Densho Digital Archive
Friends of Manzanar Collection
Title: Chikaye Sande Azeka Hashimoto Interview
Narrator: Chikaye Sande Azeka Hashimoto
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: January 10, 2012
Densho ID: denshovh-hchikaye-01-0006

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MN: Now, your mother had all four children learn something in camp. What sort of things did your, you and your siblings learn?

SH: (...) I took Japanese classical dancing, my (middle) sister took tap, my brother took kendo, and my oldest sister took violin. (So it was before the war, my siblings took their lessons).

MN: But you took the odori in camp, and you started in camp. Where was, what block was odori lessons given at?

SH: It was in Block 5, so I had to walk from 20 all the way up to 5.

MN: Now who were, who was your teacher?

SH: They were sisters (Haruko), we used to call her Haddie -- and (...) her sister's name (was Tome). (...) We used to call 'em the Uyeda sisters. (...) Anyways, the oldest was Haddie (...), and they went back to Chicago. I don't know if they were originally from Chicago.

MN: And then were the Uyedas the odori teachers in Manzanar?

SH: No, there were others too, but I, my mother just wanted me to learn from them because they were students of Fujima Kansuma. (...) After we came out of camp, the Uyeda sisters went to Chicago, so she said, "Well, you might as well start learning from the actual teacher," so she made me go to Fujima Kansuma to learn from her. And she was teaching in Japanese-town, and that was convenient for me. I could just walk over there, so that's where I started with Fujima Kansuma.

MN: Now, in camp, how often were the odori classes held?

SH: (...) I don't remember how many times, most likely it was once a week.

MN: What was the gender breakdown of the students?

SH: It was all women, I mean, it was all girls. There was quite a few from the Terminal Island area because they lived in the same (...) Block 5 (...).

MN: How were the classes broken up? Was there a beginning, intermediate, advanced classes?

SH: No, I don't know (...) from what I remember, we all (...) did the same (dance by ages) since there's two of 'em, they always made me play the boy's part 'cause I was tall. (...) Usually there's only one teacher, so she would have to teach the female part (...) and then she would have to come over to my side and teach me the male part (...).

MN: So I guess if you start, I mean, you just started odori in camp, so they didn't have a special beginners class?

SH: (...) I remember I had learned odori before. (...) And there was another sensei that I used to take lessons from (...) Takeuchi-sensei, she was an older person. I started with her for a while, and then I switched over to the Uyeda sisters.

MN: Was Takeuchi-sensei also in Block 5? Or she was in a different block?

SH: I don't remember what block she was in.

MN: On what occasions did you perform before an audience at Manzanar?

SH: I don't remember really, but probably it was a special occasion like Oshogatsu and maybe ken functions, kenjinkai functions, and various things. (...)

MN: So when your odori group performed, did you have a record, or was it live musicians with shamisen?

SH: No, it was strictly records. We didn't have anybody -- and then most of it was records because it was easier, (...) if you had shamisen and people singing (...), that's a whole new group you've got to bring in, whereas records, it's easy, it's only three minutes (...). But if they went into something more cultural or classic (...), they would have shamisen and they would have people singing nagauta that goes with the shamisen (...).

MN: Now, you mentioned there was shamisen. Do you have any idea how the shamisens were brought into Manzanar?

SH: [Laughs] No, I don't.

MN: What areas did you perform in, in the mess halls? Where the performances held?

SH: I think probably (...) the mess hall. And then they used to have an auditorium too. (...) I think it's still there in Manzanar. We used to perform there for big occasions, but normal things, I think they were just done (...) at the mess hall, (it) just involves the people in the block (...).

MN: What did you do for costumes?

SH: I don't know where the costumes came from either. I don't know, (...) because you could just bring so much into camp (...). But I guess they sent for it later on, from Nihon (or storage). (...)

MN: So you don't remember seeing your mother sew costumes.

SH: No.

MN: I want to ask about your older, oldest sister. You mentioned she wasn't in camp very long. What happened to her?

SH: Well, while we were in camp I guess she applied to go to college (on a scholarship to Texas Weslyan University for two years). So she was in Camp Manzanar for only about a year. (...) A soldier came to escort her (...) for her safety they didn't want her traveling by herself, so he traveled with her all the way to Texas (...). (She did not graduate) from that school (then later) attended UCLA (...).

<End Segment 6> - Copyright &copy; 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.