Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kazie Good Interview
Narrator: Kazie Good
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: February 26, 2015
Densho ID: denshovh-gkazie-01

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: So today is Thursday, February 26, 2015, and we're in the Densho offices. On camera is Dana Hoshide, and then I'm the interviewer, Tom Ikeda. And so, Kazie, I'm just going to start. Can you tell me when and where you were born?

KG: I was born in Sacramento, California, May 6, 1925.

TI: Okay, so that would make you, today, eighty-nine years old?

KG: I'm going to be ninety this year.

TI: Ninety, wow, that is amazing. I mean, you look really, really good. Now, when you were born, what was the full name given to you at birth?

KG: Kazue Kiyono.

TI: And how about, like were you ever given a middle name?

KG: Yeah. We lived in an area where there were no Japanese, and the only neighbors we had were Caucasians. And close friends, they couldn't pronounce Japanese names, so they gave everyone in the family an American name. And I was called May because I was born in May. And the only people who call me that is my family, because no one else was around, they were all Caucasians. So when my parents talked about me, they had to refer to me by the name that was, the Caucasians gave us, which was strange.

TI: Oh, so they would use May?

KG: Just my parents and my sister, yeah, my family. No one else called me...

TI: But how about your childhood friends? They would call you May or Kazie?

KG: Both, I guess. It depends upon how close they were to the family.

TI: But then once you got older...

KG: When I was in school, no, I went by "Kazie.".

TI: Okay, good. And then let's talk about your siblings, your brothers and sister. So you can you kind of give me the birth order of their...

KG: My oldest brother was born in November, and he passed away just recently, about two years ago. He was, I think, three years older than I, around there. [Laughs] It's been ages. And then the next one is, was born May 15th, a year (before) I was born.

TI: So a year (older).

KG: He would have been in ('24).

TI: And then...

KG: My sister is about nine years younger, she was born January 28th.

TI: And how about names? Your oldest brother?

KG: Is Kazuma, but he went by Charlie, because that was the name given to him by our neighbor. And the other one is, his name is Ishu, I-S-H-U, and the neighbors called him Buster, which I hated the name.

TI: And your sister?

KG: My sister is Kazuyo, and we called her Mary. My brother and I named her Mary, we wanted her to have an American name.

TI: And then your father, what was his name?

KG: Takaichi.

TI: And what part of Japan was he from?

KG: Well, he was in Wakayama.

TI: And just for our records, do you have a sense of when he came to the United States?

KG: Well, he came... first he went to Hawaii, and he didn't like it there, so he came to the States, and then he went back to get married and then came here. I don't know what year anymore.

TI: Okay. So he went back to get married, so that's where he met your mother?

KG: Yeah.

TI: And what's your mother's name?

KG: Itono.

TI: And where was she from?

KG: Same area.

TI: Okay, good. So six in your family.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: And so what I thought we would do is, for your interview, I really wanted to go focus on the wartime years. And so a good place to start would be December 7, 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. So I wanted to ask you, on that Sunday, where were you and how did you hear about this?

KG: I was at a Japanese school party, actually. And it was on a Sunday, and it was shocking. We were shocked. My one brother was ready to go off and fight, I mean, he was so very upset. He was very patriotic. Actually, my parents came with the idea of staying in this country, and they emphasized my father, especially emphasized that it was important that we be Americans and go along with what we learned in school. That was very important to him. He never, neither of my parents went back to Japan, they had no intention of going back.

TI: And so Charlie, who was about, probably eighteen or nineteen years old, your older brother, because you were about sixteen?

KG: Yeah.

TI: So he would have been eighteen or nineteen. So when he heard, he wanted to actually go fight against the Japanese.

KG: He wasn't too... he had a job after school, and so he was busy in that world. But my other brother, Ish, was, he was very patriotic and was very, very upset over what Japan had done.

TI: Oh, I see. So it was your younger brother.

KG: Yeah. And he never, the oldest brother had suffered a severe leg injury when he was a child, so that he never attempted to join the army, whereas my other brother did. He was... first chance he got, why, he joined the 442nd.

TI: Got it, okay. And so he was actually too young at that point, he was like about fifteen years old when the war first started? But later on, he became older, right?

KG: No, he was older. Both my brothers are older than I.

TI: Oh, okay, I misunderstood. So Ish...

KG: But he's a year older than I.

TI: A year older, got it. Got it. Okay, good, I'm glad you clarified that. Okay, so he, at this point is seventeen, almost eighteen years old.

KG: Yeah.

TI: Okay, got it. So going back to that Sunday, you're at a Japanese language school party. And so how many people were there, kind of set the stage. It was kind of like a...

KG: It was a private school, and I have no idea. But I guess we heard about it on the radio, and that was really distressing, just the idea that, what Japan had done, and we just couldn't imagine.

TI: Do you recall any reaction from the teachers at school?

KG: No, we just went home. We were so upset, that we just couldn't believe what had happened. Well, we never were... we didn't get involved in politics a whole lot, and what went on never really concerned us. I think we were all so involved with school, etcetera, that we just didn't think in terms of what was going on nationally or internationally. I guess part of it is the age, too, that we didn't really pay a whole lot of attention to what went on.

TI: That makes... I mean, you were a teenager.

KG: Yeah.

TI: You know, when you mentioned you were in Japanese school, at this point, how good was your Japanese? How many years had you studied?

KG: I studied for years, and I hated every minute of it. [Laughs] Because I had to go after school, regular school, and I never did any outside homework for the Japanese school, because that wasn't important. What I concentrated on was American school. I went to Japanese school because this family, this teacher talked us into it, and then she contacted our parents. She wanted to start a Japanese school, so she started a private school. Both of my brothers got out of it. My oldest brother got a job after school, so the heck with Japanese school. My other brother, the younger one, played football, so he had a good excuse not to go. I couldn't get out of it. I had no excuse, but I hated every minute of it because I had to go after regular school.

TI: Yeah, that's kind of a common story amongst a lot of the Niseis, especially because they had to go after school or on weekends, and it was really something they didn't look forward to. So when you, going back to December 7th, and so you heard about this at Japanese language school, then you went home. Do you recall any reaction from your parents?

KG: I don't remember except that they were all worrying, "What going to happen?" Something's going to happen to us, but we didn't know what.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: So let's talk about the days after December 7th. So the next day, December 8th, Monday, is a school day. What was that like?

KG: That was real bad, because we had to take the bus to go to school, and everybody stared at us and, you know, we heard all kinds of derogatory comments.

TI: So what would be an example of derogatory comments?

