Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Grace Sugita Hawley Interview
Narrator: Grace Sugita Hawley
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: June 3, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-hgrace-01

<Begin Segment 1>

MA: So today is June 3, 2009, and I'm here with Grace Sugita Hawley in Honolulu, Hawaii. So thank you so much for doing this interview with us.

GH: Well, I hope it will be useful.

MA: It will, for sure. So I wanted to start by just asking some basic questions. When were you born?

GH: September 28, 1931.

MA: And where were you born?

GH: In Honolulu.

MA: What area of Honolulu?

GH: I'm not too sure. I think... we lived in Kalihi, so that must have been where I was born.

MA: And is Kalihi, where is that in the city? You said it was near...

GH: Today, it's... today, it's an industrial area. It's a little past the pier, I don't even know how to describe it.

MA: You said it was closer to, it was close to Pearl Harbor?

GH: Yes, it's that end of town.

MA: And...

GH: Almost going to Sand Island, almost, that's right.

MA: And what about your parents? Can you tell me their names and where they were born?

GH: Uh-huh. My father was Saburo Sugita, and he was born in Kauai. And my mother was Shizuno. She was born in Aiea here, that's another area outside of the city.

MA: And what do you know about your grandparents, about their story and why they came to Hawaii?

GH: I don't know that much, really. But my grandfather on my father's side came, and he worked on, in the plantation, as they all did. Worked in the plantation, and that's how they grew up.

MA: And this was on Kauai.

GH: In Kauai, uh-huh. And so I guess he started his family. And then, as his situation got better, improved, he was able to -- because he was, I guess he was like a foreman because he came so early. And then he decided to open a store, grocery store. So he left the plantation and opened a grocery store, which was a general store, the old days they just carry everything. And then also somewhere along there, my father said he started a Japanese school. He felt that they needed a language school there, so he started a Japanese school. And then, in those days, the story I got was that they didn't have marine insurance. So everything came by ship from the mainland, all the goods from the store, and the ship sank. [Laughs] The ship sank. He lost all his, everything. He lost everything. And so for him to start all over, it was going to be a struggle, so they went back to the plantation. But he didn't give up, my grandfather was an entrepreneur. He said, "We're gonna start again, and so we'll go back to the plantation." And so they had to leave school and go back and all work and save enough money to go into business again. And I forgot what else he did. He was into all kinds of businesses until he decided to move to Honolulu. So that's how they grew up. When they were adults, I guess, the sons, he sent two of them first to Honolulu, and then that's how they looked into the bakery business and decided that they'll open a bakery. My grandfather wanted to open a bakery. And he had... how many sons he had? Five sons. But the oldest son was married to a Japanese woman from Japan, rather, not local woman. And he wanted to go back to Japan because she's lonely. So he never got active in a business, he didn't want to get into the business.

So my grandfather started a cotton factory, also. He decided they needed the cotton factory for futon and zabuton. In those days, they were the only ones that did that. And then he had some connection with a cotton grower in the Big Island, and he had some in our backyard there behind the factory. The factory was next door to our house. So he had ladies working there. The machine did almost all of the baling, and it would come out zabuton shape, you know, imagine. It would go through, cotton would go through and come out into squares. And then they had the futon sizes, and so they had deliveries made and all that, so they were doing quite well. That's the one my uncle managed. That was his speed. I guess he said that's, he didn't want to get involved with the bakery, so my grandfather said, "Okay, you take care of that."

MA: And this was the uncle who was married to the Japanese woman?

GH: Yes, uh-huh.

MA: And for the cotton factory, who were the, was it just in Honolulu where they sold the...

GH: Uh-huh, the people in Honolulu. So they were very busy with that. Because everybody, all the Japanese households had zabuton and futon. They needed, they needed the cotton for it. So anyway, eventually, at some point, my uncle decided to go back to Japan, so he went to Japan with my grandfather. And then, so they all had to pitch in and, I guess, manage the cotton factory. And the ladies, the wives, were helping in there, and they hired some ladies to take care of it, too. They had one driver, one truck with a driver to deliver.

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

<Begin Segment 2>

MA: And then you mentioned that your family also ran a bakery.

GH: Uh-huh, the bakery was their mainstay there. Bakery was kind of like a wholesale bakery, and all the brothers were there. One, two... two of them were bakers in the back, and my father was the manager, more like... he was sales. And another brother did that, too. And then the rest they hired. They had bakers, other bakers making cakes. And they had a little retail store, but they didn't, they didn't concentrate on that as much as bread. Because bread was their main business, wholesale, you know.

MA: And who were their main customers for the wholesale business?

GH: The schools, public schools throughout the island, and restaurants. Restaurants, my father had a lot of restaurant friends. He made a lot of restaurant friends. And so he had quite a lot of restaurant business, and all the schools. And he had delivery trucks going all around the island.

MA: What was the name of the bakery?

GH: Holly Bakery, H-O-L-L-Y.

MA: Did you ever work at the, at the bakery or the store or the cotton factory?

GH: The only time... it seems that as we grew up and become teenagers, at some point, we all had to put in some time in the retail store. And so like in the summer, my one cousin, she liked to bake, and she wanted to learn to decorate cakes, so she worked in the back with the baker who did cakes. But we all took turns, we had to work in the store. One at a time, 'cause the store was very small. And so we all did a little bit of that. [Laughs]

MA: And were the bakers, were they all Japanese?

GH: Uh-huh, I think. Yeah, I think they were almost all Japanese. The deliverymen, too, were Japanese.

MA: But it seems like the customers were, sort of, the schools and larger organizations, the companies?

GH: Uh-huh.

MA: What about your siblings? Can you tell me a little bit about your siblings and their names?

GH: Okay. There were four girls. My oldest sister is Lillian... do you want their last names?

MA: Sure.

GH: Lillian Nakano, and then next to that is Julia Murakawa. And then Liz Horiuchi, and then myself, and then my brother is the oldest, he's two years older than Lillian, and he's Robert.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

MA: Okay, so there's five of you total. And can you describe a little bit about your house and the neighborhood you grew up in? This was before the war?

GH: Uh-huh. It was a residential area there, except that we had our cotton factory. And considering that, think about it, they're all houses, they're all houses. And as far as I knew, I just grew up, I must have been born there, because that's all we knew until we had to go to camp. And my grandfather had originally bought property for all his sons and for his... so we had cousins, and throughout the street and the next block, we had relatives. And what else can I say about growing up there?

MA: What about your mother? Did she work or was she at home?

GH: No, she stayed home, she was a housewife. She was... I don't know enough about her parents. We used to go there every Sunday, my dad would take us every Sunday and visit my grandmother. And my grandfather died in some period, can't remember exactly. And she died after that, I remember we had to go the hospital, 'cause she had a stroke, I think, she died. But when we were little, we used to go there every week and she would buy little presents for us. They lived in Manoa. And we used to have a lot of fun, 'cause we would stay there all day, all day. And she was really nice, she was a nice grandmother. Because on the other side, we didn't know our other grandmother too well because they were in, back and forth, Japan and here. They weren't always here. And she was very strict. I can't even remember her. But my mother's side, the grandmother, all the kids used to want to go with us. [Laughs]

MA: So your father's parents, then, sort of traveled back and forth in between Japan and Hawaii?

GH: To Japan and here, uh-huh.

MA: So your grandfather, then, never really intended to stay in Hawaii permanently?

GH: I don't think so, because he still, I don't know why it is that he couldn't stay put very long. It just seems like he goes, he gets tired and he goes back again, he wants to come back here and he moved back and forth. Somebody has to accompany him so my dad used to go with him. Because when he was interrogated they asked him why, but he said he had to take him, he couldn't let him go by himself. So that's why my dad went quite along, too.

MA: Did you ever go to Japan before the war?

GH: Uh-uh. Only my sister that one time before the war. He took my sister on that last trip before the war started. My brother, he didn't take my brother, either, only my one sister.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

MA: And did you attend a Japanese language school?

GH: Uh-huh. It was, for us, it's a way of life. All the Japanese kids go to school. Right after English school, we go Japanese school, on the way home, it's right there. And we all go there, and Saturdays, too.

MA: So it was six days a week?

GH: Uh-huh.

MA: What was your, do you remember your teachers?

GH: Uh-huh. In fact, you know, because of our age, step up there, that we all had the same teacher year by year, even in grade school. At our elementary school, we all had the same teachers practically. But in Japanese school, we always wanted to excel, because of our parents, we don't want to disgrace them, and we really, really try hard. So it's kind of a shame that it was all wasted. That when it stopped, I forgot, I forgot everything. I mean, I forgot how to read and write. Isn't that something? To fourth grade, I went to, and completely forgot it.

MA: What language did you speak at home? Was it primarily English?

GH: Mostly English, uh-huh. Some Japanese that we hear them speak, and they use some Japanese in between. So we learned, that's how we learned, I think, is that we learned to hear from hearing them speak to each other and to us a little bit. But mostly English they spoke.

MA: What about pidgin? Did your family speak a little bit of pidgin?

GH: Yeah, it was pidgin in those days, uh-huh. In those days, it used to be more pidgin than today, you know. Things have changed now. But before, used to be pidgin. And we used to say the pidgin isn't as bad as the outer island pidgin. 'Cause outer islands, somehow they seem more countrified. And outer island was really country. Here, it's like the city. In the old, old days, it was like a city compared to the outside islands. So their pidgin was really, really old, old country style. We used to, we never heard it before. [Laughs] And it seemed strange to us. So we found out when we went to camp, when we met the outside island kids.

MA: That's when you, you heard their language, sort of, differences?

GH: Yes, uh-huh. So anyway, that was an experience. [Laughs]

MA: What about your elementary school? What elementary school did you attend?

GH: It's still there, Puuhale, Puuhale school. It's still there, and it's out, going towards the airport. And I guess we all went there.

