Densho Digital Archive
Loni Ding Collection
Title: Kay Uno Kaneko - Hana Shepard - Mae Matsuzaki Interview
Narrators: Kay Uno Kaneko - Hana Shepard - Mae Matsuzaki
Interviewer: Loni Ding
Location: Hawaii
Date: December 2, 1985
Densho ID: denshovh-kkay_g-01

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

HS: During the war there were ten of us in the family. My oldest brother Buddy was in Japan, and there were nine of us here, and all nine of us evacuated from Los Angeles. Howard, the oldest, was married, so he had his own household, he had a wife and baby. And in Amache, Colorado, Howard and Stanley volunteered for the Military Intelligence. And they went to Camp... was it Camp Savage? Camp Savage in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And then from there they went to the Orient. Howard went to Australia, and Stanley went to the China-Burma-India theater. And then Ernie, who was too young to volunteer yet, had to wait for his eighteenth birthday. And they would only take him after he had a double hernia operation. And it was surprising because he was always the runt of the family, and after his operation, my goodness, when he came back from the service, he had grown quite a bit. I was surprised at how much he had grown, and I think the operation is what did it.

LD: You think he was changed by his war experience?

HS: Oh, very much.

LD: You were surprised by how little?

KK: No, by his height, he had grown so much. You know, in school, he was always, he took tumbling, and he was always the little one who was on top. But when he came back, he was nice and tall. [Laughs]

LD: Do you remember Ernie that way? You were, how old were you during the war?

KK: When I went into camp I was nine, and then that year, 1942, I turned ten in October. And yes, I remember Ernie as being my shortest brother, but of course Bob and Edison hadn't grown yet. They were, let's see, Edison would have been twelve and Bob would have been fourteen. Ernie was the oldest of those three boys, and he told me that when he was in the 442nd and in the army, he had to have three changes of uniforms because he kept growing. [Laughs] And the Uno boys were considered tall for Japanese, and my brother Howard was six-feet-three when I knew him, he was already an adult. I'm the last of the ten. And when he came to visit us in Crystal City, by then I had grown, because from eleven, and those were your growing years, adolescent years, when I saw him, one, he had suffered an injury falling into a hull of a ship and had suffered injury to his back and his legs, so he was on crutches. But besides that, I walked up to him, I said, "You shrunk." [Laughs] Because I had grown. But as I said, for being Japanese, the Uno boys were considered tall. They were 5'8" on up, 5'10" to 6'3".

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1985 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

LD: You were at Crystal City.

KK: I was in Crystal City.

LD: Tell us about Crystal City, what was that and what happened there?

KK: When I was... when we first were evacuated, of course, we went to Santa Anita Assembly Center with the rest of the family. And then from the assembly center we were sent to Amache, Colorado. And from Amache, Colorado, then... oh, all this time, my father, who had been incarcerated in February of '42, he was in internal security camps all over. He was in Lordsburg...

HS: Yeah, they moved him around a lot.

KK: ...Bismarck, and he was in Santa Fe. In fact, he was in Santa Fe when Ernie, who was a minor and wanted to join the army, Ernie had to travel from Amache to Santa Fe to get his father's written permission to go into the army.

HS: They gave him a nice letter, didn't he?

KK: He gave him a letter and told him that he was... well, I don't know what exactly the conversation was, but what I perceived what had happened is that there was a misunderstanding that Ernie felt that his father had said he was going to fight in the American Army and that he did not expect him to come back. But that he should, as all good Japanese, you do the best you can. And I think my brother had felt that his father had sent him off and said, "You'll be killed."

HS: No, but he said, "Do a good job as an American citizen." I remember seeing a letter from Dad.

KK: But there was something there that, for years and years, my brother just had something against my father.

HS: Really?

KK: That told me that, and I perceived it, that he was that he felt that he got this message from my dad, "Go, but don't come back." And it wasn't that at all, and my father, when I talked to my father about it, he said no, he just meant that he didn't think he would come back, being that the war was the way it was. But anyway, that was one of those things that happened. And I guess it happened to other people, too.

LD: What kind of thing happened to other people, do you think?

KK: That there was misunderstanding in that if the sons went off to the American Army and the fathers were perceived to have thought that they wouldn't come back, they thought they were sent off to...

LD: You mean that Ernie felt that your father might not approve of his going to fight for the United States, is that what you mean?

KK: That's what I had perceived it to be when I was younger.

LD: Would you explain that again? Start with the fact that, what your father, what Ernest thought your father said to him and what that meant to him.

KK: Okay. I think that my father had said something like, "Go out and fight a good fight, but you probably won't come back." But that's the Japanese way, is to go out and do the best you can until you die, even if you meant that you died, you sacrificed yourself.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1985 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

LD: On some level it's absurd, except that it was very destructive.

HS: And it was hard on us all of us because, you know, we were the victims.

KK: I always felt bad for Hana because, I'm sure life could be different.

LD: You always what?

KK: I always felt bad about my sister Hana because she had to jump in and be kind of the head of the household, the family, because my father wasn't there, my brothers, the older brothers weren't there, so she was the oldest, and therefore took on the responsibility for all the rest of us. And she still does. [Laughs] Everybody looks to her as the head of the household, head of the family. I just feel that life would have been a lot different for her.

LD: You felt that at the time, too?

KK: Oh, yeah.

LD: How old were you?

KK: Ten, eleven, twelve. Those were my formative years, and I was in Crystal City.

LD: What did you think at that time about Hana and what she was doing?

KK: I always felt bad about it. I was very proud of her, of course, and I loved her very much, but I just felt, too bad that things were so strained that she had to have so many responsibilities and people to have to care for and look after and provide for in the long times.

LD: That happened to a lot of the older sisters, you know of other sisters...

HS: In fact, there are a lot of people who are still doing that, you know, taking care of their parents.

LD: That's what happened to the sisters. What happened to the mothers, or what happened to your mother during this time?

