Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hikaru Morohoshi Interview
Narrator: Hikaru Morohoshi
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: September 2, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-mhikaru-01

<Begin Segment 1>

MN: Okay. Today is Thursday, September 2, 2010. We are at the Centenary United Methodist Church, we have here Hikaru John Morohoshi and Yoshi Asakura Morohoshi, and Dana Hoshide is on video. And I am interviewing, and I am Martha Nakagawa.

MN: Mr. Morohoshi, where were you born?

HM: Stockton, California, United States of America. Stockton.

MN: When were you born?

HM: 1915.

MN: 1915?

HM: October 4, 1915. Stockton, California, USA.

MN: You are the eldest son, right?

HM: Yes.

MN: Tsutomu was born after you, and --

HM: What?

MN: Tsutomu.

HM: I have an older sister.

MN: Do you have an older sister?

HM: Yes, one sister.

MN: Okay, so your sister, and Tsutomu --

HM: No, no. Not Tsutomu. Shohei.

MN: Shohei? Shohei, and who was born next?

HM: What?

MN: After Shohei. Who was born after Shohei?

HM: After Shohei... Tsutomu.

MN: And Takeshi was born after Tsutomu?

HM: Right, Takeshi.

MN: Miyako was born after Takeshi.

HM: No, Yachiyo.

MN: Yachiyo. Miyako was born after Yachiyo.

HM: Yes.

MN: Were Shohei, Tsutomu and Takeshi all born in San Leandro?

HM: I don't know where Shohei was born. He was born in the States, but I don't know where in the U.S. he was born. Toshiko, my elder sister, was born in the States, but I don't know exactly where she was born. Shohei was born after that. He was born in the States, but I don't know where.

MN: Tsutomu and Takeshi were born in San Leandro, weren't they?

HM: That's right. San Leandro.

MN: Yachiyo and Miyako were born in Japan, right?

HM: Yes, they were born in Japan.

MN: Which prefecture is your family from?

HM: What did you say?

MN: Which prefecture?

HM: Kanagawa Prefecture. Kanagawa.

MN: Kanagawa Prefecture.

HM: Prefecture, Kanagawa, Japan.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

MN: After you were born, when were you taken to Japan?

HM: When I was one, one year old. My parents took me over to Japan when I was a baby.

MN: Your parents left you with your grandfather and grandmother, and...

HM: Right, and they came back to the States.

MN: From what age to what age did you live in Japan?

HM: Until I was eighteen. Eighteen years old.

MN: After some years, did your parents move back to Japan to live with you?

HM: Right after the Great Kanto earthquake my parents came back, came back with Takeshi, Tsutomu and Toru. They were born in the States. Toru, Takeshi, Tsutomu, Tsutomu, Takeshi, Toru. The three were all born in the States. Great Kanto earthquake, and they came back to Japan, all three and the parents. Great Kanto earthquake, when was that?

MN: I looked it up. It was on September 1, 1923.

HM: Yes, I was in Japan then. I remember, our house collapsed. The pillar came down. The pillar came down, but it didn't hit me on the head. I didn't get hurt. My grandfather got hurt a bit. Our stone wall collapsed, and it crushed the house. My family came back from the States, but the house was crushed. There was a horse stable, that was where we lived temporarily, my parents.

MN: So you all lived in a stable? Because the house got crushed.

HM: Yes, because we did not have a place to live.

MN: With horses?

HM: Huh?

MN: You lived with horses?

HM: What?

MN: Horses. Were there any horses in the stable?

HM: There were no horses. We lived in the stable because it happened to be there. Because the house collapsed. The stone wall fell, the stone wall crumbled, and it crushed the house. The houses near ours did not have stone walls. Our house got crushed because there was a stone wall.

MN: The stone wall fell upon the house.

HM: It crushed the house. The main pillar fell down, but I survived. Even the mail pillar fell down. It didn't hit me on the head, and I didn't get hurt. I survived. A lot of people died then in the area. I heard that 140,000 people were killed in Tokyo by the Great Kanto earthquake. No one was killed in Numata. The other houses were still standing. Our house was the only one that collapsed because there was the stone wall.

MN: How many days did it take to be able to move back and live in the house again?

HM: We had a temporary house built. Let see, how many days... it could be a year or so... we had the stone wall rebuilt and...

MN: You lived with your parents and two, no, three younger brothers then?

HM: Yes, three younger brothers. Or four younger brothers? Tsutomu, Takeshi, Toru, and Miyako and Yachiyo. Five siblings.

MN: Miyako or Yachiyo had not been born yet then.

HM: That's right.

MN: So you lived with your parents, three younger brothers, your grandfather and grandmother?

HM: That is right. We were also with our grandfather and grandmother.

MN: Your grandfather and grandmother retired after that, right?

HM: Yes, they retired. I think we lived with them for about a year. Then they retired.

MN: What did they do before they retired?

HM: What?

MN: What did they do before they retired?

HM: Who?

MN: Your grandfather and grandmother.

HM: Agriculture. Farmers, agriculture. Agriculture, farmer.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

MN: You lived away from your parents for eight long years, and your parents had three more sons while they were in the States. It sounds like you did not have a loving relationship with your parents.

HM: That's right. They came back after the great earthquake. Tsutomu, Takeshi and Toru, all three came back with them. Then we lived together.

MN: How did your mother start to show abusive behavior toward you?

