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

<Begin Segment 1>

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.

<Begin Segment 2>

MA: I wanted to ask about, a little bit more about your medical college, and if you felt that because it was an all-women's institution, that if you, did you feel like they had a certain approach towards training, preparing you for being a woman in the medical field? Or did they sort of tailor their curriculum towards women's issues more?

KB: In some ways, I think our basic training was pretty general, but they did have a strong program for women's diseases, obstetrics and women's diseases. Maybe I should talk about my experience when I was on the obstetrics service.

MA: Sure.

KB: There was a program in which one of us went out to a very poor section of Philadelphia. The school had a clinic established in this section, and it so happened that some of us were privileged to do home deliveries when the patient became pregnant and was ready to deliver a baby. And I talked to Ruby about this one time and she says she doesn't remember doing that, but I had to go out and deliver a baby in a home. And of course, a professor was with me, so I didn't have to go by myself. I think that would have been kind of scary. And it gave me a chance to see some of the conditions in a poor section. This was in, of course, a black neighborhood that was close to the downtown Philadelphia area. The professor, I remember telling me, "If you wear a white coat and carry a black bag, you'll never have to worry about walking on the streets in this section," because they respected the doctors. And I just remember all that because it was kind of a scary situation to go into a poor black neighborhood in those days, when there was a lot of conflicts going on.

MA: How did people in that community receive you or treat you?

KB: Well, as far as the patient went, she was very... what's the word? She was very grateful to us for taking care of her, and had a real nice baby.

MA: What were some of the conditions like that you saw in these areas?

KB: Well, actually, the home that I visited was not too bad. It was a small home and it was clean, and the room was prepared, it must have been prepared by a nurse from our hospital, so that things were sanitary. And actually, we didn't see any other part of the home, but the streets were not that nice. I mean, there was garbage or trash around, you wondered if you were walking at night in that area, what it would be like.

MA: Did these people not, what was the access for them to hospitals and stuff? Was it pretty common to have a home delivery like that, during that time and in that type of community?

KB: I think so. If the patient had no problems, if there were some problems that came up during the pregnancy, they would have to have delivery in the hospital. But if things were just going normally and without any problems, then it was acceptable to have it in the home. I think it was still acceptable in many places. I think I told you that my brothers and sister were born at home. So this was... actually, people thought nothing of having a baby at one time. [Laughs]

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

<Begin Segment 3>

MA: So when did you decide on the career choice that you did, as being a radiologist? Did you decide that when you were in, in medical school?

KB: No. I had no idea that I would go into radiology. After I finished medical school, then we had to do what's called an internship, and I did this in Pittsburgh. And fortunately Ruby was also in Pittsburgh at that time, so at least I had one friend there because it was a completely strange city for me. And during that internship, we'd go through, it was called a general internship. We'd go through different services, and we'd spend time with surgery, we'd spend time in medicine wards, we'd spend obstetrics, I think pathology. Anyway, rotate, it was called a rotating internship, so we would go through all the different fields. And at that time I had no idea what I wanted to do. Maybe, you know, just become a family physician. After I finished my internship, somebody got me involved, I'm not exactly sure, but one of the professors at the medical school suggested that I go to this hospital in Detroit which specialized in treating tuberculosis patients.

MA: I'm sorry, how long was your internship in Pittsburgh?

KB: One year.

MA: One year, okay. And then after you were completed with your internship, you'd go on to residency.

KB: Right, uh-huh.

MA: So after, after my internship, not really knowing what I should do, I said, "Okay, I'll take this residency in a tuberculosis hospital in Detroit." So kind of interesting is that the day I reported to this hospital, I got sick. Somehow I developed a fever and it turned out that I had fluid in my chest. So they did some tests and decided that it was probably a tuberculous condition, and so right when I started my residency, I ended up as a patient in this hospital. And I was there for about six months, because tuberculosis treatment was still pretty much in the hospital and they had just discovered chemotherapy for it. So I did receive the chemotherapy and was discharged. So at that point I returned to my family which by now had moved to Spokane. From the evacuation camp, they relocated to Spokane rather than returning to Seattle.

