Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Masamizu Kitajima Interview
Narrator: Masamizu Kitajima
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: June 12, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-kmasamizu-01-0016

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: Now how about you when, when, after they took your dad away, when you would go to school? Did people treat you any differently?

MK: No. They... this is what was funny, because when I went to school after my dad, everybody said, "Oh, too bad your dad got taken away." Everybody knew that. "Where's your dad?" That's about it. But my fourth grade teacher, she found out that my dad had been... and then came to a point and says, "How you folks taking this?" "Oh, we doing," I said, "we're managing okay." So one day she came to the house, and she came to talk to my mother. She was a Hawaiian lady. She was a Hawaiian teacher. She came to the house, and she looked at the house and she said, "What you eating?" "We can manage." She said, "No, you don't have anything in the house. You don't have anything." So she gathered all of us, took us to her house, and she had made dinner for us, and after that, every week she would bring, by herself, she would drive in. I said, "What about, like, the rest of the people?" She said, "Hey, I'm Hawaiian. What they gonna do to a Hawaiian?" That's what she said. And she helped us so much, and I think that was how my mom survived. So everybody in my class knew that we were facing hard times, because she would tell that to the kids. But this also created a situation when, that... in 1942, in May when the Relocation Authority came to our house and told my mom, "You have two days to prepare to go to..." Crystal City, I think.

TI: So go to the mainland, to Crystal City.

MK: Yeah, Crystal City. And Mom says, "Two days? We cannot do it. We cannot pack up and go." So she refused to go, but they told her, "Well, we'll let you go this time, but next time you're gonna have to go." But really we really didn't have to go, if we could subside, survive somehow, but Mom felt that we couldn't survive, that we were gonna -- we couldn't expect Ms. Hardy to support us through all this time. So it was like we didn't have to go, and yet what choice did we have? So when, in October then, when they came back and said, "You have two weeks to get prepared," Mom says, "Okay, we'll go." That was when it was decided we would go to the mainland, so to this day they went voluntarily. True, went voluntarily, but... the only thing we could do. We couldn't live. We couldn't, we had no money to live with. We had no means of support. We had, the Red Cross was helping us, brought us, you should've seen, brought us a cheese like this, American cheese about this big, all gray. Never saw cheese before, and says, "Here's some food for you." [Laughs] Mom looked at it and said, "What is that?" And she threw it away. And somebody said, "That's cheese." A Nihonjin who never saw cheese before, we look at it, kabidara cheese. [Laughs]

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.