Densho Digital Archive
Japanese American Film Preservation Project Collection
Title: Eiichi Edward Sakauye Interview II
Narrator: Eiichi Edward Sakauye
Interviewer: Wendy Hanamura
Location: San Jose, California
Date: May 14, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-seiichi-03-0015

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WH: You know what I was wondering about, Mr. Sakauye? You're a young, handsome young man about thirty-three years old in camp.

ES: Uh-huh.

WH: Why didn't you get married?

ES: Well, you know, before evacuation, you know how Isseis worked? Isseis would want their daughters to marry certain persons, and certain fathers want to get that gal for sister-in-law. Well, you know how Isseis lived? They lived in a group with family all together. They themselves, when they come from Japan, they had no family; they were single, and they have never been bothered by a woman or anyone else. And never had any family disputes or anything, so they don't understand that. But when we Niseis marry into someone's family, either the man goes to there as yoshi, or the girl comes to your house. If it comes to one's house, you got two of 'em in the kitchen, and that's where the quarrel begins. And I've been old enough to visit various families, and their daughters married So-and-so, and they have quarrels, and they come home. And to hear sad story like that wasn't satisfactory to me, and besides, I had, we're five of us, and that means two more brothers and two sisters, well, then my mother and dad. That many ladies in the kitchen is bound to blow up, according to my observation. 'Cause across the creek from us, there are thirty-two families, and there are families that say, "My daughter should marry So-and-so," and they got married all right, but overnight, they blew up, they marked the furniture and get back to home again. But I seen that, and besides, I'm a young man yet, and I got no money. It takes money to, you know, live together, and lot of 'em that married early depended upon their in-laws for money, and I wanted to be independent, so I didn't marry. And the only way that would, I would marry is I have a separate home away from in-laws and so forth. Not that I don't like my in-laws, but there's always trouble, from my observation.

WH: I see. So you wanted to be established before you, you got married?

ES: Yes. I wanted to be established and I wanted to establish my own family, my own money, and Isseis those days, you're all in a family group, the family plots together. But no, I wanted to be independent. So that was in the back of my mind, and two years before evacuation, we used to grow produce, and this produce buyer from Seattle, Washington, used to come down just to check what we grow and see the country here, I guess. So he told my folks about his boss's daughter, very bright and very active. So I began to check in a little more, and I found out that when the war broke out, she was in Japan. So I had a lot of chance to get married here, but I just didn't like the idea of she living here with me or I living in with her family, so I just left it go. The more I left it go, the more I thought about this girl. And her brother was serving in the United States army, and I found out where he was stationed, got in touch with him, start talking to him, and I found out he's a very nice person. So I asked him about his side of the family and said that, "My sister's still in Japan. She is now graduated with honors from Tsuda College, and she's teaching there. She's teaching English." Then a year later I heard she had English class in Kobe College, then as time went on I heard she was a translator for General MacArthur at Kobe. Well, during that time, through the Red Cross, I corresponded with her, but we corresponded with no love words or anything like that, just common sense that, how she's getting along, what living in Japan is like. And I always said what's living in the United States and what I went though. And finally she says, "I'm sure that my job's not going to last very long, and I want to come back to the States." I says, "Sure. I believe you're doing the right thing coming back to the States." So she decided to come back, and she worked, worked in a home in Palo Alto for a while and she found out where I was living. And she found out what a jerk I was, and we'd been going together for a year and she decided that we should get together. So that's how we got together, then I called her folks, all went back to Japan and called her folks, and she came back here and lived, lived with son together, but they lived in an apartment in L.A.

So that was my first marriage, but after a number of years, twenty-five years, she contracted blood cancer and it went pretty fast. They had Stanford doctor, but one night in the hospital, it was the night of the school board meeting, so she knew that I was supposed to be at the board meeting, so she says to me, "You better go." I said, "No, I want to be with you." She says, "You better go. I'll see you tomorrow morning." That morning never came, so I never can forget about her, what she has done for me in way of de he sa ho, the manner, Japanese manner and customs. And I do thank her for the kind expression and things that she said to me. Because I believe persons in Japan are very polite, they bow their heads and don't call them by first name like they do in the States where it's very harsh. They say, even Sensei So-and-so, or Mrs. So-and-so, very polite. They don't call 'em by first name and forget the rest.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2005 Densho and The Japanese American Film Preservation Project. All Rights Reserved.