Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mary Iwasaki Interview
Narrator: Mary Iwasaki
Interviewer: Lynn Fuchigami Longfellow
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: November 14, 2013
Densho ID: denshovh-imary_2-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

LL: Today is Thursday, November 14, 2013, and we're in Portland, Oregon. Observing in the room is Kim Blair from Oregon Nikkei Endowment, behind the camera is Ian McCluskey, and I'm Lynn Longfellow who will be interviewing you. And this is being done as part of the Oregon Nikkei Endowment's Minidoka Oral History Project. So let's begin with when and where you were born.

MI: What was that again?

LL: When and where you were born.

MI: Oh, when. 11/16/23 in Portland.

LL: And do you know where in Portland you were born? Were you born in a hospital?

MI: Am I supposed to know that? Yeah, I was born in the hospital, but I can't tell you which one. Must be St. Vincent, that was the only big hospital around.

LL: And was that... was that located in the same part of the community?

MI: It was in Northwest Portland.

LL: And where were your parents living at that time?

MI: They were living in a hotel fairly close by, but I can't tell you... I can't tell you chapter and verse as to where they were, but they were in a hotel that my dad had bought, but not right in Nihonmachi, kind of on the edge.

LL: Edge of Nihonmachi or what used to be Japantown?

MI: According to what I remember, I just... this is the wrong time for you guys to ask me these questions because ten years ago I think I would have known a little bit more. [Laughs]

LL: So what was the name given to you at birth?

MI: Just Mary.

LL: And your last name?

MI: Was Furusho.

LL: Furusho.

MI: Uh-huh.

LL: And was there any significance to the name Mary?

MI: No, I think it's just a very common name that my folks decided to name me, because my brother was named George, was another very common name. I don't think there's any particular significance to either name.

LL: It was a familiar name.

MI: Very much so.

LL: So let's talk a little bit about your family, and start with your father. Your father's name?

MI: His name was Suyekichi Furusho, but he also added George to his name somewhere along the line, and I can't tell you where, but all of a sudden his papers had "George" in front of Suyekichi, so I think it was just an acquired name.

LL: Took an American name.

MI: I think so.

LL: And where was he from?

MI: Kumamoto.

LL: Kumamoto. So he was born in Kumamoto?

MI: Yes, he was.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2013 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.