HS: Well, she did the best she could. Mother tried her best to keep the family together, and to keep up the morale. In spite of the fact that here she was with all these little children to have to look after, she was still active in helping other ladies, and that was really remarkable. She was always willing to lend a hand and help other people, and she was always cheerful. That's one thing about my mother, she was really, really... it was a trait that a lot of the Issei mothers didn't have. And she tried to help organize to keep the ladies together. She was really a wonderful person.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1985 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

LD: How did your mother feel about what was happening with your two brothers on both sides of the war? Would you talk a little bit about that? Tell us a little bit about your brothers.

HS: Mae, you said something that I thought was kind of insightful about that.

MM: Well, I felt that Mother felt that they were all doing what they should do, and she never let us know that she was all worried about them or anything like that. She had a great deal of faith and she prayed every day and read the bible. And she didn't share he worries with us about the boys.

LD: Do you think she wasn't worried about them?

MM: If she was, she never showed it. She just said that God will take care of them. And she said for us to read the bible, and she would faithfully read the bible and pray a lot.

LD: You feel that your mother was [inaudible].

KK: Oh, yeah. I think, being a mother, she was worried about all of us, and of the boys. And she thought a lot of them, and as Mae said, she did do a lot of praying and all, but I think there was an incident -- see, I was the youngest, and being in these small, confined quarters in Amache, they had made a double bed, and so Mother and I slept together in that part of the room. And she used to dream, and a lot of her dreams were quite insightful, almost... what would you say? Well, one incident that I remember, she woke up and she seemed very calm and she seemed kind of happy. And she turned to me and she said, "Oh, everything's going to be all right. And I said, "Well, what do you mean?" And she says, "Oh, about Buddy and Howard. They have met." And this was even before we even knew that they had met. But she had dreamt that somehow they had met in a peaceful way, and she told me that. Another thing she had told me before we even knew about it, was that Buddy had had a boy, a baby boy. And the Red Cross later confirmed this with a telegram saying that Katsumaru had been born. But my mother had this thing about her that sometimes... and they were a little different, but they were just feelings. So there were, oh, there were about three or four times in my lifetime and with my mother that she had said things to me, and they were usually things that she was really worried about and she prayed about, and all of a sudden she'd have some insight about it and she'd be calm, and she'd tell me, "Oh, this is going to be all right."

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1985 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

LD: She was concerned about... you haven't told us about Buddy. Can you tell us about that?

KK: Okay.

LD: Tell us about your two brothers Howard and Buddy.

KK: Well, you want to tell them? Buddy is twenty years my senior. And what I remember of him is he was always an adult that came and visited once in a while with presents always for me. But when he, after he graduated high school, he was always interested in writing, and he wrote for vernacular Japanese newspapers, the English sections. He wrote the Nisei Story, Nisei Melodrama, and he'd write little articles which were published. And I think you should tell about this part, because this is before really when I was still a little girl, when he decided to go to Japan and cover the Japanese-Chinese war for the vernacular papers.

LD: Being a journalist, he tried very hard to get a good job. But in those days, a Nisei writer couldn't get a job, the L.A. Times or the examiner, that was an impossibility. So the best he could do was write articles for the Rafu Shimpo, and what could they pay you? Not much. And so he went to San Francisco and he wrote for the New World Sun, and I think they gave him room and board probably and maybe some pocket money. But he got passes to the theaters and things like that. And he used to enjoy writing for the papers, and he met Japanese celebrities when they came to San Francisco. And he conducted -- this is kind funny -- he conducted a "Dear Auntie Susan" or something like that, column, in either the Hokubei Mainichi or the New World Sun.


HS: There were ten of us in the family, there were six boys and four girls. I'm the oldest girl. My oldest brother Buddy was in Japan, and three of my brothers... let me see. My brother Buddy was in Japan. Howard, Stanley and Ernie, volunteered for the services from camp. That was Amache, Colorado. Ernie was too young, but he became of age, and he volunteered for the 442nd, and he went to Shelby, Mississippi. Howard and Stanley kind of spoofed their way through the exams, and they were able to pass the stiff exams that the Military Intelligence gave, and they went up as... they were going to be interpreters and went up to Camp Savage in Minnesota.

LD: Why do you say "spoofed their way"?

HS: Well, neither of them were very good in Japanese. So according to Howard, he had to memorize something in Japanese, you know, and they took him, and he had to work the hardest to get through the Military Intelligence School. Stanley had been in Shanghai, so he had a smattering, Chinese and Japanese, which helped him, I think. But he wasn't very good in Japanese either. When you compare them with the Kibeis, who were really very good in Japanese, my two brothers probably were at the bottom of the class. But they made it through, and they went overseas. And Howard served in Australia, in the Philippines. The funny part of it is that before the war, Buddy, who had been a journalist in San Francisco working for the Japanese papers, decided that there was no future working for the Japanese papers for just room and board and just pocket money. And somehow or the other, he got the idea that maybe he should go to Japan and see what it was like there. And I don't remember... do you, Mae, how he happened to go to Japan?

MM: Buddy?

HS: Uh-huh.

MM: I don't remember. Wasn't it on a steamer?

HS: Oh, he worked his way over, that's right, on a freighter, that's right. But he had a letter of introduction to some distant relatives. And it so happened that one of the distant relatives, one of the Japanese government agencies, and Buddy went to meet them, and they were impressed that he was a journalist and was fluent in English. Of course, he knew very little Japanese, that didn't matter. And so he got the job. And evidently, because Buddy, being a journalist and being very articulate, was able to impress a lot of people because they, through him, they set up a program where they would invite young college graduates from the United States, Nisei graduates, who had degrees in mathematics and journalism, this, that and the other thing, to Japan to study. And I guess it was kind of a program where the Japanese thought, well, they'll bring them to Japan, and if they could offer them an opportunity that they don't have here in the United States, that these young men would say, and it would be to Japan's advantage. So he came back to the United States to recruit some of these people, and he recruited quite a few bright young men, Niseis, from the United States. And it was quite a program as I understand it.