MA: So from Minidoka they ended up going to Spokane.

KB: Spokane.

MA: As the war ended, 1945.

KB: Right.

MA: Do you know why they didn't go back to Seattle?

KB: Well, one reason was that a family who lived near us in Seattle had settled in Spokane and they were farming. And they said, "Well, the farm next to us is up for sale." It was owned by a Japanese family and so my family decided, "Well, okay, we'll go to Spokane." As I think I told you before, the Japanese were not allowed to own property in Seattle, and so we had no real place to return to in Seattle, so I think they decided, "Let's go to Spokane." So that's when I returned to my family.

MA: Was that to, sort of, get better, to take time off?

KB: Right, just to take, just to take it easy.

MA: Right.

KB: And they basically, they don't feel this way about treating tuberculosis anymore, but at that time, they still thought rest was the important thing.

MA: So how, how long were you in Spokane with your family?

KB: I think it was like six months, and then I returned to Detroit as a, what they called resident physician, and started my career in, actually, it was treatment of tuberculosis patients. It was a big tuberculosis hospital in Detroit.

MA: Was there a particular group that you saw a lot of in the hospital that seemed to be more susceptible to tuberculosis, or that was more common to seeing?

KB: Well, I think the black population is a little more susceptible to a disease like that. Otherwise... there was a Japanese girl, but otherwise it was pretty much a mixture of whites and blacks.

MA: When you were, during your residency at this hospital, how did you see the treatment changing for tuberculosis? You'd mentioned you received a newer treatment. What was the treatment before that for tuberculosis?

KB: There was, there was very little that could be done. Mostly it was rest, and then a lot of the patients were also able to be operated on, they used to remove the whole lung that would be diseased. And they did what was called thoracoplasty, where they kind of collapsed the chest so that lung would be less active. And a lot of that, I'm sure, is no longer being done because of chemotherapy. Actually, the tuberculosis rate has gone down a lot, except I think more recently, some of the immigrants have come with the disease. But the treatment has changed so much. This hospital eventually closed as a tuberculosis hospital and became more like a public health hospital.

MA: Around what sort of decade or what time did you really see tuberculosis rates going down? Was it in the '50s?

KB: Well, this was '40s, '40s and '50s.

MA: When you were working at this hospital, what was the, I guess, survival rate of patients? Was it pretty common to sort of get over tuberculosis and be okay?

KB: I would say pretty much they got better. There were some, a few who may have been hospitalized for life, just never got better. But once the, once the drugs became better, then the treatment was more effective.

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

<Begin Segment 4>

MA: So what types of things did you do in this hospital during your residency? Was that when you decided to specialize?

KB: Well, actually, we had just taken care of patients, and the decision for the treatment was made by a panel of doctors, and we would bring up the cases and we would have discussions about what should be done with the patient and go on from there. The interesting thing about my experience in Detroit is that's where I met my husband.

MA: Well, how did you two meet?

KB: Well, that was kind of an interesting story. Actually, we had staff from different parts of the world, and this couple from Turkey came to work at the hospital, and they somehow got publicity in the, in the Detroit paper. I think they had a front-page picture of this couple from Turkey coming to study at the Herman Kiefer hospital and so forth and so on. And my husband saw this news story, and he thought -- he's also from Turkey -- he thought, "Well, it might be interesting to meet this couple." So he came to the hospital, and at that time, we were all, most of us were living in the hospital quarters. So we had our meals in the common dining room, and that's where I met him, because he visited this couple, and they brought him down to the dining room and we had a meal together. And he visited often, and gradually became very friendly. We had, it was an interesting group; there was a Chinese doctor, we had a couple from India, then we had this couple from Turkey in addition to some American doctors.

MA: Can you talk a little bit about your husband's background and how he ended up coming to the U.S.?

KB: Well, I think he, he graduated from Robert College in Istanbul, which was run by Americans. And I think he wanted to learn a little bit more in the United States. I think a lot of the Robert College graduates did come to the United States to continue their education. What happened, he enrolled at Indiana University, and then shortly after that, he was drafted into the American army. So...

