Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Louise Kashino Interview
Narrator: Louise Kashino
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 15, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-klouise-01

<Begin Segment 1>

AI: Great. Well, thank you very much. It's March 15th. We're here in Seattle, Washington, at the home of Ms. Louise Kashino and I'm the interviewer, Alice Ito, for the Densho Project. Thanks very much.

LK: You're welcome.

AI: And I wanted to just ask you to start out kind of at the beginning with your parents and if you could tell me their names and where they're from in Japan?

LK: My father was Kakichi Tsuboi and my mother was Tamiye Yokoyama is her maiden name and they both came from Shodo-shima, Kagawa-ken.

AI: Oh, and whereabouts is that in Japan?

LK: It's a small island south of say, Okayama, between Honshu and the lower.

AI: And did, did you know anything about what their families did in Japan before they came over?

LK: I think my father said they were just very poor farmers, so this is the one reason he came to America.

AI: And about what time was that?

LK: Oh, it must have been in the mid-19-, maybe '14, '15, '16, I don't know exactly. Never did pin him down.

AI: Right. And then when were they married?

LK: 1919. I think my father went over there. They had picked a bride for him and got married to my mother and because of their strict physical examinations or something, my mother was delayed about a year to come back to America. I think that was probably about 1920 that she arrived.

AI: And so then did they come directly here after she arrived, come up here to Seattle then?

LK: To Seattle, uh-huh.

AI: And do you know what they were doing at that time, how they were making a living?

LK: I don't know what my father did, but before that he had gone to Alaska and he had worked in the sawmills in the, like Aberdeen, or in that area somewhere. And then I think when he came, when my mother came, well, then he worked at odd jobs like at Furuya, department store or Sagamiya, a little... they made pastries. I think he just picked up odd jobs where he could until he started his own produce vending business.

AI: And what did he do as a vendor, produce vendor?

LK: Oh, he'd pick up these fresh vegetables and fruits on this truck and then he'd go to sell in the neighborhoods where... he'd go through the alleys, and then people would come out and buy from him, and he had kind of a regular route. I remember going with him once in the Madrona -- Mt. Baker area. So...

AI: Well, now tell me, you had some older siblings and also some younger. So could you tell me when they were born?

LK: My older sister Hideko, she was born 1921 and the next brother was Frank Tsuboi and he is, was born 1924. And then I came along '26 and then my younger brother, Henry, is 1928, my brother Roy is 1930 and my youngest sister Esther is, was 1931. Six kids.

AI: So your parents were very busy.

LK: Busy.

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

<Begin Segment 2>

AI: And where were you living when you were born?

LK: Tenth and Washington is just what it says on my birth certificate.

AI: Uh-huh. And what are your earliest memories as a young child?

LK: Oh, just, I don't know. I think the same as everybody else, growing up and going to nursery school. And I know I hated to go to nursery school. I used to hide when the bus driver would come after me. It was very prominent in my mind. But my mother sent us to the nursery school before school and then I went to Pacific School as a youngster first couple years.


AI: Well, you were just saying that you then went to Pacific School. And, can you tell me a little bit about that, like what you remember of your class. Were there very many other Japanese American kids?

LK: I think there was. Uh-huh, because we lived on East Spruce, Fourteenth and East Spruce. And I remember distinctly some of the people that were at my table. And I think one of them was Dr. Uyeno's wife, Ruth.

AI: Oh, yes.

LK: And one was Daibo Fujii, he's no longer alive. But we used to eat paste together. [Laughs] And it was quite a long ways for walking home from school. I remember one day my, I came home and my parents were not home. They had gone on an errand or something and I was really scared.

AI: Oh, 'cause you had come home by yourself.

LK: By myself and I was in half a day kindergarten so... that impressed me, how scared I was. But I was fine after that.

AI: And so, then when you were a little older, I think you said that your family moved? When was that and why?

LK: When I was about (seven). I think it was (1933) and it, my dad bought a grocery store on, close to where the Seattle Times building is. It would be close to Lake Union. And they had, had bought this run-down business where they didn't do very good at the beginning, but they slowly built it up to a very successful business and my father also bought a second grocery store. So they were -- built up a good business by the time we left.

AI: And so where were you living when, after you purchased the grocery stores? Did you live at one of the store buildings or nearby?

LK: Yes. Upstairs had an apartment and so that was our living quarters, and then kitchen and things were behind the grocery store, in the back of the grocery store.

AI: Oh, right.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

AI: So what would a typical day like, be like, when you were say in the third grade or so?

LK: Well, let's see. I, I guess it took me a while to adjust to the school because it was quite different from Pacific.

AI: What was different about it?

LK: Well, I think I was one of the few Japanese Americans and...

AI: So that was a big change.

LK: And it was a bigger school.

AI: And so then did you feel self-conscious about being one of the few Japanese Americans?

LK: Well, I knew I was different. [Laughs] And my, we sort of had a complex. My mother didn't speak fluent English at that time so whenever they had PTA meetings she'd never come, and that was one wish, that I, that my mother could come to PTA meetings so I could be like other kids, but... my dad was more fluent in English, but he was always busy with the grocery store.

AI: And then did you experience any prejudice at that time in elementary school? You realized that, that you were different, but did you ever have to face anything difficult?

LK: Oh, sometimes we'd fight with our neighbors. [Laughs] They'd call us Japs, you know, and little kids do that, those things.

AI: Right.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

AI: And then what about your, the customers there at the store? I imagine, did you helped out and work in the store as you were getting older?

LK: I think I worked, helped in the grocery store from quite a young age. I used to love being behind the candy counter and so -- I was pretty young then. But I was actually helping customers and making change and things by, by the time I was eleven or twelve.

AI: And what kind of treatment did you get from your customers, did they just take it in stride that here you were waiting on them or...

LK: I guess they did, after they got used to the fact that I was serious. They used to pat me on the head and say, "You're a nice girl," and this that, but they finally started taking it serious and realizing that all of us children helped in the grocery store. My older brother and sisters did.

AI: Right. Well, and then I think when we were speaking earlier, you had mentioned a little bit about that at that time, a number of stores made deliveries and that your store did that.

LK: Yeah, my dad used us to do those deliveries to the apartment houses in the area. And I, I especially remember going on bikes and going down to Lake Union. A lot of the people in that area were Norwegian fishermen. They used to request deliveries and we'd go because sometimes we get a nickel for a tip. [Laughs]

AI: Oh, uh-huh.

LK: We'd use a bike and put their groceries on the basket, and go down.

AI: Ride down there, deliver.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

AI: Well, now I wanted to ask you a little bit more also whether you went to a Japanese school or anything of that sort in addition to your regular school?

LK: When we lived in the International District I... my mother started me in Japanese school when I was five. I don't think the regular Japanese school took you until you were six. So she had me go to this private one and I think she had aspirations for me from then. And so she kind of pushed me along. And so I remember going for one, one year there and I continued on Saturdays. And in fact by then, we had moved, so then all of us would go on Saturdays to this private, smaller Japanese school because we just couldn't get over there to the, after school, the timing-wise, the distance and all. So we, that was our Saturday morning outing to go to Japanese school and we'd either get there by cable car or else walk.

AI: The cable car. Now, that's something that we don't have any, any more. Where did that run?

LK: There was one that went all the way up from the bottom of Yesler Way all the way up to, you know, Leschi. And that was one that we had taken frequently and... but mostly we walked. And it was about three miles or so. You know now, it would be pretty far for us to walk when we're used to driving, but yeah, we used to do it.

AI: Does anything stand out in your mind about the Japanese school, any particular experiences, or...

LK: Well, we didn't make much progress. [Laughs] Because we didn't study too hard and we only went because our parents were making us go. So I think it was same with my brothers and sisters, too. Although my older, my older sister was more proficient at it than us, because she went to the big Japanese school. And, but by the time it came to me, it was just a Saturday lesson and you know... quite a few kids in the school and we'd go through our lessons and then next week we forget everything they taught us. [Laughs] So it, it was a long struggle. So I really am embarrassed that I didn't study a little harder now that I'm an adult.

AI: Right.

LK: I wish I had.

AI: Right.

LK: Especially when I've gone to Japan.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

AI: Well, what other kinds of things did your parents emphasize as you were growing up? Anything, particular things that were important to them or values or lessons that they talked about?

LK: They made all of us take some kind of musical instruments and...

AI: What was your instrument?

LK: Oh, I, first I played piano and I took that for a year and then she decided that my older sister played piano, so then she had me take violin lessons. I hated it, but it, I learned it and then that was enough for me to be in the high school orchestra, so I enjoyed that part. I was glad that I had a little bit of training. But I didn't bring it to camp. I left it behind, just because it wasn't that important for me.

AI: What other kinds of things do you remember your parents emphasizing to you?

LK: Education. Very, they wanted us to take in everything we could. And like I said, you know, she made me go to summer school, before I was a freshman into Broadway High School. You know, usually don't do that. But my brother was going to go to summer school, so she made me sign up for summer school. So I had to go through summer school every, every summer.

AI: Every summer?

LK: Uh-huh. So, that's why I doubled up on my high school classes and was able to graduate by 1942.

AI: So you graduated a little bit early?

LK: Yes.

AI: And you actually went through high school pretty quickly then.

LK: Yes, three years.

AI: And did you, you mentioned that was at Broadway.

LK: Broadway High School.

AI: What was, what was that like in high school?