KG: Well, when, for instance, my favorite class was math. I had a geometry teacher, and he was very good. And at that time, someone came around -- they didn't have intercoms -- and a person came around to say they were going to have a scrap drive for the war effort. And this teacher said, "Let's collect scraps to beat the Japs." And I was just jarred by that. And there were three of us Japanese students in the class, and we just kind of looked at each other, you know. And after class was over, this one German boy waited for me outside and said, "I want to apologize for what the teacher said." Anyway, it was... it just jarred me because the teacher was one that I enjoyed and that I respected. And I don't... well, that's the way people talked.

TI: So you had that combination of one of your favorite teachers sort of, you're seeing a different side of a favorite teacher. But then the other thing which is really interesting, was a, the student who was of German ancestry. It's kind of ironic because at that point, the United States was fighting, declared war on Germany also, and he came up to you to apologize.

KG: Yeah. He felt... well, he was aware of how I felt, I guess, I don't know. But after I thought about it, it was interesting that he of all people... and it was a student that I really didn't have too much contact with. But he was a very, very sensitive person.

TI: Oh, but you know, in some ways, I guess it makes sense, too. Because in a similar way, the country where his ancestors came from was now fighting against the United States. And so he probably, in some ways, could feel some of this sense of here I'm an American, and yet my ancestors, or even maybe some relatives, are now at war with the United States.

KG: Yeah, there was a connection there.

TI: Right, okay. So that actually does make sense.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: Now, going back to your family situation, at this point, your home, was it rented, was it owned? Do you recall?

KG: It was rented. My dad couldn't own the house, because he was an Issei, and they weren't allowed to own property.

TI: Right, but then because you had older brothers, sometimes they put it in the names of the...

KG: No, my dad couldn't do that. It wasn't right, it wasn't legal really, technically.

TI: So tell me a little bit about your home. What was it like, like how many rooms?

KG: Oh, I don't remember.

TI: So when we... so what I'm trying to understand is, what kind of preparations, as the weeks went by, pretty soon people in Sacramento got notices that they had to leave. I'm trying to get a sense of that feeling, and what you had to do to get ready.

KG: Well, we got rid of everything. I mean, neighbors came in and practically walked off with everything. Because I remember my bed being, going down the steps, and watching this person walk, he and his friend walking down carrying my bed, and that sort of thing. And I remember my one brother, he made model airplanes all over, and he had one special one, he had just started to work with motors on model airplanes. And he didn't get a chance to really fly it, but he couldn't take it with him, so he promised it to his close friend. The day we were leaving, this boy was sitting on our porch early in the morning, because my brother had promised him that he'd give him that plane, so he was waiting. And I wondered, "Who are you?" then I realized what had happened. And we watched that boy walk down the street with this model plane with a motor in it, and my brother just watched it. And I really felt sorry for him because this was something that he was looking forward to working with.

TI: Working, and then eventually flying it.

KG: Yeah. And he never got a chance, but he saved his money to buy that engine.

TI: Tell me a little bit about that feeling. So your parents decided to sell everything. And you talk about the bed being taken away, your brother's, eventually his model airplanes, and finally his prized airplane. How would you describe how it felt to see all those things leave the house?

KG: Well, it just... the house was empty in the end and, you know, there wasn't a whole lot we could do. It was time to go.

TI: So in those last days, that last night, for instance, where did you sleep?

KG: On the floor, because everything was gone. So we spread sheets and blankets on the floor and we slept on the floor.

TI: And during this time, do you recall anything that your parents said to you as this was happening?

KG: No, no, it's shikata ga nai, as you're familiar with that term, everything is shikata ga nai.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: So now everything's gone, probably the last thing leaving was your brother's prized airplane. What happens next? Where do you go to get picked up?

KG: Well, we went to the... let's see, my parents and my sister, who was little, went by cab. They had the suitcase and everything, and my brothers and I walked (to) the auditorium, but we meandered around, because we weren't in a hurry to get there.

TI: Now, did any of your friends or brother's friends come to say goodbye to you?

KG: No.

TI: Did that surprise you, or was that pretty much expected, that...

KG: Well, we didn't think about. We're just too busy, involved in our own thoughts.

TI: Did you recall any conversations on that last walk before essentially...

KG: Well, we just walked around and enjoyed different things that, you know, we had taken advantage of before. We just wondered if we would ever be back, is the thing that ran through our mind.

TI: Now were your older brothers, how would you describe, were they ever angry or bitter about this happening?

KG: No, none of us were angry or bitter. I mean, it's, like I said, shikata ga nai. We've got to do this, and so we go. Actually, with my own children, I never talked about it, the camp, because I didn't want them, I didn't want to explain it until I felt they were old enough to comprehend what took place. So they were, Patti was in... it was the '60s, and she's at an age where you protest, you know. And when I finally told her what had happened, and she got upset that I was willing to go along, why didn't I protest? And I said, "Well, when there's a gun pointed at your head, you don't protest," and she stopped and thought, well, that never occurred to her. But anyway, I didn't want the children to feel, be critical about the government. Because there were a lot of things involved, and I didn't want to have to explain everything. But at the same time, the general public was so paranoid and felt guilty and all that, and that's one feeling I never wanted them to feel, because there were so many factors that were involved in what brought the whole thing along.

TI: That's similar, I had a similar conversation with my father when I first started learning about this. And this was late '60s, early '70s, and again, asking questions, saying, "Why didn't people push back or protest?" And I remember his comment, in a similar way, was, "You really had to be there." There were so many things happening in terms of the fear on the streets, the sense of confusion. Back then, people pretty much followed orders. When the government told you to do something, there really weren't protests.

KG: Yeah, you just didn't protest. We were given this notice, we were told this is gonna happen, so you... we didn't have the gumption to protest.

TI: Well, it wasn't very common back then in those days. This was before the Civil Rights Movement.

KG: And there were just a few people who had the strength to rebel, but that wasn't the case for most of the people.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: So you walked to Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento. What was that like?

KG: The whole place when we got there was just cluttered with bundles of bedding and suitcases and stuff like that, with nametags, family tags and all. And it's funny, my sister says she remembers the nametag, and she remembers the number the family had, which surprised me. And she was just about seven, and she says that number has stuck in her mind. And she says sometime she ought to play that number on the lottery and see what happens. [Laughs]

TI: I'm guessing that at her age, too, someone probably told her that that was a really important number, and if she ever got lost or something, that number was probably important.

KG: Well, yeah. But there's something that happened in camp that kind of hit me. She was a child, seven when she went in, ten when she got out. And the first time we got off the bus, she looked around and she said, "This town doesn't have a barbed wire fence around it."

TI: Oh, so this is after you left Tule Lake and you were in Pennsylvania?

