Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Ed Yoshikawa Interview
Narrator: Ed Yoshikawa
Interviewer: Steve Ozone
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 12, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-yed-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

SO: So today is October 12, 2009, I'm here with Ed Yoshikawa, my name is Steve Ozone, and Bill Kubota is the videographer. So let me just start, Ed, by asking you what was your given name and your birth date?

EY: Well, the given name was Edward Kiyoshi Yoshikawa. Edward Kiyoshi, and the word Kiyoshi means "pure, clean, immaculate," and it's hard living up to my name, but because I'm Christian, through Christ -- through God's eyes I may be able to live that life. Regardless, I was born back in Sacramento, California, January 30, 1925. Here in Minnesota quite often I get to be -- with the influx of Asians in Minneapolis I've been asked the question, "When did you come to this country?" and my answer has been I came to this country in Sacramento, California, January 30, 1925, which makes me over eighty-four years old. And they have a very questionable look in their face when I say that. [Laughs]

SO: Tell me about your parents.

EY: My parents, my dad, with three... came over to this country with my grandfather with three sons. And my father being the youngest of the three, when my grandfather came down with a stroke, his desire was to die in Japan. And since my dad was the youngest, he literally carried him on his back and went back to Japan. And after the death of my grandfather, all the friends recommended that he get married before he comes back to the USA. So back in about 1923 he married my mother and they arrived in 1924.

SO: And where were they from in Japan?

EY: My parents are from Kumamoto, Japan. Both my father and mother.

SO: What was your mother's name?

EY: Mother's name was Setsu Akahoshi.

SO: And your father?

EY: Tsunao Yoshikawa. I might mention here that my nephew, on his last trip to Japan, came back with a necklace with a mon, with the Yoshikawa mon on one side, and the Akahoshi mon on the other side. But I'm not a character that loves to wear necklace. [Laughs] So I have that at home now.

SO: What type of work did your father do?

EY: Well, he was a farmer back at home, back in Japan, but when they arrived in the USA, they were on a farm in the foothills of Sierra Nevada mountains, I believe it was in the area of Rockland, California. And they farmed, and one day my mother had me in a crib, outdoor, and my mother saw, she claims, a rattlesnake in the pen. So immediately she said, "No way. We're going to move into the city." And so that's how we ended up in Sacramento, and they started a small grocery store. So that's their livelihood.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.