MA: You and all your siblings?

GH: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

MA: So then you were, let's see, ten years old when Pearl Harbor happened in December 7th. And can you tell me about your memories of that day?

GH: Well, I remember going to my cousin's house because I wanted to show him the Christmas tree my dad had put up the night before. It was a little early when you think about it, December 7th, it's early for Christmas tree. My dad liked to trim the tree, and so he did it the night before, I went to get him. And then we heard all this, sounded like rocks falling on the corrugated roof next door, and our cotton factory had corrugated roof. Sounded like rocks, and it turned out there were shrapnels from the planes. Then we saw planes flying overhead. I took my, I think I took my cousin home, I was so scared. And then finally my father woke up, he thought the kids were throwing rocks at the roof there. And turned on the radio, we found out that we were being attacked. But I saw the airplane with the Japanese pilots. They were that close, because we were, Kalihi is pretty close to that Pearl Harbor, Hickam, that area, 'cause it's close to airport. 'Cause right after airport is Hickam. So the planes, they were flying overhead. I can remember, I can remember those. And because the shrapnels fell, they must have been still shooting at somebody, at other planes, maybe. But all I knew in my ten-year-old mind is that, "Oh, they're gonna land and shoot us and kill us." That's all I thought. I was so scared, I ran into the house. And so that's when our lives changed.

MA: And what did your parents do that day? What was their reaction?

GH: Well, I guess it was shock for everybody. It was a shock that it was happening. And I don't remember too much except we couldn't go out. I can't remember too much what happened that day. It's a good question.

MA: What about right after that, there was, martial law was declared in Hawaii. Can you talk about that a little bit?

GH: That I don't understand too much about because I don't think it was instantly. I don't think it was right away that day. Eventually they did, but then they, that's right, and then they said they had to enforce blackout, and everything had to be black. So no light could penetrate because of the air raids, night raids, they don't want nighttime raid. So everything had to be painted, the windows had to be painted. And then in school, when we went back to school, it was, they had to issue us gas masks. I still remember now, this long, we had to go through practice sessions and wear the gas masks. Oh, it's suffocating, but we had to learn how to wear it. We had to carry it with us everywhere we went, because we just never knew when we would be attacked and we were gonna need it. And then they had to build air raid shelters. The schools build air raid shelters and homes, all the homes had to built air raid shelters. Every home had to have one. And so... 'cause there were quite a few false alarms. One time I remember we were walking to the theater nearby and we heard the alarm, air raid alarm, and we ran home for our dear life. Because at that time, people, it was so real already, after that December 7th, that we get so excited just to hear that thing, the alarm going on. And so anyway, I still remember that time, we ran, ran, ran home. But when we go to school, we had to carry gas -- everywhere we went, we had to carry our gas mask. But we never really had another raid. We never had another raid. But then, we were there... yeah, I guess we were there a year later, we went to the mainland. For one year, we lived through the war. And so then for my mother, of course it was harder. I didn't understand that much.

MA: You were so young, ten years old.

GH: Fifth grade, I guess, ten, fifth grade.

MA: Do you remember maybe in school or sort of around town, feeling, like, singled out because you were Japanese or anything like that?

GH: No, I don't think so. I don't think it was that, because in Hawaii, there's so many Japanese people. And we were not minority, we were not minority. So we didn't have that feeling, not that I can remember.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

MA: And what happened to your bakery and your family business? Was that affected by...

GH: Yes. Well, that's when they took my father in, a few months after December 7th. And they took him in and questioned him. And then, at that time, they decided that my grandfather, who is the, who was still an alien, he wasn't a citizen, and he, I think he was the major stockholder. And so they froze most of the funds, and so it was hard to operate. The way they were, they were on twenty-four hour schedule, and they had all these trucks delivering, all these orders, they couldn't perform all these orders, schools around the island and all of that. So I think the business went downhill. I don't know the details of how they managed, because what do you do? Tell the schools, "We can't make you bread?" I really don't know the details of it. And we should have asked my father more about it, but it's only little of the conversation I got through his talking about it. And then trucks, too, they donated some trucks to the Red Cross and let them know how loyal they were, you know, to the government. And so they donated some new trucks, in fact, to the Red Cross. Of course, they accepted it, and still took my father in.

MA: So let's talk a little bit about that, your father's arrest. So that was, you said, a few months after Pearl Harbor?

GH: I think it's around February. I think it was around February.

MA: And do you remember that day he was arrested and what happened?

GH: I remember coming home from school and the FBI was there ransacking the house, and they were tearing through the Shinto shrine. We had Buddhist and Shinto there, and they were tearing up, tearing it down, and then just going through everything. And I was so scared when I saw that, "What's happening?" We had no clue why they were doing that and why they were there. And then they said they had to take my father in for questioning and just took him like that without packing anything. He never came home, he never came home. They took him in and he said he was under those bright lights and they were interrogating him for hours and hours. And the treatment was not the fairest, but what can you do?

MA: And he was an American citizen as well.

GH: Yes. That's what he kept saying, that he's a citizen, and that it's unfair, the treatment. But there were a lot of citizen as well. Not all of them were Isseis. But there were quite a few.

MA: You mean in Hawaii?

GH: Yeah. I think there were quite a few citizens. But my dad being a citizen, they didn't give him passes to leave the camp. They didn't give him a lot of rights that they gave others. They withheld a lot of that from him for some reason, some suspicion they had. So that's what he was very, very unhappy about, and he kind of rebelled, but it took a long time for them to finally give him that freedom.

MA: And so going back a little bit, he was arrested and then you kind of had no idea where he was. And when did you find out, finally, where he had been taken?

GH: I'm not sure except that my mother finally found out that they took them to Sand Island. Because first they were at immigration station and they interrogated them, and the police interrogated them and the FBI and all that. And then they were taken to Sand Island, and it turned out there was a camp there for Japanese, German and Italian men, only the men. And then later on she found out that they could go and visit them, I think, once a month or something, on a ferry. They can go across the ferry and visit them. And I don't know if she was able to bring things for him or whatever, or clothes, I don't know what he wore there. I don't know what they wore, come to think of it.

MA: Did your father ever talk about his time in Sand Island or what that was like?

GH: He talks about, he talks about certain incidents. You know, like to pass the time away, they used to pick up shells, it was at a beach. Sand Island is a park today, but they have the beach, and they used to find shells and polish them and he had a collection of them. In fact, I think he gave, he gave some of those shells to my nephews, and so they were a collection. Beautiful what they did, because they had so much time. Except that it was pretty demeaning on the kind of things they had to do, like doing latrine duty. My father never lifted a finger. And he, for him, it just, he couldn't believe he had to do all these things and they were just like any other prisoner, they have to do it. But they learned to get along and all that. But he had some interesting stories to tell, but I can't remember too much of it.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

MA: And, let's see, so he was in Sand Island then, and how did... how did, then, you end up on the mainland? So he was in Sand Island until, you told me, December.

GH: Towards the ending of the year, then my mother came home and said we have to go to the camp, and then my father would join us. If not, he would stay there in Sand Island for the duration of the war, and we would stay where we were. And so we didn't have much of a choice. She didn't want to leave him there. So most of the families opted to go. Because naturally, you can't just leave him in there. And so they gave us short notice. My mother had to dispose of a lot of things, and good thing we had relatives nearby and they took care of the place. But it was, it was not easy and there were a lot of sacrifices to make. I still remember that we had practically a new car. I guess my dad got practically a new Packard, and they sold it. Naturally everything they sell is going to be cheap, short notice, and so they sold it. So the friends benefited from that. And they had to get rid of a lot of other things that my mother accumulated.

MA: And did you know where you were going?

GH: No, we had no idea.

MA: Just, they told you just the mainland.

GH: Uh-huh, to a camp. But we had no clue, and at that time, we didn't know about the camps. Because, you see, the West Coast people were already sent over there, but we didn't know about all of that. And so when we were going, all the way we didn't know, I think. I don't think we, even on the train we knew. I'm not sure if my parents even knew.

MA: And what about your grandfather at this point? Was he...

GH: He was in Japan.

MA: He was, okay, so he was in Japan. And you had mentioned that your father and your older sister, Lillian, had visited him right before the outbreak of the war.

GH: Uh-huh. They were there for the summer, and then they heard about war, there was talk about, lot of talk about war there.

MA: In Japan?

GH: In Japan, so he wanted to come home so that he won't miss the ship coming back. And he tried, and even then, it was a struggle to get on board. So I think he had to go to the embassy to get help. And that was another thing that was on his record. They wanted to know why he was able to get the embassy to help him. They thought he had connections with the government there and all that. So anyway, he said he had to come back because my mother was ill and all the family, the children are here, he said he had to get back here. So he did everything he could to get back. So they made it on the last ship that came through. 'Cause the ship after theirs turned around, had to go back to Japan. So, oh, imagine if you couldn't make it back. And he had the business, too, he needed to run the business.

MA: And so the government knew, even, that he had visited the embassy in Japan.

GH: They had everything.

MA: So they must have been, he must have been under some sort of surveillance, even.

GH: I think when they picked him up, when he was on the list is when they had -- that was one of it, one of the reasons, I think, because he just got back. That was another suspicion, he just got back and the war was gonna start. They thought he had some connections with the war. So from there on, I think they tracked back. Amazing, the things that they found. Nothing, nothing that showed disloyalty, but they went back through so many things that he said he just can't believe how much they can trace you. And even here, I think, to get his visa and all of that, I think, where does he go? To the consul maybe. But I don't know what it was that they questioned him about that, too, how he went so -- or they looked up every trip he took, all of those things. So they questioned it, because he had so many of them.

MA: And they also froze his assets, too.

GH: They froze most of the assets at the bakery. They couldn't touch his, but the bakery because in my grandfather's name.

