Densho Digital Archive
Topaz Museum Collection
Title: Grace F. Oshita Interview
Narrator: Grace F. Oshita
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Date: June 4, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-ograce-01-0004

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MA: Going back a little bit to your childhood, what kind of, when you were a young child, what kind of activities or hobbies were you involved in, or what did you do for fun?

GO: School took care of the whole day because my folks and grandparents and so forth, they were so busy that I'd go to the Buddhist temple kindergarten and nursery school, kindergarten, and there was a Caucasian teacher to take care of the English part. I spent a lot of time at the Buddhist temple, in other words. Even after I started regular grade school, there was always Japanese language school to go to after, and sometimes when we were preparing for a recital or something, I'd go after that to my music lesson, koto and shamisen.

MA: When did you start getting involved with koto and shamisen?

GO: My father went to a shakuhachi school in Japan, and he was an expert shakuhachi player. I've never heard anybody sound so mellow as his shakuhachi playing. In those days, you couldn't buy an empty tape or whatever -- it wasn't tape, it was a round, what is it? Anyway, and they couldn't record it, really, until quite recently. So I never did have a recording made of his playing. I regret it very much.

MA: It sounds like your father maybe encouraged you to play, encouraged music?

GO: He, I was learning piano when I was very young, and then one day he said, "Would you like to learn koto and shamisen because you might like it. Because you sing along with it and love to sing." I just said, "Yes," and I've been playing ever since.

MA: Where did you take lessons? Was it in the temple?

GO: No, her home.

MA: Oh, I see. So you had an instructor, and you would go to her home to practice?

GO: Oh, yes. There were several koto and shamisen teachers in San Francisco.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.