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_2-01-0002

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RP: I'd like to talk a little bit about your father first. Can you give us his full name?

HN: It's Kuiichiro Nishi.

RP: Could you spell his first name?

HN: K-U-I-I-C-H-I-R-O. Kuiichiro.

RP: Can you tell us where in Japan your father came from?

HN: He came from, I guess you would call it, Wakayama-ken is the state in Japan. And it's the middle part of Wakayama-ken, inland from, from the coast.

RP: That's the main island?

HN: Yeah, the main island, Honshu.

RP: And I imagine that you've... have you visited that area...

HN: Yeah.

RP: ...where your dad grew up?

HN: Yeah.

RP: And what, can you describe what it's like to us? Is it a mountainous region or a coastline?

HN: It's a, it's a very mountainous region. Beautiful country. They lived on the hillside. And at the bottom of the, it's like a canyon there, was a famous creek. It's Kokawa, Kokawa Creek.

RP: Can you spell that?

HN: K-O-K-A-W-A, Kokawa.

RP: Kokawa.

HN: It was famous for, they have a fishing, a freshwater fish in Japan called... it's almost like a trout, but it's not a trout, but it's something like a trout. Yeah. Very small, it's smaller than a trout, actually. Yeah, it's very, it's a delicacy.

RP: And, what, what are the economic background of that area? What...

HN: It's citrus, citrus. And the citrus, it's, they call a mikan. It's actually tangerine.

RP: A special type of tangerine?

HN: Yeah, the... yeah. Their grounds were, were tangerine farms.

RP: Your, your father's family was...

HN: Yeah.

RP: the, in that growing business?

HN: Yeah.

RP: Uh-huh. So, where is the, is his farm or home still there?

HN: Yeah, it is still there. 'Cause while my dad was in this country -- because he was the only son -- he went back several times to repair the house. And I think at one point he did rebuild it. So, when I visited the house, it was pretty nice. That was right after the war when I was in the service. And I was stationed in, in Tokyo. I went, I went there a couple of times.

RP: You say he was the only son. Did he have any sisters?

HN: He had a sister but the sister was, I think it was, I'm not sure, yeah, I think it was adopted sister because, because I was the only son. There was another, there was another adopted... no, not myself, himself... my father's sister. 'Cause I was born here, so... yeah. I'm referring to my father had a sister, but she was adopted by the family.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.