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-01-0003

<Begin Segment 3>

KL: When did your father come to the United States?

KM: Around 1919, somewhere in there.

KL: And when was he born?

KM: April...

YI: Twenty-two.

KM: 1899.

YI: 1899.

KL: Do you know what brought him to the United States?

KM: Probably the fact that he had no future, the future was in his older brother's hands, and so he had nothing. So he was going to come here and make his fortune like a lot of Isseis, instead he had five kids. [Laughs] You might call that a fortune.

KL: I think Ichiro mentioned in his interview that he thought your dad jumped ship in San Francisco? Do you have any knowledge of where he came into the...

KM: Not San Francisco, but I'm going to see if a friend of the family remembers when her father and uncle came, what time it was. I don't think it was the same...

YI: They came on the same ship.

KM: I thought it was Seattle that he jumped ship.

YI: Yeah, I think it was Seattle, too. But we are going to talk to them to get this information. Because...

KL: Their family members came with your dad?

YI: Yeah. This woman's father and...

KM: They were friends.

YI: father came from the same place in Japan, same town, and so we're gonna meet with her in July and get the information before, you know, she passes on, because we won't have access to the information.

KM: Her mother, this friend of ours, her mother lived to be a hundred and six.

KL: What are her parents' names, the friend who came with your dad?

KM: Nakahiro is their last name. I don't know his first name. And the brother with whom they were all friends, he was Den-san, they called him.

YI: That wasn't his name.

KM: But I don't know if it was a nickname...

YI: That was not his name.

KL: Whose brother was he?

KM: The Nakahiro brothers.

KL: Oh, so there were two Nakahiro brothers and your dad.

KM: They were friends as young men.

KL: And they all... do you think they all disembarked in Seattle?

KM: I don't know about the Nakahiro family. I understand that's how it went, but I never cleared it up with my dad.

KL: Where did your dad, what did he do in those years right after he came?

KM: Anything he could get. He was a houseboy, and then he was a valet in San Francisco.

YI: A valet.

KM: The correct word is "valet." [Laughs]

KL: In San Francisco, you said?

KM: Yes. And then he lived next door to very wealthy families, and the houseboy was Chinese at the house next door, or something like that, he would dump water on my father if he saw him out in the yard.

KL: Was it malicious or playful?

KM: Malicious, because they were Chinese and my father was Japanese, so, "Get that kid."

KL: Did he tell you any other anecdotes about what it was like to be a Japanese immigrant in San Francisco?

KM: He... what else did he do there? I can't remember...

YI: Did Ich remember any of those? Did Ich remember any more about the dad?

KL: His interview was not very detailed like this, it was an hour and fifteen minutes of four men, and it was just kind of them talking about the camp. So that's why it would be good for us to talk with him more, too, but I wanted to ask you guys about these family things, too.

YI: I don't remember.

KL: You don't remember?

YI: I don't remember because I was younger.

KM: Oh, they used to go gambling in Chinatown.

KL: In San Francisco?

KM: In San Francisco, and he remembers, I guess he made a little money, and so these Filipino guys, Chinese guys, they played there, too. And my father and his brother left, and they came after him, so what he did was he took money out of his pocket and threw it on the street, so that they would stop to pick up money and they could make their getaway.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.