Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Harry Umeda Interview
Narrator: Harry Umeda
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Bloomington, Minnesota
Date: June 18, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-uharry_2-01

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: So today is Thursday, June 18, 2009, and we're in Minneapolis doing interviews for not only the Densho Project, but the Twin Cities JACL. On camera is Dana Hoshide, and I'm the interviewer, Tom Ikeda. And observing is Steve Ozone from the Twin Cities JACL. And so Harry, I'm going to start from the beginning of your life and ask you, do you remember when you were born?

HU: May 12, 1915.

TI: And do you remember where you were born?

HU: Sacramento, California, on a farm.

TI: And who delivered you? Do you know, did people tell you --

HU: Midwife, and I heard I came backwards.

TI: So like a breached...

HU: Yeah, my legs first. [Laughs]

TI: So that was dangerous.

HU: And you know, way out in the country, we didn't have any doctors, we didn't have any pharmacy or grocery store. And that's how it began.

TI: And what was the name given to you at birth?

HU: What was that?

TI: What was the name that they gave you when you were born? What was your name?

HU: Tsutomu.

TI: Tsutomu.

HU: And later on, "Harry" was put on. My name "Harry" was put on.

TI: And where did "Harry" come from? So who gave you the name "Harry"?

HU: Oh, my friends, and the way I'd been acting, I guess. And it stuck all the way.

TI: Okay. So next I want to just ask about your father. Can you tell me your father's name and where he was from?

HU: Yeah. Let's start talking about my parents. That's where I started. My dad, they were all born in eighteenth century. My dad went to school there, he was able to read and write. He was about five-foot-two inches, strong, healthy, and he always had a thinking, the way he wanted to live. He wanted to accomplish, he talked about challenge, and he said, "Never give up. If you try once, you try the other way, and you'll make it." He said, "Never forget to work a little extra. Your reward will be bigger." That's what my dad always said. And evening meals, he would talk about again, talk about the ranch, where the attention needs, the new area, he worked hard. The only reward he had every day for working hard was a glass of wine. Just one glass of wine all his life. He made his wine from a crop of, old crop leftover in the fall. That was my dad. My mother --

TI: Well, before your mother, can you tell me what your father's name was and where in Japan he grew up?

HU: They were from Wakayama-ken.

TI: And what was your father's name?

HU: (Takejiro Umeda.)

TI: That's okay.

HU: I think it'll come back.

TI: Yeah, it'll come back later.

HU: Let me talk about my mother.

TI: Okay.

HU: Her name was Masaye, she was about five foot tall, kind of heavy-set. She didn't go to school, she couldn't read nor write, but she had many friends when she was growing up. And had learned from these friends many good things. Her most important thing was making friends. She told me, "Without the friends, you don't have a life. If you find someone who is not friendly, if you keep talking, you'll become a good friend. The more friends you have, the happier life you will lead." That was so... she used to teach me how to say thank you. Or, "If you make a mistake, you say you made a mistake, 'I'm sorry.'" She knew how to apologize. And I had my mumps, I had my chicken pox, and Mother would come to bed, she said, "You better get up. If you stay in bed, you won't be able to walk." That's about the only answer she had, or anybody else. We didn't have any doctors. And she says, "Even though you don't want to eat, you gotta eat. That's where you gain your strength. You're gonna beat that mumps and chicken pox." And that's the way it was. And she had many friends. She had a plot of land where she grew vegetables and flowers, and friends came from downtown. She always gave some to take home. And we had a chicken coop, twenty, thirty chickens, laid enough eggs for the family. And we had meat, chicken meat. We didn't have any beef or pork, there's no place to come and sell, or grocery store nearby. That's how we lived, off the land. We never went, we never went hungry, we always had plenty to eat. But once, oh, two or three months, my dad go with horse and buggy downtown, get bags of rice and shoyu and miso, bacon, flour, and parts of the plow, farming implements. That's how we had contact with the business. And, you know, my dad, father, knew where they were coming, because my mother's sister was already in Sacramento operating a farm on a share basis. And that's where they came and learned farming. After about two years, they found a place to farm, forty acres --

<End Segment 1> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: Harry, can you explain that to me a little bit more? So your mother's family was already in Sacramento?

HU: Yes. [Interruption] Mother and father came, and that's where they stayed, learned to farm. And after two years, they found the land to farm.

TI: They found the land, but how did your father and mother meet?

HU: I don't know. They met in Japan, and they had two boys who were ten and twelve. And they left them there until they settled down in United States.

TI: And so these were your older brothers?

HU: No, they were the two older brothers. And when they found a farm, they need help, they called two sons.

TI: And what were their names, your brothers' names?

HU: Oldest one was Shigeru, and second one was Yoshihiro. Then came the third son on the farm, Frank. And then eighteen months later, I came. The fourth son and the last one, and I was the baby.

TI: So your parents had four boys.

HU: Four boys.

TI: And two of them born in Japan and two born in California.

HU: Yes. And my dad always wanted the land of his own. The share basis, forty and sixty, landowner got forty percent of the crop, sixty percent for him doing all the work, all the implements, the fertilizer. He wanted all of it. So came my time to go to school.

TI: But before we go there, so do you know how large a farm your dad worked?

HU: Forty acres.

TI: And what were the crops that he did?

HU: Grapes and strawberry.

TI: And the grapes were for wine or for raisins?

HU: No, for table.

TI: Okay, so table grapes.

HU: But those grapes left by mistake on the vine, that's where my dad went over and picked them for his wine.

TI: And how did your father learn how to make wine? Because that's... yeah, I'm curious. Who taught him wine-making?

HU: They were empty fifty-gallon drums. He would go and pick the grapes and he crushed it and put it in the barrel and let it ferment. And he made his wine the way he wants. A glass of wine, that was his reward every day. And I'd never seen a wealthy man like him.

TI: And when you say "wealthy," what do you mean by "wealthy"?

HU: Healthy.

TI: Healthy, okay, healthy man. And what kind of personality did your father have? When you think of your father, was he a loud person, a quiet person?

HU: He was a quiet person. But he related to the children the way he thinks: work hard, work a little bit more, your reward will be bigger. That's his philosophy of life. And big challenge, someday he'll go back to Japan. "I have done what I want, and leave the legacy for the kids."

