Yamaguchi, Mari (9/13/2017)

Japanese American Service Committee Legacy Center


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[NOTE: This transcript has not undergone a final proofreading and may contain errors. It is being provided in draft form to enhance access to the video recording. As soon as possible, it will be replaced with a final, corrected transcript and will be synced to the video to provide clickable timecodes.]

Julie Foreman: 00:00 What is your full name?

Mari YamaguchJF: 00:03 Full name, meaning? We- Japanese have no middle name.

JF: 00:06 Right.

MY: 00:07 So Mari Yamaguchi is full name. Except, uh, I put down my maiden name because I am known with a maiden name because of my brother's death.

JF: 00:20 And what, what's your maiden name?

MY: 00:22 Miyano.

JF: 00:22 Mi-ya-no?

MY: 00:22 Mi-ya-no, which is unusual, very unusual.

JF: 00:28 Yeah.

MY: 00:31 Miyano.

JF: 00:31 And was there a special reason? Now, Mari, is there a meaning in Japanese? Um, like special reason that they chose Mari?

MY: 00:42 Well, I think my family had uh, rules. I think if it's a girl, it's a mother, if it's a boy, it's a mother- father who names them. So I probably have about three other names as a candidate, but Mari was my name and my sister was-

JF: 00:59 So your mother would choose that, yeah?

MY: 01:00 My sister was Yuri.

JF: 01:02 Now does it mean anything, does it? No?

MY: 01:07 If you take each character, "ma" means, 10,000, "ri" means uh, distance. But it doesn't mean that I don't think, because the same name Mari can be written 20, 20, 30 different ways.

JF: 01:28 And you were born in Japan, uh, what city, were you born?

MY: 01:34 I was born when my father was uh, recovering from illness, just west of, west of Tokyo. Right below Mount Fuji. And I went back to Kamakura. I think I was maybe about less than a year old because my father recovered. So we went back to... Kamakura is about, by train about, in my days, by train about 40 minutes from south of Tokyo. It's a well known, oh I think President Obama went to the Kamakura City with a big lodge.

JF: 02:16 Uh huh, okay. And so you were born there but then you moved to Tokyo and...

MY: 02:21 Area.

JF: 02:22 Tokyo area. So like a suburb of Tokyo? What they call a suburb...?

MY: 02:24 It's a, yeah, it's not a, it's not the same prefecture either. It's a beach town. Very close to the beach along the Sagami Bay. And it's well known for the history as well as beach.

JF: 02:42 Oh, okay. And so growing up, uh, what languages did you speak? Did you just speak Japanese as a kid?

MY: 02:52 Japanese only.

JF: 02:54 Um, and did you learn other languages? Could you?

MY: 02:58 It's required to pick up English. My mother would have be, she would be hundred s-, she would be hundred something years old. But when English was required subject, if you went into the seventh grade and if you go to college, you have to pick up one more language like Spanish or French or German. I don't know what it is now, but in my days you could pick up German, French and English, and uh Spanish is relatively new.

JF: 03:41 Now did you learn English then, uh at school?

MY: 03:45 Yeah, in school.

JF: 03:48 And um, so you went to school in Tokyo?

MY: 03:53 I went to a middle school in Yokohama and college in Tokyo.

JF: 03:57 In Tokyo. And um, was it unusual for women to go to college? Now, 'cause what year were you born? That would kind of give us a perspective.

MY: 04:10 1927.

JF: 04:12 Yeah, 1927. So was it unusual for women to go to college in 1927?

MY: 04:20 To some families, I think it is. It's not my family. We, we grew up, men and women, men and women are the same. So, uh, I do know my father's brother made opposition. He did not think I should go to college, but I had no problem, my family.

JF: 04:43 And what did you study in college?

New Speaker: 04:45 I wanted to study history.

JF: 04:47 History. Uh, a certain kind? A certain, American, Japanese history, what?

MY: 04:52 No uh, the school I, college, I went how they study history was simultaneously Japan, Orient, and Western. Those three, same time. So because of the war, the school was bombed, so I had to leave. So we just started ancient period.

JF: 05:18 I see. Um, so you were studying, what would they call it- like comparative literature is what we would call it in literature. So it was comparative history. And you, you got a bachelor's degree?

