Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mitsuko Hashiguchi Interview
Narrator: Mitsuko Hashiguchi
Interviewer: James Arima
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Date: July 28, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-hmitsuko-01

<Begin Segment 1>

JA: We're in the home of our narrator, Mitsuko Takeshita Hashiguchi, who comes from a long-time Bellevue pioneer family, the Takeshitas. And the interviewer is James Arima. Good morning, Mitzie.

MH: Good morning.

JA: Could you please tell us who your parents were and where they had come from?

MH: My parents were Haruji and Kuma Takeshita and they came from Okayama, Japan.

JA: And what did your father's family do in Japan?

MH: In Japan they owned acreage and (...) he was a farmer, and they raised rice (...). And my mother's side was peach farmers. And they were on the other side, about half an hour apart, in different farms.

JA: And when did your father decide to come to the United States, or when did he come to the United States?

MH: My father came in 1901 to Seattle, and he was about twenty-three years old at that time.

JA: And do you know why he decided to come to the United States?

MH: Well, they all heard over there, "Go to America and you can make your money and then you can come back again." So they all wanted to come to U.S.A.

JA: But his family had a farm in Japan, so it wasn't a real necessity for him to come, right?

MH: Yes, that's right, too.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

JA: And when he came to the United States, where did he live and what did he do?

MH: I understand he lived in Seattle and he worked for the railroad station, railroad company, and he was a timekeeper and a foreman of the group. So his job wasn't that hard, like people that had to lay tiles and things like that on the railroad tracks.

JA: How was he able to get such a position with the railroad?

MH: I have a feeling that there were people recruiting people for jobs like that and, of course, he was the older of the bunch, being twenty-three year old. I think the opportunity was there at that time.

JA: But he must have had a more advanced education, also.

MH: I have a feeling he had to, uh-huh, in Japan.

JA: And do you know what kind of living conditions he had with the railroad?

MH: Well, the living condition was not the fairest or the best, I understand. They live in these train, the little trains, I guess, and they had the food and everything brought in there; and the food is very good, is what he tells me. And, but they just traveled on the train, I guess. The sleeping quarters and everything was on the train for the working personnel, too, besides him.

JA: And, were there other Japanese working?

MH: Yes, they were mostly all Japanese, is what he said, uh-huh, to me at that time.

JA: And he was the timekeeper, but what did the crew... what did most of the other Japanese laborers do?

MH: Other laborers that he had were laying tiles on the railroad tracks between one state to the other state, is what it mainly involved.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

JA: And how did your father meet your mother?

MH: My mother and my father lived only half an hour apart in Japan so they were, in other words, over the hill. And my dad was a rice farmer down below and my mother had a peach farm, so that was up the hill. So that was only about a half-hour walk from each other's place.

JA: But did they --

MH: They probably had a baishakunin there when he got home, yes.

JA: When he got home. So then, did he return to Japan?

MH: Yes, he returned to Japan. In 1913 he went back to Japan, after working all that time at the railroad. Uh-huh.

JA: Do you know what his intentions were to go back to Japan? Was it a permanent return to Japan?

MH: No, that wasn't his plans, I don't think. But he decided to go back and get married and settle there. But when his brother talked him into it and decided they both should come, so they both had their wives -- he had a younger brother named Rihachi -- and they both, four of them, came back in 1915 to Bellevue.

JA: So your father was back in Japan for a few years then.

MH: Yes, he was there for a few years, uh-huh, and that's (when) he had two daughters. So they left the two daughters with the grandparents, and the grandparents decided to raise them. And then he came over, over in 1915, and settled in Bellevue.

JA: Was extended families a common occurrence within the Japanese community at that time?

MH: Yes; at that time it was, yes. I know many families in Bellevue, in Seattle, too, that had... children left over in Japan. And they were called over here eventually and some of them just as soon stayed there is what it was.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

JA: And then, so when your parents left their two children with the grandparents and returned to the United States, where did they settle?

MH: They settled in Bellevue. They were able to find... a lot of Okayama people were in Bellevue kind of half settled, and so they recommended these different spots. So my dad started to clear and fix a farm up on 108th and Southeast Main Street. It was a 5 acre place and so my mother and dad worked very hard clearing that place for this American people, and so they got it all cleared. As I understand, my mother was up bright and early, worked with Dad right beside him with long dresses on during that time. And a few years later, they were able to get green khaki pants for women with knee-highs so they won't trip on their long dresses, but until then it was all long dresses. They were out there with pick and shovel, working with the men and doing that kind of work. And in the morning she had to have breakfast ready, lunch to take over there, and the dinner has to be half prepared because by the time she come home it's nighttime, when they were working.

JA: Now when they cleared the land, was this of the virgin timber?

MH: Yes; that was, yes, all that had to be dynamited, too, they told me. Cut down and dynamited and things like that. And the women did all the picket and shoveling and help that way with the men.

JA: Was this on leased property?

MH: It was on what property?

JA: Leased property.

MH: No, it was the hakujins -- no, I mean it belonged to the American people. They were doing it for a certain family, is what it was. And when they got through with that place then they -- let's see, they were there 1915 to 1917. And then, then they moved down to their own property, which they were able to buy. They bought in 120th and Northeast Seventeenth over in Midlakes. That's when all the farmers moved over there and bought property. And then they had to clear that hunk of property again, too. That was another 10 acres they had to work for years and years and years to get it all cleared so they can make (it) into farming field.

JA: I see. Now, I understand that there was like a dozen stumps per acre that had to be removed from the old growth?

MH: Uh-huh.

JA: That was quite a process.

MH: That's a terrific process and so Mom used to say, "I don't know why I came to America, to tell the truth, to have to work so hard beside him." She said her leg was just swollen at night she could hardly walk, she said, and I'm sure it was hard. And after they took a hot bath, they have to, you know, do a lot of other work besides just working during the day.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

JA: And during this time she gave birth to yourself...

MH: Uh-huh.

JA: ...and other children.

MH: Uh-huh.

JA: When were you born, Mitzie?

MH: I was born in 1921. And so, when my mother goes out to work, she used to put us in paper box and take us out in the field, and set us out in the middle of the field, is how she raised her children. And then as, then as I started growing up, then I had to help with the other work so taking care of the sisters and brothers that came along every two years.

JA: And these sisters and brothers are, when, are who?

MH: Are what?

JA: Can you give me the names?

MH: Oh, yes, excuse me. My sister's name -- my sister next to me is called Masako, M-A-S-A-K-O, and she was born in 1922; and then I had a sister Chiyo and she was born in 1924; and then Haruko was born in 1926; then I had a brother Hiroshi, was born in 1928; then I had a youngest brother, Tio, who was born in 1930.

JA: And with all these births, what type of health assistance did your mother receive?

MH: All the Japanese people in Bellevue all had midwife from Seattle. Mrs. Beppu had a business in Seattle as a... a midwife and every time she was on call. And so she was a midwife for all the Japanese people. No one went to hospital at that time.

JA: But even on call, it was a process for her to travel from Seattle to...

MH: That's right, it was. She came on the boat and she made it, though. And then somebody had to go after her to the boat because that came in to Medina from Seattle, Leschi.

JA: And did your mother ever return to Japan?

MH: Yes, she did. She went to Japan only once, in 1935 when the two sisters were getting married. So my dad said she can go, because I was old enough that I can take care of the family while she was gone. So she was gone for three months to Japan at that time.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

JA: Our narrator is Mitsuko Takeshita Hashiguchi and the interviewer is James Arima. Now, Mitzie, can you relate to us some of your earliest memories of your childhood?

MH: Yes. I grew up in Bellevue. I was born and raised in Bellevue. I went to Bellevue Elementary School and I went to Bellevue High School, all in Bellevue, and that building is not there anymore. It was torn down and now it's the Bellevue parks, is being built there and used for park. And then my life was a very busy one. Getting up early in the morning and helping Mom with all the duties, because she had a little too much to do, so I had to help with the breakfast, lunch, and dinner and then also helped with the... [Laughs] Blank, huh?

JA: With all the different farm chores, I'm sure.

MH: Oh yeah. Oh, the farm chores. I had a lot to do of that, too, of course. And I had to get up early in the morning to help her, Dad on the farm because we had all this tomatoes out there and lettuce out there, strawberries, peas, and all those things has to be harvested, weeded, and everything else in that line is what we all had to do.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

JA: Okay. Can you relate to me what the Nikkei community in Bellevue was like?

MH: The Nikkei community in Bellevue was a very busy one. We had a Nisei (Club), we call it the Seinenkai, which was organized in 1935. And, and we had a clubhouse, which was built in 1927, so we were all able to use it for different things like judo and kendo, dancing. We had dances and basketballs, (movies, Japanese school) and Bukkyokai used it for their purpose, you know, reasons, too.

JA: Okay. About how many Nikkei farmers were in Bellevue?

MH: At that time there were sixty Bellevue farmers, and there were about 300 people of Japanese national that lived in Bellevue at that time before evacuation.

JA: And how is that in relationship to the number of people living in Bellevue?

MH: At that time our population in Bellevue was one thousand people. So you could see the difference, how much the greater percentage of Japanese were there in comparison to that.

JA: So you were a significant part of the community at that time.

MH: Yes, that's true.

JA: And can you describe the other citizens of Bellevue, what they did and where they worked?

MH: (Yes). All the Bellevue people were kind of exclusive type of people. They lived on the waterfront and things like that. And they were either doctors, physicians, and all the people worked in Seattle. There weren't any jobs in Bellevue unless you had a gas station or a little grocery store or something like that and rest were all farmers or milk farmers or something like that was in Bellevue.

JA: And about how many non-Nikkei farms were there in Bellevue?

MH: Non-Nikkei farms? There were only about couple of them. They were all Japanese.

JA: So the vast majority Nikkei...

MH: All Japanese, that's right.

JA: I see.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

JA: And can you describe the farm that you grew up on?

MH: Yes. On the farm we had 13 acres of farm that Mom and Dad had to work real hard trying to clear all up so we can raise things on it. And my father had a carpenter help him and they built us a two-bedroom house, a large living room with the pot belly stove in the middle, and then we had two bedrooms, like I said. And we had a nice big storage room where Mom put all her goodies, groceries and Japanese rice, of course. And she had, they had a great big kitchen built and on one side there was a sink, and in the middle there was our kitchen stove that we burnt wood, of course. And then, on the other side Dad built a great big wooden table with wooden bench. And we only had few windows here and there, is what it was, all around the whole house. And then, next to that was our well, which we got our water. And as the years went on we used to always get the water with a bucket from the well, but as, oh, I guess in ten years or so he finally invested in the pump and got a hand pump. So it got easier in getting the water into our house so that's what we did. And then he built a bath house right next door to the house again so we can all take a nice hot bath, and in the evenings Dad started a fireplace for us so the water will get nice and hot. So that was his job while Mom was cooking dinner and we were cooking dinner, whatever, and we all had a nice hot bath there every day. And then after we got through with the hot bath, then we had to get out and do our laundry. Everybody tried to do a little bit of their share, so Mom wouldn't have so much to do on weekends or I have so much to do on weekends. So, we more or less helped each other, is what we did to make it easier.

JA: And so much of your furnishings in the home were built by your father and your father was very handy. I guess this was typical of the farmers in the area?

MH: Typical of the farmers, that's for sure, that they all built things that would be most suitable in the houses. Then eventually, of course, we all went and bought furniture, but until then we were, it was, everything was built. So we can have a place to sit, stand, wherever. [Laughs]

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

JA: Can you describe what the farm looked like during the summer months?

MH: During the summer month it was a beautiful farm because we had... I don't know, they all learned to raise lots and lots of strawberries. It's a strawberry area because of the soil that we had that was a strawberry field. The greater percentage was strawberries that we planted. We had strawberry you can harvest at two year. You plant it one year and you harvest the second and third year. And then we were ready to plant another bunch of beginners again in another part of the field again, so that way we would have, continuously have strawberries for years and years that way. Then we also planted lettuce in the early spring. We planted that in about April and then we harvested in early June is what we did with lettuce. Tomato we planted out there in, in about May and then we plant those, harvest those in about August. And so we were very busy with all that type of thing. Later we planted zucchinis, and cauliflower, and cabbage and all those things started to come up and kept us busy every day before we went to school.

JA: How were these farm products marketed?

MH: Well, the way we did, as far as, our family did -- and the neighbor next door and the family beyond that -- they had young boys so they were able to haul it in town on their trucks. But we as, didn't have any truck and we were younger, so we hired a truck driver from the Bellevue, they lived near Yarrow Point. He came over and picked 'em up every night, our shipment that was ready to go into Seattle. We had them all packed ready to go, and so he delivered them to the commission houses in Seattle for us first thing in the evening, then they were ready for the market in the morning there.

JA: Were there other... did you have farm animals?

MH: Yes. Well, that's my dad. He loves animals, so he had a big fat pig for us. He loves pigs so he had a piggy. And then we had a cat, of course, and then we had a dog. My dad loved dog, so that was the end. Of course, we bought a horse when we first -- I didn't tell you, but we bought a horse when we first came home, because all the work had to be done by horse. And so we bought a horse and we bought some equipment, so we can clear that ground of ours because it was such a mess and so that's what we did.

JA: And did you have a family garden?

MH: Not exactly. I think we ate out of the field, everything we had out in the field, and we shared some things with the neighbors. The neighbor may have some little Japanese plant or something like fuki and things like that. Well, they, we shared with each other with that type of food.

JA: And what kind water source did you have?

MH: Our water was, for the farm we had to get water from the Bellevue lake, Lake Sturtevant, they called that at that time. So we ran pipes from there and we had a big pump there that pumped the water to all our farms, is what it was, so we need that for irrigation.

JA: And for drinking water?

MH: Drinking water is only the individual wells that we had right next to our building that we had dug.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

JA: And what kind of fuel did you use for cooking and warming your home?

MH: To start with, we had nothing but wood, which Dad, that was his winter job. He had to chop it and slice it and have it ready for fireplace because the kitchen stove is small, you got to cut them small. And then the living room fire was big so you get a bigger chunk of wood. So he had to chop and have the wood all ready for us, and when he doesn't keep up, Mom had to go out to do it, of course, and get that done for us. And then as we got older, we got involved in it, too, in chopping all that wood. And then as the years came along the coal came along so we started to burn some coal in the living room and some in the kitchen, too, sometime, but nothing like the wood. It's the best for fuel.

JA: Much later, did you change fuel?

MH: How much later? I think about ten years, I think it was, yes.

JA: But did you go to oil?

MH: That was about fifteen years, I think, we turn into oil, yes. Special oil was delivered in great big tanks. 300 gallon tank, outside was sitting there and they filled that with fuel oil, and we used that for our living room heat and kitchen was still wood.

JA: And this was delivered from where?

MH: It was delivered from... to start with it was Mr. Imanishi from Seattle. It was delivered by him first, and then as, with everybody wanting it so it finally became a company in Bellevue, Griffin Oil Company.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

JA: And so what was a typical day for you working on the farm?