KG: No, we were just on the road leaving. And that hit me, and then I realized when you think of children's art, all they drew were barracks and barracks and towerhouses and barbed wire fences. And that's the other thing about the government not wanting to publicize the fact that there was a camp. Well, they called it a "relocation center" rather than camps. And when visitors came, they were not allowed to take pictures of the barbed wire fence or the towerhouses and the guns and all that. And those were things that just stuck in my sister's mind, and she just thought that's the way the world was.

TI: Yeah, that is interesting. That's powerful when you think about it, because all she knew, really, or could remember...

KG: Yeah, she completely forgot about what the outside was like. And she says, "How come this town doesn't have a barbed wire fence around it?"

TI: Yeah, that's powerful. So going back to Memorial Auditorium, was it hard to find your parents and your sister?

KG: No, no. There were people milling around, but no.

TI: And so from there, what happened? So you're there with your luggage and now together with families, you had tags...

KG: So we had soldiers with guns put us on the bus, and we went to camp.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: And this is the Walerga Assembly Center.

KG: Yeah.

TI: And when you got there, what were your first impressions?

KG: Well, we shared a room, actually, it was kind of really temporary. And we dumped our stuff against this one wall. And my brother walked around, he says, he's describing the outhouse, he says, "They dig a hole and put a house on top of it." That's my brother's sense of humor. But anyway, there wasn't a whole lot to do except what was... and I can remember getting canned food. Anyway, the food was so different and... well, we were fed, so that's all that matters.

TI: Now, what was Walerga before it was an assembly center?

KG: It was a CCC camp.

TI: And so it was, it had facilities, but not for so many people.

KG: No.

TI: And that's why they had to dig holes for...

KG: Well, I don't know if that's really the case, but that's what my brother...

TI: I see, okay. And so how did you spend your time at Walerga? What kind of things did you do?

KG: We were there I don't think more than about a month or so. And I don't remember doing anything special.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: Okay, so after a month, then where did you go?

KG: We went to Tule Lake.

TI: And how did you go from Walerga to Tule Lake?

KG: By train.

TI: And any memories of that journey going up there, the train ride?

KG: Uh-uh.

TI: Okay, so you go up to Tule Lake, you get off the train, and what are your first impressions of that area?

KG: Well, just a bunch of barracks. Barracks and barracks and barracks.

TI: Now when you and your family were there, were you one of the first there, or were you sort of in the middle?

KG: About the middle. I really don't... there were people there already.

TI: And so I grew up in the Seattle area and a lot of people from this area, thousands outside of Seattle, like Bellevue, Kent, Auburn valley, all of them went to, first, Pinedale, and then to Tule Lake. And I'm just curious, did you recall from where people came from? Like did you know that some people came from Washington state, and some people came from Sacramento?

KG: In Tule Lake there were, yeah, different areas. The people from Washington were over across the firebreak, and the Sacramento people were pretty much within the same ward. The only distinction were some people were country people. We lived in the city, and then there were the country people, and they were farmers, and there was some distinction other than that. Nothing special, but...

TI: Well, yeah, most of the people probably from Washington... well, let me think about this. So it was a lot of farmers, but also people from Tacoma went there, too. So you had some city people, but a lot of farming people also, so you had a mixture. In Sacramento was it the same, where you had city people and farming people?

KG: Yeah, more or less. The farm actually, even the farm people went to Sacramento High. They came by car, actually, and so we thought of them as a different group of people. There were the city people and the country people, it seems.

TI: So how were those dynamics? Did people get along pretty well, city people?

KG: Yeah, there was never any problem. Within the camp, you mean? There was no problem.

TI: How about the differences or relationships between Sacramento people and Washington people?

KG: We really didn't have a whole lot of contact with each other, because they were in a different part of the camp. Well, there were eighteen thousand people in Tule Lake, that's a lot of people.

TI: Right, yeah, so I was just curious. So it was like a whole different little area that just didn't see as much.

KG: Uh-huh. We really didn't have much to do with them.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: Now in those earlier months, what did you do? How did you spend your time?

KG: Well, my first year, I was a senior in high school, so I was busy.

TI: And how was the school at Tule Lake compared to Sacramento?

KG: They were two extremes as far as teachers were concerned. We had several teachers who were single who taught at UC, and they were upset over what had happened, and they voluntarily took jobs teaching. And they were very considerate and outstanding. And then there were the other group of teachers who got government jobs that they taught in little schools, and this was a big paycheck, I'm sure. And they tend to be less sympathetic. I don't know if prejudiced, but they were not as understanding. It just seemed like there were two extremes in terms of caliber of teaching.

TI: Now, where did the teachers come from? You mentioned the UC teachers, so it sounds like they came from different parts of...

KG: All over.

TI: All over. How about that other group? Where did they come from? Were they more local then, or did they also come from all over?

KG: All over, I think. I can't recall where they were from, but there were a number of teachers that... I wouldn't say they were prejudiced, but they were just so-so.

TI: Now, when you think of those two groups, how did they compare in terms of the size? I mean, were there more of one versus the other?

KG: Well, those that were... the few that I had that were from UC Berkeley, actually, they were outstanding and very understanding. I had a teacher, one teacher was from Hollywood, actually. She was a single person, and had worked with all the movie stars, so she used to talk a lot about the movie people, and she was very interested in what was going on, and very, she was an outstanding teacher in terms of being aware of what was going on, and was very sympathetic. But anyway, it just was a mixture of teachers.

TI: But you could tell that some of the teachers really cared about the students.

KG: Yeah, they were very caring and understanding and concerned. And then there were some that... but that's the nature.

TI: And how about the quality of the teaching, like the instruction? I mean, you mentioned earlier you loved geometry, and how did something like mathematics, how was that taught?

KG: That was the one thing I missed, because I was scheduled to... normally I would have gone on to taking calculus, which I didn't get, it wasn't available. And some of the teachers were, there were some Nisei teachers who were college material, they didn't have enough teachers, so some of the college kids became teachers as fill-in, more or less.

TI: Oh, so there was now this third, so you had, like, you mentioned earlier, two groups, and now you had this now third group of Niseis who, older Niseis who...

KG: Yeah, some.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: Now, after several months at Tule Lake, so I think it was like the beginning of, or end of '42, beginning of '43, they came out with a "loyalty questionnaire." Do you remember that?

KG: Oh, yes.

TI: So let's talk about that. How was that presented to the people at Tule Lake?

KG: Well, that created a tremendous conflict among the people, especially among the Isseis. Because as Isseis, they were prohibited from having properties and all that, and then for them to denounce or refuse the emperor, that would have made them a stateless individual, so that really created a problem. As far as my parents, my dad was concerned, by that time, my brother had left for school and was kicked out, and that's when my dad decided we had to stay put, he was going to sit the war out before he took any action. And as far as that questionnaire was concerned, he registered, but he left the two questions blank.

