Densho Digital Repository
Katsugo Miho Collection
Title: Katsugo Miho Interview III
Narrator: Katsugo Miho
Interviewers: Michiko Kodama Nishimoto (primary), Warren Nishimoto (secondary)
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: February 16, 2006
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1022-3

<Begin Segment 1>

MN: All right. Today we're having an interview with Mr. Katsugo Miho. The date is February 16, 2006. This is our third session, and interviewers are Michiko Kodama Nishimoto and Warren Nishimoto. And what we're going to do is just like the last session, where we'll kind of follow up on some things. And we'll start following up by having you go back to the time when you were at Maui High School. And while you were at Maui High School, we're curious about what sorts of subjects you took.

KM: Well, the most important class at that time was core studies, I think it was known as. Instead of one-hour session, I remember core studies were two hours, I think. One of my worst subjects was algebra. One of my best subjects was biology. And other than that, I think I don't recall too much about the different types of classes that I had.

MN: When you look back, what subject or subjects maybe had the greatest impact on your life?

KM: I think it was core studies, because core studies you got involved with all kinds of aspects of school life. Although I did enjoy English literature, my recollection, I did enjoy English literature. To this day, I remember one of the poems, I forgot whose poems it was, but I did used to enjoy reading a lot of different poems back in 1940, 1939.

MN: And when we were coming over, you were telling us that you looked at your old high school annual and you've been thinking about some of the teachers that had an influence on you.

KM: Yes. One, particularly, Miss Stella Jones, who was the advisor to the student government. She was the main advisor to the extracurricular activity of those of us who were involved in the student body. The student body... student body board was separate from the class officers. So each class had a group of class officers, and then you had another set of officers who were members of the student body association where all four classes were represented, and I was the president of the student body government.

MN: And as president of the student body government, what do you remember doing?

KM: Well, it so happened that in my year, my term, those days, we used to have state, territory-wide student leaders conference. And the year that I was the president, we had a state conference in Maui High School. So I had to be, coordinate and be in charge of the... that was in the Christmas season of 1939. I met a lot of people whose friendship I cultivated as a result of meeting them at this student conference. A lot of friends, after high school and after World War II, that the relationship continued. Some names like Warren Higa and Amioka and a whole bunch of them. Mostly from Farrington High School, because the Farrington High School representatives were very active in that student government, my year in the student government, when they came to Maui.

WN: This is Shiro Amioka?

KM: Shiro Amioka, who later became the professor and head of the BOE. I remember from that time on, we were friends.

MN: You know, in these core studies and in your involvement in student government, what was your sense of government as it operated in America or specifically...

KM: You know, now that I think about it, after all these years, it was very interesting. Because even at that level back in 1939, there was this adversary coalition between the neighbor island high schools and Oahu. I don't know what the issue was, but there was an issue which divided the neighbor islands from the city, big-time, mainly from McKinley High School and Farrington High School representatives. But it was a friendly sort of rivalry. It's fun because later on when I became a state legislator, the same thing happened on a political level, on a government level, the neighbor islands versus Honolulu. But it's amazing, the similarity is very amazing.

MN: Having come from Maui, one of the neighbor islands, did you feel any, did you feel any different from the kids who came from Oahu?

KM: I don't know. I didn't feel it that much, but this was the basic, the feeling I think the neighbor island students had was that they were kind of looked down upon by the city slickers, the big town students from McKinley and from Farrington High School. Because they were the dominating high schools, from McKinley and Farrington High School. But my association with them on a personal level was very cordial and I cherished the relationship that was developed during that year.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

MN: And I was wondering, so in public school you had student government. In the Japanese language school, was there anything similar to that?

KM: No, I don't remember any kind of student government or anything like that in Japanese school. Japanese school level was basically attending classes and being part of the social activity aspect of the Japanese language schools, which played a big part. Because Japanese language school was basically only one hour in the afternoon. But the hour that you spent in Japanese school activities was more than just one hour a day or something like that.

MN: And then if you can just repeat what were the types of Japanese school activities that went beyond the classroom?

KM: There were various student school activities which the English grammar school never had. For instance, the Japanese undokai, there was nothing like that comparable on the public school level. And you had a lot of... what would you call it? Productions. The last time we talked about it, when I was in first grade, I think it was the first grade that I, the dance was a, what was a kewpie dance. Productions was very frequent and more than the English public schools. The Japanese school had more of these type of activities, social activities where the entire community participates, not the Japanese school, but the basic Kahului community.

MN: And then to what extent were your parents then involved in public school things?

KM: Our public school, the English public school? Very little participation by the parents as far as I recall, very little. Number one, they did not speak English. Throughout their lives, my parents never really learned to speak English. I don't recall how the communication level between the grammar school and my parents were, now that you think about it. But somehow, community-wise, I guess there would be a spokesman that would kind of speak on behalf of the Japanese community, Japanese students. But I don't recall any kind of at grade, grammar school level, I don't recall any kind of organized activities at public school.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

MN: And then in terms of classmates at Maui High, where did most of your classmates come from?

KM: See, remember I commuted 12 miles, that's the difference between... there was no bus transportation, basically, during those days. And until I was, got my driver's license, very little, except in addition to school functions, we had Boy Scouts. My involvement with the Boy Scouts was, involved a lot of interchange between my classmates. Not only from Maui High but from the different towns like Wailuku and Lahaina. Lahaina was just as far away, further than Maui High School. But we did have interchange through their activities like the Alexander & Baldwin recreational activity. Football season, we would have fierce competition between Lahaina, Wailuku, Kahului, Paia, Puunene, in all levels of athletics. From swimming to basketball to baseball to softball, football. The entire island was involved with these Alexander & Baldwin Recreational activities. And I think there was nothing comparable to that even on Oahu, I think, although I do remember Oahu had a very strong barefoot football, like we had on Maui. But Maui had a very organized Alexander & Baldwin recreation program.

WN: You're talking about island-wide competition and rivalries, and you said earlier that there was this relationship between the neighbor islanders and the city folks on Oahu. I was wondering, what about between Kahului and the plantation areas? Was there this kind of a difference?

KM: Well, let me tell you. There was a very strong rivalry between Kahului and Lahaina. Number one, we were pretty far apart. On a Boy Scout level, I had a lot of friends from Lahaina. But when it came to baseball and football, especially football, football is a contact sport now. Baseball was not a contact sport. The rivalry was very fierce between Kahului and Lahaina. In football, I remember on so many different occasions, we ended up in a fight after the football game. Not big fights, but there was grudges between certain players, especially those who were involved with body contact on the lines, so to speak. Between Lahaina and Kahului, we had some, even extended to baseball. The football rivalry extended into baseball. But the baseball, you hardly have any occasion to get involved, losing your temper and whatnot. But I remember between Kahului and Lahaina, it was there. You had to expect the worst every time we played them.

WN: Did you get a feeling that the Lahaina folks and the plantation folk, Paia, Puunene folks, that really want to try harder to beat the town folks?

KM: More or less, more or less. But Lahaina, you got to remember, Lahaina was a big city. And there was this rivalry... I would put it this way. The girls from Lahaina were far more sophisticated than the girls from Wailuku, Kahului or Puunene or Paia. And you know, my analysis of that is the reasons why this happened to be, because Lahaina was exposed to the U.S. Navy every so often. Because the navy had maneuvers out on the ocean of Lahaina. It was said at one time that the entire U.S. Navy could get into that Lahaina, Molokai, Lanai complex. And there were occasions where the entire navy or the Western Pacific U.S. Navy came into Lahaina. I don't remember how frequently it came, but the young ladies of Lahaina got exposed to these young sailors more often and so the ladies were much more sophisticated than the girls from Wailuku, Kahului or Puunene.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

MN: And how about the relationship between Kahului guys and Wailuku?

