Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: May K. Sasaki Interview
Narrator: May K. Sasaki
Interviewers: Lori Hoshino (primary), Alice Ito (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 28, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-smay-01-0001

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LH: Kind of wanted to get an idea of -- I know you were born in Seattle, but... and your father worked over in the U District -- but were you living over there also?

MS: I was born, I'm sure I was born in the U District, and then we moved back down into the International District, but that's, as I recall, I think I was born there. I was born at one store and all I remember is that when they came to tell the news to my dad, he said, "Was it a boy or girl?" And they said, "It's a girl." And he kept on stacking the cans up, he didn't even care. Because he wanted another boy.

LH: Another boy? But he already had four.

MS: I know, but see, in Japanese culture, the males are always highly regarded, so then, and that's what everyone kids him about, you know, that he just kept stacking the... you know how you stack the can up in the pyramid style -- he kept on doing that, didn't miss a beat. But if it had been a boy, he probably would have stopped and gone. Now I was born in, at home so I'm trying to remember where, but we had a midwife at that time. You know, you didn't go to the hospital.

LH: That was a common practice?

MS: Yeah, uh-huh. Midwives were, and it was also common practice for the wives to stay on their back for almost a month. They were not allowed up, so they usually had friends come over, and at that time my sister was brought over when they knew my birth was impending because she was to be the nanny to take care. Because that was the practice; the women were supposed to stay on their back for a month, and the midwife and family members and whoever just helped. My dad says he had to wash diapers and stuff. [Laughs] But that's what I recall. But I think it's either born there or here, I just can't remember but I know we had a store because he kept on stacking the things.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.