LD: Was it hard on your family, the way you see it because you were the oldest, and you looked at it from the viewpoint of the oldest sister, kind of responsible for the family, was it hard on your family? Do you feel it was hard on your family? Do you remember, was it hard that Buddy was serving in the Japanese army?

HS: He wasn't serving in the Japanese army in the beginning. In fact, actually, he was just attached to the army as a correspondent.

LD: Was it hard on your family that he was even doing that?

HS: We didn't really know about it until... when was it we found out? I don't even remember when we found out.

LD: You knew he was in Japan. What did you know, what did you know about what Buddy was doing?

HS: That he had good connections, that he had, that he was doing all right. And as a correspondent, he had made a lot of Americans and British, and correspondents from all different countries, and he was mostly in Shanghai, really, that's where he was working.

KK: So he was covering the Japanese-Chinese war, and so his writings would be pro-Japan. But he was writing them for the vernacular papers in the U.S., sending the articles back to Rocky Mountain Shimpo, the Rafu Shimpo, all the various papers here. And then at one point he came back and he did a lecture tour. And I remember that one because I was a little girl, but he had some military paraphernalia like a helmet and bullet... what do you call those things? Bandolier, bandolier, and those belts that people put a thousand stiches in, with a little coin in the middle to protect the soldiers.

HS: He was telling the Japanese side of the Manchurian Incident.

LD: All this is before the war. At the point that the war starts, between Japan and the United States, your brother was in a very different position. So that's what you're talking about when your mother had this dream. She had something on her mind.

KK: Well then when the war began, before the war started, he married a Japanese national.

LD: "Before the war, my brother..."

KK: Before the war, my brother Buddy -- before the war, my brother Buddy, who we are talking about, married a Japanese national, so he decided to stay in Japan. 1938, Hana went to Japan for two years to visit relatives.

HS: And friends.

KK: And friends, and worked... where did you work?

HS: I worked for the Japanese government in the foreign office as a typist. And that was through friends of the family. And there were a number of Nisei who were there, and we had fun.

KK: And then my brother Stanley, who was about sixteen, and kind of a teenager who would get in trouble at home, fight and everything, so they decided to send him to Shanghai, and he worked for my cousin's import-export business there. So he learned some Chinese and Japanese. But Buddy was concerned that they not be... he kind of, being in the business that he was, knew that there was tension between the United States and Japan. So he wanted to be sure that they came back to the United States before anything happened.

HS: Also, the American consulate sent out messages and said, "All American citizens, you should go back. If you want to go back, you better go back now, because we don't know what the situation is going to be." And I said, "I'm going back," so I came back.

KK: Nineteen-what?

HS: 1940. I came back in 1940.


KK: I think what happened during World War II is that we were all concerned about relatives in Japan.

HS: My mother had a sister, two sisters.

KK: How they were faring, if they had enough to eat, were they being bombed, you know, that sort of thing.

HS: And no communication.

KK: Yeah, there was no communication at all. Of course Mother would be concerned, because her oldest son was over there. He was married. If he was married, his wife may be pregnant, hopefully would give her grandchildren, you know. I think those were real concerns. And not knowing what role he played. Was he in the army? He's of military age, of course they would conscript all males of military age in Japan. So the chances that he would be in the army were good. But what we learned later was that he was more attached to the army. They used him in special ways because, I think, of his being bilingual and being a journalist. After the war I found out things about him and ways that he was used by the Japanese army, by the Japanese government. We didn't know he was in the Philippines, we didn't know the brothers had met. I mean, when my mother spoke to me about the boys, we didn't know those things. That's why I said it was so odd that she would even mention it to me. I don't think she mentioned it anybody else, but she mentioned it to me because I was so close to her. That they were okay, that they would meet, but it would be okay. And then later on we find out, yes, they did meet in the Philippines. Howard met Buddy, but Buddy was a prisoner of the U.S. Army and he had tuberculosis and he was in the hospital. And Howard went over to the hospital and met him and talked to him. That incident was documented in a book but they used my cousin's name instead of my brother's name. Because my cousin also had been on the island, was in the MIS, Roy Uno.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1985 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

LD: Well, it happened to quite a few fellows that they would meet a brother who... in one case it was... one case, one fellow was the interpreter for the American side and met his brother who was interpreter for the other side. It just happened that way, the brothers got split up, they were both Kibei, one got sent back to the United States and one stayed on. And those are the "winds of war" as they say, which side ended up having to work with. Hana, you came back from Japan, the FBI interrogated you?

HS: Uh-huh.

LD: They thought you were an agent and influenced by your father and Buddy.

HS: Yeah.

LD: Why did they do that and what did you think?

HS: After all, I worked for the Japanese government, so I guess it's natural for them to think that I might have some connections or something. But I was just a lowly typist, you know. There wasn't any reason for me to do anything, know anything.

LD: What did you think about that? Here you've just come back to Japan, you've been there two years, right?

HS: Uh-huh.

LD: Can you tell us about that? "I just came back from Japan..."

HS: Well, I came back from Japan, and on the boat there was this American who had been in the Orient for a while. I think he was a writer of some sort, and he knew my brother Buddy. And so he contacted me and said he was writing a book, would I do some typing? So I said okay, I wasn't doing anything on board ship anyway. So I did some typing for him, and he started getting fresh with me. So I got really, you know, scared and also mad at him, and I wouldn't have anything more to do with him. And he said something about he was going to pay me, but he never did. And then he said he would look me up after I got back. And when I, after I had landed and I was at home, I think he tried calling at one time, but I refused to see him. And I think he did finally write a book, supposed to be called Star Over Asia or something like that, I don't know. But the FBI, when they interrogated me, asked me a whole bunch of questions about him, because they suspected that he might have been a Japanese agent, I don't know. And they wanted to know where he was, what my connection with him was and all that. And then they also wanted to know about my father and what I felt my father was doing. The FBI really made me mad because they implied my father was an agent of the Japanese government and that he was getting paid for collecting information, sending it to my brother. Where actually, my father, who was very fluent in English, and could type better than I could, would, he would read the newspapers, he was an avid newspaper reader, and he'd send things like Drew Pearson's columns. He would send things like that to my brother in Japan and tell my brother what the Americans were thinking, what the American press was doing. And so when they picked Dad up, they felt that surely Dad was being paid by the Japanese government to send all the so-called information to my brother in Japan. Anybody can read a newspaper, anybody could send newspapers to Japan or anywhere else, but the FBI thought that my dad was an agent being paid by the Japanese government. I got so mad, and said, "If my dad was really a Japanese agent, and if he was getting paid by the government, do you think we'd be having such a hard time meeting the rent and making payments, this, that and the other thing? And I really got mad because they insisted that Dad was an agent of the Japanese government, and they made me sign a statement, read a statement and sign it. And I looked at it and I thought, "What are they trying to do to me?"

