I found some really nice information on the history
of the Tamura's in Hawaii. It is information on an interview that Helen Onuma did back in 1989. It was very interesting
what I had learned about.
Eleanor's father name was Ichiro Tamura, ranch
people called him "Murata", he was a honeybee caretaker. He also made Kiawe charcoal, grew watermelons, raised pigs
and chickens, and made okolehao. (I think this was some kind of alcohol because the ranch cowboys would come over and
drink this.) Ichiro Tamura was from somewhere in Sendai, Japan. His wife's name was Ayako Tamura, was from Aki-gun,
Hiroshima. She came from Japan as a picture bride. That meant she did not know Ichiro until she arrived on Lani.
She was 21 years old when she came from Japan. In Japan she did not work, just went to school. When she came to
the Islands she made Japanese kimonos and flower arrangements. They lived in Keomuku on Lani. That was were all
the children were born, Helen, Norm, Thelma, Eleanor, Ellen and Ross. When Helen was five she moved to Ko'ele to go
to school and stayed at a private home for a year. Eventually the whole family moved there. I guess that is where
the oldest three had started going to Japanese school after English school. Helen also took up sewing school on Saturdays.
This was kind of a funny story about Helen, she
was four or five years she dropped her sister (who was Eleanor born in 1927) in the pigpen. This was in ko'ele.
They ate lots of dried fish and vegetables.
They went to Maui on the boat, but Ichiro would plant eggplants and papayas.
When Ayako Tamura came from Japan with the other
picture brides they were going to Honolulu, some on Maui and other islands. She was ashamed to say she was going to
Keomuku, so she said she was going to Maui. She was the only one that came to Lanai.
Well I hope you guys find this interesting, I'm
just taking brief parts of the interview, there is more, but I haven't had a chance to finish reading all of it.
Hope this will help you know the family some
more. I sure learned more than I even new.
When I think of how Ichiro had to cope with his life in Hawaii,
it makes me sad. He, having moved to a new country at the age of only 17, then building a life there, with all of the
lonliness and difficulties of learning a new language, it couldn't have been easy.
I remember he used to drink cheap wine while living with us
in Santa Ana, California. I guess he used to get some kind of government check on a monthly basis. I regret to
say that I stole money from his Buddhis alter from time to time. I even lied to my mother about it, and she believed
me. It reminds me of the time when I lost the respect of one of my aunts, because I admitted years later, that I had
lied to her.
So, my grandfather never spoke English even though he had
lived in Hawaii and California for over 50 years. He used to go to his Buddhist church in downtown Los Angeles, taken there
by my mother on some Sundays. It was the only times that I remember him smiling. I don't remember him talking
at the meetings, but I do remember seeing some kind of satisfaction written all over his face.
Once, my grandfather interrupted our play, rather angrily
as I remember. We were play fighting in the front yard. I guess my mother had asked him to look after us, maybe
because of the "criminal element" in our neighborhood, there were a lot of gangs in the late 50's. I think my grandfather
pushed one of my friends. My friend gave my grandfather a surprised look, and my grandfather slowly went into his karate or
martial arts pose. It got a few chuckles from some of my friends. But, my grandfather was serious. He scolded
me in Japanese and walked away. Later that evening, my mother probably scolded my grandfather. Things started to change
Once my grandfather, Ichiro Tamura, pulled me down to the
floor and started to teach me hiragana, a kind of Japanese writing system. My mother again scolded him and made him
stop. My mother wanted us kids to learn American ways. My mother grew up after the second world war and was careful
to act American, not Japanese. I don't think she was ashamed of being Japanese American, but something was amiss.
Anyway, getting back to his moving to America and what kinds
of effects it has had on family, I have noticed that the family in Japan has forgotten about Ichiro. And, they don't
know about me. Well, at least they haven't contacted me even though I wrote to some of them many years ago. So,
I hesitate to go and visit them or even telephone them.
That brings me to the time when some of them came to California
and talked about how Ichiro left Japan in disgrace, something to do with gambling the family money. I always thought
it was a mean thing to bring up. But, when I think of my own circumstances, probably in a few years, only the bad things
about me will be remembered by people in Santa Ana, the place where I grew up.