MY: 05:33 No, that's, that's what I was saying. We had, I had to stop after a year and half because it was 1944. I had to leave because I was commuting from Kamakura to Tokyo and my, my parents said there's no need for you to risk your life just going to college. So, I think few months afterwards, a few months after I left the college, the college building was bombed I think. That, I think Anna's grandmother can probably say lot more clearly what exactly what date because she had to leave, uh, something like in May of 1945. I left in uh, September of 1944.

JF: 06:20 So you left Japan and you came here?

MY: 06:22 No.

JF: 06:23 Where did you-?

MY: 06:25 I left the college in 1944, back to my home in Kamakura. And uh Kamakura was not bombed yet. I don't think it ever was bombed because it's right on the shore and all the hundreds of B-29 went to bomb Tokyo or Yokohama, Kawasaki or all those large cities. But I left Kamakura in uh, 1945, end of April, 1945 is when war was over. But uh, Kamakura was quite difficult to make living because people that was bombed out in other cities, as mentioned, were just pouring into Kamakura. We did not have any food to feed all these people. So my, my mother talked to my father who was assigned to Hiroshima, uh, giving a loan.

JF: 07:28 What, what did your father do? What was his occupation?

MY: 07:31 My father is a naval officer.

JF: 07:34 He was a naval officer.

MY: 07:35 And, uh, he said that Hiroshima was not bombed yet and we still have some food to purchase in the black market. So my mother decided finally- my mother always lived alone; raised us with a maid and things like that- but she decided to move us. So that was close to May, three months before the war was over. So all of us packed up and with just two suitcase moved from Kamakura to Hiroshima.

JF: 08:09 So you moved to Hiroshima?

MY: 08:09 And I remember we had to stop in a tunnel many times because we'd be, we'd be bombed. So we finally got to Hiroshima and my, my father had a large, large house reserved for us, but Hiroshima said that that house needs to be wrecked down because it's too, it's almost as big as a castle. So we moved out of the city to a suburb, uh, less than one month after we moved. And that was, um, probably within a month after we moved. So my, I was only one did not need to go to school anymore, so my sister and my brother both had to be enrolled in schools in Hiroshima. That was three months before that A-bomb.

JF: 09:07 So when the A-bomb went off, you were outside of Hiroshima but it must've been devastating to see what happened.

MY: 09:21 It was, it was something...

JF: 09:22 And I can understand if it's too painful to talk about.

MY: 09:25 It was uh, it was since we moved, we lived in a beach town. We had lot of accident in the beach, but my parents would not let us see some dead people. Died of drowning, things like that. I have not seen any dead people myself. I'm, I'm, if I lived in Tokyo, I'm sure people, some hundred and thousands of them. But that day, uh, my father did not take any official cars or anything. He said 'I'll take a train to go to work.' So he left home about...later than my brother. My brother had to be back in school by 7, 7:30 or something. So he left already. And, uh, we saw him uh, leaving the house and all of us say goodbye to him. And that was the last time we saw him. He was 12 years old and, uh, uh, the school had rules that you had to walk. You're not to take a streetcar or bus or anything after a certain station. So they all gathered at the station and started to walk. Which is...probably was a good training for young men, so everybody has to be back in school, 7:30 or something like close to 8. So my brother left first and then my father left second and uh, uh, when the bomb was dropped it was 8:15 in the morning. So three women, my sister had a day off that day because she was to change the assignment. So it's almost a miracle that my sister was at home, otherwise she would be dead also. But she was uh, let's see, eleventh grade. She was home, so I was alone with my mother, but A-bomb was dropped, uh, 8:15. So we, we stood out and then we saw those big white cloud that you see in the picture. And um, it wasn't too long after that people started to run away from the cities, those people that are burned.

JF: 11:56 When you saw the cloud, what did you think was happening?

MY: 12:02 We had no idea. We did not have any idea, but my father probably knew. He said, he came home about, I think he came home about 10, 10:30, 11 o'clock.

JF: 12:18 In the morning or in the evening?

