Interviews with Japanese Americans in Utah, 1984-1988

Overview of the Collection

University of Utah. Oral History Institute
Interviews with Japanese Americans in Utah
1984-1988 (inclusive)
4.5 linear feet
Collection Number
ACCN 1209
The interviews with Japanese Americans in Utah (1984-1988) consists of transcripts of a series of interviews conducted with members of the Japanese community between 1984 and 1988. Common themes within the interviews are family life, work, religion, immigration experiences, discrimination, and relations with the Mormon establishment in Utah.
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT

Telephone: 8015818863
Access Restrictions

Twenty-four hour advanced notice encouraged. Materials must be used on-site. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Utah Endowment for the Humanities funded the Oral History Institute (OHI) of Salt Lake City to conduct interviews with members of different ethnic minorities and racial groups. The people chosen to be interviewed were from Utah's Black, Greek, Jewish, Japanese, Mexican, Hispanic, Chinese, Ute and Italian communities; and were in most cases fifty-five years of age and older. A Caucasian group was also interviewed by the OHI to gain a perspective of ethnic and racial group interaction. The goal of the project was to try to determine how and to what extent each minority culture had been impacted by the larger Utah culture.

This particular series of interviews with Japanese took place from 1984 to 1988. Events recalled by the interviewees span the time period from the early 1900s to 1988. Included in this collection are the transcriptions of the interviews. Corresponding cassette tapes and photographs are located in the Multmedia Archives (P0306). The Oral History Institute of Salt Lake City created a photo-documentary exhibit from this project, entitled "Working Together: A Utah Portfolio.

Common themes within the interviews are family life, work, religion, immigration experiences, discrimination, and relations with the Mormon establishment in Utah. Of interest are the many reminisces of family internment during World War II at Topaz, Utah, and Hart Mountain, Wyoming. In addition, the experiences in the armed forces of many interviewees and the military intelligence career of Mitsugi Kasai are highlighted.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The library does not claim to control copyright for all materials in the collection. An individual depicted in a reproduction has privacy rights as outlined in Title 45 CFR, part 46 (Protection of Human Subjects). For further information, please review the J. Willard Marriott Library's Use Agreement and Reproduction Request forms.

Preferred Citation

Collection Name, Collection Number, Box Number, Folder Number. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Separated Materials

Audio cassette tapes transferred to the Multimedia Division of Special Collections.

Processing Note

Processed by Janet Smoak and Karen Carver in 1990, 2002 and 2006.

Click here to read a statement on harmful language in library records.