TI: So he used to tell you that at some point, he would go back to Japan and leave the farm and everything to the children?

HU: So I started my school...

TI: Oh, before we start school, can I ask about your mother? What kind of person was she? How would you describe her? Was she more social and talkative?

HU: She had many friends. Social, yes. She had a little land where she grew all kinds of vegetables and flowers.

TI: Right, and you talked about that. So when she had lots of friends, where did she see her friends? Did they come to the house or did she go someplace else?

HU: Come to house, visit us. And once in a while, they'd go downtown to (Sacramento). See, in their life, friend was the most important thing. And one of the things -- two more things about my mother. She talked about God. There were no bibles, but she learned from those friends she had when she was growing. And she always mentioned, "There's a man up there watching all the time. You've got to believe Him and do no good." The other was when I was having mump and all that, she would say, "Tsutomu, you better get up."

TI: Right, "Get up and eat," right.

HU: "You gotta eat. Pretty soon you won't be able to walk."

TI: And so Harry, I want to go back, when your mother talked about God, did she also go to church?

HU: She did not.

TI: So this was just through her friends and what she heard?

HU: She really believed He was up there. And one of the things that still disturbed me is that... we had my aches and pains, she would say, "If you think it hurts, it hurts. But if you think it's not gonna hurt, it won't hurt much." [Laughs]

TI: So how well did that work?

HU: Well, it did work. Forget about the pain. And that's some of my mother's teaching. Some of it sounds very odd, but that's the way it was.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: Okay, so now let's talk about, you wanted to talk about school. So let's talk about your school and what that was like.

HU: This was grammar school in our area. There were about 125 Nihonjin students and one hakujin kid, and he was the son of the janitor. That's the kind of area we lived in, and we called it Taishoku. And after school, we went to Japanese school, that's where we learned to read and write, speak.

TI: And so you would go to regular school all day, and then after regular school you would go to Japanese school?

HU: Yeah.

TI: And how many hours a day would have to go to, first, regular school? When would you start school and how long...

HU: Nine in the morning until about three o'clock, ends. And then we would walk to this Japanese school. That's where we spent an hour. And we always walk home, there's no bikes, we walked.

TI: And how did you like Japanese school?

HU: Well, at least I didn't study very much. [Laughs] Then the graduation came. Lo and behold, I was asked to be the valedictorian. My god, every day I had that coverall, you know, and I didn't have any nice clothes to wear. So I borrowed Frank's pants. The cuff, I must have rolled three times so I don't drag. And I got his new shoe, my god, it was so big, it used to fall off. So I put newspaper where the toe was and made it stick. That's how it was. But the teacher said, "You do a good speech."

TI: And Harry, do you remember what you talked about in your speech as a valedictorian, kind of what you talked about?

HU: I don't know, I've forgotten. [Laughs]

TI: And so you were chosen to be the valedictorian, was that because you were the best student at the school?

HU: I guess so.

TI: So that was quite an honor for you and the family that you were chosen.

HU: Yes. See, that's where my father's philosophy came: "a little bit more." That's why I talk about Mother and Father first. What a true, how true in my life. So I started high school. Frank was one year ahead of me.

TI: Wait, so the valedictorian was for the elementary school?

HU: Yes.

TI: Okay, and that's why everything was too big. But I'm curious, when you were named valedictorian, did your mother or father, what did they say to you? Did they praise you, or what kind of words did they tell you?

HU: I think they saw what they were teaching me. Then came the high school. Those days, county couldn't afford to buy a bus. We all get together, somebody's private car, we used to commute to downtown Sacramento. And when I was a senior, the counselor called me in and says, "You've got enough points to graduate." He said, "Go to any class you want and you study there." My favorite was chemistry class. That's where I saw a pretty Japanese girl. First day I didn't say anything, second day I got up my nerve and opened the conversation. And I went to her and said, "What kind of test are you making? You've got your Bunsen burner going." I had a nice conversation. Third day, I went to see her, I carried her books to the next class, and that's where it started for many, many years.

TI: And so this was your future wife that you're talking about.

HU: She turned out to be my wife.

TI: And what was her name?

HU: Her name was Ethel. Yaeko Imagawa. Pretty girl. [Laughs] That's what I always say, "Pretty girl with a Bunsen burner." That was her nickname.

TI: Yeah, when you went from elementary school to high school, you talked about elementary school being all, you know, Nihonjin or Japanese. When you went to high school, what was it like in terms of the racial...

HU: A mixture. But there were a lot of Japanese kids.

TI: And so can you tell me roughly like what percentage were Japanese and what percentage was white?

HU: I don't know.

TI: Was it mostly Japanese, or were there more Japanese than others, or about the same, or were there more whites?

HU: I couldn't even guess.

TI: Okay. But it was a difference, because you went from all Japanese to more of a mix in Sacramento, high school? So it was a little bit different?

HU: I couldn't guess.

TI: Okay. But do you recall how the whites and the Japanese got along? Was it pretty good in Sacramento?

HU: Oh, yes.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: Okay, so Harry, before we go, finish high school, I want to know, like, other activities besides school. Did you do, like, sports, any sports?

HU: Not much, not much. Because we have to help on the farm, leisure times.

TI: So when you did have some leisure time, though, I know you had to work on the farm, but there must have been days when you could go out and maybe go fishing or other activities like that, hunting, or something like that?

HU: Hunting was my best sport. I had four guns of different kinds. Because I was able to hunt on my land. But I got word from my oldest brother, when they were about to evacuate, the farthest corner of the farm, he dug a hole and buried all my guns. [Laughs]

TI: But before we talk about that, so you loved hunting. What kind of guns did you have and what kind of hunting did you do? Can you describe the hunting for me?

HU: I don't understand what you mean.

TI: Well, so what kind of things did you hunt? I mean, what did you hunt for?

HU: Pheasants, jackrabbits, squirrels.

TI: And for, like, the pheasants, what kind of gun did you use for pheasants?

HU: Sometimes I used a rifle, sometimes I used a shotgun.

TI: And when you went pheasant hunting, did you do it with other people or did you have a dog, or how did you do it?

HU: No, no. Like pheasants, we're not supposed to shoot. Or robin, they like to come over and, in the fall, eat grapes, we weren't supposed to shoot with a rifle. I have more meat leftover.

