Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Ayame Tsutakawa Interview I
Narrator: Ayame Tsutakawa
Interviewer: Tracy Lai
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 29, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-tayame-01-0001

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TL: Today is May 29th, 1998. This is Tracy Lai interviewing Mrs. Ayame Tsutakawa. In this first part of the interview, I'd like to ask about your life in Japan, and then later on in Sacramento. So could you please give us your full name.

AT: My name?

TL: Uh-huh.

AT: Ayame. It was Iwasa, as I was born, Ayame Iwasa. While I was in Japan, my name was Iwasa Ayame, yes. After I returned to America and my mother married Mr. Kyotani, so my name changed to Kyotani Ayame. And then after my marriage to George, it's Tsutakawa Ayame.

TL: Thank you. Could you tell me the names of your parents?

AT: My real father's name is Suejiro. He married to my mother... my mother's name was Iwasa Kumano Mary. This family had three girls, so she kept the family name. So I think my father's name, Suejiro Henry, while he was married to her, I'm sure his name changed to Iwasa. My mother divorced, I'm not so sure just what year, I was in Japan. My older brother Takeo -- who is two years older than I -- and myself, were sent to Japan. And we grew up there while my mother lived in Los Angeles. And she worked and sent enough money for us to grow up.

TL: It seems unusual that she divorced him. Did she ever talk about why?

AT: My mother was very independent person. And after sending my brother and I, I think she felt she wanted to be free to do her work, which is, she liked to cook. So she had a restaurant. And he was landscaping in Hollywood, I think Hollywood Studios, so he went on his own and Mother went on with her own business. So I think they were divorced. I don't know any more than that.

TL: Do you know what their families did in Japan before they came?

AT: My mother's side? My mother's family had... they're from farm countryside. But they had enough land so that they didn't have to do the farming themselves, what they call kosaku -- is people who work and grow rice for the family and then he will get, not paid by cash, but he will get so much rice from the field. That's what you call kosaku, I think. And I think they had enough land so they lived from selling the extra rice.

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