HM: She tried to kill me. We had a holiday in Numata, a day off. That was a day off from work. I didn't work because it was a day off. Then, my mom told me to get some water. "Go get some water," because we did not have running water in the house. I had to go outside to get water in a bucket. My mom told me to get some water. I got some water but did not work. It was a holiday. And she got so mad and told me she would not feed me. We lived in a stable as we didn't have any other place to live. My dad came home, and she told my dad that I wasn't working at all. My dad said it was okay because it was a holiday. She told me to get some water, and I brought in some water in a bucket. Then she told a lie. She told him that she asked me to get some water, but I didn't. She told a lie to my dad. She told him that I didn't get any water. She lied to him.

This is another story. We had a bathroom in the backyard. There was a small pond. We had to go out and walk by the house and pass the pond to take a bath. One day, Takeshi was walking toward me. I was walking and we passed each other. There was this pond, and my mom told a lie. She said I pushed him, I pushed him into the pond. Takeshi ended up in the pond, that is what she was saying. But he didn't get wet, that's what she said. She told me she would not feed me, and she didn't. She said she was not feeding me. She did not give me any food for about ten days. I was so hungry. [inaudible] So I snuck in and ate while my mom was out. I couldn't eat. [inaudible] I stole food and ate while she was out. I would have starved to death otherwise. That's how it was.

Another time, she didn't feed me, and I went to school. I couldn't even stand up because I was so hungry. I couldn't stand up or study. I was just sitting. I talked to my teacher, and my teacher offered to buy me lunch. I said (s)he didn't have to, and (s)he got me some sweets. I barely survived. [inaudible] That was terrible. My mom tried to kill me. I snuck and ate. I would have starved to death otherwise. She really tried to kill me. That's very strange, isn't it?

MN: There was another incident when you were washing a pot in the pond, right?

HM: That's right. I was washing a pot and someone splashed water in my face. I looked up and saw my mom staring at me. I didn't do anything to upset her. I didn't do anything. She didn't scold me. She was just there looking furious. She looked just like ogre statues in Kyoto or Nara. Just like those scary looking man-made statues in Kyoto. She was staring at me with her angry face. I guess she just hated me so much. It was not like she scolded me because I did something wrong. She didn't scold me. She didn't say a word. She tried to kill me. She simply hated me. [inaudible] I survived somehow. That was very scary.

But she didn't do anything when my grandfather and grandmother were around. My grandfather used to get mad at my mom for some reason, and he was beating her up with a stick. That happened pretty often. She was running away. Tsutomu, Takeshi and Toru came back from the States. My grandfather and grandmother, my mother told my grandfather and grandmother that I was bullying them. I was not. After my grandfather and grandmother retired, she tried to kill me. She didn't do a thing when they were around. She was afraid because she would be beaten. My grandfather was harsh. My mom didn't scold me. She just hated me and tried to kill me. When my grandfather and grandmother were around, she didn't do anything because she was afraid. When my grandfather and grandmother were around, she did not even scold me. I didn't say anything about what I did wrong. She didn't do a thing when my grandfather and grandmother were around. She tried to kill me. She simply hated me.

MN: That was the family environment you grew up with.

HM: Yes.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

MN: What were your plans after you graduated from school?

HM: I didn't have any future plans back them. I was starving when I was going to school. I didn't have any lunch, didn't have any food. I fainted when I was sitting because I was so hungry. I could not stand up. My teacher offered lunch, said (s)he gave me lunch, but I didn't take the offer. The teacher bought me some sweets. I remember that. My grades were terrible. [inaudible] I didn't study, I couldn't.

MN: When did you receive a letter from your father's cousin who lived in the States?

HM: When, from the uncle? I came over in 1924, so that must be 1924.

MN: You were already eighteen years old then?

HM: Yes, I came over on Asama Maru. Steamboat.

MN: By Asama Maru?

HM: Yes, Asama Maru. I got a letter from my dad's cousin. He told me to come to the States. That's why I came over. I came over and met him. His family name is Murakoshi, and he had three kids.

MN: About when you came over by Asama Maru and arrived in San Francisco, you went to Angel Island first.

HM: Yes, an island. [inaudible] It was an island. Sort of like a prison. We were staying there. My friends at the same age came over with me. They were Kibei. [inaudible] We were staying there. We were there for about two weeks.

MN: What did immigration officers ask you during the two weeks of stay?

HM: We have an interpreter, a Japanese guy as an interpreter. He was Issei. A white guy said something. The guy interpreted and asked questions to us, about many different things. Like where we were born and stuff. When did we go back to Japan, go there, how many brothers and sisters do we have and so on. I answered in Japanese. I didn't speak a word in English. The Japanese interpreter, his name was Nomura, finally asked me if I was American or Japanese. Both, I answered. I told him I had dual citizenship. I got permission, and my uncle came to pick me up. We headed for his house, leaving the immigration office, back to San Leandro.

MN: When you were staying in Angel Island, what type of racial background did those people have? Were there only Japanese people?

HM: Only Japanese people when I was there. They were at my age and also Kibei Nisei. I saw about thirty people, and there were more.

MN: Did you see any Chinese or Korean people?

HM: What?

MN: Chinese or Korean people.

HM: No, I didn't. Women, there were some Kibei Nisei women too, but they were separated from men. There was one girl about sixteen years old or so from Kumamoto Prefecture, and she was very pretty. About sixteen years old. When I came over, came on Asama Maru, and we stopped by Hawaii. Sightseeing in Hawaii, that was fun.

