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Ogawa, Hiroshi Transcript 2
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TitleOgawa, Hiroshi Transcript 2
IntervieweeOgawa, Hiroshi
InterviewerUhlig, Elizabeth
TranscriberToliver, Christy
SubjectJapanese Americans
Emigration & Immigration
Relocation Camps
Buddhist temples
Geographic SubjectPasadena (Calif.)
Gila Bend (Ariz.)
Tule Lake (Calif.)
Original FormatMicrosoft Word
Data of Digital Converstion2010-08-26
Original CollectionJapanese-American Association of Lane Co., OR, Oral History Collection
RestrictionsPermission to use must be obtained from the Oregon Multicultural Archives, OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center.
Full TextJapanese- American Association of Lane County, Oregon - Oral History Collection Hiroshi Ogawa- Part 2 Date: March 8, 2008 Place: Hiroshi Ogawa's workshop, Elkton, Oregon Length: 00: 21: 37.29 Interviewee: Hiroshi Ogawa Interviewer: Elizabeth Uhlig Transcriber: Christy Toliver [ begin audio 2 - [ 00: 00: 11.02]] [ EU] Hiroshi, could we talk a little bit now about your school? Where did you go to high school? [ HO] I went to Jon Muir High School in Pasadena. Graduated in ' 59. And then, uh, I think, uh, going to school in Pasadena was a very wonderful experience, in that, um, it had a strong black community. Of which in many ways I was able to identify with, in that I feel the philosophy of the days in the 50s, especially among blacks in Pasadena was they just wanted to do anything they could to beat the man. The man being the U. S. government or the powers that be. And, uh, Pasadena I think was a very diverse community, of which a number of Japanese came back after camp to Pasadena. And so there were a number of Japanese there. Um. I remember us moving when we were, during the summer of, before my fourth grade class. We moved up toward El Tadina [ unsure of name Tadina - [ 00: 02: 17.08]] and I went to Jackson Elementary School, of which there were only, I was the only Japanese [ laughs] and there was one other black kid, Tommy Hatch. And we hung around together being the only ethnic minorities in the whole school. But over time it quickly changed and became a lot more diversified. [ EU] I mean, growing up then were you always involved in sort of a Japanese community? With...? [ HO] Yeah, I was, well because of the Buddhist temple and my father's activism in being a part of it and he was the president I guess. [ unintelligible - [ 00: 03: 13.23]] of the Pasadena Buddhist Temple for, uh, I want to say eight years. And he was, you know, because of that, uh, all of us, the children, were quite involved with the temple. Also, we all had to go to Japanese school. [ EU] This was Japanese language? [ 00: 03: 45.18] [ HO] Yeah. Japanese language. And, uh... [ EU] Who taught that? [ HO] A number of different people came in, in Pasadena. There was a Japanese school set up in Pasadena, oh, starting, I don't know, somewhere around ' 47, ' 48. It continued for a number of years. And I think now in Southern California, forty years later, fifty years later, sixty years later, that they're a lot more organized and, I don't know, for all I know they might be accredited. But in those days it was quite, uh, pretty loose. [ EU] Uh- huh. Um, and did you go to college? Where did you go to college? [ HO] I went, I went, I went, uh, in ' 59 I went to UC Santa Barbara. My sister went to Berkley and my brother went to USC. [ EU] So your parents encouraged you or expected you to go to college? [ HO] I think, yeah, more than encouraged, it was just a written, uh, unwritten rule that, " Yes, you will go to college." [ laughs] [ EU] So you never questioned that then? [ HO] Yeah, I never questioned that. I do know though that, uh, my sister wanted me to go to Berkley. And, uh, I did apply, but once I got into Santa Barbara and went up to see it I realized, " Well, this seems like it's going to be a lot more fun." And so I went to Santa Barbara. [ laughs slightly] And it was a very enjoyable, uh, you know, school time. [ EU] What did you study? What was your major? [ 00: 06: 00.11] [ HO] I had, for a while I had a number of different majors-- I was in education, then I went into physical education, then I was thinking about finishing physical education and then going on to physical therapist. Uh, I was also an art major. And I finally finish in four years of, uh, a P. E. major, art minor. And then, uh, I did one year of graduate work at UC Santa Barbara and then I did one year at Long Beach State. Of which I'm still one course and a thesis short of getting a Masters. But I went into teaching after that and I was fortunate in being able to get a ceramics teaching position and coaching. [ EU] In high school? [ HO] In high school. In high school. [ EU] Where was that? Where did you teach first? [ HO] Uh, at La Serna High School in Whittier. Had a great program in ceramics and I taught for three years there. And, uh, in some ways built the program up from four sections to twelve sections. [ EU] This was their ceramics program? [ HO] Ceramics program. And, uh, I was the only teacher the first year and the third year we had three ceramics teachers. And, um... But it was, uh, it was a trying time, I want to say, ' 66, 7, ' 68, with the Vietnam issues and war issues and protests and things like that. [ EU] Did you participate in this? [ 00: 08: 20.27] [ HO] I participated a very little, but I did march. So, um, after teaching and everything I decided that I, um, perhaps living in another country would be better. So, um... [ EU] When you, before we leave the country, where, um, where did you first learn pottery? [ HO] Uh, I studied pottery in, uh, I took my first class in ' 59 at UC Santa Barbara in college. Um... [ EU] How did you start, I mean, had you an interest in that or...? [ HO] Um, no, but, uh, I took the class. And, uh, I don't know, for some reason, I had, I had like a drawing class, a water color class, and a ceramics class that first year. And... the students that were in those classes, I mean, some of those students they could draw with a pen or pencil and make it look like a photograph. I mean, they were good. And then the painters were good and in the ceramics department, for