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Initial struggles with the language barrier (Japanese)

(Japanese) [Learning the] language was the first thing. It was all about the words. For the laundry job, we did all of the cleaning work, but my father had hired people for customer service. My father did the washing, and I did all of the ironing in the back room, since I didn’t understand any Spanish. At my father’s uncle’s store, I was in charge of the deliveries, so I ended up learning phrases like “anque sea un poco” (even just a little), or “anque sea mitad” (even at least half), in order to receive payment for the deliveries.


immigration languages

Date: November 28, 2006

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Interviewer: Takeshi Nishimura, Ricardo Hokama

Contributed by: Centro Nikkei Argentino

Interviewee Bio

Ryoko Hokama was born in November 30th, 1917 in Heira of Ōsato Village, Okinawa. He studied at the former Dai-Ichi (First) Junior High School. Ran a laundry service in Rosario City, Santa Fe, and a flower nursery in Moreno City of the Pacheco district in Buenos Aires. Currently he lives in Caseros with his son’s family, who owns a flower shop. (November 28, 2006)

Kazuo Funai
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Kazuo Funai

Coming to America (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman

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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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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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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

Acculturation

(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

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.

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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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Roy H. Matsumoto
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Roy H. Matsumoto

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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Roy H. Matsumoto
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Roy H. Matsumoto

Difficulties understanding different Japanese dialects

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

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Etsuo Hongo
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Etsuo Hongo

The reason he came to the United States (Japanese)

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

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Richard Kosaki
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Richard Kosaki

Teaching at the military language school during World War II

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

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Art Shibayama
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Art Shibayama

Learning English upon discovering that family could not return to Peru

(1930-2018) Nisei born in Peru. Taken to the United States during WWII.

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Art Shibayama
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Art Shibayama

Playing baseball along with American Nisei and Kibei

(1930-2018) Nisei born in Peru. Taken to the United States during WWII.

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Roger Shimomura
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Roger Shimomura

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

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

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