Densho Digital Archive
Topaz Museum Collection
Title: Norman I. Hirose Interview
Narrator: Norman I. Hirose
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Emeryville, California
Date: July 31, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-hnorman-01

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: So today is Thursday, July 31, 2008, and we are in Emeryville, which is right next to, to Oakland and Berkeley. And on camera we have Dana Hoshide, and then I'm interviewing, Tom Ikeda, and we're here with Norman Hirose. Norm, let me start by asking when and where were you born?

NH: Well, I was born in Oakland, which is south of here a little bit, June, 1926. That's a long time ago.

TI: And when you were born, where were you born? Were you born in, like, a hospital?

NH: Oh, no, no. I was born on Twenty-sixth Street, which was the home of a midwife. And I don't remember her name, but it's on my birth certificate. It says birth, on my birth certificate it says "attending physician," well, the "physician" is crossed off, it says "midwife," and Mrs. somebody or other, I don't remember her name, but anyhow... but then all, and I have, well, I had two sisters and one brother, one sister has since passed on. But all four of us were, had the same midwife.

TI: Was that, and that was pretty common for people to have midwives back then?

NH: Oh, it was... in 1926, I don't think anybody got born in, was born in a hospital. I don't know, maybe a few of us were, but that's a long time ago.

TI: And then when you were born, what was the name given to you at birth?

NH: That's my name, Norman Iwao. Yeah, I think my father picked the names.

TI: And do you know why he picked Norman?

NH: No, I don't know. I have no idea. But he picked, when he came to, he came from Japan and he went to Seattle and then came down south to the Bay Area. I think his name at the time was Thomas. I mean, that's what he did. But as time went on, I think he changed his name to, his name was Harvey. [Laughs]

TI: Oh, that's interesting. [Laughs]

NH: So I think, I think he had a lot of fun looking for names, English names. Like my sister's name is Lillian, and my brother's name is Clarence, and my, the sister that died is Alma. Where would you get these kind of names?

TI: Yeah, and they're so, kind of --

NH: Way out there.

TI: Well, they sound good, too. Clarence, Lillian, Norman, Alma. Yeah, that's interesting. And I like Harvey and Thomas.

NH: His first, when he came, I guess he must have heard Harvey somewhere. This is, I'm just guessing, and he said, "Oh, that sounds nice, I'm going to change my name," and he just did. And they could, you know, 'cause who would know what their names were in the first place? Didn't matter.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: Well, so let's talk a little bit more about your father. So where did he come from and what was his original name?

NH: Oh, he, of course, he came from Japan, he came from Kyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture. And his, my uncle, his brother, older brother was here already. And he came and he landed in -- as I understand it -- Seattle, and then from Seattle he came down into Sacramento Valley. And in the, and in that area, Colusa and a little bit north of Sacramento, that used to be, it's all agriculture. So my father worked with my uncle and a couple of other guys, well, Isseis, and they made rice, they grew rice and they made a fortune.

TI: They made a fortune?

NH: Yeah, several times over. [Laughs]

TI: And so, so before we go there, I mean, so in Japan, were they rice farmers?

NH: Well, my father -- oh, yeah, my father was a... my, I guess it would be my grandfather, he had acres of land in Japan and was a farmer.

TI: So they knew how to raise --

NH: Oh, they knew how to do that, yeah. They knew how to, how to grow rice.

TI: And so in the Sacramento Valley, that area, they knew that that was a good place to grow rice, and so they were very successful.

NH: Yeah, they were successful.

TI: And so what did they do with their money?

NH: Oh, they, all the money that they earned, they plunked it down for the next year, and therefore they leased larger farms, then the next year after that it was larger farms, and they would keep making a fortune. But then one, one year the rains came and flooded them out and they lost everything.

TI: Wow. So it was like...

NH: It's all gone.

TI: So it just got bigger, bigger, bigger, and then one year could just wipe them out.

NH: It just wiped them out, yeah.

TI: So it sounds like your father was kind of a gambling type?

NH: Oh, no, I don't think so. Well, it wasn't conservative, 'cause, of course, he was very young then, I guess that's part of it. They, that's what they did, they said, "Well, if we get" -- I don't know how much money they had really, but they had a certain amount of money. Whatever money they had invested it all into a larger piece of land so they can grow even more rice. And the rice sold, so they made, made a lot of money. And then when the, when the rains came and they got wiped out, they just packed up and came to the Bay Area. It was amazing.

TI: And what would they do down here? Why did they come down here?

NH: Oh, well, they came here 'cause he could find a job. They did anything. One man became a shoemaker, Mine-san became a shoemaker, my father and my uncle became gardeners, and many of the gardeners came from the same sort of situation. They were in farming or agriculture already in Japan, and they came here and they tried it. Some were very successful and remained successful, some were just wiped out. I guess that's how agriculture is, it goes, goes up and down.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: So let's, let's talk about your mother now. Where did she come from?

NH: Oh, now, that's a different story. Her father, my grandfather, was in the United States, and he was the eldest son of the Yamazaki family. But apparently he didn't want to stay in Japan, and he was, they were involved in agriculture, too, but not rice farming, it was something else. But whatever it was, I know it was agriculture. I think growing pear trees or something like that. And he came to the United States, and he left, he left everything to his younger brother, his younger brother, that would be my mother's uncle. And my mom grew up on the farm there in the same place, Fukuoka, and, but she was reared by her grandmother because when my mother was born, her mother died. And so Grandma, her, my mother's grandmother reared her in a very traditional way, and so she never went out, she never did anything, my mother didn't do anything. She had one duty, or chore, and that was to clean the wicks of the oil lamps, 'cause they didn't have electricity then. And her job was to take the oil lamps, clean the glass, trim the wick, and put it all together so it'd be ready for the evening, so they could light it in the evening, that was her one job. And everything else was to be a lady. [Laughs]

TI: So would you say then she was kind of raised to be a little more cultured, a little more...

NH: Oh, yeah. She went, they, she was sent to school. As I understand it, from where they lived on the farm, she walked to the train station, and then from the train station she went to, by train she went to Fukuoka city, went to school, came back on the train and went home every day, that was her job.

TI: So your, your mother's family, were they pretty wealthy?

NH: Yeah.

TI: They were landowners.

NH: They were landowners, yeah. They were landowners and they were quite wealthy.

TI: And so let me... so while this was happening, her father was in the United States.

NH: Yeah.

TI: And where in the United States was her father?

NH: Oh, my grandfather was in Tracy, in Modesto, and that area. And in Modesto or Tracy, he started a hotel business, which was fine. It was mostly a transient hotel, but anyhow, that's where he went. But by that time, of course, he had married a second, his second wife, would be my mother's stepmother, and they had several children. I don't remember them all, but they would be my uncles and aunts, and there were quite a few of them. I haven't kept track with them, but they're here, some of them are here, I mean, in the United States. But anyhow, my grandfather was in Modesto, and it was 1923 or thereabouts, and the exclusion act was to be enforced in 1924. So he said for my mother to come to the United States, otherwise she will never be able to join the family, and at that time she was nineteen years old. So my grandfather called my mother to Modesto, and she came and my father's family and my mother's family had a mutual friend from Fukuoka who knew both families. And he went to see my grandfather on my mother's side and says, "I have the perfect husband for her," for my mother. And so he arranged the marriage between my father and my mother, and they got married in Oakland.

TI: What a story.

NH: Yeah, and that's, they got married -- well, I was born in '26, and so they got married in '25, 1925.

TI: And how old, so your mom was about nineteen.

NH: She was nineteen.

TI: How old was your father?

NH: My dad was, at that time -- I haven't figured it out yet, let's see. He was born in 1989 -- 1889.

TI: And so 1926 around there, '26, so he was about thirty-seven.

NH: Yeah, yeah, thirty-five, thirty-six, thirty-seven, yeah.

TI: So he was almost, about eighteen years older than your mother?

NH: Yeah, yeah.

TI: So there's an age difference.

NH: Yeah, oh, there's a big age difference between the two of them.

TI: And when the person who arranged the marriage, they said, "I have a perfect husband," what would be the characteristics that would make a good husband for your, your mother?

NH: Whoever had a job. [Laughs] At that time, whoever had a good steady job and was earning money and came from a good family. "Good family" meaning in Japan it was a good family, and that was it. And I think that's...

<End Segment 3> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: Tell me about your, first your mother, her personality. How would you describe her as a person?

NH: Oh, I don't know. My mother's still alive.

TI: She is?

NH: Yeah, she's a hundred and two, and she is now in the Keiro nursing home in Los Angeles. Oh, I don't know, she's okay. [Laughs] Mothers are mothers, I guess.

TI: Well, is she more quiet, or was she talkative?

NH: Oh no, she's very outgoing, yeah. She was active in the Buddhist temple before the war. After the war, she had some ins and out with some people that were in the temple, so she dropped out. But that's okay, she, she went on her own. And she, she didn't know how to, she didn't speak English very well -- of course, I'm not speaking very well right now either -- but anyhow, so she went to the housecleaning business and that's what she did. She went to clean people's homes. And very outgoing, she'd get on the bus, pay her fare and go up and get her work done and come home. And on the way home, stop at the grocery store and get all the groceries and lug them home and fed us.

TI: Well, how about your father? What was his personality?

NH: Well, my father was a gardener, so he did, he went out in the morning and went gardening and then came back in the evening.

TI: But personality-wise, what was he like? Was he outgoing?

NH: He was very, he was more quieter. He was a quieter sort of person, but he, too, was active in, with... well, with the church a little bit.

TI: And how was he when he got together with his brother and his friends?

NH: Oh, they all, they... Thanksgiving we had a big family dinner, and we would either go to my uncle's house or they would come to our house and we would have a great big turkey dinners, yeah, and that was fun.

TI: And how was your, your father with his brother? Were they pretty close?

NH: Oh, they were fine, they were good friends.

TI: Okay, good. So, so in 1926, that's when you were born.

NH: Yeah.

TI: Let's talk about your, your siblings again. So can you tell me the birth order? So you were the first...

NH: Well, then every two years, 1928, my sister, Lillian, and then 1930, my brother, Clarence, and then 1932, my sister Alma.

TI: And you mentioned that two of them are still living, two siblings?

NH: Yes.

TI: So which one passed away?

NH: Alma, the youngest.

TI: Okay.

NH: She was a, she was a nurse.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: Okay. So let's talk about growing up in, your earliest memories of Oakland. What can you remember?

NH: Oh, yeah. The, my, I have a son, one son, he works in the Sacramento, well, he lives in Sacramento, he works at Davis. Anyhow, we went to -- must have been a couple years ago. I said, "Paul," that's my son's name, "let's go see where I grew up," so we went to my childhood home. It's still there, it's in Oakland.

TI: And what's the address?

NH: The address is -- I know it's Piedmont Avenue, and I think the address is 4429, but I'm not really sure. But I know where it is, the cross, the nearest cross-street is Mather, M-A-T-H-E-R. And if you go, I think if you go easterly on Piedmont Avenue, you'd run into the cemetery.

TI: And so what was that neighborhood like when you were growing up?

NH: Oh, fine. It was a nice neighborhood.

TI: So who were some of your playmates?

NH: Most of the kids were older, and they all spoke English. And I spoke Japanese, but somehow we got along. [Laughs] And of course, lots of it has changed now, but for some reason, that house that I grew up in is still standing. It's still pretty straight. [Laughs]

TI: That's amazing.

NH: It's amazing.

TI: It's fun being able to go back and see your, the house you grew up in.

NH: Yeah. I wanted to go up and knock on the door and say, "Can I look around?" but I thought, "No, I guess I better not."

TI: So I'm curious, since we're on this, what does the neighborhood look like now? When you compare...

NH: Oh, well, across the street used to be an empty lot, and then we could run across the street, kids could run across the street 'cause there was no traffic. The only traffic there was was funerals, 'cause the cemetery was right there, and so we'd have these long processions of cars going by every day. Not all day long, but you know, one long. And there was a streetcar, the streetcar doesn't run there anymore, but there used to be a real nice streetcar. And the thing that I remember is that there was a lady who had an electric car, and it was square. The front and the back were exactly the same like this, a square car. And she sat in there, and there was no steering wheel, but there was a steering stick. And somehow or another, I don't know how she did it, but she came to the cemetery every day, and then would drive up Piedmont Avenue, go to the cemetery, and a little while later she would drive back home. I don't know where she went or anything, but I remember that.

