Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Sadaichi Kubota Interview
Narrator: Sadaichi Kubota
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: July 1, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-ksadaichi-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

SK: I expected to see a blonde girl or the woman of the house face-to-face. Then the door opens and here's this little girl smiling (saying), "Please come in." And we had dinner. The thing is that (this) country boy never knew how to formally use the utensils, and there's sets of utensils there. Oh, my goodness.

TI: Lots of forks, lots of spoons...

SK: Oh yeah. [Laughs] That's right.

TI: You have about three forks and...

SK: And chicken, southern fried chicken. Gee.

TI: And you wanted to just pick it up and eat it. [Laughs]

SK: Yeah, I didn't know what to -- what I would do is just pick it up with my fingers and just munch on it. I think Mr. Beall sensed my uneasiness, so he said, "You know, Corporal, we Southerners eat chicken with our fingers." Oh, that was the cue, he picked it up. "Let us eat." And after dinner --

TI: Did he do that for your benefit? Do you think he usually ate with his fingers, or --

SK: No. I think...

TI: He just did it for you.

SK: I think he sensed my uneasiness.

TI: But normally, they would use a fork and a knife.

SK: Yes. That's what I figured, you see, because all those things were set up over there. Well, anyway, after dinner we went into the living room, just like this, and we were sitting on a couch like that. My (friend was here, and myself, and the couple over here, and as I recall, the mother sat over there, the father sat over there, and the two children sat over here. And we were talking about... mainly they were asking about Hawaii. So, this little girl moved over here. They are foreign, and she kind of crawled up, not crawled, but moved up to my side and she kept looking at me, and I'm kind of uneasy, huh?

TI: Because she was just around the side just looking like this on the --

SK: Yeah, something, you see? And suddenly she said, "Corporal Kubota," -- or just Corporal -- "I just love your black hair." Oh, my goodness. I just blushed and at that time, too. I felt like just hugging her and say, "Oh, thank you," but I didn't do that. But I still remember that. And years later, as a matter of fact, 1995, we went to Mississippi and I wrote. I didn't know whether they were alive or moved away or anything so I wrote to the postmaster at Andalusia. These are the things that happened and I would sort of like to meet with the Beall family, any one of them. And I didn't get an answer from the Beall family nor the postmaster so I (thought), "Well, what the heck, maybe they're all gone." So when we went to Hattiesburg, that's where we (stayed) before going to Camp Shelby. At the hotel -- well, in the letter I said I will be at this certain hotel on a certain day, and if it's possible I would like to meet them. If not, a phone call will be very much appreciated. So when I went there, there's a message for me. This, the girl who registered us said, "Oh, Mr. Kubota, there's a message for you." I read, and it says Gail -- her name was Gail -- Gail Harper. Gee, I knew a Gail, but Harper I didn't know. So I called -- oh, the number -- so I asked the girl at the registration office how can I get out of state (...) by phone. She said, "No, that's, that's local phone number." So I dialed, a couple times. The first time nobody answered, second time, this was about ten o'clock already and this woman answered, and I said, "Oh, I'm Sadaichi Kubota, are you Gail Beall?" She says, "Yes, yes." And I was really surprised that I would meet one of the families in Hattiesburg because I thought no one would be there. (As) I took a small gift, (...) I told her that if we, "I'm so busy with all the activities going on, but then I would like to meet with you if possible. But if we cannot, then I will leave this small gift at the desk so please pick it up." So she said, "No, we'll come," so she and her husband came. Well, I didn't know how she looked like. I was waiting at the entrance of the hotel and then this woman came directly at me. She gave me a big hug. Wow. [Laughs] And (said), "I'm Gail Beall Harper. I'm married to my husband Glenn." Oh, so we had a nice reunion, but that hug she gave me was really something - big reunion.

TI: And she remembered thatm that dinner when you came over?

SK: Yes. She said she kind of vaguely remember -- she was about five -- vaguely remember, but she remembers two soldiers coming to her home. She mentioned that her brother -- he was about seven years old at the time -- said he remembered us coming in and what we talked about.

TI: Did she remember anything about what her parents or brother said about the two soldiers, about what they talked about that you were from Hawaii and what that meant?

SK: Evidently because that letter that I sent, the copy to the bank, there was a Larry something who forwarded the letter to Mrs. Beall, the elderly woman, and she phoned her daughter that I was coming. So this is how... I'm assuming the mother talked to her daughter about this meeting we had in 1943 so she was kind of prepared and it was a good reunion.

TI: Interesting.

SK: Very interesting. [Laughs]

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.