Densho Digital Archive
Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL Collection
Title: Jiro Sugidono Interview
Narrator: Jiro Sugidono
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Watsonville, California
Date: July 28, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-sjiro-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Okay, Jiro, we're gonna get started now. And today is Monday, July 28, 2008, and we are in Watsonville conducting an interview. And so, Jiro, I'm going to just start by asking when and where were you born?

JS: Oh, I was born in Watsonville, October 25, 1923.

TI: Great. And do you, do you recall where you were born? Was it in a hospital?

JS: Well, I'm not too sure, but the way it is, I think it was a midwife, Mrs. Enomoto. In those days they had midwife, and I think she's the one who brought me into the world.

TI: And do you know where that was? Was that in your house?

JS: I think it was. I think it was, I don't know where, but I think it was either by that Bridge Street, or that, well, I'm pretty sure it was that rental, Mr. Morimoto's house that we were renting at that time. I'm not too sure, but, 'cause I know Mrs. Enomoto is the one brought me to this world. And I know there's another lady who was a midwife, too, Mrs. Matsuoka, (yes), see, but she passed away already, too. They had two, I guess, two ladies that, in Watsonville that kind of helped the younger Japanese ladies.


TI: So when you were born, what was the name given to you?

JS: [Laughs] I don't know, the reason I kind of laugh is because I was born, on my birthday, the certificate says Niro, N-I-R-O, that means, more or less "second son" of Sugidono. But somehow, when I went to grade school, or kindergarten, they put a "J" on it, it's Jiro. But now it seemed like it's a pretty common name. They don't use Niro, they use Jiro with a J. So that's how I got stuck, I guess.

TI: So I want to understand -- so was that a mistake, or was it supposed to be Niro? Niro was your...

JS: (Yes), that was my given name.

TI: But then when people talk, or what did they call you? Like your mom and dad, what did they call you?

JS: Jiro.

TI: Okay.

JS: (Yes), Jiro, they don't say Niro. So I don't know how... well, it could have been a mistake when the Caucasians, they certified it, I don't know. See, instead of putting a "J," maybe they put an "N." But actually, I think that was right, 'cause that's, actually, "Niro" is, what do you call it, ichi, ni is Niro, so "second son." That's, my brother was named Ichiro, see.

TI: Okay, so you had an older brother Ichiro, and then you were the second one, Niro.

JS: (Yes).

TI: So that makes sense.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL. All Rights Reserved.