Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Joseph Norio Uemura Interview
Narrator: Joseph Norio Uemura
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Bloomington, Minnesota
Date: June 16, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-ujoseph-01

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Today is Tuesday, June 16, 2009, and we are in Minneapolis, Minnesota. [Laughs] I have to remember where we are. Working the camera is Dana Hoshide, and I'm the interviewer, Tom Ikeda. And today we have Joseph Uemura to interview. Do you mind if I call you Joe during the interview?

JU: Not at all.

TI: Okay, so Joe, why don't we start, and could tell me when you were born?

JU: Let's see. The third of July in 1926.

TI: And where were you born?

JU: In Portland, Oregon, at the Emmanuel Hospital.

TI: Okay, so you were born in a hospital.

JU: Yes.

TI: And before we get to your life, I want to talk a little bit about your father. Can you tell me your father's name and where he was from?

JU: Well, his name was Seijiro Uemura, and he was born in Wakayama-ken, the town was Akao, and his father was a small farmer. And he had an elder brother, Kusujiro. And they were working farmers, and, of course, their whole family was involved. But historically, he was born in 1882. And so about the time he was going to turn a draftable age in Japan, the Sino (and) Russian war was imminent. That was just about to happen. So he and his brother were recruited by Americans in Wakayama in order to work in the American railroad.

TI: And I just want to make sure I understand this. So you mentioned the potential military draft. Was that one of the reasons why he decided to accept this, this labor position in America?

JU: That's right. There was, it was a very war-ridden time because the Russians were wanting to expand into Asia, and things weren't going well with China or with Russia at the time. And so potentially war years at the end of the nineteenth century.

TI: And in general, when you say... because I know your father later on went into the ministry, would you think of him more as a pacifist type? Is that another reason why?

JU: I think he was very much convinced that war was not going to be his game if he could escape it, and the same with his elder brother, two brothers did volunteer to come to America to work. And it was the movement after the Chinese were barred from being laborers in the United States. So he and his brother decided to follow the opportunity to come to America.

TI: Now, did he ever discuss with you what his father or your grandfather said about him coming to America?

JU: Dad and I were relatively close, and he would have said that his father also was very much against international wartime inevitabilities. And he was really wanting to concentrate on, if anything, their education. He was more worried about their being educated than serving in the military.

TI: And I'm curious, while in Japan, was there any predisposition towards Christianity? Was, like your grandparents or anyone involved in any Christian movements in Japan?

JU: Well, he actually was studying Christianity and his little, there was a little Christian church in Akao. And it still exists, although in Japan, Christianity never took hold as well. So he was always interested in that because, because I think he was interested in world events, not Japanese events. At that time also, there was a movement in Japan to establish Western relationships and Western culture, and he was interested in a global approach.

TI: And this was your grandfather you're talking about, or your father?

JU: Yeah, this is my dad.

TI: Your dad, okay.

JU: My grandfather also was a very, very quiet and thoughtful guy, apparently, from all descriptions.

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

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: And so your father and his older brother, your uncle, come to the United States.

JU: So they came to work on the railroad. And Dad was assigned a ship at the... they arrived in Tacoma, Washington, on a ship, I guess. And when they were parsed out by the American railroad, oddly enough, his elder brother was assigned to the Pacific Railroad, Union Pacific Railroad, and he was, and Dad was assigned to the workers. I don't know exactly how they were assigned, but he was assigned to the Northern Pacific. So he was working in Montana, mostly, and his brother was working in northern California.

TI: And did your father tell you any stories about being a railroad worker in Montana?

JU: No, he preferred to forget about those things. [Laughs] It was pretty awful, I guess, and terribly, you know, big work. It was muscular work all the way. So he worked the railroads.

TI: And how long did he work the railroads?

JU: I think he only worked with him for a couple of years, actually. Because he arrived, he and his brother arrived in '96, I believe. And by 1900, they were out doing other things.

TI: So let's talk about those other things. What did they do after the railroads?

JU: Well, my dad ran into a Christian missionary, that's what happened. And the missionary was holding meetings with the Japanese railroad workers. And then he said, "You don't belong on the railroad crew." I don't know what the bosses thought of that, but, "You don't belong on the railroad crew. What you really need to do is go get your English education and make sure you go back to school." So he was sent by this, I think it's an itinerant minister, to Portland, or rather to Salem, Oregon. And he said, "Salem is a good place because it had a university, it is a capital city, lot of politicians around, lot of good schools, and you can learn the English language." And he led him to a Christian home. That's how he got involved in Christianity.

TI: Did your father ever say what he thought this minister saw in him? When he went to your father and said, "You don't belong here," what was it about your father that this minister saw?

JU: He was carrying the Bible. [Laughs] He wanted to know what the Bible was all about at that time. And the missionary, of course, just took him from there.

TI: Okay. Was it a Bible in Japanese or was it in English?

JU: Well, he was reading, he was trying to learn English, and the Bible's a good place to start. And he actually had the Japanese and the English Bibles. And of course, their immediate translations. You can get the verse from here and translate and learn the English immediately.

TI: That was a pretty transformational moment for your father because at this point, he's essentially brought, then, to Salem to start a different life.

JU: Absolutely. And living with a Christian household also.

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

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: Okay, so now he's in Salem. What happens next?

JU: Now he's in Salem, right. [Laughs] And living in the (home), doing the outside work and the housework for his room and board, and enjoying himself, really learning English. And within a short time he seemed to have done very well because, learning English, because he wound up at Willamette University, the Kimball College of Theology. And he was working in the, working in the lunchrooms and so forth near, around the campus.

TI: So where did, how did he prepare for college? I'm going back, looking at this, so he came over when he was about sixteen.

JU: Yes, that's right.

TI: And so for him to go from there to an American university is a pretty large gap.

JU: Right.

TI: So how did he educate himself?

JU: He took his time, and he graduated from the seminary in 1911. And so I know that during those, what, eleven years, he had pretty well gotten a good grip on what English was. And I have some of his books that he had read, needed for class, and his marginal notes are what I find interesting. And many of them are the Japanese characters saying what the English was. They're English books, obviously, and of course, he's writing the Japanese translations or the meanings. But very often, after a few years, I see that the books begin to be marginalized in English. In other words, he'd made a great, he'd made a great leap right about 1905, 1906. 'Cause that's when the books were published, and they're technical books like the History of Modern Philosophy, I have his book of that, and the marginal notes are amazing. And so it didn't take him long to get the grip of the English language. And so he ultimately preached in English and in Japanese. But the learning length of time is about a ten-year, ten-year period that he pretty well amazed me, getting his books, which I didn't get 'til he had gone, of course.

TI: So you have this sort of written document, or documents, in some ways, his progress with English, from Japanese to English.

JU: Yeah, in marginal notes. Of course, bookworms like me would get those things, I think. Anyway, it's very interesting to follow his procedure.

TI: So we're now 1911 Salem, then what happens? He graduates from...

JU: He graduates from Kimball College of Theology in Willamette University. And he takes a year off and somehow he is appointed to do student work at Berkeley, the University of California Berkeley. And there's a theological seminary that still exists. Actually, the Kimball College of Theology no longer exists because during the Depression, Willamette couldn't afford the staffing. And so in the next year, for he went to Pacific School of Religion for another year of graduate work.

TI: And this was at Berkeley, Cal Berkeley?

JU: That's Cal Berkeley, and it's still there. [Laughs] And they have joined a union of all theological seminaries at the Bay Area, and so it's one of the schools. It's the Methodist/Baptist school that's there.

TI: Do you have a sense when he was going through this if there were very many other Japanese taking a similar path?

JU: Oh, yes. Well, exactly what happened was that PSR as it's called, he was assigned to the student work helping them, helping Japanese students when they arrived to work at school or to study, either one. And he also was very interested in that work, student work, helping Japanese students acclimatize to the American culture. And that was a very, very nice move that he made, and he was very happy doing that.

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

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: Good, so he does a year of more this graduate work at Berkeley, so about 1912, and then what happens?

JU: Well, he was ordained some time there, I think it was 1913, he was ordained. But he decided he needed a wife before he took a church. And so he went to Japan, back to Japan, and with the help of the Japanese church, Christian church in Japan, in the offices in Tokyo, of course. He asked them to help him find a wife, preferably one who spoke English.

TI: Oh, that's interesting. So it's almost like, in a traditional sense, I interview a lot of people and there's always this go-between to find a wife.

JU: Yes.

TI: And in this case, it's the church.

JU: It's the church offices.

TI: That's the go-between.

JU: That's right. And the Japanese Methodist Church had built, I think they were in business by then. But since 1907, the Aoyama Gakuin began its being, established itself in 1907, and so he'd come around about six years later. But they referred him to a Christian family, obviously, and the family happened to be a third-generation Christian family from Shizuoka. And so my mother was a, one of the first graduates of Shizuoka Jogakuin, it was an eiwa school, and so they taught in Japanese and English. They were, it was founded by missionaries from Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Trinity Methodist Church in Halifax, Nova Scotia. And they had established the girl's school. And girls didn't go to college in those days, right? And so that was their particular aim, was to educate girls in English and in Japanese, teaching both languages, to make sure that they were helping others learn English in that case.

TI: And so this was, so your mother came from a family with third-generation Christian in Japan.

JU: That's right.

