Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Larry "Shorty" Kazumura Interview
Narrator: Larry "Shorty" Kazumura
Interviewers: Megan Asaka (primary); Paul Murakami (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 20, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-klarry-01

<Begin Segment 1>

MA: Okay, today is Wednesday, December 20, 2006, and we're here at the Densho office in Seattle. Today we will be interviewing Larry Kazumura, who is also known as "Shorty." My name is Megan Asaka and my co-interviewer is Paul Murakami. So, Larry, I wanted to start by asking you, when were you born?

LK: When I was born? (November) 7, 1920.

MA: And where were you born?

LK: 19', yeah, 1920.

MA: Where were you born?

LK: Well, this is called... well, it's Mountain View, but where we -- I was born in Mountain View, but where we lived is called O-L-A-A, Ola'a. That's the way they pronounce it, Ola'a. That's one 'A' instead of double 'E'.

MA: What island was this?

LK: That's Hawaii, and it's, usually call it Hilo, H-I-L-O.

MA: And let's talk about your, your parents, your mom and dad. Where were they from in Japan?

LK: Hiroshima.

MA: And do you know why they came to Hawaii?

LK: Well, at the time, they were looking for workers in the plantation. But you know, actually, lot of them didn't work in the plantation. They looked for their own job, you know? So my dad went to a place called Maui -- that's another small island, M-A-U-I. Anyway, he started raising milking cow, not the eating cow. So... and the place called Haina... yeah, Haina. Anyway, but funny thing is, Dad was looking for a bigger place to raise the cow, so he came to Hawaii. And what happened, they stole his cattle, all of them. So what happened is, he started working for a plantation called Baldwin. Anyway, then instead of... he became a jockey.

MA: So, Larry, so he raised cattle in Maui, and then he moved to Hawaii for more room, and then the cows were stolen, right?

LK: [Nods]

MA: So what, on the plantation that he worked on, what was the crop that was...

LK: Well, the plantation is called... well, actually, it's called Baldwin... I forget that name, anyway.

MA: What did they grow on this plantation?

LK: Sugar cane. Not pineapples, sugar cane, now. The pineapple came a little later. So everything else... yeah, when he left from Maui to Hawaii, he became a chef. And so he, you know, Hawaiians used to hire him -- you know those days, they get a little, what they called luau, or Hawaiian feast? Anyway, they hired him to cook for them. And so we used to help all the kids -- we had a lot of kids, anyway -- they helped Dad cook the, what they called, they called it kalua pig. You heard of kalua pig? Okay, kalua pig. So we started helping Dad with that. And then the church, church started having parties and stuff, and get-togethers, so Dad's volunteer. He don't charge them nothing, he just do it for 'em, you know. And so we help him, too. Anything they do, we used to help 'em. Anyway...

MA: Larry, you said that your dad also worked as a jockey?

LK: Yeah, my dad was a jockey. But what happened is his leg got caught between the railing, and tear his leg up. So now his jockey life is over. So that's when he left the island of Maui for Hawaii. He figured no life in the plantation, because he can't ride no horse no more. And I didn't think he wanted to work in a plantation, so he started moving to Hawaii, that's right. Then, well, at the time, he had a son from his first wife, so he had children from, a daughter and a son. And then he became my half brother. So in those days, you can't own a property, so my brother was sole owner of the property that Dad... and those island properties, they don't have no dirt. Only rock, now. That's why they call 'em AA rocks, lava. Anyway, it's a double-A rock. What happened is the... like papaya, you don't need no water, mango, banana. So then finally, my uncle have a place up in the mountain they call red dirt. Not black dirt, now. Where we live is black dirt. But my dad's property don't have no dirt, no dirt at all, now. What they call the cinders. You heard of cinders? Anyway...

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

<Begin Segment 2>

MA: So, Larry, your father was married and had one son when he moved to Hawaii, to the Big Island?

LK: Yeah. Well, his wife didn't like Hawaii, so he take his daughter, her daughter, and she was no relation to me. Anyway, so, but my brother was. Dad was his real father. Anyway, so the mother and daughter moved to Japan, so then I don't know what happened, but he called my mother. And now, all that family is related.

MA: You mean your mother and father?

LK: My mother and father is related. So all my, all the children got small. [Laughs]

MA: Did your mother also work?

LK: Huh?

MA: Did your mother work?

LK: Work? Never. With all the kids? No, Mom didn't work. One, not, she raised vegetables. That's how I was born. Now, she was raising daikon. You heard of daikon? Okay. She was raising daikon, and Mom was pulling the daikon and I guess she pulled too hard, so here I came. [Laughs] And then, anyway, but that's what they told me.

MA: Well, let's talk about your family, because you have a lot of siblings. How many, how many brothers and sisters did you have?

LK: Well, let's see. Tadao, half brother. Mike, Ray... me -- no, no.

MA: Masami?

LK: Masami. Me, now, what's unusual is, he and I was born in the same year; he's February and I'm November. So I'm premature, way premature. So finally, we didn't know that, that we was born in the same year. And finally we figured it out, we said, "There's no record of my brother," and then I said, then somebody told me, they came out with February. So then I know that I was premature, so...

MA: What about your other brothers?

LK: And I got... from me, it went to Masao, Mitsuru, and Hajime. Now, that's a funny thing. He's the last one, and he's, the name is Hajime, it's the first name. So now, then my, after that my sisters came. I've got Asako, Hanako, Shizuko...

MA: Is it Sue?

LK: Well, the next one died. So... what's her name?

MA: Did she die in, as a child?

LK: She's what you call premature. Anyway, then... [laughs]

MA: Was it Sue?

LK: See, now, my next sister is...

MA: Larry, that's okay. So, how many, how many total were there? Was it fourteen?

LK: Well, yeah about that. How many boys did I have, and how many... I have six, six sisters.

MA: I think eight brothers, or eight boys, six girls.

LK: How many boys?

MA: Eight.

LK: Eight, okay.

MA: Eight boys.

LK: About right, eight. I always thought it was nine. [Laughs] Anyway, okay, eight. Yeah, if we include me, yeah. Anyway... that's it.

MA: How did all of your siblings get along?

LK: Huh?

MA: How did you all get along with each other?

LK: Get along? Oh, fine. You know, all my, even my children amaze me. We're always get together. That's like now Christmas, we always get together. I mean, they come from California and Chicago, but then see, now, what happened is on Thanksgiving, my youngest daughter always come up with the Thanksgiving dinner. And you know, my daughters never cook, never cook. I don't know where my young daughter learned how to cook. [Laughs] But she always baked the turkey.

MA: Larry, let's talk about your brothers and sisters. How big was your house, and where did you all sleep?

LK: Well, let's see now. One, two, three, four, five... seven rooms. But what we'd do, we don't live in the room. We live in the living room. And what you call the mat is a tree, they call it Hawaiian, lauhala. That's the leaf that they cook to make the mattress, and that's what we live on. And amazingly, it's warm. Well, Hawaii's always warm anyway. We never closed the window. Anyway, it's warm. So not only that now, my neighbor got nine children, and they all lived with us.

MA: Why did they all live with you?

LK: They're building a house next to ours, so before they get it fixed, built, all the brothers and sisters... there were four girls, one, two, three, four... yeah, five boys, so nine children. So they all lived with us, amazingly. [Laughs] And you heard of okala? Tofu no katsu? No, huh? That lady always make us kids, always that. It's real good stuff. And that's good for you on cancer, you know? [Laughs]

MA: Larry, what were the meals like with all of those kids?

