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Life Philosophy

You know, almost 50 years in business since I came up to America. I found a lot of things, I made mistakes. I made something good success, too, but a lot of mistake, too.

So I kinda think back to look at it, and I tell my son, too, but my life is...all my life, I try to be honest, my best policy. I try not to cheat the people, just stay honest, then working straight and working hard, try to do it. That's what I, my philosophy to keep my life. So I want you to do the same way because in the meantime, in the last 50 year time, someone screw me up then, lied to me, they cheat me, someone I lost big money. But that was my fault because I didn't know better to protect myself. Use your future you couldn't get cheated, but you don't want be cheated the people. Stay honest.

That's the best policy I could tell you because even I lost a lot of money but I still comfortable. I don't shame to nobody, I don't owe nobody. I pay all the tax and everything. Nothing wrong, nothing shame of it. So that's the best comfortable life, right? Enjoying now.

So except my health, that's can't help, but as long as you keep up with good health and honest life, this is the best thing to do. So don't be dishonest person. Stay in the life, clear as possible than dishonest. Stay working, continue to work on job. That way don't look for too many things. That's what I thought.

That's what I like to be all young people, too because same, everybody think all business to stick on it. Then try to be honest, peaceful the life is the whole world gonna be. I think why not. But people try to be too success quicker, or try to be more successful, more money, more enjoyment, always looking for...that's where get in trouble is. Just stay in the own pace and comfortable pace and working continue, this is what to me is the best life. I don't know may be some other better way, but I didn't know what other better way. That's what I did it.


aesthetics business economics gaman (values) generations humanities immigrants immigration Issei Japan management metaphysics migration philosophy postwar psychology Shin-Issei theory of knowledge United States values World War II

Date: February 2, 2012

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Chris Komai, John Esaki

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

Interviewee Bio

Harunori Oda was born and raised in Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, but moved to the U.S. after meeting and marrying a Nisei woman who was visiting Japan in the post WWII period. Though he hated the U.S., his wife, Mitsy, convinced him that he would have greater opportunities for success in the U.S., so he decided to take the chance. Though his English skills were limited, he worked his way up through the nursery business—an enterprise he determined would offer the most opportunity for a person with his abilities. Eventually, he started his own nursery, expanded, and later achieved great success as a developer of real estate in Orange County. He passed away on December 14, 2016, at age 91. (December 2016)

Kazuo Funai
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Kazuo Funai

First work in America (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman

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Kazuo Funai
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Kazuo Funai

Bad business deal (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman

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Kazuo Funai
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Kazuo Funai

Company in Tokyo burned down (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman

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James Hirabayashi
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James Hirabayashi

Family interrelations between mother and father

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

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Steve Kaji
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Steve Kaji

FOB's

Hawaii born Nikkei living in Japan. English Teacher at YMCA.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Going back to Hawaii

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Picture brides and karifufu

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Robert (Bob) Kiyoshi Okasaki
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Robert (Bob) Kiyoshi Okasaki

Grandmother's influence on decision to go to Japan

(b.1942) Japanese American ceramist, who has lived in Japan for over 30 years.

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Yukio Takeshita
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Yukio Takeshita

Impression of Japan upon arrival

(b.1935) American born Japanese. Retired businessman.

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Roy H. Matsumoto
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Roy H. Matsumoto

Kibei schoolchildren in Hiroshima, Japan

(b.1913) Kibei from California who served in the MIS with Merrill’s Marauders during WWII.

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Etsuo Hongo
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Etsuo Hongo

The reason he came to the United States (Japanese)

(1949 - 2019) Taiko player. Founded five taiko groups in Southern California

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Roger Shimomura
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Roger Shimomura

Grandfather's arrival in the U.S., experiencing discrimination

(b. 1939) Japanese American painter, printmaker & professor

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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto
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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto

Mother's immigration to U.S. as a treaty merchant

(b. 1927) Japanese American Nisei. Family voluntarily returned to Japan during WWII.

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Rose Kutsukake
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Rose Kutsukake

Why her parents came to Canada

(1918-2004) Interned in Slocan during World War II. Active member of the Japanese Canadian community.

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Fred Sasaki
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Fred Sasaki

Family background of Fredrick Yoshihide Sasaki

(b. 1918) Issei businessman in Canada

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