Densho Digital Archive
Preserving California's Japantowns Collection
Title: Kiyo Nikaido Morimoto Interview
Narrator: Kiyo Nikaido Morimoto
Interviewers: Jill Shiraki (primary); Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Sacramento, California
Date: December 9, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-mkiyo-01

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

JS: Okay. So today is Wednesday, December 9, 2009, and we are in the home of Gene and Jane Itogawa in Sacramento. We are interviewing Grace Nikaido Morimoto, and my name is Jill Shiraki, and co-interview is Tom Ikeda, and on camera is Dana Hoshide. So if you could tell me when and where you were born, and the name that was given to you.

KM: I was born in Walnut Grove in a boarding house, because my father was in Canal Ranch. That's where he was one of the foremen of an asparagus ranch. There were many camps, many camps, though. But my, I remember mine was number eight, my father.

JS: Okay, but you were born in Walnut Grove at the boarding house.

KM: Yeah, because they had midwives, that's why.

JS: Okay. Do you remember the name of the midwife that delivered you? I mean, you don't remember, but did anyone ever tell you?

KM: They tell me it was Ishizaki.

JS: Ishizaki, okay.

KM: Or Ishizuka, no?

JS: I think it was Ishizaki, that's what I've heard.

KM: I think it's Ishizuka.

JS: Ishizuki?

KM: Ishizuka.

JS: Okay. Okay, so we're gonna go back a little bit in your family history. So if you could tell me the information that you know about your grandparents, what their names were, and approximately when they came to Walnut Grove.

KM: Well, they must have been there way before. I don't know what year, but they brought in my father. I mean, they were there, so they came and they went to Japan and brought him to America, to San Francisco, and he went to school there, schoolboy, went to grammar school there in San Francisco. And then my grandmother, her name was Kane, K-A-N-E, and she went back to Japan and brought my mother. She went to the Yamada family and chose my mother and brought her back, bride for my father, without my father... not seeing her first.

JS: And what is your mother's name?

KM: Kiyoe Yamada. It was Yamada.

JS: And where was your... where were your grandparents from in Japan?

KM: Oh, Higashi Yamada.

JS: Higashi.

KM: Wakayama, Japan.

JS: And so do you know why your parents... so your parents... I'm sorry, your grandparents were in San Francisco first. Do you remember when they came to Walnut Grove?

KM: No, I guess I should have got the, my father's passport, huh, looked that up.

JS: Okay. But when, what you know of your grandparents, your father's family, is that... what business?

KM: It was a boarding house. They had a boarding house upstairs where all the men came after work. They would go seasonal, they were seasonal workers, so they went asparagus, maybe, first, and then they went pruning peaches or pears down in Walnut Grove, and then stayed at my grandmother's place, and she cooked for them.

JS: And how many boarders would they have, approximately?

KM: They had about twenty or twenty-five upstairs.

JS: And was there any other business at the boarding house? Was there a...

KM: No, they just played cards, those, Hana.

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

<Begin Segment 2>

JS: Can you tell us about your father's family? So the names of your grandparents and then the names of all the children.

KM: My grandfather's name was Teijiro, T-E-I-J-I-R-O, Nikaido, and my grandmother was Kane, K-A-N-E, and the oldest one was Kazuo, that's my father, and then she had Kiriyo, K-I-R-I-Y-O, Kiriyo, he passed away. And then Tsudako, she was, she went to Japan after she married a doctor in Walnut Grove, she married a doctor, I think his name was Okita, O-K-I-T-A, she married him, and she brought all her children to Wakayama. They went, they moved, I don't know when. So then my grandfather, I remember, he went to Japan also first. Because what I remember about him was he went on the boat from Sacramento to San Francisco, they had a boat. And that's the last time I saw him. And then in no time, my grandmother went back to Japan also. So everybody was back except Roy Nikaido and Dale Nikaido. Dale stayed in... I don't know, they must have moved from Walnut Grove. They must have sold and moved to Sacramento, they lived on Fourth Street.

JS: So the family, your father was the oldest, Kazuo, and then Kiriyo...

KM: Kiriyo...

JS: And then Tsudako, and then Roy?

KM: Yes.

JS: And then Bill.

KM: And Bill, and then Tomiko.

JS: Tomiko. So your father was born in Japan?

KM: Yes.

JS: And came with your parents. Were any of the other --

KM: No, he was sixteen when they called him, and so he came by himself.

JS: He came by himself.

KM: He was sixteen.

JS: And were the other siblings born in Walnut Grove?

KM: They were all born in Walnut Grove.

JS: In Walnut Grove, except for your father. Okay. And so your father was working out at, on the ranch.

KM: Canal Ranch, Canal Ranch Number 8.

JS: When you were born.

KM: Yes.

JS: And your mother's name, maiden name?

KM: Yamada. Kiyoe Yamada.

JS: Kiyoe Yamada, and you said your grandmother went and brought her back to the United States.

KM: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

JS: And so when your mother and father were married, did they live out at Canal Ranch or did they live in Walnut Grove with the grandmother?

KM: No, Canal Ranch.

JS: They all, they lived in...

KM: Just Grandma and Grandpa lived in Walnut Grove.

JS: Okay. And so did you live in Walnut Grove at all?

KM: No, I just went and visited my auntie, Tomiko, she was the youngest. She died, I guess, when... I think she died August 15, 1929.

JS: Okay. So what do you remember about the boarding house when you used to come and visit?

KM: Well, I always thought it was dark, really dark. And our room that Tomiko lived in was really dark, the curtains were, shades were down, everything was dark in there. No sunlight, that's what I remember about her. And then going to the bathhouse every night across the street.

JS: And which bathhouse was that, Miyazaki?

KM: Yes, Miyazaki. I could still remember bringing a pan and soap and towel and sort of went in there with our nightgowns.

JS: So you would walk over in your nightgown, or you would change there?

KM: No, we would walk in our nightgown.

JS: Uh-huh, and take a bath and then return.

KM: Then we came back. And I remember my mother, grandmother cooking, that's all. I remember one time we had a "picture bride," you know the "picture bride"? I remember she came and we sort of celebrated and had a party, and she was washing the dishes. I remember looking at her face. She was a beautiful bride, but she was sort of disappointed, coming with a "picture bride." But then it so happened that she is the go-between within my husband and me after she stayed. She passed away, she had two girls, I think. She lived in San Francisco after, after the war. Her name was Shiotani. But she was a beautiful lady when she came from Japan.

TI: Can I ask a question? And you said she was, she looked disappointed. Why did you say that?

KM: Well, because "picture bride," husband, she probably, she was sort of disappointed, maybe she thought he was tall and handsome. But that's the only "picture bride" that I knew.

JS: So she came to marry...

KM: But she was, married this Shiotani.

JS: Shiotani, and he was one of the boarders?

KM: Yeah, he... no, he was working with my father. I didn't know whether he had a camp, but then he was just a worker. So maybe that's why she was sort of disappointed. But she took over and she did everything. I don't think she knew any English, but she was very strong.

JS: So she came and she lived at Canal Ranch with you and your family?

KM: Uh-huh.

JS: And she would help cook at the ranch for the workers?

KM: Yes. But then she must have moved, she moved to Turlock, that's all I know. Because when she was go-between, she was in Turlock.

JS: So can you describe what your living arrangement was at Canal Ranch Number 8?

