Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Ed Tsutakawa Interview
Narrator: Ed Tsutakawa
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Spokane, Washington
Date: June 8, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-ted-01

[Ed. note: Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: So today is June 8, 2006, and we're in Spokane, Washington. And we're, we're in the basement of the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture. And my name is Tom Ikeda and I'm the interviewer, and on camera we have Dana Hoshide. But this morning we have the pleasure of interviewing Ed Tsutakawa. And Ed, I'm going to start actually from the very beginning.

ET: Okay.

TI: And when you were born, can you tell me the name that was given to you and, and when you were born?

ET: Edward -- it was, let's see... May 15, 1921, and I was born in Columbus Hospital. In those days, it was called Columbus Sanitarium, but Columbus Hospital in Seattle, Washington. And, well, I guess that's it.

TI: And then your, and your name?

ET: Yeah, name was actually given to me, Edward Masao Tsutakawa.

TI: Okay. And did you have any brothers and sisters?

ET: Yes. I have one brother, that's all I have now, but I did have a sister and a younger brother, youngest brother. I think you probably interviewed Joe Yada?

TI: Uh-huh.

ET: Joe Yada's wife was my sister, Hideko, and she was a schoolteacher. And then Thomas Tsutakawa, and he was a Boeing employee, we were artists. In fact, he was an artist for Boeing for quite a number of years, he retired and passed away a few years later.

TI: So you were the oldest and then Thomas was the --

ET: No, then we have one, Henry Tsuyoshi. And he is, he lives in Japan, he's an attorney, and he served on the bar association, he was the president of Osaka Bar Association, so he was quite well-known as an attorney in Japan.

TI: And then after Henry was your sister?

ET: Then sister.

TI: That was Hideko.

ET: Uh-huh.

TI: And then...

ET: Then Thomas.

TI: Thomas. And just, I'm curious, so you were the oldest, how much later did, or younger was Henry than you?

ET: Henry's two years younger.

TI: Okay, and then Hideko was how much younger than Henry?

ET: Hideko must be about a year younger, maybe.

TI: Okay, and then Thomas was...

ET: Then Thomas was, he and I were about seven years' different, so...

TI: Okay. So he was born, like, about 1928 or around there?

ET: Something, somewhere around there.

TI: Okay. So now I want to talk a little bit about your father.

ET: Okay.

TI: And can you tell me his name and where in Japan he grew up?

ET: Okay, his name is Jin, it's J-I-N, Jin, that's all the name he had. And he was born in western part of Okayama prefecture. And you want the mother now?

TI: Oh, no, let's keep talking to your father. Because do you know when and why he came to the United States?

ET: Okay, his oldest brother, Shozo Tsutakawa, I may just add that Shozo was father of George Tsutakawa, and Sadako Moriguchi. And so that's the connection we have.

TI: Okay, and that's how you were cousins with George, because it's through your...

ET: Right, and mother is my cousin.

TI: Okay.

ET: So I'm almost like a great-uncle to Tomio and brother and sisters.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: So going again, so your father, you were talking about how he came to the United States?

ET: Okay, he came to United States because Shozo started the business somewhere around 1900. And he was, right from the beginning he was an importer/exporter, and that's all he did. And my father joined him somewhere around 1910. And Father actually was a, there were other brothers also came, but he was the very first one that came and helped Shozo.

TI: Now, was this a pretty large business back then?

ET: Yeah, I would say that probably the biggest business... maybe some of the others like, oh gosh, there were some other, Furuya company, and there were maybe one other. Pretty big, but then I think Shozo's business was Nichibei something or other, Nichibei, something like a Shokuhin, food business. And importing and exporting food business, I mean, food from Japan, and some things he exported from here, from Seattle to Japan.

TI: And so this business, the customers were other businesses, or did they go retail? Did they do...

ET: Yeah, and then, of course, we, we had some retail business also, like Uwajimaya. Compared to Uwajiyama it's much, much smaller scale, but this importing and distribution business was fairly big for that time. But well, after the war, the situation changed, and of course the workers all changed, too. So it's quite a, quite a fairly big business, with maybe about, between twenty-five and thirty people working for the company.

TI: Yeah, that would be large. Now, I wanted to talk a little bit more about your father. What was he like?

ET: Oh, he was... he was quite a bit like us, I guess. I always loved sports, and I know he used to take me to, take me to baseball games, and we went to many fishing trips together. And well, eventually, that's become a, pretty much chief hobbies.

TI: And how would you describe him in terms of, was he a really a very talkative person?

ET: Not very much. He was, I really got to know him after he had a couple strokes, so he was pretty... he was having a little problem and I was quite a problem to him, too. Around that time I was growing up and already in high school. And I didn't lose too much time because of... I guess most Kibeis took some time in establishing, reestablishing their relationship with the family. My dad and I were no different; it just kind of took time to, really got to know each other. But he was, at times, just surprised me, because some thing he said just stayed with me.

TI: Can you recall any of those things?

ET: Well, I think he'd talk about the responsibility as a human, and he always talked about, "Don't worry about successful as a rich person or a well-known person." He said, "Just be a great, successful human being." That's all he kept on saying, so that stuck with me. There were other things that kind of surprised me, but before he died -- he died in camp in 1944 -- and he started to talk about things that he really didn't mean to pressure me on the responsibility thing. Only thing is, "You may have to look after your family," and it's, no longer he was able to do it. And that's the last thing he said. I came home to find a telegram saying to come right home because he passed away. So I was kind of sad, because I didn't know him too well, as much as I should. But I did one thing. You know, we were not able to buy liquor in Twin Falls, but this is where I really thank Keith Oka and somebody with, some of his very good sort of strategist kind of a person to establish a relationship with this town of Twin Falls.

TI: And this is Keith Oka?

ET: Keith Oka, yeah. And he was a great guy. I used to really marvel because of the fact that he was such a fun-loving guy, and we always had fun. But at the same time, he talked about the great thing about, well, being nice to people and tried not to get too anti-, sort of, American thing. And he himself was a Japanese citizen; he didn't have citizenship until quite late. So he became a, kind of like my father-figure, but he was only five years older than me.

TI: So Keith Oka just -- so I can summarize, so this is, we're jumping around a little bit -- but this was someone that you met in Seattle at the Nichiren...

ET: Right, Nichiren Church.

TI: ...Church. And now you're talking about, he helped establish some ties in Twin Falls during the war years.

ET: Yeah, I think we did because of the fact that wartime shortage of farm help, Mexican, usually, so we took over Mexican farm labor camp and then found this beautiful social, multi-purpose social hall. And we had the Mikado band members, the Mikado was as good as any big band, and we had them, about half of 'em came with us to the farm security camp. And Keith was absolutely the head of that group, and well, make things short, we were practicing and we suddenly see all these people surrounding that whole social hall. And I thought, oh-oh, we're going to be in trouble. And that's when he said, "Well, let's go out, you and I go out and talk to them." And they were all young high school kids, and they couldn't believe they were hearing this wonderful music coming out of this place. And Keith realized it because he immediately said, "How come you guys are out here? Why don't you come on in?" And kids couldn't believe it, that they could come in. And I guess that they had a kind of a, maybe... you know, the family talked about, "Don't get too close to these Japanese Americans," and they knew that we were in there. But Keith has that kind of special kind of a relationship skill, and we went out there and talked and invited them in, and then told them that, "We are not having enough partners in dancing." So said, "You guys" -- the girls, the girls should be, come on in. And they couldn't believe it. At the same time, listening to modern music, well, we knew all about modern dancing also, so kids were just starving. And we didn't think anything of it, but that night, Keith was saying, "You know, this may be the greatest thing we've ever done." And sure enough, the town just completely changed.

But going back to my dad, first thing I did was went to the liquor store and got the nicest, biggest, most expensive scotch I could find. And he's not supposed to drink because he had a stroke, and my mother was not too happy because she thought I was killing him because, in giving him such a thing. But I can never forget his smile, you know. He had that, and I guess he kind of sipped all the way through, for the next, about a year or so.

TI: So that was a very --

ET: So that was a great moment as far as I was concerned. I give it to him because of the fact that he needed that, and probably, I might have killed him, too, because he hadn't had that for a long time. But, well, he, he was very happy.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: And I just wanted to kind of finish up with Keith, too, because you just told me that -- I'm in Spokane, now -- that Keith just recently passed away.

ET: Right.

TI: And any other memories of Keith that you wanted to share at this point?

ET: Well, I think... so many things happened with Keith. One of the things I'm going to be talking about at the funeral is we had a very stormy summer, the August, the year, the 1943, 1942, we came to Minidoka from Puyallup camp and we found that place was so dusty from almost every day for two or three days. And sandstorms and lot of debris in the air. So Keith always had kind of an ingenious ideas about how to solve problems, so he made up a bunch of, kind of a mask, and he passed it on to everybody, and we wore. And, "Boy, what a nice thing. Where did you get these?" and he never said anything. But the minute we got on the truck, and there were about twenty young ladies in that truck, and they were screaming and laughing and everything else, and we didn't know what it was. And we were known as kind of like "Keith Oka's Kotex Brigade." [Laughs] That's the name of the group. So he was kind of a funny guy at the same time.

TI: Because he made the masks...

ET: Yeah, he made 'em all, and they needed an extra kind of string to tie the ends behind your neck, but it just worked perfect, I mean, couldn't ask for anything much better than that.

TI: Oh, so the guys didn't know what they were, but when the girls saw that they knew right away.

ET: Oh, they knew exactly what it was. I didn't know what it was. But we didn't care how we looked or anything, it worked. So it was kind of a...

TI: And these were masks to protect you from the dust and things like that?

ET: Yeah, dust, and it really saved us. We got, we had to go to area, Block 17 and 15, that Keith was living in 15, I was in 17. And we'd catch a truck, and that's our transportation to, to the workplace, which is in, oh, easily a mile, mile and a half down. So he did things like that, very, very clever guy.

TI: That's, that's a good story.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: Let's now go back and talk about your mother.

ET: Okay.

TI: And how did your father and mother meet?

ET: I think it's arranged marriage. And I think they were a just perfectly suited couple, I guess, come to think about it.

TI: So can you tell me your mother's name and where she, she was raised?

