Densho Digital Repository
Katsugo Miho Collection
Title: Katsugo Miho Interview VII
Narrator: Katsugo Miho
Interviewers: Michiko Kodama Nishimoto (primary), Warren Nishimoto (secondary)
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: March 22, 2006
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1022-7

<Begin Segment 1>

MN: This is session 7 on March 22, 2006. This is an interview with Mr. Katsugo Miho at Honolulu, Hawaii, University of Hawaii campus. And interviewer is Michiko Kodama Nishimoto. And today we're going to continue from your days at George Washington law school. But first of all, I wanted to find out, why did you decide on going to George Washington law school and not anywhere else?

KM: Well, the first reason why I went to George Washington was because my older brother Katsuro attended George Washington university law school. And besides that, Harvard and Yale were almost literally impossible to get in, number one. And number two, the expenses were far greater than George Washington. So I went to George Washington, and, to my surprise, found that there were a great many others who were also at George Washington or Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. There were a lot of Hawaii students, and a lot of my veteran friends were there. We were surprised to see each other just as much as choosing GW.

MN: Who were some of these veteran friends that ended up at George Washington or Georgetown?

KM: My George Washington classmates... not classmates, they were there at least before me, was Shigeto Kanemoto, John Desha, Sam Nakashima, and George Holt, who had gone to law when I went to GW. There was a, Winona Ellis, Winona Rubin's brother, older brother, was also there, but he was attending Georgetown. When I was there, we had about twenty to twenty-five of us in law school, there were quite a few. But the year after I got there, John Ushijima and Dan Inouye also. I spent two years with them. In fact, John and I roomed for close to two years. Just the other day, Maggie passed away, and the fondest memory I have of the two years that we spent together, got to a point where John and I were rooming together and Maggie and Dan would join us for supper at least once a week. And depending on whose week it was for cooking, and Maggie had to taste the cooking of either myself or John. We alternated weekly, and we used to go over to Dan's home once a week, and so we always ate intermittently once, twice a week. And Maggie used to experiment on us, on different types of cooking. The one incident that we laugh about a lot is, she tried to make manapua at one time. And the recipe called for the manapua to be, I don't know for how many people, but she went according to the recipe, and so Dan had to eat some leftover manapuas for two, three days. [Laughs] But she tried out all kinds of cooking, and John and I tried out all kinds of cooking. And the two years that, John and Dan went on an accelerated program. There was, at that time, at the law schools, you could complete the law school curriculum in two years if you went throughout the year without taking summer vacation, now. So they went on that accelerated program and got out in two years. They came in one year later than I did, but they got out one year ahead of me. Well, not only that, because I served, I lost one year because as soon as I got to Washington, D.C., the following year we had the Korean incident. And being in the reserves, especially the artillery, I was subject to call, like my good friend Bob Katayama. He was also in my ROTC class, but he got called even though he had already entered into Yale. But in my case, I had transferred my reserve records to Washington, D.C. in 1949. So I was not in the University of Hawaii class that was called up as soon as the Korean incident was started.

However, while I was there in 1950, the field artillery, the artillery group of the army, as the Korean War started, found out that they had very limited trained motor maintenance officers. In fact, a battalion of artillery, two-and-a-half-ton trucks were ruined the first winter in Korea because the motor maintenance officer forgot to put in anti-freeze. And so there was a kind of an emergency in the army as to the artillery. And they reopened the motor maintenance school in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and they asked for reserve officers to volunteer to go there. And I was advised by one of my Washington, D.C. reserve officers that it would be best if I volunteered for my motor maintenance school, at which point I would not be recalled immediately. So I dropped out of school after having registered in September 1950, dropped out in November, and from November to March of the following year, I attended the motor maintenance school in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. And as a result, I lost one year of law school. By the time I got through with the motor maintenance school, the artillery did not need any more lieutenants for Korea, and so I was not recalled for duty to serve in Korea and I was able to finish law school as a result.

But Dan and John got through, actually, one whole year... I had a meeting, although I started a year earlier. But as I said earlier, I started to use my GI Bill when I started to go to law school which paid for tuition and books and gave us a subsidy of sixty-five dollars a month. And the number of months that you were entitled to depended on the number of years, months that you served in the army. So my entitlement was some thirty months, because I served thirty months, which was just one semester shy of getting through school. But fortunately my elder brother took care of my expenses the last semester that I was in law school. But in going to George Washington, a whole bunch of us, Donald Ching, Alvin Shim, Billy Yim, Shigeto Kanemoto, all of us did part-time work during the holidays, Christmas season as well as whatever breaks that we had during the school year, working for the treasury department or the post office. During the two weeks' Christmas vacation, we all worked at the post office. The others worked at the treasury department, part-timing, typing out mostly checks, as I remember, but I didn't do that because I had a part-time job at the bookstore at the university of George Washington. Almost like a full-time employee there, whatever hours that I had open, I would work at the bookstore. That's how most of us at Washington, D.C. were able to through our law school, all of us were involved in some type of part-time employment.