TI: And so she went to this school, you mentioned earlier that your father was looking for someone who also spoke English, preferably?

JU: Yes.

TI: And so did your mother also speak English?

JU: Not only she not only spoke English, after graduating from Aoyama, she (had graduated from) Shizuoka, the girl's school, and then went to Aoyama and took a teaching degree, teaching certificate as it were, and was teaching English in Kanazawa City, which is on the north coast of Japan.

TI: So she, she was very educated. She had lots of education, training.

JU: She had more than the average bear, shall we say.

TI: And what was her name, your mother's name?

JU: Hana Morishita.

TI: Good.

JU: Morishita, and she was the eldest of three girls and one boy, who was the youngest.

TI: Now, had she ever traveled to America before this?

JU: No, she hadn't.

TI: And so you were growing up and you talked with your parents in English, how would you compare your mother's English with your father's English?

JU: Oh, she was much better than he was. [Laughs] I mean, she was fluent, she wrote in proper penmanship, she could do Palmer Method penmanship. And so, teaching English in Kanazawa City was quite a job, because it was a Japanese language place and she was teaching the English courses. And so (Dad) actually went to Kanazawa City and got acquainted with her. And then she later invited him to Shizuoka where the family was.

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

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: Did you ever talk to your mother about her feelings about leaving Japan and going to America?

JU: Well, she was terribly excited, she wanted to come where they really did speak English. [Laughs] And she could teach even the Japanese immigrants from Japan, too. And she dedicated her life, really, to teaching them English in America. Because one of the problems they were having was immigrating and then doing something with the English language.

TI: So this was an issue that she knew was happening in America and that she felt that that could (do) something that she could really be helpful, probably especially with women.

JU: With women especially, yes. And children, because she thought she could be very useful. And then of course she was third-generation Christian, and so her father and grandfather and great-grandfather were really very evangelically inclined with regard to Christianity as well.

TI: Earlier you mentioned how your father went there to get acquainted with her. So was this a situation where he had to kind of woo her to marry him? Was this part of...

JU: Absolutely unorthodox. That's very, very strange.

TI: No, it actually is. We laugh about it, but in many cases, the marriages were arranged and there wasn't this courtship that went on.

JU: Well, and I'm not sure they would call it courtship in this case, because it was just whoever was in the circle of friends and neighbors that were, that were in Christian societies. That's part of the reason for them being relatively on the same page.

TI: And so I guess in the same way, I guess your father had to go meet her to make sure they were compatible in terms of their belief system.

JU: Now, seventy years later, we were talking with her sisters, we invited one of her sisters' daughters to come with us. And they had a few tales to tell about what this imposter was doing in their family.

TI: So what do you mean by that? I don't quite get it.

JU: Well, being as how they were very close sisters, they were discussing, "Who shall we let go with this guy?" [Laughs]

TI: I see.

JU: And, of course, she was the oldest, so she had first choice, I guess.

TI: Oh, interesting. And they kind of talked about that? That they had this man from America coming.

JU: Yeah, right.

TI: And he was looking for a wife.

JU: Looking for a wife, promised her a good life and so forth.

TI: Oh, interesting. Well, I'm going to come back later about your mother and father in terms of how they felt about things. But from there, they got married.

JU: And they marry in Western-style in Tokyo. I have some photos.

TI: Oh, we can look at them later. So married in Tokyo.

JU: In Tokyo.

TI: Western-style meaning a suit and white dress?

JU: Yes, and a wedding dress. And a Methodist service, ritual.

TI: And you have pictures of this wedding ceremony?

JU: I have pictures of them being married, yeah.

TI: Oh, interesting. Later on I want to see that, that would be interesting.

JU: Just the two of 'em, I'm afraid, so I don't know anybody else was there.

TI: But even just the two of them in Western garb.

JU: In Western garb was different, yes.

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

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: And then they come back to the United States? Or your dad comes back and your mom comes...

JU: Well, he was appointed to Spokane by the Provisional Annual Conference of the Methodist Church. That's the title of it, "provisional," for the Japanese community. And so they were appointed to the Spokane... it's called, I don't know if it's the same name in the past, but it was called the Grant Street Methodist Church, and I think it's still there on Grant Street.

TI: Yeah, we've done interviews in Spokane, and the Methodist church is the strong Christian, Japanese Christian church in Spokane.

JU: That's good, and that's where Dad started.

TI: And how long was he in Spokane?

JU: Long enough to have three children, I think.

TI: Yeah, I think I recall it was several years.

JU: I think it was '13 to '20, it was seven years. That may be.

TI: Okay. So '13 to '20.

JU: Yeah, and '20 to '29 at Portland.

TI: Okay, so after Spokane you go to Portland.

JU: Right.

TI: But before we go to Portland, any stories about Spokane that your dad ever told you or your mom told you about Spokane? Or if you asked them what was Spokane like, what would they say?

JU: Well, they said it was pretty far from civilization. [Laughs] Pretty far from the big cities. And it's really on the eastern side of Washington. And they did think it was relatively cowboy country. But, and the Japanese who they would contact there were mostly railroad workers, which he felt a kinship to because that's the way he got involved.

TI: Okay. And then Portland, so what... and how do they decide someone stays in a place like Spokane before they go to Portland? How does that work?

JU: Superintendent acts like a bishop in the Methodist, the United Methodist Conference. There's a lot of difference between the churches, even the Protestant churches on that score. Some of them are very, what we call "connectional," and namely that they connect with all the other churches in the area or in this case the cultural spots. And they, of course, are either connected or they're units. Congregationalism historically, where the congregation is its own entity. And all the other congregational churches are, that's why they're called congregational, are run by that congregation and they, the individual congregation makes the decisions.

TI: So it sounds like in general, a congregational church, you'd have cases of longer term pastors or ministers of this congregation.

JU: That's right, because the congregation would be happy with this fellow or this lady, these days, and they would decide whether the year-by-year appointment would stay.

TI: Versus the "connected" ones, the superintendent might, for whatever reason, say, "We need to move someone here or there."

JU: Exactly, yeah. And the Methodist churches have always been connectional with a bishop. Bishop is a big appointment in the Methodist circle.

TI: And generally how long would a minister stay in one city?

JU: The Methodist preachers were famous for staying a very short time. Anybody with, as Dad had, seven-year appointment at Spokane, is very rare. And a nine- or ten-year appointment at Portland, that's very rare. And Denver, he was there nineteen years. It's never been done. [Laughs] All the other, they wondered why. And as I say in that essay, he always attributed it to the fact that the superintendent or the quasi-bishop lived in San Francisco, and he said comfortably, "He's three mountain ranges away." [Laughs]

TI: So he almost forgot about him, he had to remember that he had a minister way over in Denver.

JU: That's right. And so he only came once a year, and so the politics was not heavy in his churches.

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

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: So you were born in 1926 in Portland, Oregon, so your dad was in Portland.

JU: Right.

TI: Let's talk about your siblings. You had seven sisters.

JU: Right. [Laughs]

TI: So I'm going to put you on the spot and see if you can name all seven of them.

JU: Well, Lillian, Margaret, Frances, Ethel, Grace...

TI: And you came next.

JU: I came next, then there's Elizabeth and Hannah.

TI: Very good. I put you on the spot.

JU: [Laughs] And if you'd asked me all their Japanese names, I could do that, too, but I don't.

TI: Well, in general, were you, the name given to you at birth, was it Joseph Norio Uemura?

JU: Uh-huh.

TI: And so you were given an English name.

JU: Everybody had an English name and everybody had a Japanese name, yeah. That's right. And so it was Lillian Sumiko, Margaret Aiko, Frances Hisako, Ethel... sorry, Frances Michiko, Ethel Hisako, Grace Taeko, Elizabeth Yayoi and Hannah Kiyo.

TI: Very good.

JU: I had to think twice. I hiccupped twice, didn't I? So it wasn't perfect. [Laughs]

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

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: So let's go now to Denver, because this is where you started probably having your first, sort of, memories, because you were, I think, about three years old when the family, your dad was then transferred to Denver.

JU: To Denver, yeah.

TI: So why don't you start off in terms of where your first home was in Denver. Do you recall where that was?

JU: Well, it was very similar to a, to the parsonage in Portland. It was an old Victorian house that had been purchased by the local congregation. And the address is 2801 Curtis Street, and it's right now in downtown Denver. But anyway, it was an old Victorian house. We found out later that it was, a manufacturer had built the house, but it was just a house. And like Portland, it was a house that was big enough that it could house both (church and home), a nice large living room and dining room in Denver, it was with sliding doors that went all the way across the front. And you could hold a meeting of maybe seventy-five people in it. So it was, it's now regarded as one of the historic houses in Denver. I don't know if you learned that or...

TI: No, I didn't see that. But I think I know where it is. I think it's like Twenty-eighth and Curtis was the address. But I was just, as you were talking, I was thinking, so he's going from Portland which, I'm guessing, in, I guess, 1929, had a larger Japanese community than Denver.

JU: It was very... the Portland church was very successful. I don't know if you've seen Linda Tamura's book on Hood River.

TI: Yes, I have.

JU: Well, she mentioned his church in Portland as one of the largest churches on the West Coast, Japanese church.

TI: So he's going, so he's been now minister for some time.

JU: Yeah.

TI: And he's going from a large successful church to Denver.

