Name and location of repository
Level of description
Oral history interview with Nadyne Yoneko Dozono
- 1998-01-23 - 1998-02-05 (Creation)
.1 cubic feet; 14 audiocassettes (14 hr., 5 min., 55 sec.) + transcript (392 pages) + 2 photographs (color; 4 x 6 in.)
Name of creator
Nadyne Yoneko Dozono, nee Yoneko Niguma, was born in Portland, Oregon, in 1915. Her family arranged for her to go to Japan in 1931, when she was a teenager, to obtain a two-year education in Japanese culture. In 1934, while still in Japan, she and Asazo Dozono were married, and they later had three children. She lived in Japan during World War II and considered herself a Japanese citizen. After the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States in 1945, she worked with the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, which studied the effects of radiation poisoning among the survivors. She returned to the United States with her oldest child in 1953, with Asazo Dozono and the other children following shortly after. In the U.S., she continued working as an interpreter for the Japanese Ancestral League, as well as occasionally for the FBI. She was active in the Veleda Nisei Women's Club and often spoke in public schools about Japanese culture. She died in 2013.
Content and structure elements
Scope and content
This oral history interview with Nadyne Yoneko Dozono was conducted by Clark Hansen at Dozono's home in Portland, Oregon, from January 23 to February 5, 1998. The interview was recorded as part of the Japanese American Oral History Project, which was conducted by the Oregon Historical Society to preserve the stories of Japanese Americans in Oregon. The interview was conducted in seven sessions.
In the first interview session, conducted on January 23, 1998, Dozono discusses her family background, including her parents' experiences immigrating to the United States in the early 20th century. She talks about Japanese culture, including flower arranging, marriage and wedding practices, and Japanese social structure. She speaks about her early life in Portland, Oregon, including the Portland Japantown, the neighborhoods and houses she lived in, and her home and family life. She also talks about the Japanese food that her mother cooked and sold. She closes the session by discussing her social life and her education.
In the second interview session, conducted on January 26, 1998, Dozono continues discussing her early life in Portland, Oregon, including her social life, her education, and her siblings. She talks about her poor health in her youth, celebrating both Japanese and American holidays, and picking berries in the summers. She then speaks about being sent to Japan at age 16 for a Japanese education. She talks about her journey to Japan by ship in 1931, the family members she met and lived with in Japan, and learning the Japanese language and customs. She closes the session by discussing her experiences adjusting to life in Japan and describing the house she lived in.
In the third interview session, conducted on January 29, 1998, Dozono continues discussing the family members she met and lived with in Japan, and her experiences adjusting to life there. She describes the house she lived in, her daily life, and learning Japanese customs. She talks about sewing traditional Japanese clothing, performing the Japanese tea ceremony, and the nuances of the Japanese language. She also describes the town she lived in, Seki Machi in Gifu prefecture, as well as Tokyo. She talks about Japanese festivals, plays, and holidays. She speaks at length about her arranged marriage to Asazo Dozono in 1934. She talks about Asazo Dozono's career and about raising children, including her first child's death at age 1 during an epidemic. She closes the session by describing life in Japan during World War II and explains that she was not well-informed about world events at the time.
In the fourth interview session, conducted on January 30, 1998, Dozono continues describing life in Japan during World War II. She also revisits the topic of her first child's death during an epidemic. She talks about rationing and shortages, as well as being uninformed about U.S. government's incarceration of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps. She describes the information the Japanese government gave the citizenry about the war's progress, the reaction of the people to Japan's surrender, and the bombing of Okayama City, as well as the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. She talks about the aftermath of the war, including her husband losing his job due to his loyalty to the Japanese government, the American occupation, and revealing herself as an American citizen. She discusses her work as an interpreter for the American military; talks about the difficulty of explaining democracy to Japanese citizens; and shares stories about cultural misunderstandings between American troops and the Japanese population. She also talks about the changes that the U.S. made to Japan. She then discusses her work with the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission as an interpreter in Hiroshima; describes the effects of radiation sickness that she witnessed; and shares her opinion that the bombings were unnecessary. She closes the session by sharing a story about acting as an interpreter for Jean MacArthur, the spouse of U.S. General Douglas MacArthur.
In the fifth interview session, conducted on February 2, 1998, Dozono discusses returning to Oregon with her daughter in 1953, then bringing her husband and sons later, and reconnecting with her siblings. She talks about readjusting to life in the U.S., working for the Japanese Ancestral Society, and her shock at realizing that racism was still a problem in the U.S. She also talks about her family's experiences during and after their incarceration by the U.S. government during World War II. She closes the session by discussing how her husband and children adjusted to life in the U.S.; her continued work as an interpreter; and her involvement in various community organizations particularly the Japanese Ancestral Society and the Veleda Nisei Women's Club.
In the sixth interview session, conducted on February 4, 1998, Dozono discusses the Japanese-American community in the Pacific Northwest, the community's reaction to incarceration by the U.S. government, and the movement for reparations. She talks more about her involvement in community organizations, particularly the Japanese Ancestral Society and the Veleda Nisei Women's Club. She also talks about gender roles in Japanese culture and how they have changed over the 20th century. She discusses her work speaking in schools about Japanese culture and the U.S. government's incarceration of Japanese Americans. She talks about Japanese-American organizations, including the Oregon Nikkei Endowment, as well as the Japanese-American community. She also discusses several trips she took back to Japan. She closes the session by talking about her children, their families, and their careers.
In the seventh and final interview session, conducted on February 5, 1998, Dozono continues discussing her children, their families, and their careers, while looking at photographs. She then talks about some of her American friends, including Maurine Neuberger; describes her involvement in various community organizations, particularly Ikoi no Kai; and closes the interview by discussing her hopes for the future.
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use elements
Conditions governing access
Copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society. Use is allowed according to the following statement: Creative Commons - BY-NC-SA, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/
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Immediate source of acquisition
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information
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Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related archival materials
Preferred citation: Oral history interview with Nadyne Yoneko Dozono, by Clark Hansen, SR 976, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Forms part of the Japanese American Oral History Project.
Description control element
Rules or conventions
Finding aid based on DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard), 2nd Edition.
Subject access points
- Japan--History--Allied occupation, 1945-1952--Personal narratives
- Japanese Americans--Japan
- Japanese Americans--Oregon
- Language and culture--Japan
- World War, 1939-1945--Social aspects--Japan
- World War, 1939-1945--Japanese Americans
- World War, 1939-1945--Personal narratives, American
- Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
- World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps--United States
- Japanese Americans--Societies, etc.--Oregon
- Sex role--Japan