Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Henry Nishi Interview II
Narrator: Henry Nishi
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Santa Monica
Date: April 8, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-nhenry_2-02-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

RP: This is a continuation of an oral history with Henry Nishi for the Manzanar National Historic Site. This is part B of our interview. The date is April 8, 2009. And we're at Henry's residence, 3002 16th Street, Santa Monica, California. The interviewer is Richard Potashin. Our videographer behind the camera is Kirk Peterson and our interview will be archived in the Park's library. Henry, do I have permission to go ahead and continue our interview today?

HN: Yes.

RP: Thank you very much. It's good to see you again. And, we're kind of, we're gonna pick up, go back a little bit just before the war and talk about your father's nursery a little bit more, and then we're gonna move back into Manzanar.

HN: Okay.

RP: I'd like to get a sense from you, you told us earlier that, that your father had a rose growing operation in the San Fernando Valley?

HN: Right.

RP: And can you give us an idea of how extensive that was and what happened to it?

HN: Yeah, it was quite extensive. It was 100 acres of roses and they were for, for the retail market. It was sold to nurseries. He was a grower and they were sold, dug up in the wintertime and sold as bare root rose bushes and rose trees and climbing roses.

RP: Where was the, the rose operation located in the valley?

HN: It's the northern San Fernando Valley, place called Pacoima.

RP: Did your, was your father in charge of that or did he have someone else kind of supervising it for him?

HN: Yeah, my uncle.

RP: Aki?

HN: Yeah, exactly.

RP: And he, that was his, that was his baby, was it?

HN: Yeah, uh-huh.

RP: The rose area. And how profitable or non-profitable was, was that rose operation? Did it continue through...

HN: It was, it was profitable in the beginning. Then as competition grew stiffer, of course, it fizzled out. And some of the bigger growers, of course, took over most of the business.

RP: What happened to, to the operation, did you phase it out eventually?

HN: That area, most of that area went into truck farming, vegetables. And my uncle kept, he went into vegetable farming.

RP: On the same acreage?

HN: Yeah, uh-huh. I think he grew a lot of cantaloupe and that type of, that type of thing.

RP: Tell us what you recall about Aki as an uncle, his personality. What struck you about him the most?

HN: Well, he was a very quiet person and I guess he liked, he loved farming. He was, he was a very quiet person.

RP: Did he marry?

HN: Yeah, he was married and had three children.

RP: And where did he live? Did he live in the San Fernando Valley?

HN: He lived on the property. Yeah. There was a home on the property.

RP: And was he successful as a truck farmer on that land?

HN: Well, I would say he made a living. [Laughs] Yeah. Farming, truck farming was, in my opinion, it was, as a farmer, we didn't have too much control as far the wholesale market was concerned. The, I guess it was the brokers that took, that sold the farming... vegetables and the crop, they more or less gave you what, what they wanted to give you. It seemed to me that's the way it went.

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