Related Materials

Forms part of the Mitsugi M. Kasai Memorial Japanese American Archives.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Interviews, Saige Aramaki to Alice KasaiReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
Saige Aramaki
Mr. Aramaki (b. 1918) recounts his genealogy, and recalls his childhood in Carbon County, Utah. He was drafted into the army in the Spring of 1941. After Pearl Harbor he was demoted and transferred out of his unit, which was scheduled to be shipped to Europe. He was sent to Japanese language school at Camp Savage in Minnesota. He was sent to Japan after the war. In his twenty-two years in the army Mr. Aramki served in Japan, Korea, and various bases within the continental United States. Other topics covered include farming, racial discrimination, the Japanese American Citizen's League, automation in manufacturing, and the possibility of redress for Japanese internment.
1 2
Ichiro Doi
Mr. Doi (b. 1917) talks about his parents, farming, the flu epidemic of 1918, and emigrant life on the West Side in Salt Lake City. He recalls the multi-cultural neighborhood of his childhood and gang activity. Other topics covered include the Athens and West Side hotels (which were owned by his family), the Buddhist Church, the Japanese Christian Church, courting his wife, the Eagle laundry, and life in Salt Lake City in the months following Pearl Harbor.
1 3
Nabuzo Endo
Mr. Endo (b. 1911) recalls being sent to Japan as a child for his education, Japanese culture, surviving and earthquake, and returning to live with his parents in Oakland, California during the Depression. He and his wife talk about their courtship and discuss Japanese marriage customs. Other topics covered include Judo, moving to Utah, farming, the Buddhist Church, and being Japanese during World War II.
1 4
Kenzo and Kenji Fujikawa
Kenzo Fujikawa (b. 1889) talks about his childhood in Japan and coming to America, arriving in San Francisco on 18 April 1906, just after the earthquake when the city was still in flames. He stayed one night in Oakland and was recruited to work on the railroad and sent to Ogden, Utah. He recalls working for the railroad, thinning sugar beets in Honeyville, Utah, and buying a farm. Mr. Fujikawa's son, Kenji, joins the interview and the conversation turns to returning to Japan to get a wife, family life in rural Utah, the closing of the U and I Sugar factory.
1 5
Gene Fukui
Mr. Fukui (b. 1924) talks about his father's life in Japan and emigration to the United States, where he worked for the railroad until he could find work on a farm. He recalls his own life on the family farm and the changes which took place after Pearl Harbor. He talks about being a Buddhist and going to the Mormon Primary program and about the business of farming.
1 6
Edward I. Hashimoto
Mr. Hashimoto (b. 1911) tells about his genealogy and the life of his parents and other family members in Japan. He details his father's immigrant experiences including working for the railroad, surviving an ambush by cowboys, and furnishing Japanese laborers for mining and farming companies. He reminisces about his own childhood in Salt Lake City's "Japan Town," discusses prostitution and syphllis, discrimination, getting his medical degree from Harvard, and practicing in Salt Lake City. Other topics covered include Japanese folk medicine, civilian life in World War II, and teaching anatomy at the University of Utah.
1 7
Kinsaku Inouye
Mr. Inouye (b. 1896) came to the United States to join his father. He talks about farming, working on the railroad, returning to Japan to get married in 1920, the Depression, losing his job during World War II, working on a turkey farm, and visiting Japan.
1 8
Yukiyoshi Inouye
Mr. Inouye (b. 1916) discusses the immigration experience of family members, work, Japanese business in Salt Lake City, and the family farm. He also gives his impressions of ethnic relations in northern Utah.
1 9
Kiyotoshi Iwamoto
Iwamoto, the son of a Buddhist minister, was born in Hawaii. He talks about Asian immigration to Hawaii, going to school in Japan, the political situation in Israel, the rise of militarism in Japan in the 1930s, and working as a migrant farm laborer and "houseboy" in pre-World War II California. He also describes cultural conflict between the Issei (Japanese-born), the Nisei (American-born), and the Kibei (American-born, educated in Japan). Other topics covered include discrimination in California and in Utah , Japanese businesses in Salt Lake City, and Japanese town.
1 10
Tasaku Kameda
Kameda (b. 1895) recalls his childhood in Japan, traveling in Asia and the middle East looking for work, England and Canada, life as a seaman, and working in a coal mine. Other topics covered include ethnic groups working in mines and on the railroad, Japanese philosophy and religion, the Oriental Exclusion Act of 1924, union organizers, and travels around the United States.
1 11
Edythe Kaneko
Kaneko (b. 1916) recalls her childhood in Salt Creek, going to school in Tremonton, the Depression, attending Keister Tailoring School in Salt Lake City, Japanese Town, her marriage, and child raising.
1 12
Noble Kaneko
Kaneko (b. 1913) recalls his childhood where he worked in the fields around Gunnison, Utah, with his father. He recalls going to Salt Lake City to the farmer's market to sell produce and buy supplies. He spent most of his life farming in Utah.
1 13
Alice Kasai
Kasai (b. 1916) describes the arranged marriage of her parents in Japan, their life together in Seattle, Washington, and the decision to send Alice and her sister to Japan to be cared for by relatives. She also talks about her childhood in Japan with her grandmother, returning with her mother and younger brother to Utah, and life in mining communities. Other topics covered include going to school, her courtship and marriage to Henry Kasai, life in Salt Lake during World War II and the period of Henry's internment, the isssue of redress for Japanese internees, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), religion, the Bahai faith, the NAACP, and civil rights.

