Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Mary Suzuki Ichino Interview I
Narrator: Mary Suzuki Ichino
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Pasadena, California
Date: July 17, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-imary-01-0001

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RP: This is an oral history interview for the Manzanar National Historic Site. This morning we're talking with Mary Ichino. And Mary lives at 545...

MI: Bellmore --

RP: Bellmore.

MI: -- Way.

RP: In Pasadena.

MI: Pasadena.

RP: In Pasadena, California.

MI: Right.

RP: The date of our interview is July 17, 2008. Our interviewer is Richard Potashin, our videographer is Kirk Peterson. And Mary will be sharing her recollections of life in the Los Angeles area, growing up in this area. And our discussion will be framed around her experiences and time spent at the Manzanar War Relocation Center as a former internee as well as an employee of the WRA working both in the camp and in Los Angeles for a WRA field office that opened there in 1945. Our interview will be archived in the site library. And Mary, do I have your permission to go ahead and record our interview?

MI: Yes, you do.

RP: Thank you so very much. It's been an honor to, to meet you and to get to know some of your family's stories relative to Manzanar. Our first question this morning is the personal question that always gets asked. And that's when you were born and what year?

MI: I was born in December the 9th, 1924.

RP: Okay. Were you born at home or in a hospital? Do you know?

MI: You know, I have no idea but I'm assuming it might have been at home. In those days I think it was basically midwives. So...

RP: And did we mention where you were born? Did you say?

MI:No. Stockton.

RP: Stockton, California.

MI: California.

RP: Okay. And do you recall your given name at birth?

MI: Yes, Mineko Suzuki.

RP: And some folks have an understanding of what their Japanese names mean...

MI: Mean.

RP: Do you?

MI: Well, when you write the word Mineko in Japanese calligraphy, it comes out "beautiful age." Or they call it, utsukushii itoshii. So I'm, I'm assuming that's the correct translation.

RP: How about your last name, Suzuki?

MI: I don't know, probably the same as Smith.

RP: Japanese Smith?

MI: Japanese Smith. More Smiths than Nakamuras and you could...

RP: And Tanakas.

MI: And Tanaka, yeah.

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