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1985 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

KK: I think I remember my father as mainly a very patriotic man who believed in America and what America stood for. Because, you know, when he was, during World War I, he tried to enlist in the army. But because he already had children, they would not take him, but they took his brother Clarence who did serve in the army. And Clarence later died in Heart Mountain relocation center, camp. But my father, it's very ironic that they, the FBI thought that he was such a super, super spy and important person, because I remember my father... he had no property. He had ten children, and he had many jobs in his lifetime. So he did not, he was not a man who was able to keep, make money and keep it. So our family really struggled through the Depression. The girls had to go to work, even before they got out of school, they went out and worked as schoolgirls. And then afterwards they worked and lived at home, but most of their pay came to help support the rest of the family. These are the older two sisters, the older half of the family. The first five, I think, really supported the last five of us. And being the youngest, I guess I've been supported the longest of any of them. [Laughs] But you talk about my father, I guess when he was in Utah, he worked on the railroad at one time.

HS: That was before I was born, I think.

KK: And he came in, I think, 1908, is what I remember. Somewhere in that time. We're an unusual family in that we're third-generation Christians. His parents became Christians in Japan, and therefore, and his father was in the cavalry, and therefore was not a, didn't have property, was moved around. And so he had six sons, right? Was it six? Eight? Oh, okay, eight. But anyway, the boys really didn't have that much future in Japan, so how many of them came over here?

HS: Almost all of them at one time.

KK: At one time or another all of them came to America, and this was the land of opportunity for them, and they made the best they could. And my father was in Salt Lake and worked as a floral designer.

HS: He knew people in the Mormon church, and after the war, many, many years after the war, he went to Salt Lake City to the Tabernacle, and he ran across somebody there who remembered him from like 1919, in the 1920s. And it was really a nostalgic time for him because here were two old men recognizing each other, and renewing friendship that they had had. Dad was a wonderful one for making friends everywhere. In Los Angeles he worked as a floral artist, and he was in and out of the homes of movie stars. He would make floral decorations for them, and so when visitors came he would take people and say, "This is so-and-so's house, and this is so-and-so's house." And sometimes we even went into them. And he always made friends everywhere, just anywhere he went, he would make friends because he was so good in English.

KK: And his English was self-taught. You've got to remember, he only went through... what's high school in Japan? I think it's tenth grade or something. I don't think it's like our twelfth grade, I think it was less than that. But he came over and he taught himself English. And if someone did not see him, they would not know it was a Japanese speaking, his English was that fluent. And his vocabulary was fabulous, and he had a terrific memory.

HS: And he could type. He could type with these four fingers faster than I could type with all my fingers.

KK: But another job he had was as a traveling salesman for an import-export company, and he was instrumental in S&H green stamps using Japanese goods as...

HS: Premiums?

KK: Premiums. And in that job he traveled by railroad all the states west of the Mississippi.

HS: You know, I can remember one incident. We lived in Salt Lake City, Mae and I were just little kids then. And Dad was introducing the game of mahjong. We knew how to play mahjong, so he was going to introduce mahjong to the people in Salt Lake City, he was gonna sell sets there. So he put us in the show window of ZCMI which is one of the big department stores in Salt Lake City, both of us in kimono and we were sitting there. And we had a card table and mahjong set up. Mae and I were supposed to be in the window playing mahjong. Well, we fought. [Laughs] So they finally had to take us out. I don't know whether you remember that, but I do.

MM: Not at all. [Laughs]

KK: But in his traveling as a salesman, he traveled, of course, on the railroad. And to while away the time, he used to crochet and knit. And I've seen some of the things that he made for these two girls, collars for velvet dresses and things like that. But the interesting thing is that he would go to a city and he'd look up... of course, his main job was to look up the department store, and so he'd look for the most important, biggest department store in town. Then he would, on his own, go and look up anybody who had anything to do with writing Christian hymns or having had a relative who was a missionary. He had a fabulous memory for people, and he would find out of there was any connection in that town and he'd go visit these people. And they'd invite him for dinner, and he played the harmonica, and they'd have a good time. But that's how he got to know people, and he'd always know who the richest person in the town was, and the most influential, those kinds of things. And of course, having gathered all this and having it in his memory. When they incarcerated him, and they put him on a railroad with the blinds down and they were traveling. He was giving a monologue to the other internees in the railroad car, and he would do it in Japanese and English so that the guard would also be informed. And the guard got suspicious and took him off and told his superior that this man had a fabulous knowledge of the country. And so I think this partly led to some of why they thought he was a spy. But it wasn't that at all. And the last job he had before the war was with an insecticide company. And because most of the farmers in and around Imperial Valley in California and Orange County were Japanese, and he was bilingual, they gave him their accounts. And not only that, they asked him to help with the research that was being done.

HS: Experiments, uh-huh.