TI: Okay, good.

HU: Well, let's go on.

TI: Okay, let's go on. After, you said, I stopped you when you were talking about right after high school. So what did you do after high school? And just to clarify, you graduated from high school, what, 1933? Do you remember what year?

HU: 1934.

TI: 1934.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: Okay, so we're 1934 and you graduate from high school. So what did you do next?

HU: When I was going to high school, my mother passed away. And I was dependent on my oldest brother to look after me, I was about fourteen years old. My mother died with a cerebral hemorrhage. We took her to the hospital for five days, she made it, but that was the end of it.

TI: And how difficult was that for you at fourteen to lose your mother?

HU: I think that was the worst experience because we had a wonderful relationship, mother and son, being the last one. I told you about crying. Even today, I know what I went through. But she was the one that told me about making friends. Today, I have many, many friends yet. Some have gone, but she left me that.

TI: Back in those days, when an Issei would die, what kind of, what kind of service, funeral service would they have for your mother?

HU: Yeah, for five days of mourning. And her casket was brought to our house and people came. It was a long, drawn-out affair. It was a Buddhist funeral. She had many friends, they all came. That was her life.

TI: And so did they have the service at your house, the Buddhist minister came to your house?

HU: Yes. Yeah, that was a big loss, big loss for me. And I used to cry, hide and cry... [cries] my oldest brother caught me crying, and he told me, "Mother's gone. Don't cry anymore. I'll look after you." I'll never forget that. It's a terrible thing. But I woke up, I remember all the things my mother told me. Here I am today, ninety-four and all this. So after I finished high school...

TI: Well, Harry, before we go on, I just want to make a comment that in many ways, your mother still lives with you. Your stories, your feelings for her, so I'm so happy that you shared that. So thank you. I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciate your sharing that, that was very powerful.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: So after high school, tell me what happened next.

HU: After high school? My oldest brother told me, he says, "You go be a dentist." And that didn't appeal to me very much. I wanted to be in the business. So I went to this private business college and I asked the superintendent, "I don't have any money. I'll do anything for the college, for tuition." So I cleaned the house, cleaned the school, and I paid for my tuition. And after two and a half or three years, I finished the course. We're going through the recession, hard work finding a house, business.

TI: And during this time, so this is in the, sort of, mid to late '30s, so the Depression was going on. I'm curious, what did your older brother do, your older brothers, Shigeru and Yoshi? What did they, kind of work did they do?

HU: They were farmers, growing strawberries and grapes.

TI: And I'm curious, because you mentioned earlier how the two of them were born and spent their childhood in Japan. And so how did you and Frank, you were much younger, so it seemed like there was almost a generational difference. Can you describe that relationship a little bit between your two older brothers and then the two younger boys, how that worked? Like, just, what kind of relationship did you have?

HU: We worked beautifully. We had a wonderful relationship, we helped one another. Two older ones knew we were kids, and we knew the two older ones were big brothers.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: Now, when you talked with your older brothers, did you speak in English or Japanese?

HU: The second...

TI: Japanese.

HU: went to night school, went to night school. He learned some English. One day, my father and Yoshihiro, the second one, went into town. We had a hakujin no friend, he was an engineer. He used to service all the water pumps, because they were all irrigated land. And he was really nice to Japanese people, so they went to see this man and wife. The wife was a lawyer. And second brother said, "We'd like to own the land." And she said, "I'll find out for you, I'll go to the state office and find out. And if we can write up a paper to form a corporation, I'll tell my husband if he'll take the paper for you to sign." The corporation was created. And the paper says, "You can own the land, go and buy it." So started looking for bare land, 65 acres. That was the biggest victory for my father. And we moved over there, Dad built a great big house with running water, painted white, great big barn to house three horses, pile of hay, and in the middle of the barn was a place for a truck. The other half was for packing. My dad was really happy, he says, "I accomplished what I wanted to do." This is what I mean, if you work a little harder, your reward will be bigger. That was his accomplishment in his life. When he was around sixty-three, he says, "I'm going back to Japan." It was about two years before the war, I heard he died during the war, and we received a confirmation by American Red Cross he had died during the war. That was the end of his life. But he left a legacy.

TI: So he did accomplish, you said how he wanted to build a legacy and then go back to Japan, but leave the legacy for his sons.

HU: So all the sons were left, we had to continue. I know all the kids were in good position.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

HU: One of the saddest things I ever heard and experienced was my niece, Frank's daughter. They went to university and became a teacher, they have position as a teacher, but never saw her father. [Cries] Because he was out there all the time on the farm. What a tragic letter I received from her. She said, "I don't know my father." That's the kind of thing that went on. It's not all happy life. But she said, "Uncle, write me about my father." But they were left with a big, big basket of treasure. He's the only one, Frank's the only one who went back to farm. He revived the farm, then came the big oil company who wanted to buy that land. And another contractor came and says, "We want to buy part of your land for sand and rock." He says, "I retire." He retired, but didn't know her father. I wrote four-page legal paper explaining to her who her father was, because he and I grew up.

TI: And explain to me why Frank's daughter, you said he worked really hard, but why didn't she know her father better? Why did she have to go to you...

HU: Because Frank and I grew up together, so we know.

TI: But then did Frank, did Frank die?

HU: No.

TI: He just wasn't able to talk to his daughter, that she had to talk to you.

HU: This happened after the father died.

TI: Okay, after Frank died. And so she never, never knew her father. Okay, yeah, that's tragic.

HU: Because he was out in the farm.

TI: Right.

HU: They went to university, they'd never be home. That was a tragic thing when I received that letter.

TI: Okay. No, that's hard. So then when you work so hard on a farm, it's hard on the family.

HU: But the first two brothers, when they came out of the camp, they started a grocery store with all the Japanese food and fish. And they made it all right, because they were the only Japanese grocery market in Sacramento.

TI: So the family was doing quite well. They had land, they farmed, they had a grocery business. So it was doing really quite well, the family.

HU: But the sad part of it, that sixty-five acres, wonderful farm. They couldn't make the mortgage payment when they were in internment camp. Went back to the original owner, they lost that. Worth more than a million dollars. But then they gave up, they came back and started a grocery store.

TI: Oh, so was the grocery store started after the war or before?

HU: After the war, when they came out of the camp.

TI: Okay.

