Densho Digital Archive
National Japanese American Historical Society Collection
Title: Harvey Watanabe Interview
Narrator: Harvey Watanabe
Interviewers: Marvin Uratsu (primary), Gary Otake (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 12, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-wharvey-02

<Begin Segment 1>

MU: This is a interview with Harvey Watanabe, in Seattle. And I'm the interviewer and my name is Marvin Uratsu, with helper Gary Otake. First of all, Harvey, where were you born?

HW: I was born in Exeter, California.

MU: Now, whereabouts is that?

HW: That is about 60 miles, or 65 miles southeast of Fresno.

MU: Southeast of Fresno.

HW: Yeah. And, if you were to draw another line, it's about 90 miles north of Bakersfield.

MU: Okay. Now, when was that -- that you were born?

HW: 1919. I don't remember that, but they tell me it was 1919.

MU: 1919, okay. How many siblings -- how many brothers and sisters did you have?

HW: (...) I was the oldest (of six).

MU: At that time, what was your father's, or parents' occupation?

HW: He was supplying workers for the farms.

MU: Farm labor contractor?

HW: At that time, to one farm, one large farm. Farm laborer -- and they were Issei workers (...) -- room and board, and go to work.

MU: How was life under those conditions?

HW: Well, I was just born then so I don't remember but very little of it. 'Course, during the Depression time, we went -- Father went back into that business, if you want to call it that. And my association with the Isseis from all over gradually picked up a lot of Japanese lingo, local, local lingo -- the Okinawa group and the Kagoshima group. You know, there were people from all over.

MU: Now, in a previous interview you mentioned that your mother had to do quite a bit of work to keep the...

HW: Yes. Cooking.

MU: ... operation going. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

HW: Well, it's like getting up at 4:30 in the morning and getting breakfast ready, and -- for the crew. And then, at the same time, cookin' enough food so that the crew could pack their own lunch for lunchtime. And cookin' dinner when they came back. It's a lot of work.

MU: Do you remember about what time your mother went to bed each night?

HW: Yeah, probably more like ten o'clock. Getting up at four o'clock in the morning.

MU: Next morning?

HW: Yeah.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

MU: What ken did they come from, your father...

HW: Kanagawa.

MU: Kanagawa. Now, Kanagawa would be -- what city would be...

HW: It's Odawara -- is the nearest city.

MU: Okay. That would be southwest of Tokyo?

HW: (Well, it's south by southwest of Tokyo.)

MU: (South by southwest?)

HW: Yeah, because it's right on the ocean.

MU: Do you know why they wanted to come to America?

HW: Well, my (father's) oldest brother -- (father) was the fifth son in the family -- (...) was over here. And an uncle also came for a period of time. Being the fifth son in Japan, in the order of things for sons, why then the second son -- if the first son isn't here, the second son gets the family... and he's the fifth one down the line. And he was also -- being the fifth son -- was given to an uncle who had no children, and who taught him, schooled him from his childhood days.

MU: Schooled him on what?

HW: Japanese.

MU: Uh-huh.

HW: He didn't go to school, as such, but he did get schooled by his uncle. Then as he matured, why, he was drafted into the army, Japanese army and fought in the Japanese-Russian war. And then after he came back, in 19 -- war ended in 1905 -- in 1907 he migrated over here to join his father -- I mean, his brother.

MU: After you've grown up, were you able to talk to your dad about his experience in the Russo-Japanese War?

HW: Yes, yes, we talked.

MU: Any interesting comments he made?

HW: Yeah, there's a couple, several actually. He was machine-gunned while he was cutting barbed wire, getting ready for an assault on the Russian lines. Went to the hospital with five machine gun shots. Lucky that he didn't -- they didn't destroy his knee. He was on his back, cutting barbed wire, and he got machine-gunned in the knee, the leg. And during -- then as he was recovering and able to get around, but not ready to go back to the front line, he knew some, he knew, understood Japanese language pretty good, you know, the written language. And there was a Chinese prince, you might say, visiting. He wanted to learn more Japanese. So he became a tutor to the Chinese prince for a period of time. That was one of his favorite memories. The other was -- he would tell me, says, "You know, when you go into the army, they're gonna teach you how to use a bayonet." He says, "Forget it. Grab the rifle by the barrel and start swinging, because by the time you're pokin' around with that bayonet, you get killed." [Laughs]

MU: Well, was one of the reasons he wanted to get out of Japan and come to America -- maybe get away from the military things over there?

HW: Well, as I gather, he was not radical but he was kinda liberal. And, as far as being in Japan in those days, and being the fifth son of a large family, things were more rosy over here -- if he came over here. Yeah. That's the reason why he came. But, I believe that he "wetbacked," because he didn't talk about it too much, but I know that he came into British Columbia.

MU: As a "wetback"?

HW: No, legally.

MU: Oh. Tell us a little bit.

HW: And then he worked in the timber industry for a little while. And then he slipped over the border to work in the timber industry in Blaine. And he told me about a missionary, name turned out to be Reverend Murphy of Seattle. He made a deal with Reverend Murphy. He says, "I have a hobby of taking photographs and I will take photographs for you when you come up here on your mission venture if you will teach me a little bit of English." And so, that's how he learned some English, enough to go to California and join his brother. [Laughs]

MU: Okay.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

MU: So, after living up here like that, he went to California and that's where you were born?

HW: Yes, my mother was a picture bride and came into San Francisco.

MU: Can you tell us a little bit about how the picture bride arrangement works?

HW: Well, picture bride arrangements work by supporters of each side. And they would then send pictures over and exchange pictures. If that was then suitable then they would be married, although they weren't together. And that would then allow the bride to come over.

MU: We've heard some horror stories about -- on that arrangement. But, in your family's case, everything worked out all right?

HW: I think, I think there were some little shenanigans pulled, because, you see, my uncle who was not married at the time brought my mother back with him. He was visiting in Japan and brought her back.

MU: What was the significance of that?

HW: Well, you see, the way I figured out is my father had "wetbacked" across the Canadian, U.S.-Canadian border, so he couldn't use, they couldn't use his name. Because there is some mix-up -- my sister looked into it, and she had some questions. And it just struck a light in my mind here, what my father had been telling me.

MU: Yeah.

HW: Yeah.

MU: Well that's good. Then, possibly your mother came over as your uncle's bride?

HW: Yeah.

MU: Well, that's interesting. Thanks for sharing that bit of private information.

HW: I think that's possible, yeah...

MU: But, apparently your father was determined to come to America...

HW: Yes.

MU: ...if he did this "wetback."

HW: I found out about that later during my teenage years. Mentioned to me one day, he says, "I want to ask you a question." I says, "Sure, what is it?" He says, "I have some property in Japan and if I die, it's supposed to go to you." He said, "Do you want the property?" I said, "I don't have any use for it, because I'm not planning to go back to Japan." And previous to that, as a nine-year-old I had visited Japan for a few months. I met my cousin over there and another cousin was over here. He had migrated to the U.S., the older cousin. And so I told my father, "I have no use for it, so why don't we give it to my cousin?" So he went, we went to the consul and...

MU: Had that arranged?

HW: ...made the arrangement. And so all the property there was -- in Japan, was -- my cousin fell heir to it, yeah. So that's when he first let me know that he had no intention of going back to Japan. I mean...

MU: Burning the bridges, right there.

HW: Yeah, he was burning the bridges, yeah, uh-huh. And this was in the middle '30s, during the Depression.

MU: Well, a lot of the Isseis -- I think at about that time -- were wondering which way to go.

HW: Yes.

MU: Go back to Japan, or stay here. And your father apparently made up his mind early that he wanted to stay here.

HW: Well, I think, I think wanting to and staying here are two different things, you see. I mean, you know, because of the situation, political situation -- not legalistic, but still political -- they could've rounded up everybody and kicked 'em out. So, my father always mentioned that, he says, "You're an American citizen, and I'm not. But if anything happens between U.S. and Japan, I'm staying here. And I want you to remember you're an American citizen." You know, he said that to me many times.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

MU: Okay. Now, you grew up in the Exeter area?

HW: Exeter -- Visalia area.

MU: Visalia?

HW: Uh-huh.

MU: Then you went to local schools there?

HW: Oh yes. Uh-huh.

MU: And, were there many Nikkeis there at that time?

HW: There were like -- there were a couple of families in the elementary school. There were half a dozen families in the high school.

MU: Uh-huh. Who were your neighbors at that time? Other Nikkeis, or other nationalities?

HW: No, mostly hakujin. All of our -- after school, playing around with, hakujin because Nikkei families were spread out so much. You have to kinda go to...

MU: Yeah. And, you talked about meeting up with an Italian family? Was a neighbor of yours.

HW: Yeah. That was a...

MU: Can you tell us a little bit about that lady? You were saying she taught you to, how to make spaghetti and you, in turn taught your mother to make spaghetti.

HW: [Laughs] Yeah, yeah. Mrs. Mangini. The Manginis were our neighbors and they had two sons, and...

MU: About your age?

HW: One was older and one was my age. Yeah. I noticed that every summer she would -- they would grow a lot of tomatoes. And she would put out chicken wire, out in the backyard, off the ground, and then put the tomatoes on there and sun dry the tomatoes. And that's how she got the tomatoes for all year round. And, she'd always invite me to have some -- you know, stay and have supper with them or something with the kids. And then one day, she says, "I'm going to give you the recipe and you tell your mother how to make spaghetti." [Laughs] So that's what I took over to -- we used bacon and tomato, sun-dried tomatoes, bacon.

MU: Real authentic Italian spaghetti.

HW: Yeah. [Laughs]

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

MU: Now, how 'bout your education? How, how high did you go in the American education?

HW: well, I went to high school.

MU: High school.

