Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Richard Kosaki Interview
Narrator: Richard Kosaki
Interviewer: Mitchell Maki
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: March 19, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-krichard-01-0001

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MM: The date is March 19, 2004, and we are at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California, and we are with Richard Hiromichi Kosaki, who has an illustrious career in education, especially higher education, primarily in the University of Hawaii system. My name is Mitchell Maki and it's my pleasure to be doing this interview today. Welcome, Dr. Kosaki, to Los Angeles and thank you for this interview.

RK: Good to be here, Mitch.

MM: You were born on September 14, 1924, but I want to start this interview by talking about something that happened before that, and that is your parents and their coming to the United States. What can you tell us about your parents?

RK: As far as I know, my dad and mother weren't married, and they arrived separately as, in their late teens, I believe. Both of them had parents who already, already were in Hawaii. And on my father's side, I understand that he arrived here around 1913 when he was around sixteen years old, and he went to Hilo. Interestingly enough, his father, as far as we're told, was not working in the cane fields. He was a chauffeur in Hilo for a medical doctor. And I'll stay with my father's side... as I'm told, they weren't that badly off. They owned a house and some farm land in Kochi prefecture. Both my parents came from Kochi, which is quite unusual. I think of the Japanese who went to Hawaii, Yamaguchi, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Okinawa, majority of 'em came from those prefectures, and Kochi is about number seventeenth or eighteenth on the list. Very few people came from Kochi. My father's parents seemed to have gone back to Japan, but they left my dad there, which is quite surprising because he was the only son. And the records indicate that my dad did go to a Hilo boarding school to learn some English. Now my mother, as I recall, arrived a couple of years later, I think in 1916, and she was, oh, maybe in her late teens. And it seems that shortly thereafter, a year or two later; that since both came from Kochi-ken, they have go-betweens looking for brides, and so they matched Father and Mother and they were married in, just outside of Hilo, I think, on the big island. But right after they got married, they moved to Honolulu, and of all places, in Waikiki, where our family stayed for many years.

MM: So your family, you have very deep roots in Hawaii, with even your grandfather having set foot on Hawaii and lived in Hawaii for many years.

RK: Yes, uh-huh. On my mother's side, her parents worked in the cane fields. They lived in a little village called Amaulu, right outside of Hilo. And they lived in Hawaii, and stayed in Hawaii and died in Hawaii.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2004 Japanese American National Museum. All Rights Reserved.