A Different View
Amy Yamamoto is born in 1926 in Ookala, a sugar plantation community, on the Big Island (Hawaii).
She is the fifth of six children born to Gisuke and Hisa Yamamoto, both from Hiroshima-ken, Japan. Gisuke, an adopted son-in-law, or yoshi, of the Yamamotos, assumes the name of his adoptive family.
I was born 1926, which makes me seventy-nine years old today [March 4, 2005].
[I was born in] Ookala, Hawaii. I had a brother, Shiro; and my sister, Misao.
Well, I was number five. My sister is the oldest, she's about eighty-seven now. But before her, they had two children that, I guess during those days, olden days, they didn't know what was wrong with the child, and they lost two. And then there was one after me, she was stillborn. So actually, I come from a family of six children.
Parents: Gisuke Nakahara and Hisa Yamamoto
My mother's name was Hisa Yamamoto, and my father's name is Gisuke Nakahara. But my dad married my mom, and I guess here we call it yoshi, so he carried my mom's family's name because my mom only had another sister. So, I guess during those days in Japan, it was so important that the family carries a real family name. So my father was yoshi [an adopted son through marriage].
They're both from Hiroshima [prefecture]. I think my dad came to Hawaii when he was around sixteen and, I guess, my mom came after. So he had started working for the [Ookala] plantation at the early stage of sixteen.
[My father] worked for the plantation. . . . No, I think it was connected indirectly with the health department because I know he used to go around and every so often they would get the field rats and things like that and did testing. But, of course, the testing was done in Hilo. But as far as I remember, my dad did that type of work.
Well, when we were growing up, my mom, most of the time, she was at home. But I remember years when she used to go out in the cane field to work, you know.
So we were a close-knit family, as far as I know. Had a lot of neighbor friends that would come after, maybe, six o'clock dinner. And they would sit around and just talk.
Amy Yamamoto's interview courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photographs courtesy of Amy Yamamoto.