Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Helen Mori Interview
Narrator: Helen Mori
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Concord, California
Date: April 14, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-mhelen_2-01-0001

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RP: This is an oral history for the Manzanar National Historic Site. This morning we're talking with Helen Mori. And Helen and her husband Sam reside at 1377 Sussex Way in Concord, California. The date of our interview is April 14, 2010. And we'll be interviewing Helen about her experiences as a former internee at the Manzanar War Relocation Center and also be talking about her life before and after camp. Our interview will be archived in the site's library. Kirk Peterson is manning the camera and controls. Richard Potashin is our interviewer today. And, Helen, do I have permission to go ahead and record our interview?

HM: Oh, yes.

RP: Thank you very much for taking some time to, to go back in time a little, and explore World War II history with us. First of all, let's start with some, some basic biographical questions. Can you give us your given name at birth?

HM: Given name at birth? Yasuko Koide.

RP: And can you spell Koide for us?

HM: K-O-I-D-E.

RP: D-E, uh-huh. And where were you born and what year?

HM: Seaside Hospital in Long Beach, November 11, 1933.

RP: 1933, I just remembered, there was a large earthquake in 1933.

HM: That was before I was born.

RP: It wasn't that big was it?

HM: I was in... I was still inside, incubating. [Laughs]

RP: Okay. Do you have any knowledge of the meaning of your Japanese name?

HM: Yes, my... I was born on Armistice Day so they gave me the character for peace. When you write Yasuko, it means peace. And ko, they used for all girls. Ko, the character ko.

RP: How about your last name at that time, Koide? Does that have a meaning that you are aware of?

HM: I don't know because my father died when I was five and a half months old, so... and my mother never talked about stuff like that, so.

RP: He died when you were five and a half months old?

HM: Five and a half months old. Yeah, I was a little baby.

RP: Where did he come from in Japan?

HM: He's from this area in Sakaiminato, Tottori-ken, Japan. It's on the Japan Sea side of Japan.

RP: And can you give us his full name?

HM: Teiji, T-E-I-J-I, Koide. And I think he went by Edward or something. Which I found out way later. It was in a book. Somebody had written a book.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.