LK: Oh, that was really different for me. All of a sudden I met a lot of other Japanese Americans. Because our school didn't have that many. But I used to walk to school with another Japanese girl and it was... my older sister and brother were going there, so my sister helped me get into the mainstream and she was pretty active in girls club and things, so I kind of followed and we were in the Nichibei Choir. It was a hundred voice choir of Japanese Americans.

AI: Was that a, an all-city choir?

LK: No, just Broadway High School.

AI: Oh. So there were that many...

LK: There were.

AI: ...students to make up a choir of that sort?

LK: Uh-huh. In fact, I think when we graduated, maybe 50 percent of the student body left. I don't know if that's an accurate...

AI: But that was your impression, a lot.

LK: It was a lot, a lot yes. Because my Caucasian friends told me that it was all of a sudden the school was empty after we left.

AI: Right.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

AI: Well, when we were, just before we were breaking you were just telling us a little bit about high school and I wanted to ask you a little bit more about that time and what were some of the fun things you did? Did you have, you had social activities besides the choir?

LK: Uh, yes. And I, like I said, I was in the orchestra. I enjoyed that because when we had performances and things, we wore long dress and things like that. And then the Nichibei Choir was a lot of fun, that was part of social. And they used to have dances once in a while, but you know, typically at that age, all the boys were on one side and all the girls on the other. [Laughs] But in those days we had to be asked to dance. So it's not like today. My granddaughters say they go to dance and they all just dance by themselves, so they have a great time.

AI: Right.

LK: But in those days it was more formal.

AI: Well, now did you participate in any Japanese community activities like the Obon or other community get-togethers?

LK: Not too much, just maybe because of the distance or... but we used to go to church in the neighborhood, just because it was convenient for us to walk. But later I, I met a friend who was, belonged to the Baptist church, so I'd go with her to that once in a while. And then pretty soon I joined the Methodist church because that was our main church that we belonged to when we lived in that old place.

AI: Was that Blaine Methodist?

LK: Yes.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

AI: And then, tell me a little bit more about high school times, because I know for a lot of folks, high school time is, you want to fit in and you want to kind of be a part of what everyone else is doing. Did you have a sense, did you have like a circle of friends, like kind of a crowd that you would...

LK: Yes, I slowly built up some friends and then I had friends that I'd met from before, when we, before we moved to the grocery store and I got reacquainted with. Or some of them I had continued a relationship, but one of my friends is, I knew her from when she was, she and I were three. We lived next door to each other and always maintained a friendship with her and today she's still one of my best friends.

AI: Oh, my.

LK: My husband said, "How can you remember when you were three?" And I said, "I distinctly remember her," you know.

AI: Right.

LK: Things that we did together.

AI: It stayed with you.

LK: Uh-huh.

AI: Well, were most of your friends at this time other Japanese Americans, or did you have a mix of friends?

LK: I had a mix of friends because I had some friends from grade school, and one of them is a very special friend. When I went into camp she came out to visit me and things like that, and kept up correspondence.

AI: Oh, my.

LK: When I needed something, like I needed some clothing or something, I would write to her and she would purchase it and send it into the camp for me.

AI: Oh, wow, what a good friend.

LK: Yeah, she was a very good friend.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

AI: Well, now let's back up a little bit in time just before the camp time. You were in your last year of high school, is that right? You were a senior in 1941?

LK: Yes, yes.

AI: And I know that for some families that even before Pearl Harbor, their parents started worrying about the relations between U.S. and Japan. Do you recall your parents ever talking about that or hearing any kind of rumor about difficulties?

LK: Well, my mother in 1941 in June, she went to Japan to visit and she brought my younger brother and sister. And then while they were there, things got bad, relations got real bad and then they realized that they'd better get home. And they planned to be home, you know, in time for my brother and sister to go back to school in September, but they had quit the sailings back and forth. And then there was one more, there was gonna be one more ship going back and luckily they got on and I think they got back -- well, I think it was past September. But they were delayed and so we knew there was a war coming on.


AI: Brother and sister got on that last boat coming back to the U.S. And so did you and your father, did you have some sense that they might possibly be in danger or that they might...

LK: Yes, we worried about it, and so we were very relieved when they --

AI: Naturally.

LK: -- were, got on the, on the last boat.

AI: Right.

LK: And very thankful, but then shortly after that was Pearl Harbor and so we were all scared.

AI: Right.

LK: We were concerned when Pearl Harbor had -- and then there was all these headlines and all -- but we were concerned that they would come down through, from Vancouver area on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and attack Seattle because we had Boeing.

AI: Oh, so even then you were concerned.

LK: Yes, and then the Bremerton shipyards. So we, we knew we were in kind of a strategic area and we used to worry that they were going to invade us. The enemy, you know. They were the enemy. So, to us it was, they were the enemy just like everybody else felt that they were, you know.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

AI: And what about Pearl Harbor day, December 7th? What do you remember about that day?

LK: Well, we were pretty shocked at the news, but tried to carry on and I think I had a date to go to a movie. [Laughs] And I did go and, but we felt kind of, very self-conscious. So as soon as the movie was over we just went right home.

AI: Did, what did you face the next day, I guess it was Monday? And you went back to school, what was it like going back to school?

LK: Gee, I can't remember exactly, but I think that we were... we felt we were Americans and that we felt that Japan was our enemy just like everybody else did. So I think that kind of made us feel like we shouldn't be, have such a big complex about it. Although we were well aware that, you know, the headlines say, "Japs bomb Pearl Harbor," so they related us to the, being part of the enemy.

AI: Did you ever experience that yourself, being called a Jap or having someone be negative towards you at that time after Pearl Harbor?

LK: Oh, I think so. Yeah. And we had customers who confronted us and...

AI: That must have been difficult.

LK: It was because those were customers who would charge their groceries, they asked my dad. And they should have been thankful that my dad was so generous. But we lost certain customers but then there were certain others who assured us that they considered us to be Americans.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

AI: Well, now when did you first start hearing that you might be evacuated, that you might have, be forced to leave?

LK: There were rumors, oh, from January on. I remember talking with my brother going to school and he said, "Well, I guess..." -- you see, by then he was almost eighteen and my sister was two years older so we figured that we can run the grocery store if my mother and dad -- naturally we expected just the aliens to be taken. And he said, "Well, we can manage," you know, we thought we could. And my sister was in New York going to music school so she'd have to come home.

AI: Oh, now tell me about that, when, when had she gone and where did, where did she go?

LK: She went to Juilliard Institute and she was quite accomplished pianist, so she was able to enter there and my parents paid all her expenses and...

AI: Oh, my.

LK: She lived at an International House which was like a boarding school -- a house where they, all these international students went to school. So she was able to get in there and she made a lot of nice friends. She had the luxury of living out in New York and she was there for two years because the war came along. And after we were interned -- well, luckily she got her teaching degree and then she came back and joined us inside the camp.

AI: Oh, I see, so she was already in New York.

LK: She was.

AI: And she was finishing up her studies there at Juilliard and in the meantime, here you were in Seattle not sure what was going to happen, trying to make some decisions about if your parents were taken, how you would manage with the store.

LK: So we thought that between the three of us -- I was not quite sixteen yet, I was fifteen when Pearl Harbor happened. So we figured that with having helped in the grocery store from long ago we could do it, you know. And so I remember talking with my brother about that and never did we think that we as citizens would be incarcerated. But much to our surprise, I think, I think it was February or so that the rumors really got strong and then sure enough, by March the first group was sent from or removed from Bainbridge Island and then we didn't get any notice or, or order or anything in the mail or, served to us. I work in the legal profession, so I know that you know, you have to -- those things are very, have to be carried out very religiously and you have to be subpoenaed and so forth. But we didn't get any kind of notice like that. They posted a sign saying that certain, from, from Yesler to Twelfth Avenue and, they'd map out the boundaries. You report at such a time, and such and such a place for evacuation. That was the way we had to go. And just because we were a very obedient society, we did what we were told.

AI: So you saw these signs posted out on the street. That's how you found out. And what did you and your family do to get ready? How much time did you have to get things in order?

LK: Well, I think maybe we were -- we were forewarned because we were, didn't have, we weren't among the first that had to leave. I remember going down and saying goodbye to a lot of my friends who were leaving before me. But the meantime we were trying to sell our grocery store and sell our car and things like that. And naturally we were totally exploited. My parents almost gave up on selling the grocery store. They just figured they're just gonna give away all the groceries that were on the shelves and... but then luckily we found somebody that would buy it, and they gave us a token amount for that. I think it was $2,000 for the whole store. [Laughs]

AI: For everything in it?

LK: Yeah, and then my dad by then had put in a lot of refrigeration and, you know, ice cream coolers and all that. Electric slicing machine and all that. So he, he lost a lot of money and... but I, I just kind of, $2,000 kind of penetrates my mind.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

AI: Do you recall the day of evacuation, the day that you left?

LK: Yes.

AI: What was that day like?

LK: It was very, very emotional for my parents, you know, especially. And they packed up as much as they could. I mean, there's... well, my sister wasn't there so there was seven of us, so we carried as much as we could. And we took a taxicab to Fourteenth and Jefferson. That was our allocated pick-up point. And my mother brought some, I remember she brought luncheon meat, you know, in the can -- like Spam cans. Well, we used to have the big, great big long ones. And she brought that and she brought some bread and things like that, thinking that, you know, we might not get enough to eat. And so I remember she, she made us sandwiches when we were in the camp, inside.

