Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Kazuko Miyoshi - Yasuko Miyoshi Iseri Interview
Narrators: Kazuko Miyoshi, Yasuko Miyoshi Iseri
Interviewer: Kristen Luetkemeier
Location: Manhattan Beach, California
Date: June 26, 2013
Densho ID: denshovh-mkazuko_g-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

KL: This is Kristen Luetkemeier for the Manzanar Oral History Project. It's Wednesday, June 26, 2013, and I'm in Manhattan Beach in the home of Kazuko Miyoshi, for an interview with Kazuko and with her sister Yasuko Iseri about their experiences growing up in the Los Angeles area, being removed from the West Coast and sent to Manzanar during World War II, and then their, the rest of their childhoods returning back to Southern California after the war. And Jim Howell is with us, he's also with the National Park Service, and he's operating the video camera. And before we go any further, I just want to document that I do have your permission to ask you questions and to record this interview. We'll keep it at Manzanar in the library, and with your agreement, it'll also be available to the public and researchers and for Park Service employees or other visitors.

YI: Yes.

KM: Yes.

KL: Thank you, thank you for that. I want to start off talking about your parents, because you do have some knowledge of their experiences. So what were their names?


KL: You were telling me your parents' names, you started with your dad.

KM: Right, my father was Frank Shigeyoshi Miyoshi, but like a lot of Issei, he picked up Shigeyoshi, I mean Frank himself.

KL: Oh, he did, he chose...

KM: Yes, he was not born Frank or christened Frank.

KL: What was your mother's name?

KM: Masako Miyoshi. Masako Fujimoto Miyoshi.

KL: Where was she from? Let's talk more about her.

KM: She was born in Honolulu in 1909, and she was left at home in Japan while her parents and siblings went to Hawaii.

KL: Was she born in Hawaii or Japan?

KM: In Hawaii.

YI: Honolulu.

KL: And then did the whole family travel back to Japan together? You said she was left there.

KM: She was born in Honolulu, she came home to Japan, and then her parents and her two siblings came to Honolulu and left my mother in Japan with her grandmother.

KL: Do you know why they left her?

KM: No, I don't know why they left her, but my mother was forever attached to her grandmother.

KL: It was a good relationship?

KM: For her and her grandmother. But she had cousins that lived in the same village, so I don't think it made up for being with your family, but she managed.

KL: What village was it that she was living in?

KM: Hiroshima... I used to know the name, because I used to address the envelope, but I can't remember now.

YI: Aki-gun?

KM: Aki-gun, Aki-Nakano, I can't remember. But that was the village.

KL: You were thinking its name was Aki-gun?

YI: I'm sorry?

KL: You thought the name of the village was Aki-gun?

YI: Aki-gun, I thought, in writing it, but I can't remember the rest of it. There was a lot of little...

KM: To the address.

YI: Yeah, to the address. It wasn't just the little town. So that was part of it, I just remember writing that address.

KM: It wasn't on that thing, was it? That paper that was in there?

YI: Oh, it might be.

KL: So you said she grew up with cousins around? What did she tell you about that, about her life there?

KM: Her older sister was like an older sister, she was bossy. And then her cousin, Sadamu, was a rascal of a child, that he would tease my mother, or he would come looking for my mother to play, so they were close.

KL: How much time were they able to spend together? Those two siblings were in Hawaii while she was in Japan?

KM: Right, they went to school, and then they went to the United States, the oldest one. And I don't know what my aunt did. Do you recall what Obachan did in Hawaii?

YI: Uh-uh.

KM: Anyway, so my oldest uncle went to St. Louis to mechanic school.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.