KM: Well, Kahului and Wailuku were pretty friendly. After my year, Kahuili and Wailuku, all the students started to go to Baldwin High School. So the high school level was one community. And some of the things that caused these rivalries was that the Lahaina boys did not like the Kahului boys dating the Lahaina girls. This was really a big thing when I was growing up. The Lahaina boys just didn't like that because those years in Maui, not only this Alexander & Baldwin recreation, athletic recreation, but we used to have community dances. The dances would, like the Bon Odori would be from one town to the other town, right? But the ballroom dancing was a community dancing that used to be held at the various gymnasium. Almost every town had a small gym. And a community dance where all the young people would go would be, one week we would be in Puunene, one week we'd be in Kahului, then the next one would be in Lahaina. And the so-called dancing group would move from one gymnasium to the other. But this was a lot of, cause for a lot of friction. And I think even during the war, World War II, now, I'm referring to, for a while, these dances continued because I remember where the state capitol is now located, it used to be a gymnasium.

WN: Oh, it was an armory.

KM: Used to be the armory. The armory is located where the state capitol is now. And I remember... and I don't know whether it was before World War II or after World War II, that we had the same type of big band dancing. There was a time when this big band was very popular in Honolulu, so it must have been after World War II, I think. I remember Takoshi, George Takoshi who had revived his big band for a while. He built a patio in his lot out in Hawaii Kai just for his band to practice. He built a separate pavilion on his lot next to Henry Kaiser where his band would practice for a while when he tried to reinvigorate the big band popularity. And for a while he succeeded. There was a time when... what was the name of the big band? I forgot what the name is, but he brought back that popularity for a little while, but he enjoyed that.

MN: You know, on Maui, who provided the music at these community...

KM: There was just kind of a, one or two bands. My time, the popular group was called the Molina Brothers. They were very popular, Molina Brothers. Even after World War II, Maui musical group, the Molina Brothers were the most popular ones.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

MN: And who sponsored these community dances?

KM: I don't know the details of that, but I would assume it was under the auspices of Alexander & Baldwin. Because Maui was such that... let me tell you a tale of my high school coach. Dee Shetanian was a... what you'd call a legend at San Jose University, San Jose State University. At San Jose State University he played football, he played baseball, and not just played, he was the player from San Jose State in that California area. He was of Armenian heritage, Armenian population in San Jose was the original settlers of San Jose. He was a legend of San Jose State in basically three sports, baseball, basketball and football. And somehow he came out to Maui High School to teach, he was my coach. And he would tell us that when he first came to Maui High School, football was played only on Sundays, and I've told this story on many other occasions. And Dee was very concerned because the only day that... no, no. It was played on Saturdays, that's right. The games were played on Saturdays, and because those days were not five day working, the Kahului stevedores or even the other families, Saturday was a full working day. And so Dee looked into it and he found out that one of the reasons, the basic reason why football was played on Saturdays was that "Mother" Baldwin -- you got to remember, Maui was under the control of the Baldwin family, the entire island. Although Baldwins are Puunene sugar plantation, and I think Paia, they also had control of Paia. But they were the patron, big patron of the island of Maui. Polo was their number one activity as I said last time, Bing Crosby would come, Wiley Post, I think Bing Crosby came with Wiley Post just before they died in a crash, Wiley Post died in an Alaskan plane crash. But he finally said, "We've got to have the families be able to watch the boys play." And so he approached Mother Baldwin for I don't know how long it took, but he convinced, finally convinced Mother Baldwin to acquiesce to the games being played on Sunday so that the families of the players can come and watch the games. And so after that, when my time came around, I was playing on Sundays.

And Dee Shetanian, after the war, moved back to San Jose and he retired as a California state school teacher in San Jose, but always kept his ties in Maui to the extent that every year he would come back to Maui for one or two months to have his, the excuse was to have his teeth checked by one of his ex-students. And I think Dr. Omura was his favorite student, and he would come back and keep in touch with his ex-students. I used to always drop by San Jose whenever I had to go to the West Coast, I would stop by San Jose and visit with him. And there were regular visitors dropping by if they stopped on the West Coast. After he died, oh about five years ago, he is buried in Maui Cemetery. His wish was that he would be buried in Maui. But he kept his ties with all the boys. And he was the one that had a lot of influence on his students, his charges. Whenever chance he had, he would encourage them to do, "You got to continue your education beyond high school." He wasn't involved only in sports, he was very much a part of our whole life.

MN: You know, when you look back on, say, Mr. Shetanian, were there other teachers at Maui High would encourage local kids to go beyond high school?

KM: Oh, yeah. As I said, my advisor on student government affairs was Stella Jones, Miss Stella Jones. After Maui High School, she moved over to Honolulu and taught for many years at McKinley High School. But during my time, she was my advisor. She always kept advising me that student government shouldn't only be the activities that I should be keeping engaged in. To begin with, she encouraged me to the extent that she said that... and I remember distinctly her advice that going to school doesn't mean you just attend classes. She said, "Think about your everyday life." You get involved in various aspects of life. When you are growing up, your primary object is just going to school. You would learn that once you get through with school, whatever you end up being your lifetime profession, there's a lot more activity than just your employment and whatever you do to earn a living. The other aspects of life beyond just your making a living are community activities, and there's endless various subjects things involved as, as a community. And I remember her distinct advice is that, "You only get back what you give." Her main -- and this was not only to me, I'm sure to most of the other students, the same advice she gave me. You only get back what you give if you participate. Don't participate in anything, that's your life. But if you get involved with other aspects of your community, you get whatever you put into it. And so her advice to the students was, "Don't just come to school to just get academic training." And so what she was referring to the fact that they went beyond academic, activity, you had service. There was one thing, a boys' and girls' service club, and service was very broad. Then there was home economics clubs, and one was the other YMCA, YWCA, all of these different activities. And I think it was the introductions to all of these on a college level, you get involved with the fraternities and whatnot. Although high school you didn't have fraternities, but you had these very different type of clubs that students who were involved in their particular field, economics club or business club or home economics. So she had a lot of influence other than just advisor to the participants of certain government.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

MN: You were telling us that you were very active in student government and sports, so I was wondering, what sports did you get involved in?

KM: I played a little bit of everything. I got involved... on my level, softball was one of my main fun because I played softball from my sophomore year, I think. But I didn't get involved in the high school level on basketball, but on the community, Alexander & Baldwin, we had basketball and baseball. Baseball was, the AJA had a junior and senior league, AJA levels. And my senior year I played football as a senior member. One year... but prior to that I had been playing barefoot football. Maui barefoot football was a very, highly competitive sport. We started out, there was a limit to it. You had a league based on weight. In other words, the size of the boys. You didn't want a hundred-and-fifty pounder playing with a hundred-and-ten-pounder. So we had what is called a hundred-and-five pound league. Day before, I think, the game, the boys had to be weighed in. There was a weighing in, there was a lot of starvation and whatnot to make that hundred-and-five. Because normal weight of 115 pounders would starve themselves the day before to come down to the hundred-and-five limit. And if you were more than a hundred and five at the weigh-in, you were disqualified from playing the particular game either that day or the next day. I think the same day you had to weigh-in, there was a weigh-in. And so the hundred-and-five-pound league, I played, I started going in the hundred-and-fifteen-pound league, I played in that. And then there was a hundred-and-twenty-five pound league. As I grew older, I progressed one level over the other. And the final one was as a senior, I played high school football. Fortunately, I made the team as a right half.