MH: My typical day was really rough sometime, because I had to get up at five o'clock and help Dad with all the harvesting or anything that has to be done in the morning shift. I tried to get all that done for him, as much as I can being the oldest. And so I helped him and get things ready. And then, then I have to go to school at eight o'clock, catch the bus and go to school, and then sometime I would walk home because it's faster than the bus. That bus made too many stops coming home so that's the reason sometime I walked home and made a shortcut through every place and got home. And then, that way I could help Dad more on his job because he's got a lot to do. And a lot of time in tomato season we had to sort all those red tomatoes in the greenhouses and that's a night job. So we had to all that tomatoes sorted, packed, and everything at night job. Then I got my homework done at midnight, is what I did, but I got it done. And my dad used to drive the horse in the middle of the night sometime, and I said, "How can the horse see?" He says, "Well if the horse can see, I can see so we can make it." So he used to cultivate the strawberries at pitch dark nights with a lantern hanging on the cultivator, but they had to be done for him to get all that work done.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

JA: And what was life like during the winter months?

MH: During the winter months it was a little different story because it was cold, and so we had to make sure there was plenty of fuel inside so we can keep warm. And then, sometime the snow was so deep we couldn't get to school, because school was canceled that time and things like that has happened. And we had a long ways to walk out, because we were the furthest one in, in that Midlake area. And so, we had to walk all the way out to the end to the Northeast Eighth and it was quite a ways for us, but we all walked it together with all the neighborhood Japanese friends that we had, seven families living there. And, well, we made snowmans in the winter. And we went (...) skating, I should say, on the lake, Midlake, because that froze, so we skated on there, and we took sleds on there. There were all kind of things that we did for excitement in the winter. And there was actually no work to do. But we kind of look forward to mochi season so we can make mochi in the backyard on the fireplace Dad installed, and so we made mochi (for) New Year's. (We were also busy sorting strawberry plants to be ready to plant in March.)

JA: The mochi, was this a family activity or did the various farms get together?

MH: Various families get together and the relatives get together, they come, too, and they drink and have a wonderful time singing and whatever and make the mochi. It's a miracle they don't hit anybody's hand when they're kneading this mochi.

JA: And the implements you used to pound the mochi, was this...

MH: It was all made by this carpenter that we knew. He made it because you have to have a certain type of wood. And the thing you pound into was made with certain wood, otherwise it will get the smell and everything onto your mochi so a certain kind was made by this carpenter, too. So we had it for the longest time until we got home from war days. (These mochi pounders and such were made with the trunk of a cherry tree.)

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

JA: Okay. And we have a picture, don't we, of your family farm?

MH: Yes, we do. [Ed. note: shows photo of family with car at the farm]

JA: And this was in the Midlakes area. Midlakes is now known as... is this Lake Bellevue that we know today?

MH: The lake is called Bellevue Lake.

JA: Bellevue Lake.

MH: Yes, uh-huh.

JA: And I think we also have a picture of you with your parents, and this picture was in 1927. Is that correct?

MH: That's right. [Ed. note: shows photo of family]

JA: So you would have been six and you're the middle child in this picture. Is that correct?

MH: That's my little sister, Chiyo, and that's (Masako) there.

JA: A very distinguished family there.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

JA: You mentioned how your father would prepare the bath water. It was his job to start the fire...

MH: Uh-huh.

JA: ...toward the end of the day and everyone take their bath and then the laundry would be done following that.

MH: Uh-huh, with that, with that water in the bath, which was saved for that purpose, and we use it for laundry. And if we don't, can't get it done that night after we get out of bath, well, we do it the next morning and we do it that way. And then later in life when my father did buy a washing machine finally for us, well, he did that water the next day again, the same bath water, and then we use that for all our laundry. But, see, the Japanese bath is not dirty because you wash outside before you go inside the tub. You just go inside there to just warm up, is what they call Japanese bath. So that reason the water is not dirty so all the farmers are doing that. They were using their bath water for laundry.

JA: And so you did not soak in the tub?

MH: No, you just jump in. Yeah, you soak, you warm.

JA: So you washed outside.

MH: You washed outside and just go in there and soak up, then.

JA: But the water remained relatively clean because you had already bathed.

MH: Clean, yes. All the family going in one after the other but, yes.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

JA: So, did any, did any, did the Nikkei work off the farm, particularly during the winter months?

MH: The Nikkei, yes, they did work off the farm during the winter months when there wasn't anything to do on the place. Like some of my brothers and thing they went over to skin mink. Skin the mink is what it was. They had that kind of job, and then they went to Kemper's Holly Farm, which was on Yarrow Point. He hired a lot of Japanese during that winter because, see now, they ship all that holly all over United States, so the Japanese was hired there. And some of the people went into Seattle and found any kind of job they could just for the winter, just temporarily, and that worked fine. And the women all went out to do housework all over. There was plenty of housework in Bellevue, so all the young ladies and mothers and everybody did housework during the winter months, too.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

JA: I've heard this name Kay Neumann.

MH: Yes. He was a fantastic person. He moved into Bellevue just about the time we got back too. And he started the lumberyard in Bellevue, the first lumberyard in Bellevue on the corner of (104th) and Northeast Eighth, right there in the corner is Kay Neumann Investment, they call it now, and he helped all the Japanese so many ways. Like our family, he helped us with clothes and he helped us with food, he found us jobs for us, too, so we all found something to do during the whole year or winter months. So whenever we want a job, he was there for us.

JA: Were there many people like this in Bellevue?

MH: Yes; there was. There was quite a few. And there was my neighbor, that was Zwiefelhofer, they were Germans, they were fantastic people, and they, they were still there when we got back. And they had like cows and pigs and chicken and all the fruit and everything else, so they always were there available for us until eventually they sold the place, but until then they were there for us. And then this Mrs. Ringdall, she was a Norwegian lady, and she was another fantastic person that loved to look over the Japanese people. And she came down our way all the time to check to see if we were all okay, and then, in fact, maybe later I'll tell you, but when I was working in the school district, she hired me right away. She said, "You're a Norwegian, you're hired now," she said, is how she hired me.

JA: Wonderful.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

JA: You mentioned that you had chores before going to school and you took the school bus. Where was the school located?

MH: The school is located right in Bellevue right where the Bellevue Park is right now, and so we have a cherry tree planted there, too, in memory of the Japanese people. It was done a few years ago there by the Historical Society, and it's right on the Main Street... it's, it's north of Main, and... north of Main and about right there by Frederick and Nelson -- Nordstrom and the shopping mall, right near the shopping mall.

JA: So this was between Old Bellevue and what we know as Bellevue Square now.

MH: That's right. That's where the elementary school was and my high school was right across the street from that. That is torn down now, too. It was Union S. High School. And my brother (...) came home (from camp) and went to that high school, too.

JA: So how large was your elementary school?

MH: My elementary school had about 350 students, the grand total, and had eight classrooms.

JA: And the school day would last how long?

MH: Eight hours. We had to stay a whole day, not like the students now.

JA: And then you returned to the farm for another whole day's worth of work. [Laughs]

MH: Another whole day's work. That's right. [Laughs]

JA: So while you were a student in your elementary school days, did you feel different than your Caucasian schoolmates?

MH: No, I didn't. They were all so sincere and so good, and they all wanted me to come over and visit with them and everything else. And so a lot of time the reason I enjoy walking with them is I walk home and visit with them all the way home. They lived on Wilburton Hill, where the Bellevue Botanical Garden is right now. So we walk up that hill and I visit with them, and then I walk across the railroad track and got down to my place, home, so... but it was fun visiting with them. They were so good to me all the years. I've known some of them for twelve years, and then when I came back, they were there for me and saw me. One was a manager at the Bellevue Bank and he came to see me and things like that. So my friendship with the Caucasians has been a long-term thing.

JA: When you say "come back," I imagine you're talking about evacuation.

MH: From evacuation camp, yes.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

JA: So your school was located near Old Bellevue.

MH: Yes.

JA: Could you describe what Old Bellevue was like?

MH: At that time, Old Bellevue was a great big school sitting right in the middle there and that's it. And then when you go down to Main Street, there was only one street going north, east and west, and on one side was the drug store and there was a Washington State Bank there, a little one which went broke. And then we had a grocery store on two corners of Main Street and then we had about three gas stations, and that was all about what was there at that time when I was growing up.

JA: And the ferry?

MH: Well, the ferry was from Medina. You had to go all the way to Medina. The early stages they used to get on the boat. We used to go out at Meydenbauer, but, see, that was before my time. But my time was in Medina. We had to go all the way to Medina and we take the boat there and then went over to Leschi and from Leschi you take a streetcar that goes up the hill and down to Yesler.

JA: And did, Beaux Arts Village was in existence at that time. Did you ever take walks to Beaux Arts Village?

MH: Beaux Arts Village?

JA: Yes.

MH: That's right down the road from -- that's where a lot of the students from Beaux Arts Village used to come to Bellevue schools. So they were our friends too so we used to walk that way and things like that. And like the Neumanns lived over there in the Beaux Arts area so we used to go there quite frequently over there, to their home.

JA: Now, that was largely a community of artists. Is that correct?

MH: (Yes), that's right. (...)

JA: So did the behavior of the parents and children --

MH: Oh, (yes). They were great kids. They were great, brilliant kids (...). Yes, they were.

JA: So that may have attributed to why you got along so well with them, they were a little more liberal in their thinking.

MH: (Yes), I think so, too.

JA: And so in general what was Bellevue like as a community?

MH: As a community? It was rather a small community and then after they built that one shopping area up there, that's across the street from the Bellevue Mall. That little corner there developed into a grocery store. And so we had a grocery store and then we had a gas station on the other side of it, on the east side of, west side of that, and the Kay Neumann Lumber Yard was near the corner there, on the north corner there. And so there wasn't really very much at that time, just small.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

JA: So what kind of social activities did Bellevue members...

MH: The Niseis or the hakujins? [Laughs] Japanese, all right. Well, we all, we had a lot of things going on with the Seinenkai, the youth group that we had, which was formed, and they kept us all very, very busy by having dance socials at holidays, and we had movies there and we went to judo tournaments. And so with all the activities like dances and things, we were all kept very, very busy and all the sports that we had. (We had a terrific girls' basketball team.) And the boys had a fantastic baseball team so we always had to follow the Bellevue baseball team that played at Columbia Field, in Seattle on the Fourth of July and things like that. So we just kept our lives very busy socially that way.

JA: How about, again, the broader community?

MH: The broader community? Well, our life was very, wasn't included in a lot of the activity that was held in the community. I think the main thing that we were involved in was the Strawberry Festival that they have. Otherwise, we weren't included in very many other things except for school activities or something like that. But then the Strawberry Festival, in 1939 we had three princess -- no, four princesses of Japanese descent, and that was the only time that they were given the opportunity to become princess. And, otherwise, it was just all, every year we donated strawberries for it, they make it special for the Japanese farmers. And the year the Japanese farmers were evacuated, that was it, no more strawberries so no more festival.

JA: [Laughs] And I've seen a picture of some kimono-clad dancers.

MH: Yes. They were not dancers, they were princesses. They had one hakujin prince -- queen and then the rest were princesses, is what they selected. And they had about four hakujin princesses and then they had four Japanese ones, is what they had, from the Seinenkai.

JA: And why were they wearing kimonos?

MH: I guess they thought it would be nice to show what the Japanese people actually did wear in Japanese kimonos, and then girls had one so I guess they asked them to wear it.

JA: So the organizers asked.

MH: That's right. It was no purpose for dancing or anything like that.

JA: And did the Nikkei community attend the festival itself?

MH: Yes, they were there every year. Always, we had a big crowd of Japanese people from all over. This, from even Seattle they all came out, so we had a big crowd that really participated in the festivals that they had.

JA: This Bellevue Strawberry Festival, I understand, was quite an event that --

MH: Yes, it's a big event. It used to have thousands of people that showed up from all over.

JA: More than the regular population of Bellevue at the time?

MH: Yes, that's for sure. Yes, they did.

JA: So you're saying that both Caucasians and Nikkei came from distances to attend this festival.

MH: Yes, uh-huh. They all came out, yes, from Seattle and just every place, to make it a gay affair because they know it's the strawberry -- Bellevue Japanese strawberries.

JA: And during the festival, was it segregated?

MH: No, it wasn't. We all mingled, visited everybody, and just enjoyed visiting with everybody. We, that way we met more people that we never knew that lived there. And so, no, we had a wonderful time congregating with the Caucasians and everything and made a gay affair.

JA: So this was an event that the community looked forward to?

MH: That's right, yearly. It's a yearly affair that they all looked forward to.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

JA: Then again, back to the Nikkei community, can you tell me more about the community interaction, the clubhouse?

MH: Uh-huh. At the clubhouse, like I said, they do have judo and kendo, basketball, and then they have Bukkyokai service there, too. They were using that for that purpose. And then the basement was used for Japanese school until we were able to build a Japanese school, which was built in the next lot in the later years is what it was. And then we have dances yearly there, too. The Seinenkai sponsored a dance and invited Seattle, Greenlake, everybody all over and they came out and that's where we had the opportunity to meet other people besides Bellevueites.

JA: And did you attend a Japanese language school?

MH: Yes, I did. I attended all my life, it seems like. I went through elementary school to Japanese school all the way through. Then I went to night classes and covered as much as I could. So, and then, I went to Bellevue Community College for one quarter to learn more Japanese, so I've been quite fluent for a Nisei they tell me, yes.

JA: Right. And you don't regret that, right?

MH: No, I won't. [Laughs]

JA: And can you tell us about the Nisei Club and its activities?

MH: The Nisei Club, after the evacuation was organized...

JA: So this is after the evacuation, the Nisei Club was organized.

MH: It was right after.

JA: Okay. So what other -- I guess at the clubhouse...

MH: Before that was Seinenkai.

JA: Seinenkai.

MH: Yes. That's what they call it.

JA: But at the clubhouse, at Seinenkai, you yourself participated in certain classes. Could you tell us?

MH: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

JA: Ikebana?

MH: Oh, (yes). They had flower arrangement. They had tea ceremony that they taught us. They taught us dancing and all these Oriental things were taught to all of us, too.

JA: So you were exposed to quite a bit of the Japanese finer arts.

MH: Yes, yes. I think the Bellevue Japanese mothers kind of encouraged all the girls to do all these things, and I think the greater percentage of girls were all involved in all these different classes, dancing, and plays, Japanese plays they had, and Japanese schools and just made it very educational for all of us young people.

JA: Now, who were the instructors?

MH: They were hired from Seattle. (Mrs. Fujitsu, Mrs. Okamura)

JA: So the community really made an effort.

MH: Yes, they did. They were hired from Seattle so we had to pay a tuition for every class we went to.

JA: I see.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

JA: Can you tell me about these farm parties?

MH: Oh, the farm parties. That was something else the farmers had. They, the men, the men are either the prefecture people or the village -- or the people that live near each other. Now like our area, we had the Midlake group that included all the Itos and all that, right through there about eight families, and we used to get together. And of course, the wives made the sake, homemade sake, and they use that for dinner. And they would, and it was potluck so we brought foods and we had a gathering together. And they had a ball singing and playing cards, and the women sit and gabbed and talked about the children or the sewing, or... and so it made a wonderful evening sometime that we had a gathering during the winter months when nobody was busy.

