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

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: So, Mits, we're going to get started now. And the way I start is with a brief, what's called... I can't remember what you call it now, but date and where we are. So today's March 20, 2008, we're in the Densho office. On camera is Dana Hoshide, and I'm interviewing, Tom Ikeda, the executive director of Densho. And so I'm going to start, Mits, with just some basic background information. And the first question is, what was the name given to you at birth?

MT: Mitsuru.

TI: And was there a middle name? Mitsuru...

MT: No. That was my Japanese name, no English name.

TI: Okay. And when and where were you born?

MT: Here in Seattle, Washington, October 22, 1924.

TI: Now, did you have any siblings, brothers or sisters?

MT: Yes, I had three sisters.

TI: And so why don't you give me the birth order of your family in terms of your sisters and where you came in.

MT: Okay, my sister Yoshi Kanemori, married to Frank, Dr. Frank Kanemori, who passed away here a few years ago, she's the oldest. And then Pauline Asaba, married to Watson Asaba of the old Sagamiya store downtown. He's passed away. And then Isa Koba, or Isa Ko, I guess, should say. She passed away six or seven years ago, she was married to Bob Koba, who was a berry farmer in, family was a berry farmer in Bainbridge, and later on, he had a farm in Carnation area, where I think you were saying you went there.

TI: Yeah. That's funny, when you said "Koba," yeah, I, as a kid, I picked strawberries and raspberries at the Koba Farms in, we always called it Fall, Fall City?

MT: Yes.

TI: Fall City. Okay, so that's the connection. That's why I know your daughters, because they were, it was like their uncle that, and aunt that we worked... and where did you fit in that, in that birth order?

MT: I was the youngest of the four.

TI: And what was the age difference between the siblings?

MT: We were about two years apart.

TI: Okay, so you were the youngest of four children with three older daughters. Okay, so we'll get into that later.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: Tell me about your father. What was his name?

MT: Minoru Takahashi, born in Japan, and immigrated to the United States, I'm not sure, about (1909), I believe.

TI: And do you recall from what area in Japan?

MT: Nagano-ken, which is near the Japan Alps, where they had the winter Olympic games a few years back.

TI: So that's, that's... for the Seattle area, that's a little unusual. Most, most people immigrated from more of the southern part of Japan.

MT: Yeah, uh-huh. I think you take Hiroshima, Kagoshima, and (places) like that, they had the biggest group of Issei, and the Nagano-ken people, when they used to have get-together, oh, there were maybe about twenty families, maybe thirty, I'm not sure. But it was a fair group, but not as big as the southern Japan provinces.

TI: And do you know why your father decided to come to the United States?

MT: I guess the American dollar, huh? [Laughs]

TI: So it was to, for work, to find work. And you said around (1910), which is a little bit later than a lot of...

MT: He might have been a little bit earlier, then. Maybe he went back to Japan about 1918 and married my mother, and then he came back. I think because my oldest sister was born in, I think, 1919, so probably my dad came over here maybe 1915 or something like that.

TI: Okay, and then went back, married your mother, and then, then came back to Seattle.

MT: (Yes).

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: So let's talk a little bit about your mother. Where was she from?

MT: She was born in Nagano-ken, too, fairly close to my dad's place. And oh, can't say very much about her background except that they were an old, old family back there, too. I mean, well, I guess they were all old families back in Japan, but at one time, they were supposed have been a fairly prominent family in that area. But they were farmers, and she is one of three kids, I guess. She had a brother and a sister, and then married my dad and came over here.

TI: And I didn't ask, but what was her name?

MT: Her name? Kanee, K-A-N-E-E.

TI: And do you know what her family name?

MT: Futatsugi.

TI: And so she had a brother and sister, and farmers. Going back to your father, do you know what kind of work the family did in Japan?

MT: They were predominately farmers, too.

TI: And up north -- so I haven't interviewed anyone that came from this area -- what kind of farming? Was it...

MT: It was mainly rice, and more or less truck farming, raising things for them to be able to supply their own food. They owned a little property, maybe half an acre or something, which in those days, or in Japan, that's a fairly good size piece of property.

TI: And so earlier we talked about how most people came from the southern part of Japan, and you mentioned Nagano, you're like, when you get together, like, twenty families. Economically, do you know if they were hit as hard as the southern parts of Japan? I'm wondering why there were more from the south and not as much from the north.

MT: I think the Nagano-ken area was, it was mainly a farming area. The typhoons and things did not hit them as much, so they didn't have the fluctuation of famine and good times and things. I think, like, in southern Japan, often the rice crops were completely devastated when the typhoon hit. In Nagano-ken, I don't think they had the severe weather that they had in southern Japan. So I think, on the whole, probably central Japan area people, farmers, were on the whole, not financially, but economically, they led a fairly comfortable life as far as food and things go. Where in southern Japan, I think there was famine and things like that, which caused a lot of 'em to possibly come over to this country more than other parts of the States.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: So how would you describe your father? Was he kind of an adventuresome type?

MT: Very quiet, hardworking man. Typically, say he loved his sake, he worked very hard at gardening for years. I think you would consider him a fairly successful person, at least in his own line of work.

TI: How about your mother? How would you describe your mother?

MT: She was the disciplinarian of the family. She was, gave us a lot of love and kindness, but she was very strict. She was the backbone of the family, raising the family.

TI: Now, you mentioned they were both from the Nagano area. Do you know how they met or how they, how it was decided they would get married?

MT: It was an arranged marriage, which, what do they call that? Oh, I forgot the word they used, but typical Japanese marriage, it was arranged.

TI: Now, how did you, as a son, find out that their marriage was arranged? Did they ever talk about that?

MT: We were fortunate that we were able to go back to Japan two or three times. Several of my cousins from Japan came over here, so we had a fairly close relationship with our cousins and aunts and uncles in Japan. We knew of them, we knew what they were doing. It's not like a lot of the immigrants who came over here, they completely lost contact with their family in Japan. But my folks were able to keep close contact with both sides of the family. So even today when we go back to Japan, go over to my dad's home, and they had adopted my cousin to carry on the family name. Or we could go to my mother's side of the family and a cousin is there, and we always had a place to stay, at least when we went to Nagano-ken. So in this sense, we were fortunate that we were able to keep fairly close contact with our family ties back in Japan.

TI: And it was through those ties that you found out that your parents, sort of, were married, or it was an arranged marriage? It was kind of through that, that connection?

MT: What was that, now?

TI: Yeah, I was wondering how you found out that your parents, it was an arranged marriage?

MT: It was just kind of understood that this was the way things happened for them. [Laughs]

TI: So it was pretty common for the Issei, for the first generation. So I'm going to now jump to Seattle around 1918, 1919. Your father and mother are now in Seattle, they have their first child, Yoshi. What, what kind of work did your parents do?

MT: Well, I think the very first, I think when he first came, probably worked in the mills, sawmills or railroad or something. But eventually started a little laundry business, and I don't know how many years he kept that up, but he did have a hand-laundry business, and then he switched over into becoming a gardener.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: Okay, before we go there, do you know where they lived when they first, sort of that 1919 time period?

MT: When we go back to 1919, I don't know, but in the late or mid-'30s, we lived right near Pacific school, which is where Seattle (University) is, dormitories built there. We lived there for a good many years on Eleventh Avenue between Cherry and Columbia.

TI: Okay, so Pacific... so that's --

MT: Seattle University, I should say.

TI: Seattle University's there now, yeah, not Seattle Pacific, but Seattle University. And so that's where you kind of grew up.

MT: Yeah, I grew up there for a while.

TI: And so describe the neighborhood in terms of who you played with.

MT: Well, I think in 1938 or so, we moved from there and we went up to, near the Providence Hospital area. So I lost contact, there were very few Japanese living in that area. So my only contact with the Japanese at that time was going to Japanese school. But all my friends were Caucasians, all my classmates was Caucasians. In fact, I went to T.T. Minor, and I think we were one of the two Japanese families there. There was one Chinese family, a fellow named Lip Mar, who was very popular, or well-known in the Chinese Cathay Post. Lip and I knew each other because I think they were the only Chinese family at the grade school. So in school, my friends were mostly Caucasians, and the only Japanese contact is, was with the Japanese school. So I really didn't have any close Japanese friends, say, during grade school and junior high, high school age.

TI: And so, sort of describe that in terms of, do you think, were you treated any differently because you were Japanese?

MT: Can't think of any prejudice or anything like that. I had some very, very close friends among my grade school friends. In fact, we went, got together several times with them.

TI: And so T.T. Minor's on Union.

MT: Yeah, Eighteenth and Union.

TI: Eighteenth and Union, and I kind of know that neighborhood, and there's a synagogue that's just...

MT: Yeah, Temple De Hirsch.

TI: ...a couple blocks down. So were there a lot of Jewish kids in that neighborhood?

MT: Yeah, so we were there, you know, a mixed Caucasian group, fairly strong in the Jewish population, very few blacks. I think there were only one or two black students in the whole school.

TI: And then you said around 1938, so you were a teenager, about thirteen, fourteen years old, you moved up by Providence. So what school did you go to?

MT: Went to Minor and then went to Garfield.

TI: Okay. And then when you went to Garfield, or when you moved to that neighborhood up by Providence, my sense was that there were (few) Japanese living in that neighborhood?

MT: Yeah, uh-huh.

TI: And so what was that like, moving to a neighborhood with (few) Japanese?

MT: I really didn't think about it, but even in high school, most of my friends were Caucasians. And like I say, my Japanese contact was because I went to Japanese school.

TI: When you were growing up, did your parents ever talk about being Japanese or being Nihonjin in terms of what that meant?

MT: I don't think they really stressed it, but we were aware we were Japanese. There's no question about that; we were Japanese.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: Okay. So about this time, I'm guessing, and then you mentioned earlier, your dad went into the gardening business?

MT: (Yes).

TI: And so this was in the '30s. So describe as much as you can what the gardening business was like before the war.

MT: Well, at that time, I think there were probably about thirty, possibly forty Isseis that were in the gardening business, and they formed the Japanese Gardeners Association. And they were a very close-knit group. They used to take on the job of cleaning the cemetery up, in Queen Anne there was a plot of Japanese there. And then Lake View Cemetery, they would go there and clean up during the, just before Memorial Day, and they did this for years. And they, socially they used to get together, you know, Shinenkai and things. So they were a loose organized group helping each other, helping with jobs, teaching them certain things. So they were, they were a fairly strong group of Issei men.

TI: And how did your father fit in this group? I mean, was there a structure, or was it pretty collegial, or how would you describe the group?

MT: Well, they, they had their presidents and treasurers and whatnot. Probably my dad was more, one of the more active ones in the Gardeners group, because he was probably one of the early ones to start the Gardeners Association there. And I think like the late Dick Yamasaki, his father was there, Arlene Oki of Keiro, her grandfather was a member there. Who else can I think of offhand? Oh, Bill, William Yorozu, his dad was active in there. Kubota, Tom Kubota's father. So there were quite a few Issei gardeners at that time, and they were mainly in maintenance work more than landscaping and things like that.

TI: So when you say "maintenance work," it's more like, what does that mean?

MT: Mowing lawns, pruning shrubs, planting flowers.

TI: So I'm wondering, so there was an association, and yet they were independent. I mean, I'm trying to understand... so they didn't really, or did they compete against each other, or how did they work together? I mean...