HW: Yeah, and I had the opportunity to go to aeronautical school, but I told my father, I said, "I can't get a job so no use wasting my time going to aeronautical school."

MU: You didn't think about going to college?

HW: No, because farm -- farming and farm labor was a big thing. The thing that was making the, or having a business in town. So, all of the, frankly, all the Nikkei families that we knew, associated with, were all in some phase of farming. Either working on the farm or growing vegetables, or having, you know, a farm. It was not bad, you know.

MU: And, at that time, you were making a pretty good living, I guess, or fair living?

HW: Yeah, good living.

MU: And college for a lot of people was out of the question, I think.

HW: Anyway, yeah. I think, in retrospect -- I mentioned it before -- but the reason why we were sent to Japanese school was because of the 1924 decision and the Isseis not knowing -- if the situation ever arose -- they might be suddenly, family and all be sent back to Japan. And better have Japanese language instruction more available all over.

MU: Now, you're talking about 1924, the law there, the Alien Land Law?

HW: Yeah, uh-huh. So anyway, they had formed a Japanese language school in Visalia, at the Buddhist Church. Then they decided to send the people from the country -- on Saturdays and Sundays -- and the kids that lived in the city would go after school, weekdays.

MU: Was your father one of the organizers of the Japanese school?

HW: I think the, all of the parents agreed, you know. All the fathers agreed that's the way it ought to be done.

MU: And who was the teacher?

HW: Well, there were two teachers. One, at the beginning it was the Buddhist priest there. And, later on it was a fellow who functioned as a, as a arm of the Japanese consul. But he was a, he was a citizen and a college graduate.

MU: U.S. citizen?

HW: Yeah. And he was the one teaching us Japanese.

MU: They must have done a pretty good job because your Japanese -- you were able to read, write and speak it.

HW: Well, I could speak it, but reading and writing was kinda tough.

MU: So, how many years of Japanese school education you think you received there?

HW: Well, I think about three years.

MU: Three years?

HW: Yeah. But then I had all of this background of working with these, you know, working with... and since I -- fairly young teenager, I was a straw boss for the crews. And the crews were all Isseis from Japan.

MU: So, you were conversing with them in Japanese?

HW: All the time, yeah.

MU: So, you learned a lot through experience?

HW: Just, just through conversation, yeah.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

MU: Now, I wanna ask you when Pearl Harbor happened, or even before the FBI was rounding up leaders of the Japanese community, including Japanese schoolteachers. Were any of the schoolteachers that taught you picked up by the FBI?

HW: I don't think so. I don't recall. All I recall is -- well, I mean, this is a.... Last year, my brother and his wife came up for a vacation visit -- younger brother -- and they were gonna stay for a period of time. And, and we went up to Lake Quinault, our family group, for a couple nights. And at that time, my brother told me, he says, "You know," he says, "The FBI came to the house in 1941 and Poppa thought they were gonna come pick him up. So he packed all his clothes and everything ready to go if they said, 'Come with me, come with us.'" And he says, "They came and asked all about you." This my brother, you know, he says, "They knew more about you then I knew about you."

MU: At that time you were in the army?

HW: Yes. 1941, yeah. And so he was surprised, and Poppa was surprised. And that was the encounter. I wanted to talk with him in depth, more about it, but -- few months later he was in a meeting, and he just dropped dead. So I couldn't talk to him anymore.

MU: That's your brother?

HW: My brother, yeah.

MU: Oh, I'm sorry to hear that.

HW: Yeah, but...

MU: The FBI did visit?

HW: There, in my life, there are many, funny incidents -- not funny, but they all kinda add up, somehow, because incidents starting in elementary school when I had to take, so-called a test, you know, and they came back and told me what the test score was. And then they wanted me to take it again. So, I took it again and I just forgot about it. When I was in the army, took a test. And then after we were evacuated, army -- those of us that were in military up here in the Pacific Northwest, we were evacuated in March. Went to, we went, the Watanabes were in the last car, 'cause it was loaded alphabetically. We went to Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio. And I was asked to take a test. And then they asked me to take it again.

MU: Do you remember what kind of questions were asked?

HW: No, what it was was an IQ test.

MU: Oh, IQ test.

HW: Yeah. And I don't know why they kept doing that. Then, when I was at Boeing, they asked me to take a test. I did. And, the weird thing about it is that, while I was at Boeing, when we were developing the 707 jet, commercial airplane -- the U.S. government bought three of them to be the presidential plane. They walled off our area and brought the three body sections in there to install secret gear. Which was fine. My boss came over and says, "They're asking if you want to" -- I was a planner at that time, head of a small planning group in our area -- "And if you would take over the job of troubleshooting planning with your crew?" I said, "That's fine." He says, "Okay, I'll tell 'em that you agree." And then he says, "It's gonna take two or three weeks to get you cleared for top secret to handle this job." I said, "Well, that's fine, we'll work it." And I went to work the next day, and my boss comes up to me and says, "They cleared you already." [Laughs] "They cleared you, already." Scratching his head, "I've never seen anything happen this quick. So, you can go to work right away." And he says, "By the way," he says, "I've been told that there's a guy that has lots of experience and probably can help you." Then, things start clicking in my mind, you know. I said, "Well, send him over and I'll talk to him, and if I like him I'll hire him."

MU: Who was he?

HW: I'm sure that he was a secret service agent.

MU: Oh.

HW: These were presidential planes, you know, and military, too. I'm dead sure, and I had an interview with him and everything went fine. I says, "You're hired." He says -- well, we talked about this-and-that, "But what am I gonna do?" I says, "I'm gonna fix it up so that you could be a, just a plain troubleshooter. Not a specific job, but just be a troubleshooter."

MU: That was right up his alley.

HW: Well, that's what he wanted. [Laughs] But those kinda things, you know, come along and... I know that -- it was no surprise that in 1975 when they decided that they could open up all of the archives and get into things, and they found out what J. Edgar Hoover's letter had said. You know, written a letter to the president. There had to be a lot of that going on.

MU: Yeah.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

MU: Well, apparently the FBI did have a dossier on you.

HW: Yeah. I told my boss. Jokingly, I says, "Well, I was in military intelligence. They got a file on me that..." [Laughs] Because we used to be followed around out...

MU: Yeah. Okay, well that's fine -- that's very interesting. Like to get that story.

HW: The interesting thing is when we were in Australia, the Chinese community invited us. Says, "If you can, every Wednesday night we have a social, so come over." So three or four of us, we decided we'd go over whenever we had some time. Went over there one day and I looked around. There's one guy, Chinese fellow in there that's dressed completely out of line with the Australian guys. I looked at him real closely, here is this guy, Chinese guy, son of a Chinese restaurant owner in my hometown, see.

MU: In Lindsay?

HW: No, no, in Visalia.

MU: Oh, Visalia. I see. Oh, really.

HW: Visalia, well, they're all hometowns, but we used to go to his restaurant to eat, see. And I went up to him and I says, "I know who you are." He says, "No you don't, I don't know you either." I said -- but it was him. CIC.

MU: Now --

HW: He was sent there to check on us that come over there. Make sure we're not saying the wrong things or talking to the wrong people.

MU: Oh, really? Was he a soldier?

HW: Yeah, well, no, but, no, he was in civilian clothes.

MU: Oh.

HW: CIC you could be in, dress whatever you have to...

MU: Now, this was in Brisbane?

HW: Brisbane, yeah. And the, yeah, it's...

MU: So a lot of strange things happened...

HW: Well, yeah, we know. We used to make a kind of, a joke of it, we're in Sydney and we'd be walking down -- three of us on furlough -- and we'd be walking down the street, and they would follow us.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

MU: Let's talk about your military career. You entered the army prior to Pearl Harbor.

HW: Yes.

MU: How did all that happen?

HW: Well, I was number -- my draft number was a number seven taken out of the fish bowl in Washington, D.C. So I was in the first draft, excepting volunteers came in so I didn't have to report 'til February of '41.

MU: Any strange things happen to you during that time?

HW: Strange things?

MU: Anything out of the ordinary?

HW: Well, I don't know. When I was being processed, they were handing out these campaign hats, and wrap leggings and britches. I said, "Oh my gosh, I hope I don't get one of those." That -- about five guys ahead of me, they start issuing the regular clothes.

MU: Oh, I see. Okay.

HW: Then I was sent from Fort MacArthur to Fort Lewis.

MU: That's here in Washington?

HW: Yes. And the strange thing there is I went right into an infantry anti-tank company, no basic training, just went right straight into the company.

MU: Well, they figured you knew enough.

HW: I don't know. [Laughs] I don't know how I got there without...

MU: Okay, now was that unit a mixture of everybody, or...

HW: Well, it was a National Guard unit activated out of Montana.

MU: Okay, it wasn't a Nikkei outfit?

HW: No, there was one other from Hawaii, was assigned there.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

MU: Okay, now comes Pearl Harbor. Where were you when Pearl Harbor happened, December 7, 1941?

HW: I was in my bed at Fort Lewis. And I had been in Seattle, visiting, Friday, Friday night, all day Saturday. And Seattle was a nice, quiet town so I went home -- I shouldn't say home -- but I went back to Fort, got back to Fort Lewis about midnight and went to bed. And in the morning the guys, bunk mate says, "Harvey, get up, get up." I says, "Oh, let me sleep." He says, "Get up, get up. Listen to the radio." Everything was on the radio. Yeah.

MU: That's how, that's how you found out?

HW: That's how I found out, yeah.

MU: Okay. Now, do you, can you recall the feelings you had at that time?

HW: I said, "Aw, shit." [Laughs]

MU: I'm sure you had mixed emotions?

HW: Well, it was probably inevitable. There had to be a...

MU: Well, Japan was building up for years.

HW: Well, not only that but Japan was allied with the Axis.

