Interview with Edith Kashiwabara Mikami

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Center for Oral History, Social Science Research Institute, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Edith Kashiwabara Mikami was born in 1934 in Honolulu, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i to Seisaku and Sato Kashiwabara, both immigrants from Yamaguchi-ken, Japan. The Kashiwabara family—composed of six children, having lost two in infancy—resided in Honolulu. Seisaku, a fisherman, owned the largest sampan on O‘ahu—the seventy-five-foot Koyo Maru. He also served as an officer of ‘A‘ala Market. With the outbreak of war, Seisaku was removed from his home and held at the Sand Island Detention Center. His sampan was confiscated. Released for a time in late 1942, he and the family were notified of their all being transported to the U.S. Mainland. Within a two-week period, household possessions were sold or given away. Seisaku Kashiwabara and family were held, first at the Jerome War Relocation Center in Arkansas, later at the Gila River War Relocation Center in Arizona. At war’s end, the Kashiwabaras returned to the islands. After several years, the Kashiwabara children managed to buy back their father’s sampan. The older children worked full-time jobs while the younger ones took on part-time jobs. Edith received her high school and community college degrees in Honolulu. A retired school cafeteria manager since 1987, she still enjoys preparing meals for family and friends. She has two children and four grandchildren.
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