MT: I think more than competing, it was helping each other. I mean, if you had extra account, you couldn't handle it, if somebody needed a job you'd refer somebody else. There were times when they were doing something they needed help, they would help each other, but it was, there was a very independent group as far as working, socially. And they were one group and certainly they didn't try to cut each other's throat or anything like that. I think that was one of the biggest things they wanted to do, not to take away someone else's job, work, or anything like that.

TI: Now, the Japanese Gardeners, were there other groups that they had to compete against, or that there were other groups that would try to take their business?

MT: At that time there may have been a few Caucasian gardeners. The Filipinos were still of, what would you say, one generation behind the Japanese, so there were a lot of Filipinos helping the Isseis, but very few Filipinos that were gardening for themselves. The Chinese never got into gardening. There were some Italians that were in gardening, but it was... I think the Japanese gardeners were probably the biggest single group, ethnic group to be gardening in the Seattle area.

TI: So tell me a little bit about their clients. Who did they work for?

MT: Mostly Caucasians, yeah.

TI: And were there certain neighborhoods, or was it all neighborhoods?

MT: All neighborhoods, yeah. However, Seattle at that time was, Queen Anne was pretty far out. Madrona district was close by, Beacon Hill was close, Seward Park, so it was just the greater central area that they worked. Going out like to Windemere or something, that was way out in the country at that time.

TI: And so for one, one gardener, how many clients would, would he generally have?

MT: Oh, I imagine fifteen, twenty accounts.

TI: And so generally he would work on a couple accounts a day, or two to three accounts a day?

MT: Yeah.

TI: Okay. And then you mentioned kind of this group activity where they would as a group take care of the cemetery? And so I'm guessing that these are cemeteries where Japanese were buried?

MT: Yeah. Queen Anne... I can't think of the cemetery's name, but there was a plot of early Japanese fellows that passed away, they didn't have a place to bury 'em, so they, I think the Japanese community buried a group of 'em there, and a fairly large group buried there in Lake View. And these are young fellows that died, I imagine in the early '20s and things, and I'm presuming a lot of 'em had lost contact with their families in Japan. So I don't think even the families in Japan knew whatever happened to 'em. So the Japanese community, society, put up little concrete headstone, and oh, I would say there were forty or fifty 'em interred there in Lake View. So this was the place they used to go every year and clean it up for Memorial Day.

TI: Now, so were they asked to do this by, like, Japanese Community Services or Society to do this?

MT: Yeah, I think so, uh-huh.

TI: And so was there kind of this collaboration amongst the different associations? So you had the Gardeners Association, you probably had these other business associations, was there, were you aware of any collaboration amongst them?

MT: Oh, I imagine they had a close relationship, but not in the sense of getting together as a, the heads of the different organizations or anything like that. They were certainly aware of each other, but I don't think they ever had an annual meeting or anything, but like I say, the Japanese Gardeners were asked probably by the Japanese, Japanese Society or whatever, Nihonjinkai, I guess they called it. They were probably originally asked to help clean up the cemetery, and that's something they just took on their own to do.

TI: So as I'm, I'm trying to get a sense of this group, I mean, as an association, did they meet very frequently, and when they did, what did they do?

MT: I believe they met about once a month. They discussed their little problems. I think they would have a Gardeners picnic, Shinenkai, and I don't know, whatnot. But they enjoyed it, each other's company.

TI: And so you mentioned your dad earlier liked sake. Would they, at these meetings, after they finished business, would they, like, drink and have a good time, also?

MT: Yeah. Well, like I laughed at, somebody asked about the clean up of the cemetery, the Niseis go over there. I said, "After this clean up, we'd have coffee and doughnuts, where they'd sit there and have a sake party." [Laughs] I said, "There was a big difference." They enjoyed life.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: Well, so when you think about it, when you look at the Isseis in the gardening association and how they worked together as a group, how would you see the differences, or how would you describe the differences between how they did -- you mentioned the drinking and, versus the Niseis and Isseis. Were there other differences that you can remember?

MT: Well, I think the Gardeners were, of the different groups, I think they were considered fairly successful because they were, had their own business. Depending on how hard they wanted to work, they were able to support the families, I wouldn't say comfortably, but fairly comfortable for at that time of their life, you know. So I think on the whole, most of the gardeners, Issei gardeners were considered fairly successful among the Isseis.

TI: And so they were a fairly prominent group within the community, as a group?

MT: I believe so, yeah.

TI: Because they probably had, in terms of assets, they had probably trucks and equipment, and a solid income. And so as a Nisei, as you started growing up, did you work for your father?

MT: Most of us did. And you take Yamasakis, Yorozus, Mizukis, all of them that were there, all of us, we knew each other, we didn't know each other well or anything, but we knew who the fellows' sons were because they were all out there, we'd see 'em time to time.

TI: And so being the son of one of the Gardeners, I mean, what, what was that like? What kind of work did you have to do as you were growing up? Like you're, say you're fifteen, sixteen years old?

MT: Well, by the time we were fifteen, sixteen, we were doing the bulk of the heavy work. When we were younger, we were just more or less going out being babysit, -sat by our fathers. But as we grew older, we were mowing the lawns and doing all the heavy work. And then some of the fellows branched off to go into landscaping, like the Kubotas, Yorozus, Yamasaki, and all, all the Isseis did a little bit of landscaping, so when you look at the Seattle landscaping, gardening on the whole, you see a little bit of Japanese... what would you say, culture or flair in all the Japanese American gardens here. You don't have the formal English or French style garden, there are very few here in the Seattle area. So I would say in this sense, it was very unknown to them, they played a very prominent part of the landscaping of the Seattle gardens. When I say "Seattle gardens," overall Seattle homes and gardens.

TI: And so as you drive around neighborhoods, I mean, could you just tell right away which, which homes had Japanese gardeners, in terms of that look that you saw?

MT: Not necessarily. When you, I think the thing is, there were a lot of cherry trees, pine trees, the flower beds were not cut square like a typical English or French. If there's a, somebody had a pool, it was not a square pool like a French typical square pool. There were contoured rocks around there. So the Japanese garden influence is very subtle in the Seattle area, but it's there. And like when you go down to Seward Park or almost any of these parks, there are so many cherry trees, and the Japanese government donated a lot of cherry trees to the Seattle area, and so the Japanese garden influence is very strong in the Seattle area, and we're not really aware of it, but it's there.

TI: You mentioned earlier that your father was pretty active in the Gardeners Association. Did he ever talk about why he felt that was important, to have an association and work together?

MT: I think it was just to protect themselves from... not protect themselves so much, but more of an educational, social thing. And being in the same business, it was almost a natural to get together.

TI: Were there ever times when -- you mentioned "protect," I'm not sure -- did they ever, as a group, have to perhaps lobby the city or something in terms of regulations that they wanted changed? Do you ever remember anything like that?

MT: I don't think the city and states and things were very particular about it. A person can go out, start gardening, if he had a few dollars, he'd be able to buy an old car, and he could start. Where if he went into almost any other business, I think even in those days you had to get a license and things. Nothing was required. And when it was just a matter of if you were willing to go out there and work, you could start as a gardener. So it was easy way for a person to start his own business.

TI: Or how about as a group, did they ever kind of band together in terms of purchasing power? That they would try to work together to perhaps buy fertilizer or equipment...

MT: I think they did have association in that sense, but never very strong. Somehow, if they started doing something like that, somebody would have to do the bookkeeping and things, and I think they were too busy trying to make a life of their own without trying to work for the group as a whole. But there was a certain amount of it, yes.

TI: Okay, good. So now I have a pretty good sense of the, the prewar gardening association.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<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.

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: So let's talk about December 7, 1941. I mean, where were you and what were you doing when you heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

MT: Well, that was on Sunday. Just coming home from, I went to the First Baptist Church, and I was walking home, and went through the neighborhood where some of my friends were. And first thing, they said, "Hey, Mits," I don't know if they said the "Japs" or what, attacked Pearl Harbor, and there was a war going on. So that was a real shock, came running home. But they didn't, they weren't mad at me or anything, but I really don't know if they said "Japanese" or "Japs," but they were the ones that told me that the war, Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor. And came home, really don't know, recollect very much about it, but it must have been a very subdued, frightening experience at home.

TI: Do you recall how you felt when, when you said "subdued"...

MT: I can't, can't say how I felt, but I think we were really bewildered more than anything else. I think we kind of realized we were Japanese at that time, and I think the thought of what's gonna happen to us came into our minds, too.

TI: Did you, do you recall any reactions from your parents, your mother or father, about what Japan had done and how they were feeling?

MT: I can't remember them talking about it, but I think they, in a lot of ways, I think they thought the worst would happen to them. Because there was a lot of prejudice against the Japanese.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: And so after December 7th, did that impact your father's business?

MT: To a certain extent, yeah. There was one family where he worked, and there was a Filipino working there as a houseboy or something. And I guess he kind of threatened my dad, so the customer told him not to come back because they were fearful of something happening to my father.

TI: So, I'm sorry, so the Filipino worker threatened your...

MT: He was working there as a houseboy or a chauffeur or something like that.

TI: And so the Filipino was upset because Japan had attacked the Philippines, and so he, he was angry at your father. And so the, the family, the Caucasian family decided to not have your father come anymore because of that.

MT: Uh-huh.

TI: How about, just Caucasian families that were just upset about it and not wanting your father to be there? Was there any of that kind of...

MT: I don't recall that he had anything like that. There was one family, I can't think of the name, they were a prominent banking family. But I think Dad was told that if they knew that their funds were... what would you call it?

TI: Frozen?

MT: Frozen right away, that if he needed cash or something, that they would loan him that. And he continued to work there, and I think they paid him in cash so that he would have funds. So most of the people that they, he worked for were quite sympathetic. I can't think of anyone that was, said, "We don't want you anymore."

TI: 'Cause I'm thinking, so the Japanese gardeners, I mean, perhaps more than most groups or any other groups, they're out in, sort of, Caucasian or white society. I mean, that's who their clients are, they're going to all parts of the city, this is after the war. So did you hear of any incidences or experiences of the gardeners during this time period that...

MT: I think the gardeners working for people that were, you know, they were not the rich-rich, but economically, they were well-off, fairly well-educated people. So I think they were, tolerated what happened. I think to people that had little grocery stores or small businesses outside of the central area of Nihonmachi, I think there was a lot of, you know, verbal abuse, possibly some physical abuse and things, but I don't think any of the gardeners ran into anything like that.

TI: Yeah, so it sounds like their client base was actually very sympathetic to what was happening. So I'm kind of jumping ahead, but I want to kind of stay with this. So when the Japanese were removed from Seattle, do you recall any reactions from the clients as these, as the gardeners started leaving Seattle? Like for your father, did, do you recall any stories about any conversations or discussions he had with any of his clients?

MT: Really no, but when we came back, looking at some of these areas where they did have gardeners before the war, the gardeners, gardens were all neglected because there was really no one to take care of 'em. Or some of the people that had a little larger piece had turned 'em into little victory gardens. So there was a lot of garden patches on the different homes. But when the Japanese, or the Isseis and the Niseis came back, the ones that were in the gardening business were almost able to pick up the business and start providing for the families from the day they came back here, provided they had a few tools and things like that. Where I think for a lot of the Isseis and Niseis that came back right after the war, it was hard to find a job. But jobs were available for the gardeners.

TI: And so coming back from the war, so they would go back to, essentially, their same clients, who were pretty sympathetic before they left, and then when they came back, they found their, the gardens were pretty disrepair, or they needed maintenance. And so that was, in terms of getting work, it was a good situation for the gardeners.