TI: It's interesting, though, that they had an electric car back then.

NH: She had an electric car, so she must have been very wealthy.

TI: 'Cause it must have been like, it made huge batteries to power that.

NH: You could see those models, they're not, they're not huge, they're not big. About... well, they're... anyhow, I've seen them. Oh, I know where I saw it. If you go to Los Angeles, there's a Peterson's Automotive Museum, I saw one there. And I said, "Wow, this looks like the car that lady used to drive. [Laughs]

TI: That's interesting. And so you mentioned that the kids you played with, they spoke English, you spoke Japanese.

NH: Yeah, and then I picked up English, of course.

TI: Right. But I'm guessing, so that, they weren't Japanese, your playmates?

NH: Oh no, they were all Americans, the kids were mostly Italian kids, 'cause the florist lives, there were quite a few florists in, leading to the cemetery, so there were florists all over. And the one on the corner, I forgot his name, but anyhow, it was an Italian name, florist.

TI: So as a kid growing up around the cemetery, any stories about, like, did you guys worry about ghosts and things like that?

NH: We didn't, we didn't worry about ghosts. [Laughs]

<End Segment 5> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: So, so going back to your family life, when you talked to your mother and father before school -- this probably all Japanese?

NH: All Japanese. And then after I became five, I had to go, we went, they registered me to Piedmont Avenue School, which was one block further east, no, west. Anyhow, I went there, and I was in kindergarten for two years, because I didn't know enough English to go to first grade.

TI: And so it was just the teacher teaching you English, is that how you learned?

NH: And the other kids.

TI: And so were there other Japanese in school, too?

NH: I don't remember any. I was the only one.

TI: How about the Italians? Were they in a similar situation where some of them spoke Italian?

NH: I have no idea. I mean, I don't remember, but anyhow... but I know I had a good time. I don't know, I always had a good time.

TI: And as you learned English, did you teach your younger siblings English, or did they do the same thing? Did they speak Japanese at home...

NH: They spoke Japanese at home.

TI: And then they learned...

NH: They learned, I guess we sort of all learned English together, you know, in a kind of way. And one learned it at school.

TI: And then how about your mother and father? Did they start learning any English?

NH: Uh-uh, no, not very much. They, they learned enough English to get along, but that's about it. But they didn't, there was no, no training in English, no.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: How about growing up in terms of Japanese community events?

NH: Oh yeah, we went to, in Oakland we went to, attended the Oakland Buddhist Temple, and we, I also was sent to Wanto Gakuen, which is the Japanese language school for the east side of the bay.

TI: So let's first talk about the Buddhist church. So what kind of activities were you involved in?

NH: Oh, everything. Mostly it was Sunday school type activities that we were engaged in. I remember -- I don't remember this, but I have a picture of myself in a chigo outfit, and they dressed me all up and I still have that photo, it's a nice picture.

TI: And back in those days, did they have, like, the Obon dances, Bon odori?

NH: They must have.

TI: Do you have any memories of the dancing or those?

NH: I don't know.

TI: How about things like picnics?

NH: Oh yeah, we went on picnics. Yeah, we went on picnics, and at the picnics we would have a, what you call undokai, that's races and throwing the ball and all kinds of things like that, yeah. That was fun.

TI: And I'm curious, so what kind of foods do you remember from those picnics?

NH: Well, whatever my mother made, yeah.

TI: And what would that be?

NH: Mostly Japanese kinds of foods. You know chirashi zushi, where sushi is made in a big pot, and instead of rolling it all up in individual little rolls, it's just a great big pot and you scooped out as much as you wanted to eat. And other kinds of, all kinds of Japanese food.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: So Japanese school, tell me about that. What was that like?

NH: Oh, I went to Japanese school... how did I get there? I don't remember how I got there, but later on, I know I took the streetcar, and I went so far. And when I got off the streetcar at a certain place in downtown Oakland, a lady was there, some lady who was my mother's friend or something, and she picked me up to take me, walked me to the school. And when it was time to go home, we either got on a bus or else I came back on the streetcar.

TI: And so how many other students were in your class?

NH: Oh, Wanto Gakuen was very big. It was, there was a gym, and several classrooms along the side and by age, younger kids were here and so on. There must have been five or six different classrooms, and each of the classrooms must have had twenty or thirty kids in it. So what would that be? About a hundred and something kids?

TI: Over a hundred kids.

NH: Over a hundred kids, yeah. And we had a gym on the side, and the older kids -- well, the little kids get to run around, which is what I did, but the older kids would play basketball and they shoved us off the, moved us off the court and they played basketball.

TI: And how frequently would you go to school?

NH: Oh, every day.

TI: Oh, so this is after regular school?

NH: After regular school, yeah.

TI: And did you enjoy going to Japanese school?

NH: I thought, "Well, this is what I'm supposed to do, I guess I better do it." That's, I guess my whole attitude was -- and it followed me all the way even to internment -- "well, this is what I'm supposed to do, so I'll do it," and not complain about it.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: Okay, so let's keep going in terms of schooling. So after elementary school, the Piedmont, what school did you attend?

NH: Oh, then when all four of us were in the -- well, there were six of us in the family now, so it would be 1932, then a couple years after that it must have been, 'cause I know I was in the second grade. I finished the first grade at Piedmont Avenue School, and then during the summer, we moved to Berkeley, and I entered the fall of... how old was I? Second grade would be seven years old or eight or something like that? Seven, I guess.

TI: So about 1933, around there.

NH: '33, '34, somewhere around in there. So we moved to Berkeley, and I was in the second grade at, at that time it was called Lincoln Elementary School. It's now called Malcolm X Elementary School.

TI: So the same school?

NH: It's the same school. Imagine that.

TI: Well, it's kind of, is it, does it seem strange when you walk, when you go around the city to see the same places that you grew up with?

NH: Oh yeah, uh-huh.

TI: I would think it would be comforting just to be able to see all those things.

NH: Yeah, to see it would be... well, yes, comforting and disturbing at the same time. Why did they change it from Lincoln to Malcolm?

TI: Oh, right. So that...

NH: And I don't understand. But then if I, sometimes I go there and then, well, a long time ago I went to Lincoln school, well, Malcolm X school, and just to see who was playing in the playground, and it's all blacks, African American kids playing.

TI: And so did that pretty much happen to a lot of the neighborhoods you grew up in? That you look at when you grew up and then how it changed over time? Was there a change in, sort of, ethnicity?

NH: Yeah, I think so. Well, of course, I only, I grew up near this Malcolm X school, and I lived, I don't live very far from it now. But where I live now, it's all mixed up. There are Indian people living next door and black people living over there and Japanese people living there, and other kind of people, everybody lives on our block.

TI: So when you first moved to Berkeley in 1933, 1934, what did it look like?

NH: Oh. Our neighborhood was mostly white, some black, and Asian.

TI: And when you say "Asian," what would that be?

NH: Both Chinese and Japanese, but no Vietnamese, no... just only that. No Filipinos, just only Japanese and Chinese and African Americans, but not a lot, a few.

TI: And this was different than when you were on Piedmont where it sounds like it was mostly --

NH: Oh, yeah. In Piedmont it was all, it was all white people, and I think they were mostly Italians, for some reason that sticks to my head, but I guess it's because the kid across the street that I used to play with, his dad was Italian, and he ran the florist, so I thought all the rest of them must be the same, but it's not true. There must have been all kinds.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: So tell me about what school was like in Berkeley.

NH: Oh, Berkeley was fine. I went to, like I said, Lincoln school. I was in second grade, went through to sixth grade, and then from there we went to junior high school, which was Willard Junior High School, and that's still the same. The buildings are different, all the buildings that I used to remember are not there anymore, they tore 'em all down and rebuilt it. The gym that was there isn't there, they tore it down and rebuilt it. And they, and then they built another one, and then over this way, they acquired more property and built a pool, and the old administration and classroom buildings, for some reason they just tore 'em all down and rebuilt them. So I guess they were not earthquake... I don't know, not earthquake-proof, but anyhow...

TI: So as you were growing up in the upper elementary and then later on in junior high school, who were some of your, your friends that you played with?

NH: Well, everybody, everybody that went to school. I was pretty friendly with everybody. Willard Junior High School was -- this is still before the war -- predominately from Caucasian people, white people, Chinese, Japanese, Asians, mostly, and some black people or African Americans. Most of the African American kids went to Burbank Junior High School. That Burbank Junior High School doesn't exist anymore, they closed it down. I don't know, they reorganize schools in Berkeley a lot.

TI: And what were, like in junior high school, what were some activities that you did? So again, after school, did you still go to Japanese school?

NH: Yeah, then I went to Japanese school, but this time I went to the Berkeley Buddhist Temple Japanese school.

TI: And how did that compare with the one in Oakland?

NH: Smaller, lots, lots smaller. We only had two classrooms, and we, I think we must have had about thirty kids, and Wanto Gakuen had about, over a hundred. And so it's just size, I think.

TI: And how about in terms of the style of how they taught Japanese? Was it pretty much the same?

NH: Pretty much the same, as far as I could tell.

TI: So let's talk about high school. Which high school did you go to?

NH: Well, then, Berkeley has only one high school, Berkeley High, and I got, that would be 1941, in the fall of '41 I entered tenth grade, and Berkeley High was ten, eleven, twelfth grades, 'cause the junior high school was seven, eight and nine, and there were three junior high schools in Berkeley at the time. And then Pearl Harbor came in December.

TI: Okay, before we get there, so when you look at your class, when you first went to Berkeley High School, how many other Japanese Americans were in your class, roughly?

NH: Oh, I have no idea how many there were, but everybody in Berkeley went through Berkeley High School, 'cause that's the only school there was. If you were in the tenth grade... well, of course, there was the Catholic school, St. Mary's, but that was the only other one.

TI: Like if you were in one of your classes, would there be one or two other Japanese Americans or none or five? What's the, I'm just trying to get a sense...

NH: Oh, there would at least be two or three, at least. It seemed like that to me. I took English, social studies -- no, social studies, yeah, French, art, and gym. That was our...

TI: And usually there would be a couple or two or three in each class?

NH: Yeah, oh yeah.

TI: And did the other Japanese Americans, did they generally, were they pretty much friends? You knew each other?

NH: Oh yeah. We knew each other from, from Willard, from the junior high school.

TI: And did most of them go to Japanese language school also?

NH: No, no. Only some did, not very many. But the people that went to our church did.

TI: So what do you think influenced some people, some Japanese Americans to go to Japanese school and others didn't?

NH: Well, I think it was the temple, the Berkeley Buddhist Temple was very strong in that the kids should learn Japanese. And the parents thought so, too, I guess, or the parents thought so, that we should learn Japanese.

TI: So it's almost like what church you went to would influence the connection to the Japanese language. So the Buddhists would tend to go to, to Japanese language school, and then the ones who, perhaps, went to Christian churches, there weren't as many.

NH: I don't think there was any such thing. They didn't have one.

TI: Like a, like a Christian, Japanese Christian church?

NH: No.

TI: Okay.

NH: Oh, they had a, there's a Methodist church and there was... well, that's the biggest one, but they didn't go, they didn't have a Japanese language school for some reason, I don't know why.

TI: Oh, okay. That's right, because you mentioned you have, the Japanese language school was at the Buddhist church, so that's, there was that connection. And so were there, like, kids who were non-Buddhist? Did they also attend that language school because their parents just wanted them to do that?

NH: Gosh, I don't think so. I think everybody that attended Japanese school came to Sunday school, too.

TI: Okay, yeah. That's, that's really interesting.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: So let's go to December 7, 1941. Where were you when you heard --

NH: Well, I was in class at Berkeley High School.

TI: Well, but it was on a Sunday.

NH: That was on Sunday, yeah.

TI: And you were in class on...