LK: Interesting. I mean interesting. We never -- well, we fight, we fight. Yeah, we fight. But you know what happened? Every time when we fight, my oldest brother, he used to lock us up in a box. I mean, that's a big crate now. And lock us up in the, nail the cover up and that's it. So you know, when I was a kid, I was a boxer. Well, my cousin now, they are professional boxers. So, so I start following them. [Laughs]

MA: Where did you go to box?

LK: Huh?

MA: Where would you box?

LK: Box?

MA: Where?

LK: We used to call it... well, they used to have a gym for us, and that's where we used to... yeah, but actually, my, yeah, my cousin and I, he's a judo. And I was kendo. You ever heard of kendo? Okay, I'm kendo and he's judo. So that's why when I went to Japanese language school, I went to ninth grade. And that's when we, what do you call, started learning about sports and stuff. Japanese... yeah, judo and kendo.

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

<Begin Segment 3>

MA: So, Larry, you went to Japanese language school for nine years?

LK: Nine years.

MA: Was the school near your house?

LK: Well, yeah, language school is near from my place, but from English school to grade, language school is three miles. So that's what helped me when I went in the service, because every day from grade school to language school, I run on the, they used to have a railroad track. Now, the railroad track, we used to pace my running. Then to strengthen up my legs, I run in the beach. It's all sand now, soft sand, it sinks. It's not solid sand, it sinks. Anyway, so all the time I was... what do you call it, going to graduate language school -- not only that now -- from the language school to home, there's a park, a baseball park. But now, in that baseball park, it's a horse track. The horse runs around one, one mile. So that I used run, twelve miles a night. Five o'clock.

MA: How long would it take you to run the twelve miles?

LK: I don't know. But anyway -- [laughs] -- it wasn't too long. Anyway, every night, I used to run twelve miles. And then, if I make the twelve miles, I'll go home. Now, to top off that, Dad was raising chickens, okay. So we all had our projects when we were kids. Me, I was chicken. See, my next brother used to have a rabbit, next one had a goldfish, and next one had a pig, a duck, and geese. So we always had -- and then my youngest one used to mow the lawn, so we always had a project. So my major project was chicken, and my minor project was sugar cane. So then when that was under the FFA.

MA: What did you have to do with the chickens?

LK: Huh?

MA: What did you have to do with the chickens?

LK: Sell the eggs. So now, that's how I got strong, because chicken feed weighs hundred pound. And imagine that, I used to carry one here, one here, that's two hundred pound on my shoulders. And I can't believe it. [Laughs] So then I had a friend, he's a professional, and he's a weightlifter. And you know, he can -- I think fertilizer weigh 120 pounds, he used to carry that thing over the, you know that, what do you call, boxcar on the train? He carried it over the boxcar. Amazing. And you know that nail, spike? He'd pound that with his hands. Amazing. And you know telephone book? He's just tear 'em apart. So he and I, we used to be nice, I mean, good friend, and so... that's the life, yeah.

MA: So it sounds like you got pretty strong from carrying the, the bags.

LK: Yeah. So when I went in the service, that all helped me. I was surprised that a lot of people couldn't carry the duffel bag. And my daughter carried the duffel bag. She's only four-feet-eight. Four-feet-eight, and she'd carry the duffel bag. And then she trained, what you call, obstacle course and stuff, same as the soldiers. So I can't, I wasn't surprised. Even my wife is four-feet-five, and she used to carry two shopping bags. [Laughs] So I don't know. I guess, amazing family. [Laughs]

MA: Larry, you said you also worked with sugar cane?

LK: Yeah.

MA: What did you do with the sugar cane?

LK: Well, we used to call that... well, we used to weed it, you know. So yeah, we used to hoe, they used to, they called it "hoe hana." Anyway, we had so many rows to complete, and see now, Hawaii is so hot, so everybody wanted to get home before two o'clock, so we always help each other out. Weed all the bad grass, so we can go home early. Otherwise, you know, that sugar cane leaf now, that's, cut your arm. So if we, if the sun hits you, I mean, it hurts. It hurts. So we always help all the slowpokes, you know. And amazingly, the mule is a stubborn thing, isn't it? But when it comes to going home, he know when to go home. Now, if they say two o'clock, he go home two o'clock.

MA: And this was on the plantation, the sugar cane plantation?

LK: Yeah. Yeah, that's another -- in the country, at least. So Dad used to take us, what do you call, to the plantation, so...

MA: Were the workers on the plantation all Japanese people?

LK: No, we got Filipinos, Chinese, no, all, oh, we used to have a lot of kids. Well, actually, it's a school project. That school is... yeah, all the schoolkids help each other out. This is what you call combination, that project is all combined about getting a job down. See, because if you're slow, I mean, they're slow one. So we always help the slow ones, you know. So every one of them go home a certain time, and that's what we do; we always help somebody out, so we go home let's say about eleven o'clock. See, now, we work, work about five o'clock in the morning. Actually, we're not supposed to, we work six o'clock, but we work five o'clock in the morning so we can go home early. So we all agreed that we want to go home early, so we worked early, and nobody grumbled about it.

MA: How long were your, you worked from five in the morning until when?

LK: Huh?

MA: You worked from five in the morning until what time?

LK: Eleven o'clock.

MA: Eleven? And then did you go to school after that?

LK: Yeah. But that is, all the plantation is during the summertime, you know, when school is out. Yeah. We never worked school days, always -- not only that, yeah, that's right. Like Saturday and Sunday, yeah, when school is out, we work.

MA: I see. So in the summertime, you worked on the plantation.

LK: Then, yeah, when we get that school vacation, yeah. That's when we'd, actually worked when the... school vacation.

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

<Begin Segment 4>

MA: So, let's talk about your regular, your English school. How many years did you go to school?

LK: School? That's why I said, I only go to ninth grade. I didn't finish high school.

MA: Why, why is that?

LK: Huh?

MA: Why, why didn't you finish?

LK: Why is that? That's what I'd like to know why, because all my sisters and brothers graduated high school. And that's why I came out with the "black sheep," see, because how come -- and not only that, now -- I'm born in America, isn't it? And I'm not a citizen. I'm not a citizen.

MA: Were you a Japanese citizen?

LK: I was a, what you call dual citizen. Why is that? Now, I don't know. Just me, now. All my other brothers and sisters are citizens. But why not me? It's amazing, isn't it? [Laughs]

MA: So, what did you do when you quit school?

LK: Quit school? I went to work at a service station. I used to work 'til eleven o'clock at night to help my family, raise my family. Because all the rest are going school and I'm not. And that is, all of them was going school, now, and not me. I don't know why, not me. So I came out with the "black sheep." [Laughs]

PM: Larry, I'm curious about that. Did your father ask you not to go to school at the ninth grade? Your father told you to go to work?

LK: My father?

PM: Yes, is that why you only went to the ninth grade?