MN: How many days did you spend in Hawaii?

HM: We went to Hawaii but didn't stay at a hotel. We all stayed on the ship. We spent one night there. We went out in a group of about five people, all at about the same age to look around. The girl from the Kumamoto was there too. When we were walking around, we noticed a weird looking guy was following us. Hey, he looks suspicious. He is after us, following us around. I looked back and saw this guy walking behind us. A strange guy, and he was trying to trick us and steal our money. We thought that was dangerous and didn't do anything in Hawaii.

MN: Going back to San Francisco, from Angel Island, you went through the immigration, your father's cousin came to pick you up, he took you to San Leandro, and then what did you do there?

HM: Farmer. Agriculture. They had three children.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

MN: How much English did you speak when you came back to the States?

HM: I couldn't speak a word. I came over, I was eighteen years old, and I did not know even ABC in English. Not at all. Not a word. Not even ABC. He had three kids. The eldest was at my age, and his name is Murakoshi, and the three boys were Akira, Yoshino and Hiroshi. The eldest was born in Japan and came over to the States. Back then, he could not easily go between the States and Japan as we can now. He called himself Shohei, he used my brother's name to come here. They made a false statement. The eldest son, Akira, made a false statement to the Immigration Department. He said, "I am Shohei Murohoshi." They asked the immigration interpreter, made a false statement and came to the States. The eldest son. From Japan. There were three family members, sons and parents. I didn't know a word of English.

MN: Did the kids teach you English?

HM: No, no, they didn't. The eldest son, all the other kids, the kids at my age were going to high school. They all went to school. I said I would like to, but they told me I was not allowed. Mr. Murakoshi said no. My parents back in Japan said no too. Because I am the eldest son, I had to work very hard, make money and go back to Japan as soon as possible. They said I was not allowed to go to school. I couldn't go to school. I went to a night school in the wintertime. The eldest son Akira drove me. To night school only in the wintertime, about three months or so. I couldn't go to school in the summertime because it was a busy season. My parents told me to come back to Japan soon because I am the eldest. They were abusive toward me, told me I was not allowed to go to school because I am the eldest, and told me to make money quickly and come back to Japan. But they tried to kill me, didn't they? They hated me. Now they were telling me to come back to Japan soon because I am the eldest. They told me to work hard. Doesn't make sense, does it? They were supposed to treat me well if I am the eldest son, weren't they? But they were trying to kill me. That doesn't make sense. They hated me.

MN: Were you bullied because you didn't speak English?

HM: Right. I didn't speak English. Not even ABC. Back then, Nisei girls just looked down upon me. They all really did. I wanted to go to school but was told not to. I was told to work. But they hated me. At the same time, they told me go back and take care of the parents as soon as possible because I was the eldest son. Take care of my parents and manage the household. They didn't make any sense, did they? They are out of their minds.

MN: You worked as a farmer for four years in San Leandro, didn't you?

HM: Yes.

MN: Then you became a gardener, right?

HM: Yes. I ran away from the Murakoshis' house after living there for four years, with Takeshi. Our pay was so low there. We made three hundred dollars between two of us for one year of work. We both ran away from the place. We ran away but didn't have any place to go to. [Inaudible] We walked all the way to San Jose. We slept under apple trees in a field in San Jose. I saw a white girl packing apples in crates. We asked her for some apples because we were hungry. She offered us some, gave us a lot of apples, because we were very hungry.

Then, we went to Watsonville. We hitchhiked. We didn't have a car. We hitchhiked and went to Watsonville. We didn't have a place to stay, we got there at night and we slept in a field at night, lettuce field. When we woke up in the morning, about twenty Filipino guys came to pick lettuce. They came in a truck, and they were all picking lettuce. They told us we could work there, and we did. We stayed at their boarding house in the evenings. They fed us. We stayed there for three weeks. We worked there. There were not a lot of jobs available. We didn't have anything to do in the field in the afternoon. Takeshi and I were in the field, it was a small one, and saw a Japanese guy was working there, in the lettuce field. We were working there and talking to the Japanese guy. Another Japanese guy came over, and that was the boss. He asked us what we were doing. We told him we came from over there, from San Leandro, and we were staying at the Filipino boardinghouse. He offered to hire us. "Where are you from?" "We are from Kanagawa." I told him we are from Numata in Okamoto and found out he was from Kanagawa too. I told him we are from Numata in Okamoto, My wife went to the same school. My sister went to elementary school in Okamoto. The boss's wife and my wife are at the same age and went to the same school, classmates. We left the Filipino boardinghouse and worked for him. We quit. We didn't have work in the winter, in the fall, and we went back to San Francisco and became a schoolboy. We did.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

MN: You got drafted into the U.S. military in March 1941, didn't you?

HM: Yes, that was March in 1941. March 31st. After I quit my job working for Mr. Murakoshi in San Francisco, I was staying at a boarding house in San Leandro and working as a gardener. I got paid there, not working for myself. I was staying at a boarding house, and I was getting paid by my boss. I was working there, got drafted and enlisted in the military.

MN: Where did you receive the basic training?

HM: Fort Lewis, Washington State. That was in Washington. Fort Lewis, Washington. Close to the Canadian border. Fort Lewis, Washington State. Fort Lewis, Washington State.

MN: Did you get trained with Caucasian soldiers before the war?

