Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: John Kanda Interview
Narrator: John Kanda
Interviewer: Ronald Magden
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 12, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-kjohn-01-0009

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RM: As you're, the war is winding down, or over, and you're thinking about your future, how did you consider going to the University of Washington? What, that transition from the military life to being a student. Can you take us through that a little bit?

JK: Yeah. Well, you know, as a -- this is crazy, but, as a kid we used to, there was a Caucasian lady that had no children -- had a nephew, she had a nephew, or the couple, you know. They had a nephew that came from Boston every summer and one, this is grade school age and into junior high school age. All the neighborhood kids used to go there, 'cause they had chicken, turkeys, pheasants, cats, calves, you name it. And she was very good to all of us. So this a mixture of Japanese American kids and the Caucasian kids. And we had, play there and she'd always have a lemonade -- not always, but they would have lemonade for us and whatnot. And she was a good teacher, trying to, teaching us how to get along with each other. And at that, one time she used to complain about gallbladder trouble. I had no idea what gallbladder trouble was. But I always kinda wanted to go into medicine if I could. I set my studies up later to try to achieve that. And I would say, "Mrs. Leslie, when I grow up, I'm gonna be a doctor and take care of your gallbladder for free." [Laughs] I mean, she remembers this and she always would bring that back up. And my kid sister is three years younger than I, she -- well, it's about two-and-a-half years, I guess -- she pops up and says, "I'm gonna be a nurse and help him." [Laughs] And that's, she would always kid us about that. But that's, I guess, I thought of hoping to become a doctor was way back when I was just a grade school kid.

So when I came back, I saved my GI Bill. I found that if I saved the GI Bill, I would have four years of medical education. Now that would be, the GI Bill allowed $350 tuition, which is, takes care of, if you went to University of Washington Medical School, it took care of everything, you see. But St. Louis or other private schools is much higher, and their tuition was $800. But the government, the GI Bill took care of $350 of it.

RM: It's, I'm very interested in... you applied at the University of Washington Medical School.

JK: Yes. I was hoping to get to UW, 'cause it would, the GI Bill would take care of my cost of going there, the medical school.

RM: But you were, you were unsuccessful...

JK: Yeah, I was unsuccessful.

RM: getting... can you, this is the earliest years of the University of Washington Medical School.

JK: Yeah, it was the second, well, it was, I started, finished school when it was the second year of the medical school.

RM: Were there Nisei in the medical school?

JK: There was one Nisei that was the first Nisei into the medical school that graduated out of there the year I graduated as a, with a bachelor's degree. And there was a kind of unwritten, shall we say, rule that they accepted only one Oriental a year at that early stage. And I was hoping to be the second one, but I was, being able to finance it a little better, but I was unfortunate. I, like most people, told to apply to two, three other medical schools, and I applied to two Jesuit schools -- Creighton and St. Louis University. And I was accepted at St. Louis real early, and that they, but they wanted a $800 first-year payment, which was fine with me. I was still hoping -- after I sent my $800 -- I was still hoping that UW would take me. But no, I was not chosen as one of the people.

RM: See, that rule, let's say an unwritten, the unwritten rule, has this disappeared...?

JK: I think it was unwritten rule at that time. It was that way for another number of years before they started accepting just equal basis, I mean, you know, applications.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2000 Densho. All Rights Reserved.