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-01-0005

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TI: So going back to your father, let's talk a little bit about his first marriage 'cause he was married earlier. So tell me about that.

TM: Well, my father was married much earlier, well actually after he came to Hawaii. He married a woman that was a sister of another woman that ran a small grocery store. But his wife was quite frail, she wasn't too strong, and they had two sons. Both sons passed, died, in their (infancy) before three, three years old. And my father knew that his wife did not have long to live and his wife wanted to be buried in Japan. So both of them took a ship and went to Japan. And (before) reaching Japan, his wife passed away, but he was able to have a burial for her and then, now the story is going on. My father, somebody made arrangements for my father to meet my present, actually mother. So he made arrangements in Japan and met her and they got married. This was several months interval. And then both of them returned, actually came to Hawaii, my father returning first and then my mother coming later.

TI: I'm sorry, did they get married in Japan then? They got married first in Japan?

TM: Yes, they got married in Japan.

TI: So let's talk a little about your mother. What was her name?

TM: Her name was Yoshiko Sumida.

TI: And tell me about her family, what did they do in Japan?

TM: Well, they were actually farmers and she also came from Yamaguchi-ken. And that's why my father meeting my mother was quite easy, within the Yamaguchi-ken. And she had only a sixth grade education and, the family being poor, she worked as a maid for various people. She told me that she once worked for a president of a bank and then later on, president of a railroad as I recall. So most of her life while in Japan, she worked as a maid.

TI: So the two of them met in Japan, in terms of age difference, how much older was your father than your mother?

TM: Well, my father, as you know, was born in 1888. My mother was born in 1902.

TI: Okay, so about fourteen years' difference, okay. So your father was about thirty-four, thirty-five and your mother was about twenty, twenty-one at the time of marriage, okay. So now they both come to... or she comes to Hawaii for the first time and this about 1923, '24.

TM: '24, I think.

TI: And earlier you said you were born in 1925 so right away they started having children and they had eight children.

TM: Right.

TI: So let's talk about your brothers and sisters, so you were the firstborn?

TM: I was the firstborn. Actually there were five boys and three girls, a big family of eight and my second brother, Kenji David, passed away. And my (third) brother, Hideo, also passed away. So now we're left with three boys, myself, Sadaji and Roy.

TI: Now when you said Kenji and Hideo passed away, was this when they were young or was this much later?

TM: No, no, much later, after the war. They were independent and working as, you know, full time.

TI: But before the war, there were eight children and two parents living together.

TM: Right.

TI: So Kenji, Hideo, Sadaji and Roy, and you were the five boys, and then the sisters?

TM: My sisters, Terue, Florence and Alice, which made three sisters that I had.

TI: Good. Okay, so there were, in total in the family there are ten of you.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.