There were twenty, twenty-five of us, and we would always get together. And there was a Peter Coleman, later on became the governor of Samoa, he was attending Georgetown. And so he had, his sisters were over there, too, so the Hawaii group would get together and the sisters were good dancers and musicians. So for the three years that I was in Washington, D.C., going to George Washington, we had occasions to enjoy ourselves. It was at a time when the Hawaii club was developed throughout the Mainland. Graduates from Hawaii or students from Hawaii who went to the eastern, especially in the East Coast, had Hawaii clubs. I remember at one year, we had a very big aloha pageant at the Sheraton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Oh, we had a king and a queen, and we had all kinds of delegates from all over the eastern coast, from Chicago, from Massachusetts, Hawaii kids coming over. And the pageant was a pretty big thing at the Sheraton in Washington, D.C. So it was not all study and work.

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

<Begin Segment 2>

MN: When you look back, what percentage of the students going to GW at that time were veterans?

KM: A good number of them. In fact, I think all of my contemporaries were veterans. But yeah, one year, the first year, I remember I worked at a YMCA camp for young YMCA children near Annapolis. There was a summer camp, I worked there for six weeks taking care of the kids at the summer camp, just like at Palama settlement. And then the following year, I remember, this is a good one, learning experience for an up and coming lawyer. I saw an ad asking for carpenters. And having worked as a carpenter's helper during the war, I thought, oh, that's a good thing for me to do, and I went down to the employment office, the Washington, D.C., found out who the employer was, signed up, and for two weeks I worked at the construction in various spots, I don't know where they were, nearby Maryland and whatnot. And somehow, during the first week, I noticed that people were coming around the working sites trying to locate and talk to our foreman. And I didn't think much about it, but then, after the end of the first week, I didn't get paid, nothing. Thinking funny, you know, I understood the pay would be once a week. Any rate, I worked through the second week, and I noted that the second week there were more people coming to the job sites looking for the foreman, and I never knew what it was all about. Then I found out that the end of the second week, again, there was no payment. And so I found out, I talked to one of these people who were at [inaudible], they are trying to get paid for work done. Evidently, it was a scam. Because I never got paid for the two weeks' work that I did, and it was getting up five o'clock in the morning and reporting to work and working eight hours for two solid weeks I did. But that was a good lesson learned. As a law student, I didn't know enough at that point to go to, to complain to anybody. But I thought it was a good experience and I didn't do anything about it. But it was a tough lesson learned. Two solid weeks of working at a construction site without getting paid.

MN: And those days, did you folks just generally stay up there without coming back to Hawaii?

KM: Well, I did, because after I got through with my tour in Fort Sill, I went back to Washington, D.C., and found out that I couldn't reenter at that point, it was the middle of the semester. And so having been in the reserve, I could fly on a space-available basis with MATS, at that time it was MATS, military transportation system. So I was able to fly East Coast to West Coast on the MATS for seventy cents, that was my lunch, which I had to pay for, but that was on a standby basis. Unfortunately, this was in the midst of the Korean War, so that flying between Hawaii and California was full at all times. And so I couldn't fly space available from California to Hawaii, so I had to fly back commercial. But then I got all the way back again to Washington, D.C., for the summer session, or September session, anyway, on the MATS airline again. I was able to come back in the middle of my term. But most of us, we never could afford to fly back. Whatever time we had, we did some part-time work.

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

<Begin Segment 3>

MN: And then when you came back and continued your studies at law school, how was it for you?

KM: It was a little better for me because I was having problems with my eyes. When I left for law school in 1949, I had just gotten my pterygium eye operation at Tripler Army Hospital. And when I got to Washington, D.C., the VA had prescribed beta-ray treatments for me every other week. What they did was instead of operating on the pterygium, what they did was to burn the veins in the eye through a beta-ray treatment. But what happened was that when I would go Fridays for the treatment, I would be basically blind. I couldn't use my eyes for three or four days thereafter until the inflammation subsided. And so I was flunking out of school the first semester of law school. It got to a point that I had a call from the dean asking me to come in to see him. He said, "You're flunking out of school, what's going on?" I explained to him that my problem was with the treatment that I was receiving for my eyes. "Well," he said, "you've got to choose between school or treatment for your eyes." At that point I decided I'll take a chance and stop my treatment for my eyes. And fortunately it was the right decision because my pterysium didn't get any worse. So I was able to survive, but it was a struggle because my grade point average was so low at the end of the first semester that I was always fighting an uphill battle to stay in school the rest of the two years. But somehow, struggling, I got through.