MT: Yeah.

TI: Which was, you're right, unusual for the other Japanese who came back not having... well, we'll come back to that later.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: I want to now go back to you right after December 7th. You had to go back to Garfield, what was Garfield like on December 8th, that Monday?

MT: Well, one of the things that really, I can remember, I was in the study hall at Garfield. And so that probably was the Monday right after Pearl Harbor. Two or three bombers flew over, and the class, study hall, typically, I don't know how many students were in there, but there was a certain uproar, talking and things. All of a sudden it just went completely silent, and everybody just froze in there. And here these bombers were droning overhead, and I guess we were scared, but it was something, it just silenced the whole room. You couldn't hear, you could hear a pin drop. But I can vividly remember those bombers flying over Garfield there. And so it, all the students reacted to it one way or another, to the war, too, you know.

TI: Was it a reaction of fear, would you say, in that room, when the...

MT: I think it was fear. I mean, the radio from Sunday on, all the time, every bit of news was about the bombing, and here you're in class, sittin' there, and these bombers are going over your head. I don't know what (my) actual feeling was, but all of a sudden it was just silence. That, that, I very, very vividly remember that.

TI: Do you recall any conversations you had, especially with your Caucasian friends, after December 7th, and what they were thinking?

MT: Not too much. There were a few teachers that did not like Japanese, I can't think who they (were). But on the whole, the teachers treated us well. I'm sure there were certain remarks from different students and things, but I can't recall coming across any of that.

TI: So while you were at Garfield, I'm trying to -- I didn't ask this question earlier -- did you participate in any other, like, extracurricular activities like sports?

MT: Yeah, I tried to run a little bit, joined the track team, and then I, I don't know, I joined the boys club and I don't know what my job was. But I tried to be active outside of the classroom at Garfield, too. So, I mean, all this was available to us pre, before the war. After the war, I don't know. I think things pretty much stopped because of the evacuation thought going over, we pulled out of any activities.

TI: Yeah, so that's what I wanted to ask. So yeah, after December 7th, then amongst the Japanese students, Japanese American students, it sounds like a lot of the activities were curtailed, they would not participate as much?

MT: I don't think they were curtailed in the sense that they forced to curtail, but almost immediately we talk of evacuation, things are going on, so I think we as a whole, ourselves, kind of withdrew from a lot of the activities in school, outside the classrooms.

TI: Do you recall any conversations with other Japanese American students during this time period?

MT: I don't know, I can't think of any.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: So, let's, let's talk about it. So in, soon, you started hearing about the orders to leave Seattle, you had to start getting ready. What was that like for your family?

MT: My dad was not interned, so he was around, so he worked until almost a few days before evacuation. So our family was quite intact. But I can remember him coming home and, "Did they come?" "What do you mean by, 'Did they come?'" Did the FBI come around to pick him up, but this was the thought because so many first-generation men were picked up by the FBI. So that was almost the first thing, he came in the house and says, "Did they come after me?" [Laughs]

TI: And I imagine he was pretty concerned about that, 'cause he was very active in this Japanese Gardeners Association, which many of the leaders of other business associations were picked up.

MT: But, you know, the story is that the American FBI and the police and things, they didn't know anything about the Japanese. But that's a bunch of baloney because when the war broke out, prominent Japanese were picked up within twenty-four, forty-eight hours, and you don't just go down the street picking up a person because you have black hair and brown eyes. So they knew who a lot of the so-called Japanese leaders in town, and these men were picked up, oh, within, oh, I would say within two, three days. The majority of the men were picked up.

TI: And so when that was happening so rapidly, do you recall the community kind of getting that? That, oh, the FBI must have had lists or something? Or was it just a blur back then? Do you recall?

MT: I didn't think about it, but we realized that they knew who they wanted to pick up. You name any of the Issei, prominent Isseis that were in Seattle, they were picked up right away.

TI: How about within the Gardeners Association? Were there any Isseis picked up in that group?

MT: I can't think of any Isseis but there must have been some.

TI: I want to ask about your sisters during this time period. Do you recall any of their experiences after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and before going to Puyallup? Any stories or anything that you can remember?

MT: Oh, it's pretty vague at that time. I can't think of anything. I really don't know what they were doing because my two older sisters were out of high school already. What they were doing, whether they were working or what, I have no recollection of that.

TI: And so I'm guessing -- I should probably ask -- I mean, your older sisters, did they have to help out with the gardening business, did they do anything?

MT: No.

TI: So that was just, that was just you. And would it be... like, did any woman work in the gardening business before the war, or was it strictly male?

MT: Some, some of the daughters may have gone out a little bit, but it's strictly male thing.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: So let's go to the point where you now get the orders that you have to go to Puyallup. Can you remember what that was like, how, like your house and what happened to that?

MT: Well, my dad and mother did not own the house because their neighbor owned the house. So they were renting it, so in that sense, they had no problems with the house. But what they did with what little furniture and things they had, I can't really remember. I think they stored some things that, maybe at the Baptist church or somewhere, but we were one of the later groups to go to, be evacuated. So the first people were really down to really leaving their homes with just a suitcase, where we were one of the last groups, so we were able to take a lot more than the early ones. So when we got into camp, I think we were a little more comfortable than the early evacuees. [Laughs]

TI: So how would you bring more than the others? Were you able to bring your truck and things like that, or how would you bring more?

MT: Instead of one suitcase, it was a suitcase and a duffel bag, and we'd jam in into the bus to go to Puyallup. So we were probably able to carry fifty percent more than the early evacuees. I think early evacuees, it was very strict with them, how much they can carry.

TI: Oh, so that's interesting. So over time, I guess the army kind of relaxed a little bit in terms of what you could or could not bring, so that you could bring more later on?

MT: Yeah.

TI: And how did you know that? How did, do you remember how that kind of played out? Because you probably saw the first groups, one suitcase, and then by the time it got to you, you were able to bring more.

MT: Yeah, we'd get a postcard from one of the early ones, and it said, "You really need an iron," or, "You really need a curling iron," real necessities. "Bring a pot and pan because there's a chance you can do your own little cooking on a stove or something." So we would get letters or postcards from people telling us some of the things that you really need to bring if you can. So in that sense, we were rather lucky.

TI: And so -- before I go there, I wanted to ask, what about your father's equipment, his truck?

MT: I think he stored it at one of my, his customers' place. So when he came back from the war and all, he had immediately at least his tools, he had.

TI: Okay, so that was good. So one of his customers was willing to store all his equipment.

MT: Yeah.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: Okay, so let's talk about Puyallup again. So did you go to Puyallup as a family unit with all your sisters and your parents?

MT: Yeah.

TI: And so describe the living conditions for the family.

MT: Well, we were in Area D, which is right in the fairgrounds itself. And can't remember how big the room was, but shiplap walls, I don't think there was even tarpaper in between. They were about 6 feet high, open ceiling. So down the hall, if somebody is a snorer, we could hear that. If somebody would expel some gas loudly, we, everybody would start laughing. So you didn't have privacy in the sense of that sort, but yet you were confined in this one little room, your whole family's there. So you had privacy in that sense, but not privacy from a lot of different things that we would normally take for granted if you had your own place to live in, you know. And then they were confined to certain hours, we were confined to go to breakfast and go to the dining room at certain hours and things. There was a time when people got quite sick from diarrhea, and there was a run going to the bathroom. And I think the military police at that time got very excited because there was supposed to be a curfew at, say, ten o'clock, and people were running back and forth to the bathroom and things. So I'm sure the police, military police were real concerned, what's going on, they're all milling around when they're supposed to be in their rooms.

TI: And because they had diarrhea, they were all going to the latrines. So that was...

MT: But you know, when you're seventeen, eighteen, you don't really think of the hardships of what the Isseis had to go through. It was a ball for fellows my age. The younger ones, the parents were very, very concerned because they just didn't seem to have control over young kids. Where at least my age group, we were old enough to know what, more or less, what was right and wrong. But it was the first time that we had really nothing to do except socialize with each other. There was very little work to do, so playing cards probably was the biggest, and different games, was probably the biggest social outlet we had. And the food was, we always complained about it. I think, oh, I can't remember what the food was like, but it certainly wasn't good food, but at least they gave us enough to eat. But it, it was the beginning of the break up of the individual families, which was a tragic thing when you think of the kids that were ten, eleven, twelve years old, all of a sudden at lunchtime they didn't have to go home to eat, they could rush into the dining room and eat, and their parents could have been back there with three or four of their friends up there. So the family, that was the beginning of the breaking up of the Japanese families, I think.

TI: But your family, perhaps, not impacted as much because you were the youngest, you were already seventeen.

MT: Yeah.

TI: Yeah, I was thinking as you were talking, you talked about playing cards with your buddies. Like your father, how would he socialize at places like Puyallup and Minidoka? Would he hang out with the other gardeners that he worked with before the war, or what would he do?

MT: I think a lot of 'em felt like this was the first vacation they've had in twenty, thirty years they've been in the United States. So I think a lot of them, they enjoyed doing nothing. It was the first time in their life they didn't have to get out there, whether it was farming or whatever, they didn't have to work that hard. It was the first time they were able to relax and do nothing.

TI: And so what would they do with that time?

MT: Oh, I'm sure they were more or less the same as the Niseis, socializing, playing their little, different games and things like that. And they were, very little organized social life there in Puyallup, because it was so confined, they just didn't have the space to do things like that.

TI: And how about your, your mom and other Issei women? In the same way, they had more time to do things, too.

MT: Yeah, I think it was the same for them. They had a chance to socialize and visit their friends, and make new friends and acquaintances.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: And so at Puyallup, were there certain places where, say, the Issei men congregated, or the Issei women, or the Nisei males and females? I mean, was there kind of this... I'm trying to get a sense of the community and where people met and did things.

MT: They really weren't set up for that too much. They just didn't have the space or the time, so they were just confined, and pretty much left to themselves. I think they tried to organize leaders for the certain areas and things like that, but how successful they were on that, I don't know. But there was a certain amount of supervision, and definitely we were aware that we were behind the fence, barbed wire, no question of that. We all knew that.

TI: And how would that manifest? I mean, how would you know that? What were the, kind of the symbols or the reminders that you were behind...

MT: Well, Area D, which was the fairground itself, you know, there were the stands and buildings for the fair itself. So we saw something there, but when you went in the other three areas, there's nothing but barracks, and then outside the barracks was fence and police, I mean, military standing around. I think they were much, much more aware that they were definitely confined. Where Area D, being of different buildings and things, we didn't have the feeling if you turned around and looked down the row of buildings, you could see fence, barbed wires and things. There might have been a horse stall, or there might have been exhibition building there, so our view was, what would you say, broken up. We didn't really see the confined space that the other areas were, because they were definitely in the parking lot or something, they put up the barracks, put up the barbed wire fence, and put up the military towers. And Puyallup D was very prominently on top of the, what is the fairgrounds, the stands. I can remember machine guns sitting up there being manned all the time. Was that to protect us, or was that to keep us from escaping or what, I don't know, but they did have a machine gun up there, and that I could remember. But the military police and things in Puyallup, Area D, they were not that noticeable. Where other camp areas, I'm sure that they were visible all the time.

TI: Do you recall any, sort of, interactions with the military police while you were at Puyallup?

MT: I don't think there were any incidents at all. I don't think there was anybody that tried to escape. I don't know if the other areas, if people went right up to the fence and hung on the fence or what, but I don't think there were any incidents at all in Puyallup.

