Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Edward K. Honda Interview
Narrator: Edward K. Honda
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: June 2, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-hedward-01

<Begin Segment 1>

MA: Okay. So today is June 2, 2009, and I'm here with Edward Honda in Honolulu, Hawaii. And thank you so much for coming in and doing this interview.

EH: Oh, thank you for doing this, you know. Like I said earlier, a lot of people forget what happened during the war, and I think it's something that people should never forget.

MA: So I wanted to start just with a basic question. Where and when were you born?

EH: I was born July 7, 1945, in Tule Lake, California.

MA: And tell me a little bit about your parents, like what their names were and where they were born.

EH: Yes. I'm gonna have to go back and forth between my birth father and my stepfather, 'cause my birth father actually is Hiroshi Honda, born in (Maui), Hawaii. He was educated in Japan. And I'm not sure which university, but apparently what happened is when he graduated from university, being one of those at that time that carried dual citizenship, he was drafted into the Japan air force, became a fighter pilot in the Sino-Japan War. He did see combat, he got shot down once. At which time, my grandma, from what I understand, flew to Japan, proceeded to chastise the government for drafting him for one thing, then bringing him back to Hawaii. [Laughs] I can just picture that as I'm laughing. I come from a family of very feisty people. [Laughs]

MA: So then your father was a Kibei, right?

EH: Correct.

MA: So he was born in Hawaii and then educated in Japan?

EH: Educated in Japan.

MA: And then he was drafted in the army, and so shot down during the Sino-Japanese War.

EH: Correct, correct.

MA: And then what about your mother?

EH: My mom was born in Papaikou, Hawaii, on the Big Island. She was just -- well, I shouldn't say "just" -- but she was trained as a seamstress. She did go to school, and I thought she was pretty good at... as an example, she could see a picture in a magazine, look at it, draft a pattern, and make a dress for my sister. She was that good. And, you know, she used to draft these patterns out of newspaper, that was funny. But I thought she was pretty good. She could sew a shirt in one night, you know, from scratch. And I thought she was pretty terrific.

MA: And what about her parents or your grandparents? What do you know about them?

EH: My grandparents, very, very, very little. On my father's side, Grandpa Honda, I never met him. He had passed away. Grandma Honda lived in Honolulu, and we lived in Hilo, so I didn't see her that often, too. Grandma Hashida, my mother's side, I never met her either because she had passed away (before) I was born. Grandpa Hashida, very little, too, because for some reason, my mom and he didn't really get along, so we hardly saw them. But both of them were Issei, so both parents are Nisei and I'm Sansei.

MA: But it sounds like you have some fond memories of your dad's mom, of your grandmother?

EH: Yeah, she was, she was like an entertainer, you know, like parties and stuff. She would dance (and sing). She was trained to dance. [Laughs] At times, I thought maybe she was trained as a geisha -- not. [Laughs] But she was very entertaining. She was a barber, actually.

MA: Your grandmother was a barber?

EH: Yeah, on my father's side. She had a barber shop in Kalihi. Got robbed every other week because of the area, if you know Kalihi. [Laughs] Kalihi is kind of an immigrant area, so it's not a classy place or anything. But a lot of -- today, a lot of drug dealings and stuff going on in Kalihi. It's not a really desirable area, but it was inexpensive.

MA: And she did this after the war? Sort of post-World War II?

EH: I think it was before and after. My Grandma Honda never got interned or anything like that.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.