Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Shig Kaseguma Interview
Narrator: Shig Kaseguma
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: November 6, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-kshig-01-0007

<Begin Segment 7>

RP: Shig, let's go back and talk a little bit about your mother. What was her name?

SK: Kikuyo.

RP: Kikuyo?

SK: Yeah, Kikuyo.

RP: And you said that your dad returned to Japan.

SK: Yeah, to bring her back.

RP: Bring her back. So initially, pictures were exchanged. "Picture wife."

SK: Yeah, they all were "picture wife."

RP: Uh-huh, and then so that was arranged and then he went --

SK: It was arranged marriage. (...)

RP: Did they get married in Japan or in the United States?

SK: I think they were married in Japan, 'cause he went back there so constantly, I think, yeah, they were married.

RP: Kikuyo, did she live in the same general area as your father?

SK: Well, I never knew, but I don't think they were. But I think they knew of each other. But they might have... they never discussed those things. I don't know why they never said that, "Dad lived there close to me and we fell in love," or something like that. Never happened.

RP: It seemed like love was the last thing on people's minds in that case. Do you know much about her family in Japan? Was she well-educated?

SK: Well, yeah, I don't know if she was well-educated. But I thought that after the war, we found out, they never talked about... well, they talked about they had family, my mother's family. But my mother's brother was a colonel in the air force. And when the war ended, we had a hard time, or she had a hard time trying to figure out where in the world they settled. Because they didn't really have a home. He was a colonel in the air force, so they were always near the airport. So we had a hard time finding them. And I was told to look for them, but it was almost impossible. Because there were thousands of people like that, displaced persons. So, finally, I guess they found out after I came back from Japan, we found out where they were. And now (...) we became very close after that. And we corresponded quite a bit and I went to see them a couple of times. And it was kind of fun to think they were blood relatives, mother's side. So I knew about the other father's side, because I took a leave when I was in Japan servicing. And I was in Kyoto, stationed in Kyoto then, but I went over to see them (on) a three-day pass. And of course, they were shocked to see me because I couldn't correspond (with) them. And here, I walk into the door, and tell them who I am. [Laughs] So it was kinda nice. All the kids were young, too.

RP: Tell us a little bit about your mother. From again, a child's perspective, growing up.

SK: My mother?

RP: Yeah.

SK: Well, she was a kindly person, a very kind person. Very handy. Not a good cook, but palatable, anyway. But she sewed everything. Of course, they all did. In those days, everybody, all women learned how to sew. She was pretty good at it.

RP: She make all your own clothes?

SK: Not the men's clothes. The girls, all the girls' clothes she made. I think they all did, every family. Just about, unless they couldn't do, make anything. But she was a very kindly person as I remember. Scared of my dad, if he... [laughs] But...

RP: Your dad would have these fits of anger?

SK: Yeah, but he was gone most of the time and so she was safe from that. Although he was pretty prolific after he got six kids. [Laughs]

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2007 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.