KK: So he went to the L.A. museum, county museum, and he talked to the entomologist, and he learned all about insects and everything. And he had these great big volumes, you asked me a picture of my father, my father's lying on the couch reading these great big volumes and falling asleep with these books falling on his face. And I'd try to lift them up, and they were really heavy books. But he became very knowledgeable, he would mount and preserve insects and specimens and things and you could imagine our dining room with the walls lined with specimen bottles, you know. But, of course, in the research they would have control fields, they would use one kind of insecticide here and another kind of insecticide there. And then he was working with Proctor & Gamble who had developed detergents before the war. And why the detergents were developed was not to clean our clothes, but was to clean vegetables and fruits of insecticide. And so he had a little pin of detergent that was really magical. You just take a little finger of it and put it in water and you cleaned your glasses and your dishes. We had this before, when I was a little girl doing dishes. [Laughs] So anyway, he went around and he supervised these kind of test fields. So you know what those things kind of translate into, and, of course, how did they --

HS: Maps, too, showed exactly where these fields were and names of the farmers.

KK: And then they would dust the fields from air, so, of course, there were little small airports around where the dust crop airplanes would load up with the insecticide, etcetera. So all of these were very incriminating, but he was working for a U.S. company, you know? And here was this man who was really a super-American in one way. He was very critical, though. I mean, he really believed in America, and he...

LD: What did he believe in America?

KK: That it was a land of opportunity, that the laws, that we were governed by laws, and he believed in free speech and this and that. He encouraged Buddy to go over and write about the Japanese-Chinese war because he thought, yes, we should have the right, the Japanese should know the unslanted view, the Japanese side of the news, not just the American Chinese, pro-Chinese side of that. But he always thought also that Buddy should be kept up on what was current here in the United States. So as Hana says, he clipped out articles and wrote to him and kept him up on the news. I always remember he always subscribed to the Christian Science Monitor even before the war. Because he said they gave them about the most even evaluation of news. And so he would send clippings and write his opinions, and he was very free with his opinions about what was going on, and he was very knowledgeable about politics, government, economics, as it dealt with the Japanese and with the farmers, especially. So I can see where the FBI might have thought he was a very important "spy."

HS: He used to take Edison on these field trips when Edison wasn't in school.

KK: Me, too.

HS: That's what got Edison interested in farming. Edison really wanted to be a farmer. It never materialized.

KK: And I remember going out with him and visiting these farms and what he had to do and helping him gather the specimens and putting them, see that they're carefully kept and all those things. And getting vegetables from the farmers, going out to the fields and picking fresh cucumbers and taking them to the irrigation and washing them up and just eating it fresh off the vine. It was really terrific. But he was not a man that had any property of his own. And he wasn't a very... he was a good father, but he wasn't one that could provide material for us.

HS: He wasn't a very good provider.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1985 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

KK: So I remember my sisters going off, and especially when Amy used to go off of work in homes, then she used to take me to stay overnight.

LD: What kind of jobs did your sisters do?

HS: Schoolgirl.

KK: Schoolgirl jobs. Get room and board.

HS: Went to live in American homes, and helped with the housecleaning and the dishes, especially the dishes. And sometimes even helped with the cooking, cleaning house, and if there's a child there then you have to do babysitting. And you get one day a week, I used to get one day a week off, and then I would come home and find out what's going on at home. But it was a lonely job, but they usually gave me a room to myself, which was nice, and I'd go to school in the daytime.

LD: This is when a lot of Nisei...

HS: Lot of girls did that.

LD: ...this is called "schoolgirl"?

HS: Uh-huh, schoolgirl.

MM: I went to several homes during my time I was in high school. And I took care of children, or one child at a time, usually. I did the housework, helped with dinner, and bathed the child and did the dishes. And I got Sundays off. And it was rough going back because we have the family, and then you have to leave. Didn't get very much pay, just room and board, and just enough for car fare, and that's about all.

HS: But that was in the height of the Depression, and just getting three square meals a day was important to us.

KK: In a crowded household, to get a room of your own was something. So my sisters were working out, and then we'd see them on their days off. Of course, when they came home, everybody kind of, it was kind of a happy time Sundays where we'd have big meals and everybody around the table, etcetera.

LD: What about the boys? Were they working?

KK: They all had paper routes and they worked for...

HS: Sold magazines. And they worked in markets cleaning vegetables and things like that.

MM: And Bob even went to a place where he ironed shirts for five cents a shirt. I don't know exactly what kind of a place this was, a laundry or something. And he was only just a little kid, and he was ironing shirts. But he got five cents a shirt. And we used to collect models and return them to the store because you'd get...

HS: A penny or two for them, yeah.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1985 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

KK: And then when we were in camp we didn't have flowers, and so he got us to make carnations from Kleenex and toilet paper, for funerals and things. Well, came graduation, they wanted the auditorium decorated, and he was supposed to go decorate it. But before he went to decorate it, he went out and got a skunk, and he was cleaning the skunk, and he thought he cut these little bags off, and he dug a hole and he buried it and everything. But what he had cut off was the gonads, and the scent bags were still there. And he cut into it and the scent spurted all over him and everything. [Laughs] And he had this skunk odor on him. He tried to wash it off, it wouldn't wash off, he had to bury his clothes. And so he had to go and decorate this auditorium. Nobody could get near him but me. So he and I decorated that auditorium ourselves because we couldn't ask anybody else to come near him. But he did a real nice job. And then he tried to wash it off and he couldn't, he ended up getting an infection, skin poisoning, and landed in the hospital. But he came out of that okay, but I'll never forget the skunk.

But there was another incident. See, we were in Crystal City. Crystal City was a camp that was divided. There were Germans, Italians, and there were Japanese, and it was... the Germans mainly came from South America, a few from the States, but a lot from South America, and one was Dr. Warrack, who was quite a scientist and naturalist. And he taught my father taxidermy, and that's how my father got into that. And he had a turtle one time, a water turtle, and he drowned it, quote/unquote, he killed it. And by that time it was late in the evening, so he says, oh, he's too tired, he can't work on it 'til tomorrow. So he stuck it in the bottom of our ice box -- we didn't have refrigerators in camp, we had ice box. And he stuck it in the bottom of the ice box, and the next morning I went to open the ice box to fix breakfast, and there's the thing moving and looking at me. [Laughs] But I would buy... and I would cook birds, you know, he was learning, so he would use a lot of birds to learn the techniques and everything. And so after he skinned them, the meat was there, so he would leave it and I would cook it up. And I did rabbit, and I did roadrunner, they're kind of tough. We had that instead of a turkey one Thanksgiving. And armadillo. And armadillo meat was really delicious.