LK: Well, my dad is working, but in those days, Chinese used to call that sampan. You ever heard of a sampan? This type of boat? Well, this is not a boat, it's a bus. Now, all my friends, Dad used to take 'em on the sampan bus. Free, now, we don't charge nobody. All the kids go to high school, grade school, Dad used to take 'em on the -- and you go twenty miles. My sister said, "How come he only charge five cents to go twenty miles?" I said, he could, she couldn't believe it. That's what Dad used to charge, five cents. And that's what they called the bus, "Five-cents bus." Amazing. Twenty miles for five cents. [Laughs] And me, I never took the bus. I used to run to school. Morning, going to school, and going, going to language school, always run. So think about it; it really helped me in my life. I wasn't worried about that.

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

<Begin Segment 5>

MA: So after you, you left school, you worked at the service station?

LK: Yeah.

MA: What types of things did you do?

LK: Huh?

MA: What did you do at the service station?

LK: Service station? Now, I fixed car, I fixed tires, beside gassing up the car.

MA: Did many people have cars?

LK: Huh?

MA: Did many people have cars back then?

LK: Oh, yeah. You have to have cars there. [Laughs] Nobody's like me, man. You have to get car. I mean, not only that, all the young boys get car, too. But, you know, Dad used to have, you have heard of a Model A -- no, Model T Ford? You heard of that? Okay, Dad used to have one, and you know my crazy brother? He goes to sell that car to get a jeep, army jeep. And how the heck he -- and a lawyer bought that car, now. How can a lawyer buy a car when my brother don't own a car -- I mean, yeah, he's not old enough to own a car. And yeah, he sold the car to the lawyer.

MA: Was your dad pretty mad?

LK: Huh?

MA: Was your dad upset?

LK: What?

MA: Was your dad pretty mad that he sold his car?

LK: My dad? No.

MA: So, Larry, what religion did your family practice?

LK: My religion is Buddhist, but I'm a non-sectarian.

MA: Why is that?

LK: I never believe in God. I still don't. But all my children believe in it. So I always took -- you know that Faith Bible Church? That's where my, all my family used to go. And so what happened is, now, see, I'm deaf, huh? So I never -- no, not only that, I snore, snore in church. So it's embarrassing, so I don't go church. But all my family goes, so every time when the, it's over, I pick them up and take 'em home.

MA: So when you were a kid, though, your family was Buddhist?

LK: So, my, you know my daughters all got married, going through the husband, that goes to church. And that's, even my niece is getting married to a guy going to church in California, so all my daughters got married to people that goes to church. So... yeah. [Laughs] Then only that, none of my daughters cook. They don't cook. But you know my wife is, she's... just like... what do you call, Auntie Kachi, just like that. I don't know if you teach your daughter to cook, but that's what my -- now, anything my wife cook, the children have to okay it. If they don't, she just throws the recipe away, you know. So she never teach the kids any, how to cook. So my daughters never learned how to cook.

PM: Did you learn to cook as a child? Did your mother teach you to cook?

LK: Huh?

PM: Did your mother teach you and the boys to cook?

LK: Me? Yeah, I used to cook my own, before I got married. But after my wife started cooking, I never -- well, I still, yeah. So even now, I cook my own because I'm living by myself... well, my daughter lives with me, but she never cooks for me. And actually that, she always like TV dinner. [Laughs]

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

<Begin Segment 6>

PM: Okay, Larry, now what we want to talk to you about is your military experience, and just before the war broke out. So, can you hear me? Okay. So I want to know what you were doing just before the war broke out. I understand you were --

LK: Before the war?

PM: Yeah, just before the war.

LK: You ever heard of a CCC camp?

PM: No.

LK: That's a Civilian Conservation Corps.

PM: Yes.

LK: That Roosevelt, you know, started for young kids like us that go in, I mean, going school and no work. So that's what I was doing.

PM: What were you actually, what were you doing? I mean, what kind of work were you doing?

LK: Well, this is all manual now, all pick and shovel. Pick and shovel, now, and your back hurts. Man, your back hurts.

PM: Where were you working? Where in Hawaii were you working?

LK: That's, we was working for the rangers.

PM: The... what rangers?

LK: Park rangers, National Park rangers. That's what you call... anyways, federal, controlled by the federal government. Anyway... yeah. See, now, what we do is make highways. That is not paved highways, but what you call trail... yeah. It's a crude highway, not a paved highway. But you know where all the, they want rangers to go in the forest? That's what we do. We make a -- then you see the, you ever heard of earthquake and stuff like that? Well, when the... did you know that part of the road can just fall apart? Just open up and sank. That's what we do, we covered it up so cars can go through. That's what we do.

PM: How long did you work for the CCC?

LK: Well, let's see now... three years.

PM: And then where did you go after CCC?

LK: That's when I went to go join the -- oh, no, no, I went, moved to Honolulu and worked for Pearl Harbor.

PM: So tell me about that.

LK: So, yeah, now, to get in the -- that's when the trouble started. I wasn't a citizen then; I was a dual citizen. So now I want to go to the consulate, and then applied for citizenship, and they gave me a citizenship. So I applied a job at Pearl Harbor, and then, see, now, I'm a oiler on a crane and bulldozer. So that's how, when the war started, I work on the crane and the bulldozer. They both, yeah, we hauled the lumber, and then the bulldozer dug the, what do you call... ditch, I mean, trench for the coffin, you know. That's how, it's happening when I -- that's why I have to work little longer than lot of people, because that was my job.

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

<Begin Segment 7>

PM: So could you, could you describe, as a young kid, what it was like when Pearl Harbor was being attacked?

LK: Well, you know when... we used to haul lumber to another island. So when we was waiting for the lumber, that's when the Japanese plane came right, right over us, now, right over us. I mean so close, so close. And then started torpedoing the... yeah, there was a hospital ship. They even hit the hospital ship, now. Amazing, huh? I don't know how they do that. I thought the Geneva Conference, just like medics and stuff. Not supposed to shoot the medics, but the Germans was doing that.

PM: So how long did the, what were you doing during the attack? Were you just watching or were you taking cover?

LK: Yeah, we just was just watching, that's all. Can't do nothing. Then they started kicking us out. All the Japanese are all, kick out from Pearl Harbor. But when I got to the gate, the boss came and picked me up, he said, "You're not going home." You know, the rest of them, you know, the [inaudible], I didn't have to do that. I went back to the, what do you call, company, and they, the boss said, "You know, you got job to do." I said, "Why?" Said, "You don't want me." Said, "No, I want you, you're working overtime." [Laughs] I said, "What?" He said, "You have to go pick up the dead bodies." I said, "Oh, no," I said. And you know, actually, we have to pick it in the water now. The article was on the boat, but we never go in the boat now, we always pick in the -- and you know all the bodies all was burning in that hot oil. It was all burned from oil now, hot oil. And so that's when I started getting sick, you know. I mean, those cooked bodies.

PM: Cooked, cooked bodies, or burned bodies.

LK: Yeah, all burned, you know. Whatever, I don't know what you call it. Anyway, it's all burned, burned from the hot oil.

PM: How did you, how did you pick up the bodies?

LK: I just picked 'em in the water...

PM: Just grabbed 'em and picked 'em up?

LK: Yup. Arm here, head here, whatever. Put 'em in a box.

PM: Put 'em in coffins?

LK: Yeah, I have to nail that up, too. That's why the lumber that we was hauling, we made 'em into a coffin. All the wood we was -- so we was lucky because we had the wood right there to make a coffin.

PM: So you were the only Japanese American on the base at the time?