KM: Okay. At first, we lived downstairs, and the Filipino people lived upstairs. And then they built a house for us separately. So we had a nice house. I can picture the house there. I always wanted to see if it was still there. [Laughs]

JS: Can you describe the house? What do you remember?

KM: The only... no, I just remember just the living room where my sister was born, you know, but I remember lots of buckets and pail of water, hot water, that's all I remember. And outside, of course, then they must have had a porch. 'Cause I remember, I don't know what I did, but I was bad so my father took, threw me out, outside, it was nighttime. I just remember the porch that they had.

JS: So you were sent and you sat outside on the porch?

KM: Uh-huh. So that's where I remember. [Laughs]

JS: So can you, you started to talk about when your sister was born. Can you tell us about your siblings? So you were the oldest daughter, and then...

KM: I got married, go-between, and went to Lompoc. Lompoc, California, that's near Gabler Beach. And my first daughter was born there.

JS: Oh, can we go back and talk about your siblings, your sisters?

KM: Oh, my sister.

JS: Uh-huh.

KM: Okay, I have, she went, she must have gone to Stockton, she was born in Stockton. That's where the midwife must have been, in Stockton. The other two was Walnut Grove. My sister Mae, she passed away. And then there's June, she passed away also. She was born in that Canal Ranch.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

JS: Okay, so let's start again with your family, your sisters. So you were...

KM: My brother was born, but then he passed away when he was nine months old. I remember that. Only part I remember is I was hiding underneath the porch when he was real bad, that he was upstairs, no, downstairs. The doctor came, and he had pneumonia. That's all I remember of him.

JS: So you knew he was sick, and so you went to hide?

KM: That's why I hid under the porch again.

JS: And were any of your sisters with you, hiding, or just you?

KM: No, just me. I don't remember my sisters.

JS: So your brother was...

KM: Nine months old.

JS: Nine months old, and how old were you at the time?

KM: He was just one, one year younger.

JS: Oh, so you were quite young. You were only maybe two years old when he was sick.

KM: Yes. But that's all I remember. I remember hiding under the porch. I knew he was dying.

JS: So did someone come and find you, or do you remember what happened after you were hiding?

KM: No.

JS: Wow. And then after that, then after... what was your brother's name?

KM: Takeshi.

JS: Takeshi. So Takeshi passed away, and then your sister was born?

KM: I don't remember my next sister. She was born in Stockton.

JS: She was born in Stockton?

KM: They must have had a midwife there, or hospital. But she wasn't born... my second sister was not born in Stockton.

JS: Huh. So was it that your father went to Stockton to work?

KM: No. I think they just...

JS: Took her to the hospital there?

KM: Must be, or midwife there.

JS: Or the midwife there.

KM: And I don't remember my third sister either. She was born in Walnut Grove also, where she was born.

JS: Okay.

KM: But my youngest sister, I remember her when she was born at the house.

JS: And what was your youngest sister's name?

KM: June.

JS: The youngest sister is June.

KM: June.

JS: And she was born at Canal Ranch, in the house?

KM: Yes, in the house.

JS: And do you remember who helped deliver her?

KM: It was Ishizuka.

JS: Ishizuka. So the midwife came to the house.

KM: Uh-huh.

JS: And what do you remember about that day?

KM: That day? Well, they were running around and getting in a lot of hot water, that's all I remember.

JS: Did you help at all?

KM: No. I must have just sat and watched, I guess.

JS: Okay.

KM: She's, what, five years younger?

JS: Uh-huh. So you were... about five years old.

KM: I was maybe five years old.

JS: Wow.

KM: But that's what I remember.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

JS: You have some wonderful memories. What other memories do you have growing up at Canal Ranch?

KM: Well, I guess I was pretty bad. [Laughs] At the time, I was pretty bad. I ran around there, I remember I ran from somebody and cut my leg, cut my foot with a glass.

JS: So did you have to go to visit the doctor at that time?

KM: No, I just, we just bandaged it up.

JS: Who were some of the people that you played with? Were there other children there?

KM: No.

JS: No?

KM: There were none. Oh, yeah, there was a Filipino girl.

JS: Filipino girl.

KM: I remember her. Her name was... I don't know, Meilian or something.

JS: I see.

KM: Yeah, her name. I played with her. She was pretty bad, so we were pretty bad, I know. I was bad.

JS: So can you describe a little bit about Canal Ranch? So you were at Canal Ranch Number 8, so there were all these different, sort of, camps...

KM: I never visited those people.

JS: It was pretty far apart.

KM: Uh-huh, pretty far apart. But I remember we had a bridge in front of our house, and the river, there was a river in front. I always meant to go back, but I never did. But you don't have to put it in, but I was pretty bad then, with that girl. The girl was, the Filipino girl was much older than me, but she was bad.

JS: So, what would you do?

KM: What was bad? Well, don't quote me, but I don't know how old I was, but then we would run across, we see a car, we would just run across in front of them. That was bad, isn't it? But she did that. She said, "Let's go run," and that's what I remember. That was pretty bad danger for them.

JS: How much older was she than you?

KM: Maybe about two or three.

JS: So she was pretty bold and you followed her.

KM: Yeah.

JS: So is that why --

KM: But that's what I remember about --

JS: That's what you remember?

KM: -- at Canal Ranch that I did.

JS: Oh. Maybe that's why you had to go sit on the porch. [Laughs] And so your father was the foreman out there, and that was the farm, they were growing asparagus?

KM: Yes, they were cutting, they had a shed. And then we moved when I was six to Madera. So since I was first grade at six, they didn't have a grade for me, 'cause I was in between, I guess. So I had to go, skip to second grade, six years old.

JS: And where did you go to school?

KM: Madera, I mean, Ripperdan in Madera, that was the grammar school, Ripperdan.

JS: So that was the first school you went to, or did you go to --

KM: No, Ripperdan.

JS: Ripperdan? Okay.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

JS: So let's talk a little bit more about going to visit your grandparents in Walnut Grove.

KM: Yes.

JS: So when would you go and stay with your grandparents?

KM: During the summer.

JS: During the summer.

KM: Yes.

JS: And you would stay with --

KM: I would stay with them.

JS: Okay, during the summer months. And would any of your siblings come as well, or just you?

KM: I think it was just me.

JS: Just you, okay. And what do you remember about spending time in Walnut Grove? What kinds of activities did you do?

KM: Well, there was a girl there, Sumi, and she would, I would go on her tricycle and run around Walnut Grove with her. That was Kawamura. And so I would go with them to the Chinatown and buy sour, you know, sweet plum, Chinese plum, or I would go to Ioka's grocery store, that's where I remember. Oh, then I, then every year I would look forward to marching from Walnut Grove to Locke with a lantern. I remember walking with a, on the river road with a lantern.

JS: And what was that for, what celebration?

KM: Hanamatsuri.

JS: Hanamatsuri? And so would you dress up?

KM: Yeah, we would wear kimono.

JS: Wore kimonos and carried lanterns. And who would march, the children?

KM: Yeah, most all the children in the family. I remember grownups marching, too.

JS: Was that for Hanamatsuri or was that for Obon?

KM: That, I can't exactly...

JS: Can't exactly remember? Okay.

KM: I remember that, marching down the river road.

JS: So you would march from, where would you start?

KM: From Walnut Grove.

JS: Uh-huh, and then all the way to...

KM: To Locke.

JS: To Locke.

KM: Uh-huh. And another thing, I would, my auntie was a Christian, so then my friends, we stayed upstairs in the church upstairs.