LD: It sounds like that's your parents' attitude, was sort of make the best of that situation.

KK: Oh, yeah.

LD: Was that their attitude?

KK: You know, that Japanese attitude, gambare, and make do the best, and do the best with what you have, and you can't help whatever happens to you, you just go along with it. I think that really kept us going. And they both were very committed Christians, Dad not as much outwardly as my mother. Everybody knew she was a Christian, but my father also was a Christian and had a lot of faith. In fact, when everybody else left camp and he was left with the Peruvian children, there was Peruvians in Crystal City, and he conducted school for them and Sunday school for them. And later I learned that from ones I met later on, I said, "Oh, yeah, I remember your father, because he conducted Sunday school for us."

LD: You never, any of you saw your parents or your brothers angry?

KK: Oh, sure. Oh, yes.

HS: About this?

LD: Yeah, about evacuation, about internment.

MM: I never saw any anger.

KK: I did. I saw depression.

HS: I think my mother and dad together did.

KK: And I saw depression, periods of depression, and a lot of worry. But on the whole, that was kept under control and not for public, or not for family viewing. Letters to family were, "everything's okay."

HS: Except when Dad's internment got so long and drawn out, and it seemed like to matter who you wrote to, we wrote to Ed Ennis and Wayne Collins and other people asking them to please release Dad. Because there wasn't any reason for keeping him. The war had ended, and he wasn't dangerous, he wasn't going to do anything. But they just wouldn't release him. I don't know.

KK: I always wondered why they didn't release him. And one of the theories is, speculation is that he was too valuable to them because he helped all the other campers. He wrote the letters of appeal for them and did the interpreting and things for them. But maybe they just had to have him around until they got rid of everybody else and then they could let him go.

HS: In fact, they closed the camp with him, didn't they?

KK: They did. 1947 he got out. And then for two years he was on probation, monthly had to go in and see his probation officer. But when I left you earlier I was saying that he was this, doing all this with the insecticide and all. So when you think of that plus -- his name is George K. Uno, and my brother Buddy's name is George K. Uno. And Buddy had come back in 1938 and traveled around and did a lecture tour. Went to New York, Florida, really across the country and all over. But I think they got the two names mixed up, I don't know, I just thought that because of Buddy, my father was thought to be more important than he was.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1985 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

LD: Remembering back at that time, what was your reaction to the FBI coming and picking him up? Were you there actually when it happened?

HS: Oh, yes, we were all there.

LD: Could you describe the...

HS: Well, we knew that they had picked up other men. In fact, they picked other men up on December 7th. And so it was just a matter of when. And here it was end of February?

LD: February.

HS: And they were just getting around to picking Dad up, and it was kind of funny. But they came to the house, they didn't tell you, they don't tell you they're coming to pick him up, they just go through the house with a fine-tooth comb. He had a desk, and they went through all the drawers and picked things out and took them. And I think they took pictures out of my album. And then when they were about ready to go, then they told Dad, "Come with us."

LD: What did you think?

MM: I was frightened. Angry, and I think I cried. Because my dad was, he was so loving, and he was gentle, and he never raised a hand against me, ever. And I remember whenever I'd be ill or anything, he would always be there and he'd look after me. And he was so supportive all the time, he taught me how to knit and all that. He was the best dad I ever had. And I love him and I didn't want him to go.

HS: Of course, we didn't know where they were taking him, they wouldn't tell us. And we tried, put together things to send with him, but it's kind of hard to do it when you're under stress like that. And we didn't know when we'd ever see him again, that's the thing that really bothered us. Didn't know where he was going and how long he was going to be gone. There were a hundred and one questions we wanted to ask him, you know, but we just couldn't do it.

KK: And I just remember we were getting letters from various... it seemed like every time we'd get a letter, it had a different address on it. So they moved him around a lot. We didn't know what was going on.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1985 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

KK: In 1972, my brother Edison came to Washington, D.C. where I was living, and went to the Archives and did some research on my father's incarceration. And prior to his coming, I had, I was a leader of a Camp Fire girl group, and one of my members, the father was with the FBI in Washington, D.C. So I asked him about the records of people who were incarcerated during World War II, and he says, "Oh, it's after twenty-five years. It's closer to thirty years, they probably burned them." And I asked him specifically could he look up for my father's records, George K. Uno, and I got a note from him saying that the records were burned. But it was interesting, in 1972, my brother Edison came, and he went to the Archives himself, and he was able to find material. When you go to the Archives -- and I went later after I found out Edison could do that -- I went to find out about my own incarceration. And what they do is they remove all information about medical situations before they give you the record to look at. Anyway, in Edison's research, he found, and he documented my father's case. And in there, there are memorandums from, between the U.S. Attorney General Carr, and the Assistant Attorney General Tom C. Clark. And they were very interesting because Clark kept saying that my father, quote, "more important category for exchange purposes," unquote, that my father was, should be kept and incarcerated for this. In 1942 my father was referred for detention on the basis of suspected espionage, but in their research they could not find that he, they could not find that he really was a spy. And so, but for some reason they thought that he was worthy of being held for exchange purposes. And this was prisoner, U.S. prisoners exchanged for Japanese prisoners. And recently I had read and found out that even there were plans for evacuating, incarcerating all the Japanese in Hawaii and putting them on Molokai and keeping them for later on for exchange prisoner kind of thing. But that's just a little aside. But anyway, so the attorney general Carr said that there was no real reason to keep my father incarcerated, but Tom Clark said, no, he was important for exchange purposes and so he was kept in.


