Densho Digital Archive
Japanese American Museum of San Jose Collection
Title: George Hanada Interview
Narrator: George Hanada
Interviewer: Stephen Fugita
Location: San Jose, California
Date: November 15, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-hgeorge-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

SF: Okay, this is a visual history interview with George Hanada. George ran George's Service Center after the war until fairly recently. Steve Fugita is the interviewer, this is being taped at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose at 535 North Fifth Street, San Jose. Today is November 15, 2004; this is part of the project: "Lasting Stories: The Resettlement of San Jose Japantown," which is a collaboration between the Japanese American Museum of San Jose and the Densho Project of Seattle, Washington. This project is being funded by the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program.


SF: Okay, George, I'd like to begin the interview by asking you about your parents. What prefecture from Japan did they come from?

GH: My dad and mom were both from Yamanashi-ken, and that's northwest of Japan -- I mean, Tokyo.

SF: What year did your dad come over?

GH: He came over in... I'm sure it was 1910.

SF: How old was he at that time when he came over?

GH: Well, he was probably twenty-one, because he was born in '89, 1889.

SF: Where did your dad spend his first years in the U.S.?

GH: Pardon?

SF: Where did your dad spend his first years here?

GH: I think he, I think he landed in Washington and then worked his way down.

SF: What did he do?

GH: Well, he did a variety of things, you know. He worked as... I think he worked in the lumber mills, and mining in Utah.

SF: Did, do you remember him saying if he worked with other Japanese, or did he work with hakujins or white people at that time?

GH: I think it was mostly hakujins, you know, that he worked with. I'm sure there weren't that many Japanese here at that time. And then they, a group of 'em got together and they started to farm in Utah, and they farmed there for a while, and then he went back to Japan.

SF: The group who he farmed with, they were other Japanese, huh?

GH: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

SF: Okay. When and, when and how did he meet your mother?

GH: How did he...?

SF: Meet your mom.

GH: Well, they're from the same area, and so they knew each other before, or the families knew each other. And when he went back, and then he, he got married and he came back here. And then she came a little later.

SF: Where did, where did your mom and dad move to after they were married?

GH: They moved into the, the Penryn, Penryn area. That's where --

SF: Yeah, what did they do there? What crops did they grow, or...

GH: Oh, they, they leased a ranch that was primarily peaches, plums, grapes. I think some cherries, and...

SF: Do you recall if he belonged to a Japanese co-op or any kind of Japanese association that worked together on farming stuff?

GH: I don't know; I don't think so, yeah.

SF: Do you remember if he sold his produce to, like, a Japanese package shipper or was it a...

GH: Yeah, most of it went to a shipper, and then the rest of it he sold in the Sacramento market. He would, like we discussed before, he would work all day and take the produce into Sacramento market at, in the early mornings, and then he'd come back and work a whole day again, so it was pretty tough.

SF: So you remember your parents as really being hard-working, huh?

GH: Yeah, they really had to work hard. And all my brothers and sisters, my sister and brothers, they were all born in that, part, in that particular area, Penryn area.

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