Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Tad Sato Interview
Narrator: Tad Sato
Interviewer: Stephen Fugita
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: August 15, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-stad-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

SF: Okay. Today is -- what is today? Today is August 14th, and we're with Tad Sato. He's the narrator, and I'm Steve Fugita, the interviewer. And this is a Densho interview. Tad, I'd like to begin by just having you tell us a little bit about where you were born, when you came to Nihonmachi in Seattle, that sort of stuff, some background information.

TS: Okay. Well, I was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1922. And somewhere -- sometime shortly after that, before school age, the family split. My father and I came up to Seattle, and my sister and mother stayed in Portland and we were raised separately. I remember seeing my mother and (sister) once in my school years, I think, through high school, before the war. That's the way...

SF: But that was pretty unusual for Isseis...

TS: The...

SF: ...Isseis -- the Japanese to split.

TS: For Japanese, yeah. Divorce was almost out of the question, most cases.

SF: So did you experience, I don't know, much stigma, or kind of being hassled by the community, or...

TS: No, people were nice. Didn't have any problem with -- of course, Japanese. They were not known for gossiping and saying bad things about people. So those things just didn't happen. It might be different today, now that we're Americanized.

SF: Yeah. So you came to -- you and your dad came to Nihonmachi in...?

TS: (Pre-school year, around 1925.) Yeah.

SF: What did your dad do?

TS: Well, my dad, when he first came, I don't know. He might've had some other jobs, but then he went into the Public Market, and I think he purchased his produce from the produce shops down on Western Avenue, and then -- you know, he washed 'em and then sold them, the way people do, even today. I remember there was a big barrel. Had a big stick and I'd go down there, and I was a little kid, but -- and I'd help him wash -- I remember carrots.

SF: So were the, like the people who provided the produce that he always bought the stuff from, were they other Japanese, or...?

TS: I really don't know what to say about that 'cause I never had any contact with 'em. All I knew was when I went to the market, why...

SF: Then the customers were mostly...?

TS: The customers, I would say, almost all white.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.