Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: Toshio Inahara Interview
Narrator: Toshio Inahara
Interviewer: Dane Fujimoto
Date: February 3, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-itoshio-01-0001

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TI: My name is Toshio Inahara. I am a Nisei, and my occupation is in the field of medicine, and by training, I am a vascular surgeon. My father came from Japan from a small village called Shimoda in Gifu-ken. He was born in 1889 of a family of four sons and two daughters. He was the youngest of the boys. He first came to America in 1907 at the age of seventeen or eighteen. He came through Mexico as I understand for a short time and came to Washington to be with his older brother who had already been here for some time, and he worked in a lumber mill, and so my father joined him. They were here for several years, and his older brother, Takashiro, returned to Japan before my father. I don't know how long my father stayed, but I can recall him talking about fishing in the streams around there using a grocery string in the fishhook. So he learned how to fish very young. As a matter of fact, he lived right next to a stream called the Nagara River in Gifu which is known and quite famous for cormorant fishing or called ukai, and I have been fortunate enough to see this event on two different occasions. The Nagara River is fairly large and is a beautiful stream that's clear, rocky bottom, and this is where he grew up.

After he returned to Japan, we really don't know what he did, but he did go to Kyoto, and he became an apprentice to learn, make Japanese confections, and he stayed with us for quite some time because he next returned to America in 1919. So somewhere between the time he returned to Japan and the time he returned to America, he learned this trade, and he was very good at it. He was married in 1919, and they both returned to Seattle in 1920. I was born the following year. My father worked in a kashiya in Seattle, the name of Sagamiya, and he stayed here for I believe two years, and then he moved to Portland and worked in a kashiya here. I believe it was run by a family named Hiromura, and he was here for another two years I believe, here in Portland. My second brother was born named Ken, Kenji. He then returned to Japan for a short period in 1925 where my third brother, Yosh, was born. And after several months, he returned to Seattle again and then moved to Tacoma where he opened his own shop, and the shop was called Fugetsu. And by this time, I was four or five years old, and I remember quite well. As a matter of fact, I can still recall meeting my maternal grandparents when we were back there in 1925. Unfortunately, I was never able to meet my paternal grandmother, and we have a photo of her which was taken on her 88th birthday, and she died the following year. The kashiya that he opened in Tacoma was located as I recall, I still remember the address, it was 1510 Broadway. And this was in the Japanese town because there were quite a few Japanese businesses and many people lived there. I think the main reason was the lumber mills.

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