HM: What did I do before the war?

MN: Trained with Caucasian soldiers? Did you go through the training with Caucasian soldiers?

HM: I stayed in the same barrack with Caucasian soldiers. The same. With the basic training.

MN: Where were you and what were you doing when the Japanese navy attacked Pearl Harbor?

HM: I was a soldier. A soldier, and I was in bed after my appendicitis operation. I just had the operation. I was in bed. I heard on the radio that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Lying in bed.

MN: How did you feel when you heard the news?

HM: I didn't feel anything. They bombed, but I didn't feel anything. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. More news followed. Jap bombers, airplanes sank two British battleships. News about the war just flooded in. More news. Japanese military landed in the Philippines. American army was defeated. Philippines were occupied by Japan. Bang, bang, bang, bang. They bombed Pearl Harbor. News just flew in. When I was in the military.

MN: How did the U.S. government change its attitude toward Japanese soldiers after that?

HM: Nothing changed. Nothing changed, but the war started, when the war started, a Japanese American soldier, my friend named Kimura, from Kanagawa, he was a Japanese American soldier. They were recruiting soldiers to go to the Philippines. They notified all, all the soldiers. My Japanese American friend, he was a Japanese American in the same company, volunteered to go to the Philippines. They denied the request. Japanese American soldiers couldn't go to the Philippines because they were fighting against Japan there. After a while, we still saw a lot of barracks with lights on all over. A lot of them had lights on. One barrack went dark with all the lights turned off. It had been all lighted up until then. They were gone to a battlefield. All of them. After that, the next barrack went dark with their lights turned off. All of them went to battlefields.

MN: But weren't Japanese American soldiers kicked out of the barracks and gathered in tents?

HM: That's right. After a while, I was in the Barrack 151. All the soldiers in the barrack went to battlefields, Pacific. They did not send Japanese soldiers though. They reassigned us to side companies. After a while, they put us in tents. Japanese American soldiers. In tents. They kept us in tents, and we were in there. That was New Year. New Year came, and all the Japanese American soldiers were fed with Western-style meals. All the time. We wanted to have some Japanese food because it was New Year's. We ordered from Seattle, they delivered a lot of food to the camp. We were all Japanese Americans. Caucasian soldiers were not there. We had a big feast in the tent. We ate, all of us, that was great. We were in the tent. After a while, we were told that we could leave. We went to the reserves and left active duty.

MN: That was a reserve, right? Reserve.

HM: Yes. [Inaudible] We had guns but didn't receive any training. I did something with a gun. I worked as a guard. There was a mess hall for food storage. I guarded the hall with a sword, with a gun there once. While I was staying in the tent.

MN: So you were separated? In a tent?

HM: Japanese American soldiers were only with other Japanese Americans. Separated from Caucasian soldiers.

MN: You were not allowed to carry a gun.

HM: Well, I had a gun at the beginning. With the gun, I worked as a guard for the food storage building called mess hall. We did carry a gun at the beginning. We pitched a tent and worked at the mess hall for food storage. Japanese Americans. We didn't receive any training with guns.

MN: After the war started, they did not allow you to carry a gun, did they?

HM: Right.

MN: You had a gun at the beginning. They did not allow you to carry a gun after the war started.

HM: Right. So I did not have a gun. I did not receive any training either. All Japanese American soldiers. I was just there not knowing what to do, and they told me that I could go home. Reserves. They sent me to the reserves, and I left there. I was in San Jose doing nothing and then was sent to a camp.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

MN: About the camp, you were first sent to the assembly center in Tanforan, right?

HM: Right.

MN: Where were people from San Leandro rounded up to go to Tanforan?

HM: Hayward.

MN: Hayward.

HM: We all went to Hayward, took a bus and went to a camp in Tanforan by bus through Hayward. Hayward is a bit north of San Leandro, I think. Hayward... a bit south actually. The cities are lined up. San Leandro, San Jose and Hayward. They are all lined up. By bus, I guess, to Hayward. No, by train. We got on, we went to Topaz by train.

MN: Not Topaz yet. Tanforan. To Tanforan.

HM: We went to Tanforan, and from Tanforan, went to Topaz by train. From Tanforan.

MN: In Tanforan --

HM: California, Tanforan.

MN: When you arrived at Tanforan, that was a horse racetrack, wasn't it a horse racetrack?

HM: Stable. We got to a stable.

MN: How did you feel when you found out that you had to stay in a stable?

HM: It was a stable and very small. There was only one bedroom for us. It was very small. Stable. The stable had some partitions, like this, and there was some space on the other side. The bedroom was on this side. There was a partition, and more rooms were on the other side. There was this partition, and we didn't have access to the other side of the partition. Stable. I didn't like it.

MN: What did you do in Tanforan?

HM: Some sort of labor job. I did something around there. I don't remember. Some kind of job. What did I do? I don't remember. Some sort of... labor, but I don't remember what kind. I did this and that.

MN: That's okay. From Tanforan --

HM: Then I quit the job there. From Tanforan, I went to Topaz from Tanforan. I went to Topaz by train.

MN: Which block were you on in Topaz?

HM: Eight. I lived on Block 8.

MN: Did you live with Tsutomu and Takeshi in Topaz?

HM: I stayed with Tsutomu in Topaz, we lived there. Takeshi was somewhere else. Not in Topaz.

MN: Did Takeshi live with his friend?

HM: Yes, I lived with Tsutomu.

