Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
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

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Okay, so I start with date and location, so today's Wednesday, June 15, 2011. We're in the Chicago area, in the Hampton Residence Inn in Skokie, and in the room we have Dana Hoshide, who's running the camera, we have your husband, Frank, who's sitting in, and then my name is Tom Ikeda. I'm the interviewer. And so, Margaret, I'm gonna start, if you just tell me when and where you were born.

MH: I was born July 22, 1928, in Seattle, Washington, in a hospital. The only one of six children, I was the only one born in a hospital.

TI: So birth order, where were you in the birth order?

MH: I was the fifth of sixth children.

TI: So why wasn't number six also in the hospital?

MH: It just so happened that the brother before me was delivered late, and he was about a month late, so my mother had a very difficult delivery, so my grandfather said, "Next time you go to a hospital."

TI: Oh, I see. So they anticipated that you were gonna be a difficult birth.

MH: That I might be, yeah.

TI: But everything was okay?

MH: Yeah.

TI: And so number six, they said, well, no need to... [laughs]

MH: Well, that's okay.

TI: Okay. And why don't you just tell me your siblings' names and the birth order?

MH: Okay. Roy is the oldest, my sister Ayako, there's a William, Jim, then me, Margaret, and George.

TI: Okay, so lots of brothers. So you have...

MH: Four brothers.

TI: Four brothers and one sister.

MH: One sister.

TI: And what was the name given to you at birth?

MH: Junko.

TI: Junko. So where did Margaret come from?

MH: Well, when I was young my brothers all teased me and they'd say "Junko Punko, Bitty Bitty Unko." [Laughs] So my mother got tired of my crying all the time, so she gave me an American name.

TI: Okay. That's a good story.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: Let's, let's, why don't we start with your father's family, and can you tell me how they came to the United States?

MH: Well, only my father came to the United States. It's my mother's father that came first to the United States. So I could talk about my mother's...

TI: Well, let's start with your mother's side, then, since they came earlier.

MH: Yeah, they came earlier.

TI: So your mother's father...

MH: Father, came to the United States, I think when my mother was five years old, so I figure that was 1904.

TI: Okay.

MH: They left my mother, (...) my grandfather and my grandmother came to the United States and left my mother with (her) grandfather's family. And I think they, the reason my grandfather came to the United States is he had originally graduated from a business college in Japan and worked in a bank for several years, and then the bank went out of business and he was out of a job, so then he decided, he read an information book about going to America and he decided that that's what he wanted to do. So in 1904, I think, he came to America with my grandmother.

TI: And where in America did they...

MH: Well, he got a job in the Alaska cannery, and he and his brother formed a company called AB Keon, and they were a foreman and job recruiters for eight canneries that they had a contract with. And so one brother stayed in Alaska and the other brother stayed in Seattle, and they had an office on Jefferson -- no. Yeah, on Main and, where is it? Let me see what, where'd I write down? He, they had an office. Jackson and Main, they had an office there and they took turns. One year one brother would stay in Alaska and one year the other brother worked in Seattle. And they sent a lot of the college, Nisei college students to jobs up in Alaska, and they were very happy to get the jobs because they got paid very well.

TI: Well, and the role that your grandfather and your uncle played was a really key one in terms of --

MH: The cannery.

TI: You're right, because so many people wanted those jobs because they were very good.

MH: Yeah.

TI: Do you know how he got that job?

MH: Well I guess they just were very good workers and they, and so they got contracts with eight canneries and that's what they did. They sent the boys up to Alaska.

TI: I forgot to ask, what was your grandfather's name?

MH: Sataro Minami. And they changed their name from Uyeminami. They shortened it to Minami, although Minami was the original name, because for business purposes, I guess, when written in Japanese it could be read either Kamiminami or Uyeminami, and it was confusing. So that's why it's short --

TI: So they just simplified it.

MH: Yeah, back to Minami.

TI: To Minami. And your, his brother? Do you remember, what was --

MH: Oh, Kikuzo Uyeminami. He never changed his name. Just my grandfather went to Minami. But in 1930 my grandfather sold his shares in the business and he went, he started in the hotel business. That's when he leased and managed the Holland Hotel at Fourth Avenue and Jefferson in Seattle. And since the hotel did very well he built up, on two floors to the hotel.

TI: So he, was he able, he owned the hotel?

MH: Well, I think he leased it and he operated it.

TI: Because I was wondering because of the, back then you had the alien land laws.

MH: Yeah, you couldn't...

TI: So unless you were a citizen...

MH: Citizen, you couldn't buy it, yeah. So I think, although he, he...

TI: Yeah, I was just wondering, possibly your older brother or something, he could've...

MH: But 1930 he was only, well, ten years old he was then.

TI: So I was curious about that.

MH: But I think he just leased it. But it seemed like he had a share of it somehow.

TI: So 1930, he was in the hotel business.