LK: Yeah.

PM: Only Japanese on the --

LK: Yeah, I'm the only Japanese, yeah.

PM: Do you know why they picked you to stay and pick up the bodies?

LK: I don't know. That's a good question. All the rest of them are all taken out from the, what do you call it, area, you know?

PM: And how long did you do that? How many, how many days did you pick up the bodies?

LK: Well, not, just one night and things. Yeah, because we, we did pretty good job about it.

PM: And what, where did they put all the coffins? What did you do with all the coffins?

LK: Coffin? Yeah, we... actually, it's about six by two, anyway, it's not a big coffin. Well, yeah, I guess some were big, there were, some of them were big, yeah, so we had to make a regular big coffin, yeah. That's right. Some of them were tall.

PM: And did you bury them? Did you bury the coffins?

LK: Yeah, that's when I, what do you call... yeah, the crane took the coffins to the ditch that the tractor dug, you know. So we both, the crane and the tractor went to what they called a red hill. It's all red dirt, nothing but red dirt now. Ever seen red dirt? Anyway, that's what... so they called it red -- and you know, that's where the ammunition dump, they called it. All the ammunition was hidden in the hill, you know. That's like Diamond Head. Diamond Head is, that's where they hide all the ammunition, you know, Diamond Head. Anyway, so...

PM: So after, after you picked up the bodies, you said you got sick.

LK: Yeah, we, we did a pretty good job, so they sent us home. I didn't have to come back.

PM: But you, you were sick. You were sick from the, all the oil?

LK: Yeah, I didn't like the cooked bodies, you know. Just like war, too, when especially the tankers, you know, that army tanks? Soldiers die in the, they're cooking in their tank, you know. I don't know if you know anything about that, but that's what's terrible. I mean people are, soldiers are cooked in the tank. Just like the navy was cooked in the water, you know.

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

<Begin Segment 8>

PM: So then how did you decide to enlist in the army?

LK: Huh?

PM: How did you decide to enlist in the army? What made you volunteer?

LK: The war?

PM: Into the war, yes.

LK: See, now, that's what I said, I was a boxer. And my two friends are professional boxers, and they was in another island on maneuvers. That's when the Japanese plane hit 'em and killed 'em, killed all my friends, two of my friends, now. So I was so mad, I didn't know what, and I said, "Hell with it, I'm going to join the army. I want to beat up a Japanese." So I joined the army. And then the boss said, "Are you crazy?" I didn't know at the time I was so short, or anything about being short. I just say, "I want to join the army," and that's what it is. [Laughs] I didn't know I was that short. [Laughs]

PM: So what did your mother and father think about you volunteering for the service?

LK: I didn't have no mother and father.

PM: Did they pass away?

LK: I was with my brother, my oldest brother. I wasn't living in Honolulu. My mother and father were dead, and... yeah.

PM: What did your brother --

LK: Oh, wait, no, no, no. Mom lived to ninety-four, so she wasn't dead, man. Yeah, she was living in Hawaii, yeah. And my sister, yeah, it's my sister-in-law, but she used to be my sister, but she's married to my brother, so she became my sister-in-law. Anyway, hundred and three. So my niece said, "Hey, uncle Larry, you gonna live like Mom?" I said, "No, never." And said, "Don't say that, you're gonna live a hundred and three." [Laughs] I said, "No." But think about it now, gee, I might live that long. That's if Kachi can keep taking my smelt. [Laughs]

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

<Begin Segment 9>

PM: So tell me about your, your attempt to enlist. Tell me about how you enlisted. You went to the recruitment office?

LK: Huh?

PM: You went to the recruitment office to join the army?

LK: Yeah.

PM: And what did they say?

LK: When I joined the army?

PM: Yes.

LK: Well, you know, actually, when I joined the army, everybody said I'm too short, too short. And I never think about it. Even the captain didn't think about it. He said, "You know, Larry, I'm not going to send you home." And now I just got a Christmas card from my colonel. He said, "You know, I was gonna send you home from camp." See, he was a lieutenant then. Bert Nishimura. And, oh, he's the guy that wrote me that, "You know, my officer in Honolulu's Schofield Barracks found out that you was too short." I don't know how come anybody found out that I'm too short. Nobody knows that. I mean, nobody knows besides the captain. And when he told me that, he said, "You know, if I was... I'd send you home." And then, then yesterday I got a Christmas card, he said, "You know, lucky I didn't send you home." He said, "All my friends said, 'You know, I didn't know Larry was so short.'" [Laughs] I said, I knew that I'm so short. "Well," he said, "that's what everybody said." So he said, "I'm glad that I didn't send you home." So...

PM: So what did the army, army has you listed at what height?

LK: Huh?

PM: Army has you listed at what height?

LK: Five-feet-eight.

PM: And what --

LK: See, that's why I got in the service. Otherwise, I couldn't get in there. Even at five feet I couldn't get in there. And that's what my original record shows, that I'm five feet.

PM: How tall are you? How tall did you think --

LK: Four feet nine-and-a-half. [Laughs] Right now, I'm four feet nine-and-a-half. But my shoes got bigger.

PM: What size are your shoes, by the way?

LK: Now, I got size five.

PM: What size were they when you were in the service?

LK: See, what happened is -- yeah, size five now. But I wear two socks.

PM: When you were in the service, what size were your shoes?

LK: Size eight.

PM: That's the size that they give you, size boot they give you.

LK: That's the size they gave me during the... now, my pants was up to my head. My sleeve was to the floor. That's how long my sleeve was, to the floor. So what I do, you know, I tuck this, tuck it in. And now, when we first went in the service, they called that leggings. That you wrap around. So that's why nobody knows that I had long pants, because I tuck it in.

PM: So Larry, what size were your feet back in the service?

LK: Huh?

PM: What size were your actual feet back in the service, when you were in the military?

LK: My feet?

PM: Yes.

LK: That's always, two-and-a-half triple E. That's my original size when I went in the service.

PM: But you had to wear size eight boots.

LK: So, and then I used to use size eight, and talk about newspapers, I'd stuff 'em, put 'em in there. You know how space is when you get an eight, size eight. [Laughs]

MA: Larry, how did you actually, why was your height listed as 5'8"? How did you actually get past that?

LK: What happened is my record got burned. All my record got burned. You know Kashino, and my record, letter K, all burned. I mean, completely burned. So my record is all gone now. I don't have no record.

MA: So, but when you went down to the recruitment office, why did they write down your height as 5'8" in the first place?

LK: That's what I'd like to know why. You know what -- oh, we found that out. We got a micro-, yeah, microscope, and look in that thing, and the burned record, and that's how we find out it's a eight instead of a three. We look at all the threes, and we look at the eight, and zero, and my original record is 0, not eight. But how the heck it came out eight, that's what we found out, and that's why the Stars and Stripes said I can't enter this picture in the Stars and Stripes, "because you're not that short." That is three days after I went in the service, now. How can that be? They didn't have no record back, say I was that short, I don't know. Anyway -- [laughs] -- it came out that way. And I said, so the reporter from Stars and Stripes said, "Sorry, no picture." And you know what? We found that picture in sixty years, San Francisco presidio. That's where the army personnel record is. And then my friend Lyn Crost found that out in -- that's right, you know your article and the picture, that nice, not the big one but the small one? How come... I asked Kubota, he's a photographer like you. Anyway, he asked, I asked him, "Why can't you take a picture like that?" How did you get a small picture like that? From the camera? Camera or computer?