MN: What did you do in Topaz?

HM: Mess hall. I worked at the cafeteria. At the number 12.

MN: In Topaz --

HM: I was working at the cafeteria on Block 12. Worked as a waiter.

MN: On Block 11.

HM: What?

MN: Block 11. Which block did you work as a waiter for?

HM: Two. On Block 2. I worked at the mess hall. Waiter.

MN: As a waiter.

HM: Yes. And after I quit, I worked at [inaudible]. I got fired and worked as a farmer then. I was working as a farmer, but we did not harvest a lot because of the salt in the soil.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

MN: The "loyalty questionnaire" was distributed in Topaz, wasn't it?

HM: Yes.

MN: How did you answer the questions 27 and 28?

HM: "No-no." They asked if I was willing to serve in the armed forces of the States. Willing to swear allegiance to the States. Question 27 and 28. Those are the questions. I answered "no-no." Willing to serve in the U.S. armed forces and willing to swear allegiance to the States. I said no-no to serving in the U.S. armed forces. I said I was not willing to swear allegiance to the States. Then Takeshi. Tsutomu was interviewed by FBI. As I said, they questioned if I would be willing to swear allegiance to the States and fight against Japanese soldiers if the Japanese army lands on the U.S. soil. I said "no-no." Takeshi said "no-no" too. We said we would not fight. Tsutomu said the same.

MN: Then Takeshi --

HM: Back then, they had this question and asked us if we would do anything if that was the order from the emperor. We said we would. Takeshi was questioned by FBI, FBI questioned Takeshi. They asked him if he would fight against the U.S. with the Japanese army if ordered by the emperor. Takeshi said, "I would kill you and do anything if ordered by the Emperor." If the Japanese army came. He would fight for Japan. He said that's what he would do. Takeshi did, he said, "I would kill you if ordered by the emperor." [Laughs] I remember that. Your father Nakagawa was like that too. He said he would do anything if ordered by the emperor. After a while, FBI came and put a blanket over those people. They sent those people to Leupp by train. Your father too. If ordered by the emperor. One of my friends said he would blow up Bay Bridge in San Francisco if ordered by the emperor. He said he would bring airplanes. He would blow up Bay Bridge in San Francisco. He said, "I would kill you too." [Laughs] They were rounded up, and a group of fifteen or thirteen people was sent away. Including your father. After a while, those who were disloyal were sent to Tule Lake from Topaz. To the camp there. Then your father left the group and came back to Tule Lake.

MN: Takeshi came back too, right?

HM: Yes, he did. You father too. They left the group behind. Left the camp. They went to Tule Lake. There was a church there. We went to United Church there. Then Miyoko's father came to the church too. That where we met each other. We became friends and hang out with each other. We were sent there. I went to church there. We both went to United Church. Then, I left United Church, and started to go to Seventh-day Adventist Church. That's how we got separated from each other. We terminated our friendship. I didn't know what he was thinking. He told me not to go to Seventh-day Adventist Church. [Inaudible] He told me to forget about the religion. We had a fight and broke up with each other. [Laughs] We didn't see each other because I stopped going the church. We had a fight.

MN: Going back to Topaz again, you had questions about the emperor and so on. His orders and --

HM: In Topaz, right?

MN: Yes, in Topaz. Those who answered "no-no" were questioned individually, didn't they?

HM: Yes, individually.

MN: Who was questioning you, was it FBI or WRA?

HM: It was probably FBI, I guess. I don't know. The investigator was a white guy. A man.

MN: How many white people were there in the room?

HM: How many?

MN: When you were questioned.

HM: No, no. That was one at a time.

MN: One at a time...

HM: We were called in.

MN: How many people questioned you?

HM: One person. One white man. We went to a room one at a time. One by one.

MN: Were they all Kibei Nisei who were questioned?

HM: I don't know. Well, I don't know. Most of them were Kibei Nisei, I guess. There were no Nisei. They were Kibei Nisei.

MN: Was that when Takeshi said, "I would kill you," and so on?

HM: Yes.

MN: Then they put a blanket over him and took him away to Leupp?

HM: Takeshi liked music. There was a music school there in Topaz. He was attending the school. Then, FBI came over and put a blanket over him. They tied him up, took him to a train, put him on the train and sent him away to Leupp. That happened to your father too. Got covered with a blanket. [Laughs] Taken away. They came without notice, and we didn't know where he was taken to. They put him on the train, and he went to a separate camp in Leupp.

We went to the camp, and there were all men. No women at all. All Japanese American, only men. [Inaudible] Fifteen people or so? That is where we were sent. Only men. Even during daytime there, American military policemen, soldiers, were there. It was a prison with barbed wire, and we couldn't go out. American soldiers were on guard on shifts around the clock. They were carrying guns because we were viewed dangerous. Taking shifts, even at night, carrying guns. There were walking around. Because we were dangerous. That was something else.

MN: How did you feel when you saw that?

HM: What?

MN: How did you feel when you saw that?

HM: How did I feel, well, I thought there was nothing we could do. That was such a place, and it was dangerous. Danger. We were separated. There were about fifteen of us. Your father was there too. [Laughs] Just like Takeshi. We all were sent there.

MN: You were strong-willed.

HM: At night. Soldiers were carrying guns, machine guns, and walking around on shifts at night. Soldiers on guard. Even at night. American soldiers were constantly walking around even in the middle of the night in shifts. During the daytime, too. They thought we were dangerous. Very dangerous.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

MN: After that, you and Tsutomu went to Tule Lake...

