Maria L. Yamashita, Hiroyuki Yamashita, and Kibo Yamashita

Recorded March 10, 2007 Archived March 10, 2007 01:19:45
0:00 / 0:00
Id: GCT003617


Kibo interviews his parent, Hiroyuki and Maria, about having the same birthday, their first date, and being a multiracial couple.


  • Maria L. Yamashita
  • Hiroyuki Yamashita
  • Kibo Yamashita


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00:05 My name is Maria Louise you Musta I am 68.

00:11 And today's date is March 10th Year 2007.

00:16 We are in the Grand Central terminal.

00:19 And I am here with my husband.

00:26 My name is Vicki Roy. Yuki a Meister age 68 today's March 10th 2007.

00:37 Grand Central terminal

00:42 My wife Maria is with me.

00:48 My name is Kevo a Koski yamashta age. 34 today is March 10th 2007 were located in Grand Central Terminal and I am here with my parents.

01:03 Well

01:05 I'm dead. I did first want to start off by asking you what day you were born?

01:13 What day of the week do the date in the year on March 10th? 1939 6:30 a.m. I was born March 10th.

01:30 1939 eastern Daylight Time 1 a.m.

01:38 Do you know of any other couple in the history of the world? I was born on the exact same day like two of you are.

01:51 I know the one couple.

01:54 Very famous runner who

01:58 Who won three gold medals from Czechoslovakia. He was Army, and his wife was also Runner and bustles in love.

02:09 Born at the same time. I'm the same day. I don't know exact time. I don't know the date, but they were born at the same day Emil zatopek. That's husband's name. I don't know the wife's name.

02:29 Just happened to look it up in preparation for today watch name is Dana and they were born on September 19th 1922.

02:39 Now

02:42 Stressing back and if you can tell me some of your

02:47 Earliest childhood memories of birthday celebrations Mommy can

02:55 The only of birthday celebration I can remember.

03:01 I was 7 years old.

03:05 And it was just a family gathering.

03:09 I think that's the only one I ever had.

03:16 Maybe because I was growing up and join World War II and moving around from City of Tokyo to several country site. I don't remember.

03:34 We celebrated our fox say my boss. Say I have no recollection of being celebrated.

03:43 Until late Junior High High School, something like that.

03:50 I'm thinking back.

03:54 2 a year early childhood growing up now in Japan for you, Dad. Can you think of any

04:04 Sights and sounds around you at that time that you know, if you were to go back today, if they wouldn't be there any more like things that have just gone into the past are gone.

04:19 Sound

04:24 Sound of my mother cutting the vegetable oil on cutting board.

04:30 Donkey Kong

04:32 I was by myself living here after I came to this country one morning. I heard from outside of the building apartment. I live.

04:45 This sounds like

04:49 My mother used to make when she was cutting the face of on The Cutting Board and I woke up. I miss her. So badly that time I wanted to cry.

05:01 That's the sound is gone, but everything else.

05:08 Astoria

05:14 Oh, yes, she reminded me because if she was with me for a couple years in Japan.

05:22 Street vendors

05:27 Coming to sell special items such as tofu.

05:34 Natto, which like it's a rotten beans.

05:42 Something like that, and that doesn't exist anymore.

05:47 You have to go to the store to buy it.

05:52 That was a sound of a sign of Japan.

05:58 Small first of all of where were you born?

06:02 I was born in Manhattan downtown Atkins in your hospital too far away from here. Not too far. What do you remember about neighborhood you grew up in that, you know is Sir gone forever.

06:19 That was important to you back then things that you like to remember thinking about.

06:26 Has very little girl.

06:29 Maybe 5-6 years old.

06:33 I was able to walk the streets anytime of the day all by myself.

06:40 Not having to worry not having a fear of

06:44 People coming by bothering me or whatever. That's something you don't find today.

06:51 That's certainly gone forever.

06:58 Streets were pretty quiet when I was a kid then going back to the early 40s 1940s.

07:05 Traffic was non-existent practically.

07:09 That's gone forever.