AI: Do you remember what you brought that day with, the things you brought with you?

LK: I just brought as much clothes and, and mementos that I had, what few I had. And I, like I say, I left my violin behind because I didn't like having to play it. [Laughs] I told my mother it was absolutely essential things that we had to take, so that was not -- it was exempt. [Laughs]

AI: Well, I imagine when you got to your, your allocated spot you must have seen a lot of folks you knew. You know, some of your friends.

LK: Yes, I did. And it was total chaos, I think, you know, here hundreds of people converging, and then we, they had to assign us our housing and...

AI: So let's see, you took a bus down to...

LK: Yes, to Puyallup. And then I, one of the things I remember is they gave us each a bag and we had to go to the pile of straw that we're supposed to fill. That was our mattress.

AI: Oh.

LK: So they had cots in, in the barracks. I guess you took as many cots as you needed and then we had to fill the bag for our mattress with straw.

AI: And so, were, was your family all kept together? Did you all go to the same place there at Puyallup?

LK: Yes, we did. And we were all in one room. Luckily we were in barracks, right inside the grounds of the racetrack.

AI: Why do you say luckily?

LK: Because so many of them had to be under the grandstand where the horse stalls were and all. Some of them really was, it was very bad conditions. Smelly and, and dank and so, at least we were outside and they set up a whole bunch of barracks on the ground where they have the performances at the Puyallup Fair. On the back, out there they had the grandstand seats and then we were in the center of the grandstand, I mean, the grounds. And each one was, you know, certain size regardless of how many people were in your family. So we had all these cots all in one room and then the walls were just like, you know, like seven, eight feet. Maybe not even that high. Because you could hear the next door people. All, or all the way down the barrack. I think there may be eight units per barrack. And you could hear everybody, arguments and this and that.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

AI: What, when you first were stuck in there, those first few days, what was going through you mind?

LK: Well, I don't know. We're just trying to do what we're supposed to and trying to conform with what the rulings they had given us and we, for our meals we had -- they had told us to bring tin cups and tin dishes so we'd all stand in line with our utensils and, at mealtime.

AI: What kind of meals did you get?

LK: Oh, for a while it was pretty bad. I remember once they gave us Vienna sausage, the kind in the can. And they gave it to us for several days in a row. So people got diarrhea. And I remember one night everybody was rushing to the bathroom and, you know, sometimes you had to go two or three blocks to get to the bathroom. And I remember the guards on top of the grandstand turned the floodlights on and their guns down at us and here it was, it wasn't a stampede, but it was just everybody had a problem.

AI: Oh.

LK: And most of us purchased chamber pots, what they called chamber pots, so we could keep it, so we wouldn't have to go out at night. And you know, it was our duty to clean out the chamber pots in the morning, you know. [Laughs] But when there was a run of diarrhea, you know, people had to go to the bathroom. So I remember that night, how terrible it was that day. They were pointing their guns down at us and here it was for our health reasons, you know.

AI: Right.

LK: It was no way were we trying to stampede, or rebel, you know.

AI: How awful.

LK: Yeah, it was.

AI: And strange.

LK: But we were the enemy, I guess. They thought that we were the enemy. Worried about our behavior.

AI: Right.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

AI: Well, now how long were you in Puyallup?

LK: I think we were there about three months. And by then, the camp in Idaho was ready for us.

AI: So during this three-month period, what was happening? You had your high school, your senior year was interrupted.

LK: Uh-huh.

AI: You had to go down to Puyallup before you were able to graduate.

LK: Uh-huh.

AI: Were you, was there any school or classes or... what happened for you?

LK: No, there was no school at all. And because we had -- we left Seattle first week of May, so I would have been graduating in another month or so. So those of us who were in the senior class, they had a little ceremony and the principal came out to Puyallup and we sat in the grandstands and they had a little ceremony and handed us our diplomas.

AI: How did you feel about that?

LK: Well, I know my mother felt really bad that I missed the senior prom and so forth, 'cause it was a big thing for my sister. Get to wear a new dress and things like that. But I was no different from the rest of them, so... and they had a little dance for us afterwards.

AI: And here you are, you get your diploma, but you're stuck in this camp. When, before you had been evacuated, what was, what were your plans, what were you thinking of doing after your high school graduation?

LK: Well my mother had great plans for me. She wanted me to go to college and she wanted me to be a, teach English and possibly go to Japan and teach English. That was always my mother who was the aggressor in our family and had plans for all of us kids, and I think that was her idea.

AI: So really that was all interrupted and here you were. And it sounds like maybe you were just... fortunately, at least you got your diploma.

LK: Well, that's the way I felt. That even though I rushed through school, at least I did graduate.

AI: And then what else happened in Puyallup? It sounds like there were so many of you young folks right about that age. Did you have any kind of activities at all going on?

LK: Oh yes, there was a lot of socializing and... I think that's probably the first time I've ever had boyfriends, you know, so that's where I first met my husband, future husband.

AI: How did you, how did you meet him?

LK: Oh, I think some other fellow wanted to meet me and so he said, "Oh, I'll get a date with her and then I'll turn her over to you." [Laughs] That's a funny story that we have between our family. But we had dances just because us teenagers were at that age and I think some of the people brought records or brought a record player. So whatever resources we had, we used them and, and they'd have these barns where they kept animals and things that used to have their exhibits for the Puyallup Fair and that's where we used to have the dances. But we just made do with whatever we had.

AI: Right.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

AI: -- bit about Puyallup and how you had some activities there and... but you were actually only there a few months and then you found out that you were going to be going to another camp, and where was that?

LK: Minidoka, Idaho.

AI: How did you get there?

LK: By train and it was about a two-day trip for, you know, us.

AI: What was that like?

LK: It was horrible. It was hot and we had to keep the blinds down when we came into a town and then we could put, put it up after we left. But we just had to just sit there more or less and I remember that the toilet facilities were very bad. Half the time the toilet wasn't working and things like that. And it was pretty tough. Tough ride.

AI: So you were sitting in these train seats day and night for two days.

LK: Yes. And when we got over there, we were just sooty. I mean, we were just so dirty and, and we didn't really have any place to wash up and it was, being on that train, that type of a train, I guess we got all the soot from the fuel.

AI: Oh, and when was this that you went?

LK: Latter part of August, I think.

AI: When you got to Minidoka, what did you see? What was your first impression?

LK: Oh, well, the barracks were much nicer, it looked like. But it was very hot and windy and sandy. I mean, sandstorms. So being out in the desert, it really kicked up the sand and that was something that was always with us, you know, throughout the winter or summer. They'd have windstorms and the sand would come through and... come through your windows. And your apartment would just be covered with sand and at that time I was working in the mess hall and we'd wipe up the tables after everybody got through with breakfast. Well, if there had been a windstorm, we'd come back and the whole place would be all full of dust and sand. Gritty sand so we'd have to wash all the tables again. But that was with us all the time.

AI: Well, now you mentioned "apartment." What was your actual living conditions like?

LK: Because we had eight people in our family -- by then my sister had come back, so then there was eight of us, they gave us two rooms. And each barrack had six rooms and one was, the end one was the smaller room and then there was a bigger room. And then the two middle ones were similar size rooms and then the end two were, small one on the end and then the bigger one in the middle. So that some families got two units on the end, some got two in the middle and then that was us. And then like if it were just a couple, they would get the smaller unit on the end. And it was just two barren rooms with potbelly stove. And so I think my dad made us benches or a table with odds and ends of wood that he'd find when they were, they were constructing more barracks, so he'd go out and find some wood and they'd use their ingenuity. Made some shelves for us.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

AI: And you mentioned that you had a job then, in the mess hall?

LK: I helped in the mess hall, yes.

AI: And what about your parents, did they have work?

LK: I can't quite remember what my dad did. I think he did some kind of manual labor, volunteered for that. And then my mother, she sewed a lot, so she landed a job as seamstress in the hospital.

AI: And then what about your brothers and sisters?

LK: My sister was not in very good health at that time, so I don't think she worked and I don't know what my brother did. I don't really even remember.

AI: So for you, what would a typical day be like?

LK: Oh, helping in the, helping clear up in the, that mess hall and then serving if necessary. Most people came up and got their own food and then, you know, and in between you'd get to fool around, play around with your friends. But backing up, in Puyallup, I volunteered to be, bring the trays of food to sick, sick people. So we were called tray girls. And we'd -- some people couldn't come to the mess halls.

AI: So if someone was ill and back in their room, really, they really needed help.

LK: Yes, so that was our, our group.

AI: Because it sounds like there was quite a distance for some people having to walk...

LK: Yes.

AI: ...between their room and out wherever the mess hall was.

LK: Especially in Puyallup. Everybody had to go to one location for their food. In Minidoka by then they had set up a block where we -- each block had a mess hall and then a laundry area and a recreation room. So by then that was a little bit better, you know.

AI: Right. When you say "block," about what size was that? Was that like about a city block or...

LK: No, they had about, oh maybe twelve barracks to a block, I think, I can't quite remember.

AI: So very large.

LK: Yeah, it was pretty big. So the mess hall and the laundry facilities were in the middle and then the barracks would be like here.

AI: Lined up.

LK: Uh-huh. I think there was six in a row.

AI: On each side.

LK: And then we had I think altogether the area was forty-two blocks in the whole camp. That was quite a few people.

