Densho Digital Archive
gayle k. yamada Collection
Title: Sunao "Phil" Ishio Interview
Narrator: Sunao "Phil" Ishio
Interviewer: gayle k. yamada
Location: Washington, D.C.
Date: November 7, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-isunao-01-0004

<Begin Segment 4>

gky: After -- you were in the army before Pearl Harbor.

SI: Yeah.

gky: Were you drafted?

SI: Yes.

gky: And when Pearl Harbor happened, what happened to you as a Nisei soldier?

SI: Well, the Nisei soldiers were immediately taken off the training. I was undergoing training at Camp Roberts. And then we were put on KP and other menial tasks. I was thinking to myself, you know, here they treat us as an alien, and they take us off training, they don't trust us so they put us on KP but I say that was a very foolish thing to do. If I wanted to poison the food, that would be the best way to do it. And there were others, Nisei, like Omato and Ohara Goto, I think, who were not put on KP because their names are not Japanese. They were on guard duty, fully armed, guard the perimeter, and we sort of got a kick out of that. But they finally caught on; they were all put into the same boat as we were.

gky: Did you have any, did you find any differences between Hawaiians and mainlanders?

SI: Yeah. Yes.

gky: What kind of differences?

SI: Well, I didn't encounter the Hawaiians in the army. I encountered mostly after the war, played golf with them, but they're very -- I told them to their face, I said, "You guys have a chip on your shoulders," because they sort of -- I think because they speak the way they do, they say, you know, they speak in pidgin English, I think they feel a little inferior. That was my impression. And I said, "You guys shouldn't denigrate yourself because of that, because I speak differently. This is the way I've been speaking all my life. I can't help it." But, it's apparent, very, very apparent, yeah. And this -- the army did have lots trouble with the Hawaiians. That's why I think they hesitated for a long time before they allowed Hawaiian Niseis into the MIS.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.