JS: At the Methodist church?

KM: Uh-huh.

JS: Do you remember any activities that were happening there at the Methodist church?

KM: No. I kind of remember the father was a minister, and we would go to the church on Sunday. But most of the time they just played around. And, like, one of my friends were Bessie Matsuoka, the Matsuoka brothers had a shoe... and Bessie, she, I was her friend. I would play with her when I went to Walnut Grove. She passed away. I never met her after she grew up, just when she's small.

JS: So she was one of your auntie's good friends, Bessie...

KM: Matsuoka.

JS: Matsuoka. And what was the name of the friend, the minister's daughter, do you remember her name at the Methodist church?

KM: Mary Saita.

JS: Saita.

KM: Had a funny name, huh? Saita. But she was my friend, but I never saw her after she grew up, either. Only one I saw was Margie Kawamura, they had a barber shop.

JS: And the barber shop was right next door to the boarding house.

KM: Yes.

JS: Okay. So you mentioned Iokas, and you would ride your bikes over there. What would buy, or what would you do at...

KM: Oh, yeah, my favorite food was ika, you know, calamari. But they're pickled --

JS: Dried?

KM: No, they pickled it in salt. We think it must have been in miso or something, but it was in a jar. But they had the best-tasting one. I remember eating that, and then we used to visit the fish store on the corner.

JS: The Maeda fish market?

KM: Uh-huh. And when she got married, I remember going to look at her, too.

JS: Oh, the bride? And what did you think about that?

KM: Yeah, I don't know. I was young then, six years old. I remember her.

JS: So it was exciting when there was a new bride that came into town.

KM: Yes, uh-huh.

JS: So everyone went to check out the new bride?

KM: Uh-huh.

JS: Mrs. Maeda still lives in town.

KM: Yes, she does.

JS: So what about other activities? I know that your uncle Roy was active with the...

KM: Yes. He liked to be actor, and they would like to do the samurai. I remember going to one of 'em, but it's just sort of a blur. But they were on the stage doing sword, with a sword. A samurai. They all talked, they all spoke Japanese. They were very good. I guess they all had to speak Japanese, my grandmother and grandfather that didn't speak any English.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

JS: So when you went to town, everyone was speaking Japanese.

KM: Uh-huh. We all spoke in Japanese.

JS: But when you were out at the ranch, you spoke English or Japanese?

KM: Japanese.

JS: Japanese at home?

KM: Uh-huh. Because my mother didn't speak English at all. My father did.

JS: So your father did, but when did you learn English?

KM: Went to Thorton grammar school.

JS: When you went to Thorton grammar school?

KM: Just one year there.

JS: Uh-huh. One year before you moved to Madera, went to Madera school?

KM: Uh-huh. And one thing I remember when I went to grammar school there is I traded sandwich with a Caucasian girl. [Laughs] She wanted my sandwich real bad. I don't know what it was, but hers, hers was, I remember, was sort of fried. I was thinking, after I talked to you, it must have been... what is that sandwich that...

JS: Oh, like a cheese...

KM: No.

JS: Grilled cheese? No?

KM: No, what do you call, you fry with egg and milk?

JS: Oh, like a French toast?

KM: Yeah, that's what it... she brought French toast, and so that's what I ate. I remember that.

JS: And what was the trade? What did she get from you?

KM: I think sometime it was potted meat. Ham, potted ham.

JS: I see.

KM: She wanted mine.

JS: Yours looked more hearty, huh? So at Thorton, it was a mixed school. So there were white, Japanese...

KM: Filipino.

JS: Filipino, and anyone else, do you remember?

KM: No, I don't remember.

JS: And they were mostly the people from Canal Ranch?

KM: Yes.

JS: That went to this school.

KM: And Thorton must have been a town, too, with all those.

JS: Okay, so, and then, the people from Thorton.

KM: Must be, but I don't know anybody in Thorton.

JS: Uh-huh. So how many Japanese were in your class for example, and how big was your class?

KM: I just remember one, Eddie Inaba, that's all.

JS: Eddie Inaba.

KM: I just remember him.

JS: Uh-huh, so you were the only two Japanese?

KM: No, there must have been some others...

JS: But you don't remember.

KM: I don't remember them.

JS: Do you remember your teacher at all?

KM: My teacher... no.

JS: No? You were young. You were only...

KM: Yeah, six years old.

JS: ...six years old.

KM: Six years old. Went to Madera. Madera was different, you know. It's still Libby, McNeill & Libby. We had a big farm, had turkeys and pigs, cows. It was a big, big place.

JS: And so it was still Libby, your farm?

KM: Libby, McNeill, uh-huh.

JS: McNeill, that was who your father was working for.

KM: Yeah, he was the superintendent, they had a big farm. And they had bookkeeper, and then they had separate, maybe half a block like, where the men came, men went to work on that seven hundred acre. And so my father had to hire a cook, and they all worked there. And every, we used to, they used to kill the cows, I mean, kill the pigs, I remember them killing the pig, hog.

JS: So your father was supervising that work as well as the farm laborers?

KM: The whole thing, yeah. Seven hundred acre. He was the superintendent for the Libby, because he knew English, so they transferred him, how to speak.

JS: And who were the workers that your father hired?

KM: They were all Japanese.

JS: All Japanese.

KM: Japanese men came from all over.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

JS: And so when you were living in Madera, did you still come back to Walnut Grove at that time?

KM: Yes, every summer.

JS: Every summer.

KM: One of my grandparents were there. But after my auntie died, I don't think I went that often.

JS: So can you explain to us what happened with your auntie when she got sick?

KM: Oh, yeah, she passed away. Because after, I think about it, the room was so dark and she would sleep all day. And then just comes out at night. And it's dark, you know. So that's what I kind of think, that she died of tuberculosis.

JS: So you visited her when she was ill, and so she was just resting?

KM: Yeah, I remember when she died, yeah. I could still, I was ten, I think, but I could still picture her lying on, by that mortuary, and the curtain, the breeze was, I picture that breeze gently...

JS: Gently blowing?

KM: Blowing while she's there. And my two uncles were crying. That's all I remember about her. I don't remember her funeral in Walnut Grove. I was right there, but I don't remember that. I just remember her body lying there.

JS: So before the funeral, you remembered that. And she was how many years older than you? Just three years older?

KM: Three. She was thirteen when she passed away. I was ten when she passed away.

JS: So you remember your uncles crying, do you remember your grandmother or grandfather's response?

KM: No, I don't remember them. Just my Uncle Bill, crying.

JS: That was very sad. And shortly after, your grandparents returned to Japan?

KM: Yes. My grandfather went first.

JS: And so earlier you were saying you remember seeing him off to the, on the ship from Sacramento.

KM: Yeah, it's a small boat that took them to San Francisco, saying goodbye to him.

JS: So the whole family went to Sacramento to see him off?

KM: See him off, uh-huh. At that time, when she passed away, they were living on Fourth Street in Sacramento.

JS: Oh, they had moved already out of Walnut Grove.

KM: Walnut Grove.

JS: But the funeral service was in Walnut Grove.

KM: Uh-huh.

JS: Oh, okay. And then they moved to Sacramento.

KM: Yes.

JS: Okay. And why did they move to Sacramento?

KM: That, I...

JS: You're not sure.

KM: I don't know. I never asked my uncle.

JS: Okay.

KM: I think because then they had high school there, and college there.

