Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Jun Ogimachi Interview
Narrator: Jun Ogimachi
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Helendale, California
Date: June 3, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-ojun-01-0001

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

JO: That's right.

RP: And Jun lives at 15060 Bluegrass Lane or Court?

JO: Drive.

RP: Drive. Drive in Helendale, California. The date of our interview is June 3, 2010. Our interviewer is Richard Potashin, our videographer is Kirk Peterson. We'll be talking with Jun about his experiences at the Manzanar War Relocation Center during World War II, and our interview will be archived in the Park's library. Jun, do I have permission to go ahead and conduct our interview?

JO: Oh yes, yes.

RP: Thank you so much for sharing some time, sharing stories and your personal history. Tell us where you were born and what year.

JO: I was born in San Fernando, California, in 1928.

RP: And what month and day?

JO: May 26th.

RP: And what was your given name at birth?

JO: The name I have now, Jun, even though nowadays they call me Juno. [Laughs]

RP: Would you like me to refer to you as Juno?

JO: Oh yes, everybody calls me that now.

RP: Okay. And you never had an American name?

JO: No. In fact, none of my brothers or sister ever had an American name.

RP: Tell us what you know about your parents. First your father. Can you give us his name?

JO: My father's name was Tamuro and he was born in 1889. And he passed away when he, in V-E Day, 1945, when he got hit by a truck.

RP: And tell us a little bit about what you know about his life in Japan before he came to America.

JO: Well, I don't know too much about his life in Japan. But he was in the merchant marines and he was an oiler on tankers, they used to, the oiler used to lubricate all the different things on the... before and then after they got married he came. So I assume that he'd been through U.S. before, but I don't know for sure.

RP: Where, where was he born and raised in Japan?

JO: He was born in Hiroshima in Japan and he lived there. I don't know how many was in the family but I know he had a brother because my uncle was living in Los Angeles. And they were sent to Heart Mountain, his family.

RP: And what was his, what was the uncle's name?

JO: Satoru.

RP: So Satoru had come over here before your father?

JO: I have to assume that because the kids were a quite a bit older because he was an older brother. And so they were, he first started with a hog ranch but then the hogs got some kind of disease and they had to... it was by Long Beach and they just dug a hole and buried them all. So after that he was doing, selling fish. Going to all the different people's houses and things and selling fish. Other than that... after the war, I don't know what he did. Well, he was pretty old by then, too.

RP: Did your father's family live in the city of Hiroshima or outside?

JO: They're on the outskirts of the, of Hiroshima. They... actually, there's a church now that I visited about a few years back and it's over two hundred years old. And it's the original building and all that. They had moved a lot of the gravesites which was back up in the mountains and then put it right beside the temple. And that's the immediate family. I don't know about all the other people that were there. But that I have seen and it's something else to see. Yeah, you wouldn't believe some of the rock and the writing that's on there. It's in Japanese, but you know, it's pretty nice. But the church now is run by not the blood related, okay, because all of the people that are descended didn't want to do it anymore. So they had this other person that was real close and she lived in the church there. She was married to... and they took over. And the place is beautiful. I mean, it's different than a lot of churches I have seen and it's not the easiest thing to... if you drive up there, find out that it's not the easiest drive trying to get up that hill.

RP: Now is it your father's family that had descended from an ancient emperor of Japan?

JO: Yes. he's a fifteenth century and he was one of the poor emperors. So he wasn't... I don't know long he was there but he wasn't too long in there. And I don't think any of the descendents are, stayed with it. They all took off on their own. [Laughs]

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