Densho Digital Archive
Friends of Manzanar Collection
Title: Yoneo Yamamoto Interview
Narrator: Yoneo Yamamoto
Interviewer: Sharon Yamato
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: April 24, 2012
Densho ID: denshovh-yyoneo-01-0001

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SY: Okay, today we're talking to Mr. Yoneo Yamamoto. It's April 24, 2012, and we're at the Nishi Hongwanji, or Hongo Hongwanji, Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles. My name is Sharon Yamato, and Tani Ikeda is on camera. So if I might, Mr. Yamamoto, start with asking you a little bit about your parents, can you tell me -- well actually, let me, what is your full name?

YY: That's my full name.

SY: Full name, and you were born where and when?

YY: In Los Angeles, California, on March 26, 1923.

SY: 1923. And your parents, can you start with telling me their full names?

YY: My father's name was Shinjiro Yamamoto, and my mother's maiden name was Toshiye Takimoto.

SY: Toshiye Takemoto.

YY: Takimoto.

SY: Takimoto. And do you know where your father was originally from?

YY: From, I, from what I gathered, he was born in Shingu city in Wakayama-ken in Japan.

SY: Shingu city, and he, do you have any idea when he came to the United States?

YY: No, I don't know when he came.

SY: Do you know anything about his family in Wakayama?

YY: Well, as I understand, the family had a drugstore.

SY: A drugstore. I see. And so his father, then, probably...

YY: Well, I guess my father left because the drugstore went to the number one son and my father was number two.

SY: I see. And they were both trained in pharmacy?

YY: In pharmacy, yeah.

SY: So he was a pharmacist, learned his trade in Japan.

YY: Japan.

SY: I see, so he was educated in Japan.

YY: I guess so. I don't know. [Laughs]

SY: And his father was a pharmacist.

YY: Right, yeah.

SY: And do you know how many siblings he had?

YY: No, I think he just had the one brother.

SY: I see. So as far as you know, that was the reason he came to the United States. But you're not sure when that was.

YY: No, I don't.

SY: Now, do you know how he met your mother?

YY: That, I don't know either. [Laughs]

SY: And your mother was from?

YY: She was from, let's see, it was a little town, I guess they'd call it a village, Kinomoto in Mie-ken, which was right, right close to where my father's, Shingu was right across the river. And she went to school in Shingu, that's why.

SY: And do you know anything about her family?

YY: What, from what I remember -- I went there when I was about five years old. I think they wanted me to stay there, but I guess I must've put up a howl so they couldn't, couldn't keep me there. Anyway, what I remember was that there was a temple, and the grandfather was the caretaker of the temple. But that's about all I can remember.

SY: And your mother, you think that your mother met your father while she was in Japan?

YY: That, I don't know.

SY: Because the towns that they lived in were, were they close to one another?

YY: Oh yeah, it was just across the river. And I think they had a ferry that went across the river all the time.

SY: And did your mother have a big family?

YY: My mother was one of eight children, was four boys and four girls, from what she told me.

SY: And was she one of the younger ones, or do you know where she was in the family?

YY: I think, as far as the ladies, I mean the, yeah, the females went, I think she was about the third.

SY: The third from the youngest?

YY: Yeah, she was, from the top down, she was --

SY: So she was one of the older, older ones.

YY: Well, she was the third one, third of the four girls.

SY: I see. And did any of her other siblings come to the United States?

YY: No, they're all in Japan.

SY: They're all in Japan.

YY: Or now, I don't know about now, but... [laughs]

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.