PM: Computer.

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

<Begin Segment 10>

PM: Okay, Larry, so after you were, you enlisted, you went to Camp Shelby. Could you tell me about your experience in Camp Shelby?

LK: Yeah, well, we was all, got in the company alphabetically. See, like K, I. So we got in the 2nd, 2nd Platoon. I was in the 2nd Platoon, and so... about a week, we went into a night project. What happened is, wanted to go out, we thought someone should find a way home to camp, and that was, I was good at. So finally the captain find out that, "How come Larry know how to get back to camp at night?" So that's how come first scout. And you know what? I got promoted to PFC right after that. I was the first guy to get promoted, promoted to private first class. Anyway, so now, all my life, I was... so anyplace that we go, we never been, Captain Byrne and I, we go, two of us. I don't know why Captain Byrne, he's so tall, and I'm afraid that they might shoot him, you know. [Laughs] He's never, he's never afraid of that. I can't understand that. That's why when he was next to me when Kreskowsky got hurt -- next to me, now -- he didn't even get one scratch. And me, I'm getting hit here, I'm getting here, I get a broken jaw and I got hit on the head. Now, how come all that when I'm so short and he's so tall, and next to me now? Amazing, huh? That's why somebody told me, Hashimoto is a soldier in the I Company, and for an Oriental, he's tall. Anyway, he never get a scratch. So amazingly, I do know, doesn't matter how tall you are. But to me, the Germans knew what we was doing. So now, back to Camp Shelby, I became a first scout. So I don't know what Captain think about that, but he was so happy about that. So I was surprised that when I came to camp, he said, "You're not going home." So I think that's something in his mind. [Laughs] But he didn't know at that time that, what kind of guy I was. But I didn't know myself, either.

PM: So describe, describe some of the maneuvers in Camp Shelby. What did you do, and did they...

LK: Yeah, and then every night, now, every night, now, we go eighteen miles hiking, every night. And you know, half the time I'm slipping and going in the ditch. [Laughs] I'm going in the ditch. And that's when everybody used to say, "Hey, get off your knees, Larry, get off your knees." Not that I was walking, but that's how it came out. "Get off your knees," because I'm slipping now, going through the ditch. [Laughs] I didn't know about that all the time, you know. Finally, it's not the walking part, it's that I'm going in the ditch so many times.

PM: Who was in your, who was in your unit at Camp Shelby?

LK: And then... well, we, first thing we do is calisthenics in the morning, early in the morning. We always do calisthenics about our leg. We always, and I learned how to march, like parades and stuff. So we always learned how to march. And then we used to call that forced march. Not walk, now, you run. Forced march. You run five miles every day, every day, to strengthen up our legs, so we walked five miles, I mean, run five miles. And those times, they don't call it walk, they called it run. But in the service, they called it "forced march" because you don't walk. So we used to run, so that's forced march. And five, yeah, five miles a day, every day, now, every day. Amazing. You know, we got strong. We got strong. So that's why we used to beat the white soldiers. You know, we went to a, I found an article, Tak Senzaki said, "You know, we went through an endurance test, and Larry passed the test." And I said, "Did I?" Said, "Yes, you did." You know, "You got 120 points or something like that." Good was 110, but we went 120. We, we used to beat the white soldiers, you know. Amazingly, after the endurance test, we have to do sit-up. And sit-up and push-up. I could go 110 push-ups, and so I was lucky on all the endurance tests because I passed that. The only thing I was mad at myself, because on the day that we were gonna go twenty-four miles walk, I got a toothache, so I couldn't go to the 24-mile hike, and I have to go to the dentist and pull my teeth out. Anyway, so that's the only thing that I'm sad that I didn't do. Otherwise, my history will be real nice if I went to the 24-mile hike.

PM: Larry, could you tell me who else was in the 2nd Platoon with you?

LK: Huh?

PM: Who else was in 2nd Platoon? Who was in your platoon at Camp Shelby?

LK: Platoon?

PM: Yeah.

LK: Oh, you know Kubota? Okay, he was my sergeant in my barracks, Kashino, Smitty Koga, Sus Kisaba, Fred Matsumura, and Sergeant Kinoshita, "Blackie." But amazingly, I didn't know that. He was shot in, before I got hurt. He got hurt in the throat, so he can't talk. So he was discharged early. Anyway, I had a good group; we all stick together. And anyway, Smitty is, he used to have a white girlfriend in Mississippi, Hattiesburg, and he always get drunk. So every morning when he comes to camp, he's drunk, I mean drunk. [Laughs] But we always help him out, so he wouldn't get into trouble. [Laughs]

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

<Begin Segment 11>

PM: Okay, so when you left Camp Shelby, where did you go?

LK: So then, then Camp Shelby?

PM: After Camp Shelby?

LK: Oh, after Camp Shelby, that's when we went to war. Yeah, we went, went to Virginia and from there we took a transport, and went to Naples. Yeah, we landed in Naples. And yeah, we stayed in Naples, then, then we went, finally we went to battle on the 24th, June 24th. So May... we left Camp Shelby in May? Anyway, we went first that waterfront, I mean, battlefront, June 24th. So...

PM: And that was in Naples?

LK: Huh?

PM: In Naples? Were you in Naples on June 24th?

LK: So when, after we went to -- our first battle was on the 24th, June 24th, it was Civitavecchia, you heard of that? Okay, we went there on the 24th, and then about, what, [inaudible] died? Because I died, I mean, I got hurt on the, on November 7th, so 24th through the 7th, whoa, that's real short. Anyway... and all that time, the Germans knew what we were doing. I didn't know at the time, but that's how, I find out that, how come we all got hurt in a bunch when they didn't know where... even I was surprised that when I first got hurt, I wasn't, I wouldn't say hurt, but I was in, unconscious. I was unconscious. That is, I'm going through the grapevine now. You know how tall that grapevine is? And how can the Germans see me in the grapevine? That's like five o'clock at night. Five o'clock at night, and they knew what I was doing. And now, where I'm going now, I've never even been there, and that's the battalion headquarters. See, now, the colonel came and he said, "Any volunteers to send to the 3rd Battalion headquarters?" Captain asked me, no question, I said, "Yup, I'm going," so I did. And all the time, they knew what I was doing. The Germans know, they knew what I was doing. How can they -- you know what, I was going by the farmhouse, and the Germans blew the farmhouse now, and [inaudible] hit me in the back. Now, in the army we call that haversack, that you carry shovel and pick in the bag. You know, for digging the foxhole. So final, that saved me. So when it hit that, I went up in the air now, so when I came down, I was out, completely out. I didn't know where I was. But when I got up, I don't know how I found the headquarters, and I did. But now I never remember what they told me. All this time, I never remember what they told me. So when I get back to Company, I didn't know what, so I didn't tell the captain nothing. But if I knew, I wouldn't let them go up in the front, because I knew the Germans were -- and you know what? The Germans was ready now, ready. You know the 3rd Platoon was leading the place, and the Germans was all lined up, lined up, now, ready to shoot us. Think about it now, but they didn't shoot us. See, now, when the, we was in the draw, they put us all the company into the draw. They want all us, so what happened is, yeah, headquarters and 1st Platoon. How come the 3rd Platoon, what happened to 3rd Platoon? Anyway, because Maekawa is 1st Platoon, Lieutenant Kreskowsky's 1st Platoon, so how come not 3rd Platoon? I mean, they was leaving, and how they bypass 3rd Platoon and hit 1st Platoon, because 2nd Platoon was on the side of the hill. Captain, I was, oh, I was next to Captain, but when Kreskowsky got hurt, I left Captain, went to Kreskowsky. And so now I find out that I don't know how my Bronze Star came out, it's Captain Byrne. He was next to me, and he's the officer wrote the citation for the bravery, you know.