MA: Okay.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

MA: So, and then, about December, 1942, you were headed over to the mainland.

GH: A year later, uh-huh.

MA: Can you talk about that day that you left? You mentioned going and meeting at the immigration station. Is what where you saw your father again?

GH: Yes. That's when we first met him after he was picked up. But that morning, that I can remember, that morning. 'Cause I was eleven by then, and then my aunts and, all the aunts and uncles came to see us in front of our house, and came to say goodbye. And it's blackout, so in the morning, early in the morning, we can't turn on lights either. And we had to say goodbye. We had to use daylight, I guess, we had to leave by daylight. And it was really sad because my aunt kept telling me, "Don't forget to record all this information." And as I said earlier that I did, I did write the journals, I did all the way through, but we didn't keep it. [Laughs] What a shame, huh? So anyway, I still remember that day, that I just felt so scared. I thought, I don't know we're going, I don't know when we're coming back, and we grew up with all our relatives, cousins and aunties and uncles. And here we're leaving them and nobody knows where we're going. So I told them, "I'll write," I'll write to them and tell them where we are." And my schoolteacher, my teacher was very understanding when I told her we were going away. I guess they were a little puzzled, too, because they didn't really understand. But she was very nice, and she said, "When you go there," she said, "you write to us and I'll read it to the class and I'll show them where you are." And she was nice and I did do that. I wrote to them, and she would show them on the map where we were. And she would read my letters to them and they would write to me. So it was kind of nice, where she tried to make them feel, at least we had a normal life, that we were just prisoners. We went to school and all that. So I remember that part. My sister did, too, she had some letters with her teacher in the ninth grade, I think.

MA: When you were leaving, so when you all sort of met up at the immigration station to go on the ship to the mainland, did you know anyone else, other families who were going?

GH: No, no.

MA: So you were, kind of, all alone.

GH: We didn't know anybody. We didn't know anybody. The people from the outer islands seemed to know each other because they came on a ship from the outer island. Those days, you don't fly. Everything is by ship, and so they came over, and I think it takes a couple of days to come from the outer islands. And so they, either they met each other or they knew each other. Because especially Big Island, it's like country, and people all know each other, somehow. And so a lot of them knew each other, and we didn't know anybody. And so even on the train, so from the ship, getting there, and we got on the train. All the way on the train, four or five days on the train, we just didn't even mingle with the other kids. We didn't know anybody, we stayed by ourselves, and later, when we talk about it, gee, we were so timid, you know. We didn't even try to mingle. But they all seemed to be having fun, they all knew each other, but we wouldn't do it.

MA: So how long was that ship ride to the mainland?

GH: I think it was about five days. Got pretty sick, too, seasick.

MA: And were you under, I mean, armed guard at that point?

GH: No.

MA: What was the security...

GH: No, no. We had regular rooms, but not fancy rooms. I guess the rooms that we had, because if I recall, there were bunk beds in there. So maybe we were in the lower berth, yeah. And that I don't remember too many details on. And I think, I think we ate in a dining room. I think we ate in a dining room. I don't remember too much detail on that. But it's about five days. And I remember in San Francisco the band was playing, what's that? "California Here We Come," you know that song. And the band, I still remember that band was playing. I was surprised. So then the guards, there were armed guards there.

MA: In San Francisco?

GH: I think it was for the... you know what, I think it was for the troops. There were troops in the ship, too. Must have been for the troops. It was wasn't for us, the band. But yeah, then we got there, there were armed guards because we had to go to Oakland. They had to take us to Oakland and so we had to get on the ferry. So the armed guards were all around then from then on. And my sister remembers that vividly and I didn't. I didn't... I was kind of oblivious. I don't know why I didn't notice all the details, but she did. She remembered that.

MA: That's interesting, though, in your ship there were, there were soldiers. I'm assuming from Hawaii, from Honolulu?

GH: Well, no, they were troops that probably they were transferring them or something. These were just regular GIs. And I remember there was this one big room where they were playing some music and entertaining, and the girls were dancing with them from our group. And then they were doing the hula and all that. [Laughs] So they intermingled then. I guess they thought we couldn't go anywhere on the ship. There's no escape anyway, so how can they guard us there on the ship? So we were pretty free.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

MA: But then when you arrived on the mainland, that's when...

GH: Uh-huh, from the ship to, yeah, that's when they had armed guards. Maybe those guys were the ones, I don't know. Maybe they were the ones. I don't think so. I think they were troops, just transferring them.

MA: And so from Oakland, you then got on the train...

GH: Got on the train.

MA:, eventually to Jerome.

GH: Uh-huh. And we didn't know where we were going. So that's why we went days and days and days. I think it was four or five days, 'cause everything was slower then. And I think it was around then.

MA: And what were you, I mean, I'm assuming you were on the mainland for the first time.

GH: Uh-huh.

MA: What was going through your head at that point when you were on the train?

GH: Well, it was cold, January. When we landed in San Francisco, it was cold. For us it was cold because we didn't know anything like that before. And so, and we didn't have enough warm clothing. What my mother could put together, you know, it wasn't warm enough. But then snow, we saw snow in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and they stopped and let us get off and get some air and touch the snow. [Laughs] So that was nice. And I remember on the train, 'cause I wrote down the states as we went through all the states. And then I remember as we got closer to camp, we were in Arkansas, then the shantytowns, you know, the black, colored people, they used to call them "colored people," oh, you see all the shabby homes, you know, and they look like they're falling apart and the kids are just sitting there. I can remember that scene, just sitting there, just ragged looking, you know. It's the first time we saw that kind of poor people. Because in Hawaii we never saw that. We never had the extreme, like we never had slums like they have on the mainland. And we learned all that later. And we didn't have segregation. In fact, we never saw colored people at that time in Hawaii. I think there were hardly any, we never saw any. So it was a new experience, besides. And so all along the way, the countryside, when you see homes scattered around, just so shabby-looking, poor people. So when we got into camp, it was raining and wet and cold. Cold, cold, cold. 'Cause January was... because Jerome is, Arkansas is humid. So it's either wet, cold, or hot and humid in the summer, two extremes. So it was cold, though, for us. We were issued blankets, army blankets, and beds. They called those beds army beds.

MA: Cots?

GH: The ones with the metal posts, that kind. And what else?

MA: Were there other Hawaiians there at that point in Jerome, or were you the first group to arrive?

GH: We were the second group.

MA: You were the second group, okay.

GH: Uh-huh. The first group, that's where our doctor who was, he was our family doctor here, he was there before us, and he saw our name on the list. And so he was there to greet us at the train station. And my dad was so surprised, and then he also saw another old friend who used to work at the bakery years ago, before the war, and we always say "before the war" and "after the war." And so he didn't see him for years and years, and there he was. They always look up the roster, I guess, to see who's on it, and that's how they found him. So it was very interesting, nice reunion.

MA: And was the Hawaiian group sort of put in one area of Jerome?

GH: They put us in, when we got there, we had enough people to fill up one block, the block we were in was all our group. And then they had two blocks, 39 and 38 were all Hawaiian. And then 40 was a mix, partly Hawaiian group and partly mainland group. So our whole, our block was all Hawaiians, all Hawaiians, so we got to know them quite well.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

MA: And what were your impressions of the mainland Japanese? Were there cultural differences?

GH: So we didn't know 'til we went to school. When we went to school, they spoke differently, and they spoke very well compared to us. And I don't know whether they had a chip on their shoulder or we had a chip on our shoulder. And because they used to kind of looked down on our local people, and they used to look down on us. But it turned out that we felt that we were much more well-off than them. They looked down on us because of the way we spoke and the way we dressed, I guess. Because we dressed, we didn't have enough warm clothing, we had to go and get those. I remember the Sears-Roebuck catalog would come once a month, Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck, and we would sit there like going shopping. And I would tell my mother, "Oh, this, this, this," you know, and she would order the things. Warm clothing, we had to order all of those things through the catalog. They had a store in camp, canteen, they call it. And they carried some of those, I forgot what they call those jackets, pea jackets, I think, they carried those things. We just wanted Sears-Roebuck. [Laughs] And they had those things, they had... they call that khaki jackets. After a while it was kind of stylish to wear that. But they carried things in the store, odds and ends, like a general store.

MA: Did you feel like -- going back a little bit to something you said earlier about the mainland Japanese -- that they were, there was a cultural difference, a language sort of difference in a way. It seems like there was also a difference in terms of the mainland Japanese being a minority.

GH: Uh-huh. It was very different where... my father found that out when he was there and he is very assertive. Because in Hawaii, he was successful and he did anything he wanted to. And here he is in camp, the Japanese are telling him, "Oh, Mr. Sugita, don't do this. Don't start anything," they're so afraid. Because that's the way they were, that was their life. And for him, it's like, "Why not?" You have to speak up or you don't get it." It was the opposite, so they clashed a lot. But eventually he got things done and he was able to accomplish a lot. And so he, even like food, he would tell them to get the, change the menu into, like, tuna, which is cheaper. He said, "I'm saving you money and the Japanese like it." [Laughs] So they changed it. Eventually they changed it and they... and then they served rice instead of potatoes, and, you know, things improved. But it wasn't the greatest food, of course. And milk was like, I think it was powdered milk, powdered milk. They didn't have fresh milk. I don't know what they gave the babies, there were some babies there, too. But what they did in camp was they used the resources of the people, like professionals. They had a hospital, they built a hospital. So the professionals, the doctors, the nurses, the dentists, they used them. And whatever they had, they didn't have enough of, they would hire from the outside. Schoolteachers, there were quite a few schoolteachers from camp population itself. And so they had that, and then they had to hire. 'Cause I had a teacher who was white, she was from the outside. And I really admired those people because I thought, wow, for them to come and live here among all the Japanese, I give them credit, you know. And then we had... what else did we have that we had to import? Can't think of it.

