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

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RP: This is an interview for the Manzanar National Historic Site. We're talking with Sam Mori this afternoon and Sam resides at 1377 Sussex Way in Concord, California. The date of the interview is April 14, 2010, videographer is Kirk Peterson, interviewer is Richard Potashin and we'll be discussing Mr. Mori's experiences as an internee at Santa Anita Assembly Center as well as the Jerome and Tule War Relocation Centers. Our interview will be archived in the Park's library and Sam can I have your permission to go ahead and do our interview?

OM: You do.

RP: Thank you so much for taking some time to share your stories with us this afternoon. Where were you born and what year?

OM: I was born in 1928 in San Pedro, California, at home, not in a hospital but at home. In the old days they had midwives or whatever.

RP: What was your given name at birth?

OM: Osamu Mori, Osamu, O-S-A-M-U.

RP: And where did you pick up the Sam?

OM: I think typical, lot of Japanese names, you know, they just dropped the first and last letters and you got Sam. There's a lot of others, people call me O-Sam and but basically Sam. For work it was much easier, all through life, teachers used to mispronounce your name and all that. It's easier to just go by Sam.

RP: Do you know what your Japanese first name means?

OM: Well, it's a funny... it means final, or peace, or ending. Osameru means "finish" and my dad thought I was the last one, then there was another one later on, an accident. [Laughs] My younger brother probably wouldn't like that but that's...

RP: So you should have switched names with him I guess?

OM: Pardon?

RP: You could've switched names with him.

OM: No, no.

RP: Then your younger brother, how many other siblings did you have in your family?

OM: I have a three brothers, three brothers, there were four of us, four boys and a sister. The sister is next to the top, my eldest brother passed away ten years... no, twenty years ago.

RP: Your eldest sister's name?

OM: Shizu, Shizuko. And she's still alive and I have two brothers, one immediately above me and then my younger brother.

RP: Can you give me their names?

OM: My brother above me is Hiroshi, Hiroshi, and my younger brother is Hideo. He also goes by Dale, D-A-L-E, you know, but Hideo was typical right? [Laughs]

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