Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mary Kageyama Nomura Interview
Narrator: Mary Kageyama Nomura
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Torrance, California
Date: July 9, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-nmary-02-0011

MN: When you say Issei, it goes way back to when I was five years old. I sang with a group of these men students that my mother had, and she would play the shamisen, the futo shamisen, while her students, the male students, would sing their operas. And I would mimic them by listening to them in their lessons. And then one day she put me on the stage and I sang the opera song that they, that she was teaching them, and I sang it. And I was only five. And the audience would start crying, and they'd throw money at me. In those days, it was okay to throw money on the stage. So I remember that. I never got to see any of the money, but I know they were throwing money on the stage.

TI: And you said, the audience, they would start crying?

MN: They would start crying, because I was just five years old singing the Japanese-style opera. They called it Gedayu, Gedayu, or now they call it Jorori. But I remember, I have pictures of that, sitting on the stage with my mother. [Laughs] But I guess I was a born ham, just like my mother, just always enjoying music.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.