Densho Digital Archive
Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre Collection
Title: Bill Hashizume Interview
Narrator: Bill Hashizume
Interviewer: Norm Ibuki
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Date: October 29, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-hbill_2-01-0013

<Begin Segment 13>

NI: Okay. So what, so you were, how old were you in 1941?

BH: 1941 I would be nineteen.

NI: You were nineteen?

BH: Nineteen.

NI: What do you remember of the evacuation? Do you remember hearing --

BH: I heard that they were uprooted, but where they went, I didn't know.

NI: What kind of communication did you have with your brother?

BH: None.

NI: Nothing?

BH: Nothing. It was only after the end of the, end of the war, which ended in August. In October --

NI: '45.

BH: Yeah. But in October, by October the 21st, I think, I worked for -- well, after the war, I worked for a construction company in Tokyo. And through luck, I was able to get them a job building airport, airport runway for the American army just north of Tokyo.

NI: Okay, so your brother returned to, went to Japan.

BH: No, no, no. That was me. My brother never went back to Japan after the war.

NI: Oh, I see.

BH: Okay. Now, but I did get in touch with them after the war, and that time, we could send, we weren't allowed to send letters out of Japan, so I had, I sent a letter through an American officer, American army officer who was kind enough to mail it for me. And since I didn't know where he was located, I asked my good friend in Mission to relay this letter to my brother. And I do have a record of that, believe it or not. And I sent it to him and he kept it, and back in 2000 and, around 2000, I visited his, his widow, his wife, widow, and he had this with him.

NI: This is a letter from you?

BH: This. That was written in October...

NI: October 5, 1944.

BH: Yeah. You know, probably during the war years, no communication.

NI: So how long was that, though, Mr. Hashizume, like when did the communication between Japan and Canada basically come to a stop?

BH: Well, at the outbreak of the war.

NI: Okay, so Pearl Harbor.

BH: Yeah.

NI: Shortly after.

BH: Uh-huh. They wouldn't, they wouldn't send mail out of the country, and even if you did, probably it was censored. And until the war ended, actually, a few years after the war ended, that you could send communications outside. But I think I was one of the first to send communication through the armed forces, American forces. I asked them to, "if you'd be good enough to mail it," he paid for the stamp, to a friend of mine in Mission who relayed it to my brother.

NI: Oh, I see, I see.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2005 Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Densho. All Rights Reserved.