Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Lois Yuki Interview
Narrator: Lois Yuki
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Sacramento, California
Date: December 17, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-ylois-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

RP: This is a oral history interview for the Manzanar National Historic Site. And this afternoon we're talking with Lois Asahara Yuki. And our interview is taking place at the Sacramento Japanese United Methodist Church on 6929 Franklin Boulevard in Sacramento. Our interviewer is Richard Potashin and our videographer is Kirk Peterson. And we'll be talking about Lois' experiences at Tule Lake, also going back to Japan with her family, and returning to the United States in 1957. Our interview will be archived in the Park's library. And Lois, do I have permission to go ahead and record our interview?

LY: Yes.

RP: Thank you very much for coming today and sharing your story which seems to be getting larger and larger all the time. First of all, we're gonna talk a little bit about your family background, but let's start with you. Can you give us your date of birth and where you were born?

LY: I was born on September 13, 1944.

RP: And where was that?

LY: In Newell, California, Tule Lake, internment camp.

RP: Let's go back and talk about your family background a little. Who's the first member of your family to come from Japan to the United States?

LY: My mother's side would be my great-great-grandfather. He came in 1900 and went to Pocatello, Idaho, to work on the railroad.

RP: And what was his name?

LY: His name is Jusuke Kuwabara.

RP: And how long did he stay in the United States? Did he...

LY: Well, unfortunately he passed away November, 1900.

RP: In the United States?

LY: Right. If I remember right, I think he arrived in June.

RP: Do you know what happened to him?

LY: Well, I understand that you know, they had an accident on the railroad. So, but many years after, they sent the ash to Japan, to Hiroshima.

RP: Where, that's where he was from?

LY: Right.

RP: And who sent the ashes? Was it the railroad company?

LY: Well, minister, Reverend Tsuda, helped our grandparents which, I mean, would be my grandma Hisa Seno's father. So Florin Methodist minister, Japanese minister, Reverend Tsuda, he helped them to get their ash and then send it back to Japan.

RP: And were there other members of the Seno family that came later?

LY: Yes. My, my grandfather, Tokumatsu Seno, came to Florin, California in 19-, excuse me, 1899, he came to Florin. Then ten years later he went back to Hiroshima, Japan, to find his wife. So my grandmother, Hisa Kuwabara, married on September 10, 1910. So...

RP: Were they married in Japan?

LY: Right, in Hiroshima.

RP: Hiroshima.

LY: So Grandfather was there about one year, so, nineteen... let's see, 1899 to 1910. So, nineteen... let's see... soon after, oh, if I remember right maybe went back 1909, excuse me. And...

RP: So he spent a year...

LY: -- came back. Right, one year and then he came back --

RP: Came back with his wife.

LY: -- for one year after he got married. Then Grandmother Hisa Seno came back nineteen... I mean, came to United States 1913. It was February 13th. And then moved to Florin, California.

RP: So your grandfather Seno had a, what was, what type of farming work did he do in Florin?

LY: He was raising strawberries and Tokay grapes. And then before he went back (to Hiroshime, Japan, in 1909), he built the house. And his neighbor helped him, Mr. Hara.

RP: Did he own his own land at that point, at that time?

LY: At that, I'm sure he did but I don't know when he purchased... oh, I know what. I'm, if I remember right, he leased. Then after children came he purchased the lands under children's name.

RP: Did either of your grandparents on your mother's side, Seno family, did they ever...

LY: The oldest is my mother, Masako Frances Seno. And then second oldest is Florence, I mean Fusaye Florence Seno. Then third one is Yukie Elsie Seno. And then fourth one is Misayo Nellie Seno, then my uncle, Masashi Alvin Seno. And then Auntie is, oh Shigeko Josephine Seno. And then very last one is Mary Seno, and she didn't have a Japanese name.

RP: She didn't?

LY: I don't know why. [Laughs]

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