JU: Yeah. [Laughs] So he had to do it.

TI: Is that something that they generally tried to do, in terms of taking someone from a successful area to place perhaps that isn't as well developed? Or did he do something bad in Portland and they stuck him in the --

JU: No, he had a lovely time. In fact, he had a lovely time almost in every one of his churches. But Denver was different because it was a struggling church. And yes, sometimes the bishops did that, or the superintendents did that.

TI: Now, did he ever talk to you about that, that there was kind of this intent for him to sort of build up something in Denver?

JU: Well, he did that in Spokane and Portland, and I think that they wanted somebody new in Denver.

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

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: Okay, so he goes to Denver, and I'm looking at the year 1929, and that's the year of the crash in October that started the Depression.

JU: And he came in June.

TI: And so he gets there just months before the Depression starts.

JU: That's right.

TI: So tell me about --

JU: It was a tough time.

TI: Yeah, those years, for the church and the family.

JU: Well, oddly enough, the church does better in depressions than it does in... because they, I think the problem is when more than one person is suffering, it does something for a community. That's why I chose the title "The Beloved Community," because... and that's stolen from Josiah Royce, of course, the philosopher. You know about Royce? Anyway, not many people know about Josiah Royce. But anyway, he coined the phrase "the beloved community," and he's the one who I've gotten a lot of my ideas about what real things are worth. Anyway, that's what happens, and I think it's happening now. Because a lot of the churches have realized that they've got to do something for the people who are out of work and so forth. They've got to show their real heart and where it is. If somebody's, if a dozen people in your congregation lost their jobs, what do they do? Even large families. And you've got to band together or you perish separately.

TI: Well, I'm wondering, in your case, you sort of grew up in the Depression. And you probably didn't even realize that there was anything different than how you were living. But describe, I mean...

JU: That's probably true.

TI: Because ministers generally don't make that much money, and you had seven siblings, so eight children. How, do you ever recall your family struggling with just food on the table or things like that?

JU: Well, that was the amazing thing. Most of the Japanese community in Colorado -- in fact, his parish was called Colorado, Southern Wyoming, Western Nebraska. That's (...) all of Colorado. That's the eastern side of the mountains and the western side of the mountains. So he was technically in charge of the Denver area, including those places near Wyoming. Because that's where the Japanese communities were started particularly after the railroad got completed. What are they going to do? Most of them wound up in truck farms. And, of course, fortunately for the church, when the truck farms start, you're growing a lot of things that nobody can afford. And so the church survived on the things that couldn't be bought. And that's an actual fact in Denver. And it melted that community together, and melded, I guess, is the better word. Because they knew everybody was suffering. And it didn't, really didn't, give much worth to the fact that they were Buddhists, they were Christians, everybody, they needed help.

TI: And so was the situation where, so the truck farmers would have excess, I'm not sure, inventory or excess food. They'd bring it down to the church --

JU: They'd bring it to the Denver market, and what they didn't sell, they dropped off at the church.

TI: And then the church became almost like a food bank where people would come?

JU: Exactly.

TI: And if they were hungry, there was food there.

JU: Exactly. And that happened for years. At least from '29 to '35, that was absolutely true. And many times there wasn't, you know, the celebrations. They couldn't do it alone, the celebrations. The holidays were big during the Depression. [Laughs]

TI: Well, how about the winter months when the truck farms weren't producing food? What would happen there?

JU: Well, they know how to store potatoes for the winter. And Denver's weather is not severe. They go to zero once in a while, but only once or twice a year. Whereas lovely Minnesota goes for a month at least. And below zero for a month is tough in Minnesota. But there again, even now, I think... I go to Hennepin Avenue Church, and we notice even the last few months the food lines have grown. We used to have, we used to have dinners for the community, anybody who wants to come, free for, every Sunday for years. I've been at Hennepin Avenue about forty years now. But anyway, we noticed the people off the street, and even in the cold, come in about 150 people. Now it's 350, and that's only over the last years. And it's amazing what the church's function seems to be, to service a community better during bad times.

TI: Well, so let's go back to the Depression years, because that's what your father needed to do and not only your father, but the whole family, I'm guessing, had to chip in to do this. Because operating the church, let alone the food and these other services, is a... now you have these large nonprofit organizations who do it. And it sounds like yours was more of a, almost like a family operation.

JU: It was for a long time. But you know, the family gets a lot of support from the community. Some of the people who started way back then are still doing it. [Laughs] And so our family is involved, of course, but the community is really involved. It's got to be one of the virtues of the church.

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

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: Well, going back to Denver, when you were around ten or so, the church made a big move. I mean, went from being this smaller church parsonage to an actual church on Twenty-fifth and California. Can you describe how that happened and what that new church was?

JU: Well, there again, the Methodist church is very connectional. And the Germans, they suffered through the First World War, the German Americans, I should say. And, of course, they, just after that war, after the teens, they were very strong. The war had built them to be very strong, and then the peace afterwards. And they built a very nice church at Twenty-fifth and California, that's the place where they were. But by the '30s, that was, that was arranged by the conference that the German church that wanted to sell their church and move up to the suburbs where most of their people had gone, and who would take this older church? And of course it wasn't terribly old, actually. I think they were formed in the '70s and '80s in the 19th century. And so it was only about, maybe about fifty years old, and it was in good shape, still is. And so (...) the Methodist connectional system established it as a Japanese church. So we, the Japanese congregation had to give them (approval to) purchase it from the Germans. But there was a lot of good feeling between the Japanese and the Germans.

TI: And this was even before World War II that you had these...

JU: Right, just slightly before, about five years before the war. And they realized also that strange things were going on Germany in '35, '36. War wasn't exactly declared, but Germany was beginning to dominate the countries around.

TI: So it was kind of an interesting, where... what's the right word? It's almost like you have these facilities, but because of the connectiveness, it's just like when one group outgrows it or moves to another area, then they just, I'm guessing that they didn't charge too much for the property, but it was more because of the connectiveness...

JU: It's something we could have afforded, right. That's exactly right.

TI: And they can move on. So describe this new place. What was it like compared to, I'm guessing it's much larger and...

JU: Well, I think it seated about three hundred people in the sanctuary. And then when, and that's a great jump from a living room that was holding even fifty or seventy-five and then there was a parsonage connected to it, and the family... and actually, there were two buildings called the Terraces, and they were originally bought by the Germans, German Methodists, to house the sexton, the janitorial service, and the educational director. So there were two really livable homes.

TI: In addition to the parsonage.

JU: In addition to the parsonage. And the buildings are still there. What they've done is connected everything by hallways now. So the black church took over, and so use it for other things as well.

TI: And so was this a pretty big event for the Japanese community to go to a larger church?

JU: I think so, yes.

TI: And how did they open it up? Was there something celebratory?

JU: Oh, yes. The two celebratory figures from Japan came, Kagawa-sensei, you know, Toyohiko Kagawa.

TI: I've read about him.

JU: You've read about him. I've got good pictures of him. And Tamaki Uemura, now, that's a namesake. The name is the same, but she was from a different Uemura family. Uemura's a relatively common name in Japan.

TI: So let's first talk about Dr. Kagawa, and tell me a little bit about him and what did he do when he came to Denver?

JU: Well, just held a conference a couple of days usually. And he was traveling the United States once in a while, and that's how they knew they could get hold of him. He's, Kagawa-sensei, was a Princeton grad, Princeton Theological Seminary grad, and so he'd come back and visit Princeton once in a while. And (...) his ministry was primarily in Kobe, Japan, among the poor in Japan in the city of Kobe. And so he'd written a couple of things. And Mother, my mother was in touch with him regularly. I don't know quite... well, probably because of the historic connections. And so they asked him to come by and hold a conference, and he lectured a couple times.

TI: And at the conference, who would attend? Was it mostly Japanese or was it a larger audience?

JU: Well, he had considerable fame and recognition, recognizability in the Japanese community, so there was a good number. And I would say they probably filled the church. And with the surrounding area, not just the basic membership of the church, but also a lot of visitors.

TI: That must have been pretty impressive to have an event fill this building.

JU: It was. Very interesting. And the white congregations around town, of course, also knew of his work, and so they joined (...). Good festivals there.

TI: Do you have any personal memories of that day and what you thought?

JU: Got a big picture. [Laughs]

TI: What about just memories? Do you remember, like, what job you had that day, what you were supposed to do?

JU: I was just, I was just to wear a tie and not get involved. [Laughs]

TI: Behave yourself.

JU: Behave myself, yeah.

TI: You mentioned there were two celebratory events, so Dr. Kagawa and then Ms. Uemura?

JU: Yeah, Tamaki Uemura. She was an advocate for women's things in Japan. And very, very prominent lady. And she came a few months later, I can't remember when, it was about six months later, and they had another festival. Had as many festivals as possible. [Laughs]

TI: Good.

JU: When things are bad, have a festival.

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

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: So I was reading in your notes, and not only, you named the place not only the Methodist Church, the Methodist Church and Institute.

JU: Right.

TI: And I wanted to understand what the institute part was.

JU: Well, Mother was going to teach English to Japanese people come hell or high water. [Laughs] Because that's what they needed to adjust to America. And so she, of course, enlisted the other members of the church, and they had Japanese classes, and they had fude classes to write Japanese characters. Also to teach Japan, Japanese and Japanese culture, she also taught dance classes and she also taught origami classes, just the usual things, cooking classes and things like that.