HU: True to form. That's what Dad was telling us.

TI: Yeah, not to give up.

HU: Never give up.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: Okay. So, Harry, let's go back to your life now, and where we left it was right after high school, and you went to business college, and you did that for two and a half years. And then after that, what did you do?

HU: You see, she was able to come out of the camp when I was at Camp Savage.

TI: Well, before we go there, so you're, you finish business college, and then what did you do after business college?

HU: I went to help on the farm. Then the draft came, my number was twenty.

TI: And so you were drafted, or the draft card came out, you had a high number -- or a low number, I guess.

HU: Twenty.

TI: Twenty. And so you were drafted. And this was about February 1941?

HU: [Nods].

TI: Okay, so this is before the war, February 1941, you're drafted. And so what happened next?

HU: The regiment moved up to Kiska, and we were left behind. There were about fifteen Nisei left behind. Later, we joined the infantry division at Fort Ord.

TI: Okay, so let's go through this a little slower. So you were drafted, and let's first talk about your initial training. Where did you do your training first? In the first, like, nine weeks or so, you do training, where was that?

HU: Rifle range. And the study about the big guns. So I tell you, it was an unusual sight. The people we trained with, basic training, they all went. Camp was empty except for these fifteen Niseis.

TI: And so this happened after the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

HU: No, no.

TI: Even before.

HU: Before. They didn't want to take us up for that, because we were close to Japan. Didn't want injury within our armed forces by mistake. That was a good thought. So we got into infantry, some more training. Then came the Pearl Harbor.

TI: Okay. So before the war, they separated all the Niseis from the artillery and sent them over to infantry.

HU: Yeah.

TI: And did they ever tell you why they did that?

HU: No. They said, "We're close to Japan at Kiska. And we don't want to have any mistake within our armed forces that you might be a Japanese soldier."

TI: And then after that, you then had the bombing at Pearl Harbor, after they said that?

HU: Yeah. That night, we came in about two miles from the beach. The next morning we got up, we went back to the barrack, had a breakfast, get on the bus. The bus started going up north of... all along the coast. And we ended up, first night, at Half Moon Bay. Waited, waited. Then I was asked, "You leave this regiment and you go to San Jose. You can go there and wait." They already are planning something to do with the Japanese GIs. I waited there, oh, at least two weeks, three weeks, he said, "Get on the truck."

TI: And before you go there, how many other Niseis were there waiting with you? Do you remember if there were other Niseis waiting with you?

HU: Well, I was the only one in Santa Rosa. But those, the other people had gathered a little town south of San Jose. There was a great big shed for onion. [Laughs] We waited and waited, then said, "Get on the truck, get on the train."


TI: And how many went with you from San Jose...

HU: Oh, there must have been about three or four hundred Niseis scattered all over United States in bits in these small groups. Some went to Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas, they didn't know what to do with us. Meantime, they were making an effort to have a school. They formed a school, Presidio San Francisco. That was the beginning of a Japanese language school. And they moved to Camp Savage here. So one morning, said, "Get on the bus, get on the train." We backed up over here at Fort Snelling, said, "Get off the train, get on the truck." We ended up at Camp Savage. That's the way it went. All Niseis, I tell you.

TI: And Harry, I want to ask you, did they ever ask you whether or not you would be willing to join the MIS? Did they give you like a test or anything like that?

HU: I heard every one of 'em had approval by FBI. That's the rumor I heard. That's how they picked. They didn't go to... they had some reason why we were there, that we have a clear record. For thirty days, we were restricted to the camp. After thirty days, the cityfolks had prepared for Nisei soldiers in Camp Savage. We were received very well, they were friendly. I don't know of any incident where the police were involved, not one. I'll never forget the first day we got on the bus and we went to downtown Minneapolis. We ended up at Nicolette and Washington Avenue. As we get off, we see a bar. We stepped into the bar, we wanted to have a cold drink. And the bartender said, "No Indians. We can't serve Indians." We said, "Whoa, wait a minute, wait a minute." We explained who we are, we had a cold drink. [Laughs] The bartender, congratulations for serving U.S. Army.

TI: So you went into this bar, the bartender says, "We don't serve Indians," because he thought you might be Indian, and you told him that you weren't Indian and that you were Japanese?

HU: He thought we were Indians.

TI: Right. But then he served you because you told him that you were not Indians, right?

HU: Yeah. He was so proud, so proud that the Japanese Americans being in uniform and served the United States. That's the kind of reception we received, where we understand each other. We found many, many people here in Minneapolis, they were friendly.

TI: And so Harry, I want to ask about your brothers. So after you went to Camp Savage, what happened to your brothers?

HU: They were in the internment camp.

TI: Do you know which camp they went to?

HU: Arkansas.

TI: Okay. Were you able to communicate with your brothers?

HU: Yes. But we weren't allowed to go to California to visit or observe what's happening. For that, we received the grant.

TI: I'm sorry, you received the what?

HU: You know, we had forty dollars each (...) for reparation?

TI: Oh, I see what you're saying, okay, right. Okay.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: Going back to Camp Savage, do you know how, what class you were in in terms of how early in the training? Like how long Camp Savage was in operation?

HU: I don't know how they decided who goes into a class. I was on the third from the bottom.

TI: And how many different levels did they have?

HU: Oh, there must have been about six. So at the top of the class were some of the guys who left first, go overseas. We had fun, anyway. We made the best of it.

TI: So what are some of the fun things that you remember from Camp Savage?

HU: Oh, poker games, ran out of money. [Laughs] You know, we were getting only eighteen dollars and seventy-five cents a month. It didn't last very long. So a friend of mine, we used to put the boots on, overcoat, we went into the town of Savage. We brought hamburgers, and sell it to the kids and made some money to play poker. [Laughs] You got make some fun. So the day came, I shipped out, April 1943. Got on the commercial airline, landed in San Francisco. We used to go in team of ten men, ten of us. Some can read, some can speak Japanese very fluently, some can translate and write. That's how the team was made up.

TI: And in that team of ten, what was your, your job or your role? What did you do?

HU: I was the one who was gabby. I can speak Japanese. Principally, I was the interrogator of Japanese prisoners. Wonderful experience.

TI: Okay, so let's go back to San Francisco. And so you take an airplane to San Francisco with your team.

