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-02-0058

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TI: I was thinking your father and mother, and how hard it must have been that their oldest daughter was in Japan, they didn't know what happened. You were in Europe, fighting. They didn't know what was happening to you. And trying to bring it all together. That was, must have been a very, very hard time.

RT: Oh, yeah. You take like, you see now, what I'm doing here is, I'm defending the dropping of the atomic bomb. And I know a lot of people say, "Oh, that was a dirty thing for the United States to do, drop a bomb on Japan, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and all this." But you see, my army training tells me somethin' differently. And my studying of Russia tells me somethin' differently. And you see, I think what the United States was doing was they were trying to end the war before Russia could come in and take Manchuria and Korea back. Because I think if Russia would have taken over Manchuria and Korea, Japan woulda been gone. And I think the whole idea of, to keep that from happening, was to drop the atomic bomb and stopping the war right there. And I know it may sound like it's very cruel, because there was so many people that got killed. But sometimes you gotta think and say, "Well, they were the losing end." They were very fortunate that they weren't like the Jewish people who got put in the gas chamber and killed for nothin'. And actually, they were the enemy and because of this atomic bomb being dropped where they were, I think it ended the war earlier.

TI: But, okay. After you met your parents at the Buddhist temple, and you then tried to re-up, but that didn't happen. So what did you do next?

RT: Well, we what we did next was, I came back to San Jose. And my brother was a foreman for the D'Arrigo Ranch, so I worked as a farmhand for a long time. And then I thought, "Well, I can't very well be just a farmhand all my life," so I went to Hempfield Diesel Engineering School. And I said, "Well, I gotta learn a trade. At least that way there, I pick up a good job." Well, I went to the Hempfield Diesel Engineering School and graduated from it and everything. I made one trip to South America on a banana boat as the head engineer of the boat. And it was one of those small, little boats. And I don't know if you know anything about engines, but they have these big engines, what they used to call air-starting engines. It's all, you set the piston, and then you throw an air pressure valve. And that make the piston go down. That says whether it's gonna go that way or whether it's gonna go that way. Well, we went through South America and it worked real good. And when we came back, I got all excited, and I, instead of it's stopping the boat, it put the boat into the dock. But they didn't fire me. They said, "Well, it's the first time you really went on a trip. So we're not perturbed about it." But then I said, "Aw, I better quit." I feel foolish in what I did. So I quit.

And so then I came back and I thought, "Well, I'm gonna go work as a tractor repairman." So there was a Caterpillar Company in San Jose. So I went down to see them about gettin' a job workin' for them. And they wanted to know what my training was and everything. And I'd tell 'em. And, "Oh, you went under the GI Bill of Rights. You was in the army." "Oh, yeah." "Oh, okay. You got a job. Just go down and join the union. As soon as you join the union, you got the job." So I go down to union. And the union says, "Well, yeah. You can have the job. As soon as you get the job, then we'll let you join the union." So one guy's saying, "Well, you gotta have, join the union before you can get the job." And the other guy's saying, "Well, you gotta get the job before you can join the union." And so I could see the handwriting on the wall. I was still a "Jap." And after that, I, I wasn't so good.

<End Segment 58> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.