Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Kazoku ( Week 5 exercise)

My Kazoku (Family)
GrandmaYoshi (lower left)
For this assignment I interviewed my father, William Edward Fulton. My Father was born in Japan in the year of 1960. His mother is Japanese and is famous dancer in her homeland. His father is Norwegian and was in the U.S. Air Force. When my Dad was eleven his family moved from Japan to the United States. A year later when my father was twelve his father passed away. My Father is the oldest male and carried much of the burden of supporting the family. He has sister that is five years older than him, a younger sister, and a younger brother.
My Father in his U.S. Air Force uniform
                In this interview I used Skype as my means of communication. I enjoyed the video option. Because of geographical distance, my father and I generally see each other once a year. I was uncomfortable asking my Father about his Father because I know that it is somewhat of a sensitive subject. I feel that my interview was affected by this  mostly because he does not like to go into detail about his father. If I had interviewed someone unrelated I might not have approached the issue the same way and may have pressed for information.
                From my interview and the kinship chart the most common pattern is that typically my father’s generation has two kids, older generations tended to have more, and younger generations tend to have one child (so far).  The ethnic difference of language has created the greatest barriers.  My Grandma Yoshi (Father’s Mother) has such a thick accent my sister and I (sometimes my father) have trouble understanding her.
Dad with kids and grandchildren
    I know relatives on both sides of my family fairly well.  I tend to talk to my mother more frequently than my father. However I visit them both about the same number of times a year. I’m not sure if there are any family members that had any more influence on decisions than any other member. I think it really depended on the what was being decided.  If it was a church or color paint then my mother would definitely make the decision. If it was refrigerator or air conditioning unit then it was mostly my father’s decision. I feel family members that marry into the family are welcomed and treated nicely, but I don’t think they are as close. This could be a matter of time spent with them and not being “blood related”.
                During the interview my Father kept mentioning that my Aunt Evelyn, his older sister, has created a family tree and he wished he had a copy. This project has given me leads for looking farther back into my genealogy and maybe help understand my Father’s actions and thougts to a better extent.


  1. I love the family pictures. It is very helpful to attach a face to the interview. Helps to make a connection.

    Was there a reason in particular that your father didn't want to talk about his own father? Personal reasons or cultural reasons? Why do you think non-blood relatives are are not treated the same as blood relatives? I was very interested to hear the "division of decisions" that you described. Do you think this is unique to your family or is it cultural or is it more general than that?

    Nicely done.

  2. In all of the posts I have read so far they all said that there was some awkwardness during the interview with their parents. It has really made me appreciate the relationship that I have with my mother. Not to say that my relationship is better, just different. At no point did I ever feel any awkwardness talking to my mom, she has always been straight forward and honest and I expected just that when asking about her family.

  3. Since your father was born in Japan, is there anything about the U.S.,that he wish was more like him birth place? I ask this question becuase my mother is from a foriegn country and she is always saying, she rather live in her place of birth. The pictures of your family are beautiful and everyone looks very happy.Hope that one day your father will be okay with speaking about his own father. I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for the insight.
    Sayom M.

  4. I found your comment about being hesitant to ask your father about his father insightful. I would interpret that as honoring your father by not pressing him on matters he may not want to talk about. I wonder what his reaction would be to someone unrelated asking him questions about the subject.