MY: 12:19 In the morning. He walked home because he, he saw some people around him just dying. So he um, he walked home, but in between the station that he was waiting for the streetcar, he got this black rain full of radiation. He was just poured with all that, but he came home. And he told me that the city itself is burning. He could not even get into the city because he knew he had to look for his son but he did come home. Then he got on the bicycle. He went back to the city. But he still could not get into the city because of the fire. And he came back again about 3:30 or 4 and the city had no electricity, city had nothing running. People were dying. So, um, my mother says, I want to go see if I can find my brother. So he went back there for the third time with my mother, but before he went to take her, he said, I remember that he said that 'you have to keep your mind strong. Don't get upset. Do not lose yourself. If you- unless you can promise that I will not be able to you. So he and my mother went on foot to Hiroshima. And I think somehow between burning city and between dying, dead people, dying people and all the electric lines down on the ground, they got to the schoolyard. But I guess a lot of kids were dead and they, we, I think they got there about 5 o'clock in the afternoon and there's no light, there's no telephone, there's nothing. So they had to leave, back to the home. So my mother made sure that somebody did see my brother because of the same, similar they, because of the name, last name and also the newcomer from Tokyo area. One kid remembered him and he said, 'yes, I did see your son. He was going that way.' So my mother and father said, well there's a hope. So they came home and next day, the 7th of August, two of us, my sister and I begged my father the same thing: we want to go. So he said the same thing to us, 'be strong, don't get upset,' all that. So we went off, the four of us went off, on foot again. And the neighbors also try to help us because they knew we were newcomer. So, the one that knew the geography of the city is probably my sister because she was in the school just for a few months, but we did not know, it's too late. We knew nothing about the city. So it was very, very difficult. So we uh, we looked about seven days just just going from place to place and checking all the dead people's name and...name and body. And I think the school kids of seventh grade people were not mobilized yet because 12-year-old is too young to be mobilized. So, um, I think among the people dead in the city, uh, 12, 13-year-old are the, probably the largest number because they're walking outside, uh, my brother's way about. We followed whatever we could, but in short, we just could not find him after a week. Only thing that I'm kind of proud of, my mother is, my mother kept a diary from August 6th to about 12th of August. Not a single person left that kind of stuff. So my mother's original writing, uh, I translated that part into English and my sister donated that original writing to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. And it's in a permanent exhibit right now. It's written on very poor quality paper and my sister and I had no idea she was keeping that. So when she passed away in 1982, she found that. 37 years she didn't say to anybody. So right now it's available to lot of people to read. And I think my English translation is also there, together. So anybody that goes to Hiroshima, you can view that- my mother's original writing and my English translation. And I think when I was still there in Hiroshima I think they had a memorial service for his school alone. I had, my brother's school alone, had lost about 390 students and they have a memorial statue like. And I, I had to, I was 18 years old at the time. And right after that war, not knowing anything about the city, not knowing any friends or any relatives, uh, I ha- I was only one could make some, some cash money. So I worked about close to 10 years. So I came here in 1955.

JF: 19:01 What kind of work did you do?

MY: 19:03 I worked, I had no skill to make any money. So first I worked in a camera shop because I wanted, one time I wanted to become a photographer until I found out it's- you have to carry very heavy equipment. And then, then, uh, when I settled down, I went to Catholic church, I went to this and that. But, um, I went to prefectural government and I got a working, a liaison office which had some occupations, occupation, people from Kure, which is um, naval fort away from Hiroshima. Uh, through that I went to some civic- civil, or civil affairs office and worked in English, typing and translating. Then when I got little, little settled down, Korean War's going. I had no recollection how that started or what year that started because we were, I know at least I was, I was just completely lost and I worked in the ABCC: Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission. That American Energy Department sent tremendous number of physicians and the statisticians to study the result of atomic bomb, casualty of the atomic bomb. Except they, and made no public announcement of their studies. But I wanted to see how and what they are doing. Number one, physicians have no new medical devices so they treated no one. Number two: statistics. Only thing that I remember that they made announcement is leukemia is very much increase. And also there is some deformity in the babies that are born, with a small head. That's about all I can remember. Then I worked with uh some uh, Protestant church ministers and I think that's where about 10 years or so in my own country.

JF: 21:26 Then you decided to come to the United States?