TI: So these were questions twenty-seven and twenty-eight. Twenty-seven kind of asking about...

KG: The emperor.

TI: Yeah, "do you forswear any allegiance to the emperor," another one had to do with military service?

KG: Yeah.

TI: Which, as an Issei, he wouldn't be...

KG: No. Well, he just left those two questions blank. But then that designated him as "disloyal" right away, because he had refused to answer.

TI: So let me back up just a little bit and talk first a little bit about your brother. So he was at Tule Lake, and after a little bit...

KG: I think they were out by that.

TI: He then sort of left on kind of a work release or a school release?

KG: They both... yeah, one went out on school and the other one on a farm. A group of kids... the thing is, with parents, it was all right for boys to leave, but not girls, because boys can take care of themselves, and that's not true of girls. You know, it's just a general... well, I couldn't go out anyway, I mean, there was nothing for me to do, since even though I was through with high school, I didn't have a career or anything of that sort. And for girls to go out, it's just too dangerous in terms of what was going on in the outside. But most parents didn't worry too much about boys going out, but that's not the case with girls.

TI: And so it was easier for your parents to see your two older brothers leave camp then, one to work, and then the other one, you said, went to school. But then you mentioned earlier, there was some difficulty?

KG: Well, when he was in school the first week, the student body rioted.

TI: So tell me what kind of school was this?

KG: It was the school that the government... it was kind of like mechanical training. They needed these workers for the war effort, for defense and all that. My brother was interested in planes, and he thought, "Here's an opportunity." It was mechanical training, and that applied to him, it was for him in terms of planes that he was interested in.

TI: And this was the same brother who grew up making model airplanes?

KG: Yeah. And he ended up with his whole life being spent at the Edwards Air Force base.

TI: Okay, but before we go there, so he applies and gets accepted to this school.

KG: He's in school the first week -- there were about seven that went out together. They went out with tremendous fanfare, with, you know, the government said, "Here these kids are going out to school and go on with their life and all that," and then they were in school one week and the student body rioted.

TI: So where was this school?

KG: It was in Minnesota, but I can't recall... Minneapolis probably, and I don't remember the school. But it had to do with some mechanical training that they boys were getting, in which the government needed in terms of the war effort, in terms of defense.

TI: Okay, so these seven Niseis...

KG: Yeah, I think there were seven.

TI: ...go to this school, and then you said in the first week, the other students rioted?

KG: Yeah.

TI: So...

KG: So when it became dangerous for them, they were dropped. They voluntarily, I guess, dropped, because it was too dangerous for them. And right after, shortly after that, the government opened up the, started the 442nd business, and my brother joined immediately.

TI: Okay, so he volunteered.

KG: Oh, yeah.

TI: And was he at that time living outside of camp? Would he have come back to...

KG: No, neither of them came back.

TI: Got it.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: Wow, so while this is going on, going back to your father, so he saw all this happening, and especially with the, I guess the rioting at the school, this disturbance at the school, he must have felt concerned about what the outside world was like.

KG: Well, that was it. All the news that trickled back to the camp was pretty negative. And for that reason, he decided he's gonna stay put. He had no intention of going to Japan or anything like that, but he felt it was too dangerous to be outside, and so he was gonna just sit the war out, was what he planned to do.

TI: And as part of that, his thinking, going back to the "loyalty questionnaire," so he decided to not fill out question twenty-seven and twenty-eight.

KG: Right.

TI: From what I gathered from the research, if you said no to either one of those questions or both, or didn't answer, you were then kind of placed in this category of, well, we're gonna put you in a category that is a group that is, perhaps that is more suspicious. Is that kind of what happened to your father?

KG: Well, I don't think he worried about that a whole lot. It's just that he felt the need to stay and not go out because what was going on outside. There was no problem with me, I registered, I was a "yes-yes" from the beginning.

TI: Well, there was so much confusion, because people answered, the way they answered the questionnaire, there were so many different reasons. I mean, they call it a "loyalty questionnaire," but it really wasn't necessarily based on necessarily whether or not they were loyal or disloyal to any countries.

KG: No, I don't think many people thought in those terms. It was just a label put on us after the fact, and that I found troublesome, especially when I left camp. The moment you said you were from Tule Lake, that meant you were automatically disloyal, and that really hurt.

TI: I'm going to ask you more about that later. But going back to the feelings when the "loyalty questionnaire" first came out, so your father decided not to answer, you said you registered "yes-yes" and did all that. Were there lots of discussions amongst people about how they were dealing with this?

KG: Yeah. Well, there was a tremendous repercussion, and I guess there must have been more people from Tule Lake who had questions, and that's when more people refused to answer more than any other camp, and this is one of the reasons why Tule Lake was selected as the desegregation center. It was also on the West Coast. But I think of all the ten camps, there were more people from Tule Lake who questioned.

TI: Now, so for you who kind of lived through this, why do you think Tule Lake had the highest number of people who either didn't answer or said no to those questions?

KG: I don't know why. But you know, there's so much emotion involved that people just get so involved and get influenced by other people.

TI: So yeah, so let's talk about that a little bit. So what was the process that most people at Tule Lake went through? Was it a private sort of decision that people made in their apartments and the barracks as families, or were there, like, community discussions?

KG: There were block... yeah.

TI: So describe that. How did it work?

KG: Well, there were a lot of block meetings and whole camp meetings, people getting together in mess hall and shouting. But the Isseis were really concerned in terms of if they had voted no, why that would have meant that they were stateless, because they were rejected by... they couldn't become citizens. And if they turned down Japan, even though they weren't planning to go to Japan, why, that left them up in the air. And that was a big concern among the Issei group, and I can understand their feelings.

TI: And during these block meetings or larger camp meetings, were people talking or arguing for both sides, that some people were saying you should say "yes-yes" and some people were saying "no-no," or was it mostly on one side of the discussion?

KG: Well, I think there was a combination of both. Depends upon whether, how angry you were, I guess.

TI: And it's such a divisive topic. For those who said, argued for "yes-yes," were they Isseis or Niseis who were doing that?

KG: Well, the "yes-yes" would be more Niseis, because very few of us intended to go to Japan. I think the Kibeis, who were the other, they were more inclined to register as the Isseis did.

TI: Now at this point, when the "loyalty questionnaire" came out, did the JACL have a presence in this discussion?

KG: Yeah, well, they were pro-American, and pushed for us to go along with what the government was saying.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: Okay. So after the questionnaires have been, people go through the process, they decide how to answer it, and then they were all turned it, then what happened?