TI: So she taught lots of different things. Not only did she teach English, but she taught Japanese also? Was this Japanese to the Niseis?

JU: Japanese to the Niseis, and Japanese, and actually, during the summers, she would go with Dad to the Pueblo, Rocky Ford, the Arkansas Valley, at the end of which is Amache. Anyway, she would go to the communities where a good number of the Japanese had settled. And she wouldn't care if there were six people, she would just go ahead.

TI: So your parents made a pretty potent team. I mean, you had your father the minister and your mother the teacher.

JU: The teacher, right.

TI: And they would visit all these small communities surrounding Denver.

JU: Uh-huh. And see, when George came, he's, being technically a Kibei, well, he was born here...

TI: So let's explain George because we did this off camera. So George was your cousin, the son of your father's brother.

JU: Right, exactly.

TI: So he was about, what, seven, eight years older than you?

JU: He's nine years older than I.

TI: Nine years older.

JU: He was as old as my oldest sister, almost. One year short.

TI: And so he came to live with you in Denver.

JU: Yes.

TI: And lived in the parsonage or in the terrace?

JU: He lived in the terraces.

TI: Okay, so he lived in the terrace.

JU: Along with seminary students. That's what happened to the terraces.

TI: And so George is living, your cousin, but he's part of the family.

JU: He eats every meal with us.

TI: Okay. And so is he helping to take care of the family while your parents are gone? I mean, when your parents are traveling, who takes care of the family?

JU: Well, whoever's around among the elders. The elders took care, that's true. And we, of course, gave everybody we could a hard time as kids will do. But yeah, and, but I was going to say, George took over the Japanese language schools. And there was one in Brighton, and then there was one in Littleton. And so George got very much acquainted with those communities. Even though he wasn't connected with the church necessarily, but it was part of the concept of being an institute in addition to being a church. And so Japanese culture, Japanese cooking and so forth could survive otherwise for the Nisei kids.

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

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: So in hearing you talk about not only George but your parents, when it comes to Christianity and Japanese language, in the surrounding communities, your family was very important to lots of these surrounding communities.

JU: Yeah, I think so, and of course there was competition, of course. As even Father (Daisuke Kitagawa), the internees who were Christian tend to be typed as "America-lovers," and other communities were regarded as if they weren't, especially if they weren't organized at all, the animosities began between those, especially in the camps. And they got very angry.

TI: And so you're saying from the, more the (Christians) versus (...) the Buddhists, is that the kind of friction you're talking about?

JU: That's the friction that really finally surfaced in the camps, especially because of the make up, practically, (of) the fight. And the "No-No Boys," of course, exasperated, I mean, exacerbated the feeling. I mean, because they didn't know. Those are crazy questions to be asked of the entire internment camp. But anyway, that was... the similar thing occurs in the city, in Denver, especially. Because if one group got more power, the Buddhist Institute had to form, were forced to form, Sunday schools or Dharma schools as they called them later. Had to form youth groups because the Christians were doing it. And that kind of, that kind of competition, I would call it, naturally emerged. And so, got the Buddhists organized.

TI: Oh, so interesting. Because, I guess, what you're referring to, in Japan, they don't have Sunday services at Buddhist temples.

JU: Exactly.

TI: And there's nothing like Sunday school.

JU: And the same was happening.

TI: And initially in the United States, it was similar. They probably didn't do that.

JU: No.

TI: But then when the Christians had these Sunday services, Sunday school classes and the Buddhists saw people going to the Christian churches for that, almost in a defensive posture, they felt they needed to do the same thing, or competitive posture --

JU: That's right.

TI: -- to survive and thrive.

JU: And in a sense, it's very good because it brought both, brought more people into community with themselves, really. In a sense, it was very good in a sense, that they had something to fight about.

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

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: Well, before we get to the war, I wanted to also talk about how your dad reached out to other non-Japanese communities in the Denver area, and in particular how because of the church, the property, you were able to reach out to the African American community. Can you tell me about that?

JU: Well, the obvious thing is that Dad, as a Methodist preacher, belonged to the Methodist pastor's group. And not only to the Methodist pastor's group, but to the Denver and Colorado Council of Churches. And so he was always going to those meetings and doing things with the preachers. And so that gives an obvious (relation) -- and then of course he was asked to speak at all those groups, and then his opinions were registered with the ministers and the councils. And that was always very healthy for the Japanese church. And then when they'd have conferences for the youth, (...) Japanese American kids were invited and that sort of thing, in the camps, were participated in by everybody.

TI: And so your, it sounds like your father, by being connected to these other reverends and ministers, that he could then... what's the right word, introduce Japanese Americans to these other groups.

JU: Exactly, yeah.

TI: But going back to the African American community, they had that one week, I think, in the summer where they used the church?

JU: Yeah.

TI: Describe that.

JU: [Laughs] Well, we were right on the border of the community. Welton Street was their street, California is only one block south. California was our territory. And many of the black businesses were on Welton street. And especially the ballpark was between Welton and California Street. [Laughs] So all the, all the athletic stuff could go on as an, really an intercultural situation. But therefore the contact with the black people, and the dentist up the street was on Welton Street. And Mr. Jones, Dr. Jones and Dad were very close people. And he just picked up rumors that they needed a place that was bigger than what they had to have their summer festivals. Which was fun, because we had nothing going on during the summers, 'cause everybody was farming. And so the black churches felt very much at home in our church, and they used it a lot. And of course, for me, it was great sport. I could hear their music and their prayer services, so it was wonderful. And that was a church that was on Welton Street and didn't have much property, because it was what we call a grocery store frontage. Anyway, they'd come to the church and use it. Dad was always willing to give it.

TI: So let me ask you this question. So here you were an observer, you mentioned earlier how there were some events for like a visiting Japanese minister or something, the place would be filled with Japanese.

JU: Yeah.

TI: And then in the summer, the black churches would get together and they'd have theirs, and it would be filled with African Americans. As an observer, looking at that, how was it different between a church full of Japanese and a church full of African Americans?

JU: Yeah, you know how quiet most Nisei are, Japanese are. And their services were very pedestrian, shall we say. Whereas the black churches, you had to open the windows and hear it all through the community. But yeah, it was a very different operation.

TI: So talk about...

JU: Temperamentally they're very different. [Laughs]

TI: So talk about the music, because I'm trying to get a sense. I think I know what you're talking about, but I want you to describe it a little bit more. So like the music in a Japanese church, how would that be?

JU: [Laughs] Well, you know, the traditional musicians, of course, would come with the flute and the... well, there was the koto. When we had Japanese festivals, we had the whole thing, right? Minus taiko drums. There weren't at that time the huge taiko.

TI: And so at the Japanese they'd have koto flute, and people would sit there and listen quietly?

JU: Yeah, they were very quiet services. Even the funerals and so forth were very staid. There was music, but it wasn't jazz. But at the black church, it was, they would have their Christian songs in jazz form. That was great sport. It was like living in New Orleans for a while.

TI: Because you were a young boy growing up with that, and so how did that influence you? Did you ever tell your dad, "Dad, we have to kind of like crank up the music," or something? Or later on in your practices, did you learn something from watching the, what happened to the black churches --

JU: Oh, sure.

TI: -- that you kind of took from that?

JU: Well, there were times where we did those things, yeah, that's true. But anyway...

TI: So we talked about the music, how about the sermons? How would you compare the sermons?

JU: Oh, they were very different, yeah. Because as the sermons go in black churches, you get immediate response from the congregation. And of course, in Japanese and most American services, it's very quiet on the whole. Yeah, that's true.

TI: How about the messages in sermons? Were they, although the delivery might be different, were the messages similar or did you hear something different in the sermons?

JU: Well, that... as custom dictates, those things are very, very culturally specific, I think. And so I can't imagine too much difference except I suppose when the youth groups take over. The youth groups rather do emulate each other. And the youth groups particularly are into banjo music and so forth, and guitar music now. But, and that's largely an outgrowth of different cultures.

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

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: Now, your dad was really open and generous in welcoming the black congregations to use the property. Did he ever get criticism from the Japanese community by doing things like that?

JU: Well, I think there was probably something subterranean about that. But the total effect is he didn't get kicked out 'til twenty years later. [Laughs]

TI: But do you sense that your dad had to kind of... what's the right word? Be out in front with, like, race relations more so than the rest of the community?

JU: He would be, he would be, yeah. And he would make sure that the black opinion was stated in the ministerial work, too. And a lot of his friends were, well, I went to a school, grade school that was ninety percent black. Now, I went to three elementary schools. The first one I went to was totally white because it was out on the edge of the suburb. And the second school I went to -- and I walked to these places -- the second school I went to was a pretty healthy mixture of everybody, and that's where I was legally assigned. The first one, Dad just walked in with Mom and registered the kids. And so we walked about a mile to get there. So that was all right. But the third school, the rather diverse school became too crowded, and so they moved us, moved the fifth and sixth grades to another school. And in that school, I was about, I think there were about eighty percent black. And interestingly enough, the teachers, the black teachers were at that school. Never had a black teacher in the other schools. And of course, a half dozen of my friends were black. So then going to junior high school, which would (be fed by) all those three elementary schools. The diversity (at my) junior high school, for instance, in Denver, has always been very heavily diverse. I mean, from every, every cultural group. And so the high school also was very diverse.