TI: How about just like a conversation with one of the military police? Do you ever recall that or anything like, as simple as that?

MT: They stayed pretty much away from us. I think if they were caught talking to us and things, they could have been reprimanded, you know, so they were pretty much by themselves, and they were pretty business-like.

TI: Any other memories or thoughts about Puyallup before we move to Minidoka?

MT: Well, I made a lot of friends there. Well, like June, I think you heard her say, she came from a small town, and she never realized there were so many Japanese. [Laughs] Where like in my case, I mean, we were close enough to Japantown and going to Japanese school and things, so I was able to renew, or make new friends, the ones that I casually knew in Japanese school and things like that.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: Okay, so let's... it's funny, we don't have tapes here, so I have to say, so let's do our second segment. And so the first part, it was about an hour, we talked about your childhood, going through Puyallup. And so I thought in the second segment we would start talking about Minidoka. And when you were at Puyallup and they said you were gonna, everyone was gonna move, did you know where you were going or what that was, what to expect?

MT: Really, I don't think we knew.

TI: And so did you ever have a conversation with, at any point, with your parents or your sisters about what was gonna happen next?

MT: No, we were all, I'm sure we were all concerned what is eventually going to happen to us, but I think we kind of felt that it was beyond our control. Because I don't think from Puyallup they were letting, there may have been a few released to go back east on their own and things, but I can't recall that that was happening.

TI: And so you traveled from Puyallup to Minidoka. What were some of your first impressions when you got to Minidoka?

MT: When we got close to Minidoka, first thing we thought is, "Good Lord, there's a big forest fire out there." It's a desert, and they were tearing up the sagebrush and things to build, and it was just a... well, it was just a big, looked like a great big forest fire. And that was the first impression, I thought there's a big forest fire going on there. And that was Minidoka.

TI: And what was it? It wasn't really a fire...

MT: It was dust.

TI: It was just a big dust storm.

MT: Yeah.

TI: And that was because they had torn up all the, the sagebrush and everything, so that...

MT: Yeah. And it's a very dusty soil, loose volcanic soil, so with the slightest wind, it would just blow. And it wasn't a real grainy dust, it was just a fine everyday dust that you find in the home, looked like it was just, soil was as fine as that. So it looked like a big forest fire out there. And it was kind of awakening to see the barracks and things.

TI: So go back to those first few hours that you were at Minidoka, and tell me what you and your family did in those first few hours.

MT: Well, I, I was one of the fellows that volunteered from Puyallup to go on the, what you called the advance crew. So I can't remember when we got there what housing we had or anything, but it wasn't very long after that before the families started coming over. And Minidoka was built, you know, on kind of a long, stretched out camp, where I think most of the other camps were built in a square area, because it was more flat. But so in that sense, Minidoka was, every block it seems like it was a little bit different than the block up in the north and things, so it felt more like a, what would you say, a town, because we were stretched out. Where I'm sure in, like, wherever other camps, the barracks were, you know, row upon row in a square area, where Puyallup was spread -- I mean, Minidoka was spread out. So in that sense, didn't feel quite as confined. At least, I don't think it did compared to the other camps.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: And so as part of the advance crew, what kind of things were you, was the crew tasked with? What did you guys do?

MT: Oh, I really can't remember what, but it was really menial work. We weren't asked to build or anything like that. Probably getting on a truck, picking up supplies for the camp and bringing it into camp. But it was more a lark more than work or anything.

TI: So how about when the families started coming? Did you then have to help them?

MT: Yeah, uh-huh.

TI: So what kind of things would you do to help them?

MT: Oh, I think the main thing everybody did was scrounge around. When I say "scrounge," it's the wrong word. We'd go out and steal lumber and whatever we could to help build a table or a chair or whatever. And this is where the families were, as I was saying, being broken up more than ever, was father would take their ten, twelve year old and go to the lumber pile, stealing the lumber, and dad would say, "Oh, this is GI. Anything GI we can steal," and thought nothing of it. And they were at least my age, we knew who it was, but we didn't care. And for the young kids, "Dad's stealing this, Dad is saying it's GI," so when you start building the PX and things, there were several instances where the young kids broke into the PX, started saying, "But he says it's GI." And they had a hard time distinguishing between what you can steal and what you can't steal. [Laughs]

TI: And so that's interesting. So in the camp, a lot of the... so the fathers would even do things that they would never do in real life.

MT: Yeah, that's right.

TI: And so by doing so, that set this different example for, especially, you mentioned the younger boys and what they saw. And then later on, it impacted things like breaking into the PX and stuff like that. So was there, did you ever think there was an issue of, like, juvenile delinquency in camp?

MT: I don't think delinquency is really the thing. They definitely were, kids were on their own. They would be with three or four of their pals that, pals could live three blocks away. They would go over there and each lunch, even dinner sometimes. And their mothers and fathers would not know where they're at, and I think some kids, it was lucky, parents were lucky if the kids came home to sleep in their confined area. Mealtime was almost a lost thing with a lot of families. I think it was very disheartening for the parents to see that.

TI: Was there a case where some of the older boys ever felt like they had to... what's the right word, mentor or kind of help watch over the younger boys? Like I'm thinking of these boys that are, like, you know, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, that perhaps didn't really know in some cases what was right or wrong. Did you see, like some of the older Niseis just kind of stepping in and helping?

MT: Not that so much, but little after camp or Minidoka started, they did start the schools which brought the age groups together. Which was, I think, one of the best things that they did, was instead of scattering kids, they were able to bring them together and more or less teach 'em what was right and wrong, what was camp life like, what school should be like. So I think there, they were able to make the younger kids, anyway, realize that there's a social standard that they had to follow. But that was broken down to, a great deal during Puyallup and early Minidoka days.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<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.

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: Let's switch to the social life. You talked a little bit about that, and the schools, to try to make it as normal as possible in terms of the school, which includes social life. So what was the social life, because you were, what, seventeen, eighteen years old?

MT: There was a block dance almost every weekend, I would say. And we would go to this block dance and we would go to that block dance, and I think that was one of the biggest things at least teenagers from my age looked forward to. And they did set up churches and things. Social life on the whole for the camp, they'd have different programs, Christmas and Easter and all these things, they'd try to observe it. And as each individual block, they had, they had a block leader, and they tried to do things within the blocks, and then jointly with the neighboring blocks and things. So organized and still being disorganized. I think they did a pretty good job of trying to keep people together, and trying to pretty much lead a normal life without the feeling of being in camp. I mean, that, that was always over your head, but they tried to make it a pretty normal life there in camp.

TI: So when you talk about these block activities like a block dance, how many people would be at a dance?

MT: Oh, I would say a good hundred, hundred fifty people.

TI: And so from that block, what percentage would be from that block, and what percentage would be sort of outside that block? What would the ratio be?

MT: Oh, maybe about a third would be from the block, and rest from neighboring blocks.

TI: And so, and so what you liked to do was attend these block parties? So not only your block, but then the other block parties you would go. Would there be, would you see the same people at most of these other block --

MT: Pretty much so, yeah.

TI: Was this about the time that you met June?

MT: Yeah, I met June in Puyallup. I was introduced to her, and then Minidoka I got acquainted with her and started going with her.

TI: So you said you were introduced to her. So she came from a small town in Alaska, Petersburg. How did, who introduced you to, to June?

MT: Well, I had a couple of friends that were in, I can't remember what block she was in. But had a chance to visit over there, and through them, I met June. She's a cute gal. [Laughs]

TI: And so you met her in Puyallup, and then you saw her again in Minidoka. And so was it from these block parties that you started sort of dating, or how did that come about?

MT: She lived, I think, the next block from me. So nice to know somebody from the next block that you can go date with her and go out with her and things. So pretty much from the very beginning of Puyallup, I mean, Minidoka, she was my girlfriend, we went together.

TI: And how does dating work in camp? I'm curious how the whole dating thing worked in camp in terms of, would it have been just like you were in Seattle, do you think, or were there different kind of rules, or different things you had to think about when you were dating in camp?

MT: I don't think there was really any difference. I think one of June's big disappointment was I wasn't a good dancer. She loved to dance.

TI: How about things like parents? How did they deal or view dating amongst the Niseis, like June's parents or your parents?

MT: I imagine the parents were quite concerned about not so much the boys, with the girls I think they were. Because they really didn't have strict control over them. I mean, like I say, whether you were young kids or teenagers, you went with your own friends in your dining room. Maybe in the breakfast you got together with your folks, but lunch and dinners, a lot of us never did get together with our parents. So I think for our mothers that had daughters, I think especially if they're teenage girls, I think they were much more concerned about their kids than they were with boys.

TI: Okay, so I'm going to ask you this, so as a father of a now twenty-one year old daughter, so I'm thinking as a father. So little things like did you, like, after a dance or something, did you, like, walk her back to her apartment by a certain time? Did you have to meet her parents? How did all that work out?

MT: As a casual date or something, I think chances of going in and meeting the family and things were very, very rare. Because you know, they're in a small room, there may be two or three others in there, so I mean, did the fellows go really pick up, meet the girls and take 'em back home, or was it a common knowledge to say, "I'm going to the dance and I'll meet you there"? I think it was more casual that way instead of in the sense of going over to pick up the girl in her barrack room, or nicer word would be apartment, but it's just a barrack. I think it was more just, more or less, a verbal thing, "I'll meet you at such and such a block at..."

TI: And so how about her parents? Was there any time that you met her parents at Minidoka and talked with them?

MT: I think the chances of that were very, very slim. I mean, over here, if you were a seventeen, eighteen year old and Buddhist church was having a dance, you can't tell the girl, "I'll meet you there." I mean, at least if it was a regular dance you had to go pick her up and things. There was very little of that over there. I think it was just a matter of meeting each other.

TI: So it's almost like your dating could be under the radar of the parents because you could more casually just meet at these places. And if you were in Seattle, you would have to kind of like sometimes pick her up and then perhaps meet the parents.

MT: That was the breakdown of the family, so, which was, I think, in a lot of ways, a very sad thing for the parents to see that.

TI: Or how about your parents, did they ever meet June? Did June ever kind of talk with them?

MT: In time they did, yeah.

TI: You know, that's interesting. I'm just, yeah, I'm just curious how when my parents talked about dating in camp, I was just always curious what that meant in terms of how that would differ from, like, dating in Seattle. So that's good.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TI: So we're still at Minidoka, and we just talked about school, the social scene. After several months or so, the administration came out with the "loyalty questionnaire." Do you remember when they came out with that questionnaire and how that impacted you?

MT: I can't remember how I signed it, but it was an uproar. However, Minidoka was a very sedate camp. It wasn't, I understand like in Tule Lake it was just an uproar when that came out. We didn't have very many Kibei fellows there, and I think like Tule Lake, they had a lot of Kibeis, and I think they were, I understand, the real rabble-rousers. Where Minidoka was, when that question came out, I don't know what the reaction was so much. Some people resented it, I can't remember whether I signed it or refused to sign it or what.

TI: Do you recall talking with other people about it, or was that kind of more of a personal thing that you just...

