Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: Miyuki Yasui Interview
Narrator: Miyuki Yasui
Interviewer: Margaret Barton Ross
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: October 10, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-ymiyuki-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

MR: This is an interview with Miyuki Yasui, a Nisei woman, seventy-seven years old, at her home in Portland, Oregon, on October 10, 2003. The interviewer is Margaret Barton Ross of the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center's Oral History Project 2003. Good afternoon and thank you for having us in your home.

MY: Good afternoon, Margaret.

MR: Can we start out talking about where you were born and when?

MY: I was born in South Pasadena, California, on September 18, 1926.

MR: Where is Pasadena in relation to Los Angeles?

MY: It's north of Los Angeles, maybe slightly northeast, but it's north.

MR: How many brothers and sisters did you have?

MY: I have two living sisters. I had a third sister who died before I was born.

MR: And what is your position in the family?

MY: I was, as my mother always reminds me, the baby of the family.

MR: And can you talk about your father?

MY: My father died when I was just a teenager, so I don't remember him well as an adult. But he came from Okinawa, and he came right after he graduated middle school. I believe he was about eighteen years old, and he went to Hawaii, first of all, and tried to earn a living there. But when he came to Hawaii, he left Japan with the idea of attending theological school. As far as I know, he never did, and he was not a faithful church attendee, so I don't know if that was just a way of getting over here or if that was really his intention.

MR: What did he do for work here?

MY: Well, when he went to Hawaii, he worked in the cane fields. He was a laborer, and almost all of his life, he did... he worked as a laborer. He was never a rich man, and I believe he traveled from job to job just to earn a living.

MR: What kind of labor did he do?

MY: In Hawaii, he worked in the cane fields. And we have some records that he may have taught his fellow workers some English because he apparently had studied English in school in Okinawa, and he was a little better off as far as the new language was concerned than his fellow workers, so he would spend his evenings helping his friends with the English language. When he finally came to the mainland, he worked on farms as laborers picking cantaloupes, working in agriculture. And when I came on the scene, he was working as a produce owner. My mother and father both worked in the fruit stand.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.