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Title: Margaret Junko Morita Hiratsuka Interview
Narrator: Margaret Junko Morita Hiratsuka
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Skokie, Illinois
Date: June 15, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-hmargaret-01-0005

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TI: So let's talk a little bit more about the Holland Hotel. So you mentioned it was on Fourth and Jefferson.

MH: Jefferson, yeah.

TI: So describe the hotel for me. What, what was it...

MH: I remember it had about eight, I think it was eight stories, and it had a cafe, 'cause I remember every Friday my grandfather would bring over clam chowder that the chef had prepared, and it would be a great treat for us. And then he would, I was his favorite of the six grandchildren, so he would take me back to the hotel with him and I'd get to eat in the cafe, and I got to stay overnight, and in the morning he let me help him count the money. I counted his pennies. And then we would walk to the Sumitomo Bank to make a deposit. It was great. I enjoyed my grandfather a lot.

TI: So tell me, what kind of personality did he have?

MH: He was the kind that, at a business meeting or with friends, they would tease him because he says, "Oh, I have to go home early 'cause my granddaughter's waiting for me." Yeah.

TI: So you really were kind of the special...

MH: Special, yeah. So it was really...

TI: So it sounds like, for him to say that, he was a pretty, what's the right word, not necessarily stern, but pretty easygoing, joking kind of person?

MH: Well, he was businesslike, but with the family he was very, very soft.

TI: But for him, in business meetings, to say, "Well, I have to go home early to be with my granddaughter," seems pretty, pretty relaxed for him to say that. [Laughs]

MH: [Laughs] Yeah.

TI: Not your typical Japanese businessperson who's, who's always all business. Now, when you, I'm curious about the rooms at the Holland Hotel. A lot of the hotels in the International District are your, were typical rooming or boarding rooms where they have just a room, possibly a sink, and then a shared bathroom. Was that the way the Holland Hotel was set up?

MH: No, I remember staying, he'd have a bedroom and a bathroom and a living area, or a living room. It would be more than...

TI: So it was a much nicer hotel, so it's almost like a little suite or apartment type of hotel.

MH: Uh-huh.

TI: And then, describe, do you know how he arranged it for all these Japanese dignitaries to go to the Holland Hotel? I mean, how did that happen?

MH: I don't know. By reputation? And then, I think probably by reputation.

TI: Then do you remember some of the people that stayed at the hotel when you were growing up?

MH: Yeah, I remember there was an Admiral Okada who stayed, and there were other, other naval and army officers who stayed, and people from Mitsubishi and other Japanese companies stayed there.

TI: And when these dignitaries or naval officers stayed at the hotel, were they given special treatment, or did special things happen when they were there?

MH: Well, if they requested it my father would take 'em wherever they wanted to go.

TI: How about parties? Did they have, like receptions and parties, when these people were there?

MH: Oh yeah. I don't know if the parties were necessarily for the specific naval officers, but my father went to a lot of parties and he belonged to the Hinomarukai and the Dai Nippon Budokai.

TI: And so these groups had parties?

MH: Yeah, or meetings and parties. Yeah, they had a lot of parties. Picnics and New Year's parties.

TI: And can you describe these organizations? What kind of organizations were they?

MH: Okay. The Hinomarukai was an organization for Japanese veterans, and originally it was for veterans of the Russo-Japanese War, but later on they let it be for veterans of, any Japanese or naval veteran. And then the Dai Nippon Budokai was an organization for kendo and fencing people.

TI: And these were, I just want to clarify, these were organizations your father belonged to?

MH: Yes. Yes. He was usually an official in the organization, and the navy and the army, the FBI were very conscious of the people who belonged to these organizations, and they said that if, belonging to, like the Dai Nippon Budokai was a reason for internment.

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