MA: Was this during, so this was wartime years?

KB: Wartime, uh-huh. So I think he served maybe a year or two, but he was shipped to Japan, so he was assigned to... I say it was MacArthur's headquarters, but it was some other general's headquarters and he had kind of a nice office job. [Laughs] And then he was discharged in one year, so he (obtained) his American citizenship, and that way he actually no longer became interested in returning to Turkey. I think he probably wanted to have some schooling in this country and perhaps go back (later).

MA: Was there a large Turkish community in Detroit? Is that why he went to Detroit?

KB: I don't think, I don't think there was a large Turkish community. There were Armenians, I think he stayed with an Armenian woman who was renting out a room for a while. I'm not sure that it was a large Armenian population, but I don't think there were very many Turks.

MA: And when did you, what year did you get married?

KB: In 1952.

MA: I'm curious about your family's reaction to you marrying someone from Turkey, and how that was accepted in your family and maybe in the Japanese American community in general at that time.

KB: My family really accepted him. When, the first time we went to see my family, my father had kind of looked at Turkish history and he started talking to my husband about Ataturk and how the democracy was established in Turkey and things like that, and kind of surprised all of us that he had even thought about these things. But yeah, there was no problem accepting him. Actually, my family, we had six children and I was the last one to get married. I was the oldest and I was the last one to get married. And my family, I think, was very happy that I found a husband, I don't know. [Laughs]

MA: So how old were you when you got married?

KB: I was twenty-nine. I think my mother was getting a little worried.

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

<Begin Segment 5>

MA: So going back a little bit to your residency in Detroit, I'm curious how patients or other doctors reacted to you, if you ever encountered any sort of discrimination being Japanese American and a woman during this time.

KB: Yeah, I felt a little bit of discomfort, but I think after they know a person, then it's a little bit more comfortable. I think they feel somebody with a different face might be their enemy, I don't know. We did have problems after we were married, we were looking for an apartment and this one place had a big sign, "Apartment for rent," and knocked on the door and a woman looked out the window and said, "Japs, we don't want Japs here," and that was the end of that. So I think there was still some feelings about the Asians back then.

MA: What about your husband? Did people sort of view him as white or Caucasian, or how did people view him?

KB: Yeah, I think he was viewed as a Caucasian. I don't think... I don't know why, I guess she saw me and decided, okay, you know, that she didn't want any Asians in her apartment.

MA: In Detroit during that time, what were the race relations like in general, I mean, between the African American community and the white population? Was there, you'd mentioned earlier in Philadelphia there was some tension. How was Detroit?

KB: I think in Detroit also, there was a black, more of a black community. We didn't see any race riots or anything like that. I think the blacks were sort of, at that time, living separately. There was also a big white community which had immigrated from the South, Kentucky, Virginia, and they were working in the automobile industry, and they were kind of different.

MA: Right, maybe had some different prejudices because they were from the South.

KB: Right, yeah. There were also some very rich black people, actually, near, not too far from the hospital where I was working. And we had a chance to visit some of them, because they, some of the mansions that the blacks were living in were not too far from the hospital. And one of the dieticians, I think, invited us to visit a friend of hers who had this huge house, a beautiful home, and he had a lovely kitchen where they cooked dinner for us and kind of impressive. Actually, I think we visited two homes that were owned by prominent black people.

MA: It seems like in Detroit during that time, it must have been a pretty well-off city, with the automobile industry in its heyday.

KB: Oh, it was, right exactly. So we didn't see the, the conditions that came up later when there were riots and so forth.

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

<Begin Segment 6>

MA: So how long was your residency? How many years did you do that?

