Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: Dan Hinatsu Interview
Narrator: Dan Hinatsu
Interviewer: Betty Jean Harry
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: March 7, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-hdan-01-0002

<Begin Segment 2>

BH: Now tell me about your mother, what was her name?

DH: Chiye Miyagawa. She was born in, my dad was born in 1890, and she was born in 1893.

BH: And what sort of work did your mother's family do in Japan?

DH: They had a rice paddy, and the broker in rice, that type of thing.

BH: And you said she had an opportunity to become educated?

DH: Yes, she was educated before, and she waited for Dad to get there. [Laughs] The interesting part of Dad going over to get married in 1918 during the flu epidemic, and he caught the flu on the ship, and during the ship, he got so bad they put him into the morgue area, I mean, where they all were... and then somehow he woke up and he saw all the dead people around him, then they found him down there, so they took him out and they put him in the hospital and it took him five months to recuperate. And then after that, a few months, they got married and brought Mom back here. That was in 1918.

BH: So they were married in Japan and then came over here.

DH: Married in Japan and came. I still have his passport that he came back on.

BH: So tell me, what were your parents like? How would you describe their personalities?

DH: Well, my dad was sort of on the quiet side, but he does a lot of things. He invented a cultivator which has a patent for it, he's got a couple other patents. And he loved farming, everything he did was... I don't know how he learned to do all those things, but he had a truck and tractor on the farm. The second farm he had, he had four horse and two cows, pigs, chickens, rabbit, cat and dog. [Laughs] Yeah, he was pretty well... he was quiet, strict. But when we did something wrong, he'd just give us a big stare and that was it. [Laughs] We settled down after that.

BH: And how about your mother? What was she like?

DH: Well, she's the one that complained a lot. We just sort of teased her and everything, but she raised us well. She kept us in line.

BH: What were your parents like when times were good?

DH: They were happy, and everything was doing well. Then hard times came during the early '30s, during the Depression, people came to stay with us. And then after that, they had the dry years, about three years of it, and everything, he planted, it just dried up. But he sort of managed and kept us going with fruit and everything, vegetables stored in the barn, in the cellar, which kept us going through the winter. So a survival thing.

BH: When you were a kid, did they own the land that they were farming?

DH: No, my dad rented most of the time. Later, he wanted to buy, but people didn't want to sell, and during the Depression, they wanted to sell it to him, and he didn't have the money to buy, and decided he had to use my brother to sign the papers for owning the land, because those days you can't, Isseis couldn't own the land.

BH: But your brother being born here was an American citizen.

DH: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2014 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.