MY: 21:29 And in, see, I came here in 1955. Unless you passed Fulbright scholarship, the official scholarship was available was Fulbright scholarship. You have to be quite bright, but there is uh, private small colleges in America who was giving scholarship to uh, Japanese, but 1950s I think very, very few people came. I think Anna's grandmother came in a similar situation from Catholic college, I came as a college student from a small college in Indiana, which was Episcopal Methodist and my husband, which I never knew in Japan, I think he's also some Protestant church school that he got a scholarship.

JF: 22:26 Now before you came, what was your religion?

MY: 22:31 Nothing. Except that, except that I was very heavily a Protestant, because the Japanese people had been different from Korean people. Korean is a very heavily Protestant, but Japanese have maybe 1% Christians including Catholic components and um, but religion is uh, another subject you can talk for a long time. It's uh, I think Japanese to me is a very religious people eternal, eternal faith-

JF: 23:12 Spiritual.

MY: 23:12 They have, they may not go to church like here. Uh, but I think Japanese people as a whole is a religious people.

JF: 23:23 So you came here, went to a college in Indiana and you majored in, in history, or...

MY: 23:32 Social science here.

JF: 23:34 Social sciences.

New Speaker: 23:34 And I had a full scholarship here. But uh, I was telling Jennifer that when I met my husband here in Chicago, the people from Japan needed a job three months of summer and you cannot find a job in Chicago, you couldn't find anywhere, anyplace. So having no friends, Japanese or American, he and I both, I think he worked in some place in downtown. I worked with my sponsors- both American ministers. She works at the Augustana Hospital. So she said, you can stay with us and you can get a, I can get you a job. So that's how I started Augustana for the summer. Then before I went back to school administer said I want you to come back next year so I had a job secured. I think same thing with my husband to be at the time. Then 1956, just as we were going home back to uh, school, I think President Eisenhower was pressing a, a legislature for higher degree holders to apply for residency, which he decided we should try to get that and continue studies. So we were married in '57 and applied for that and I, that's why I left the same college in Indiana and later on, I did finish at Northeastern, very close to the house.

JF: 25:17 Um, that's quite a story. No when you came here to the states, did you find that people, that there was a lot of prejudiced or angry feelings towards Japanese?

MY: 25:36 I don't think so except that people in Indiana, it was a small college. I don't think they have seen the Japanese specimen. So when it's uh Episcopal, Methodist church school. Somebody has to take me to the church. So we, I used to go to uh, Protestant churches and you could, you could tell they are just, it's not prejudice, it's just something that- new they have never seen before.

JF: 26:08 Curiosity.

MY: 26:08 Curiosity, maybe. Especially the kids. The kids would be pulling mother's sleeve and say, look at that. And I think, I think also they have uh, certain ideas what to expect. Japanese woman, Japanese man, whatever they have a knowledge about. But I don't think I had any prejudiced feeling, except I was told Indiana was quite old-fashioned in terms of lynching and all that. But I never had bad experience.

JF: 26:45 So then, when you finished college you, you and your husband, you married and then you came here and to live in Chicago?

MY: 26:53 And she, he had a, he had a degree in religious education, a masters, but he said this degree you cannot use in Japan. So he wanted to go to University of Chicago. So, uh, after we were married, University of Chicago gave a scholarship and also the Salvation Army gave us um living expense. So with the two years of string attached, you had to work back with the Salvation Army social service for two years. So, uh, he and I both worked with American, uh, concerns. I worked at Augustana Hospital and he worked at Salvation Army social service. And the social service department of the Salvation Army here in Chicago was one of the largest. We had a Jewish family, which is large, and uh, another one is, I can't remember the name, but that's his classmate was ahead of that. They were three big ones at the time.

JF: 28:02 And at what point did you decide that you were going to stay in the United States?

MY: 28:08 Well, two years, two years, that requirement that you had to stay. Uh, when he was working that two years requirement, he was promoted so, so fast and they had about 35 people with a master's in social service and it was a large agency, but he too had no discrimination in terms of getting certain positions. And I had um, uh, medical records work divided into lab and medical records for budget reasons, but I was picked up about five years later as a head of the department. And when you have certain skills that you are required here in this country to apply that to another countries, completely, extremely difficult, extremely difficult. And uh, because of my family situation that my father was gone and uh, I come from very small family to get him, uh, some job that he can use the studies that here treatment method, um, concept for the social service is divided between two ministries like welfare and education. It's, it's was very, very difficult. So that's how we just kept on living here.

