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-01-0003

<Begin Segment 3>

LD: Your father actually picked up one of your teachers one day when he was a taxi driver, right?

EM: Yes. That was when I was in college, it was my freshman year. And so my dad had a taxi stand while somewhere, at one of the streetcar stations. And the professor at the university was coming out from some apartment in Waikiki area, and get off at this particular corner where my father had his taxi stand. So he used to use my father to take him up to the university. But one day, as I was walking up to school on the hill right near the university, just by coincidence I happened to be going up the hill there. And my father was passing by with his taxi, with the professor as his passenger, his usual passenger. He had already told me before that he had a passenger who was teaching at the university, but I didn't know who it was, my father didn't talk to him, I wasn't able to converse with the professor and everything. And so this time, at the time that I was walking to school and my father was driving up the hill, he waved his hand, and all of a sudden my father stopped his taxi. So I was wondering why. And he was bowing to the passenger, and the passenger was waving his hand to me. So I went towards the car, towards the taxi, and saw that it was my professor, my English literature professor, Dr. Sinclair. And he said, waves me to the car and says, "Come on, get on your father's taxi here. Let's go to the university together." So I got on and everything, and my father dropped us off. Dr. Sinclair was very, very understanding, didn't make me feel as though it was something of a big deal or anything, he wanted to keep it down to a level where he and I would be more like friends. And what I'd like to say here now is that later on in years, Dr. Sinclair became the president of the university. He was a very understanding man, and he tried to get along with the fellows in Hawaii knowing their capacities, their weaknesses, their problems and all that.

LD: How did you feel? Your father was driving a taxi, and he had the professor in his backseat, he sees you, is that what happened? I mean, how did it happen? You described that... your father is driving the taxi.

EM: Yes. He started waving his hand...

LD: Start with, "My father was driving the taxi."

EM: My father was driving a taxi, and he saw me walking up the hill there, so he just sort of waved his hand, and the professor saw him waving the hand and asked him, "Oh, you know him?" My father said, "Oh, that's my boy." The professor said, "Oh, your boy?" So he looked again, he said, "Oh, stop. Is your boy going to school?" My father said, "Yes, to the university. It's his first year." He says, "Stop," says, "pick up your boy." And that's the way my father stopped his taxi and picked me up, or the professor picked me up. He opened the door and let me in the backside.

LD: What did you think of that?

EM: To tell the truth, I was overwhelmed. To find a professor, my own professor, telling my father to stop to pick me up. Of course, my father was very happy about the whole thing. To him, it was, well, it was more like finding that a man can be like a god, too. Very understanding and very kind, very gentle, especially my father being an immigrant from Japan, and here is a white professor, makes a lot of difference. Because in Hawaii from those old days, the governing or the ruling or the managing groups were all whites. And to find a professor like that telling my father to, "Stop for your boy, pick him up," he saw who I was and he knew that I, he remembered me as his student. That, to me, was a wonderful thing.


LD: That was a very impressive thing that happened to you.

EM: Yes, impressed me very much. And it showed me that in essence, good people are good people. That even a man who had the stature of a big professor at the university, one of the big name professors there, would be, was kind enough and gentle enough and was thoughtful enough. And was really open, was not just being formal about it, he was just very happy that I was his student and that my father was driving. And from then on, my father, he never used any other taxi except my father's. Except when my father might be ill or something, not at the taxi stand, but my father was usually always waiting for him to be there on time at the corner, whenever the professor got off the streetcar to get a taxi to take him up to the university.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1986 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.