MH: And then, yeah, my, he sold the shares in the cannery business, and then he needed someone who knew the Japanese customs and the Japanese language, so then my father was then hired to that job. And that's how my father got involved with the trade at the, my grandfather's hotel. And it was considered one of the best hotels in Seattle at that time, and the army and the navy officers and the Japanese --

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: Okay, so I'm gonna slow down a little bit and go back 'cause, so we're, we already jumped to your father, but let's go back to your grandfather and how he met your grandmother.

MH: Oh, they met in Japan.

TI: Met in Japan, then they came over and they left your mother in Japan.

MH: Yeah.

TI: And so when did your mother come to the United States?

MH: In 1917, or 1918. 1918.

TI: So she was about how old? She was about eighteen, nineteen years old when she, when she came?

MH: Yeah. About eighteen, yeah. And, but my mother, my grandfather and grandmother traveled back and forth to Japan, so my mother was the oldest of five children.

TI: And they all, all the children lived in Japan?

MH: Yeah, they were all born in Japan. I mean, my grandmother would go back to Japan to have a baby or, but they came, after a while they all decided they should live in the United States, so they came.

TI: Now, I'm curious, was there a reason why she wanted to have her children born in Japan?

MH: I don't know. Maybe they trusted the doctors.

TI: Okay. And what was your mother's name?

MH: Tamano Morita, or Minami.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: Okay, so now we come to the place where your father is working for your grandfather on your mother's side.

MH: Yes.

TI: And was he, tell me a little bit more about how he got that job? You said your father, your grandfather wanted someone who knew Japanese and Japanese customs.

MH: And customs, yeah, and could speak the language.

TI: And so was he recruited from Japan to the job?

MH: No, by then my mother and father were married, in 1930. Yeah, 'cause they got married in 1919.

TI: Okay, and how did your mother and father meet?

MH: My father came here to the United States, and he happened to, he came after he had been in the army in Japan and he had gone to Waseda University for three years, and then he decided he wanted to get out of some commitments, maybe he was gonna be drafted again back into the army or something, so he decided to come to this country. So he came and on the visa it said he came to study at the University of Chicago, but he never got there.

TI: And what was your father's name?

MH: Shinjiro Morita. And they were from Nara, Japan, and that's where my mother was from, too, Nara. Then my father's father owned a big lumber company in Japan, but he was, like, the fourth son, so he's not gonna inherit anything. So, but he had, he was in Seattle and he happened to see my mother walking down the stairs at a Japanese hotel and he asked who she was, and there was a kenjin, a person from the same prefecture in Japan, who knew both the Morita and the Uyeminami family, and so he acted as the go-between and they were married.

TI: So even though they had a go-between, your father was attracted to your mother.

MH: Yes. He happened to see her.

TI: So it wasn't your typical arranged marriage where they don't really see each other first.

MH: No, he saw her.

TI: And what was it that your father was attracted to? Did he ever, did you ever ask him, like, "So what was it about Mom that you liked?"

MH: No. She was very pretty.

TI: And so they get married in 1919, and this is before he works for your grandfather, so kind of work did he do in the '20s?

MH: Well, when he first came to America I think he said he worked in the lumber business, or the, and then he had some small hotel and a small, small grocery store, but they didn't do well, so... but when my, so then he ended up working for my grandfather. Although, we had a small grocery store too.

TI: And when he worked for your grandfather, what kind of work did he do? What was it that he did?

MH: He looked after the clientele, and if they wanted, he made reservations there for them, or he took them where they wanted to go.

TI: So your grandfather was able to attract all these, like VIPs almost, these dignitaries, and so your father was hired to really show them around, take 'em on tours, maybe sightseeing, get them to meetings, whatever, things like that.

MH: Yes. Yes, that's what he did.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

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.

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: But in these prewar years, were you aware of any presence by naval intelligence, U.S. naval intelligence or the FBI in terms of, of monitoring the activities of what was going on at the Holland Hotel?

MH: Yeah, I think we felt that the FBI was watching.

TI: And do you have an example?

MH: Well, we felt like the phone was tapped.

TI: And so that was consciously that, your father was sort of conscious that, thinking that the phones were tapped?

MH: Uh-huh.

TI: And so what would that mean? I mean, would he be careful what he would say over the phone, or what would that mean?

MH: Yeah, I suppose he would be. But there was, in the FBI reports that we got, under the Freedom of Information Act, they talk about confidential informants who were reporting on the activities of my father.

TI: So in that case it's not necessarily FBI agents, but it might be community members who were, who were essentially spying on your family, on your father.

MH: I think so, because in some, in one of the reports it would say the confidential, the informant said that my father said such and such, that he was in the Japanese army or...

TI: Which he was.

MH: He was, yeah. It was no secret that he... and they would report whatever he said.

TI: And when you look at these reports, were they dated before the war or after the war in terms of --

MH: Before the war. Yeah.