HU: From San Francisco to Honolulu, we stayed overnight.

TI: Now, before we go to Honolulu, in San Francisco, were you able to walk around the town?

HU: No, no. We were kept in the barracks. So in Honolulu, we were able to walk around. We saw all those bullet holes, and those cables, barbed wires on the beach. Next day, we got on the plane and we landed on a small island. We stayed overnight, and the next day, we were in Brisbane, Australia. There were, what, hundred, two hundred Niseis? Same objective.

TI: But yours is a little bit different. You took airplanes all the way to Brisbane? Because many of the men had to take ships to get there, it took a lot longer.

HU: No, we were a critical item. No, when we were up in the front, we had riflemen going to latrine so we'd be safe, we don't get shot in the latrine.

TI: Oh, so whenever you had to leave the quarters...

HU: Restricted area.

TI: ...they had a Caucasian, a white soldier, assigned to you to make sure no one shot you.

HU: So...

TI: So, Harry, I want to ask a couple questions. When you were with the MIS fighting, going to the Pacific, at that time, how did you feel about fighting against Japan? 'Cause your father had gone back to Japan.

HU: It didn't bother me at all.

TI: So what did you think? I mean, why didn't it bother you?

HU: It didn't bother me at all. I'm a soldier, U.S. Army. I had more fun than worrying about those things. [Laughs]

<End Segment 10> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: So let's go back to Brisbane. And what did you do in Brisbane?

HU: We waited for MacArthur to get all the army he wants, all the equipment, to move north to New Guinea. The day came, we got on an airplane, and we landed in New Guinea. First thing they said, "You dig your foxhole anywhere you want. Make sure it's deep enough." I did. And we had the first christening that evening when we had the bombing. I tell you, it was scared. Next morning, we get up, looked around, the trees like this was just chopped off, you know. The anti-personnel bombs, when they hit, goes scattered all over. But after that, it didn't bother me very much. Oh, the others... but that's the way it was gonna be. And my mother-in-law gave me a Bible, so nothing to read, so I read Bible all the time. I must have read that Bible about three times, all the way up until I came home. And I safeguard that book.

TI: And so when you were in your foxhole sometimes, you would just have the Bible and you would read it while you were waiting?

HU: When I hear that warning, all I do is roll over into my foxhole and keep on reading. [Laughs] We had to make our life the way we see it. Sure, we go out and play poker, blackjack, so the money goes back and forth.

TI: So when you weren't in your foxhole, what kind of work did they have you do in New Guinea?

HU: We moved halfway up New Guinea, there was a great big compound of Japanese soldiers. And there, at least I was asked to strategic information. We asked the soldiers, "You got on a boat, what kind of boat?" "Where did you stop?" "What did you unload?" "Did you see anything defensive?" And some of this information would go to the Air Force, and that was their target. And I met different kind of soldiers, different personality. They were the most interesting experience in my life, meeting human being under stress. And to this day, I appreciate that experience, meeting people. I can just about tell by looking at the face, especially those soldiers, if this is something worthwhile, something I'm going to tell when I go back.

TI: And what, how would you know? I mean, you were trying to see whether or not they were telling the truth or a lie? Or what were you looking for?

HU: We had the background, what regiments were there. We knew who was the general of the officers, so we had pretty good information to start the interrogating.

TI: And so with that information, you could, you would find out quickly if that soldier knew anything?

HU: I can tell by the body language, "Is this guy going to be worthwhile talking to?" or tell him to go back to the compound.

TI: And can you describe what that body language looks like?

HU: That's the beginning of it. When you interrogate every day, you learn. I learned. There were some who said, "I'll never tell you nothing." There were some who were comical. Just like this young man, must have been about five, six, foot tall. I still remember his name, Takahashi. He was a comedian. Every time they stopped at port, he had to go and see a "comfort girl." I tell you, he had stories to tell. But there were, during the conversation, there were some good things I learned from him. Comedy was something else. Oh, he used to tell me how, one "comfort girl" to another, he was a character.

TI: But in between those stories, he would tell you, sort of, military information, and that was useful?

HU: Yeah. That caused, go to the headquarters.

TI: So I'm curious, did the Japanese soldiers, were they ever curious about you? Did they say, "You're Japanese, why are you working for the U.S. Army?"

HU: There were elements of that, which I used. There were some who were standing in front of me, said, "I'll tell you nothing." And I looked at his face, I started telling him about my life, my personal life, being in America, I'm here, I think of my wife, I think of my brothers, I think of my parents. It just started to sink in, and he realized how his brother or sister or father... and I can see his face changing, he wants to tell me. That's how we used to have fun. A human being.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: And when you would question or interrogate a soldier, Japanese soldier, how long would the sessions go?

HU: Sometimes an hour, sometimes fifteen minutes, depending on what I used to call my customer. [Laughs] There was one kid, eighteen years old, he stood in front of me, he shook and shook, he was so scared. I tell you, when I saw him, I wished I could get him to sit on my lap and give him a consolation, that I was his father. I was so sad, he finally lost control of his bowel. I tell you, whether he's the enemy or not, a human being, he crossed my heart. There were sad ones. I said, "Sergeant, take him back, let him clean up, and never bring that guy. He's worthless." Second day, the third day, the sergeant brought him back. He was all cleaned up, stood in front of me, "I came to apologize." That's a human being going through there.

Here's another guy, standing there, he wants to talk, so he started to talk. "My captain was shot. I got a hole and I buried him. Before I buried him, I took my knife and carved his butt. And I took that to the seashore and left it in the water, ocean water, for preservation. At night, I'd go there with my knife and cut a piece, the smallest, so I can live from today to tomorrow." He says, "I want to tell you, hunger has no fear." I said, "I understand. That's the way you live, and that's why you're here today, but you want to tell me the truth, the human being side." And all kinds of stories like that. He was a cannibal. There were some who had eaten rats, beetles, anything. I tell you, when the human body gets to be about forty pounds, you're just skin and bone. You cry for human being. And that's why I say it was a wonderful experience, wonderful experience. There were many of 'em.

TI: Did you ever, after the war, were you ever in touch with any of the men that you questioned during the war? So after the war, did you ever meet any of them again?

