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-01-0004

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CN: Your parents, it sounds like, were very active, I mean, your father was president of the JACL. How about your mother?

JM: I think my mother was... at that point there were two children. I had an older brother at that point who has since passed away. And I was just... when Pearl Harbor happened I was just a baby. I know that in looking through old albums, they had a lot of friends, and they were always doing activities with both Japanese friends and family and with their Caucasian friends. But I think my father was mainly the one who was very active. My mother did a lot of things through the years. She did a lot of Japanese dancing and her family was fairly active in the Japanese community. Even though they didn't live in the neighborhood at that point, they were still involved with many Japanese friends.

CN: So were both sets of grandparents pretty active?

JM: To be honest I don't know very much about the Nomura side, although I know that my aunt, my Aunt Ruth, in looking through her albums and her old photos, she was very active and she was quite well-known in the Japanese community. She had traveled to Japan, and her father had gone back to Japan in 1924 and come back to the United States with a lot of kimonos and different things like that. So they were still tied to the culture back in Japan. And my aunt won a contest actually that was, it was actually a contest sponsored by a newspaper on the West Coast called the Nichi Bei Newspaper. I don't know what the rules were, but my aunt was one of the winners, and the prize was to go to Japan and study for a month or whatever. And so they took the steamship, and that was a big impact on her and her future direction.

CN: And this was Ruth Tanbara, who was one of the first Japanese Americans to the Twin Cities.

JM: Right.

CN: So your father had a fairly thriving drugstore, I can imagine, because it looked like there was maybe one other drugstore there? At least when you look at the mockup.

JM: There may have been another one but I believe that my father's, my father only had the one store.

CN: And he was the first registered pharmacist?

JM: My father was the first registered, Japanese American pharmacist in Oregon.

CN: What was it like, were there, do you know if he ever talked to you about other Japanese that were attending the university? Was he one of the first? He must have been.

JM: On my father's side, three of them went to Oregon State. And I think my father must have done fairly well in school, because in looking through their old albums, I found a picture of the dean of one of the colleges. I don't know if it was the college of pharmacy, but his name was Dean Dubach. And several years later, my parents, on a trip back to Oregon, went to visit him, Dean Dubach and his wife. So that kind of tells me that they did have a very close relationship with at least some of the people at Oregon State.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.