Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Daniel Inouye Interview
Narrator: Sen. Daniel Inouye
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary), Beverly Kashino (secondary)
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: June 30, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-idaniel-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Senator, over the years you've developed a relationship with Shiro Kashino. I guess, the first question I have for you is how did the two of you meet?

DI: Well, it was after the war, because in an organization such as a regiment or battalion, you generally got acquainted with men of your platoon or your company at the most. Your neighbors, you may know a few of them, but as a general rule you stayed within your company confines, but after the war in discussing veteran matters with fellow veterans, it was unavoidable. The leader of the veterans in the Seattle area was Kash -- Kashino. So if you want to discuss anything about the 442nd, you have to touch base with Kash.

TI: And what kind of man was Kash?

DI: He was up front, he was honest, he had a good sense of humor, and although he knew that the charges against him were false and should have been cleared, he kept on working.

TI: In Seattle, Kash was known as a very good fighter while in Europe. In a similar way you were also known as a very good fighter in Europe. And the question I have is what are the factors or characteristics that make a good fighter?

DI: I don't know what you mean by good fighters, but Kash and I were considered gentle people, but there is something that happens to a person when there's a cause. One must keep in mind that the people who stepped forward and volunteered, I think, constituted a rather special breed. I'm not suggesting we were supermen or people better than the rest, but when you consider the times like Kash, volunteering from a camp, a concentration camp, to serve and defend a country that had incarcerated him, that's extraordinary. When I first learned about these camps and visited one of those, I had to ask myself the question -- would I have volunteered. To this day I'm not able to give an honest response because I can't say honestly yes, I would have or no, I would not have. But the fact that hundreds upon hundreds volunteered under those conditions is not only historic, it's almost unbelievable. I don't suppose there's any similar chapter in our history, the history of the United States, where people in large numbers stood up and said we're going to defend a country that is doing us harm. And when you look back to the life in the camps, here again children standing up before school and pledging allegiance to the flag, it's almost beyond comprehension. And when you consider the buildup of animosity and hatred in certain circles and to have these men step forward, that's extraordinary.

TI: No, I agree. They were extraordinary men. Last year Shiro Kashino --

DI: But they were not brutes. In ordinary life I'm certain Kash, before he got into the service, was a fun loving, young fellow like all of us. In fact, if you look over the list of those who have received medals, they're not the huge, brutish looking men. They usually look angelic. [Laughs]

TI: In fact, I've known the Kashino family for thirty years and knew Bev's father, and I didn't even know this side of him 'til later on as I did research so you're right, he was a very gentle man.

BK: However, he did get in his fair amount of squabbles before, during, and after the war.

DI: All of us this have those problems. [Laughs]

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.