TI: So even before the war the FBI was, as you mentioned earlier, monitoring your father, possibly tapping the phones. Did he ever mention when he would take these, especially naval officers, around, were they ever followed? Did he ever talk about that, being followed by FBI or anybody tailing him?

MH: My father never said much. The only reason I know anything is because I have the FBI reports, and they even knew that we had a 1941 Chevrolet and the license number. It's all in the report.

TI: So they were, yeah, they're tracking, following. Now, you're the fifth child, so you had, like an older brother who was quite a bit older, did he ever come under suspicion by being the son of your father, and was he ever targeted in any way?

MH: Not that I know of. I don't know. I never paid any attention when I was young. It's only later on that I started reading these FBI reports or the naval intelligence report, that I became interested in this.

TI: How about any interaction with the Japanese American Citizens League? Did your brothers or your father or any of your friends, were they associated with the JACL?

MH: No. In fact, my sister, I think, was against it.

TI: And why was that? Why was your sister against, this is Ayako?

MH: Yeah. I'm not sure. I can't say why she might've been against it. She didn't, well, we just didn't belong to that.

TI: Because sort of during this period, I mean, around the war, right before and after, there were members of the JACL who were working more closely with the FBI.

MH: Yes, they did.

TI: And so that, I was just curious if there was any, any, perhaps someone from that organization was perhaps watching your family.

MH: I think they might have. They might have been, yeah.

TI: Okay. And right now, and I'm just, you don't have to mention names or anything, but does the family suspect certain people but you just prefer not to talk about them?

MH: Yeah. I'm the only one.

TI: Okay. You're the only one who won't talk about it? [Laughs]

MH: Who, who's really suspecting anybody. I mean, the others just, of course, a couple of my brothers are, have died already, so they haven't dug into the history.

TI: But what you suspect by living through this, looking at FBI reports, that there were potential people who were members of the JACL who might've been watching your family and perhaps feeding information to the FBI.

MH: Could be, yeah, 'cause otherwise they wouldn't blend in at these parties that they had.

TI: Especially when you mention how there were people actually quoting what your father said in these situations.

MH: Said, yeah.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: Let's go back to your life a little bit. I want to get that picture in terms of, so when you're growing up, what school did you go to?

MH: I went to the Rainier School.

TI: Okay. And so this was closer to, I'm thinking more like the Seattle University area, so yeah, I guess it was, it was on Jefferson, wasn't it, the Rainier School? Maybe. I'm trying to think.

MH: I'm not sure. I know it was two blocks from where we lived, and we lived at 2419 Jackson.

TI: Okay, 24th and Jackson. Okay. So Rainier School, and how about church? Did you --

MH: We belonged to the Japanese Baptist Church.

TI: Japanese Baptist.

MH: In fact, my grandmother, when she first came to the States, was converted to Christianity.

TI: At the Japanese Baptist?

MH: Yeah.

TI: And how about Japanese school? Did you go to Japanese school?

MH: Oh yeah.

TI: And which Japanese school did you go to?

MH: Well, originally my two brothers and I went to this private Japanese school, but my brothers are such mischiefs they got into trouble and we were kicked out of that private school. So we had to go to the big Japanese school. You know where?

TI: On Weller Street, that one?

MH: Yeah, (...) sensei was Nakagawa-san. Yeah.

TI: Now where was the private Japanese school? Do you remember?

MH: I don't know. It was a little ways away. I don't remember the name of it.

TI: Or tell me, what was the difference from the smaller private Japanese school and the larger one? What was, in terms of the teachers, the teaching, what was the difference?

MH: I don't really know. It was, I don't know. My brothers had, were real, the two of 'em, when they got together they were real mischiefs.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: How about just childhood memories or stories that you can, you talked about your grandfather, counting pennies, what are some other things that you can remember growing up, before the war?

MH: Before the war? We used to go to Mount Rainier and Mount Baker for picnics, and we also would go for a picnic down to Lake Washington. There was a special spot we had where there were a couple rocks sticking out of the lake, and we'd go there and have our picnic. And we used to go catch crab at Alki Beach or somewhere. You put salmon heads in a basket and lower it, and the crabs would walk into it. Yeah. So we had a lot of fun together. Then I could remember going up to North Beach. Is there a North Beach?

TI: Uh-huh.

MH: And get up early in the morning and go clam digging.

TI: So these are for the, like butter clams?

MH: Yeah, there were, it'd shoot up a hole and then you know to dig there or something.

TI: Or maybe you're talking about razor clam digging, on the coast a little bit more.

MH: Maybe.

TI: They had, it's kind of a maybe about three hour drive from Seattle to the coast, and then you would have the razor clams on the coast.

MH: Yeah, 'cause, yeah, I think so 'cause my cousins always had a summer home up in North Beach, I think.

TI: How about mushroom picking, matsutake?

MH: No, I didn't go matsutake picking.

