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https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1120/

An Opportunity to Learn more Japanese (Japanese)

In general, my parents only used Japanese at home, then once I married Amano it was Japanese more and more. I worked with him because he couldn’t really understand what he was reading in Spanish and English unless he put a lot of time and effort into reading it. He wasn’t that good at it, so he asked Mr. Okamoto if you know a young person who could help him to read.

I can't speak English or Japanese, but for some reason Okamoto-san chose me. He said he was desperate (laughs). I had never done a job like that before, having just graduated from girl's school. I didn't even study Japanese well enough in elementary school. What with the war and all, I didn't study at all. After that, people who may have been older than me had a home economics girl’s school. Those people were really good. But I’m all over the place. But at home we spoke Japanese, and once I married Amano we spoke in Japanese. We also had a lot of visitors from Japan. But I haven’t studied at all.

I*: So, which is more comfortable? Are you more at ease with Japanese than with Spanish? Which is more comfortable?

Well, it’s really bad manners, but it's better to use both. Hm, I wonder about that. I don’t really know, myself (laughs). I can’t speak either of them.

* "I" indicates an interviewer (Ann Kaneko).


generations languages Nisei Peru

Date: April 18, 2007

Location: Lima, Peru

Interviewer: Ann Kaneko

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Miyoko Amano (nee: Watanabe) is a Nikkei Nisei born in Lima, Peru. In 1954, she married Yoshitaro Amano, a businessman and a researcher of the Andes Civilization. Taking over the vision of her late husband, she is currently the President of Amano Museum—established from the Yoshitaro’s private collection of artifacts—renowned for its extensive research into the Cancay Culture. (October 2009)

Jane Aiko Yamano
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Jane Aiko Yamano

Japanese are more accustomed to foreigners

(b.1964) California-born business woman in Japan. A successor of her late grandmother, who started a beauty business in Japan.

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Richard Kosaki
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Richard Kosaki

Teaching at the military language school during World War II

(b. 1924) Political scientist, educator, and administrator from Hawai`i

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Art Shibayama
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Art Shibayama

Learning English upon discovering that family could not return to Peru

(1930-2018) Nisei born in Peru. Taken to the United States during WWII.

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Kimi Wakabayashi
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Kimi Wakabayashi

Her early life in Canada

(b.1912) Japanese Canadian Issei. Immigrated with husband to Canada in 1931

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Mitsuo Ito
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Mitsuo Ito

Japanese school

(b.1924) Japanese Canadian Nisei. Interpreter for British Army in Japan after WWII. Active in Japanese Canadian community

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Roy Hirabayashi
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Roy Hirabayashi

Learning Japanese at school and at home with family

(b.1951) Co-founder and managing director of San Jose Taiko.

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Francis Y. Sogi
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Francis Y. Sogi

Going to Japanese school

(1923-2011) Lawyer, MIS veteran, founder of Francis and Sarah Sogi Foundation

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Francis Y. Sogi
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Francis Y. Sogi

Feeling closer to Japan as a Japanese American

(1923-2011) Lawyer, MIS veteran, founder of Francis and Sarah Sogi Foundation

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Paula Hoyos Hattori
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Paula Hoyos Hattori

To think in one language and live in another (Spanish)

Sansei Argentinean

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Ryoko Hokama
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Ryoko Hokama

Initial struggles with the language barrier (Japanese)

(b. 1917) Okinawan, Issei Argentinean

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Kazuomi Takagi
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Kazuomi Takagi

Learning Spanish (Spanish)

(1925-2014) La Plata Hochi, Journalist

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Clifford Uyeda
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Clifford Uyeda

Japanese Language School

(1917 - 2004) Political activist

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Henry Suto
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Henry Suto

Working tirelessly after the war (Japanese)

(1928 - 2008) Drafted into both the Japanese Imperial Army and the U.S. Army.

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Hiroshi Sakane
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Hiroshi Sakane

On returning to post-war Peru (Japanese)

(b. 1948) Executive Director of Amano Museum

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Hiroshi Sakane
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Hiroshi Sakane

The find of the century: Chicras (Japanese)

(b. 1948) Executive Director of Amano Museum

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