Densho Digital Archive
Loni Ding Collection
Title: Edward H. Mitsukado Interview
Narrator: Edward H. Mitsukado
Interviewer: Loni Ding
Location: Hawaii
Date: February 1, 1986
Densho ID: denshovh-medward-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

EM: Well, I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. Our family, that's my father, my mother, and three of us, my elder brother Andrew, and I was the second son, and my sister Nancy. In the early days, my father started as a laborer on a sugar plantation, but then something happened to his back and he was unable to work for a while. And during that time, he was told about doing some work without using his back, and that was to drive a taxi. But being a Japanese immigrant to Hawaii, he had seen some cars, but had never been near any cars himself, and he was kind of wondering how he could ever learn how to drive a car and at the same time get a car. But then he had people who told him that things like that could be done if he would like to do it and be interested. Because there were three of us, myself, my brother and my sister, that he had to support. And, of course, at the same time, my mother was out there working, she was working in one of those pineapple factories. And at other times and days off, she would be working as a maid at the homes of some wealthy people, people who could afford to have maids at that time. And in that sense, my father didn't want any one of us to think about working or anything for the simple reason that he had an idea that after all, we were born in Hawaii, and that we're studying English and all that, and that they want to make sure that we had enough education to be able to take care of our own careers, to get into something later on in life. Of course, he didn't have any ideas what we could do in the future, in a new country all, after all, he was just an immigrant himself. But he just wanted to make sure that we would be prepared to do something, get into something in the future. So he got his friends to help him to learn how to drive a car. And then after he learned how to drive a car, well, as to how to get a car then. After all, it meant some money would be needed. And in that sense, he used to call fellow immigrants from the same prefecture, Kumamoto, came from the Kumamoto Prefecture, was ready to help him. And they had this, I think what they call the... I don't exactly know what it's all about, but it's something called tanomoshi or something, where they would, all the friends would get together, these people from the same prefecture would gather together and put in some funds to help anybody needed it. And that was the way he was able to get his first Model T, which was selling at that time, that was probably fashion in Hawaii. So he got himself a Model T, he'd already learned how to drive it, and started his taxi business. And then, six months later, he had been doing pretty well, so he turned the Model T in for another car, it was a Ford car, it was a better sedan, four-door sedan. And he went into this taxi business for quite a while.

And at that time I was in high school, my brother was at the university, and yet my father wouldn't allow any one of us to even think about getting a job. He said, "No, I'm making enough for you. You're getting three bowls of rice a day, getting your things to give you enough energy to study and to play and do what you want." And it was only after my brother finished University of Hawaii that my father felt that he could at least sort of slack down on his work to support us, to support the family. But at the same time, my father never did push my brother as to what sort of job he should have or what he should be looking for or anything. So my brother went around and he found a job with a newspaper company back in Hawaii, in Honolulu. So he started working for that company, and he did pretty well. And as a result, he was helped, he was doing very well to help the family. So for the first time, my father felt much relieved, and was taking it a little easier as a taxi driver.

And then, four years after my brother had graduated and was now settled doing newspaper work, I finished high school at McKinley in Honolulu, McKinley High School in Honolulu, and decided to find a job or so. But then my father interfered again, he says, "No," he says, "Your brother went to university, he's got a job now, he's doing well, you go to university, too." He said, "Let me take care of your expenses while going to school." I rejected it, but my father had his way. He had a way of getting us to follow his ideas or his ways of thinking.

LD: How did he do that?

EM: What?

LD: What was your way, your father's way of bullying you around?

EM: Yes. The way my father did it was he said, "Look, I'm here now. And you are my wards here, I'm trying to take care of you, and that's my duty. That's my work as a parent, to take care of my children. And then I want to make sure that you get enough preparation, so you will be able to do something in the future for your own job and for your own work and for your own family. As of now," he says, "this is a new country," he says, "I'm new to here, too, and I want to make sure that you have the right start. And the only way that I know that you will get a right start will be to get as much schooling as you can in this new country." And he says, "Look, I'm still healthy, I can still, with a job, I can make enough money here, we have enough to eat. So why do you have to worry about whether we're going to eat or not, or whether we're going to have a place to live or not?" So he says, "Please, after all, I'm trying to do everything I can to help you, so let me do it," he says. "That will give me a purpose in life, too, and I want you to help with that purpose in life." In that fashion he sort of talked us into letting him help us and keeping him going. He says, "If you can do that, it would make me very, very happy. That it was worth the time and worth the effort for me to get you through the school." And he was very, very serious always, so we believed him. We thought that he was doing the right thing, giving us the right philosophy, the right thing about relation between the parents and children. And so we figured that we should do something to make him happy, and that was to be able to go through school and get something which would be worthwhile and which would give some happiness that he had done something right for us. And we felt that we would like to do something to make him happy, so we thought the best thing was to continue schooling.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1986 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.