Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Ayame Tsutakawa Interview II
Narrator: Ayame Tsutakawa
Interviewer: Tracy Lai
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 5, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-tayame-02-0018

<Begin Segment 18>

TL: Could you talk a little bit about his family background?

AT: George's background? George's grandfather -- I'll go back to his grandfather, was sort of a landlord in this area of Okayama where they had a lot more than other people, big land and where they grow rice. That was, of course, every family's main source of income, grow rice and you keep what you eat and you sell the extra for your cash, you see. So this family owned -- I was told as far as you can see over to the next hill or something, but the grandfather who indulged in tea ceremony and his pleasure of a gentleman, he went to Kyoto and pursue his pleasures and Japanese painting and tea ceremony, and George liked his grandfather 'cause he was really not a farmer, but classical man enjoying his life. So George's father growing up and thinking that he had to gain back this family wealth so he decided to come to American because he was hearing that other Japanese going to America and suddenly sending back a lot of cash to the family so he decided to come to America. But he was quite a businessman. He was thinking ahead so he established company in Kobe and sent his two brothers to Seattle and started this Nichibei Nakagai Shoukai, Japan America Trading Company. And it was pretty successful business having store here and from Japan he was sending miso and rice and these Japanese foods.

TL: Did George's father expect him to become a businessman too?

AT: Oh, yes. George didn't like that. He liked grandfather more than his father, I think, [Laughs] the way he enjoyed his life.

TL: Well, in your family since your mother was quite a businesswoman and your father was a businessman, were they disappointed that George did not -- or was George, did he seem like he might go into business at the time that he proposed to you?

AT: Oh, yes. My father knowing many Seattle people and heard about Tsutakawa Company so my father said, "Well, George is Tsutakawa Company's son and so you will be doing all right." We didn't think that he was going to get back to business anymore. It didn't occur to me at all what he was going to do when I married him. He was going back to school to finish his degree.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.