TI: And how did that work, having such a diverse junior high school and high school?

JU: Oh, I think it was great, because I had friends of every color. And good friends, (my best) friends (were) the two black kids in my Latin class, right. And we'd telephone each other at night, working out the conjugations of amo, amas, amat, you know, that sort of thing. And so we were very close. And, of course, one was gay, and the other (...) was my good friend because we were about the same size. (And) the shortest guys on the basketball team, you know. But we were the best, of course. [Laughs] And yet my neighbor, who was on the same basketball teams, Leroy Love, he was an Irishman, and he was about six feet tall. And so he was the center of the basketball squad. And our job was to bring the ball down, and he did all the scoring. But he was only two blocks away. I picked him up every morning. And the Jewish grocer's son on the other corner just across the street from the church, we would all walk together. He'd pick me up, we'd pick up Clark and Love and Jesse, who was black, we'd all be walking together to school. That's the junior high school.

TI: Yeah, so you grew up in this very diverse environment, you had friends from many different backgrounds, and you said this was great. Can you explain why that was great? I mean, what is it about growing up with these different...

JU: We were completely befuddled by the race thing. That never even crossed our minds that anybody was different. And that, you know, just a few months ago, I went to my sixty-fifth high school graduation. We're all in our eighties, eighty-three, eighty-four. And one of the marvelous things is that everybody there was very diverse. We had a lot of Spanish kids, Mexican kids, and well, there were only eighty-five of us. This is sixty-fifth high school. So, and the guys I played basketball with, one of them was there. Lot of 'em were gone, of course, because many men die in their seventies and sixties, and lot of these other kids were really our very good friends, were very diverse.

TI: And so you had the benefit of doing that, and it was a good experience for you.

JU: Oh, yeah, absolutely.

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

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: Why do you think there's such resistance, then, to diversity, in so many parts of America?

JU: Well, that's a cultural question that happens to ever racial group in the country. For instance, when I was in New York, right, going to school and helping to run the Japanese Methodist church, we often said, we were often told that the minority in Manhattan Island is Jewish. I said, "What? I don't consider them a minority in Manhattan Island." I said, "I don't want you to take this too seriously, but it seems like Manhattan is controlled by the Jews. They're not a significant, quote, 'minority' in New York City." And I said, I went to Boston, asked them, "Who's in charge here?" And they informed me the Catholics were a serious minority. I said, "In Boston? A minority?" Then I taught at Westminster in Utah and said, "Who is the minority out here?" "Well, it's the Mormons that are a minority." I said, "I don't believe this." [Laughs] I think this is really crazy. How can the majority be a minority in these big cities? And I said, "It's not possible." Well, it's a cultural thing that gets planted somewhere. And as Will Herberg's book says, the most vicious culturalists are the third generation of immigrants. And, of course, I worry about the Japanese, right? I worry about, "What's the long distance of this cultural identity that people are so vigorously holding on to, the third generation?" And, of course, the third generation in my mind are the Nisei who, eighty-percent of them -- this is a fact I picked out of Pacific Citizen -- eighty percent of the third generation marry out. And, of course, that means the fourth generation will really be vicious in maintaining the Japanese tradition. And it's just, I don't know what the future will hold.

TI: So that's... I want to make sure I understand this. So you're saying that these future generations, even though they're getting, in some ways, dissipated in terms of interracial marriages, you're thinking they're going to get more tenacious about holding on to their Japanese culture?

JU: Yeah. And it comes in very different ways. I was reading the PC yesterday, and the PC lists Meiko -- you know who Meiko is? She's a singer.

TI: Oh, yeah, right.

JU: And she was born, and she never knew her mother, born in Roberta, Georgia. Well, my goodness, Roberta, Georgia hasn't seen Japanese in several centuries. Anyway, she's become a great singer, and she becomes a great Hollywood actress because she's the star of an evening program, the medical one. What is that one? I think Dana knows, but she's keeping very silent. Anyway, and she says she wants to go to Hawaii to meet her mother. She's never known her mother. And then she wants to go to Japan. And you can just see it coming. She really wants to study her cultural past. And then, of course there's another article --

TI: But going back to this, I'm trying to get a sense of... and so is your sense that that's, I'm not sure if you want to place a good or bad on this, but, or make an observation, but what do you think of that? Is that kind of just a natural effect, or do you think that's a negative effect?

JU: I think it's a very natural effect that happens to every immigrant group in the country. It's like asking an Irishman today, "Why do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?" He says, "Well, St. Patrick's Day, everybody's Irish," you know. And, of course, it's their mentality that wants to preserve the Irish. But, of course, I don't know where it's going because as I was going to say, there's a fellow also, a picture of a fellow who was one-eighth Japanese, and he's looking for, and he's very sick, he's looking for someone whose blood will match his.

TI: To, like, do a bone marrow type of transplant?

JU: Yeah. And biogenetically, he's got to find somebody who's a match, and so he's advertising. And that's, what it does is it drives the Japanese culture somewhat together. Because the kid's got to have an operation. And the third and fourth generations, I think, do get more cerebral about it and more driven by it. It seems to me that... and you ask, "Where's it gonna go?" I was going to ask you who's doing the study. Where's it going to go? [Laughs]

TI: Well, so this is a good segue. Because in some ways, your parents had this view, which is a segue into, your dad started this Japanese Young People's Christian Conference as a way of, I think, promoting leadership amongst Japanese, the Niseis, with a sense of wanting to, perhaps...

JU: Get them to succeed.

TI: Succeed and perhaps succeed within a Japanese community also, or to help propagate the Japanese community.

JU: But also he was a patriot. And in the Americans sense of the term, and he wanted them to be Americans because he was a globalist. When I first went to New York as a graduate student and as a pastor, I asked Dad, "Why don't you come to New York and visit me sometime?" He was there in a second. [Laughs] Well, a minute. He said, "Sure," and he bought himself a ticket. Tried to get my mother go come with him, but she wouldn't do it. But he wanted to see D.C. He'd never seen Washington, D.C. And he says, "I want to do New York, want to see American Wall Street, want to see D.C." And I said, "Why?" He says, "Because I wanted to first, I want to look at the Lincoln Memorial." That's what it was. So (he got) a ticket, he came, we walked the streets of D.C., we walked the streets of New York, we went to the tower of Miss Liberty, and we went to (the Lincoln Memorial), and the Washington Memorial, too. And one of his pastor friends, Andrew Kuroda, Reverend Kuroda, he was, he was the guy they beat up in Tule Lake. But he became the curator of the Japanese section of the Library of Congress and he wanted to see Andrew because he was a Methodist preacher just like him. And he told, he told Andrew, "So this is what it's really like." [Laughs] Because he said, "It's more important to be a citizen of the world." I said, "Well, you've been reading too much Plato." Socrates says, "I'm not an Athenian, I'm a Kosmios. I'm a citizen of the cosmos." And he loved that.

TI: But it seemed like he took these things to heart. I mean, his actions and the things he promoted were very much global, bigger picture.

JU: Yeah, he'd love Obama, I think. Even though Rush Limbaugh hates him. [Laughs]

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

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: So Joe, in the second part, we're going to talk about December 7, 1941.

JU: Okay.

TI: You're in Denver.

JU: Right.

TI: And why don't you tell me how you found out about the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

JU: I was cleaning the church after Sunday services and listening to the radio. Because when I cleaned the church, I put on the records. [Laughs]

TI: Or the radio you said, the radio?

JU: The radio in this case, yeah. The old Philco. Yeah, that's how I found out, and then I quickly went across the yard to Dad's, Mother and Dad's place, where they were, I mean, they were in the house and asked them what was going on. They said, "Well, we're apparently at war." And they were, I can say that we discussed this over dinner quite a bit, earlier, because she'd heard, I mean, Mother and Dad had both heard from their friends in Japan that Japan was building up airplanes, that was... I don't know if generally the public knew that, but they had it on letters from their friends from Japan, airplanes and the military was being bumped up. And so when they heard that, that was very sad for both of them.

TI: But when you said you had discussions around the dinner table about this, what did your parents say about this when they knew that Japan was building up...

JU: It was inevitable. Well, their discussions got pretty deep, as you probably would suspect. And what they were worried about is what they surmised the real problem was. And their view of it -- and I haven't heard it from too many sources and I didn't read it in too many sources -- their view was that Japan was interested in trade and couldn't get a decent deal with either Britain or the United States, and they were shorted on trade. So the causes of the war were economic strictly, according to my folks. And they were saying that the division of trade was not in Japan's favor, it was trying to rid, the U.S. and the English were trying to rid the Japanese of favorable status with themselves. And so that's the basic cause of the war.

TI: And so they could see it happening. They could see that the pressure in terms of the trade barriers, the difficulty in trade with Japan, that they said if this continues, the war is inevitable. And so when you went over there, and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, they probably weren't that surprised, and maybe were disappointed, but they weren't surprised.

JU: They were, yeah, terribly disappointed because they thought that Japan could have been an excellent trading partner. And also in relationship to China and India, they needed an equal status with the U.S. and England and the French, and they couldn't get it.

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

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: Well, so going back to your parents, as leaders in the community, these next few days, what happened? Did they have to do anything special?