JF: 29:54 So really been here most of your life then?

MY: 30:00 More than I am, more than I expected.

Anna Takada: 30:04 Do you remember your first impressions of Chicago?

MY: 30:09 Well, we had to sit down to pick where we should live, we should live. We would live any place, but east, south, west. Chicago was in Midwest and probably we felt this was probably least discriminatory in terms of culture or people, whatever. And he, he wanted to go to University of Chicago. And that was couple of reasons and I, I think that was right to me. That was right.

JF: 30:49 So, um, you lived in, you would say you lived in this area for most- when you first came here. Now, did you have children, did you have kids?

MY: 31:00 No, we had no kids.

JF: 31:02 No kids. So, so you've lived here for awhile and then you moved up further north. But I remember we were talking that this was, um, a Japanese area. I remember on Belmont, Toguri, I used to go into there and there was places like that. So how did that feel all of a sudden, I mean, when you were in Indiana you couldn't get anything Japanese, any food or anything like that. So coming to this area?

MY: 31:35 I did not, I don't think Ikuo and I, both of us did not crave for anything Japanese. I think I have not known anything about Toguri's store, until he told me one time. And uh, as I mentioned before, I had no Japanese American friends. I think service committee, I think [inaudible], uh, to take that job, uh, as a head of uh, service committee way back, way, way back. But when he told me about that, I said, I don't think you would fit to that because we don't have any friends. We don't have any relatives. We don't know much about that. And that's when uh we [inaudible] to go. But before he was, because there was not a male Jap- male Japanese who speaks Japanese and English and with a social service degree, there was no such person and [inaudible], had a religious, uh, he was a minister. But anyway, he ter-, and I think he served one term as a board member, but he was too busy to do that. So I had very little contact with the service committee and I think I gave my deepest credit to your grandmother. She took me over there.

JF: 33:06 Did your sister stay in Japan?

MY: 33:08 Yes.

JF: 33:08 She did. So your mother and your sister

MY: 33:12 They both come to visit, but they always stayed.

JF: 33:16 Now after going through...Hiroshima and that and then coming here, what were you, did you have any negative feelings about America? I mean, it was a horribly brutal war. I mean...

MY: 33:32 I think, I always wanted to separate the government and the people. Government, what they, what they do is not what, representing the people in, of any country. And uh, after 10 years of, uh, turmoil in my head, I decided, well I have to go and see myself, what the people is like. So, um, that's why I think I did come here, uh, not thinking that I'll be here for this long. That's the one thing that I never thought about, but uh.

JF: 34:09 That you stayed.

Interviewer 2: 34:12 Mari? Um, knowing that your sister still lives in Japan and you talk to her all the time, was there ever a time when, because you and she, you know, you spoke to her about the effects of Hiroshima and, and all of that. Was there ever a time when she wanted to come to the United States or you wanted to go back to Japan because you spoke, you speak all the time and so you knew exactly what was going on in both countries?

MY: 34:38 Yeah, yeah.

I2: 34:38 How was that?

MY: 34:40 I think it's difficult to live with, so many people ask me also now that I'm alone, but you don't, I don't think you want to live with a married sister. She had her own family and, uh, uh, job situation that I was waiting to do anything that if Ikuo could find a job. We spent quite a bit of money and time in the 70s, uh, trying to get back to Japan. But as I mentioned before, it's extremely difficult to get decent job. Wages are too low and it's not recognize in Japan- they don't have a social service graduate degree or anything. Uh, they have a good welfare system, but they have copied case managers and all that, names from exactly what we use here. And they are using, I think there's uh one college now with a social service, um, major, but no, no graduate degree. But friend of mine who was at University of Illinois Social Service, she tried very hard to work at both minister welfare and education, but it's a medical, medical field and it's extremely difficult to get into that kind of situation. And um, Ikuo was um, interested in that treatment of alcoholics, but the treatment method and the concept of alcoholism is completely...it's not there, it's not if, it's not different it's, it's more authoritative in Japan. And with all of that background, it's very different. It's, it's, it's easy to ask questions like, you, you have just two sis-, one sister and why don't you, why don't you get the job and I can probably get a job doing some translation or something. But uh, Japanese require a certain educational background. I don't have that background to fit to that job requirement. And, uh, it's not an easy thing to, to make a change like, like what you have suggested. So that's why I ended up here.