MU: And there was a war on in Europe, wasn't there?

HW: Sure. Uh-huh.

MU: Now, here you are in the Japanese -- I mean, the American army fighting against the country of your father. Did you have any special feelings concerning that point?

HW: No, I just kept reminding myself what my father kept telling me several times.

MU: Were you able to talk to your dad about that time, do you recall?

HW: Well, yeah, I was home when I got drafted.

MU: Yeah.

HW: But...

MU: Yeah, but on Pearl Harbor time?

HW: No, I had, I'd been home on furlough in July of '41. Yeah.

MU: And did you try to contact your folks to see how they were?

HW: We were too shook up to...

MU: Even think of that?

HW: We were, we went short-handed. Took off from Fort Lewis and went -- occupied positions up in the north end of Whidbey Island.

MU: That's your unit that was in Fort Lewis -- got...

HW: Yeah.

MU: ...dispersed?

HW: Yeah. We set up guns on the bridge that connects Whidbey Island to mainland. There's a little island in the middle of the bridge. Bridge jumps from mainland to a small island and then over to Whidbey Island. We set up our guns there that we could look down towards the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

MU: Now, I think you had a brother also that went into the army. In fact, he volunteered for the 442?

HW: He volunteered for the 442 out of Poston.

MU: Out of Poston?

HW: Uh-huh.

MU: And did he come back alive?

HW: Yeah.

MU: Was he the one that passed away just recently?

HW: Yes. Uh-huh.

MU: Now, what happened after that deployment to these various strategic areas? What happened after that?

HW: Well, that was kind of an interesting thing because, I don't know why but all the Nikkei that I knew in other units that were around there, all of a sudden were not going out in the field. They were just hanging around headquarters doing menial work. And I'd come back from the field and that, what happened -- well, captain just says, "You just stick around headquarters." Here my captain was lettin' me go. Setting up gun positions. And then after we finished that, we went to Olympic Peninsula and ran patrol there. And we were running patrol until the day they came and told me, "Harvey, you have to turn in your gun and everything and go back to Fort Lewis." So they drove me back to Fort Lewis and...

MU: You had to turn your gun in?

HW: Yeah.

MU: Did they explain why?

HW: No. And then we get to Fort Lewis, I didn't go to our barracks, our normal barracks. We went to another part of Fort Lewis. There were 'bout 250 other Nikkei there, Nisei.

MU: They're all Nikkei?

HW: All Nisei. Just milling around, doing nothing, having our three meals a day, and gambling or whatever.

MU: Now, at that time, apparently you had some time. Did you folks have what we might call "bull sessions"?

HW: No, we didn't talk too much.

MU: You didn't talk...

HW: No, didn't talk too much.

MU: Hush, hush.

HW: There was certain amount of talk, you know, about what's going to happen. I don't think anybody was particularly afraid of what's gonna happen. But we just -- you might say covered up -- what might happen. And then the Nisei soldiers kept coming in. Pretty soon we had about 350 there.

MU: You didn't share your feelings one with another then?

HW: Not too much, no.

MU: Not too much.

HW: There might've been, privately, off in the corner or something like that. I think there was certain amount of that. Then, then they said, "Pack up." So we packed up and jumped on trucks and went about a mile to the siding. There was a troop train there.

MU: And this is all of your 350 or so Nikkei American soldiers?

HW: Uh-huh. We were loaded on it front to rear, alphabetically. So we had all the Yamamotos, Yamaguchis, Watanabes and...

MU: You were at the tail end of it.

HW: Tail end. [Laughs] Except one guy that almost didn't make it.

MU: Tell us about this one guy.

HW: His name was Nuno, Bill Nuno. And he had his -- practically brand-new '41 Ford four-door sedan. And the train was pulling out, chugging out. I was sitting in the last car with the conductor. I looked out the window and, looked out and there's Bill Nuno driving on Highway 99 alongside the train looking at me like this, you know. Going like this, I remember, you know. So, I told the conductor. So he pulls the emergency cord and the train stops. And we could get out of the car, and go down to the fence. Bill comes to the fence, says, "What am I gonna do with my car?" [Laughs]

MU: So, what happened?

HW: Well, what happened is that a chaplain came to see us off. And the chaplain was about, oh, maybe a couple hundred yards down the tracks -- we left him behind. He saw this going on so he came trotting up the tracks and says, "What's happening, what's happening here?" I explained to him, "Chaplain," I says, "Bill's got a car here, and he's supposed to be on the train." So, mulled that over, and nobody said anything for a while. And then the chaplain says, "Well, where are you going, Bill?" He said, "I'm going to Kansas." That was Fort -- I forget the name of the fort.

MU: Leavenworth.

HW: Yeah. And he says, "Yeah, that's where I'm go -- yeah" -- he says, "Bill," he says, "if you trust me, I've just been transferred there and I'm supposed to report there in two weeks. My wife will drive my car, and I'll drive your car. If you trust me, give me your keys." I looked at Bill... what else can he do? So he gave him the keys. And a while later, when I -- in December when I showed up at Savage -- lo and behold, who's assigned to the same barracks as I am and it's Bill. I says, "Bill, whatever happened to your car?" He says, "The chaplain showed up with the car and gave it back to me." [Laughs]

MU: Worked out like a charm, huh?

HW: Yeah.

MU: Well, that's great.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

MU: I wanted to come back -- just a little bit about your father's feelings, you know. You were the oldest son in your family. And in the Japanese scheme of things, the first-born, or the chonan, meant so much to the family. And here you are, going off to the army -- into the army and, God knows where you're gonna go. I just wondered what your feeling -- what your father's feelings were? Did you ever find out, later on, how he might've felt?

HW: Well, he felt that, he just felt that I wouldn't do anything that would dishonor the family.

MU: That's all he was...

HW: Yeah, I mean...

MU: ...concerned...

HW: That's what probably 85 percent, 90 percent of the fathers were thinking.

MU: Of their Nisei sons in the army?

HW: Yeah.

MU: Now, 'course again in the Japanese scheme of things, the first son means so much to the mother. You know, the mother gives birth to a son, first child. That's a great gift. How did she feel? Did you ever find out how she might've felt?

HW: I think she, I think when she came over, she came over to stay. Yeah.

MU: And that you joined the American army -- just a matter of course then?

HW: Well, it's a matter of duty. That's the way they looked at it.

MU: And I guess they felt the same way about your younger brother volunteering for the 442?

HW: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

MU: Pretty much?

HW: Yeah. Otherwise, yeah. He would've had a hard time going, but he had no problem.

MU: Well, you were very useful to your mother and father on the farm.

HW: Well, that's the way it was in those days, you might recall. Did the bookkeeping for Father since I was in high school, since I was a freshman in high school. As much, often as possible, get up in the morning and help -- kitchen duties, and...

MU: They must have missed you an awful lot. They, they were strong.

HW: Yeah. Well, that's the way things were, though. It's like when I was eleven years old, my father and my neighbor -- Father decided I would be the one that would drive the five, me and my two siblings, brother and sister and his two boys, to Japanese school on Saturdays and Sundays. Eleven years old. They decided that I would be the driver.

MU: Fantastic.

HW: No license, you know.

MU: [Laughs] But you could see over the wheel...

HW: Eleven miles away.

MU: That's great. But you were determined. Did you like Japanese school that much?

HW: Well, I think I -- what I enjoyed most at the Japanese school was, they had a encyclopedia. Every time I didn't have to open up tokuhon, or something, I was pulling out a book out of the shelf and going through it. [Laughs]

MU: Aero -- aeronautics? Oh, you're reading up on aeronautics?

HW: No, anything, anything, yeah.

MU: Gee, that's amazing.

HW: Yeah, they had it right there on the shelf, so man, that was a great thing. Never had one at home.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

MU: How did you end up with the MIS?

HW: How did I...

MU: Yeah, how did you come about...

HW: Well, in July of 1941, we drove -- convoyed from Fort Lewis to California. We maneuvered against the California's 40th Division.

MU: Now was that a mixed unit that you were with at that time?

HW: Well, it was a National Guard, it was a National Guard division. And the National Guard division was based in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho -- that's how it's formed.

MU: Okay.

HW: And we drove down and the 40th Division was down in California. And we were maneuvering against them, having field exercises, when they called me and said, "Come on over here." I was near the headquarters at the time, and, "Somebody wants to see you." It was Rasmussen -- turned out to be Rasmussen. He was the captain, then.

MU: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

HW: He didn't say much, other than he pulled out a Japanese textbook and says, "Can you read this?" Elementary tokuhon. So, I read it to him. That's all he said.

MU: You got orders later to report to...

HW: I think after that I got tagged because I had a chance to volunteer for the army air force. Because they're looking for volunteers and they turned me down. I tried for the 442nd. They said, "No, can't go." And then they, finally, the word came -- report to Savage, Minnesota.

MU: About when was that?

HW: Well, that was in a, in the -- I got the order to go to Savage, Minnesota in December of '42.

MU: '42?

HW: Yeah.

MU: Well, 1942 was the year that the war in the Pacific started to turn around in favor of the U.S., and...

HW: Yeah, excepting there was a lot of cleanup had to be done. Yeah.

MU: Okay.

HW: Yeah.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

MU: Now, when the evacuation, or the incarceration process began to take place under the government order 9066, where were you then?

HW: Well, we were, we were already evacuated in March, out of Pacific Northwest.

MU: You were back in...

HW: In Ohio.

MU: Ohio.

HW: Yeah.

MU: Well then, you hadn't...

HW: And then in April they started with Bainbridge Island, the evacuation of Bainbridge Island.

MU: You had no chance to help your folks move?

HW: No. Actually what happened is that while I was in the army and while things were getting this way, there was a line of demarcation set up. Who's going to -- which side of the line is gonna be evacuated. And a friend of ours had a farm, had acreage. And family decided to buy five acres of strawberries because it was on the east side of the line. And I was...

