Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kazuko Uno Bill Interview II
Narrator: Kazuko Uno Bill
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 11, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-bkazuko-02-0001

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MA: Okay, so today is June 11, 2008, and we're here for a second session with Kazuko Bill. I'm Megan Asaka, the interviewer, and on the camera is Dana Hoshide. So Kazuko, thank you so much for coming back and finishing up the interview.

KB: Oh, you're welcome. I kind of enjoy it.

MA: Good. So I wanted to recap a little bit where we left off, because you were talking about your experiences at medical school in Philadelphia, Woman's Medical College, that you started in 1943. And I was wondering if you could talk about meeting your good friend Dr. Ruby Inouye Shu, and just what, about her a little bit and how you met her.

KB: Okay, I was, I think I explained that I had to sort of work my way through medical school, and so I did half of my first year, the first year I was there, and then I did the second half the second year. So it took me, in other words, two years to do my first year of medical school. And during the second year, I met Ruby, Ruby Inouye Shu -- she's Shu now -- and we had not met before, even though we both came from Seattle. But we became good friends, and towards the end of the medical school, we get divided up into different small groups because we work with patients, we go visit different hospitals, and we were fortunate enough to get into the same group, so I got to know her even better. And I think this friendship has continued over the years, and we still are good friends.

MA: It seems like you two had so much in common, being from Seattle, and what you went through during the war, and then in the medical profession as Japanese American women.

KB: That's true. Then I met another person while I was in medical school. Her sister was, I think, two years ahead of me, and she was from California. It so happened that she had been accepted to Woman's Medical School a couple years before me, but her two sisters had also settled in Philadelphia and her older sister was a social worker who was in charge of, I can't remember exactly what it was, but I think she was in charge of a home for disturbed youngsters, they were, like, teenage children or young people. And I got to know her quite well, when I had free time, I would often visit her. And she kind of introduced me to what the social conditions were and what politics were, and how we needed to take care of the more unfortunate people. And I had never thought about these things in that way, that we usually had our own circle of friends in Seattle and dealt with our friends, and never thought too much about how other people lived. And I think she kind of opened my eyes to some of the problems that people had in this country. It's a free country, and usually people are thought to be able to work and do their thing, but there were also those who were not so fortunate.

MA: Do you feel like what you learned from her had a, sort of, lasting impact on you in terms of being in the medical field?

KB: Well, in a way, I think it did. Certainly in the way I look, look upon politics, for instance. Actually, she was quite, I think she was a worker in some political way in Los Angeles. And anyway, she opened my eyes to some of these things that ordinarily I would never have thought about. And I think, as you say, I think it had lasting effects on me.

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