Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Don Maeda Interview
Narrator: Don Maeda
Interviewer: Carolyn Nayematsu
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 13, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-mdon-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

CN: Okay, name is Carolyn Nayematsu and I am with the Twin Cities Japanese American Citizens League Oral History Project, and today I'm happy to welcome Don Maeda. Don, where and when were you born?

DM: I was born in Seattle, Washington, on November 28, 1924.

CN: And what was your name given at birth?

DM: Donald Satoshi Maeda.

CN: Let's talk about your parents, but let's start with your father. Can you describe where your father came from and what year?

DM: He came from Yamaguchi-ken, Japan, in 1906.

CN: And what did he do?

DM: Well, when he first came he did many manual, like, he worked in the lumber mill, he cleared land, cleared the stumps. He worked on the railroad, not as a railroad worker, but he was a porter so he worked on the railroad and he came to Minnesota on the Northern Pacific or Great Northern, I'm not sure. And then he did a lot of odd job, I'm sure, and then he had an opportunity to become a dental technician.

CN: How did that happen?

DM: A friend of his was working for a dentist and he did not like doing that, so he asked my dad if he was interested at all and my dad was apparently interested, and that was his, the rest of his life, he retired as a dental technician here in Minnesota so he spent his whole life as a dental technician.

CN: Did he come to the United States alone or were there other family members?

DM: No, he came with a very good friend of his that was a couple years older. My dad had just, I think just finished high school and this person was a couple years older than him. And I don't really know the details but they came together.

CN: And then your mother, describe your mother's family and when she came over.

DM: My mother had an older sister that came to the States before her and she married Mr. Mimbu. And they had a boy, and I'm pretty sure when he was a couple years old, they wanted to show him off to the family so they, Mr. and Mrs. Mimbu and Bill went to Japan and all this is, I'm not real sure about it, but it must have been but Mrs. Mimbu talked my mother and her sister to come to the States. And so the three girls were here.

CN: What year was that?

DM: 1916.

CN: And they came to Seattle was well?

DM: Yes. I think my mother and her sister came together.

CN: Now you brought some photos and this is a photo of your mother in Japan?

DM: No, I'm pretty sure it's in the States. With the dress she has on I'm sure it was after she arrived here.

CN: How old was she when she came?

DM: Gee, she was born... my dad was born in 1889, my mom was born in 1893 so that would...

CN: She'd be about twenty or so? You said your mother came...

DM: '16, 1916.

CN: So she was about nineteen.

DM: I think so, I think about that.

CN: And then I have another photo here of your mother, now this is in Japan.

DM: That's in Japan. She was a nurse in Japan and that's the group at the hospital that she worked.

CN: Okay, and what city is this?

DM: I'm not sure.

CN: Okay. And so then your parents met.

DM: Yeah, they met in Seattle.

CN: Okay. And then they got married.

DM: In 1918.

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