MA: So doctors, nurses, there's probably --

GH: And our family doctor happened to be there, and I had malaria, they thought I had. I don't think I did, when I think about it now. But at that time they thought I had malaria, and I was in the hospital for weeks. He took care of me, and he was our family doctor, so it was really good, and he knew all of us, you know. And then I had my tonsils out; I was in and out of the hospital, had my tonsils out. But the malaria one I was in there for weeks and I had to start school late.

MA: Did they think you had malaria, that you got it in Hawaii?

GH: There were mosquitoes, no, in camp. Jerome was so, it was like a swamp. And there were a lot of mosquitoes there. And so, you know, like malaria started in the Philippines, I think, during the war. The GIs were over there, and that's how they got it, I think, from mosquitoes. And so at that time, that's why penicillin first was discovered. And so they were treating me with that, and then they had me in isolation ward and all that. And so anyway, I was there for three weeks. And I found out later that malaria, you're never cured. But I haven't had any symptoms, so I don't think they really knew how to diagnose it in those days, it's a little different. So anyway, at least they had doctors, they had dentists, I had my tonsils out, they had dentists, and my father knew the dentist there, too. And whatever else they had there.

MA: You mentioned that you, so your family was Buddhist. Was there a...

GH: Oh, there were a lot of Buddhist priests. Yeah, there were a lot of them and there's ministers in camp.

MA: Was there some sort of Buddhist congregation or space or church that was set up in Jerome?

GH: I don't know of any church. I don't know. But I know they used to, if people get married, they used to have services and ceremony and all that. So maybe, maybe what they did, every block had a little recreation center, they had a mess hall, they had, that was like the cafeteria, and then they had a... it's all public, and restroom, bathhouse and all of that. So maybe like, I don't know whether maybe they used the rec. center for things like that, I'm not too sure.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

MA: And you mentioned to me earlier that you went outside of camp at one point.

GH: Uh-huh. We were able to get passes to go out. My mother used to take me. She took me out to a hick town called McGehee.

MA: And what was that like?

GH: Well, I mean, just to get out and go and see stores and walk around freely, it was an experience. It was kind of fun, she said, "You don't have to go to school tomorrow, I'll take you out to McGehee." I guess she needed the company, so she took me, and just going shopping. But the stores are so small, and nothing special, but for us, it was a thrill to get out and go to real stores, 'cause we never got to see real stores.

MA: How were you treated by the people in the town?

GH: They weren't very nice. They weren't very nice. That's when we began to feel the difference. They, I don't remember too many incidents, but I know they weren't very friendly. But we also didn't know where to go in the bus, because the colored in the rear, they always have a sign, "colored in the rear." And the bus driver, we don't know what to do, he looked at us and he says, "You stay in the front." Oh, so we found out we're not colored, so we stay in the front. So we get in the station and the restrooms are "colored" and "white." So we decided we'll go to the "white" section since the bus driver told us not to go in the back. But that's when we first learned about segregation. We never had that here. So it's kind of sad, you know, we had to learn all those things. Because we were in the South, too.

But when we were in Heart Mountain, my sisters had a pass and they went out to a town one day with their friends, they went out just for the day. And they're sitting there in the soda fountain waiting for service, nobody waited on them. And they sat there and waited, and then finally somebody practically threw the menu at them and said, "We don't serve Japs." They couldn't even tell them that, they didn't have no courtesy to tell them that. They just ignored them totally and let them sit there. And finally, when the girl threw that thing at them and they saw it, they had to walk out of there, they walked out of there. And after a while they can laugh about it. They felt like fools, sitting there waiting for service. But that's how it was. Either that, or there'd be signs in the window saying, "We don't serve Japs."

MA: But did you see that type of anti-Japanese discrimination in the South when you would go to McGehee? Was there anything like that?

GH: No. Well, I don't know where we ate, whether we ate at a restaurant, that I don't know. It's not everywhere. But in the South, I think, more the discrimination was against colored people, so they didn't bother with us. That's what I think. They didn't know what we were, we were kind of in between.

MA: Versus, like, somewhere like Wyoming, it was a very white...

GH: Wyoming was bad.

MA: ...a very white state.

GH: Oh, yes. But you know when we went to Montana, my father finally got his pass to go, so he took us to Billings. And the whole family went out, and we went to a restaurant, I think we went to the hotel, too. And went to the restaurant to eat, and we didn't have any discrimination, we didn't meet any discrimination. So it depends, I think. We went to a lot of stores there, and he was gonna buy me a bike, so we went to a lot of sporting goods store, walked in and out of stores. It didn't seem like it... I guess they thought that if you can afford to pay for it, it must be okay. So then he had a friend, I don't know how he met this family, Japanese family, lived in Montana, they were farmers. Never went to camp, because they lived in Montana. And they came to visit us, and all girls, they had no sons. So they came to visit us in camp and they saw, you know, it was a real new experience for them to see camp life and all that. So they asked my sister and my brother to come and visit them and spend some time on the farm. So they went there and, you know, we weren't raised on a farm, my sister and my brother especially. [Laughs] I don't think they wanted to go back again. It was like getting up at the crack of dawn, and then the girls all drove trucks and tractors and everything, they had a big farm. They did all that, and they were supposed to pitch in. And I don't think my brother was useful in any way. [Laughs] It was really funny the way they talked about it. But anyway, that was interesting to know that there were other families out there.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

MA: And going back a little bit, you were in Jerome, you mentioned, until it closed, is that right? And that was around '44?

GH: '42 we went there, so '44... yeah, year and a half we were there. '43, so we there all of '43 and '44, yeah, '44. And then we went to Heart Mountain '44 to '45.

MA: And why did you, how did you end up in Heart Mountain?

GH: Well, they gave us a list of camps to go to, to select from. And Gila, maybe Colorado, I forgot. Not, I don't think all of them were available, but they named the camps available to go to. And my dad decided Heart Mountain, he said he wanted to try the cold weather, different environment, he said, instead of something that's close to Hawaii like Arizona. So that's why we went. And not many of them went to Heart Mountain. [Laughs]

MA: Not many of the Hawaii people?

GH: No, not many, just a few. Just a few of them came with us. But the Kibeis, some of them came with us. The Kibeis my father befriended because they had no family, they were so young. And they were just out of teenager, you would think maybe 1920. And they had no family -- oh, it's cold in here -- and so they wanted to, they wanted to go with my father, follow him. So some of them came along. So it was like family for us, you know.

MA: And were these Kibeis he met in Sand Island in Hawaii?

GH: Uh-huh.

MA: And they came over to Jerome?

GH: Jerome, uh-huh. And they were in our block, so they were right across the next barrack, so they were always in and out. And then late at night, my father would make chazuke for them and they would... they would do a lot of things. And then, you know, in camp, my father also did... they used to have entertainment. They had to do things to keep the people, at least they had to have some kind of a leisure enjoyment and some kind of entertainment. So there's talent throughout the camp, there's all different kinds of talent. But they used to have shows with singing, acting. My father used to sing "Naniwa-bushi," and then he also used to direct these plays, samurai plays. And these Kibeis were perfect for it. So he got them and we had some pictures of it. He got them acting in the samurai roles. Naturally, they all want the main role. [Laughs] It was kind of funny how he had to cast them. Because some of them were kind of good-looking, too. Much as we were so young, you know, they were like our big brothers in those days. But it was nice. It made a hit because the old folks like those kind of stories. So I don't know where my father got all those samurai stories. [Laughs]

MA: How were the Kibeis, do you remember at all how the Kibeis were treated in camp? I mean, were they sort of...

GH: They were okay.

MA: They were okay?

GH: They were treated okay.

MA: By the other, by the other people in camp?

GH: Uh-huh. Except that their English was very poor, they couldn't speak English too well. So they were learning, they were learning as they go. And so they seemed to mingle, even with the girls, they made friends with the girls. And they played sports, some of them played sports. I still remember some of them were in the team, they formed a baseball team. And then they had... they were out of school so they weren't going to school. In school, they had football team and all of that. And then they had the 442 and 100th Infantry boys coming over, and they used to bring their team over and play with the camp team, they had that. And they even started a USO for them, USO in camp. So there were things to entertain them also.

MA: And then in Heart Mountain, so you were in Wyoming. And how long were you there in Heart Mountain?

GH: About the same, I think about a year and a half. Somewhere I keep thinking it's three years total, a year and a half each, around there. We left in the summer, we left as the war was ending. Because, you see, they were closing the camps even before the war ended.

MA: You left Jerome?

GH: They knew camp, they knew the war was ending. No, Heart Mountain. They knew the war was ending, but they were closing the camps before the war ended, and they were trying to get people resettled in the Midwestern states, central part, before they can go back to the West Coast. But by that time, they were already downsizing a lot of camps, people were moving out. So when we left, I think either we left and on the way, we heard the war ended, or right before, something like that.

MA: And you left Heart Mountain?

GH: Uh-huh, for St. Paul. We went to St. Paul because we had to settle down somewhere. We had to leave camp already, it was getting, they were shutting it down, pretty soon. We were one of the last ones, I think. And, because we couldn't go back, we couldn't go home. We, my father didn't get approval to go home, and he had to wait for Washington, D.C. to give approval. So his friend, who lived in Minneapolis, had a restaurant there, and he said, "Why don't you go to St. Paul and open a restaurant?" So he said, "Okay."

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

MA: Okay, so we were talking about your family's move from Heart Mountain to St. Paul, and you were saying that your family friend had moved to Minneapolis and started up some sort of restaurant.

GH: He had a restaurant, Japanese restaurant.

MA: And then told your father about it?