JA: Now, these potluck dinners, I imagine they were quite a feast.

MH: Yes, it was, because every country was, every city, let's say, every prefecture was a little difficult, and Kumamoto people are a different, because they were saltier, and Fukuoka people are a little different again. Okayamas are, they're very mild in flavor. And so it was kind of interesting to see the variety of food that they had come in when we had those potluck dinners.

JA: I guess even now, the Sansei and Yonsei look forward to these potlucks because of the wonderful food that's presented. Was this the case then?

MH: That's true because it's the variety that they really get wherever they go.

JA: And each, each woman brought her best dish, correct?

MH: That's... of course, they do. Yes, they do.

JA: Now, was there, does, does potluck come from Japan? Was this commonplace in Japan?

MH: No, I don't think so. I don't think it was, come from Japan. I think what they instigated over here because of the fact that everybody can get different things. Whatever they can get from their own country or something like that, so they want to bring it out and show it to the other prefecture people of what they can come up with, whatever they have, and things like that because every prefecture is a little different in the way they prepare the food. You can have the same thing and they prepare it a little differently. And for that reason I think that's why they enjoyed doing the potluck and bring different things to different homes. And we enjoyed it, too, because then we don't have to eat the same, my mother's food. It was a little different.

JA: So this is a real Japanese American creation.

MH: Japanese American creation, yes, it was.

JA: Because even today now, oftentimes we prefer to have a potluck than to go to a restaurant.

MH: Yes. That's right, because you get a big variety of food that you can get, and everybody brings their best, when they come out to a potluck as you can see.

JA: So Japanese potlucks are quite different then potlucks in general.

MH: American potluck, yes. It is a little different. [Laughs]

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

JA: What kind of activities were there for the young people in the Nikkei community?

MH: Well, we had an annual picnic at the Kokaido field for everybody, the whole family and all bring their best. And the organization bought the pop, and the beer, and the watermelon and soft drinks like that, and they had a wonderful time there. They look forward to it once a year. They had it at the Kokaido picnic ground there, we call it there. And we had baseballs for all the kids, and they had baseball, baseball team, in fact, and they had a basketball team from Bellevue. And they had judo competition all over. They come to Bellevue, Kokaido had a judo tournament there, too, and they had kendo tournaments there, too. So they were, so the youngsters were always kept busy with activities like that plus at school. See, when they were in school, they were playing baseball, football, and all that at their schools, too, as they were growing up in the high school level.

JA: Were there many spectators during these baseball games or basketball games?

MH: Well, I would say plentiful. I think most everybody went, but the parents usually can't go because they're busy on the farm.

JA: But for the young people it became a social activity.

MH: (Yes). It became a social activity for the young people, yes. They would all go.

JA: And what kind of activities were there, that maybe, for the young women in the community?

MH: Young women? Well, the young women's, that I was in, we had a basketball team. I think that's all the team we really had for the girls is actually that type of thing. And, otherwise, we were busy involved in, like I said, the Japanese tea ceremony and flower arrangement, and that's all really the activity that we had for girls.

JA: How were Nikkei youngsters when they get to the dating age? How were they able to meet and socialize?

MH: Socialize? Well, it was kind of hard I tell you that, until we started going to baseball games and basketball games or something like that. Then we meet the other people on the other side from Tacoma, Auburn, Seattle, and all that area so that's... and then we invite them to a Bellevue dance and they would come to the Bellevue dance, or we would be invited to theirs so our group would go over to theirs. And so we were able to socialize with Seattle people, Bellevue, Auburn, Tacoma, and then we had Green Lake, too, involved and Bothell was involved in our group.

JA: So these sports leagues provided a real link between communities.

MH: A lot of good -- yes.

JA: Throughout the Puget Sound area.

MH: Yes, it did, very much. That was very important, and when they were all growing up.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

JA: Can you relate to us your recollections of your family visits to Seattle during your childhood?

MH: That was one thing that we looked forward to every year on Fourth of July. My father said that's one day we can take a day off. He make us work every day because that's strawberry season for us, but he says that's one day he'll give us the day off. So he'd take us, cart us down to the boat in Medina, and we take a boat into Seattle. And we took a streetcar and went up to Kawahara's house, who lived on Jackson Street, and that was my mother's neighbor in Japan, and we been old-time friends. So we went over there and we were able to stay overnight, and they took us to the Fourth of July parade, and they took us to the Bon Odori, which was just a treat to all of us and none of us danced, but then we enjoyed watching the others. And then we went to Sagamiyas and bought one of their delicious pastry that we love, so we made sure we got some for Mom and Dad to take home and treat them, too, is what we did. It was just exciting.

JA: So Sagamiya was located at Sixth and Main in old Nihonmachi.

MH: That's right.

JA: Where was the Bon Odori held at that time?

MH: Bon Odori was held right straight through on that Main Street, the complete Main Street, that goes right up in front of Panama Hotel and all right around that whole section there up to Maynard. It's right in the Main Street, is where they had the whole road taken up.

JA: And how well-attended was the Bon Odori?

MH: Well-attended. You couldn't find a place to park, no place to stand, no place to sit. You had to bring your own chair and get a seat early and get a front row if you wanted it, but it was very, very popular in those days. Just all the Japanese from all over came up, just every place.

JA: And did the dancers stretch for blocks?

MH: Blocks and blocks and blocks and the taiko drummers were right in the middle on the stage is where they were situated. And so it was very well-attended.

JA: And were the, were the dancers pretty much all in kimonos or in Japanese attire?

MH: Oh (yes). They were all in kimono and when some hakujins liked to participate and so they borrowed somebody's yukata or something, or they have a yukata. And my sister-in-law always danced because she was a good dancer, and so we enjoyed going out to watch her, too.

JA: So this was really a major event.

MH: Yes, it was a major, we all looked forward to that every (year).

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

JA: And did many of the farmers, such as your father, be willing to take that day off, the one day off during their, the busy time of the year?

MH: Their busy schedule? No, they wouldn't take time off. That's one thing farmers are, they just work, work, work during that time to make ends meet. They have to work or they'll lose that crop or something like that, so they were always working.

JA: So were you one of the few families from Bellevue that would go to Seattle on the Fourth of July?

MH: No, the other, other people went, too. Their, they had older brothers, older sisters, that can drive and could take them into town, is what it was. So it was a little different. See, we didn't have anybody older, that's me, and that made a big, big difference.

JA: Oh, I see. So you're saying the Issei would largely continue to work, but the --

MH: Niseis had their own transportation because they had older sisters and brothers.

JA: Okay. So they were given time off.

MH: So that was more for young people's entertainment that we go in...

JA: But they were allowed time off from the farm.

MH: That's right, too.

JA: Okay, so, but again that was another opportunity for them to intermingle...

MH: That's right.

JA: ...and to make social contacts.

MH: That's right, with the Seattle people and everything, yes. Very good.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

JA: In 1938, you were entered into the Honor Society for your scholastic achievements, and you made a trip to Seattle as part of that.

MH: Yes, I did.

JA: Could you tell us more about that?

MH: I had a little funny incident at that time. I went with the Honor Society group into Seattle and for some reason they searched me. I don't know why or what the reason was, but they searched me to see if I had anything that was like a camera or anything that I'm not supposed to have, I guess, so they did search me. And of course, I had a camera so they took that away from me temporarily before we got on the port there. It was a boat or something we were all going on and taking a little tour on the Sound. And so... but that was a little funny incident I had at that trip. But on the way back they gave it to me, and I don't know why or anything. I never questioned that, but I was the only Oriental with them at that time, so that was a little incident I'll never forget.

JA: Okay, but you became a member of the Honor Society in spite of your early morning chores.

MH: Yes. Well, I had to study at nights. I really studied at nights and sometimes I only had three hours of sleep during the day, because I had to get up early again and late at night. But I worked hard, really, really hard, hoping that I can make it.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

JA: Earlier you mentioned how that you would do sledding on Lake Bellevue.

MH: Yes, that's right. That's most exciting days. During those days the lake used to freeze, but after that, as our children were growing up, the lakes froze off and on very little, but during our days it froze solid, just frozen solid, so all of us used to go skating on there and pull a sled around. And then in the evening we used to burn a bonfire, and they used to skate out there and everything so it was just a fun lake that we were all able to enjoy. At that time it used to freeze hard, I think, because there were trees and bushes around it. Now there is all that condo and things built around it, but at that time I think that's the reason it froze so bad.

JA: And this was Nikkei and Caucasians from Bellevue?

MH: Oh, yes. We all went out. The Nikkeis, (...) too. They all went out there, yes.

JA: So again, there was a lot of intermingling between cultures.

MH: Oh, yes. Yes, there was. Uh-huh.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

JA: Well, Mitzie, who did you marry?

MH: I married Mutsuo Mike Hashiguchi from Seattle.

JA: A city slicker.

MH: A city slicker, yes.

JA: How did you meet this city slicker?

MH: Well, we had social, social things were going on, and, of course, I met him at the Christian conference because he was a very true Christian. And I was raised as a Nichiren Buddhist, but as I grew into my teenager, we all went to Christian churches so I met him through the church social.

JA: And this church social was being held where?

MH: Seattle.

JA: In Seattle. So you had traveled again by ferry with the group from Bellevue.

MH: Oh, yes. Uh-huh.

JA: And could you describe Mutsuo?

MH: Describe...

JA: What did he look like when you first met him?

MH: Well, I didn't think he was very homely. I thought he was all right. He was good in serenading people and, and giving everybody a good time and telling all kind of jokes. He was noted for all those type of things. It made life kind of... think oh, that should be quite rosy with him.

JA: So he had an outgoing personality.

MH: Yes, very much so. It made a big difference.

JA: And what kind of character was he?

MH: He was a neat guy, I'll tell you. He was very... loved to lead everybody, do everything, volunteer everything. And I learned later that I was supposed to do the work, though, but he volunteers for everything.

JA: So, can you describe your courtship period?

MH: Well, well, we had a very short courtship, I call it, but we did go to Seattle all the time. That's, he showed me different parts of Seattle and things like that, and we went up north as far as Mount Vernon, there is a lot of scenic areas that way, and so we enjoyed our life that way.

JA: So he swept you off your feet.

MH: (Yes), I guess he did. [Laughs]

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

JA: So where and when did you marry?

MH: We were married in Seattle in October '39.

JA: And was this a well-attended wedding?

MH: Uh-huh. We had it at a church, and we had 200 people invited and then a reception at the restaurant, Gyokko ken Restaurant, Chinese restaurant. So we had a good turnout from Bellevue (and Seattle) and all our friends that (we) have. Yes.

JA: And what did he do for a living at that time?

MH: At that time he was graduated from Edison Tech as a electrician, and at that time jobs were very scarce for Niseis. And so I remember he went down to California to find a job and he came home, and he said the jobs are very scarce for Niseis. And so then my father says, "Well, how about you, as long as you're going to marry my daughter you might as well help around our farm." And he said, "That'll be fine. I think I can learn the trade." So my father and my neighbors were all very good about teaching him anything that he should know, and he did a lot of research to study up on some things, too, and so he was able to run the farm for my father.

JA: So where did you live when he was working on the farm?

MH: My father built us a house on the farm, is what he did. He built us a one-bedroom house. That's all we need and it's right on his property, which made it very comfortable for us.

JA: And did you have to go through many adjustments to marriage?

MH: No, I didn't think I did. I think I just kind of worked itself in and did all the things I have to do and helped my dad as usual. So we all worked together as a team.

JA: So it was more he had to adjust to your family.

MH: He had to make the adjustment to farm life, I tell you that. Yes, he did. [Laughs]

JA: And how well did he do that?

MH: Well, he grumbled and mumbled, but then he was out there, and we had to teach him how to drive the horse. He's never done that before and that he had to learn and things like that, so, but it worked out pretty well.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

JA: And can you give me your memories of what it was like during your first pregnancy? Did you have to, did you continue to work on the farm?

MH: Oh, yes. I worked 'til the last day, when the poor little Les... that he was ready to be born, and it was the last day and he rushed me to the hospital at eight o'clock in the morning. And I worked 'til the very, very last day working out in the tomato field and everything else. And nobody can believe it, but that's the way it was. We had to work, as long as we can do it on our two feet.

JA: So unlike your mother who had a midwife when you were born, you went to a hospital.

MH: I went to the hospital, yes. We went to the Kirkland Hospital. That was the only hospital we had on the Eastside at that time, and my doctor was a Bellevue doctor, a very good doctor, and so he took all his patients over to Kirkland. And I think all the Bellevue people who had children, that's where they went, the Niseis.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

JA: Again you alluded to your husband as being quite an activist involved with various groups. I understand he was very active with the Japanese American Citizens League. Can you relate to us some of his activities?

MH: Well, he was very active in JACL before I even met him, as I understand, by working with James Sakamoto's newspaper and right through the area, and then he worked in the, volunteered for Seattle JACL for different things, as I understand. And then he was very active in YPCC through the Young People's Christian Conference. He used to go all the time and lead in different organizations with that. And then during the evacuation time, he was the vice -- no, chairman, chairman of the Bellevue JACL and worked with the Seattle JACL. So his time was in Seattle more than Bellevue of leader, and, but he enjoyed working for the JACL and I think his brothers all did, too, at that time.

JA: Yes. I've seen his name listed as actually as being one of the co-presidents of the Seattle chapter in the early 1940s.

MH: Yes. That's when he got involved in all the evacuation plans, all the shots we had to get, and all the things that had to be taken care of. He did running back and forth so you can see how much help he was to me. I was grumbling by then, but he was over in Seattle more than he was ever at home because of all the paperwork he had to pick up at the JACL office.

JA: Being the city slicker that comes to work on the farm, how did the rest of the Bellevue Nikkei community treat him?

MH: I think they were very reluctant that he would not last very much, very long in Bellevue, but it was a big surprise to them when he made the adjustment. He was able to help the neighbors, like the Suguro family, he helped them a lot and different things. And he was available for anybody that needed help as long as it wasn't hard labor, he was available for anybody. So he helped in that way and so, eventually he was accepted by the Bellevue community.

JA: Did he strike up any real close personal friendships with people in Bellevue?

MH: Not exactly. Not at first. No, he was a Seattlelite.

JA: I have seen that Seichi Hayashida was his vice-chair?

MH: Oh yes. That's right. He worked with him, yes, because he was our neighbor. He was three doors down the road with us, so he was very close to Seichi Hayashida and the Aramakis were very close to us because they all lived in the same lane as we did in Midlakes.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 31>

JA: And you kind of touched on the fact that your husband, through his JACL activities, helped provide information for the evacuation. So where, what is your recollection of what you... of when you first heard of Pearl Harbor?

MH: When we heard of Pearl Harbor we were home, and the kids came yelling and saying, "Oh, my goodness. Japan has bombed the United States." He says, "Oh, no. It can't be. We don't believe that," and, but by gum, it was true. It was blast all over the newspaper that came out and everything so we had to accept it, whatever -- my husband came home and he said, "Yeah, that's true, dear." So we were all just kind of stunned to hear such a thing that had happened.

