Ken Taniguchi

Ken Taniguchi talks about being born in Fresno in 1951, attending Roeding Elementary, Cooper Junior High School and Fresno High School, then UC San Diego, UC Davis and then law school. He talks about his siblings, then about his paternal grandparents and how they immigrated from Wakayama Ken in Japan, and where his maternal grandparents were from in Saitama Ken. He further discusses his maternal grandfather’s history in the United States, how he worked for Theodore Kearney, and traveled through the Southern US in the era of segregation. He describes how his paternal grandparents married and immigrated to Seattle and how his father and aunts and uncle were born there, how they ran a hotel and how his grandparents ended up separating and his grandfather returned to Japan with the children. He talks about how his father was raised in Japan and lived there during World War II, ending up being in the Japanese Merchant Marine as an officer during the war. He discusses how his mother was also born in the US but raised in Japan and was stuck there during the war, how his father survived two ship sinkings during the war and his mother worked in a munitions factory and how both of them were individually able to return to the United States after the war, meeting and getting together on the trip on the same ship. He talks about how his family members on both sides that remained in the United States were incarcerated in the Granada War Relocation Center and had befriended each other, independently of his parents meeting each other. He describes how his father was sent to grammar school in his 20’s to learn English and ended up being kicked out for smoking, then his family’s store and how his parents got married with his mother moving to Fresno, when he was born as well as his siblings and how he grew up speaking Japanese as his first language. He talks about his passion for fishing, and how he became a wildlife fisheries lawyer and public defender, and becoming bar president of Fresno County. He discusses the sister cities program and Fresno’s sister city, Kochi, Japan and his family members experiences in camp and his passion for baseball.

View transcript here.