TI: Now, when you talked about things like Mount Rainier and the clam digging, the beaches, do you guys have photographs of all that? Did your, your father, like, take pictures or movies of this? A lot of the Isseis back then had, like, little movie cameras or cameras.

MH: I have some. Yeah, I have pictures when we went on picnics.

TI: Okay. So any other stories before the war, before we, because next I'm gonna talk about December 7th, but before I go there I just wanted to see, any other kind of fond memories of growing up in Seattle?

MH: I went to Washington Junior High and, after Rainier School, and that was fun, going to, there were a lot of Japanese in our class.

TI: Yeah, there's, I think of Washington, and if you stayed there which high school would you have gone to?

MH: Garfield. Yeah, my sister and brothers went to Garfield High School.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: So let's go to the date, December 7, 1941, and do you remember that day?

MH: Oh yes.

TI: So let's, let's talk about, go ahead and describe that day from the moment you heard about the bombing and what happened.

MH: I think around 11:30 in the morning we heard reports of a bombing on Pearl Harbor, and my mother was at church, so my older brother went and picked her up and got her home. I think my father was working at the Holland Hotel. But by about 6:30 that evening FBI agents came to our store, and they handcuffed my father and made him sit down at a table and made my mother sit down and told them not to talk to each other. And then they, our apartment was upstairs in the back of the store, so one of the agents started to go up the stairs, and my brother Bill, who was seventeen at the time, tried to stop him. But my brother says he remembered the agent, that he had curly hair and what his name was, and then he decided to cooperate and let him upstairs, but told him not to break anything, that he would open anything they wanted to look at. So they went through all our drawers and cabinets and took anything that had my father's name on it or which they thought might be suspicious.

TI: And how many agents were there?

MH: I know at one place my mother said there was two and another place she said there were three, so I'm not, two or three.

TI: So two or three.

MH: Yeah.

TI: Now, were you present when this happened?

MH: Yes, I was home. Yeah.

TI: And can you tell me what your feeling was when you, when you had --

MH: Yes, I felt that they were invading my private drawer, looking through it.

TI: And so were you frightened or angry, or what was your feelings when this was happening?

MH: I was upset. I guess I was angry that they were going through our things, when they took...

TI: And what, what was it like when you saw them handcuff your father?

MH: Oh, that's frightening to see that. And of course they carry guns.

TI: And what was their demeanor? Was it, like were they courteous, or were they --

MH: Yeah, well, my brother said that the one agent that stood watching my mother and father was stone faced and solemn, whereas the agent that came upstairs into our apartment was apologetic and he was very nice and courteous.

TI: But he was going through and identifying things of your father and then taking them.

MH: Yeah, they took, took things, took 'em away. I suppose we must've had a camera or a radio or something.

TI: Now, do you recall whether or not they had any kind of warrant or piece of paper as they went to your house?

MH: I don't, I don't remember, and I don't remember seeing anything in the FBI report that mentioned a warrant.

TI: So they handcuffed your father and they searched the house -- [coughs] excuse me. And then what happened?

MH: Then they took him away, but we didn't know where they took him. But I see later that they, from the FBI report that they took him to the U.S. Marshal's office, and later to the Immigration and Naturalization office.

TI: Yeah, the building there.

MH: Yeah.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: So after they take your father, what did your mother and you and the rest of the siblings do?

MH: My mother called her uncle, but of course he was gone too, and they didn't know anything more either. So we, my mother was very angry that they took our birth certificates because my oldest brother, in order to run the grocery store would need his birth certificate to prove he was a citizen, so my brother had to go down every day to try to get another copy of his birth certificate. I think he eventually was able to get it.

TI: That is unusual, or interesting that they would take --

MH: All of our birth certificates.

TI: But of the children.

MH: Yeah.

TI: Do you recall any conversations between you and your siblings or your mother about what had just happened and what you needed to do next?

MH: My mother wrote an autobiography that my niece asked her to write, and since it would've been difficult for her to write it in English my niece says, well, write it in Japanese and I have a friend who will translate it into English. So in that report she does say that she wasn't able to see my father until the day before he was supposed to go to Fort Missoula, and at that time she was talking to my father and my father happened to mention green stamps, that -- those are the stamps that people use who are on relief -- and that the green stamps would be important because it meant money for the store. And then the FBI agent listening in on the conversation thought they said blue stamps, or better yet, blueprints, so then the next day my mother gets a call saying to stay home because the FBI was gonna come and question her.

TI: And so the conversation about the green stamps happened when she was visiting?

MH: Yeah, before he, that's the only chance she had to see him before he was sent away to Missoula.

TI: So the FBI was listening in on --

MH: Listening in on their conversation. And they were told to speak only English, and of course their English would be broken. And so she said they did come to question her, and she finally convinced them that they were talking about green stamps, that they were for people on relief, and she was so nervous and upset that, afterwards, that she said she couldn't even stand up.

TI: You mean so upset from the questioning by the FBI?

MH: The questioning by, yeah, by the FBI.