JF: 37:19 Things that I've read and Japanese people that I, I've met, um, I got the impression that Japanese society is a lot more structured...

MY: 37:32 I think so.

JF: 37:33 Than an American society. Um, can you talk a little bit about that, the differences you found when you came here?

MY: 37:45 Well, I think when I came here I found that uh, system itself is very, very open. For instance, like I remember the first year I was in this country that they talked about blind people and professor was a lady. She said that in the Western culture they have a feeling that blindness is a punishment of God. We don't have any such thing. And blind people is for centuries make living, um, playing Koto, a certain occupation is, uh, I can't think of anybody else other than blind people doing that. Uh, massage. That's another job that they have always done that. We never think that as a God, God punishment. There are some cultural difference in interpreting, I think. I find that also very interesting. And I did tell uh, professor about that. And also and even in literature, I think the, certain literature are not interpreted the same way as we do. Uh, I think it's all because of the difference of the background or the way we think. And I, I'm sure this country with a different background of the people, they probably have a lot more interpretation than, than I know of because I'm not that scholastic. But, uh, I think in that way, I think this was a good experience for me to, to see that. And at the same time, because of that, I think they were ready to accept anybody and any kind of uh, background because in my own office I tried to get people from another country, about half of them w-re American born. We needed to learn from the American-born, but people that are from another country had something to contribute. So, uh, I had a Cuban lady, uh, this also wealthy kind of Cuban lady and uh, Iraqian, Filipino. I used uh, blind people to, uh, translate uh, to a type. Uh, all of these are very open to do, I find that very encouraging to me.

JF: 40:22 Was it, um, an adjustment, when you were saying that, I was thinking in Japan, it's a pretty homogeneous society- that you don't see many other cultures and then you come to America and we're just a mixture of everything. Was that, how, did that affect you when you, when you came here and, um,

MY: 40:51 Well at the same time what I'm saying is the people who had a position in Japan say like a professor who have position in Japan, many of them could not get a tenure or teaching job here. A lot of them did go back. That probably told you that how difficult for those people adjust- to make adjustment.

JF: 41:14 Yeah.

MY: 41:14 And we, I myself, I had no experience. I, I could get into any, any kind of situation. I know too many people that did not stay here, especially on a professional level.

AT: 41:35 Mari-san, I'd love to hear more, um, about your experiences of coming to Chicago. Um, and what that was like because a lot of people had had come from camp to Chicago, um, right after the war. So did you, did you know about the camps?

MY: 42:00 Nothing.

AT: 42:00 Um, when did you hear about them?

MY: 42:03 Very recently. Very recently because this exhibit probably is uh, first time. I think your mother took me to Northwestern and they had a small exhibit but that's not for the camp. They had exhibit of uh, bombing, the result of Japan, which I have never seen after I left Japan. Like a Shinagawa station where I used to get off my train was very heavily bombed and I think this is, might be my first one to see very complete one and uh, second the experience is that service committee's program of uh, other side of war. I think that that was the first time I saw about your camp life as well as other side of war. Very touching just the surface of the war experience in Japan. I think is the same thing. Applies to the people in this country. Japanese American know very little about what we went in, in, in um, in Japan. As a matter of fact, I, I learned from your mother, grandmother. I had no idea what went on. My classmate was with your mother- grandmother, I didn't, I had no idea they went evacuating.

AT: 43:42 Do you remember your, your reactions to learning about that? What happened?

MY: 43:48 It, uh, I think it's a good thing that it's so many years past. If that is something that immediately after the war it will be very difficult to forget it. But, uh, somebody else pain, it's very difficult to feel yourself, right? And, uh, I think all of us do have a pain either in the camp or within the war, but I think that ability that we can forget is, uh, sometimes a blessing that you do have less and less, except sometimes that comes right back to you. But other than that, we have our ability to forget.

AT: 44:40 And you, you had said you didn't know, um, you didn't know other Japanese or Japanese Americans when you came to Chicago. Um, but you did meet my grandmother here.