ET: Yeah. Her name is Michiko Oka, O-K-A. So happens that Keith's name is Oka, too. Michiko Oka. And let's see. She passed away in 199-... when was the earthquake in Japan?

TI: The Kobe earthquake?

ET: Yeah, Kobe earthquake.

TI: Oh, I can't remember.

ET: 1997? No, no, 1995. And she saw me on the television because I was sitting right behind the Crown Prince and Princess, and they couldn't cut me off because I was there every time they shot him, shot them. And my mother caught it and she said, well, Ed's home, how come he's not coming over here? Everybody told her that, "He cannot come unless he walks or swims." You know, no transportation at that time.

TI: So let me make sure I understand. So you were in Kobe when this...

ET: Kobe after the earthquake.

TI: But you weren't able to come back because the transportation was all shut down.

ET: There was none. It was all, they had to pick me up, and took a long time to come back to Nishinomiya.

TI: But they also saw you on TV, though.

ET: Yeah, because I was, I was very, very involved in the sister city program, and my dear friends, former mayor of Nishinomiya, passed away, and I said, "I'm coming over." But they said, "Don't come, we'll let you know when you can come." It took about almost, almost a month before they had this memorial service for the people, I guess... about how many died? I can't remember, it was over a hundred people died in Nishinomiya, and the mayor was one of 'em, the former mayor, Mr. Tatsuma. So Mother was quite disappointed that I didn't come to see her. She called several times, and then I went to see her in the same year, September, and then went back, and I was just one day late, she passed away.

TI: So both --

ET: But that was okay, because she was ninety-nine, and I said, minute I saw my stepbrother, I knew there was, something happened to my mother. Said, "Is she alive or dead?" And he looked up and said, "Well, she was alive 'til this morning. I don't know whether she could respond or not, she was on the life support." Said, "You should let her go," because she had a great life even though camp and other sad thing happened, but that happened to everybody. So that kind of relieved a whole lot of people, she was remarried to another family, we were in pretty good...

TI: And when you mentioned how she and your father were a good couple, or the perfect couple, you said. What was she like?

ET: Well, she was, pretty much you could tell, like Tomio knows, knew her, and some of the older Moriguchi family all knew her. But she was a singer, she was quite an opera singer, and she did appear in a different kind of shows, I guess, I'm not real sure. And she loved music, so she influenced George and some of the others, Sadako. Sadako was already a great pianist, that's Tomio's mother. But Tomio doesn't know that. He never heard when she'd play piano, she was a pianist. When I was little, in fact, she was playing piano and I was right there sleeping, right beside the piano. So that's how I got to know her.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: So it's interesting, so in your family, when you look at your parents and your father's brothers and that whole family, there was a lot of art and music.

ET: Yeah. In fact... yeah. In fact, we were so, well, believed in Mother's taste in a lot of things. I think I'm the only one in our family that really went to jazz music because I got to know people like Louis Armstrong just by... I saw him in Chicago, and we always recognized each other. Then I saw him in Tokyo, and I couldn't believe it. I was passing by this hotel, and I said, "Satchmo," you know, used to call him, his nickname. And he just looked at me, he said, he couldn't believe it. He said, "Oh, anybody calling me Satchmo has got to be my friend." [Laughs]

TI: That's a good story.

ET: It's nice, yeah. So my mother just didn't accept any jazz music in any shape or form. So I brought back Duke Ellington's album, I think he announced his famous "Sophisticated Lady" at the University of Washington bookstore, you know, bookstore. He had a, kind of a platform built right on top of showcases, and put the grand piano on it and just played and played over there.

TI: And so you were there when he played that?

ET: Uh-huh, yeah, 1940. Yeah, I was there. Yeah, that was a great time. So immediately, of course, I became a fan of good jazz musicians. I used to know personally, like Arthur... guy used to be called the Pariachi of the piano, Arthur somebody. Then Louis Prima, Jack Teagarden.

TI: Well, I'm jumping around a little bit, but did you play?

ET: No, I don't play anything.

TI: But you just...

ET: I just liked those things, and of course, I liked symphonies, too, so I served in symphony board here.

TI: Now, how about the art connection? Did your father, mother or uncles, I mean, what did you see in terms of art?

ET: Okay, now, Tsutakawa family, there were many, many artists, and so's Oka family, too. Okas, my mother's older brother was an art teacher, he was a Japanese, they're called Nihonga, and he was very, very good. He'd just take the piece of paper and just draw, draw anything on that. And so we had a number of people on both sides in art. Tsutakawa side, of course, George was a, was a kind of a natural. George knew Keith fairly well, and Keith always admired George. So we had that connection, so...

TI: But was art encouraged by your parents? So when...

ET: Uh-huh, yeah.

TI: ...when you picked up a brush...

ET: In fact, I actually started as a pre-med student at University of Washington, and dropped that and became a artist. That was kind of a disappointment in my dad, but I was not made as a doctor. [Laughs]

TI: So they, so they, even though they encouraged or liked art, they still wanted you to become a doctor rather than an artist. [Laughs]

ET: Well, I think that was my dad's... but then my mother was very happy that I...

TI: Well, that's good.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: Let's now go back to your sort of childhood in Seattle. Do you have any memories of Seattle before you went to Japan?

ET: I, only thing I remember was somehow our boat went to Hawaii. I remember seeing the girls dancing and the wonderful music coming, and I was in the arm of my uncle, uncle -- this, is, we have two George, uncle George and a cousin George. It was Uncle George, and I don't know why he was there, and I thought maybe I got mixed up, he was maybe at Seattle. But anyway, I wasn't, usually I was carried by my dad, but he was the one that was carrying me. I almost jumped out of his hands when the whistle blew, and that kind of stayed with me, I was only about five years old at the time.

TI: This was for a trip to Hawaii?

ET: Trip to Japan, actually.

TI: Oh, Japan.

ET: Yeah, so through Hawaii. Somehow the boat stopped in Hawaii. We didn't get off, we just stayed on the boat, heard these hula dancers dancing, I remember that. but before that, not very much. I don't think I remember hardly anything, but I did have, well, quite a lot of friends. Among that is Bob Ikeda, I remember him. So about nine years later when I came back, in 1936 --

TI: Okay, but before we go there, let's talk because about this time, when you were five or six, you went to Japan, to live there.

ET: Right.

TI: Can you tell me why they sent you to Japan?

ET: I think it's kind of... from what I hear from other people, it's kind of prestigious thing for a family to send their offspring to Japan to be educated there. I don't think I could ever do it myself. Why they did that, I have no idea. But everyone seemed to think that's the thing to do. The people here, like my father was so busy and he couldn't really devote his time to his family. So we were first sent to my grandmother, father's side, and then lived with them, the grandparents, at the beginning. And then I was so sick most of the time, so my aunt said, "Well, I think we'd better take him," and then went to, now it's a sister city of Spokane, it's Nishinomiya, Japan.

TI: So you spent most of the time living with your aunt?

ET: Yeah, uh-huh.

TI: This is on your mother's side or father's side?

ET: Father's side. That's Shozo's wife. I didn't have a good relationship with Shozo at all. He was, at times I thought he was a little too mean, and a very disciplinary type of person. And I know I was only about six, seven years old, and when he threw me out of the house, I hit the rock and I remember I was bleeding and everything else, and I just didn't want to go and see him anymore, so I started to run out. And my aunt came in and got me, and that was kind of a very sad memory.

TI: So what, what kind of child were you? When, you know, I hear these stories and later on about the jazz, were you viewed as more of a rebellious young man?

ET: Could be, yeah, but I don't think, that was not always... I think it was maybe a put-on rather than the real nature of my childhood. I think as a student I was okay, and I, I was accepted by a very good school when I went to high school. But, well, thank God my aunt was with me all the time. And so I had a very, very kind of feeling good, deep feeling about aunt, and I didn't have it with uncle. Because, again, I think I felt somewhat I was deserted by my parents. And every time I looked at my brother, he was even younger than I was. He hardly knew anything, and here he was. And he did real well, I mean, he did well in high school, and about the time I left Japan, he was about the second or third year in high school, and eventually he became a student at the law school.

TI: So was it both you and Henry, and did any of the other brothers like Thomas or Hideko, did they, it was just the two older boys?

ET: Well, actually, if I go through those few years, I was, I was actually brought up by my uncle and my aunt, Shozo and her name was Koteru, and then because of my health condition. But basically, it was completely over, and I stayed very healthy. And the Tsuyoshi didn't seem to be bothered. And my grandmother wouldn't let him go, because he said, "Well, no, he's going to stay with me." And my youngest aunt was living at the time, she was still single and living at the time, became kind of like a mother to him, too. So he was well-taken care of. But it was kind of sad that we were separated. I remember that real well, because every summer vacation, I used to go and join him.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: What are some other memories of Japan, like fond memories? When you think back --

ET: Oh, Japan? Well, I think it's many things, because of friends, too. Several, several years I kind of had my own group, and they're, they're kind of, because of the war, we were all going to different places. For instance, one of 'em became a zero pilot, and he was actually instructor of the zero, you know. And he was a war criminal, and when I heard that, I could not, you know, and I didn't want to do anything to defend him because he's not that type of person. But then I'll, when you were that position, he was already colonel. And so I don't know where I, I kind of think that I went back in 1961, first time. He's the first one that came to meet me, and my mother was there and my brother was there, and they knew that I had a very good feeling about him. So, so maybe good thing that I wasn't arrested, you know, for that close of a friendship. That's one of 'em, and the other one was an Osamu Sato, and Osamu was, was another high school, a very prestigious high school he went, and when I went back, he was already a doctor. And he became president of the sister city association, and I was the president of the city association here. So that was a great thing, we got together and...

TI: So it sounds like the school that you went to, you mentioned was, they were good schools. And they were, in some ways, training -- I'm not sure if "elite" is the right word -- but some of the leaders, future leaders of Japan.

