Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Fred Nagai Interview
Narrator: Fred Nagai
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: May 10, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-nfred-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

RP: This is an oral history for the Manzanar National Historic Site. This morning we're interviewing Fred Nagai, and our interview is taking place at 2718 Hyperion Street in Los Angeles, California. The date of the interview is May 10, 2011. The videographer for our interview is Kirk Peterson and the interviewer is Richard Potashin. And also in attendance this morning is Fred's son, Dan, and also his daughter, Sherry. And let's see, who else, Lillian, Sumiko might be also sitting in as well. Our interview will be archived in the Park's library. And, Fred, do I have permission to go ahead and record our interview?

FN: Yes.

RP: Thank you very much for your time this morning. We're gonna be talking a little about your family background first.

FN: Uh-huh.

RP: So maybe you can give me your birth date and where you were born.

FN: I was born June 25, 1918, in Selleck, Washington.

RP: Okay. And where is Selleck, Washington?

FN: Well, it's out in the country but it's near Seattle. I mean, we used to go to Seattle all the time.

RP: And your father, what was his name?

FN: Masaichi Nagai.

RP: And where did your father come from in Japan?

FN: Hiroshima I think.

RP: And did he ever share with you why he came to America?

FN: Oh, I really couldn't tell you. But he came to America and never went back to Japan so he just loved it here.

RP: Do you know roughly how old he was when he came to the United States?

FN: No, I don't. My grandfather was a Canadian citizen. Because my Dad can't get the citizenship in United States so I think he was a Canadian citizen also. So my grandfather and my dad was both out in Canada, I mean, Vancouver I think.

RP: So they first came to, to Canada.

FN: Canada.

RP: And then your father came over to Washington.

FN: To Washington. Uh-huh.

RP: Oh, okay. And his father stayed in Canada? Do you know?

FN: I really don't know.

RP: Okay.

FN: I think. 'Cause I haven't heard too... I never met him. Well, maybe I did when I was small but I don't remember him.

RP: And your mother's name?

FN: Tsuneko Nagai.

RP: Do you remember --

FN: Oh, no, Nakatsuka.

RP: Nakatsuka. Can you spell that for me?

FN: N-A-K-A-T-S-U-K-A.

RP: Okay. And was she also from the Hiroshima area?

FN: No, she's from Ehime-ken.

RP: Okay. And where is that in Japan, do you know?

FN: I really don't know.

RP: Okay. Do you, do you know if your parents married in Japan or did they marry in the United States?

FN: I couldn't tell you that but I think it's one of those marries, fixed marriage.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright &copy; 2011 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.