Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Kinge Okauchi Interview
Narrator: Kinge Okauchi
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Ridgecrest, California
Date: July 16, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-okinge-01-0001

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RP: This is an oral history for the Manzanar National Historic Site. Today we're talking with Kinge Okauchi.

KO: Uh-huh, yeah.

RP: Kinge lives at 353 Phillips Street in Ridgecrest, California. The date of the interview is July 16, 2008, the interviewer is Richard Potashin, and the videographer is Kirk Peterson. We'll be talking with Kinge about his experiences at, first, the Tanforan Assembly Center, and also the Topaz War Relocation Center, and later his experiences at the China Lake Naval Weapons Center. Kinge, thank you so much for sharing some time this morning. And we want to jump right into things here and talk a little bit about your early, early life, starting right with your birth. Tell us where you were born and what year.

KO: Well, I was born in Sacramento, California, in 1924. Probably somewhere near Old Town as it exists now. I don't exactly know where, 'cause I looked a few years ago to see if I could find a street name that was familiar from my own recollection and papers I may have had, but I couldn't find the street. I have a feeling that there's a parking lot where I was born. [Laughs] Anyway, I looked around, and it's a few blocks, probably a quarter of a mile from Old Town, what is now Old Town, is my guess. Because that's about where the street address that was on my birth certificate, at least -- I shouldn't say street address -- I don't remember if there was a street address. But there was a doctor's office or something mentioned. But they never gave real details on that, so I couldn't be sure.

RP: What was the month and day of your birth?

KO: That was in May, May the 20th.

RP: 1924.

KO: Yeah.

RP: And your given name at birth was Kinge Okauchi? You had no middle name?

KO: No middle name.

RP: And did you ever acquire an American name at all?

KO: No, never.

RP: Never used an American name.

KO: People would distort my first name, anywhere from Kay to Ken to Kinge, any combination of characters you want, including a college professor who couldn't ever pronounce my name properly. [Laughs] That was always convenient, because every time we had roll call, every now and then he'd do roll call, and every time he stumbled on a name, at the proper part of the alphabet, that would be me.

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