ET: I would say so, yeah. I think it's a number of people that graduated. For instance, one... well, we all went to a different school. I, I was accepted by two very, very good schools, one of 'em barely. They only take 150 students, and it was, they call it Osaka Prefectural High School. Osaka Kenrikyu, and the name is Kitano Chugakko. And I think my number was about 156, so I was rejected by going by the number. But then so many of 'em didn't go to Kitano, they went to someplace else. So I was accepted, but I had the same reasoning as anybody else, well, why would I suffer, go in there, because it's going to be a pretty tough school. So I went to Koyo. Koyo is pretty well-known, but it's a private school, private boys school. And my uncle said, "I think that's the school you should go because it's so close, you could walk or take a ten minutes' train." And so I went there, and this is the reason the Tatsuma family is so close, because it's built by them, built by the sake company. What I didn't realize was that sake was such a great drink. After drinking all whiskey, made in Kentucky, and well, wine wasn't quite the thing around that time. But compared to what I was drinking, sake was just a great drink. So I remember that, and the family that built my school, Koyo, it was a Hakushikan, or Hakutaka, or there's a number of sake that they made.

TI: Now, where was this school located?

ET: It's located in Nishinomiya, Japan.

TI: And can you describe, like, just like a typical day? What was school like for you in Japan?

ET: Well, I think my school, of course, you need to study every day, you had homework and you have to study almost every day.

TI: So, like, how long of homework would you do every day?

ET: Oh, I would say probably two, two-and-a-half, three hours, somewhere around there. Sometimes more.

TI: And how, how early would school start?

ET: School starts... I don't know exact time. I think it's about eight. And so I start out, if I walked, which I did most of the time, leaving school probably around seven, it took me a good hour to get there. And there were quite a, quite a good number of people from that local area, but then there were a lot of 'em come from other areas, like Korea. We had a Korean student, very good one, too. And we had some Caucasians in our school. And somehow my English wasn't quite good enough around that time, but still retain some of that. So my aunt used to say, "Gosh, you were talking English to most of your hakujin guests," and I didn't realize I was doing that. It's how one thing just come very natural. Pretty childish English those days, but still, it did communicate with these people. So it was kind of, yeah, it's unbelievable that I did retain even that much English at the age of about five, six years old.

TI: And so going on, so you, at seven o'clock, you would walk to school, about eight o'clock it would start, and then what was the day like? Was it pretty much in class?

ET: Well, I think, you know, the main reason I liked was I liked to play baseball, and I played quite a bit of baseball type of thing. I was also in judo, too, and loved both of them very, very... and become pretty much, well, I wouldn't say proficient, but as a freshman and sophomore year, I think I did pretty well. Then I received, when I was fifteen, just before I leave, I got my black belt, which was the biggest day. And then I brought it back and I started in Seattle, judo. And eventually, coming to Spokane, and some of the people asked me, you know, you used to do a lot of judo. "Can you start, so my grandkids could take judo?" And I said, "Sure." And then this Mr. Mukai gave me some money to open up a judo. So, so it's kind of coming from a childhood thing, that more or less paid my...

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: I'm curious, going back to Japan and so the judo part, but I want to talk about the baseball. What was the quality of baseball in Japan during this period?

ET: Okay, I went to, actually, when the family came back, I changed the school to another school. But this is one school, the Koyo, played very similar game we play as a good team, professionals, so hardball.

TI: So when you say, so like the Koyo High School baseball team, would that be sort of equivalent to, like, the Broadway High School baseball team? Would it be kind of like that?

ET: Oh, yeah, yeah. Every bit. In fact, I played a little bit at the Broadway, but I played more with a Japanese league. They call it, they had a newspaper name.

TI: The Courier League.

ET: Courier, yeah.

TI: But in Japan, were you able to see, like, professional baseball? Was there really good baseball being played?

ET: Oh, yeah, you bet. You know, I had a picture taken with Babe Ruth, because he came to Koshien Kyujo. That's where I played most of the baseball. And then, of course, our own school had baseball.

TI: So wait a minute. So you're talking about, you had your picture taken with Babe Ruth, the famous Yankee baseball player?

ET: Uh-huh.

TI: Do you still have that picture?

ET: No, no, I looked all over in Japan, and I couldn't find it.

TI: Oh, that would have been precious to have.

ET: That would be precious. Not only me, but...

TI: Now, so how did you meet Babe Ruth? I mean, explain that again.

ET: Well, actually, we were fairly well-known baseball, high school in those days, and I was only a freshman, so you know, not even varsity team. So I used to practice catcher for my friend, same class, but he was a year older than I. And he later was called the Babe Ruth of Japan. He was a pitcher, he had the biggest batting average, most home runs, and then he was called Babe Ruth of Japan. And I was just a catcher for practice only. I don't think I ever played in a baseball game or we used to call it regular, like a championship, national championship type of thing. We did become national champions after I left Japan, but Betto came to visit me here in Spokane, and that's quite a nice... we were quite good friends, but then he was, immediately he was playing for varsity as a freshman. But yeah, no one could get to that.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: Well, you were saying that around fifteen, you came back to Seattle.

ET: Yeah.

TI: So what, why did you come back to Seattle?

ET: Because I think my father was sick, he had a first stroke when he was about... about forty, forty-two, forty-three years old. And then he thought that I should learn about the family business and things like that. So best I will come back, but not Henry. Henry was left in Japan.

TI: So how did you feel when you heard that you were going back to Seattle? What do you remember about that?

ET: Well, you know, I was real happy, but I got sent to immigration, immigration station. And four days I didn't hear from my family, and it was torturing. And there were seven other people in my, kind of a cell, and they were all Chinese. And you know, I never felt in danger, except one guy was trying to protect me for that, and, but they were talking Chinese so I didn't understand that. And I spoke just enough English at the time, and this Japanese interpreter was giving the wrong answers to these things. And I said, "You know, I think I want to get out of here and go back to Japan." I really had become... on the fourth day, I finally said, "Hey, send me back, I don't want to stay here anymore. I don't know why you're keeping me here." And so I was a handful.

TI: And so do you recall where the immigration station, was this the Seattle immigration...

ET: Yeah, same one.

TI: And your, your parents couldn't get in to, to talk with you?

ET: No. It was absolutely shocking, because I had a normal life as a young boy, and here I was thrown into absolutely the same as jail.

TI: So did they not, did they understand that you were a U.S. citizen?

ET: Oh, yeah.

TI: But even then, they had --

ET: But even then, then I found out that other people, Kibeis, gone through the same thing, too. Some of 'em stayed a month. I said, "How can you stay in a place like that for one month?"

TI: Well, eventually you were released.

ET: Well, the fourth day, I really made a... I mean, I'm just insisting I don't want this place. Like the Chinese were there, some of 'em were there for a couple of years. Nobody knows about that place, but there was some article in the paper the other day, through the North American Post, that they were looking at that thing now, it's probably keep as a historical thing. It's the worst history of the United States as far as I'm concerned. So, you know, I was very, very disappointed with that treatment, and it was so, you know, full of smells of gasoline all around me, and I could not believe that I'd breathe all that air. And it's just same as what went on in a jail. They get you up and then send me to a, the rooftop and do a little exercise and come back, and absolutely the food was not fit for a human being.

TI: And so when you said you kind of made a ruckus to get out of there, what did you do? What kind of things did --

ET: Well, only thing I did say was, talked to this interpreter first. I said, "Would you tell them that I do not want to stay in the United States? I want to go back to Japan." My family wouldn't talk to me and everything else. Well, they didn't have any way to talk to me. It's just that bad. Why we keep that like a secret from the rest of the world? But I'm just, didn't mean to say to anybody, in fact, this is the first time that I'm saying it. But then I think we should know that we have this kind of thing in the United States, which is not right.

TI: So do you think this is, the same things are happening today in the United States?

ET: I don't know, I don't know. It could be, and if that's the case, I think we should do anything to change that.

TI: But it's interesting, because you were saying, you mentioned earlier, the immigration building in Seattle, they're decommissioning that. So...

ET: That's right, that's what I heard.

TI: And so they're talking about either making it a historical landmark, and in your sense, they should just get rid of that place.

ET: Oh, get rid of it, yeah.

TI: 'Cause it's just a blight on history.

ET: Yeah, I think it's a dark mark in our, not only history, but our society.

TI: Well, after you finally got out, what, what was that like?

ET: I didn't speak to anybody -- [laughs] -- for probably a week or so.

TI: Why -- because you were so mad?

ET: Oh, yeah. I was furiously mad. I still wanted to go back. I think that's when Mrs. Moriguchi might have helped me to realize that, "You're okay now," after that. She went through the same thing, George went through the same thing.

TI: Oh, so people like George and Mrs. Moriguchi, because they had gone through kind of a similar experience, they explained to you that it happened to other people and that now everything was going to be okay.

ET: Yeah, it was kind of shocking to me at the time, why didn't anybody told me about these things? And, but there was certainly a, I felt, anti-Japanese feeling in the United States, which I didn't realize was that bad.

TI: Now, were there particular things that the immigration officers did? I mean, is it the way they questioned or the conditions? I mean, you talked about how bad the conditions were.

ET: I don't remember anything about the immigration officers; I just felt like I was treated like a prisoner. And I don't know why they did that.

TI: Well, so in that week you're not talking to anyone, what were people saying about you?

ET: Well, I thought, they thought I was a very quiet boy. [Laughs] And then they want to... but of course, I was not quiet.

TI: Well, how about your language at that point, in terms of English? What was that like?

ET: Well, it's pretty immature, maybe. But I understood almost everything that anybody spoke. I learned to express myself a little better by the time I went to high school. I only went to high school less than three years, and well, I earned my honor society during high school. Then college I did pretty well, too.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: Well, how about friends? When you came back to Seattle, were you able to... were there people that you knew, friends that you can get back together, and what were they like?

ET: Well, of course, I didn't know any, any old friends, because I was too young. When I left, it was about six years old. So, so yes, we did have new friends, but then half of 'em were Kibeis, they grew up in Japan. But others were Americans, and others were Nisei Americans and so forth.

TI: So do you think -- I'm talking like within the Japanese community -- do you think there was discrimination against Kibeis from the Niseis who didn't go to Japan? I mean, the ones who just stayed here, what --

ET: Yeah, I think that definitely there was that, not real bad, but then there was certainly a feeling of you don't belong in the same society.

TI: And how did the Kibeis, when you guys got together and talked about that, what did you think? What did you talk about?

