A body, mind and spirit work ethic

Getting involved in the family business at age 19 A body, mind and spirit work ethic Postwar discrimination Less information about Hawai‘i in mainland Family first Being accepted as biracial family Preserving tradition becoming more difficult To be “100 % Japanese”

Transcripts available in the following languages:

You know I guess we…our company is not like the big five where we have personnel managers who train and stuff like that. And most of our people – they learn through experience. What we tell them is basically we love you guys to work here. We love you guys to learn. Any time you have questions, you should ask us, no matter how dumb you think the question’s going to be or whatever because there’s no dumb question if you don’t know. And we don’t expect them to work 80 hours a week. If they work 20 hours a week and get the things accomplished, that’s great. But we want them to learn every day what they’re doing. Even though they do the same thing every day, learn how to be more efficient so they can get more time for themselves.

What I believe is body, mind, and spirit, yeah? So a lot of the secretarial people – they’re on the machine and they get all of these back problems, neck problems, so what we did is we got one shiatsu guy come once a week and massage them for 20 minutes on Wednesdays or Thursdays.

I*: That’s great.

And some of them use their services on the weekends. So I mean it’s something you gotta do for your employees because they work hard. And you don’t see the results, especially if you only get the rainmaker get all the credit. He’s not damp. It’s also the bookkeeper, whoever else is working for you that put all the whole package together. And you need their help. So we always let everybody know that they’re very important to the company. But we never did hold nobody back and there’s a couple of people who left, started their own business. We helped them in the construction company and over here. Because I think entrepreneurship is very important. And if they want to go and do something themselves, great. If you want to partner with us, great too.

*"I" indicates an interviewer (Akemi Kikumura-Yano).

Date: June 1, 2006
Location: Hawai`i, US
Interviewer: Akemi Kikumura Yano
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

business construction employees

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