MT: It was something we talked about, but I think it left the Isseis very, very bewildered. We Niseis felt that we were Americans. No matter what happened, I think inside of us, we were, always thought we were Americans. Where the Isseis, you know, what's gonna happen? "Are we gonna be allowed to stay in the States? Are we gonna be sent back to Japan, or what?" So for the Isseis, that question coming out was, I think, a very traumatic thing. Where with the Niseis, I don't know what the attitude was. I think it was kind of, "The hell with it. They want to draft us, fine, if they don't, we're still Americans." This is the feeling we had. The thought of, that we would be evacuated out of the country or expelled from the country and sent to Japan, I don't think that thought really came in to us. But I think this was very strong for the Isseis.

TI: Well, so I'm thinking about you, you're, about this time, you're eighteen, and there are some men who around this time started volunteering for the service. How did you, how did people react to that, or how did you react to that?

MT: I really had no thought of volunteering. When they did, the ones that did volunteer, I think it left the family pretty upset. I think mainly the mothers didn't want their son to go into the service because there's always the danger of not, them coming, not home. Fathers, there were still very strong feelings toward their native country as Japanese. If their sons went into the service, if they were evacuated or expelled from the country, if they found out their son went into the army and things, what would happen to us. I think it was a very hard thing for the men and women to see their sons volunteer. I can't... the story is that families were very happy and pleased to see them volunteer and go into the service. I think that's just something they were all saying. I don't, I really don't think that the Issei parents would say, "Okay, Tom, you go ahead and volunteer." I don't think it was that... I think a lot of families, they found out that you volunteered, I don't think the Isseis, I can't say that they were really what you call pleased. Outwardly, after, you know, they came back from the service, they can say, "We were real proud of you." But at that time, I don't think the Isseis were too happy to see the fellows volunteer. I may be wrong on that.

TI: Well, so now I'm curious, so they, that first wave were volunteers, and then the army started drafting men. What was the reaction when they started drafting? Here, then all of a sudden it didn't become a choice, I mean, it was more imposed on you versus the volunteer. What, what happened --

MT: Well, there's one fellow I know, he didn't want to go to the draft. But when he was drafted, his attitude, "Well, maybe I won't pass the physical." And he didn't pass the physical and he was very, very happy about that. He didn't have to make the distinction, decision of whether to go into the army or refuse to go into the army. I had feelings at first saying, "The heck with it, I'm not going in." But when it really came down to the draft, I wouldn't say I was happy, maybe reluctantly I did go.

TI: And did you know, did you have any friends who decided not to, to go in, who decided to not, to resist the draft?

MT: Yeah, one of my closest friends resisted going.

TI: And what was his thinking? Why did he decide, do you think, to resist the draft?

MT: We really didn't talk about that, you know. His father and mother, I think, were very much against him. He was, they were a very quiet family, this fellow was a rather quiet fellow. He was a good friend of mine. But I think I was drafted earlier than when his draft came up. But they were drafted at a, a fairly close period, I think within maybe three or four months, all of the draft-age fellows were drafted.

TI: And thinking again during that time period, did you guys talk about it very much, or was it kind of more of a family or personal decision in terms of what to do?

MT: Well, I think it's a feeling of, you gotta go, you gotta go.

TI: And did you talk to your parents at all about, about what to do with this?

MT: No, I don't think so. I think the future, whether it was my parents or for me to go into the draft, the future wasn't in your hands, it was outside of your hands, you really didn't have control over your future. It was, what happened is gonna happen. I think that was pretty much the feeling.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: So when you are ready to be inducted and leave Minidoka, did you have any conversations with your mother or father about, about leaving and what that meant?

MT: Well, my mother certainly didn't want to see me go into the draft. And she took it quite hard because I was drafted, and to see me go off to camp, I mean, the army. My dad, I can't say that he said anything one way or another. But I think they were, both their attitudes were, "This is something he has to do," so it's really out of their hand.

TI: When you say your mother had a hard time with that, how did you know that it was hard for her?

MT: She had tears; she cried.

TI: And was she angry, tears of anger? What kind of emotion was --

MT: Not anger so much as tearful when you think, "He's going in the service," already there were fellows that volunteered early that were killed in action, wounded, all these came. So they're aware of what could happen to anyone that was drafted. So it was, there were a lot of tears on most parents' side because thinking what could happen to the one that was drafted.

TI: Okay, so let's talk about being inducted. So what was that like in terms of what was... after you, you passed your physical, and so what happened next?

MT: Well, I was the first group from Minidoka. I can't remember how many of us there, must have been fifteen, twenty of us that were drafted. We were the first group to be drafted, went for our physical, and I think we were sent down to Fort Douglas to have our physical. And then there was a period where they let us come back home, and then they had the final induction, and we went into Fort Douglas. And then from there we went on down to Mississippi. But... yeah, the one fellow I was saying that, "I don't want to go, but if I get drafted," no, he didn't want to be drafted, but he decided he'd take the physical and he didn't pass. So there was that and there were... I don't know of the group that I was, where there was anybody of that group that refused to go face the draft in any way. I think we all at least when in to have our physical and things like that.

TI: During this time, while this is going on, you mentioned earlier you were dating June at this time. Do you recall conversations you had with June during this time in terms of going off to war?

MT: Well, June was aware that I used to say that I'm not going to face the draft and things. But at that time, I don't think she ever said anything. I'm sure she wasn't happy to see me leaving camp to go into the army, but in no way she influenced me in any way.

TI: But do you recall just talking to her about it?

MT: Yeah.

TI: Your decision and going. And in terms of your relationship, how was that left when you went to, like, Shelby, I mean, to go to basic training?

MT: My relationship with June?

TI: With June, yeah.

MT: Oh. In my mind, that she was my girl, and when I came home I was gonna get married to her. I think June pretty much felt that way, too.

TI: And so while you were gone, did you write letters to each other?

MT: Oh, yeah.

TI: Back and forth, okay.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

TI: So, let's go to Shelby. I'm curious, so you were part of the, one of the first groups to be drafted. And so when you go to Shelby, how were the draftees treated? Were they treated, do you think, any differently than the ones who volunteered?

MT: No. When we got down to Shelby, we were just a shell of a group, what we called the cadre. And some of 'em were draftees, some were volunteers from Hawaii, others were fellows that were in the service, drafted prewar. But they were the, what we called the cadre, and they were the ones that trained us in every aspect of army life. Oh, before we went to Shelby, we went into what we called a boot camp. It was strictly a basic training camp that lasted six weeks or something. And we got our basic... what would you say, ways of being a soldier, marching, handling guns, etiquette and all this. That was a group to make us, teach us what of soldiers were expected. And then from --

TI: I'm sorry, was that segregated or was that...

MT: It was, uh-huh.

TI: It was still segregated. So you went as a Japanese American group.

MT: And I think there were... I think there was one group ahead of us that were fellows that were in the army, and they were kind of scattered all over. And they were brought in to... this was in Florida. And they were retrained as infantrymen, and then they went, I think they must have gone on to Shelby. And then fellows like myself that were drafted, we went directly to a basic training camp, and we got, learned the ways and means of being a soldier. And then from there, we were given a furlough, and then sent to Shelby and joined the 442 there.

TI: And so tell me a little bit about the training at Shelby. What was that like?

MT: It was mainly to get acquainted with your different weapons and things. You were assigned to being a rifleman, machine gunner, mortar... we were told, taught to handle all, most weapons at that time.

TI: Now at this point, so the 442, so the main group, which were primarily volunteers, had already left to go to Europe, and they left this smaller group to train you. And at that point, was it clear that you were being trained to be replacement troops for the 442?

MT: I don't think there was any question that we were not going to the 442.

TI: Okay, so it was clear that you were going to the 442. And I'm wondering, in terms of your training, the original group, I heard some of the men talk about that because it wasn't clear when they were going to fight, their training was pretty prolonged. I mean, they had a lot of training.

MT: Yeah, they were trained for quite a while.

TI: And I was curious about your group. Now that the main group had already left, they were fighting, they were taking casualties. How much training your group got, compared to...

MT: Well, the nucleus 442 was already set up, right? So as trainers, trainees, or draftees, we filled into different companies, and we blended in with the greater part of the regiment. So in that sense, we didn't have to be trained separately as different units or anything. I mean, it would be like a junior high graduating and going into high school, blends right in with the senior high school class group. It would be similar to that. We blended into the 442.

TI: So was your training period shorter than the original group?

MT: I think so, yeah.

TI: And so when you were sent to Europe, were you sent in smaller groups, or was it a pretty large group that went?

MT: I think at that time, I really couldn't say how many, but I imagine there were five, six hundred of us went over together and joined the 442.

TI: While you were at Shelby in training, what did you know about what was happening with the 442 in Europe? Did you, did you get reports back?

MT: We were getting reports, but we were kept pretty busy training and I think we were a lot more concerned about what we were doing than what was happening over there. We were aware of what was happening over there.

TI: And so were you aware of the level of casualties that the 100th and 442 were taking?

MT: Oh yeah, that was something we were all aware of.

TI: And what, and what did you guys think about it? When you guys heard about that and knew about that, did you guys talk about that very much?

MT: I don't think so. I think that was just one of those things that we felt that, "I'm gonna be lucky, I'm gonna be all right."

TI: And so what, what kind of role were you being trained for while you were at Shelby? You said you were being trained with all different ones, but...

MT: It's strictly infantry.

TI: But then within infantry, was there a certain kind of role or a certain, yeah, role that you played, like a rifleman or, in infantry?

MT: Yeah, well, we were trained, or we were oriented how to handle machine guns, mortars, never any artillery as far as that goes. There was a little driving, but every aspect of infantry.

TI: Okay, so that makes sense, because you were, I guess, being trained in all facets, because when you joined the 442 you would be sort of inserted. Versus, I think the early groups sometimes early on they were trained to be, like, a rifleman or a BAR or something like that.

MT: Uh-huh.

TI: Because they were forming these units earlier at Shelby.

MT: And then like the 442 had their own engineer group, they had the artillery, so these fellows were selected. Whoever there was that was selecting them, selected them to go into certain units of the 442 itself.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

TI: So let's, let's jump to, you go to Europe with this contingent of several hundred men at least. And at what point do you connect with the 442? Where, where was the 442 in their kind of sequence of battles that you...

MT: Okay. As you know, and most of, people know, that 442 was formed and then they fought in southern Italy, and they did very, very well there. And when the town of Livorno or Leghorn was being liberated, or was liberated, Mark Clark was the first general there, and he was the first to lead the group into the so-called liberation parade or whatever. But the select group right behind 'em was the 442. And Clark thought enough of the 442 that he wanted them to be right up there with them. And then they went into the, that was more or less the southern Italy, and then from there, I think there were around the Leghorn area for a while. Then they were sent up to France, went through the "Lost Battalion," Battle of the Lost Battalion, and the draftee group that I was with, we joined the 442 right after the Battle of the Lost Battalion.

TI: Okay, so this was a point when... I've interviewed others, so it was probably, in terms of, yeah, troop strength, they were at a low because full strength, there were four thousand or so. At that point, after their casualties, they're down to maybe under a thousand men because of the casualties they took, especially in those previous few weeks where they liberated, oh, it escapes me... Bruyeres, and then as well as the rescue of the "Lost Battalion." So you came, or joined them...

MT: Right after that, yeah.

TI: a particularly -- for the men who were fighting -- a particularly difficult time for them, because many of them had, had seen heavy fighting and they had taken so many casualties.

MT: My first impression when I joined the 442 is the fellows that had gone through the Battle of the Lost Battalion and the Battle of Bruyeres and things, they looked like insane people. They just... I mean, it was frightening to look at 'em. They were so traumatized in so many ways that you knew that they had gone through an awful lot. I mean, they were stressed out, and my first impression was, "My God, these guys are scary to look at." I mean, they went through a hell of a lot, hard time.

