Densho Digital Archive
Preserving California's Japantowns Collection
Title: Sat Kuwamoto Interview
Narrator: Sat Kuwamoto
Interviewers: Jill Shiraki (primary); Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Fresno, California
Date: March 9, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-ksat-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

JS: Today is March 9, 2010, and we are in Fresno interviewing Satoshi Kuwamoto. And I'm Jill Shiraki, Tom Ikeda is also co-interviewing, and Dana Hoshide is doing our camerawork. Okay. So Satoshi, can you tell us when and where you were born?

SK: I was born in Fresno, just a few blocks from where you, oh, about two blocks from the present church. And let's see now.

JS: Can you describe that, what that block was like?

SK: Yes. Ventura and E Street. There... well, a midwife delivered us, delivered me. So let's see now...

JS: Do you remember the name of the midwife?

SK: Yeah. Well, Mrs. Eda, and let me see. What happened is, there's a brand new highway... I can't remember how long ago, maybe fifteen years ago, fifteen, twenty years ago, the highway went through. And before then, it's just a residential section. And as I remember, we had streetcars going, I mean, downtown, and we, I remember...

TI: And Sat, before we go on to there, just to give us a context, when were you born? Just so we know kind of --

SK: Oh, February 25, 1922. Maybe it's easier for you to ask questions and I'll answer it.

TI: Yeah, why don't we do that.

JS: Okay. Can you tell us the names of your parents and when they came to the U.S.?

SK: Well, my parents, my father's name was Shuichi Kuwamoto, and then my mother has three sisters. I mean, all three sisters were in Fresno, I mean, they were in the city of, two of the sisters were in Visalia. But when, later on, when they came to Fresno, all three sisters were in the same town, we were here. So...

JS: What was your mother's name?

SK: Last name is Nakata, Tomiko Nakata. Maiden name.

JS: So let's start with your father. Do you know when he came to the U.S. and where he was from in Japan?

SK: Almost everyone here came from Hiroshima. And I... well, it was a small town. It was a community where I knew everyone in town, their home, where they lived, I can just about name every house in the, West Fresno. And the community was divided in several ways. We had the German community, the Armenian community. The Armenian were on the other side of the tracks, but everyone else was, the Italian community, just on the, they lived on the west side of Fresno.

TI: Sat, I want to go back and ask, you mentioned how all the Japanese were from Hiroshima?

SK: Yes.

TI: Why was that? What caused all the people from Hiroshima, or for Fresno people to be from Hiroshima?

SK: Oh, the majority of the people, let's put it that way. There were some people from Wakayama, and... or was it Okayama? Wakayama, I think.

TI: And were the people from Hiroshima mostly farmers, or how would you describe the people that came to Fresno?

SK: Well, as I remember, it'd be my, I don't know what the parents were like, but later on, I knew who they were. All the kids I played with were, well, I mean, the same age. I used to run around West Fresno. And then... let's see now.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2010 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.