Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Annie Sakamoto Interview
Narrator: Annie Sakamoto
Interviewer: Alisa Lynch
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: August 12, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-sannie-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

AL: This is an oral history for the Manzanar National Historic Site. We're interviewing Ann Sakamoto today. This interview is taking place in room 301 at Main Street Station Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. It's August 12, 2009. The interviewer is Alisa Lynch and the videographers are Kirk Peterson and Nancy Hadlock. Annie will be discussing her experiences as a former internee at Manzanar War Relocation Center and as a resident of the Children's Village orphanage at Manzanar. And this interview will be archived in our site library. And I just want to confirm that we have your permission to interview you and to use the information --

AS: Yes.

AL: -- for education and research?

AS: Yes.

AL: Okay. Could you give me your full name?

AS: Annie Kaoru, K-A-O-R-U, Shiraishi, S-H-I-R-A-I-S-H-I, Sakamoto, S-A-K-A-M-O-T-O.

AL: Excellent. And when and where were you born?

AS: Was born in Los Angeles, East L.A. in the Japanese hospital which is no longer there.

AL: Okay. Is that the one in Boyle Heights?

AS: Yes. I understand it was demolished years ago.

AL: And what date were you born, and year?

AS: January the seventeenth, 1939.

AL: Okay. Could you give me your parents' full names?

AS: My father, I don't know the, the name. My mother was Jane Shiraishi, S-H-I-R-A-I-S-H-I. And then she married and her last name is Yata, Y-A-T-A.

AL: Okay. What do you know about your mother's background? Do you when she was born or where?

AS: I believe she was born in 1928, somewhere in there. And she was twenty-seven when I was born. She was a gardener's helper and when she had me she, obviously I was born early, two pounds, and I was born cesarean. So apparently I stayed in the hospital for several months. So when I was born the government asked her, they, she would like be, retain me when I came out? And she said, "Absolutely not." So she didn't want to see me again.

AL: And your parents, I mean, your father and your mother, could you explain a little bit the unusual circumstance of how you came to be?

AS: Yes, my father was a gardener. He had a marketing business. He had like five kids. They were kind of in their teen age. And, of course, a wife, and he and my mother had like a one night stand. And as a result I came along. So I was just telling people, "Don't have a one stand affair." [Laughs] Because I obviously was one of them. So my father's family didn't know nothing about me. He didn't want them to know 'cause obviously he was married and here he has a baby. 'Cause, well, my mother told him naturally. So, he didn't, he didn't want his family to know so he didn't want me to come into his family when I came out of the hospital.

AL: And your mother, do you, she was living with his family? Or they just worked together?

AS: They worked together and then when she had me then they separated completely and they didn't see each other.

AL: Okay. Was your mother Issei or Nisei?

AS: She would be considered... well, she came from Japan so she would be Issei and I'm Nisei.

AL: Okay. Do you know anything about where she came from in Japan or her family's history?

AS: I don't know about the exact city. She was a seamstress. And she did go to high school at Belmont High School in Los Angeles. She did not go to college but she, I believe high school was her, her highest education.

AL: Do you know how old she was when she came to the U.S. approximately?

AS: That I do not know.

AL: Okay. And do you have your father's name, what his name was?

AS: I have it, but it's... I just don't want... his name is not on my birth certificate. It just says, "Father unknown."

AL: Okay, okay.

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