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-01-0018

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TI: Okay, and then so you took the bus to the internment camp. Which internment camp was your father at?

TM: As I recall, I think it was the Sand Island Internment Camp because it was near the ocean and I really don't have a full recollection because I didn't know that they would eventually have another internment camp. The fact is that we were just taken to that place and we saw my father and then taken home. So I did not pay attention to the surrounding, strictly going there and returning.

TI: Yeah, if you can think back, so there were two, there were Sand Island and then Sand Island was closed and then the Honouliuli, so it would be probably one of those two camps. And then difference being Sand Island would be next to the ocean and Honouliuli would be in this kind of gulch which is away from the ocean. Do you have any recollection of which one that would be in terms of just the --

TM: Well, I checked with the Japanese Cultural Center to get that information, and they had indicated that they had no record of my father being at Honouliuli, and that they did not have any record of my father going to Santa Fe. So I would concludes that (...) I was mistaken all the time thinking that my father was at Honouliuli. He was at Sand Island and from Sand Island, after a length of time, was shipped directly to Santa Fe because that information that I got from the Japanese Cultural Center, (did) indicate that he was rushed over without sending over to Honouliuli.

TI: Okay, so Sand Island, which, you know, I think timing-wise makes a lot of sense because Honouliuli wasn't open 'til 1943, so March 1943. And if your father was picked up in 1942, then that would be most likely Sand Island. Do you have a sense of how long he was detained in Honouliuli or at Sand Island, how long he was there?

TM: As I can say, the other children never saw my father ever since he was taken to Sand Island. I was able to see him on visits and, as I can see, my father was interned late sometime in 1942 and then from 1943, he was at Santa Fe until the end of the war.

TI: Okay, going back to visiting your father, describe when you first saw your father, how he looked, I mean, what kind of feeling did you have when you saw your father at this place?

TM: Well, we don't speak too well in Japanese but my mother did all the talking. And I sensed that my father was concerned, he was worried and they talked about all the children. He talked about how the children were doing and how we were getting along because it was a big burden on him. And the visits sort of eased him but not to the point where he would be fully satisfied. And he himself didn't know when he would be shipped to the mainland. And it was my mother's courage that I was appreciative. She was a strong woman, she kept all of us under control and she seemed to manage under the grim condition.

TI: Yeah, because I'm sure he was concerned, I mean, he knew about, you know, the lease payments probably to the Bishop Estate and just all the business things were probably in his head and he wanted to make sure that the family was okay. Going back to the internment camp, how did the guards treat your father? Did you... what was the attitude of the guards towards the prisoners?

TM: Well, I have no idea how the guards treated them, but the guards had rifles and they didn't talk much. You just followed what they told you, and the internees, I assumed, took all this, followed exactly what the military said. So they had no freedom as they were afraid, they were tense, and of course they were worried about their families, and that's the impression I got.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.