Densho Digital Archive
Emiko and Chizuko Omori Collection
Title: Hiroshi Kashiwagi Interview
Narrator: Hiroshi Kashiwagi
Interviewers: Chizu Omori (primary), Emiko Omori (secondary)
Location: San Francisco, California
Date: October 1, 1992
Densho ID: denshovh-khiroshi-01-0010

<Begin Segment 10>

CO: Do you think that the Issei were affected differently than the Nisei in this experience?

HK: From the loyalty experience or the camp experience? I think they were affected a little differently because they lost so much more. We lost our future, you know, in a way, but they lost whatever they had. And the more they had, you know, the more they lost. We didn't have very much but what we had meant a lot to us, so it's the same... so they, they lost a lot. Although many felt that they were free to take it easy for, for the first time in their life, so in a way that was good for them, but I don't know, I think they lost a lot, 'cause they had worked so hard. Yeah.

EO: That's, it's a tough call, isn't it, to say the Nisei lost their futures and the Issei lost what they had.

CO: Lost their past.

EO: I don't know which is worse.

HK: Yeah, well, it's a pretty sweeping statement to make.

CO: Still, though, is it really different if you were fifty or twenty?

HK: Yeah, yeah, because they were still active. My mother was about forty, I think. And she had some active years after camp, 'cause she lived to be eighty. But the thing about her, and if you want to go... about her, she had some dental problems, and she went to the dentist during the, after the war started, and there was curfew and all that, and she couldn't go more than five miles or something. Well, she went to the dentist in Sacramento and somehow we got her there and the dentist pulled out all her teeth at one time, because of this curfew business. And she came home and she started to bleed and there was no way to reach the dentist. And finally when we did, he says, "Well, bite on some gauze or something." And he couldn't help her in any other way. So, luckily there was a dentist who had moved to the town from somewhere along the coast, so we knew about him, so we went to him. And we went back to him two times. And finally it stopped bleeding. She would have bled to death. But after that, she had to go to camp without teeth. And she was only, as I say, about forty. And she had to go like this all the time. [Covers mouth with hand] And it must have been miserable for her. God, she never got over this hiding her mouth. And then in camp, they wouldn't make her false plates. And I wrote about this in the play, you know, Laughter and False Teeth. But there was a dental technician who made plates -- [laughs] -- illegally, I guess, and finally she was able to get her teeth that way, by bribing this guy. But for a woman to go that way, and then to go to mess hall, and gum her food, it must have been awful for her. And then, she was supposedly a very attractive woman and well... I think that's pretty bad. It was bad enough to be in camp where you lose all your privacy. That's another thing about camp. That you lost all privacy. There was no privacy. Everybody's, you know, wide open.

EO: Were you at Tule Lake, you were there for the whole time?

HK: I was there the whole time. I was there almost to the end.

EO: So you were there when that murder took place.

HK: Yeah, I don't remember. I kind of vaguely remember the man, who was a kind of pompous, officious kind of man who wasn't too well-liked. That's probably why he might have been targeted. But I really don't know what happened.

CO: It was never solved.

HK: No, it was never solved. So, yeah. It was a man in his, about forty-five or so, fifty. And the leader, he was the head of the co-op, but a controversial man. Yeah. Never soft.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1992, 2003 Densho and Emiko Omori. All Rights Reserved.