Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1682/

Her father bought her mother American clothes after she arrived from Japan

And so she arrived in Seattle. So I said, “What was the first thing that Dad did?” And she said, “Well the first thing he did was he took me to a department store so that – because he wanted me...you know, I was wearing a kimono and zori or geta,” and he wanted to buy her some American clothes and shoes, and so that’s how – and so the first – from the – you know – after she got off the ship and they went straight to the department store to get some American clothes and shoes, she said.


clothing Japanese clothing kimonos migration

Date: August 7, 2018

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Sharon Yamato

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

Interviewee Bio

Mitsuye Yamada was born in 1923 while her mother was visiting family in Japan. She grew up in Seattle, Washington until World War II when they were sent to Minidoka, Idaho. A Quaker volunteer helped her to leave camp by finding her a job in Cincinnati, Ohio. Yamada attended the University of Cincinnati and earned a BA from New York University and an MA from the University of Chicago.

She was able to become a naturalized U.S. citizen following passage of the McCarran-Walter Immigration Act and received her citizenship in 1955.

She was a constant writer from the time she was young, and her first book of poetry taken from her writings in Minidoka, Camp Notes and Other Poems, was published in 1976. She started teaching and published more books after a health scare when she was 39 years old.

She helped to start a human rights group in Irvine, California that eventually led to her becoming elected to the Amnesty International Board of Directors in the 1980s and has been active in many human rights causes, especially known for her activism for woman's rights. (August 2018)

Funai,Kazuo
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Funai,Kazuo

First work in America (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman

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Funai,Kazuo
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Funai,Kazuo

Company in Tokyo burned down (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman

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Hirabayashi,James
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Hirabayashi,James

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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Kaji,Steve
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Kaji,Steve

FOB's

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

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Kawakami,Barbara
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Kawakami,Barbara

Going back to Hawaii

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Kawakami,Barbara
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Kawakami,Barbara

Picture brides and karifufu

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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

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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Takeshita,Yukio
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Takeshita,Yukio

Impression of Japan upon arrival

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

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Matsumoto,Roy H.
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Matsumoto,Roy H.

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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Hongo,Etsuo
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Hongo,Etsuo

The reason he came to the United States (Japanese)

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

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Shimomura,Roger
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Shimomura,Roger

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

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

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Kanemoto,Marion Tsutakawa
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Kanemoto,Marion Tsutakawa

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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Kutsukake,Rose
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Kutsukake,Rose

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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Sasaki,Fred
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Sasaki,Fred

Family background of Fredrick Yoshihide Sasaki

(b. 1918) Issei businessman in Canada

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Ito,Mitsuo
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Ito,Mitsuo

Chose to go back to Japan

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

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