Discover Nikkei Logo

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1656/

Mother founded Japanese language school in neighbors’ backyard

I went to Japanese language school. My mother actually founded the Japanese language school. In our neighborhood, since we were the only family initially — our neighbors were Dutch. And they had a back guest house type of area, where the Buddhist reverend came all the way out to where we lived in the suburbs, and there were three of us in the Japanese language class: my sister, myself, and I can’t remember who the third person was.

Eventually my mother went to a different Buddhist church where she knew people, and she knew the bishop, and they were willing to come out to try to start a Japanese language school. So we were in a nursery area, and then people were from outlying areas coming into it, and they eventually were able to raise funds and build an actual building where the Japanese language school still remains. And when I had children later in life, my sons did go to that Japanese language school briefly.


education Japanese language schools languages language schools

Date: July 27, 2018

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Kiya Matsuno

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

Interviewee Bio

Judge Fumiko Hachiya Wasserman is a Sansei judge for the Superior Court of Los Angeles County in California. She was born in Torrance, California and grew up in Harbor City, California. She was the first Asian American female hired by the US Attorney’s office in the Civil Division, the first minority elected official in the Torrance School Board, and the first judge to ever serve on the LA Biomedical Research Institute. She currently serves in the Los Padrinos Courthouse as the site judge. She grew up in a diverse and welcoming neighborhood and felt secure in being Japanese American. She is involved with the Japanese American community, works to promote diversity, and she mentors lawyers and judges. (June 2018)

*This is one of the main projects completed by The Nikkei Community Internship (NCI) Program intern each summer, which the Japanese American Bar Association and the Japanese American National Museum have co-hosted.

George Ariyoshi
en
ja
es
pt
George Ariyoshi

Teacher who helped with lisp

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

en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi

Little interaction with parents

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

en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi

Politics in ethnic studies

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

en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi

Center for Japanese American Studies in community

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

en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi

Involvement with ethnic studies

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

en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi

Testing assumptions of Japanese scholars

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

en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami
en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami

Kids working hard

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami
en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami

First day of school

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

en
ja
es
pt
Robert (Bob) Kiyoshi Okasaki
en
ja
es
pt
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.

en
ja
es
pt
Jane Aiko Yamano
en
ja
es
pt
Jane Aiko Yamano

Lack of language skills

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

en
ja
es
pt
Jane Aiko Yamano
en
ja
es
pt
Jane Aiko Yamano

Acculturation

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

en
ja
es
pt
Jane Aiko Yamano
en
ja
es
pt
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.

en
ja
es
pt
Wally Kaname Yonamine
en
ja
es
pt
Wally Kaname Yonamine

Training for football by carrying 100-lb bags of grass over mountains

(b.1925) Nisei of Okinawan descent. Had a 38-year career in Japan as a baseball player, coach, scout, and manager.

en
ja
es
pt
Roy H. Matsumoto
en
ja
es
pt
Roy H. Matsumoto

Difficulties understanding different Japanese dialects

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

en
ja
es
pt
Richard Kosaki
en
ja
es
pt
Richard Kosaki

Teaching at the military language school during World War II

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

en
ja
es
pt

Discover Nikkei Updates

NIKKEI CHRONICLES #13
Nikkei Names 2: Grace, Graça, Graciela, Megumi?
What’s in a name? Share the story of your name with our community. Submissions now open!
VIRTUAL PROGRAM
Nikkei Uncovered IV: a poetry reading
Join us virtually and enjoy poetry by Matthew Mejia, Christine Kitano, and Mia Ayumi Malholtra.
NEW SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT
We're on Instagram!
Follow us @discovernikkei for new site content, program announcements, and more!