Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mits Takahashi Interview
Narrator: Mits Takahashi
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 20, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-tmits-01-0018

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: So what was school like for you, because you left Garfield as a junior in high school. And so I'm assuming you had to attend school at Minidoka. So what was that like?

MT: I was never a scholar. I went to school because I was supposed to -- I did want to graduate, so I did go to school. But I can't say that I got a good education at Minidoka. I was very indifferent about school. It was really nice getting to know a lot of different people. Made a lot of good friends in camp.

TI: And so how would you compare the schooling at Minidoka to Garfield in terms of the teachers, the supplies, the materials, what you did during school, what was the comparison?

MT: Some of the teachers were, I guess they were called teacher's aides, and they were maybe two or three years older than us. And it's pretty hard to respect a person that you know or knew, and have to call 'em Mr. So-and-so. I mean, you knew him as Jack or Joe whatever. And so the, at least people my age, we didn't have the real respect of the Nisei teachers because they were more or less just a few years older than us. Then there were the Caucasian teachers, and I think they had some good teachers. They had some very, what would you say, sympathetic teachers. I remember one teacher saying that, "We were asked by the administrative staff to, I don't know, certain disciplining of the Niseis." And he said, "We teachers said, 'Hey, we're not here as administrators, we're here as teachers. And we don't want to get involved in the administrative work of the camp life.'" And so they were a different breed of Caucasians in camp than the administrative staff. There were teachers that I had a lot of respect for, I think they were very good teachers. And the standard of education-wise and things, how good they were, I don't know, but they were honest, good teachers. They wanted to help the Niseis, and I think they did a pretty good job with what they had. It certainly wasn't the best facilities they had.

TI: I'm trying to get a sense, I mean, earlier you mentioned how, you said at Minidoka in high school, you were pretty indifferent. Do you think you were more indifferent in Minidoka than you would have been at Garfield, and if so, why do you think so? What were the dynamics that maybe allowed you to be more indifferent in school?

MT: I never thought of things in that term. The school... what would you say, activities and things... well, like I got on the staff of the, the booklets and things like that. So I think we kind of wanted to make Minidoka, the school, more of a school than just a conglomeration of buildings and a bunch of kids there. Structure-wise, they had basketball teams, baseball, they had choirs and different things. So they tried to make it pretty much a normal, what would you say, coast or American high school in the sense of social life, activities and things. I think it worked out quite well there. And the ones that were quite concerned was the ones that wanted to go on to college. Would the school be certified? And little after we got into camp, the schools were set up. They were certified -- not certified, but accredited high school. So this meant a lot to the ones that wanted to go on to college.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.