TI: Did you know any of the men personally, when you met up with them, that you knew from before?

MT: There were two or three Seattle fellows in the company I joined. Can't recall if they were there at the time I joined the outfit or a little after that they came out of the hospital or joined the company or what, I don't remember. But there were quite a few fellows, Seattle fellows in the same company that I was in. Where we got together I can't really remember, but right after the Battle of the Lost Battalion, when I joined the company, I think there were one or two. I think Mas Watanabe who passed away was one of 'em. I can't think... oh, Pete (Kozu), I think was another fellow.

TI: Do you recall having conversations with them in terms of what they had just gone through or what they were going through?

MT: That was something we didn't talk very much about.

TI: And so how was it communicated to you what they had gone through? I mean, how did they let the newcomers know what it's like?

MT: They wouldn't be talking to, say, like draftees like myself, the latecomers. But they themselves would, every so often, you know, friends from different companies and things, they would get together and they'd be drinking beer or something, and they would say, "Yeah, you were there at such and such a hill," or such a town. They would talk about it amongst themselves but we weren't part of that. We were outsiders. [Laughs].

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<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.

<Begin Segment 25>

TI: Besides him, I mean, going back to the other, the 442 guys who were there and had fought for a while, how did they accept the draftees?

MT: They, they accepted us. There was no prejudice against us. Certainly I think they were, they didn't have the respect in the sense that we were not in combat with them, but they accepted us as soldiers, fellow soldiers that were there, and we got along.

TI: When I interview some of the ones who were there throughout the campaign, they, they sometimes talked about the draftees as being really green. And some of them said it was hard for them to get close to the draftees because the draftees were sometimes so green they wouldn't last very long. And so it was sometimes easier for them to not be friendly or become friends because they weren't sure if they were gonna last, because some of them in the first couple weeks, because they were so green, they would get hurt.

MT: Yeah, you hear a lot of stories like that, but... well, I think it would be like school, a senior and a freshman. Sure, you're class with the same school, but very few seniors would chum around with a freshman. I mean, there was a degree of age and things. I think it's the same in the 442. The originals and the ones that went through the different battles before draftees came in, they would stand off, a certain amount, not because they disliked us or looked down on us or anything, but we hadn't gone through what experience they did. I think that made a lot of difference then. I don't think it was a matter of dislike or anything like that, it was just a progression of what they had seen and we are seeing or as the draftees. There's a very different, definite distinction between the older fellows and the younger fellows.

TI: And did that start changing over time? I would imagine as you started fighting and working together, that changed.

MT: I don't think we ever... as draftees, I don't think we were fully accepted into that group, but as individuals, we were accepted right in there. We were always the underclassmen, or the draftees, but I think that was just a natural thing. And even, I think, in our society today, I mean, older people and younger people, I mean, you accept 'em, you get along, you may like 'em, but you're not the same. And it was the same in the service there. And it's not that they were trying to be prejudiced or mean or anything like that, it was just kind of a social standing that, that wasn't really defined or anything, but it was there. And I think it'll always be there in society, you know. I mean, it's separation of age and knowledge and things like that.

TI: So as, sort of, being that sort of underclassman, or having this distinction between kind of the older and the younger, did you feel or the other draftees feel like they had to prove themselves to the, to the older guys?

MT: I think we had that feeling. We had to, not so much to prove to them, but we didn't want to disgrace ourselves, we didn't want to disgrace them, we wanted to show that maybe that we're not as good as soldiers, but we were fairly good soldiers. And I think the draftees did that. And in fact, toward the end of the war, the 442 was probably down to about a third of the original, and the rest was filled up with draftees and things. And I think the draftees, we did our share of fighting. Not as much fighting as the originals, but what fighting we did, I think we did it with honor. Certainly we didn't have to hold our heads down in disgrace.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

TI: Well, that, and this is a good point to bring into... there was an event that you participated in that, and from this event, you were awarded a Silver Star. Can you describe the sequence of events that led to this, and where it was and what happened?

MT: [Laughs] I'm not really aware of what happened. All I know is after I came home, got a letter from the War Department that I was awarded the Silver Star and where did I want to be presented that, whether it was at a VA group or civil service or church, or what. I said, "Just, don't bother, just mail it to me." [Laughs]

TI: And so do you really have a hard time recalling the actual event?

MT: It's, things are pretty vague.

TI: Because you were, you were actually wounded during this event. So explain as much as you can about what happened, sort of leading the sequence so I can understand this.

MT: Well, the draftee group, as I said, we joined the unit after the Battle of the Lost Battalion. And then we were moved back down to Italy, and then we trained there, and we became under General Mark Clark again, and attached to the 92nd Division. And the division had been trying to take this mountain range, and I think they had made two, three attempts and couldn't do it. And that mountain range is, it's a lot like... what's that first range of mountains you see when you're going toward Snoqualmie? (Mt. Si)? North Bend is here, the mountains right there.

TI: The Cascade range?

MT: Yeah. But the Vosges -- (Mt. Folgorita) we were trying to get, climb, it was just, looked very much like looking at, from North Bend, looking at the hills, it's flat here and up 2,000 feet or 2,500 feet or what. But they were on top of there, and this is where they're looking over the whole valley, the Germans, and they controlled with artillery, being able to pinpoint artillery rounds, they were able to control the whole valley, so the American troops could not go into Po Valley. They had to knock out the observation post, and they did make several attempts to do it, and they couldn't do it. And so we were called to go in there and eliminate the observation posts up there. And we had to climb up this steep hill, and it was, it wasn't walking up the hill, it was actually going up on fours. It was that steep. And we got into this little town the night before, and we had to stay under shelter, we couldn't show ourselves because the Germans were just up the hill from us. And then the next night when it got dark, we got our marching orders to go up. And we started, I would say, what, eight o'clock or whatever, it got dark, and we were supposed to be at the top of the hill by five in the morning. And we all got up there one way or another, and the Germans were caught completely in surprise. And within an hour or less, we eliminated the outpost. And as soon as that happened, the Po Valley was opened for the American troops to go in. And by that time, the Germans were pretty well beaten anyway, and it wasn't too long after that the Germans surrendered. But there were different fire fights and things until the war ended. And after we got off this mountain, Folgorita, got in the town and spent a few nights there and then we went on, and that's where I got wounded.

TI: And can you explain that, what happened for you to get wounded? I mean, what's the sequence?

MT: Well, all I can remember is I saw several Germans, and I think I exchanged fire with them. And all of a sudden, it seemed like I got hit. Felt like somebody hit me in the chest and knocked the wind out of me. And I was crouching over a wall, and I just kind of sat down and the wind completely knocked out of me, and I really didn't know what happened, but that was when I got hit. And I can't remember pain or anything like that, but feeling, I can remember getting hit with a ball right on the chest and knocking the air out of myself. Maybe you've had that happen, too. But that, that's the feeling I had. [Laughs]

TI: So you were shot in the chest.

MT: Yeah, uh-huh.

TI: And so it knocked the wind out of you, and so you're sitting there, and then what happened? What was next?

MT: And then, oh, the medics came and bandaged me up. And then another fellow and I were escorted by one fellow and we were evacuated from that area. And the rest of 'em went on, and I think within a week or ten days, the war pretty much ended.

TI: But going back to when you were wounded, so it was that incident where you, from your citation, you remained fighting, protecting the flank of the unit which probably saved lives, and it was through that that they awarded you the Silver Star, is that sort of...

MT: It's pretty vague in my mind as to what I was doing. I do remember one machine gun I saw, and the Germans were actually, we had moved on and they were behind us, this group were, they were up higher than we were. And I had a BAR, which was a much more, what, long range accuracy than a regular rifle. And I'm sure I knocked out that machine gun. After I fired my burst, I didn't see any, the gun or anybody up there. But some of the other things after that, in the blur of different things, I really don't know what I was, what I went through or what my other friends went through.

TI: And at this point, were you, were you hit at that point, or was this before...

MT: No, it was after that.

TI: It was after that you were hit. Well, from that, you got the, the Silver Star.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

TI: So, we're now in our third, third segment. And where we left it last was you had just been wounded. And so let's pick it up there. So you were shot, you said, kind of in the chest area. So describe the wound and what happened to you.

MT: Certainly call it a million dollar wound, but I was shot in the shoulder, left shoulder, and the bullet went through me and came out my back and missed hitting my shoulder, missed my lungs, grazed my lung. And so as far as outwardly, there was nothing really, no wound to see except for a hole in the front and the back. But treatment-wise, they just drew the blood out of my chest cavity, and recuperating, and there was a certain amount of blood and things that I had to cough out and clear my lungs area and then, I don't know how many weeks I spent there in the hospital, but the war ended at the time I was in the hospital there. And I could remember meeting this, my platoon lieutenant, he was in the next building from where I was. But we got together and the two of us were sitting outside, and the war ended there, or we were notified that the war ended. There was a lot of celebrating among the different troops that were there, but most of these troops that were there were what we called the rear echelon support troops. So they didn't see much, they really didn't see hardly any combat. But the fellows that were in the hospital with myself or all the others, we all were wounded one way or another in combat. And we, I don't recall any of us sitting there cheering and whooping it up, "The war is over," or anything. We just kind of sat there and, I think, kind of shed tears because, thinking of the fellows that we lost. And you couldn't call it a happy occasion, it was a very solemn, relief, the war was over and things. But this lieutenant and I was just sitting there, and I think we had a beer there. And we were kind of reminiscing about so-and-so, what happened to him, some of the things that we went through. Because this is, the lieutenant and I were joining the unit at the same time, we went through everything together. So had a lot in common with the lieutenant, and he was really a nice fellow. I can still remember sitting there with him and talking about the war. It was a very, very somber, sad, relief feeling.

TI: When you talk with the other people who were in the 442, was that kind of a common feeling, when they heard about the end of the war? That rather than a celebration, it was more of a time to contemplate or think back.

MT: I think it was just, "It's over." Couldn't call it a happy occasion, it was just a sense of relief, I think.

TI: That's good.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

TI: So you, you finished your convalescence after several weeks. And then what happened next?

MT: Then I went back and joined the company back up in this northern Italy area there. And how long we spent there, I don't remember, but from there, we were moved back down into Leghorn, or better known as the Pisa area, where the leaning tower is. So it was kind of a, oh, fun period. We were guarding prisoners, and really didn't have too much to do. So that was the time we were able to get little furloughs and things to go to Switzerland or visit Rome or whatever was available for us. So it was a nice period where, relaxing.

TI: While you were traveling during this period after the war is done, did people recognize you as a member of the 442?

MT: Very much so, yeah.

TI: And what, how did people react to you? What did they know about the 442?

MT: Well, the 34th Division, which the 442 was attached earlier, that whole division was there, and they had a lot of respect for the 442, and we had a lot of respect for them. And several occasions when we went somewhere, we would bump into fellows from the 34th Division, and we would team up and go have a drink or whatever you do. We were, the 442 was very, very respected in, I'm sure, in France and in Italy. And the people there were, well, they appreciated the American forces, regardless of what unit we were with.

TI: Did you ever come across people who were kind of surprised when they look at you because of your Japanese face with an American uniform and were kind of confused as to who you were?

