Densho Digital Archive
Japanese American Museum of San Jose Collection
Title: James Sakamoto Interview
Narrator: James Sakamoto
Interviewer: Ann Muto
Location: San Jose, California
Date: October 18, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-sjames-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

AM: This is an interview with James Sakamoto, retired owner of the Sakamoto Barbershop, at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose, 535 North Fifth Street, San Jose, California, on October 18, 2004. The interview, conducted by Ann Muto, is part of a visual history project called "Lasting Stories: The Resettlement of San Jose Japantown," a collaborative between JAMsj and the Densho project of Seattle, Washington.


Thank you, Mr. Sakamoto, for participating in this interview today. As mentioned, we will be discussing your life's history with a focus on the post-World War II resettlement era, and the Japantown retail business which you used to own, Sakamoto Barber. We will begin with some background information about your family before World War II. When did your parents come to the United States?

JS: My father came in 1907, and my mother, I really don't know when she came, but they settled, he came to San Francisco and they did a lot of work at the (Santa Cruz) Mountains, lumberjack, doing anything. And he ran a boardinghouse here in Japantown in 1916 to 1919, before he went to sugar beets, contracting, and lost all his money, and he had to go sharecropping in Mayfield, California, that's by Palo Alto. And that's about it, then he farmed all around the Alviso area, all the years of 1930s, '20s, '30s, '40s. Part of '40s.

AM: Okay. Yeah, so he did a lot of farming as well, after the boarding house.

JS: Yeah, he, yeah, he, that's all he did. Yeah, farmed.

AM: Okay. And which prefecture or ken --

JS: Kumamoto.

AM: Both of them?

JS: Yeah, both of 'em came from Kumamoto.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2004 Densho and The Japanese American Museum of San Jose. All Rights Reserved.