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Yosaji Ohno was born on November 17, 1881 (Meiji 14) in Yawatahama-shi, Ehime-ken, Japan, the eldest son of Tomeji and Yone Ohno. Yosaji made several trips to America. He was one of the early Isseis who had come to America. He made his first trip to the Pacific Northwest in 1899. He landed in Seattle, Washington and worked in a restaurant.
In 1906, Yosaji returned to Japan and married Hatsu Shimizu. The next year, in 1907, Yosaji with his new wife Hatsu made his second trip to America. Landing in Seattle, he managed a restaurant.
Sadly, in 1913 Yosaji returned to Japan with Hatsu and his two children - four-year-old Yaeko and two-year-old Asako. Hatsu had suffered a stroke and was paralyzed. The passenger ship to Japan would not take them aboard because of his wife's condition. The family was forced to travel on a freighter (freight ship). Hatsu passed away in Japan.
In 1915, Yosaji remarried. He married Saki Hazemoto, a cousin of his first wife Hatsu on May 15, 1915. Their first child, Takiko, was born in Japan on May 21, 1917. In 1918, Yosaji, with his wife Saki, made his third and final trip to Seattle from Japan. Their daughter, 14-month old Takiko, was left in the care of Saki's older sister Miyano in Japan.
He and Saki raised ten children while living in Kent, Washington and Seattle, Washington. Daughter Marian, eldest son Fred, and daughter Amy were born in O'brien, Washington while Yosaji worked as a farmhand on the Tamura Farm in Kent, Washington. The other seven children (Joe, Tom, Miyako, Nobuko, Sakiye, Sally, and Henry) were born in Seattle after the family moved to Seattle in 1925.
From 1918-1919 Yosaji managed the Latona Hotel in Seattle. From 1919-1925 he worked as a farm hand on the Tamura Farm in Kent, Washington.
During the depression years Yosaji worked hard to support his growing family. From 1925-1931 he worked as a dishwasher at La France Cafe in Seattle. From 1931-1932 he worked as a dishwasher at Coldgrave Coffee Shop. From 1932-1934 Yosaji worked as a waiter at the Klondike Cafe in Seattle. From 1934-1936 he worked as a waiter at the Grand Restaurant in Seattle. From 1936-1942 until evacuation, Yosaji worked as a waiter at the Olympia Cafe in Seattle.
In April of 1942, after the outbreak of World War II, Yosaji, Saki, and their ten children were evacuated to the Puyallup Assembly Center, located on the Puyallup Fairgrounds in Puyallup, Washington. From there, the Ohno family, with many other Japanese American families from the Pacific Northwest, were moved inland and incarcerated in the Minidoka Relocation Center, Minidoka, Idaho.
On August 16, 1945, the family relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota with the help of their eldest son, Fred. Yosaji found work in Minneapolis working in the kitchen of the Curtis Hotel in downtown Minneapolis and as a janitor at St. Mary's Hospital in Minneapolis.
In 1953, both Yosaji and his wife Saki were baptized at the Twin City Independent Church by Reverend Yasushi Wada.
On May 15, 1965, Yosaji and Saki celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary.
After a long illness, Yosaji passed away on March 9, 1970 at the age of 88.