Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Ramsay Yosuke Mori Interview
Narrator: Ramsay Yosuke Mori
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda, Kelli Nakamura
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: February 28, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-mramsay-01-0014

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TI: So I want to go back, you talked about, during this time of war, that you had some true friends or really good friends who, who hung out with you. I want to ask about the Japanese community. What was the reaction of the Japanese community, community to you and your family during this time period?

RM: You know, I never had very many Japanese friends. Probably because we weren't doing the same things. There were, of course, many, many, many family friends that I got to know along the way, some even going to Punahou, but I never really got along with 'em. Instead, like I showed you the picture of my friends, underneath the tree, there's Portuguese, there's one Japanese. One Japanese, Harry Takahashi is in that picture. Everybody else is part Hawaiian, or one Portuguese, Mike McCormick's in there. He's not a Punahou name. But Harry's the only one. He's country boy. He's from Wahiawa, drive in to, drive in all the way from Wahiawa every day. And of course Harry, of course, was a good baseball player, good athlete, and I was always down Palm Drive smoking cigarettes.

KN: So you were hanging out primarily in Manoa, at Punahou, and at Alewa Heights, which, at that time, what kind of community was that? 'Cause Manoa was more of a white community, even back then.

RM: Manoa was, Manoa was, other than the farm area in Manoa, where they're growing the lettuce and there's housing back there. You know that?

KN: Yeah.

RM: There's a big housing back there and there were a lot of juvenile delinquents there, too. [Laughs] So I got to know some of those guys. But damnit, I forget what that housing was called. Back, back during the war everybody knew the housing. And a lot of our group, bad guys were there. Wilder Street area was very lower middle class. I think there was a house where there was a Mrs. Judd, close to ours, down Wilder Street a little bit, maybe about a block down, but other than that I think it used to be a very prominent area, prominent residential area, but, especially along Nuuanu Drive, but where we were, close to the side of the mountain, there weren't that many big houses. McIntyre's, I think I remember a bunch of Punahou people. We're not crowded with 'em like Diamond Head Circle or something like that.

TI: I was wondering, during this time, because your father wasn't there, in terms of just money and things might've been more difficult, did people come and help out the family, like bring food over or anything like that?

RM: Absolutely. Being a doctor, I was always used to people coming over early in the morning and leaving three chickens in a gunny bag, that kind of stuff. 'Course we had people around that would slaughter them and clean them for us so we could, the maids could fix dinner, that kind of stuff. Sometimes there were a hundred pound bags of rice that would show up. Sometimes we never knew who brought 'em. But of course, we were a big family; we ate 'em. But that's before the war, after the war, and during the war, through that whole period, so although the doctors were all gone, in camp, people still brought stuff.

KN: Do you know who tended to the Japanese community when prominent individuals like your grandfather and your father and mother were taken away, who were the medical backbone of who most Japanese went to?

RM: They were the medical backbone of the Japanese community at that particular time, yeah, prior to the war. After that, of course, they, he lost his prominence. Number one, because he converted the hospital from Japanese to Kuakini, regular hospital. It's part of the regular hospital system in Hawaii, but up to that point it was a private hospital.

TI: And was that because the Japanese doctors were, were gone, so they had to --

RM: Military, actually, needed the hospital, so they claimed it during the war. That was my understanding. I'm not completely certain of that, but I think that's, that's the reason why it stopped being a private hospital.

TI: But the Japanese community, who did they go to for doctors when your father and mother were gone?

RM: Let me see, my father, my grandpa, my father's patients, I think, were farmed out to a number of doctors in Honolulu. I think all Japanese, though. They didn't assign their patients to, to the haole doctors. But what's of interest, Dr. Bowles, there is a doctor, I'm talkin' about Gilbert Bowles, who was not a doctor, he was a missionary, but his son was a doctor and John Bowles, the guy that organized this book, his father was a gynecologist. Now, there were lots of Japanese women that went to Dr. Bowles because he spoke impeccable Japanese, but that's the kind of community we live in. You never know. [Laughs] Can't tell by the looks.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.