ET: I think I always felt that, "Why are we living in this kind of attitude?" Like we have to submissive type of life. Because we didn't know how to live that, like that, as a Kibei. But when I understood that, I was much better associating with each other.

TI: Let me make sure I understand this. So you thought in general, like, all the Japanese were kind of being submissive, but having grown up in Japan, you thought, "There's no reason for us to be in that submissive" --

ET: That way.

TI: That way. But then you were saying that, but after you sort of understood that more, what does that mean? Do you think understanding that that's just the way the United States is, or...

ET: I think that's, it didn't take too long for me to realize that we have to belong to this society, we have to belong to the rest of the country, and how we fit into this society as a group. And the Japanese are certainly, was not doing enough for the country or the society. I remember my friend, first of all, the Clarence Arai become a board member of the library. And I thought, "Wow, that's great. I think we should have more people doing that." So that would be a kind of a natural thing as far as I was concerned. I grew up to actually belong to this society in Japan, and be active in the society. That's, that was pretty much lacking because of the fact that maybe we were all suppressed by the rest of the group, I don't know what it did. But then I started to realize what is American community, and Japanese, and how are we doing and so forth. I think I wrote in Spokane Magazine, I told them that we were so young and immature as far as our political savvy and other business, understanding, business and industry, understanding and so forth, we were too young. But we, I think I concentrated more because of the fact that I found Spokane community, I'm gonna reestablish completely new. And I don't know how much I contributed, but I'm sure that a lot of mayor kind of give you the feeling that they needed me to support, you know, all these associations, organizations, schools. I'm pretty involved in that kind of thing.

TI: But so I guess the way you look at this is to not be subservient. I mean, if the community, if the Japanese community got involved politically, socially, business-wise, that's, that's how you break down those barriers? Is that kind of how you --

ET: Well, not only that, but then we find there was no way that I'm gonna join a political force without all of us taking advantage of this type of thing. So I encouraged a lot of these ethnic associations to join me. I joined Hip Sing club in China, China here, and I joined the Black People's Club.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: Okay, so Ed, so we're now on the second tape, and I'm going to bring us back to Seattle, you're now, you returned from Japan, you're now going to school at Broadway High School. And you mentioned how you, although Japanese when you came was your primary language, you had enough English that you understood things, and you actually became an honors student at Broadway High School. But I just wanted to get a sense of what, what type of subjects did you enjoy at Broadway High School?

ET: Actually, I enjoyed everything. Really didn't matter, so I kind of left it up to the counselor in those days. We didn't have a counselor, but then my favorite teacher that I could talk to, and they definitely found I should be taking a lot of art. So there was a teacher that taught both my cousin George and Keith Oka, and her name is Miss Jones, I can't remember her first name, but Miss Jones. So we were kind of known through the years, maybe there was about ten or twelve years apart. But we were all "Jones Boys," and there were several others, too. And the teacher said, "Well, you are definitely one of 'Jones Boys.'"

TI: Well, how did Miss Jones teach art? What, what did she do?

ET: Well, she didn't, she was not a painter or anything like that, but she had a, kind of a nice feeling about the work that we do, and kind of encouraging way that she would be doing this more. And I think she became one of the top teachers of our whole time at Broadway. And the "Jones Boys" is pretty well-known, too.

TI: Who were some of the other "Jones Boys" besides George...

ET: Well, I think George and Keith, and gosh, I don't know. There were quite a number of them. Of course, not restricted to Japanese, either. There were a number of Caucasian students that belonged in "Jones Boys," too. But George was looked upon as probably the best, and so, Keith was saying that if it wasn't for George, probably would have never had this "Jones Boys" thing. But I also, of course, thought that Keith was in it, and certainly he was a completely different type of artist. We used to submit stuff to Volunteer Park museum for annual, and were accepted. And I was rejected once, after winning prize, and I got rejected because one of the teachers... he was actually associate dean of art class, his name was Ambrois Patterson, and married a student in the same class he was in. And I never really thought, I didn't respect too many people in those days, and that's, that's probably one of my downfalls, because I wasn't obedient enough to follow some of those things that teacher was telling me. I always thought, "You just don't have enough talent, and why are you teaching me?" and that type of attitude. And he's the one that rejected me, so I just quit the school right there. [Laughs]

TI: Quit which school?

ET: University of Washington.

TI: Oh, okay, your art school. Okay, got it.

ET: That's just a little short, because I had to quit anyway because of war. One of the reasons quit is because they were firing all the anti-American politics in those days, so there were communists and socialists and people like that. And among teachers, that's pretty common those days. And we had a Mexican lithographer, Emilio Amera, I think that was his name. And after the war, Keith and I both went over to call on him because he was washing dishes at the Olympic Hotel. And when I saw him, he just kind of was so happy to see me, at the same time he was very sad that he's doing what he's doing.

TI: So was it almost like they were, he was, like, blacklisted in terms of...

ET: Yeah, blacklisted and got fired from teaching because of the fact that I think most Mexican teachers came from that kind of socialism, communism type of thing. I wasn't. I didn't think we can, every, well, because I always realized America is so much more socialism than Japan was. So I didn't need to be any more than that. I think we always followed after that. We will certainly follow. There is nothing you could do, we're too small, and we will just use Japanese philosophy that Matsushita Konosuke wrote. He is head of Panasonic and seventeen other electronics company, and he wrote the, kind of a book, and it was my friend that was, edited that book. And it's called the Yasashi Kokoro, it means "very obedient mind," you know, "obedient heart," or something like that. And it was a very good book, and that's what I had after so many things gone through during the wartime, because it was, it came out in about 1960, that book did. But then by then I was a great friend of Mike Masaoka, and Masao Sato and those people, the JACL, and I pushed the JACL as a group of Japanese Americans who actually...

TI: And you got to know these gentlemen after the war?

ET: Uh-huh, yeah.

TI: So we'll, we'll get to that a little bit later.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: I want to sort of talk about outside of school, what activities did you do, besides your, in your sort of home life?

ET: Yeah, in Seattle, I think it's, probably judo and baseball. And I loved anything that my dad did, like fishing and things like that. He did a lot of salmon fishing in those days.

TI: Now, when you played baseball, did you play with Kibei or Nisei?

ET: I played the Kibei first, and we were, we were in probably the... I think easily we could have won the championship in any of those league that we played. I cannot remember. Then some of us were picked by some of the other teams. I played with little upper-class, and I didn't have, I didn't have good records of anything like that, but that didn't interest me. It's just that I got to play with these people.

TI: Now, why did you want to move from a team that was mostly Kibei to a team that was more Nisei?

ET: I don't think I had much control. Around that time, if a Nisei wanted me and they called me, and, "Would you play?" and it was okay with anybody to do that, Kibeis didn't object too much about it. So I played with them very shortly, but I had such a busy schedule at the store, and so I couldn't play all of 'em. And I had an uncle that wouldn't let me borrow a truck when I needed it to go to Yakima or places like that, so...

TI: I'm wondering, during this period of time, Japan was even more of a military power, and I think at this point they were, they fought Russia and then they were in China. Did you guys talk about that in terms of what was happening in Japan?

ET: I read more because of the fact that I, I think the family used to take Japanese paper from Japan, and number of magazines, periodicals that tells about, shows the pictures of people. And it was, my feeling was, well, maybe it's a good thing I'm in United States. But the biggest surprise was Pearl Harbor. Now Pearl Harbor, why can they do that, over 300,000 Japanese in this country, and you sacrifice them?

TI: Yeah, did you ever, I guess, suspect or think that Japan would go to war with the United States?

ET: No. I think it's the biggest surprise. I said, you know, it's a wonder they hang around that time. It's obvious that Japan has no chance at all. Why are they starting a war, especially what would happen to the over 300,000 Japanese here? None of 'em knew about this thing.

TI: Oh, so you think by Japan attacking the United States, in some ways they betrayed the 300,000 that were here.

ET: Oh, yeah, completely. And it betrayed me a lot.

TI: 'Cause, because this made, would make your life a lot harder, or it just...

ET: Well, yeah. I think not too many people maybe felt that way, but yeah, I think that's when I...

TI: So explain this. Were you angry or when you say "betrayed," how did you feel towards?

ET: Oh, I, angry again. Yeah, I was... now, my, when I wanted to go back to Japan, I wasn't thinking about Japan would ever go and fight against the United States. And so somehow, act of God, whatever, that I didn't have to do that. But at the same time, what they're thinking about us, maybe we don't mean anything to them. That kind of disappointed me, and then United States took my citizenship away, and all the more I thought maybe we have a fight of our own to, you know, stay alive and try to be recognized.

TI: And I'm sorry, you said the United States took away your citizenship. What do you, what do you mean by that?

ET: Well, we were classified as 4-Cs, "enemy alien."

TI: Okay, so "enemy aliens," when, okay. But technically you, now, you still had your U.S. citizenship, they just took away your --

ET: No, they took, no, that thing is completely taken away.

TI: Wasn't that --

ET: You, you lost... well, that's because of an act of Congress, but at the same time, it's on the record as we didn't have citizenship for what, about three weeks or something like that.

TI: Okay, so when you were classified as "enemy alien," 4-C. That's your draft status.

ET: So that kind of made me mad, so we didn't know just exactly what we were. And then I heard some of the things that Mike and the JACL was doing --

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: But before we go there, describe where you were on December 7, 1941. I want to understand how you, how you heard about it.

ET: Okay. Actually, you'd never believe it, but I was sketching a battleship at the waterfront. And the radio was going on and said, "Hey, don't you know there's a war going on between Japan and United States?" And I started laughing, "You're looking at a program like Orson Welles-type of a show." And then I finished and went back to see Keith. And Keith was working at the Craftsman Press. And he said, "You know, there's a war going on." I said, "Well, I heard about that, but then I thought that was a joke." "No, it isn't a joke, it's, really is the real thing." And I showed him my sketch, and he said, "Wow." He said, "I'll bet you anything that you're gonna be arrested." I said, "Well, I can't help it, it's done now." So I went back to school and sure enough, they come and took all my drawings away. But really didn't do anything. I was just a student, so, you know, didn't think nothing of it.

TI: Oh, what a coincidence. So you're down at the waterfront sketching a, a battleship.