MU: I think they called them... excuse me...

HW: And I was -- my brother was too young. And, I was in the army and I couldn't go back to sign anything. So my brother-in-law's brother signed for my father to buy the farm.

MU: Uh, excuse me just a second, but I think those areas were called Zone 1, Military Zone 1, Military Zone 2, and so on. And, apparently, you were in Zone 1 in the beginning. And then you moved over -- your family moved over to Zone 2 to buy the land.

HW: Whatever they were called, yeah.

MU: Yeah. Whatever they were called. But, so they had to move a couple of times?

HW: No, they, they moved once into what they thought was a safe area, but then the line was shifted.

MU: And so they had to move to the camp after that?

HW: Yeah.

MU: Apparently, you weren't able to help them?

HW: No. No, we were at war and I was in the army, so no way to get home.

MU: No way. Uh-huh, okay.

HW: Yeah.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

MU: Now, after they went into the internment camps, were you -- did you have a chance to visit them?

HW: Yes. Yes, just before I went overseas. After I graduated from MISLS in Savage. See, I met my wife-to-be in, December the 9th after we set up our guns. We stayed in Burlington -- that's where we left our stuff. And I met a lady walking down the street. I said, "Hello," casually. She says "Come on over." And that's when I...

MU: Oh, met your wife?

HW: My wife-to-be.

MU: Yeah.

HW: And they were evacuated -- went to Tule Lake. So I went to the army, Colonel Young at Fort Hayes, and asked for help. He did. He and others of his staff and, and he got civilian people to write letters to the War Relocation Authority and then they released my wife. So, then I had to go to my father and family and say, "I need money." [Laughs] So they, I don't know how they gathered it up but they sent me $300. So I sent it to her.

MU: Big money at the time.

HW: So she could get her tickets and everything, and come on out to Columbus, Ohio.

MU: Okay. Now, did you and your wife visit the camps before you left for overseas?

HW: Yes. That's right.

MU: Now, tell us how the circumstances were on your visit. You arrived at the internment camp, what happened?

HW: We arrived and presented our, who we were and who we wanted to visit. So they looked it over and -- the army did -- and then sent over a armed guard to take us in. I was in uniform, and take us in...

MU: An armed guard?

HW: Yeah, to take us in to see my family.

MU: Now, when you were visiting with your family, was the guard there?

HW: No, the guard then stayed there for a while and then left.

MU: Oh, then you could have freedom of movement without somebody looking over your shoulders?

HW: Saw some of our friends that were in the same camp.

MU: How did you feel with somebody guarding you, a U.S. soldier?

HW: Well, the thing about it is, as what was happening to us, it was not a strange thing. I mean, if it happened to somebody else, a -- say a white man for instance, that would've been a real weird, strange thing, you know. But, with experiences we've had in the past, well -- different things, a myriad of things -- I think you learn that, that it's not strange.

MU: Learn to accept?

HW: Yeah, you, you accept it. You don't like it but you accept it and forget about it. If you keep remembering those things, your mind will get all cluttered up with the bad things. Yeah.

MU: That was the way to survive, wasn't it?

HW: Yeah. I think a lot of it is that survivalist...

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

MU: What happened to that 5-acre farm that your fath --

HW: Went back to it. Went back to it.

MU: You went back to it, but then during the evacuation --

HW: Well, my folks went back to it, you know, family.

MU: Well, that's after the evacuation.

HW: Yeah.

MU: But during the evacuation, what happened?

HW: It was leased. But the lessee, instead of farming it, just stripped everything. Stripped all the plumbing out of the house, all the appliances, sold all the farm equipment, horses and everything and just...

MU: Was he someone that your father knew?

HW: No. He should've...

MU: Was he...

HW: He should've. He said, afterwards, "I should've, I should've leased it to the Mexican family that worked for us." They wanted to lease it that way, and he thought, "Well, maybe they wouldn't know how to handle things." So he didn't. He leased it to a, somebody else. It was a stranger who had all the papers and everything, and he leased it to him and...

MU: Was he recommended by the U.S. government?

HW: I don't know. Yeah.

MU: Now, during the redress -- were they compensated for some of that loss?

HW: There was a -- President Truman had a program, as you recall. But after the legal system got their share, there was nothing left so everybody said, "Forget it." Just didn't bother.

MU: In other words, your father did apply for compensation, but that compensation was so small that it...

HW: Well, the compensation was token to begin with and then -- in order to apply for it you had to have legal help and the legal help took it all. So what's the use? So we wound up with the land and a trashed house. I think, I think one of the things I really miss is my high school yearbooks.

MU: They're gone?

HW: Oh yeah. They were just, they were in the attic. But they went up in the attic and threw everything out, too. But stoves, you know, and washing machines, and all the appliances and sinks were all gone.

MU: Yeah, I think it might be a foregone conclusion, but did they report this to the so-called authorities?

HW: [Laughs] I think, historically, they learned, don't bother, it's gonna be more bother than... yeah.

MU: It ain't worth it. It ain't worth the effort, huh?

HW: Yeah.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

MU: Now, you had that Italian lady -- was a neighbor of yours -- and she had taught you how to make spaghetti.

HW: [Laughs]

MU: Then you taught your mother how to make spaghetti. What happened to them? Were they rounded up, too?

HW: No.

MU: Any other Italian American families rounded up?

HW: None that we know of. Uh-huh.

MU: We were at war with not only Japan, but Germany and Italy. But nothing happened to the Italian Americans, as far as you know.

HW: No, not that I know of. 'Course, they've been there a long time too, you know. But, none, none of the people that we knew who were affected -- you know, were Italians or Germans, that I can recall, were affected by it. Whatever little effect that there was.

MU: Okay.

HW: There were a lot of Armenians, too, but they weren't involved in the war, I guess, so... [Laughs]

MU: Oh yeah, a lot of...

HW: Yeah. Had a lot of Armenian friends, 'cause it was grape country, where we grew up -- grape.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

MU: Now, okay, after all that, you shipped overseas. How many of you went together on that particular shipment?

HW: There were forty of us. About six or seven were for staffing the camp.

MU: What camp?

HW: Indooroopili, in...

MU: Okay.

HW: Brisbane. Kumagai was one of 'em.

MU: George Kumagai?

HW: Yeah, he went with us. He was in our group, that sailed.

MU: Uh-huh. Were you the leader of the group?

HW: No.

MU: Were you...

HW: Well, George was the leader, because he was a first sergeant. He's going over as a first sergeant of the camp.

MU: Uh-huh. So all right, now you get to Brisbane and what was your assignment?

HW: Oh, my assignment -- when I got there -- there was a nucleus there -- earlier MISers there. And my assignment was to general translation pool.

MU: How did you find the work? Interesting?

HW: Oh, it was translating diaries and things like that. It was kinda interesting.

MU: Do you recall anything in the diaries that you read that stands out in your mind?

HW: Well, I do have an interesting thing, which is -- [laughs] -- I didn't translate the particular document because by then I was the head of the technical and tactical air translation team and all mechanical things. But, one of the guys translated a diary and the diary described a new medicine that Japanese soldiers just got. And written in this diary, and it's to be taken by mouth. So the translator translated it, "New medicine, Japanese medicine to be taken orally." And then everything had to go to a editing pool and it got published: "to be taken verbally." [Laughs]

MU: "Orally" got published as "verbally"?

HW: Yeah, "to be taken verbally." But, the reason why I bring it up is, I was having trouble with technical translations. See, the editors would continually redo the technical verbiage into common language. I didn't like that -- it would change the sense of things. And I was fighting with them all the time. When that happened, I went in there and says, "This is the kind of thing that we can't tolerate in technical stuff." Week later they came to me and says, "We're gonna publish everything your team puts out -- no editing. It's gonna be released as you...

MU: Present it.

HV: ...present it." [Laughs]

MU: Was there many of that kind of thing going on where the so-called higher ups edit what you have done and...

HW: Yeah, well when they edit it, you didn't -- never see it again until it comes out in print.

MU: Oh.

HW: But I don't know how we found out about taking the medicine verbally, but anyway... [Laughs] But, you know, people like to put their mark on a piece of paper.

MU: Right.

HW: "I edited this thing," you know. And, it happens. That, in many senses just changes the sense of -- 'course, changing "orally" to "verbally" in the case of medication is...

MU: That's a big... how many were on your team there?

HW: Oh, I had about -- oh, about half a dozen.

MU: How long were you doing that?

HW: I did that for -- let's see, George Goda had the team when I was put on the team. And then he was commissioned and booted upstairs. So then I took over the team. I think I had it for about a year and a half.

MU: Did you get any awards for that?

HW: No.

MU: Okay, well, we'll stop right there for now and come back.

HW: Just had a lotta fun.

MU: Yeah, okay. Great time.

HW: Yeah, okay.

MU: Good.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

MU: Okay. Harvey, we're talking about your work in Australia doing translation of technical documents. Can you tell us a little bit more about that work? Any other interesting incidents that happened?

HW: Well, yes. I guess one of the things that was a problem to the group was the fact that I was an enlisted man heading up the team and I couldn't go to the briefings because you had to be an officer to be in the briefings. They finally figured it out. They asked me if I knew anything about movie projectors, and I said, "I know some things." Said, "Okay, you'll be the assistant movie projector and go to the briefings." [Laughs]

MU: Now, what went on in the briefings?

HW: Well, this information about state-of-affairs and ETO, as well as...

MU: ETO -- European theater?

HW: Yeah, oh yeah. Sure. And, it would come on film. And they would show it at the briefing and whatever.

MU: So you pretty much knew how the war was going, then?

HW: Yeah, had a pretty good idea. Yeah. Sure.

