Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Victor Ikeda Interview
Narrator: Victor Ikeda
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: November 6, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-ivictor-01-0016

<Begin Segment 16>

RP: Gonna ask you how involved your family was with any religion or church affiliation?

VI: Well, basically they are Buddhists, they started out like that. We went to a Congregational church, my sister and I. My mother went, started Seicho no ie which is kind of like Christian Science. So it was a kind of a combination...

RP: Combination Buddhist?

VI: But, and then my wife's side is Catholic. But what happens usually is the community you live in and the church that is there, you belong, and all of a sudden you become that religion. So unless your family is really a Buddhist, my sister is Buddhist, my wife is Catholic, I used to be Congregational, now I don't know what I am. [Laughs]

RP: Can you elaborate a little?

KP: Can I just ask a quick question?

VI: Yeah.

KP: I don't really understand what Shintoism was in America. Do you --

VI: You don't have too many Shinto. You don't have very many Shinto priests in America, but if you go to Japan, that is one of the, I won't say radical, but the old strict religion of your Shinto priests. And I think that's more martial, or...

RP: So in Seattle when you were growing up --

VI: We didn't have any Shinto, no, it was regular Buddhist. Of course, you have different Buddhists like Nichiren, which is another branch of Buddhists. What I don't really -- of course, Buddha went all over, so now you go into Seattle you have Vietnamese Buddhists, temples and you have this kind of Buddhist temples, you have different monks, and I don't think they have anything to do with, like, the Buddhist church in the Japanese community. I think the teachings are probably the same but through a different... but Shinto is a very, it's a very strict religion. I remember when we visited Japan, we went to the top Shinto shrine, and we got blessed and the whole bit. And you really don't get, I don't think you get that as much with the Buddhist religion as much as you do with, like, the Shinto who made a lot of offerings and so...

RP: What was the focus of the Congregational church?

VI: It was Protestant.

RP: Protestant.

VI: Yeah, it's like Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational.

RP: Did religion play an important role in your life growing up?

VI: Not my life, but a lot of my friends that went to the Buddhist church, they had the baseball teams and the basketball teams and all that. It was from the church, you know. In fact --

RP: The church sponsored the teams?

VI: Right, right. So a lot of the different teams like the basketball teams were sponsored by the churches, the Methodist team, the Buddhist team.

RP: They provided your uniforms?

VI: Because a lot of times -- and they had the facilities so that there were a lot of sponsors, especially before the war anyway.

RP: They provided your uniforms?

VI: Yeah, I think so. Yeah.

RP: Equipment?

VI: Right.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2007 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.