MN: And then what was the name of your barefoot football league team?

KM: Oh, the name was Kahului, we represented Kahului. Whatever basketball, football, Kahului Town Team, Paia Town, or Puunene. We went by the community that we represented.

MN: Were there any age limits to that barefoot...

KM: After a while, it so happened that there was one player who was a small man, build, and he played even though he was much older than the other boys. I think we started off with... what was it? The age limit came into being during my time. In other words, high school, you could have, you had to be below a certain age in order to play high school. I think this was... now I remember. One of the reasons why this came into being was because we had a boarding school on Maui. And I think, even today I think it's, Lahaina Luna High School was one of the early high schools under, I think, federal government establishment. Lahaina Luna was a agricultural extension school or something like that. And it was established as the boarding school and it had students from all over the islands going to Lahaina Luna. And that's why, in my timeline, it was the team to beat. Because they had these elderly boys dorming at the... kids from Hilo who, for one reason or the other, stayed out from high school one or two years. And so they would then enter Lahaina Luna and play even though they, in my case, a good friend of mine who became real good friends after the high school. He was two years older than I was, but the year that I played, he played high school football. This was one of the reasons why when the age limit was placed on... around my time or shortly after my time. And this became true for almost all of the sports.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

MN: And then, you know, you mentioned the AJA league. We've been having this discussion on this project about the term "AJA"

KM: Yeah, Americans of Japanese Ancestry. You know, I keep wondering around when it started, but as far back as I can remember, I think we referred to the baseball, particularly the baseball was the number one sport that the AJAs were involved. And I think we referred to ourselves as the Americans of Japanese Ancestry, AJA, on Maui, as I recall. I don't recall any other terminology, I don't think we referred, I don't think we referred to ourselves as Niseis at that time. I think the "Nisei" terminology came in after the war when we tried to explain who we were. And it was part of the differentiation between first generation and second generation and the Nisei terminology, because Nisei means second generation. And before that, I think we only referred -- and that's because maybe during the war, or shortly before the war, there was this, remember, there was this business of, we encountered that. But in 1938, I think it was, that there was a big movement within the Japanese American community to expatriate. And expatriation was, until 1922, all children of Japanese ancestry born in Hawaii automatically became American citizens by virtue of birth, and by virtue of treaty between Japan and the United States. The Japanese government was also allowed to recognize these children of Japanese ancestry as Japanese citizens automatically by virtue of the parents being Japanese citizens. So all children born of Japanese citizens outside of Japan, like Hawaii, automatically was endowed with the Japanese citizenship. And so when things, diplomatic relationship between Japan and the US. worsened on around 1937, '38, during the Manchurian Incident and whatnot, questions were raised as to, A, where does the loyalty of the Japanese Americans... because at that time they were referring to the Japanese Americans. And I believe there was objections to referring to Japanese because the emphasis was on the Japanese aspect and not, emphasis on not being American. And I think the community gravitated to referring to themselves as Americans of Japanese Ancestry, even though, prior to that, that was the phraseology as far as I can remember. But it became a subject of discussion because there were some people who wanted to keep on referring to themselves as Japanese, of Americans. But it's contradictory because you cannot be American and be Japanese. The terminology is very contradictory. You cannot be Japanese American because Americans are not known for one ethnic background. Everybody can be an American regardless of what your ethnic background is. It's who do you want to emphasize, what do you want to emphasize? The fact that you are an American, of what? And so in America, you have American of English ancestry, of African ancestry, of Swedish ancestry, and they're all Americans. And so the primary emphasis is the fact that you are American first. And especially in 1938 and thereabouts. You wanted to emphasize the fact that you were American first, and not of the ethnic background. And so during this period of expatriation, I think it became one of the subject matter as to who you are, who are you? Now, if you ask who you are, first of all, you are American. That's the primary emphasis. And so, in 1938, 30,000 Niseis of Japanese descent, Americans of Japanese ancestry expatriated, cut off their lawful legal citizenship to Japan. And it required a voluntary action on the part of the person to expatriate.

MN: And in your situation, what did you do in terms of expatriating, or not expatriating?

KM: My brother Katsuaki immediately above me was one of the activists at the University of Hawaii. He was a student at the University of Hawaii during this period. In fact, he and my older sister, Fumiye, was also active in this regard at the University of Hawaii. But being on Maui, it wasn't much of a big deal in Maui. So I never got involved in this movement to expatriate alone. How this came about was, after the war started, the question came up between my brother and I. I remember, was it a discussion shortly before the war? Shortly before the war, my brother was living in Oahu, but then he would come back every so often. And at one point, I think we did have a discussion, lengthy discussion between he and I, as to whether I would expect it or not. And my argument with him at that point was that, at that point, the government, between Japan and the United States, long ago had felt that there was nothing wrong in a person being a Japanese citizen and an American citizen. And I told my brother that as long as the American government refused to allow my father and mother to become American citizens, you see, at that time, by law, no matter how long they lived in Hawaii, my parents could never become American citizens by law. And so my argument I remember with him was that as long as the laws refuses to have mother and father become American citizens, I see nothing wrong in me being dual citizen, because I'm the child of my father and mother. And by virtue of law, I'm a dual citizen. And so I turned down his request that I consider expatriation.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

MN: You know, I know we're going to be... by asking this question, I'm gonna be jumping a bit. But you know, you're a dual citizen. And I know that later on you volunteered for the 442. Did that dual citizenship ever pose a problem?

KM: You know, it's funny. There was so much, so much question being raised and fuss being made in '38 and '39 about us being dual citizens, you know. But when you think about it, even now, when I think about it, in 1941, December 7th, when the war started, I don't recall, not one bit of question being raised about our dual citizenship status. Because at nine o'clock that morning, we were all University of Hawaii ROTC students were requested to report to the gym, which was now the administration building, there was an old gymnasium there, which was kitty corner from Atherton House where I was staying. And walking over there, into the gymnasium,� until a month and a half later, when we were preemptively, without notice, discharged, honorably discharged, not one question was raised about our loyalty, the fact that we were dual citizens. It did not stop any of us from becoming members of the Hawaiian Territorial Guard. And going out that December 7th evening, going out to the waterfront to guard the waterfront station, nobody raised any questions about our loyalty. And we were left alone. That first time, the university, in my case, we were dumped off in the waterfront Iwilei area where we were, at the time it was very barren, a few oil tanks and whatnot. But our group of University of Hawaii students were dropped off as guards over an area, in the dark, on four hour shifts. And for two or three nights in a row we were serving as, I don't know what we would have done because we were given a loaded rifle, we were given a loaded rifle with five rounds of ammunition. We didn't even know how to fire the gun, but we were given this rifle, we were told, "You load it this way and this is the way you lock it in case anything happens." To this day, I wondered, what was "if anything happens," what they were referring to? Not that nothing happened, but what if anything had happened? What were we supposed to do, because we were not given any kind of orders. And we were dropped off individually in an area maybe 50 yards apart from each other. And we spent three nights doing that. And I don't know for what, but nobody questioned our loyalty.

