Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Judy Murakami Interview
Narrator: Judy Murakami
Interviewer: Carolyn Nayamatsu
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 13, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-mjudy-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

CN: Now that you're retired, I know that you are working a lot putting together more of the Japanese history, or your family's history, because you have a lot of good information. Am I correct?

JM: One of the projects I'm having right now is trying to organize a lot of family pictures. My mother is ninety-five, and she is more or less incapacitated. So I've been going through all of her old albums which were pretty well documented. Then of course I had some pictures from my Aunt Ruth and then I have our own pictures, and I realized that if I don't try to organize all of these things and maybe get them put on DVD or get them scanned digitally, they'll just kind of be lost forever, and nobody will be able to understand what they are. The fun part about it is that I'm really learning a lot about our family just by looking at these old pictures. And some of them are professional pictures, and a lot of them are just these small black and whites, and my mom would put in her album with little comments, and you realize what a good life they had in Portland, that they had fun as children. On my mother's side they grew up with these six children and they had a father and mother who were very loving and spent a lot of time with them. And then what a difficult time it must have been for them when the war came, because it kind of changed everything. Because everything at that point was... my parents had, they were a young married couple, they had two children, and my father had a business, and everybody was in good health at that point, and things were going well. And then all of a sudden they had to start all over. My grandfather on my father's side had also come from a fairly well educated family. He had started out and had his own little store in Japantown. Over the years they all had established themselves and were doing well. And I think the best part for all of them was it was obvious that for my grandparents, they worked so hard for their children, and they were, all the children were doing well.

CN: Your family would have had two or three businesses...

JM: Right, and they were, it just must've been very difficult for them. You kind of feel, have a feeling of awe. How did they ever start over again, because I don't know if I could have done that.

CN: Yeah. It is remarkable. Just in summary about you and George and your children, you mentioned four children. You want to just say a little bit about their lives?

JM: Well, George and I got married in June 1962. And we have four children, they're very close in age, we have four children within five and a half years, basically. So they've had a good life. We moved out to Shoreview, Minnesota. I think that they've all done well. Our oldest one Chris is married to Terry and they have three children, Alex, Stephanie and Kylie. Alex is a sophomore at Iowa State, and Stephanie is a sophomore at White Bear High School, and Kylie is a fifth grader. And Lisa was born about two years after that. Lisa and Dave Hintermeister live in Richfield and they have two little girls, Hannah and Madalyn, who are seven and a half and just turned six. And then Steve is a lawyer in Rochester, and he and his wife Jaymee have a little baby, Maxwell George, who is about a year and a half. And then our youngest one Mari and her husband, Mike Sikkink, have two boys, eight and a half and just turned five. So all of our children have actually... none of the children have married Japanese Americans. They've all married, three of them have married Caucasians, and Steve is married to Jaymee, who is an adopted Korean. But we all get together and have a good time. So now George and I have eight grandchildren.

CN: You've expanded your family.

JM: Yeah, we've expanded our family and still have a lot of good memories.

CN: Well, good. I want to thank you for participating in this interview

JM: Thank you.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.