AI: What block number were you in?

LK: Block 6. When we first went I was in Block 17 and then when my mother got a job at the hospital, the hospital was down in that area so they let us get, go into Block 6. Because we had to walk to wherever we worked.

AI: Right. So actually it was like being in a city, really, a small town.

LK: Yes. I think so.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

AI: Tell me about -- now there are so many people there and you mentioned some activities that were going on. And you were telling me a little bit about some of the social activities and can you show these to me and explain a little bit about what was going on? [Hands documents to LK]

LK: Well this is, you know, like they'd have dances and the different blocks would sponsor and these were like invitations or tickets to the, you know. So like this one says, "A Date with 15." Well, Block 15 had sponsored that particular dance. And that was one of the things that our age group enjoyed. So we looked forward to going to dances and...

AI: Could you read that one, what it says on the inside there?

LK: Okay. It says, "Dining Hall 5, 7:30 p.m., couples only," and then, "patrons and patronesses, Mr. and Mrs. Uchida and Mr. and Mrs. Aoki." That was January 29th. And it says, "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, go and jive at 5 tonight." And this is really just a simple piece of paper, but some people were pretty ingenious and we made do with whatever we had. So we, this is one of the tickets here.

AI: Right.

LK: This was one that, it was a Sadie Hawkins dance. And it says, "Admit one gal and victim." So by then I had a pretty big crush on my husband so I had invited him to be my date.

AI: And he accepted.

LK: Yes, and so he signed Mr. Kashino. [Laughs] So I... I don't know why I kept all these things, but I had a little box that I kept treasures, you know, so I just hung on to them. So I think our social activities were maybe mostly around dances and meetings or church. And I think that boys really played a lot of sports. My husband played a lot of baseball. And they, that was one thing of big interest to the young boys.

AI: Well now, I, as I understand in about 1943 there was some interest in volunteering for the army. That question had come up and then as I understand it, there was a questionnaire for anyone who also wanted to leave to go out to work or to go out to school. Do you recall much about that questionnaire?

LK: Well, it was a standard form I guess we needed to make application to go out and this was the same form that everybody had to sign. And the pertinent questions which were being criticized was the one where we had to pledge allegiance to the United States, you know, and our loyalty and so forth. Loyalty questions. And so naturally we had to demonstrate our loyalty if they're going to let us out, and so I left in June of '43. So I remember signing that.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

AI: So what kinds of discussion had you had with your parents as far as your wanting to leave or plans for the future?

LK: Well, this, again, it was my mother that had all these plans for me and she felt that I had already graduated and spent one year without doing anything except just working as a waitress. So she wanted me to get out and start my career or my education. And she would have wanted me to go to college, but I, with the uncertainty we had, I couldn't see going to a four-year college. And at that time had my, they had no, they didn't want me to be working if I'm going to go to school. So I think it was the same $2,000 that they got for the grocery store that they gave me, they must have withdrawn out of the bank. And I remember my mother had gotten a check and she pinned it onto my bra -- [laughs] -- and that's how I went out of camp.

AI: Oh. How did you actually leave, by train?

LK: Train.

AI: And where were you going?

LK: Chicago. And since I was, by then I had turned seventeen, so I was still underage and I needed to name a guardian, so my sister was engaged to, and her future brother-in-law was already in Chicago and had a job, so he was named as my guardian. And then there were two, a nurse and a medical student who were gonna go. They were boyfriend and girlfriend. But they were going to go out. She was going to St. Louis and he was gonna go to Philadelphia. So my mother, being that she was working in the hospital, she heard that they were going about the same time that she was going to have me go out, so she said, "Could Louise go with you," you know. So that way it gave me someone to be with on the train trip. So we, it's about a three-day train trip.

AI: What was that like? What were you feeling as you were leaving on a train?

LK: Well, gee, that was a big change for me. And, but just something you gotta do, so then you do it. And that was what my mother wanted me to do so I was very obedient and went. And we stopped in Kansas City overnight because the, the future doctor, he knew a friend in Kansas City, so we stopped overnight there. So we had a break in our trip. And then we went on to St. Louis and then in St. Louis, that's where the three of us parted. She stayed on for nursing school and then he went on to Philadelphia and I went up to Chicago. So that part I went all by myself.

AI: Wow. Was that the first time you had been on your own?

LK: Oh, yes.

AI: And when you got into the train station at Chicago, what, what was your first impression, what was that like?

LK: Well, being wartime and all the soldiers that, that were riding the trains and everything, it was a huge station to me. I was a country bumpkin, so then it seemed like it was just a huge place and thousands of people it looked like to me. So then I thought, "Oh, I wonder if I'm gonna find Eddie," and just... I was really worried and I thought, "What am I going to do if he doesn't, can't find me?" So I couldn't see him for a while and then luckily, pretty soon he found me.

AI: So there you were standing in a mass of people in the station and...

LK: Yes. It was scary. So I remember he took us. He took -- we got a cab -- and went to the American Hostel, American Friends Hostel. The Quakers sponsored it. And they had made arrangements with the War Relocation and they... that gave you, you had to have a place to go to. So I was sponsored to, by them.

AI: So that was arranged ahead for you.

LK: Yes.

AI: So you knew you had a place at the hostel.

LK: Yeah. I think my mother took care of all that.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

AI: And so then what, after you arrived at the hostel and you were settled in, how did you go about finding a school or where, where to get started?

LK: Well, I went out to look for a school, first of all and then I needed to find a place to live. Because it was temporary housing and they would feed us, but we would all help in the kitchen and all, and then everybody would either look for a place to live or get their lives going. I think I was there maybe a couple of weeks and I heard of a place that, a girl that was, had a job working, helping a family baby-sitting and helping in the kitchen, and she was gonna leave that job, because she was gonna find a full-time job. So I went there and that was near the University of Chicago and I think the man was a professor and they had two children. So I went there as hired help and I, by then I had located a school to go to. And I first applied at the Gregg Shorthand School. Oh, to back up a little bit, my mother wanted me to go to a four-year college, but I couldn't see going with the situation that they were in. I'd have no idea what, when they would be able to earn money to send me to school. So I made an agreement with my mother that I'll go for one year, business school. And that was what my goal was, at least, and if I learned how to type I could maybe find a job. So I tried at the Gregg Shorthand School to get in, and they wouldn't admit me because I was Japanese and then I got some other referrals and was able to sign up at this Chicago Commercial College. And being it was a small college, it was like one-to-one teacher and student. So I got a very good education as far as business courses. My shorthand -- I think in shorthand all the time. [Laughs] And to this day I'm still using my shorthand in my job.

AI: So you were able to get settled in, in your situation, you had a little part-time job with the family?

LK: It was just for room and board. But then that didn't last very long because I think I had been spoiled at home where I had older brother and my older sister and then my mother was very efficient and I never cooked and I never hardly, you know, I did wipe dishes, maybe, that was about it. So I didn't enjoy being, you know, taking care of those kids and they were very -- and I felt like, you know, the maid. And I wasn't used to that. So I think I was so homesick that once I wrote to my sister and poured out my troubles and I wasn't too happy in my situation, so my mother immediately sent me a telegram saying, "Move out, find someplace, you don't need to work there." So I did locate a business, what they called girl's club where a lot of people worked and had room and board and a lot of 'em went to school. So that was my situation.

AI: Oh.

LK: So that's where I stayed until later I found some friends and we got together and got an apartment.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

AI: Well, now during this time after you got to Chicago, what kind of relationship did you have with your future husband?

LK: Oh, it was correspondence.

AI: And had, he had entered the army then?

LK: He had volunteered, but he hadn't been called yet. So he spent some time in camp yet. See, before we, before he volunteered, he was working in a farm in Montana, because a lot of people volunteered to go out and they needed the manual labor. So he'd go out whenever he could, just to get out of camp. And so he came back into the camp to volunteer 'cause he wanted to volunteer with his friends at the same time. So he stayed on in camp. I left in June, so he was there a couple of months before he actually went in and he came to see me on furlough and then most of it was correspondence.

AI: And do you recall the last time you saw him before he was sent over to Europe?

LK: Yes, he -- I think it was January he came in for furlough again after he was finished with basic training.

AI: That would have been 1944?

LK: By 19... yeah. And they went overseas in May or June of '44. So it was all letters. And when he came on his furlough in January of '44 we were talking about getting engaged, but then I, I was still only seventeen and just felt like it was, my mother or dad would not approve of it, so we didn't get engaged, but the feeling was there.

AI: Oh, that must have been hard.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

AI: Well, before our break we had just been talking about the wartime and that your future husband had gone off overseas and that you were having a correspondence. And I was wondering, about how often did you hear from him?

LK: I wrote, you know, like almost every day, but then he would write whenever he had time in between his escapades -- [laughs] -- during basic training and so forth. And, but when he was overseas, I really wrote to him religiously just to keep up his morale, but I think I overwrote because I think he used to share his letters with his friends that didn't get letters.

AI: I bet. Well, and then you were showing me something that you had received from him.

LK: I was, I have a whole box full of letters from him that I've kept over all the years, that I was going through it and I thought, well, this would be something that the present generation probably never heard of or seen, but this is the type of letters I used to get every once in a while. Much of the time it was on stationery that, whatever paper he could find, but like this was called v-mail. And I guess it's a reduced copy, I don't know if it was photostatic copy or what, what method they used. But it isn't like today's Xerox. Very hard to read and reduced very small. And then, naturally all those letters are censored, but every, periodically, I would get this type of a letter. [Shows document]

AI: Oh, that's so tiny.