TI: And trying to convince them that...

MH: Yeah, that it was relief stamps.

TI: Now, your father was running the Holland Hotel. He was picked up and left.

MH: No, he was, well, he was working, by then he was, my grandfather had died, so he was working for some hakujin who later leased the hotel from my dad.

TI: Oh, I see, so when your grandfather died, new owners took over.

MH: Yeah.

TI: Okay. But your father was still working there.

MH: They, that was, they brought him on the condition that my father would work there so they could maintain the Japan trade.

TI: Okay. So your father's taken away, they are still questioning your mom at some point, what's, what happens to the store? You have the store and the apartment.

MH: They were able to sell it after a while, for a little bit of money.

TI: So they had to sell all the things inside the store?

MH: Yeah, the inventory and the fixtures.

TI: And how did they do that? Do you know who they sold it to?

MH: No, I don't.

TI: And who was taking care of that, your older brother?

MH: Yeah, my brother.

TI: And that was Roy?

MH: Roy, yeah.

TI: And how much older was Roy? Do you know about how old Roy was?

MH: He was about twenty-one then.

TI: Okay, so still quite young, only twenty-one. During this time, because of your father's closeness to Japanese dignitaries and naval officers, did the family come under any pressure or scrutiny by the community? Did you guys ever, were, did people ever talk about your family?

MH: No. I don't think so. I don't think they, the people in the community knew anything.

TI: Yeah. No, I was just curious because they knew that your father was picked up -- well, they probably knew your father worked at the Holland Hotel and that's where the dignitaries came, and I'm just wondering if there were rumors within the community.

MH: Oh, you mean within the Japanese community?

TI: Yeah.

MH: I suppose, because he was so active in all the, in kendo and in Japanese Grocers Association, chamber of commerce. He was active in many organizations.

TI: Had you heard that very many of your father's friends were also being picked up?

MH: Yeah. I think so.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: Okay. So what happens next? So you're selling, you sell off the fixtures, everything in the store, what happens next?

MH: Oh, and then we were allowed to store some things at the Baptist church, Japanese Baptist Church, so we stored sewing machine and other things. Had to sell the piano.

TI: Now, do you remember Reverend Andrews during this time?

MH: Oh yeah.

TI: And so what role did he play during this time period? Do you remember him saying anything to you or to your mother?

MH: No, I don't remember. I'm sure he did, to my mother. I don't remember.

TI: And when you say you stored things at the Japanese Baptist Church, how did that work? Where did you store it, and do you know what you stored?

MH: I know my mother talks about the sewing machine. They sold the piano. And I know she had a basket full of stuff that she stored there.

TI: What about the car? You guys had a car.

MH: Oh, yeah, we had to sell the car. But the saddest part was leaving the dog.

TI: Tell me about that. What kind of dog was it, how old?

MH: He was just a mutt, but his name was Mickey and we all loved him, but the people who bought the store said they would take him, take care of him. I heard he used to go up to the corner and wait for one of us to come along. Very sad.

TI: And who were the people who bought the store?

MH: I'm not sure. I really didn't pay much attention, until later and I got the FBI report or the naval intelligence report, and then my mother wrote her story.

TI: Well you were quite young. You were, what, thirteen years old?

MH: Yeah.

TI: Okay, so let's continue. So after the store is sold, people now have to leave Seattle, so where did you go?

MH: Puyallup Assembly Center.

TI: And where did they pick you up to go to Puyallup? Do you remember what corner you were...

MH: I don't remember. Yeah.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: So what were your first impressions of Puyallup?

MH: Well I thought we were lucky because we were put in, I think it was Area A, which was the parking lot, so all the buildings were clean, I mean, they were all new buildings. It wasn't the area where they had the grandstands and the horses and the stables, so we were in a nice, nicer area.

TI: Any memories that stand out about Puyallup?

MH: Just standing in line to eat and eating the same Vienna sausages.

TI: Did you have a sense of what was gonna happen to you in terms of...

MH: No. I was with the family, so it was okay, except my dad wasn't there.

TI: Do you recall any communication between the family and your father during this time?

MH: Must've been letters, but I don't pay that much attention.

TI: But did you have a sense that your father was okay or where he was?

MH: I was worried about the fact that he was being interrogated, but otherwise no, I wasn't too worried.

TI: And describe your sort of living arrangements, because you had...

MH: Seven of us, six kids and my mother. Yeah, seven of us all in one room.

TI: And about how large was that room?

MH: I think we all had the same sized room in Puyallup. It was in Minidoka that we had a bigger room.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: So from Puyallup you go to Minidoka, Idaho, and tell me about that. What was Minidoka like?

MH: Well, we only had one room for seven people and we barely were able to get seven army cots into the room. There was hardly any room to walk around.

TI: And what are some memories of Minidoka for you?