MU: I think a lot of the fellows in the field -- they could only see what they saw in their own little particular field of operation and they didn't...

HW: And that was enough. I mean, that's all they could handle, you know.

MU: Yeah, they had to survive. And that's what they were interested in. But to get that general view, that might've been -- must've been rather interesting.

HW: Lot of it had to do with air battles and aircraft type of equipment.

MU: Did you know anything about the shooting down of Admiral Yamamoto?

HW: Uh, not really. I learned most of that later. But... yeah.

MU: Okay.

HW: But, we knew that it had happened, yes.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

MU: Okay, now... well, getting back to your translation work, anything else that might be interesting that remains in your mind?

HW: Well, yes. There was a prisoner brought in and he was supposed to know something about tanks. So they asked me -- and also, he was, supposedly had beheaded a captured American soldier. He was ordered to behead one. And so I was asked to interview him and question him. And I did. But I didn't get much out of him. He was kind of stoic. Nice enough guy, young fellow. I felt kinda bad for the guy, you know. Either way, if it was real or if it was not real it's a bad situation for him to be in. Did have a chance to interrogate a fellow like that. Also, amongst the duties with doing the, heading the team, I also had one other duty and that was, for a long time, for over a year, was to open the box so that -- of documents that were delivered and screen them all. And then outline areas to be translated and pass them on by taking them before the board and explaining what's to be translated.

MU: What board was this?

HW: Oh, there was a little board there to process things so that one person won't make a decision. The interesting thing about that -- when I think about it after being trailed by CIC agents and so forth, watching what we were doing -- was that I don't know how many documents that I put into the incinerator, but I did. Because they were duplicates or something that couldn't be used strategically, or not even worth sending to Washington, D.C., Maryland, or to Hawaii. And nobody ever questioned what I was burning -- [laughs] -- in that incinerator. But, maybe they knew. I don't know. Those are the things that -- when you know that eyes are on you, and yet, you could do these things, well, I figured that they must have had a lot of trust in what I was doing. [Laughs] 'Cause I burned a lot of documents, you know, captured documents. They could be diaries or something like that, that was inconsequential.

MU: At any time did you feel being discriminated against, for not being commissioned an officer, at that time?

HW: Well, if you accept the system that exists and do the best you can, you don't think about those things. You just forget about those things.

MU: It's a given?

HW: Yeah, you just do the work and hope the war gets over with.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

MU: Okay. Now we want to talk a little bit about -- wanna hear you talk a little bit about the CIC boys that were trailing you into the Chinese restaurant.

HW: Oh, you mean the Chinese gathering?

MU: Or...

HW: Yeah, social.

MU: Well, yeah. Talk about that first, and then talk about the, how you ditched the CIC boys.

HW: Oh. [Laughs]

MU: They're both interesting stories so...

HW: The Chinese community in Brisbane had asked, had invited us to attend their Wednesday night, Wednesday evening socials. And whenever we had the time -- we worked until we got our work done. Sometimes it was midnight, but some days we would get done on Wednesdays and we decided to go down to the Chinese community center. We'd been there, oh a few times. Went in there this one time and I saw one fellow with the Aussies that wasn't dressed quite like an Australian. And I thought, "That's kinda strange. He's not one of us." And I looked at him closer and here's this Chinese kid that I sort of grew up with -- his father owned a restaurant in my hometown. So I went up to him and I said, "I know who you are. He says, "No, you don't. I don't know you." But, 'course, I never saw him again. They probably assigned him somewhere else.

MU: You think that he was assigned as a CIC agent?

HW: Well, they're assigned to do certain tasks and go blend in with the community. See that -- make sure that nothing is leaking or something isn't happening. And it's a job that's gotta be done.

MU: Tell us a little bit about how the restaurant people were generous with you folks.

HW: Oh, oh the Chinese restaurant? Yeah, we would go in and they would always seat us in the back of the restaurant. But then when they brought the slip out, if there was three of us, they would write "six persons" on the slip and then charge us for one meal. But they would let us eat all we can, all we wanted, because they were rationed. Unless they had proof of so many dinners served, they couldn't buy, replace the rations that they had to use, the foodstuff. I thought that was pretty nice.

MU: So you got double helping for the price of one?

HW: Price of one, yeah.

MU: How come you people were able to get along with the Chinese community so well like that?

HW: Well, I don't know. Maybe they had seen a friendly face. [Laughs] You know, Oriental face -- looks like 'em.

MU: They were happy to see you.

HW: Happy to see us, yeah. I think so, yeah.

MU: And then, of course, you had that incident where these CIC guys were checking up on you.

HW: Oh, yeah. We were in Brisbane and walking down the street and we were kinda aware that somebody was tailing us. So we just, finally decided that it was actually a tail checking on us. So we said, "Let's duck into the next restaurant." And we did, went in the door and then hid behind the door. The guy comes in and we looked at him, he's looking around the restaurant, and he looks towards us, so we say, "Boo." [Laughs]

MU: Now, would he be a white fellow or Asian?

HW: Yeah, he was a white fellow, yeah, yeah. But, I think in times of war it's necessary to make sure that nobody is leaking.

MU: It's not so much loyalty they were checking on, but they wanted to make sure...

HW: If there's a bad apple, they want to find him. Thank goodness -- not that I know of, nobody's ever found a bad apple, yeah.

MU: Nobody did that. Yeah.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

MU: Okay. Now, during your off hours, did you have what we call bull sessions at all? Just sit around and talk, have beer, possibly?

HW: Well, we supported our own club.

MU: What club was that?

HW: Well, that was a place to go and have drinks. And when we got to Australia -- we got there in the fall -- and while we were setting up our club, about the tenth of December, a warehouse burned down, army warehouse burned down, and was army warehouse with liquor in it. Right down to the ground, nothing. So the navy warehouse was still available. So we would ask the navy officers for help and get some stuff. Then we'd go down to the Australian stores and buy gin, mostly, that's what they had. And then we'd stock our, stock our club so we could -- after work or sometime when we're not doing anything, go in there and help ourselves.

MU: So did you have a chance to talk to each other and exchange thoughts?

HW: Oh yeah.

MU: What were some of the thoughts?

HW: Well, mostly, mostly not about the war situation. Mostly about -- reminiscing about home and other things. Talking sports and, you know.

MU: Talk about, you wanna get home and when you get home...

HW: No, you didn't talk about that too much because it just makes it worse -- talking about wanting to get home.

MU: Now, all during this time you were, I'm sure, communicating with your wife?

HW: By mail.

MU: By mail?

HW: First couple of times she wrote back and said, "You didn't say anything," because it's all cut out. Because if we said that our camp was alongside a river, and I can hear the kookaburras singing early in the morning, they'd cut it all out. 'Cause those two little thoughts can tell people where the camp was at, possibly. So, so much was cut out -- that was her complaint.

MU: Uh-huh. But did you get mail regularly?

HW: Uh, yeah. Pretty good.

MU: Under the circumstances.

HW: Yeah. Took a while to get there in those days.

MU: Was your wife getting along okay?

HW: Yes. Yes. Her sister had come out of camp and was with her and the two of 'em got along.

MU: You didn't have family at that time, did you?

HW: No, no kids. No.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

MU: Well, let's move on and... where were you when the atom bombs were dropped?

HW: Oh, yeah. We were in Manila at a -- I think it's Santa Ana racetracks where our tents were. And we felt, you might say we sensed because of some conversation going on, and this and that, that bomb was gonna be dropped and it was dropped.

MU: Oh, you had information?

HW: Yeah, we had a strong feeling that something like that was to going to happen. And it did happen. And when we got the report of the bomb being dropped on Hiroshima, we -- I guess we all headed for the clubhouse. The stuff that we put in our footlockers and brought from Australia to Manila, we drank it all up. [Laughs]

MU: Really celebrated?

HW: We celebrated, yeah. But soberly, I think. The war is over. When that thing drops, the war is gonna be over. We knew that. Being in military intelligence, I think we've talked about the atom bomb now and again.

MU: Did you have any idea how destructive that bomb was?

HW: Not -- no, no, not at all.

MU: I guess at that time nobody really knew how devastating it was.

HW: That's right. Well, I think they had an idea but they could never try one out over population, you know. It would be out in the deserts of Nevada with a smaller unit or something like that.

MU: Were any relatives hurt in the bombs?

HW: No, no.

MU: Your relatives were in Kanagawa-ken?

HW: Kanagawa, yeah, near Tokyo.

MU: Did you get a chance to visit Hiroshima while you were in Japan?

HW: No, no. I've been to Japan and to northern Japan, from, say, from Kanagawa up through north and to Hokkaido. And I've been in Kyushu but I haven't been... I've been in Nagasaki. There is a big, big memorial there for the Nagasaki bomb memorial. It should be completed about now. I didn't get to Hiroshima.

MU: When you saw, say, Nagasaki and the effects of the bomb, what thoughts came through your mind?

HW: Well, it's a terrible thing to do -- to drop it on the civilian population to supposedly end the war.

MU: Was there a lot of controversy on whether Japan was ready to surrender or not?

HW: I had the feeling that Japan was ready to cave in, basically because my thinking was that there was no more natural, no more raw resources to wage a war with. The, as we discovered when we got to Japan, that all the operating vehicles were operating with charcoal burners in the back. Not using any fuel, or gasoline or petrol type of fuel.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

MU: What was your reaction when you saw Japan -- oh, let me ask you this -- where did you land when you went to Japan for occupation work?

HW: In Yokohama.

MU: In Yokohama? And how did you get from Yokohama to Tokyo?

HW: By convoy.

MU: By convoy. Well, then, you could see the after effects of the war from the convoy?

HW: Well, the convoy traveled in middle of night, but then we...

MU: Oh, it did?

