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-01-0003

<Begin Segment 3>

AM: And how was your family involved in the Japanese community?

JS: Well, they have the, usually most groups have their ken, and that's the, we're kind of clannish. Kumamoto, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, they all had different kens, that they stayed together.

AM: And what kind of things did they do together?

JS: They had picnics every summer, things like that.

AM: One of the things you said you enjoyed as a kid was going and seeing shibai?

JS: Yeah, well, that's...

AM: Can you tell me about that?

JS: That's, that was a community affair here at the hall, and they had shows going on, shibais going on.

AM: And shibai is like a --

JS: Well, it was actors, and they had the regular theater there, so that's where they used to come and enjoy part of their... and then they had, at the, (Asahi) baseball ground over here, and they all, everybody used to come on Saturdays, quit work and come into town, come to the ballgame.

AM: They took a day off?

JS: So that was a day off, yeah.

AM: Was that the Asahi baseball...?

JS: Yeah, that was the old Asahi ballpark, and that was years and years ago.

AM: Okay, and you talked about your parents didn't have much interaction with the larger, non-Japanese community.

JS: No, no, they didn't, now.

AM: And why, why do you think that was?

JS: Well, because I think the language barrier, and at that time, Isseis weren't accepted as much as now. They had a hard time.

AM: And... oh, I'm sorry.

JS: Well, because at that time, they were not considered citizens anyway.

AM: And for many of them, they couldn't become citizens.

JS: They couldn't be anyway, but, yeah.

AM: So how did you get along with your parents as a kid?

JS: Well, we, like any other, bad boy. [Laughs]

AM: Yeah, well, what happened to make you think you were a "bad boy"?

JS: No, no. It was all right. We just, we didn't conform to our folks' things. At least I didn't.

AM: Uh-huh. Kind of mischievous, you might say?

JS: That's about it, yeah.

AM: Did you get inspired by some of your friends, or were they your own ideas?

JS: [Laughs] No, no, we got along pretty good.

AM: Okay, we're gonna talk more about you, where you were born and when you were born.

JS: Yeah, I was, well, I don't, I remember... I don't remember that far back, but I was born in Mayfield, California, which is by Palo Alto now. Then grew up in Alviso, went to Alviso school.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2004 Densho and The Japanese American Museum of San Jose. All Rights Reserved.