MN: And then while you were at GW, what was, like, your specialized field that you sort of concentrated in?

KM: Well, I didn't, we had, at the point what I feared we were very lacking, and we didn't have enough counseling on, it was basically left up to you. And so trying to survive, I took the courses which I thought would be easiest for me to get out of law school, basically. There were no classes which were really hard courses to take. And so I avoided the hard courses.

MN: And you managed to graduate.

KM: That's right.

MN: So you were working to help support yourself, you had your studies. In terms of socializing, you had this group of vets.

KM: We had very much, what should I say, supporting each other. We were all struggling through law school, but we had, like I gave you the incident, one incident when we were talking stories, and I started to give the incident of France where we also almost wiped out the cannon company to find out John Ushijima, who was my roommate for a year and a half at that point, John turned to me and said, "Hey, Kats, I was there." Later on, as I said, Shadow was also there, and Najo was there, three of our more prominent future political leaders were up in the front. Conceivably, they could have been wiped out.

MN: You know, a lot is made about future political types getting together either during the war or after the war and talking about what's wrong with Hawaii and what they'd like to see changed in the future back then. When you look back at your law school days, and being with men like John Ushijima or Najo, Dan Inouye. Did you folks have conversations of that sort?

KM: No, I don't remember. I don't remember serious conversations like that. It was a matter of getting out of school, but I do recall, however, Alvin Shim, number one, he was very much involved. In fact, he continued his interest in labor. I think he concentrated on labor law, because of Dr. Harold Roberts's influence, who started the law division, labor division at the University of Hawaii back in 1948. And so I remember when Dan, Dan would, every once in a while become unavailable. And it coincided with Jack Burns's trip to Washington, D.C. So even back in 1950, Governor Burns, or Delegate Burns, would come to D.C. and Dan was always meeting with him. Of course, John and I, we felt kind of left out because we weren't invited to join. But Dan was involved in politics from that time. But we didn't discuss what our plans were, what our futures were or anything like that. I guess individually, we all had concerns, but it was not an open discussion matter among ourselves, or with others.

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

<Begin Segment 4>

MN: And then for yourself, what were your plans? You graduated from George Washington law school, what next?

KM: Well, our problem was, number one, to pass the bar at that time. At that time, when we got out, in 1953, it was at the point when the bar examination, passing was at the lowest. I think for a few years at that time, only one-third of the applicants passed the bar in Hawaii. And the Bar Association, later on, reviewed the system of grading, and I think they revised it to accommodate. In fact, I took the bar, I passed the bar on the third time that I took it. And about that time thereafter, in fact, after the bar, my bar examination, thereafter, there was an appeal by the applicants that not enough applicants passed. And so the Supreme Court of Hawaii reexamined and had a hearing, if I remember, upon which more applicants would pass. And they changed the system of exam. I think up to my time, there were ten examiners, and each ten examiners gave ten points, I think, something like that. And so, as it was found out, where one examiner was very strict on his grading, it affected the whole list of applicants, so that as a result of that one examiner's very low grade, it affected the total number of those who would pass. So it was at that point that they changed the system of examination.

MN: Many years ago, when I interviewed your brother Katsuro, he mentioned that, at the time, he was trying for the bar, and his time, someone told him, "Well, it might be kind of difficult to pass," and that person told him, "You look at your face." And he said, "What's wrong with my face?" And it was just that person was telling him that, "You look at your ethnicity, that's a factor." Now, at your time, was that still a factor?

KM: That was not a factor anymore. When my brother took the exam, that was when they had district court practitioners in existence yet. Like Steere Noda was a district court practitioner all his life. You didn't have to go to law school, you didn't have to have a bar, I mean, law school degree. You could practice law under a lawyer for so, x-number of years. And then you take the bar exam and if you pass it, you qualify to become a lawyer. So they had that system. But later on, they changed it so you must have a law degree before you could apply for that. I don't know when, but my good friend, Barney Trask, I think, was a district court practitioner.

MN: And in the times of your brother, it was hard for Japanese.

KM: Oh, it was, definitely. I think when he passed the bar, he was the fifth AJA lawyer in Hawaii at that point. Of course, the number of lawyers was very few at that time, 1940, 1939.

MN: And by your time, though, being AJA was...

KM: We did not feel that it was... although if I remember correctly, when one-third could pass, during that time, there was some mentioning of the fact that one particular examiner... you see, all of these examiners were practicing attorneys. And this one particular examiner who was supposed to be the one who was giving out these extra low grades. There was some quiet talk that that was one of the reasons why his passing grades were so low.

MN: But it wasn't that much a factor by that time?

KM: No, that wasn't any... although it was not brought out in the open, it was talked of quietly. But that was only one out of ten examiners.

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

<Begin Segment 5>

MN: And then so after you passed the bar, what did you do?