NH: No, I shouldn't say that. On Sunday it happened, and I don't know how I found out about it, but I found out about it I think by radio or something, or newspaper, I don't know. Anyhow, I went to school on Monday and walking along Martin Luther King all the way to school like I usually do, and then that morning we were all, we didn't have an auditorium so we all met in the gym. We were all assembled in the gym, and that's when President Roosevelt came on the air and declared war.

TI: And how did you feel, or what were you thinking when this happened?

NH: I thought, "Oh my, what's gonna happen to me now?"

TI: And what was the reaction of your classmates and teachers?

NH: Oh no, that's the thing. I was worried a little bit about the reaction of my classmates toward me, would I suffer any physical pain, get beat up or something like that, but none of that happened. It was just very quiet and when we were dismissed, we quietly walked back to our rooms, and the usual rah-rahing around, fooling around that happened after assemblies didn't occur. Everybody was quite serious. At least that's the part that struck me as being a little bit different from something else, like some other kind of assembly. And as the days wore on, well, just went along as if nothing had happened.

TI: But going back to that, that assembly, having Japanese parents, and then Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the seriousness of it, how were you feeling? Were you confused at all, or what were some of the things going inside of your head?

NH: Oh, my own feeling was, like I said, I was somewhat apprehensive that something might happen to me after a while, or on my way home from school or... of course, on my way home from school, I went to the Japanese language school so that part was okay. In fact, our Japanese language school didn't last very long, 'cause they closed it down. And they said, "Well, it would probably be better if we didn't have it anymore." So it didn't last too long, but it was there for a little while. And then after that, then I walked home. And until evacuation I attended school regularly. It was okay.

TI: Were you aware, or did you experience any incidences of people...

NH: Yelling at me?

TI: ...hassling you or anything because you're Japanese?

NH: That's what didn't happen.

TI: And why do you think that didn't, when other parts of the country it did happen? Why not, why not in Berkeley?

NH: I really don't know.

TI: How about teachers? Any comments from teachers about what happened?

NH: Teachers didn't, I don't recall any comments by teachers or from other students. But then again, it's so long ago, I couldn't remember.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: How about your, your parents or anything, did you ever hear anything?

NH: Oh no, my father was fine. Nothing happened there. When we did get the order to evacuate, or prepare to evacuate, and then we had to get rid of stuff, to sell stuff and whatever, give it away, whatever we did with it, he, my dad sold as much of his gardening equipment as he could, he sold his truck and he sold some of the furniture. I don't know why he did it, but he bought my sister a grand piano so that she could learn to play music. And they, my mother and father went to see the piano, went to the piano store, and they had decided on a certain, certain one. But the one that finally arrived at our house was the grand piano. [Laughs] And I said, "Wow."

TI: So explain this -- so they actually picked a different one, you mean?

NH: My dad went there and ordered the big one. [Laughs]

TI: He ordered the big one? [Laughs] So he really wanted your, your sister to...

NH: Yeah, but I think that plus... I think pride has something to do with it, too.

TI: And so what happened to the grand piano?

NH: Oh, we were able to sell it.

TI: Do you recall if you were able to get very much money for these things, or were they discounted?

NH: Oh, I don't know. I have no idea. He had a Dodge truck for his gardening, and I know he sold that to somebody. We had a four-door passenger car, it was an old Nash, and that was free, and somebody came and took it away. But the other stuff, I really don't know what happened to anything.

TI: And when you, and when you packed your stuff to take, what were some of the things that were important to you to take?

NH: Oh, well, everybody was allowed to carry two suitcases and that was it, whatever you could carry, which amounted to two suitcases. And so, of course, you just packed your, your toilet articles and your underwear and some clothes, and that was about it.

TI: Now, did you know where you were going to go in terms of the climate, whether or not it was going to be hot or cold or anything like that?

NH: No, didn't know anything.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: So where did the family assemble?

NH: Well, we assembled in Berkeley, we assembled at the Congregational Church on Dana, which is still standing. And in front of there, we all assembled in front, along the sidewalk, and the Greyhound buses were already there. So we got on the Greyhound buses and went across the bridge and went to Tanforan.

TI: And as people were waiting for those Greyhound buses, can you describe what the mood was like? Were people...

NH: Oh, we were just, "Let's stick together everybody, stick together everybody." They were saying, "Don't wander off too far." That's the most frequent message that I heard, 'course, the parents, I guess, would be afraid of being separated from their kids. "We have to stay together," okay, we'll stay together. And, "Grab hold of your bag, keep hold of it." That's what I kept hearing.

TI: How about, like, non-Japanese Americans? Were they there watching or saying goodbye to people?

NH: I don't know. I don't think so. Maybe they were, but I don't recall.

TI: So you're on the buses, and then you're taken to Tanforan, you said.

NH: Yeah.

TI: So how long was the bus ride, do you remember?

NH: I don't know. It couldn't have been very long.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: And when you got to Tanforan, describe what you saw.

NH: Oh, said, "Wow, we're gonna live here?" [Laughs] "Okay." And we all got off and went into the grandstands where they had processing. And the people that were doing the processing were mostly Niseis older than myself, and they had organized some way of doing this. I don't know how they did it but they, they did most of the organizing.

TI: And then after you were, you were processed, then where did you go?

NH: Oh, then they were told, ours was 14, 14-something, I know it was Barracks 14, and it was a very end, end apartment. I forgot the number of it, but whatever it was, that's where we went.

TI: And so for a family of six, there were six of you, how much room did you have?

NH: We had one horse stall, 'cause Tanforan was a racetrack, you know.

TI: And so a horse stall would be roughly what size?

NH: I don't know. Not much wider, about half as wide as this room.

TI: So about 8...

NH: And twice as long this way.

TI: So maybe it was 10 x 20, roughly? Ten feet by twenty feet?

NH: Yeah, I guess so. That would be pretty good.

TI: And so six of you would live.

NH: Yeah, uh-huh.

TI: And how would the, the six of you kind of organize that space?

NH: Oh, well, we, my dad put one bunk on, one bed on top of another, so my brother and I were in one, and my sisters were in another one, and my mother and father slept in the middle, and that was it. Of course, there were, that's all it was for us, it's a dressing and sleeping facility. If you wanted to go to the bathroom you had to go out of the stall and go down the back way and there was a bathroom. It was a public bathroom, public showers, and public, everybody did their laundry in this, together, community laundry.

TI: And so what were you thinking? You were the oldest son. So you had the most education in terms of American education.

NH: Well, tenth grade. [Laughs]

TI: Tenth grade, and so, but you knew probably something about the U.S. government and how things were supposed to, to work. How did you feel about what was happening to, to your family?

NH: Well, that's, I think, I think I was so naive, tenth grade, I must have been a really dumb tenth grader 'cause it didn't bother me at all. It just, "This is what we have to do, let's do it," and then we did. In Tanforan, they said they were gonna start a school, the people that were gonna start the school were older than us, about four or five years older than us. And they said, "Well, we can't let you kids be running around here without going to school," so they arranged for us to go to school in the grandstand, you know, underneath the grandstands was just all this big empty space. Well, that was the dining area, too, and so morning, noon and supper we'd have to go to the grandstands with our plates and our knives and forks, and we go up there and go like that and we'd go down to the cafeteria line and get our food and eat there. Or you take it home and eat it, eat in your stall if you wanted to, some people did that. But mostly we just went there and we sat in our little group, our family table, ate whatever we had and then my mom would gather all our dishes together and take 'em home and wash 'em and get ready for lunch. But after breakfast, about an hour or two after breakfast, then school would begin.

TI: In that same place?

NH: In that same place. There were no walls or anything, so, "Okay, you kids go here, tenth graders here, ninth graders here, sixth graders here," and so on down the line. And they did their best to teach math and reading. We didn't have anything to read, though, so we did, they made up, they made -- I know we did math. I guess they had books that they could get some sort of idea of what to do.

TI: And you said these were like the older Niseis, four or five years, so they're like college --

NH: Yeah. So I'd be tenth grader, then this, my math teacher was, was going to Cal. She has since passed on, Ms. Hosoi, that was her maiden name. I forgot her... Katayama, I think was her married name. Well, anyhow, Ms. Hosoi was going to Cal, she was a math major and she taught math. And there were other people, I don't know what they did. We had, I think most of us had at least two or three different classes of one kind or another.

TI: That's interesting.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: Any other memories of Tanforan, like any fun memories?

NH: Well, we had, we had a Fourth of July celebration, and I don't know why, but we did. [Laughs]

TI: I mean, did anyone, people must have commented on the irony of Independence Day?

NH: I guess so. I don't know why, come to think of it, I really don't know why, but I remember we had Fourth of July celebration. And then was it Friday evening, we would have talent shows, 'cause we didn't have any movies or anything like that, and so Goro, Goro, what's his name? I can't remember his last name, but he was a very talented -- well, I thought -- singer and emcee. And he was funny and we enjoyed whatever it is that he said. And he must have been about, oh, I don't know, couldn't have been more than twenty years old, I don't think.

TI: So you looked forward to the Friday night talent shows. What were some of the things other people did? You said singing...

NH: Oh, then they went around and, scrounged around and asked people, and so-and-so played the violin so she, the girl came and played the violin for us, and some people played the piano and they played selections on the piano. I don't know where they got the piano from, but they got it from somewhere. Mostly singing, and that was our show. But then it was fun.

TI: And going back to that Fourth of July celebration or party, what did they do on the Fourth of July? I'm curious.

NH: I don't remember. All I know it was the Fourth of July, but there were no fireworks, obviously there weren't any fireworks. But we all went in the grandstand, and I guess we were singing, mostly.

TI: And your parents, what kind of activities did the Isseis have?

NH: Oh, Isseis had... well, my father played go, so they, they played go, all around camp you would see the older men playing go all day long.

TI: And your mother? What would, what would the women do?

NH: I don't know what they did, but I know that she crocheted a lot and knitted a lot. She was left-handed. I still have her, she made a bedspread for each of us, huge double bed bedspread, all crocheted by hand. And where did her, her thread, our neighbor in Berkeley, she asked, came to see us, and she asked her if she could bring some crocheting thread, and she brought it, Mrs. Lindberg. And she's since passed, on, too.

TI: And so with that thread, your mom made these bedspreads for each of the kids. And you said you still have that?

NH: I still have mine, yeah.

TI: Oh, that's, what a treasure.

NH: Yeah, and I think I know where it is, but oh well.

TI: You should, you should take care of that. That'd be a really important artifact for people, something made in camp.

NH: Yeah, it was made in camp.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: Okay, so Norm, we're gonna start the second hour. And the first hour, we got up through Tanforan, we were there talking about Tanforan. Are there any other memories of Tanforan before we go to Topaz that you can think of?

NH: Well, we had school, we had eating in the mess hall, that was our day.

TI: How about just in terms of knowledge of what was going to be the next step? Was it clear that, that Tanforan was just a temporary place and you were gonna be sent someplace else?

NH: That came later, yeah. Says, "Well, we can't be living here for all during the war." I mean, that struck me, and I said, "Well, then something must be going on." Then later on, they said, "Yes, we're in the process of building the ten WRA centers, War Relocation Authority centers." Tanforan and all of the other horse stalls, temporary ones were, what were they? Wartime... WCCA, Wartime Civilian Control Administration.

TI: Right.

NH: Ran those, and those were gonna be temporary, and we were all gonna go to WRA centers. But they were gonna try to keep communities together, I guess.

TI: And that's what they, they told you. Okay, so let's go to the next step. So how were you transferred from Tanforan to Topaz?

NH: I don't know what they did, but they said, "Okay, everybody pack up. On so and so day, we're gonna be leaving." And they're just, there's a train track running next to Tanforan, a spur I guess you'd call it, where they used to load and unload horses. And so they brought a train in, and we were already packed and they just put us, put us all on the trains, and then away we went. And I think they did it in two or three loads, you know, two or three train loads, 'cause I don't really remember how many people were in Tanforan. Do you have any record of that?

TI: We do, I don't recall, but we can go back into our, we have a database that has all the information.

NH: But there must have been several thousand people there in Tanforan, but then other racetracks must have had, been pretty full, too. And I understand that there were some places that weren't racetracks. I don't know what they were, maybe temporary shacks they built somewhere.