And as your history revealed, a month and a half later, early in the morning, we got called up and said, hey, we got to report down to the Lanakila intermediate school. We woke up at about two o'clock in the morning, they woke us up at two o'clock. And then finally about five-thirty, a truck came by to pick us up. We were all fully packed and everything, they dropped us off at Lanakila, we wondered what was going on. We found out the whole battalion was assembled at Lanakila. And then Major Frazier, who was the adjutant, commander of the battalion, came up and told us point blank, right straight in our faces, "The reason why you are here this morning is because all you Americans of Japanese ancestry" -- I'm pretty sure he referred to Americans of Japanese ancestry" -- "because of your ethnic background, you are being discharged herein, right off the bat, right as of now you are being discharged from the Hawaiian Territorial." Only the AJAs. We were completely in a state of shock, but there's nothing we could do. It was it was just a pronouncement.

MN: You know, like you said, you folks were in a state of shock. What were your thoughts then when you folks were discharged?

KM: Well, basically, why, why? Then rumors went that, and this is the explanation given. I don't know how you get this, but this information I remember is that the security of Oahu was under a new command, a new commanding officer in charge of security of Oahu. And so his first task or duty that he did was to check on the security which required checking the electrical stations, the water pump stations and the waterfront area and this and that. And at that point already, this month and a half, we were assigned to various stationary locations. Like in my case, I was assigned, my squad was assigned to guard the electrical power plant or Liliha right next to the Catholic church. It was a small electrical distributor, it was a crucial electrical plant on Liliha Street, and there were twelve of us. And we stood 24-hour guard in front of School Street because there was heavy traffic. School Street was one of the main streets, and that was our duty. And so from there, we were just called in to report to Lanakila. But we had very little notice, or there was no notice given at all, whatsoever.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

MN: And then to move you back a bit, I want to move you back to 1940. And first of all, I'll have you graduate from high school. And after you graduated, what were your plans? You graduated in '40?

KM: My family was one of the few families that started going to the university. My brother would have gone to university 1930, I think it was. Because he was exposed, I don't know if I mentioned earlier, but he was exposed to the mainland when he won the territorial glider contest. So he wanted to go away from Hawaii, and so he went to the University of Utah right after high school. And then Fumiye, before she could go to the University of Hawaii, she had to work one year. Because my brother, the expenses were kind of what you call, I'm pretty sure that was the reason why. But Fumiye, Katsuso, Katsuaki, and myself, we all worked one year after high school, to get a nest egg for our basic expenses, starting at the university. Before that, we had to find places to stay. Fumiye was sort of like a schoolgirl in one of the homes in Manoa. And Katsuaki -- Paul, I don't know what he did, but all of us had to do some part-time work to go to school.

MN: And you know, you were saying that your family was one of those where the kids went to university.

KM: Automatically. There was no, hardly any question... as to what we were going to thereafter, we had very little discussion, but going, continuing on after high school was a given fact. Wasn't much discussion as to whether we would or we wouldn't.

MN: And to what extent did the experiences of your older siblings, like Katsuro and Fumiye and Katsuaki and Paul have on you?

KM: So there was no other expectation but that after one year of working at the Maui Pineapple as a maintenance man, that I would continue going on to the university.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

MN: And what was your work as a maintenance man at Maui Pine?

KM: Oh, very interesting. I learned how to paint. During the canning it was, the pineapple cannery, June, July, August, in my time it was twenty-four hours, and so we worked eight-hour shifts. You either worked one, two or three shifts. Because I was a regular employee, I would work the first shift, which would mean that you go in early morning and in the afternoon we went home. But offseason, June, July and August, it's considered the peak of the pineapple season. Thereafter, it slows down. Those years, pineapple was not, the technique had not been cleared where you would have all-year-round fruiting. Basically, it was June, July and August, and thereafter it was very intermittent. You may have one day a week canning or depending on the fruits. Especially November, December, January, February, you had very little canning days. So those were the days that the cannery did maintenance work, which was why physically we had to scrape off the rust and paint thereafter. And I'm talking about the ceiling. That was the real big, scary job. And the ceiling in the cannery may be twenty, twenty-five feet. And you had to put in two-by-twelve planks to board the rafters. You know, you had the ceiling and you have the rafters where these, what they call totan roofs. And underneath had to be the rusty spot, the old paint had to be scraped off. So in some areas, it required us to get a blowtorch, blowtorch the old paint. Didn't have these strong chemicals that would scrape off the paint, you had to blow it off, and blow it down, and then scrape it off. What you did was you were sitting on, standing, or lying on these two-by-four planks, from rafter to rafter. It was a real dangerous job, I remember, we weren't being paid extra hazardous pay or anything. But it required us going up to ten, fifteen feet and hanging on to ropes. And some places you had to hang on, most places you had the rope and the rope between the rafters. You hold on with one hand and paint with the other hand or scrape with the other hand. At seventeen year or eighteen years old, I was doing this, for one year.

MN: At that time, did you consider it dangerous?

KM: I remember there was an older worker, and he was a real scaredy cat. I remember he was really a scaredy cat. Certain areas he would refuse to go up. We didn't know any better.

MN: And how much were you paid for doing all that?

KM: I believe it was almost thirty cents an hour, I think. I remember it was thirty-three or thirty-five cents an hour. And after being discharged from the Territorial Guard, when I went back to Maui, there was an option to go back to Maui Pine or get a defense job. And you know, I chose the defense job primarily because of the pay. Maui Pine still paid forty cents an hour, I think, forty cents, at that point, 1942, forty cents an hour. But the USED, United States Engineering Corps paid sixty-five cents an hour. And not only eight, we were ten, ten hours a day, seven days a week, for the one year that I was out before joining the 442.

MN: So having worked at Maui Pine for one year, what were you expected to pay for when you went to the UH? Everything?

KM: Oh, I had expected to do part-time jobs going to university, like I did when I went to law school. Even at the university, being a veteran, I worked at a bookstore. We worked, I put in a lot of hours at the bookstore.

WN: Was that a common thing to, after high school, work one year? Was it your parents requiring that or was that more or less...

KM: I don't know. In my time, it was already a practice in the family, so it was an automatic thing. I never considered going straight to university right after high school.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

MN: Okay. So, Kaz, this is tape two of session number three. And you know, I was wondering, for your family, what were they, where were they and what were they doing up to the outbreak of war?

MN: Well, let's say, okay, 1941, I started university in September of 1941. At that point, my brother Katsuaki, immediately older than me, had already graduated from the university and he was working for the city and county as an ambulance attendant already. He had applied for Tulane Medical School and he accepted to go to Tulane. But medical school, he anticipated the expenses to be such that his plan, if I remember correctly, was to work one or two years as a city and county ambulance attendant, enough to get a nest egg to go to Tulane where he had already been accepted. My sister Fumiye had already graduated from... well, Katsuso, Paul, had already graduated, and he had already gone to Yale, decided to go to Yale. Not divinity at that point, but I think it was a prep school or something, going to divinity school anyway. And Fumiye had graduated after Paul, although Paul was younger. Fumiye had got delayed on the schooling, so she went, graduated from university and had gone to Japan to teach at Doshisha girl's school or whatever, university, I think. Because of the influence of this professor who had come from Doshisha, Dr. Takakusu, who was a renowned lecturer on Buddhism. He wondered, he took or encouraged Fumiye to join him and go back to Japan and teach at Doshisha. And she was in Doshisha in 1941.