MY: 44:53 That's, that's probably is true.. I know one couple who lives in Hawai'i. It's Hawaiian, Japanese, Hawaiian, it's uh Sansei or Yonsei I guess. Other than that, that I don't, I don't know. Some people that lives in suburb, like coming from [inaudible], from business. I know few. Other than that, I knew very, very, very little.

AT: 45:26 Well and, and I can say I've seen you at a, a number of events, um, within the Japanese American community my whole life. Um, whether it's, um, things at the JASC or, um, you know, like 'Holiday Delight,' things like that. When did you start going to some of those events?

MY: 45:51 Your grandmother took me [laughs]. It's gotta be very, very few years, five, six years maybe? I don't know, five, six years maybe. I remember going to your graduation from Whitney Young.

AT: 46:08 Walter Payton.

MY: 46:12 What, uh, what year was that you graduated?

AT: 46:15 Uh, 2010.

MY: 46:16 2010.

AT: 46:18 Yes.

MY: 46:18 I went with your grandmother and grandfather and then I knew [Sachet?] Because of the of where he go to...

AT: 46:28 Because of?

MY: 46:28 Because after he plays at contrabass, the father. And also I knew a physician from Japan who lived next door who stayed in Chicago for nine months and now he's back in Japan. So that's about more than five, seven, seven, eight years.

JF: 47:00 Okay. Have you gone back to Japan?

MY: 47:03 Many times.

JF: 47:03 Multiple times, like?

MY: 47:03 Many times.

JF: 47:03 Many times.

MY: 47:03 Yeah. I'm tired of me going riding on a plane for 14 hours.

JF: 47:15 [Laughs] oh yeah. So, so you've lived most of your life here and it sounds like you were happy that you made that decision. Do you ever think maybe you should have gone back at a later time?

MY: 47:30 I don't think I, I could do this any other way or you don't think what, what Japan's um, stiff requirement. Uh, I know your grandmother had the same desire to become social worker, but when it comes right down to it, I try that myself way back. You have to be from certain college, you have to have a degree, not unknown place. I mean, your, your requirement for somebody like educated in other country, uh, could be quite stiff.

JF: 48:08 I remember a friend of mine said when they would take exams for college, they would be published in the paper, whether you passed or not. Yeah. And he went to, I remember he went to Waseda.

MY: 48:25 Mhm. Waseda.

JF: 48:25 Yeah. But when he took the entrance exam, first time he didn't pass and it was very shameful for his family, but it was in the newspaper.

MY: 48:39 Yes.

JF: 48:39 But eventually, he did graduate.

New Speaker: 48:43 That's another thing that I like America. It's not, it's not what college you're from, but you're, you're rated, you're appreciated by your accomplishment. Your, uh, I think in that sense I think America is very open and it's, it's wonderful to, to somebody. Of course you have some people that with a college degree and graduate degree no good, but you can prove yourself.

AT: 49:19 I like to ask this question when I'm wrapping up these interviews, but um, if, if you could leave any kind of message or, or legacy, um, you know, with, with your family and maybe not your kids or grandkids, but, um, just for generations to come, what kind of message would you want to leave?

MY: 49:45 Not for any particular group?

AT: 49:49 For future generations.

MY: 49:52 I think the country with uh, it's not homogeneous. I mean Japan has little vari- variety of people. It's not for one race, we would differentiate by where you are from, what dialect you talk. But I think country with uh, many different races, different group of people, it's very, very difficult. A country like America, country like from European country. And uh, I don't know how you can resolve that but to have equal feeling without, without some difference in uh, ratio differences in Japan. I have prejudice, I prefer certain peoples from certain places or certain schools. I do, but we all try do our best. That's all we can do. It's not true that we can be fair to every person. It's not possible to me. And I not, I'm not sure if that is possible for anybody, but I think we should all try not to discriminate and take it as, as what you are and start from that. I think that we all have to do that. But there are certain group people that eliminate that from the beginning that I think should not be done in a country like this, especially

AT: 51:42 Mari-san, Is there anything that you'd like to add or that we may have missed in this conversation?

MY: 51:50 Well, I don't know, you, I thought it was 10 minutes to leave? You trick me [laughs].

I2: 52:00 Well you just have so much to talk about. Very rich, full life you, you need to get it out.

AT: 52:06 Well, thank you so much for, for coming in and, and speaking with us. Really appreciate it.

MY: 52:12 Thank you [laughs].