MH: Well, I was in high school by then, so we made new friends. Yeah, it was, it was, we had teachers that, not too many regular certified teachers, but a lot of camp teachers, people with some college education who taught algebra or biology or something.

TI: And when you weren't in school what kind of things did you do?

MH: We played basketball, or we went ice skating. In the winter we ordered skates from Montgomery Ward's and we skated along the canal, which is kind of dangerous because the water was still running down the middle and we'd skate along the side. And in the summer they built a big swimming pool. Not a pool, but dug a hole in the ground and filled it with water.

TI: Going back to the skating, so yeah, I've been there, the irrigation canal. It's pretty large, and so you're skating on the side. Anyone ever fall in?

MH: Yeah. Not during the winter, but during the summer I remember my mother's friend's little boy fell in and drowned in the canal.

TI: When you say canal people think it's kind of a small little ditch, but it was like a river.

MH: It was a swift current, yeah. But there were little inlets that would freeze, and then along the edge it would freeze, so we would skate. It was kind of dangerous, but we did it.

TI: You mentioned earlier how you had stored things at the Baptist Church. I interviewed Reverend Andrews' son and he mentioned how his dad would make trips back and forth.

MH: To camp, yeah.

TI: And oftentimes bring things from the storage area to people in camp. Did your family get anything from the church? Do you remember anything, like the sewing machine or anything like that?

MH: No, not until we had left camp. I think my mother then requested that things be sent to her, so they were sent to, I know we had the sewing machine in Chicago.

TI: Okay, so your family, when they left Minidoka, did not go back to Seattle? They went to...

MH: We came to Chicago.

TI: And why Chicago?

MH: Because that's where the jobs were. But --

TI: I -- go ahead.

MH: But they wouldn't, when they finally paroled my father after he had a rehearing and was declared not a menace to internal security, they would only let him go to the Rocky Mountain area, so we had to go to Denver. But my brothers and sister already had jobs here, so just my mother and my younger brother went to Denver first, and I was in Chicago as a schoolgirl, schoolgirl. You worked for a family and you got to go to high school nearby.

TI: So they provided the room and board?

MH: Yeah, and I did housework and babysat their ten year old daughter. Yeah. And then after I finished my junior year at high school, then my mother said come to Denver, so I went to Denver and it was my mom and dad and my young brother and myself in Denver.

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

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: And when you were reunited with your parents, did you notice any difference in your father from before the war and after?

MH: Yeah. He was a little more apprehensive. I think he still felt that he was being followed. But in my senior year in high school I was able to go to East Denver High School, which is one of the better high schools in Denver. I was lucky. But he suffered a stroke in December of 1945 and was paralyzed on his left side, so after that he could no longer work.

TI: You mentioned that he seemed more apprehensive.

MH: Yeah.

TI: Anything else in terms of physically, was he, did he look the same?

MH: Physically he was looking fine, yeah.

TI: Did he ever talk about it or did you hear anything?

MH: No, he never talked about anything.

TI: So you mentioned earlier that he went to Fort Missoula. Where else did he go?

MH: Lordsburg and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

TI: And, okay, so we do that, and then he had a stroke. At this point I want, I know you've done quite a bit of research. You requested the files for your father. I guess the first question is, why did you do that? Why did you want to see the files?

MH: I just wanted to know what happened, because my father never said anything about what happened. And from the FBI report I can see that he was questioned on certain dates and what he said he did. Yeah. And they're pretty much, everyone says the same thing, that he worked at the Holland Hotel, took around the army, naval officers, that he belonged to the Hinomarukai and the Dai Nippon Budokai, and each hearing it seemed like he said the same thing. Then he finally had a rehearing a couple years later, and they decided that he had a good record at Lordsburg and an outstanding record in Santa Fe and that he never requested to be repatriated and that he should be paroled.

TI: When I glanced through the documents, something that I've read about, and this is actually the first time I've seen it on an individual file, you always hear about the ABC lists, that the FBI and naval intelligence had compiled lists even before the war with A being the most dangerous, B being, B being kind of potentially dangerous, and C possibly being dangerous. And I noticed that your father was marked A.

MH: A, yeah.

TI: And why do you think he was listed so high in terms of, of being dangerous?

MH: Because he took around the people from the Japanese Imperial Navy and visited the consul general and, and had dealings with other important Japanese visitors, and also because he belonged to these organizations.

TI: But everything you've mentioned, there's nothing, he didn't break any laws. I mean, there's nothing wrong that he had done, other than being associated with various individuals.

MH: No.

TI: I mean, was there anything in the files that indicated that he had done something wrong?

MH: No, just that he took these naval officers, they usually would want to go to Bremerton or Sand Point or, I think they were interested in Boeing, but apparently they were allowed to come to this country to visit.

TI: And these were all potential, I guess, military intelligence type of things, like Boeing aircraft or the Bremerton shipyard.

MH: Yeah. Shipyards.

TI: Sand Point was another naval station.

MH: Naval station, yeah.