HM: Yes, we went there. After we went to Tule Lake, Takeshi and Miyoko's father, they came to Tule Lake too. They left Leupp.

MN: As for those who were sent from Leupp, I heard that they were put in a prison in Tule Lake first when they arrived at Tule Lake. Did Takeshi mention anything about it?

HM: He didn't mention anything like that. In Tule Lake. Was there a prison in Tule Lake? I don't know anything about it.

MN: That was a stockade. Jail.

HM: I don't know anything about it. I wasn't in there. It wasn't there. I don't know anything about it.

MN: Which block were you in in Tule Lake?

HM: Thirty-four. I lived in Block 34.

MN: In Tule Lake, you lived with Takeshi and Tsutomu, didn't you?

HM: Yes, there were three of us and another guy, Fujikichi. Five of us lived in a room in Tule Lake.

MN: There was a strike after you went to Tule Lake.

HM: Yes.

MN: Why did you have a strike?

HM: We were making demands. We were saying, "This area is dirty," and, "The roads need to be fixed." We were making demands. The boss at Tule Lake is American, a Caucasian. We were demanding they fix the roads. "The food is terrible at the canteen. Feed us with better food." We were demanding various things. The Caucasian boss refused them. That's why we had a strike. Another incident was that... there was a strike... there were farmers working on a field. There was this field, and all the farmers went to work in the field on a truck. I worked in the field too, there was a field. On a truck. One day, a seventeen-year-old Japanese American boy, the boy was driving. He didn't have a driving license. A lot of Issei guys were on the truck, and the boy drove the truck and had an accident. He was crossing a bridge, driving on a bridge, drove over, and the truck turned over. The Issei people on the truck, those people on the truck, about fifteen people were all killed. Everyone was angry. It was wrong to let the unlicensed drive. We were very angry at the boss. We asked for the resignation of the boss, but they didn't do it. Coming up with all excuses. That's why we had a strike. We made demands to have this and that fixed. We were angry. We had a strike.

Then, Hoshidan started to act up. And the food... we had a strike and didn't have a lot of food available. They provided bread. No good food. One morning, we woke up and found a lot of American tanks running all over among the barracks. The food got worse, it was pretty bad. Everyone went to the canteen to buy some food. Some of us went there to buy food. The food was pretty expensive there, any kind of food. [Inaudible] The boss there was a Japanese guy. He was supposed to improve the food there, but people thought he was skimming food for himself. They were saying he was cheating us, and people got hostile toward him. He went out one night and was murdered. The Japanese boss at the canteen. That's what happened. There was a funeral for him.

MN: Did you go to the funeral?

HM: I didn't. There was a temple. People went to the temple for the funeral. Many people were there, and the priest spoke to them. I didn't go to the funeral. Even at the funeral, if the priest had said something wrong, like, "The murderer is a monster," he would have been killed. The priest. I didn't know what he said. That's what happened.

MN: There was a murder, and you saw a lot of military tanks coming in. How did you feel when you lived in Tule Lake?

HM: I was working as a farmer in Tule Lake.

MN: Weren't you afraid living in such environment?

HM: No, I wasn't.

MN: Did you buy food at the canteen?

HM: Yes, I bought a little bit of food at the canteen. I was going to Seventh-day Adventist Church. And the priest there, because the food was really terrible, I went to the priest. The priest lived in the same block across the street. In the same Block 34. And the priest treated me with food. I was feeling guilty just to eat his food, so I bought some food at the canteen and brought it over. I felt bad eating his food for free. Takeshi hated it. Takeshi beat me for spending money. Tsutomu didn't say anything. I was earning money, I was working. But Takeshi... I bought a bit of food at the canteen and brought it over to the priest at the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I felt bad eating his food for free. Takeshi hated it. He hit me. It was no use for us to have a fight. [Inaudible] Tsutomu didn't say anything. I told my wife, and she said Takeshi was wrong. "You were spending your money." Not a lot of money. I bought just a little. That was nothing. Takeshi hated it. Takeshi's friends came over and told him to beat me if I bought food. He said he couldn't do it. Takeshi hated it. I don't understand why he didn't like it. That was my money. It was nothing to buy just a little bit of food. But he hated it. Tsutomu didn't say anything. I told my wife Yoshiko, and she said Takeshi was wrong. We should not just eat without giving back. [Inaudible] That was nothing. Takeshi hated it.

MN: What did you eat at Tule Lake?

HM: We kept pigs. We had leftover food. We fed the pigs with our leftovers, and miso soup and everything had pork in it. Meat. I was having a hard time. Pork. The food was really bad. It was good in Topaz. In Tanforan, too. The food was really terrible at Tule Lake. Pork in everything. Pork even in miso soup. We kept pigs, fed them with leftovers, kept pigs and slaughtered them. And the food was bad, worst of all.

MN: You were buying food at the canteen because you don't eat meat.

HM: Right, the priest didn't eat meat either.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

MN: There was a group called Sokuji Kikoku Hoshidan in Tule Lake, Right?