GH: Uh-huh. He told my father that he could help him find a place in St. Paul, so he found one. So, in fact, I think one... I found out later, I can't remember all the details. But I found out later that he, my father and my brother or before my brother went into the service, they went to Minneapolis and looked it over or whatever. I don't remember too much. But anyway, it turned out that there was this Japanese family selling a restaurant. It was a tiny restaurant. It's too bad it was small, you know, it could have, he could have used a bigger one. But he, they were selling, and so that's the one he was buying. So this friend put us up, it was so nice of him. We got there, we stayed in Minneapolis until we were ready to move into St. Paul. And then we had to stay in a hostel. That's what they did in those days, when they were getting people to resettle outside, they put up hostels. And I don't know exactly what, they were churches or what. They found places in the cities, different cities, to put people up until they get settled and find their own apartments.

MA: Right, because you had no furniture, no possessions.

GH: No place to go, nothing. So we found a rented place, furnished place, because we knew it was temporary. So we couldn't get into anything that was unfurnished and have to buy all the furniture. Who knows, it might be three months or four months. It turned out to be about August, we got there... about nine months, I think.

MA: In St. Paul?

GH: St. Paul.

MA: So, but you couldn't return to Hawaii, it was closed to...

GH: He needed, I guess my dad needed approval from Washington.

MA: To return to Hawaii? Okay.

GH: Uh-huh. So when he got word is when we decided to go back.

MA: But before that, that's when you spent that time in St. Paul?

GH: St. Paul. We had to find someplace to stay, and he couldn't just be idle, so he found a restaurant and they did quite well at the restaurant. Because there was Fort Snelling there, outside of St. Paul, Minneapolis, and they would come in a bus. And the guys would come out and they'd just want to eat Japanese food.

MA: All the Nisei soldiers?

GH: Uh-huh. And it was a language school. It was a language school, they learned their Japanese.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

MA: And can you tell me a little bit about the restaurant? Who was the, who did the cooking?

GH: My mother. My mother did the cooking, my father would... I don't know what he did. He helped, I guess, a little bit, but he would talk to the customers and he likes to do those things. And then my one sister who graduated in Heart Mountain, my oldest sister Lillian, she graduated early. She had enough credits so she graduated a year early, and she was out of high school. So she worked in a restaurant and we went to school, and after school we would come home and help. So we practically lived at the restaurant. There was a big basement downstairs. I guess the old buildings, that's how they were. And they had the furnace downstairs, and the heat comes up into the restaurant. So that's where we had hot water for the bath and everything. And we used to do our homework downstairs, we had a bed to lay down on and do our homework. And so we just practically lived there. But one of the Kibeis that was in camp with us didn't have anywhere to go, so he said he wants to come to St. Paul. So he was, I think, one of the last ones because he was still in camp. [Coughs] Excuse me. So I still remember we went to the railroad station to meet him, and then he came to live with us and my dad put him to work as a dishwasher. So he was with us until we left.

MA: And the food that you served in restaurant was primarily Japanese food?

GH: Japanese food.

MA: Was there any type of Hawaiian influence at all?

GH: No, not Hawaiian. It's entirely different. Restaurants with Hawaiian mix, you can't mix Hawaiian and Japanese. It's different food. So it was strictly Japanese food, and my mother knew Japanese cooking, so she did.

MA: And then the customers were primarily, then, the language school Japanese American students?

GH: Uh-huh, yeah. And so the word got around so they would come out. And the bus was right there, the bus came right to the corner. They call it Seven Corners in St. Paul. Seven Corners because that's where all the... it was like a huge intersection. And the buses from out of town all coming through there. And so that's how they came, and all they do is walk over one block to our restaurant, so it was really convenient. But they would just stand in line there.

MA: You must have done a good business.

GH: Oh, yes. He did really, really well. So it was a good way to kill some time, you know, until we could go back. But St. Paul was cold, too. It was cold, cold, cold. I mean, Heart Mountain, it couldn't be anything worse than Heart Mountain. Because in Heart Mountain you walk everywhere. You don't catch the bus, you don't ride the car. So blizzard and all, we had to walk to school. So that's really like the pioneering days. So that was different. But in St. Paul, it was cold. It was cold, but we were able to ride the streetcars and all that. I remember once a week I would go to Minneapolis to get the produce from our friend. I would go and it's... are you familiar with St. Paul/Minneapolis?

MA: Not really, no.

GH: It's the Twin Cities. They call it Twin Cities because it's only divided by Mississippi River. So I would catch the streetcar and go across. When I come to Minneapolis, then I'd catch, transfer again to the restaurant, and then I would get the produce. I don't know why I was the one who had to do that. And so it was an all-day thing because I would go there and then stop and visit his wife at the apartment.

MA: This is your family friend?

GH: Uh-huh. And then she would feed me lunch, and then I would get all the bags of stuff home and bring it home. He would buy it for us because he had all the contacts. He was there before us. So that's how we did it. Every week, I remember, I used to do that.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

MA: Was there a Japanese American community in Minneapolis that you remember, or St. Paul?

GH: No. I don't remember in St. Paul, because we weren't there long enough. See, we didn't get involved in the community at all, because we knew it was such a temporary thing. We knew we weren't going to be there very long.

MA: But you did attend school?

GH: We went to school. So even in school, we didn't participate in anything. And they tried to get us, the counselor would say, "Why don't you come and join us for the hayride?" and all these other things. We said, "No, we don't want to." [Laughs] We had a hard time adjusting. Because for the first time, we were in a non-Japanese community, an entirely white community, and we weren't used to that. It was really, really hard for us. Of course, the students in school didn't ostracize us or anything like that. They were okay. Some of them ignored us, but I don't know, it seemed like we got along. I had this one girlfriend who wanted to tag along, come home with me all the time 'cause she wanted to see all the GIs at our restaurant. That's all she wanted me for. [Laughs] She was kind of boy-crazy, you know, at that age.

MA: What were some other... in your, was it high school? You were in ninth grade?

GH: Ninth grade. So ninth, tenth, eleventh, three of us.

MA: And what were some other, were there African American students, Latino students? What was the racial breakdown?

GH: There were quite a few black kids there. They all, it's like segregation all over again. They're always in their own group. And then the Latinos, they're in their own. We used to call them Spanish in those days, and they used to live in, like, a shantytown area across the river by the bridge. Because I remember we used to see them going over there. And then they tried to get friendly with us, because they felt that we were a minority, and they felt sorry for us, I think. You know, when you're a minority like that, you really, you have more empathy. So then, the black people, too, they were nice, they were nice. And we didn't have any problem in school except we did not mingle. We didn't mingle at all. They must have thought, "Wow, these people are antisocial or something." [Laughs] And we would just come straight home to the restaurant. That was our life, at the restaurant. So St. Paul wasn't very much to remember about school and all of that, just the restaurant. We used to go out on our own a lot, sisters, we would go out together. We did a lot of things together, go shopping and to go the movies and things like that.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

MA: I wanted to ask you about your grandfather in Japan and if you kept in touch with him during the war, or what happened to him during the war.

GH: During the war, my one uncle, when we were just arriving in St. Paul, my father got the telegram that my uncle died. He was killed in the atomic bombing. He was the only one out of the whole family, because my aunt and her family were there, my grandfather, my grandmother. But this one uncle, that's the one uncle that didn't want to stay here, and he is the one that told them to, they all had to go into the hills, into the mountain and hills. And he told them to go and he has to look after his property, 'cause he had a lot of property, too. And so at that time, he got, he got killed. And then the other uncle, my aunt's husband, he didn't, maybe he had injury or something. Because when they moved over here to Hawaii, eventually he had, he must have gotten radiation. A lot of them had some aftereffects. And he died from cancer. A lot of them, it's from the atomic bomb. But my one uncle, my father got word that he died and he was just so crushed, you know. We just got there, and so that was it. He found out my grandparents were okay. And after we came back to Hawaii is when, 1946 we went back. '49, my sister was getting married. My brother got married, they both got married the same year. And my grandmother wanted to give my sister her kimono, wedding kimono. My sister got married in a wedding, Japanese wedding kimono, and so my father said, "I'm going to Japan," because his parents were still alive. I think his parents were still alive, because I think my grandmother wanted to give him that. Either that or... I lose track of the time.

But anyway -- oh, and before that, though, my brother, my brother, when he was in the service, he was stationed in the east because he was drafted in Chicago. He was living in Chicago, so he was with all the mainland people and more white people in the service. And from there, they transferred him, he was going to Japan. Just as we were going, coming back to Hawaii, he came through Hawaii. So it was good timing, and then he was shipped to Japan. And in Japan he got to see my grandfather. He got to visit them, and he was bringing them all kinds of food because this was postwar where they were suffering. My grandfather, you know, he always had everything he wanted, and now they had not enough food and he liked to eat steaks and all these things. My brother used to give him things that he couldn't before. So it was good, he got to see them, and he got to see Hiroshima and all of that.

MA: Where was your grandfather living?

GH: Hiroshima.

MA: Oh, he was in Hiroshima?

GH: Uh-huh, that's where the bombing was, atomic bombing.

MA: And your brother, so he was working with the occupation, the American occupation?

GH: No. He was just transferred over there and stationed there for, I don't know, a few years. He was signal corps, I think. And then he came back here and got discharged. So the timing was very good. He was in East Coast, he could fly out to St. Paul, or train, take the train to St. Paul while we were in St. Paul, so he was always nearby, so it was good.

MA: And then you mentioned your father received a telegram informing him that his brother had been killed. And do you remember hearing about the atomic bombing?

GH: That's when we heard about it.

MA: So you heard about it from this...

