Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Pearl Yoshikawa Interview
Narrator: Pearl Yoshikawa
Interviewer: Carolyn Nayematsu
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 12, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-ypearl-01-0014

<Begin Segment 14>

CN: So your three children then went to school here in Minneapolis?

PY: Uh-huh.

CN: Which schools did they go to?

PY: University, my oldest daughter, and then our son went to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. And then our daughter started at the Art Institute but she didn't finish it. She got married before...

CN: They still have kind of the art background...

PY: Oh, well, my daughter ended up, she first took up med tech and she said, "Oh this is boring, I don't even get to see the patients get well." So she went back to school and took up architecture. She finished three years and then as she was having her things printed up, then some design, graphic art design company asked her to work for them and so she went to work for them and then she met another girl there working as an artist and they decided those two were doing all the work and so they took off on their own. So they've been together, they named themselves the Design Company for thirty-one years; they're still at it together. We just saw them the other night and they were laughing about it. "How did we ever -- the husbands can't figure out how we stick it out together all these years," but they're still doing okay.

CN: So your daughter is here. Your son is here in the Twin Cities?

PY: He's in White Bear Lake in the area.

CN: And your other daughter is here too?

PY: Uh-huh. So we keep ourselves busy with all the birthdays and holidays.

CN: And your parents have passed away?

PY: Yes.

CN: Did you think they were satisfied living in Minnesota?

PY: Yes, my parents were. And we would visit Ed's parents first, every other year but then every year we would go out to Sacramento.

CN: Have you kept much in contact with the Oregon, because you don't have anybody left in Oregon?

PY: Well, my grandparents, my cousins. They're still out there. We don't keep in contact with them personally, but my uncles and aunts, once in a while we would write and inform what's going on especially at Christmastime.

CN: Did your family, your parents find a community when they moved out here? I know they were busy working but they found...

PY: They were very well-accepted and even when we were working anywhere or even the neighborhood I was invited to all their little coffee klatches and they were very nice. I didn't feel any kind of prejudice here, working with people.

CN: Were they able to keep up with, find friends and things?

PY: Our children?

CN: No, your parents.

PY: Oh, well, they just kept in contact with mostly their Japanese friends around town. They would go to some Buddhist gatherings and, well, they -- but we kept them busy too with all the children and grandchildren. Ed liked, one thing about Ed, he loves to do things and he doesn't like to just sit around too much outside of taking care of the house and yard. And so he would take us out on little trips with mother and dad and with the three and so we just roamed around Minnesota quite a bit and my mother would make the picnic lunch.

CN: Did they drive, your parents?

PY: No, he never did buy a car. He depended on Ed. And public, yes, transportation.

CN: I came, it's been about twenty years since I arrived, but I don't remember there being a lot of Japanese restaurants and things.

PY: No.

CN: It must have been harder to get some of your Japanese...

PY: Oh yes, it was very difficult for us so we would go to Chicago and buy or my sister would send things or every time we went to California we would stock up with food. But now, my goodness, with the Asians coming in you have it all over.

CN: Right, because I remember for a big city it was a little harder to find things then I thought it would be. But now...

PY: But the Japanese restaurant, the Fujiya, she started to develop this whole river area. I was really, I would say that they were instrumental in getting this city beautified. She was...

CN: And you were active in your church, were you active in the JACL, the Japanese American Citizens League? Where was that?

PY: To a degree we were. But we found ourselves very busy with our church activities and so we concentrated on that, mostly.

CN: And your children's probably school activities.

PY: Right.

CN: Did your children feel pretty accepted in their schools?

PY: Oh, yes. No problem. As a matter of fact they all married Caucasians so... I think all of the families, most of the families ended up that way with their generation.

CN: You said when you first lived here you lived in, where did you and Ed first live? Your parents lived in southwest Minneapolis?

PY: No, that's where we moved to.

CN: You moved.

PY: We all lived in a small apartment together for a while. My parents had rooms a floor above us and we took the middle floor, second floor. And eventually we decided, we've got to get out of here, so we were able to purchase a home.

CN: By that time it was easier for you to purchase a home?

PY: Yes. But limited areas, yes.

CN: You said Ed was working at Munsingwear and he was, but they were the ones to come up with this logo?

PY: Munsingwear was, yes. And and then the Japanese company, because Munsingwear did start off with the logo sport shirts, that they were pretty well known at that time and so the Japanese company came over and wanted to get them, get sort of royalty, I mean not royalty, some sort of connection with Munsingwear and Ed was able to speak a little Japanese and so that came in handy. He got involved that way.

CN: Just thinking of Japan, did your family have, well, your sister went back and lived in Japan for a while but you never did, right?

PY: She did... no, she did not. After she came back here, she had never gone back for a long time. She refused to go because she had such a bad memory. But my parents went to visit occasionally even prior to the war but they found it difficult to be able to live that style any longer so they, I don't know what they would have done, really.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.