ET: Battleship, yeah.

TI: And it could have been perceived as you somehow doing some kind of spying or something.

ET: Spying, yeah. Army, yeah.

TI: But they, but they came, and who picked up the drawings? Was it the FBI?

ET: I don't know who did, who came. But the school was waiting for me to come, and I had the sketches with me, and that was the last time I saw. It was nothing more than just sketches of whole area, West Seattle, an the docks, and this battleship was, I think it was kind of worked over, being repaired.

TI: So what kind of discussions did you have with your friends about, about the war with Japan? These are before, you're still in Seattle.

ET: Yeah. Actually, it's just hard to believe that Japan did that. And I think that feeling was very mutual around that time. And, you know, how in the dickens is Japan will win this thing here?

TI: Now, were there some who thought maybe, well, Japan has done really well...

ET: Oh, yeah, there were some that, very dead serious about, says, "This is crazy, but then I have to be realistic and become supporter of Japan." "Well, I don't know about you, but I don't feel that way." It's kind of a, I think it separated us in many ways, and I think we really found ourselves in a position to learn about the whole thing. So we had to go back and just exactly what really brought the thing? There are some of the things that make it so reasonable for Japan to do that. But at the same time, it's a big, big gamble that they took, which is very hard to believe.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: Did you talk about what may have happened, what might happen to you and your friends, to your parents, to the other Japanese Americans? Did you ever talk about that?

ET: I think we did some, but the opinion around that time is so different, and like I said, I was quite furiously mad because of the fact that 300,000 of Japanese, mostly Niseis around that time, were completely disregarded as far as Japan is concerned. And that in itself made it so clear to me, Japan's military government had to be defeated, is about the way I... I told that in Japan, and you know, they agreed with me. And I was real surprised, because even Kawai said that, "Well, you know, at times, I just couldn't believe this thing happened." And in fact, I did fly a little before we went to Whitefish -- not Whitefish, but White Lumber Company in Enumclaw, and they have a plane that we could borrow to go into National Logging Camp, and that's where I used to have a customer.

TI: And I'm sorry, what year would this be?

ET: This was 1938, '39.

TI: Okay, so it's a small plane that...

ET: Just a small two-seater, yeah.

TI: And that you would fly, or you would be in the...

ET: Well, I would just co-pilot the plane, and I knew how the plane takes off and lands, that type of thing. I don't know enough about it, but then I certainly became very curious about, and then want to know a little bit more about it. In the future life, I know I have to know how to fly, and I even owned a plane here in Spokane, the four-way partners. [Laughs] And Governor Daniel Evans was on that plane back and forth from Olympia to Spokane.

TI: But you, would you fly it?

ET: Well, I didn't fly with him on it, but then the partners did.

TI: I see. Okay, but anyway, you were talking about the...

ET: I was not really a... those days, you have to have license to fly, but before, we didn't have to have license.

TI: But were you going to tell a story, back in the '30s, you were taking this plane to the White Lumber Company?

ET: Yeah, I think, I think I flew with the guy, I was very, very much like Keith Oka more and more, a prankster, you might say. He touches the tip of the trees and things like that, and they kind of laugh about it. But to me, it was scary. I said, "Hey, let me fly." [Laughs]

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: So I'm curious, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, what happened to the business, the family business?

ET: Family business was closed. And then just before the evacuation, they let us open it, clean up everything, and then we only had a few days to sell that business. And I was the only one left, really.

TI: Well, what happened to your parents?

ET: Parents were still there, and the parents of course helped, but legally, I was... just before I was twenty-one. I became twenty-one in camp. But a lot of things I was able to sign, but...

TI: So a lot of this fell on -- because your father was ill, so a lot of this was on your shoulders to take care of the, the business.

ET: Yeah, and Uncle was arrested, and he was in the camp in Missoula, Montana. And George was already gone, a soldier, and I was it. I was just the last one.

TI: So what, what did you have to do?

ET: I had to open, when the FBI closed, and I have to tell you that that was terrible. When I went in there, they had, we had cases and cases of things like crabs, very expensive stuff, those were just scattered all over the place, and they just... well, I cannot blame, these people got hungry and they saw this thing and they ate it. And it was just a mess. I went in and cleaned up, and that's, that was the wholesale side. Retail side, it's the same thing, too. Lot of the things were just... it was just a mess.

TI: So why, why did they close the business? I mean, I don't understand.

ET: Well, we were, we were closed. I mean, we weren't, we didn't have any choice. And there was, FBI's tag was on the door, so we could not rip that to get in.

TI: Yeah, no, I understand, but why, but why would the FBI close it?

ET: I don't know. I really don't know why, I think it's just that the way I feel, the things that government had to do, is to just close up everything, Japanese-operated business to avoid consequence from what could happen. Could be establish Japanese... yeah.

TI: So it sounds like you had a lot of perishable...

ET: Lots of perishable.

TI: And they were just all...

ET: So, so every once in a while, they were cleaning that, but then they didn't do a good job. So the place got messed, really messed up. And we sold everything, we just had one day of advertising, and sell everything on, ten cents on the dollar basis, and got rid of all this stuff, and it was successful, we sold out everything.

TI: So who, who'd you sell it to? Who came to the sale?

ET: Oh, the people, people that we knew, particularly the one that, we had a favorite customers, said, "Hey, come on over and get what you can."

TI: Now, were these Japanese?

ET: No, no, these are Caucasians. Japanese won't buy anymore. Some Japanese came and bought something, but...

TI: When you talked with your customers, when you opened up, did you, do you recall any conversations with any of your customers about what was happening?

ET: Oh, yeah, yeah. Very sympathetic. Most customers felt that, "It was just crazy that you're, what you're going through." And I don't think we had much of a chance to even delay any of those things. When order came, we had to follow exactly the way we were told. And I think by then JACL was in pretty much a position to advise all the Japanese to be very obedient-mind, and someday it'll pay off. They look at it that way, which is very wise, I thought. For young people like us, just barely adult, we didn't understand that, the more I think about it, that's the only way to, to act.

TI: So, yeah, so the JACL was telling people to cooperate, to not, to go along with it. And so you're thinking that that was the right way to go, back then.

ET: Oh, yeah.

TI: So when you sell all the goods, are they just giving you lots of cash? And what do you do with all that money?

ET: Well, we had, I remember one time I took money -- maybe couple, three times, I was carrying about $25,000 each time. And so it's quite a bit of money, $75,000 around that time. But that's just about sold out a pretty much a supermarket-sized store. But we were very successful in getting rid of it, really. And besides that, we had so many trucks and cars and things like that we had to get rid of.

TI: Oh, so you sold all that, too?

ET: All that.

TI: Did, did you own the building, too, and you had to sell that?

ET: No, we were renting the building, but the owners were very good about it, and I don't know exactly what happened because probably owner let us have it during the time we were asked to close the place.

TI: When you say $25,000, that sounds like a lot of money, but you were saying that you were selling things what, ten cents on the dollar?

ET: Ten cents on the dollar. It could be several million.

TI: So the family just took a, a huge loss for this.

ET: Oh, yeah. The Tsutakawa company, it was owned by Shozo in Japan, and then my father was the vice-president at the time. And there was an attorney there, and we sent him to Washington, D.C. to plead all weekend, but it didn't do any good.

TI: That must have been, for you to have to sort of be in charge of this, it must have been very hard.

ET: Yeah, this is the type of thing that probably most Japanese Americans didn't realize what, what companies like us, there were several others, gone through.

TI: So after the, you sold everything, then what happened?

ET: I think we were, just about time to pack our own things up, and I kept one truck. It was in my name, I just bought it myself. And then that truck was filled with workers' things and our things, and pretty much the company's personnel's items. And there were, well, I drove the truck all the way to Puyallup, and then later I handed the key to an official there. They used that as kind of a, like an ambulance during the day, garbage truck nighttimes.

TI: And then they stored all the things inside the truck someplace?

ET: Yeah, well, we, individually, we took that into our own apartment.

TI: I see, okay.

ET: Yeah. And that's just about, they told us how much to carry, so we couldn't carry any more than we ourselves could carry, that's it.

TI: And then you just gave the keys and they used the truck?

ET: Yeah, they used it, and don't remember, they sold the car. And it's far below what I paid for it, something like... this is a panel truck, it's a 1937 or '38, so it's only about four years old. And we ourselves paid maybe about $1,400 or something like that. Those days, the cars were cheap. But yet it was still worth a thousand dollars, maybe. I got a thirty-six dollar check.

TI: A thirty-six dollar --

ET: Dollars, yeah. No, fifty-six dollars, the check. I still got stuck. [Laughs] I think I should have.

TI: So how did you feel when you got that check?

ET: Oh, I was furious mad, but then there's no time to fight with it, so I just took it, just like anything else.

TI: 'Cause you were in camp and they just gave you --

ET: Yeah, we were in camp, and we may not get anything at all, so I thought, okay...

TI: Did they ever ask your permission to sell the truck?

ET: Yeah.

TI: And you said, "Go ahead, sell it."

ET: Yeah, go ahead and sell it, and I got a fifty-six dollar check.

TI: So someone pocketed a lot of money on this.

ET: Oh, yeah. It's a, it's a crazy time. You don't want to blame any particular type of people, but I still know.

TI: Well, you're furious now, when you think back, does it still make, does it still make you mad?

ET: Oh, I think so. I think it's still, yeah, that part, it still makes you mad.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: So any other memories of Puyallup that you can...

ET: I think Puyallup was, for me, it was a very learning process, because Keith Oka kind of picked his own team, and I was one of 'em, and I was very grateful for that. And our, our thing was creating more recreational things for people, and he was very good at it. Particularly, we could do illustrations, we could do some games, and we could do quite a number of things like making signs and things like that. So kept ourselves fairly busy. And we were free to go to any area, we had A, B, C, D area, we were D area, that grandstand area. And then, and then A was kitty-corner on the outside, then B was on the other side. So we were in the center location. So we were able to go to these places and work with people. That was kind of a fun time in a way, and that's what he was good at, is try to entertain...

TI: What, what were some of the activities that you guys organized?

ET: We had a lot of dances and I think the Mikado was a great group of people that helped us on that effort. We had a lot of hobby groups like people --

TI: Going back to the Mikado, where did people get their instruments? Did people bring them, or...

