Densho Digital Archive
Japanese American Film Preservation Project Collection
Title: Dave Tatsuno Interview II
Narrator: Dave Tatsuno
Interviewer: Wendy Hanamura
Location: San Jose, California
Date: May 17, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-tdave-03-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

WH: Let's start again by having you tell me your real name and the day you were born...

DT: Yeah. Well, actually, my name is not Dave Tatsuno. It's Masaharu Tatsuno, and the name was given to me by my parents, and strangely, I was born in Japan on March the 31st. And then later, there's a birth certificate, City of San Francisco, August of that year. And I found my father's diary for 1913. You turn the pages, March the 31st, "Masaharu born." So I was born on March the 31st in Japan.

WH: 1913?

DT: Yeah, 1913. Very unusual story, you know, when you think of it. And then the birth certificate, that is, the... on the birth certificate, yes, it says, on the back of it, "admitted to San Francisco" in such and such a date, signed immigration officer. That's the funny part, I can't understand. You see?

WH: But this was so you could become an American citizen?

DT: Yeah, but it's strange, isn't it? The whole thing, and as I said, my name "Masaharu Tatsuno," I changed to Dave Tatsuno when I was running for student body president at Hamilton junior high school in San Francisco. And I was a low ninth and high ninth senior in junior high school, and when I ran for president, the young man, a Chinese friend named LeRoy Wong, was making posters for me, "Masaharu Tatsuno," said, "Your name is too long. Don't you have an American name?" "Well, wait until tomorrow, I'll get you one." So that night I thought about "John Tatsuno," "Bob Tatsuno," "Dave Tatsuno." "Hey, that sounds good, Dave Tatsuno." So I went back the next morning and I told LeRoy, "LeRoy, I got the name. Put Dave Tatsuno on." So he put it on all the posters, and I won the presidency. I still have one poster here, from that time.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2005 Densho and The Japanese American Film Preservation Project. All Rights Reserved.