Interviews, Mitsugi Kasai to Okada BrothersReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
2 1
Mitsugi Kasai
Mr. Kasai (b. 1918) recalls his early life on an Idaho farm during the Great Depression. He also reminisces about his life-long career in military intelligence, including being stationed in post-war Japan and wartime Korea.
2 2
Mitsugi Kasai
Mr. Kasai (b. 1918) recalls his early life on an Idaho farm during the Great Depression. He also reminisces about his life-long career in military intelligence, including being stationed in post-war Japan and wartime Korea.
2 3
Yoshio Katsuki
Katsuki (b. 1901) tells of his birth in Japan, and how his family members immigrated to the United States, one at a time. He recalls his trip to this country, traveling first class so that he would not have to wait to disembark. Other topics covered include being picked up by the FBI after Pearl Harbor, being paroled to live with his sister in Ogden, and teaching "Shigin."
2 4
Jeanne Konishi
Konishi (b. 1920) was born in Salt Lake City, but spent most of her childhood in the mining town of Tintic. She talks about her parents, schooling, the ethnic makeup of the neighborhood, encountering discrimination in California, and her brother being in a shooting accident. Other topics covered include Scarlet Fever, working for the department of public welfare, Pearl Harbor and its aftermath, the Buddhist temple, and the lives of her children.
2 5
Jun Kuramada
Kuramada (b. 1913) talks about his parents, their life in Japan, and his mother's views on the importance of education. Other topics covered include life small towns throughout Southern Utah, discrimination, farming, practicing dentistry in Utah, the JACL, Salt Lake City during the World War II years, courting his wife, and storis of various other family members.
2 6
Chiyo Matsumiya
Matsumiya (b. 1899) recalls life as the daughter of a rice farmer in Japan. She was sent to Kyoto to work as a maid. In this way she was trained in the art of housekeeping and had the opportunity to learn English. Her family arranged her marriage to a man from America who returned to Japan to find a wife. She recalls their journey to San Francisco, then on to Salt Lake City. Other topics covered include the Hashimoto family, picture brides, the influenza epidemic of 1919, the Mori family, life in Tintic, life in the United States during World War II, and working to support the family after her husband was injured in an automobile accident.
2 7
Toki Nakashima
Nakashima (b. 1895) recalls family stories of her father's life as a seaman in Japan. She discusses family life in rural Japan, the wedding of her sister, being sent for by her future husband in America, her voyage on the Sado Maru to Seattle, and moving to Ogden, Utah. She also talks about life in the Japanese section of Salt Lake, raising children, supporting her family after her husband became ill, and her children's lives.
2 8
Roy Nakatani
Mr. Nakatani (b. 1916) discusses the immigration experiences of family members, his education in the San Francisco, California, school system, and his pre-World War II radio repair business in California. He also relates the experience of his family at the Camp Amache, Colorado, relocation center and his postwar business in Ogden, Utah.
2 9
Frank Nishiguchi
Nishiguchi (b. 1929) recalls stories of his father and other family members who lived in the intermountain west. He also discusses World War II, the LDS Church, being stationed in the U. S. Army in Alaska, farming, meeting and courting his wife, child rearing, community service, and the lives of his children.
2 10
Sen Nishiyama
Nishiyama discusses the Depression, his father, growing up in Salt Lake City, being refused admittance to a public pool, his inability to find a job in the U. S., going to Japan, getting married, life in pre-war and occupied Japan, and working for Sony.
2 11
Okado Brothers
In an interview with Sandra Fuller and Leslie Kelen, the Okado brothers (b. 1919 and 1920) talk about the families of their mother and father in Japan, relocation to Hawaii, coming to Utah and raising sugar beets, and land ownership policies in the U. S. Other topics covered include picture brides, the Depression, civilian life during World War II, farming, and Japanese American organizations.

