Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Jane Hidaka Interview
Narrator: Jane Hidaka
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Skokie, Illinois
Date: June 16, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-hjane-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: But then eventually, after serving on the board for a while, doing more and more, then you later became the president?

JH: Yes. Well yeah, first I was the treasurer at some point, and then I was the vice president, and then usually what happened was the vice president would move up to be the president.

TI: Now, was that controversial? Because I'm thinking it's a sports league, usually I think of a more male dominated.

JH: Well, you know there are all these Nisei men then, and I had, I had some opposition, yes. Yes.

TI: Now did you try to make some changes?

JH: I did. One of the things I suggested at one point was, they used to have a clinic for these little kids, and you could be seven, eight, whatever, little kids who'd never touched a basketball. And I said I'm thinking for that league, the eight- to eleven-year-olds, I suggested, why don't we have the girls and boys play together? The girls are better at this particular age and then by eleven, now the guys are getting too good to play with, or twelve, too good to play with the guys, but up until then there is no girls' league. Except there's one girls' league so it was all ages, so you had girls from, mostly high school age by that time because you're not gonna get kids from grammar school playing in the same girls' league. So I thought, well, I had heard other schools doing this, girls and boys, and in fact, Rich would tell some of the boys on his teams, "Your sisters can come, too." And some of them did come to the practice, and they were better than the guys at that age, so Rich liked that 'cause, you know. So, "Oh my god, Jane, what are you thinking?" I says, "Well, it's, we can just try it." No, shot down. Shot down. That was okay. I knew I would be shot down, but I figured I'll try. [Laughs] But in fact, when I did become president, I sort of had to nudge the president, I said... what was his name? Now I can't even think of his name. Anyway, I said to him, "You know, you've been president for two terms now." I said, "I think it's time that you stepped down and it's my turn." He was reluctant, but he knew that, yeah okay, so that's how I became president.

TI: Now, eventually, did they adopt this co-ed --

JH: No, we never did that.

TI: Well, I think it was a good idea. [Laughs]

JH: It was a good idea. When I first started I had all these ideas, and I remember I was in charge of the younger boys' basketball league, and so I'm sitting at the scorer's table, and these boys were young high school age and one team was very good and this other team, they came for this game, they had five players and one of them fouled out, got five fouls, so now they're playing four against five. And it's halftime now, so the three fathers come to me and they said to me, "You know, you are not thinking. You don't have the best interest of the boys at heart." I says, "Oh, why is that?" "Well, we're playing five against four," and he says that's not fair. I says, "What has fair got to do with it? I'm going by the rules. You want to play four against four you can do that. I'm willing to let you do that." "Well, no, we were thinking you should let the boy that fouled out play." I says, "How can I do that? He's got five fouls." I says, "At what point would I take him out then, on the sixth or the seventh, or until the game is over? Is that what you're suggesting?" "Well, you just don't have the boys' interest at heart." I says, "I am. By following the rules I am." So I figure, okay, this is my, very early on, my first challenge, right? So, of course, they had to play five against four, and the other team got beat badly, but hey, you only come with five guys. See, we don't let them sign up unless they had at least eight, because this is gonna happen, guys are gonna foul out. So they came with five, this is the penalty. Because they, see, if they forfeit, there's a forfeit fee and you would lose that instead of it being held over for the next year.

TI: But this was an example of kind of the men challenging your authority.

JH: Yes, yes. Oh yes. They had to challenge me. So the next week one of the fathers, who I went to grammar school and high school with, he comes up to me and he says, "I want to apologize for last week." I says, "Your apology is not accepted unless you want to go out on the middle of the floor and yell it out like you yelled at me that I wasn't doing the right thing. Then I would accept that apology." He says, "Well, all I can say is I'm sorry, Jane." I says, "You should be sorry. You guys were way out of line." So that was the last time.

TI: That's a good story.

JH: But that's typical men stuff, and not just being Japanese men. It's, I think that's a typical male thing.

TI: So whatever happened to CNAA?

JH: Well, it lasted for many, many years, but after a time we couldn't get the young people to come, the eight through high school age, because they all now were out in the suburbs, they were... and they had their, there was a lot of activity that was provided to them from the schools. They had soccer leagues, some got wrestling, and so you really couldn't get enough kids. And even the churches had to give up after a while because they didn't have enough young people.

TI: Okay, so Jane, it's time that we have to end this, so we're gonna...

JH: Oh yes. Maybe that's enough.

TI: I think it is. I think we got the main things.

JH: Yeah, don't you think so?

TI: Yeah, so I think this worked out really well.

JH: Right.

TI: So thank you for doing the interview.

JH: You're welcome.

TI: And let's go have a nice dinner.

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