KK: What we found out from Edison's research is... and what Edison gave me, I have a copy of what he found out, that in April of 1944, Assistant Attorney General's memorandum to the FBI director, on recommendation that prosecution be instituted for espionage, and exchange is mentioned. Then in August, July, the U.S. Attorney Charles H. Carr sends a letter to Tom C. Clark, assistant attorney general, stating facts in the case do not warrant prosecution for espionage. But then later, a month later, in August, Tom C. Clark's memorandum to the FBI director states that it didn't suggest to, quote, "improve bargaining status for exchange purposes," unquote. Then later on, in October, there's another memorandum on consideration of order for reporting my father, even though Carr said there was no case of espionage. It was still recommended by Clark to be "being dangerous to public peace and safety," and he was put on the deportation list.

LD: That's pretty good. We'll go one more time. What I want you to do is explain it to me using quotes and using dates, support yourself, but basically explain to me. And what I want to hear is the unreasonableness of what happened. I want you to tell me how unreasonable all this stuff really is. How did you feel about it when you look at this stuff?

KK: Angry, mad, really mad. You see where my brother really felt that our rights were violated, my father's rights were violated. He had done nothing wrong, he had been working to better the food supply in the United States, and yet he is seen as a dangerous "enemy alien." And when we got this documentation that Edison had found in the archives in 1972, of course we were very angry. For one, it showed that through the memorandum in, well, was really before this, but these are the ones that are, say right now. In April, the assistant attorney general memorandum to the FBI director made a recommendation that prosecution be instituted for espionage, and that possibly he could be used as an exchange for prisoners and prisoner exchange. Okay. Then in July, the U.S. Attorney Charles H. Carr wrote a letter to Clark, and he tells Clark that, "The facts in the case do not warrant prosecution for espionage," yet Clark sends a memorandum the next month in August to the director of the FBI and states that, "Indictment suggests to," quote, "improve bargaining status for exchange purposes," unquote. Therefore, later on, in March of '46, Attorney General Tom Clark signs an order for the removal of my father, George Kumemaro Uno from the U.S. because it is, quote, deemed, he is, quote, "deemed dangerous to public peace and safety," unquote. It took many, many months and many letters, and yet, still in May of '46, my father got a letter from Thomas M. Cooey II, director of Alien Enemy Control Unit, denying any request for release, and reaffirming the attorney general's removal orders. But my father still believed in the American legal system, and through the ACLU appealed his stay of deportation, and so he never was deported, but was not released from camp until... what was it? September of 1947. And then, ironically, later on, in 1952, when Asians were allowed to become American citizens, he became an American citizen and led his graduating class in the national anthem.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1985 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

LD: When Ernest came back from, end of the war, why don't you start... tell us again minus what your brother who your brother Ernest was, how old he was, how old you were at the time. It was the end of the war now, what has he been doing? He was in I Company, he was in the 442nd, right? So tell us that. He's your oldest brother?

KK: No.

LD: No, but he's older than you by how many years?

KK: Seven. Ernie is seven years older than me.

LD: You were about eleven or twelve when he came back?

KK: And so I was about eleven.

LD: You were about eleven.

KK: Eleven or twelve.

LD: So, "I remember..." tell us what you remember about that? What do you remember about his coming back?

KK: What I remember about my brothers visiting in their uniforms, visiting us in the internal security camp called Crystal City in Texas, we were in this camp, which was a holding camp for those who were to be deported. It was a family camp, so my brother Edison, my brother Bob, myself, and my mother were moved from Amache, Colorado, to this camp in Crystal City, Texas. And because it was not a WRA, not a War Relocation Authority camp, but an internal security camp, it was more secure. It was a family camp, so the families cooked and lived in family units, in barracks, but they were cut up into units and so we could cook and live as a family. Half the camp was for Germans and Italians, and half was for Japanese. And besides... well, most of the Germans we found were from South America, and then most of the Japanese were from continental U.S. But there was a group that was brought from Peru. There were Japanese incarcerated in Peru and shipped over here to the U.S. to be incarcerated in Crystal City camp. That's another whole story, somebody will have to tell that one of these days. But when my brothers came to this camp to visit, it wasn't like in the WRA camps where they could go in and stay with the families. We had a visiting room, and it was just like in any prison, in which they were on one side of a table and you were on the other side. So when my brother came, the first time he came, I wasn't there because I didn't know that he had come. But in later years he said he came to visit the camp and it was after visiting ours, that he just stood at the fence and they said he couldn't come, he'd have to come back. And so he went to the little town of Crystal City outside, and he said he was so tired and he was so lonely and he said he just lay fully clothed on the bed and just cried himself to sleep that night. And ironic because here he was from the 442, coming back, and the other fellows were going home, some of them were going home, but they were going home to camps where they could be with the family. And a lot of the Hawaii boys were going home to Hawaii and would be greeted with leis and warmly greeted. And he said he didn't know where to go so he came to Crystal City because that's where Mom and Dad were. When he got there, all he met was a fence. So that was a very sad night for him, and then the next day he came, and we couldn't really have him in our home, we couldn't cook for him, we couldn't do any of those things you want to do for a returning loved one, but be there and see him and talk to him. So I was very strained and very tearful situation, very hard. And then it was very... I forgot how much time they gave us, but it was like any prison, the time is limited, and then the guard tells you you have to go. So it was not, it was not an easy homecoming for him or for us.

LD: He was in I Company?

KK: He was in I Company. Later on he came to Hawaii working for the YMCA. And in the '50s he came once as a Y secretary and worked... I mean, not as a secretary, but as a Y worker, club organizer, and he worked the west Oahu area. And my husband's cousins lived in that area and they got to know him, out in Ewa Beach. Then he went back and he worked for the Y in Tacoma, Washington, Ventura, California, San Diego, California. And then in 1960s, I had moved back, I had moved here the first time that I'd ever come to Hawaii was in 1960 when my husband had graduated from Michigan State and we came back to live in Hawaii. And about a year after I came back, 1961, I think it was, Ernie came back to Hawaii and worked for the YMCA here, and he's been here ever since. During the '60s, I had two girls here in Hawaii, I had a son in Michigan before I came. And then my husband worked for the Federal Aviation Administration, and in 1967 got a scholarship to go the University of California, and that was like going home for me because I attended the University of California at Berkeley, and then graduated from the school of nursing in San Francisco. So we decided we would accompany him for his year of schooling, and I took the children and we went up there. And then from there we came back to Hawaii, but we only stayed a few months and then went to Washington, D.C., and we were there until 1972. All that time Ernie was here working for the YMCA, and he went full circle, from being, starting out from West Oahu as a club organizer, he retired as the secretary for West Oahu, the YMCA. And he retired, I forgot what year it was now.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1985 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

LD: Through a fourteen-year-old's eyes, the eyes that, you were a kid, what do you remember about that? What do you remember of your brothers coming to visit you?