07:12 If you woke up the strangers people would talk to you.

07:19 No problems.

07:23 Scrappy net worth

07:32 I went shopping as a little girl was able to go grocery shopping. But of course it had to be with food stamps because it was more time.

07:42 After what time?

07:48 And thank goodness. That's gone.

07:54 Play my shitt.

07:57 Just remember way back then.

08:00 Bad

08:03 How difficult was it to get into some of the schools that you attended?

08:09 The the college

08:12 Most prestigious College

08:15 And since I was a little because my parents loved the college does not affect my father wanted to get in but he's

08:26 Family is business bankrupted and he had to keep up and he wanted his son. I was the oldest of this fishing me to be able to get into that was a difficult boss anniversary and I was so proud of it that when I was successful.

08:46 Passing the entrance exam but until then I went some of the schools.

08:55 Kind of

08:57 Illegally the one Elementary School was very difficult to get in but I guess my parents cheated where we reside.

09:13 Go to Sutton Place for you here. You have to be in the shop. Maybe you have to live reside and use somebody else's address so that I could attend that school.

09:31 And the most of students who graduated Elementary School

09:38 Ended up going to the tremendous school system.

09:43 Later date

09:50 Tell mom you are.

09:53 You got sick when you were student, right?

09:56 Has child. Yeah, what happened there? I was not born a healthy child to begin with.

10:07 And by time I say I was in and out of school many many times but more sick days at home or in hospitals, and I didn't School.

10:18 By time, I was ten. I had come down with a rheumatic fever.

10:25 And it was pretty severe.

10:28 So I had to be taken away from the family and send to a

10:34 Specialized Hospital in Roslyn, Long Island

10:38 Where I stayed for over 2 years.

10:43 Allowed to see my parents only once a month at that time.

10:49 Pretty isolated from family

10:53 How did they conduct classes for you while you were there school classes were conducted but they were basic simple.

11:06 So easy then so I lost I lost a lot of Education in junior high school. In fact, I would say I lost all of it because I was just doing basic reading math.

11:20 Nothing complicated because being ill they didn't want to patients to be over excited or anything.

11:33 Dad what led you to start playing Judo?

11:40 I would say my father's.

11:44 Cubs playing baseball

11:47 And I used to come home so late cuz baseball's has been in Japan is one of the most popular sports and so many kids in junior high.

11:57 Wants to participate and it's so many players. I just didn't have time to

12:07 Getting to the any technical aspects of baseball, but I had to come home after well after Sunset the most important thing in Japan and school days is academic or what and I was always good student, but my father didn't like the idea. I just come home so late.

12:34 And he knew I would resist to quit, but he forced me to.

12:43 I got he told me that is the one sports but not the ones potato Sports you might like you practice. I want to have and you won't be able to stand up. I said what it is.

12:56 He says to do.

13:00 Judo

13:02 That struck me because always I have something in me everytime we restaurant around some kids. I use something to throw flip someone and everybody thought I knew Judo I had no idea.

13:17 Then my mother took me to call okon where Judo was originated.

13:24 The walking distance that place I would say about 25-30 minutes from our house walking distance, and that's how I started.

13:37 Then of course, I didn't want to quit and I'm very competitive especially like a judo individual sport one against one. I want one amongst nine players, like baseball is the one against the one I tried to conquer every kid's who started with me, but that's that's how I started.

14:03 And was it around the same time that you started studying art mom.

14:09 I started Arts.

14:13 My very first bit of art was as maybe 6 or 7 years old.

14:20 I did too.

14:24 A drawing of a little tree on a canvas oil paint

14:30 And I use the technique of stipple.

14:34 She's fascinated me. They still do.

14:38 That was my very first piece of jewelry.

14:41 And in school, I did many pencil drawings.

14:47 Colored pencil drawings

14:52 I did a fairly large drawing of an American Indian boy.

14:58 Which the teacher likes so much he put up on the wall.

15:03 And I get a lot of

15:09 Daddy finger painting also

15:12 What every kid does that?

