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-02-0003

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TI: I'm curious to see what you're thinking. You mentioned earlier how you would sometimes get into fights, because people would call you Jap, and now you were going to Japan. Did you think that you would be better accepted in Japan?

RT: Oh, yes. When I was, when I finally made up my mind and my dad and I got together, we talked about it. The things that were going through my mind, was, "Look how great it's gonna be, I look like everybody else. When I get there, there's nobody there that's gonna say, 'You look different, you got slant eyes, you got this.'" And so I went with great hopes. And the first place I went to, after we landed in Japan -- see, I had a sister there, born and raised in Japan. And because she was born and raised in Japan, they could never bring her to the United States.

TI: Why was that? Why, because she didn't want to go to the United States?

RT: No, no. Because she was Japanese citizen.

TI: Okay.

RT: 'Cause they had her, well, when (my father) went back (to Japan) and he got married. (Then he went to the U.S.) and came back again (to Japan). Mother (gave birth to oldest sister Sachi then) came over (to the U.S. leaving Sachi in Japan).

JN: (His mother) came (before) the anti-immigration act (1915)...

RT: Yeah.

JN: 1924 ended Immigration.

TI: I see. Okay.

RT: Yeah. So you see, it was a funny situation, because I remember my mom and dad used to talk, sometimes for hours, trying to figure a way of getting (our sister) over here. And one thing was, my mother was a little bit scared, because of the fact, you know, people do funny things. When she was gettin' ready to come over here, she still had about a six to eight months' wait, in order for her turn to come to the United States, as far as the, total of the, how many Japanese could come to the United States. And so she was sort of discouraged, because she couldn't get over here. Then there was this lady that was a friend of hers. She was on the list to go immediately, and that lady got sick. So they just changed passports. So she came over here under that name. And she always said that it bothered her afterwards, because she was always afraid she was liable to be caught. And so they talked about bringin' my oldest sister over through Mexico and all this, and gettin' her smuggled in. She was the one that really was against it, because she said, "That's no way of living, where you're always afraid all the time that you might get caught."

TI: Interesting.

RT: See, so they were put in a real hard situation. And so my sister married in Japan, and her and her husband went to Manchuria, because he worked for the Japanese rail lines. So when I went to, was sent to Japan they talked it over, and my sister wanted me to live with them in Manchuria. So actually, that's where I first started to go to school. But then, it was a hard...

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.