MT: Never had that. However, one time in, I forgot which town I was in, but I bumped into a fellow from Seattle who was a Chinese fellow that I went to school with. And he's here in Seattle, and he's very active with the... what is it, the American Legion Post. And kind of talked with him, I remember talking with him. But it was, it was a very fun period, and we certainly had a lot of passes, and we were kept busy, too, things were due.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

TI: Okay, so eventually you came back to the States, and so let's pick it up there. So where were you...

MT: Well, I think before that I should go and backtrack a little bit. The army had a point system, and depending on how long you spent, where you were at and things, you would get points. And the more points you had were the first ones to be sent home. And so by the time we were in Leghorn area, I call 'em the old-timers, but the early members of the battalion, 100th and the 442nd were all sent home. So we were left with old-timers, which I became an old-timer because I was one of the first draftees who, maybe there were twelve or fifteen in my company, but you're from PFC, one day we were PFC, next day we were getting stripes. [Laughs] So we didn't earn 'em, we just fell into becoming a non-com. And the best thing was from, oh, probably a PFC would get twenty-seven dollars a month, I think my pay jumped up to $157. [Laughs] You can imagine how big that was.

TI: So that was funny, so from being kind of the young one, the newcomer, you were now the old-timer.

MT: Yeah. And so I'm glad I was a tech sarge, but I didn't really earn the tech sarge, I just fell into becoming a non-com.

TI: Well, so I imagine now the point system, then you were next in line.

MT: Yeah.

TI: And so what happened then?

MT: So we were sent home, and then I think the next group of draftees that came, they stayed on. Some of 'em saw a little bit of combat, some did not, but they were the nucleus of the 442 when they came home and they paraded in Washington, D.C. So the group that paraded in Washington, D.C., not to take away the honor they got, but I think just a very small percentage of those fellows actually saw combat.

TI: How do you, how do you think the, kind of the old-timers, the ones who fought early in the campaign, and men like you who fought a little bit later, felt about that? So you guys did the heavy lifting, the heavy fighting, and yet this other group got to go meet President Truman and march in D.C. Did you guys resent that?

MT: Well, I didn't really think about it. All I know is I was back home and -- [laughs] -- I'm not in the army anymore. So to me, I was rather indifferent to it. But seeing them parade in those pictures now, I think that was quite an honor for the regiment, you know. But I wasn't part of that, and...

TI: Do you ever wish that you were there, that you were able to...

MT: No, I didn't ever wish that I was there because it meant an extra month or two in the service.

TI: Okay. So, you're back in the States, and then what happens next?

MT: Well, I went into the service, and most of my close friends in the army were from Ogden, Salt Lake area. And that was where I was inducted into the service, and when you were discharged, the army was obligated to send you back to where you were drafted from. But the thing they would ask fellows like myself that were, went through evacuation, "Where is your family?" And if you told them they were in Seattle or something, they would send you to, pay to Fort Douglas and then from there to Seattle or where, I don't know, can't remember. But we were kind of grapevine, the rumor, says, "Don't tell (them) you know where your family's at." Says, "I'm not sure where my family is, they're in transit." So we were discharged in Fort Meade, and we were given travel pay from Fort Meade to Fort Douglas, which at that time, I can't remember how much it was, but I imagine it was 150, 200 dollars, enough to travel from New York, or from Maryland back to Seattle and spend a little time. First fellows that went in the service from Fort Douglas, like one fellow, says, "Hell, they gave me eleven cents or twelve cents travel pay." [Laughs] Because they lived within a, you know, a mile or two of the camp itself. So that was quite a big laugh I used to have all the time with the fellows that I was close to from Ogden area.

TI: So, yeah... so okay, I get that. So through the grapevine, by just not telling 'em where you knew your family was, they, they paid you essentially to travel cross country, and that was a good deal.

MT: That gave me a good extra month vacation from the time I was discharged in the service and able to drop into different towns and see friends. I think my sister was in Chicago, we stayed with her for a while. So it was kind of a fun period.

TI: And so during this time, were your parents back in Seattle?

MT: Yeah.

TI: And so was your dad back working as a gardener at that point?

MT: I think my dad had stayed back in Idaho, he was working for a while, until the family came in to settle and got settled down.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

TI: And so when you made it to Seattle and met the family, what was that like?

MT: Definitely my mother was just, just really ecstatic, excited and happy to see me. There was an incident there, when my family moved into Seattle and got a house, they had, used to give you a little flag to put in your window if you had a serviceman. And somebody did break the window there, so there was a little bit of the discrimination that I saw immediately after I got home. And then when we tried to buy a home somewhere else in the locality, real estate agents would say -- I think we looked at homes around Mount Baker area. And I don't remember the real estate agent, but he said, "As much as I would like to sell you this house over here, or in the area," he said that we, "I just can't do it," because they didn't want Japanese there. So we were forced to stay pretty much into the Central Area, possibly Beacon Hill areas was open to Japanese, but we were restricted as to where we could buy or move into.

TI: So how did that make you feel? Here you're coming back to Seattle as a decorated war veteran, and you're not, your family's not allowed to live in certain places?

MT: There was, there was a little bitterness about that, but I think my feeling was, "Well, I don't like it, but what can we do? We'll put up with the way things are." So we moved into the Garfield area and we lived there for quite a few years. And from the Garfield area we moved away from there, and by that time, housing was pretty much open to us almost anywhere.

TI: Going back to that incident where you said, it sounded like, were you back in Seattle when they broke that window?

MT: No, it was before I got home.

TI: And so your mother had, or the family had put up a flag indicating that we were fighting for our country, and a vandal or somebody broke that window and took that flag?

MT: Uh-huh.

TI: And do you, do you recall how you felt about that when you heard about that?

MT: I was quite bitter about that. I think I was pretty mad about that when I heard about it, or I got a letter from my family about that. But I think there was a lot of little incidents like that among the veterans when their families came back here to the coast.

TI: So that was kind of a common story that you heard, it was hard to come back.

MT: And I think there were still signs up that said, "No Japs wanted" and things like that, you know.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 31>

TI: So eventually the family all gets back to Seattle. I want to talk a little bit about, you know, sort of picking up -- and we mentioned this earlier in terms of starting back up with the gardening business and how that was. Earlier we talked about how many of the prewar clients, their homes or their yards weren't in very good shape. I mean, they weren't being taken care of very well, so that many of the Japanese gardeners were able to pick up their, their business right away. So was that pretty much the case for your, your father?

MT: Yeah.

TI: And is that what you also did, too? Did you start helping your father in this area?

MT: Yeah, my dad came home and he picked up the gardening business right away. And I decided I'd go into it because couldn't quite see myself trying to run around looking for a job somewhere, where this was available to me right away. So it worked out very nicely for me.

TI: What were the differences before the war and after the war? Did you see differences in terms of how the business changed?

MT: No, I can't say that it did. We were pretty much in demand, especially the fellows that were knowledgeable. There were some fellows that started gardening business, they didn't know anything, and they didn't last very long because it take a little finesse, a little knowledge to be a gardener.

TI: And, because I'm thinking, or I've talked to people and they said coming back to Seattle, for some people, it was hard to find work initially.

MT: I think it was, yeah.

TI: And so did some of them try and -- these are some of the people that tried gardening for the first time?

MT: Yeah, uh-huh.

TI: Were there attempts by some of the more experienced gardeners to try to help these newcomers?

MT: This is what we did. There were several gardeners that started about the time I did or a little after, and this is when our Gardeners Association was reestablished again. And we would talk about, we'd have classes as to what to do. We tried to help the new fellows that were novices in the gardening business. So it was an organization where mutually helping each other. We didn't try to cut each other's, take away the jobs or anything, because there's plenty of work -- excuse me -- for all of us. So this is where the Gardeners Association, the prewar Issei group, and then the Nisei group pretty much took over, after the war. And it continued right on up until a few years ago.

TI: And during this postwar era, was there kind of new groups or new competition for the Japanese gardeners? I'm thinking that during the war, there perhaps were groups that emerged to sort of replace the Japanese gardeners. And so did the business dynamics change in terms of having to compete more with other groups?

MT: No, I think there were still enough people in the city that wanted gardeners. And so a lot of the gardeners started up, lot of what we call the Shin-Issei, they started up without really knowing too much about gardening, but they started and they were able to make themselves a fairly comfortable living. And I think that was one of the nice things with the Gardeners Association, that I've always said, we were probably one of the few Japanese groups where the Isseis, Niseis, and the Kibeis got along. Because traditionally the Kibeis -- not Kibeis, but the Shin-Issei or the young immigrants that came from Japan, language-wise and things, socially they and the Niseis had very little social... what would you say, in common. But as the gardeners we had something in common, and I think we were one of the few groups that the Niseis and the Shin-Isseis got along with each other.

TI: And so you had this common work, and so you're saying, like, after work or sometimes at these monthly meetings, then you would be more socializing?

MT: Yeah, there was a certain amount of friendship grew up between the Shin-Isseis and the Niseis.

TI: And so why do you think that was different? Why didn't other group, why that didn't happen...

MT: I think it was still language that kept different groups apart. I think the Shin-Issei groups started their own different organizations. I think churches were a good example, they had the English-speaking denomination and then they have the Japanese-speaking. And so there was, the language kept them, or kept us pretty much apart.

TI: And so what kind of activities would the groups share on a social basis?

MT: Well, we would have picnics and Shinenkais and different work parties and things like that. We took part in helping build some of the Arboretum tea garden, helping Keiro. What are some of the others? The cherry blossom festival. But our gardeners group was asked to help in a lot of those things that we got together. And so the two language-speaking groups, we got together, we got to know each other, and we got along quite well.

TI: Now, when you did these community things like the tea garden, cherry blossom, Keiro, was this pro bono? Did you guys volunteer this to the community?

MT: Yeah, probably we were asked, but it was strictly volunteer things. We always had a good turnout.

TI: How about your father's generation? Were they still involved after the war in the business?

MT: After the war, they pretty much started to fade out. And the ones that were left, they had the feelings of "let the young generation take over." And so they were getting close to retirement age or retiring, and so I think this is the attitude they took, "We're retiring, so we'll let the younger guys do it."

TI: And do you think the younger guys, did you do the business different? Did you kind of approach it, I think you mentioned earlier that perhaps more of the Niseis went into landscape?

MT: We were becoming much more mechanized than the first generation. First generation was, I would say ninety-nine percent hand equipment. And as the Nisei group started, everything was whatever mechanical things that came out, we were picking it up and doing it, using that.

TI: And would you take on, then, bigger jobs, bigger clients?

MT: Yeah, I think we were able to handle bigger jobs, do the jobs faster. I think our pay scale, we were still on the lower totem pole as far as pay goes, but I think it was, what we were charging was competitive with fellows working for industry or for postal service or in stores and things. So the Niseis, salary-wise, we were equal if not above some of the fellows that were working in the industry after the war.

TI: And so I'm curious in terms of, so a lot of the Niseis that were gardeners, their fathers started in the business also. Did very many of the children of the Niseis continue with the business, in gardening?

MT: I think there were maybe ten or so. And, you know, the fellows, well, the Shin-Isseis, too, I think we were all fairly successful, we all bought our own homes, spread out to different parts of the city and raised our family. And I think we had a, not high living, but we all managed to have a comfortable living.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 32>

TI: In terms of the Gardeners Association, I mean, recently it's received honors in terms of the Tom Foley award from the Japan-America Society, and so it's been recognized as a group. I think you mentioned earlier that it's no longer in existence. But I wanted to ask a little bit in terms of postwar, who ran the group? Was it the Niseis who ran it, or the Shin-Isseis, or who ran that group?