JA: You were stunned. So there was no anticipation of any difficulties?

MH: No, not at that, not at that moment. No.

JA: Had you or the Nikkei community in Bellevue been paying attention to Japan's activities in the Pacific?

MH: No, we weren't, no we weren't aware of that or anything like that. But the minute the Isseis got, started to be picked up by the FBI, then we got panicky, is what we did, because Bellevue had about four men that were picked up by the FBI right away. And so then, we got all panicky and says, "Oh, my goodness. It really has happened. Things are starting to happen in Bellevue," and, of course, Seattle kept us well-informed through Muts.

JA: So these four men that were picked up, did you hear from them?

MH: Not after they were taken, no. No one knew where they were taken or anything like that. Even the family didn't know.

JA: So this must have again caused quite a bit of concern within the community.

MH: Yes, it was quite concerned, yeah.

JA: It must have been a lot of conjecture...

MH: Uh-huh.

JA: And rumors.

MH: Yeah, that's right. It would be. No, they were concerned. They didn't know where they were taken or anything like that. Didn't know why they were taken, either. That was another answer they didn't have.

JA: So, do you recall conversations in your family in the evenings about...

MH: About them or anything like that?

JA: Yes.

MH: No, we weren't... no.

JA: But did you notice a change in the community's emotions?

MH: Of the community, in the Caucasian community?

JA: The Caucasian community and the Nikkei community, both.

MH: And the Japanese community? Oh yeah, there was, oh yes, there would be. Because they were concerned, wondering what's gonna happen next, is what it is... "because we are Japanese." You know, the Isseis are all saying that.

JA: So there was a lot of anxiety.

MH: Yes, there was at the time.

JA: But you did not... did you notice any change in the Bellevue Caucasian community toward the Nikkei community?

MH: No, I didn't notice it in that way at all, because they were all just real good friends, so there was no feeling with them, they just were kind of sympathetic that such a thing had happened.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 32>

JA: Bainbridge Island was one of the first areas that was subject to mass evacuation and that was in March of 1942. What was the Bellevue Nikkei community reaction to that?

MH: They says, "Oh, my goodness. Bainbridge is moving on, I guess we're next." And we are just counting and listening and hearing, and, of course, my husband was in contact with the Seattle JACL back and forth so he always was able to report back to us what's going on. And when Bainbridge started then we knew uh-oh, something is happening. Where we are going? How long are we going to be gone? And the destination is what -- first thing we all wondered -- where we were going to have to be going. And then when they, the final orders came and said, "You are going," well, we didn't know where we were going. They said just bring one bag. Well, you can't get anything in one bag or anything like that, so it was something else really.

JA: And when your husband would go back and forth to Seattle and bringing information, were community meetings held?

MH: Community meeting, yes. We had at the Kokaido, yes. The Bellevue people all were to get there, supposed to come there and meet at a certain, certain time so that we can all discuss whatever that's coming up, what will be done, and what action we'll be taking when the time comes.

JA: And how well-attended were these meetings?

MH: They all come. They all, they were all curious to know what is really going on. So somebody at least from every family were there, so they'll know what was going on and what has to be done.

JA: And what was the atmosphere at these meetings?

MH: Cool.

JA: Cool?

MH: Cool. Nobody sayings anything. I think my husband was the only one talking about. And probably the few Isseis that were, have to be kind of interpreting to the Isseis, the remarks and things like that. But the leader of the bunch was picked up. See, Mr. Yabuki was kind of leader. Mr. Tsushima was leader, he was picked up, too. And so, it almost had to be the other ones that were, understood the language.

JA: So the established leaders from taken away.

MH: Uh-huh.

JA: And how did the community react to your husband during this time?

MH: Well, they certainly didn't like him because they thought he was the guy that's kind of, that doesn't say, "No, we're not going to do this, we're not going to do that," or whatever. He did whatever the JACL told him. He said fine. He brought all the information back to them and worked with them, is what he did. So, they, they thought he was a bad boy or I guess you'd explain it that way.

JA: So they blamed the messenger.

MH: Yeah, to him, yes, even though he was the messenger.

JA: So, but their feelings were toward the JACL and not to the U.S. government for what was happening?

MH: They kind of blamed the JACL, too. They were wondering why the JACL didn't fight this whole thing or do something about it. I heard that remark, too, at different times.

JA: And this was openly discussed at these meetings.

MH: Uh-huh. Then, of course, you know who has to fight that one back again with some comments. Of course, I don't know what he said because I wasn't allowed to go to the meeting. I had to stay home. They didn't invite me. [Laughs]

JA: So you heard, again, you heard these things indirectly or through your husband.

MH: Yes.

JA: So at these meetings, then, it was largely the head of the families that went.

MH: Head of families that went, yeah, or the head of the family boys or something like that... would understand what all this was going on. So most of them were old, older boys of the family.

JA: So it was fairly exclusively male attendees then.

MH: Well, but then some had to be female because like Mitsi Shiraishi's a girl, and Hanna Yoshimoto is a girl in the family, so she probably went.

JA: Okay, so there were a few.

MH: Just a few, that's right.

JA: Okay.

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 33>

JA: Okay. You mentioned about having, being only allowed to bring one bag.

MH: Uh-huh, that's right.

JA: Can you describe the preparations that you did for the evacuation?

MH: We would lay out the preplans. I guess it was kind of suggested by the committee as to just about what you should bring, what type of thing, or what to bring. I think they suggested like one blanket to bring and a pair of shoes and your pajamas and probably couple sets of clothes of some sort that you would wear and your toothpaste and all those necessity things you need to bring. And that's all they suggested for us to bring. But I heard some people brought pots and pans, but I don't know how true that story is, but that was not suggested at all on the list.

JA: And how long were you... what timeframe were you given to prepare?

MH: We were given, I think, two-week notice. When we were going, when we're going. Ready to be down to the Kirkland railroad station.

JA: But Bainbridge having been evacuated and Seattle having evacuated...

MH: That's right.

JA: ...were people in Bellevue already in preparation?

MH: Yes, in preparation. We were kind of ready. We know that if they're going, our turn is coming very close. They didn't say the date, but they, we knew it was very close because that set was all going and my in-laws and all have gone.

JA: So your family were one of fortunate ones to be able to own their farm.

MH: Yes. There were five, about five people in a row that owned it in Midlake, that owned the property. There were others. There was about twelve people in Bellevue that owned the property all around so they were able to come back to their property as long as they had paid their taxes and took care of it, so they can come back to it.

JA: So in preparation for the evacuation, what was done to keep the farm?

MH: The Western Farm Incorporated came into the scenery, and said they were going to run our farm for us. And they said they will harvest everything and take care of it for us and will send us the money when they get it all harvested and all this, things that go with it. And I think the government must have stepped in later because I heard that's all they did was harvest just the strawberries and peas out of the field and whatever they did with it... they did must have sold it or whatever they did. After that nothing was done to the field. They did not touch it again or do anything out there, and they ransacked all the houses. Like we stored all our things in my house in the back and boarded the windows and everything and left everything there, our wedding presents and everything, what we thought we didn't need and that was all we can do. And the rest we had in Mom's house, just left it there, boarded it. But I understand my Caucasian friends told me the night we, day we left, that night the trucks rolled in to all the Japanese families and just raided everything they can find and took it with them, is what it was.

<End Segment 33> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 34>

JA: Now, again, your family was fortunate enough to own land, but the vast majority of Nikkei farmers in the Bellevue area were leased.

MH: They were all leasing the property so that's the reason they didn't actually come back. So some of them came back as far as Seattle, but not to Bellevue.

JA: Because the floating bridge was built and the land values had increased so much, to make it economical for them to return.

MH: Uh-huh.

JA: But of the families that were on leased land, what kind of preparations did they make, or do you, do, are you aware of?

MH: The people on the leased land?

JA: Yeah. I mean, they had crops being grown.

MH: Yeah, but I don't think they got anything for it. I think it was just, just, just left.

JA: Just left.

MH: Just left, I think, unless they sold it to someone that they knew, they trusted, or whatever. But I didn't hear that part of the story. [Laughs]

JA: Everyone knew you had to leave. [Laughs]

MH: Had to leave and that's it. Get going. [Laughs]

<End Segment 34> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 35>

JA: So when the day came to leave, can you describe that day to us?

MH: Yeah. It was a real sad thing, but my friends came and picked us up because see, we all sold our cars and everything, whatever we owned, much as we can at whatever price we can get for it is the way everybody got rid of their stuff.

JA: And what kind of prices were you getting?

MH: Very nominal. It's a throw-away price, is what you call it, but you had to get rid it because we don't know when we're coming back.

JA: So 20 percent of its normal value or 10 percent?

MH: Yeah. something in that nature. Yes, it was. And some things you almost have to give it away and some people just left it. See, that's why they were all stolen because you left it. And no, they came... one of our friends came to pick us up. Most of them, we had Caucasian friends that were willing to do that, pick us up, take us to the railroad station. Then we had to go to the railroad station in Kirkland on the same track that runs right through Midlakes, that same track. So we were loaded up in Kirkland on the siding someplace over there, so we had to get there at a certain time, all of us.

JA: So I have seen pictures of Bainbridge Island evacuation where the army trucks went to the farms and loaded...

MH: Oh, picked them up?

JA: This did not occur in Bellevue?

MH: I don't think that nobody came after us. I can't remember them coming after us in the army truck. Yeah, we all went on private cars, they took us over there.

<End Segment 35> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 36>

JA: And did you know your destination, what your destination would be?

MH: No one knew, not a thing. Just get on this ugly train and get, we'll be going.

JA: And what were you feeling at this time?

MH: We thought, "Oh, my gosh. Where are we going?" because nobody will say anything and they said we can't look out the windows, got to keep the shades down because the enemy might attack us and so we just went along. And every night or every day it seemed like we were always stopping at a station or stopping someplace on the siding, they call it, was always stopping someplace somewhere. And it seemed like we'll never get to California or wherever they were taking us. We were going south so we knew that at least, but they never told us where were going until we got closer to the area, is what it was. Then they told us Pinedale and we never even heard of Pinedale. But we knew it was hot when we got out of the train, I'll tell you that. [Laughs]

JA: And so this trip took more than twenty-four hours. Is that correct?

MH: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I'm sure it did. I think it took a couple days.

JA: Couple days.

MH: Uh-huh, couple days to get that far because it stops too much.

JA: Because the train would yield to military...

MH: Other traffic comes first, yeah. That's right.

JA: I see. And what kind of meals were you provided?

MH: That's what I couldn't quite remember. What kind of meal...

JA: If they were so bad you don't want to remember. [Laughs]

MH: I don't want to remember. It must have been government ration food or something like that, I have a feeling, but I haven't the least idea what was it was. I just can't remember.

JA: I imagine most people were so anxious they didn't feel like eating anyway.

MH: No, they didn't feel like eating. I don't think so, and they didn't feel good anyhow because of the fact they left everything. You're depressed. Everybody is depressed. No one looked happy except the young people or something like that because they think oh, good a train ride, and they thought that was a thrill, that part of it. But older people and them, they looked all so depressed that it just wasn't there.

JA: Very stressful time.

MH: Uh-huh.

JA: Was there much conversation on the train?

MH: No, it was quiet. Like I said, the only people that were really talking were the young people, young teenagers and things like that, but otherwise it was quiet. They just looked like they were saying "Oh, God. I wonder where they're taking us now." And they were very depressed and was wondering, which I can't blame 'em.

<End Segment 36> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 37>

JA: So then what was your... what do you first remember seeing when you got to Pinedale?

MH: When I first looked out, I thought, "Oh, my goodness. Look how hot it is," I said. First thing we noticed it was hot and we saw the fig trees out there. I think that's the first thing that caught everybody's eyes was the fig tree. And they took us on a bus and drove us to Pinedale itself because you come into Fresno, is where you come into. So that's where we saw the trees and we thought, "Oh gee, they have trees down here." But we were surprised at that.

JA: And how long did you stay in Pinedale?

MH: In Pinedale we were there three months. From May to September... we were there, and then in September we moved on to Tule Lake for permanent... camp.

<End Segment 37> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 38>

JA: What was the living conditions at Pinedale like?

MH: In Pinedale it was terrible. It was just a thrown together camp, is what it was, and it was all tar paper on the outside and with a little teeny window, you can hardly see the outside. The floor was all tar and it was so hot that when the army cots were put there, it sunk about three inches on the ground, right into it. And then the mats, we had to go out and get straw and fill it with straw, and then put it on our bed. And when you lay on it, the straw is sticking to your body because it's straw. But my son got sick all the time because of the hot weather. He couldn't handle it. He wouldn't eat or anything, so he was all skin and bone by the time we really moved on.

JA: Your son was about a year and a half at that time?

MH: Uh-huh. He was still a baby. We carried him all the way, so...

JA: So this possibly was a reaction, even as an infant, to the stress that he felt of the people around him.

MH: Yeah, that could be.

JA: And how large of a space were you provided?

MH: When we were down there we were... let's see, we were a threesome, so we got into one little room for three people. They had different sizes and my father and them were five, two... seven so they were all in one room, too. They were in their own one room. They were right next to us, but they were in one room. So it was crowded. They had...

JA: Seven in one room.

MH: Yes. They had cots laying all over the place.

JA: Can you give us an approximate size of that room? Would it be like the size of an average living room or a bedroom?

MH: Well, no it wouldn't be as big as this even... about this room maybe, just this size room here. You get five cots laying all over.

JA: So like a ten by twelve room.

MH: Uh-huh, something, yeah, because that's all you need, is just a cot.

JA: But it was almost very next... all lined up next to each other.

MH: Oh, yeah it is. It was next to each other. You can jump on the next door neighbor's bed, and your baggage and everything you put under your bed, your cot or whatever. And miles and miles of line when you go to eat, I just about died. And the menu was something else. It was not made for us to eat. And so, the food was just terrible.

JA: So the diet wasn't what you were accustomed to.

MH: No, no way. Uh-uh.

JA: And what was the results of that?

MH: Well, we figured it must be temporary, we hope, and whatever it is. So that's all we can do is just eat what we felt like eating and that's it.

<End Segment 38> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 39>

JA: But was there much illness amongst the Nikkei?

MH: Oh, yeah. There was quite a few, especially with the younger kids, real little ones like my kid, and older people, the old Isseis. It was hard for them because they're not used to that kind of diet. No way. There was no nice fresh vegetables for us or anything, those sole fish, you know the white fish, flat one, sole. That's the kind of thing they used. They used mutton. Well, Japanese don't eat mutton and those things made a big difference in their diet.

JA: And how were they prepared?

MH: They were just cooked, fried or whatever you call it. Fried, fried I think it was. But the Japanese need the vegetable and rice. Yes.

JA: Which you neither got.

MH: Which they did not get. [Laughs]

JA: And you spoke of these long lines, again, this is in the hot sun.

MH: Hot sun. You stand in line for miles, it seemed like, going into these cafeterias to eat. Sometime I wish, "Forget it. I don't want to eat," but you almost have to eat something to keep surviving, is what it is, but they were long lines.

JA: It was like you had force yourself to go.

MH: That's right, that's right.

JA: Because you knew you had to.