JS: Oh, for your uncles to go to college, or to high school?

KM: Because Walnut Grove didn't have any high school, I don't think. So they moved, I think they sold the place and moved to Sacramento. But that part I don't know, I never asked my uncle. They passed away pretty early. I used to see my uncle every day, but we never questioned about Walnut Grove. But I know he was a singer. Both of my uncles sang; they had good voice.

JS: So they were both part of the theater group, or...

KM: Yeah, theater group.

JS: Both of them?

KM: Yeah. I'm sure my uncle Roy, he probably organized it.

JS: He probably organized it?

KM: Yes.

JS: And what was the difference in age between Uncle Roy and Uncle Bill?

KM: Let's see...

JS: Were they pretty close?

KM: Maybe about five or six.

JS: Okay. And then Tomiko was another...

KM: Uh-huh. After the two girls that went, one went to Canada, Wakita, I remember she married Wakita in Canada. She came to visit us after, but we never knew her because she was adopted. My grandmother gave her to this Wakita 'cause they didn't have any children. That's one I don't even remember.

JS: Oh, so this was one of your father's sisters that was born?

KM: Uh-huh, yes.

JS: And she was given up for adoption.

KM: Yes.

JS: Okay.

KM: And she married Wakita, and I believed, I did meet the family once, they came to visit us, her family. But she was adopted. So my grandmother had one, two, three, three boys and three girls then.

JS: Three girls, one was adopted...

KM: One married a doctor and went to Japan.

JS: Uh-huh, and then Tomiko that passed away when she was young. Okay. Do you remember when your Auntie Sadako was married and when she left? When she married Dr. Wakita?

KM: I don't remember.

JS: You don't remember. Okay. [Addressing TI] Do you want to take a break?

TI: Just something about your grandmother. So she had your, your father, and then there was a --

KM: Japan.

TI: Yeah, there was a long break. And he was sixteen when he came, then the other children. So between your father and Tomiko, that was quite a...

KM: Quiet, huh?

TI: A long time. And that's why you were so close in age to your aunt, because your father was so much older. It was his sister who died, but he was so much older the he would have a child, you, that was close in age to his sister.

KM: To her, yeah. Two years younger, that's all.

TI: So it was almost more like a cousin almost, than, an aunt, in terms of the relationship that you had with Tomiko.

KM: Yes.

TI: And probably even her older brothers in some ways, they're almost like...

KM: I don't remember being friends with the uncles, though, just Tomiko.

TI: And so when she died, that was really hard on you, because it was, like, not so much an aunt, but a very close friend.

KM: Yes, like a sister, big sister to me.

TI: And I'm thinking about your grandparents and how they left really right after she died. Did you notice a change in them? Were they... could you notice a sadness or anything about them after?

KM: Yeah, they were ill, so they moved. I think he had liver trouble. And so my grandmother went, and they both passed away. But I never went to the funeral or anything.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: The other question, earlier Jill was asking you about, so at Canal Ranch, the school there was mixed, so you had whites, Japanese, Filipinos. When you would come to Walnut Grove, your aunt and your uncles went to a school that was segregated.

KM: Segregated from the Chinese.

TI: Yeah. So when you saw that, or heard about that? What did you think about that? Did you ever talk about that, or the differences?

KM: No. We just thought that the Chinese hated the Japanese. We just thought that. But then we did go buy... I remember buying the plum, that's all.

JS: And that was your only memory of Chinatown, going to the store to buy the plums?

KM: Plum, uh-huh, it was in a jar. It was the best-tasting plum. But, you know, you don't remember too much when you're six years old. Here and there, you know.

JS: Uh-huh. Can you describe your aunt? What was she like, her personality?

KM: Oh, yeah. She was very pretty. Very pretty. So her uncles, both of 'em, they adored her.

JS: So she was well, well-treated.

KM: Uh-huh.

JS: A little princess. [Laughs]

KM: Yes, she was.

TI: And when your grandfather went to Japan, their sons, Tomiko's brothers, where were they living? Where did they stay after that?

KM: After that, they stayed in Sacramento. They had a house on Fourth Street. It's gone now.

TI: And who did they live with? Because they were, like, teenage boys. They weren't that old. They were maybe...

KM: College age.

TI: College age. So were they living with anyone, or did they live on their own?

KM: No. I remember they all lived in that house. I didn't know any... I don't remember my grandmother. I wonder if she lived there, too. I think they all lived together 'cause my grandfather, my grandmother, was still there.

JS: So when your grandparents left for Japan, your father had a lot of responsibility. He's the oldest in the family?

KM: Oh, yes, uh-huh. So he put the second brother, Bill, to Waseda college in Japan. He graduated Waseda, he stayed there two years. My father paid the tuition, that I remember.

JS: So Bill went to Waseda. Do you remember Uncle Roy?

KM: Yeah, I remember him. 'Cause he had a florist shop.

JS: Flower shop?

KM: Uh-huh.

JS: In Sacramento.

TI: Yes.

JS: Oh.

KM: In the old town. And he wanted to retire, so that's how I, he wanted me to take over. So that's why I took over, and I was a florist for a while.

JS: Oh, how long did you work at the flower shop?

KM: Well, there was redevelopment, so I had the florist shop there and then we, I moved to...

JS: Ninth Street.

KM: No, Eleventh Street. Everybody who had a -- all the Japanese were on Fourth Street, they had drugstores and fish store all on Fourth Street. And so his flower was on Fourth Street, too. That's where I took over.

JS: When did Uncle Roy open that flower store, approximately?

KM: Right after the war.

JS: Right after the war. So from the late '40s 'til redevelopment --

KM: That's right, uh-huh. And redevelopment came, took everything around there.

JS: And then he restarted at another location. You were working with --

KM: No, he was still on... Twelve, Sixteen, still on Fourth Street.

JS: On Fourth Street.

KM: Yeah. And my father, he was interned. He didn't do anything, but they thought he was Black Dragon at that time. Because he was president of Japanese Association and everything, so I know somebody in Madera snitched on him. So he, when the war started, they came right away to get him and put him in jail. So then after that he was interned for a long time.

JS: Do you know where he was at, what camp?

KM: No. He went to Sharp Park, they had an internment over there just for those people. And then they went to New Mexico.

TI: When he was at Sharp Park, did you or anyone visit him?

KM: No, we couldn't.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: So can we back up a little bit? So December 7, 1941, do you remember that day?

KM: When the war...

TI: When the war started?

KM: Yeah, when the war started? Yeah, the FBI came and took my father.

TI: And so how quickly, how quickly did the FBI come?

KM: Oh, I wonder if it was next day. But there was a Japanese man outside watching, so we figured he must have snitched. Otherwise, how would the FBI know?

TI: And were you home when, so you saw that Japanese man?

KM: I saw, yeah. And then we...

TI: So could you describe the FBI coming into your house, as much as you can remember? Just what happened when the FBI came?

KM: We had a, he started a grocery store there. We had a grocery store. But they just came, just took him. They just took him, said he was a Black Dragon and took him to jail. We saw him in jail.

TI: When they were at your place, do you recall them looking around the store or your living quarters for anything?

KM: No, they just took him and that's it.

TI: Did they give him time to get some clothes or anything?

KM: Uh-uh.

TI: When that happened, did you have a sense of how long he might be gone or anything like that?

KM: No, we never did.

JS: So how long was he separated from your family?

KM: All during the war.

JS: The whole... wow.