LK: And I think my kids thought this was real interesting, too.

AI: Yes.

LK: Something of that wartime experience.

AI: Well, speaking of censorship, I was wondering during this time that he was fighting, did you have any idea where he was or in what kind of danger or...

LK: Well, he would say France or Italy along with the date, but I think he was very careful not to say anything, 'cause I've never had any place scratched out.

AI: Right.

LK: So, but he would just write casually, never, never about the war or what was happening or who was killed or...

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

AI: Did, now how did you, or did hear when he was wounded? How did you find out?

LK: Because he would send me a letter from the Red Cross saying that well, "One of the Jerrys, one of the bullets got me so I'm taking a little rest, but I'll be back in the front in no time." It was, that was his idea. He never stayed in a hospital very long. In fact, he would go AWOL from the hospital sometimes because he couldn't, didn't wanna be sittin' back in the rear.

AI: Oh, my. Well, that must have been hard for you in getting this, the Red Cross letter and hearing...

LK: Yeah. Between his brothers and sisters, you know... I mean, they would get the notices first when he got wounded, so I might hear from them that he was in the hospital and then along would come a letter. But he really didn't tell me a lot of detail, because I think either he didn't want to worry me or what. But, yeah, he had a lot of adventures. [Laughs]

AI: So he didn't want to worry you and he didn't tell you very much in his letters, but you must have heard anyway about...

LK: Yes, I would hear from other people.

AI: Oh, how was that? Was that really difficult?

LK: Well, especially when he went, was put in the stockades -- [laughs] -- it was kind of shocking.

AI: How did you find out about that?

LK: Well, what, he would send all his friends who were wounded early and going home early, he would all, give them, liberally give them my address -- "Be sure to go see my girlfriend," you know. So I had many visitors and met many of his friends who were on their way back to Hawaii. And especially the Hawaiians were the ones that he would refer because they wouldn't have family in the States. And so it was through them that I would hear some of his adventures. And let's see. This one fellow said, "Oh yeah, I just saw Kash, he was in the stockades." You know, like I'm supposed to know about it. So that was the first time I heard about that.

AI: Oh. And what did he tell you at that time? What did you find out?

LK: He didn't tell me anything.

AI: Nothing?

LK: He wouldn't tell me about it, no. Well, he did say, "Oh, got in a little trouble, so I had to work it out," or something like that. There was a time when he said, "I guess I learned my lesson not to take the blame for other people, 'cause I'm suffering the consequences," or something like that. But it was all very vague so that I wouldn't really know the facts.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

AI: What, so was it quite a bit, a long time later that you found out what happened?

LK: Well, he really never gave me much detail about the whole incident. It was a fight that they had with an officer and it was the Puerto Rican MP, MP was involved. And so, apparently an officer got hit in the course of the melee, so they got, or a bunch of them got -- they weren't arrested that night of the fight, but the next morning or the day after, the officers came with an MP officer and took the whole group in, my husband's platoon and said, "Okay, now who did it? I want to know who, who's the one that struck the officer." And the fellow who did it wouldn't own up to it, so they were kind of waiting for him to say you know, "I'm the one," since he didn't. And then my husband said he was the highest rank so he said, "Well, I had to say I did it or otherwise everybody would have been, you know, thirty of them might have been detained." So they kept four of them and the rest of them (were rebased) and then (the four) were put into stockades. But he said that they put him into solitary confinement because supposedly he's the one that hit the officer.

AI: So he...

LK: I mean, he admitted to it saying just because he needed to let the other go, guys go.

AI: So he took the responsibility.

LK: Yes.

AI: Because he felt that because of his position, that's what he needed to do.

LK: Yes.

AI: Even though he hadn't actually...

LK: Yeah.

AI: ...done the fighting. He hadn't actually struck the officer.

LK: Yeah, he said he didn't. But then he said that otherwise they would have all been arrested and he didn't want that. So he said, "I took the blame for it." And you know, just casually, "Somebody had to," he said. [Laughs]

AI: So all that happened, but you had no idea at the time that this was going on?

LK: No.

AI: And then when was it that he was finally discharged?

LK: He was, he was, they had a trial in May of '45 and the war was over May 2nd, so then they had a trial on May 10th and he was charged with being guilty of all the charges and they sentenced him to six months in the stockades and six months' pay and they stripped him of his rank. So he was now Private Shiro Kashino. And so after that, he served his time, and then by that time it was like late summer and the war in Europe and Japan was over, so they started letting them go home. And you could go home, they sent them home by point system. And they, you know, he got a number of points for when you, for in a different awards that you got, or injuries and so, he had a lot of points so he was one of the earlier ones to go home. So he left France, or let's see, or Italy. He (was in) Italy, but I think he reported to France for the point of debarkation. And he went on the ship the latter part of September and came home, I don't know how long it took him, but anyhow, in early October I would say. And he was discharged from Ft. Sheridan, Illinois because his sister lived in Chicago, so this is why he came back to Chicago and plus I was there. So that was (when) he got discharged and then we got married two months later.

AI: Now during the course of this whole time, had you any idea that he was going to be court-martialed or any of that?

LK: No, I didn't know about that.

AI: And so that was just a mystery to you. He was kind of keeping that to himself and...

LK: Yeah, he got, simple thing that he got into fight so he got put into jail. [Laughs] You know, and he served his time.

AI: Right. Well, and then it's also peculiar, though, because as you mentioned he had quite a few points and maybe I could have you show this and kind of explain a little bit about his record. [Holds framed collection of medals]

LK: Well, first of all, he was wounded six times so this, this is the Purple Heart and then this little insignia is a cluster which represents five times. So if you get injured you get awarded the Purple Heart initially. So any others, they don't give you six Purple Hearts, it's just that they give you the clusters. This is the Bronze Star and the Silver Star that he was, received and the second, he has a second Bronze Star, so there's a little acorn on here which is the clusters which designates one more. But, and then these others are the routine, you know, sharpshooter and so forth. But he used to just kind of, you know, he discredited his awards and just had them in a box and his, my nephews would come over and say, "Uncle Shiro, I heard you got some awards, can we see them?" So then he'd go looking for it and everything, and so finally I put it into this kind of frame so that it would all be in one place.

AI: Well, thank you for explaining this. But it does seem really contradictory to me that here he was so decorated and had obviously done so much during the war and then to have this court-martial happen. But really you were unaware of that for a number of years.

LK: No.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

AI: And then as you say, he came back and then you said that you were married in December. And let's see, is this the, one of your pictures?

LK: Yeah.

AI: If we could show it. And if you can tell a little bit about what your wedding was like.

LK: Oh, being wartime and all, and although we had wanted to get married in Chicago, my parents were in -- by then they had relocated to Minneapolis so we got married at my mother's house -- and I think there was eleven (in the) family and then the minister and his wife and then I had two or three friends that were up in Minneapolis so they came to the wedding. So we laughed because we had seventeen people altogether at our wedding. [Laughs]

AI: Oh.

LK: And we got married at my mother's house and she made a very nice refreshments for our reception and that was our wedding. We went up to Minneapolis a couple of days before we got married and then went right back to Chicago. And we had, Shiro gave me the choice of should we take our honeymoon to New York or should we buy furniture. And we had found an apartment so I chose to buy, buy furniture. So we just went right back to Chicago where we had set up our little apartment. We were very lucky to have found an apartment, you know, in those days.

AI: Yes. Well, now tell me then, how long did you live in Chicago after you were married?

LK: We lived there one year because Shiro went to school for one year there. And he was very anxious to come back to Seattle. So as soon as he finished school, he contacted his former employer and had a job that we could go home to. So we left in January of '47.

AI: And came back to Seattle.

LK: Back to Seattle.

AI: And what was it like when you first came back?

LK: Oh, it was so quiet compared to Chicago. [Laughs] But it took a great adjustment for us to get back to Chicago, or get back from Chicago, because of the difference of the city. But with friends and a little bit of family, we adjusted readily.

AI: And where, did you have any problem finding a place to live?

LK: My sister was back in Seattle by then and she had found this apartment for us, so that was waiting for us and that made it easy. And then Shiro had the job with Tashiro Hardware and -- he had worked there before the war. And then I found an office job.

AI: Was it very difficult finding a job? Was there much prejudice or discrimination at that time?

LK: Well, I didn't face that much. I think I found a job pretty easily.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

AI: And then you were mentioning that there was some other friends and some social activities and then, I think you also mentioned about the, the Nisei Vets' club and the Auxiliary and... can you tell me a little bit about that organization?

LK: Well, as soon as we came back to Seattle, they made my husband a Commander. He was second Commander of the NVC. It's been in existence over fifty years. But it was kind of a social for all the veterans, you know, because a lot of them hadn't found jobs yet and that was the main gathering, you know, that they had. And all the boys, I think they used to get together and talk about the war and such. So they were very, right off the bat they were quite a strong and active group and they tried to help in their community, whatever they could. And so, so we came back in January and March he was the first, second Commander and they participated in community activities like I said. And one of my husband's pride was having gotten the ball rolling to have a memorial put up at Lakeview Cemetery for the veterans who were killed. We had a lot of casualties from the Northwest, so they built this really nice monument, and they dedicated in 1949. But my husband just took a lot of pride in that. At that time, I remember, they collected $10,000 which was a lot of money. But today, look at the amount of money they're trying to collect for these monuments they're trying to put up. I mean, $2,500,000 or $8,000,000. So we're very proud of the fact that we were able to accomplish almost the same thing. We have a beautiful monument. It's got the names of all the killed in action and continues through all the wars, Grenada, Vietnam, Korea, so we have a lot of names up there. All, I think it's fifty-seven to sixty names and it's a beautiful monument and every year we go there for a Memorial Day service and it's a very impressive service.

