Densho Digital Archive
Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann Collection
Title: Donald Yamamoto Interview
Narrator: Donald Yamamoto
Interviewer: Raechel Donahue
Location: San Jose, California
Date: December 15, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-ydonald-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

DY: I was born here in San Jose, California, way back in 1930.

RD: So were your parents American citizens?

DY: No, they were not. My mother was born in Hawaii and my father was born in Japan. And although she was born in Hawaii, I don't think she was considered a citizen of the United States.

RD: Well, Hawaii didn't become a state until what...

DY: Besides, when they tried to get her birth certificate, unfortunately, the records in Hawaii had burned down once, so she had to somehow, they somehow scrambled and got it anyway.

RD: Sounds like the Obama story, doesn't it? [Laughs] So your parents were Nisei, they were Issei?

DY: Issei, Issei. My parents were Isseis.

RD: And where did you go to school?

DY: I went to school here in San Jose just a few blocks up the road here at Grant school, grammar school.

RD: See, what we do is then we find pictures of each of these places, so when you say it, then we can --

DY: You what?

RD: We will find pictures of all of the schools. So everybody gets the same question so we'll be able to match them with the pictures.

DY: The school is gone.

RD: Well, we can find pictures. I'm sure there are pictures somewhere in San Jose.

DY: All right. There's a school there, but it's a new building.

RD: And what was your life like living here in San Jose, your American life?

DY: It was all right. Mainly we stayed in the Japanese town area so we didn't have too much, I didn't have too much friends outside there. There were a few from grammar school that I visited occasionally.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2010 Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann and Densho. All Rights Reserved.