TI: They had about seventeen of those temporary assembly centers, and a lot of them were racetracks, some fairgrounds...

NH: Uh-huh, fairgrounds.

TI: ...different things, yeah.

NH: Just areas where they could sort of keep us somewhere. Then we got on the train, and all the shades were drawn, and there were soldiers on the train. Sometimes they would walk up and down the aisle, but not that frequently, but that's about all. They were armed, I don't know what for, but they were.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: Okay, so describe what you saw when you got to Topaz.

NH: Oh, when we got to Topaz, actually, we went to... I guess, I guess we went to Salt Lake and then to Ogden, and then went south all the way to Fillmore -- not quite to Fillmore, they went to a little town called Delta. And at Delta we got off the train and got on buses. They were not Greyhound buses, either, they were something. I think they were rickety army buses or something. We got on the army buses, and then we drove all the way out to Topaz, which was out in the middle of nowhere.

TI: And, and what did it look like when you got your first look at the camp?

NH: Well, looked around, and it's just all flat. Where as far as you could see, there are mountains over there in the west, and the only way you knew it was west was because the sun would set that way. And then when we got to Topaz, we were ushered into an area and they started, again, some of the older Niseis who were saying, "Okay, now you go here and you go there," and so on, and they gave us quarters assignments, and we got, I remember that, 14-5E, that's where I lived. 14 is the Block 14, 5 was Building 5, and E was Apartment E in Building 5. And each building had up to F, six apartments. The two smaller ones are on the end, next were the two medium, the two big ones, and then in the middle were two medium-sized ones.

TI: And so with six, you got one of the larger?

NH: We got the larger one, yeah.

TI: And so describe that. How large was...

NH: Large, there were, the buildings were sixteen feet wide. And our, our big section, I think it was 20, 20 x 16, and then the one next door to us was the little building. Each entryway had, there was an entryway to the building, and it separated left and right, and one went to the small one and ours went to ours. The small one was 16 x 16? No, it was 16 by less than 16, maybe 12. And then ours, and then the two in the middle were the medium-sized ones.

TI: And then it repeated itself.

NH: And then it repeated itself, yes.

TI: So in your space, the 20 x 16, how was your, sort of, room?

NH: We were just one room, one big room.

TI: And so how did your family organize it? Where did you sleep?

NH: Oh, again, we made bunkbeds, so we had, we were sleeping in bunks. How was that? My mother and father didn't sleep in bunks, they slept downstairs, and then my sisters were on the one side of the room, farthest away from the entry, and then, then there was sort of like, my mother made a curtain so that the bedroom was over here, and then this front part of the, front part of the room was, there was a big stove in one side, a big coal-burning stove with a potbellied stove, cast iron one. I don't know where they got them, I don't know who made them or why, but then I've seen them. Hundreds of them were all around, 'cause every apartment had one. And we had a little table, I think my father -- either my father built it or a friend of ours built it and gave it to us or something. I think, I think Mr. Hara built the table.

TI: Because when you first got there, it was just the, the bedding was all that you had there?

NH: That's all.

TI: Okay, so things like...

NH: Bedding.

TI: ...tables, curtains, things like that, all had to be...

NH: Yeah, you had to scrounge around and get it yourself. And most of it, tables and benches to sit on and stuff like that, that they would go to where they were building barracks, and we would all go out there in the middle of the night and steal the lumber. [Laughs] That was the only way you could get any lumber to build anything with. So I'm sure when the workmen came the following day to say, "Well, let's, if you continue building, there would be no more lumber to build with."

TI: Well, how about tools? What did people use for tools to build?

NH: Some people were smart enough to bring hammers and saws and stuff. I don't think my father brought any of those things. I think he brought clips, though, for gardening. I don't know why. I don't know if he did or not.

TI: Interesting.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: So, so tell me some of the activities that you did in Topaz. How did you...

NH: Well, after we got there and everybody was assigned to their own buildings and so on... well, first of all, let me describe the, the block. The block had, what was it, five, six, six barracks on one side. Well, first of all, it was a, the whole place was just a square mile, and it was very, very, I don't know how they oriented it, but anyhow, they oriented it east, west, north and south, almost exactly. And each block was, there were seven blocks along the north border this way wide, and it was 7 x 7 blocks, okay. Now, so Block 1 began over here on the west north corner, and then it went one, two, three, four, five, to the east, seven, Block 7. And then Block 8 started all the way over on the west end and went eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen fourteen. We were in 14, so we were in the end. But right next to 14, outside of the fence was the water tower. Huge, huge water tower, and someone said it was the largest wooden manmade water tower in the continental United States. I don't know if that's true or not.

TI: And that water tower supplied the water for the whole camp?

NH: Uh-huh. Do you think so? I don't believe that. I think there must have been places that... well, I don't know, made out of wood. Maybe it was the biggest, yeah. And it was, it was built up on stilts, big stilts, and then there were four tanks up there on top of the platform. And it was there when we got there already, so they must have built it right away. And the water came -- I was told it was well water, so I guess they pumped it out of the ground. That was our water. But anyhow, getting back to each block, each block had six, twelve barracks, six on the west side, six on the east side of the block, and the blocks were oriented so that the buildings, each barrack was oriented so that the lengthwise was east and west, and then in the middle, between the two rows of barracks was a central area. The northern end was the dining room, and everybody had their, you know, Block 14 dining room, Block 8 dining room and so on. And then that was one, and then next to it was the laundry room and shower facilities and bathrooms, so that's where all the hot water was and everything else, yeah.

TI: And it was all, everything was, it sounds like, very uniform in terms of orientation.

NH: Oh, yeah.

TI: So if you got lost, how would you find, especially if you weren't on the end block, if you were in, like, one of the middle blocks...

NH: Yeah, if you were in the middle block, you got lost, you got lost. You'd have to go and ask, "What block am I in?" [Laughs]

TI: 'Cause they would kind of look the same.

NH: Yeah, they're all exactly the same. Exactly the same.

TI: So eventually, though, how did people differentiate their, their living quarters?

NH: Oh, I guess they just sort of looked around. 'Cause everyone tried to make some sort of a flower garden in front of their little area, and I guess the little flower gardens were all different.

TI: Yeah, but I'm thinking for maybe the kids or something, it must have been very confusing.

NH: Oh yeah. In the beginning, it was, every block looked exactly the same as every other block, 'cause they're all lined up. And even if you got to the block, all the barracks were all exactly alike. Unless you knew which one you lived in, you could walk into somebody else's.

TI: Which I'm curious, so were the rooms locked? Did people lock their rooms?

NH: No, we didn't lock our rooms.

TI: And so people might have just kind of barged in thinking it was their room. Was that, was that common for people to do?

NH: I don't think that happened very often.

TI: Okay, so people figured it out pretty quickly. [Laughs] I think I would get lost. I'd probably walk into the wrong one.

NH: Well, some of the kids would, probably, but I don't think it happened very often. Not that I know of. Like the dining room was one square building, so you knew that. The shower rooms and the laundry room, they were H, like an H-shaped building, and the crossbar of the H was where the boiler room was. And then they would dump the coal near there, and in the wintertime, that's where we would all wait with our buckets so that we could get some coal to put in our potbelly stove to keep warm.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: And so how about school? Where were the schools located?

NH: Oh, they had one, one block, I forget what block number that was. Was it 21, 22? No, it couldn't have been. I forget the number, but anyhow, one of the blocks, sort of in the middle of the area was the high school block, and that whole block was used for the high school. And next to it was another block which was empty. They didn't put anything there, and that was gonna be the athletic field, which it was, kind of. It was a nice football field and baseball diamond. Of course, we had to just sort of stake them out, this is where first base is and this is where home plate is. It was all just done that way. But we, in the fall of -- now, we moved from Tanforan to Topaz about -- well this, better go back even further than that. We, Pearl Harbor happened in December, evacuation of the West Coast started in April and May, somewhere around in there, March, April and May. So we were in Tanforan until, around about October, and then in October of '42, we moved to Topaz and school started in October, November.

TI: So right away.

NH: Right away, they started school right away. They say, "Okay, you kids are in the same class that you would have been if you were at home." So I promoted myself to eleventh grade. [Laughs] That was okay, I guess.

TI: Well, describe those first few weeks of school. What was that like?

NH: Oh, the first week of school was confusion. But we did get, there were lots of textbooks. English, social studies, science and math were okay. They had many textbooks, pretty much the standard textbooks that were available at that time to any school in California. We did have, there was a German class, 'cause I took German. And I don't know why they didn't have a French class, but they didn't have a French... I think it's because there wasn't a French teacher. And girls had cooking and home economics, and there was P.E. Now, the principal, the administrator, the assistant principal or dean or something, and the counselor were certified personnel. Ms. Gerard graduated from Cal and followed us to Topaz. And when, that's the only one that I know of. The other people, I don't know where they came from. They came from other places, 'cause they were certified teachers. And there must have been five or six of them, but all the other teachers were teachers like Ms. Hosoi, who was a student at Cal in math, and she was hired to teach math at Topaz.

TI: So these were older Niseis...

NH: Older Niseis.

TI: ...who were in college, or they were in college, or maybe a graduate or something, and they had them teach.

NH: Yeah, and they taught.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

NH: And as a matter of fact, I taught, I was in the senior, when I became a senior, I taught plane geometry, and I had five classes of plane geometry.

TI: And what level did you teach at?

NH: Tenth grade.

TI: Tenth grade?

NH: Yeah, plane geometry, tenth grade.

TI: So you were just a couple years older than...

NH: Yeah, we were in the same, I hadn't even graduated high school yet, and I was teaching there.

TI: So how was that? How was that teaching sophomores?

NH: It was fine, except they sure gave me a hard time. "Okay you guys, come on, be quiet. We got to do something here, get something done." Then, so I had to plead to their, "Let's cooperate. I'm not any, I'm only a little bit older than you are, and I don't know an awful lot. But we have to learn this stuff, so let's learn it," and it worked.

TI: So you were just pretty honest with them, that you didn't, you weren't much older, knew much more, but, "Let's just all learn from this."

NH: I had learned geometry two years before even they did.

TI: And so why were you chosen to be one of the teachers?

NH: I don't know. They just selected me.

TI: So you must have been a, a good student.

NH: I must have been pretty good in math, anyhow. Well, I was involved in all kind of things. We got involved in student government, and that was really fun. I don't know if you know him, but Moss Ashizawa, he runs the Soko Hardware in San Francisco, that's his store now. But he, he was the, our student leader. He was a year older than myself, and he led us in setting up student government. And we argued about this and argued about that, should we have a student senate, and everything. But that was the fun part of it. We finally did organize some sort of student government.


TI: So you had, so you were both a student and a teacher.

NH: Yeah.

TI: And by being a teacher, were you paid as a teacher?

NH: Oh, yeah. Did I get paid? I don't think I got paid. I might have gotten paid, I don't remember that part. Anyhow, teachers were paid sixteen dollars a month. My dad was paid sixteen dollars a month.

TI: Because it seems like you should have been paid, you're teaching five classes, so that's like a full load.

NH: But it only lasted for one semester and they finally got a teacher, regular teacher from somewhere, I don't know where. And so I went back to class. [Laughs] Anyhow, I finished up my senior year with all my credits and everything, and they let me go.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: And, you know, a few weeks ago, I was at a dinner of graduates of the Topaz High School, and it seemed like a pretty close group, I mean, that they stayed together all these years, they have regular reunions. Tell me about your classmates. Were you guys a pretty close-knit group?

NH: Oh yeah, we were a very close-knit group. Well, there were, my group was, we were the nerds, if you want, 'cause we were all in science, and we did a lot of... chemistry and physics classes were, we did all of those, prepared the, keep things in order and prepared experiments for the teachers and so on.

TI: So I'm curious, I have a degree in chemistry and I'm thinking, so when I did chemistry, the experiments you did were with chemicals and different things, Bunsen burners. Did you have all that equipment?

