Densho Digital Archive
Loni Ding Collection
Title: Dan Aoki Interview
Narrator: Dan Aoki
Interviewer: Loni Ding
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: March 25, 1983
Densho ID: denshovh-adan-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

Interviewer: Dan, let's take a look at Hawaii before the war. What were things like for the boys on the island?

DA: Well, Hawaii really was a very backward country, backward state, territory.

I: How so?

DA: Well, as you know, this is a plantation state here, and missionaries came out here to the, for the sugar cane business. And as you know, our parents and most of the people here were immigrants from the old country, Japan, China, and so forth.


I: Let's talk about Hawaii before the war. How was it like for the guys.

DA: Oh, it was a very, very dark place here, no opportunities, nothing for people here, the Niseis, until after the war and things developed, became a first-class state, you might say. And you might look over there, after we became a state, we built a new capital for the state of Hawaii, which really stands out as a landmark, you might say, for the people of Hawaii. To give an idea what life was like before, there was really no opportunities for Niseis, the younger people of Hawaii. And the reason for this is that our parents were immigrants, and people that ran this state here, or the territory at that time, were only interested in the cane business, sugar cane business. And consequently, the only thing we could look forward to was maybe a clerk's job, or at best, a bank teller, and things like that. And consequently, kids didn't even have the chance of going on to university, basically. Because it was after the war that the GI Bill of Rights and so forth have made it possible for Niseis to go on to professional schools and so forth. And I might also add that we did have a university here, that's true, but it was really a third-class university until we became a state. Then I think we made it into a first-class university today. So what more can I say?

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1983 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.