Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Rudy Tokiwa Interview II
Narrator: Rudy Tokiwa
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary), Judy Niizawa (secondary)
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: July 2 & 3, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-trudy-02-0023

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RT: So then, like I say, I volunteered. And when I got home, my father didn't say anything, first. But my mother immediately asked me, "What did you..." Well, let me go back to where my brother and I, we were walking back, see. And I asked my brother, "Duke," I says, "What'd you do?" He says, "Well, after the meeting and everything, I think the only thing, the right thing to do, is for us to volunteer. What'd you do?" And I looked at him. He says, "Well, you're too young anyway." So I says, "Well, I volunteered. They're gonna take me when I'm eighteen. He says, "Well, that's possible. "But," he says, "I don't know how Mom and Pop are gonna take two of us volunteering like that."

So we got home and naturally, we were asked immediately what we did. And Duke says, "Oh, I volunteered." So my dad said, "Well, you have to do what you think you should do. You can't let other people tell you what to do." And he says, "Well, you're within the age, so fine." So he asked me what I did. So I says, "I volunteered, too." Then my mother immediately said, "How can they let you volunteer? I know you did adult work and everything, but you're still a child." I said, "Well, they told me I won't have to go 'til I'm eighteen." "Well, even at that, they shouldn't make you volunteer. Maybe you'll change your mind in between." I said, "Well, it's too late now." But I, like I told her, I says, "I think it's the right thing to do. Because if you plan to live here, we can't give Roosevelt or any of them guys any reason to be able to come out and say 'a Jap is a Jap.' When he asked me what I was gonna do, I said, 'Well, if that's the case, you won't take me 'til I'm eighteen, I'll volunteer.'"

TI: I wanted to ask you a question. It seemed like you and your brother were anticipating your parents to be sort of against your volunteering. Now I was curious more about your father, who volunteered for the first World War I.

RT: Well, you see, my father never has really said, "No, you shouldn't have." One of the things he had said was, "Well, if you believe that that's what you should do, then you should. I'm not happy about it."

TI: Why don't you think he was happy? Because, again, he volunteered when he had his opportunity.

RT: Well, you see, yeah. We, it came up about that. And he said, "Well, I hope you guys aren't disappointed at the end, because you know what happened to me. I volunteered, and I never became a citizen." So we said, "Well, we're citizens already." And he said, "But can you believe this government? You may be citizens now, but three months from now, you may be something else." But he did say, "Well, you have to do what you believe in." So with him, it went over pretty good.

But when it came to me, why, my mother started to cry, and said, "Oh, he's nothin' but a little kid yet. How can they take him," and everything. So I told her, I says, "Well, I don't have to go until I'm eighteen. So let's not worry about it until then." I says, "I believe that if I'm going to live here in this country, I've got to have something to back myself up with. And this is something I believe I can use to back myself up with." After that, it was just, well, sho ga nai, you know.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.