ET: They brought the instruments, but then they bought, the government bought some instruments, too. And like us, we needed art material, and they bought the best. We asked for best, and they got it for us. So those things really was, I, we all appreciate that.

TI: And so with the art supplies, you would use them for activities, signs, would you, what else, would you actually do drawings of the camp and things like that?

ET: Yeah, and I did quite a bit of watercolor sketch, and then also sketches, too. But this is a request from a newspaper, like Oregonian newspaper, the Seattle Times newspaper, and we did that. And of course, the paper acknowledged a lot of things we do, and even war bond posters we did. That was kind of a secret inside the camp, but then there was a last, we must have done several, ten big posters. And we have a clipping from the Seattle P-I showing that this is what the internees in the camp do. So obviously I didn't hesitate to do that, and Keith said, "Hey, this is, we gotta do it for our own sort of satisfaction."

TI: Now, did anyone ever keep any of these materials, like these posters?

ET: Well, we don't have any posters, but we have clipping of it. And maybe that's one of the things I should give you.

TI: Yeah, I'd like to see that. Well, after Puyallup, then what happened?

ET: Then Puyallup was only about three months, and it seems like a whole year because of the fact that besides the recreational things, we did weddings, we made a wedding very elaborate and very plush wedding ceremony.

TI: So, how would you do that? How would you make a wedding plush inside --

ET: We had, we had the food service to cooperate, we had, we had a lot of people to cooperate, so it didn't cost the newlyweds a penny, but yet they just got a very good wedding and a reception.

TI: So you'd get the food, the decorations...

ET: Music.

TI: ...the music, and it's all for free.

ET: All for free. [Laughs] And so those things really kept us, well, let's say that, alive in camp. The things that people enjoy.

TI: Because when you think about it again, you mentioned Keith a lot, because he thought it was really good to keep busy and keep people active doing positive things.

ET: He has that certain kind of, you might say, stratagem of human relationships or human engineering. He's just a master of that; this guy was amazing. And I think I would say that he's about the only one that I really considered mentor... well, I have some of the other ones like Neil Fosseen, the old mayor here, was my good mentor, but for the Japanese American, I would say that Keith Oka is probably my only mentor, and probably gave me more help in my business also. Because, well, this is in the future, I could tell you more about this.

TI: Well, I'm just curious, when we're at Keith, is there, were there any times when you saw him discouraged, when he just sort of said, "It's too much," or, "it's not working." Did you ever see him like that?

ET: He never got discouraged like that. He just kept on going and did some funny things. We had a window and a beautiful, the place where people walked back and forth all the time, and we even made a silhouette of a nice girl. [Laughs] And people couldn't believe it: "Oh, my God, those artists." [Laughs]

TI: So do you think in camp, the artists were, were looked, people looked up to you?

ET: Oh, yeah. In fact, as far as the job was concerned, of course, Keith was another one that fight for our professionalism, and I was just a college student. He was already a professional. But doctors were getting nineteen dollars, the head of the kitchen was getting fifteen dollars, chief security officers getting fifteen dollars, and, but Keith demands nineteen dollars because of our profession. [Laughs] But anyway, that worked, and because the people said, "Oh, yes, we have to have those guys."

TI: Now, I'm curious, a lot of people, when I talk about Puyallup, they talk about the smells. Was there any way from an artistic standpoint that you could capture the smells in terms of your artwork or anything? I mean, did you...

ET: Well, I think, I think that's something that I didn't notice at all. I think it's probably my, sensitive part of my nose probably got used to everything so quick. But if anything, it's nice to smell my paint, nice to see that beautiful sable brush that cost too expensive to buy, but requested and we got it. And so I still have some.

TI: Now, did they give you a special place also to have all the art supplies...

ET: Yeah, we have an office, and this is the office we were talking about, we decorate with some funny things that people could look at.

TI: And do you recall if anyone ever took any photographs of the, of your office or anything like that?

ET: We had no camera.

TI: Oh, so no one ever took pictures?

ET: No one ever took a picture.

TI: Oh, that's too bad.

ET: Yeah.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: So you said three months in Puyallup, and then you went to...

ET: Then went to Minidoka. That's another time I really got frustrated, and I got mad. What happened is it was so hot, people got sick. We needed some help, and my dad, for instance, he had a real problem in the train ride from Puyallup to southern Idaho. Seemed like, gosh, that lasted maybe several days, but it's all done in one day. We got there very late in the afternoon, maybe it's evening, because I don't remember the sight outside. And so many people believed that we're gonna be all shot in the desert. And I said, "No, no, no, don't worry about it, it's not gonna be that way at all. We have some advanced people that came to Minidoka, and they communicated with us, and you are going to love this camp," and so forth. But we already knew the conditions.

TI: But there, but there were some people who thought that you were going to be, just go out to the desert and...

ET: Especially their state of mind and the condition that they were held wasn't very good at the time. So we, actually, before we got to the Twin Falls, and just outside of Twin Falls, and kind of like a spur, that's it. Camp, nowhere you could find the camp yet, several miles away. But when we went through Boise, the train stopped for about a half an hour, and there were all kind of Red Cross out there and helping, I guess they were ordered not to look at us, because no one looked at us. And the minute we got near the door, always there's a bayonet there and to stop you. And the train condition was the worst. I, I got thirsty and I took out the thing and there's a dead spider, two of 'em came out. Said, "How you gonna drink this thing?" "Well, drink the water, don't drink the spiders." [Laughs]

TI: "Don't drink the spider."


TI: Okay, so Ed, we switched tapes, we're on the third tape, and you were just talking about that stopover in Boise, and the Red Cross was there, and you were mentioning how people wouldn't look at you. So you were right about then when we took a break, so why don't you go ahead and pick it up there.

ET: Occasionally someone would turn toward us and look at it, but you could tell by the way they acted that they were told not to look at us. The escorting army personnel, they were not good people at all. They didn't understand what I was trying to say, but then from the standpoint of their orders to watch out for all these people, particularly in the, the train is stopped, what I could understand that, but then I don't use, none of us used the right, logical answer to any of those things. So we were quite frustrated and mad. And then this is actually some time later, after I came back, came to Spokane, and one of the meetings, Red Cross people talked about, and how badly they were treated in Japan, for instance, and things like that. And I didn't care who said what, I stood up and told them, "I'll tell you what the Red Cross did to us," and everyone couldn't believe it. Right next to me were the publishers -- well, he was a Spokesman Review publisher, he was quite old at the time, always stayed with me, and we were pretty good friends. And he looked at me and he said, "Good for you, Ed." And so it's really funny that the Red Cross, I shouldn't be anything mad, I think we just treat that as kind of an individual bad judgment in part, but yet, several days later I heard that they're criticizing Japanese in Japan, that kind of made me mad. So the situation is I'm not pro-Japanese or anything like that, I certainly am pro- any decency that urged people to do that kind of talk in public, and not knowing your own group is doing. [Laughs]

TI: Yeah, good for you.

ET: So this is the kind of thing that made me so mad at the time. And of course, after so many years, I don't get mad like used to.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: So let's move on to Minidoka, and you said you sort of came in during the night because you couldn't remember seeing it.

ET: Yeah, I think, I don't remember too much about it. I think it must be a little bit of daylight left when we got there, because we finally was assigned a room, and we went in there, it certainly is much, much better than the Puyallup camp, but still, it's pretty bad. The little room and maybe the five of us were living in it.

TI: So when you say "five of us," who was assigned to the room?

ET: My father, mother, and my sister, my youngest brother, and myself. I think I was pretty much out of that apartment because of, they didn't, they needed more room, but I had a office that gave me plenty of room, so that's where I stayed during the night. But I had to come back to my own dining room to eat. But I don't remember just exactly how we did it, but my wife's family, so happens, they were next-door neighbor after a while. I think my dad was sick, so they took us to Area 2, which is next to hospital. And her family was next door neighbor to us.

TI: And were the families close? Did you know each other pretty well?

ET: No, we didn't know. My sister and my wife knew each other very, very well, my mother also. And so, well, I could probably let you know that she is my wife, but she's second marriage. We didn't get married 'til '49, I got married in '46 to a Spokane girl.

TI: Okay, so before we go there, let's finish up Minidoka, and then we'll go to Spokane. So in Minidoka, it sounds like you did a similar thing to what you were doing in Puyallup, you were, again, the camp artist.

ET: Yeah, in fact, I didn't stay in Minidoka too long. So I visited them before I left because my own family. But I left, I think it was April 5, 1942, from camp.

TI: And before we talk about your leaving, I've seen some of your, I think they're watercolor paintings of the Minidoka camp, and I'm curious, did someone ask you to do that or did you just do it on your own, or how did those come about?

ET: First I was doing my own, but newspaper came and talked to me, and, "If you have any of these sketches, would you mind sending it, and we will publish it." And that's, that was the Oregonian. And later, of course the Seattle Times asked me, too. And I don't know exactly what was published or anything, but all the artwork was returned. But I didn't get there fast enough, well, then it disappeared. It's just some, some people from the camp just helped themselves to these artwork. And several years later, I'd find them on people's living room. [Laughs] Everywhere say, "Oh, you're finally coming after your own artwork." "Oh, no, no, that's all yours." So I got a fifteen out of maybe fifty art, artwork I produced.

TI: And so you have fifteen in your --

ET: So those are fifteen is the one that's reproduced.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: And then you said in April 5th, you left, and then why did you leave Minidoka?

ET: Keith and Nobi's wedding was April 7th.

TI: So how did Keith get out of...

ET: Okay, now, Keith was hired. You know, by that time, everything was so loose, we could go out if you have a school to attend, you make sure that you have enough tuition and so forth. And so I applied, there was, there was this thing in the bulletin, says Gonzaga University wants Japanese to work and go to school at the same time. I applied for it, and I, immediately, I got released. And when I came over, that job was filled already. I should have gone maybe the day I arrived, but then I had to wait 'til, wait couple days for the wedding. I don't know exactly what happened, but I didn't have it.

TI: So that you're here for two reasons, the Gonzaga position, but also the wedding.

