Nanka Nikkei Voices

Nanka Nikkei Voices (NNV) is a publication of the Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California. Nanka means “Southern California.” Nikkei means Japanese American(s).”  The focus of NNV is to record the stories of the Japanese American Community in Southern California through the “voices” of average Japanese Americans and others who have a strong connection to our history and cultural heritage.

This series introduce various stories from the past 4 issues of Nanka Nikkei Voices.

identity en

Yearning For Southern California

An elderly black man who daily caught a bus that took him from Watts to his job in Burbank was quoted as saying that he always rushed back to Watts as soon as his work day ended. He just never could relax or feel comfortable until he was back in his own neighborhood.

In that winter of 1944, the prospect of leaving behind the mess hall meals, the shivering trips to the latrine, and the cramped barracks life in the wind-chilled cold of Heart Mountain should have been enough to make me excited and happy. Instead, I felt an uneasiness ...

続きを読む

identity en

Saturday School

I thought it was very unfair of my parents to make me go to Saturday School to learn Japanese. All the other kids I knew from public school got to take the whole weekend off, but not me—I had to go to Saturday School from 9 in the morning ‘til 3 in the afternoon to learn what seemed to be the most boring subject in the entire world—Japanese.

My Issei parents thought it was important that their American-born children study Japanese and learn a little bit of the Japanese culture. The lack of a common language was a ...

続きを読む

business en

Haru Hashimoto: Matriarch of Mikawaya

Haru Hashimoto was born on July 10, 1903, in Japan, Aichi-ken, Nakashima-gun, Heiwa-mura, to Manjiro and Masa Kataoka. She was the second of six children.

She came to San Francisco via Hawaii by ship on January 10, 1923, as a young 19-year-old bride of Koroku Hashimoto (born Meiji-33, June 22), whose marriage on December 9, 1922 was arranged in the traditional omiai by a baishakunin (go-between, also called nakodo). Koroku had returned to Japan when rumors of the 1924 Exclusion Act curtailing “picture brides” circulated in the community.

Haru was anxious to leave home after her mother passed away when ...

続きを読む

identity en

The Screen Door

Summers in the San Fernando Valley can be stifling hot, and during the 1950s when I was growing up, a screen door was a nice thing to have. There were no such things as air conditioners (at least, not in my neighborhood), and we didn’t even have a water air cooler to help cool the summer temperatures. A screen door allowed the occasional breeze to enter the house but would keep out the irritating flies and other insects that would come in. One day, my parents bought a new screen door and put it in our rear door, which ...

続きを読む

identity en

“RING, RING” 

A phone call redirected my career and changed my life forever. Dr. Theodore Chen, chair of the East Asian Studies Department, was on the other end of the line that day in the spring of 1963. He told me the University of Southern California (USC) had received a grant from the Carnegie Foundation to pilot a Japanese language program for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He knew me from my college days at USC where I was active in campus organizations, as well as having taken courses in the department. He asked if I would be interested in interviewing ...

続きを読む