Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Henry Nishi Interview I
Narrator: Henry Nishi
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Santa Monica, California
Date: January 8, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-nhenry_2-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

RP: -- the Manzanar National Historic Site. This afternoon we're talking with Henry Nishi. Henry lives at 3002 Sixteenth Street in Santa Monica, California. The date of our interview is January 8, 2009. Our videographer is Kirk Peterson and our interviewer is Richard Potashin. We'll be discussing Henry's experiences as an internee at the Manzanar War Relocation Center during World War II. We'll also be talking with him about both his father's and his experiences landscaping and in horticulture in the West Los Angeles area. Our interview will be archived in the Manzanar park site library. And Henry, do I have permission to go ahead and continue -- do our interview?

HN: Okay.

RP: Thank you very much for sharing some time, kind of in short notice. We just talked to you yesterday.

HN: Okay.

RP: We very much appreciate having you, having your stories. Tell me, where... your birth date?

HN: 3/20/19.

RP: '19? 1919?

HN: Yeah.

RP: And where were you born?

HN: On, in Los Angeles.

RP: Uh-huh.

HN: In mid-town Los Angeles.

RP: Uh-huh. Where were your, what were your parents doing at that time?

HN: They were in the nursery and flower business.

RP: And they had a florist, florist and a nursery business on Wilshire Boulevard at that time?

HN: Right.

RP: Wilshire and do you know what other street there?

HN: Yeah, it's right around Normandie. Yeah, just east of Western Avenue.

RP: Was that, was that their very first nursery and florist shop in...

HN: Yeah.

RP: West Los Angeles?

HN: Yeah. I think they started business there in 1905.

RP: So they'd been pretty established.

HN: Yeah.

RP: And your, your given name at birth?

HN: Is Henry Kenichi Nishi.

RP: Can you spell Kenichi for us?

HN: K-E-N-I-C-H-I.

RP: And where did, where did the name Henry come along? Was it given to you at school or...

HN: No. Actually, that name was given to me prior to starting school, kindergarten. [Laughs] Yeah.

RP: A little easier than Kenichi.

HN: Yeah.

RP: Kenichi Nishi sounds kind of poetic, but...

HN: It sounds what?

RP: It sounds kind of poetic.

HN: [Laughs] "Ken" is the, the letter "ken" is, like I said, means "health."

RP: And ichi would be one.

HN: One, yeah. Yeah.

RP: How about the name Nishi? Does that have any...

HN: Well it's the, it means, "nishi" is "west." And I think that's the only, only definition for nishi is, is west. Pertains to the direction.

RP: And were you born at, at your parents' home?

HN: Yeah.

RP: Did they ever tell you, was it a midwife or a doctor?

HN: It was a midwife, yeah.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.