ET: Yeah, Gonzaga was the main thing, and then the wedding was the second. And then since that didn't work out, there was another commitment that I kind of made, and I don't know exactly what happened, it was a military thing, and it was never really materialized because of the fact that I was hired on a very high command, MIS. And I was only given first lieutenant ranking.

TI: Before you talk about it, let me explain. So the MIS, the Military Intelligence Service, which was a branch that trained in Japanese language and things like that. And so you were offered a position...

ET: It was offered because they tested me, and this was about the time I arrived at Minidoka, then went to a farm security camp. I can't remember, he was a Nisei captain, and he wrote, he wrote somebody, Hironaka or, yeah. And he said, "We're looking for you because you have passed the test," and things like that. Well, I don't remember taking test, I think it was more of an interview, and made me read a book or something like that, so I didn't have any problems reading that. So, but he was too high command, and there was an age stipulation. You had to be twenty-six and I was only twenty-three.

TI: And the position you were talking about is, was to actually train or teach Japanese to other officers?

ET: Right, yeah. It's more of a, my job was more of finding out the ability of where this person is in a more sufficient language capability or that type of thing.

TI: Okay, so this was different than going to Fort Snelling, where most of the, where the MIS training happened.

ET: Yeah, right, this was different. But we were, we were sent to Snelling, Snelling wasn't there when I first went over there, it was just created during that time. And so when that was finished, of course, my job was already terminated because of the fact that they took my commission and everything, and I become a civilian, because otherwise I couldn't even work there. And so I could regain my commission and then go to Snelling. But I don't know, probably I don't even have any record. I was gonna ask Frank Miyamoto about it, this is the person that I couldn't remember when I was talking to you.

TI: 'Cause you were in Chicago, Frank was in Chicago.

ET: Yeah, Chicago, and, well, actually, I heard about this school. So I went to Chicago, some of the lucky thing that happened was the commanding officer was staying at the same YMCA that I was staying. So he said, "Well, gosh, if you're going to the University of Chicago, why don't you just come with me?" And I didn't realize who he was until I saw the car with the two-star general flag on it.

TI: Oh, so he was a two-star general?

ET: He was a two-star general, and he was the head, head person. And Frank was working for him. Well, Frank was in a completely separate, he was a doctor, Frank Miyamoto.

TI: He was a sociology...

ET: Yeah, but then he also was the head of that school, too. Military-wise, this guy, I don't even remember him, but...

TI: And so how long did you -- well, you mentioned earlier that there was something with, about the commission, so you were too young to be commissioned as a officer at that point. So, so what happened? Did you --

ET: Well, so I spent about a month doing some delivery work, like a test material to different schools and that type of thing. And then I went to Fort Snelling, and then when I came back, I was pretty well discharged from duty, and so I was free to go to, back to military. And so I did, but then I never really got a call. So I figured, well, by the following year, we're losing all kinds of people, and some of my own friends were killed in Europe. And it was a crazy time and I thought, "Wow, I think I should do my part in the volunteer, 442." So I did volunteer, but really never got called after that. So in a way, there were about eighteen of us in Spokane same way. Just overlooked, I guess.

TI: It sounds like, yeah, you almost, the term "fell through the cracks." That probably because there might have been some confusion with your paperwork, because based on your training, I'm pretty sure the MIS would have wanted you really, really fast.

ET: Oh, yeah. In fact, after that, war was over. Then still they came after me.

TI: Yeah, so I think your records might have been sort of --

ET: Yeah, so record was there.

TI: -- misplaced or something.

ET: Only thing was by then I was married, so, and it was the first wife.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TI: So let's go back to Spokane. So, so after all this happened, you went back to Spokane and you met your first wife there?

ET: Yeah, uh-huh.

TI: So, so talk about that. How did you meet her and who was she?

ET: Well, I think we've known her and her family, her brother was at the University of Washington, and I remember him. And after maybe about... when I first went it was about, then it was about 1942, 1943. Yeah, 1943, and I was already know her and going around with her. And you want me to just say 1946? Got married in 1946.

TI: Right. But before, so 1943, you're in Spokane, and you started dating her. I'm curious, what was Spokane like in 1943 when you first arrived here?

ET: First I didn't think I'm gonna stay here. I still would have gone back to either Chicago or, or Seattle. But of course, the marriage has a lot to do with me staying here. I had a daughter that same year.

TI: And this is 1946?

ET: That's 1946, yeah. So she's, she's already sixty this year. November she'll be sixty. So I got, I was married in January 5th, and then became the father in November, then a widower in December, so all in one year.

TI: So your wife died very quickly.

ET: Yeah, twenty-ninth of December.

TI: And what happened? How did she die?

ET: Well, I think she had a complication of intestinal problem that she had, and it was just, became a pretty much malignant cancer type. And then we knew baby was gonna be, probably not gonna be alive when she came, but she was. I mean, she was healthy, I couldn't believe it. She just cried out, and I said, "Is that my baby crying?" And she's a healthy baby, she's a healthy lady today, sixty.

TI: So your wife was able to, to give birth right before --

ET: Yeah, able to give birth, but then from there, she just went downhill.

TI: So this, boy, I'm thinking about your life, because you mentioned earlier, just, your father had died just a couple years earlier, then your wife dies, you have a brand-new newborn. I mean, for your life, it must have been a very, very difficult time for you.

ET: I think it's probably made me decide to stay in Spokane forever in that time. And I took a baptismal from a church, and it was a Japanese, Japanese Methodist Church. But Reverend Goto was very good to me, and he didn't ask me to be baptized, but I said, "I want to be baptized January 1, 1947." So...

TI: And part of being baptized was because that's where you, you found... I'm trying to, you know, solace, or a place...

ET: Well, I think it's pretty much I need some type of good religious belief, something that I could just hang on, for the sake of bringing my daughter up. I could be, very easily get drunk and forget about everything and probably disappear. But then no, probably it's keep reminding me that I do have a responsibility. So I was very close to my wife's family, and the mother said, "Don't worry, we'll take care of her," and she did. And 1949, my second wife said, "Well, after we settle everything, we're gonna bring Nancy back to our house." So it was very lucky that I had...

TI: So it sounds like you got a lot of support from your...

ET: Uh-huh, yeah. People just give me --

TI: ...from your first wife's family.

ET: Even medical doctors helped a lot, too.

TI: How about other people in the community? Was there support from other people?

ET: Yeah, community was very supportive of the thing. Many remarried, remarriage proposal and things like that, the community was constantly... but I think I knew, my mother told me that, "I think you have a great partner in your life in the future," and that was my wife today.

TI: You, one of the reasons why you came to Spokane was because of Keith. During this difficult period, were you still connected with Keith, did you see him?

ET: Oh, yeah. Keith eventually left Spokane to go back to his former job in Seattle, Craftsman Press. We were able to go back freely in those days, so he did. And of course, employer here agreed with him, but then, "If you ever want to come back, you always have a home here." So even he was, he was again, very lucky guy, that if doesn't thing work, come back. Well, Craftsmen Press was not -- to me, I don't know for sure what happened -- but it wasn't exactly the same as what he, what he dreamed about. So he must have called up Warren, his employer here, and they just open arms, just welcomed him back, and then he stayed ever since.

TI: And that must have made you happy to have him back.

ET: Yeah, so that made me happy because of the fact that... many of 'em, well, Keith couldn't become my best man. I wanted him to be my best man but he couldn't. So the second fellow was with me, Mo Naito, he's also deceased now, but he became my best man at the wedding.

TI: Okay, so let me see if I can summarize some of this, because it's a little complicated. So in 1946, you married Tama Yuasa?

ET: Right.

TI: And with her, you had a daughter, Nancy, and this was in 1949 -- I'm sorry, '46. And then 1949 you remarried Hide. And Hide's last name or maiden name?

ET: Kunugi, K-U-N-U-G-I.

TI: Okay, Kunugi. And she was actually, you met her actually in Puyallup and Minidoka. And actually in Minidoka you were neighbors. And then in 1949 you were married, Nancy came back and lived with you, and did you have any other children with Hide?

ET: Yeah, Hide and I, we have another girl and a boy, just two children. And they're both in the Seattle area. Right now, Margaret is in Puyallup, she's a schoolteacher in Puyallup. My son is, was an executive in Key Bank, he's a senior loan officer, so it, he takes care of the loans around that area, Seattle area.

TI: And his name is Mark?

ET: Mark.

TI: So it's Nancy, Margaret and Mark, okay, so we have that.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: So I'm curious, in these early years like in the late '40s, early '50s, how accepting was the overall Spokane community, do you think, to Japanese?

ET: Okay, 1946, I was already working in Spokane. The company was Magin Porter letter shop, it's kind of like a mimeograph shop. And when I worked, what I did was doing some artwork and some sales. But didn't involve in production of anything. Then the company beginning to change. It started getting printing equipment, and they wanted me to learn about the process of these new presses, because certainly it ties in with whatever I do, artwork and layout and things. So we became a full-fledged printing company, and not because, because I, but then I think the time was there so that they should go into something new. But at the same time, I think I probably provided them the type of help that they needed for them to grow into this Magin Porter printers, they called it afterward. And it's quite a, quite a shop, and we were one of the major companies. And well, make that part a little simple, I worked for him for about eight years. And they were gonna give me a part of the business, but that's not exactly what I was thinking about. And I bounced some of my ideas to Keith at the time, he said, "Oh, you know, Ed, I think you're all ready to establish your own company." And I kind of knew it, but then I just wanted to use his brain and advice. So I started the Litho-Art Printers. And really what happened was when I started, Magin Porter just quit the business and joined us. So now it's a completely changed position, I am an employer and they're... [laughs]

TI: You have all these people who are working for you. [Laughs]

ET: Yeah. The owners and his wife and a son all came to work for us. It was a great, great help.

TI: So why did they do that, why did they...

ET: Well, they figured that might as well keep the same kind of customers, and Keith was working for a huge, the best, biggest advertising agency around here.

TI: And so he would give you lots of that work?

ET: So he'd give 'em all the work, yeah. But then some of it we couldn't do it because much, much fancier than, than our equipment could do. But our equipment was enough to do eighty, ninety percent of the work, so he gave me all that work to me, yeah.