MH: You don't -- uh-huh.

<End Segment 39> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 40>

JA: And what other facilities were provided at Pinedale?

MH: Well, they had outhouses, the building for... they had about ten people going to one bathroom, I guess it was or something like that. It's a public, is the way they built for us. And the bathrooms are the same, showers all built for community shower, I guess you call it and community bathrooms is the way they had everything...

JA: So the toilets were non-flushing. These were the regular privies.

MH: No, just in the hole. Don't fall in. [Laughs]

JA: And so they would just put lime or something down there occasionally.

MH: Yeah, that's what they're doing. Yeah, lime. That's what they're doing.

JA: But you did have shower rooms.

MH: Yeah, that we had to have.

JA: Now, was there any privacy during all these times?

MH: No, no, you don't have any privacy. You just go hoping that nobody is watching you while you go take a shower in those stalls, like I would call it.

JA: So like for people, who were going through puberty when they're very body conscious, it must have been very difficult on them.

MH: Yeah, it's very difficult so they go late at night when they think nobody's there, nobody's at the shower or something like that. Even to the bathroom that's what you like to do when nobody's around you go, you try to go.

JA: And was there any recreational activities provided during the time at Pinedale?

MH: At Pinedale? Yeah, there was baseball and things like that for the young people, for the young people, all that was available for them.

<End Segment 40> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 41>

JA: And what was your husband doing during this time?

MH: In Pinedale? What did he do at Pinedale? I guess he didn't do too much there, but to make sure everybody was comfortable. He made sure everybody was comfortable and just checked around because they kept kind of the Bellevue people in one area of the camp. So he kind of keep an eye on them and just made sure everybody was comfortable and everybody is okay, and few things like that is what he more or less did. He didn't have a job there or anything like that.

JA: So... and did, was that norm for most of the internees at that time?

MH: Yes.

JA: In Pinedale that was.

MH: Yeah, yeah. That's right.

JA: And how was the administration?

MH: Administration was fair. It was fair, not the best, but fair. But it was hard for all of us to see the military on the fence there with their guns facing toward us and things like that. It was really uncomfortable to think you're in camp and then that staring at you. And then if you go on the fence line, you find rattlesnakes, they tell us, and then that scared the daylights out of the rest of us. And so, different things like that. And they have big spiders in the bathroom. You had to watch for that or you get poison spider biting you and different things. It was an interesting experience in Pinedale.

JA: So when they say that they evacuated the Nikkei for their own protection...

MH: That was not true.

JA: The guns were pointed in the wrong direction, correct? [Laughs]

MH: That's right. That's for sure, yes.

<End Segment 41> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 42>

JA: Okay. When were you advised or did you know that you would be moved from Pinedale to another location?

MH: Oh, no. They told us as soon as Tule Lake was ready as a permanent concentration camp, we'll be all shipped over there. And they said there will be a Seattle volunteer group that's already there in advance that will have the administrative and the hospitals and cafeterias and different things like that kind of organized, so that the group that's going in there will be comfortable, is what they promised us. And so -- which is true -- in three month our group, we were taken over there again by train into Tule Lake. And when we went there we were greeted by the Seattle group, which was very nice of them to all come out, and made everybody comfortable and paperwork taken care of and everything that goes with it.

JA: So this in September of 1942?

MH: That we all went there, yes.

JA: Now this Seattle group, that you mentioned that was the advanced party of sort from Puyallup, who made up that group? Were they JACL members largely?

MH: I have a feeling they had asked for volunteers probably. Probably the, whoever is in charge of the administrative or something must have gone over there and asked if there would be any volunteers that'd be willing to go to Tule Lake first and get things organized, straightened out, and everything. So that was quite a group that went from Seattle, and they really had everything well-taken care of. It was wonderful.

JA: Okay. So you were, you felt that it was wonderful and was that the general consensus of the people in Bellevue?

MH: Yes, uh-huh. Of course, I had relatives going down there so I was very pleased with them and friends from my church, from the Congregational Church, some young couples that we knew, my husband knew and everything, so they were all down there ready to volunteer. So all these things were just special. It really was, to think that they had gone there and taken care of everything for us so we don't have to start from scratch like we did in Pinedale. It was already taken care of in Tule Lake, the major part of it. And then, of course, you have to organize your own block, when you get in your own block and everything, but they had it kind of organized and set up for you.

<End Segment 42> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 43>

JA: Can you describe the trip from Pinedale to Tule Lake, then?

MH: Pinedale to Tule Lake.

JA: This time you know your destination. [Laughs]

MH: The old train -- [laughs] -- old train taking us up there again the same old way, going on the siding as often as they feel like going. So it seemed like forever it was taking to us get there and we said, "God, I thought that was right there in Oregon, but golly, it sure is far for something that's in Oregon." But I think that took us another couple days or something to get up there, too, because with all the siding stops they make you can't help that because they said that we're the last on the tracks, that's supposed to be on the track, the others. So it seemed like we were always stopped someplace in the dark, and we weren't supposed to look outside so that was out again. We don't know where we're at.

JA: So again, the shades were drawn.

MH: Yeah, uh-huh.

JA: And, again, what were your first impressions when you got to Tule Lake then other than this Seattle advance group.

MH: Oh, you look at the mountain and you think, "Oh, my God, a big dry mountain. Oh my God, look at what a dusty old place, all sand and everything, dry as could be, hot again," and everything else and the desolate. It just feels like we were in the desert or something like that because it was just dusty. Everywhere we go was dusty, and nothing clean about it, but like I said, it was so well-organized that we didn't have too much to complain about to start with.

JA: So at Pinedale you had the tar floors that were melting...

MH: Yeah, that was really (...) (bad).

<End Segment 43> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 44>

JA: What were the facilities like at Tule Lake?

MH: At Tule Lake it was lot, lot better. They had board on the floor. They had boards on the floor so the bed does not sink to the ground or anything like that, no. And they had better tar and sidings on the building and everything else so it was cool when it's cool, in certain amount. So it was well-protected and everything else. And they have nice cafeterias built right in the middle of every block, is what they had. And then they had... so we can do all our recreation there and our dances or whatever, any parties you want to have was run right in the center of every block. And so my husband has to organize because he was the block manager of 58, so he had to organize dances and parties for the kids and everything and keep them all well-entertained and do things. So as long as we were there, he was manager of that block. So we had block managers from all over. Tacoma had one on 59 and things like that. And they selected different people that were willing to do that kind of a job, you know what I mean? Because it is a responsibility because you are responsible for everything coming and going, all blankets coming and going had to be taken care of, all mail, and just everything is under you with a secretary's help, is what it was.

<End Segment 44> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 45>

JA: There was no real vegetation in the camp area, right?

MH: Uh-uh.

JA: So no natural cooling of trees and shade.

MH: No. We were out in the desert. I call it desert, is what was it was.

JA: The lumber that was used for building the barracks...

MH: They probably used that, you think? I don't know. I don't know where the government got it.

JA: But did they have knotholes that fell as they dried?

MH: No, I don't think so.

JA: You didn't have problems with that?

MH: Yeah. And a lot of it is tar anyhow, tar paper on the outside, all completely.

JA: So like dust storms and stuff, you were able to isolate yourself somewhat within?

MH: Well, it comes in, so you have to keep, keep cleaning, sweep, dust, whatever you might have to do. But they had nice windows there and everything else, which I was very impressed. At least could you see outside once in a while. And we were allowed to make furnitures to fit your room and things like that. You can steal the lumber, someplace down the, down there someplace.

JA: Acquire the lumber. [Laughs]

MH: Yeah, someplace, somewhere. And then they bring it home and whoever is the carpenter of the family, build your table or chair or things like that. And a lot of people made nice dressers and things like that, too, which is very, very nice if they're good carpenters, and so you were able to make your own furniture so it would be comfortable in those camp, is what it was.

JA: And so this is what your father did?

MH: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

<End Segment 45> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 46>

JA: And can you describe the daily life, a typical day for yourself.

MH: In camp?

JA: Yes.

MH: In camp I had to get up first and make a dash for breakfast with my son, dress him first and run for breakfast, is what you have to do, otherwise, you be in the tail end of the line. You'll be there forever. You never know when you get to eat again. So that's our main thing to start with. Then I come home and send my husband out to breakfast or whatever he has to do so I can watch the office while he's gone. And then after that I have to pick up all the laundry and go stand in line at the laundry room, see if I can get my laundry done there, and, but my son was always running around with my brother so that worked out real well. He was my babysitter and so then that way he doesn't get lost. [Laughs] But I had to do my laundry and things like that and before you know it, it's lunchtime, and we had to pick up the kids and off to lunch we go and another line we had to stand again. And in the afternoon involved, I used to visit with the neighbors or something and learn how to knit and crochet, which I've never done before, never had the time. So I was able to learn those things from the women around the neighborhood and things like that, which made it very interesting. But as we were staying there longer and longer, my husband needed more help with the plans for the parties that they have in the cafeteria so the decoration committee and all this other things that go with it, good in delegating it, of course. And so they had a lot of nice parties for them, too. They keep all the young people busy.

<End Segment 46> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 47>

JA: Can you describe the process of doing laundry?

MH: The laundry, we picked up our laundry and stood in line. And when we got to the laundry tub and we all had our individual scrub boards, the old, cheaper, older ones, and we take it there and stick it in the sink. They got a big cement sink is what they have for individuals. And then we had hot water and cold water running there and so we did our scrubbing there and the next tub we tried to grab as fast as we can to rinse it in the next tub if we can, if nobody's there. And you run for that one and rinse everything there, and then you wring it and bring it home and hang it anywhere you can find a place to hang it. But a lot of people drew a clothesline on the outside of the building between barracks so you could see your laundry hanging. But that's what we do with our clothes, is what we did. Nobody had an iron so we just shook it is all you can do then, until we bought an iron later in life.


JA: These, these scrub boards --

MH: Yes.

JA: -- that you said everyone had their own scrub boards, were these issued, then, by the camp administration?

MH: Yeah, some of them were issued, but it, they were the, they were wood on the back and metal in the front and then got grates in it and so you scrub on that. And we had to buy our own soap someplace, but that's why they had a place to do our shopping in the middle of the... they called it canteen at that time, and we were able to buy our supplies and different things that we needed. They made sure that there were supplies there for to us buy, is what it was.

<End Segment 47> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 48>

JA: And how did you buy these supplies? What did you use to purchase it?

MH: Well, like my husband, they paid him sixteen dollar a month, so he had that, and some people got ten dollar a month and things like that so they had that spending money.

JA: So from their jobs in the camp.

MH: Yeah, whatever they were doing.

JA: And... but the prices you paid for these products...

MH: Very reasonable, so we can afford it. It isn't like going outside to buy it.

JA: And then...

MH: We used to order through Montgomery catalog, too, different things that... the girls liked special clothes and things like that. So we used to order through the Montgomery catalog and things like that. That's when you start drawing your money from your savings back home and that goes deleting down, is what was happening. That's why eventually we all had to go out and work, so we can make some money so we can buy things that we wanted to buy.

JA: Now, during this time were you using just regular U.S. currency then within the camp?

MH: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 48> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 49>

JA: And for yourself, your son was now a toddler and off diapers.

MH: Yes, he was.

JA: It must have been very difficult for those going through pregnancy or that had young children.

MH: Oh, yes, I'm sure because we didn't have the first-class doctors there, either, or anything like that, uh-huh. So it was real, real hard for them. That's for sure.

JA: And you had an extended family that could help you with your son.

MH: Yeah. But, see, when I went to Minidoka is where I had Glen, so that was later in life, but they don't even give you... it's a little different. Natural birth almost.

JA: And what was your family doing during, during this time? They had to, they were living next to you, right?

MH: In Minidoka?

JA: No, we're in Tule now.

MH: We're in Tule, oh. We're in Tule. I think, I think my mother... my mother and them were just doing things just regular, what housewives do. And I think she was visiting with others and because a lot of them -- see, the Bellevue people lived in one kind of spot, one area, I call it. So they were able to visit with the Bellevue people and things like that. And one of the batch of Bellevue people were on the other side, they called Alaska, and so they went to visit. So that's quite a hike to get to the other side of camp. So she used to go visit with them and things like that, uh-huh, in Tule.

JA: So was life a little easier for her in camp than on the farm?

MH: Well, yeah, it was a lot easier.

JA: She worked less...

MH: Oh, that's true, too...

JA: Mentally stressful, but physically a little easier.

MH: That's true, too.

JA: Did your father have a job?

MH: Yeah, my father worked in the kitchen. I think that's where he started there. He had to run the boiler, start the boiler up so they can cook in the morning, because they got start cooking rice and everything else during the morning. So he, I think he started boiler is the way I understood it, was that he did.

JA: So basically every able...

MH: Person.

JA: ...bodied man worked.

MH: Did something.

JA: Women too?

MH: Yeah, if they can, if they can. If they're able, they were able to work there and they get paid $10 or something like that. And I think my mother started working when she went to Tule -- I mean Hunt, Minidoka, then she started cooking in the kitchen, is what she did over there.

<End Segment 49> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 50>

JA: Now, you had two older sisters that you had never met in Japan, right?

MH: Yes, uh-huh.

JA: That were living with your grandparents.

MH: That's right, correct.

JA: What effect did this have on your parents?

MH: Oh, they were so worried, wondering what had happened, or anything happened, or you get concerned because there were no communication whatsoever with them, and there was no way of communicating with Japan at that time. So the only thing we can do is just sweat it out and hoping that we would hear from them eventually, which we did, after we got home. Because they knew our address all the time, the children did.

JA: So it was after returning from...

MH: Not right away.

JA: So this was after the war was ended before you heard anything.

MH: Oh, yes. I didn't hear anything until... oh, no, nothing, not a thing.

JA: But your mother had returned to Japan for the, for the wedding so she knew that they were married and had a family, too...

MH: And they were happy with the brothers that they were...

JA: So they had immediate family that would be caring for them, but they had no idea of what had happened.

MH: That's right. That's true.

<End Segment 50> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 51>

JA: Okay. Now, Tule Lake is considered one of the internment camps that was a "problem."

MH: Yes, very big problem, yes.

JA: That there was many opposing opinions of very strong beliefs.

MH: That's true, too.

JA: Did that affect you at all?

MH: It didn't affect me because I was outside, but my brother and my mother and my younger sisters were there so I was quite concerned hoping that they were okay because hearing all the riots and all these things I was hearing about. And so, soon as I got into Minidoka, then we called them and asked them to be transferred to Minidoka, because they are not the "no-no" group, they're just there yet. As soon as they can be released, to send them right over to Minidoka, so they did. So they were able to come right over to Minidoka. So, which made it more -- so we won't have worry, we were all together then after that.

JA: Now, earlier we spoke of the Nikkei community in Bellevue and you had a lot of interaction with the Caucasian community. And even after the war broke out, friends still were friends.

MH: That's right.

JA: Were the Nikkei from other geographical areas as well-assimilated as those from Bellevue?

MH: Uh-huh.

JA: Did you have much interaction with people from other Nikkei in the camp?

MH: No, I don't think so.

<End Segment 51> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 52>

JA: Okay. How did you leave Tule Lake? My understanding that...