AI: Yes.

LK: That young, youngsters have not, don't realize what a nice project we have up there.

AI: So you've really had a lot of ongoing activities, the NVC and the Auxiliary together. What would be a, like a typical year of activities?

LK: Well, I think we started having New Year's dances. And then, let's see... I think in March they usually have installation of new officers and the summertime we have picnics. But Memorial Day was always a big special thing so we have our services up at Lakeview Cemetery with our monument and we had a fundraising bazaar, always in November, and then Children's Christmas parties and that's kind of... and then in-between there was all these other participation in other functions, whatever the calling was.

AI: Right.

LK: And the Auxiliary was formulated in 1953 after they got a clubhouse and remodeled it, then they really needed Auxiliary, so we organized.

AI: Well, tell me about that. Why -- you say they really needed it. Why, what was the need there?

LK: The vets needed us, they needed us in the kitchen. [Laughs] And to assist with all the functions they had and like having the Children's Christmas parties, you know they wanted, needed us girls to help with that. Bazaar time we had to, for fundraising we'd have a bakery booth. So we used to have that from way back, bakery booth because when we didn't have a clubhouse, we'd have the bazaar at Buddhist church or else at the Washington Hall and they, we'd have bakery sales so that we could help them raise funds.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

AI: Well now, tell me, about this time you were have, starting your family. Tell me about your children.

LK: Oh, I have three daughters. My first one was born in '49 and the second was born in '50 and my youngest one was born 1956. And we're a typical family where my husband was looking for a boy each time. [Laughs] And my three daughters have, well, between the three of them we have four granddaughters also. So poor Shiro, he was surrounded by women. [Laughs] But he loved it.

AI: Well now, as your family grew and you had your children, you moved to a... tell me about looking for your first home, your first house.

LK: Oh, the first house, it was very difficult. We, because I had one child and expecting another one, my parents urged me to look for a house and they were in Minneapolis yet. But they sent us a couple thousand dollars to use as a down payment, so we started looking for a house and we did suffer discrimination, housing discrimination because the north end they didn't want to show us anything and then West Seattle, they told my husband -- one real estate office told my husband that they're saving the homes for veterans returning from war, returning veterans. And so he got mad and he said, "What do you think I am?" So anyhow, he was very conscious of the fact and he almost had a chip on his shoulder defying anyone to discriminate against him.

AI: But even though he made it very clear that he was a vet, still they would not...

LK: No, they just didn't, wouldn't show us, you know, so we... then we decided, well we, we don't want our children to have to have to suffer any discrimination, so we decided we better just look where they would show us. So we found our first home in Madrona. We lived there about eight years. And then this was our second home.


AI: So you lived in the Madrona area for eight years and your kids were getting a little bit older and you were thinking about moving to another place. What was it like when you were looking for, for the next house?

LK: Well, it took me about a year to find a home, a second house. My husband was busy. By then he was an automobile salesman so he was very busy. So I did most of the running around and when we finally started looking around the Seward Park area there was still this barrier where we couldn't go buy a, look for homes down in the nicer area. We were restricted to this side of Fiftieth, west of Fiftieth right here. And so again, we felt that we didn't want our children to suffer any discrimination, we don't want to go where we're not wanted. So we did settle on this house. But I do remember going to look at a new development like I would say going towards Skyway, but south of Rainier Beach and they had this open house and the salesman wouldn't even look at us. He wouldn't even show us anything and there was no other customers there.

AI: And what year was this?

LK: That was 1956, '57.

AI: So even that much...

LK: Even then.

AI: ...later after the war, people were still...

LK: Yes. And so, then again, we said, "If they don't want us around here, we won't buy around here," you know. So...

AI: And you were saying that you were concerned for your children.

LK: Yes.

AI: And that you didn't want them to have negative experiences. What, do you, did you think that your children did face much negative prejudice?

LK: No.

AI: As children?

LK: I think we did protect them, so I don't think they suffered it.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

AI: And did you ever talk to them much about what happened during the war years or camp?

LK: No, we, we didn't hardly touch on it. Because as you're, they're growing up it's hard to sit them down and say, "Well, this is what happened to us." But the reason my husband was maybe one of the early ones who started explaining about his situation was because my youngest daughter, she was in 7th grade, I believe, and she came home from school on Pearl Harbor day, on December 7th and she, over dinner, she said, "I hate Pearl Harbor day." And she says, "They all turn around and look at me when the teacher talks about Pearl Harbor." So I said, "Well, you just tell them that your daddy was a war hero." And she says, "Oh, I thought he was, fought for the Japanese army." [Laughs] So then my husband and I looked at each other and said, "Uh-oh, we better talk a little bit more to our children." So you never sit down and talk about it completely. But every once in a while we'd have an opportunity to talk. So then we slowly told our children and I think they picked up a lot of my husband's experiences by -- we participated in a lot of the reunions in Hawaii and from the friends, they've given them little stories about their different escapades.

AI: Oh, so when your daughter was in the 7th grade that, she, that would have been well into the '60s...

LK: Yes.

AI: By that time, the 1960s.

LK: And my older ones were seventeen, eighteen.

AI: And so at that time, even though this was well into the 1960s, your daughter still, and her classmates clearly still had some negative thoughts about the Japanese Americans and had no idea of the role the Japanese Americans had played.

LK: Yeah, because we do have a Japanese face and so they all turned around and look at her, was her idea.

AI: That must have been shocking for you to hear that.

LK: Yes, it was. And so then it made us realize, well, we're not doing a good job with her. We better open up a little bit. And I think typically the Niseis kind of have held their stories and don't talk openly and... let's see, last summer I, there was a little documentary at the Broadway Theater and it was called Beyond the Barbed Wires [Ed. note: Narrator is referring to Beyond Barbed Wire] and this was a new documentary and their children said this was the first time their father had opened up about his experience. And they were shocked. Well, my girls said, "Wow, they're twenty years behind the times." [Laughs] How come they didn't know anything, how come they haven't read and all. Because slowly there has been things written. So my, my girls are, have read a lot about it and know a lot, now, just because of their talks with their father.

AI: Right.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

AI: Well, and then also, then as time has, had passed then, I understand when the redress effort started up, there were, people were talking about that. Can you recall when that, redress was first raised what kinds of things you and your husband and friends thought at that time?

LK: I think it took about ten years for them to get the redress. But at first we, we didn't want to be involved in it because typically we don't want to ask for money and then my husband being the kind that he was, he wouldn't ask the government for anything. And so he didn't get on any committees or anything. But we figure well, if people like Cherry Kinoshita, who was very aggressive about it, we have her to thank for it. Because when it came to giving out ($20,000), we took it.

AI: Well, now before the redress actually came through they had a series of hearings.

LK: Yes.

AI: And I understand that the commission came here to Seattle to hear, for that. And can you tell me about that?

LK: Yeah, they had three days of hearings so then I decided I wanted to go listen to it. So I heard the different people who were going to be testifying and it was in the papers and everything so I got interested in it, so I took a day off from work and went. And it was so interesting to me and it was kind of an eye-opener for me. So I, I called my husband after that afternoon session was over and I said, "Could you please get your own dinner?" Which was really unusual, 'cause I was always there for dinner, you know. And so I said, "I want to stay and listen to the evening session because I don't want to lose my seat." Well, then I was so engrossed in it that I took two more days off to listen to the rest of it and it was very, eye-opening for me, because when I was evacuated I was more or less a (teenager), you know, my mentality. And then I'm looking at it as an adult and the impact of the whole thing just hit and me and my kids said to me, "Wow, Mom, we didn't think that you were that interested in it, because you hadn't talked about it that much." But I said, "Well, you have to appreciate that I was a (teenager) at that time and then now I'm an adult and I was able to understand what my parents must have gone through by hearing the different experiences." So I thought that was really a well-worth attending.

AI: That must have been really quite an experience to hear all of that.

LK: Uh-huh, it was.

AI: Did your parents ever say much after the war?

LK: No. They just, they're appreciative of being in America and loyal to, you know, to a fault and so, the first chance they had to become American citizens. They went up to Edison (Vocational) School (now SCC) and they took reading and writing and, and brushed up for their examination and they were, became a citizen and they were very proud of it. And their allegiance was with the country. So when that all happened, they felt, Pearl Harbor, they were apologetic about it. They felt like they're part of the enemy and so they never voiced a resentment for having been incarcerated.

AI: And it was only later, as you looked back, that you realized what they might have been feeling.

LK: Yeah, I was... now I realize how hard it must have been on them to give up their livelihood and give up what they had built up and worked for.

AI: Yes.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

AI: Well, now, during this time that the redress effort was going on, then something else happened that, that came, brought up some old history. Tell me about your husband's record and what had, somebody had renewed some interest in his wartime record. How did that happen?

LK: Oh, about the court-martial?

AI: Yes.