PM: Larry, this was all on Hill --

LK: So had to be Captain Byrne, because Kreskowsky didn't know.

PM: This was on Hill 140?

LK: Huh?

PM: This is all on Hill 140, when you guys were headed to Leghorn, Italy.

LK: One week.

PM: Yeah, 140.

LK: That's what, we was in the morning, early in the morning, maybe about 6:30 or something. We went early now, we went early. Because after that night... anyway, we was there real short. I find out that one of the 100th battle, I didn't know it was the 100th, but to me, all the time they knew what we were doing. Amazingly, nobody knew, but I knew. That is, after, after I got hit, not before. I didn't know before. To me, I kept thinking and thinking, I said, "How can anything happen that the Germans knew?" So they knew all the time what we were doing. Just like "Lost Battalion." Now, they're on the hill, huh, and we're down below. So same thing, now, they knew what we was doing. And you know the Lost Battalion, too, the Germans knew anything what they was doing, so they was getting killed and killed and killed. Lost Battalion was getting, they had a battalion, but by the time they got through, only 211 or something was left, because the Germans knew all the time what they was doing. So when, when the "Banzai Hill" came out, Barney Hajiro, nothing bothered him. He's gonna go, he's gonna go. So that's what happened, you know. They knew, Germans knew, but we were, I don't know what... but anyway, so amazingly, they stunned the Germans, just like we stunned the Gothic Line, same thing. When you had them, went, took the Germans by surprise, it was same thing.

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

<Begin Segment 12>

PM: I want to go back to Hill 140, Larry. I wanted, could you tell me about how you saved the life of Lieutenant Kreskowsky?

LK: Oh, didn't you read the article?

PM: Yeah, Kreskowsky. Could you tell me --

LK: So then, that's what Captain Byrne saw, so he's the one that wrote the article about the bravery, because I didn't know nothing about the bravery. To me, I didn't do anything bravery, but Captain Byrne did. To him...

PM: So, what happened? What happened?

LK: Well, that's why, now, when Captain, I mean, Byrne, I mean, Kreskowsky, amazingly, this, that's not bone in here now. That's skin. [Gesturing to arm] And what it wrote was one-inch skin. That's what Captain Byrne wrote, that Kreskowsky had only one-inch skin left in it. So they amputated that to save his life, and I'm glad that I did something. Now, I remember that I saved his life, and so that's what [inaudible], that Captain Byrne wrote that article about the Bronze Star. I didn't know nothing about the Bronze Star.

PM: So you were, you were wounded already when Kreskowsky was wounded?

LK: Yeah, I was wounded already, to start with.

PM: Right.

LK: All of us was wounded already. Kreskowsky and I was wounded already, but I didn't know that. So what I did was what I saw, so I figured I had to do something, so I did.

PM: What did you do?

LK: So I give first aid to Kreskowsky, and all the time I didn't know I was saving somebody's life. I was just doing my job, and that's how it came out. Then, "Larry saved somebody." I said, "I didn't save somebody."

PM: And then you were wounded, you were wounded again.

LK: But Captain Byrne saw something that I didn't, and so he wrote it down in the Bronze Star. And only, see, only officer can write that, not anybody else but officer. And that's what happened, Byrne was right there next to me, so he saw everything what's going on.

PM: So what happened after you gave Kreskowsky first aid?

LK: Well, we was, oh, the medic came and picked me up, and we was leaving the place and according to the article, that Kreskowsky walked. First aid didn't pick him up, he walked. Anyway, so when he got to the aid station, see, you have to go aid station before you go to the 5th Evac. See, I went to the 5th Evac, that's what they called the field hospital. Then a... what do you call... a major, woman major, operated on me.

PM: Where were you, where were your wounds?

LK: All the hairs and stuff. So when they operated here -- [gestures to jaw] -- all the hairs went in there, too. So now you got pus, and it got infected. So now they have to re-operate it again, and take all the hairs out, you know. And then now, there was a shrapnel here embedded above my teeth. Now, the doctor said, "If you take that out, they're gonna cut your disability." I said, "Oh, no, you don't do that." I said, "Leave it in there." So they left it in there, so when I took all my teeth out, that thing fell out. See, but I didn't tell nobody that my teeth fell out. But you know, this, what they call that fifth nerve, now, the fifth nerve was shattered, so every winter, it got numb. I mean numb, you can't see with my right eye. Oh, it hurts, it hurts. Anyway, so now, that's what happened to all my disability. I couldn't claim it, because nothing on my record. There's no record that I'm wounded on my cheek or broken jaw, or my head. None, now, now. So when I applied for higher disability, I couldn't get it, because there's no record said that I was wounded.

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

<Begin Segment 13>

PM: I want to go back to, back to Italy. One of your close friends there was Captain Lawrence Byrne.

LK: My close friend?

PM: Yeah, close friend. He was 6 feet, 3 inches, and you looked after each other in combat.

LK: Oh, you mean Terumi Kato? Terumi, T-E-R-U-M-I, Kato. Anyway, he's the only guy that, after service, he always invites me to Honolulu, so I always go. So I was mad when I visit Honolulu and then they invited me for dinner, they didn't invite him. And now, you see, now, I'm hit on the head, huh, I don't remember I had a dinner. And you know Ken Okuma, he's that invited me, he's mad because I never thank him for the dinner. Now, how can I thank him because I don't remember? All these years, I never remember.

PM: I wanted to talk, I wanted to ask you about Lieutenant Byrne, Lawrence Byrne, your lieutenant, captain.

LK: Captain Byrne?

PM: Captain Byrne, he was a close friend of yours at Camp Shelby and through the war. Could you tell me about him?

LK: Yeah. So, you know what? After he died, then when I got married, my wife said, "You know, you should remember something what he did." And I said -- I didn't know that -- and I said, "Yeah, I should." So when we got married, she said, "You know, Larry, take his name, take his name." I said, "Why?" Said, "That's the legacy that always remind you what a person he was." So, see, now, his name was Lawrence, now, and mine is Kazumura. Now, they are too long, so she said, "Why don't you cut it short?" And that's how my name Larry came out. So when we got married, that came our history, so it came Larry.

PM: How did you and Captain Byrne become such close friends?

LK: Well, that's how we worked together. See, any time when we go to new area, he always picked me. [Laughs] Not me, now, he'd pick me. So I always, amazingly, he always picked me, so we'd go together. That's any new area that we never been, now, he and I go. Captain Graham never say anything. Captain Byrne, at the time was lieutenant, Lieutenant Byrne, but he always picked me. I don't know why, but he always picked me. I guess he depended on me, I don't know what. But anyway, he trusted me, and I trusted him. But it killed me, every time I look at him, and he's so tall, I thought, "Gee, how can the German miss us," but I don't know, we always get through.