KM: And then I, then when I went to Arkansas... Arkansas, yeah. That's when I wrote a lot of letters to General DeWitt. I still have the bunch of letter. [Laughs] I wrote for my father and for another man, all about how he was innocent, that he was to turn him loose. I have a whole stack of letters that I sent to President Hoover and all that, Roosevelt. I wrote to a lot of people. [Laughs] Crazy.

JS: Did you ever get any response?

KM: No, uh-huh, but I just wrote and wrote, tell him that Father was innocent. But they finally released all of 'em. But my father said, he told me that they were in New Mexico, and this Japanese man, he, they were all going in a truck, and somehow, this man, I don't know what he did, but then they just shot him in the back in New Mexico. That's one thing he remembered.

TI: Do you remember which, which camp that was?

KM: Internment camp? That was different, huh? They called it New Mexico.

JS: The Department of Justice camp? Was that...

KM: Yeah. After Sharp Park, they removed all of them to New Mexico.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: Okay, so let's, just for my benefit, let's start from the very beginning in terms of, so when they picked up your father, he went first to the jail.

KM: Madera, Madera County Jail. And then we didn't know where he went after that.

TI: Okay. But when he was at the jail, you were able to visit him?

KM: Visit him, yeah.

TI: So talk about that. What was it like visiting your father at the Madera jail?

KM: Well, it was an experience. We didn't say much. My mother, we all cried, you know, because he was innocent. But nobody believed it, so they said, no, he had to be in jail until we just visited him and went home. And then we found out, find out later that they went to Sharp Park.

TI: Now, when you went to the jail, so you're the oldest, what role did you play when you went to the jail place? Did you have to communicate or talk to people? Do you remember that?

KM: No. We didn't talk to anybody. I don't remember talking, just looked at my father in jail.

TI: And how many other men were there?

KM: Oh, there was only one more from Madera.

JS: Do you remember the name?

KM: Yeah, Mr. Mochizuki.

JS: And why was Mr. Mochizuki picked up? What was his role?

KM: Well, he had, he had a grocery store, and he helped the community, like my father. He did, my father, there was Takarazuka, they used to come from Japan, he would put them up in hotels and he would do all that. And he was president of the Japanese Association. And when Japan people came, he would escort them all over, see. That's why they picked him up, because he was in between Japan and America.

JS: But your father didn't have a role like that. His role in the community was...

KM: Yeah, just to help the people. I remember, yeah, people came from Japan, my father would just take them to Yosemite and all that. He did that.

TI: And going back to the day the FBI picked up your father, you mentioned a Japanese man outside, you noticed. Do you recall how old this person was or who he was?

KM: Yeah, he was outside watching. So we said, "Why would he come?" And knew the same, the morning, the time the FBI came to pick my father up, he was right there.

TI: And did you know who this person was?

KM: Uh-huh.

TI: Do you want to, could you tell me who he was?

KM: No, I can't say that.

TI: Could you just tell me maybe how old he was? Was he a Nisei or Issei?

KM: No, he's a Nisei.

TI: And would he have been part of an organization or anything, did you know anything?

KM: No, he must be, he must have been the one that told the FBI, we think. That's what we think.

TI: Okay. And then from the Madera jail, you said he left, you didn't know where he was going.

KM: Yeah, we didn't know until they let us, somebody told us they were in New Mexico.

TI: How did you know about Sharp...

KM: Sharp Park?

TI: Yeah, Sharp Park.

KM: They must have let my mother know where he was. At least they were nice about that. But I think they suffered a lot when they were there. I don't know why they shot him in the back, but they did. And he was innocent, you know.

TI: And this is in New Mexico where this person was shot.

KM: Uh-huh, New Mexico.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

JS: So then after your father was picked up, you had the grocery business to take care of. So do you remember what happened? Were you working at the store at the time?

KM: Yeah, uh-huh. We had to leave it and sell it to this, Chinese people, and we put all our things, property, in a shed. Well, he went through that, the Chinese man. And also we were in the escheat case, they call it escheat case where you cannot have property. My father bought that property in my uncle Bill's name. So the lawyer wanted that place, my father bought a nice property. So he told... I don't know who he told, but they told him that he, it was his property and not my uncle. So we were in the case. We had to go back and forth. That was awful, but I think we finally settled that, what they called that escheat case.

TI: So essentially they were trying to take that land away from your father saying that he was trying to avoid the alien land laws by using your uncle's name.

KM: Uncle, yeah, that's right. He did it.

JS: So what do you remember of... so the Chinese family, or the Chinese proprietor, they purchased, they bought the business?

KM: No, they took, they just took care of it.

JS: They took care of it for you.

KM: Uh-huh. So when we went back, but the lease was still there, so that's why my father came back to Sacramento because my uncle was there. My uncle said, "Why don't you come?" But my father suffered a lot because the hospitals won't take him. They would not take people that came from camp, Japanese people. So he had to stay on top of the flower shop where my uncle was, and a doctor came and finally there was one from Walnut Grove, doctor, I think, saw him, and he just had ulcers.

JS: Dr. Akamatsu?

KM: Uh-huh. He took care of... but Dr. Akamatsu tried hard to put him in a regular hospital, but the only hospital that would take him was the county, and they put him in a hallway, yeah. He suffered.

TI: So explain this. I haven't heard this before. So when he came back, when he was sick, the local hospitals would not take him in because he was Japanese and was in the camps?

KM: Yes, they won't take him.

TI: And how did you know that was because he was Japanese and from the camp? Did anyone say that?

KM: Dr. Akamatsu said that.

TI: Okay, so Dr. Akamatsu, so you had to go back to Walnut Grove to find a doctor, and the doctor was saying these hospitals won't take him because...

KM: Yeah. So the doctor in Walnut Grove, I don't know his name, I forgot. It started with an "M." Anyway, he put my father in the county hospital. The others won't take him. So we all suffered.

TI: Now, was this, when you said the ones from back in the camps, were these the ones, the Japanese nationals that were in Department of Justice camps, or was it, like, all Japanese Americans, if they were in any camp, did they stop? Do you know if there was...

KM: In camp?

TI: Yeah,. I'm trying to understand. Because your father was in a Department of Justice camp, and then...

KM: Yeah, then he was released, he came to Amache. We moved to Amache. They had the "no-nos," people that went to Tule Lake, separated, went to, "no-nos" went to Tule Lake, but we went to Amache. That's where he returned from the camp, released him.

JS: So you were first in Arkansas.

KM: Yes.

JS: So you were interned...

KM: From Fresno we were, that was the assembly center, we called it, and then after the assembly center we went to Arkansas. And then from Arkansas we went to Amache. That's where most of the Walnut Grove were there. You people didn't go any camp, huh?

TI: No, we... well, I didn't because I was too young, but my parents went to Minidoka.

KM: Oh, Minidoka.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: So can we talk about each one of those? I'm curious about first Fresno and what that was like.

KM: Assembly center? No, I don't remember too much about that, but we, it was alright, but it was dirt floor because it was temporary. And then they moved us to Arkansas. We had floors then.

TI: And when you say Arkansas, was it Jerome or Rohwer?

KM: Jerome.

JS: Did anyone visit you when you were at the Fresno assembly center?

KM: No.

JS: Not that you remember?

KM: No.

JS: Who was the Chinese family that took over the grocery?

KM: Well, his name was Wong, but I don't remember.