HM: Right, there was. They were wearing a long headband across the forehead. They were called Sokuji Kikoku Hoshidan and they were ready to go back to Japan immediately. They were ready to devote their lives to Japan. They demanded to be sent to Japan. They were demanding the U.S. government to send them back to Japan. Back to Japan. Sokuji Kikoku HoshiDan. They wanted to go back to Japan and devote their lives to Japan. They wanted to go back immediately. They were all wearing a long headband across the forehead. With the headband on, they were waking up at five in the morning, marching and chanting, "Wasshoi wasshoi." Running all around. Considered dangerous. Wasshoi wasshoi. Nakagawa didn't join them. Your father.

MN: How about you?

HM: I didn't join. With a headband on their skin heads, with a headband and running, "Wasshoi wasshoi." At five in the morning. So annoying. I didn't join.

MN: Why didn't you join them?

HM: You are asking why? U.S. government, they were demanding the U.S. government to send them back immediately, Sokuji Kikoku HoshiDan, but there was no way. U.S. government wouldn't have sent them back to fight in the war and to devote their lives to Japan. That is ridiculous. They were crazy. I didn't join such a group. They were all crazy. There was no way that the government would have sent them back. They wanted to go back to Japan as soon as possible, devote their lives to Japan and fight against the States. U.S. government wouldn't have sent them back. They were crazy. There was no way. They were all crazy. A lot of people joined them. The father of the Murakoshis, the father and the other family members joined too.

MN: Mr. Murakoshi joined, and didn't they tell you to join too?

HM: They told me to join. But I didn't. You father Nakagawa didn't either. They were foolish, all crazy. There was no way that the government would have sent them back. They wanted to go back to Japan. They wanted to fight for Japan. They were crazy. What do you think, Miyoko?

MN: Well, we'll discuss it later. When you were at Tule Lake, there was notification that you could renounce your American citizenship, right?

HM: Yes.

MN: Did you renounce your American citizenship?

HM: I did. One of my friends, an Issei guy that I knew, told me that Japan was going to win the war. He said when the day would come, he was such a patriot, that he would make marriage arrangements for my daughter and someone from a good family in Japan. I was reluctant, but I renounced the citizenship. I cancelled the renunciation after one week though. I asked.

MN: How did you cancel your renunciation?

HM: I renounced the citizenship, and a white person was working on it. I went to the white person and asked. I cancelled the application. I renounced the citizenship. And [inaudible] I went out, out to Washington and to Maryland. I talked to an English teacher and wanted to learn English, I took classes at [inaudible] Academy. I was working as a houseboy and dish washer. After a while, I received a letter from the U.S. government. It said that I renounced the American citizenship in Tule Lake. The letter asked if I would like to keep my American citizenship or not. I went to the Caucasian English teacher and asked then to write a letter for me. I told them that I wanted to keep my American citizenship. I wasn't expecting such a letter at all. I renounced the citizenship. I thought I did, but maybe it didn't get through? Then I received the letter and told them that I wanted to renounce the citizenship. I wasn't expecting a letter. I cancelled my application. But I went out of the camp. When I came back, I received this letter asking if I wanted to keep my American citizenship or not, and I told them that I did.

One of my friends, who was that... not Fujiki... Kato. Kato was my friend and went to the United Church together. Kato renounced his American citizenship like I did. He renounced it and went out of the camp, but didn't receive a letter. Kato didn't. He went out and paid three hundred dollars to a lawyer in San Francisco.

MN: Three hundred dollars.

HM: Yeah.

MN: You didn't hire a lawyer?

HM: I didn't.

MN: Mr. Kato hired a lawyer?

HM: Paid three hundred dollars. Three hundred dollars.

MN: Mr. Kato renounced his citizenship, right?

HM: Yes. But he didn't receive a letter. I did. I cancelled my application. Then I received the letter asking if I wanted to keep my citizenship. I didn't pay, didn't hire a lawyer. The cancellation worked, I guess.

MN: You didn't need a lawyer.

HM: I cancelled my application and wasn't expecting a letter. I was out after I cancelled the application at the camp. There were five of us when we were sent to the camp including Takeshi and Tsutomu. Nobody else renounced American citizenship. I was the only one. I renounced it and cancelled the application right away.

MN: You thought you had cancelled, but it wasn't clear. That's why the U.S. government sent you the letter later?

HM: I don't know why. I cancelled the application and wasn't expecting a letter. I receive the letter. Asking me if I wanted to keep my citizenship or not. I didn't need to hire a lawyer. I wonder if the government was aware that I had cancelled my application. At the camp. I don't know.

MN: In Maryland?

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

MN: You were working as a dish washer in Washington D. C., weren't you?

HM: I was not in Washington, D.C. It was in Maryland, north of Washington, D.C. We went shopping downtown in Washington, D.C., if we needed to buy something.

MN: You moved to Florida from there, right?

HM: Yes.

MN: You were a schoolboy and going to an American high school?

HM: Yes. I didn't want to go. When I was in Maryland, my friend begged me to go to Florida with him. I didn't want to, but I reluctantly went there to Florida. I went to school in Florida. The U.S. government financially supported me. [Inaudible] The tuition was free.

MN: You received GI Bill support because you were enlisted in the military before the war.

HM: Yes. The tuition was free. They gave me 100 dollars or so too. When I went to Florida, I went to a Christian school.

