Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Gloria Toshiko Imagire Interview
Narrator: Gloria Toshiko Imagire
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Sacramento, California
Date: October 17, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-igloria-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

RP: This is an oral history for the Manzanar National Historic Site. This afternoon we're talking with Gloria Imagire. And our interview is taking place at the United Methodist Church in Sacramento at 6949 Franklin Street. The date of the interview is October 17, 2008. Our interviewer today is Richard Potashin, and behind the camera is Kirk Peterson. We'll be talking with Gloria about her experiences during World War II as an internee at the Turlock Assembly Center, and later on at the Gila War Relocation Center in Arizona. Our interview will be archived in the National Park's Manzanar Historic Site library. Gloria, do I have your permission to go ahead and continue our interview?

GI: Sure.

RP: Okay. Thank you so much for sharing some time, going back a little ways and looking back into your family history and camp history. We'll start right at the beginning, very first important question, where were you born?

GI: Vacaville, California. It's just a little ways down from Sacramento.

RP: And what year?

GI: 1935.

RP: 1935. Did you also have a Japanese name at birth?

GI: Yes. Actually, my name was Toshiko Gloria Saika. And then after the war, or I don't know when it was, my mom changed it to Gloria Toshiko.

RP: Do you remember what your first and last Japanese names meant?

GI: What they meant? My mom told me Gloria, she named me after Gloria Swanson, you know, the Sunset Boulevard lady? And Toshiko, she named me after her very good childhood friend in Japan. And oh, maybe about four or five years ago, I was able to visit that lady in Japan. I wanted to go see, you know, who this lady was. And she was, by then, in her nineties, I think. And she was waiting for me, she had all this food, and I said, "Did you" -- you know, 'cause I know they do a lot of takeout. I said, "You didn't prepare these foods, did you?" And she says, "Oh, yeah, I did." So it was really emotional to finally get to meet my name person.

RP: And your last name?

GI: It used to be Saika.

RP: Saika?

GI: Uh-huh, that was my maiden name.

RP: Does that have a meaning as well? I think everything does.

GI: Well, you know, my father was -- no, my grandfather was a yoshi, you know in Japan how they used to do that? The oldest son got everything, and so the second son would go to another family.

RP: Take the name.

GI: And he did go to this other family, and Saika, I guess, in this Wakayama... when I went to Japan, I saw that there's a section called Saika. And it's, the Buddhist minister told me, he says, "Oh, that's a famous name in Buddhist history." Because that clan kept something from happening. So, but I always say, "But that's not my, really, real... that's the one my grandfather went into." But, so I guess it's a well-known name in that part of Japan.

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