MH: When did we leave or how did we leave?

JA: Well, both. My understanding you left in May of '43.

MH: Yeah we, whole bunch of us --

JA: What made that possible?

MH: Yeah, whole bunch of us went as laborers to Montana. The, I guess you heard of the Matsuokas, they all went, Hirotakas went, Tamuras went. They all, and we all went together on kind of a -- they came to look for workers that would come out and do their sugar beet fields and so, my dear old little husband says, "Oh, yeah that's good chance to get out," so here we go. And I had to take my sister because I knew if I worked out in the field I need a babysitter for Les, so my little sister went with us. So four of us went in our group and we all went by train through Spokane and up through Montana. We were at Great Falls, Montana, and we stayed there a whole summer from May to October, and we worked in the sugar beets and weed the sugar beets and thin the sugar beets and harvest the sugar beets before we left. And it was fine, because they built us a nice little house. A tiny one, a one-bedroom house for us with all the facilities for us there and everything and made it very comfortable for us, treated us very nicely. And bought our, took us out to buy our grocery down the road. It's about half an hour from their place, their grocery store, so they took us to grocery store. So they treated us very nicely while we were there. Of course, they wanted us to stay some more, but that wasn't my place.

JA: This, so this one-bedroom home was for the four of you.

MH: Yes, that's right.

JA: And in comparison to the barracks at Tule Lake, it was a big improvement.

MH: Well, it was a big improvement. Yes, it was, the way it was built and everything else because they had sink for us and everything. Of course, the outhouse is outside, but...

JA: So nevertheless it was still fairly primitive, but in comparison to what you had been living in... [Laughs]

MH: Yes, that's right. It was a little bit luxury. It was very nice for us.

JA: After having been denied so much.

MH: That's right. So we thought it was great just to be outside.

JA: And not having the guns pointed at you.

MH: Yeah, that's right. And they had cows and so, we had, Daddy and Muts had to milk the cows, and he had to learn how to do that and things like that for the farmer, but it was a good experience for all of us.

<End Segment 52> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 53>

JA: I imagine most of your time was spent working in the fields, but...

MH: Yes.

JA: Did you have much freedom of movement?

MH: Oh, there?

JA: Uh-huh.

MH: Well, we could do anything we want, but we didn't have a car, so we'd almost have to rely on the gentleman there that was willing to take us or the daughter take us or whatever. So we did see the area, though. They drove us around and around the area and see things, stores, but it's an old country town. It's really a country town with one store here and one store here and that's it, one hotel, and that was all really what it was, but we enjoyed going around. And then the Japanese family that went with us, lived about one hour from our place. And they bought a car because they were young boys and they bought a car so they came and picked us up took us around Montana, too, so we were able to enjoy the weekends with them.

JA: And how did the local citizens of Montana...

MH: Oh, they were, they were good to us. They thought it was wonderful to have Japanese come and help with all the work that has to be done there. They needed the labor, is what it was, to get the sugar beets taken care of.

<End Segment 53> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 54>

JA: From Great Falls, Montana, then, when the harvest season ended, where did you go?

MH: From there we went to Minidoka.

JA: Not to Tule Lake. Can you explain why?

MH: From there we went over to Minidoka, we were not going back to Tule Lake. So we went into Minidoka and my father-in-law suggested that we come in there because he has two boys and (Hachiro) went in the 442nd regiment, he went and volunteered there. And Nasuo left for (MIS), the intelligence in Fort Snelling so he left for that. And so, my father-in-law decided, he said if the family is going to be all split all over the place, he wants this group of family at least to be in one place. We do not know where we were going to be shipped from the camp again, whether we're going home, or what our future holds. For that reason he says, "Please come in and be with us. At least we'll be one family, in one spot." And then my mother and them are all coming and so we were all in the one camp, which we thought was a great idea, so my husband said, "Okay, that's where we're going again." So we were, they allowed us to come into Minidoka even though it was a different camp.

JA: And again, so you knew your parents would be shifted to Minidoka from Tule because of the problems going on there.

MH: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 54> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 55>

JA: And the Hashiguchi family requested their son to come to Minidoka.

MH: That's right.

JA: And maybe people would understand more why, if we know... can you explain a little bit more about the family history of the Hashiguchi family?

MH: Oh, yes. Dad and Mom Hashiguchi are from Miyazaki, Japan, and they had two sons in Japan. No, three, three sons in Japan and one of them was drafted in the army or navy, I'm not sure, but he was killed in the Philippine Islands. And the other one was a teacher in Manchuria, and he was, died of malnutrition over there, but he had a wife in Miyazaki. And then the other son was working for a bank in Yokohama Specie Bank, and he was in Japan. And the other two boys were in Seattle.

JA: Right. But the three sons in Japan... while in Minidoka, the Hashiguchi family in camp really had no knowledge of...

MH: No knowledge whatever. We were quite concerned and everything else, but we knew eventually that his daughter-in-law would eventually write or tell us whatever is happening over there, if we can get communication with them.

JA: They didn't even know if they were in the military or not.

MH: No one knew nothing, until it was all over with and we were all home in Seattle, then he found out.

JA: So, like your parents didn't know the condition of their daughters.

MH: Our daughters were alive or anything.

JA: Here they had sons who were more likely to be inscripted into the military because of their age.

MH: That's right.

JA: They had no, no knowledge whatsoever.

MH: Whatsoever. No, we didn't.

JA: And then, but the two sons that were with them were in the U.S. forces.

MH: Uh-huh.

JA: And, and so, the one son that was married to you.

MH: Yes, uh-huh, so he didn't have to go in service because he had a family and then he had Mom and Dad, my mother and dad he had, too.

JA: So for that reason, they took comfort at least in having the one son with them.

MH: They wouldn't take him. Uh-huh, that's right. Uh-huh.

<End Segment 55> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 56>

JA: I understand after the war that one son came to the United States or more than one. One of the sons in Japan did come to the United States. Is that right?

MH: One of the sons that's the biggest, oldest one, Nasuo, I mean Hachiro -- I mean, just a minute. Haruo was in Seattle with Dad and evacuated with us and everything else. He was the one that was working for the Seattle Japanese paper as a city editor in the early days. When he came home he was teaching Japanese in Seattle, after the war I mean, I should say.

JA: So he worked for that Great Northern News for a quite a while.

MH: Uh-huh.

JA: I understand that he helped write a book.

MH: Yeah, that's what I understand. [Laughs]

<End Segment 56> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 57>

JA: So then, from, because of the Hashiguchi family or part of reason, you went to Minidoka and you were there again for, for quite a while.

MH: That's right.

JA: So, again, can you give us some of your memories of your arrival to Minidoka.

MH: In Minidoka? Minidoka was well-organized, everything was well-set up, everything was really well-organized. And, of course, with my father-in-law there and all the Seattle friends and relatives were all there, too, now, by then, so it made it nice for all us. We just kind of visited with each other and everything like that and it worked out real well. And we were there, and then we were living right next door to my mother and dad again, which made it very convenient for us. They, they made sure we had an apartment next to them, which made it very special. And our life was very busy there, too. And a lot of walking from one end of camp to the other end of the camp to see the other people on the other side, which was a thrill to us, and be able to visit with them and hear about what they were doing and things like that was just great.

JA: And this camp had already been existence for a while.

MH: Yes.

JA: So were they already growing some fresh vegetables?

MH: Oh yeah, things were just really growing very well. So all the fresh vegetables and everything was just getting more Japanesey style. Everything was the way the Japanese people liked because of fact that you have... see, like Mom was, went in there and she was cooking the rice, I understand. And Dad started boiler in the morning in that block in the morning so made sure the stoves were going full speed so they can cook. And they had some young women doing all the serving and clean up and things like that so it all worked great because everybody was well-organized there because they had one step ahead of the other camp.

JA: So the internees weren't as sick as when they were in Pinedale?

MH: Uh-huh, that's right. And they had a lot of activities for everybody, all the children and everything. There is always something going on. They had movies and things like that for them all to go and do and so the kids won't get in trouble. So it worked out real well for them.

JA: And with the survival skills of the internees, they had made a community for themselves.

MH: Yeah; that's right. And my brother said even they were -- even though my brother was only twelve years old -- they let him go outside the camp, when the harvesting started outside in Idaho all over. So he took his younger brother and took him along, too, even though he was useless, but they took him, and he said they worked together and he said they made a few dollars so I said that's good, better than nothing. So that's what they did, too, from Hunt, Idaho, from Minidoka.

JA: Now, I mean, in spite of all the improvements that the internees made to the Minidoka camp, would you say that they were still very spartan?

MH: Oh, yes. Of course, it was. That's for sure.

<End Segment 57> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 58>

JA: Okay. While you were at Minidoka, is it true that you were able to leave once again to work on a sugar beet farm?

MH: Yes, uh-huh. We went out to Caldwell, Idaho, and that was with Seichi Hayashida and his wife, and we decided to go to this special farm in Caldwell that he thought was a great place to work. They had onions and they had sugar beets and so we could make a little bit more money there. So we decided to go with them. So we -- they had a house built for -- they had two-bedroom house so that way two of us, two families lived in one, and we took turns cooking, Chieko and I took turns cooking there, is what we did. And they build us a Japanese bath and so we were able to enter a Japanese bath there, too. And so we had a good summer there, helping with the onions and helping with the sugar beets, weeding, harvesting.

JA: And what kind of wages did you receive doing this work?

MH: That I can't quite remember what it was. It wasn't terrific, I know that, but I can't remember what it was now. I don't think I got paid, I think my husband got paid.

JA: So it was more the, the freedom of not being surrounded by barbed wire.

MH: In camp, (yes). Nice to get away.

JA: That was the biggest benefit.

MH: Right, there.

JA: The work was hard, the conditions were just slightly better.

MH: That's right, than being in camp.

JA: But you had the freedom.

MH: Yes, enjoy it.

JA: And that's a real valuable thing.

MH: Yes, uh-huh.

<End Segment 58> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 59>

JA: Okay. So then, do you have other recollections of Minidoka, of community life in Minidoka?

MH: Minidoka? Minidoka was very... I enjoyed it because I knew so many people there that I was able to go down and visit with them and hear about their experiences, which was a little different from each, each of us. It's a little different again of what they had done because they were from Hunt and then they came... I mean, they came from Puyallup and then they came straight over there. And so, it was a little different experience they had as Seattle people. And so we enjoyed visiting with them and talking to the California people and all the different people from different areas that were all coming into that camp (...) to live. And there it had so many activities going on, and it seemed like anything you want is always at the store, at the canteen if you wanted to go buy it as long as you had the money and the price was right. So the kids had candy if they wanted it, things like that they were able to buy there.


JA: In Minidoka, what kind of social activities were provided for the younger people?

MH: Young people? Young people they had movies and they had baseball, all kinds of sports to play. And... they had dances and parties and things like for the kids, too, besides grown up people. So they kept them busy with all that type of things, but they always had movies for them, so they enjoyed that, different kind of movies in the cafeteria.

JA: And your husband as being a block manager, this was one of his roles?

MH: At Minidoka he was not a manager, he was just a manager at Tule because he was coming and going so often at Minidoka, he couldn't do that.

JA: Okay. And what did the older adult... what did the Issei do in Minidoka for idle time?

MH: Isseis, they were always going to classes of some nature. They always had classes that they were teaching the older people, different things, even like flower arrangement. They all loved the American-style, Japanese-style, whatever, and all those flower arrangement classes they had. And they were learning shigin, singing, they were learning that, and then a lot of them were involved in churches, too, because we have Buddhist and they had the Christian churches and Catholic churches. So a lot them were working on those kind of committees, too, and things like that, that keep them quite involved. So all in all, their life was pretty busy, I think, filled up by the time they get the laundry done and stand in line for dinner or lunch or whatever. And then, their, and they loved to read, so books were available for them, and so I think their life was very well-filled. And then, of course, they have to sew, too, sometime. No sewing machine, but that's all right, they can sew by hand.

<End Segment 59> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 60>

JA: And during this time, was there any discussion on what was going to happen to you, how long you were going to be there?

MH: Oh, yes, many discussions was had like that. And then those people there were interned for... that were taken by the FBI never came home. Some of them came home eventually to the camp, but some of them didn't come home at all for a long time. So then they're wondering about them, they're worried, concerned about them wondering when they are coming home, where are they, what happened.

JA: So there was still very little information...

MH: Information.

JA: About their whereabouts.

MH: Yeah. Until the very... later, until real late. Then they were notified, I think, that they were at certain, certain camp and they were able to communicate with Dad and Mom and things like that, I understand.

JA: So even though you had all these social activities going on to try to keep busy...

MH: Their mind is always worrying about them and then worrying about their kids in Japan. Most of them all had kids in Japan or something like that, so that was their concern, too. Plus they do the best they can and they were keeping busy. I know they were sewing and going to singing classes and studying. And I think, in fact, some people were teaching Japanese or flower arrangement and things like that.

JA: So for the adults that had responsibility, in spite of the social activities that they kept busy with...

MH: They didn't have a big responsibility.

JA: They still had, it was a very stressful time.

MH: Oh yes, very stressful time, yes, that's right. And they still were, some of them were working in the kitchen or someplace or canteen or someplace if there is a job they were working out there, too, the Isseis were, too.

JA: So, but then, like, like the teenagers who may not have gotten to the point of responsibility of that nature --

MH: No, they had fun. They had fun playing.

JA: They could just, they could just concentrate on the fun.

MH: Yeah, that's right. It's more or less that's what it was.

JA: So their memories of camp are probably much different.

MH: It's different, it's different, completely different from the rest of us. Yes, it is.

<End Segment 60> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 61>

JA: Okay. And well, eventually you're allowed to leave Minidoka. When did that happen?

MH: Yeah, that was in 1945. You can go home if you wanted to go home. That's what I understand. So I understand the Yabukis came home, is what I heard the story, but we didn't come home. We decided we'll go home, and try one more time out to Caldwell and see if we can make enough money, all of us. So I took Dad and Mom and my two brothers and see if we can make some money so we can buy a car. And we need a car when we get home to Bellevue, we figured that out. And we need some spending money to get home, too, so we better figure that out, so that's what we did. And so we all worked that summer there, but in the meantime, my sister got married and she married a California boy so she was in Idaho, Twin Falls, Idaho. And my other sister had already left and she was in Kansas City, Missouri, studying in the business college, and she got into a nice home over there so she was over there. And so just my youngest sister and my two brothers and my dad and mom was with us all the way up to Caldwell farm and worked out there in the sugar beets and onion. And then we came home in the fall to Bellevue, from there.

JA: So other families had returned to Bellevue before you.

MH: Some of them, not very many, I hear. I heard just the Yabukis, is the way I heard. I didn't know that until just recently, I heard the story.

JA: But you made a family decision to go to Caldwell first.

MH: Uh-huh, first.

<End Segment 61> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 62>

JA: And what were your first impressions when you saw your farm for the first time upon return?