KB: Well, actually... let's see, when did I start? Actually, as I mentioned, the chemotherapy that was being used was so successful that the patients didn't need as much care as previously. And one of my fellow workers told me that, "You know, we're not gonna be able to stay here very long. You better think about going into some other field." And he himself decided to go into pathology, I remember. And his wife was a radiologist, and he told me, "Why don't you go into radiology? It's really a nice field." It was something that I had no interest in at the time, I was more interested in taking care of patients. But I thought, "Well, something to think about." And some of the other doctors in our group decided to go into radiology, too, so that's, I applied for training in this field and I was accepted, so, "Okay, I'll do it."

MA: And radiologists don't work as much with patients, is that right?

KB: That's right, yeah. It's more, it's a... I should say a service to the doctors. We'd help the doctors make diagnoses and how to, what are the tests to order and how to go about taking care of the patient rather than actual care of the patient ourselves.

MA: Right.

KB: So it was a very interesting change for me, and something that I enjoyed because my personality is such that I liked to deal with fine details, and looking at an x-ray, you need to make sure you don't miss anything. Something that I thought I, I thought was suitable for me.

MA: Yeah, it seems like you were able to use your strengths in that field very well.

KB: Right, so it involves a lot of knowledge in other fields that you need to put together to make a decent diagnosis. And it's a very stimulating process that we have to go through, and I really, really enjoyed that.

MA: What other fields did you find yourself drawing upon as you were working?

KB: What other fields did I...

MA: Oh, you mentioned that you had to draw upon other sort of types of knowledge and skills in radiology in particular.

KB: Like pathology, knowing what kind of diseases can affect an individual, knowing medical conditions, a lot of cardiology, you know, you have to know all about the heart, and there are many parts of the body that comes into the picture when you're looking at an x-ray.

MA: So you started your career as a radiologist, were you still in Detroit at that time?

KB: Yes, uh-huh. It was Detroit Receiving Hospital, which here would be comparable to Harborview, it was a city hospital, took care of patients from all over the Detroit area. Very, very busy place, and for a person who is in training, it's actually a real nice situation because you come into contact with all kinds of things. Very, very interesting experience for me.

MA: What was your schedule like? I imagine it was pretty rigorous at that time.

KB: Yes. [Laughs] Well, the main thing that we had to cover was the emergency room, and that emergency room, I think, took care of all cases in the whole Detroit area. So the busiest night that occurs is on Christmas Eve when everybody starts drinking and all the drunks get hurt or whatever. And actually, they had a room where they kept these people who were drunk, dirty, and were brought in by the police, to kind of recover and get cleaned up. I mean, it was a remarkable place. I've never seen anything like that. Since I've had a chance to go through some of that, I mean, we usually don't have to deal with that kind of thing as a radiologist, but sometimes we'd get a chance to see other parts of the hospital. And one time I was on duty and I, we have our x-ray room where the films are developed. In the old days, we had to go through, the films had to go through solutions. Now, they have these digital things that you really hardly need any kind of processing. But the films would be wet, and we used to have what was called wet reading, so you pull this wet film out of this container and look at it. [Laughs] And then everybody would want to see what I was looking at, and had to explain to them, "Well, okay, this bone is broken," or, "There's pneumonia in this lung," or whatever.

MA: And you would work with the doctor?

KB: Right.

MA: With the patient's doctor and discuss that?

KB: Uh-huh. And it was a, quite a learning experience. I think we learned fast and a lot in a situation like that.

MA: Were you on call a lot? Like at night, in the middle of the night and stuff?

KB: Right, we were on. We would like, it'd be like a twenty-four hour detail, where we would work in the department during the day, and then at night we would go, they had a little unit in the emergency department, and we would stay there. If it was a quiet night, they might, we had a room where we could lie down, so once in a while, during, usually during the week when it wasn't so busy, then we would get a chance to rest.

MA: What was your husband's, what work was he doing at this point? What was his sort of career path?

KB: He was, at that time he was working in a bank, he was an auditor.

MA: So then how long were you actually in Detroit after you finished your residency?

KB: We left -- okay, after my residency, I was sort of, I didn't know what I was going to do. And the, one of the professors said, "No problem, no problem, we got you all settled to go to the veterans hospital in Dearborn," so that was fine. Actually, there were two or three of us who were assigned to this hospital, and I was there until... let's see, we moved from Detroit in 1960.