NH: We had not one set for each child, but we had a, kind of a demonstration lab, and then we would demonstrate it, and then there would be one set of everything, and that would have to suffice for the experiment. And then we prepared, "we" means a bunch of kids my age that were interested in it. All of us were boys, Howard and Jim and Nakai, maybe about six or seven of us, and we were in the science lab.

TI: And within a block, the high school block, where would the science lab be located?

NH: Oh, it'd be in the, our science lab was in the laundry room.

TI: Okay, because that area had running water.

NH: We had the water, yeah.

TI: And you could do that. That made sense.

NH: All the barracks part were all regular classrooms, and they, and they, I don't know what they did to 'em, but all the small and big rooms, somehow they were, yeah, the little small rooms on the end were not small anymore, they weren't there. They were huge, big, big, big rooms, and then the two middle rooms, so there were four classrooms per barrack.

TI: And in high school, did they have things like a science club and things like that where...

NH: Well, our group was the science club, yeah.

TI: And did you have, then, a faculty advisor and things like that?

NH: Yeah, uh-huh. Joe Goodman, Dr. Goodman was our, was our advisor.

TI: And so as the science club, you were able to do, like, do extra experiments and things like that?

NH: Oh, we did all the experiments, yeah. We did all the experiments ahead of time, and then we had fun. And then we even had some biology stuff, too, but we didn't do any, I don't think we did any dissections or anything, but we did have some.

TI: So it sounds like --

NH: We did look through microscopes, though, we had a few microscopes. Not one for every student, but four or five of them that I recall.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

TI: How about things like U.S. history or civics? You were, like, at the point of high school where you would do a lot of civics.

NH: Oh yeah, uh-huh.

TI: Did you guys cover things like that?

NH: Oh, yeah.

TI: The Constitution, democracy...

NH: Yeah, all that.

TI: And so how was that learning those things while you...

NH: And being in camp? [Laughs]

TI: ...while being in camp?

NH: I don't know. It was very strange, huh?

TI: Did people write, like, write papers about things like what democracy means to them? It seems like you start writing and thinking about these things in high school, and you were in this very unique situation.

NH: I don't remember, but I know we studied U.S. history. But we were in a very strange place to be studying that, huh?

TI: So you don't recall any discussions about --

NH: Well, all I was, I was always involved in student government, and we tried to do things in a sort of democratic manner as much as possible, and we'd vote on this and we'd vote that that. It was crazy. But it was okay. I think that was probably, it was real, we weren't thinking up in the clouds or anything like that, but it was real. And we had other kinds of student activity, too, we had, we couldn't go out, leave camp, but we had student athletic teams from outside come in, and they would come and play football with us. And we would somehow or another scrounge around to get enough football uniforms so we could field a team. And I don't think we won in football very much. But when it came time to play baseball, baseball we could hold our own pretty good, and basketball, they were much, much taller than us. And we didn't have a, well, we did have an indoor gym, finally, which was an indoor gym auditorium with a stage and finally built one of those for us. But not the very first year.

TI: Earlier you were talking about student government, and as you learn and participate there, I'm curious what you knew about the JACL during this time. There were older Niseis...

NH: Those were the older Nisei people, yeah.

TI: Yeah, so did you follow their activities and what they were doing and talking about?

NH: Actually, I didn't. I didn't know too much about JACL at all. I knew that there was such a thing, but I also knew that they were all these older guys were running it. So I said, "Well, I guess eventually I'll become a member, but not yet."

TI: But more than just a group, I mean, they were running not only the JACL, but in some camps they were running a lot of the operations or things like that. Was that true also in Tanforan and Topaz, that they were pretty active?

NH: I'm sure it was, yeah.

TI: And did that cause any tension or friction between the older Niseis and the Isseis? Because generally the Isseis would have been the leaders of the community, but now you had this Nisei group taking more charge.

NH: Well, I think I was just too young to know what was going on. Sometimes, like I say, I think I was so naive. "This is the way it's supposed to be, so this is what we're going to do," and just went along with it. I don't know. So, but I knew that eventually I would become part of JACL. I didn't, but I knew that, at that time I thought, "Well, my turn will come."

<End Segment 22> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

TI: And then as, as camp got established a little more, your dad, what did he do?

NH: Oh, my dad was, worked on the farm. There was a farm outside of Topaz, and men who wanted to work on the farm went to the main gate, got on the truck, and went out to wherever. There was an agricultural thing where I think they made potatoes or sugar, sugar beets. Then there was a pig farm, and I guess there must have been a chicken farm. But during early spring, they would recruit all the guys from high school would get on the bus and go out to the farm. I didn't go, but they would go out there with hoes and irrigate, or what do you call that?

TI: Just kind of water?

NH: Not irrigate, what is it when you dig?

TI: Oh, hoe?

NH: Hoe, yeah, hoe the rows and rows of vegetables, yeah. Whatever it is that the farmers did. They were, they were recruited to do that, and pull weeds. Yeah, pull weeds, I think that's what it was, pull weeds. And for us it was very good because we were able to get water, and I don't know, I guess they got well water from somewhere, and were able to water all of those vegetables out there, we got fresh vegetables.

TI: And then so your dad was out working the farm, how about your mother? What would she...

NH: Oh no, she stayed home. There was no jobs for her. Topaz had a PX, it was run more or less like the army post exchange, and they had all kinds of stuff. Nothing to eat, though, no food, but T-shirts, underwear, clothing, a little bit of clothing, some toys, but not too much, shoes.

TI: And how about your younger siblings? How, what were some of the things they did during camp?

NH: Oh, well, we all just left the house and went to see our friends. And my sister went to see her friends, and my brother went to see his friends. And he and his friends are still friends, that are still alive.

TI: Okay, good.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

TI: So after a while, the government distributed a questionnaire, a "loyalty questionnaire."

NH: Yeah, "loyalty."

TI: And, to try to determine just from this questionnaire if people were loyal or not to the United States. Do you remember when they did that?

NH: Oh, yeah.

TI: Can you describe what happened?

NH: Well, when they did that, I must have been in, well, not quite, I must have been seventeen or something, 'cause they wanted it by eighteen, your eighteenth birthday, and was it 26 and 27 were the "yes-yes" and "no-no"?

TI: Twenty-seven and twenty-eight.

NH: Twenty-seven and twenty-eight, yeah. My mother had decided that we were gonna go to Japan, 'cause, "We're not gonna stay here, we're gonna go to Japan." And so I had, I had to sign "no-no" on that, and that was that. And the counselor called me and says, "Now, do you know what this means?" I said, "Yes, it means I'm going to Japan. And if I sign 'yes,' then it means that my family will go to Japan and I will stay here. So I'm not going to stay here by myself, so I'm going to Japan." So I joined that group that was to be sent to Tule Lake.

TI: When you say "you" were, your whole family was going to join this group.

NH: Yeah, whole family.

TI: Now, you said your mother wanted to do this. How about your father? Was he also in agreement?

NH: Well, I don't know. He, he didn't seem to care one way or the other. I don't think he was... I really don't know his feelings, but I don't think he really cared if we stayed or went to Japan, returned to Japan.

TI: And when you say your mother wanted to go back to Japan, did you ever, did she ever express why she wanted to?

NH: Just wanted to, that's all.

TI: Wanted to. How about your siblings? Did they also just feel like that was...

NH: Whatever Mom says, that's what we're going to do. That was our family anyhow, I think. Our family structure was such that whatever our parents said, well, that was what we had to do.

TI: So once a family decides this, and they go "no-no" on this, what happens? I mean, what happened to...

NH: Oh, well, then they, the time comes and they get transferred to Tule Lake, and the people that, in Tule Lake that wanted to stay in the United States who signed "yes-yes," well, they would come to Topaz and we would interchange like that. And then from Tule Lake, of course, they got on the ship to Japan.

TI: Right. The families that went "no-no" in Topaz, did others know what families, how families answered --

NH: Oh, yeah, sure.

TI: -- the questionnaire? So people knew that your family was planning to go to Tule Lake. And were there very many other families?

NH: Oh yeah, there were quite a few other families that were in that way, yeah. In fact, a very good friend of mine said, or a few of the bachelors so it didn't matter, I guess, but he went from Tule Lake and from Tule Lake he went to Japan. And when I went to Japan I saw him right away.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

TI: Okay. So the ones that went "no-no," so they, then plans were being made to send them to Tule Lake. So then what happened next with your family?

NH: Well, at, at the time that we were supposed to, this transfer was supposed to take place, my father had a heart attack. And the doctor says, "No, you can't move to Tule Lake, you have to stay here and rest, otherwise you're gonna have another heart attack."

TI: So it was a heart attack, but it wasn't so, I mean...

NH: It wasn't fatal or anything like that, no.

TI: Fatal, but it was serious enough --

NH: Serious enough that he had to take it easy. And so he stayed, the doctor ordered him to stay, and so we all just stayed. And we stayed and stayed and stayed, and that was the end of it. And by that time, we'd given up transferring, and I think they'd given it up because it was all over with. 'Cause Tule Lake was empty, 'cause all the people going to Japan had been sent to Japan, and they didn't know, and they weren't gonna just send one family to Japan. I don't think that was gonna happen.

TI: Well, I think there still were people in Tule Lake --

NH: Yeah, there were people there, but they were the "okay" guys. [Laughs]

TI: Well...

NH: Sort of.

TI: So these transfers happened, and so you saw families leaving for Tule Lake, and then you saw other families coming...

NH: Yeah, other families from Tule came to Topaz.

TI: Okay, and your family stayed.

NH: And our family just stayed, yeah.

TI: And how was your mother with all this, I mean, during this time?

NH: It was, "Oh well, okay." [Laughs]

TI: Because your dad was sick, and so you had to stay.

NH: And he got well and the doctor finally discharged him from the hospital, but he couldn't go work out in the fields anymore, he had to stay home, more or less. And by that time, I had become eighteen, and that's when they took me out. And instead of sending me to Tule, they sent me to Santa Fe.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

TI: Okay, so this is where I want to... it seemed ironic. One of the reasons why you went "no-no" was you wanted to stay with your family. And now, because you had known, said "no-no" and turned eighteen, they were now separating you from the family.

NH: Because our family couldn't go to Tule.

TI: Right.

NH: So, well, "You have to go."

TI: Someplace.

NH: Someplace, and they sent me to Santa Fe.

TI: So did you try to explain it to the officials that, that you wanted to stay with the family and that's why you answered the way you did, or was there any discussion about that?

NH: Oh, yeah. I talked about that with this counselor who was a woman, and said, "Well, the reason I did that is so that we could stay together. It doesn't make any sense." And she said, "Well, it's, that's the way it is. Too bad." In other words, I can't change my mind. I'd have to be "yes-yes," you know, otherwise...

TI: So, I'm sorry, did they give you the opportunity to change your mind?

NH: No.

TI: So they said because you wrote this...

NH: That's it.

TI: ...that you had to stick with it. And so what was your reaction? Did you try to say, well, did you try to fight it a little bit more?

NH: No. I didn't fight it then, but I found out that Wayne Collins of ACLU was gathering names of people who had re-, what...

TI: Renounced their...

NH: Renounced their citizenship.

TI: And that's what I wanted to ask. Because the "loyalty questionnaire" didn't necessarily renounce your citizenship, I don't think. I mean, it was just...

NH: No, that was a different paper.

TI: That was a different paper.

NH: Yeah, different piece of paper.

TI: So you signed another paper later.

NH: Another paper, yeah.

TI: And was this before you were eighteen or when you were eighteen you signed the paper?

NH: I don't know when. I really don't remember when.

TI: So there were, there were two things you did. So you had the questionnaire...

NH: Well, there was the questionnaire, and then there's the renouncing your citizenship, and there was registering for the draft.

TI: Right.

NH: 'Cause you had to do that, too, regardless of whether you were a "no-no" or a "yes-yes," you had to do that, 'cause when you were eighteen, you registered for the draft.

TI: So let's walk through all three. So the first one we know about, you went "no-no" on the questionnaire. Then you renounced your citizenship, and then the draft, what happened for you?

NH: Well, they said, "You're eighteen, sign up for the draft," so I signed up for the draft.