MH: Well, it was a great shock, couldn't believe it. How anything could be left like that for us to come home and face. It wasn't as hard for me as it was to my parents, because they were the one that had cleared the land, built up that land to make it to a farming ground, and they worked real, real hard on it. And so it really affected, I think, all the Isseis that had come back that way. And as far as we, my brother, and I and my husband, we three decided we'll clean up this mess and see what we can do about getting all our family home. They came home same time, but we left them at Seattle at the Congregational Church with my in-laws because they couldn't come home to Bellevue yet, it wasn't quite ready for them. So we, my brother and the three of us, worked real hard for a couple weeks and temporarily we were able to move into the house.

All the windows were broken, every room the wallpapers are torn, the linoleum was all pulled out in a mess. And, of course, the outside was... the weeds were about 6 feet tall, every piece of ground outside, and the greenhouse we had, all the glasses were all broken down and couldn't even use the greenhouse when we got home. And so it was nothing -- and the well was, of course, full of garbage. Everything you could think of was in that well, that we drank the water out of, so it took my brother and me about three days to clean up that mess completely out of the well so that maybe we can use the water, and so we were kind of able to use the water. Before then, we had to haul all our water, we borrowed it from the service station that was down in Midlakes so we took buckets, barrels, and everything and got water from there for our daily use. For three of us out there, rest were in Seattle, so that helped a lot. So, but it was a terrific mess.

<End Segment 62> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 63>

JA: What had to be done on the farm before the first crop could be harvested?

MH: Oh, that was a traumatic job. First thing we had to buy a horse, that we knew. We had to buy a horse because we couldn't afford a tractor, not right now, so we bought a horse. And then we had to buy equipment to go with it so we can dig the ground a little bit and cut the great big tall grass that was there and everything else. So Suguros and (we) shared a horse and we bought the horse together, and it worked out real well that way because you don't use a horse every day of the week so we used it that way. But you had to cut all the grass down to start with in the whole field, miles and miles of it.

And then we had to kind of work the soil up, but it's a dead soil that nothing would grow on if you even wanted it to grow at that time. But I think it took about two years because around and around we went, over and over, trying to stir up the ground, trying to rebuild it again, rebuild it again. Then the Midlake group got together, and we ordered tons and tons of, car loads and car loads of cow manure from someplace. And then, we hauled all that cow manure and threw it in all the farms through there and tried to rebuild the soil as much as you can. But it has never come back to original, as it was in the, before we left it. So it was hard to raise anything, but we did the best we can by putting a lot of fertilizer in and things like that, but it took two years to get it to workable, but still it wasn't the right soil, it never was. And so we worked on that field, all of us, everybody did, but we never got the product we used to get, no way.

And even though after, we did raise the vegetables and things, it did not sell at the market like it used to either. It just was a different, different scale out there and people didn't want to pay for that type of... they rather eat the California stuff, which is cheaper and things like that, so they wouldn't want to pay us the price for it. So things got worse and worse for us farmers. And so, more and more of us went out to work part-time, run the farm the other part-time is what we were trying to do to keep it going until a great buyer came along, which was -- is it okay to tell that? -- Great Northern Railroad came along and offered us a pact that he was going to buy the whole seven ranches all at one time. And we thought, and so we all got a meeting together and we decided, "Don't you think we ought to all leave the farm now? It's just getting to be too much for us, we can't make any money, it's been hard work for us so let's all sell it together." So we all got together and sold it to the Great Northern Railroad Company, which give us a fair price on the property, and then the Great Northern Railroad built Coca Cola Company and Safeway Developmental Center there, up there after we sold it to them.

JA: And what year was this sale?

MH: 1953.

JA: 1953, okay.

<End Segment 63> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 64>

JA: Going back to your first arrival period when you returned in 1945, you had that two year period where you were trying to grow a crop to be harvested.

MH: That's right.

JA: You had... sounded like you pretty much depleted your savings to make the property tax payments during this internment time.

MH: That's right. That's right. That's for sure.

JA: You went to Caldwell to get, to be able to purchase a car and to have some money, but it would seem that it wouldn't be enough to pay for your living costs for a two-year period, right?

MH: So when we came home, we all went to work plus trying to work the farm at the same time. So my husband had more odd jobs you've never seen. He worked at the King Street Station cleaning cars, he got a job at Boeing part-time, lesser hours, he worked at Boeing, too. And then the boys went out and did anything they can find, too, and I think they went to work at the restaurants and things like that, and that's all we can do. And I went to housework, babysitting, anything I could find in that route, and I used to clean doctors' offices and dentists' offices and things like that. And plus, we had to keep the farm going, too, trying to build it up as much as we can.

JA: I notice you haven't mentioned your parents much during this rebuilding period.

MH: Oh, my parents were all kind of in another world it, seems like. They were so depressed. It seemed like they didn't have much energy. My mother got diabetes real bad and she was starting to lose her eyesight by then. And my dad was getting... he had a stroke and so, we had a handful with the older folks when they got home, too, but we all took care of them, until they passed on.

JA: So do you feel they were pretty devastated by seeing the farm?

MH: Yes, they were very devastated, uh-huh, with the farm and everything. And so, when we were going to sell it, Dad and Mom were kind of relieved, I think, to think that it was so much work for the young people to rebuild it again and to get, to be able to sell these things like we used to and things like that. It's a different story completely after that, so I think they were kind of relieved to know that we were able to sell it, all of us together.

<End Segment 64> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 65>

JA: Okay, Mitzie, we've now sold the farm. And so what did your family do for a living after that?

MH: In 1953 we sold the farm and my family itself, we moved up to Bellevue, way up in the Highland area we call that, and we bought a house up there on 166th and Northrup Way. And I decided I've got to go find a job, so I went to the Bellevue School District and Mrs. Ringdall was there and she said, "If you're a Norwegian today, I'll hire you today." I said, "I am a Norwegian today." "Good." So she hired me and I started from the very bottom. I washed dishes and carted dishes from Enatai Elementary School to Bellevue High School to have them all washed there. And so I was in that three-hour job for quite a while. And then, she came up with this brilliant idea, she said, "Well, Mitzie, would you do a job that I need, somebody to be my assistant." I said, "Well, me, a Japanese, be an assistant? I don't know about being a boss to 120 ladies around here." She said, "Well, I'm sure you can do it." And so, you know my husband, he says, "Oh, yeah. You can do it. Anything, you got work hard for it, because Niseis have to prove themselves the great Americans and they can do anything anybody else does." I said, "Fine. I'll try it for a while and see what I can do about it." But it was a major job, bigger than I had anticipated.

When I first went in, I was only washing dishes. But what happened in the Bellevue School District, all the junior highs and high schools were being built rapidly because of the growing... Bellevue was growing so fast. And as they were growing we had to put a kitchen in every building, and we had to staff it and I had to help with that. And then, the program in the Bellevue School District decided to change. They decided to do all packaging like you do in the airplane. Package in foil and package in cellophane and things like that, and they were going to ship the food to all the elementary schools, is what they decided to do because of the labor conditions and the all the new schools were going to have facilities that way. So I went to Bremerton School District and looked at the conveyer belt they had there and we were happy with that plan so we went ahead and started that. And I worked all those years at every (school)... so I had seven junior high schools and five high schools, that I helped open up with some kind of kitchen staff and kitchen.

I helped Mrs. Ringdall, worked with her many, many hours without overtime (pay) (...). [Laughs] So I worked with her for many hours that way, and I worked for many years that way under her. And then, the last seven years of my life, they promoted me as a field supervisor and Mrs. Ringdall retired. And so, I came in and they had an administrator gentleman that was overseeing all of our activities, what we are doing. And I was very fortunate, I was able to work with him very well and at the end I was making all the menus and I was doing the ordering and everything else so all food products that were used in our building and staff I had to do. Fortunately, I didn't have to fire anybody, they all worked well. 120 hakujins worked very well with me. There was no Oriental, but at the very end I hired one Japanese girl who was here from Japan, and she worked out very well. I enjoyed working with her. And so that was my life for 26 years in the Bellevue School District, which worked out very well and I enjoyed it very much with 120 people.

<End Segment 65> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 66>

MH: And then my husband decided at the same time when I was working at the Bellevue School District. He thought gosh, that's a great job instead of working at Boeing and traveling so far, so he decided to work for the school district, too. So he applied for the Bellevue School District and the Bellevue School District said, "Yes, we need a truck driver to haul all the food your wife is packing out there." And so he became our delivery boy for all our food to all the schools. We had two drivers doing that, he was one of drivers that did that. And then he picked up the mail in the afternoon. That was his route in the afternoon school district in the mail route. So he had that position and he drove the buses to ski lodges on holidays when the Christmas time, when they all go skiing. He was a bus driver and so he did that until the death in 1965 when he passed away. And at the same, when our family all moved and split up, my mother and father and my two brothers moved into Seattle, and they bought a house in Seattle and so that's where they lived when the boys went out to work. And my dad and mother retired there and they passed away there is what they did in 1966. And so, that's the life of our transition there. [Laughs]

JA: Okay.

<End Segment 66> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 67>

JA: Again, then you sold your family farm along with the six other neighbors.

MH: Yes, all the neighbors. Seven families sold together.

JA: And roughly around that same period of time, the individual farm, Nikkei farms, were also being sold, correct?

MH: They were starting to move a little bit, uh-huh.

JA: What were some of the other occupations that the Nikkei moved into?

MH: Moved into? Most of them went to Boeing... see, there were jobs at Boeing. Some went to Boeing and like the Mizokawas bought in, bought their Bellevue nursery. And Muromotos and Mizokawas bought the nursery over there. And one of the boys bought a hotel in Seattle, and they still have a hotel there, is what they are doing. And the other boy went to Bellevue post office, worked as a mailman, or delivery man I guess you call it, and he got into that. And the other one went into post office too, I noticed Ted did. And that's about -- there weren't too many of us left in Bellevue, is what it was, but they did -- see, they did like those things, and then they went to Seattle and got jobs in Seattle, too, is what they did.

JA: In the early '50s was civil service, many went to work for the post office.

MH: That's right. That's what they did, about three of them.

JA: Would you say... what was the employment possibilities, at that time, for Nikkei?

MH: At that time it was fine. They were accepting you anyplace, anywhere as long as there was a job there. And they gave them opportunity to take a test, and they did fine, so they were accepted into those positions as a mailman.

JA: Again, civil service.

MH: Civil service mail jobs.

JA: Is a kind of early stage of affirmative action, right, because it became color-blind.

MH: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 67> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 68>

JA: So I think we have a family photo of your husband and yourself and three sons, right? So this picture, photo, was taken in the early '60s?

MH: In 1964. [Ed. note: narrator holds up photo of family]

JA: 1964. A year before your husband passed away.

MH: Husband died.

JA: I see one of the sons is dressed in a Marine --

MH: He was in the Marine Air Force, yes.

JA: Very handsome family.

MH: Thank you.

<End Segment 68> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 69>

JA: Now, your husband again when he first came to Bellevue as a city slicker had already been involved with many activities in Seattle and was a JACLer. How well was he welcomed back to Bellevue again, after the evacuation by the Nikkei community?

MH: He was accepted very well and they always had him president of the Bellevue Nisei Club, and he worked with Kim Muromoto and Seichi and all the other group together, whatever it was, and he was accepted. He did everything until, until we sold the Kokaido and we sold the Japanese school and he was right there with them. And they wanted him to be kind of the leader of the whole thing. And we bought a cemetery lot at Sunset Cemetery for Bellevue Nisei Club and he was involved in that. And so, they made him kind of the leader of the Nisei Club in Bellevue, it seems like. And I'm glad that they did and he was able to do all he can for the Niseis, as long as he was able to.

JA: The Kokaido, the Japanese Community Hall, that was the center of so many activities...

MH: All the activities.

JA: That was sold in 1952, was it?

MH: Uh-huh. I think, yeah. Something like that, yes.

JA: So along with the time when the farms were being sold.

MH: Everything was just gradually being sold because there was nobody around anyhow. All the Japanese were not around anymore. There was only twelve families left that came home, and we couldn't control the money whatever we sold and everything else, so we just had to disperse of it by donating and things like that.

JA: I've seen photos of part of the proceeds of this Kokaido being donated to the Seattle JACL.

MH: That's right.

JA: Your husband being one of them. Why has there not been a JACL chapter in Bellevue following the war?

MH: I wish I knew that answer because my husband tried, but no one seems interested and willing to join our organization. So I really couldn't tell you why, but they won't.

JA: Even today it seems that members of the returning families seemed to be reluctant to affiliate with JACL.

MH: I noticed that one of them joined the Seattle JACL.

JA: But the majority have not.

MH: Yeah. I don't know. I really don't know why they're that way.

<End Segment 69> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 70>

JA: But your husband continued in his civic involvements. Can you describe some of the things that he did?

MH: Oh yes. He loved to volunteer for everything you can think of. He was every officer you can think of, in all the PTAs. We were in the PTA for eighteen years, from my (oldest) one up, and he was either president, vice president, and on the board. Every school he was on the board someplace somewhere, and so he loved to do all that and that was his thing. And so I'm glad he did. He was the speaker of the family and I always did the backup work for him, in those PTA activities. And we had great big dinners that the PTA put on and sponsored. And we did a good job and we made a lot of money for all the Sammamish High School PTA and the Bellevue High PTA and things like that he enjoyed. And then, he originated the Bellevue Boys Club, which he started, and because my oldest son was playing baseball, football for the Bellevue Boys Club, so he figured he better organize something like that so he helped organize that. But I regret that he was not able to see the new building built. He died before the building went up, new one. He was working on the old one at that time. But those are the things he enjoyed doing.

<End Segment 70> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 71>

JA: And your sons all participated in the Boys Club?

MH: Everything, uh-huh, baseball, football, basketball, judo down there. Judo was there, too.

JA: In the prewar days, it seems it was largely just Caucasians and Nikkei. What was it like back in the '50s?

MH: In the '50s it was a little different. They were all together. We just played together, did everything together. Even the judo classes, a lot of Caucasians come to that now at the Bellevue Boys Club. It's a big thing there, uh-huh.

JA: Were there any other people of color other than Nikkei?

MH: In my boys, yeah. We had African Americans that were very active with our children. They went to school, they went to elementary school together, they to high school together, graduated together. In the meantime, their mother was a den mother and so, and my husband helped with the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, with her. And so our children were always together with them and with our children as they grew up.

<End Segment 71> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 72>

JA: So following the loss of your husband, I understand you made a trip to Japan for the first time?

MH: What? Didn't hear you.

JA: In 1966, the year after the loss of your husband, you made your first trip to Japan.

MH: Yes.

JA: What was that occasion?

MH: In 1966 it was after my husband died in 1965, my son was stationed in Vietnam, and I think he served his two years term in Vietnam, and then they sent him to Iwakuni to train for air force... air force part. And so he said, "Mom, why don't you come over here for vacation?" I said, "Well, that's a good idea." So I asked Mrs. Ringdall, "May I go over to Japan for a couple weeks. I would like to take a break." She says, "Stay a month if you want to from your job. It's all right." So I went over there and spent a whole month with my son. We traveled from Miyazaki to make sure we saw the Hashiguchi side of the place, and we saw all the Okayama and Hiroshima and all those areas. I traveled with him and made a special trip by visiting my son while he was in service over there.