MA: And that's when you went to Dearborn?

KB: No, actually, we left Dearborn, actually, we left that area, Michigan area in 1960. So I went to... let's see. From, from my training... I should have checked on this.

MA: Oh, it's okay.

KB: From my training, I went to, as a staff at the Veterans Hospital in Dearborn.

MA: What was it like working at the veterans hospital? How was that?

KB: It was, it was not as hectic as the city hospital, and of course we were working with men mostly. I doubt very much there were women patients at that time. I can't remember that it was, there was anything really different about it.

MA: And these were all veterans who had been injured?

KB: Right, yeah. Mostly World War II veterans, and I think there were... let's see. The Vietnam veterans I think came later. So maybe, mostly they were World War II veterans.

MA: Okay.

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

<Begin Segment 7>

MA: So you had mentioned that you lived in Tennessee for a while, in the South, and I was wondering if you could talk about that experience, why you went there.

KB: Well, my husband, okay, so from Detroit we moved to Seattle in 1960s, and my husband got a... I don't know what they call it. Anyway, he wanted to go to this institute in Tennessee, in Oak Ridge. Actually, Oak Ridge was very interesting because it was the site of, the birthplace of the nuclear bomb. It wasn't the only place that was involved in the production of the nuclear bomb, but the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Medicine was one of the prominent places. And it's a small community in Tennessee where there, it's at the, sort of near the foothills of the Smokies so there were a lot of trees. And I think they had, like, a fence all the way around the city, and an entrance point, I think there were, like, three entrance points, three places where people could enter this area, with guards. Now, this was all during the war. Since the war was finished, we didn't have that kind of situation, but these buildings where the guards were placed were still there. Then there was this Oak Ridge Institute, which was a huge building that had these, actually, the atomic energy ponds. And I think we visited that, we were able to take a tour through there one time.

The other thing that struck me about the area was that there was still discrimination, and it was against the blacks. And it was Clinton, Tennessee, where the first black... well, there was something in Clinton. I think it was where the first black child tried to board a bus, and there was kind of a riot following that. So from the standpoint of living in this area, it was kind of interesting. Also, there were supposedly a hundred professors living in this small town, and so they were, you know, people who were educated and understanding of racial problems. But there was still segregation in that the blacks had to live in a separate area from the white people.

MA: So even in this institute...

KB: Right, in this closed, sort of a closed society of really educated people, there was discrimination. And at work, when there were black employees, it was very friendly. But then when they went home, they had to go to a different area.

MA: Did you work, at that point, in a hospital somewhere in Tennessee?

KB: I did. There was a small hospital in Oak Ridge which was established, I think mainly to do experiments and research. And they had very few patients, but they were using radiation and nuclear treatments, nuclear, what we called isotope treatments. Maybe there were like ten or fifteen patients at one time, and I wasn't involved that much with, with the cases. There were, the professors who made most of the decisions about how to, what to do.

MA: How were you treated as a Japanese American in the, sort of, deep South, and how were you, how did you fit into that, sort of, into those dynamics?

KB: I think there was no problem. I don't remember that anybody made any comments about my color or... I guess the Asians were considered more similar to the whites. I don't believe that there was any kind of discrimination.

MA: That's interesting. I'm just comparing it to the story you told me in Detroit where you couldn't find an apartment.

KB: Right, yeah.

MA: That's very interesting to look at the differences that you noticed in those two different areas.

KB: Right, yeah. In the South, I think we were more included with the whites.

MA: Whereas somewhere like Detroit, you were singled out more.

KB: Right, yeah. I remember one time we were visiting Georgia, and they still had the bathrooms for the whites and the blacks, and we would say, I would say, "Well, I wonder which one I should go to," just to be kind of funny about it. Just to point out that there was such a thing as separate facilities for blacks and whites.

MA: When you were living there, you mentioned there was some sort of attempt to desegregate the buses. Do you remember hearing about movements like that at that time? Like more civil rights type of movements?

