a pretty difficult time, pretty difficult life. She married well and she had children. So we know... so we're actually in touch with our cousins.

BN: Okay. Do you know if there was communication even during the war?

LH: During the war there was some, because my auntie Katsuko was engaged to a wealthy Japanese man and she took the last boat out of Seattle to go to Japan to get married and then their marriage did not get formalized and she was left abandoned, really, in Japan. She had a very hard time, yeah. But she seemed to, I did interview, I have an interview of her. It was hard doing the family history because there were these four sisters and they could not agree on a lot of things. [Laughs] And so I would like, so I did the family history, here's the timeline, you know, and, "That's not right, where did you hear that?" "Who told you that?" So I sort of had to give up because I couldn't get any...

BN: Agreement on basic things, that's funny.

LH: Could not be agreed upon like what really happened.

BN: And it sounds like the son who was there in Japan, he did come back eventually.

LH: Tats came back when he was about sixteen or seventeen.

BN: So he'd be Kibei.

LH: Kibei. Uh-huh, he was Kibei. And he went to the camps, he ended up in Chicago, married my auntie Yuri, and then they were in Chicago for a very long time. He was a photographer so he was actually involved in with the early photography movement in Seattle also, and so he knew all of those people and was, like, a very accomplished photographer.

BN: Did he do that as an occupation?

LH: Both as an occupation and also in terms of art photography.

BN: Art photography.

LH: His art photography is beautiful. I just moved some of his pieces into my house, yeah.

BN: was he involved... because there was a pretty active art photography circle in Seattle even before the war, mainly Issei.

LH: I'm sure he was involved with it, but I don't have all the details. And it might be with Auntie Yuri's relatives, because they were closer. They eventually went back to live in Seattle or near Seattle, Cannon Beach. And then when Tats passed away, my auntie Yuri lived in Seattle, but they were very close to the entire family in Seattle.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2022 Densho. All Rights Reserved.