Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hatsuko Mary Higuchi Interview
Narrator: Hatsuko Mary Higuchi
Interviewer: Virginia Yamada
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: February 4, 2019
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-456-7

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VY: And when you went into town, like when your mom took you into town on the days to go shopping, what was that like? Were the stores owned by, what was sort of like the ethnic makeup of shopkeepers?

HH: It was Torrance. Torrance was basically a white community. We were just, in my class, we were just a handful of Japanese families. It was just mainly Caucasians.

VY: How did you feel? Did you feel different or accepted or just not think about it?

HH: I didn't really think too much about it. I knew I was different. But the kids really accepted me. We were quite active, like I said, in activities in school, clubs and so forth, so we were officers and we were just quite active in the service clubs. However, I do remember when we were going to Japanese school one day, we had to take the bus because sometimes my parents were too busy working. So we took the bus, and when we got on, I remember this old lady dressed in black, and she was just really old and she got on the bus. And when she saw us, she just gave us the scariest look. She said, "Get these Japs off the bus. Get them off." And she kept yelling that really loud. We were, of course, frightened, and we didn't know what to do, and so we sat there crying, and the bus driver told her to get off.

VY: Told the woman to get off?

HH: Uh-huh, that she needed to take another bus. And she wouldn't. She sat down there and just kept yelling at us. So he drove to the main bus station in Gardena and they took her off, and then he took us to Japanese school, language school, so that was the end of that day. That's all I remember about it.

VY: It made an impression.

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