Father’s Postwar Barber Career

Parents First Exposure to Animation December 7th, 1941 Father’s Optimism Tanforan Assembly Center Dusty Weather at Topaz, Utah Mother in Camp Father making shell brooches at Topaz Father’s Postwar Barber Career First Encounter with Walt Disney Disney Drawing Tests His mentor, Iwao Takamoto The Dopey bank that survived the war

Transcripts available in the following languages:

After the war, my father established himself as a barber. While in camp, he felt, maybe he should try to come up with some sort of trade. And so he learned barbering in camp. And then when he, he left camp before we did. Came back to San Francisco and attended barber college, got his certificate, and then he was, now he was ready to serve apprenticeship, and then we came back about a month before V-J Day.

And luckily we had a home to come back to, and everything was just pretty much the way it was when we left. And my dad was now doing apprentice barbering for the one barber shop that had opened up. Roy Abe, and he was his apprentice. And then, after he served the proper amount of time as an apprentice, he opened up Nisei Barber Shop, on the very same location, where the sweet shop used to be.

He used to give me the bowl hair cut. And, of course, once I came back and the guys were wearing the longer hair and all that, I used to dread having my father cut my hair because I knew I was going to get a buzz cut. But I survived that.

It was kind of funny, because at the time, I was telling my dad that I wanted to become an animator and go to Los Angeles and work in the studios. But he says, “You should also go to barber college and get a diploma or a license, so you‘ll have something to fall back on.”

Date: August 26, 2015
Location: California, US
Interviewer: John Esaki
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Barber father post-war san francisco

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