CHARLES SOLOMON: Let’s start with a little background. How did you get into animation in general and Disney specifically?
IWAO TAKAMOTO: I was born and raised about four blocks from our present city hall in that Japanese section of town. But it was a matter of coming out of the relocation centers, the concentration camps we were in. I was in my late teens, and as soon as they opened up the West Coast, I came dashing back, not having any idea what I was going to do.
During the period I spent in that camp, I ran into a couple of art directors who had worked for film studios. I think it was Paramount and MGM. They encouraged me to go into the profession. One of them mentioned the Walt Disney Studio as a place that was liberal about their hiring practices and their attitude toward minorities.
So I just got on the phone and applied for a job.