Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Robert Moriguchi Interview
Narrator: Robert Moriguchi
Interviewer: Brian Niiya
Location: Granada Hills, California
Date: October 4, 2022
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-515-24

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BN: I wanted to circle back to, you referred to your father who you mentioned was killed. What happened?

RM: Well, my father's number... one, two, third brother, the one that was yoshii, they sent for him to come and visit. So he came to visit, so he was up in northern California and they met all the relatives up there. So my father took, brought him to Southern California to meet us. And this was his sixty-third birthday, or just before his sixty-third birthday. So they came down here and we took them out to dinner and he was going home. And so my kids, they don't know my grandfather, I mean, their grandfather. My youngest was only about four years old, I guess, and my oldest was six-eight. He was born in '61, so he must have been seven or so. So they know very little about him. They spent a few days with us and then he drove home. Well, in the town, San Francisco, he was going home and around... was that Fell or Hayes? Can't remember which street. And Scott, around Scott, I can't remember the exact street, he was broadsided. And they didn't have bars, he had a Buick Skylark. And this car just went right through and hit him, broke his ribs and his internal organs. In fact, he hit his brother who was sitting next to him, broke his ribs. And my mother was knocked out, she was in the backseat, she was knocked out, the car hit the post. And we can't get witnesses, and so we can't prove that he was in the right. But the other car, one guy that was in the car ran away, but there was no witness, so even the insurance won't pay for anything. So anyway, he was put under sedation for a week, but he died. So it was quite a shock for me. When we went back, I went to see him, and then he seemed okay, so I came home. But then I had to go back the following week, and I just broke down. I just broke down at the airport. And like I said, he was the head of the Seicho-no-Ie there, so when they had the funeral, even if it was a rainy day, there must have been, I don't know, a thousand people there at the funeral from all over Northern California. And I don't know if you knew... oh, what's her name? Mary Karatsu.

BN: Oh yeah, of course.

RM: So that name Karatsu, when I went to the museum, that name stuck in my mind because a Karatsu attended my father's funeral. So I asked Mary, "Was it your husband, or who was the one that, is he related?" And she said yes, that was, her husband's father was the Karatsu. He was also very involved with Seicho-no-Ie, he was kind of the leader of the Southern California section, and my father was the head of the Northern California. So they knew each other, so he came to my father's funeral. So there's another connection. Like Yamaji, too, the Yamaji family, there was a Yamaji that was working, volunteering at the museum in the Hirasaki Research Center. That Yamaji, their parents is the one that worked for my grandfather at Mountain View. And my father, my parents were the go-between for the two daughters to marry into the Matsumura family. [Laughs] So the two daughters of the Yamaji family married into the Matsumura family. One to George, the son of the old man, Kiichiro, that immigrated, George is the Nisei. And then the other daughter married the grandson, Paul. Now, Shuni, I knew Shuni, the younger one, she married one of the Sagara, Sagara family in Woodland, who was one of the prominent Japanese families did trucking industry up there.

BN: Then I wanted to ask you about redress. Were you involved in that, and what were your feelings about that?

RM: I wasn't too involved already, although I knew about it. The JACL, Paul Tsuneishi and Phil were very involved with it. They got the JACL district to approve it and they got the national to do it. So they're the ones that really started it, and it was already, I knew about it, but I was not involved with it now. But I, of course, supported everything, writing letters or things like that.

BN: Was it meaningful to you to get...

RM: What?

BN: Was it meaningful for you to get the apology?

RM: To get the redress? Yeah, the apology means a lot, yeah. Because that validates our position, yeah. That we were not at fault, I mean, that was the government's fault.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2022 Densho. All Rights Reserved.