KB: Right, because as I mentioned, Clinton was very close to Oak Ridge, and actually, though, it happened after we left. We were there just for one year, so it happened after we left. But there was some indication I think that some change was coming. And certainly the people who were working at the institute were not all from the South, so I'm sure that they had the feeling that things should change.

MA: And I'm sorry, just to clarify, your husband at that point, what was he doing and what was the institute for?

KB: Well, he was actually teaching, so this was an institute for teachers.

MA: Okay. So he's, was that his profession then? He went into teaching?

KB: Well, yeah, he did a little bit of that, yeah.

MA: Okay.

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

<Begin Segment 8>

MA: So where did you go after then leaving Oak Ridge?

KB: Oak Ridge? I was offered a job in the Bay Area, in California, so I decided that I would go, that we would go there. So this was in East Bay at a veterans hospital in a town called Martinez. And it's maybe like thirty miles from San Francisco.

MA: And what year was this, when you moved?

KB: This was in 1964.

MA: So what was that like, going, I mean, from the deep South to then the Bay Area? What was, what were your impressions of San Francisco?

KB: It was nice. [Laughs] Yeah, it was very nice, I would say.

MA: And was there, where you were, in Martinez, was there a large Japanese American community? Or what was the ethnic population like?

KB: Martinez had, it was not very Asian. The Asian population was more in Oakland, Berkeley, and of course San Francisco and then San Jose. So the east side didn't have, especially further east of the bay, didn't have that many Japanese. There were Japanese, but not overwhelmingly Japanese. We lived, we lived north of Berkeley, we lived, tried to have our home closer to the bay, because as you got to the interior, it was very hot. It was more like this area, where you go into Yakima or south of -- I'm sorry, east of the mountains where it would be really hot. So it was a similar situation in the Bay Area. So our home was closer to the water, and it was an easy drive for me to go to Martinez.

MA: So at that point in the '60s in the Bay Area, what were the race relations like at that point? Was there stuff going on that you witnessed, or any type of activism?

KB: I'm sure there was some activism, but I don't remember that it was, there was anything really outstanding.

MA: And you were in California for how many years?

KB: Thirty years. [Laughs]

MA: So you were in, so you basically made that your permanent home?

KB: I suppose, right, uh-huh. I have to, I have to add, however, that we had bought this property up here back in the '60s. It was, my husband likes the water, and of course, he was brought up in Istanbul where there was lots of water, and he decided that he wanted a place where he could go swimming. So we drove around the Seattle area and found this little cabin, log cabin on the Sammamish Plateau, it was just called the Plateau in those days. So we -- oh, and it was on a little lake, it's called Beaver Lake, and we bought this property. And at time, some of the people said, "What do you think you're gonna do, swim in this area? There probably would be four or five days of hot weather enough for you to go swimming in a lake." Well, he swims in a cold lake, it doesn't matter whether it's warm or cold. But anyway, we acquired this property, and we kept it all these years. So when we retired, we decided we'll build a house there, and that's what we did. It took us about a year, I think, we traveled back and forth to see what was going on, and we had this house built to replace the log cabin, and it's right on the lake. We were living... now, our house is small compared to all these mansions that are going up there. It's just developed.

MA: I'm sure... the Sammamish Plateau has changed a lot.

KB: It's just, it's just so different.

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

<Begin Segment 9>

MA: So I wanted to ask you, as your, your career in medicine as a radiologist, what are some of the, I guess, medical advances that you've seen in your lifetime that sort of, you think made the biggest impact?

KB: Well, from the radiology standpoint, all the new machines that have come up, the CT scanner, the MRI scanner, and then the digitalization of everything so that I think the radiation exposure has been decreased, and there isn't all this darkroom wet stuff that we had to go through in the past.

MA: When did they start phasing that out, that system of, in the darkroom and developing the film?

KB: Well, I think it probably, it started after I retired. Probably not too long after I retired, there was all this computer stuff coming in and it was getting hard for me to understand the physics of some of the, the processes, and I thought, "Well, maybe it's time for me to retire."