JS: Okay. So you're not sure what the relation was before. Did you know the family before they took over?

KM: No, he... no. Maybe he might have been a butcher or something. So he said he'll take care of the grocery store and the house, we had a house in the back. But they had a lease, you know, maybe half a year or a year or so, my father just thought he'd just sell the place. Went to Sacramento, came to Sacramento where my uncle Roy was here.

JS: So when did he sell the place? After the camp, then?

KM: After, uh-huh.

JS: So you never returned to Madera.

KM: No, we never did.

JS: You went directly to Sacramento. And when did your father get sick? Or you said he was...

KM: Right after.

JS: Coming back?

KM: To Sacramento. He had ulcers because he worried all that time.

JS: When he joined you in Amache, so he was at the, in Santa Fe -- or not Santa Fe, but New Mexico...

KM: Santa Fe, New Mexico, that's right.

JS: That's right. So for a couple of years then. Two years?

KM: Yes.

JS: About two years before joining you.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

JS: So sold the business, and then you went to the Fresno assembly center, and then do you remember going from the Fresno assembly center to Jerome? Do you remember that trip?

KM: Trip was on a train. Vaguely.

JS: Vaguely.

KM: I had my second child there, in Amache.

JS: Oh, in Amache. So you had your first child in...

KM: In Madera.

JS: Oh, Madera.

KM: She was three years old when we left.

JS: Oh, okay. So let's go back. So you married, who did you marry?

KM: George Morimoto.

JS: And was George from Madera?

KM: No, he was from Turlock.

JS: From Turlock.

KM: Go-between. We found a baishakunin.

JS: Baishakunin. So what year were you and George married?

KM: 1939.

JS: 1939. And then when did you, when was your first child born?

KM: 1940.

JS: And was that a girl or a boy?

KM: Girl.

JS: And her name?

KM: Phyllis.

JS: So Phyllis was a couple years old when you then went to...

KM: Three years old when we went to the camp.

JS: When you went to camp. So then, so you had a young toddler with you when you went to camp. And then your second child...

KM: Was born in Amache. Well, we relocated to Chicago. My husband found a... he went out to work, many men went out of camp, and he went to Chicago and he worked for a brake, car factory, brake factory. So he called us and we went to Chicago.

JS: So you and your two children.

KM: One children.

JS: One child.

KM: Because we went from Jerome. Chicago was awful. Lot of bedbugs.

JS: [Laughs] That's the second time I've heard about bedbugs in Chicago.

KM: Terrible bedbugs. Nighttime, under the mattress, they're all there. That's what I remember about Chicago, bedbugs.

JS: How long were you in Chicago?

KM: Well, duration of the war, because we went back to help my mother and father back. But I remember from, I don't remember going to Sacramento...

JS: From Chicago?

KM: I remember going from Amache. So I must have gone to Amache.

JS: To join your parents.

KM: Uh-huh, to help them.

JS: And then you left from there to Sacramento.

KM: Yes.

JS: I see. So were you ever in camp in Amache, or just your parents were in Amache?

KM: No, I was in there.

JS: Oh. So first you're in Jerome, then you went to Chicago, and then you rejoined them in Amache for a short time?

KM: I was there for a long time. So I think my husband, I don't know when I went to Chicago, because I was teaching shorthand and typing in Arkansas, and they wanted a shorthand teacher in Amache, that's why we went. So that's why I met Louie and they were there. I was in the same block as Louie and the Walnut Grove people.

JS: The Matsuokas.

KM: The next barracks. The parents, I knew the parents more than the boys. And then next door was Grace, she used to be Noyoshi, she lived in Walnut Grove, and she married Akahoshi. But I never, I just met her once after the war, but she was right next door, same door. And Louie Watanabe's father and mother were on the same block, they were the cooks for our block.

JS: And so you taught shorthand, so you were teaching when you were in camp. And what was your mother doing while she was in camp?

KM: Nothing. She didn't do... she didn't work at all.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: Okay, so Grace, we're going to start again. And so I want to start because I know you do a lot with ikebana. So my question is, when did you first start ikebana?

KM: Well, I was interested outside of camp, but I just took briefly. A lady from, she came and taught us tea and little bit of ikebana. But that's just briefly, because we went to camp right away after that.

TI: So it was really in camp when you did... you really started more. So which camp was it that you...

KM: Jerome.

TI: So describe the class. I mean, how would they do ikebana in Jerome?

KM: Well, they were mostly old ladies. I was the only young one that was interested in it. So then my teacher would get the material. In Arkansas, we had a lot of material. Had a forest next door, our camp. And so she would get the material and she would teach us and then she gave us plastic flower, paper flower that she made.

TI: And when she went into the forests by Jerome, what materials would she collect? What are some examples of things she would bring back?

KM: Oh, she would bring back mostly, like, oak, and she taught us different ways.

TI: So this teacher just took materials that she found in nature, brought it back for her students and then you would work with those students.

KM: There were only four or five, that's all.

TI: When you were in class, you said there were mostly older women, so mostly Issei?

KM: Yes.

TI: I'm curious, in that class, describe what that was like in terms of the talk. What would people talk about in ikebana? What was it like?

KM: Well, let's see. She would give us, I believe I found some paper, but I don't know what I did with it. But she would draw a picture to show us. But her school was same as the one I... but she introduced me to the ikebana and I really liked it.

TI: One of the things I'm curious about is most Niseis, when they talked about the Issei, like their mothers or the Issei women, they always talk about how hard they worked all the time. But in camp, a place like Jerome, ikebana, it's one of those kind of rare times when the Issei women had some time to do something like ikebana. And so I'm just curious what the mood was in the class. Was there very much laughter, was there much gossip, there's talk, or what was that class like?

KM: Well, they would just talk regular, but it wasn't my age. I was in the '30s, and they were all older. They just talked among themselves. I just went and learned and then went on.

JS: So you said you were interested in ikebana earlier when you took tea. Where was that?

KM: In Madera. This lady came to the Japanese school and taught us tea and ikebana.

TI: So you're younger than the other women. The other thing that's a little different is you have a young child, this little toddler. How was it raising a toddler at Jerome? What was that like?

KM: Well, she followed me all over, because she was three. I took her on... there were a lot of babysitter that took care of her, too.

TI: So for example, when you took your ikebana classes at Jerome, was she there with you, or did someone else take care of...

KM: No, somebody else... my mother. And during that time, I was also typing and shorthand in Jerome.

TI: So you were pretty busy. You were teaching, you were a mother of a toddler, you're taking ikebana, so this was a pretty busy time for you.

KM: Very busy, yeah.

TI: And during this time, was your husband at Jerome, or was he...

KM: Yeah, he was in Jerome. He, since he had the grocery store and was a butcher, he was in charge of the meat department.

TI: Oh, good.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: So during this time in Jerome, your father is at Santa Fe, New Mexico?

KM: Yes.

TI: What kind of correspondence did the family have with your father? Do you have any letters back and forth?

KM: No, I don't think so. No letters.

TI: So how would you know what was happening with your father? What news did you have of your father, where he was and how he was?

KM: No, we didn't have any news, we just knew he was there. And I don't know where I got the typewriter, but I got a hold of one and typed the letters.

TI: So what gave you the idea to start typing letters to General DeWitt and other people?

KM: Well, for myself, I just figured that if I wrote to him, that he would release my father. And right across the way, there was another man. He was in Fowler, and he was interned, too, so I wrote for her, too. So kept on, kept busy writing letters.