KG: Well, then those who were, said "yes-yes," they would transfer to the other camp, and from the other camps came those who were saying they're gonna go to Japan. And after the switch was made, then Tule Lake was just a completely different place. I mean, we had all the radical elements who were extremely vocal. And you can't reason with people who are radically inclined. And so it really became very dangerous, because they really ruled the roost, they just took over completely.

TI: And we'll talk more about that, but going back to your block, for instance, like how many people, when they were transferring out, how many of the families left? Did very many families leave?

KG: Oh, yeah.

TI: Like about what percentage, roughly?

KG: Oh, I have no idea.

TI: Like most of them? I'm just trying to get a sense of that shift in terms of how many left, how many people came in from your perspective?

KG: I guess more than fifty percent left, because it seemed that many new people came in.

TI: And so I'm guessing that some of your friends left?

KG: Oh, yeah.

TI: And how was that for you to see your friends leave?

KG: That was really hard, because my friends who were left, had left to go to school and all, and there I sat, and that was really hard.

TI: Now at this point, you mentioned earlier that it was harder for women to leave. But you had graduated from high school, you were a good student, did you ever consider going to college?

KG: Oh, yeah. See, that's what upset me, my friends who had left had gone on to college, and there I sat. And I was planning to go on to school, and I couldn't do anything.

TI: And what prevented you at this point from going to school?

KG: Well, I couldn't leave my family. I had to more or less take care of my parents, you know, because I was the oldest one there at that time. Well, I couldn't go out on my own anyway.

TI: Okay, so you felt sort of obligated to...

KG: Well, I couldn't go to school. I mean, I had no way to finance myself or anything of that sort, so I was stuck.

TI: And so now... going back to when they're transferring families out and other families are coming in, from a... did you notice anything from a security standpoint that was changing? Like changes to the fences or the guards or number of guards, anything that you noticed?

KG: Well, the block that I was in was on the end, so the first thing I saw when we left the door was the barbed wire fence and the towerhouse and the guards. The block just happened to be on the outside part. As far as gates, the Caucasian staff was surrounded by a barbed wire fence. The idea is that if we ever got out, there was a second one that protected the Caucasians. There were two... they were in a separate area.

TI: And so I'm wondering, though, when they decided to make Tule Lake the segregation camp, did they change any of that?

KG: No, I don't think so. I mean... well, there was more security in terms of more, seemed like more guards in the camp than before.

TI: Okay, so perhaps more guards.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: Now, when families, new families started coming to your block, do you recall like from what different camps they came from?

KG: Oh, yeah.

TI: So what were some of the camps that they came from?

KG: All the different places.

TI: So places like Manzanar, Poston...

KG: Yeah, Minidoka.

TI: Minidoka, Heart Mountain.

KG: Yeah.

TI: And how would you characterize these families, how did they differ from the ones who had left?

KG: The ones that came in?

TI: Yeah, the ones that came in.

KG: Oh, they were emotionally wound up. They were going to Japan, we're gonna do everything possible to prepare ourselves to live in Japan, and this is how the Kibeis especially took over. They started the Japanese schools and all that, and that was really... it just turned the place upside down. Because the idea is we're gonna prepare to live in Japan, so start speaking Japanese, and don't speak English. And it went to a ridiculous point, for instance, the girls were told, "The Japanese have straight hair." They should not curl their hair because that's American. "Just make yourself Japanese, and speak only Japanese." And that was ridiculous, because for the average Niseis, we didn't speak Japanese except to our parents. Among friends we never spoke Japanese, it was all English.

TI: So to the point where if you were just out with friends, like at the mess hall, and were conversing in English, that would be looked down upon by some people?

KG: Oh, yeah. When they went to the Japanese school, this is one of the things. First of all, there weren't enough jobs, so that only two people were allowed to work in the family. My father worked, he had a job keeping the furnaces fired for hot water, my mother worked in the kitchen, so I couldn't work. So those who didn't have a job, we were supposed to go to Japanese school. And I refused, and so my father took a beating for that because they criticized him, he must be a weakling, that he can't get his daughter to go to Japanese school. And he said at one point, just for safety, I ought to at least just go to the (school). And I told him absolutely not, because I knew how the camp's, the schools functioned. I had a friend who went, and it started out with, "Banzai, Hirohito, banzai, Tojo," and I said, I told my dad, "There's no way under the sun that you're going to get me to go through that. So he didn't push me, because he (understood) how I felt.

TI: Now, do you know who beat up your father?

KG: There was a man at the end of our barrack, actually. One day when my dad was shoveling coal in the furnace, right at that moment when he picked up the shovel, this man started screaming and saying that my dad was going to beat him up. And the warden, who knew my dad and saw it happen, just threw the case out. In fact, this person took my dad to the warden's court and accused him formally, that he was, my dad was going to beat him up with a shovel. But the warden said that was all fabricated, and so they tossed the case out. But my dad knew all along that there were people who were out to get him, mainly because I refused to go to Japanese school. I was one of the few people; all the others went. I had classmates, they worked, so they were left alone. But I didn't, I wasn't working, and so I should be going to Japanese school, and I just refused to do that.

TI: So what did you do with your time?

KG: I went crazy. [Laughs] I was active at the Christian church, just to get together with friends, everything was in English. There were also books available, a lot of churches from the outside sent books, so I managed to keep myself occupied. Also, a group of us talked the high school administration into letting us audit some courses, just to...

TI: Oh, audit some of the high school courses?

KG: Yeah. And then we had to stop that because we got chased home. The idea was, "What business do you have going to an American school when you should be going to a Japanese school instead?"

TI: So I'm curious, was the administration aware of the harassment that you and some others were facing?

KG: Oh, yeah, I'm sure.

TI: And were they able or tried to do anything?

KG: No.

TI: So here is a...

KG: Well, they weren't really responsible for us. I mean, we were through with high school, so they shouldn't have to worry about us. They were concerned about the people who were in high school.

TI: So when I say administration, I'm not talking just the school administration, I'm talking about camp administration. Because they're responsible for the people they're essentially holding.

KG: No.

TI: And if certain people are being harassed, wouldn't they feel an obligation to protect them?

KG: Not in Tule Lake. In Tule Lake, the people who were in charge were the Kibeis and the radicals who got up every morning and marched around, paraded, exercise, because they're making themselves, bodies strong for Japan and all that crap. So, oh no, they had control. And it was very dangerous, in fact. It got to a point where they said, "Don't speak English." And then it got to a point where, "Don't associate with anyone who is pro-American." So nobody was talking to me, because...

TI: Now when you say "no one," because you talked about being in this...

KG: Within the block.

TI: Okay, in the block.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: But then there was, like, you could find places like at this Christian church where there were some others who kind of were in the same situation?

KG: No. The Christian church was kind of a relief. The attitude was different; that's one of the reasons why I went, because there was more camaraderie.