15:15 And I didn't get very serious about art until High School.

15:22 And Maya

15:24 Family insisted that I go into strawberry Muller textile high school and study interior design.

15:33 So I spent three years there.

15:38 Starting from these second-year second third and fourth year of high school.

15:45 Doing all kinds of white work dress design room design.

15:53 Textures fabric textures would text you is Excedrin the whole bit.

15:59 And I've always been interested in art since then.

16:02 And that last bit was I went to Molloy College and took a course over there.

16:09 And doing acrylic painting.

16:13 And I got a nice passing grade on that one.

16:17 Tell you once told me about a philosophy exam you were given in college.

16:24 Final exam you managed to

16:28 Use Judo to formulate your answered. Do you remember what the question was?

16:36 The question was

16:41 I didn't understand any one of them. I studies wrong. We kind of gambled because of the Judo training. I could not cover the entire textbook the thick book by said this area. I bet you that he's going to ask me if I started intensively the one.

17:03 Maybe one-third of the entire book and none of the question was on the paper came from that area. So I should so I said

17:16 Nevermind

17:19 Taking that was yeah, that's a philosophy class one year studying philosophy that that's insult.

17:32 The subject

17:35 So I want to write something that I have been doing this.

17:40 For so many years that is supposed to Judo This Is My Salsa fee a leading living philosophy of Judah then I wrote it on shoes paper.

17:57 Front and back a plus and none in our class. I think a 70 or 80

18:05 A cuz I try to try to answer the question was asked.

18:14 Because I I I respect him.

18:23 I was not long after college that you came to the United States, right only one week after I graduated. How did that come about making the decision to come take my father?

18:37 Encourage me to go to another country to widen my Visions instead of

18:46 Working for big Corporation or government the most of oldest son would do to stay geographically close to parents.

19:00 To take care of them is not the taking off the father's business and it seems like that just to be close to parents.

19:11 So

19:13 That was my

19:15 Bank on song how to get into a

19:19 Major corporation and my father was very little that way and he says what are you trying to do?

19:29 Trying to get into the Corporation after so many years and the opposition in your pay will be dis and after 5 years after that you are like going to ask you go up and up and up, you know exactly where you going to be unless you make tremendous item you stay so, you know, something great happen. Kind of like you like being

19:58 The Ulster judo player in the college Collegiate plays doesn't anybody from another country want you to come to teach them?

20:11 And honestly, I feel

20:15 Because I had had three offers already. So that's how I set of things seriously to come to the country.

20:25 Those three offers were where which I wanted to go.

20:31 Badly, then next one next offer came from London.

20:37 Then New York

20:41 B&L Street, it was somebody else.

20:45 One also wanted to come and he happened to be much older happened to be world champion.

20:53 And he had a such a lousy technique and terrible knowledge according to my teachers and see mites that you are much better. He can teach Anythink but just as you would expect why don't you wish to Isis? Yes, I would then I never like that.

21:13 British

21:17 So I came to New York.

21:21 But wasn't like a third choice.

21:24 How to spell choice but I had to give up the idea of going to to Vienna, Austria

21:34 Mom, do you remember the first time you saw the word Judo printed somewhere?

21:44 And because I saw that you're sitting there asking you questions tell me about when you first saw it and what it led to the newspapers. And of course I was curious set this thing for all the Arts of Judah.

22:01 So I just took my girlfriend Isis. Let's go find out what the art of Judah was all about.

22:10 And so we came into the City by train.

22:15 Found the Juda School

22:18 Walked in and sore

22:21 All these people moving around Sterling and falling and

22:25 Shouting

22:28 Where's the art?

22:32 So it looked interesting enough. So I said well we're here. So why don't we just sit down and watch?

22:38 So we did and by time the end of the class came and she looks so interesting. This is life sign up.

22:45 So my girlfriend Pat and I are we signed up for a three-month course.

22:53 I wish I finished and

22:56 She quit after a month-and-a-half. She said not to me.

23:01 First aid

23:04 And that was the beginning of my to do career.