TI: And during this time, as you're starting your business, did you ever have problems with the, the Spokane community accepting you and your work?

ET: No, actually, it's, right at the beginning, said, "How can you do this? You're Japanese."

TI: I'm sorry, who was saying that?

ET: Well, some, some of my old competitors, and some of the people that didn't know us enough. 'Course, establishing business is nothing new to me, because my father did that, my uncle did that. So I went ahead and did it.

TI: How about, how about the Spokane Japanese Americans? How did they see...

ET: Well, Japanese Americans couldn't believe it either.

TI: So did they kind of think, they were kind of shaking their head, thinking that you're not going to --

ET: Yeah, they says, shaking their head, and they said, "Boy, Ed, good luck." And some of 'em tried to help me out and came in and worked for me, but we ended up with about, one time, around I think fifteen, sixteen people working for me. And we become, there's approximately about 140 print shops in town, and we became number three. And so we had enough production, enough work and customers, mainly. And I really, really thank God that the old company, Magin Porter came and helped us, and I had a partner that used to work for that company, too, so that's all the reason they wanted to just quit and just join us.

TI: Oh, that's an interesting story.

ET: Yeah, in fact, well, I can't tell you, but then they said that, "Well, you know, no longer we could stay in the business, we could just about tell what our future is. You're gonna be having all the business." Well, maybe, but I didn't think, I didn't think about that, but when they said they're gonna join, I said, "Oh, yeah, you're welcome to join us, help me run it."

TI: That's good.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

TI: I want you to think now in the sixty-three years you've been in Spokane, how the community has changed from the, I wanted to do from the Japanese and Japanese American community. 'Cause you've been part of making some of those changes, especially with, like the Mukogawa University connection and things like that.

ET: Well, okay, let me give you something else. When I came to Spokane, I visited many parks and different gardens and things like that. They have one that's called Duncan Garden, it's a European garden, and it's beautiful. I mean, you know, I looked at it and I said, "You know, I gotta have Japanese garden someday." So when we become sister city with Nishinomiya, it's naturally kind of a chance for, for me to establish Japanese garden here and call it the Nishinomiya Garden. And eventually it was changed to Spokane Nishinomiya Garden, they give that kind of a sister city feeling to that garden. And we started building that about 1965, '64, '65, and completed in 1974 in time for Expo. And when it opened, we had several people came from Japan and looked at it and said, "You have Japanese garden." I said, "What are you talking about?" They said, "Well, the rest of 'em are American Japanese garden, but you have a Japanese..." [laughs] that was a compliment. I tell you, I couldn't believe it. And one of 'em became prime minister of Japan, Hata Tsutomu. He said that, "I got two niwashi," that means Japanese garden specialist, designer, and, "I want them to see it." So he, that's Tom's fairly close friend, Tom Foley, and so they came and I showed them the garden. And those two guys called up all my help to learn how to trim trees and oh, gosh.

TI: So how did, how did you create a traditional Japanese garden? I mean, what expertise, or what --

ET: Well, actually, what happened was, for promotion, what I drew up to promote, didn't look anything like Japanese garden, it was more like a Chinese building and a garden around. But the garden itself maybe was Japanese, but then that building was certainly not Japanese at all. So Kubota, Tak Kubota, Seattle, he's a pretty good friend of mine. And I talked to him and said, Tak said, "I got a guy really help you." "Well, how can I afford it?" "Well," he said, "Why don't you talk to him first, and then..." so his name is Nagao Sakurai, Sakurai Nagao. And he's the one that built the Kubota Garden waterfall, beautiful. So I showed him this, he kind of smiled and said, "Well, you've got the waterfall, and it looks like, but then that's the secondary." So I didn't know just exactly where I should put that. Well, he stayed about two weeks with me, and he drew up plan after seeing this place, and I could take any section and I'd make a garden drawing out of it. He couldn't believe it. And so someday I'd like to show you what it is. It's supposed to be here, but I don't know where it is now, my original drawing of it. That was way before the garden was finished, but it's, now it's finished, it looks just like it. So that's the guy that we give credit to, and he is the one that actually built, designed and built the Imperial Palace Garden, it's a brand-new one.

TI: I'm sorry, the Sakurai...

ET: Sakurai Nagao. His background was he was a Tokyo University graduate, and the first, well, they called it teienka, that means Japanese garden, as a major at the garden, he was the first graduate of that.

TI: That's a good story.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

TI: We just have a few minutes, and so I want to see if there's anything else you want to talk about. We haven't talked about how you established the college...

ET: You know, I should bring you this current issue of Spokane Magazine. They took my picture, and this is not about the past or anything, it just kind of tells you what I feel about Spokane and what I, and who has helped me. It's got everything on it, I think it's probably add to your thing, Neil Fosseen's name on it. Keith's name is not on it, because he was a healthy guy when this publication came out.

TI: But we got quite a bit about Keith in this interview.

ET: Yeah, I think nowadays he's gone, of course, I'd like to give him a lot more credit. No one knew about him, yeah, so... well, his wife knew, but then she wouldn't say anything. But if I add more to it, to me, Spokane community is very generous, as far as I was concerned. I could forget about any bad feeling I got from people, I will discount that because there were so many good people in town. And I became much more understanding of what is a community, and community is made up of different, of course, ethnic minorities to quite a major people. But we should get along, and in order to do that, we should learn more about other people's things. I think I created the garden with that in mind, and sister city program or bringing in Mukogawa, any of these things is adding Spokane, a dimension that we didn't have before. And that gives you that much more depth and so-called multicultural society. And not only you should know your own sort of heritage and do your... the thorough, of course, the study of your heritage, you also should know about somebody else's. And instead of treating this as a competition, there is no competition among these things here. We share everything, and that is something that I told the community over and over and over. Now, we have a group called Ohana, which includes all these ethnic groups, and it's a very good organization, and they look to me as kind of like a senior advisor of the city. It's a real gratifying thing, but I don't really try and change their mind. They could do that themselves.

TI: Good. Well, I think Spokane is incredibly lucky that they've had you for all these years.

ET: But I think I, I think I don't know that for sure, but I'm getting a lot of recognitions and things like that. But I always kind of repeating the same thing: it's really, I don't understand. I've done everything I enjoy, why am I getting all these accolades? And it was really amazing that I guess this is, really teaches you, this is what I talk about in this magazine more than anything. And bringing Mukogawa, I want Mukogawa to really know Spokane, it's very important. But it's not doing that well, so they're just completely changing all the people from Japan. I don't know why they're doing it, I know the guy is seventy-two and he's, he's retired. Well, heck, I'm eighty-five, so I should have been retired long ago. But I've retired, but they call me back, and said, "Would you stay a few more months to help us out?" and that was five years ago. [Laughs] So, amazing.

TI: Well, I'm sure that's a testament to you, your work, your connections.

ET: Well, I think it's Spokane, really. This is why I want them to know the Spokane. But I really look toward Seattle, Olympia, different places. Some of the other people like Korean came, so I suggested, "I could find you eventually, but it may take some time." But he ran into this particular thing near Olympia, and our place is about a... seventy-two plus fourteen, it's about 86 acres and about forty buildings. And theirs was 125 acres, just land only, but it's beautiful. It's got good scenery and everything else. And I told him, "If I were you, I'll buy this one right here." So that's where they established.

TI: So you can create like another, kind of, Mukogawa, or what would you do?

ET: Yeah, that's exactly the same as Mukogawa. It's a Korean ESL school, English as a Second...

TI: So your vision is to have different communities create similar...

ET: Yeah. Right now, I'm in kind of an advisory group for economic development here, and also I created the International Trade Alliance. It's a big group now, and a very active group, and tried to go overseas to open little more market. We don't have anything to sell here. Anything we have will be still very highly competitive thing. Two things we have, and I'm going to be talking about that next week, but one is a medical technique. Now, Spokane is amazing place, now, we do have cancer research from the University of Washington, we do have an excellent transplant program, heart, any organ transplant here in town. And the head doctor, his name is Timothy Isonaga, he's well-known, they built the Heart Institute for his type of work. And we established kind of a sister city program with the physicians of Spokane and physicians of Nishinomiya, Japan, because my old Hosam Sato was the chairman of sister city, and he was the chairman of the medical association in Nishinomiya.

TI: So you said two, so medical is one, what's the...

ET: Medical is one, other one is this education of foreign students. Now, we have, we used to have about two hundred foreign students. We have probably about fifteen hundred students after we started our school here. So it's very successful people, go from ESL, which is English as a Second Language preparatory school, to main line college education.

TI: So that's interesting. So those, those two areas, you think, are areas that you can track, essentially, business and commerce, too, in Spokane.

ET: Well, only other one that I know of around here -- well, there are two or three possible facilities within Washington. One is Bellevue, one is north of Seattle area, and Olympia, yeah, and then Walla Walla area. There are some of the other ones, but Spokane was ready-made, I think. It was a Catholic women's university there, Fort Wright campus, it used to be Holy Names. So Holy Names Sisters had that place, and I used to help them as a volunteer. And when the student come, you know, and we brought from our, kind of a trial group, it was a university, Mukogawa Women's University. They send the students one summer, and that's what really impressed a few people. There were some Japanese, that they thought that this should be out, so they just took the thing over to, I think northern Oregon somewhere, and they ran it one year, it was disappointing. So they called me up --

TI: So that's interesting. So it's a combination, not only the contacts to get them here, but how you did it made a difference.

ET: Uh-huh. Yeah, I think you probably have to do a lot more than just know the institution. I got to know probably the school way back, and going back in history, I think my uncle lived, that's where I lived, just, gosh, about two hundred meters from the Mukogawa Women's University, which wasn't established when I left Japan.

TI: So it's amazing how something -- this is when you were five -- so eighty years ago almost, that these connections all are made.

ET: Yeah, I think so. I think particularly when I left, it was 1936. 1939, school was established, 1939. That's, what?

TI: That's sixty-seven years?

ET: So they invited us to sixtieth, sixty-fifth, you know, anniversary. So I belong to, right, the Mukogawa community of education.

TI: Well, I think that's a good way to end the interview, because I know you have to go.

ET: Yeah, okay.

TI: So Ed, thank you so much for taking the time.

ET: Thank you, thank you.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.