TI: So the, it's interesting, so the Japanese navy guys wanted to see these different places and your dad would bring 'em.

MH: Bring 'em, yeah, 'cause he had the car. They stayed at the hotel; he accommodated them like a tourist.

TI: The other thing I saw on there was a reference to your father taking pictures of the Grand Coulee Dam.

MH: Yeah.

TI: And so tell me about that. What, what was...

MH: We went on a family trip to Grand Coulee Dam soon after they opened, or not that they opened, that they started operations. And it was a family trip, my mother and father and my sister and myself, and my younger brother, I think. We all went. And we also visited my father's friend out in Toppenish, Washington, and it also said we went to Portland, Oregon, and I only remember these things 'cause the FBI recorded it.

TI: So how would they know all this in terms of where you went?

MH: Some, it says an informant said that that's what we did and the dates that we went. But also, in the letter my brother Jim had written to a niece, he says -- he was a Boy Scout in Seattle, he and my brother Bill, and in order to go on a trip they had to be second class Scout, and they were both second class Scouts so they were able to go on this trip to Grand Coulee Dam soon after it opened with the Boy Scouts. But he said went on such a dilapidated bus that they had a lot of flat tires and blowouts, and so he said when they ran out of tires that's where they camped. But, see, everybody was going to see the Grand Coulee Dam. It was something to see.

TI: But what's interesting is that, so it wasn't necessarily that the FBI was tailing them. It was that an informant perhaps talked to your dad after the trip, wrote that all down --

MH: Wrote it down, yeah maybe.

TI: -- and then supplied that to the FBI.

MH: Could be.

TI: Interesting.

MH: But, you know, it was the Boy Scouts who went too, and I imagine other groups made trips to the Grand Coulee Dam.

TI: The other thing you showed me were these photographs from the Department of Justice camp, and it looked like your dad was an avid tennis player.

MH: Yes.

TI: And so they had pictures of that. Did your dad ever talk about playing tennis or anything like that?

MH: No. I've never seen him play tennis. But in another letter that, another internee in camp said that while in camp my dad played tennis and softball and that he voluntarily worked in the kitchen, and while in Santa Fe he took upon the responsibilities of policing and fire inspection. So that's what he did in addition to his sports activities.

TI: Oh, so he was kind of policing, almost like internal policing and things?

MH: Probably. Yeah.

TI: And that's probably why, you said that his record was so strong that, the second, second hearing, they decided to release him.

MH: The rehearing, yeah. Said he was...

TI: Now let's talk a little bit about your mother. How did your father's absence affect her during this time period?

MH: Well, she had to be responsible for the family. It's amazing, when I think about it, how she was able to make so many moves. But, yeah, she was a strong person. And when she came to America, you know, she was saying, the whole family came to join my grandfather because he was in the States by himself then, and they were, my grandmother and four children, she says they all came on first class train and then came on a first class boat, and my grandfather had bought new furniture and a new house on Beacon Hill for them. And when they came, she said, there was many delicious dishes and fruits and flowers that the people from the office and the kenjinkai people had arranged for them, so she really had a great welcome to the United States. And she said her father even bought her a new piano.

TI: So your grandfather was, his business was really lucrative.

MH: Was well to do. Yeah. But then he built on the two extra stories to the hotel, and I think that sapped his resources.

TI: Okay.

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

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: Going back to your life, so we, you went to Denver, you mentioned your father had a stroke, and I'm trying to figure out, so how did you get from Denver back to Chicago?

MH: Well first, when my father was so sick he wanted to go back to Seattle, so somebody offered my mother a job at a hotel, so we went back to Seattle for one summer in 1946. But then my sister in Chicago was going to get married, so my mother and I came for the wedding, and then we decided we were going to all stay in Chicago.

TI: Now why is that? So you had grown up in Seattle, your father liked Seattle.

MH: In Seattle, yeah.

TI: Why leave Seattle to go to Chicago?

MH: 'Cause my other brothers and sister were here. They were all here, so we decided the whole family should be in Chicago then.

TI: And why did they want to be in Chicago and not come back to the West Coast?

MH: Yeah, I wonder. [Laughs] Sometimes I think to myself I wish I had stayed in Seattle, but since I had a sister and two brothers living in Chicago and they had jobs here, well, we decided to settle here.

TI: And how would you say Chicago is different than Seattle? What were some of the big differences?

MH: Maybe the, the jobs. Although, Seattle probably... I don't know, 'cause when my mother's younger brother graduated from MIT back in 1932 he couldn't get a job in Seattle, so he went to Japan and he became a professor at Waseda University. But I imagine if, he might've been able to get a job in Chicago.

TI: So jobs were much easier to get for Japanese in Chicago?

MH: Maybe.

TI: How about the Japanese community here? In Seattle your grandfather, your family were all very prominent in Seattle with a large Japanese community. What was Chicago like in terms of Japanese community?