My older sister Tsukie had worked at Maui Soda as the boss's secretary for two or three years, and had gone back to Japan thereafter. Not back to, but gone to Japan as a, some kind of YBA convention or something like that, decided to stay back. And basically, I think, because of her bilingual ability, considering, at that time, bilingualism was very rare and she got a job. And eventually got married, was already married in 1941 and living in Japan.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

MN: And then I was curious, sometimes in our conversations off or on camera, you had mentioned some trips to Japan. So I was wondering...

KM: My trip?

MN: Well, family, members of your family. I was wondering how frequently had the Miho family had contacts with friends and relatives in Japan prior to the war?

KM: When I was five or six years old, I think my grandfather was very sick. Why, he was laid down because of, I think he was paralyzed from a heart attack or something like that. So he was bedridden for some time, and so I recall, I have pictures of my trip to Japan when I was five or six years old, and that was when I first met my eldest brother and sisters, sister in Hiroshima,� both of whom never came to Hawaii. My brother died around the age when he was supposed to go to the university in Hiroshima. My sister lived until after the war, my eldest sister lived until after the war, but she, unfortunately, never made it to Hawaii. But she was one of those who, after the Manchurian Incident, settled in Manchukuo. She and her husband, her husband was an elementary school principal, and they raised four children... well, actually five, but one passed away very early. But she had four girls in Manchukuo in the war, 1941, the war broke down, and lived throughout the war. I don't know where in Manchuria, it would have been one of these recent repatriates from Japan, from China, years after. But in their case, she was very fortunate. The last boat leaving Dairen, I think it was, back to Japan. We didn't know that she was on, the family had given up hope as to located him there because everything was so hectic. But no information where she was and how she was doing during the war. She lost her husband, my brother-in-law, who was a member of the Japanese Kwantung Army. In Japan, all men had to serve a mandatory draft. And so he was a lieutenant and part of the Japanese Imperial Army who were force marched by the Russians, and thousands of them died on the way, on the road, and he was one of the, he lost his life on the road as a Russian prisoner of war. But my sister was able to come back. How they did it, I don't know, but she came back with four daughters. The last ship that left with the so-called survivors of World War II at that time, from Manchuria. The so-called Japanese immigrants.

MN: Your, other than your trip when you were five years old, were there others?

KM: My parents went back to Japan every so often, I don't know how frequently, but I do know they had taken various trips to Japan.

MN: And right before the war, your father also was part of the Island contingent.

KM: Contingent, the 2600th anniversary of Japan, Nisen Roppyaku Nen, they called it.

WN: Of your brothers and sisters, Katsuro, Katsuaki, Paul, Fumiye, Tsukie and yourself, who expatriated and who didn't?

KM: I don't know if Paul, Katsuso, did, because he, being a minister, until the end of the war, he was in Chicago. At that point, he had graduated from Yale Divinity and he had been... I know he was, some religious activities out in Chicago. During the war, I understand, he came back to Hawaii and got married to my sister-in-law, Ruth, at that point, and came back to Hawaii.

WN: And Katsuro?

KM: I'm sure Katsuro was one of the leaders of the expatriation movement, and Fumiye, I'm sure, did, and Katsuaki. But Tsukie was in Japan already, and Paul may not have had to do, if anything, because he was not part of this so-called movement in Hawaii druing all of this row.

WN: So as far as you may know, you were the only one, maybe?

KM: In my family record, I'm the only one that's on record. Everybody else is out.

WN: Did they ever tell you anything like you're stupid?

KM: Who?

WN: Did your siblings ever say something to you about that?

KM: Oh, no. After 1941, Fumiye was in Japan. Even before that, Tsukie was in Japan, too. We had very little discussion. Even Paul, Paul was away. The only discussion was between Katsuaki and I, and the big discussion we had was whether we'd volunteer or not, at that point in 1942.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

MN: Because your family had ties with Japan, some of your siblings are living in Japan, your mom and dad sometimes would travel to Japan, your father was in that contingent of Islanders who went to mark the 2600th birthday of the Imperial House. When it came to U.S.-Japan relations in the late 1930s, what do you remember about family feelings about this situation between the two countries?

KM: You know, I've talked about this on different occasions, and my evaluation at this point is that, as a Nisei, you reflect on our cultural upbringing. As a Nisei, I remember being aloof. As a stranger looking at this relationship of, say, for instance, the emperor and his people -- this is Japan -- I already had been exposed to the custom of reverence that the Japanese people had to the emperor as god. Because in the movies and in the... I recall that, for instance, one of the things was that throughout Japan, no Japanese were allowed to own a car -- although not too many people owned cars -- but nobody was allowed to own a car with maroon color, because the emperor was the only one that was allowed to use, I think his car was a bright maroon-colored car, the limousine that he was riding in. And the white, pure white horse. And another thing was whenever the emperor walked among his people, nobody could look at him directly, they always had to have their head down. And this was also true looking at the shogun movies, samurai movies. The samurai shogun of a clan or a... it was han, so not prefecturally, but it was a...

MN: Clan.

KM: Clan. If he was coming, they could not raise their head to look at him at eye-level. So reverence... as an aloof observer, because we never had any direct contact with the emperor. As you reflect, what did we learn about loyalty and reverence? It was... the Japanese emperor was kind of a distant entity from the general population. The more direct contact the general population had was with the clan, the prefectural leaders, different laws of the very different han. And you owed loyalty to them, very little contact between them and the emperor, even between the samurai, the emperor was completely isolated. So I was brought up with the idea that loyalty, you owed your loyalty to whoever was your lord. Which is comparable to working for anybody. Like if we worked for the railroad, we owed our loyalty to the railroad boss. He's the boss, he was our big boss. Came new year, my parents were always all aflutter as to what kind of gift we were going to give him for that new year. It was a big deal, how much are you gonna spend? And my recollection quite often was that the most common thing that I used to deliver was a gallon of sake. [Laughs] For the Japanese family, sake was the number one prize. Because I remember delivering sake to Mr. Walsh every new year. So this was, to me, reflecting upon this business. And we had nothing to do with the emperor in Hawaii. He never came here, we never knew anything about him. But to all our movies that we saw, especially, you know, the yakuza movies that was very popular, you owe your boss, the yakuza boss, you had this perennial... came back on the cowboy show, we always saw the same thing over and over and over. The same thing with chuushingura, we saw it over and over in different form, different actors, but the same subject matter was loyalty to your boss -- from our point of view -- to your boss, because we didn't have lords or anything like that. But this is what was talked to us and this is what we grew up under. So I saw very little contact between the emperor and myself. In fact, there was no connection between the emperor and myself, that's how I looked at it.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