MA: And what year did you, did you retire?

KB: I retired in 1991.

MA: And that's when you moved with your husband to Seattle?

KB: Right. I'm sorry, I didn't retire in, I retired in 1986, and I worked, I was a, I worked with the residents twice a month for a while until we moved, as a visiting doctor. And it was a very important part of my career, I think, was working with the residents and helping them learn radiology. I really enjoyed that part. I think I had a good relationship with most of the trainees.

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

<Begin Segment 10>

MA: So I wanted to ask you a little bit about, about the redress for the World War II internment in the '80s and how you felt about the government issuing an apology and redress money for their wrongdoing.

KB: Okay, I think, you know, it came late. I think we had tried to put all this behind us, and it was nice to get it, but to me, it was too late, you know. We had, as I said, tried to forget that part of our life, and we had gone on to a successful other life, and it was okay. I think it was okay, in fact, it was maybe a necessary thing, but it was too late. They should have -- well, they should never have done it in the first place, the evacuation -- but we enjoyed getting it.

MA: But you felt like maybe it was bringing up these issues when you had worked hard to kind of forget them, is that what you were saying?

KB: Forget them, right. It was also not as meaningful at that point in my life than it would have been earlier when we were still struggling with this, being evacuated.

MA: Right.

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

<Begin Segment 11>

MA: So I also wanted to ask you about something that happened a couple months ago, which is the University of Washington held a ceremony for Japanese Americans who couldn't graduate because of the Executive Order 9066. How did you feel being officially recognized at that ceremony, or about the ceremony in general taking place?

KB: It was beautiful. I think it was a very great idea that the university had. I felt a little guilty because I had received my degree. Actually, I was in my last year of school, and I think we were moved in May, the early part of May, and the school year would have ended towards the end of May, so I just had a few more weeks to go to complete my studies. And so those of us who were so close to graduating were given diplomas. It was mailed to us after we went to camp, and we had a kind of a graduation ceremony in camp where high school and college graduates were celebrated. So I, when I was called to attend this, I said, "Well, look, I already got my diploma. I'm not so sure if I should be eligible to attend this." And the professor said, Professor Kashima said, "Oh, well, we don't, that's all right. We still want to honor everybody who was at the university at that time." So this was why I went, and I think it was a very great thing for the university to do, because many of the students didn't graduate from the University of Washington and were not able to. And I appreciated the fact that they did this.

MA: So as a Japanese American woman, to pursue a career in medicine, you broke a lot of barriers, I mean, for your time. I just wondered, looking back, what sort of kept motivating you and inspiring you to sort of achieve your professional goals and to have a great career in radiology?

KB: I really don't know. I think, now, my interest in studying had a lot to do with it. I liked, I liked to study, I liked to learn new things. I don't know, it just, it just moved along with opportunities that came up and continued with whatever I could. I think the challenge of teaching other doctors, of profession, I think that really encouraged me to pursue my own interests. It was a very enjoyable part of my work.

MA: Oh, when you were teaching the younger radiologists.

KB: Radiologists, and to see them become successful in their work, it was really a pleasant part of my career.

MA: Yeah, pretty rewarding.

KB: It is, yeah. We had some reunions after I retired, and when my colleague retired we had a party, it was like several years after I retired. And to see that people that I had worked with and trained became successful in their own work, it was just a very rewarding thing.

MA: So is there anything else that you would like to share or talk about?

KB: Well, we've covered a lot of territory. [Laughs]

MA: Covered a lot. But anything else that you want to say?

KB: You know, there's a lot in my life that went on that we have not gone into, but I'm not so sure that we need to go any further.

MA: Any important things that stand out that we haven't talked about that you think is important?

KB: Well, I really, you know, they were important to me, perhaps, but maybe not so much to other, you know, they're personal things that have happened, I can think of. But I think we covered most of my travels. [Laughs]

MA: Well, that's great. Well, you know, this has just been a wonderful interview, and thank you so much for sharing your, your story.

KB: Oh, you're quite welcome.

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