JU: Well, they were very watchful. But you know that we were anticipating war with Germany and Japan in many ways before that. The rationing began, and that was pretty serious with almost everybody, especially the rationing of gasoline, the rationing of sugar, many other things were being rationed. And that's what actually put Dad in touch with Morrissey and Carr, because from way back in '38, '9, actually, they were having conferences regarding Dad's need to travel. He had a group that was meeting in Hanna, Wyoming, had one in Scott's Bluff, Nebraska, had another one in Colorado Springs in Pueblo, had another one in Rocky Ford. And, of course, normal meetings in Fort Collins and Brighton and Fort Lupton. And there was even a group in Greeley. And so all through the Arkansas Valley and also the mountain areas, he had meetings. And they weren't in churches, obviously, because there weren't churches, they were in people's homes. And that's how he informed his congregations anyway, go straight to the homes.

TI: Right, and so during the rationing period to get gas...

JU: He'd have to get gas for his car, he was driving a Model A Ford, but it still takes gas to run. And so he couldn't run on an A card. So he had to go in and see Morrissey and the governor.

TI: So that's pretty amazing. So he would get access to Governor Carr and Attorney General Morrissey to request, I guess, a lightening of, or a relief of those restrictions.

JU: Yeah. And he had to agree not to go too often places, and he'd have to, he'd have to decide how much he needed and what class. An A card would not do, a B card would not do, and so how was he supposed to get gasoline? And so that had to be settled, and that took a few trips. And so they got to know each other fairly well.

TI: And this was all happening even before the war started.

JU: Oh, yes, years before. Because rationing started, I think, in '38.

TI: Well, I'm guessing that helped him in terms of, because they knew him after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, that he had some way of communicating because they knew him?

JU: Yes.

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

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: And so talk, well, before then, I mean, there was an incident at the church, just, I think days after December 7th. Can you talk about that?

JU: You mean the, the stoning of the church windows?

TI: Right, yeah. So describe what happened. So this was, I believe, at night. So why don't you pick up the story from, I guess, the moment that you heard or woke up.

JU: Yeah. Well, we knew that we were in trouble with regard to the sign on the church. It read, "The Japanese Methodist Episcopal Church and Institute." And, of course, this was done in not only English, but it was also written in Japanese, right? Because both programs ran together. And so we knew that that was, maybe needed change when war started, especially when the war started. And, of course, we didn't get it changed in time. And so, and then the process of having to get it approved by the church board, what are you going to put on this sign? So we knew that that needed to be altered, but we didn't, weren't able to alter it in time. So then, of course, it would become the California Street United Methodist Church.

TI: But the thinking was, I just want to make sure I understand. So by having the word "Japanese" and also the text written in Japanese, you thought that might provoke something from people because of the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

JU: We were afraid that that would have immediate response and it did, that's all. That's the only way to explain it. Of course, the neighborhood kids... we're right on the border of the hoodlum section of the city, and we knew something would probably happen, and particularly the then right-wing, political right-wing. And so they wanted to make sure that that would be done, but it didn't get done.

And so just after, maybe the next week or so, we heard it in the evening, just about dusk. These guys, a pretty considerable group, because they broke a lot of windows. And they were stained glass windows, and we hadn't covered them with... there was no need to cover them with heavy screens and that sort of thing. So they were, the main floor was decimated, those large windows.

TI: So describe the group. When you say a considerable number, about how many do you think were there?

JU: Well, we weren't there at the start, we only (knew) they started breaking windows before they were hollering. They were cheering themselves on after starting to break the windows. But I don't, I never estimated the crowd, but it could run maybe fifty, sixty people. It doesn't, didn't have to be a very large group.

TI: And when you say they started breaking windows and then later on they started hollering, do you recall anything you could pick out in terms of what they were yelling about or hollering?

JU: Oh, they were... I don't know whether I could describe what they're saying. Calling, you know, the usual flood of anti-Japanese slogans. As I say, it was part of downtown, so they had all sorts of nicknames for Japanese.

TI: And what was your reaction when this was happening?

JU: Well, I was, my personal reaction was to, I was a kid, fifteen years old or something, fourteen, ready to run out in the street. But Dad says, "Nothing is ever done with force." So he just, he just stood and watched them from the windows. And so he made me drop all my rocks. [Laughs] Drop whatever I had. He said, "It's larger than you. Forgive them, they don't know any better." Which he was always saying when something went wrong. "Oh, Lord forgive them, they don't know what they do."

TI: But as a fourteen year old...

JU: That was very impressive, yeah.

TI: But you were willing to go out there and confront the group?

JU: Yeah, I was ready to go. But my family was, wasn't going to let me, you know that.

TI: And can you, those feelings, were they of anger? Were they fear? Can you...

JU: All those, of course. All those negative feelings, yeah. As I used to say, being a preacher's kid, you have a real good vocabulary of cuss words. [Laughs] And I can remember out-cussing them, we used to have a thing about it with my friends, so-called, who could cuss the longest not repeating the same word. You probably did the same thing but you're not going to commit yourself. [Laughs]

TI: No, I won't commit to that. But going back to your family, so while this was happening, you're standing next to your father, so your father in some ways is almost restraining you from going out.

JU: Yeah.

TI: Is the rest of the family there also, your mother and sisters?

JU: Well, actually, it was late enough that they, a lot of them had gone to bed when the worst stuff was happening. Because as you can imagine, it started out slow, and some of 'em were getting a kick of it, just a few rocks, and then it increased and then it got to heavy proportions.

TI: And then what made them stop, finally?

JU: Well, no more windows to break on those sides of the church, right?

TI: And so I'm thinking of some churches and I'm just trying to understand. So you have stained glass windows, are these the type that kind of go all the way around the church, or this like a one face...

JU: Well, they're the stained glass windows from the, from the external of the church. Anything that was external could be... but there are some that they missed in the backyard. But it pretty well demolished the standing windows. And there were two large segment windows, they were in Gothic form, of course, with three or four panels each. Those were the main windows that they destroyed.

TI: And these were the original stained glass windows that the Germans had, that had built and custom made.

JU: From Germany, yeah.

TI: From Germany. So they were quite, I'm guessing, quite beautiful and valuable.

JU: Yeah, they were very valuable, right. And some of them were etched with paintings, especially around the altar. There were about half a dozen windows that were in the altar, and so they were broken. And I think the thing that was most difficult was if you go there to the church now, even now, and open the doors, you find the hinges are, we never see hinges like this. They are leaded, they are bronze cast, I guess, really, carved in German lettering and German pictures. And all you do is open the door and you see these hinges that are, that were sacred fingers, figures, I mean. And you can even, you can even see that they put great art in the... that's what so amazing. It's even in the hinges.

TI: So the craftsmanship is just so...

JU: Yeah, it was great.

TI: ...fine craftsmanship in terms of the building of this. Which extended to these windows that were destroyed, or many of them were destroyed.

JU: That's right.

TI: Did the authorities or the police show up that night?

JU: Well, they, apparently they did disperse the crowd, so yes. They weren't averse to having to take care of the crowd. They dispersed, it took a while. I don't know, but they stood around a while before they dispersed it.

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

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: Did you or other families ever fear for your safety during this time?

JU: Oh, I think so. We had to be careful. Although back at school, you didn't feel a thing. And I don't know quite why that was true, but one of the reasons I think is that Manual High School in Denver was a very diverse place, and they had more sympathy for you than emotions against you, yeah.

TI: Now, did any of your friends who were not Japanese, did they ever hear about what happened at the church and say anything to you about what happened?

JU: Well, actually, I don't think they did. I don't remember my friends mentioning it much at all. It was sort of an in-church thing. I don't know quite what they would have said. Many would, who had heard about it would come up and said something. Our neighbors in the area, of course, did. But they knew what was going on.

TI: And what was the reaction within the congregation when they found out that the windows were broken?

JU: They didn't, they couldn't believe it, but they expected it. I mean, they could understand what was going on. That's why they had to change the signs on the church.

TI: And I'm guessing you had to do a lot of the clean up either that night or the next morning?

JU: Well, mostly sweeping up, yeah. But I think we had a lot of people come and help from the congregation. And our neighbors, I think our neighbors were very upset with that.

TI: Well, earlier you talked about your father's being connected to all these networks of other churches within the Methodists.

JU: Yeah, that's where...

TI: What was the reaction of the network?

JU: Well, they really were upset, and they immediately started raising funds so that some sort of replacement could be made. Yeah, the ministerial, particularly Council of Churches.

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

<Begin Segment 20>

JU: By that time I was working with the Council of Churches as one of their... I was working at Geneva Glenn Camp, which was the Council of Churches camp. And so the Council of Churches was directed by the same guy to ran the camp, and his name was Harold Gilmore. He was a good friend of Dad's, and that's why I was working at his camp. [Laughs] Because he needed some ordinary labor. And so he organized, I think, Gilmore organized the help there, and the ministers who would be willing to help contribute. In actuality, when Gilmore helped, he helped... the one, the one big thing he helped with that was really important, when Pearl Harbor happened, everybody... the banks got closed on Japanese families. The banks got...

TI: Yeah, they froze the...