Interviews, Hiroji Okumua to Hisaye TsutsuiReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
3 1
Hiroji Okumua
Okumua (b. 1896) recalls his childhood in Japan and traveling to San Francisco in 1917. He describes farming in Southern California, family life, internment in the Manzanar camp, a shooting at the gates of the camp, raising celery near American Fork, Utah, and post-war life.
3 2
Ichiro Okumura
Ichiro Okumura (b. 1922) describes his childhood in California, camp life at Manzanar, harvesting crops in Idaho on a work furlough, a job maintaining railroad track, and discrimination.
3 3
Grace Oshita
Mrs. Oshita (b. 1925) speaks of her early life in San Francisco, her father's business ventures, and the Japanese relocations of World War II. Her family was interned at the Topaz, Utah, relocation center.
3 4
Yasuo Sasaki
Sasaki (b. 1911) recounts family stories gleaned from his father's diaries and recalls his childhood in Salt Lake City. Other topics covered include education, the University of Utah, the political climate of the 1930s, and community members.
3 5
Joseph M. Sato
Mr. Sato (b. 1900) recalls his childhood in Japan, working in Tokyo, and getting a job on an ocean liner.
3 6
Sachi Seko
Sachi Seko (b. 1927) talks about her parents and grandparents, her childhood in Southern California, and bringing up her children. Other topics include being sent to the Gila River Relocation Center, the differing experiences of the Issei and Nisei, the FBI, attending the University of Minnesota, Japanese organizations, various jobs she worked in Salt Lake City, writing, and the redress movement.
3 7
Kotomi Sudoko
Sandra Fuller interviewed Mrs. Sudoko with Grace Oshita translating. Topics covered inlude coming to America as a picture bride, her marriage in Seattle, and living on a farm near Idaho Falls with her first husband. She describes the death of her husband, returning to Japan, and coming back to America, where she met her second husband in Stockton, California. She also discusses being interned at Amache during World War II and postwar life.
3 8
Tae Kasuga Sugaya
Mrs. Sugaya (b. 1929) describes her childhood in Butlerville, Utah, which is now known as Cottonwood Heights. She relates the story of her parents' marriage and emigration to America. Her father, who she talks about at length, worked on the railroad, farmed, and was a partner in a restaurant at Soldier Summit. Other topics covered include the Japanese experince in America during World War II, family life, childrearing, and taking care of her mother after the death of her father.
3 9
Roy Tachiki
Mr. Tachiki describes his family and how they came to America. He was sent to Japan to be educated when he was five years old. He later returned to California, where he was married and began a family before voluntarily evacuating to Utah in April of 1942. He describes life in Utah during and after World War II.
3 10
Grace Tasake
Grace Tasake (b. 1914) begins by describing the death of her uncle in a robbery. She talks about her parents marriage, being a Japanese Christian, and her childhood in Salt Lake City. Other topics covered include living in California and Idaho, family trips, and stories of various friends and acquaintances.
3 11
Jim Yoshio Tazoi
Mr. Tazoi (b. 1919) talks about his family roots in Japan, and his childhood in Garland, where his father worked for the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company. He went to the Utah State Agricultural College in Logan and joined the National Guard. He was transferred to the 442nd and sent to Italy, where he was wounded in battle. He describes his postwar life including working at Hill Field, farming, his children, and the practice of Buddhism.
3 12
Hisaye Tsutsui
Hisaye Tsutsui (b. 1898) describes village life in Japan, her arranged marriage, and emigration to Utah. She talks about picture brides, childbirth, farming, making paper, and family life in Sunnyside and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Interviews, Take Uchida to Seiichi YeiReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
4 1
Take Uchida
Take Yamamoto Uchida (b. 1890) reminisces about her childhood in Japan, where she was educated in Methodist schools. She recalls her marriage and subsequent life in the United States, a brief period of living in Mexico, and farm life in Utah and Idaho. She also discusses her experience of being detained by the FBI during World War II and sent to the Seagoville camp, where there were also Germans and Italians. She was also in the Crystal City relocation camp.