TI: But there were other Niseis there who felt the same as you?

KG: Yeah. There was a Nisei service and an Issei service. And the Nisei service was led by a Caucasian Christian minister from the outside.

TI: And about how many Niseis attended this service?

KG: Oh, I don't know. We had a barrack full.

TI: So that would be, like fifty?

KG: Maybe.

TI: And in general would you think of this group as having views similar to yours?

KG: Yeah, pretty much. We were sympathetic; we understood each other.

TI: So as a group, when you would leave the service or something, were people sort of harassing you?

KG: Not in the church, no.

TI: Yeah, it sounds like such a difficult situation, and I'm just thinking, the administration, the camp administration must have known some of this was going on.

KG: Oh, sure. Oh, sure. Because these people were very vocal.

TI: No, in terms of, I'm sure, yeah, they noticed the vocal, say, pro-Japan, but the fact that they were harassing Niseis who maybe didn't have the same beliefs.

KG: Well, I don't think they were aware. But no, we were on our own.

TI: Did you ever fear for your safety?

KG: Yeah.

TI: So tell me about that. What would be a...

KG: Well, when I went to school in the evening, this advance course that we talked the teacher into teaching, I got chased home. So I dropped that because I decided it wasn't worth being clobbered to take classes.

TI: And who chased you? You said you were chased home.

KG: Oh, group of boys hanging around.

TI: And do you recall anything that they yelled or said to you as they were chasing you?

KG: Oh, yeah. I can tell you one time when I was in the shower, you know, this open room, and this Issei saw me, she says, "Why don't you go to Japanese school?" And she just harassed me and I just quickly got out of there. But it was just little things like that, people constantly badgering you. And when it got to a point where they said, "Don't speak to anyone who is pro-American," the way they handled it is people like my neighbor, there were at least four people about my age group or a little older, they weren't supposed to deal with me. So we would bump into each other, and the way they handled it is by looking away as if we didn't exist.

TI: And how did your parents deal with this when you talked to them about what was going on?

KG: Oh, well, my father... I understood why he was doing what he did, and as much as I tried to talk him into at least going to another camp, it just didn't work and I finally just gave up. And he finally decided when they got a point where they said, "We're going to kill anyone who is pro-American," and this one man was murdered, that's when my dad hightailed it to the office and said, "We're leaving." Because he knew we were targeted.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: So can you talk about your father's friend who was murdered?

KG: He worked for the co-op company, the co-op business, so he dealt with a lot of Caucasians. And so he had the reputation of being pro-American, so he was murdered.

TI: And was this sort of... so who killed him? Was it ever kind of, someone...

KG: No, they never established it. I had some Kibei friends who told me, "It's easy to murder someone, all you have to do is have a knife and go up to the person and perform the seppuku on the person."

TI: And do you know how this person was killed, was it with a knife?

KG: Yeah, he was murdered, I think he was murdered with a knife.

TI: And so after...

KG: There were no guns, but you can get a knife without any problem.

TI: And so it was after this incident that your father decided the family needed to leave.

KG: Yeah. He went down right away and we started packing at three o'clock in the morning, the army truck pulled up, and we took off.

TI: So the administration understood the tension, so they got your family out right away.

KG: Oh, yeah.

TI: And it must have been a very frightening time for you and your family.

KG: Yeah.

TI: And so you said at three a.m. the truck came up and you loaded up and then left.

KG: Yeah.

TI: And at three a.m., where did you go? Where did they hold you?

KG: We went down to Sacramento for a few days to look over some things and then we took off for Philadelphia.

TI: Do you recall about what time, the date of when you left the camp? Like the year... I'm just to get a sense of when that happened.

KG: It would have been, what, '44. '45?

TI: '45?

KG: (It was June 14, 1945). Because I went to college, when I got to Philadelphia, the government had a student relocation office, and I went there right away to find out about college. I wanted to get going because I'd lost two years at least. They had a record of the schools that would accept Japanese students from the camps and all, and the one college had just registered that they would accept students, and they offered a scholarship, so I jumped at that.

TI: Now, why did your family choose Pennsylvania?

KG: We had friends who ran the hostel. In fact, (it was) the lady that ran the Japanese school, (the family) were our very close friends.

TI: The Japanese school in Sacramento that you went to?

KG: Yeah, uh-huh. They were family friends, and we've known them all along, and we knew they had relocated there. And they ran the hostel, you know, it was like the boarding house that the Japanese people came from camps, and then they looked for jobs after.

TI: And this was in Philadelphia?

KG: Yeah.

TI: Now was there any thought, if this were 1945, the West Coast was actually open at that time?

KG: No.

TI: Okay, it actually...

KG: We had to go east.

TI: You had to go east, okay.

KG: The war was still on.

TI: So there was no thought of staying closer to the West Coast.

KG: No, we couldn't, we weren't allowed to go back west. (Narr. note: The war was still on and we were encouraged to go east. There may have been some people who had gone back earlier before the war ended, I'm not certain.)

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: So tell me what it, so how did you get to Philadelphia? It was all train?

KG: Train, yeah.

TI: That took a long time, that was a long trip.

KG: Yeah.

TI: Any stories or memories from that train?

KG: Yeah, sitting on our suitcases because it was during the war and the trains were crowded, and about as low a class as one can, how one can travel.

TI: So it was kind of like standing room kind of train ride.

KG: Yeah, uh-huh.

TI: Do you recall how you were feeling? I mean, in some ways, there must be this sense of relief of leaving Tule Lake, but yet apprehension in terms of what you're going to find.

KG: Yeah, well, I found out that I couldn't stand to be with (the Japanese people). Because the first thing people asked was, "What camp were you in?" And the moment you said Tule Lake, it meant only one thing: that you were disloyal. Because people had no understanding of what went on, and they just... well, that's how the government labeled the desegregation camp, was for the disloyal people, is how they publicized it more or less. At least, that's the information that was gotten across.

TI: But how about friends that knew you before the war? Like this woman that had the hostel in Philadelphia? Did her feelings change at all towards the family because you were at Tule Lake?

KG: No. They knew, at least, my parents explained and all.

TI: So it was really people that you didn't really know, so other Japanese, Japanese Americans who you'd just meet.

KG: They came from all over. That was a hostel, you know, people came out of camps and went there, they were from different camps. And they were people we didn't know before. There were a few we knew, but most of them were just strangers. And I could not stand being with any of them.

TI: And again it's because of how they treated you when they found out that you were from Tule Lake?

KG: Well, I don't know that they... well, as soon as they stated I was disloyal, then I just left. I mean, I didn't care to deal with them, and I just avoided the Japanese period because of that.

TI: Now tell me a little bit about the hostel. I'm curious what a hostel would be like in Philadelphia.