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

<Begin Segment 14>

PM: Now, Captain Byrne was the captain that sent you to get better-fitting boots.

LK: No, he -- oh, yeah, yeah, that's right. When we went to France, he was captain already, yeah. Because he was captain when we left 140, Hill 140, yeah. Captain Graham and I was finished, our war life was finished after Hill 140.

PM: So tell me, why did he send you to get boots?

LK: Italy?

PM: Yes.

LK: Yeah, that's why I wonder why all these years I'm thinking, I said, gee, that's just during the war in France now, not in Italy. We was in France, and he sent me to Italy during the war of France. And so thinking about it, he said, gee, he feels sorry for me. [Laughs] Size 8 shoes. So finally...

PM: So he sent you to Italy, what kind of, you got custom-made boots? You got custom-made combat boots in Italy.

LK: Yeah.

PM: And what size were your boots?

LK: So when I got to -- I told 'em about my size, my feet size, and they came out with a size 3. So actually, I like that size 3, not a 2 1/2. But anyway, you know what? They gave me twelve pairs. Twelve pairs of shoes, and I took it home, now. And you know what? You know that Hawaiian rock is so hard, it chew up my shoes, all up. I mean, every one of my spare shoes. I didn't know that. And I keep thinking, "What happened to all my shoes I got?" [Laughs] I don't have any.

PM: Except one --

LK: So when Lyn Crost wrote me about the size 2 1/2 feet, I said, "I don't have any." So she told me, "You send me your footprint, and I'm gonna make it big," I mean, make you a shoes. So that's what she did. I send in a print of my shoes, I mean, feet, and that's what she made a spare shoes for me. Well, Smithsonian...

PM: Yeah, it's in the Smithsonian now.

LK: That's how I got a spare, spare shoes. Otherwise, I wouldn't have... anyway, she ordered one because I sent 'em a footprint. And somebody else from Honolulu, Dorothy Matow, she wrote an article about 442nd. Anyway, I sent her one, but she didn't write no article about that, but Lyn Crost did.

PM: Lyn Crost was a famous war correspondent.

LK: But what happened is, how that she know that I had a small feet?

PM: I was gonna ask that.

LK: And was 4-feet... you know, that is when we was in a rest area in, the 100th Battalion rest area, and then how come she come out with a thing like that? You know, to me all the time, she was exaggerating. But actually, it wasn't; it came out true. I went to the shoe shop, I got a 2 1/2 shoe, I went to the doctor, he took my height, four feet nine-and-a-half. I said, "How the heck she know that?" I didn't tell her, I mean, I didn't know myself. I thought I was always 5'2". To me, I'm 5'2", not anything else. I didn't know that. But when my record said I'm five feet, and you're not too short, I said, holy Christmas. But then my record got burned and came out 5'8", I said, "Oh, man." [Laughs] This is...

PM: Larry, you mentioned a story to me, too, about when you were in combat, how you stuffed cigarettes in your helmet, and that saved your life.

LK: My helmet? Yeah, you know now, I don't smoke. So my helmet and my liner, now, is so full of cigarettes, so there's a space between my head and my steel helmet. So when I got hit on the head from the -- you know, to me, it was a .88 tank, was up on the hill. Not artillery, but, because how can a tank, I mean, artillery, hit you direct the way they was aiming at? I don't think so. This .88 was up in the hills just watching us. And what, they told us the first time that this was the .88 tank, not artillery, but that's what came out, artillery. But that injured anyway.

PM: But then the cigarettes saved your life.

LK: So my cigarettes saved my life. Otherwise, it's just the helmet, and liner, I'd be dead. Direct hit like that. So I see two guys, now, sniper got 'em right through the steel helmet, and then came out the same place it came out. That was Akiyama and Kubota. You heard of Kubota? Okay, he got... you know, I was gonna keep that helmet for seven years, somebody told me, "Are you crazy?" Now, if I remember keeping that thing, Kubota make history. But now I can't prove that he got hurt on the head. Anyway, Mickey Akiyama get the same thing, but now, his helmet had the daughter's picture in the helmet, and he found that helmet, oh, he was happy and happy. And then so he wrote the wife that he saved the helmet. And I hope he saves that helmet because that hole, helmet got the same kind of hole that Kubota had, through the main helmet. But this one grazed his head, now. Kubota didn't. Just rattle around and then came out. But Akiyama, he got grazed on the head. So amazingly, but he said he get hit once in a while, and same thing I do, too. But I can't prove that, because I don't have no record. But now, finally, my daughter look at the computer, see, she went through the advanced computer school, and she found it out. How can she found it out at a computer? Anyway, she did. Now, I got the record now, so when I wrote, the story came out about the 8th, wasn't it something about the 8th, that, you know... anyway...

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

<Begin Segment 15>

PM: Larry, I wanted to get back to -- before we get too far -- I wanted to get back to your recovering from your injuries in Italy. After you got wounded saving Lieutenant Kreskowsky's life, you were in the hospital for how long?

LK: Six weeks.

PM: Six weeks. So tell me about your recovery. So after...

LK: So that's what I don't remember. See, now, I mean, I remembered a general hospital in Rome, but nothing in the Evac. See, that's where I'm lost, and that's where everything happened, in the Fifth Evac. Not the main hospital, but the field hospital. I don't remember nothing.

PM: You were unconscious from July 7th --

LK: Yeah, that's why, that's why I don't remember anything. And that's why I keep thinking, "How come you're not scared of nothing?" I said, "I don't know, even got wounded, I don't know nothing."

PM: I'm glad you brought that up, that was my next question. You mentioned you were never scared in combat?

LK: No, never did.

PM: Never.

LK: No.

PM: Why is...

LK: That is, that is I forgot everything. Maybe I knew before the war, maybe I was scared, but I don't know nothing. But thinking about it, I lived through that and I said, "Nothing's gonna kill me. I mean, nothing's gonna kill me." And that's what happened, now. I could be dead so many times, but I'm not. Amazingly, nothing bothers me. Even now. You know, when I first came out from the service and when they used to play firecrackers and something, oh, I used to jump sky-high. Then all of a sudden, I don't remember nothing. Those firecrackers don't bother me. And that's how I find out that, gee, I don't, I'm not afraid of anything. I said, if I can live through this, nothing gonna kill me. And that's what my feeling is all my life after the war. Nothing gonna kill me. See, now, when we went to Snoqualmie Falls, now there was eight accident up on the hill, Snoqualmie Falls. And it happened that, you know, the oil spill on the highway, all the cars skidded on that oil. And then I hit the railing now, railing, went 75 feet out now, and I didn't go. I bounced back on the highway, and eight of us carried the car back, and then facing Snoqualmie Falls. So I went to the hotel down there, and then they called a tow truck, and they sent us home. Yeah, my daughter got a neck injury, and my wife got a, oh, yeah, she got stuck on the gear. So now my car can go backwards, but never front. [Laughs] So now, I don't know.

PM: So after you got, you recovered from all your injuries in the service, you were assigned non-combat duty.