GH: Uh-huh. We heard about it before that. We heard about atomic bombing -- I'm sure my father was very worried because that's his parents, where they live. We either heard about it in camp... as we were leaving, the war was ended, so I think it happened while we were in camp. And by the time the telegram got to us, we were outside in St. Paul already. I think it's all around that time. The war was ending as we were leaving. So we heard about the atomic bomb. We didn't have access to a lot of news, except radio maybe. That's right. So we probably heard about it through the radio.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

MA: And then you were in St. Paul for, you said, nine months? And then your father got word that he could, the family could return back to Hawaii. So you then went, you all returned to Honolulu. And what happened? I mean, was your house still there, were your possessions all there?

GH: Uh-huh. Everything was there... everything was aged. [Laughs] It was there, but run-down more, because for three years, I guess, my uncle and his family lived there, and it wasn't their house. Of course, everything gets older in three years. So we were able to just move back into our house, he went back to his house. And fortunately for us, we had a lot of people, we talked to some other people who were from Jerome, they had no homes to go to. And they had to go and stay in a church, like hostels, until they could get settled. And there were a lot of people who really, really had nothing, no jobs, nothing. It's hard for them. So for us, it was, we were way better off, and my dad just went back to the bakery. Except that the bakery went downhill, and he was shocked when he saw the conditions and the changes. Because it was very successful when he left. And he knew it was bad. He had a lot of correspondents going back and forth. When I went through his... I went, I ordered his file from the archives, from Washington, D.C., and it was a pretty thick file. Because he had a lot of hearing, also trying to get a pass to go out, he had that, and he also tried to get money sent to him from here, through the bakery, bakery funds. Because he said we need money to live on. We can't just let the camp, depend on what the camp... 'cause you have no money. They give you, they give you a salary of nineteen dollars a month, that's the highest-paying job, which would be block managers, doctors, the professionals. And then, ordinary job would be sixteen dollars a month. And he said, "What can you buy with that?" even in those days, you know. So he wanted them to send him money. So he would go to the camp director and they would write to my uncle and it goes back and forth. And the uncle would talk to the attorney, and I saw all the correspondence. I didn't know, I had no clue about those things until I read all that. And so finally, I think they were able to send him some money. Because I know my mother used to buy things from catalog. I don't know where she had the money to do it otherwise, you know. They must have had some income. But anyway, when we came back to Hawaii, he found out how bad it was. Oh, and before that, before that, the government was gonna auction off the bakery.

MA: This was during the war?

GH: Yeah. I think right as the war ended. War ended or before the war was almost gonna end. I'm not too sure about the timing. They were gonna auction off the bakery because they still had control of certain funds. And my uncles, they wrote to my father and he said, "We can't let it go like that." My grandfather would die if he finds out we let it go. "So we have to buy it back," he said. And so they all had to pitch in, they paid sixty-five thousand to buy the bakery back. Imagine, they had to buy their own bakery back, either that, or lose it. And so they bought it back, but it was too bad because from there on, it was still downhill. And so in the end, after we went back and my father stayed a few years working, trying to build it up, he gave up and he sold out to his brothers. His brother still wanted to run it, so he sold it to them. And that's why he wanted to go to Chicago where my brother was going to school and Bert was going to school. 'Cause my sister and my brother were married that year, and two years later, I think they decided to go to Chicago to go to school. So my dad said, "Why don't we all go?" So we all went.

MA: So, but before that, you were in high school, right, when you came back to Hawaii?

GH: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

MA: And what was that like, coming back and entering high school and being back in Hawaii after being in camp for three years?

GH: For me it was harder because it was going to intermediate school. They call it intermediate because on the mainland, ninth grade was high school and here it's intermediate and high school was tenth grade. And so here I am, I feel I'm with kids, because I had to go to intermediate school. And, of course, I knew a lot of the people, because that's from my old, they old days, we grew up in that neighborhood. And so my cousin took me around to see all his friends and he wrote an article about me in the school paper. I was such a novelty for them, because a lot of the kids didn't know such a thing.

MA: That you had been to camp.

GH: They never knew about camp, they don't know what camp is. You know, I had to explain these things to people. And so they interviewed me and got my article in the school paper and all that, and I was like a celebrity. Because I was the only one in the whole school who was in camp and came back to tell the story. And so my two sisters went to high school. And so in high school, you get kind of buried in there, so they didn't get the attention that I did. [Laughs]

MA: That's interesting that your fellow students would be interested and wanting to hear more and there was an article about it instead of, sort of, shaming you or making you feel like, bad about it.

GH: No, treated me like a celebrity.

MA: It sounds like they were just curious.

GH: And funny, a few years ago, I bumped into this old classmate of mine and he remembered me. [Laughs] He remembered me from then. He says, "Grace," he said, "you came back from the mainland. And I remember, I read about you in the paper, in the school paper." And he remembered. He said, "You're the one that came back from the mainland." See, those days, just going to the mainland is something again. People don't go to the mainland, very rare.

MA: But people traveled to Japan, and that wasn't as big of a deal?

GH: They traveled to the mainland, too, but to the mainland on a ship is only for the rich. People traveled to the mainland on a ship, they had the, it's like the cruises today, it's the liners, they called it, like the Lurline. We were on a liner because they transformed it into kind of a combination troop ship. But Japan, the Japanese were going to Japan on a ship. But a lot of them went because as the years went on, as they got established, their goal was always to come here, make enough money, save enough and go back to Japan. And that's what they were doing, is going back to Japan, going home. And then you get people like my dad going back and forth. But otherwise, people didn't travel like they do now.

MA: But it seems like very few people went to the mainland.

GH: Very few, very few. And that's why my aunt told me, "You write it all down now so that you can tell us all about it. You can keep a record of it." So I wrote from there, from California to camp. And then my mother used to remind me, so from camp to, from Jerome to Heart Mountain I wrote another one. And I didn't write the next, the next leg I didn't write any. I don't think I wrote to St. Paul, from there to St. Paul, nothing interesting anyway. But I wrote those two. And then we moved so much, my poor mother, she used to get rid of things each time we moved because we were very limited in what we can keep with us and take with us. And so even the school annuals and things like that, we don't have those. We'd throw away a lot of things. So that's one of those that I should have hung on to. [Laughs] But who knows? At that time, we don't think about it. We don't think about how it would help us, someday it would be so precious.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

MA: So I'm just curious about your father and returning. It seems like the bakery wasn't doing well and he sold his shares to his brothers. What was his, what was his feelings about the wartime experiences and being in camp? Did he talk about how he felt about the government? Did he talk about camp in general to the family? How did he feel about that and how did he express it to the family?

GH: Well, I think through the years, through the years he was very bitter early on. And I think he kind of mellowed as time went on and found out that a lot of the experience he had, nobody else had. It's something that is very good when you look at it in a good sense, that, what it's done for his life. Like you say, it's an experience. He says, well, "What I went through," but he was bitter. He was very bitter because it was unfair and he lost so much. And people talk about -- and the reason he felt more bitter was because Hawaii boomed after the war, and he was reverse. Instead of making, he lost so much. And because the government did that to them, and he felt it was so unfair because they established themselves, they were so successful, and the government destroyed their business. So that, he couldn't, he couldn't forget for a long, long time. But later on, as he got older and talked about it and he would just give it up and just say, "Well, that was life. I did things that I would never have done, and I learned things. Everything is an experience." So I think eventually he accepted, accepted a lot of it because he moved around. He went back to Chicago because he was used to the mainland life. And so to think that he -- like his brothers never left the island. And so that's the difference, he could see the difference. And so his life was more interesting, I think, all of us. We're not saying thanks to the government for that, but we're still saying, if you look at the good side of it, is that what we learned from it, what we learned from it is that there are a lot, they're not all bad.

And camp life was boring, too. I still remember summertime was so boring, boring. "What are we gonna do?" I would walk over to my girlfriend's place, "What are we gonna do today?" In the summertime, nothing to do. Nothing, nothing to do, just walk around, and it's so hot in the summer. There used to be baseball games. You know, it was so hot in Heart Mountain, you go to a baseball game, one side of your shirt gets faded where the sun is beating, because Heart Mountain was really hot in the summer. And in those days, we don't wear sunscreen. It's a wonder we didn't have a lot of cancer cases, huh, skin cancer. Because it was so hot. Altitude, we had the Rockies in the background, which was real pretty. I'll always remember that, snowcapped mountains year-round surrounding us. That was pretty. And then, and Heart Mountain was the shape of that heart, kind of a slanted heart that they always used that. My dad did a painting of that, too. He used to do oil painting.

MA: It seems like your father was a very interesting man. Had a lot of diverse interests.

GH: Yeah. He was kind of a genius in that sense, where he was a combination artist and a businessman. You don't find that combination too often, but his grandfather, I mean, his father, in the old days, to them, business. You have to go into business, you're going to make money. And when my father was growing up, the teacher discovered his talent and used him for his talent. And he was pretty bratty when he was a kid, and he would, they would have contests and draw murals in school and to try and, they have contests to, with other classes, and he would tell 'em, "Okay, if I'm gonna do this, you do this for me," and all that, you know. He used to play with her and tease her and do all those kind of things with her. And so she liked him and she saw his talent. And then as he grew up, he met this man who wanted to take him away and take him overseas to study art because he saw how talented he was. My grandfather wouldn't hear of it. "Oh, no, you're never going to be an artist. Struggling artist? Never," he wouldn't.

And then "Naniwa-bushi," he was talented in that. And so he used to go -- they used to have troupes coming from Japan. And this story, I think my sister told me this story that he told her. He would go and listen, and oh, he used to love the "Naniwa-bushi." And so he would go up, up in the mountains somewhere where there's nobody, he can just belt it out. And he would, from what he learned, he would start singing. And as strong a voice as he can, he used to sing and he'd practice and practice and practice. He used to go to all the performances. And then one day, that troupe that came, the lead singer got sick and couldn't sing. So he said he came to audience and he said, "Is there anybody who can sing 'Naniwa-bushi?" And my father was a young teenager, and he said, "I can sing." He said, "You? How can you sing?" He said, "I can," and so he sang. And that he was amazed, that man was amazed. He wanted to take him back with them to Japan. [Laughs] And my grandfather said, "No, no." And he said, "No, you're never gonna be an artist or singer." He said, "You'll just be poor all your life." See, that's all he could think of, is a businessman. And so they ended up going into business. So my father always said, "I could have been a famous artist or I could have been a famous 'Naniwa-bushi' singer." I said, "Yeah, but look at you. You became a successful businessman." But see, he was able to do that.

