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-01-0007

<Begin Segment 7>

SF: So when you went to middle school, was that all Japanese, too, or mixed?

TS: No. That one was more mixed, I think. Yeah.

SF: What was the sort of percentage or ratio of different ethnic groups in middle school?

TS: Yeah, I'd say, I don't really know. But I'd say -- I went to Central and I would say, maybe, 1/4 Japanese. There was another school, Washington School, which was north of us, and I could, we could've gone there, but I chose to go to Central. And I think there were more Japanese up at Washington School, which is not too far from here, up the street.

SF: Right.

TS: You know where Wonder Bread is?

SF: Right.

TS: That area. That was Washington School. Then I went to Broadway High. And there was 2,000 students in four grades, freshman through senior. And there was roughly 500 Nisei out of 2,000, that school.

SF: What was the relationship between the different kind of students in those days, like in middle school, did you have a lot of hakujin, or white friends or Chinese friends or...

TS: No, not -- well, I can't speak for other Nisei. I think if you lived in a neighborhood where it's more mixed, then it's probably -- it's likely that you had other friends. But where I lived, right on Main Street, it was almost all Japanese, 100 percent. Well, it was 100 percent. So all my friends were Nisei. Just the way it was.

SF: So, I mean, did people pick on each other occasionally, or were there kind of racial, some racial animosity at a low level, or...?

TS: There might, but there wasn't too much that I can recall. I don't think anybody ever called me a "Jap" or anything like that. You kinda steered clear of them, and they kinda stayed away from you, and you weren't basically allowed in a lotta places. And probably not written down on paper, but -- for example, for hiring, there's no employment at Sears or Penney's or Bons or Fred -- any of those places, except possibly in the back some -- I guess, maybe unloading merchandise or something.

SF: Were any of those Japanese who were hired for those mainstream companies, were they ever selected because they were, they dealt with Japanese goods or because the company needed someone to attract or deal with, say, Issei or other Japanese? I think that...

TS: It -- probably the latter, I think, to take care of the Japanese customers.

SF: So for the most...

TS: I never went in there, so I don't know. Couldn't afford to go to any of those places.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.