Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Miyamoto Interview II
Narrator: Frank Miyamoto
Interviewer: Stephen Fugita
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 18, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mfrank-02-0013

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SF: You're mentioning the University environment. How, how was the, how was college for you? Say your undergraduate days in the '30s at the University of Washington. What was your social life like? How was it, that experience?

FM: Well, in terms of social life, I was a member of what was called the Japanese-Ameri, Japanese Students Club -- JSC. It was not called Japanese American. It was called Japanese Student Club. I suppose the reason was, that originally, it was established particularly to help the students from Japan have a residential place when they went to the University. I'm guessing, but I think that might have been. Because in the 1920s, for example, there were a fair number of students from Japan attending the University who probably required a place to live and didn't have anything readily available for them. Of course there were also Nisei who were coming into college age and who were attending, and they likewise needed places to, a place to live. The Japanese Students Club then, which was established directly across the, from the campus place where now there's a social works building there, was a very nice location and ideal structure, ideal location for a student, near the library and reasonably attractive building for, similar to fraternities that the Caucasians had. Now the Caucasian fraternities are located north of the campus. This is on the west side of the campus. So that's a separation. Furthermore, it was understanding, it was clearly understood that the chances of the Japanese or Chinese or Jewish person, for example, being accepted into one of the fraternities was very close to zero. And so, the Japanese Students Club, then was the place where you could become, could go for living, but on top of that, it was the social center of, for the Japanese students on campus. The women had a, an organization called Fuyokai for Japanese student women -- women students. And they did not have a residence hall or place. So they would occasionally use the men's club as a facility. And in any event, if they, the men's organization wanted, wanted dances and so on, they would invariably invite the Fuyokai women into the affair, thereby, maintained a social activity of the boy-girl type that otherwise would not, perhaps have been promoted so actively.

SF: Were these two clubs entirely Nisei oriented or were they...

FM: Yes.

SF: ...kind of mixed?

FM: No, they were entirely Nisei oriented. There could have been some non-Japanese there, but I don't know of any.

[Interruption]

FM: No, the Japanese... students from Japan were still there in the 1930s, but I think were reduced in numbers as the Japanese foreign policy changed. Before, in the 1920s, Japan had a strong international orientation and promoted the idea of Japanese students coming over, getting trained in American ways and going back and helping the country to become westernized and, or at least knowledgeable about the west. This is the old Meiji tradition of course. And it was continued up until the Immigration Act of 1924.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.