MA: Yeah, it seems like he was a very successful entrepreneur.

GH: He could, yeah, he could do that. Where most times you're either an artist... you know, you're either left brain or right brain, huh? And he was a combination of it. And his brothers weren't, none of them were artistic, none of them sang. And so I don't know why he got all the talent. And so anyway, he was, he was pretty interesting. So everywhere he went, he started entertaining. And my mother was in, eventually in Gardena, my mother was in a nursing home, he used to go and sing "Naniwa-bushi" for those patients in there. Eventually he became one, too. But at that time, oh, they would just sit there and they couldn't wait to listen to him because you don't hear "Naniwa-bushi" anymore. And so at least he used to volunteer and do that. But old folks always appreciated it. So he used to go around singing in camp. He used to go and sing, and they go around in different blocks, mess halls, and they go and entertain. He used to do that. [Laughs] My sister plays the shamisen, too. She was too young, I think, then, to perform. But she was a good, she's a shamisen master now. She's one of the very few for her age. In fact, it's kind of a dying art, so she was trying to teach a group and they were learning. And my nephew, I have a nephew who died of cancer, and he's a musician, very, very talented. He was a jazz artist, and so she taught him. So he started playing shamisen and she thought he could take over what she had taught him and he could be a master, but he died.

MA: Was that something she learned in Hawaii?

GH: She started out here when she was little. And after we went back, she went back again to learn some more. She learned dance and shamisen. And then when she went to Chicago, she studied some more and went to Seattle get her master's. She went to Seattle, and I guess there was an instructor there. So that's how she... so she kept it up, and she used to teach.

MA: Did you take music lessons when you were a child?

GH: Not me, I'm the only one. They all did except me. [Laughs] They had their piano lessons and Japanese dance and they did all that. I didn't. I didn't do any of that.

MA: When you were in high school back in Hawaii, what were some of your interests? What did you think about the future and what did you want to do?

GH: I really didn't have much. I didn't have much thoughts about that. I don't know. It's... maybe I was just a late bloomer or something but I just never thought about those things, you know? So sad to say. [Laughs]

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

MA: And when did you graduate from high school? What year was that?

GH: 1949.

MA: And you graduated from high school in Hawaii?

GH: Uh-huh. Only my sister Lillian is the one that graduated in camp. The rest of us all graduated here. And then we went away in '51 and went to Chicago.

MA: And that's when you just, that's when your father decided to move the family to Chicago?

GH: Uh-huh, and he opened a restaurant there, in Chicago. Japanese restaurant again.

MA: And did your whole family go to Chicago?

GH: Uh-huh. There were only three of us left by that that time, because my brother was married, my sister Lillian was married.

MA: And they ended up in --

GH: They were there, that's why we went. My father wanted to go, so there were three of us girls. And one came back here to get married, 'cause she was about to get married but she went anyway. So she came back after six months. Then I came back after a year to get married.

MA: Was your husband someone you met in Chicago?

GH: From here.

MA: Oh, from Hawaii?

GH: That's why. So we both wanted to come back here to get married. So only one sister there, the one left, she got married to a mainland boy. And he didn't go to camp, he was in Utah. Now, they were like sharecroppers. They struggled and his father decided they're not going to camp, so they moved to Utah, but it was worse. At least in camp he would have a roof over his head and food to eat, and they would be fed and they would have housing. But they were so poor, you know, because he wanted to stay away from camp. Because I guess at that time, they didn't know what the conditions would be. He thought he was doing them good, but I think he did them any justice. And his mother died not too long after she had the baby, the daughter. She's about... much younger than them. But they were so poor, she couldn't get the care, and she died. It's a shame what they went through. So that's why my brother-in-law always remembers those days. He always talks about those days, when they were so poor, and so he appreciated. He became a pharmacist, and very good at it, and so he had a good life.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

MA: Going back a little bit to your time in Chicago, so your father operated a Japanese restaurant. And Chicago probably had, at that point, a pretty large Japanese American community?

GH: It was Japanese town, it was J-Town, and you know where it was? The famous Al Capone -- have you heard about, I don't know, you folks are so young, the old gangster days, Al Capone, and they always called that Garage Massacre, St. Valentine's Day Massacre. This garage was on Clark Street. Clark Street was the main Japanese town. We always tell people, boy, that was right here about a block from our restaurant, and we lived right near there. But that's where a lot of gangsters lived, around there. So it became Japanese town after the war. And they were -- oh, and the other one is Iva Toguri, Tokyo Rose, her parents had an import/export firm there, pretty big store. And she was... in fact, when I was in Chicago, she was released from prison and there was all this publicity in the paper. And she just quietly lived with her parents, came to live and help at the store, and had a quiet life. But poor thing, you know, they had all this bad publicity about her.

MA: How did people in the community treat her?

GH: I don't know, because she's in Japanese town. So maybe it was a little easier in Japanese town where she didn't go out and mingle. If she had a regular job outside, maybe it was easier to just stay with her family business.

MA: But in the Japanese community, she was able to sort of keep a low profile.

GH: Uh-huh. I think so. I think the Japanese didn't do anything to her, I don't think so. But, yeah, it was really a Japanese town. I heard it isn't there anymore, that town. And it used to be all restaurants and stores. It was just, we weren't used to that, but it was like... we were living up north in Chicago.

MA: So you lived away from your restaurant?

GH: No. At that time, we were living up north and my dad comes home one night and he tells my mother... he would go up to Clark Street to visit some friends and cronies and he would come home and he says, "You know what? I bought a restaurant and you're gonna do the cooking," because she's a good cook. But it's a lot of work for her. She'd go, "Oh, not again." Poor thing, she doesn't have a choice, he already bought it. And so he says, "Oh, you're gonna do really, really well there," and he said, "I'll fix that place up and we're gonna get the customers in there," and he went on and on. All his ideas again. So he did. In those days, they didn't have, it's like Hawaii, we didn't have air conditioning everywhere. Before, a lot of places weren't air conditioned. Well, they didn't either. He put in air conditioner, put in new furniture. He didn't do anything fancy, it was just a plain restaurant. But man, he had so much business. People were standing in line and waiting. And so a lot of the restaurants over there, they weren't doing well. But he just did a thriving business. He used to get people like students from Korea, students from Japan who are interning medical students. And hospital, 'cause they had big hospitals in Chicago, they're interning there, and they used to come over, weekends, when they get their day off. And then he used to get Northwestern students, and then he had the Japanese consul come over. He would sit there and join them and have a drink with them. [Laughs] You know, he liked to socialize, he was always talking to all the customers. So he did a real, real good business. And he eventually sold it to my aunt, his sister, sold it to her, 'cause they got tired. It's tiring, restaurant, for my mother, too, it's tiring for her. So they just retired, retired.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

MA: So in Chicago during that time when you were there, did you see, like, the sort of segregation of African Americans and whites and Japanese Americans?

GH: No, there was no segregation, I didn't think there was segregation, but there were, you could see, you could feel --

MA: Right, not, sort of, institutional, but sort of a...

GH: You could feel the bigotry, you know, you could feel it. And some people, some you don't, but some you do. And I used to -- I don't know why I had a chip on my shoulder -- my mother used to tell me, "You shouldn't do this, you shouldn't do that." And I would get on the bus, and people, you know how they stare. And we're not used to that here. People stare at us.

MA: These are white folks?

GH: Yeah, they would just stare. And you know, they don't realize that we're human, and you don't go staring at people. I mean, it's very rude to stare. So I would outstare them, and I would just sit there and outstare them. I'd come home and tell my mother and she goes, "Why do you do that? You shouldn't do that." I said, "Well, they shouldn't stare, too. They shouldn't stare in the first place. They're so rude." Oh, I couldn't stand it. Whenever I see somebody staring at me, I used to stare them back. But that's what they used to do, and that really, really got to me. Because, you know, it's rude, huh, to stare. I mean, why are they staring? I used to wonder, "Why are they staring?" [Laughs] They don't know what I am or they don't like it because I'm there or what? And so anyway, that was kind of a game with me. Whenever I saw anybody stare, I stared them back.

But in working, we used to -- I was killing time, too, because I knew I was coming back in about a year to get married. And so we just did all kinds of jobs in an office, more in line with bookkeeping. So I was working here and there, different places. And so far, there was only one place where I didn't like the supervisor. I just felt that the way she treated me, I sensed it. But you know, sometimes we were a little touchy and a little sensitive about it. But I felt, that's the only time I felt it. But any other place, the old, old days before, they always say, "Japanese people are so reliable, they're so nice, good employees, they're hard workers." And sure enough, you want to live up to that. So everywhere we go, they always love to have you. And all my supervisors, if I should quit, I said, "I'm leaving and I just want to give you notice," and she would say, "Oh, please." And this one woman, she was so nice to me, it was a huge company and I didn't want to be in a huge company. So I said, "No, I think I'm going to go and work for a smaller company, I'm not used to this." She said, "Oh, but I can move you into another smaller department." She was trying to find me someplace to go to, you know, and practically begging me to stay, and I said, "No." Finally, I made up my mind I'm leaving. And so I eventually worked for a smaller company. And this man was so nice. He was with the Shriners group. And years later -- we kept in touch -- and years later, they came to visit in Hawaii and he came to visit me. So we took them around. So imagine that. I never thought I would be seeing them again. And then when I went back to Chicago years later, I went to visit them and they had us over for dinner, so it was nice. So there were some nice people. Some good friends we made.

