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-01-0026

<Begin Segment 26>

TI: So he was quieter, bitter, decided to, he wanted to go back to Japan, he put "no-no" on the "loyalty questionnaire," and so the family moves from Jerome...

MK: Jerome to Tule Lake.

TI: Tule Lake. So talk about Tule Lake. What was Tule Lake like?

MK: Tule Lake was entirely different from Jerome. Jerome was liberal, all happy families and all this. The first time, I remember the first time when I went to Tule Lake, the first incident was they had a carnival of some kind. Within the first month we were there, they were having a carnival of some kind and somebody was really getting beaten up because there were two factions of Japanese there. Those that wanted to go back to Japan and those that didn't, didn't want to go back to Japan. And my dad was, of course being a schoolteacher, he was determined that he was going back to Japan. He wanted to teach Japanese school. He, and he went to teach Japanese school and every day I would... the first time, the first week I remember the guys, all the high school students that, they all enrolled in Japanese school. Every morning was exercise, Japanese-style. They would run the blocks and they would... there was all this propaganda thing, all for Japan. And they carried the Japanese flag and I said, "What the hell are they doing here? What, what kind of, what kind of community are we living in?"

TI: And your father, as he was teaching Japanese, so teaching Japanese, did he also then --

MK: Influenced them.

TI: -- help do the exercise with them and tell them about Japan and all those different things? Because he was a young man still.

MK: Yeah.

TI: He was probably --

MK: Still in the late, middle thirties.

TI: Yeah, mid-thirties. So probably the younger men responded well to him, because he was --

MK: Being a teacher, being a minister. And they all looked up to him. Now he's talking the same language they are.

TI: Did you see a change in your father then, at Tule Lake? Did he get more energetic?

MK: Yes, he did. After he came back and went to Tule Lake he was much more energetic. But there was some that was more militant than him. I know he was one of the militants, but he wasn't quite as bad as some of the others. We used to have a guy that used to come in and make sure that our heads was always shaved, always bald. We followed Japanese traditions. And we used to always hide from him because we were so afraid of him.

TI: And this was for you, too, because you were, what, like, ten years old?

MK: Ten years old. I was sixth grade.

TI: So you had to also do those things, too.

MK: And we had to go to Japanese school, had to go to -- once, once we got to Tule Lake and got acclimated to it then we had to enroll in Japanese school. We had to learn... and we were getting ready to get shipped back to Japan, so we had to learn.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.