Densho Digital Archive
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community Collection
Title: Taketo Omoto Interview
Narrator: Taketo Omoto
Interviewer: Frank Kitamoto
Location: Bainbridge Island, Washington
Date: October 22, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-otaketo-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

FK: I'd like you to introduce yourself and tell me about your parents, as much as you can about your parents.

TO: I'm Taketo Omoto, call me Tak. My parents... mother died, mother and father both died. My father died in 1931 and my mother about 19-, in the '80s.

FK: So, when were you born and where were you born?

TO: I was born in, it used to be Bainbridge Island, but now it's Winslow, Washington. September, September 20, 1917. [Ed. note: Narrator probably has this reversed. It used to be Winslow and is now the city of Bainbridge Island.]

FK: 1917. Is, are you... how many children in your family, then?

TO: I have three children.

FK: Uh-huh. And as far as your siblings, how many brothers, how many sisters?

TO: Only one brother left right now. My oldest brother passed away a few years back.

FK: And so you have another brother and another sister?

TO: No, I don't. They are both deceased.

FK: Okay. And so you were second in the family? Chronologically you were...

TO: I was second.

FK: Second in the family, okay. Now, do you know why your grandparents came to United States?

TO: No, my grandparents weren't here.

FK: I mean your, I'm sorry, your parents... why your parents came?

TO: My parents?

FK: Yeah.

TO: Well, come over here and earn some money and then go back. You know, they figured, they come from Yamaguchi-ken... mostly farmers or that type of people, encouraged them to go overseas. They figured on working here a few years and then going back, but they never realized their dream. My father never did go back, and Mother went back once, on the ship.

FK: So, you were, you were really young then when your father passed away.

TO: Yeah, my father was... thirteen years old, I believe, and my younger sister died same month, about a month later, same, same year.


FK: So, if your father died when you were quite young...

TO: Yes.

FK: What type of a hardship did that place on your family then?

TO: Well, it was... it was tough, my mother being a widow. But I lived in Wing Point and quite a few people helped us, especially Mr. Burrow, he owned the Seattle Hardware. He, he helped us, you know, my brother have, have a job until he graduated from high school. And we had other jobs around there that the Wing Point people, they're, they are mostly summer home, they're rich people. They, we had, when we were young we used to go there and do yard work or split wood, things like that.

FK: So did your, did your mother work or did she spend all her time taking care of the kids?

TO: Yeah, Mother had to work. She did housework for a number of those people in Wing Point. And she did other odd jobs.

FK: So, did your, did your father purchase that property then?

TO: No, at that time, where the Wing Point golf course is now, when Father had a farm there, you know, he couldn't... the first generation couldn't own home then. So this Mr. Burrow helped. He was kind of sharecropping, I mean, he had the fruit trees there, and my father picked the fruit and shipped them off. I don't know what the arrangements were, but we lived there until they took over the golf course.

FK: So did your family eventually acquire that property?

TO: No, we couldn't live there. And we, we... my father bought a home over there in Madrona, where my sister-in-law lives now. And my father worked many years to pay back this lady, a Norwegian woman, Jones, she made a payment on this house. And my father worked many years. He went early in the morning, cleaned up the clinker from the coal fire. He'd stoke the fire, and fill the... get the house warmed up for these people. He did that for many years to kinda pay off the debt.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.