Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Toshio Moritsugu Interview
Narrator: Toshio Moritsugu
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: March 2, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-mtoshio-01-0013

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TI: Interesting, as you got older, they transferred you to Iolani, from Benjamin Parker, which was kind of the local public school, to more of a prep school, to get you ready for college. How did you feel about that shift?

TM: What had happened was that Benjamin Parker was not considered a school that would prepare you for (the) university. They had private schools in Honolulu which were pretty good, having a good track, taking you to (the) university. To get to the university you had to get into a pretty good public school or private school. McKinley High School was one of the better public schools. My parents said, "Well, (...) we're going to push you to the get to university." (...) So I was encouraged to get to Iolani. I had to pass the examination but the classes and studies that I had at Benjamin Parker were not enough for me to get to the higher level. I had to repeat the eighth grade at Iolani School.

TI: Okay, and so Iolani is in Honolulu. How did you attend there? It would be too far to commute every day back and forth. So where did you live?

TM: (...) It was quite fortunate that my cousins, two cousins, also went to Iolani. You know, they got into Iolani. (An older) cousin worked downtown and he had a car. So he drove us, took us to town, three of us, and at the end of class, took us home. And again the question of Japanese language school came up. After Iolani, I spent one hour at a neighboring, close by Japanese school called Hawaii Chuo Gakuin.

TI: Okay, so you actually did commute back and forth from... okay. Yeah, so I'm looking at my -- so when you were attending McKinley is when you're at Okumura home, so that comes a little later, so that's why. So at this point you're commuting back and forth to Iolani and attending Hawai Chuo Gakuin. Compare the schools, Iolani with Benjamin Parker, how were the schools different?

TM: Well, for one thing Iolani was challenging. Students were very bright and you had to do your best. They had different awards. You had the first award, second award. On the first award, you had to manage to have a grade not lower than B. On that second award, every C had to be made up by an A. And of course it was challenging trying to achieve the award each semester. So we studied hard.

TI: And how about the Japanese schools? How did Hawaii Chuo Gakuin compare with the Japanese language school at Heeia.

TM: Hawaii Chuo Gakuin was run very strictly (by) the teachers. It was not lax. You had to be very accommodating and live with their set up. The principal just about ran the school. Every session before class, you had a big gathering. You had to (bow) to the principal, and he would lecture whatever was necessary and then you were dismissed to go to your class. And the studies were really intensive. The teachers were probably stricter and also much knowledgeable than at the previous language school.

TI: I think I saw in your notes that there was actually a teacher though that taught at both? She first started at Heeia and then when you were at the Hawaii language school, she was teaching there too. Do you recall that?

TM: Yes, when she was teaching at the Heeia Japanese language school, she was on a contract and I had several classes under her. She was attractive, single, and you learned a lot from her. Somehow I believe I was infatuated with her, and she was kind enough to me and I learned a lot. And then when I went to Hawai Chuo Gakuin, she elevated herself and took employment there. And although I didn't have any class from her, she acknowledged me and sort of looked out for me, asked the other teachers how I was doing and what could be done. So I was sort of in contact with her every so often.

TI: So she was really kind to look out for you.

TM: Yes.

TI: It's almost like you had a little schoolboy crush on her, too?

TM: Right.

TI: [Laughs] That's nice.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.