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-01-0011

<Begin Segment 11>

HK: Okay, this is a play that I wrote about three years ago. It has to do with the loyalty question. Its title is A Question of Loyalty. And there are two characters, Grace and Tak, who are twenty years, twenty-year-olds. And they fall in love in camp. They meet in camp, and they fall in love. Grace is from the city, Seattle, and Tak is from a small town, a farming town in California. And they have a difference in approaching the registration. Tak has refused to register, so in this scene they're discussing the registration. Grace says, "You'll be going against orders if you don't register." "I know." "They can put you in jail." "Hey, we're already in jail." "But they can put you in the stockade. You want to risk that?" "I'm fighting for my rights as an American." Grace: "Yes, you're an American. You're loyal to your country. And of course you'll defend it. That's all they want to know. Why can't you tell them that?" "They've already taken away my freedom. Now they're questioning my loyalty." "You're just making it difficult for yourself." "Grace, you're being so Japanese." Skip over to this: "Did I do something wrong?" Grace: "No." "What is it, Grace?" "You know why they put us in camp, don't you? Because they didn't trust us." "Well, the registration is a way out for us, it's a way we can prove we're good Americans." "We're not good Americans?" "They want proof." "Why do we have to prove ourselves over and over again? Aren't we good enough the way we are? I'm sick of saying 'yes, yes' to everything. Yes, yes, I'll go to camp. Yes, yes, I'll register. Yes, yes, I'll declare my loyalty. Yes, yes, I'll serve in the army and prove I'm a loyal patriotic American." "People are making a commitment to go to war and putting their lives on the line. It takes courage to make such a commitment." "I know it takes courage." "Then why were you mocking it?" "I wasn't mocking anything. I was just making a point. I'm proving my loyalty by fighting for my rights." "Tak, how do you feel about the draft? You know the question asks if you're willing to serve in the army." "I know what the question asks. Grace, what are you driving at? That I'm trying to evade the draft? That I'm afraid of killing and dying? Are you saying I'm a coward?" "No, but you thought it. It's all right, it's all right." "It may be all right. I don't know. It's so mixed up. I know I don't like the idea of killing. Never have." And that's the end of that scene.

The people who were from the country tended to be "no-nos." And those who were in the city, I don't know, for some reason, they, they wanted to abide by the registration order and say they were loyal. And also, people who were Buddhists, who had Buddhist backgrounds, tended to be "no-nos." And the Christians, on the other hand, were more supposedly "assimilated" and felt that they were more, already more American and so they took the other route. But we tried to be as normal as, lead a normal life as we could. And my mother, who had been in the fish business a long time, and with the help of the uncle who was also a businessman, they decided they would sell fish. One, because we liked fish ourselves and we would get very fresh fish by ordering it from a wholesaler in San Francisco. So they, they sent for some fish and it came in a box full of ice, sent by railway express. And in camp, they -- I don't know what it was -- but they, they delivered it to, to our door. And if we kept this box of iced fish in the shade, then it would keep for several days, until we, we sold everything. So that's how the word got around and people came from pretty far off to buy the fish. And we were quite popular selling the fish. And then those that we didn't sell, we would, they would salt, salt it. And then people would really, those who liked salted fish, would come for that. [Laughs] So my mother was able to make some money that way. And then my mother-in-law, whose husband was one of the camp leaders who was pulled into Santa Fe and went to the internment camps, several times back and forth, well, he drank a lot. And she always had to keep him supplied with sake, so she decided to start making sake. So she made sake and sold, sold, sold it by the glass -- [laughs] -- to sake lovers. So that went on. And they, they also made little jewelry, pendants and stuff out of seashells that they gathered. Being a lake bed, a lot of shells.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1992, 2003 Densho and Emiko Omori. All Rights Reserved.