LK: Well, you know, we go to all, every three years they have a get-together of the 442nd and we are, we, he was with I Company and they're a very close-knit unit. So we've, they've taken turns having reunions in different cities. Seattle took it once and San Fran,- San Francisco hasn't had it, but L.A. and Chicago and, and then each time, in between, you go back to Hawaii for their, and they would sponsor it. And during one of those reunions my husband's lieutenant at that time overheard somebody ribbing my husband about, "Oh, there's the guy that was in the stockades," or something like that. And just kind of ribbing him on about it and my husband gave him a kind of a smart answer back and jibing back and forth. So then he said that it kind of hurt him to think that my husband had taken the brunt of something that he wasn't guilty of and then to be teased about it later. So he kind of thought about it and, in 1985, he approached us when we were in Maui for a get-together and he told my husband that he had written to Senator Dan Inouye and Senator Matsunaga and he, asking for their help "to open up your case, so would you go along with it?" And he was talking to two of the boys who were put in the stockades, my husband and this other guy named Fred. And Fred said, "Oh, no way." He says, "I had so many nightmares over it. I would never want to relive it." And then my husband said, "No, the same thing for me, I wouldn't want to do it, do that." And he says, "Besides, it's so long ago and who... we don't even have a case," and so forth.

So, but later I talked to him and I said, "You know, since Lieutenant Kubota has started the ball rolling, I think it'd be nice if you would go along with him because he's already written to the, to the senators asking for their help." And what Lieutenant Kubota was asking was that, "Would you go along with me and fill out the forms?" It would take his participation. And one of the things that my husband would joke about to the family was, "Oh, I went in as a private, I came out as a private and when I die I'll be, my marker will say Private Shiro Kashino." And I think that's, a little bit bothered my daughters, you know, that he wasn't treated right and he took the brunt for somebody else. So when they suggested that they rectify his record, they were all for it. So I told him, "Being that we have all daughters and they're a little bit sensitive about it, I think it'd be nice if you would go along with him." So I kind of urged him to do that, and so sure enough, about a month later he got a letter from Dan Inouye and, with a form and asked him to fill it out and send it back to him and he would process it through the army. And it took him a long time to formulate his rendition of the whole incident, and why he wanted to have his records opened up. So he wrote about a four-page narration, with the help of some of his friends, and told his story. And then, so we submitted it to the army through Dan Inouye's office, and then...

AI: Excuse me. Was this then the first time that you heard the whole story?

LK: Well no, I didn't hear the whole story yet.

AI: Oh, you still hadn't?

LK: No.

AI: That, this was still only part of it?

LK: So he did write it out and I think I learned some by what he wrote out. And I still never knew really who is the one who was the cause of it, 'cause he wouldn't come out and say it was such and such a person. And he... so anyhow, we processed the letter, got it going. And then Dan Inouye's office wrote back to us and said that they had gotten communication from the army saying that because his records were burned in a fire in 1973 that they would not be able to open up his record, I mean, open up the case, because with no records, that's it. So we knew that there had been a fire of the archives in 1973 in St. Louis so we accepted that answer and that was it. So we kind of forgot about it and every time we'd see Lieutenant Kubota he would keep saying, "You know, we just gotta do something." He just, he just couldn't accept the fact that they had denied him completely. So then we were there in 1993, he said that he was talking with Patsy Mink's office. She was a representative for House and somehow through their digging or what process they use, all of a sudden, I think it was in (October) of '95 or so, that we got a letter from her office saying that they had discovered some of his records and so they were enclosing Xerox copies of what they could salvage and so what they gave us was, you know, kind of, you could tell that it had been in a fire, edges are burned or holes in things. So then, when they copied it, they said, they apologized they didn't have the whole record, but they sent us what they could.

Well, among those papers was a copy of this special court-martial that was signed and so forth and read the charges and who, who was the charging party. And for the first time we found out the name of the person, the MP officer and then the fact that it said he was guilty, that he had pleaded guilty. And that kind of upset my husband because he said he never pleaded guilty and the, he said that's the first time he's ever seen this piece of paper with the special court-martial or details. So then with that in handm Lieutenant Kubota just felt that here, we have something to work with. So that's when they started their pursuit, and he and many of his other friends got together and worked on trying to find enough evidence to put in another appeal. So we, they resubmitted appeal in August, or let's see, I think it was June of '96. And they had quite a bit of evidence that they could -- and they had affidavits from a lot of people that were there. And they also got an affidavit from the fellow who did the actual hitting the officer. And so -- also, this Lieutenant Kubota testified that the reason he wanted to pursue this was, he knew that the MP officer had requested that they not be charged. He thought that it was a minor incident and he told the officers that be that they should not charge them. And so he just figured, you know, he had made the request that they not be arrested so... and then he was transferred somewhere else, another area and the 442 was also sent on to Italy so they, he thought, he thought it was settled. In the meantime, the boys got put into the jail and so forth. So...

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

LK: But Lieutenant Kubota knew that Chaplain Yamada, who was the chaplain of the unit, had discussed with this MP officer and he knew that he had asked that they not be charged. And so he related that to Mr. Kubota and so he felt that he, they should have never gone through with the trial like that. So I think this was why Mr. Kubota has pursued this whole thing. And he wrote an affidavit and had an affidavit from several other people who were there, and he also had an affidavit from one of the men who had been also put in the stockade.

And then they found this guy after fifty years. They find this fellow who was the cause of the fight and they, he, he didn't want to be involved at all. He said that he, it's fifty years later, and he doesn't want to be living those memories again and he didn't want to be writing an affidavit, but after four hours of talking with him, they finally broke him down and he said that he would cooperate to get this case going. So they felt that that was key evidence. So they submitted that, with among other evidence, and they submitted it to the army and it took about two or three months for them to respond. And when they came back with it, after they, they had a review of it, he said that the review board had approved his request for, to rescind some of the charges. And so they gave him back his sergeant, staff sergeant ranking, and a portion of the, his pay that was withheld. Although my husband thinks that he didn't ever get any pay while he was in the stockades, they said that they were going to reimburse him $28 a month. [Laughs] And so that was what he was awarded, but they said they couldn't do anything about the court-martial.

So Lieutenant Kubota still felt that they had to make one more effort to remove that court-martial from his record. And my husband just felt like well, you know, he got his staff sergeant back, although it doesn't mean that much. He felt, well, it can be on his marker on his grave, you know. He felt that that was enough. But Lieutenant Kubota just pursued it and they said that, "You know, if we could only find that officer, you know, that was hit." But he was from Puerto Rico, by now he must be in his eighties and chances of finding him was like a needle in haystack. And some of the other people who were involved with this court-martial order, like the officer who had signed it, well they, they tried to find him and he was in ill health after... we got, they got letters back different from the address that they had and, I mean, sent back, no longer here or this and that. He said he was in bad health and he couldn't remember that certain case. And then another colonel that was involved with Shiro at the time, he said that he can't remember because -- he remembers Shiro, but he doesn't remember the incident because of his... he's starting to get Alzheimer or something so anyhow, it was, it's pretty discouraging and who could blame anybody, it's fifty years later, you know.

AI: That's right.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 31>

LK: Well, by sheer chance of, I don't know, God's looking down at us, I guess, and had to help us. And one of my husband's Company I members that's a banker in Honolulu and he was at a banker's convention, and it was a national convention, apparently. And there was a Puerto Rican banker who was there and he was talking to him and he says, "Yeah, we're looking for this Puerto Rican officer who served in World War II and by the name of George Suro." And so he says, "Oh, I know George Suro." He says, "He's an attorney and he's got his office down the street from me." And with that, this friend -- that's the banker -- said that he was going to be in Puerto Rico in a couple of months so he would like to set up an appointment with him. "So would you help me get an appointment?" So this Puerto Rican said yeah, he would do that as soon as he went home.

AI: What an amazing coincidence.

LK: Yes it is. So they talked on telephone as far as pinning down the date to meet and so forth and he explained the situation and he said that he didn't realize what went on, that he had asked that they not be charged and didn't think it was a serious incident. And so it was true what had -- Chaplain Yamada had told Mr. Kubota -- and they did, they felt that they, you know, got to get this guy's affidavit. So he was in, going to go through hip surgery or some major surgery and so he said he wasn't going to be at, back to his office for a while, but he would write the affidavit after he got over his problem. So it took him several months to get back to his office and by the time he wrote his affidavit, it didn't reach Kubota until mid, well, the first part of June. I mean, they were all, everybody's waiting for it.

AI: Yes.

LK: But you couldn't hurry him and we, we didn't want to put any pressure on him either, you know, because he's our key witness and we don't want to lose him. So anyhow, they received the affidavit from Puerto Rico on June 10th and my husband died on June 11th. And they called me on June 11th to tell me that they had received the affidavit, so now we got everything and to send, and they needed my husband's signature on some of the documents. And so I had to break the news that my husband had passed away that day. So...

AI: That must have been so difficult.

LK: It was. It was kind of a long struggle.

AI: He was so ill then, toward the end also. And yet he knew that the MP, the officer had been found.

LK: Yes, because he had made a draft of his affidavit and he was trying to perfect it and so forth, so this was all took time. But we did read the affidavit that where he said that he asked that they not be charged and he didn't, he was just really shocked to hear about it fifty years later that they had actually been court-martialed, so he would be very happy to write this affidavit.

AI: So at least your husband knew that was coming.

