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-01-0008

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: So let's go back to your life a little bit more. And where we left it off was that you were at Garfield High School. So tell me about Garfield High School, what was that like?

MT: Garfield was a... what, a very well-integrated school. I think the, there was the wealthy of the Broadmoor, Madison Park area, they're one social group. The Jews were very, very prominent there. We had a strong population of Italians, and there were quite a few blacks, not nearly as much as there are now, but I think Garfield was, well, let's say four or five ethnic groups. Pretty well-proportioned. It wasn't like Broadway where Broadway was Asians and Caucasians. But Garfield was a pretty well-mixed group.

TI: And how did that work back then, to have these different ethnic groups, like five or six of them?

MT: We got along quite well. Socially, in those days, the different groups did not get together like on their graduation balls and parties and things like that. Seems like the wealthy had their own, the blacks had their own, the Japanese had their own. So in that sense, they were pretty well segregated, socially, they were segregated but as far as in class, at school, they were not. I think there was, but we really were not that much aware of it because it was not a prominent thing, the class distinction in school.

TI: So when you have something like quasi-school and social, say like a basketball game or football game, would sort of the ethnic groups kind of sit in their own areas, kind of together, or would it be all mixed?

MT: No, no, they were mixed, yeah. So there was, discrimination wasn't really felt there at the schools. You take, like, the football teams and the basketball teams, it was a pretty mixed group in there, especially like at Garfield, because there were different ethnic groups.

TI: As a, when you think about school, as a student, how would you describe yourself as a student at Garfield?

MT: I enjoyed it. I wasn't a good student. [Laughs]

TI: So were there certain topics that you enjoyed?

MT: Oh, can't say what, but... who were some of the prominent fellows? I can't think of any of the Niseis that were outstanding, but Henry Daty was at Garfield, he went back to the East Coast and he has done himself financially very, very well. Bill Nishimura, I think he went to Garfield. Who else can I think of?

TI: Well, let me ask about you in terms of when you think back to the Garfield days, who were some of your, your good friends, when you think about high school and growing up?

MT: Well, in high school, like I was saying, most of my friends were Caucasians. And unfortunately, this was sixty years ago, so we've all drifted apart. We haven't had a chance to get together, but once in a while I do see one or two of 'em. And we enjoy each other's company when we do.

TI: So you were born in 1924, so I'm guessing that you were at Garfield when the war broke out.

MT: Yeah.

TI: And so were you a junior or a senior?

MT: I was a junior.

TI: Okay, so you were a junior.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.