MA: Is that where your family ended up settling permanently, was Chicago?

GH: Then they moved to California. Everybody moved to California, so eventually, he had to move. He had this huge apartment building that he had to sell, so he couldn't move, he sold it. So they all moved over, and everybody went to California. So he was about the last one to move.

MA: But you moved back to Hawaii?

GH: Oh, I came back here to get married way back. So I've been living in Hawaii all this time.

MA: And you're the only one left from your family, right, who's still here?

GH: Uh-huh. Because the one, the other sister who came back went back a few years later. She and her husband went back to Chicago to live there. So I was the only one here. All these years, I'm the only one here. [Laughs] So I have to just visit them all the time.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

MA: And so after you came back to Hawaii, you got married, what did you, what type of work did you do?

GH: I was home.

MA: You were home. And did you have children?

GH: It was hard to go to work here in those days. You get all this guilt... well, I had my daughter one year later, and I had her pretty early. So I had her -- I mean, you don't go to work when you have a baby. It's just, in those days, that's the way it is.

MA: Guilt from...

GH: Being a working mother? No, you don't go to work when you have a baby. When she was four, I decided I'm going to go work part-time. Even then I had problems, he didn't like it. That's the way it used to be before. That when you get married, you have children and you stay home. And I said, "No, she need to be with other kids, so I need to get her in part-time at least, and then I'll go to work part-time." And I had a hard time already because she was so used to being with me. She followed me like a shadow. [Laughs] And so finally I got her into preschool, I had a real, real hard time. And then I went to work part-time and I was so happy to get out and go to work part-time. That's how I ended up going to work full-time later.

MA: And what work did you do at that point?

GH: Accounting again. Yeah, it was always in accounting work. So after that, from there on, I worked almost all through. And my husband, at that time, went into insurance afterwards, 'cause they had a family business, too. And the lease was up, we all had to move from there. And then he went into insurance. At that time, we needed the income, so I decided I'll go work full-time. And my daughter started kindergarten, so it wasn't so bad. So that's where I've worked ever since.

MA: And what's the name of your first daughter?

GH: Jill.

MA: That's Jill.

GH: That's Jill, uh-huh.

MA: And then you had a second daughter.

GH: Uh-huh, second daughter, Kim.

MA: Kim.

GH: She was ten years later. That's all.

MA: And your husband was, was he Japanese?

GH: Uh-huh. He was Nisei.

MA: He was Nisei, okay.

GH: That's why she says she's Yonsei, because she goes by my side. But if she follows the father's side, she's really only Sansei.

MA: And what are your, what are your daughters up to now? What are they...

GH: She's the, she has a dance company, I told you. And her dance company is for... I never can say it right. It's for... what does she call it? For women of color, women of... it's all minority-based, you know, that kind of thing. So she's, it's a kind of a unique company, and she attracts a lot of attention when she has her performances because she has such a mix of dancers. And she has a taiko, too, a group that comes out, and she has this... can't remember all of that. I usually go to her performances. Usually she does a big one once a year, but she's kind of gradually cutting back, and not as much. So this year's is this Berkeley one.

MA: And what about Kim? What does she...

GH: Kim, Kim used to... I used to be in real estate, and she used to work for me. And now, she wanted to, she was always good with her hands. She says she wants to go into bead jewelry and go on her own and do her own business. And so when I retired, she said she's gonna do that, she's gonna retire from real estate, too. 'Cause she didn't really care for it. And so she's been doing her own and she has one account, one account that she works for, she doesn't really work for them but she furnishes their jewelry and she doesn't do anything else now. She's really lucky. She doesn't go to craft fairs and she doesn't go peddling stores and all. Because she found this one shop that had locations in all the resort hotels, and so she furnishes their jewelry and that keeps her busy.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

MA: When your daughters were growing up, did you talk to them about your experiences during the war, about the internment?

GH: Uh-huh.

MA: And what did you tell them about it? And did they ask? Were they curious about it?

GH: Yes, that's why they know all about it. They know all about it. And now I'm trying to get my grandson, get my grandson to know more about it. I told him, "You're going to read about it in your history books one day," and he's fifteen now, so I don't know whether it'll be in by then, maybe not.

MA: I hope so.

GH: 'Cause he's only two more years. But he is aware of it already. But my two girls, I always did. I always did tell them about it. We talked about camp, I don't know how I explained it to them. I don't know how I did it. But it was just a gradual process, it was just out of our conversation. We used to talk about it. So they understood that a lot, and so they were very interested.

MA: 'Cause in Hawaii, it seems like, as opposed to the mainland where there was a mass internment of all Japanese, in Hawaii there was only...

GH: Fifteen hundred of us.

MA: Right, sort of a small number.

GH: So people didn't even know we were...

MA: I was gonna ask, yeah, it seems like there's not an awareness about that.

GH: People living here don't know, a lot of them don't know. In fact, when we had our first reunion, they interviewed us. And I tell you, they had this big article in the paper, people didn't even know about it. They were shocked when they found out what we were doing and we were in camp. And so I found out that there were people living here who didn't know what we were talking about. So it's something, when you think about it, that they were able to hush it up that much, you know. And like for us, when we went away, we just, like, we disappeared. And that's how I think most of the people were who went to camp. And they made it short notice, too, so you don't have a long time preparing and talking to people and all that, so I think they just packed their things and left. That's how most of us did.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

MA: So how do you -- I wanted to talk with you about redress and how you felt about the redress movement and the government apology and the reparations payments and that time, and how you felt about that.

GH: Well, I can't say too much because I didn't, I didn't do much work. I didn't contribute much like they did on the mainland. They really, really worked hard for it. And it was a good, it was a good thing because it made people aware more, people who didn't know about it, it gave more people the information that they needed to get out, and the apology and the $20,000, it's a lot of people died by now who didn't get it. And $20,000 we got, and people would say, "Wow, you got $20,000." It's just a token, really. Because when you compare what they lost and what my dad went through, I think what he -- my mother was still alive in the nursing home. Even though she was in a coma, she was still alive. So they gave theirs to the grandchildren, I think, they wanted to share it with the grandchildren. And so a lot of people already died, they didn't get anything. The ones who really, really needed it, you know, didn't get it, some people that really needed it. But it was a token. But the main thing was they got the apology, and they got it out to the public so that people were more aware of it, people who didn't know. I had a secretary when I was still working, and she is from California, she's white, she's from California. She said, "You know, my parents never talked about it," and she's from Torrance, right in the heart of where all the Japanese are. And, of course, in those days, it was not quite, maybe, I don't know. But she said... she's about, she's younger, so she wouldn't know. She's about ten years younger than me, so she really wouldn't know about it. But as she grew up, she said, "My parents never, never talked about it." And when I told her about it, because I talk about it as a matter of fact, and so she was shocked when she heard about it, she was shocked. And so a lot of people felt that way. They had no clue, and they lived in California. Like she says, "Here I was right in the heart of it." When you think about Torrance and Gardena and all that area, she says, "Imagine," she said. But that's how it is. A lot of the parents don't want to talk about it. Either they don't want to think about it, they don't want to face it, or they're embarrassed. A lot of them are embarrassed, too, about it. And I guess if the kids start asking them, they don't know what to say. What do they say?

MA: And your father was able to testify, right, for the hearings?

GH: For the hearings, yeah. My sister, one sister did, too, another sister I have, she did, too. I guess... and then they had a whole group, you know, the LTPRO group that Bert and Lillian were so busy working with. And so a lot of them, their kids, the nephews, the nieces, the children, they got active. Because my nephews and nieces were very active, too. So they learned from all that, they learned from all that. So it was a real educational process, I think.

MA: And how did your father feel about testifying and about the...

GH: You know, it was an emotional thing, 'cause I wasn't there. I should have gone.

MA: Where was the...

GH: L.A.

MA: He testified in L.A.?

GH: Uh-huh. And it was, I saw the video, I saw the video. Somebody had a video, and it was an emotional thing, I think, more than anything, because it just brings back everything, the questions they ask and all that. And so I think that's why a lot of people hesitated, because they didn't know how they would react when they were questioned. But he, he did, because he also did kind of an oral history interview, talk about his background and all that, too. So he was kind of used to doing all of that.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

MA: Well, is there anything else you'd like to share? Any other stories or anything else?

GH: I don't know. Sometimes I think that these stories are not that interesting for others to listen to. [Laughs]

MA: They definitely are. They're very important, I think. I think it's important, too, for people on the mainland to know what happened in Hawaii, because a lot of people aren't aware of Japanese history in Hawaii. And so I think it's very important.

GH: Yes. One thing about Hawaii is that they couldn't take all the Japanese in, because like I said, we weren't the minorities. And they said that the economy in Hawaii, it would have been a disaster if they did, because there's too many people. When you think about employment and just thinking about all the jobs that are gonna be left open, they couldn't do that. It just wasn't economically feasible. So they decided to handpick them, and that's how the selection process went. Fishermen... fishermen, Japanese school principal, teachers, priest, all those, businessmen like my dad. And so like doctor, our doctor traveled all over Japan and he wrote a book, and that's how I think they got him. Imagine, he was just a doctor. But he wrote a book about his travels, and for some reason, I think, maybe he did a lot of research. And so he was considered suspicious. [Laughs] But as far as stories to tell, you know, I have stories, but they come and go in my mind.

MA: Or anything, someone listening to this interview or watching this interview, you want them to know or to take from your experiences? Or about the internment or about anything?

GH: I can't think of what else to say.

MA: That's okay. [Laughs] Well, this has been a fantastic interview, and I've really enjoyed hearing your stories.

GH: Well, I hope it'll be interesting enough for others.

MA: Definitely will be. So thank you again.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.