4 2
Osako Uno
Osako Teraoka Uno (b. 1894) discusses her childhood in a Japanese village, her education at Tokyo Women's University, teaching school, and her experiences in the Hart Mountain relocation camp, where her husband died shortly after their arrival. Mrs. Uno also talks about education in Japan and her life in Ogden, Utah.
4 3
Raymond Uno
Judge Uno (b. 1930) reminisces about his childhood in Ogden, Utah, the family's move to California in the mid-1930s, and subsequent experiences during the Japanese relocations of World War II. The Uno family was sent to the Hart Mountain relocation center in Wyoming. In 1948 Uno enlisted in the United States army and served in post-war Japan. He also relates his experiences in the Utah judicial system.
4 4
Ruby Ushio
Ruby Akita Ushio (b. 1916) discusses her childhood on a farm in what is now South Salt Lake, her father's immigration experience, and her arranged marriage.
4 5
Shigeki "Shake" Ushio
Mr. Ushio (b. 1914) recalls his farm childhood in Sandy, Utah, and his own experiences as a farmer in northern Utah. He also speaks of the Japanese relocation during World War II and his work with the Japanese American Citizen's League, headquartered during the war in Salt Lake City, Utah.
4 6
Tadao Ushio
Mr. Ushio (b. 1903) reminisces about being raised by his grandparents in Japan, emigrating to America at sixteen, working on a railroad construction crew with his father in Wyoming.
4 7
Ronald Wakabayashi
Mr. Wakabayashi (b. 1944) talks about his childhood in East Los Angeles, racism, and the differences among first, second, and third generation Japanese Americans. He recalls his experience with organizing outings for a population of California Isseis, single men who had never married and would never return to Japan. Of particular interest is his description of working with Japanese people who testified about their relocation camp experiences.
4 8
Sam Watanuki
Mr. Watanuki (b. 1915) discusses his childhood in the Japanese camp near Tooele for workers of the U.S. Mine and Smelter, attending Japanese language school, various jobs he held, the LDS church, courting his first wife, and the family's experiences during World War II, including the FBI taking his father away on the evening of December 7.
4 9
Yasuko Yasuda
Mrs. Yasuda (b. 1894) recalls her childhood in Japan, her arranged marriage and subsequent move to Idaho with her husband. She also talks about the experiences of "picture brides" met on the boat from Japan and Japanese migrant workers, as well as raising her family on farms in Eureka and Orem, Utah. Included are Mrs. Yasuda's memories of living peacefully in Orem during World War II.
4 10
Minora Yasui
Mr. Yasui (b. 1916) discusses the immigration experiences of his family, his childhood in Oregon, and his father's prosperous business ventures. He also relates his experiences during World War II when he refused to relocate, and the subsequent legal proceedings and jail term.
4 11
Seiichi "Slim" Yei
Mr. Yei (b. 1924) recalls his childhood in Ogden, Utah, and his service in the European theater during World War II. He also relates his impressions of race and ethnic relations in Ogden.

Restricted MaterialsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Master Files
Master Files contain original transcripts and are restricted to manuscripts personnel only.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Bahais--Utah--Interviews
  • Buddhists--Utah--Interviews
  • Coal miners--Utah--Interviews
  • Depressions--1929--Sources
  • Japanese Americans--Forced removal and internment, 1942-1945
  • Japanese Americans--Forced removal and internment, 1942-1945--Personal narratives
  • Japanese Americans--Idaho--Interviews
  • Japanese Americans--Utah--Interviews
  • Mail order brides--Utah--Interviews
  • Railroads--Employees--Interviews
  • World War, 1939-1945--Japanese Americans--Personal narratives
  • World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives

Corporate Names

  • Central Utah Relocation Center--Sources
  • Heart Mountain Relocation Center (Wyo.)--Sources
  • Japanese American Citizens' League--Sources
  • Manzanar War Relocation Center--Sources
  • United States. Army. Regimental Combat Team, 442nd--Sources

Form or Genre Terms

  • Interviews
  • Oral histories
  • Oral histories