JU: They froze the assets of all the Japanese. And Gilmore was the chief official to get them to reopen the banks. Otherwise people could starve to death. And, yeah, he and the bishop, Bishop Hammaker and a couple of the other ministers of the big churches like Martin Anderson, Ed Wahlberg and Sam Marble, those guys are the ones that pitched in and convinced the bankers that they should reopen the funds of the Japanese. Because that was really crucial. I mean, the broken glass was one thing, but freezing the bank accounts of everybody was really tough.

TI: Well, I'm guessing it meant a lot to you and your, especially your father that these men came forward to help the community.

JU: Oh boy, absolutely.

TI: And to raise money for the church.

JU: Absolutely, yeah.

TI: Did he ever talk to you about that?

JU: Who, Dad?

TI: Yeah, your dad.

JU: I was, I was really in touch more with Gilmore at the time. But they had to, even then, they had to go visit Morrissey and Carr.

TI: Going back to Gilmore, did he ever, did you ever ask him or have a conversation of why it was important for them to do what they did?

JU: No. Well, I just, with him, all you had to do was mention it and he says, he says, "That's outlandish, and we need to do something about it." It was just like that.

TI: Did he ever talk about your father to you?

JU: Oh, yeah.

TI: What did he say about your father?

JU: Well, he thought he was, he was... they were good friends. He thought he was a pillar of the community, and we thought, of course, Gilmore was the pillar of the community.

TI: So what I'm trying to get a sense of is how... what happened in Denver didn't happen in all the West Coast cities --

JU: It didn't.

TI: -- or the cities where there was Japanese.

JU: I see.

TI: And I'm trying to get a sense of how much impact your father and his relationship with some of these men who were in a position of influence made a difference in the community. And if you had a sense of that at all.

JU: I'm absolutely sure that that was the case. And well, because they were a natural group that met every week, every month. He met with the Methodist ministers quite regularly. And so, and half of these guys that really helped were Methodist ministers. And the others, of course, were clergy from other denominations, but primarily the Presbyterian and the Episcopal church. Dean Roberts at the St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, that was the downtown Episcopal church. He was of great help, and particularly when it came to the community having to do something for the banks, especially.

TI: Well, in addition to the banks and the community issues, on even larger state issues, Colorado was unique in that the governor essentially welcomed -- and actually different tiers, I mean, initially for the "voluntary relocation" he was welcoming, later on with students, and then later on, even from the people in camps. Really made Japanese families feel welcome in Colorado. What influence do you think this network had on the governor in being so welcoming?

JU: Well, I don't know. I think that he didn't get reelected, I know that for sure. But you never heard much from people who really hated that, because they were prone to think "all's fair in war." "In love and war" is the way it goes, of course, but "all's fair in war." We never had, we never had any vocal utterances like that from people. There was always a rabble rouser around, but they were, tended to be ignored. If the governor said something, that usually was adhered to.

TI: But the price he paid was he wasn't reelected.

JU: He just wasn't reelected.

TI: And do you think his, his stance, his welcoming nature to the Japanese was a factor?

JU: A factor? I'm sure it was. Because, because we're at war and we're losing people, "our sons are dying" is the way it goes, of course.

TI: Do you think your father had a sense of what Governor Carr was doing, and perhaps how controversial that might have been on a political basis?

JU: Oh, absolutely. He was so grateful for Carr.

TI: Do you recall anything he said specifically about Governor Carr?

JU: Oh, he was always coming back from the (capitol), I'd only catch him when he was coming back from the offices and saying what happened. And, well, from the very rationing bit, and the cameras being, everything being confiscated by the FBI, the radios and the cameras and the things like... from Denver you got a military camera? And so it was all very ridiculous. And, but they were very, Carr was very much appreciated by the Japanese community. But, you know, it was a small segment of Colorado attitudes, is the Japanese community.

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

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: Well, because of Carr's stance, Japanese families could come to Denver.

JU: Exactly.

TI: Your father had connections to places like Spokane and Portland. And so tell me what happened. I mean, did some of these families come to Denver?

JU: Oh, absolutely. They came, and, well, very prominent ones who were incarcerated in various places, I think... well, the lead group was the group that could move for a couple of weeks there before being interned. And that's the group that immediately came to Colorado. And, of course, the Yasuis from Hood River, who were members of Dad's congregation in Portland, and also Dad started the church in Hood River, too. He started the church, Japanese churches in Hood River and Salem on both sides. He'd run up and down the coast.

TI: And so when these families would come to Denver, where would they stay?

JU: [Laughs] Wherever they could. Yeah, for the first few days, it could be a riot. Especially Yasuis had, what, a half dozen kids. And you know, they're marvelous people. And they, I think they found a hotel or something like that to stay in. But, of course, they were in daily contact with us. And Min wound up going, finishing law school at the University of Denver where I was going by that time. And we'd ride the streetcars to the University of Denver. And Homer also started his med school stuff.

TI: And so going back to Min, so Min went to law school, but he had served time for the curfew violation?

JU: Yeah.

TI: He turned himself in. Did you ever talk to him about his case and his stance on these things?

JU: I didn't see him for years, you know, after college. Well, he was in law school and I was in college. We'd talk on the streetcar, and he'd say, of course, "It's all wrong." But anyway, yeah, we had a lot of talk. But since he... well, since I left Denver in '50, I only saw him when he was touring the country trying to get the word out. And he came by here a couple times, so I saw him then. In any case, I think he really got to a certain bit of his energy from being out, when of course he could have been in a long time. Yeah.

TI: So your place, I'm guessing because of your dad's... I mean, his reputation, people knew him, that the church became kind of this passing through place for lots of people who needed to resettle off the West Coast and they would come through Denver. How would that work? I mean, where would they, how would they kind of check in or report?

JU: A lot of the members of the church could be counted on to help. And that, again, when things are bad, people are really good. And they were helping relocate all these guys. And they, we happened to have... and a lot of people that weren't necessarily good members of the church, but they would come in and say, "We got a few beds, send 'em over to our place," you know. They volunteered.

TI: And tell me what kind of volume we're talking about. Is it like dozens or hundreds? I'm trying to think what happened during this time.

JU: There weren't a lot, because a lot of 'em, 'cause a lot of 'em weren't able to move quickly. And so you'd have, you had to have a bank account of good dimensions to take care halfway across the country. And then to make sure you could survive for a few months before you could find a place to live. So, but the members of the church were very solidly behind 'em. And then, as I say, beyond the church, there were a lot of people who, if they knew about it, really came to our rescue. A few telephone calls and they were there.

TI: And I'm guessing that this also happened with other institutions in Denver, whether it's the JACL office, the Buddhist church, did they also have a similar situation where people would come through them?

JU: You know, I don't know that for sure, but I know certain of the Buddhist families certainly helped. And I don't think the... the problem was the ministers in the Buddhist church were not as well-organized, that's all. But that didn't mean their people weren't willing to help. You know, one of the hotels downtown was Buddhist-run, but we could use their rooms and so forth.

TI: Now, what kind of stress did this put on the family, by being kind of this place? Was it hard on you, your mother, your sister?

JU: The families had to, the entire family was involved. But if we lived at the house, we were, I suppose, mostly involved. But Mother cooked a lot of meals that she didn't realize she was supposed to.

TI: Did you ever hear her complain about that, about how much work she had to do?

JU: No. The lady was, knew she'd been trapped in Christian ministry. [Laughs] Not like, not like some of the modern minister's wives, they have a life of their own. But this was a whole ethnic thing, an immigrant thing. Had all the overtones of the basic immigrant's problems.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

TI: During the war, there was a family tragedy, your sister Grace. Can you tell me what happened there?

JU: Well, she developed spinal meningitis. And, of course, they don't know where spinal meningitis comes from or what causes it. But it's clearly fatigue, and she was doing too much. And she was kind of a slight girl, yeah, and I think Mother and Dad always felt that Grace had worked too hard during those tough days. And she barely, she had skipped registering for college that fall because she thought she should be around the house. And so she just, she had just started back in February and she contracted meningitis. And it goes quick, meningitis hits one day and you're gone in two. And so that's what happened to her. Yeah, that was pretty tragic for the folks. They took it very hard.

TI: And you mentioned how because in some ways, your parents probably signed on to be part of the ministry, knew what that life was. But then to have a child, perhaps, suffer because of that...

JU: Yeah, they thought she assumed too many burdens.

TI: Did you ever talk to either of your parents about that? Did they ever talk to you?

JU: Well, yes. But we talked long hours, but of course, as a philosopher, I've known that you're not supposed to ponder on death too much. Only lesser minds worry about death. [Laughs]

TI: Did her death have kind of an impact on your family in terms of a change? Did you see a change after this?

JU: Not really. If it changed, it didn't, it didn't surface very much in conversation. No, they realized that life was difficult. They've seen a lot of parishioners suffer, that was their job, to make sure that they didn't suffer too much.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

TI: Going to, you saw lots of people come through Denver. Many of them had been in the camps, incarceration camps. And I'm wondering if you ever had, kind of, like a perspective in terms of, for the people that went through the camps, the impact on them. Could you see something different or a change in people because of that experience?

JU: Well, that was a huge problem of resettlement. We were pretty well involved in making sure that cities that were willing to resettle got some message as to why they should allow them to resettle. And that's where Father Dai's book is, I mean, he was appointed by the WRA to visit all the cities that he could and the camps that he could and to try to make some arrangements, seeing real people in the real cities to help with resettlement. And that's why he traveled all over. And he was appointed by the WRA, and, of course, supported by the Episcopal church. And then, of course, the other Protestant churches kicked in with the National Council of Churches, they helped, they kicked in with help financially.