HU: After the war, I just shut it off and forgot about it. I came back to my "pretty girl with the Bunsen burner." [Laughs]

TI: I'm curious about, did you interview or interrogate very many officers, or was it mostly just infantrymen?

HU: Camp was segregated in three parts. The GIs, Japanese GIs, there's officers over here, and another part, large part, were Korean labor battalion. There's a guy who would do the labor work. One day, Korean leader headed up a mission to come and see me. I said, "What can I do for you?" "We have one Japanese officer. We don't want him to go back where the officers are. We want him to stay with us. We love that human being." I said, "I'll ask the captain if that's permissible." And he stayed with the Koreans. You see, the human beings are different in different situations. There's always love. I told you I have a lot of stories to tell. [Laughs]


TI: So, Harry, we're going to start the second half of the interview. And you were telling me stories about questioning or interrogating Japanese prisoners. Are there any other stories that you want to share before we move on about New Guinea that you can remember?

HU: When we were in New Guinea, in a backward position, I saw a sign, "We're gonna have a church service," posted on a tree trunk. I was one of the first to get there, it was nine o'clock in the morning. And here was a gentleman sitting on a log reading a book. Stood up, he folded his book, Bible. I noticed this man before, and he played in a movie, Dr. Kildare was the name of the show. Whole string of 'em. And his real name was Lew Ayres. Wonderful man. He stood up and shook my hand, and he was criticized because he didn't want to take arms. He didn't say that, but I knew by reading the paper. But he was a chaplain's helper, and he was conducting this Sunday service. And he looked at me kind of funny and he says, "You're a Japanese American. What in the world are you doing here?" And I explained my mission. And he said, "We're alike. We gotta do what we're supposed to do for our nation." And here I met this famous actor, Lew Ayres, Dr. Kildare.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

HU: Up in the Philippines, we landed there first thing. It rained and rained, three nights we slept in a foxhole. We couldn't get out of there, and I caught cold. And the doctor looked and he says, "You better go back to the clinic." So I rode on the jeep and I went to this clinic. There was a nurse lieutenant, and she was taking over the incoming patients. Lo and behold, first thing she asked was, "Which side are you on?" I said, "Ma'am, I had a pain in my lung, I came for a picture, and here's my doctor's order." So I went back and had a picture taken, and I was told it's clear. So I started coming out, and here I met this lieutenant [inaudible]. She stood up and she smiled and she said, "I'm sorry. I wasn't hospitable for a patient, to speak that way." And she says, "I apologize. But you understand my duty, we can't have enemy in my clinic. I didn't speak nicely. But today, this morning, I want to apologize." And I thought, "She's an officer, she's a nurse," and not only that, I understood her responsibility and being nice and understand the situation. And there was many, many experience like that.

TI: But how did you feel the first time you saw her and she was sort of mean to you, asking you what side? What kind of feelings did you have?

HU: To tell you the truth, I didn't give a hoot. I was ill, I want to make sure that my lung is all right. And I was so grateful that I was all right, I can go back. And here's a lady, stand up in salute. The human reaction. And that's why I tell you I had a lot of experiences.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: Okay, so you went from New Guinea to the Philippines. You talked about being in the foxhole for three days and then you went to the clinic to check your lungs. And then what happened next?

HU: I got well. I got well on medication. So we waited, we're trying to clean up the Philippines, a call came from the front. I volunteered, they wanted somebody to come up there, interpreter, interrogator, I volunteered. So at the headquarters, they got fifteen men all with rifles, machine guns, to form a diamond shape. And I was right in the middle, we went up to the front.

TI: Okay, so the diamond was protection for you?

HU: Yeah, we had protection for me.

TI: So they escorted you up to the front, because they didn't want anyone to shoot you.

HU: No. [Laughs]

TI: And were they more worried about the Americans shooting you, or the Japanese shooting you?

HU: Anybody. So we get up to, about a mile of that, mud and trees, you know. So here's the prisoner. I look at that, and I say, "I don't think he's gonna be worth a darn," by looking at him. He was on a boat, the troop ship was bombed. Luckily, he found a great big log, he latched on. And day in, day out, he floated, and finally the wind forced him to come to the shore of that island. And he was wandering around and he got caught. It wasn't worth it. So I said, "Take me back, I don't want to..." I said, "I don't think this is anything good," and I explained. "Good thing he's still alive, but he's not worth anything. I'm going back." So the diamond shape brought me home. [Laughs] Well, that's enough.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

HU: There's one more thing I want to tell you of my war experience in the Philippines. It rained and rained, we were fortunate enough to hang a hammock away from the wet ground. Night came, we were all in our hammock. Here's a man who lost his mind. He had a machete in his hand, he was hollering, and he was running, waving his great machete. He passed close to me, good thing he missed me. They finally caught him and sent him back. He lost his mind. But that experience, that tiny cell remained, that particular experience. Ten years after I came out of the service, one night, I had a nightmare. That picture came to me, and he was thrashing around, I'm kicking him, and my wife gave me the elbow. "Dad, you're dreaming." And I had many of that afterwards. And one night, that was the last. That was the only thing I brought back that wasn't pleasant, physically and mentally.

TI: So you had that recurring dream of that man who sort of lost his mind.

HU: Yes. So my wife had to elbow, said, "Dad, you're dreaming." [Laughs] And I would go back and settle in. That's enough of that war.

TI: Before we leave the Philippines, I wanted to ask you, how did the Filipinos treat Japanese American soldiers? Because they were occupied by Japan, they were fighting against Japan, when they saw Japanese Americans, how did they react?

HU: I had very little contact because we were confined in the safe zone. So we were pretty well protected. And two years of experience in the war zone gave me, what, sixty-day furlough, they said, "You want to go back?" That was the end of the war. And our officer, the leader, I still remember his name, Lieutenant Mill Emandorf, he brought a case of beer and he says, "Say goodnight." [Laughs] That's touching.

TI: That was your going away, kind of gift, coming back to the States?

HU: Yeah, and he said, "Good luck. If you have time, stop in at Oakland and say hello to (my wife)." They had a lot of nice people. So my wife was here, and I got discharged at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin.

TI: So your wife was in Minneapolis.

HU: Yeah.

TI: You get to...

HU: She stayed with the family watching two kids, [inaudible] family.

TI: I'm sorry, which family was this? She was watching a, like she was a houseperson or a helper?

