Growing up outside of Portland’s Japanese community

Growing up outside of Portland’s Japanese community Undergraduate studies interrupted following Pearl Harbor Difficulty getting work during World War II Starting an import business after World War II Opening the Made in Oregon store at Portland Airport

Transcripts available in the following languages:

One thing is maybe that’s a plus or maybe that’s a minus, but he (My father) didn’t associate himself with the Japanese community at all. None at all. And we moved…most people lived close together, you know, in the Japanese…that was in Japantown and so on. But we lived way out northeast – 58th and Burnside is where he bought a house. And of course I went to school. I was the first Asian to go to that grammar school called Mount Tabor Grammar School – first Asian. So I didn’t know…that is a very big plus because you don’t see any other Asians so you don’t think of yourself being Asian, you see. So I just thought I was White like all the other people. I mean all my friends treated me on a very equal basis, not to have…there was no such thing as prejudice or anything.

The other point is I didn’t speak English at all until I got into first grade and my father didn’t know when to take…start school, so school had already started, then he brought me to school and asked the principal, is this…“Oh, he should’ve been here 3 months ago.” Or something like that, you know. So I learned my English in first grade.

Date: December 8, 2005
Location: Oregon, US
Interviewer: Akemi Kikumura Yano
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum.

education identity

Get updates

Sign up for email updates

Journal feed
Events feed
Comments feed

Support this project

Discover Nikkei

Discover Nikkei is a place to connect with others and share the Nikkei experience. To continue to sustain and grow this project, we need your help!

Ways to help >>

A project of the Japanese American National Museum

Major support by The Nippon Foundation