23:07 And was dad there I never saw him until it had to be maybe he's 3 months or so.

23:18 LOL blessings, which I was up on the second floor and I had a different instructor. His name is Matsumoto and only women in the class because they was segregation, So women were upstairs Manuel downstairs.

23:35 And it wasn't until around the holidays. So I guess around December times. If I could remember that the instructors from the gentlemen's group downstairs. We're coming upstairs to give us a little demonstration. And that was the first time I saw your father.

23:55 That is cute little butt.

24:01 Did you like playing Juno?

24:08 I had never been athletic in my entire life.

24:12 We didn't have that in elementary school and high school was just a little volleyball in gym class. And this was my first experience it real hard exercise.

24:25 I'm training and learning something completely opposite of what I've learned all my life. That's how I stuck with it.

24:35 So dad was teaching downstairs. When did you become his student?

24:42 Well at that particular school, I was not his student.

24:48 I just saw him after class A few times.

24:53 And then we started dating he did not become.

24:58 My instructor until after we return from Japan.

25:08 So Dad, how did you first start dating?

25:19 Wow.

25:22 After the class

25:27 Bunch of instructors and some of the students the guys went to the bar.

25:35 And she happened to be there.

25:40 When we

25:43 Getting to the conversation.

25:45 Until then I was not allowed to teach women cause of women that class had only instructors. I was teaching I was be one of the youngest instructor day.

25:57 So I was teaching just the guys. I was glad that I do not have to teach woman. I didn't know how to grab the woman wouldn't feel better.

26:12 Weddings

26:22 Can I say something what he says I just happens to be at the bar and didn't sound too good. It just so happens that the students also got together and went around the corner for a soda or a beer or something. So we'll be with that too.

26:39 It's not that I was hanging out there.

26:43 And the instructors came and then we just had casual conversation after that.

26:51 And how soon after then did you first learn about your birthday? It's being the same.

26:59 That was the first date dinner date and I politely asked how do you mind if I ask you how old you are? I was 22 and she said 22 long 22. What month. Are you born March?

27:18 What?

27:22 And I thought somehow she went to the office and found out that instructors record.

27:32 And I said that is my birthday. Come on house. You find that and she showed me her driver's license. I couldn't believe it. Now when I said that later on I have to show my passport.

27:48 The proof, you know these lines that men use for hitting you need proof. Otherwise, it would have been a good line.

28:03 Mom new

28:05 Eventually, you not told your family about your plans to get married to dad. Did you run into any resistance?

28:17 Most definitely

28:21 Mostly my mother I would say as her side of the family.

28:26 Because they were

28:28 They were in the war the war against second world war in Japan and it was a lot of animosity I guess.

28:42 My father being European

28:46 Didn't feel that way.

28:49 But they will probably save a lots of problems.

28:52 What was the wedding like?

28:56 Home

28:58 I see the wedding was very small.

29:04 It consisted of a few family members.

29:10 And mostly Judo instructors doodle friends

29:16 And do we got married in Greenwich, Connecticut?

29:21 Buy drunken judge

29:25 Who was in a hurry to get home on a Friday night?

29:29 And kept making mistakes.

29:36 How many times can you remember anything else, We had the great help your sister and brother-in-law.

29:46 Day after then same day. Okay the same day then we had gone up to

29:55 Connecticut that's why we got married and we went to their house to my sister Jackie's house and she set up a little party.

30:09 Just a family.

30:11 Her family her children, and I believe my mother was the only one there from our our family. My father had been sick, so he was in bed and couldn't make it.

30:26 And that's its and from there. We drove home the following day. We had a party for real. I just saw this apartments on 155th Street in Manhattan, and that was it.

30:45 Now both of you have had to bridge cultures as part of this marriage and you know, you went from the u.s. To live in Japan eventually you move back to New York.

30:58 In what words some of the challenges each of you face as a cross-cultural interracial couple in each of those two different lands that you lived in.

31:12 I did not fortunately I don't have any resistance.

31:18 For my family

31:21 And

31:23 They open on welcome your mother.