KK: Oh, boy, that's going to be hard. As a fourteen-year-old in Crystal City camp, I was really proud of my brother that served in the service, and I was grateful that he came back alive and not wounded. And Ernie and I were not real close, even when we were growing up. I was closer to Edison and Bobby and Stan, and somehow Ernie wasn't in there, but he and I were not very close. So although I was glad to see him and everything, there was not quite that closeness as if it was Howard or any of the other brothers. And I felt sad for my father and my mother. I think because we didn't have a home for him to come home to. And we were still on the deportation list and thinking we were going to be deported, right? And you think, well, maybe you still could be off to Japan, and what's he going to do, he'd have to go live with Hana and the rest of the family were going to be together, and we weren't. It was a very confusing time. You know, as years go by, you forget the bad parts, you just hang on to the good memories. And I've got a lot of good memories of camp because I was just a kid and had a lot of things happening. But I also remember the tension. I remember Edison and Bob not wanting to go to Japanese school, so I was the only one that went to Japanese school, and all the pressure was on me. [Laughs] And I thought, "Oh, those lucky boys." I was the only one that had to join the youth organization. We had a, comparable to Girl Scout, Boy Scout, but they were very militaristic. Both the German side had that and the Japanese side had it. I remember my brother graduating from high school, working at the hospital, and thinking he would like to become a doctor, but here we are, we don't know if we're going to be in Japan, what's going to happen? And I remember he was very depressed, and he sat in one side of the camp in front of the fence, and we were afraid that he was going to try to climb over it or do something, make the guards shoot him or something. And we had to gently talk him, a friend of ours gently talked him into coming away, coming home. It was very tense. And shortly after that, they made arrangements for him to join my sister in Chicago essentially to go to school. But being of draft age, he knew he would be drafted, and he didn't want to go into the army so he volunteered for the navy. But Edison stayed in camp.

And after they sent me out, in '46 they sent me out because there was no school. So I traveled with another family that was going to California, I traveled by myself to California to join my mother and my sister. Oh, my mother went out earlier because my sister in Chicago was, has a miscarriage, and my mother went out to take care of her. And when she did that, my father said, "Don't come back into camp." So there was maybe a half a year, nine months, maybe a whole year. But I was the only female in our household, and took care of my father and my brothers, did the cooking and the washing and the housecleaning and all those things that, "women's roles." [Laughs]

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1985 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

KK: Last year when I was visiting Hana, I came across a letter that my brother Stanley had written in 1944 while he was serving with the Military Intelligence Service, U.S. Army. And he was in the India-Burma-China Theater. And he was writing a letter to my brother Robert, who I think at that time must have been in Chicago, but had just graduated high school and had been released from Crystal City camp, where in Crystal City we were held for deportation. Anyway, there had evidently been an article that Robert had read in which Stanley was quoted, in which the situation was that brothers were on opposite sides in a war. And I guess the writer had asked Stanley what he would do, and Stanley had said if it came to that, where he would have to meet his brother on the battlefield, he would do what he had to do, and that would probably have to shoot, right? And something about that had disturbed Robert, so Robert had written a letter to the editor and expressed a different point of view. That point of view was a very mature, well-written piece, and Stanley had read it and felt he needed to respond to Robert, so he wrote this letter, from which I will quote a few times. And it's a very respectful letter in that he does tell Robert that... you know, he remembers Robert as being a little kid when they last saw him in Amache, Colorado, in camp, because we were separated after that. So here, Robert is now eighteen, a young man, waiting to be drafted or to volunteer for the navy, writing this letter to the editor. And Stanley sees that it's a very well-written piece and tells him that. He says that he thought that, quote, "I cannot say frankly that I agree with your wholly. Though your debate was brilliantly expressed, it's lacking in many things which you may not have understood or your comprehension of the problem is rather distorted, by whom I shall not even try to guess," unquote. So then Stanley goes on and tries to explain his point of view, and he mentions the case of the Schumann-Heinks, Madame Schumann-Heink, and this was a German family that had a similar situation. And let me just quote this at the end. He says, quote, "I shall respect the enemy, why he fights, but I shan't pity him nor give him any odds when the time comes to meet him. We Americans shall victor for what and why we fight is right. I hope that you shall see the light and join the fight as an American soldier who is proud of why and what he is fighting for," unquote.

LD: This was directly related to the fact that in that family, in your family you had exactly that situation.

KK: Right. The brothers didn't know where their older brother, my oldest brother Buddy was in Japan, was of age to be in the army. They didn't know if he was in the army or what he was doing. Most likely he was in the army. They didn't know if they would meet him on the battlefield or not.

LD: Here's Stanley saying...

KK: If he did, he'd have to do what he had to because he was an American.

LD: And Robert was saying what?

KK: And Robert... I don't know what... see, I don't have Robert's letter, so I couldn't say. But I would think that Robert would say, "Would you meet your brother, would you probably try to save him or do something?" You don't know, you know. And you never know until you're tested what you would actually do

MM: But he quoted the Bible, it says.

KK: Yeah. But what he quoted we don't know. There are a lot of holes because we don't... that's one of the researches I would like to do, is go find out who this, where these letters appeared. They must have appeared in some...

LD: You don't have Robert's letters. You'd like to find it.

KK: I'd like to find it.

LD: I can see why. It must have been some letter. It's interesting the two brothers battling it out in publications. [Laughs]

KK: Right.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1985 The Center for Educational Telecommunications and Densho. All Rights Reserved.