Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/238/

Nickname

When I started grade school, there’s another, maybe one or two James’s in the class. And so that the teachers were trying to find out what our middle names were so that they could have different names. And my mother insisted that since we’re in America, that they use my English name. And so I was known as James. But, in my later years in grade school, all my Caucasian friends, or some of my nisei friends, they started calling me Herbie for Herbie-yashi. (Oh, I see.) So I was known as Herbie or Herb before the war.


Date: January 7, 2004

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Art Hansen

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

Interviewee Bio

James Hirabayashi, son of hardworking immigrant farmers in the Pacific Northwest, was a high school senior in 1942 when he was detained in the Pinedale Assembly Center before being transferred to the Tule Lake Concentration Camp in Northern California.

After World War II, he earned his Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Anthropology from the University of Washington, and eventually his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Dr. Hirabayashi is Professor Emeritus at San Francisco State University where he was Dean of the nation’s first school of ethnic studies. He also held research and teaching positions at the University of Tokyo, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and Ahmadu Bellow Univerity, Zaria, Nigeria.

He passed away in May 2012 at age 85. (June 2014)

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