Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Fred Y. Hoshiyama Interview
Narrator: Fred Y. Hoshiyama
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Culver City, California
Date: February 25, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-hfred_2-01-0009

FH: I did kind of get embarrassed about bringing Japanese food for lunch, and I thought one big change, I used to eat kind of covertly and not let people see what I'm eating. And yet, today, sushi, everybody loves sushi, nigiri. [Laughs] And then Japanese food today is accepted. But my days, we're ashamed, 'cause we didn't know what people might think. And then I mentioned to you that my birth certificate does not have "Fred" on it. So my initial Yaichiyo, my name, is very important. So when I sign anything, it's "Fred Y. Hoshiyama." The Y represents that I'm a legal, I have a birth certificate to back up my birth.

TI: And where did the name Fred come from?

FH: Well, when I was going to public school, the teacher said, "Yaichiyo Hoshiyama, that's too long. You're Fred." So that's how I got my name Fred, which is okay.

FH: And I found out that many of my friends, same thing has happened to them also. When they started going to school, they were given these English names. So that made me feel kind of funny. I say, "Why is eating rice not right?" "Why is having Yachiyo as a name not right?" Psychologically, I think it did something for me, bad, not good. Made me feel inferior.

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