KM: So when my brother came back to Maui early in 1943, to tell me that he's going to volunteer for 442, this is before anybody else knew, before even public information. Because my brother Katsuo was very close to the FBI people, and so Katsuaki was already informed that they decided they're going to form an all-Nisei outfit. In those days, they say all-Nisei outfit. So he came back to pay a final goodbye to my mother, and that's how the picture that we have, the three of us, when we decided that we would volunteer. And I spent a couple of days, in fact, one whole night with him as to whether he and I both volunteer, whether only he'd volunteer and I'd volunteer. One of the Japanese customs is that, take time as a family. A lot of times a member of the family can represent the whole family. And so my argument with him was that, a, he is... well, number one, let's go with Katsuo. Katsuo has glaucoma, so even though he volunteered, he's not going to be taken into the army. Paul can volunteer but he's not going be taken. Even if he did, he's a divinity student, so he's going to be exempt one way or the other. And so it was only between Katsuaki and I. And I pointed out to him that he had already worked several years, one year longer than what he expected to go to medical school, and that he could have gone anytime at that point in 1942. But I told him, "You're already accepted to medical school, your future is to become a doctor, be a professional," which was, at that time, for the Nisei community, kind of unheard of, the professions that were, being a doctor. And there was just a handful of doctors. In Maui you had only one or two doctors, and even in Honolulu, the Kuakini Hospital was the only medical facility available for the Nisei population. And so we argued, argued, argued all night long. But he said, his argument was that volunteering for the U.S. Army at that point, we had no discussion whatsoever about my having been dishonorably, not honorably discharged from the HTG and that the Niseis were being mistreated. There was very little discussion about those aspects. What we were involved was our family, our individual choice, his choice was "my individual choice." He put it on the basis that it was not a family matter. "I represent the family, so our family will be represented in this volunteer stuff." You have every reason to continue, go to school and become a doctor. But to no avail, we akiramete at that point, he was a volunteer, I was a volunteer. Because, look, it's an individual matter. He's... and this is, refer this phrase of modern ones, his answer was, "Look, if both of you and I, we survive this war," and then this business of what the Niseis do during World War II. So what is he going to tell his kids? That, "I didn't volunteer because I went to medical school?" As compared to, he had a choice as an individual, as an individual member of society. Did he fight for his country or not for his country? That was his argument. That's was the choice made.

MN: You know, when that decision was made, what was the reaction of your family?

KM: Well, nobody else was involved in the discussion, this was strictly between he and I, because nobody else was around. Fumiye wasn't around, Paul wasn't around, my dad didn't get involved with our discussion. Katsuro was on Oahu, but he was kind of aloof, you know, full-time working.

WN: Did Katsuaki try to dissuade you from volunteering?

KM: Oh, no, no. There was very little discussion on my part. It was his, whether would have... the discussion basically was between he and I as to whether he would or not. It was a given as far as my volunteering.

WN: Why was it a given?

KM: We never even thought about if I would not volunteer. Because I'd already served a month and a half after December 7th.

MN: And then who among your acquaintances or friends volunteered?

KM: You know, funny thing, I don't recall much discussion... well number one, I was too busy, right? I was working ten hours a day. Ten hours a day, seven days a week, and so there was very little interchange other than during the working hours. So during working hours there was little discussion for something like this because most of the workers were elderly boys, elderly men.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

MN: And then at that time, you were working Civil Defense at Pu'unene, yeah?

KM: Not Civil Defense, U.S. Engineers, and later on it was Naval Construction.

MN: Civilian.

KN: When the Naval Construction took over, we got increasing pay, too, I think ten cents more than, ten cents, five cents an hour, I think it was.

MN: What kind of work did you do?

KN: Well, as I said, when I came back, went back to Maui, I was told by my friends, as long as you have a hammer, saw, square... hammer, saw, square, and ruler, you qualified to be a carpenter's apprentice. I said, well, gee, I have all the tools in my house. And sure enough, I volunteer, as soon as I went to apply for the job, not only that, it so happened that one of the so-called "straw bosses" of the construction was an old family friend. So I got a job right away, even though I didn't know how to saw, I learned on the job. One of the big jobs... carpentry work was kind of hard for me because you had to join, you had to saw straight. But the one job that was an easy job was roofing job. They needed to put in these tiles on the roof, this was a back-breaking job because you stayed out in Pu'unene, Maui, it's a hot spot, barren land, basically. Even if you go today, go out there, it's red sand, red dirt and windy area, where the airfield was being built, and what we were doing was constructing barracks on the airfield. And so they needed this shingle roofing, and that was my main job, to nail down the shingles.

MN: And among the workers there, were they all local people or were there outsiders?

KN: All of them were local as far as I know, as far as I recall. In that carpentry work, I don't think there were any Mainland workers, although there were a lot of workers brought in from the Mainland, because the defense work, there was a terrible shortage of manpower because they were trying to build the Maui, you know where the Maui airport is now, that was the beginning of the Maui, the Kahului Airport. Until then it was only the Pu'unene airport. About the time we got through with the barracks in Pu'unene, the Maui complex was being worked on, when the time I volunteered, that was when they were going to do that. So actually, the Maui airport construction, Kahului was a big, big job, and so a lot of Seabees came in at that point, into Maui. Whole bunch of Seabees, those were all from the mainland.

MN: So did you have any contact with, say, the Seabees?

KN: Yes, because my mother was taking care of the hotel all by herself because my dad wasn't there, I wasn't there. And when the Seabees came into town, there was no restaurant, because there were hardly any restaurants. So, in fact, I think my mother had to open the restaurant to feed anybody who wanted to come in and eat, the restaurants. For a while, I understand, she was forced to open an eating place. Well, not only because business was good, but she couldn't do it all by herself. And that's... when I volunteered, Andrew Sato, who was living at my place for about one year, and she stayed with... but ultimately she had to sell the place and move to Honolulu. Unfortunately, that was, the people who bought out our place really prospered. They really made a big restaurant out of the whole place. They were really lucky and fortunate to take over our place.

MN: And then just to go backwards a bit, I was wondering, you were in the HTG, and then a lot of men who were in the HTG joined the VVV or Varsity Victory Volunteers. But what happened to you?

KN: I remember signing that petition for whatever they wanted to use that. But I don't recall ever being contacted thereafter. Having signed the petition, I left right away back to Maui. But Eddie Honda, who was working with me, suddenly just disappeared, I didn't know where he went. Later I found out he left Maui to join the VVV. But that was already done. And I don't know if I would have gone, because at that point, I felt I had to stay with my mother more than anything else. But unfortunately, I don't remember being contacted, either by my brother or whatever.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

MN: And then I'm going to move you farther back, just to cover points that we didn't go over. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, what do you remember about that morning?

KM: I was dorming at the Atherton House, and this is a funny story, the '40s, Church of the Crossroads was considered, like, the university church for our YMCA members. At that time, it was a very popular reverend, oh, shucks, I forgot the name, but he was very popular with the university students. And while dorming there, one morning, there were a couple of us that said, hey, let's go check out Churches of the Cross, there are two good-looking sisters from Big Island there, and they were dorming at Hale Laulima. "Let's go check them out." As I say, I wanted to play the piano at the church. Oh, let's go, okay, so let's go check them out. And so to go do that, we had to get up a little earlier than usual, we had to get up a little earlier than usual, which meant we had to get up about 7:30 and get ready to go to church. I think the first church, I think was something like about 8:30 or something like that. So we were up there cleaning up, shaving, and I don't remember having too much of a beard, but washing up. Just about that time, all kinds of noise was downstairs and a big row. You know, Atherton House has an open center where you have the stairways that go up. And so noise comes up from the first floor, "Hey, what's going on down there?" "Hey, listen to the radio, put on the radio," you know. So somebody had a radio, put it on the radio. Said, "This is no maneuvers, this is the real thing, this is the real thing. Pearl Harbor is under attack." Airplanes are supposed to have red dots indicating that these were planes from Japan. So from the third floor, you could go up on the roof of Atherton House. And so we got up on the roof just to see if we could see anything in Pearl Harbor. And sure enough, from the roof, we could clearly see the skyline of Pearl Harbor. And the skyline was all dotted with black smoke, white smoke, just peppering all over the skies with the anti-aircraft burst. And then pretty soon we started to see black clouds, smoke. You couldn't see... lot of fires going on, became worse.

