Densho Digital Archive
Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL Collection
Title: Nancy Iwami Interview
Narrator: Nancy Iwami
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Watsonville, California
Date: July 29, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-inancy-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

MA: So today is July 29, 2008, and I'm here with Nancy Iwami. I'm Megan Asaka, the interviewer, and the videographer today is Dana Hoshide. And we are in the Kizuka Hall of the, which is the home of the JACL Watsonville - Santa Cruz chapter. And so it's great to be here today with you.

NI: Nice to meet you, too.

MA: So I'm going to start with some, just some basic questions.

NI: All right.

MA: So when were you born?

NI: I was born on May 20, 1914.

MA: And where were you born?

NI: Watsonville. I'm a native. [Laughs]

MA: What was the name given to you at birth?

NI: Kiyoko Tada.

MA: And how did you get the name Nancy?

NI: Oh, I don't know. As we were growing up, I guess it was hard for some of my Caucasian friends to call me Kiyoko, so they said, "We'll call you Nancy." That's how it started, and it's been ever since, before high school, I think.

MA: And what was your father's name?

NI: Kumakichi Tada.

MA: And where was he from in Japan?

NI: He is from Okayama-ken, you want the county?

MA: Sure, if you know it.

NI: Kibi-gun, Kibi-gun, and his town was Takamatsu-cho. I remember that.

MA: And what did his family do? What type of work did they do in Japan?

NI: I really don't know what they did. He did not tell us much, so I don't know whether they were, I don't think they were farmers. It sounded like they had a little shop in town. He mentioned tofu, going to sell tofu when he was a young boy, so I'm assuming, I'm not sure.

MA: And what were his motivations for coming to the United States?

NI: I think the way he told me, they weren't wealthy people and so he said, "Well, so many people are coming to the States," so he thought he'd try to, you know, do something. So he, that's what he did, and he didn't find any gold on the streets or anything like that, he told me.

MA: Do you know what year he came over to the United States?

NI: That I haven't the slightest... it must have been about after 19-, oh, it must have been in the early 1900s.

MA: And did he settle in Watsonville first?

NI: No. He arrived in, he said, Vancouver.

MA: Vancouver, British Columbia?

NI: I don't, I don't think so. It must have been, isn't there another Vancouver?

NI: There is.

NI: Yes, Portland...

MA: In south, yeah, around the Portland area.

NI: Because he talks about Mt. Rainier. I think that was it... not Mt. Rainier, or is it Mt. Rainier?

MA: Yes, yes.

NI: He worked there in the lumber mills or something for a while until he came down here.

MA: Okay.

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