HU: They were in Edina, nice area.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: Before we... I just wanted to go back, and you talked about how you met your wife in chemistry class. And then after you graduated, when did you, when did you get married to Ethel?

HU: I was married, we got married in July 1941.

TI: So you were in the army, you were being...

HU: I got three-day pass. Said, "Let's elope." So we borrowed her father's car, and then we took off to Reno, and then a few more miles east of Reno, Carson City, Nevada, mining town. That's where we found a Justice of the Peace, and he called two ladies to be a witness. That's how we got married.

TI: So why did you and Ethel elope and not just get married in Sacramento with the family?

HU: How is that?

TI: Yeah, so why did you elope and not get married by Ethel's, close to Ethel's family?

HU: There were rumors, we were supposed to be serving twelve months at the beginning. And there were rumors, war is going on, and they heard, we heard that those married people were being discharged after twelve months. That's why we said, "Let's go and get married." [Laughs]

TI: And how did Ethel's parents, what did they think about her getting married to you?

HU: They didn't know. We didn't say anything.

TI: Now, isn't that unusual that you didn't tell her parents?

HU: We didn't say anything. We were separated anyway. I was at Fort Ord, and she was back in Sacramento, finished her school in San Francisco, sewing and design school, and she was working for a lady making dresses. So that's the way marriage was, separated.

TI: But when you went to Camp Savage, did she join you in Minneapolis?

HU: She joined me in August. They were allowed to meet the husband. So she came here to Minneapolis. We found a family who was looking for a babysitter and taking care of the house. So she waited two years. In Camp McCoy, I heard, says, "You have enough service, you're going to get out." And we made a home here.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: And how was it to come back and see your wife after two years? That must have been a happy, happy time for you.

HU: We had a happy... we had to go and buy knives and forks at the fifteen-cent store. [Laughs] But under the GI benefit, I went to another private accounting school for eighteen months. And she worked part-time at the hospital, a nurse's aide. We made ends meet. When the eighteen months was finished, my professor told me, "You know the accounting that you can ever learn, but you learned only half of what you're going to do." He said, "Remember, when you go to work, you go to that place and learn everything you know so you will record those entry in the book correctly." That stuck me, in my head. And I went to employment office, first thing, they sent me to a little hospital on the north side. I learned how hospital operates. Two, three years, I had a call from another hospital in Minneapolis, Northwestern Hospital, one of the most prestigious hospitals. "We'd like for you to come update our accounting system and our cashflow." It was an honor. The most prestigious hospital at that time. I was there about two years. One night I decided to write a story, how hospital operates. The title was... [pauses]... "There's an Urgent Need for Using Good Accounting Principles." Like any other business, and the cashflow. It was about finding the costs to doing lab work or taking the x-ray, keeping statistics, how to prepare operating budget, watch the cashflow, as it's coming in. That was a nice thesis, I thought. Yes, I did that at night. When I had finished that, I sent a copy to American Hospital Association in Chicago. All the hospitals in the United States are members of the American Hospital Association. Every month they published magazine of interest to the hospitals out in the field. My article that I wrote, the thesis, was one of the important article in that magazine. I received many letters, phone calls, from all over the United States. That was extra work, but that's what my dad told me: "You do a little extra work, reward will come." That was the one, and I felt good that people realized what we are behind compared to any other industry. Because during the war, they never expand or build new hospitals, just like they didn't build anymore automobiles. When the GIs started to come back, hospital was full, we had patients out in the hallway, federal government appropriated cash, and they spread around cash to the hospital for building new hospitals, new areas. There was a need for good accounting like any other business. That did very well. And I realized, well, Dad was right.

So one day I got invitation from Kaiser's hospital, you know, Henry J. Kaiser's hospitals? There were four in the San Francisco area. I got an invitation to join Kaiser hospital, a new one coming up in San Francisco proper. I was there about five months operating clinics. Then I had a call from main office, Kaiser's main office in Oakland. "Come in and teach all these accountants that we have in this area." There must have been about twenty-five or thirty accountants who didn't know yet how to prepare a budget or find a price of the service. And I was there about five weeks. It was fun. I hope I helped him.

One night I had a call from an administrator at another hospital in San Francisco. He must have read the thesis. [Laughs] He says, "Harry, we need you. How about coming over here?" I didn't pay attention, I was having a grand time with Kaiser's hospital. And about the third evening, he called again. I didn't want to move. Because when you go into one that is in bad shape, it takes a lot of work, lot of imagination. Third time he called, he said, "This is the last time I'll call, the last call. I want you to come." I agreed. What a terrible situation this hospital is in. Second morning, I went there early, and here runs into my office, chief dietician. "In forty-five minutes, I'm going to deliver (patients') breakfast, creamery didn't send any milk." I said, "Lady, I know we are in trouble. I'll make sure that you get your milk. So I looked at how much we owe, ninety day of milk not paid. No wonder they stopped. So I called the creamery and I begged for the general manager. I said, "We're ready to serve breakfast in forty-five minutes, your truck didn't deliver milk. I'm going to write a check, I'll wait for your truck with the milk. The check will be ready." That's the kind of situation you get into. It's mind-boggling.

TI: And this hospital was in San Francisco? So you went to San Francisco?

HU: Children's hospital. So when I prepared the budget, called in the lady, trustees, and I read the story. I see that we need to close the school for nursing. We've got to phase out those nursing schools. They didn't like that. Furthermore, we've got to discontinue polio cases. And I says, "I have gone through every department. We have more nurses than we need. So is the housekeeping, we've got to reduce. Then we're on the mend." Some of those trustees were taken aback. [Laughs] But it was fun.

TI: And Harry, you did this all as kind of like the, from the accounting perspective? So you really knew the numbers and the budgets and the costs, and so you had a real good knowledge of how hospitals worked through their numbers.

HU: Depending on the patients in that ward, there's a general rule. So much, so many nurses, from there you go on. What is the average patients where we have, we have the staff.

TI: That's good.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: I want to ask about your family now. So you and Ethel, did you have any children?

HU: I had David, my son. One and only.

TI: And about when was he born?

HU: In January 1953, I think.

TI: Okay.

HU: And my wife lost the first three within a month or two, and David came just as natural as could be, and that's the only one we have.

TI: And so it sounds like you lived in Minneapolis and then in the San Francisco area. How long did you live in San Francisco?