MT: The Niseis did. And then I think the Shin-Isseis were very active, too, but I think it was pretty much even until very recent years when we just kind of retired. And today, I don't know how, who's left as far as gardening. There are very, very few. I think there are, as far as the Nisei fellows, I think, can't think of anybody, because they're all my age. There are a few of the Shin-Isseis, but they're getting up in years, too.

TI: And how do you feel about, when the organization, the association is acknowledged by, like the Japan-America Society? How do you feel about that?

MT: I was surprised. I mean, you go along in an organization and you really joined the organization, socially and economically, and because you have something in common. And all of a sudden, I'm sure the Japan-America Society is a well-established, accepted organization, and to have them come out and say, "Hey, we've got an award, we want to award it to the Japanese Gardeners," I was quite surprised. I was very, very pleased about it, and I think I myself and... Dick Yamasaki was there at the dinner, George Suyetsugu, Jr., who was a Shin-Kibei, Alan Kubota, who is the grandson of Kubota Gardens' founder. Ken Yorozu, whose father was a landscape gardener that did the planting at the arboretum, we were there. And I was the senior of the group there, so I was asked to accept it. And I felt that, sure, we Niseis and Shin-Isseis did a lot, but the association was started by the Isseis, and I give them a lot of credit for starting that and getting the American public aware, or the Seattle, Northwest people at least, aware of the beauty of Japanese gardening. And I accepted the award, and I said, "Actually, I'm accepting it on behalf of the Isseis," because I think they're the ones that, they didn't have the foresight to see what's gonna happen, but because of their economic position and the need of working, they made the Northwest a little more beautiful place to live in.

TI: So was there some sadness that the Gardeners Association has stopped, that it doesn't carry on into the future?

MT: Really no sadness because there's no one left to carry it on. [Laughs] I mean, if there were, there were a lot of 'em and then it just stopped, I mean, I think it would have been a sad thing. But gradually it dwindled down to five, six members, and we just felt that we had really no, may have had a purpose to want to continue, but no possibility that we can continue with the few people they had left.

TI: So the gardens that were established by the Japanese Gardeners Association, what's going to happen to them? I mean, when you think ten, twenty years in the future, do you think they'll still retain their character?

MT: I think a good -- well, you were Kobe, did you see the Kobe, I guess it was the municipal area? Their garden was big pool, straight sidewalk, a French style, you go east, lot of it was English-style gardens, hedges, things like that. Where you look at Seattle and Northwest gardens, you don't see straight lines, everything's curved, gradual. They're not set tight formation-wise like the French and English gardens. And this is Seattle; I don't think, you very seldom go anywhere in Seattle and find a formal English or a French garden. But you see that Japanese, when you look at it closely, you see that influence, the Japanese influence: soft lines, graceful shrubs and things. And I think this is, well, can you say the legacy of the Isseis that, gardeners that they left behind? It's not obvious, or it's not something that everyone is very, very aware of, but it's there, and it's all over the Northwest.

TI: And so your sense is it will be, it will stay around...

MT: Yeah, it will be around, yeah.

TI: ...because it's sort of ingrained in how the plants were set up and they'll be maintained. And so in twenty years, someone will come through and still recognize the influence of the Isseis who did this decades ago.

MT: And I can't see that, whether it's our tea garden here or Tacoma or in Portland, whether it's the Japanese garden or a Chinese garden, that they will ever be torn down and changed into something else. I think this is something, the Oriental gardens, whether it's Chinese or Japanese garden, ten years from now, fifty years from now, it'll still be there. And it's gonna be part of the Northwest or the West Coast.

TI: Good, that's an incredible legacy.

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 33>

TI: So I want to finish up with your family. We talked about you going off to the war and having kind of this understanding with June that she was your girl. And so when you came back to the States, how did you connect, reconnect with June?

MT: Well, I knew she was in Denver, so on the way home I stopped in Denver, spent about a week there, and then I came home to Seattle. Then shortly after that, she moved into Seattle. Her folks had gone back to Alaska, and she had no desire to go up to Alaska, so she stayed in Seattle. We got married a little after that, so we celebrated, what, sixty years, sixty-three years, not too long ago.

TI: So you were married in, like, 1944?

MT: '46.

TI: '46. Okay, so yeah, it'd be about forty -- I'm sorry, sixty-two years.

MT: Yeah.

TI: And, oh yeah, before we go on there, so what was June's maiden name, her family name?

MT: Oyama.

TI: Oyama. Okay, and she came from Petersburg, Alaska.

MT: So when it was, Monday we went out for St. Patrick's Day, and we went as Mr. and Mr. O-hyphenated Yama. [Laughs]

TI: Oh, that's right. So she's, she's Irish for one day on St. Patrick's Day. The O'Yama clan. And then from there, tell me about your family in terms of your children and how that worked out?

MT: Well, all four of 'em finished high school, finished college one place or another, and two of 'em are in Idaho. My oldest daughter here moved to Seattle just recently, and my son lives here in Seattle and he's working.

TI: And so let me just establish -- so you had four children, a son Steve, and three daughters, Vicky, Marsha, and Lori.

MT: Uh-huh.

TI: And where in Seattle did you live, and where did they grow up?

MT: When we first came back, we lived in Rainier Valley, we were renting a home there. And then we bought a house in, near Garfield. And from there, we moved over to West Seattle and lived there, we've been there, I think, forty-something years.

TI: And that's traditionally not a place where very many Japanese Americans live.

MT: Yeah.

TI: So why'd you choose West Seattle?

MT: It was available, I think there was still a little resentment of Japanese trying to go into Laurelhurst or even Mt. Baker, maybe. But West Seattle seemed like a very hospitable group there.

TI: Okay, good.

<End Segment 33> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 34>

TI: So, boy, that's the end of my prepared questions. Is there anything else that you wanted to, to say or mention? When you think about this interview, and this interview will be around for, hopefully, hundreds of years, is there anything you want to tell the future about, about your life or anything?

MT: I think it's a great thing, this Densho program, because so many people are not aware of the hardship, sadness, that the Isseis and Niseis had to go through. And it will be carried on. And here, not too long ago, a friend of mine, a Caucasian family, their daughter lives in Boise. And her daughter, so she's in her teens, wanted to write up about the Japanese. And they got in contact with me and wanted me to send 'em information. And I think it's a great thing that the Caucasian people, some are aware of it, and more and more are getting aware of what can happen, what did happen and what could happen to other minority groups in the country. And so often, with the younger people, when they hear about evacuation and things, so often the question is, "Why did you go? Why didn't you refuse to go?" Times were different, and I think, whether, because we were Japanese ancestry, the background, I think we really had no desire or ability to resist that. Where today, a group, whether we're Japanese Americans or what minority group, it would be pretty hard to convince the American public that we are, as a minority, we're a dangerous group that had to be sent away. And if they tried to do it, I think there would be a lot of people that, not the ones that are being persecuted, but they would fight against the government, against something like that. And I think this is the biggest thing of today, prejudice is not as strong or emotionally involved as they were fifty, sixty years ago. Prejudice against Orientals, definitely very, very strong years ago. Today, there's a certain amount of prejudice against the new immigrants like the... what is it, the Iranians and Arabic people. But I don't think it's as strong as it was against the Orientals of pre-World War II.

TI: And do you think it's because America learned something from what happened to Japanese Americans?

MT: I think they did, and I think we're a little more smarter, we're a little more educated. Prejudice is something that you very, very seldom hear the term "Jap" or "A-rab," derogatory terms. Where there, the beginning of World War II, I mean, not only against Asians, but German or Italian, I mean, the word "Wop," I don't think even a lot of people today, I don't think know what the term "Wop" means. Where I mean, it's a derogatory term towards Italians. Germans, I don't know what they call em, "Krauts" and things. I don't think the younger people would, if you said he's a "Kraut" or he's a "Dago" or a "Wop," I don't think they would even know. So I think we're much more educated and much more refined in our way of thinking. And I think it's a gradual thing that came around, but it's a great thing that it's, it's here with us today. And I don't think there'll ever be a minority group being evacuated or being treated the way the Niseis and Isseis were. Isolated individuals, yes, it's very possible. But as a group, I don't think it'll ever happen.

TI: Well, I hope you're right. And so, Mits, thank you. This was an excellent interview, and I think it's a great way to end the interview, so thank you.

<End Segment 34> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 35>

TI: So, Mits, I'm holding a display that your wife June made that shows your, your medals. And I thought if you could just briefly explain sort of what is in this case.

MT: I think this is a good conduct medal, and as long as you kept your nose clean in the service, automatically got that. So it's not a high decoration -- [laughs] -- but it's a little fun decoration. These are my battle ribbons, south Italy, northern Italy, France. And these are the ribbons that I was awarded. Actually, the French ribbon is where I was actively in the service. This is what is called the Combat Infantryman's Badge. It was issued only to ones that were in the infantry, whether they were, I think, even the, if you were a paratrooper and things like that, they were able to get the Combat Infantryman's Badge. This is what you call the Presidential Citation, which the 442 were given, I think three or four of 'em. As a unit, it's a citation given to the unit, not to the individual. Our discharge pin, when I got out of the service it was given to me. Purple Heart that I received. The Bronze Star, which during World War II, was a medal of valor, and which was a highly... what would you say, respected medal. But to me, they had degraded that to a point where anybody that served in World War II, if they applied, they can get a Bronze Star. And it seems a shame because during the war, lot of fellows did some great things, gave the lives, and earned the Bronze Star. This in the center is the Silver Star that I received, and it's a medal of valor. Can't remember too much why I got it, but it was given to me and I'm very, very proud of it.

And hopefully, this display, I want to have a picture taken, and I want to donate it to the Nisei Veterans Hall. And whether they'll display it or not I don't know, but it's something that I want to give to the Nisei Vets Hall. And we were there, I think, almost every other week. I think they did a terrific job there, and it's a place where second, third, fourth generation, I think they'd enjoy it if they went through there and look at some of the displays they have there. And unfortunately, the fellows from the MIS or the Military Intelligence Service were not recognized as highly as the Nisei 442, but they did a terrific job as I think General McArthur's aide said, the Niseis, or the members of the MIS shortened World War II by as much as two years. And two years of combat, when you think about the thousands and thousands of lives that were lost, it's a tremendous honor that they have. And unfortunately, they're not recognized too much because so much of what they did was classified. And just recently, they are starting to release some of the things that they did. But twenty years ago, no one hardly knew anything about the Military Intelligence, which is, I think there were something like six thousand Niseis that were in that group. But they're a great part of the Nisei veterans' legacy.

TI: So just to finish this, let me just, I want to read the citation for the Silver Star. "Mitsuru Takahashi, Private Infantry Company L, 442 Regimental Combat Team, for gallantry and action near Mount Folgorita in Tendola, Italy, on 6-April and 20-April, 1945. On 6-April, 1945, when his platoon was pinned down by an enemy machine gun, Private Takahashi advanced despite the fire and knocked out the position. On 20-April, 1945, near Tendola, Italy, during an ambush, although wounded in the chest, he defeated an enemy attempt to flank his platoon, continuing to hold off the enemy 'til loss of blood rendered him unconscious. Private Takahashi's heroism is in keeping with the finest traditions of the Army of the United States, and is deserving of the highest praise. Entered service from Salt Lake City, Utah." And that was the citation. So I just wanted to read that for the record. So thank you very much again for, for the interview.

<End Segment 35> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.