Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Alfred "Al" Miyagishima Interview
Narrator: Alfred "Al" Miyagishima
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: May 13, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-malfred-01-0001

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TI: Okay, so today is Tuesday, May 13, 2008, and we're in Denver. My name is Tom Ikeda, and I'm the interviewer. On camera we have Kirk Peterson with the National Park Service, and we're doing this interview for the National Park Service, it's the Manzanar National Historic Site in partnership with Densho: the Japanese American Legacy Project. So this is a partnership. And so today we have Albert Miyagishima as our person. So Albert -- or Alfred, I'm going to start at the very beginning, I'm sorry. So can you tell me your full name when you were born?

AM: Well, Alfred Shunji Miyagishima, born in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, December 2, 1926.

TI: And do you know why you were named Alfred?

AM: Yeah. Nobody ever told me, but we used to have a summer visitor who was a professor at the University of Georgia, and they used to come to Scottsbluff every summer, and him and his brother George and his, Alfred's wife, I believe one of 'em was a professor, his brother was a dentist. And one of 'em, I can't remember which, used to teach Japanese school in the summer. And I really don't know what the relationship was with other people there or whatever, but I think I was probably named for him.

TI: Okay, that's good. And then the Shunji, where did that come from?

AM: My brother's name is Shunichi, and I guess "Shun" is more of the given name, "ichi" is the first son, "jun," "ji" is the second son, so my brother's name is the "first son," "ichi," Shunichi, and I'm Shunji.

TI: Okay, good. So you talked about your older brother, let's talk about all your siblings. And so why don't you start with the oldest, and why don't you give me their name and then kind of their order.

AM: Yeah. My, the oldest one was Mabel Chizuko, she was born, I think, the same day as my wife, I mean, the date, September 17, 1920. I believe that I may have had two brothers that were born after that, but both of 'em succumbed to the flu epidemic and/or the diarrhea epidemic at that time. And my other brother, Eddie, Edward, he was born in 1924, and Ed passed away when he was fifty years old, so I guess, was that '75, I think, 1975 he passed away. Then came myself in 1926, I have a sister after that, Gladys Tokiye, and she was born in 1930, and she is deceased, she passed away last year. And then I had Aiko, Jean is her English name, and I think she was born in '32, if I'm not mistaken. Then I have one other sister, her name is Becky, and she was born in '36. And she is living in California at the present time.

TI: That's good; that's quite a memory, to go through not only all the names, but all the dates.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.