TI: So you had three things. So went "no-no," you renounced your citizenship, and then you registered for the draft. So that's really confusing. [Laughs]

NH: You really, you're a man of nowhere. And yet, if you don't do it, you go to jail.

TI: And your, and your intent, what you wanted to do was stay with the family.

NH: Yeah, that's all I wanted to do.

TI: Wherever they went, whether it was Tule Lake to Japan, or staying in Topaz, you wanted to stay with your family. And you explained this to this counselor, and she just said...

NH: "Well, this is already done, so now this is what's going to happen." "There's nothing we can do here to change anything, all I'm doing is explaining what you did and what's gonna happen to you from now on." That's about all she was able to explain.

TI: Now, when you were filling out these forms earlier, was there any people helping you to figure this out?

NH: Not that I, I didn't have any counseling or advice or anything like that. But like I said, those who had renounced their citizenship, somehow ACLU got hold of that list, and they sent questionnaires saying, "Do you want to join this group?" So I said, "Okay," and I signed up to have my renunciation revoked.

TI: And was this when you were still at Topaz that this list came out?

NH: Yeah, it was in, that, yeah... I'm pretty sure it was Topaz. It wasn't Santa Fe. And I found out about it in Topaz, I'm sure, and then in Santa Fe nothing happened, and then when I got, and then I was in Santa Fe for about six months, seven months or so, and then I went, and during that period that I was there, our family moved from Topaz to Berkeley, and the whole business of going to Tule Lake was cancelled. And so they let me out and said, okay, I can go back to Berkeley. Then in Berkeley I got some papers saying, "Do you want to continue with this, formally sign up to become a party to this renunciation of citizenship rescission, cancellation?" which I joined.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

TI: So let's talk about, so now you're in this situation where you've renounced your citizenship, you turned eighteen, you're eighteen, and they're gonna move you to Santa Fe. So what was the reaction of your parents as they...

NH: My mother was stunned and says, "Where are you going?" "I'm going there." "How come?" "Well, we have to go there." But that's all.

TI: And did they tell you where you were going?

NH: No.

TI: So it must have been a very...

NH: They told me that I was -- no, they told me I was going to Santa Fe, and I said, "Oh well, okay, if I have to go there, I'll go there."

TI: And were you, you must have been pretty concerned...

NH: I was saying, "What kind of a place is that?" "Well, it's just an internment camp, just like here, only except with all men." That's all I knew. And when I went there, I found out I was probably the youngest person in camp.

TI: So let's talk about the transfer. So when you went to Santa Fe, how were you transported from Topaz to Santa Fe?

NH: Greyhound bus.

TI: And how many other men were there with you?

NH: Just me.

TI: So you were the only one?

NH: Was there somebody accompanying me? I think somebody accompanied me, like a policeman or something.

TI: But it was just like a normal Greyhound bus?

NH: Normal Greyhound bus.

TI: That was going to Santa Fe. So you get off in Santa Fe, and then what happened?

NH: I guess I got on a bus -- oh, I got in a private car.

TI: And that drove you to the...

NH: I guess it must have been an Immigration and Naturalization Service car, I guess, is what it was, I know it wasn't a bus, 'cause I was the only one on it.

TI: And then you're driven to the camp.

NH: Uh-huh, checked in.

TI: And tell me, tell me the processing there. Was it about the same as going to Topaz?

NH: Processing your name, and then said, "Okay, now you're assigned to Barrack so-and-so, bed so-and-so, and that's where you're gonna stay." I said, "Oh, okay," and went there.

TI: And what were you carrying when you went to Santa Fe?

NH: Just a suitcase. I had my toilet articles and some, change of clothes, and that was it.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

TI: So when you go into your, your barracks and your bed, describe...

NH: Oh, it was a, it was a big room, and all of us were just lined up. The beds were just lined up and everybody had a bed and a little bit of space next to 'em, that's all.

TI: And so what was going through your mind when you walked in that room?

NH: I said, "Wow, so this is where, okay, I'm gonna be living here for a while. What a strange place." Then after I set my stuff down, first thing I did was I said, "Where's the bathroom?" so I know where that is. "Where do we go eat?" Well, we go eat someplace. They were all, but the guys, they were all very nice to me.

TI: So describe the, when you say the "guys" around there, who were the "guys"?

NH: Well, there was, well, they were all older than I was, mostly Isseis. There were some Peruvians, Peru, the Japanese people from Peru came, who were, I don't know why they ever got there, but they did in that great big mix up. And they were there, and that was it.

TI: Did you recognize anyone from Berkeley?

NH: Well, the only, only person there that I knew was Reverend Tana, and he was our minister here in the Berkeley Temple.

TI: Oh, so that must have been comforting to see him.

NH: Well, he was somewhere else. I didn't know where he was, but he was someplace else. But I mean, I would see him and then we would talk, and then I knew, well, at least there's somebody I know.

TI: You said the other guys were friendly. Describe...

NH: Well, they were, you know, they said, "Well, this is what you do, this is where you go. When you go to eat, we'll go together and you can learn how to do that." And we all went to the dining room and ate there, which was very good. They had real good food.

TI: And in terms of communication with the other inmates there, how did you communicate with them? What language did you communicate in?

NH: I think we mostly spoke in English, yeah. Oh, no, there was one man, he only spoke Japanese so I spoke Japanese to him.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

TI: And so how did you and the other men pass the time?

NH: Well, I would work. I went to the clinic, and I had a job at the, I got a job at the clinic. And the reason I got a job at the clinic is that they looked at my record and says, "Oh, you used to work in the hospital at Topaz." Said, "Yeah." "Well, we need a clinic, assistant in the clinic." So I said, "Oh, sure. I'll do that." So I'd get up in the morning and get dressed and go, go to the clinic.

TI: So you said the food was, was good.

NH: Yeah.

TI: In terms of medical facilities, how did the medical facilities compare between Santa Fe and Topaz?

NH: Oh, both were good, yeah. When I worked at the hospital -- and I'm going back to Topaz now -- I worked at the hospital right out of high school. Not out of high school, even before I graduated high school, summertime jobs and things like that. And I was working in the hospital warehouse, and the head nurse came down to me and said, "We need an assistant in surgery," and I said, "Sure, I'll go to surgery." So I went to surgery, and I got my friend Howard, he lives in San Mateo. Anyhow, he, I said, "Howard, why don't you go take my job at the, in the warehouse, and I'll go to surgery?" And I worked as a surgical nurse for almost a year, yeah.

TI: That's interesting. So what kind of procedures were done in Topaz that needed surgery?

NH: Oh, in the summertime, I was there two summers, we did tonsillectomy. You get six kids, line 'em up, you know, "Okay, come on," [makes sound effect]. Take 'em back, get another one, we did that. But I wasn't, all I did was hand instruments to the doctor and clean up the mess afterwards. And then we would wash all the instruments and get all the linen cleaned and get it ready for the next whatever it is. Appendectomies, Dr. Goto did a lot of exploratory, you know, mostly cancer patients. And he says, "Well, what can you do? Nothing to do." Let's see, there was one thyroid thing, and oh, there was one girl, hakujin, a white girl, came to visit -- no, she didn't come to visit us. She was riding on a bus outside somewhere, and she stuck her hand out and she smashed her arm against a telephone pole or something like that. Then they didn't know what to do, so they rushed her -- well, no use going to Delta, 'cause there's nobody in Delta could do anything like, there weren't any doctors there that could do that kind of surgery. So they rushed her to our, to Topaz, and the doctor at Topaz, the head doctor was an administrator, he didn't know how to do surgery. But Dr. Goto says, "I'll do it," and he took care of that. That was in the middle of the night. I had to get up and go to, go to the hospital, they came knocking on my door and says, "Come on, you got to go to surgery now." [Laughs] "Okay."

TI: Okay, so you had all this experience in Topaz. And then so in Santa Fe, it was similar types of things? Assisting doctors?

NH: Well, it was the day, every morning he had a clinic. People got, didn't feel good, something or other.

TI: So it wasn't surgery or anything...

NH: Well, he did one appendectomy when I was there, and it was, his procedure was so much more different. This was Dr. Tanaka, and Dr. Tanaka is from Portland, Oregon, and he was an older man. And his procedure was, to me, old fashioned. Dr. Goto is from USC, and he'd just gotten out of USC a couple years ago, before. So his was quick and simple, and the procedure was entirely different. But anyhow, that's, I learned a lot.

TI: But it's interesting how it was, essentially, the inmates who were the doctors.

NH: Oh yeah, yeah.

TI: And so it was whatever he got. So you worked in the clinic...

NH: And then in Santa Fe they found out that I was, worked in the hospital in Topaz, so they said they wanted somebody in to help with the, help the doctor at the clinic. I said, "Sure," and I worked there. So that's what I did all the time while I was there.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

TI: And in terms of just the security at Santa Fe versus Topaz and Tanforan, was it about the same or was it different?

NH: I think it was, it seemed to me it was more secure at, in Santa Fe. The fences were, well, they were more permanent, because they were very permanent, and they were tall, way over your head. I don't know how tall they were, but, and then there were guard towers around. And in Topaz, there was a chain link fence about this high, six or seven feet, and then outside of that there was another chain link fence, so they were sort of double but there was space in between. I don't know, I think they had one, two, three, four watchtowers. One, two, three, three watchtowers on each side, all the way around.

TI: At Santa Fe or Topaz?

NH: Topaz. Maybe it was only on the corners.

TI: And what did they have in Santa Fe?

NH: Oh, they were pretty close together. [Laughs]

TI: So higher fences, more permanent, more towers, more guards.

NH: But there was still only, they were only soldiers, GIs, you know.

TI: So in terms of just the mood of the camps, how would you compare Santa Fe, the men there, versus being in Topaz with...

NH: Your family?

TI: ...the families and stuff.

NH: Well, I think, to me, Santa Fe felt more like a prisoner of war camp. I guess this is what a prisoner of war camp is like. Topaz was, oh, we're here temporarily, just can't go outside, but eventually we will. But the whole experience, to me, it was a huge adventure for me.

TI: It's pretty unique because in terms of Niseis, you're the first Nisei I've talked with who was in a Department of Justice camp. So it wasn't common.

NH: Oh no, it wasn't common.

TI: And it's not really clear to me why they sent you from Topaz to Santa Fe and not to Tule Lake. Because there still were men in Tule Lake, that they could have sent you there.

NH: They could have sent me there, yeah.

TI: But they decided to go to Santa Fe, and it's not, it's confusing to me why they did that. But you mentioned there was, perhaps, one other Nisei?

NH: Yeah, there was one other Nisei guy there, too. I forgot his name, but I used to correspond with him once in a while. But he went to Encinitas and he joined his family, and...

TI: Did you ever ask him why he went, or how, what his journey was to Santa Fe?

NH: I don't know.

TI: Like what camp he was in or anything like that?

NH: I don't know where he came from, I don't know why he was there or how he got there or anything.

TI: How about the Issei men? Did you ever talk to them about where they were from?

NH: Well, I would talk to them and I would find out that they were from, several of them came from Peru and the others came from California. Some were from Hawaii and some were from other places. And I said, "Oh, those people are the kind that got rounded up and sent here, I guess." That seemed to be what happened to them.

TI: Were they curious about you and why you were there?

NH: Not especially. [Laughs]

TI: You mentioned the Japanese Peruvians.

NH: Yeah.

TI: What was their story? Did you get a chance to find out more?

NH: Well, their story was that... well, the one story that struck me as really crazy is that he heard that all of the Japanese men were asked to come to city hall or wherever, police station or something in Peru somewhere. And when he went there, they just said, "You're under arrest." Nothing, that's it, "You're under arrest." And then they put 'em in jail and they put 'em all together and then sent 'em to the United States. Then the other strange part of it is, "All right, we're going to disband you all so you have to go home." And Peru says they're not Peruvian citizens, so, "You can't return to Peru." The United States government says, "You're not American citizens so you cannot come out and go to Los Angeles." So they had no place to go, "Where do we go?" So that's, that was, had to be solved. And I don't know where most of them ended up, but some of them went to return to Peru, and some of them returned to -- well, not returned, just went to California. And how they selected which went to where, I'll never know.