TI: Okay. Then eventually, from Jerome, you talked about going, leaving Jerome, and I think earlier you said Chicago, but I think we, during the break we --

KM: No, I made a mistake. I went to Amache.

TI: Right. And so from Jerome to Amache, why did you leave Jerome?

KM: Well, my... it was difficult because they didn't want us, they wanted us to go to Gila, and we didn't want to go to Gila. And so they said, "Well, if you taught shorthand in our high school, then we'll put..." they didn't have any shorthand teacher. So, "If you taught there, then we'll transfer you to Amache. So that's how we went to Amache, was because I said, "I'll teach shorthand."

TI: But why were they asking you to leave Jerome? What was happening at Jerome that made you need to leave?

KM: Oh, that's because they had to segregate the "no-nos" from the one that, they wanted people to separate.

TI: Yeah, so this is the part I'm not clear about. So the people that the government wanted to segregate, they sent to Tule Lake.

KM: Yes, the "no-nos."

TI: And then the extra people at Tule Lake, then they would send to the other camps to make more room. But why would they need to move you from Jerome to someplace else?

KM: Oh, I think they closed it.

TI: Okay, so this is when they were closing Jerome, that's why they moved you.

KM: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: Okay, so they closed down Jerome, and your choice was you'd rather go Amache than Gila River.

KM: Yes. My father said he'd rather go Amache. So then I said, "Well, all right," then the government said, "You have to teach shorthand."

TI: Okay, so you were lucky because you had the shorthand teaching experience that allowed you to select where you wanted to go.

KM: Yeah.

TI: And as you were doing this, I'm trying to figure out, when did your husband go to Chicago? Was he still with you or had he gone to Chicago?

KM: No, he had gone from Jerome.

TI: Okay, so your husband goes to Chicago, you're with your mother, and now you go to Amache.

KM: Amache.

TI: Where you're going to meet your father, your father was coming in.

KM: Yes.

TI: Okay, good. So you're at Amache to be a shorthand teacher. Did you continue with ikebana at Amache? Did you have any ikebana?

KM: No, because no one was teaching.

TI: Okay. but the other big event was you had your second child at Amache. So describe to me the healthcare facilities. What were the facilities like when you gave birth?

KM: It was, they had a nice hospital. We had a nice hospital. And the doctors were very nice. Very nice and clean.

TI: Now, were the doctors white or were they Japanese?

KM: I don't remember the doctor.

TI: And how about the nurses? Do you remember the nurses? Were they Japanese or were they white?

KM: No, they were white. Because there were lots of volunteers that came. Because even in Jerome, I didn't know how to teach shorthand or typing, but this lady, I was friends with her for a long time. After camp, I went to go visit her in Jacksonville. But she volunteered to teach. And since she was teaching also, commuting, and she taught me how to teach the students.

JS: So she was from the town? She volunteered to come in to the camp to teach.

KM: Yes, she came, commuted. She was from Jacksonville, so when I went to Mississippi... it was Mississippi, though, she was living there. And I met her after so many years.

JS: So you kept in touch? You corresponded with her?

KM: Yes, uh-huh.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: Okay. So going back to Amache, you have a newborn. Tell me what it was like having a newborn at Amache in terms of, how would you do diapers and wash those diapers and feed the baby? What was all that like?

KM: Oh, yeah. Diapers, yeah, they gave us diapers, so we had a laundry room, so went to wash, wash the diapers, I remember. I hung 'em up, we had to hang 'em up. But they gave us milk and things for the baby.

TI: Now, do you recall, were there very many other young mothers or mothers with newborn children?

KM: I had one same time as Kawamura, Walnut Grove. But she passed away, but then she was a Kawamura. And we had the baby same time in Amache.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: And how long was it, or how soon did you reconnect with your father in Amache? Did that happen right away? Was he there when you got there, or was there some time that you had to wait?

KM: No, we waited for him and he came.

TI: So when he came to Amache, you had not seen him for now a couple of years.

KM: No, he came to Jerome.

TI: Oh, Jerome, and then came with you. But when you, when you re-met your father, how had he changed over that time?

KM: Well, he was, of course, gray, and he didn't look too good. And he didn't want to talk about the torture that he went through. He said he can't say anything, they were pretty bad.

TI: And what was his, sort of... although he didn't talk about it, how would you say he was changed? Was there a different way that he was after he came back?

KM: Yeah. He didn't talk, talk too much. It was just briefly. It was a short time in Jerome, and then when we went to Amache, he went in to a different, different block. He went to 12-E and we were in 7-A with the Walnut Grove people, I was. He was different block, we were in different block.

TI: Was he with your mother?

KM: Yes, just with my mother and the sisters that aren't married. Two of 'em were, one of 'em went to Tule Lake, and the two stayed with my mother and father.

TI: And so who was living in your apartment? It was you, your...

KM: My daughters.

TI: Your two daughters?

KM: My two daughters.

TI: And just the three of you then?

KM: Yes. And my father and mother, they were in 12 and I was in 7. 7-H.

TI: Yeah, that seems...

KM: 12-E, they were in 12-E.

TI: Did that make it harder for you to be farther away from your mother, your parents?

KM: Yes, it was. Because we couldn't do anything, they just put us in the camp there.

TI: And so why do you think they had you guys so far apart? Why not put you closer together so they could help you as a new mother?

KM: I don't know, they just assigned us a block. But later on, we got, we were together later on. We asked for it.

TI: Okay, so when they were able to get you closer together, they moved you closer.

KM: Yes, we were together.

TI: Okay. But again, going back to your father, even at Amache, did he seem like a changed man than how you knew him before the war? Were there any changes, or did he become pretty much the same after a while?

KM: Yeah, same.

TI: And did you start noticing problems with his stomach or anything at that point with the ulcers? Did you notice any illness?

KM: Well, he never complained, so we didn't know until we came out of camp that he had ulcers.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TI: So after you spent this time in Amache, what happens next? Where do you go after Amache?

KM: After Amache, we came back to Sacramento.

TI: And where did you stay and why don't you explain...

KM: Oh, we stayed at my uncle's place, Uncle Roy. Somehow he had a place on Fourth Street, so we stayed upstairs until we found a house.

TI: And when you say "we," so that's you, your daughters, did your husband join you also in Sacramento?

KM: Yes, uh-huh. Because my father bought this secondhand store. He converted it to a grocery store, so we had the Fourth Street Market. So we all worked there; my sisters, my husband, and my father, they all worked there.

TI: So did your father, was he able to have money in the bank, or how did he finance buying this store and starting a grocery store? Where did all that money come from?

KM: I think he... because he sold the property in Madera through my uncle.

TI: And he sold this property before he left for... oh, actually, no.

KM: After camp.

TI: After camp, because he had the Chinese...

KM: Yeah, he had a lease, so after the lease, and sold it.

TI: He was able to sell that and take the money from that and go to Sacramento.

KM: Uh-huh.

TI: Did your father ever explain why he'd rather live in Sacramento than Madera? I mean, he had the store...

KM: No, we had to. There was no choice, because we couldn't go back to Madera. The house was, you know, the Chinese fellow had the lease, so we couldn't go back. So my father said, well, he'd rather go to Sacramento and be with his brothers.

TI: But he still had the property of Madera, but he just sold that. It was really...

KM: Yes, but he sold that during that time.

TI: But the house, because the house wasn't there.

