Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hanako Hoshiyama Fukumoto Interview
Narrator: Hanako Hoshiyama Fukumoto
Interviewer: Kristen Luetkemeier
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: August 5, 2013
Densho ID: denshovh-fhanako-01-0001

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KL: This is Kristen Luetkemeier for the Manzanar Oral History Project. I'm here in Las Vegas as the home of Hana Fukumoto for an oral history interview about her experiences growing up in California, graduating from high school, being forced into Manzanar War Relocation Center, spending years there including the experience of meeting her husband, eventually relocating to Chicago, and eventually moving to Las Vegas where we are now. Today is August the 5th, 2013, Whitney Peterson from the National Park Service is also with us. And before we start with the questions, I just want to make sure for the recording that we do have your permission to record this interview and make it available to the public.

HF: Yes.

KL: Thank you for that.

HF: I think that's very nice. Lots of people don't know about, that we were put into camp.

KL: People sometimes... I'll go in to introduce our orientation film to visitors, and if I tell people that I've met someone who found themselves in a picture in the exhibits, people will audibly gasp, because they just are amazed that there is that connection. I think it's really powerful, so I'm glad you're willing to do this.

HF: Uh-huh. Because we were American citizens, so we told our parents, "They're not going to put us in a camp."

KL: I do want to start off talking about your parents. Would you tell us their names to start off with?

HF: My mother is Maki, M-A-K-I, Murayama is her maiden name. And then my father is Iwamatsu Hoshiyama.

KL: Would you spell Murayama?

HF: M-U-R-A-Y-A-M-A.

KL: And Iwamatsu Hoshiyama?

HF: I-W-A-M-A-T-S-U, H-O-S-H-I-Y-A-M-A.

KL: Okay. And let's start with your mother, to talk a little bit more about their backgrounds. Do you know when and where she was born?

HF: She was born in 1899. And then my father was born in 1877.

KL: Where were they from?

HF: From Niigata, Japan, which is up north, the northern part of Japan.

KL: Do you know much about Niigata, what its economic basis was, what people did for work?

HF: It was a farmland, and then my husband and I went back to Japan, went to Japan, gee, I can't remember the year. So we visited Niigata. And so my father's, he has a family plot there, and that's where he's buried, and also my mother is buried there, too.

KL: What was, was your mother's family farmers?

HF: Yes.

KL: What else do you know about them, like their educational background or their religious background?

HF: I don't know anything, they didn't talk about it. If they did, they talked in Japanese. Of course, I went to Japanese school in California, and we went on Saturdays, one day a week. But, you know, they never talked too much about it, so I don't know what...

KL: How did they know each other originally?

HF: I really don't know how they met. It's the same village, that's probably why.

KL: Do you know how they decided to marry, or how that was arranged?

HF: No. They didn't talk about it, or if they did, we didn't know, because they never talked about it.

KL: Your father came to the United States first, is that right?

HF: Yes, he did.

KL: When did he come?

HF: I don't know what year... my son has his passport, but I don't really know what he... but he worked in the railroad in Montana. And then I really don't know how many times he came to the U.S., but he went back to Japan. And the last time is when he met my mother and then they got married in 1921. My sister was born in 1922, and they came over and came to San Francisco. My sister was born in San Francisco.

KL: Do you have any knowledge of any more details about your dad's work, like what railroad company he worked for or what kind of work he did?

HF: No, he never talked about it, so we don't know.

KL: But you think he returned to Japan around 1921?

HF: I think he returned before that, too. He came several times, because he worked on the railroad quite a few times.

KL: Did anyone else from his family come over?

HF: His younger brother, and he lived in West Los Angeles.

KL: Did his younger brother kind of go back and forth with him and work on the railroad, too?

HF: No, I don't think so.

KL: He was alone?

HF: Uh-huh.

KL: Where did he fall, was he the oldest in his family, do you know?

HF: I really don't know. I don't think he was the oldest. I think there were some more, maybe, sisters.

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