HW: From the docks where you could see Yokohama all the way up to the foothills -- nothing, everything is just down. There wasn't a thing left except in docks. And I think there was a hotel left standing there and the other buildings were flat. And I think that -- later on I saw the (Kawasaki) area and that was, 'course, flattened, too, 'cause that was a industrial...

MU: Did you see people, Japanese people?

HW: Uh, very few in Yokohama because there was no, no place to stay. Those that survived, you couldn't live there.

MU: Could you describe the clothing that they had on?

HW: Basically Japanese-y, you know, clothing. I think they were -- I saw a few people around wearing what they had were military uniforms, you know. Probably the only clothing they had. I think if you go out into the countryside, you'll see people with the clothing that they didn't lose because of devastation. Yeah, I went to visit my father's hometown, Odawara. An uncle lived there who took care of me a while, while I was a kid visiting Japan. Went, from my memory I was trying to find the house and I got up on the seawall there and was looking, and I could see a whole bunch of houses taken down from the ocean all the way up to the end of the city. And there was another row -- those were firebreaks that they had -- destroyed all the houses so that if there is a fire that they wouldn't drop the whole city. 'Course, my uncle's house was one of those that were taken down. It was not destroyed by war, but it sure was a result of war, yeah.

MU: Now, when you visited with him, what was the feeling? Did they welcome you? What...

HW: The family that I met -- members of the near family that I met -- were very, very nice. Very, very polite. I had an aunt married to a Japan -- one of Japan's most famous artists, Tsuji Hisashi. He was a artist that studied in Europe and then Siberia, and had a well, well-recognized art studio, where the emperor of Japan would come to buy art and things like that. He was glad the war was over. He was fortunate that his sons, three sons -- one went into the military but the others did not have to get into the military, and they were very happy that they didn't have to fight in the war, and visited with them.

MU: Were they suffering for food or medicine?

HW: Yes, in Japan, yes. Suffering very much. We were ordered not to go to the marketplace and buy any food, period.

MU: Why?

HW: Well, primarily because of the shortage. But, secondarily they said, "You don't know what's in 'em so you might, you might catch something if you buy the stuff." Well, that was the threat. But, it's good enough, yeah.

MU: At that time I think they were using night soil to fertilize the vegetables?

HW: Well, they'd been using that for centuries, because in a Japanese lavatory -- it's in the corner of a house somewhere, always -- and then there's a trap door under the house, and this big honey pot sits in there. That's where you go. When that honey pot fills up, they take it out, take it out into the rice paddy and bury it. And let it stew there for three months, six months. Then they start ladling it out for fertilizer.

MU: For use?

HW: Yeah. Lot of drunk GIs have -- walking along the pathways and fallen off the path and into these honey pots. [Laughs]

MU: Oh, really? [Laughs]

HW: It's a fact. That's how they took care of it, you know.

MU: Yeah.

HW: In the cities, it was a little diff-, different. It kinda ran in the gutters right on the street.

MU: Yeah.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

MU: Now, anything happen during your stay in Japan that was of interest? Tell us a little bit about how you were assigned the duty that you ended up doing.

HW: Oh, well, before we got to Japan, I was assigned to headquarters commandant -- MacArthur's headquarters commandant. And he wanted me to take care of the lodgings for General Kawabe and his staff -- totaling fourteen people that came over from Japan. Flew into, to Manila and we picked 'em up with our staff cars and brought 'em to our Rosario Apartments where they stayed. And I was supposed to take care of them, feed them, whatever is necessary. I had a staff to do it with -- was given a staff to do it with and I was an enlisted man, sergeant. One of the first things that happened was that General Willoughby came over and he wanted to talk to the general about who's gonna attend the first meeting -- preliminary meeting. And I had my staff make up a roster of these people that came in so I got a copy of that -- had a copy of that in my hand. And the general started fumbling around for something to write with and write names down, so I gave him the roster and my pen. So he marked off the names of people that are gonna attend the first, first session.

MU: Uh-huh.

HW: And my pen was a souvenir -- it was a Parker. With an ink bladder in it, you know.

MU: And he kept it?

HW: No, I got it back.

MU: You got it back.

HW: That's another story. Our house got broken into and somebody stole it along with a bunch of other things. But before that, the interesting thing, very interesting thing happened. I was standing on one side and Colonel Mashbir was on the other side, and they were coming off of the staff cars and into the apartment. And I looked at Colonel Mashbir and I said, "There's something wrong here." And he says, "I think I know what you mean." Because the military personnel all came with sidearms, sabers hanging on their side, including the general. So we assigned the general to the top room in the apartment. So Colonel Mashbir and I went up to talk to him about that. About the fire-, the arms. The general said, "Well, that's, that's uniform." I didn't say anything, excepting we just stonewalled the general. He says, "Well, I would like to have all of our officers put the sidearms into your custody." So I said, "That's fine." So, that was, that took care of that. Then I said, "What about the sword, saber?" He says, "Well, that's uniform." And we didn't say anything, we just kind of let him stew over that for a while. Then he says, "I have a thought. Would it be all right if we wore the sabers to the conference and then leave it outside the conference room?" So, I looked at Colonel Mashbir and we decided that was fine. We had to give them something, we couldn't take everything away, all away.

MU: They had to save their face.

HW: Yeah. It worked out good. Yeah.

MU: Obviously the negotiations went on all right because of the successful occupation, then.

HW: Yeah. I think they, I think it worked out all right. And then, 'course, after that they took me back to headquarters and tried to take my blood pressure. I had to have my blood pressure down before they could commission me. My blood pressure was so high and then I had to lay there, bunk for two hours before it come down. [Laughs]

MU: You mean, when they told you that you're gonna be commissioned?

HW: No, because of this activity that was going on.

MU: Oh, negotiating with the Japanese general for the surrender?

HW: Yeah.

MU: Okay.

HW: I mean, it was kinda traumatic. Me, a sergeant and... next day when he saw me, I had my bars on. The other thing that's interesting about that is, then I met the general's aide.

MU: Kawabe's aide?

HW: Yep. And I'm sorry to say, I've forgotten his name. I never wrote it down. I didn't want to. I had a long talk with him there and also, we met in Tokyo, after we got to Tokyo. Spent couple of hours talking with him. He was a Nisei from San Francisco.

MU: Nisei from San Francisco.

HW: He was drafted in the Japanese army and he came over as a cap-, Japanese captain, aide to General Kawabe, because of his language ability.

MU: Oh, is that so? And, unfortunately, you don't remember the name?

HW: Then he says, "Well, I was on the wrong side." "Well, I wouldn't say you are..." We were talking, "No, not necessarily on the wrong side. You might have been under the wrong circumstances, but you have to do what you have to do." He was a dual citizen so he got drafted.

MU: Uh-huh.

HW: I told him I was not a dual citizen so, "If I were in your case, I wouldn't have been drafted."

MU: Did he have anything to say to that?

HW: No, he didn't say -- no, he's just saying, well, you know. Nice guy. We spent two hours in Tokyo, talking, after...

MU: Did you give him your name?

HW: Maybe he remembers my name. Yeah.

MU: Oh, really?

HW: Yeah.

MU: San Francisco resident?

HW: Yeah, San Francisco.

MU: Well, I'll try to remember. Maybe we'll bump into him.

HW: Maybe somebody, think up a name, you know. I'm sorry, I...

MU: That's fine. That's fine.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

MU: And now we go back to your commandant. I think he gave you a special assignment in Tokyo when you got there.

HW: Yes, yeah. He says, he casually asked me while we were aboard ship, coming to Yokohama, that he would need help, other than translation because, because he's short of officer staff. So I said, "Fine, anything I could do to help I'll be happy to help," is what I told him. And this was after we had our conversation about having bodyguards. He called me up to his cabin and he says, "You're gonna have bodyguards when we get to Japan. Somebody might harm you."

MU: Uh-huh.

HW: I told the colonel, "No, I won't need bodyguards. I can handle things fine without bodyguards." And we kinda argued about that for a little bit. And then he says, "Well, why don't you come back, think it over tonight and come back tomorrow? I'll call you up and we'll talk about it some more." And he did. Went up and talked to him and he said, "Why do you think you don't need any bodyguards?" And I says, Well -- Colonel Edwards was his name -- I said...

MU: What was the name?

HW: Colonel Edwards.

MU: Colonel Edwards.

HW: He said -- so I told him, I says, "Colonel, the war is over. These people in Japan are people like you and me. So I don't need bodyguards." He says, "Okay."

MU: Really?

HW: Yeah. And so we went there without bodyguards. And then in -- out of Yokohama, we got on a convoy at night and about twelve or one o'clock in the morning, convoy stops. I wonder where our, we were. Somebody's beatin' on the side of the truck, you know, coming down calling my name.

MU: So, who, who was he? White officer or Nikkei officer?

HW: Who, the commandant?

MU: No, the one that was calling for your name.

HW: No, no, it was just an enlisted man.

MU: Oh, enlisted man.

HW: And so I poked my head out and I said, "Here I am." He says, "Grab your bags and this is where you get off." So I grab my bag and jumped off and the whole, long convoy just took off, you know.

MU: Who was in the convoy, by the way?

HW: Well, this is the headquarters staff, personnel.

MU: Were there other...

HW: We went by one ship from Manila to Yokohama.

MU: Were there other Niseis in there?

HW: Uh...

MU: Can't recall?

HW: I think there were a few, yeah. Uh-huh.

MU: Okay. Okay, now what happens?

