Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Isao Kikuchi
Narrator: Isao Kikuchi
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: May 15, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-kisao-01-0001

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RP: This is an oral history for the Manzanar National Historic Site, and today is May 15, 2009, and we're speaking with Isao Kikuchi. Isao resides at 1710 South Carmelina in West Los Angeles, and Kirk Peterson is manning the camera this morning. Richard Potashin is, myself, is conducting the interview, and we'll be talking with Isao about his experiences as an internee at the Manzanar War Relocation Center, with a special emphasis on his volunteer experience at the camp and later relocating out of camp to Chicago. Our interview will be archived in the Site library, and Isao, do I have permission to go ahead and conduct our interview?

IK: Of course.

RP: Thank you so much for your time, and can I refer to you as Isao?

IK: Please.

RP: Okay, tell us a little bit about your personal background, first of all, your birth date and where you were born.

IK: Born in Los Angeles in the middle of what is now Korea Town, which is just out central, downtown, but it's... well, it's Korea Town, everybody knows where Korea Town is.

RP: And the date of your birth?

IK: December 9, 1921.

RP: And what was your given name at birth, Isao?

IK: That was it. I-S-A-O.

RP: And you never took an American name?

IK: No, that was my father's, that's his wish, and I accepted, or I had no reason not to, just to go with it. I didn't know any better.

RP: Do you have insight into the meaning of your name, your first name and last name?

IK: What?

RP: Your, the meaning of your first name?

IK: Well, my father once told me when I was a young kid that it meant "bravery," and I've never questioned it. I didn't know what it was all about. I had it and that was it.

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