And while we were watching, all of a sudden we heard this big thud right in front of the Atherton House which is, as it turned out, from Atherton House out there where the highway is now, on the corner of McCully and King. Not... what school? There's a grammar school there. Oh, Ka'ahumanu, I think. And that school, I don't recall, but that school on the corner of King and McCully, a shell, shell fell down and there was a big fire right in front of us. And then the radio said, okay, all of you ROTC boys, report to the gym. This was 8:30 or thereabouts. And so we just put on our khaki, whatever khaki uniforms we had, and then reported to the gym. By the time we reported to the gym, all of us were being herded in, into the gym. And it was a mess, nobody knew what was going on. But eventually, during that day, before long, we were assigned a task of cleaning the rifles out of boxes. And they were covered with Cosmoline, these rifles, which had been stored away. We were not, the ROTC program was such that, at that point, we were not taught about rifles yet. So we had to clean out the Cosmoline, and the firing pin was separately stored, so we had to put in the firing pin into the rifles. And this was a major task. I was one of the first ones there, and then we started off, as soon as we got there, they decided, oh, they're going to take things, rifles. And I don't know if at that point, at what point I became a Hawaiian Territorial Guard member, I don't recall at what point.

But I do remember that morning, during all the chaos, there was these rumors that, hey, the Japanese landed, parachute is up on St Louis Heights. This is really, I think Tetsu Kiyama was involved. Tetsu Kiyama was advanced ROTC ahead of us. He was out, graduating from class already. And he led a group of the boys who were there to investigate what was up there. Turned out to be a group of Sunday hikers. But it was so chaotic, and having cleaned the guns that day, by nightfall, the makeshift squads were formed, and we were given these rifles. I had no, absolutely no knowledge of a rifle. Five rounds of ammunition they gave us, five rounds, which is one clip. And we were instructed, okay, you open the bolt this way. And then if you have to load the gun, you put it in and you press it down like this and you load the gun, then put the bolt back. If you're going to fire it, then you want to press the trigger button, but make sure you lock the gun first. And so they showed us how to lock the gun, and so we were issued these five rounds of ammunition which we were told to keep in our pocket, not to put in the gun. And that evening, we were shipped out to Iwilei, and as I said earlier, each one had about a 50-yard area. You got to remember, all of a sudden it's blackout, completely blackout. But we survived two, three nights of doing the same thing.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

KM: Then I got assigned to standing guard at Farrington High School. Farrington High School had been immediately converted into a hospital and so they needed some guards, you're standing guard at the hospital. So I don't know how long I was standing guard at Farrington High School. Then I was assigned to a squad that guarded the electrical plant on Liliha and School Street. And a very unusual incident happened while I was guarding. Many things happened to the Hawaii Territorial Guard. One of which was that the first few nights patrolling, the downtown patrollers, they shot at each other. They actually shot at each other, fortunately, nobody got hurt. But everybody was so excited and unwittingly, without proper notification, proper identification, they shot at each other, different groups shot at each other. Or like in Kalihi, they heard a kind of rattling noise and they fired the gun and the next morning they found they had shot a cow out at the water pump station or something in Kalihi.

And all kinds of different... in my case, it was relatively quiet, nothing unusual happened. Except when I was guarding in Liliha, we would stand outside, right on the street, right on the sidewalk, and we'd be standing, two of us would be standing guard, and then the traffic would go by. But� early in the mornings, early in the morning when it's still dark, a lot of the defense workers had to go on School Street to catch the bus at Liliha. They had already heard all these rumors about the trigger-happy guards, and so these people going to work when it's still dark, what they did do was... actually, I don't know if we told them, but they would make all kinds of noise that they're coming across to let us know that they're coming. [Laughs] Bang the sidewalk, the fence or whatever to let us know they were coming.

I remember that one day, which was early, the first week, no, must have been the second or third week. While I was standing guard, I saw an acquaintance of mine from Maui. And I was wondering, how come... oh, his name was Mr. Shigenaga. He saw me and he came right up to me and he said, "Oh, Miho-san," he's spoke, basically, Japanese, and I could barely converse, but, "Oh, how you been?" He told me, "Your father got picked up, you know." I said, "What do you mean?" He told me about my father being picked up. He's the one that I got the word from. I said, "What you doing here? Aren't you on Maui?" "Yeah, I was on Maui, but I just happened to be in Honolulu when the war broke out," so he was still in Honolulu. And so we exchanged pleasantries, and that was it. I didn't think anything about it.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

KM: About a month later, before we got discharged, our squad was sent out to Koko Head to learn how to shoot the rifle. Finally, they will teach us how to rifles. So we had to go to Koko Head, and it took different companies, going out there, so they were gradually teaching the different people how to fire. The first day we went to Koko Head, I'm standing in line for chow, it was the evening chow. I'm standing in line and we see this Chevrolet car coming into the place, and then I saw a familiar face from Maui. He was a couple years older than I was but I knew him because he was my brother's classmate. The father was a district judge in Maui by the name of Jenkins. So I knew who he was. But before I know it, he's talking to my captain, Captain Aiwohi. My company commander was, Francis Aiwohi was a football star from University of Hawaii. I had a lot of respect, he was one of my officers. And so Captain Aihowi, "Miho," he called me over from the chow line, I was standing for chow, and he said, "Come, come, Jenkins wants you to go to town with him." So I got into the car, it was late afternoon already. I got into the car and we drove all the way back into town. And then I found that, I didn't know what building it was. Later on I found this was the Dillingham Building right in the heart of town. Then we get out and he takes me up there, we go up on what floor, I don't know. Then I sat down a little while, it was all creepy, spooky, I'm thinking, "What the hell is going on?" And soon enough, this officer comes in. And I distinctly remember his telling me his name was Robert Louis Stevenson, he was a colonel, lieutenant colonel. Local boy. And he says that he has a few questions he wants to ask me. He started to ask me if I had heard from my father on Maui. I said, "No, I haven't heard anything from my father," or anything like that. And at that point, I had forgotten about this Shigenaga. And talking about, what he wanted to find out was, "Have you heard any rumors about your sister in Japan?" I said, "What kind of rumors?" He says, "Well, let me be frank with you. Some people think Tokyo Rose is your sister." I said, "What do you mean?" "Yeah, yeah," he says, "there is some rumors that Tokyo Rose is your sister." And they had a tape, so they let me listen to the tape to see if I could recognize that voice. I said, "No, I don't think that's my sister's voice." And I thought that was the extent of it, but then after that, he says, "Oh, by the way, have you heard, is there anything you want to talk to me about?" I said, "Not that I know." "Have you been in recent discussions with anybody about the war?" or this and that. I said, "I don't recall." He said, "Oh, how about this man from Maui?" "What do you mean from Maui?" "Didn't you talk recently to a man from Maui, you knew from Maui? What kind of discussion did you have?" "Oh, he's the one that told me about my father," my father having been picked up the first night, December 7th and all that. "Is that the extent of the conversation?" "Yeah, that's the extent of it." That was the extent of my interview. Then I went back all the way to Koko Head. But evidently Mr. Shigenaga was being followed by the FBI because his older brother was nicknamed "Emperor Shigenaga." He was so strong pro-Japan. And he was the owner of Kaimana Beach Hotel, that's Shigenaga, until they sold out to [inaudible]. But Mr. Shigenaga was a well-known pro-Japan. He didn't hold back the fact that he was pro-Japan, from even before the war. That's why he was called, nicknamed Emperor or Tenno. Shigenaga, or some kind of nickname, he had a nickname anyway, but he was a well-known figure. And the brother happened to be pro-Japan too. But my stay with the Hawaiian Territorial Guard was highlighted by that experience.