TI: While you were in Santa Fe, was there ever any dissention or -- "uprisings" is too hard of a word -- but discussions about, amongst inmates about what was going on and disagreements or anything like that?

NH: No. They just do what -- I mean, I don't know if there was any. I don't think there was. At least, I was never involved in any of that.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 31>

TI: And then how about, so you came and there were men there already.

NH: Sure.

TI: Were there others that came after you into Santa Fe?

NH: I don't really know. There might have been, but I doubt it. I think I was at the very end of it. Because within that six or eight months that I was there in Santa Fe, people began leaving, and I'm not sure where they went, but they were, they were starting to, I guess, disband the camp. And then of course my turn came, and I left. I said, "Where am I going?" and I'm going back to Berkeley.

TI: And when you say "your turn came," was there, like, a hearing or someone that you would talk with?

NH: They says, "Now you can, now you can go home. Where do you want to go?" "Well, my family's in Berkeley," says, "Okay, that's fine." Berkeley, and that was it.

TI: So someone, someone somewhere was making a decision on your life and you didn't really know who it was and you didn't really talk with them. Now, were you aware of any hearings going on at Santa Fe where some people would go in front of someone and have to talk, kind of like a trial, almost?

NH: No, I don't recall, I don't recall any of that kind of stuff going on. It just, "Well, I get to go home now," is sort of the feeling then, and that was it.

TI: So you mentioned Japanese, mostly Isseis there. Did you see any other "enemy aliens" like Germans or Italians?

NH: Not in Santa Fe.

TI: So just Japanese.

NH: It was all Japanese. Crystal City had all of them, had Italians and Germans, Japanese, yeah.

TI: And generally how were the, did the guards treat the Japanese? Were they pretty much...

NH: Oh, they were over there and we were over here. That was it.

TI: So you never heard of any altercations between the guards and the inmates.

NH: No, I never heard of, not while I was there, anyhow. And I never heard of any prior to my being there.

TI: Now, when, so you had a job. Did most of the other men have jobs, too?

NH: No, there weren't that many jobs. And there was no farms or something like that.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 32>

TI: So what did the men do during their free time?

NH: They just... Saturdays I played go and shogi with some of the men, so they played that. And there was a guy who was in the next bed or the next-next bed, he was a cook. And I don't know where he got his stuff, but somehow, he got all this stuff together and he would cook in his little, little area, and we all sort of made space for him, and he would make noodles, udon, which was pretty good. It's amazing, I don't know where -- I don't know where people get their stuff, but they sure can scrounge around and find stuff.

TI: So some people cooked, some people played go, what other activities did you observe?

NH: Well, that's about all -- well, of course, that's all I would -- oh, and then there was hanafuda.

TI: So card games.

NH: Yeah, the card game. And I would imagine, I don't know, but I think some money changed hands. I don't know what they, I don't know how they earned any money, though. I really don't. You know, that's funny, I know so little about what other people were doing.

TI: And, but you spent a lot of time at the clinic, so you got to know Dr. Tanaka pretty well? You spent a lot of time with him?

NH: Oh, yeah, Dr. Tanaka. And there was another doctor, Shimabukuro, I think, was his name. He was from Texas. What's way down south of Texas?

TI: Boy, I don't know Texas that well. I don't know. Houston was...

NH: Santa something?

TI: San Antonio?

NH: San Antonio, yeah. I think he was from down that way somewhere.

TI: And so did you ever have interesting discussions with the doctors about how they saw things and why they were picked up and what their...

NH: You know, I asked the doctor, "How come you're here?" He says, "They just came and got me." [Laughs] So I said, "Oh, okay," and I thought, "Well, better not pursue these topics too much, otherwise it'd be too personal."

TI: So a lot of times people just didn't probe very much because...

NH: No. I mean, I tended not to. I guess if I were like my sister, my sister's the other way around. She keeps digging and digging and digging.

TI: But, but in general, the men that were at Santa Fe and other Department of Justice camps were the community leaders before the war.

NH: Yes, I'm sure they were.

TI: And so did you notice, did they seem a little more distinguished or anything different than what you would see in Topaz?

NH: No. Well, you could tell, these, this guy is a leader. I mean, I sort of sensed it, and the other guys were okay, okay, let him have his say. And then, but I think in some cases, like the Peruvians, there's just no sense in it at all, just didn't have any meaning. They could have been leaders of some Japanese group that was going to overthrow the government of Peru, but I just couldn't think of them as being that. And how they selected these people to be interned is a guess on the part of whatever it was that came around. Were they FBI, or whatever they were, they came around to Hawaii and San Francisco and Los Angeles.

TI: What I've read from, like, the Japanese Peruvians, I mean, they were, many of them were picked up for a potential "hostage exchange."

NH: Oh, is that right?

TI: Or prisoner exchange with Japan, so they wanted bodies, essentially.

NH: That might be true.

TI: Any, any interesting stories about the Hawaiians?

NH: Yeah, some Hawaiians, they said, they, "don't know why they picked me up. I didn't do anything." [Laughs] And that's all I know. And they don't know either, you know. And how they were selected is something that's beyond me. Except they knew certain people were president of this organization or president of, say, the Fukuoka kenjinkai or something, or this guy was the president of Fukuoka kenjinkai, this guy was the president of the Wakayama kenjinkai. So maybe those kind of people, they'd find out, but other than that, I don't know how they figured it out.

TI: You mentioned that there were some men in Santa Fe that you could sense they were leaders. So were there, could you recall any of the names of some of the informal leaders?

NH: No. I don't know, I just sensed, you know how you sensed these people are, are leaders of your class or your group.

TI: That people just look to them to...

NH: Yeah, they looked to them.

TI: So any other memories of Santa Fe that I haven't asked about? [Laughs] I'm trying to think what else I can ask about Santa Fe.

NH: Not really. Like I say, mostly were, most of them were Isseis. Some, there was a couple of young, young people, a little bit older than myself, and they were Niseis. There was this one guy who says, "What am I gonna do when I get home?" "Where is home?" "I want to go home to Santa Barbara," or wherever it was, Los Angeles. He says, "My wife is at home." I said, "Oh, you have a wife?" "Yeah, and two children." Two children he had. I said, "Why are you here?" "I don't know." He didn't know. He didn't know why he was there. And he was not from Peru, he was from California, and he didn't know why he was there.

TI: And when he said, "I'm not sure what I'm gonna do when I get back home," what was he talking about? Was it just like in terms of working?

NH: Working and finding a place to, finding a place to stay, finding a place for his family. I mean, this is what I assume he was talking about, and things like that. "God, how am I going to get myself all put back together again?"

<End Segment 32> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 33>

TI: So we just, we just finished up Santa Fe, and so now I'm curious, so one day they came to you and said, "So Norm, we're gonna let you go."

NH: "Time for you to leave."

TI: "Time for you to leave, where do you want to go?" And so you told them you wanted to go back to Berkeley because your family was back there now. So talk about going back to Berkeley. What was that like?

NH: Okay, well, let's see. I guess first of all, have to say, my, when I got back to Berkeley, by that time, my dad had bought a house. How he did that, I don't know, but he was able to buy a house. And before he bought that house, when they went back to Berkeley from Topaz, they were living in the basement of neighbors of where we used to live, okay? And my sisters and my mother lived in a next-door neighbor's basement, and my, my father and my brother lived in the basement across the street. And then it was my turn to come home, but before I came home, somehow my father was able to buy a house a little further, three or four blocks away, down the road up on Grant Street. So that's where I went.

TI: And so at this time, was your father able to work?

NH: Well, he worked anyhow. I don't think, I think he just decided he was gonna go to work.

TI: So he was well enough after his heart attack to be able to work, as a gardener again?

NH: Yeah, as a gardener. He wasn't really well enough, but he did anyhow.

TI: And so about what time, what year...

NH: All right, so we're talking about '47, '46. I graduated in '44, '45, '46, 1946. I left --

TI: Okay, so the war had ended.

NH: The war had ended, yes.

TI: And this was, you were then released, and so '46, and what time of the year of '46?

NH: It was in the summertime.

TI: Okay, summer of '46.

NH: It was in the summertime, or early summertime of (1946), and Reverend Tana and I, I don't know why, but Reverend Tana was allowed to go home, too, and I guess he said Berkeley, 'cause we both got on the train and came to Berkeley. Did we come by train? Yeah, I think we came by train. Did we transfer? No, we got off the train, yeah. I remember we got off on, we went by train.

TI: And when you...

NH: From Santa Fe to Berkeley.

TI: And was anyone there to welcome the two of you when you got to, to Berkeley?

NH: Well, no, no. My father and mother were there, I guess, I don't know. Maybe, I don't remember. But they must have been.

<End Segment 33> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 34>

TI: And how did it feel for you to be able to come back to Berkeley?

NH: Oh, I said, "Wow." [Laughs] Here I am, back in Berkeley again, and we're all together in this house. And everything from there on was pretty smooth sailing. I was getting ready to go to summer session at Cal, so I had made an application, I went up there the next day or two days later and got ready to go, getting ready to go, and I think I went to the first summer session. And by the time the second summer session came around, the army says, "Oh, it's your turn to go into the army," so I was drafted in late summer 1946.

TI: Now, how did you feel about this? Now, you had just gone --

NH: Said, "Holy mackerel, what's the matter. What's going on?"

TI: -- to Topaz, and then they put you in Santa Fe, and you just get out, and you come home, and then they draft you.

NH: Then they drafted me. And, "How come I have to go for the draft? The war's over. Well, the draft is the draft so you better go," so I went. I mean, what can you do? You either go to there or else go to jail. And by that time, my ACLU papers had gone to the attorney Wayne Collins, so that was being processed.

TI: And so at this point, were you sort of a man without a country?

NH: That's right. Actually, I was...

TI: Because you had officially renounced your citizenship.

NH: I had not gotten it back yet.

TI: And had not gotten it back yet. But yet, in the eyes of the U.S. military, you were a U.S. citizen because they were drafting you. Okay.

NH: They were drafting me. Well, they were drafting aliens anyhow. It was anybody over eighteen was registered. So I went into the army, yeah, and I went and had basic training at Camp Lee, Virginia. [Laughs] Why? I don't know why.

TI: I'm curious, in this time after Santa Fe and before you went into the military, did, did people ask you about where you were and did you share that you were at Santa Fe?

NH: No, I didn't care. Nobody asked me that.

TI: So no one asked.

NH: Really, I was at Cal for one summer session, and you're just another student, you know. But at that time, Cal's student population was very old. Freshmen were not eighteen years old. They were all the way from twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-five, even thirty year old freshmen, 'cause they were all GIs that had left the services, and there were a lot of them. And then it was after that that the age, well, after all the GIs had left, then the age dropped down so that the freshmen were eighteen years old. So I went into the army, served my time in Germany, and came back in spring of '48, I think it was.

TI: And when you were...

NH: Or maybe late '47.

TI: And when you were in Germany, what kind of duties did you have?

NH: Oh, just clerical duties.

TI: I'm curious, while you were in Europe or Germany, did you ever hear about what the 442nd had done when they were, during the war?

NH: No, uh-uh. No, I hadn't heard, I didn't even know about the 100th and the 442nd. There was so little publicity on that, that bunch. It was only afterwards, several years afterwards that they were, made, was really publicized.

<End Segment 34> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 35>

TI: Okay, so you are a couple years in the military in Germany, then you come back to Berkeley?

NH: I come back to Berkeley and I started school. And I went to Cal for a while, and let's see. I left there in '50... '48, '49, '50, '51. No, that's about right. Late '47, '47, '48, '49, '50 I was there, and then I transferred to, see, I was a speech major, which was fun. Then all of a sudden I realized, well, how am I going to earn a living? Which is what you have to do, you know. That's what you were supposed to do. So I couldn't earn a living being a speech major, so... and I did go to school of education at Cal, but I, I disliked it so much that I dropped out of Cal and went to San Jose and went into industrial arts, which is machine shop, auto shop and all that. And I had a great time there and got my credential there. In fact, I graduated with honors at San Jose. And then in '53, when I graduated... '53 or '56? I don't know. Yeah, '56, I think. Well, anyhow, I went to San Jose, graduated there, got out of there in '56, yeah, it had to be, it had to be. And then I said, "Well, I guess I'll go out and look for a job now. I have my credential, I have everything, I'm ready to go." And then my mother says, "Go to Japan." And in 1950, my father had passed away, that's while I was going to Cal. And so I said, "Okay," and I went to Japan.