HU: A little over two years.

TI: And then where did you go?

HU: Then we came here. When I was at Children's Hospital starting my second year, I was six months, then I had a call from the Fairview Hospital downtown here in Minneapolis. "We'd like for you to come. Why don't you come take care of the financial part, and I'll take care of the rest? Right now we're gonna expand on the east side for rehabilitation with a swimming pool, something... on the west side, we're gonna have two floors. One for light case of psychiatric patients, the other floor is for long-term care." He says, "Harry, I want you to come and take care of the financial side. I'll take the rest." That statement, "take the financial side, I'll take the rest," went on for twenty-five years, nothing else.

TI: And which hospital is this?

HU: Fairview Hospital. It was Fairview Hospital system when we added hospital, hospital. I had fun.

TI: Well, it sounds like you had a very distinguished career in the hospital area, that you were really well-respected with your accounting methods.

HU: Yes. And I was a co-founder of Minnesota (Chapter of) Hospital Financial Managers.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: Harry, I want to ask, did you and Ethel get involved in, sort of, Japanese American organizations in Minneapolis like churches or the JACL, things like that?

HU: Yes, we had a church of all Japanese. And as the older folks died or they moved back to California, and then the Niseis started to go to their neighborhood church, we had to dissolve that church. That came to an end. And then we organized a social group of the older generation. We wanted to have them come twice a month, have lunch, and they'd talk and talk. And we provided that -- I wasn't the only originator, the other fellows did that. That is still going on, what is it, forty years? Something like that. Now we have become the older generation for that group. Sure, there's JACL. I'm a member but I don't participate in their activity. But we call it Nikkei group, where we get together twice a month. Everybody take turns volunteering lunch. So we, the girls do some knitting and other things, and we play... what is that, you call the numbers?

TI: Bingo?

HU: Bingo, and we have lunch. And we do that in a church we rent. I've been going for many years. I'm the oldest, one of the oldest members of that. [Laughs]

TI: That's good.

HU: But there's another social group, a group of twelve people. And we lost two males, they died. So we got eight or nine left in that friendly group. This is what Mother taught me: it's wonderful to have friends, especially in our age. That's what we have here in Minneapolis.

TI: That's good.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TI: You talked about your mother, about having friends, your father talked about working hard, and you had this accounting professor that said, "Always keep learning." If you were to talk to your grandchildren, what are the important things in life?

HU: They're church people, for one thing. But two grandkids, there was no incident that I told my son, "Why'd you take care of that boy? Don't you ever spank him?" I never did wonder that, never. Stayed away. That was his kid, not mine. But every once in a while, they ask some questions. We go out every night, every Saturday evening, we get together and we go and have a dinner. That's why we have a lot of sessions, who's doing what and all this. And they're brought up right. My son did that. I have no intention of interfering. Keep my mouth shut.

TI: But... go ahead.

HU: My son did it right. I'm proud of him.

TI: But I'm curious how working hard, having friends, learning, is there anything else that is important to you in life?

HU: Very little. Very little. But I'm happy the way they are. The oldest, my grandson, is a licensed broker of the one of the largest brokerage houses in the United States, and he's located in Denver, Colorado. Married to a hakujin wife, and doing very well. I have a granddaughter, she majored in music, and... what is that word? Going to different countries and helping poor people? Anyway, she went to six different countries during the summer session. Czechoslovakia, Poland, China, Rwanda in Africa, Mexico City, one in the northwest corner of South America. Graduation day came, during the ceremony, they started the ceremony presenting top students. She was one of the top students.

TI: That must have made you very proud to see your grandchildren do so well.

HU: And there was another young fellow in that same graduating class, he majored in music, in choir leader, they got married.

TI: That's nice.

HU: They had nothing. How can they get married just coming out of the university? I kept my mouth shut.

TI: Well, Harry, that's all the questions I have for today. Is there anything else that you wanted to say that maybe I forgot or didn't ask you? Is there anything else? So the interview, in terms of all my questions, I'm finished. Is there anything else that you wanted to say at the end here?

HU: Are we finished now?

TI: Yeah, we're all finished, unless you have something else to say.

HU: Yes. I was with Fairview almost twenty-five years. Although two things the administrator told me. Our hospital was asked to build a hospital out in the suburbs. We started building, one day, the administrator was passing my office and he stopped and told my secretary, "Tell Harry to bring in a computer." I said to myself, "Here's some more extra work." IBM wanted to put computers in the hospitals, there were many hospitals that can use, hospitals, they don't know how to use a computer. And here Fairview had an opportunity to bring in the computer. So I went to all those department heads, "We're gonna have computer." For better use, we can use more, we got to write the program. And we got the program, and I called IBM. The man who was in charge of medical division, we got together, we worked together. And with a concession on rental, Fairview Hospital was the first hospital in the United States to have a computer. And I helped him get, they would accumulate about, gather about twenty, twenty-five each, hospital people, in San Francisco, San Jose, they had a meeting. And they asked me to come to make a presentation. It was an honor for me and for the hospital. First United States, first in the United States. That was extra work, but that's what my father told me. The recognition, that was my reward.

TI: That's good. And I guess, in closing, I just wanted to mention, you married your wife back in 1941. And she passed away, you said, about eleven years ago?

HU: Yeah, 1998.

TI: 1998.

HU: One morning I finished my breakfast and I was reading the newspaper, and she called me from the bathroom. She said, "Dad, come and help me." She was turning white. I picked her up, took her to the bed, she was all white. I took her pulse, forty-two over twenty-four. She died, and nothing we could do. I called the ambulance, took her to the hospital, she was dead on arrival.

TI: So unfortunate. So you were married over fifty-five years, the two of you got married.

HU: She was a "nice girl with a Bunsen burner." [Laughs] We had a wonderful life. We have horse racing over here from May to September. We went to horse racing every Thursday my retired life, and she liked to go to casino. We went to casinos. She loved to go to trout fishing out in the streams. Here in Wisconsin, Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, Iowa. That's how we spent our retired life. So I have no regrets.

TI: Well, I think that's the perfect way to end this interview. Harry, thank you so much for doing this interview. This was an incredible interview, and I so appreciate it. So thank you so much.

HU: It was coming here, I hope it'll turn out all right.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.