Densho Digital Archive
Preserving California's Japantowns Collection
Title: Betty Fujimoto Kashiwagi Interview
Narrator: Betty Fujimoto Kashiwagi
Interviewers: Jill Shiraki (primary); Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Sacramento, California
Date: December 8, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-kbetty-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

JS: So today is Tuesday, December 8, 2009, and we're in the home of Jean and Jane Itogawa in Sacramento. And I am interviewing Betty Fujimoto Kashiwagi. My name is Jill Shiraki, and Tom Ikeda is assisting with the interview, and Dana Hoshide is helping with the technical and filming. Okay, that was just introduction. Can you hear me okay now?

BK: Yeah.

JS: Okay. So I'm gonna just start from the beginning and ask you where and when you were born, and I want you to talk a little bit about your family. So if you could just tell me where you were born.

BK: Well, I was born in Isleton, California, and I was born at home by a midwife. And I have, I had five brothers and (two) sisters, and now I have two brothers and two sisters. And just growing up in Isleton, my mother was very, wanted to keep up with the Japanese culture. So lot of things when we were kids, like New Year's, (the girls) couldn't go outside until noon. And we had to, like, sweep out the floor so the house would be clean for the following year, and we had to do some kind of sewing, so our clothes will be mended. And we went to regular school, and I didn't know what segregation was. And so, and it really didn't bother us because Japantown, we had our grocery stores, we had our dry goods store, we had laundry, we had, I mean, everything, we had a theater and everything we needed. So we never went to the other side. Even into Chinatown, the only time we went to Chinatown was to get snacks before we went to the Japanese movies.

JS: Okay. So, Betty, Isleton was a pretty self-contained community.

BK: Yeah.

JS: And I'm going to ask you about different aspects of the community and ask you to describe, but can I ask you to tell me about your parents and when they came to Isleton?

BK: I really don't know.

JS: Approximately?

BK: All I know is, yeah, my mom kind of ran the rooms and the store, and, 'cause my dad didn't like staying in, so he used to go out and farm for, work for other farmers, so that's what they did.

JS: So tell me the names of your parents.

BK: Tokuhei was my dad's name, and Tama was my mom's name. And then I had, the oldest brother's name was Norman Masao. And then my brother Tsugio is here in Sacramento now in assisted living place at Greenhaven Estates. And then my sister Elsie lives in Berkeley, and she has lots of bad luck. She had breast cancer and she had stroke, and so I tried to talk to her about a lot of things, and she can't remember.

JS: Okay, so is that, was Norman the oldest brother?

BK: The oldest, yeah. And Tsugio came next, and then Elsie, and then my brother Yoshio, he passed away in Oregon a few years ago. And then my brother Mitsuo, and he passed away a few years ago. And then I came, and then, according to my name, Sueme means "last girl," but I'm not. I have a younger sister named Fujiye, Rosie, and I have a younger brother named Don in Colorado.

JS: Okay, great.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright (c) 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.