Chef Lori Hashimoto shares her life growing up as an Asian-American woman
May 14, 2021
May is Asian-American Pacific-Islanders history month and tonight we visit with celebrated local Chef Lori Hashimoto. We talked about her Phoenix restaurant, Hana Japanese, and her experience growing up as an Asian-American woman in Arizona.
Asian-American Pacific-Islanders history month has different meanings but Hashimoto believes it, “brings awareness to the history and culture, and opportunities that Asian immigrants had when they came over to the United States to create a better life for themselves.”
She continues with, “To me that is the acknowledgment and gratitude that our younger generations have for the sacrifices that our ancestors made.”
As a third-generation Asian-American, Hashimoto explains her grandmother’s birth certificate says she was born nine miles north of Cave Creek Road and her father grew up in the valley as a farmer growing vegetables for the community.
Hashimoto’s family members, unfortunately, spent time within an internment camp, “they were sent to Tule lake which was on the California, Oregon border. Unfortunately at that time, denouncing her American citizenship thought she meant that maybe someone would be able to get out of camp and unfortunately that wasn’t the case and they were held until 46. Even after the war had ended. When they came back they had like many others lost their land, and unfortunately came back to nothing, they were given a one-way railroad ticket to get back to wherever they could and their bags, the things that they came with,” said Hashimoto.
Her father also served in the U.S. Army and later was shipped off to Korea.
“I think when you’re younger, you only have so much experience in life. And as you get older and you hear those stories and you hear the sacrifice and you hear of the way, you just have to keep going. And in my father’s eyes he’s always said, what choice do you have, you have to wake up tomorrow and get out of bed and go do your thing. So for me, I think it’s given me a greater appreciation for the things that I have and the things that I want,” Hashimoto said.