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-02-0060

<Begin Segment 60>

JN: You did the drug program, too.

RT: Yeah. And I used to do drug programs. But like I say, it still goes to show that I was, I was (one of the six) Western Hemisphere (directors) of the Boy Scouts (of America). And I had good backing all the time. But then the Caucasians that were up on top, they didn't like the idea of an (Asian American) comin' up the ladder like that. So they were the ones that started to give me a hard time. We had a meeting, we were having a Boy Scouts of America Western Divisional Meeting in Salt Lake City. And at that time, I had forgotten to do something. So the tops of the Boy Scouts of the Western Hemisphere were gonna boot me out. And there was all kinds of arguments for me. All the other guys, "No, this guy, he's showing what the program should be like. Not just the big wheels up on top get all the glory and everything. He's makin' it so everybody gets the glory, and the kids take the advantage of it." And so finally, while it's not very democratic, they booted me out. So I said, "Okay, fine, I'm ready to leave." So I folded everything up, and I left. And three-fourth of the people there walked out, too.

TI: What year was this? When did this happen?


RT: Well, Butch had to be about twelve, thirteen.

JN: So this was about thirty years back. Would have been (around 1964 - 1965).

TI: So the '60s, late '60s.

RT: Yeah. So I was real surprised, because I thought I'd be the only guy walkin' out. Oh, I start walkin' out, and I hear all kinds of noise behind me, and I turned around, and everybody's gettin' up and they're walkin' out. We get out in front, and one guy takes, gets up there, and he says, "Wait a minute. I wanna talk. Mr. Tokiwa, I want you up here besides me." He says, "I know all them guys sittin' in there all big shots. And they think they can push us around. But we're the little guys that has to do all the work. And we don't intend to let them push us around. So Mr. Tokiwa, will you continue?" So I came back with, "Well, I will continue, but I didn't wanna be so high up." Because now when you get up into that position, you're working with people that, they don't even know what a Japanese looks like. And they think that everybody that, up there has gotta have a lotta money, you can buy whatever you want, do whatever you want. And I wasn't in that class. So I came back down, and I became a scoutmaster and everything.

And it was funny, because, you see, one thing I think where all the kids really came to the point where they respected me was, in the scouting program they have such a thing as a swimming program. And when you have the swimming program, you have the Swimaree, in other words, a big outing. Well, we never had those. And the reason why we never had 'em was because the regional scout headquarters wouldn't let you, allow it. Because they say, "Well, it's too much chance of some kid going out there and gettin' drowned." So I thought about it, and I says, "Well, I still wanna put a Swimaree on." They said, "Nope. That's out." So I says, "Okay, fine." And I started thinkin' about it. Like I say, I, when my mind gets goin', sometimes I go overboard. I says, "Well, hell, in the scouting program, any scout troop could always put any kinda program they want on and invite anybody they want to it." So I went and talked to some of the scoutmasters, and I said, "Why (don't) you, 211, you put the Swimaree on? And you invite all the other scout troops to join you as your guest." "Oh," then everybody, "oh, that's great." Because like I always said, told them, "I don't understand is, they make us teach you guys about safety around water, but they don't let you put it in practice." So I made up my mind, "Well, we're gonna have this Swimaree then."

So we, 211 put it on and invited all the other troops, and we had over 2,000 kids out there. Well, then it came out the scout headquarters, "Hey, we got this guy nailed." And they came out and they said, "Insurance. You don't have insurance on this program, because scout headquarters will not insure it." So I looked at 'em, and I said, "What do you mean, they're not covered?" They said, "No, you're not covered, because we haven't insured you." I said, "Hell, you guys ain't the only ones that can have, go get insurance. I cover every boy that's in this Scoutaree (area event), Swimaree. They're all insured." And I says, "I trust 'em, because I know these scouts are gonna practice what we preach as a protection. So I don't have to worry about it." And you know, we put that thing on for somethin' like six years. And we put it on the same way.

JN: Isn't it at San Luis Dam?

RT: Yeah. You know where San Luis Dam is?

JN: San Luis.

RT: It's a big, huge dam.

TI: That's a good story. Yeah.

RT: Yeah. We put it on for the longest time. Never had no problems.

<End Segment 60> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.