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-01-0024

<Begin Segment 24>

TI: And so how did that feel for you, to be sort of outside of that?

MT: It really didn't bother us, but there was one sergeant, he was a Hawaiian fellow, and why he did it, I don't know, but he took a dislike for draftees, and he gave us a hard time. And especially my group that joined L Company, because my lieutenant was a lieutenant I had in basic training, a Caucasian fellow. And when I got overseas, a little after that, few days after that, he joined the company, he was my lieutenant there. And this one Hawaiian fellow, why he took such a dislike for us, but he didn't like the lieutenant, and he didn't like us. I didn't like him. Later on, when I did see a little bit combat, he came close to having me killed. We came close to drawing straws to put him away, but he wasn't there anymore. But he was the only one that... oh, there were some fellows, whether they're from the mainland or Hawaii, that may have not liked us individually, but not as a group like this fellow. He was just a mean, mean son of a bitch.

TI: So he, to the point where he would put his men at risk?

MT: Yeah.

TI: Intentionally?

MT: He would put fellows like myself, that were draftees, we were "chicken," we were draftees, "You're dumb kotonks." He was mean, and why he was that way, I don't know.

TI: But it was mean, not in the mean sense of, like, trying to be tough to protect you, it was actually mean in the sense of actually putting you guys at risk.

MT: Yeah, uh-huh. He didn't, he didn't care about us, he wasn't going to say, "Do this because it's better for you or your health," or anything. One instance where I dug a hole, or trench, slit trench to sleep in, he came up and he says, "This is a good spot for me as a sergeant to observe. You go dig another hole somewhere else." We got shelled there. He had no regard for the few of us draftees, and we had no respect for him. We were, we had to respect him because he was my sergeant, but like I said, we were almost ready to draw straws and see who was going to take care of him.

TI: And so what happened to him? You said eventually he...

MT: I think he, toward the end, he got sick or something, and he wasn't at the last few combat that we had. We didn't see him toward the end.

TI: Do you think this was kind of a common thing within the units, that there were these individuals?

MT: No. He, he was one of the few. I had a lot of respect for the fellows that were there in the 442, whether they were from the mainland or from Hawaii. Made some real good friends (with) the Hawaiian fellows. They were great, we got along, but he was the very few exception.

TI: And he was so bad that you said that as a group, you guys recognized that he was not going to be a good person to have around. And so when you said, "draw straws," I mean, was that seriously considering doing something to him to get him out of there?

MT: With our small group, it was.

TI: And that was primarily, not only because you didn't like him, but just self preservation in terms of staying alive.

MT: Because I'm sure if the war had gone on much longer, and if he was my sergeant, he would have gotten some of us killed, I mean, through his bullying and a dislike of us.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.