LK: Uh-huh. Before he died, he did, knew that it was coming. And he had, he was hopeful that they would do something about it, but... so after he passed away, they had his documents that we had to sign, so I signed for him and I had my doctor, his doctor also write an affidavit that he had passed away but he knew about it before and he was fully conscious before and knew what was going on. So we submitted this document again with all this evidence and then they came back again saying that, in September, saying that as much as they read all the evidence and all, then they saw the injustice of it all, there is nothing that is ever done about a court-martial. They never exonerate a person after they've been court-martialed. So then that's when I wrote kind of a personal letter saying that after all that went through, we sort of outlined all the reasons why they should really give it more thought. And the letter that they came back with was kind of a form letter, and it was so impersonal saying that they couldn't overturn the court-martial.

AI: How did they, how did that make you feel when you got this kind of form letter.

LK: Yeah, I thought, "Gee..." But then, I mean, like when they said they're gonna give him $28 a month, you know -- it's kind of joke. So we figured oh, well. And you just, how do you fight the army? So Kubota was... and all of them, they said well, "Let's give it one more try. I'm gonna have you write this letter." They helped me formulate the letter and so we sent it and apparently the head JAG officer must have read it, taken it to heart. And so this is, and really was unbelievable that he would have written like that.

AI: Well, would you share some of this letter and, just actually maybe if you could read the letter that you, that you received back, that the final response.

LK: "This responds to your letter of October 7th in which you request reconsideration of my action on your husband's application for relief under Article 69b, Uniform Code of Military Justice. I have carefully considered this matter and the points you raise in your letter. Based on the entire file and the information provided in all documents submitted with the appeal, I have determined that there is good cause in the interest of justice to consider this appeal. Even though it was not filed within the statute of limitations, Mr. Kashino's appeal is granted and his court-martial conviction is set aside. You have my sincere sympathy for your husband's death." [Cries] "Your husband was deeply concerned over this event and in his life and your, your letter eloquently details his extraordinary efforts to erase the court-martial conviction from his record. I am particularly impressed by your husband's gallantry and the six Purple Hearts he earned during World War II. I wish you the very best in the future." Then in his handwriting he wrote, "Your husband was an American hero and that is how he should be remembered." So I thought that was very personal.

AI: Yes.

LK: And so they attached a copy of the, the order, the action of the Advocate General to take that off his record.

AI: Yes. So you finally succeeded.

LK: Yes. And how I wish that my husband was here at the time I received this letter.

AI: Yes.

LK: It was in December. So that was the hardest thing for me.

AI: It must have been very, very difficult. Well, thank you for telling about this. I know it's difficult for you to go over it again and, but it's just such a tremendous piece of history that your, the whole story of your family, your husband's story and then you carrying on after his passing.

LK: Well I, it was a separate story, an unusual story, you know, so I felt like I should share it.

AI: And how have your daughters taken the, the news when, when this came to pass that the conviction was set aside?

LK: We all had the same emotions. So happy for their father.

AI: Yes, yes. Well, it certainly is unusual. It seems like this is just unheard of that the army would overturn...

LK: But isn't it wonderful that we live in a country where, that if they made a mistake they have admitted it and, and righted a wrong.

AI: Yes.

LK: So I think that we're lucky that we live in this country.

AI: Well, after all that you've gone through, you and your family and all the times that have passed. Is there anything else that you would like to comment on? Anything else that you would like to pass on as you think of the younger generations coming up now?

LK: I don't know. My husband believed in his convictions and, and he told it like it is and that's the way he brought up our kids, I think. Good and bad. He wasn't a "yes man."

AI: Well, thank you very much. We really appreciate your time and your sharing of your experiences.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 32>

LK: ...impossible for this to could have happened without somebody, some other reasons. And the other reason is the fact that there was a, my husband an had argument with an officer, Lieutenant Colonel, I think, when they were in the midst of the rescue of the "Lost Battalion" in France. It was one of the major victories.

AI: Oh, you know what, actually, can you...

AI: I would like to back up and...

LK: Well, I don't...

AI: Oh, you don't feel like you can talk about this.

LK: I don't think that we should make any accusations because...

AI: I see.

LK: He didn't feel that...

AI: So this was something that was just, people were thinking that...

LK: Well...

AI: This is not something that you can really talk about..

LK: Well, I don't know whether we should or not because the man's dead and he, never were able to, to... well, I'll tell you the reasons. Okay, he... anyhow he had a, the officer told my husband to take a group of them down for supplies and they were in the forest of the Voges Mountain, and he, they could hear the trucks coming up behind the, and it was night. So he said, he told the officer, he had gotten all the men together that were gonna go down. And he says, "You know, I think we should wait a little bit, you know, maybe after it settles down and then sneak down there and get our supplies." Well he, he said to the doc, the officer, "You know, I, I don't think we should go right now." And the officer didn't appreciate my husband second-guessing him, so he told them to go. And so he turned, he turned around to the guys and he says, "Well, what should we do?" So they said, "Oh, let's go because you know, he ordered us to go." So they went and sure enough, they were, they threw a barrage on them and half of them got killed. And he had to carry some, a lot of the injured back and all.

So when he get, got back he looked, you know, went to hunt for the officer and he told him in no uncertain terms what his opinion was. And, "We could have saved, you know, look at all the lives we lost," and all this stuff. So he probably didn't say it in a very nice way, so then this officer that had always kind of had it against him and he, someone said that they heard him say that he was gonna make an example of him. And so when this incident happened, the fight, they, he was the officer that pursued it. And even if the MP had said to drop the charges, he insisted that they go ahead and charge them. And so I, he, my husband says, "I think he wanted me to..." So then when they went, were moved to Italy, you know, they were in, in the stockades so they brought them down to Italy in the stockades. Then when they needed to go fight they had them go out. So my husband says, "I think he wanted me, see me get killed." Well, one of the four that was incarcerated did get killed.

And then he, he was on the front lines in Italy, they called him back to the headquarters, because this was in April already, and this Lieutenant Colonel Hanley, who's now kind of senile, he called them on the telephone at headquarters and said that, "Kash, there's gonna be a court-martial trial and I want you to plead guilty." And he said, "Oh, I'm not gonna plead guilty to something like that." And so then he said, "Besides I might get killed tomorrow or today when I go back." And so this other lieutenant that overheard the conversation said, "Oh, Kash, don't ever plead guilty. I mean, I'll, I'll be your witness and you'll never be charged for something like that." So he went back on the front lines again and the next day this lieutenant was in, in the headquarters area and a shell landed on them and everybody was killed including the officer who had told him not to plead guilty.

But anyhow this, the person who called him on the phone said, "If you don't plead guilty you're gonna get a general court-martial which means that you will be dishonorably discharged." So he said, "You plead guilty and we'll give you a special court-martial." And so that makes a difference between dishonorably or regularly discharged. So, but then my husband wouldn't be moved by any threat like that because he said, "I know right is right and wrong is wrong," and he didn't do it. So he went through the trial and got railroaded into being charged. So then after the war was, after he came back and we got married, shortly after we got married, we got this Christmas card from the lieutenant colonel that he had the argument with. I mean, signed by him and he found our address. You know, newly married and got a new apartment and all, how he found us, we don't know, but after that he sent us Valentine's cards, and Christmas cards, New Year's card, Valentine cards, St. Patrick's card, I mean, it's ridiculous.

AI: How strange.

LK: We kept saying well, "What's wrong with this guy?" So then, and then when they had the first reunion he came down to Hawaii and Shiro was invited as a guest, all expenses paid. His friends had chipped in for him to come down. Because this was in '53 and our children were little and we couldn't afford him to go to Hawaii. And because of his actions at that time, you know, because he took the brunt of all this, the boys wanted to do something nice for him so they (gave him the free trip), and this lieutenant, this colonel was there, came to participate and everybody ignored him. And they kind of, Shiro kind of kept out of his way because he didn't want to be having any confrontation with him. And then in the '70s he went to a convention in Illinois and he saw the name tag of a fellow from Seattle who's Japanese -- it was a Baptist convention. And he asked, he went up to him and said, "Hey, do you know Shiro Kashino?" so he said yes, he knew him. So he proceeded to tell him his story of why he, you know, charged him with, got him, pushed through with the court-martial. And so this Peter Koshi came back to Seattle and called Shiro up and he said, "Gee, I met somebody who was your superior officer, and he's telling me all these things," and he couldn't make head (or tails or) reason why he was telling him all this. And 1976 they had a convention in Chicago, and he's from Illinois and he came to the convention and he came to I Company's hospitality room at the hotel and asked, "Where's Kash?" Looking for him. So when he came into our hospitality room they would tip my husband off, so then we went out the other door. So we avoided him twice, but the third time he kind of cornered us and he said, "Oh, is this your wife?" He put his hand out to shake hands and my husband was gentleman enough to, to shake hands with him and then he says, "This is your wife?" and so he said, "Yes." And he said, "Well, how could a nice girl like you marry a guy like him?" Like that was kind of a derogatory. He was trying to be funny. So he had a terrible guilty conscience, so this is, this is...

AI: It certainly sounds that way.

LK: Yeah, but then we can't really accuse him because we have no evidence.

AI: That's right.

LK: So we just try to be big about it and just kind of... poor guy was carrying it on his conscience. And then he talk, cornered my brother-in-law and he talked to him at length, telling him all the reasons why it all happened and justifying himself. And so... he realized that he should not have done what he did, I think.

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.