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-01-0010

<Begin Segment 10>

SF: So what did you do after you got out of the service?

GH: Well, I took my discharge in Chicago, and then I stayed there a while, like a couple of months, and then my dad came back to San Jose, and so I met him here.

SF: How did you find the Midwest? Were the people friendly, or friendlier than they were in California, or less friendly?

GH: Where? Back...

SF: Back in the Midwest, like in Chicago? How did they treat the Japanese back there?

GH: Well, it's a big city. Nobody paid much attention to you. I didn't have any, any problems. I didn't have any problems in Chicago.

SF: So then you came back with your, with your dad, and what did you guys start doing when you got back to this area?

GH: What?

SF: So when your dad and you got back to the San Jose area, what kind of operation did you guys start up?

SF: Well, we basically had to start from scratch because we didn't have anything. So I worked for this -- or we both did -- worked for this nursery in Palo Alto, first job I had, and then we worked for another nursery in the immediate area there. And then 1948, '47, I went to So Cal to raise strawberries, and raised strawberries there for two years, and then I moved to Morgan Hill and farmed strawberries. Then in '53, '53, I think, I bought this shop and started a service station/garage.

SF: How was the, the economics of the strawberry business at that time? I mean, could you make a fair living sharecropping?

GH: Yeah, pretty good. I mean, it was, it was a start, anyway, you know. And, and you were on your own. I mean, it wasn't like you're working for somebody. And the ones with the large families did real well; there were quite a few large strawberry growers that had sharecroppers. Driscoll and Ryder and there was a couple others... Kaiser. They had large holdings like hundreds of acres. And some of the families did real well.

SF: So I suppose those big growers, they did well, too, right, 'cause they had all these good workers or sharecroppers, right?

GH: Oh, yeah. They did well.

SF: So when your, your family sharecropped, were you able to save enough money for, like, putting a down on George's Service Station?

GH: Yeah, yeah.

SF: So that was really kind of a good thing for you guys, then, huh?

GH: Right.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2004 Densho and The Japanese American Museum of San Jose. All Rights Reserved.