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_2-01-0023

<Begin Segment 23>

NI: And how about your identity now? How do you look at yourself now? I guess when you were in the navy you thought of yourself as Japanese? And after over fifty years back, how do you feel about your identity now?

BH: Half-half. About half-half.

NI: [Laughs] What does that mean?

BH: Well, you know, I have a lot of concerns over the future of the nation of Japan. In that respect.

NI: What kinds of things are...

BH: Well, you know, heck, the Chinese government is complaining about the prime minister visiting Yasukuni Shrine. That's none of their goddamn business. But and also, China, being a factory to all the world right now, what's going to happen to Japan? I get kind of concerned. And now there's talk about, there's talk about changing the Japanese, revising the Japanese constitution which forbids having an army. Heck, my view on that is the countries of East Asia and Southeast Asia, they're all wet behind their ears. Now, in this nuclear age, trying to build up an army and navy to invade other countries, unthinkable in the nuclear age. And sooner or later, Japan will have to rearm herself or change the constitution so that she could defend herself. Not with a self-defense force but with a, you know, a defense force proper. Now, in order to, in order to defend a country, you have to attack the other country, too, which the current, current constitution forbids. Which, you know, so in that sense, I have a lot of concerns for the country of my parents' birth.

NI: Right, right.

BH: I'd like to say, no other than, no other than the Jews and the British and thing for their mother country.

NI: Yeah. But of course, you've chosen Canada to live in.

BH: Yeah, yeah.

NI: Do you think it would have been possible to go the other way? Do you think the Japanese would have accepted you had things been reversed and you wanted to go back to Japan after the war? Do you think your life would be as good as it is now?

BH: Well, it's hard to tell unless you experience it. I suppose I could have, I could have made a go out of it. Sure, probably in the engineering field that I was, probably no. Probably no, because I know there were a lot of better, highly-educated things. I don't have the university degree, that I think it's only a college diploma thing. Now, had I been to a prestigious school like Tokyo University or other university with a bachelor's degree in engineering, may be fine, but not, and with my diploma in civil engineering. Sure, you can go up to a certain level, but that's it, which would have been fine. Now, after, after retirement, I don't think I would have had any problems, because I'll probably be engaged in a lot of translations and this and that. But who knows?

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2005 Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Densho. All Rights Reserved.