KG: It's a boarding house.

TI: And so how large, was it just like a big house?

KG: Yeah, it was a big house. It must have been two, three stories. And there were bedrooms and then a big dining room where we ate together. And from there, people looked for jobs and all.

TI: I'm sorry, about how many people were in the hostel, would you say, at one time? How many different families?

KG: Oh, maybe four or five families, I don't know.

TI: And generally how long would people stay at the hostel?

KG: I have no idea. Depending upon how long it took them to get a job or whatever.

TI: And then earlier you mentioned...

KG: The government had hostels throughout the country in different cities like Cincinnati and Chicago and Philadelphia. And this is one means of getting people out, or providing people a place to stay, you know, right after they got out of camp.

TI: Now, were these hostels subsidized? Did the government sort of pay for your rent?

KG: I don't remember. I don't remember paying, or my parents paying or anything like that. Well, we didn't stay long, so it's possible that the government paid, I don't know.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: You mentioned earlier that after you got to Philadelphia, you quickly wanted to go to school. So tell me about that, so how did you go about going to school?

KG: Well, Philadelphia had an office, student relocation office, and I went right away. And they had a list of schools that would accept Japanese students, they had the colleges that would... because some colleges wouldn't accept Japanese students. So the school that I went to was a very small church-related school. I jumped at that chance because they offered a scholarship in the first place. And also, it was a church-related school, they had a YM and a YWCA organization, and they had done a survey of the student body in terms of whether they, how they would feel about accepting a student from the camps. And I was told it was fairly positive, didn't know exactly, but then I thought, well, I wouldn't have to go through what my brother went through in terms of students rebelling. So that was one of the reasons why I selected the college that I did.

TI: That's interesting, so the YMCA and the YWCA...

KG: Had one of the... that was one of the organizations of the college.

TI: And they had already done like a survey of the student body to see how they would feel? Did they do that with other schools?

KG: I have no idea.

TI: That's interesting. What was the name of the school?

KG: Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania. It was a very small college, but very strong in science, which appealed to me. I mean, I didn't know that, but I majored in biology and chemistry, and I felt I had a very good education. And from there I got a job working for the Atomic Energy Commission doing research, so I did all right.

TI: Going back to your studies of biology and chemistry, back then, were there very many women who studied chemistry and biology, or was it mostly men who studied chemistry and biology?

KG: No, it was just a class. I guess... well, that school was a strong pre-med school, so there were more men in that field.

TI: And when you started working, like at the Atomic Energy, were there very many women who were working?

KG: Oh, yeah, sure. We were all chem and bio majors, and all... it was Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York, which is the Atomic Energy peacetime research lab, which appealed to me.

TI: Now, did you have any concerns or different feelings given that the United States had dropped an atomic bomb on Japan?

KG: No. I knew from the start that it was all peacetime research. I was not concerned about the bomb, that was not at Brookhaven, that was more at Los Alamos and some of the other places.

TI: So this was really focused on, essentially, nuclear energy as an energy source type of thing?

KG: Yeah, they had a cyclotron, I mean, but the biology research was more medical research type. But they had all other departments doing physics and agriculture, that was one big phase, and using radiation, research in radiation and all that. It was strictly peacetime research using atomic energy.

TI: But I'm guessing, though, that you had to probably go through some security clearances?

KG: Oh, yeah, I had to be cleared by the FBI. I had to be cleared by the FBI to get out of camp, and then cleared to get a job. [Laughs]

TI: And what kind of, for your job, what kind of clearance did the FBI do?

KG: I had to send my college transcript and have a recommendation from my professor, one of my professors. And I sent that in, and then they sent me a train fare to go up for an interview. And when I went up for an interview, that's when I got the job.

TI: Now, was there ever a discussion about you being in Tule Lake?

KG: Uh-uh.

TI: They didn't know anything about that?

KG: Uh-uh.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: Yeah, I want to cycle back now to your sister a little bit, because you told that interesting story about how she was at Tule Lake from seven to ten, and then when she left, she talked about sort of the first town, noticing there was no barbed wires. I'm curious, so she's still young, how well did she adapt to being out of camp?

KG: Well, it was very difficult because she really put up with a lot of abuse. Kids picking on her... children can be cruel. And so when we were out in Philadelphia, in that area where there were no other Asians, that was hard. And it's hard being a minority anyway, especially during the war. And she had kids grab her and crop her hair off. I remember she said she was eating an ice cream cone, they just grabbed it and smeared it all over her face. I mean, she put up with that kind of abuse, which was difficult. But then my brother went through the same thing. When he came back from overseas, he couldn't get a haircut because the barber said, "I don't cut a Jap's hair." And there he was in his uniform. We all went through that, especially on the East Coast, I think, where there were no other Asians around. It was just a racial profiling period.

TI: Now was, like, going back to your sister, was she essentially bullied, hair cuts, like that, was it because she was Japanese, or was it...

KG: Yeah. Children can be very abusive. There's a lot of name calling and all that.

TI: And how about your parents? How did they adapt to being on the East Coast?

KG: Well, they finally went to, worked at Seabrook Farms, and there were a lot of Japanese around, so there was no problem. They managed. And they were there until I finished college and then they went to Chicago because my (one) brother was there and also I don't know... well, it was time for a change, I guess. So they were in Chicago for a while and then left because the weather was just too bad for them. And my (second) brother was down in Boeing, or down at Edwards Air Force Base, so they settled down in the L.A. area. That's where they remained.

TI: And so going back to your brother, so your brother who loved to do airplanes and then went to that school that he had to leave, then went into the 442, ended up, it sounds like, at Edwards Air Force Base for the rest of his career?

KG: Well, he went to school after he got out of service, and then he got a job at Edwards Air Force Base. And he, for a while... I don't know if you know about the SAC bases. The government had airports throughout the country ready for a nuclear attack, you know, and they couldn't penetrate any of the airports because they were ready for, in case there should be an attack, they carried on mock attacks. They had these, they called them SAC bases, Strategic Air Force Camp or something...

TI: Command, I think.

KG: And whenever the planes had a problem, then my brother would be flown out to investigate all over.

TI: Oh, so he was like a mechanic.

KG: Yeah.

TI: And was he in the service, or as a civilian?

KG: He was a civilian, but I think he was out of the service.

TI: It sounds like he... so he was working essentially on B-52s, I think?

KG: Yeah, that was his... he wanted to work on jets and anything that was difficult or complicated.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: And you mentioned earlier that you went into teaching after all this?

