Densho Digital Archive
Steven Okazaki Collection
Title: Minoru Yasui Interview
Narrator: Minoru Yasui
Location: Hood River, Oregon
Date: October 23, 1983
Densho ID: denshovh-yminoru-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

Q: Min, tell me a little bit about your birthplace here in Hood River.

MY: Well, Hood River, of course, is a small rural community. Back in the early days, there were probably seventy-five to a hundred Japanese American families here. We were the Japanese American family that lived in town, I think there was one other family, so that as far as the Japanese Niseis are concerned, we knew most of the rural people. But the people here are obviously mostly farm people, these were our friends.

Q: What did your family do?

MY: Well, Father and my uncle ran a dry goods store, a food and provisions store. In the old days they used to provide food for families who were working during the summer. When the crops would come in, of course, it'd settle up by New Year's. So primarily it was a curio store as well as food and provisions. The interesting thing was, of course, Dad spoke English. As a result, he was able to negotiate many kinds of contracts and deals, leases and so on, with the landowners in this area.


Q: What did your father do?

MY: Well, as I said before, my father was actually running a general store with my uncle. The store was called the Yasui Brothers, they sold curios, food, and provisions. And according to my recollection, many of the farmers here would ask to charge on credit their supplies for the year, which would be supplied to them. And when the harvest came in, they would pay off, of course, their debts, and this would go on year after year. So in effect, Father was really a general store operator. However, because he spoke English, he certainly assisted in the obtaining of leases in regard to contracts. He began to develop interest in farm operations in the Hood River Valley.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1983, 2010 Densho and Steven Okazaki. All Rights Reserved.