KM: Yes, so we couldn't go back there.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: So tell me what Sacramento was like right after the war when you came. What was happening around the store and the community? Can you describe that?

KM: Well, not much. We took the girl to Lincoln School, you know, she went to Lincoln School. We had a property, we... I think we stayed with my uncle for a while until we found a place.

JS: So your father started the grocery store in Sacramento.

KM: Yes.

JS: And your uncle started the flower store?

KM: He had a flower shop.

JS: At the same time, right after the war?

KM: Right after the war. He and my auntie, his wife, they started that for a long time.

JS: What was the name of the...

KM: Royal Florist.

JS: Royal Florist.

KM: Uh-huh. Then he became ill, so he sold the business to somebody else. But during that time, I already had started my own on Eleventh Street. I was in that business for twenty year, floral business. And I taught ikebana in the store, back of the store.

JS: So explain how that happened. When did you start the flower business? You and your husband started that?

KM: No, he was, they transferred to another, relocated to, on Tenth Street they started, the brothers, brother-in-laws, three brother-in-laws started a grocery store there. And I started my flower shop. And during that time, I was doing a lot of flower arrangement, Western-style and all that.

JS: So the brother-in-laws started the grocery store.

KM: Yes, on Tenth Street.

JS: On Tenth Street. So this is after redevelopment.

KM: Uh-huh.

JS: So the Fourth Street Market then became this market on Tenth?

KM: Because it was relocated, see. Took everything around Fourth Street, Fifth Street. So we all had to relocate to Tenth Street. That's our Sacramento Tenth Street, Japanese town there. Little, what's left.

TI: When they did that move from Fourth Street to Tenth Street, how did that change the Japanese community when they moved it? Did you see any differences in terms of what happened to the community?

KM: Well, no, they were all together. They had plays and things. Everything was all Japanese, they had band and everything, they were real close, everybody, during that time. Because they had the Sakura band, Yamato Geikidan, they had all that, plays. They would do that every year about right now. Hardly any... they had koto and dancing, Japanese classical. But right now, hardly anybody doing that koto.

JS: So were your uncles involved with the entertainment in Sacramento as well?

KM: At first, yes.

JS: At first.

KM: Before he became ill, he was a big entertainer.

JS: So describe how you decided to start your flower store. There was a transition from your... did you work with your uncle Roy for a short time?

KM: First, and then I started my own. Because they wanted to retire, so I said, "Well, I might as well continue," so I liked the business. The flower, I mean, I liked the flowers to create funerals, weddings, and things. I just loved flowers.

JS: Where did that come from, your love for flowers? When you were younger?

KM: Yes. My mother used to laugh that I would not throw one stem of flower away. So I really loved flowers.

JS: So it must have been hard when you were in Jerome and you didn't have real flowers.

KM: That's right.

JS: So you had paper flowers?

KM: Uh-huh.

JS: Wow.

KM: She would make paper flowers.

JS: Uh-huh. So it was wonderful to have your own flower store.

KM: Yes, it was. I liked to create things, but I gave that up.

JS: Oh. And so you would teach, you began teaching ikebana in the back of your store.

KM: In the back of the store, uh-huh. Mrs. Maeda's daughter was my first student. Isn't that funny?

JS: So how many years have you taught flower arranging?

KM: Since 1964.

TI: So forty-five years. And to this day, you still teach --

KM: We came out in 1945, huh, 1945? So then I was doing American-style first, Western-style, 1945, '46. And then I transferred to Japanese.

JS: So where did you study American-style flower arranging? The city college?

KM: No, just my own.

JS: Oh, on your own. Who was your ikebana teacher, then, when you started studying Japanese floral arrangement?

KM: Japanese? There was Mrs. Nishimi, but mostly I went to Japan. I have a newspaper article that the Sacramento Bee, on my...

JS: Flower arranging? Teaching?

KM: Uh-huh.

JS: Good, we'd love to see that. Have any, are any of your students teaching now? Have they gone that far?

KM: They don't want to, 'cause it takes time and money.

JS: Yeah, the commitment.

KM: 'Cause you have to correspond with Japan. And then you have to get, in Japan, the materials' right there. But here, you have to gather your own, so no one wants to work hard. You're a florist, you have to work hard. You have to do funeral, wedding, same time, you know. Sometimes I didn't sleep at night, I worked in the store.

JS: So did any of your children help at the store?

KM: Yeah, my daughter did, but son, they all helped deliver, but they didn't want to do the flower shopping or... too hard. 'Cause it's live material, you have to make it last-minute.

JS: So when did you close the store?

KM: It's been... I don't know when, but it's been long time now, maybe.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

TI: So, Grace, I'm curious, when you think back, or think about your daughter, does she have any memories of World War II, the camp years? Your older daughter, does she remember --

KM: No, she passed away.

TI: Oh, she passed away. What happened to your daughter?

KM: Oh, she had lung cancer. So did my husband, cancer. Well, she did smoke, you know.

TI: Okay.

KM: But when she passed away, she was a good teacher, so they, all the whole school, they gathered and they had a bench, bench made in Fleishhacker Zoo, down in Fleishhacker Zoo in her name.

TI: That's nice. So, I'm at the end of my questions, and I'm wondering, is there any other sort of stories or memories that you have that maybe we haven't asked about that you'd like to share?

KM: I can't think of any.

JS: Do you have grandchildren?

KM: Yes.

JS: Yeah? Tell us about your, who your grandchildren are.

KM: I have eight grandchildren.

JS: And the oldest is how old?

KM: Oldest is forty, he's not married.

JS: Eight grandchildren. How old is the youngest?

KM: Youngest is, she's seventeen, because his second marriage. The oldest one is going to MIT in Massachusetts. She's going to college there, second year.

TI: So these are, do you have great-grandchildren?

KM: No.

TI: No great-grandchildren.

KM: No great-grandchildren, just grandchildren.

TI: Just grandchildren.

JS: So what do you hope that your grandchildren will know about their family history? Are they interested? Not sure?

KM: I talked to them, to one of 'em. She comes every week, and so I tell her little things.

JS: Good.

KM: Otherwise they will never know, huh?

TI: Well, and that's why we want to do these interviews, so we can capture as much as we can.

KM: Oh. Because these Sansei, Yonsei, they're not interested in Japanese culture anymore. That's a shame. Well, even the Niseis, I don't have too many students that want to continue on and be a teacher. It's a shame. But they, see, the parents are not interested, so how could the Sansei, Yonsei be interested? The Niseis, you know, the Niseis, they don't know, they can't speak Japanese, most of 'em. That's sad. I would tell these ladies, I said, "How did you communicate with your mother and father?" Broken English or just English. They never learned Japanese. Now, if you want to take Japanese flower arranging, you have to know Japanese, because we communicate with Japan. And odori, odori, it's going out. Nobody wants to take that, and even the koto, nobody's interested in that. My two daughters learned koto, but that's olden times. Sad.

JS: So your daughters studied koto, did they study ikebana, too?

KM: Yes, when they were younger.

JS: When they were younger.

KM: Before going, too much homework after high school. They all took ikebana, I taught them.

JS: Uh-huh. So they learned about Japanese culture, and did they teach that to their children?

KM: No.

JS: Not too much?

KM: They just don't have time, they go basketball. [Laughs] Mostly same.

TI: Good. Well, so Grace, thank you so much for taking the time to share your memories. It's been wonderful listening to all this. So thank you very much.

JS: Thank you.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.