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-02-0029

<Begin Segment 29>

JN: The USO. You could ask about the USO.

TI: Okay. Judy asked, told me to ask about the USO.

JN: The socials.

RT: Well, the Caucasians gals, the white gals, used to give us, come to Camp Shelby. And we had our own USO building -- and what was Mary's last name?

JN: Nakahara.

RT: Yeah, Mary Nakahara. She used to be the one that used to run it.

JN: She's Mary Kochiyama. (Meant to say, Yuri Kochiyama, widow of Bill Kochiyama, K. Co. scout.)

TI: Okay.

RT: So she used to run it. And she used to get gals come in from Jackson, Mississippi, and Hattiesburg and stuff, and have a dance. So one night, I guess, we think that the whites had already talked it over. And so they came down and they politely asked us, "Hey, can a few of us come in and join you guys?" and this and that. "Oh, yeah, why not?" Hell, we were all in the same boat. Before we knew it, there was a whole mess of 'em in there, and they were gonna kick the hell out of us. But, see, one thing they never knew is, when you pick on one 442 guys, within fifteen, twenty minutes, there's gonna be forty, fifty, a hundred of us there.

TI: Why did they, you said they talked it over and they came in. Was it because, well, explain, why were they there to...

RT: Well, they wanted to dance with, come to the dance. But, see, it was actually our dance, because we were inviting these girls into our USO, because we had our own USO. See, we didn't...

JN: It was segregated.

RT: It was segregated. We weren't allowed to go into the other USO buildings. But we went into our own, which was the 442 USO building.

TI: Okay. So you invited them into yours...

RT: Yeah.

TI: But they came to actually pick a fight with you?

RT: Well, we don't...

JN: No, they invited the women, 'cause...

RT: No, no. Wait, see, 'cause, the women would come in, and they would dance with us. They knew they were coming to dance with us. And they, in fact, the women around, they got to know the 442 pretty good, and they appreciated us. Because like a lotta them used to tell us, "The whites, they start dancing with you, and they start feeling good, and they get a little nasty and whatnot. But you Japanese Americans are very good gentlemens." But a few haoles wanna come in and dance, fine.

But before we knew it, we weren't dancing no more. The haoles were doing all the dancing. So it came out to be, well, we had one big fight. And I felt that, in the end, I sort of felt sorry for the whites. Because you see, when it came to the 442nd, one 442nd man is in a fight, and if there's more guys on the other side, you better watch out, because there's gonna be couple a hundred 442nd guys there right away. Because didn't, we never used to worry about who you were. If you had the 442nd patch, you was one of us. And even in Hattiesburg, somebody get in a fight, you see 442nd patches all running to one place. That one big fight came up. In fact, quite a few hakujins ended up in the hospital. And I did feel pretty bad, because they tried to run outta there, and the guys would beat 'em up outside, and pick 'em up and throw 'em back inside. But even today, there's no record of it. There's no record of it. And so we, we got along pretty good afterwards with even the hakujin soldiers. They realized that them guys all stick together. And they're not like the hakujins. When the hakujins get in a fight, four, five of them get in a fight, and that's it. But with us, you fight the 442nd, you gonna fight the whole damn unit. And so we got along, we started gettin' along pretty good in camp there.

JN: The colonel knew about that, right?

RT: Yeah.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.