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-01-0011

<Begin Segment 11>

LD: That is amazing. Let me ask you one final question. A lot of the Nisei tell, the mainland, say that their kids don't know the story, kids haven't asked. And a lot of Nisei who were locked up, they don't want to talk about that whole period, it's full of bad feelings. So they don't even tell 'em about their own time, time, work, military. What would you want your kids or your grandkids to know about that experience of yours? I mean, everything that you went through, if you had a couple, just few things that you want them to understand about that time, what the Nisei went through, and what you guys did, what you had to do, you felt you had to do. What kind of things, what do you want your...

EM: I'd like to have my children to know that human beings are human beings, that is, know everything that can be told. Because I don't want my children -- well, don't have my children -- I don't want my children to think that, for instance, that putting America on the, well up there, on stage, and saying, "This is an ideal country," so and so. It's a great country, yes, but as far as people are concerned, and putting the country in the backside here, that no matter where, in America, too, or in Japan, too, people have their failings because they're people. They have certain, they are brought up certain ways, and then for some reason or other, they learned about other countries, and then maybe the other countries are not the same kind of country, of course. Positions different, but then some countries you learn to sort of, maybe look down upon, and other races you look down upon, too, and other races you sort of look up to. All kinds of complexes that come in.

And I think that they should be told all those things because they can be... I don't think that's right to give the children, not only the American children, but I would say children all around the world. After all, people are living in this world here, they got to learn that people are people and they can get along together if they'll forget this damn idea of race and all that. And then if they can do that, they wouldn't be having these so-called, well, the only thing I could say is call it racial hatreds or racial complexes. If they can forget that, it'd be fine. But I think it's a good idea that our kids, the Niseis who went in camps, our parents who were in the camps and all that, relocation camps. I think the young kids today should be told about those things so they'll know that even in America, things like that happen. America is not a perfect country, it's like any other country, too. And I think that's the way we should like to look at things. Because there's no country, no people are what we call perfect. Sure, even South Africa is having problems now. And yet, we have to help them, not... I don't think we should cut them down or anything. I think we should give them as much help as we can to fear themselves. And I think the same things in the States, I want the kids to know what happened so they'll know, so that things like that won't happen again. I mean, if people know, it'll take some thinking before they'll do things over again, do it once more, things like that, bad things. Bad things have to be shown, things that are not right, things that are wrong.

LD: Did the war, your wartime experiences have some particularly lasting effect on you? Is there something about you that changed because of what you went through, or was different?

EM: Yes. Well, to tell you the truth, in my case, it's very true. Because if it weren't for the war, I probably would be, still be somewhere in Hawaii, living the life, a comfortable life maybe. But not knowing what they call too much about the outside, that is, limiting myself to a very small place. And I think, in a sense, what this war did to me was to really make me, what do you call, look at the world in a bigger sense, a broader way, that there are other people, you get to know them. I got to know a lot of different people, people in Canada, people in England, people in China, people in India, people down in Southeast Asia, my friends down in Malaysia, people in Singapore, people in Thailand, at that time it was called Siam. I've been around, I feel that I've been around here and there, and it's given me a much more balanced picture of how people think or how people operate against each other and all that. And I think, to me, it's helped me to form a very, well, as far as I'm concerned, a fixed opinion that this is a very wide world, and there a lot of other people. You can't be what you call, just sitting by yourself in your own little room or something and feel that everything's going fine. You have to be aware that there's a big world out there, a lot of country's around you, there are lot of people around you.

And unless... if the war hadn't happened, of course, in my case, I probably would be in this little place in Hawaii there, not knowing very many people, outside people. But probably be having a comfortable life there, and maybe happy for that matter, but then when I look at it now, that kind of happiness would not be happiness for me. I like it now better because I've been in Japan, I know Japan. I didn't know the language itself very much. The first time I ever came to Japan was after the war and everything. And I've learned to like and learned to love this country, I've learned to love the people here, I get along very well with them, too. And I've been around to the other places during the war and everything, I know that all around, you can make so many good friends and all that. And you just can't be tied down to just one little place. And otherwise, if you're just in one place, your mind doesn't broaden out.

And I think the greatest effect on me was getting around from a small little place in the Pacific, being able to get around throughout the world almost, and to be able to see better what this world is like. It's not that I'm going to make a big reform or big change or anything like that, but if I can do that, maybe others, which is we're getting to this situation where you can always travel around now without any problem. I think that's... and knowing other countries and other people too, and knowing about others, I think we helped a great deal in preventing all this kind of fighting and warring between nations. Well, I guess, to me, it's knowing others, knowing other people, is the greatest thing that ever happened to me.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1986 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.