Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Yo Shibuya Interview
Narrator: Yo Shibuya
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Chula Vista, California
Date: June 2, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-syo-01-0001

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RP: This is an oral history for the Manzanar National Historic Site. This afternoon we're talking with Yoshindo Shibuya.

YS: Yeah.

RP: And Yo lives at 285 Camino del Cero Grande in the town of Bonita, California. The date of our interview is June 2, 2010. The videographer is Kirk Peterson and the interviewer is Richard Potashin. We'll be talking with Yo about his experiences as a former internee at the Manzanar War Relocation Center with special emphasis on his musical career at Manzanar and afterwards. Our interview will be archived in the Park's library. And, Yo, do I have permission to go ahead and record this interview?

YS: Sure.

RP: Thank you very much for sharing some time with us. I really look forward to hearing some of your stories today. Let's start at the very beginning. Can you give us your full name at birth?

YS: Yoshindo Shibuya. Birthday August 23, 1927.

RP: And where were you born, Yo?

YS: Los Angeles, California.

RP: What part of Los Angeles?

YS: Excuse me, near Fourth, Fourth and San Pedro, yeah.

RP: Downtown.

YS: Downtown, yeah.

RP: Let's talk a little bit about your family background a little bit. First your father, what was his name?

YS: His name was Yokichi.

RP: Can you spell that for us?

YS: Yeah, Y-O-K-I-C-H-I, Shibuya.

RP: And where did your father come from in Japan?

YS: Wakayama. Yeah, prefecture of Wakayama.

RP: Wakayama is...

YS: Near Osaka, yeah.

RP: It's right on the coast.

YS; Yeah.

RP: Do you know anything about his early life in Japan?

YS: No, I really don't know. See, because when he passed away my mother was carrying me. So I never did, I never knew, I never knew my dad.

RP: Do you know, do you know when he came to the United States?

YS: Gee, I don't know. It must be, let's see, I would say sometime between 1915 and 1918, someplace in there. Because my oldest brother was born in 1920. Yeah, that's the only way I can figure it out.

RP: Do you know where your parents settled originally?

YS: Salt Lake City.

RP: Was your, what was your father doing for work there?

YS: I think he was working in the mines. They have a big, you know, in Salt Lake City they have a big mine, refinery there. So I, well, that's what I got from my mother anyway, that's what they told me, she told me, yeah.

RP: And, so your siblings, there was Koichi.

YS: Yeah. Koichi and my sister, next one is Kazue and my brother George and then myself.

RP: And everybody but you were born in Utah?

YS: Yeah, Utah.

RP: Did you ever have an English name at all? An American name?

YS: No. You know, it's funny, my brother George, of course George is also a name in Japan too, you know, George. So, I guess it works both ways, you know, he sort of lucked out.

RP: So your dad passed away when you were being carried by your mother.

YS: Yeah.

RP: Can, if it's not too personal, can you tell us how he passed away?

YS: Either from pneumonia or some.... back then they didn't have any antibiotics, you know. And that's as much as I know.

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