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-01-0013

<Begin Segment 13>

EO: Did you have any really scary times in camp?

HK: Scary time...

EO: Or worst moments?

HK: Worst moments... I don't know.

EO: Other than the loyalty issue.

HK: On the loyalty issue?

EO: Other than that. --

HK: Other than that. No, I don't remember. I, when we had the curfew, I remember this friend of ours coming over. He used to come over all the time and stay and then go, go back to his place, which was about a couple of blocks away. He had to cross a firebreak. But after curfew, you know, he's not supposed to be walking around. Well, he got caught by the MP and he's trying to tell the MP that he had spent the evening at our place. And so the MP drove up and knock, knock, knock... and we were frightened, of course, after curfew. And, and then he says, "You know this guy?" And I remember saying, "No, we don't know him." [Laughs] So he got pulled in and spent the night at some, wherever they kept him. [Laughs] But I think he was drunk anyway. But we didn't want to get ourselves in trouble, you know.

EO: In camp?

HK: Yeah, in camp. And so when you see the MP and they're knocking on your door, you say, "Oh, no. We don't know him at all." [Laughs] Poor guy, he got hauled in. I use that in one of the plays.

EO: So there was a curfew in camp?

HK: Oh yes. When there was this riot, they put a curfew and they had tanks rolling around. Yeah, it was like war. Tear gas, bombs, and... yeah. They really wanted to scare us.

EO: Which riot was that?

HK: I think it was... it was after the segregation, I know. It might have been... uh, there, it might have had to do with the registration, yeah. I think so. A group of them went over and threatened the administration. And so they were frightened and so they called in the military, and curfew and all that.

EO: Did you guys, like, plant a garden or anything?

HK: We didn't plant, but the people did. They had little gardens outside. And it was, we all tried to make a porch in front of the stoop there. And I'm not a great carpenter, so I had to have help from another of my mother's boyfriends. She had quite a few boyfriends. And so we got up this porch. But I used to do a little, made chairs, crude chairs. We used to make rice gruel, okayu, and there's nothing to scoop that. So I carved one of those things out of wood, a 2 x 4, and we used to use it. [Laughs] I don't know what happened to that, I wish I had kept it. So I did things like that.

CO: Did you ever meet men like Joe Kurihara?

HK: No, I didn't. I didn't... no. There were leaders, I guess, yeah. So I didn't, although I, I heard of him. When, yeah, there were some problems, and he was involved, and I heard... yeah. But there was so much rumors that we didn't believe half of the things we heard.

CO: You also had your isolation...

HK: Yeah. And we lived in, towards the end, we were in our own block. We didn't, because of the curfew and all that, we were just stuck in our own block. And I was working at the mess hall so I didn't go out, and you'd just see the same people every day. I learned to smoke because of that, nothing else to do. Just to be sociable, you'd take up whatever. So I learned to smoke. I had to quit years later, I had to fight hard to quit. But we smoked and things like that.

EO: Did you know, by now, here you say you were in isolation towards the end, and you're just going to the, working in the mess hall. Did you feel like you were never getting out? I mean, how was your feeling now that you'd been in there for a while?

HK: Uh-huh. Yeah, we were wondering what was going to happen to us, people were going out. But I don't know. I always felt that we would be coming out, yeah. And we always also knew that nothing drastic would happen to us. We had that much faith in the government, in the humanity of the government. So that we didn't really worry about that. And we, we weren't aware that we were so close to being shipped off to Japan. We weren't aware of that.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1992, 2003 Densho and Emiko Omori. All Rights Reserved.