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-01-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

SO: So you got discharged from the army, then what happened?

EY: As I said, I worked at the State Department for about six months saving enough money to go to school. And since I was familiar with...

SO: When you say State Department, what were you doing?

EY: California State Department, in the Motor Vehicle Department, just paperwork,

nothing special.

SO: In Sacramento?

EY: Yes, more or less a temporary thing. As a matter of fact, though, I do remember going out on a date in San Francisco. And we went to a dance, and lo and behold, this gal Terry who had married another GI was there. And she had her husband cut in on my date, so naturally I thought I'd better go over there and dance with her. And one of the first things I said was, "Well, Terry I'm glad it turned out the way it did, I'm glad for you." And she said, "Oh, I don't know about that." [Laughs] What a reply. Anyway. I wanted to, you know, I had met Pearl in New York, she was going to school in New York, we were still communicating and I wanted to get closer to her. And I ended up, so I went back to Cleveland, Ohio, and started working at the same Bellefaire Jewish orphan home. And this time I was the athletic director there and they had a swimming pool, they had a basketball court, and on weekends I would take the kids out to the Cleveland Indian ballgames, baseball games. It was a real nice job. Then I entered John Carroll University, which was only a few blocks away from Bellefaire. This was an all male college, university, Jewish, no, Catholic, Jesuit school, so I spent two years there. In the meantime I was commuting back to New York and back all the holidays, and then when she graduated from Traphagen fashion school she ended up at Minneapolis where her parents had relocated with the help of her uncle who was at Fort Snelling. And so she, after graduation, she transferred back to Minneapolis and I was commuting between Cleveland and Minneapolis, and finally we decided we're going to get married. And I asked my parents, that I found a girl I'd like to marry. And the first thing they asked me, more than anything else, where was her parents from? [Laughs] And I said, "Her mom is from Fukushima and her father is from Okayama." That was okay.

SO: And what made it okay?

EY: Well, evidently there are certain sections of Japan that is not considered... oh, I don't know how to explain it, but a normal class of people. There is such a group as -- I believe now -- ainu, and think they look down upon those people. And even Okinawans they kind of look down upon them, so they were concerned where the parents were from. Evidently, that's all I can assume. And as I said earlier, I prayed about I'd like to start dating as a senior and I'd like to get married between the age of twenty-three and twenty-five. Guess how old I was? Twenty-three. So the Lord must have had something to do with it. [Laughs] Anyway, she didn't have a... she was of Buddhist descent but she was not an active one. She didn't have any church here in the Twin Cities and I had a home church in Sacramento so we got married in Sacramento.


SO: Oh, you were getting married.

EY: Oh, that's right. All right, we got married in my church that I grew up in in Sacramento, California, and I don't know whether I should mention this, but I suppose you can delete it out later. But a strange incident took place that I wasn't even aware of until many years later. See, Pearl's mother had a Nisei father but they separated before just before Pearl was born or shortly after. And so he was somewhere in California and at my wedding, our wedding, I heard that he was there at our wedding. Maybe Pearl can verify that, I'm not sure. But we got married in Sacramento and then went back to Minneapolis on a train, we rode on a train to and from back in those days, and like I said, I was twenty-three when we got married and since Pearl had a job at Donaldson in the advertising department, and she had an apartment and she had a good close friend that was the president of Augsburg College, so I ended up finishing up my last two years at Augsburg College. And got a degree, a BA degree in teaching mathematics with a minor in history. But being a first year man looking for a teaching job in the Twin Cities area was a no-no, you have to get some experience out in the boondocks somewhere in the country, Town. So I missed out on the first year and I started looking out for temporary work and eventually I ended up with a company called Strutwear that produced women's nylon hosiery and ladies' underwear, negligee whatnot. And I worked there as a sales correspondent. And then eventually they put in a IBM data processing so I was there, Supervisor, and then they decided they should move down to Clarksdale, Mississippi. What happened is that management thought that, oh, I don't know whether I should mention it, but back in those days, full fashion hosiery was the one with the line in the back, ladies', and then seamless came into popularity. But our management at Strutwear thought, ah this is just a passing fad, so they continued making full fashioned hosiery but that went down, down, down, so they closed up the shop and moved down to Mississippi so that left me without a job. So I started looking for a job and I went to Munsingwear, and Munsingwear had an opening in the data processing department, and so I had to take a cut in wage and swallow my pride and started working for Munsingwear in the data processing department. And no one there had a college degree, so I really had to swallow my pride. Anyway, it was a blessing in disguise when I started at Munsingwear.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.