TI: Going back to your mother wanting to go back to Japan, did she tell you why she wanted you to go to Japan?

NH: No, she said I should go there so that I learn something about Japan. That's all she said. But she had already written to her uncle to find me a wife, which he did. And I went to Japan and I was going to come back and then look for a job, 'cause without it, that's okay, too, I didn't care.

TI: So do you think your, your mother wanted you to go to Japan to get a wife? Was that part of it?

NH: Yes.

TI: Okay, so, because...

NH: I think that was, what it was all about.

TI: And then so when you went to Japan and your uncle found someone, tell me about that. I mean, how is it when someone arranges something that...

NH: Oh, it's fun. [Laughs] It works out fine. It worked out fine.

TI: And why did it work out fine? What, tell me what your wife is like, or what did you...

NH: Oh, my wife, well, she passed away eight years ago now, yeah. But anyhow, I was there, and then my brother was in Japan, and so, and he was in the navy at the time. And so I stayed at his home for a little while, and then he got, he found a job as a teacher. He asked around, and said, "There is a job over in this, Camp Drake, and if you want to be a teacher there, you could." So I went and says, "Yeah, I'll take it." And I went over there to apply, "I'm certified and I just finished, but I don't have any experience." And the superintendent says, "Oh, I don't care. You think you can teach them? They're seventh graders." Said, "You want 'em?" And apparently they had had six or seven substitute teachers in two or three weeks at a time. And I said, "Sure, I'll take it." So he gave, he said, "Okay, you can have the job," and I got that job.

TI: And what subject was the...

NH: Everything, everything. 'Cause it was the seventh grade. So we had fun doing all kinds of stuff. And I taught seventh grade for about two or three years. Two years I think I did, three years, maybe. And then the superintendent of schools said that they were going to have a high school with a shop, it's going to open over here, still in the Tokyo area, so I said, "Sure, I'll take that job." And I transferred there and then I organized the shop there. And we had woodworking and mechanical drawing.

TI: And so this utilized all the training you got at San Jose.

NH: Yeah, at San Jose, and sort of became, became useful. And...

TI: And describe your students. Who were you teaching?

NH: Oh, the students that I, the school that I was employed with was the army schools. So the, all the students were children of army personnel or air force personnel or navy personnel. So the first school was an army school, so mostly army kids. The second school was an air force school where the high school was being built. And they were, most of the air force kids and some navy kids. And I stayed there for a while. And in fact, I stayed there from the beginning of Yamano High School 'til the end of Yamano High School, and it was there, while I was going to Yamano High School, while I was teaching at Yamano High School that the introduction was made between -- well, it was made before that -- between my wife and myself. And I went out, went downtown, she lived downtown Tokyo, and I would go downtown and we'd go out to eat, go to a movie or something like that, and then I'd come back home. And it felt okay. After a while she got a permanent job and got a bigger apartment so that her parents could come from Kyushu to, to Tokyo. And so her mother and dad were there. They seemed to think I was okay, I guess, she thought I was okay, so said, "Okay, let's get married," got married.

TI: And so what year was that that you got married?

NH: Well, can't remember.

TI: So '56 or so was when you graduated.

NH: Yeah. It was a long time. '67?

TI: Okay.

NH: No, or maybe it was '66. Somewhere around there. Does that make sense?

TI: It would be about forty years ago?

NH: Yeah, uh-huh.

TI: Okay, forty-two years ago.

NH: Yeah, it'd be about forty-two, forty-three years ago.

<End Segment 35> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 36>

TI: You know, when you talk about teaching in these military schools, I always, I always hear the term "military brats."

NH: Yeah, uh-huh.

TI: And so I'm wondering, how were the students? I mean, I'm guessing they're, one of the reasons they say "military brats" is because they're transitory. I mean, they keep moving from place to place.

NH: Uh-huh, they do. They move from one place to the other.

TI: So what is it like teaching in a military school like this?

NH: Oh, it's, to me it was really great. I enjoyed it very much, and I didn't mind the fact that the kids were, some came from, say, Germany, some came from Turkey, some came from the Philippines, and next year they would go to Korea or wherever their dads were assigned. And that just, that's the way it was. And the kids seemed to say, "Oh, that's the way it is. Next year I'm going to go to so and so." "Next year I'm going to go back to the States." "Next year I'm going to go to," wherever, Philippines or Germany or Turkey or wherever they had the school. The schools have dwindled so that there aren't that many in the world now, but before, there were a lot.

TI: Now, were there other Nisei teachers at the school?

NH: Uh-huh, a few, uh-huh. Every year there was at least, especially Hawaiian people came.

TI: And how did you like living in Japan?

NH: Oh, that was fun, yeah. See, when I first went there, it was 360 yen per dollar, and so it was living high on the hog. [Laughs]

TI: And so with your, your salary, your teacher's salary...

NH: My salary.

TI: was...

NH: It was okay, yeah. It was fine.

TI: And what were your impressions in terms of Japan postwar rebuilding?

NH: Oh, my goodness. It was really, to me, it was just hectic, you know. They were still cleaning up rubble in certain parts of town, Tokyo. Some streets were still bad. And other places, the buildings were, were being torn down, broken buildings, and then over there, a brand new building would, these big skyscrapers, the new ones, would come up, and oh, just hectic activity. And I don't know where they got the money from, but they had money. It's amazing.

TI: And so how many years did you live in Japan?

NH: Oh, then I lived in Japan from when I went there 'til I retired in... when did I retire? '93?

TI: So we're talking over, about thirty years?

NH: Yeah, I was there, oh, thirty-seven years.

TI: So you saw incredible changes.

NH: Oh, yeah.

TI: You saw a country that was coming out of the ruins of a war, devastated by war, to the second largest economy in the world.

NH: Sure, uh-huh. Well, the downtown Tokyo area, it used, now, you go there and you'll see all these skyscrapers. When I went there, first went there, there weren't any. Then the first one, that one, I know which, I forgot the name of it, but anyhow, it went up. And everybody would look at it, and you know, they actually just stopped and look at it, and "Wow." But now, it's just all over. Not just Tokyo but, it doesn't matter where you go, you go to any big city and you see huge skyscrapers everywhere.

TI: And when the Japanese found out that you were a Japanese American, a Nisei, what kind of reaction did you get?

NH: "Huh?" "How come you speak Japanese so well?" is what I always get. I didn't speak that, I don't speak that well at all, but anyhow, they think I do.

TI: And how about your English? Where did your English come in handy, and, well, teaching, obviously.

NH: Yeah, I had...

TI: But outside of, when you're just traveling, does, did your English come in handy?

NH: No, not really. I didn't need to use it, I spoke Japanese when I was outside of camp.

<End Segment 36> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 37>

TI: You mentioned a son earlier, Paul. So is he your only...

NH: Yeah, he's our only child.

TI: And so, so based on the history, I'm guessing he was born in Japan?

NH: Oh yeah, he was born in Japan, yeah. He was born in Japan, and he went to preschool and the nursery school, and all the way through high school he was in the, in the army schools.

TI: Okay, so you chose to go through the army school and not the Japanese school. 'Cause he could have gone to either?

NH: I guess he could have gone to a Japanese school. He would have had to have had a lot of reading and writing to learn before he got, 'cause he had to take a test. We didn't, I didn't insist on that at all, but we spoke Japanese at home until he was about four or five, and then said, "Paul, from now on I'm going to speak to you in English and Mommy's going to speak to you in Japanese." He looked at me, well, that's the way it was. "That's the way it's going to be." He didn't care. [Laughs]

TI: And the reason you did that was you wanted him to be bilingual?

NH: Bilingual and get him ready to go to nursery school. And then by the time he got to nursery school he was, he had enough command of English to know which was right, what was right and what was wrong.

TI: And how was that raising, essentially, an American child in Japan? What was that like? Was that hard or was that easier?

NH: Well, we didn't have too much contact with our neighbors, Japanese neighbors, but we did have -- 'cause we chose to live off the post, not inside the base, which was good. But then, but there weren't too many kids to play with. There were some, and he got along well with them. With them, he ran around and spoke Japanese and everything. And then when he'd go, come home and get on the bus and go to nursery school or go to first grade, he would speak English with all of his friends at school.

TI: And at what point did your son move to the United States? You mentioned he's in Sacramento?

NH: Oh, yeah. Well, then he -- yeah. He graduated Zama High School where I taught last, and then we brought him over here. And he made application to this, that and the other school, and he decided he wanted to go to Davis. Says, "Okay, we'll let's go to Davis." And the orientation is going to be so and so date, so we went there on that day. And said, "Okay, Paul, bye."

TI: And then you went back to Japan?

NH: We went back to Japan, and he went through his orientation and all that and he came back to Japan on his own, got all his stuff, so he knew what he needed and all that. He got a, we got him a brand new bicycle, and they sent that overseas for him, too, but I don't know, he lost it right away. Davis is a good place to have a bicycle, but you don't want a new one. You want to get an old banged up one, then they won't steal it.

TI: That's good.

NH: But I don't know, he's had about three or four bicycles, and he'd leave 'em here or there somewhere, disappeared. But oh well. Anyhow, Paul graduated Davis, got his master's there in computers and stuff, he's in computer thing. And he now works at the School of Engineering, Computer Science Department.

TI: Good. Well, those are --

NH: Oh, his first computer, he wanted a computer, he was in, I know he was in elementary school. And it was a... Radio Shack, what do you call it?

TI: We call it the "Trash 80," the TRS-80?

NH: TRS, yeah, he had one of those. It came from Chicago, we mail ordered it. And we had to get a cassette player, 'cause that was right next to it, and somehow or another they were connected, and that's when he started. And he said, "This is getting old now, I have to get a new one." [Laughs] So Dad says, "Okay," and he would get another one. He must have had two or three of them.

TI: Yeah, that's, those are the very early, early computers. That's good.

<End Segment 37> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 38>

TI: Well, so Norm, I'm finished with all of my questions. Is there anything else that you wanted to say or comment on that I haven't touched on in terms of your life?

NH: Oh...

TI: Or what, perhaps, in terms of reflecting on, in some ways, the, the ironies or the pathway you took. I mean...

NH: Well, I guess one of the things that I'd like to talk about a little bit is people ask me if I'm bitter or angry because of evacuation. And I'm upset that it happened and it shouldn't have happened, that I thoroughly agree with, and I don't care what anybody says, it should not have happened. But to be mad about it, I'm not... I'm not so angry that I have to not do anything. I have to get on with my life. The unfortunate thing is there are some of my, well, two people that I know of that are very good friends of mine. They were mad and they stayed mad, and they were bitter, and their lives were really just down the drain. Well, I think they went down the drain. One of them became a shoemaker, he didn't go to college, he should have gone to college. Another one, a very brilliant guy, he was going to Cal -- I think he was brilliant anyhow -- and he came back and he just sort of said, "The hell with everything," and just worked, okay, you go to work, and if he didn't like it he said, "I quit." And he just could never get going with life, and his life was ruined, I think. And that's, that's sad. But on the other hand, some of us were, we did pretty good. I became a teacher, my best friend, my friend in Denver became a grocery store proprietor, owner, and so on.

TI: And so where do you think this philosophy of not being bitter came from?

NH: To be bitter is not useful. Being revengeful or whatever you want to call it, just, what good is it?

TI: And so where did you learn this?

NH: I don't know. I don't know where I learned that, but I must have. But to be bitter, you see it sometimes, and you ask, "Well, what good is it?" And then of course it's no good. So I guess that's the evaluation I made.

TI: Well, good, that's an excellent way to end this interview. So thank you, Norm, so much for doing this.

NH: No, no, you're welcome.

TI: This was excellent.

NH: Thanks a lot.

TI: Thank you.

<End Segment 38> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.