Segment 1


Norman Ikari was born in Seattle, Washington on 17 February 1919. His parents were Japanese immigrants. Life was not unusual growing up. Ikari was in a mixed neighborhood. When Ikari was ten years old, his family moved to southern California. The family settled down in a nice small town by the name of Montebello, which is just east of Los Angeles. That is where, as a ten year old, Ikari encountered his first example of out and out discrimination. His older brothers had found a rental house on the edge of Montebello Park. On that moving date his family loaded onto a truck with all of their belongings. They pulled up to the house and the landlord came out in tears and explained to them that the neighbors did not want a Japanese family living in their neighborhood. That was the first time Ikari ever saw his mother cry. It was a shock to the family. Eventually his brothers found another house. Ikari finished Montebello High School in 1936. By the time Ikari was a junior or senior in high school he realized that the world was very unsettled. Ikari was particularly interested with what was happening with Japan. He realized the Japanese military had expanded way beyond its borders. Island after island in the Pacific was being taken over. It seemed as if the Japanese were heading for Australia all under the guise of their self proclaimed Greater East Asia Co Prosperity Sphere. In other words that meant aggression. It was his ancestral country. They were aggressors. Ikari was well aware of the world situation by the time Pearl Harbor occurred. When Ikari graduated from high school he went to work at fruit and vegetable stands. It was almost next to impossible for a Japanese kid to find a job. Ikari worked in vegetable markets for three years. In the meantime he had gotten acquainted with the chick sexing profession. It was a technique that involved figuring out whether or not baby chickens were male or female. It has enormous economic implications for a farmer. If a farmer buys 100 baby chicks from a hatchery and half become roosters he loses money. If he knows which ones are the egg laying hens it would help him out big time. One of Ikari’s peers learned how to sex chickens in Japan and came back and set up a school to teach people how to do it. Ikari learned how to do it and he would go out to the hatcheries and sex their chickens. Ikari worked in the northwestern part of Ohio at this time. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, practically half of the United States had probably never seen a Japanese person. They performed a relatively valuable service and they were making money. By the time 1940 and 1941 arrived, that put an end to that.


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