Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: George Hara Interview
Narrator: George Hara
Interviewer: Loen Dozono
Date: February 5, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-hgeorge_2-01-0022

<Begin Segment 22>

LD: One of the most important things listening to what you said was about how things always work out. Just like to go back and clarify just a couple of little details for the record. I think you were talking about your parents, but we just forgot to put their names in. Their names?

GH: The names, on my father's side, my father's father's name would be my great-grandfather or grandfather, no. My father's father is my grandfather, huh? Yeah. That's right, grandfather. His name is... just a minute now, Magoemon. Okay. You mentioned, you know, I didn't talk about my father's side. Well, here it is. My father's father's name in Japan was Magoemon. That's a mouthful of Japanese first name. It has a samurai sort of a connotation, and yet he had no samurai background. He was a farmer. And my father's mother was named Soyo, and I don't even have the names of my father's sisters. But for some reason, my father never kept close contact with his side of the family, and I don't know the story there.

On my mother's side, my mother's mother was Kichiro Kojima -- no, that's the father, I guess. My mother's father is Kura Nishikawa was my mother's mother's name, and I know a little bit more about her side of the family. She kept in touch. There was a Suzuki, Toyama, and Koshijima. And there's, as I said, were merchant oriented, and I think there were tiny little shop in Yokohama. Anyway, that's the background from Japan. Father's name, oh, my father's name, okay. Start again.

My father's father was Magoemon, and that same fancy name carried over to my dad. His name was Ginosuke. When he came over to America, some of his American friends referred to him as Frank, Frank Hara. Anyway, Ginosuke, that's sort of typical of that generation, giving them pretty fancy first names, and I was named Shigeru. And that's an interesting thing because I was, that's the name on my birth certificate, and yet when I went to grade school, and they changed it to George, so I went to grade school as George, Shattuck as George. So my friends growing up in the South Portland area knew me as George. When I went in the army, you sign your, you know, name. I'm thinking what name shall I put. Just put the name on your birth certificate, and the name was Shigeru, so I went through the army as Shigeru Hara. And so I tell my grandkids when these memorials come up that I might be on, look for Shigeru Hara not George. They might think I'm, you know, giving a bunch of BS. Anyway, I had it legally changed to George Shigeru Hara or George S. Hara, and that was my professional name.

LD: That's great and thank you so for clarifying that.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.