LK: Yeah, so now, after Fifth Evac., we went to Rome, they called it Sixth General Hospital in Rome, and that was overlooking the St. Peter's cathedral. Anyway, captain, all of us that got wounded, we were in the hospital. Only that person wasn't in there was Kreskowsky, because he was so bad that him and Kash, they sent 'em to England. Not to United States hospital, but England. So Kash, too, went to England. But what Kash did, they claimed that he, he not supposed to go back in the front again. But Kash said, "No, nothing wrong with me," so he went back to France. Not Italy, but France. So that's where he got wounded, so he... so when... you heard of that resting detail? Well, now, he was so mad at the colonel, and that all happened when the... what do you call, case came out with the MP, yeah, MP. Anyway, the colonel was picking on him. According to the MP, they should forget all about that, what happened, but not the colonel because he was so mad at Kash, and Kash was so mad at him. Because that's when eight of them died now, and he's taking responsible that because he's the one picked the resting detail. And only thing left was Inada. Out of the bunch, only Inada is alive from K Company, and amazingly, Kash was one of the one was left, didn't die.

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

<Begin Segment 16>

MA: So Larry, what did you do after the war was over and you were discharged, and you left the military?

LK: After the war? Well, I worked for the golf course for three years, then after that, my wife -- she's from Seattle -- so she wanted to go home. And amazingly, she said Seattle don't snow. And now that is April Fool's Day, now, April Fool's Day, we left the golf course to Seattle. This is on Seventeenth, just by Buddhist Church. Anyway, so on the particular day, April 1st, we took the plane, Northwest Airlines, to Seattle. And, yeah, four inches of snow in April. She said, "There's never snow in Seattle." So I'm, I can't, anything happen to me like this. [Laughs]

MA: How did you meet your wife?

LK: Huh?

MA: How did you meet your wife?

LK: Now, my friend got wounded, and now, that's another thing. The Germans knew him all the time. They shot him, and he was on a stretcher, and they shot him again. Now, they shot his leg, and internally, yeah, he got hurt, too, and he finally told me, "You know why they shot me? I was carrying a machine gun, .45 machine gun." He said, "When they saw that gun, they shot me, and then they shot me again." [Laughs] I said, "How in the heck are the Germans shooting a wounded guy?" Well, that's what happened when the medics was... so I was surprised that... he won the Medal of Honor. Anyway, yeah, he got, he didn't get wounded, but he won the Medal of Honor. And award citation came out, Silver Star and Distinguished Service Cross. How come a guy like that can, Silver Star when he should be awarded double the Medal of Honor?

MA: So he was injured and in the hospital?

LK: Huh?

MA: Is this how you met your wife? Was it through this person?

LK: So now, when Terry got hurt and he was in Walter Reed General Hospital, he met my wife's sister, and she's short. But now, she wrote to me and said, "I got a short, short sister." I mean, short, short. She was 4'5". And so, and she comes from Madrona. You know where Madrona is? So I started writing to her, and she said, you know, she surprised me. "Why don't you get married?" I said, "Married? I hardly know you." "No, no, no, we're gonna get married." I said, "Holy Christmas, married?" And so we got married. Now, when she came -- my dad was okay now -- when my dad came to Hawaii, he got a stroke. I mean, half of him is all dead, now. He can't do nothing with the right, right side. Anyway, he had a stroke, paralyzed halfway, so he was. So now we can't get married. So my friend Terry, that introduced me to the sister, and the sister introduced me to my wife, said, "Gee, I got six of us. You want to get married, you're gonna get married." So he hired a lawyer at the courthouse, so we went to the courthouse and we were supposed to get a... what the heck that... anyway, a blood test before we can get married. Anyway, he, we were supposed to wait three days, but the judge felt sorry for us, he said, "Well, we don't have to wait three days. You gonna get married, you're gonna get married." [Laughs] So he got us married, and got all my six friends, all witnessed my marriage.

MA: So that was in Hawaii? You got married in Hawaii?

LK: Huh?

MA: You got married in Hawaii?

LK: Yeah.

MA: And then moved to --

LK: (Hilo).

MA: And then moved to Seattle.

LK: See, I'm from Hilo, but we got married in Honolulu. And so amazingly everything came out okay.

MA: What did you think of Seattle when you first arrived?

LK: Cold and... not only that, you know when the snow was there, oh, man, did I get sick. And you know I don't like airplane ride, so I was sick from the plane ride, and my daughter is running all over on the airplane, and me, I'm sick. And so when I came to Seattle, yeah, I stay on bed. For a while I was in bed because too cold. [Laughs] The snow was too cold for me. But now I'm thinking about it, I'm getting used to it.

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

<Begin Segment 17>

MA: So, Larry, I know that you fish a lot.

LK: Huh?

MA: I know that you fish a lot.

LK: Fish a lot?

MA: When did, how did you start fishing?

LK: Yeah, you know what happened? That guy that teach me -- well, not teach me, he didn't teach me -- he told me about fishing, he's a professional. He keep winning boats, car, and all kind of stuff. Professionally, he's not an amateur, so he told me of squidding. And now, when I went to squidding, and you know what Link's sell me? Six-inch squid jig. You know how big that is. You never use, that's a commercial jig. Anyway, and then what happened? Salmon pole and salmon reel, pan reel. And so now I didn't know nothing about squidding. For one week I don't know nothing, I don't see why I can't catch any fish, squid, because the squid jig is too big. Nobody gonna catch anything that big. But anyway, that's what they gave me, and that's Link's now. How come a tackle shop sell me a thing like that? But anyway, they did. So I couldn't win anything. So finally, I asked Mario's grandson, "What does Grandpa use for jig?" "Oh, lipstick, lipstick." Now, you never use lipstick for paint, because you never want to kiss the dry lips, and that's what happened. I left the jig for one year on the clothesline, and I said, gee, maybe he must be, told me that... what's that... you color the fingernails? Oh, nail polish, nail polish.

MA: Oh, polish.

LK: Okay, now, that's something else. So I started painting my jigs all nail polish, and it worked, it worked. No, what happened is a, was a pin, safety pin. So I made that into a smelt jig, I mean, a squid jig, and then I started catching squid, and then what happened is it's made of nickel plate. The pin is nickel plate, not stainless steel, so every time I used, got rust. Then finally I said, "Gee, how can I make a jig that don't rust?" Then finally I think about, oh, nickel plate. So I started making with nickel plate, and then I started catching all the squid. You know that jig now they use? I don't know if you know, called Mylar cloth, that's how they, now all the professional jigs are made from Mylar cloth. It glows in the water. So when they -- what worries me is when they start using the lamp, you know, and then a luminous jig is, glows when the light hit, now it's over-glow, so now I can't catch no squid with that. But now they stopped using that, so now it's back to normal again. That squid jig works now.

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

<Begin Segment 18>

MA: Larry, I wanted to ask you -- we're gonna wrap up in a little bit -- I just wanted to ask you about your kids.

LK: My kids?

MA: Yeah. How many kids do you have?

LK: Five.

MA: And what are their names?

LK: Four girls. One, Linda is my first one. Susan is my second, David, Karen, and Betty, so I got five. Susan live in California, Linda live in Mercer Island, David live in Airport Way, Karen lives with me, and Susan lives in -- I mean, Betty lives in Kent. So they're all...

MA: They're all close.

LK: I'm lucky, they're, they're all nice children.

MA: That's great.

LK: So Christmas they're gonna come and visit me at my oldest daughter's place in Mercer Island.

MA: That sounds great. Well, I think that we'll wrap up here.

PM: Thank you, Larry.

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