31:29 But my mother's old way of.

31:34 Managing household

31:38 . Really stop your mother to bring in idea.

31:49 The way of living

31:54 Ways of the she has a lan.

31:57 Did not match.

32:00 So that was the biggest problem at the my father said the best way is to move out of my parents house.

32:14 Okay, because the women in Japan house is there.

32:19 Castlevania everything their life. They don't like to have any intruder.

32:25 And trying to even knowing that being improved for the down by somebody else.

32:34 So other than that, I don't have any because Judo.

32:43 And she keep Flexin Judo and we had most of my friends are supposed to do.

32:53 After I came to this country quite recently. I started it started bothering me about the religions.

33:04 I didn't know what this Society is deeply divided.

33:13 Because of religion

33:16 It's openly they don't say it, but I could tell.

33:22 Hey, if I don't I might have to be Asian is none. I study Buddhism but I don't go to Buddhist Church or anything like that.

33:36 I don't disrespect to any regions, but some people don't have that can ride with you. So that that bothers me so much.

33:52 What problems were you running into mom?

33:56 Oh I ran into every problem. You can possibly think of not knowing the culture of Japan not knowing the language.

34:05 Not knowing anything at all about the country.

34:09 I just

34:10 Those writing

34:13 It was quite difficult. No one in the family could speak English very well aside from your father and she spent a lot of time practicing, you know, so I didn't have a teacher to teach me so I had to buy books.

34:33 And I teach myself the language as best I could.

34:37 I meant do shopping get around.

34:42 Culture was difficult because everything that I ever known and how to do it was completely.

34:51 Wipeout gone I had to do everything differently completely different. I had to have different feelings different different levels of respect for different peoples them. The challenge was great. It was it was awesome. I was unbelievable. I made it through.

35:13 + 2

35:16 Education, it was quite an education when you were when you came back to the States. You was a couple or unusual enough to Warrant an appearance on television right in Japan interview. Yes, and your sister was about a year.

35:40 Maybe three months or something like that and all three of us were on the television early morning show was like an early morning news show.

35:50 And it was it was interesting nerve-racking and of course your sister was fucking up tissues all over the place.

36:00 Playing making noises. It was kind of cute.

36:09 Reported to this news station. This is a couple was born the same day. Same year.

36:18 And talk to him to do an international marriage, you know through you. Supposed to do this. That was the occasion.

36:30 Our family the way I think about it was a lot larger than just the four of us you me and my sister and

36:38 Could you run down the list of some of the Pats we've had over the years?

36:47 Yeah, okay. Our first dog was Miss lucky.

36:54 Like just the animals themselves mean all the animals in cats.

37:03 Alligators ducks

37:06 Parrots parrots

37:09 Even had time to fish.

37:13 Anything else that would come around no crawl in the house and then we made a pet out of it.

37:21 Well, I can say.

37:25 With all certainty cuz I was there that you two gave each of those animals the greatest care and the best home that they could have possibly hoped for.

37:38 And the same goes for me soft for that. I want to thank you.

37:45 Thank you. Imagine for just a minute that it's a year from today, March 10th 2008.

37:56 And for whatever reason you never know the whole world is going to listen to this interview.

38:05 Oh boy, what advice would wish for anything? What would you want the world to hear from you Mom?

38:25 The coaches can

38:28 Exist

38:31 In the same place and get along and learn.

38:35 And like to appreciate one another.

38:38 No matter how extreme the differences are.

38:41 Religious beliefs or just traditional customs

38:50 People should just accept it learn from it.

38:54 I can be done. It shouldn't be resisted. It should be enjoyed.

39:02 I'm woke from a war-torn country so cold.

39:07 Hand

39:09 Like she said just now I'd like to see everybody try to understand each other.

39:15 And no war no fighting.

39:20 Absolutely.

39:24 Unacceptable

39:26 Peace in

39:31 That's only sings. I'm hoping everybody to

39:35 Understanding trying to live with other people

39:42 Mom Dad once again, happy birthday. Thank you for dinner.