JA: So it was very special to be with your son --

MH: Yes, it was.

JA: Especially in the conditions that he was coming from.

MH: Uh-huh.

JA: But on a more personal level in terms of being in Japan for the first time, what were your feelings?

MH: It was quite an experience to me because I have never met my sisters. I've talked, I've written to them before, for my mother because my mother was blind, but I have never met them, and it was just a thrill. And my sister has seen Wayne, my youngest son, at Iwakuni before I ever saw him. And she said he couldn't talk Japanese, but that's all right. They communicated with hand movement, dictionary, whatever. And so, I'm glad they were able to see my son, too. Plus they were, I had a wonderful time with them visiting with my sisters and her brother -- her husband and children and oh, it was just a wonderful reunion, that it's hard to describe.

JA: And all those Japanese language class sessions came to use, right?

MH: No, they said, "Oh, that American Japanese." That came out just right there. [Laughs]

JA: But you knew enough to understand what they were saying. [Laughs]

MH: Oh, yes. They understood what I was saying and I knew what they were saying, yes. [Laughs]

<End Segment 72> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 73>

JA: And how many trips have you made to Japan during your lifetime?

MH: I have made four trips to Japan because I went with the delegation with a Yao committee three times already and one time was on my own, is what it was. But I enjoyed it very much as a delegation to Yao city and go to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and through those area with the organization, which we take a delegation from Bellevue Sister City. We take about twenty to thirty people together, which we have a wonderful experience.

JA: So the Yao, Japan Sister City has been twenty-nine years now.

MH: Twenty-nine year. It will be thirty years next year, so we will have a big delegation going to Yao, Japan next year because of thirty years. And we're going to Taiwan, which will be fifteen years, so we're all going there, too. We'll celebrate both countries at one time, next fall.

JA: You've been very involved with this organization throughout this time.

MH: Yes. I was the... when it was first organized and one year later I got involved in... you wonder why they asked me to be interpreter. I sometime wonder, but they said, "There is a Japanese lady working for the Bellevue School District. I'm sure she can talk Japanese, go get her as our interpreter." And then after that, I got kind of stuck with that organization, and that's why I practice my Japanese so much and study as much as I can so I know what they're talking about. But when they first came from Yao, Japan, I couldn't get heads or tails what they said because they have their own lingo. Ben language they call it, yes. And Yao is kind of hard to understand, but we managed.

JA: I think you're being modest though, right? You've been a board member of this organization all this time, correct?

MH: Yes, uh-huh. [Laughs]

<End Segment 73> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 74>

JA: And you've also been involved with the Bellevue Historical Society?

MH: Yes. I'm very happy to help them when I can. They came up and asked me, "Mitzie, please come in and help us." I said, "What happened, Virginia?" She says, "I need help with the Japanese section of the book and everything else," and I said, "Well, I guess I can handle that maybe in my busy schedule." So I've been very fortunate that I got the health that I can help them, and I have a board meeting once a month with them. And I volunteer at the Winters House once a month I do that, and so I go down there and help them every time they need me. And I'm their membership chairman now so we're going full speed ahead with them. And I hope to help Alice Ito with their legacy, too. I volunteered with her yesterday so we'll start working on that now, too, yes.

JA: Yes. And both of these organizations are predominantly non-Nikkei, correct?

MH: Yes, that's right.

JA: But you've continued to get out into the broader community.

MH: As much as I can.

JA: And you've also been involved with the Overlake Hospital.

MH: Yes, (Childrens) Orthopedic Hospital, yes. I've been a member of that hosp-, that organization for about twenty-five years now, as a Japanese group in Seattle. Aiku Guild, they call it. I have been a member of that and I used to help them when we used to have... we had to make money to keep it going and things like that, so during those days we all went and worked hard, but now we don't have to. Now we do the easy way. Just pay our membership due and anything else we can do that way and sell calendars and those are easier projects that we got now. But I enjoy helping them, too.

JA: And you've continued your membership in the Japanese American Citizens League.

MH: Yes, both of them.

JA: Seattle and Lake Washington chapters.

MH: Yes. I would like to support both of them, because they both mean an awful lot to me. Yes, they do. And I want them all to survive.

JA: And now to further that, you've been a, often a volunteer at their events.

MH: Yes.

JA: I'm sure they're very grateful.

MH: Hope I can, yes, as much as I can.

JA: In general, you've been a very active community volunteer.

MH: I'm fortunate my health is holding up so I can do that. Yes, I love to do it, too.

JA: So in recognition of this, in 1997, the Best of Bellevue awarded you the Community Bridge Builder Award.

MH: Yes, that's right.

JA: Because you've been, played an active role in bridging cultures together.

MH: That's what they claim. [Laughs]

JA: I think your history of actions bears that out.

MH: Thank you.

<End Segment 74> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 75>

JA: Also then I guess with the loss of your husband you took on some handiwork. You took on Japanese crafts?

MH: Oh, yes. That's right.

JA: In some of your spare time. In fact, seated around you is some of the items that you personally made.

MH: Yeah, personally I made them all, yes, uh-huh. I enjoy doing something like handiwork like that, but I was able to do it for about ten years, I guess it is. No, it'd be longer than that. No, it's about twenty years ago. Twenty years ago, I started it and I made a kimekomi ningyo they call it. It's pressed wood dolls that we made and I made about forty of them and give them to everybody I can think of that would appreciate it. But it's fun making it, but it's becoming more and more expensive. That's the reason you have to give it up when you retire and you don't have the income. And then I always do the needlepoint, too, the Japanese needlepoint, which I enjoy very much, too. But I had to give that up because as we get older our eyesight start to go down, which is very, very hard to do and it's fine work so, therefore, that is given up. So that's why I'm so busy volunteering now, which I don't have to use my eyes that much.

JA: So beside you, to your left, is the Japanese warrior doll and that's one of the forty that you made yourself, personally made.

MH: Yes, that I made. That's for my oldest grandson that I will be giving and that girl's doll I made on that side is for my oldest granddaughter that I'll be giving it to. The name will be behind it.

JA: These are real treasures then, I'm sure.

MH: Yes, they will. I hope so. I hope they keep it because there was a lot work involved in it.

JA: And the stork on the wall behind you, also is an example of one of your needlework.

MH: Yes, uh-huh. That's one of my needlepoints that I did. Lot of fine work done on.

JA: Obviously. [Laughs] And what is the name of the dolls that you have in picture frames? Is there a term?

MH: The names of it I couldn't tell you, but I did make those, too. They come in as a packet and Toshi McCallister, our teacher, sells those and teaches us. And so, we learn how to put them all together, put the dresses on, and then put them in the frames like that. It's a lot of work, too, but it's fun even though it takes about three classes to do it.

JA: At one of the prior Bellevue Japan Week festivities your dolls have been on display in the Bellevue Square. Is that correct?

MH: Yes, so true.

<End Segment 75> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 76>

JA: Moving on now, your sons were very involved with the Boys Club and had diverse friends, and you and your husband have not just remained within a small community. You've gone out and met people and been community bridge builders. With that, your first son to marry, married a Caucasian. What was your feelings when that occurred?

MH: You mean my... oh, my youngest one. My youngest one got married to a hakujin, yes.

JA: What were your personal feelings about that?

MH: It was kind of a surprise and a shock and things, a little feeling like that. But you accept it graciously because she is one of our dearest friends. She grew up with my youngest son at school, high school, elementary school, and then we knew the family. We, as families did a lot together. Oh, like once a week we were all going out to dinner together and thing, that's the family that we did all those type of thing. So we knew the kids and everything else, so I was very happy to have her as one of our daughter-in-laws. Yes.

JA: But in your courtship period it was very uncommon.

MH: It was very uncommon. At that time there was no such intermarriages at all, but as the Niseis, Sanseis came in, they all went... they're a lot of intermarriages in the Sansei group. And I know another couple in Bellevue had the same thing, and she asked me how I felt, so we shared our feelings together and she act, graciously, accepted. She said, "I just love her. She's is a dear little thing." I said, "Yeah, they're all human." After all, they're human, but they're just wonderful kids, so it works out fine.

JA: So it was just the initial transition of thought. You grew up saying, "I'm supposed to marry a Nikkei." It was an expectation.

MH: That's right. That's what you would like them to do.

JA: But, nevertheless, your own activities --

MH: Uh-huh.

JA: -- enabled your sons to be more assimilated.

MH: That's right. That's right. But my niece in Seattle, too, she married a Caucasian, too. So these things... it's happening in all the families now, the third generation.

<End Segment 76> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 77>

JA: Much of our narration today has centered around the World War II experiences. When did you first start talking about those events?

MH: My World War II story came out when my daughter, granddaughter Monica was at Bothell Senior High School, and the teacher told her to write a thesis on evacuation. So the loud telephone call comes, "Grandma, you going to help me? I need some help." I said, "On what?" And she said, "Evacuation." I says, "I don't remember anything." "Oh, yes do you Grandma." So that's where it started and I worked with her and she got a straight A on that thesis, and I was so pleased with her.

JA: So the fact that it was your own grandchild...

MH: That's right, that wrote that thesis.

JA: Kind of facilitated your memory to return.

MH: That's right. She started it and then it became my second grandson had to write that thesis, too. Of course, his own wording, of course, and then, the one in Bellevue, she had to write one, too, she said.

JA: So each time have you found...

MH: It's a little different. It's a little different the way it's written.

JA: You remember a little more?

MH: Uh-huh, a little different things about it and things like that I can tell her, and then I do some research and then I can tell her something different again, about somebody else's experience and things like that. So it worked out.

JA: And do you feel a little more comfortable each time talking about some of these bad memories?

MH: Oh, yes. Well, yes, I do. At first I didn't want to talk about it and my friends didn't want to talk about it either, my Japanese friends. So it was a different world in Bellevue for a while, but now it's coming out all over. And it's just more comfortable with everybody speaking and the young people getting together and things like that.

JA: And so, now you're participating in our oral history project. We thank you.

MH: Yes, that's right. So I encourage my other friends to come out and be involved in it, too. Yes. I certainly will be happy to.

JA: So not only helping us assemble this history, but do you find it personally beneficial?

MH: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 77> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 78>

JA: How do you see the Nikkei community now in Bellevue, the current status?

MH: Well, it's a little different. Now everybody does their own thing with their own family, with their own grandchildren, with their own something like that, and they just don't seem to do anything or come out anything. And so, with Alice working so hard on the project down there, I was hoping more of the Bellevue people would come out. There's lots of Bellevue people. What's the matter with them? Why don't they come out? And so, I can't understand it, I really can't. And so, well, sure everybody got things to do. I realize that, but, so I told Alice I would be happy to work as a leader and maybe get some telephone calls made that might stir them up like I do with sister city. I set that up into three calls, three girls making the calls that can yack, yack, yack. [Laughs]

JA: But again in the prewar days, you had this Nikkei community, community hall, but you had picnics that...

MH: Yeah, that's right.

JA: Three or four generations would come together.

MH: And they'd all come out.

JA: We don't seem to have those kind of events anymore.

MH: No, not anymore because there is nobody that's energetic enough to organize something or do anything like that. So only thing we're having now, annually, is our dinner together with the... all the Niseis that lives around here. So last year we had it at Country Buffet in Factoria. This year we're going to do it again at Country Buffet, and we'll see how many turns out, but every year we see how many we are losing in the...

JA: Well, you're having attrition of the Nisei...

MH: But they aren't...

JA: But more importantly, the Sansei and Yonsei...

MH: I know, but they aren't doing that. I'm not going to be the chairman of it. [Laughs]

<End Segment 78> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 79>

JA: So then, what are your hopes or expectations for the present and future generations of Nikkei?

MH: I have a feeling it's kind of going by the wayside a little bit. I don't think we're going to have as much communication or whatever. It's kind of going by the wayside it seems to me. I don't think, even in Seattle they're not as close. It seemed like even my nieces and nephews that live in Seattle they always just cling to their own family, like their sisters and brothers or cousins or something like that. That's all the contacts they're making and it doesn't seem like... I tell them go to JACL or go do something, do something, but it doesn't seem like it extends that far. And the kids in Bellevue, they aren't going to do anything because there isn't really any Japanese kids, students, or whatever. Unless they're students from Japan, then they're making connections, I notice. Like my grandchildren does with the kids from Japan, because of the Japanese language they're trying to learn. But, otherwise, with their, or they're Sanseis, Sanseis doesn't seem like there is much connections.

JA: So you see a little regret that they won't have the same...

MH: Yeah, I was hoping that they would continue on like we did during our generation, but I don't see it here in Bellevue. I don't see it at all.

JA: They won't have the experiences of the close-knit cultural community that you experienced.

MH: I don't see that at all. I just see that they're making connection with their own family or with their hakujin student friends or something like that, but I don't see it as far as friends. They don't even know the other people's children.

JA: But at the same time, the activities of yourself and your husband, as community bridge builders, has somewhat enabled the younger people to become assimilated in the broader community and make friends of all kinds.

MH: Uh-huh, uh-huh, that's true.

JA: So the community pulse is different now.

MH: Yes, it's quite different now, it is.

<End Segment 79> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 80>

JA: Well, how do you see your own grandchildren fitting in now? You have four grandchildren.

MH: Yes.

JA: And all are from mixed parentage.

MH: Yes, that's right.

JA: So, do you see them accepted in the community?

MH: Are they accepted in the community?

JA: Bellevue community.

MH: Well, they just about run the community, that's their problem, I think. [Laughs]

JA: Yes, they're all outstanding.

MH: They're all out there. They have a wonderful time. They came out from Bothell High School and they just had a great time with the Bothell girls or Bothell boys or whatever, and they did very well over there. And Chris and Amy is from Bellevue and they did very well at Interlake and, with their guidance of their father as the principal. It does help -- [laughs] -- but they're doing fine.

JA: So I mean, you have an all-American girl's college softball player, a fishing boat captain in Alaska for summer work, a Japan exchange student, another son, grandson that's going on a scholarship to Occidental College.

MH: Uh-huh. So we're doing, they're all doing fine and I'm very pleased with all that they all turned out so well. Yeah, that was my dream that I was hoping that I dreamed to see them all, and I want to see them all graduate college. I hope that my health holds up that I can see all that.

<End Segment 80> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 81>

JA: So how do you think your parents would feel, to see what's happened to your family?

MH: You know what I really wanted, I was wishing my husband would have lived enough to see his daughter-in-laws that came into the family. That's always what my dream was, but never happened.

JA: But, again, your parents having immigrated to the United States and faced the hardships they did, to see where your grandchildren are now, how do you think they would feel about that?

MH: Yeah, that's right, too, when you stop to think of it. That's right.

JA: Do you think they would be pleased?

MH: Uh-huh, very much pleased.

JA: So for the sake of children, they think, you think that they would say that it was good that they made the trip across the ocean?

MH: Ocean, and that's right and settle in the U.S.A. and have a nice family here. That's for sure, yes.

JA: Well, thank you very much, Mitzie, for taking the time to speak with us.

MH: Thank you both very much for your time and effort, too, and spending a hot day with us.

JA: Okay.

MH: Thank you.

<End Segment 81> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.