Tsuru Yamauchi

"We moved to #10 Camp. I cooked and washed clothes there about 8 years. I got up at 3:30 A.M. People came to eat breakfast at 5 o'clock in the morning in order to get noodles before they boiled too long. People ate breakfast on Saturday and Sunday too. I did laundry for others. At that time we had to wash everything by hand, scoop and carry the water from the faucet to the bathhouse. I took the clothes to the bathhouse to wash using a wash tub, putting a box underneath it. I got wet all over, but I washed off the red dirt. On the first day I soaked the clothes in soap and water. The next morning I put the laundry in two empty 5-gallon oil cans. And I used three steel train tails to make a fireplace to boil the laundry--the white things first then the underpants. Oh, I sure did everything. And as for ironing, it was charcoal iron. We put in two pieces of charcoal and adjusted the heat until it got warm. I got paid $1 a month per person. I did cooking, washing, everything. I got only one dollar. That is all. "

Tsuru Yamauchi was born in Shuri, Okinawa on December 25, 1890. In 1908, her name was placed in the Yamauchi family register, making her the wife of Shokin Yamauchi who was then working on a plantation in Hawai`i. She left Okinawa in 1910, joining her husband in Waipahu, where she did plantation fieldwork. She also cooked and washed for the bachelors on the plantation. In 1940, they opened Aala Tofu in Honolulu, where Tsuru continued to work in the family-owned business until 1958. Mrs. Yamauchi died in 1990.