Densho Digital Archive
National Japanese American Historical Society Collection
Title: Harvey Watanabe Interview
Narrator: Harvey Watanabe
Interviewers: Marvin Uratsu (primary), Gary Otake (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 12, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-wharvey-02-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

MU: This is a interview with Harvey Watanabe, in Seattle. And I'm the interviewer and my name is Marvin Uratsu, with helper Gary Otake. First of all, Harvey, where were you born?

HW: I was born in Exeter, California.

MU: Now, whereabouts is that?

HW: That is about 60 miles, or 65 miles southeast of Fresno.

MU: Southeast of Fresno.

HW: Yeah. And, if you were to draw another line, it's about 90 miles north of Bakersfield.

MU: Okay. Now, when was that -- that you were born?

HW: 1919. I don't remember that, but they tell me it was 1919.

MU: 1919, okay. How many siblings -- how many brothers and sisters did you have?

HW: (...) I was the oldest (of six).

MU: At that time, what was your father's, or parents' occupation?

HW: He was supplying workers for the farms.

MU: Farm labor contractor?

HW: At that time, to one farm, one large farm. Farm laborer -- and they were Issei workers (...) -- room and board, and go to work.

MU: How was life under those conditions?

HW: Well, I was just born then so I don't remember but very little of it. 'Course, during the Depression time, we went -- Father went back into that business, if you want to call it that. And my association with the Isseis from all over gradually picked up a lot of Japanese lingo, local, local lingo -- the Okinawa group and the Kagoshima group. You know, there were people from all over.

MU: Now, in a previous interview you mentioned that your mother had to do quite a bit of work to keep the...

HW: Yes. Cooking.

MU: ... operation going. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

HW: Well, it's like getting up at 4:30 in the morning and getting breakfast ready, and -- for the crew. And then, at the same time, cookin' enough food so that the crew could pack their own lunch for lunchtime. And cookin' dinner when they came back. It's a lot of work.

MU: Do you remember about what time your mother went to bed each night?

HW: Yeah, probably more like ten o'clock. Getting up at four o'clock in the morning.

MU: Next morning?

HW: Yeah.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.