HW: Anyway, so, gee, one o'clock in the morning and I look around. Convoy leaves, everything to one side is all burned down, and this sign is a hotel is -- Dai Ichi Hotel. And that side of the buildings are in pretty good shape. Thought, "Well, nothing to do but just go inside the hotel if the door's open and curl up somewhere and sleep." I went to sleep. Woke up in the morning and I hear some noise and there's a signal corps putting in telephone lines. So I went to the sergeant and I say, "Are you in charge of put...?" He says, "I am." So I says, "Would you please let me know when you're through? I have to call the headquarters commandant." He came over and told me, "We're all hooked up. You can call him." So I called the headquarters commandant. Told him who I was and where I was, and he says, "Okay, you're gonna manage that hotel." [Laughs]

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

MU: Tell us a little about that Dai Ichi Hotel.

HW: Dai Ichi Hotel?

MU: Yeah.

HW: Well, it's a earthquake-proof building, built in 1939 for the 1940 Olympics. And it had four floors down and it's stabilized so that the ground around it will move, and the building would -- on rollers. And it would kinda stay stable.

MU: Oh.

HW: And, during the war, it went to seed because they couldn't maintain it. They took all the elevator cars out of it. Took all -- stripped one end of the kitchen -- there's nothing but pipes sticking out of the concrete floor, no kitchen. 735-room hotel. And we had the headquarters staff of colonels and majors in there and two generals that didn't want to go to the Imperial Hotel. They wanted to stay with their...

MU: They were residents?

HW: They wanted to reside there with the colonels, rather than to go to the Imperial Hotel.

MU: Okay. Who were your staff?

HW: My staff? I had, I was assigned about twelve guys -- GIs. And, of course, there was a Japanese hotel staff. They had to hurry up and get some people together, too.

MU: Who helped you get all those personnel, the Japanese personnel, for example?

HW: Oh, the Japanese staff.

MU: The Japanese government?

HW: Yeah, yeah. They had the, some of the board members, the hotel board members were active there and the management staff remained there -- operating staff remained there. And then we had to hire a few extra help, quite a few extra help.

MU: They were happy to get the jobs?

HW: Well, it was part of reparation. Whatever they do is gonna count towards their reparation payments later on.

MU: I mean, the people themselves, that worked there?

HW: Oh, yeah.

MU: They were happy to have that job?

HW: Yeah. Anywhere from cooks -- well we, cooks and waiters and room service, and all of that.

MU: Now, that was one of the more sturdy buildings there. Did you say that it was down four floors?

HW: Yeah, as part of the earthquake-proof and so it was cradled in a pit four floors down. And then it had a wall, concrete wall around it -- separated from the building by about that much space. I can remember being there when I felt an earthquake, and I looked out -- I didn't feel the earthquake so much as -- I was looking out the window and I could that wall outside moving. But the building wasn't moving. So I went to the head architect, who was also on the board, and he was there almost every day and I asked him about that. He says, "Oh yeah," he explained to me how it was designed and built -- seven stories high, 735 rooms.

MU: And four stories down.

HW: Four stories down, which was mostly service space and storage and things like that, yeah.

MU: Now, you say the building was stripped of all the metal pieces like radiators and boilers, and whatnot?

HW: They had a air conditioning system in it -- they didn't have radiator system. But they didn't use...

MU: Oh, that's real modern.

HW: ...they didn't use any of it during the war. They stripped all the metal out of the kitchen because they didn't use the kitchen. They stripped out the elevator cars because they needed them in military facilities. So it turns out that the people that stayed there walked up and down the stairs all the time. There was one service elevator available and, oh lots of other things. Lots of... I think we got the, we got the first elevator cars made in postwar Japan to put in there because we couldn't have the people walking up and down seven floors.

MU: I take it that was a pretty modern building at that time?

HW: It -- all the outside room had bathrooms. Inside rooms had a common furo.

MU: I was gonna ask you about the toilets, for example. Were they Western-style toilets?

HW: Western-style, yeah. Uh-huh. But the bathtubs were short. Big guys had to kinda hunch, hunch down and sit...

MU: Six-footers had a hard time?

HW: Yeah.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

MU: Anything else that happened there that was of particular interest to you?

HW: Of, of interest?

MU: Yeah.

HW: Well...

MU: I mean that you remember?

HW: Oh yeah. There, there are number of things. One is that we had a PX system. I'll tell you about that later. And then, this was -- we got there in end of August and fall was coming in. There's change of uniform coming up, away from khakis to wools. And there were no dry cleaning facilities available in the whole...

MU: Pardon me?

HW: No dry cleaning facilities available.

MU: Oh, no dry cleaning, uh-huh.

HW: So I got with the laundry staff and took out my woolens and asked them to wash them. I said, "Use 120 degree water, no hotter, wash and iron 'em and I wanna see 'em when you're done." And it didn't shrink. So I said, "Okay, what we're going to do, because there is no dry cleaning, we're gonna offer all these colonels and so forth, washing. And I put a sign out, 'At your risk' it said on there. But we are going to wash in 120 degree water -- "if you want your woolens..." Everything went fine for about a month, and then one operator put in 180 degree water.

MU: Uh-oh.

HW: All the colonel's, that load of colonel's clothing, colonels, majors -- shrunk. And they would come up to the desk and, I didn't hide, I just stayed at the desk, because I knew it was coming. And I point up to the sign that says, "At your risk." [Laughs] "I'm sorry, but they made a mistake."

MU: Well, all they had to do was get re-issue.

HW: Yeah. Yeah, that's right. It was some kind of a bother, but they were really hot. That's -- that's one of the things. There were other laundry -- I mean, tailoring. We asked the Japanese to go out and scour the city for sewing machines and so forth. And set up a tailor shop, because we were gonna have to have all these uniforms altered, if they get new stuff. So they did. They found six sewing machines and set up a tailor shop.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

MU: You had to run a regular hotel there, huh?

HW: Well, yeah, it was interesting. I had to work like sixteen, eighteen hours a day. But, it was interesting. The first thing that happened after we were set in there for about, oh, a few weeks was, a guy came knocking on the door -- he couldn't come in but he asked to come in and I talked to him. He was a manager of a band. He said, "We would like to come two nights a week and play dinner music for you." This was not an Oriental band -- it was an Occidental band, you know.

MU: Occidental band?

HW: Yeah. And he spoke good English. And I found out that he, he was Japanese, but he had been in, studying business in United States seven years so he spoke English as good as any Nisei did. And then he brought over the bandleader and he spoke excellent English.

MU: Yeah?

HW: Well, he's a graduate of... what's the music school that Alonzo Stagg coached at?

GO: U of P?

MU: UO -- University of Pacific. They used to call it, College of the Pacific.

HW: College of the Pacific. Okay.

GO: Oh, I see.

HW: He was a graduate of College of the Pacific in music and he couldn't get work in the United States so he was in Japan.

GO: Sat Murayama?

HW: I forget his name.

GO: Trumpet player.

HW: Anyway, anyway, they were the band that played for Tokyo Rose.

MU: Uh-huh.

HW: So, you know, many quiet times of talking about this and that with them. They took me on a tour of Yokohama and Kamakura, and places like that.

MU: Uh-huh. Did you get a chance to meet Tokyo Rose by any chance?

HW: No, I didn't. They were trying to round her up. But I was -- we had also 250 war correspondents staying there, see, so they kinda kept me up-to-date what was going on.

MU: Well, your residents there must have been pretty happy with the band.

HW: Yeah. They were really excited. It was good. Then, a little guy, 'bout that tall [gestures, indicating height], he had on clothes that looked like khakis -- he wanted to see me. I said, "Well, come on over and sit down. We're at dinnertime so have dinner with me and we'll talk. What you want to talk about?" Says, "We have a four-piece string quartet and we want to come and play for you two nights a week." Yeah. And I said, "What do you play?" He says, "Well, we play everything but we would like to play nothing but Stephen Foster."

MU: Oh.

HW: So I didn't tell anybody anything. They were surprised when they came into dinner. There was a quartet up on the stage, we had a little stage there. And when they broke out in Stephen Foster, played a medley of 'em, everybody just stood up and clapped. [Laughs]

MU: Really? Now, at that time, well, I suppose you could dance, if you wanted, to the music then?

HW: Well, it was dinnertime.

MU: Yeah. Oh, there was no room for dancing?

HW: No, there was no -- there were 750 staying there and probably 4- or 500 would sit down and eat at a time.

MU: Oh. And at that time, were wives there, of the officers?

HW: No, no.

MU: So they were mostly men?

HW: We had -- yeah. We had some WAC, we had fifty WAC officers staying there. They weren't of high enough rank, but they didn't want to put 'em in the regular ranks, so they put 'em in the Dai Ichi Hotel. Yeah. Fifty WAC officers.

MU: So you had two bands, then, or one...

HW: Two bands, yeah. Four nights a week?

MU: Four, four nights a week all for free?

HW: Free, yeah -- just a dinner. They didn't want anything, but I insisted, "You've gotta have dinner with us, you know, after you finish your performance."

MU: Did they stay?

HW: Oh, yeah. Yeah, they did. Yeah.

MU: It's too bad you didn't get the name because Gary here is interested in music -- Nikkei music not only here in the States, but Japan.

HW: You probably can find out fairly easy.

MU: If you do, why don't you...

HW: Yeah, he was a bandleader for...

GO: It's probably Hisashi Moriyama.

HW: It might be. Pretty big guy?

GO: Big guy.

HW: Yeah, okay. He was a big guy.

HW: And we used to, you know, go sightseeing, here and there couple of times.

MU: Well, that's great.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

MU: Anything else that was memorable for you?

HW: Well...

MU: Oh, sorry.

HW: Let's see, what else? Oh yeah, we had a fiasco with the heating system. [Laughs]

MU: Fiasco with the heating system?

HW: Well, see, we got there in first of September, so to speak. And then towards the end of September, in October it started to get cold.

MU: Yeah.