WN: Were you familiar with Tokyo Rose at that time?

KM: I think we had just heard about, this is early 1941 now. No, in fact, I don't... when Stevenson brought that up, I think that was the first time I even connected the possibility of connecting Fumiye with Tokyo Rose. But you know, Fumiye tells me that she did appear on the Japanese radio, more like a newscaster, because she was dual in both languages. So she tells me that she recalls having come on the radio, but not like in the role of Tokyo Rose, more like a newscaster. And this was when she was already evacuated to Hiroshima. And so this is toward the end of the war, but this was at the very beginning in 1941 when she was still in Tokyo. She got involved with the radio in Hiroshima as I understand.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

MN: You know, as you were telling us about that incident, several questions came to mind. Like when you heard, the first time you heard that your dad had been picked up on December 7th by government authorities, what were your thoughts?

KM: Remember I said December 7th was not a surprise to, at least to me? So learning that he was picked up was no big deal. We expected my father to be one of those would be under what was termed "dangerous enemy aliens." So it was no big deal as far as our family, or me, as far as I was concerned. It was a known expectation. In all of our decision-making that my brother and I made, it was a given fact that my dad's role, he had his own role, he played his role. We were different, we were completely different from him.

MN: And like at that time, Katsuro was already an attorney, he was serving with the Emergency Services Committee, he was well-known in the community. He was involved in politics.

KM: Not yet.

MN: Not yet, but...

KM: Although Hiram Fong was. You see, Hiram Fong was already a territorial legislator before the war.

MN: And your brother was with this...

KM: My brother became his partner after the war because Hiram had to have somebody to take care of his law business when he was called up to serve in Hickam. And so he couldn't just leave his law firm as-is. So I don't know how, but my brother started to take care of his... and eventually became partners with Hiram shortly thereafter.

MN: So I should correct myself, but at the time your father was incarcerated, Katsuro was an attorney with the Emergency Services Committee. Based on what you know, after the fact, was there anything that Katsuro could do or did to try to help your dad's cause?

KM: You know, I don't have, I've never... I've not looked into what Gail Okawa had been digging up. You could get as much information on the internees about what kind of hearings that they had, how many hearings they had, this and that. I never really looked up my dad's case, although I do know that one bit of document I saw, that even after Katsuaki had died in '43, my dad was giving another hearing on the question of whether he would be released to Jerome or Rohwer where many of the internees had been released, and that I just saw the [inaudible] that he was turned down, even after my brother Katsuaki had passed away. So he did have a hearing. After Katsuaki had died, and yet, in spite of that, he was denied release. I didn't have any further details as to what was discussed at the hearing.

MN: And I know that you weren't on Maui at the time your dad was picked up, you were here on Oahu. What have you heard about how he was picked up?

KM: What I heard was that very early during that day, people came and then they just took him away.

MN: And with your father taken away, how did that impact your mother and the hotel?

KM: Well, to begin with, my mother was basically in charge of the hotel to begin with. It didn't drastically affect what was happening at the hotel. At that point, there were already some people, workers from Honolulu who were already staying at the hotel, workers, defense workers.

MN: And going back to Katsuro, at that time, in '41 when war started, what did you know of Katsuro's work with the Emergency Services Committee?

KM: Very little. I didn't know he was anything, like a member of the Emergency Services Committee.

MN: And before we leave the early part of the war, I was wondering, when you became a member of the HTG, that happened kind of fast, what squad or group were you assigned to? Like was there a, like a... how would they, when they organized it, what was your designation?

KM: I have absolutely no idea. Except the first night, those of us who had reported to the gym, first task was cleaning the guns, cleaning the Cosmoline. And after that was all done, then we were makeshift groups and hodgepodge, we were just placed out of Iwilei. And you know, there were a couple of boys who, because it was such a last-minute thing, or unplanned thing, couple of boys were lost. The truck driver who dropped them off forgot where they were dropped off. So instead of the four hours shift that we worked on, some of them had to spend eight hours. [Laughs] Because the driver, I don't even know if it's the same driver who dropped us off who'd go and pick them up, but there were a couple of boys I know, instead of four hours they spent eight hours. Maybe they were moving from one place, it was a fifty-yard area by themselves, or maybe they were sleeping or loafing on the job when the trucks came by, and the trucks were all blackout, too.

WN: You talked about the rifles. Were they up-to-date rifles?

KM: No, this was a Springfield 1903. 1903 rifle they called it, where you bolt action, you had these rounds that you press in, five rounds. Five rounds to a clip, and we were just given one clip. But this was better than the, 03 Rifle was better than the first rifles we were issued in Camp Shelby. In Camp Shelby the first rifles we got were the Enfield Rifles. I have a very vague recollection of this Enfield Rifle, but it was real obsolete, the Enfield Rifles.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

MN: And then before we get more into your days with the 442, you had started UH in 1940. What were you --

KM: 1941.

MN: 1941. What were you planning to study at UH? What were your plans?

KM: Nothing, I had no plans whatsoever. [Laughs] Best idea was to go to university, Arts and Sciences.

WN: Well, you had a brother-in-law, you had another brother in divinity, another brother going to medical school. Was there any kind of process of elimination that you used?

KM: Well, was it in 1941? If anything, I had thoughts of being a social worker. Even after, when I came back in 1946, as I said earlier, I started to be a group, part time work was a group worker at Palama Settlement taking care of the kids. Summertime, two summers that I spent at the day camp at Palama by the Sea in Waialua, six-week camps where took kids. And one season we had these kids from disgraced homes. I don't know what category you'd call them, there was a home in Kalihi that these kids came from, broken homes. Second year that I worked at Palama by the Sea, these kids were the major kids that I took care of. So I would have gravitated to social work, gravitated.

WN: Do you remember what courses you were taking in that one semester at UH when the war broke out?

KM: I have a blank spot in my mind, really, I do. Like I said, we got discharged January 16th, I think it was, 1942, no, '45, 46. January. Three days later, we enrolled in University of Hawaii, three days after discharge. And I have vague recollections of that first year at university. What I do remember is that for a while, every Saturday night I got together with my veteran friends at Sandy Beach. Every Saturday night was a beer bust.

WN: We're getting a little ahead, we'll save that for the next time. My question was actually for the '41.

KM: Oh, '41?

WN: Yeah, you never finished that semester then?

KM: We never did. I remember I had biology, which was one of my favorite courses at the time, economics, sociology, all those core studies, regular core. These were already required subjects.

MN: And then one more question. I was just wondering, how come you ended up at A House, at Atherton?

KM: Katsuaki was more or less the assistant to Hung Wai Ching at A House. Oh, you mean in '41?

MN: When you first came out from Maui to go to the university.

KM: Yeah, Katsuaki was already dorming in A House.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2021 Densho. All Rights Reserved.