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January 29, 2012 in Features
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Ken Kato, left, and Dave Heyamoto, third generation Japanese-Americans, stand in front of the Globe building in downtown Spokane where Heyamoto lived as a child. Both men grew up downtown in the 1950s when Japanese-Americans and Japanese immigrants ran stores, hotels and laundries there. The lifelong friends believe they first met as preschoolers in “Dharma School” at the Spokane Buddhist Church, then located in a lower South Hill home converted into a church.

Photo courtesy of Dave Heyamoto photo

« Ken Kato, far left, front row, and Dave Heyamoto, in suit jacket and tie, second from right in second row, pose for their second-grade class photo at Lincoln School, on Fifth Avenue on Spokane’s lower South Hill, in 1957. (The school is no longer there.) Only Japanese was spoken in Kato’s home so when he arrived at Lincoln in the first grade “the bell would ring for the change of classes, but I figured that was the bell to go home, so I went home.” The principal finally said, “You can’t go home.” He learned English quickly after that. “You pick it up real fast because you’re a kid.”