Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: George Yano Interview
Narrator: George Yano
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda, Steve Fugita
Location: San Jose, California
Date: December 1, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-ygeorge_4-01-0001

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TI: So today's Wednesday, December 1, 2010, we're in San Jose at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose. And on camera we have Dana Hoshide, and co-interviewing is Steve Fugita, I'm Tom Ikeda. And this interview is being conducted for the Densho visual history project. And today we have George Yano. So, George, I'm going to first just start, and can you tell me, what was the name given to you at birth?

GY: Well, my first name is George, probably after George Washington like all the other Sansei or Nisei kids. My middle name is Hideo, and Yano.

TI: So Hideo, tell me about the name and where that came from.

GY: Okay. Hideo, Hide, which is the same one in Hideyoshi, is a name used in our family. My grandfather's older brother, who was the first son, was named Yoshihide. And then it jumped, and my, I guess it's my cousin or second cousin, is Hidemi. And it's the same Hide. But since I was born during the war, and my grandmother had some influence, she decided to put Hide, hi no de, which is the rising sun, "hero of the rising sun." I had to live with that name when I had to explain it in Japan, and people got a kick out of it. But yeah, Hideo for me is "hero of the rising sun." But the sun, and de, "coming out," and hiro, "you."

TI: And you said your grandmother had influence over naming you. Was your grandmother living with the family when you were born?

GY: Yes, yes. During the time -- I was born in Colorado, they all evacuated to Colorado, and she was pretty strong, influential. My grandfather, like most people, Issei men, were quiet, didn't say much, and when they spoke it was something important. But a lot of the influence, I think, was on the grandmother's side.

TI: And do you have any stories or sense of her in terms of being, like, pro-Japan during the war, living in Colorado?

GY: No. I don't, but I've heard that after the war, she wanted to go back to Japan. Because the family lost almost everything during the war, and so going back to Japan, my grandfather has family there. We're all from the same village in Japan, and she thought it would be better to go back. But that's when Grandfather spoke one of his few words, and said, "No." [Laughs] And so we stayed.

TI: Okay, interesting story.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.