MN: But black students in the school --

HM: It was a high school. The high school was related to a church. I went to the school, the church school, and the government didn't approve the aid. Didn't approve, didn't guarantee. Orlando in Florida. I went to Florida, and I was told that the tuition would be free and the government would give me some money. [Inaudible] I was told that they were looking into it but didn't hear from them at all. I had to pay the tuition. I was in Orlando in Florida, and I went to the office of the Veterans Administration and asked. [Inaudible] Academy there. Christian school. I was told that the U.S. government would not approve the aid to go to that school. So if I continued to go to the Christian school, the government would not offer support to me. Would not cover the tuition. Would not offer allowance either. I quit the school and started to go to a public school. That school was approved.

MN: Did the high school have only white students?

HM: Yes, all white students. They didn't have any other Japanese students. No black students either. The high school went out on a school trip on a bus, Orlando High School. No other Japanese American students. All white. No black students. No Japanese Americans, no Asians. All white there.

MN: Were you discriminated against?

HM: I wasn't. It was a lot better. They didn't discriminate against me. We went on a bus trip to somewhere. On the bus, to a park somewhere. We passed a school for black students. The black students were at a barn. Those students were going into this dirty barn, and that was their school. We couldn't go to school like that. We saw blacks standing outside by the barn. It was a dirty barn, like a stable. That was a school. White students were not there. Black students had to sit at the back when we were on a bus. We were on the same bus to go to school. They were not allowed to sit in front. That's how it was.

MN: Where did you sit?

HM: In front with everybody.

MN: Didn't white students complain?

HM: Nobody complained. White students... we were on a bus. Once, a white girl sat next to a black guy. At the back. The bus driver stopped the bus. He said, "You are white. You are black. Colored people, go to the back." They were separated. We got on a bus through the front door. A bus driver... a black person got on the bus through the front door and went to the back. The bus driver, the white bus driver, one bus driver, he was white, told the black person to use the side door instead of the front door. That's what happened. I was one of the white kids. White students were my friends.

MN: How did you feel to see that?

HM: I thought it was okay. It was fine. Black students were dirty. They were so dirty, I thought it was a good idea to have them separated. I thought so. About black people. Should be separated. I didn't think we should be together. No wonder nobody liked them. I thought that was right. It depends.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

MN: You worked in Florida for one year, went back to Maryland and went to a typing school?

HM: I gave up on [inaudible] and went to a high school there. I went to high school, and that was a religious school, but the U.S. government approved to cover tuition. I went to school. High school. Then I received a letter about a mechanic for typewriters. It said it would pay well. In the letter, around 300 dollars or so, it said it was a good job. Quit your school and come to the typewriter school. I went there and was told that I would have problems with English. They asked me questions and found out that I couldn't speak English. [inaudible] told me that it would be a waste of money. I was told I would lose money. I didn't get accepted. After that, I received another letter from Washington, D.C. They told me to go over there because I was accepted into this typewriter school. They told me I could make 300 dollars or so. I went there and spent about two month there. Then, they told me I should quit because I could not speak English. I quit. I went back to the Academy again. I tried to go back to the Academy, but it was too late. It was in the middle of the term at school. I was told I could not be enrolled. I couldn't. Then I left the dorm of the Academy and stayed at someone's house. I went to a business school in Washington, D.C.

MN: Was that when you found out where Tsutomu and Takeshi were staying?

HM: Right. Back then, I was in Washington D.C., and Tsutomu and Takeshi were -- I had a Caucasian friend, a friend from the Academy, and this friend, the Caucasian friend was corresponding with somebody in Hiratsuka, Hiratsuka in Kanagawa Prefecture. He was a student in Hiratsuka. In Kanagawa Prefecture. My Caucasian friend was writing to him, to Japan. I wrote to the person in Hiratsuka too and told him that my sister was there in Kanagawa Prefecture. [inaudible] I was writing back and forth with the one in Hiratsuka. Then I found out Takeshi and Tsutomu were in San Francisco. I had no idea. Takeshi and Tsutomu had left for New York. They left New York and came back to San Francisco. I didn't know where they were at all. The student in Hiratsuka wrote to me and told me Takeshi and Tsutomu were in San Francisco. That's how I found out. I left Washington and went back to San Francisco. Back to be with Takeshi. That's why I ended up living in San Francisco.

MN: You were back in San Francisco to start anew...

HM: Back in San Francisco.

MN: Just like before...

HM: I went back and worked as a dish washer. And then, I went to Greyhound Bus. I started to work for Greyhound Bus. I quit Greyhound Bus and started to pick grapes. Picking grapes. It hurt my back. Grape picking. In the fall. It ended in November. After that, I quit grape picking and went to Japan. I got my passport and went to Japan. I got married in Japan. I married Toshiko Furuya. Toshiko was my sister Miyako's classmate. When I was staying at home in Japan, the classmate, Toshiko Furuya, came to visit now and then. Miyako had a son named Sueta, [inaudible] she came to visit. We met each other and got married.

MN: But it didn't work out, and you remarried your current wife, right?

HM: Yes. Toshiko Furuya came to visit once in a while, and I remember her father was a school principal. Elementary School, Sakurai. [inaudible] The father was a principal and had the fifth wife. The first wife is the mother of Toshiko Furuya, and she died early. He remarried twice, and later he had the fifth wife. He got divorced too. [inaudible] Fifth wife. People in the neighborhood were saying he was such a womanizer.

MN: Do you have any other stories you would like to share about the camp and the war?

HM: What? What about the camp?

MN: Any other stories about the camp and the war? I asked all the questions I wanted to ask.

HM: About the camp and the war... maybe Hoshidan. No not really.

MN: No more? That's all then. Thank you very much.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.