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-02-0024

<Begin Segment 24>

RT: And so, but I was amazed, because all of a sudden Lloyd Inouye come to me, and he says, "You get your papers?" I said, "What papers?" He says, "Well, the man came and delivered my papers, and your name's on there, too." I said, "What do you mean, 'My name's on there, too?'" He says, "You're being drafted." I says, "Aw, no, they can't draft me yet. The guy told me I won't be taken 'til I'm eighteen." He says, "Well, your name's on there."

TI: Do you really mean drafted, or do you mean, 'cause you volunteered.

RT: Yeah.

TI: So you were being sort of called up for...

RT: Yeah. I'm called up, see.

TI: Right.

RT: And I said, "Well, Lloyd, I don't know what to say on that." And he says, "Well, I don't know if there's any way you can get it changed. You know, we don't have a draft board here." I says, "Yeah, I know." And he says, "You know what we're being drafted as? We're being drafted as Salinas, California." And he says, "You know, the Salinas people hated the Japs." Because see the Salinas -- what did they used to call 'em?

JN: National Guards.

RT: National Guards. They were in the Philippines. Now you see, they didn't expect Pearl Harbor to happen. But they've already sent the National Guards to the Philippines. And so well, we says, "Well, we'll just have to bide our time and look. See what's gonna happen."

TI: Now Lloyd was in, when he took his physical, failed the first time?

RT: Yeah, he was 4-F. He came back as 4-F.

TI: But now they wanted him.

RT: Now they wanted him, see.

TI: And how was he, how did he feel about this?

RT: Well, he wasn't gonna complain, because he felt very disappointed that he didn't make it after he was so, spoke so strongly for it. And you see, Lloyd and I were so close. And he was such a powerful man. Can you imagine a guy just grabbing you on the chest like this, and giving you one squeeze and you're out? That's how powerful he was. We used to, there was two of us guys. This guy, Tabata, and I, we, two of us would try to whip his butt. And we could never do it.

TI: So it was two against one, and --

RT: Yeah. Two against...

TI: -- and he would still beat you.

RT: You know, we're not kids anymore. And he'd rip us, as if we're nothin'. And he was so good-hearted, that, we were horsin' around, wrestling. And he'd grab us around the chest and he'd go like that, and we'd pass out. And then he's all worried. [Laughs] Sometimes, we used to laugh at him, because, "You nut, you squeeze us and make us pass out, and then you say, 'Hey, hey, don't do that. Don't do that.'" [Laughs] But he was so good-natured.

And in all the time I knew him in camp and everything, I never saw him lose his temper except once. And this was in the basketball game that we were having in camp. The referees in those days were whoever you can pick. Well, this block that we were playin' against, they picked a guy outta that block to be one of the referees. [Laughs] And I never seen a man get so angry, that when this guy kept calling some of the fouls, he got so angry, he was gonna go whip his butt. You know, when a man's angry, you gotta watch him. And especially as strong as he is. So six of us guys are tryin' to hold him back, and he's draggin' us all over the court. And finally, one of the guys hollered at that referee, "If you wanna live, Mac, you just better get the hell outta here." [Laughs] And that's how strong he was. But so good-natured.

TI: So you and Lloyd were inducted a little bit later, because...

RT: Yeah.

TI: The earlier groups had already left?

RT: Yeah. They'd already left, and Camp Shelby was already going strong. In fact, we were the last recruits to go through school there in Camp Shelby.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.