some lucky thing, I was better than them. And so, [ laughs] I emphasized ceramics in my art major, which eventually became a minor. But, uh, yeah, it, um, I think I continued to be in ceramics mainly because I felt that I was as good or better than most of the art students. And I was finding success in that area. Versus, uh, I remember later on taking a wood sculpture class... and, you know, I mean, different people, mixed medias and different art, art majors, I mean, I really felt they were really, really good. And, uh, but I was better than them in ceramics in some reason. And, so I guess that's why I stuck with that. [ EU] What kind of ceramics did you do at that time? [ 00: 11: 10.19] [ HO] Well, I was just beginning and just learning to throw and make forms and, uh, at that time I was basically, pretty much trying to, uh, make functional pieces. And so, mugs, bowls, um, vases, and try to stretch yourself and make bigger pieces. But, uh, it was basically very fundamental. Um, I think, uh, clay as a medium was still, in some ways, in its infancy. And, uh, the teachers at that time, at Santa Barbara anyway, were only perhaps one or two steps ahead of the students. Um. Because it was still, I want to say, a pretty new subject matter at the university. [ EU] It's, when you started teaching at the high school, when, you were athletics and arts. So two very different, two different fields. [ HO] Uh, they're not very different because they're both non- academic. And I guess that's the whole thing, uh, I've never been strong in academics. [ laughs] [ EU] [ laughs] [ HO] So. [ 00: 12: 59.26] [ EU] I mean, when I went to high school I don't remember there being a ceramics teacher, much less three. And so, I mean, was this a new...? A whole new program? [ HO] Well, in sixty, ' 65, when I got to the school, I think the ceramics program had been in existence for a couple years at that time. And, uh, you know, and I didn't really know very much about ceramics either-- I knew how to fire a kiln, and I knew how to make form, and work on the wheel, and talk about art. But, um, I think high school ceramics and college ceramics have come a long ways since those days. And, um, you know, there are a lot of people that are really very technical and they know a lot of stuff. In those days that wasn't quite emphasized. [ EU] When, did you know at this point that ceramics was going to be your future? As opposed to teaching or...? [ HO] No. I don't think so. Um. It was only after I went to Japan and studied at the university, studied religion at the university they said that, at the temple, that I should expand my awareness by learning calligraphy, flower arrangement, tea ceremony, pottery. And that sparked me so I started and I found out about cooperative and I joined the cooperative and, uh, started making pots. And then going around different places in Japan and seeing exhibits and everything I started to tend more toward wanting to become a potter. And I think it sort of had to do with the fact that I finished my studies in ' 71 and I had to go one more year in order to become a, I guess a certified, full- time minister back in America. But I realized that wasn't what I wanted to do or be. And so, I was leaning towards ceramics and when I came, well, I got married and when we came back from Japan that's what I did. I opened up a studio and started making pots. [ EU] Why did you go to Japan? What was the appetence to go to Japan? In nineteen- sixty...? [ HO] ' 69. [ EU] ... nine. [ 00: 16: 25.07] [ HO] ' 69. Uh, there were many reasons. Um. I think Alex Haley's books and movie, uh, TV series Roots and come on at that time. Which inspired me to want to go back to Japan and check out my own roots. Um. I... had thought of going into the ministry, Buddhist, and so that was another thought that I would go back and study. And the war in Vietnam and the whole, I want to say, climate here was, um, very dissatisfying for me and I thought it was time to leave the country. And so I left thinking I'd never come back, but then after being there, oh, almost three years that, um, I got married and decided to go a different way and I came back. [ EU] Where did you study? What university? [ HO] Uh, at Ryukoku University in Kyoto. And, uh, at the temple grounds in Kyoto. [ EU] What kind of university was that? [ HO] It's a regular university, but it's known for its, uh, putting out Buddhist ministers. It's sort of, like some schools are known for their education department that puts out teachers. Well, Ryukoku University is a training ground for ministers and they have, I want to say, a strong department in Buddhist studies. [ EU] So were you taking regular classes or also living at a temple? Or...? [ 00: 18: 47.10] [ HO] Yeah, no I wasn't, well, I did for a short time. But, uh, [ cough in background] I, uh... I lost my train of thought. Um. [ EU] So were you at the, a temple or... [ HO] Oh, yeah. [ EU] ... you lived in the dormitories? [ HO] Uh, no. I lived outside and I taught English as a second language for my income. And I studied regular classes. Which were, all of them, way too difficult for me. [ EU] This was in Japanese? [ HO] Yeah. They didn't expect me to, you know, do all the work. But still it very, uh, it was difficult and it was disappointing to me that, uh, my scholarship was way, way below all the other students. [ EU] So did you study then flower arrangement and calligraphy...? [ HO] No. I did do a little calligraphy, but I didn't, uh, I didn't, uh, study... I just studied basically pottery. [ 00: 20: 37.24] [ EU] Did you have a sensei then? A teacher? [ HO] Yeah. Yeah. Uh, he, well, he was in charge of the c-, uh, the cooperative. And he used to come maybe twice a month and talk or give demonstrations or give critiques of your work. It was a good situation. You know. There was sixteen of us in the cooperative and we used to just go on all the time. It was sort of a day- crew, night- crew in that certain housewives, they, they, uh, and myself, would go during the day. And all these businessmen or people that, women that had regular jobs, they would come at night. You know. [ EU] Let me stop this for a minute. [ 00: 21: 37.29]
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