Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: June M. Hoshida Honma Interview
Narrator: June M. Hoshida Honma
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Torrance, California
Date: July 9, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-hjune-01-0004

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MA: I wanted to go back a little bit and ask you about your memories of when your father was picked up by the FBI.

JH: Okay. I know it was a Sunday, because he was off. It was the first weekend in February, 1942. And I remember he was fixing our screen door. Hawaii has a lot of mosquitoes and flies, so he was fixing it. My uncle appeared on the porch, and my father looked at him and didn't know what he was doing there. So they were talking for a while, and they always called him Hosh-san. They never called him Yoshio or (George). So he said, "Hosh-san, the FBI is picking you up, but I begged them to let me come and pick you up." And I remember my mother telling me that her brother was just crying. And that was my favorite maternal uncle.

MA: I'm sorry, your uncle was a police officer?

JH: Yes, my uncle Riichi, it's (R-I-I-C-H-I), Takemoto. Very tall, elegant man. So they took him away and we didn't really know where they were taking him. I'm not sure how my mother got word where he was, but he was at Kilauea Military Camp up in the volcano area, Volcanoes National Park.

MA: On the Big Island?

JH: Yeah, there's an R&R area for the troops. And so they were put in this enormous room, because we managed to go and visit him before he left.

MA: Before he left for Sand Island?

JH: Left for Sand Island, yeah. So we went to visit him and there were cots one after the other, just lined, I remember. And my mother found my father so we spent some time with him. And he wanted, he wanted the notebook so he could draw. So that's, those are the pictures that are over at JANM, and I have copies in there.

MA: And was that when he first started drawing?

JH: I think he used to draw before, but he had done correspondence courses. And as I was reviewing the pictures last night, 'cause I'd forgotten I had them, he must have attended an art class in camp. Because he drew the faces of the fellow students that he was with. Most all of them were from the Big Island, or Hawaii. And luckily he labeled who they were and where they were from. I know there was one man from Kauai in there.

MA: And so you were able to visit him in this detention facility, but do you remember who else was there? Was it all, sort of, Issei men detained?

JH: Yeah, they were all Issei men. I myself don't know who the whole bunch was made up of, but they were mainly made up of people the FBI had made a list of. So they were either Japanese school teachers or people who ran the newspapers, Japanese newspapers, Japanese announcers for Japanese programs, who else were they?

MA: Probably Buddhist priests.

JH: Yeah, Buddhists, the priests were all picked up. Yeah, that's right. My classmate's father was picked up, too. But my father wasn't on that list. So I asked Aiko Herzig when I met her in Gila once... you know my father was never on the FBI list, so I said, "Why would they pick him up?" And I know that one person from the list of the FBI was told that, "If you give us several names of people that you think are subversive, we won't send you to camp." My father happened to be on that because -- I read this -- because he was "training those kids for the Japanese army." I mean, it sounds very funny now, it really does. [Laughs] But that's the charge.

MA: Right, so someone clearly pointed their finger at your father to get themselves off.

JH: Right, exactly.

MA: Okay, so then he was taken from the Big Island, then, to Sand Island in Oahu.

JH: Uh-huh.

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