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To be “100 % Japanese”

When my second son was 4 years old, my wife took him to Boston and they were standing in line to have ice cream and this elderly white lady was looking at him and she was kind of puzzled to see what nationality he was. She said, “Little boy, what are you?” He said, “Oh…” She said, “Little boy, what’s your name?” He said, “Patrick.” She said, “Oh that’s a Irish name.” He said, “Yes.” She said, “Are you…what race are you?” And he didn’t understand that. “What are you?” He said, “I’m a boy.” “No, what are you?” “I’m Japanese Irish because I’m 4, but when I’m older, I’ll be a 100 percent Japanese.”


hapa identity Irish Japanese Americans racially mixed people

Date: June 1, 2006

Location: Hawai`i, US

Interviewer: Akemi Kikumura Yano

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

Interviewee Bio

Bert A. Kobayashi, founder of the Kobayashi Group LLC, was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on November 10, 1944. He is a third generation Japanese American whose parents were also born and raised in Hawai‘i. At the age of 19, his father Albert fell ill and Bert was suddenly introduced to the difficult realities of running a business when he took over the construction company founded by his father. Bert eventually guided the business to become the largest local construction company in Hawai‘i, selling the business to a group of employees in 1997. He then founded the Kobayashi Development Group, serving as chairman until his retirement, and continues to be an advisor to the company led by his son, B.J. Kobayashi, who serves as CEO and president. Bert is known throughout the state of Hawai‘i for his generous philanthropic efforts such as starting the University of Hawai‘i Foundation and has been an active member on numerous community and educational boards. (2007年3月1日)

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

Japanese influence growing up

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

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PJ Hirabayashi
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PJ Hirabayashi

Diverse membership in San Jose Taiko

Co-founder and creative director of San Jose Taiko

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

Looking at your country from the outside

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

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

Wife's family in 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

Lack of notion of citizenship in Japan

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

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Byron Glaser
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Byron Glaser

Growing up in a Japanese American community

Illustrator and designer

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Jane Aiko Yamano
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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.

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Jane Aiko Yamano
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Jane Aiko Yamano

Preserving traditional Japanese culture

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

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Jane Aiko Yamano
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Jane Aiko Yamano

Having patience in Japan, being both

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

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Byron Glaser
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Byron Glaser

Supporting art because it's essential

Illustrator and designer

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Jane Aiko Yamano
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Jane Aiko Yamano

New Year's food

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

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Wayne Shigeto Yokoyama
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Wayne Shigeto Yokoyama

Being on the outside

(b.1948) Nikkei from Southern California living in Japan.

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Wayne Shigeto Yokoyama
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Wayne Shigeto Yokoyama

Working at the magazine

(b.1948) Nikkei from Southern California living in Japan.

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Wally Kaname Yonamine
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Wally Kaname Yonamine

His parents' experience with Japanese resistance toward intermarriage with Okinawans

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

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Wally Kaname Yonamine
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Wally Kaname Yonamine

Working in cane fields as teenager, and how it helped in his athletic training (Japanese)

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

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