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_2-01-0018

<Begin Segment 18>

NI: How did you feel at the end of the war with the surrender? What was your feeling as Japanese, a member of the Japanese navy? How did you feel?

BH: Well, it was a war that they couldn't win, I knew that, I knew that. And now that the war is over, I don't have to send my kids, well, my thing out to the front to get killed.

NI: Oh, the soldiers...

BH: Yeah, that's right, that's right. They're only kids. And sixteen, seventeen years old, they're still kids yet. And I'm glad I didn't have to send 'em off, lead them out to battle and get killed. Now, the hard part is, the hard part is how to start making a living again. And that, that I found very easy. Before the war, before the war ended, life was quite miserable for Niseis, living in Japan.

NI: What was that?

BH: Well, like any society, you got to have connections to get proper food, to... material was scarce. Rice was rationed, to get certain kind of things you had to have friends or connections to get those, like fish and things like that. Now, those I had, we had problems because my mother didn't have, of course, we had relatives, but the relatives had to look after themselves, too. They can't worry about us; I can understand that. But once the war ended, because I, because I had knowledge of English, can communicate, and you know the Americans are, they make friends easy. The other way around is pretty, pretty difficult. You know, if the Japanese were victors, the Japanese wouldn't be as generous as the Americans were. And you can make friends with the American officers, whereas with, trying to make friends with the Japanese officers, forget it.

NI: Did you feel that you lost the war, though?

BH: Oh yeah, oh yeah.

NI: You felt you lost?

BH: Well, once I joined the navy, we knew that the war was lost because of the communiques that were coming in. And you can tell, of course, it was publicized that the Philippines were, Americans had landed in the Philippines and the navy lost the battle there. And the Solomon Islands, they lost the, they withdrew their troops from Guadalcanal, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Philippines, and then they took, they took Guam and Iwo Jima. (And the Americans took over after they ran over. You know, it's all, we knew that.

NI: That was in the Japanese newspapers?

BH: Oh yeah, Japanese. They had to, yeah.)

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2005 Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Densho. All Rights Reserved.