MH: Well, there were a few other kenjinkai people here, and then my mother and father became active in a Japanese church, and of course the family was here. And my three older siblings all got married in 1946 and settled in Chicago.

TI: But my sense is you don't have the same kind of community type of things.

MH: But it was different after the war, after you lost everything.

TI: And how is that? When you were, why was it different?

MH: Well, we, I mean, my grandfather was gone and, I don't know, we didn't have, we had lost our, whatever we had.

TI: So when you think about your family and what it used to have before the war and then how the war changed all of that --

MH: Everything.

TI: Do you ever have any bitterness about what happened?

MH: Not really.

TI: Now, why is that? Because you, I mean, your family lost a lot because of the war.

MH: Mostly my mother lost a lot, yeah.

TI: Well, your father, I mean, when you think of your whole family, how, when you think about the trajectory of, if the war had not happened, what could have happened in terms of your family, and then the war and how much had changed.

MH: It's, mostly the hard part is that my father had the stroke and couldn't work any longer. So, and then my three older siblings got married and then had their own responsibilities, so my mother and I had to work, and my two other brothers went to school.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: We, with your husband I talked about kind of your family life and you kind of overheard that. Is there anything else that you want to talk about in terms of your family in Chicago?

MH: I worked at the Social Security Administration for one year, but in order to get to the office it took over an hour by L. And we were living by the University of Chicago, so I applied for admission to the University and was accepted, but my mother said, "Boys go to college and girls have to work," so I worked full time and went to school part time.

TI: And by working full time and working, was that to help support the family?

MH: Yeah, that was just, my father couldn't work. There's just my mother and myself and a young brother just starting high school and a brother going to college on a GI Bill.

TI: And so your older brothers didn't have to work to support the family?

MH: No, they were, no, they were all married. They're all married and having children, so they didn't, they didn't help the family at all. They didn't have to.

TI: Now was that, did that seem fair to you, that you...

MH: Well, it just seemed that's, that was it. That's the nature of things. So I worked at the University. I was secretary to the dean of School of Business.

TI: But you were able to graduate, though, from --

MH: No, no. I could barely, I think I took one course each semester. Learned how to swim, though, took swimming class during the summer.

TI: So you've done quite a bit of research on the files, your mother did an autobiography, so you've read a lot, learned a lot, and probably thought a lot about this. What does this all mean to you when you think about the work that you've done?

MH: All this?

TI: Yeah.

MH: Well, it's just information for our children, grandchildren.

TI: And so if your, so if your grandchild, when I talked to your husband yesterday -- or, I'm sorry, yesterday, earlier, about your grandson, if he asked, "Grandma, so what's important in all this?" What would you --

MH: Well, he'd have a knowledge of his background, or his grandparents or great-grandparents, so he would know what happened. And I have nieces that are particularly interested in the history of the family and they have pursued these stories.

TI: Yeah, you have so much documentation about your father. Do you know if there was ever a file on your grandfather?

MH: I never checked.

TI: 'Cause that might be interesting to, to look.

MH: Yeah, I never thought to check on my grandfather.

TI: And then you have your mother's autobiography.

MH: Yeah.

TI: Now, was that translated into English?

MH: Yeah, very roughly. I think the person who did it had trouble with some of the kanji.

TI: And then now we have, we have interviews of both you and your husband, so they can also look at that.

MH: And then I took a U.S. history course at Bradley University and the project was to write a story, so I wrote about the evacuation, so we have a story that I wrote, too.

TI: So I think you've left a rich legacy for your grandchildren.

MH: Yeah.

TI: Good. So anything else that you want to talk about?

MH: Well, after Frank had his drugstore, he got sick one day and I could run the drugstore, but I couldn't fill prescriptions, so I decided to pharmacy school.

TI: Oh, how interesting.

MH: So I had credits from University of Chicago and I took some courses at junior college, and I was admitted to the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy, so I went for three years and got a B.S. in Pharmacy. But after I graduated I didn't want to work in the drugstore, so I went to hospital pharmacy instead.

TI: I see.

MH: Yeah. So I worked twenty-two years at a hospital in Skokie, here, not far from here.

TI: Wow, that's pretty impressive that you can, that you could just pick it up like that.

MH: It was, it was fun. At the pharmacy school I associated with all these young Asian people. We all sort of formed together.

TI: So these are Asian Americans or...

MH: Yeah. No, well, the Chinese were from Hong Kong. Some were Chinese American. There's a Korean. Mostly Chinese. And we got along fine. We helped each other.

TI: Now, did you share with this group what happened during the war?

MH: No.

TI: Now why is that? Why didn't you tell them about...

MH: I don't know. That's something in the past, you know? We're busy studying.

TI: Well, I think I'm gonna end the interview now because of the vacuum cleaner.

MH: Oh, we have the vacuum cleaner again.

TI: But Margaret, thank you so much for doing the interview. This was really interesting, so I'm glad it worked that you could do this interview.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.