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-01-0005

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MA: And can you tell me about your time in -- because you said you stayed in Sand Island for about a week, and what that was like, and sort of leaving, then, from your home and then going to Sand Island?

JH: Okay. Well, they picked us up sometime in the afternoon, I remember, in an army truck. We were taken down to Hilo port and put on the interisland boat. And I'd never been on this huge ship before, so my mother made friends with some of the people that were going into internment camp. And I remember my sister, who was only two months old, was very, very colicky. They couldn't stop her from crying. So this woman that we met on this ship, came and did reiki on her. And I think she literally saved her life, because my sister's abdomen was just huge, and my mother was having a hard time. When we left Hilo I was about five. And I always tell this story, that I faced the Hilo side, while we were in the bay, and I could see Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. And then all the clouds were up there, but there were shafts of light that would shine on certain spots because of the cloudiness. And then we passed Coconut Island, which is a little recreational island that they have. And that kept me going for the three years I was in camp. I was so homesick, but without that memory, I don't know what I'd have done. I dreamed about it all through the three years that I was in camp.

MA: And what was Sand Island like? I know you were young, but what...

JH: It was a two-story building with fencing around it, barbed wire on the top, and there was a large enough grassy area where all the people that were kept there until it was time for us to go up. And since Aiko Herzig said we were POWs, I guess we were POWs in that Sand Island. They put the teenage boys and the young men in one room, they put mothers and children in another room, and the women, who were single, in another room. So it was like a dormitory. They had, like in the submarines they would have bunks, so they had bunks, one on top of the other. And there wasn't much to do. All I remember is my mother used to have to stand in line behind these women to heat up the milk for my sister.

MA: And who were the guards?

JH: You know, I never saw any. We were locked in there. So you couldn't get out. And I guess it's that gaman, shikata ga nai thing that they went through. But most of them knew that eventually they'll see their fathers and husbands.

MA: So your father, at this point, was not in Sand Island.

JH: Uh-uh, not while we were there.

MA: So you didn't see him, okay.

JH: Because he was... when I went through that book last night to see how his journey was, I went according to the dates. And he was taken to Fort Sam Houston, I think that's in Texas. But why they backtracked, I don't know, because they were there for a while, then they went to Lordsburg. When I visited Lordsburg, it's very desolate. But as the curator told me, almost nobody in town knew that there was a POW camp on the outskirts. So my father was there, and I believe that's the time when they shot two of the men from Hawaii. I'm not sure if the families reclaimed the bodies or not. So after Lordsburg, he went to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It's another notorious camp, yeah, it was. And it was there that my surrogate big sister's father, who was a Taishoji priest, he died. And my father managed to have his wife and son, yeah, attend the funeral. So he was there for a while. Now, for me, it wasn't clear how long I was in Denson, Jerome.

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