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My daughter couldn’t fit in Japan, so I decided to go back to America (Japanese)

(Japanese) So I decided to go back to Japan for a while, and I did. I went back, but Japan wasn’t good, just as I expected. My older child came here when she was in the third grade, and she moved to the fourth grade and went back to Japan, to an elementary school in Honmoku in Yokohama. And she told me that they would have oden for lunch. And she just couldn’t like it. And my younger one didn’t like Japan so much that we decided to go to, go back to America. And in March, 1978, I got here with my suitcase and one bag. I went to a hotel in downtown LA by taxi from LAX, rented a car, drove, walked and found a house. It’s the house I live in now in Monrovia. And I said to myself, this is good enough, and told my family to send my stuff here, with cats and other things. We have two cats, they were born in Missouri and went to Yokohama and stayed there for 10 months and came back here in California. They’ve been with us since then.


California families Los Angeles migration United States

Date: July 17, 2016

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Yoko Nishimura, Mitsue Watanabe

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

Interviewee Bio

Hachiro Ohtomo was born in August, 1936, in Ono-mura, Monou-gun (currently Higashi Matsuyama City) in Miyagi Prefecture to parents who made a living by farming and fishing. He moved to Yokohama right after high school graduation and became a plumber, engaging primarily in construction works of power plants. In 1961, at age 25 he established a contractor of power plants ‘Kahoku Sangyo’ with his brother gaining success, yet he left the company and started his own business, after conflicts with his brother. In 1975, he ran for mayor in Yokohama but lost the election. He then decided to move to America. He obtained a green card and moved to Kansas City in the state of Missouri, where his sister lived at the time, with his wife and two daughters but returned to Japan after a year and a half. As his daughter couldn’t fit in the life in Japan, however, after 10 months he decided to go back to America with his family. In 1978, he moved to Los Angeles with his family. He has lived in Monrovia, California since then and has been engaged in the welding business (AAM Welding Company) in Baldwin Park. (October, 2017)

George Ariyoshi
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George Ariyoshi

Spending time with children

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi
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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi

Getting married

Former First Lady of Hawai'i

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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi
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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi

Possibility of being adopted by aunt

Former First Lady of Hawai'i

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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

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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James Hirabayashi
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James Hirabayashi

Little interaction with parents

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

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James Hirabayashi
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James Hirabayashi

Gordon's parents' experience in prison

(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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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Clothes of plantation workers

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Surviving after father's death

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Washing for Filipino bachelors

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Brother leaves for war, survival

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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