Robert Kiyoshi Okasaki, 61-year-old Yonsei (on his mother’s side) was born in French Camp, California, in 1942, just before his family was incarcerated during World War II at the Rowher concentration camp in Arkansas. After the war, Bob’s family lived in Stockton and later in Lodi, California, where his family had a vineyard.
Bob attended San Jose State College, eventually concentrating on pottery. Through the Study Abroad program, Bob became an apprentice to a potter, a Living National Treasure, in Japan where tableware is considered an art.
When Bob journeyed to Japan, he felt American, but now when comes home to the U.S., he does not feel American. He’s been married since 1975 to a Japanese woman and their first child was born in 1985. When he first arrived in Japan, recalls Bob, Japanese nationals treated him sometimes like “he was not all there” because of his lack of Japanese language. His relationship with his wife’s family has changed from an original relationship of caution to one of comfort, to the point where he now feels that her family is his family.(November 28, 2003)