Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Nellie Mitani Interview
Narrator: Nellie Mitani
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Pasadena, California
Date: February 5, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-mnellie-01-0003

<Begin Segment 3>

RP: Yeah, you mentioned your sister. Maybe this would be a good time to share with us your other, your other siblings.

NM: Okay.

RP: There was your older daughter.

NM: Yes, the oldest was --

RP: I'm sorry, I mean, sister.

NM: -- Mariyo.

RP: And, can you spell that?

NM: M-A-R-I-Y-O. That's one of the spellings. She had various ways while going to school.

RP: Uh-huh. And how much older was she than you?

NM: I think about two, two and a half years older.

RP: Then you were next. And who came after you?

NM: Connie. And she's, she's the, still well. And she ended up to be a teacher in kindergarten. And after that is Marchie, M-A-R-C-H-I-E. She was born in March and her name was Machie, M-A-C-H-I-E. But I think the Caucasian friends thought (it) sounds so much like March and she was born in March, we should call her Marchie. And so she got that name.

RP: Did Connie have a Japanese name, too?

NM: Yeah, well, Kaneye, which sounds quite similar, so, yes. K-A-N-E-Y-E.

RP: And then you, your brother came next.

NM: Yes. He was Lita. They anglicized his Japanese name to L-I-T-A. But in, it should have been spelled R-A-I-T-A, which means thunder and lightning. Yeah, and he was born in July and we had those terrible thunder, electric storms. And, the, Tom's father was living with us at that time. And so he gave my brother that name, chose that name. In Japanese it's thunder and lightning. But he is real quiet. [Laughs] Well, he had six sisters, you know. So he couldn't be very rambunctious.

RP: Poor guy. And then, Tome? Tomie?

NM: Yes, she was the youngest.

RP: And did she have an English name?

NM: No, I guess she always went by T-O-M-I. But in Japanese it would be spelled T-O-M-I-E. And then there was a sister who passed away between Machi and my brother Lita.

Off Camera: When she was thirteen?

NM: She died at thirteen or so. And her name was M-O-R-I-E...

RP: M-O-R...

NM: Morie.

RP: Morie.

NM: Uh-huh.

RP: You mentioned the, some of the meanings behind --

NM: The names?

RP: -- the names. How about your name?

NM: The Nari is written to mean "growth" or, I don't know whether, to become something. That kind of a growth. I guess. I guess that's what... Narie.

RP: How about your last name? Your maiden name Okazaki?

NM: Okazaki. Oka is a hill. And zaki, zaki means sort of like the tip, the point. I think that's, I hope that's the correct interpretation. But I think that's what... and Oka could also mean something else, I don't know. But that's what I think it was.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.