KG: Yeah, well, after I got married and had children, then I stayed home and took care of them. So I was, I didn't work for about seven or eight years, and I couldn't go back into the lab after that, so I picked up an education degree just so that I would have the same hours as the children. And my mother always said I should be a teacher because I had my nose in a book all the time, and I always said I would never be a teacher because my mother wanted me to be a teacher. [Laughs]

TI: So you have a strong theme throughout the interview, is you are a very strong woman with really strong beliefs and opinions.

KG: Well, my father always said he didn't worry about what I did, because I had thought things through. So he described me. [Laughs]

TI: So (where) are some of the places that you taught?

KG: Well, I taught elementary grades in Pennsylvania (and Ohio). My husband was teaching at Ohio State. (We then) went down to Texas because he had a friend who was head of (a branch of) University of Texas. I taught elementary grades for about three years. (...) In San Marcos where LBJ had his job corps program, I taught ESL to refugees from all over the world. That was the best teaching job. (I enjoyed) the people (because they appreciated) everything you did (for them). I had (students) from Cambodia, Vietnam, Africa, Mexico. It was just a great job. It was very difficult but challenging and exciting. I really enjoyed it.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TI: When you think back... and I guess the question is: what can we learn from your experiences? It's a really powerful, and in many ways, unique story. Because not very many Niseis had your same experiences, especially at Tule Lake. And I'm trying to think, what can we learn from that? What can we take away from that?

KG: Well, I guess what I wanted to get across as far as Tule Lake is how it had changed drastically from a regular camp, and when it became a desegregation camp, when you had all these people who had come over and who were determined, (...) very bitter and angry. They were all keyed up, and they were going to go to Japan, and (felt) everybody (should) get ready (for a life in Japan). It was extremely dangerous, because if you didn't go along with them, why, they really made life difficult for you and everybody else.

TI: So I'm curious, many people who went to Tule Lake, transferred to Tule Lake, some of them renounced their citizenship.

KG: Oh, yeah.

TI: And most of them ended up not going back to Japan, but spent a lot of time getting their citizenship back. Did you ever have, come across people who went through that process?

KG: Uh-huh. I had three classmates who renounced. This one fellow, I didn't realize it, but he had a brother fighting in the Japanese war in the Pacific, and his mother was pushing him to renounce. And I don't think he wanted to, but she really pushed. And he renounced, then after the war, they found out that his brother had been killed in battle, so there was no need to go Japan. He went on to college, so he didn't have any problem. It cost them about 150 dollars to reapply to get (his) naturalization... I don't know if it was automatically...

TI: Well, for him it might have been easier because he was under twenty-one. I think they were able, if you were under twenty-one and renounced, it was much easier.

KG: Was that the age? I don't know.

TI: I think that was the age. There was a certain age, I think it was, I'm pretty sure it was twenty-one. It might have been eighteen, but I think it was...

KG: Well, he would have been, he was a high school graduate.

TI: But there was a certain age that the government determined that --

KG: Yeah, I know. I had a neighbor who had gone to Japan with his family, and he came back because he was underage when he renounced, so he was all right. But the two girls, I had one classmate, the girl, and she had an older sister. And their older brother had not renounced, and he told me that his sisters were having a difficult time. First of all, it cost them a lot of money, which they didn't have, and so that was a problem. When you apply for a job, you know, there's a line that says, "Citizenship," and that created some problems. And I had read in the paper sometime later that there was some question about what the government was, or whether they automatically accept these applications?

TI: No, for some people, they had to go through a pretty time-consuming process, so the government considered each one on an individual basis. There was, hopefully, there was a hope that a sort of class action, they would have, as a group said...

KG: Yeah, whatever happened to that?

TI: So it went on for decades, people had to apply for their citizenship and go through a process. There was a lawyer who processed thousands of them by the name of Wayne Collins who did a lot of that. So it was a really big mess.

KG: And did it ever get resolved?

TI: Well, so, yeah, for most people, yeah, they got their citizenship back.

KG: Did they? That's good.

TI: What they generally showed was that it was a coercive process, that in some ways, you've outlined. That in many people felt pressured to renounce their citizenship while they were at Tule Lake, and so it wasn't really of their own free will.

KG: Uh-huh. I wondered about that, because I knew this one classmate of mine, her brother had said that his sister was having a very difficult time. But I knew this one fellow, he got into college and went into the ministry and all that, so it didn't bother him. I'm sure he reapplied, but at least he was, he went on to school. Whereas these two girls were not college inclined, so it was a problem.

TI: Now, did you ever get into a longer conversation with people who, someone you knew at Tule Lake about what it was like? Especially those who, perhaps, renounced their citizenship, and did you ever get a sense of regret or any other kind of feelings?

KG: Well, I'm sure they regret it, those that didn't go back to Japan. The thing that intrigues me is that a lot of the Kibeis, when we were in camp, they just badgered the dickens out of us because we (spoke) English, I mean, we didn't speak Japanese. And the group that went to Japan, they were just dumped. And Japan having lost the war, they were practically starving, and there were no jobs. And these people, the jobs that they got was teaching English, and they were the ones that badgered us because we spoke English, and there they were teaching English. And I thought, boy, how ironic. [Laughs]

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: Okay. Is there anything else? I think we covered it pretty well, this whole area. I really learned a lot by really talking to someone who lived through, especially that Tule Lake experience. But is there anything else you wanted to talk about before we end?

KG: Well, the thing I want to get across, that the people who stayed and were stuck like myself, there were reasons why they were there. They were not disloyal, but there were reasons. Like in my case, my brothers, and there were other people who didn't want to go to Japan, but the parents thought this was the thing for them to do, and they didn't want to go through all that. And it troubles me that Tule Lake has been labeled as the "disloyal camp" because for a while, if you said Tule Lake, (it meant disloyal). And that... I guess I'm sensitive, and that really hurt.

TI: Well, I get a little bit of that in the Northwest, because as you know, a lot of Washingtonians were sent to Tule Lake before it became a segregation camp. And in a similar way, people ask, "So which camp did you go to?" and they'll say, "Tule Lake." And the assumption is that they were there because they were transferred there after the "loyalty questionnaire." But many Washingtonians, like you, initially went there, and some just chose to stay there. And they said they had good jobs, or they thought the jobs were better than if they went to another camp. So they just ended up staying there. And so there are, as you say, lots of different reasons why.

KG: Yeah, it has troubled me in terms... everybody knows, if you say "Tule Lake," they knew that we had a difficult time. It wasn't like all the other camps.

TI: Okay, good. Well, so Kazie, thank you so much for doing this. I know this was something that you thought a lot about, doing this interview, and I really appreciate your coming forward.

KG: Well, it's all in the past. And I don't know if it will do any good, but I have been troubled about Tule Lake period because the Japanese, we have a number of Japanese at the University House, and... well, they know that it was different.

TI: Well, thank you.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2015 Densho. All Rights Reserved.