Densho Digital Archive
Japanese American Museum of San Jose Collection
Title: Dave Tatsuno Interview
Narrator: Dave Tatsuno
Interviewer: Aggie Idemoto
Location: San Jose, California
Date: January 20, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-tdave-01-0020

<Begin Segment 20>

AI: And Dave, what are your strongest memories of resettlement? Your strongest memories of resettlement.

DT: Well, I think the fact that we came back after the war, we were supposed to be part of the "enemy" culture, Japan, and the fact that we're able to make our way again and reestablish ourselves. It took hard work, and yet, difficulties are stepping stones of success, as they say. And so we made the best of it and did what we could. And you look at the life of the Niseis, now, I'm sorry to say they're, of all the Nisei friends I have, I'm the only one left, you see. I had twenty good friends, and not one of them around. But you look at their lives, and I think you'll find out that they led a real rich life. It's... the way, I mean, life is such that you're not gonna be here forever anyway, so you do the best you can and be thankful that you had the opportunity for service, or opportunity for friendship, opportunity for enjoying life as a whole. And as I said, I was a diver, went down, hundred feet down and took video. And so my videos, I can look at anytime and see the sharks and all the different shots. But life is what you make it.

AI: You mentioned your twenty Nisei friends. What opportunities opened up for the Nisei, and why do you think that happened?

DT: Well, they were in all kinds of occupation activities, some of them were in business, some of them in import/export, some of them were in the academic field, all kinds of activities.

AI: And they were very successful at whatever they...

DT: I think they made life worth living.

AI: Were there some cultural values that maybe caused this success that you can think of?

DT: Possibly so, possibly so.

AI: What might they be?

DT: Well, as I said, they're all Japanese Americans except for the one Caucasian young man that I knew in junior high school. So I think -- and many of my Nisei friends had, were well-educated, went to Cal, Berkeley, and Stanford. And so they made their way.

AI: Uh-huh. Now, on the flip side, some businesses, which were started right after the war in Japantown, did not make it. Do you have any ideas about why they did not?

DT: Well, if they didn't make it, they didn't have enough business, that's why. So if there wasn't enough business, why, it was not needed.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2004 Densho and The Japanese American Museum of San Jose. All Rights Reserved.