TI: And the reason they did all this was, the observation was the people coming out of the camps needed this extra support to get resettled in these communities?

JU: Yes, and to generally, with the theme, they're really Americans, you know. and they need to not be picked on when they traveled. And Father Dai was very good at that. He was very good at talking that issue.

TI: And the reason, I'm trying to understand, was the reason he sensed and did you also see almost like a trauma that they had gone through?

JU: Oh, of course. And it's taken them sixty years to have these little celebrations that, "Where did our students go?" Many, many schools didn't know they'd left. And that's wild. I mean, that's absolutely silly. And yet, had taken them sixty years, a few celebrations that -- we went to one at Willamette, and, of course, there was one at Oregon State going on at the same time and so forth. It was really, that was the program that Dai was working on, and that the Quakers were chief in making sure that Dai didn't come around in vain. Now, the Quakers were very good at that, but the connectional churches, too, were very good at that.

TI: Good. So I'm going to kind of --

JU: The colleges were really...

TI: Really good.

JU: The private denominational colleges were very good at accepting students.

TI: So you mentioned earlier how your father served in Denver for a really long time, all the way through the Depression and all the way through the war.

JU: Yeah, it was crazy.

TI: So after the war, what, where did he go, and what were the circumstances that he left Denver?

JU: Well, under Methodist appointment system. [Laughs] He was assigned, well, he wanted to retire about '47 anyway. And they had more, there weren't any ministers to fill them, and the guys that had, were all appointed, he was asked to go to San Jose, and he thought San Jose would be okay. But before he got there, they had moved him to Fresno. And so he spent his last, oh, few years in Fresno. And Fresno, the interesting thing with Fresno is it has two Christian churches, Methodist and Congregational, and, of course, they were always in competition. But about five years ago, they had to merge because the congregations were getting too small.

TI: Oh, that's interesting.

JU: [Laughs] You haven't done Fresno yet?

TI: No, I haven't done Fresno. We're scheduled later on this summer, though.

JU: Are you?

TI: So I'll find out more.

JU: It's a very interesting place.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

TI: Now going back to your life, so after the war, let's pick up your story. So you were talking about going to the University of Denver. But what did you do after that?

JU: Well, I went to seminary at Iliff for three, four years. Took a long time to educate me. No, I did two programs. I did the Master of Theology program and finished that, and then I prepared for Doctor of Theology program. And I'd done all the work and then they gave me one of their fine scholarships. And the only, the only stipulation on that was that I go to "a well-known graduate school." And Iliff is not well-known, so that was out. And I was two-thirds through that program, and all I had to do was finish a dissertation. So they said, "Well, go anyway. You've got to go into some good place." And so I applied at Chicago and at Columbia. And Columbia answered first, and so I went to Columbia (for a PhD). And then, of course, the scholarship paid for tuition, but I had to make a living. And I had been ordained in the Methodist Church. (So I took a job at the Japanese Methodist Church).

TI: That must have been quite an experience to go to New York, Columbia University.

JU: Yes, it was.

TI: You're a young man.

JU: Absolutely, absolutely.

TI: It must have been a fantastic time.

JU: And I had gone through all that very quickly. So yeah, I started when I was twenty-three in the graduate program.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

TI: And about this time, I guess, is when you were either dating or got married?

JU: Yeah.

TI: And why don't you...

JU: I was married in '49.

TI: 1949.

JU: Just after I was...

TI: And so how did you meet your wife?

JU: We were both in the Student Christian Movement, YM/YW. YM/YW used to be strong on national campuses. And the virtue of it is it was always student-run. Now the denominational programs took over after that and, of course, they're all run by some professional, you know, the ministry, some social worker, somebody. Church does it differently. But what it was doing was installing professional help running the Y, whereas the Y, YW were always student-run by fellow students. And that was the virtue of the program, so they had a tremendous national feeling.

TI: That kind of gets back to something I read about your father, his belief in that, like this Young People's...

JU: Christian Conference.

TI: The Japanese Young People's Christian, should be run by...

JU: Students.

TI: ...students. So it was very similar, that they'd not only, in some ways, get more energy, but it teaches them leadership skills, too.

JU: Oh, yeah, of course. And if it's run by a professional, the kids don't any learning at all. And so, and it's much more -- and so the YM/YW used to run ten-day conferences at Christmas.

TI: And that's where you met your wife?

JU: And that's where I met my wife. She was leading a delegation from Ohio Wesleyan who let her in with a scholarship from camp, right? And she was interned.

TI: And before I forget, can you tell me her full name?

JU: Maye, M-A-Y-E, Mitsuye, M-I-T-S-U-Y-E -- the "E's" are very important -- Oye. O-Y-E.

TI: Oh, so the E on every name was there.

JU: The Y-E, the Y and the E both on every name. But I just called her Maye. [Laughs]

TI: And you know what, we're running out of time so I'm going to jump ahead, and you had two children?

JU: Yes.

TI: And the names of your children?

JU: Wesley Makoto.

TI: And your daughter?

JU: And Charissa Keiko.

TI: So you kept the tradition of American Japanese names.

JU: Yes. And they're both Uemuras.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

TI: And you, because you came to this area, St. Paul area. What drew you to St. Paul?

JU: Well, two things. Maye's folks, because Maye's folks came to live with us when they retired. They probably were the reason we moved to Salt Lake City to take this position in the Philosophy and Religion department. And when we came here, Maye's folks had turned into their seventies. To there, I mean Salt Lake. When we went there, Westminster College, which is a Presbyterian-Methodist related school. And they asked us, could they come and live with us. Her brother had settled in Chicago, and really close. They lived in Yellow Springs, Ohio, because that's where President Arthur... what was his name? The president of Antioch college invited Maye's family to move there out of Amache. And his name was Arthur Morgan. And he even offered his summer house for them to live in, and offered them to have a job in the janitorial work. They could both work, husband and wife. And so they moved to Yellow Springs, and Maye then got a scholarship -- she could go either place, either Antioch College or to Ohio Wesleyan. And so she took the Ohio Wesleyan because there was a job at the Methodist Church Conference. And so she took that job as a secretary to the Conference Education Office. And then she'd have her folks settled in at Antioch. And so it's about fifty miles apart, so a close commute. And then, of course, she went to Wesleyan and I went too, and we met at the Y conference in University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana at the Lincoln College Building at breakfast, the only time I made breakfast. [Laughs]

TI: Good. And so that got you to this area, and then you had a career in the Philosophy department at Hamline?

JU: And at Morningside in Iowa, too.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

TI: And so, Joe, I'm sorry, we're out of time. I guess there's just one question --

JU: [Laughs] I'm willing to talk.

TI: -- that begs to be asked.

JU: What's that?

TI: Do you have any regrets not pursuing a career in the ministry? You come across as someone who's deep, thinking about these things, and wondering if you ever thought -- I'm sure you thought about it. I mean, in fact, you were ordained, but you didn't pursue the career in the ministry. I was wondering if that was ever something you regretted.

JU: Yeah. There are two things there. The regret is that working with a community of people, you have friends for life. There isn't any question. As a philosophy professor, you don't have friends for life. [Laughs] You have colleagues, and they're not friends, they're colleagues. No, some of 'em are. But anyway, belonging to a community is really important, I think, in the sense that you never feel you're alone in the world. You always have people who are really concerned about your being, whatever your being is. And I realized that that can get cut both ways at certain points in your life. They may, they may be too close and too sticky, you know, and won't let you quite be yourself. But you can avoid that. But I think that being a part of a community is very important in life. And the other, the only other thing you can do is, where will a community go in the next ten years? Even in ultimate terms, which I think in terms of because philosophically you've got to, right? You have to think about, where is this all going? And I'm very concerned about that. So my concern becomes more philosophic the more you think about it. And it's my -- you know, I've always thought it was funny that every discipline ends with a PhD. PhD is the highest degree. Why? They never take a course in philosophy. [Laughs] If they required a course in philosophy, there would be moaning and groaning all over the campus.

TI: And yet they get their doctorate, is a PhD.

JU: Their doctor is a PhD. And a PhD is recognized as an academic degree, not a professional degree. And you see, MDs are professional, JDs are professional degrees, and ThDs are professional degrees.

TI: That's interesting, I never thought of that.

JU: And it's very important that PhD, namely a person is thinking for ultimate reasons, not just temporal ones. And that's why I went into philosophy, because I thought really deep people, really thoughtful people are always raising philosophical questions.

TI: Well, and I think this interview characterized that, so I really enjoyed it. The one thing I'd be remiss in saying, I know your first wife passed away around 2000, and I met your lovely second wife, she dropped you off, and I just wanted to make sure we mentioned her. So can you tell me the name of your second wife?

JU: Yeah, Nancy Jane Whiteside.

TI: And how did you meet her?

JU: At church in a library group. 'Cause I joined the library staff of the Hennepin Avenue Church primarily because I was appalled at what they were reading in the church, and the books and the library.

TI: And so through that connection, that's how you met Nancy.

JU: Exactly.

TI: Okay. Well, I'll have to save that story for another time because we're running into it. But Joe, thank you so much for your time.

JU: Well, thank you.

TI: This was wonderful.

JU: It's a lot of fun.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.