HW: And first one wing comes down and complain, "We got burned out last night." And the other wing says, "We got frozen out." This went around, so I got a hold of the architect and I says, "Get your air conditioning, heating system drawings out." So, the two of us went over it and then I said, "Well, let's go into these bays there where they adjust all these valves. So I decided how much to adjust each valve and he went along and agreed. And we, the two of us adjusted all the valves in there and the next night, everything was fine. So the Japanese staff there at the hotel, en masse came over -- the heaters, heating people -- says, "We're sorry, we did not do a good enough job. We're not good enough to stay here..."

MU: Oh?

HW: ...and we're going to leave." I says, "No, you're not. You're good enough to do the job, you're good enough to stay here, and you're going to stay." "No," said, "We've got to quit." I says, "You're not gonna quit, you're gonna stay here, 'cause I want you to stay here." [Laughs]

MU: So did you win out?

HW: I won out, yeah. But, you know, tough times -- and they were just going to hara kiri. I knew that was in their minds, so I wouldn't let 'em go.

MU: Well, good for you.

HW: Yeah. It was very interesting times. [Laughs]

MU: Yeah, very good for you. I mean, that takes somebody of understanding to get over that kind of difficulty.

HW: But it was...

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

MU: Well, let's move along. We got much to cover and...

HW: Sure.

MU: Now, after your stay there -- how long did you stay there in Japan?

HW: I would stay there four months.

MU: Four months?

HW: And then I came back because I was having -- by the time I got home I would have five years in World War II, so... plus vacation time.

MU: Your wife, was she in Minneapolis all this time?

HW: Yes.

MU: So you came home and where did you come home to?

HW: To Minneapolis.

MU: To Minneapolis. And then, from there?

HW: And there I went to school for a year.

MU: What school is that?

HW: Minneapolis School of Business. And I worked in a laundry and then I worked in a garment factory.

MU: Really?

HW: And then we decided to come back out to the...

MU: West Coast?

HW: ...Seattle.

MU: Okay.

HW: So we got ourselves a car and a one-wheel trailer. We had our child by then. And we hit the road for Seattle.

MU: When did you get your job with Boeing?

HW: In October of 1948.

MU: Were you about the first one -- first Nikkei?

HW: I was, early one.

MU: First Nikkei to be hired?

HW: Not the first, but one of their early ones, yeah.

MU: What was your job at that time?

HW: At that time, I hired in as a mechanic's helper in a development shop doing development work for new airplanes and developing ideas for other airplanes. It's a, it's a "do it" shop -- you make the part, make it work, and then that's gonna be it. Was not a designing area.

MU: That was your start?

HW: That was my start -- as a mechanic's helper.

MU: Uh-huh. How long did you stay with Boeing?

HW: Oh, I stayed until '71.

MU: So that would make it...

HW: I mean, yeah, '71. I think I put in twenty-three years.

MU: Twenty-three years?

HW: Almost twenty-three years. Twenty-two and a half years or something...

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 31>

MU: Now, you had some outstanding achievements while you were in Boeing. Would you talk about one or two of them?

HW: Well, I don't know that they're outstanding, but -- I started out as a mechanic's helper. And then, we were working on the B-50 bombers at that time. Then we got into the B-52 program, so started working that. Then they made me a lead mechanic.

MU: Lead mechanic.

HW: Yeah. For a team of mechanics, I'd be the lead. Then after that I became a, the head of the planning group for the mock-up shop. And then when the B-52 was going into production, I was assigned the job of troubleshooting -- taking care of little problems -- not engine problems or things like that, but things having to do with systems installation. So, about three of us roamed the factory and I was the leader of the band. And we had close relationship with engineering and quality control, so we don't do anything wrong and keep the airplane moving down the line.

MU: Now, these were bombers?

HW: B-52? Yes, that's the big bomber, yeah.

MU: Did you get in also on the passenger side?

HW: Yes. And then after that, we went over -- I was transferred over to Renton and we got into the KC-135 program, which was a military version of what is now the 707. KC-135 was a refueling airplane. It carried loads of fuel and refueled in-flight airplanes, other airplanes while they're flying.

MU: That was a first, wasn't it? First time?

HW: Yeah, that was a real early ones. And, in that numbers, yeah. So they would go up and meet a flight airplane flight and re-fuel all of those that are in flight -- keep 'em going to their destination.

MU: Or they didn't have to touch down at the airport then.

HW: Yeah.

MU: The 707 -- was that a commercial plane?

HW: Commercial plane, yes. It was based on the KC-135, excepting that it was, the body was fatter to accommodate passengers better. And then from there we went into the 727. And by time we got into the 727, why, I was in the planning group was having other responsibilities -- coordinating out in the factory, things that related to what we did that might be a problem to the production line. Coordinated -- took care of that. At that time I was taking care of all of the soft insulation development and electrical development -- wiring, how to get the wiring into the airplane.

MU: About how many Nikkeis or Niseis worked for Boeing, you recall?

HW: While I was there? Probably several hundred, easily.

MU: Oh really?

HW: Yeah, because there were a lot of people who were in more administrative jobs in headquarters, and things like that.

MU: Now, you know I read in your earlier transcript that early in your life you always wanted to be into aeronautics, but the way things were you didn't think you'd have the chance.

HW: Yeah.

MU: What made that big change in atmosphere that you can work for Boeing for such a long and successful years?

HW: You mean my attitude?

MU: Yes.

HW: Well, number one, the last farm where our family was involved was not one in supplying labor, but in supplying labor for a farm. And they were owned by a family that owned the farm that my father supplied labor on when I was born. And they wanted me back, because the superintendent of the farm had fired me unjustly. They wanted me back to be the superintendent of the farm. It was 600 acres or something like that. But I just didn't want to go back to farm life. [Laughs] I mean, I got several messages saying, "Come home because they want you. They want you to be the superintendent." But I didn't want to. When I saw a chance -- after the war and things were looking better for minorities, particularly Nisei, why I wanted to, I thought Boeing was a chance to get into something that I liked, yeah.

MU: So, all of a sudden blue skies, and you're in, into a business that you wanted to get into in the first place.

HW: [Laughs] Yeah. I think that I enjoyed it much because one of those things that -- in working with wiring they were using the archaic military system for identifying wires. When the wire was used for another function you had to change the identification on the wire, which was tremendous task. I was always trying to figure a way to get around that. Finally, in the 727 program, found a leader in engineering that agreed with me and we went and changed it. Then I got holy heck from the factory because they said, "You're making it harder for us to troubleshoot things." [Laughs] It turns out to be easier to troubleshoot.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 32>

MU: Now, along the way, you had children?

HW: Yes.

MU: How many did you have?

HW: We have a daughter and three sons.

MU: Four?

HW: Four. Uh-huh.

MU: I guess they're all successfully settled?

HW: Yes.

MU: Families of their own?

HW: Yes, yes, yeah. Our oldest son is in management at Boeings.

MU: In Boeing?

HW: Yeah. He's managing the fabrication of parts from exotic metals in Auburn. He was just given the assignment.

MU: It's great. How many grandchildren do you have?

HW: Oh, we have a bunch. We have about a dozen grandkids and...

MU: Oh really? I guess they're all pride and joy for you?

HW: Yeah, yeah. And, half a dozen, well, let's see, we have one, two, three -- how many? One, two, three, four, five -- yeah, we have five great-grandkids.

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 33>

MU: Now as you look back, do you feel that your life was, let's say, successful? Overcoming all the difficulties you had during the war years and prewar years?

HW: I think pretty much. I haven't told you why I left Boeings. I left Boeing in 1971 because my blood pressure was 240/140 and the doctors couldn't get it down and I couldn't get it down. And so I just walked away from Boeing -- too early to, too young to retire.

MU: But, in the main, your life has been...

HW: I think so. I, after I left Boeing, I spent probably fifteen years working on various Seattle School District committees on a number of things, which was aside from working as a salesman and a part-owner of a lease company.

MU: Oh, you did all that?

HW: Yeah.

MU: Then, of course, you did lot of community work, too.

HW: Yeah. That's, schools and have been trying to do as much church-related work.

MU: Well, I think we'll come to a conclusion. Is there any -- one last thought or words of wisdom that you might like to pass on to us?

HW: [Laughs] Words of wisdom? Words of experience, whatever that expression is.

MU: Yeah, well, you learn through experience. Anything that comes to mind?

HW: Well, I would say one thing, okay. When I was in elementary school, the teacher would say, "Remember what you eat, because I'm gonna ask you to write it all down and we're gonna check your diets." And so when you write down everything, each meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner and then the teacher takes it away, and then it comes back, maybe a couple of weeks later after some dietician had looked at it. And the teacher would come to me and say, "Harvey, you've gotta eat less rice and more meat." Now that's what they're telling people, "Eat the carbos, but don't eat much meat." [Laughs]

MU: Less meat and more rice. [Laughs]

HW: And I think that has a lot to do with...

MU: One last question. How is your blood pressure now?

HW: It's still...

MU: Pretty high?

HW: ...yeah, still kinda high. Sometime the low end is at 100. And I'd like to have it 90 or below. The high end, once in a while sneaks up to 170 or 180. But I'd like to keep it like 140 to over 80 -- then I'd be real happy. But I think part of that has to do with -- I mean, the story I told about the food. It has something to do with the fact that I still have, you know, outside of my wisdom teeth I still have twenty-seven of my twenty-eight original teeth, so I can't complain. [Laughs]

MU: Boy, that's an accomplishment. Yeah, that's wonderful. Well, Harvey, thank you very much for a very interesting interview. You know, you've had a successful life from our view.

HW: Yeah, it's been happy.

MU: And, you know, your children are lucky to have you, and your grandchildren, too.

HW: Well, we're -- I'm lucky to have our children, and my wife and family.

MU: That's wonderful. Thanks a lot. You're really interesting.

HW: Thank you for having me.

<End Segment 33> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.