KM: Well, the first thing was where was I going to practice? And my brother's firm had an opening, so I joined them with Hiram Fong and Herbert Choy. It was Fong, Miho and Choy at this point. Later on, Mr. Walter Chuck became a partner.

MN: And what kind of cases did this law firm sort of concentrate on?

KM: Fong, Miho, Choy and Robinson, number one, one of the big clients was Hiram's conglomerate of Finance Factors, Finance Investment, we represented them. We also, at that time, represented Foodland chain and general practice of law, wide open. At one point, the biggest civil judgment in Hawaii was Walter Chuck, who came onboard at that time. But in my career, I was involved in two glamorous cases. The first one was the Golden Rule case. Do you have any idea what the Golden Rule case is about?

MN: I know it had to do with a ship named the Golden Rule. You can explain it.

KM: There was a book out on that. Well, this was the time when Johnson Island, atom bomb experiment was being done. And so about the time these atom bomb tests were being taken, suddenly, into Honolulu sailed a small little ship with five members, I think. I forgot which now. I only know the skipper's name was Bigelow. They were all Quakers. And they had come in and announced that they were going to sail out to Eniwetok, and not stop, but sail into the forbidden zone. And so there was a big publicity, it came out in the newspapers, and even announced when they were going to sail out. Having announced their intentions, the federal attorney general sought an injunction to prevent them from going out into Eniwetok. Of course, because my brother was involved with the very early cases of the AJAs wanting to come back after World War II, and they were denied their passports because the State Department ruled that they had voluntarily served with the Japanese army or voluntarily voted in a Japanese election, and so the State Department made a standing rule that all former dual citizens who were in Japan during the war were denied their rights to get back their passports. And so we were involved with that suit. There were some 6,000 AJAs who wanted to come back. And so we had a test case in Honolulu, Fuji Junichi's son. And we represented him and we had the famous civil lawyer from Los Angeles, Al Wirin and his law firm, and we jointly represented these 6,000, we had a test case, and Judge McLaughlin first denied, upheld the State Department ruling that the government was correcting, denying these passports. But on appeal to the 9th Circuit, the 9th Circuit overruled, as a result, the State Department was forced to issue out to all of those AJAs who have been in Japan, the right to come back and get their passport to come back. So we had been involved with that case, and so we got involved with the Quakers. And so Judge Wirin at that time, fellow judge, had a short hearing at which point we represented the Quaker, the Golden Rulers. And the judge issued an injunction to the Golden Rule crew, that you are not to sail out of Ala Wai Harbor.

But what happened was that as soon as the court hearing was over -- and we didn't know this was the plan of the crew -- but we said goodbye and they walked out of the courtroom, went straight to Ala Wai Harbor, got onboard the ship, and the coast guard was waiting for them, they were watching them. Sure enough, they got on the boat, they sailed out, and they were out five or ten miles out of the harbor when the coast guard intercepted them and brought them back into port, and there was a hearing at that point as to having violated the injunction. And at that point my brother and I reappeared in court because he and I were going out to lunch and we got a call, "Hey, you got to go back to court." Said, "Why?" "Oh, they're back in court." So instead of going out to lunch we went back to court. And there were four of them, five of them, I think, were brought in in shackles into court. And the hearing was what penalty they would get for violating the injunction. And Judge Wirin ordered them to be put in jail for x-number of days, thirty days or sixty days. And we thought that was it. But then before my brother and I could walk out, the judge said, "Wait, the two of you, want you to stay back, we've got a little more." The Golden Rulers were taken out of court and then my brother and I were back there. The judge wanted to know why he should not hold my brother and I in contempt of court for allowing or not doing anything about the Golden Rulers violating his injunction. What he wanted to know was whether we knew in advance whether they were going to go out. And his questioning was, if we knew in advance, why didn't we report it to him or to the court authorities that our clients were intentionally going to violate. Well, in the first place, we didn't know anything. And so technically we would have had no... but he thought about it and then he decided not to hold my brother and I in contempt of court. But that was a far-fetched ruling, to hold us, I don't know whether he could have rightfully done that. I don't know if we had a duty to report something that, number one, we had no idea about.

MN: Then the Golden Rulers, did they actually go to prison for that number of days?

KM: They stayed in prison, I think, for thirty days, I think it was, at Iwilei. The prison was in Iwilei, and so I remember going to visit them in the jail. But eventually they got out and went back home. I think they decided not to do anything further. After the jail time they went back. I guess they got enough... this was national news, you know. The Golden Rule was, I think it was a big item in the Life magazine.

MN: How did you and your brother get involved in this case?

KM: My sister, Fumiye, she was head of the Quaker mission in Japan, and through her contact, we had been in touch with several matters involving the Quakers. I think they knew about my brother and I. But because of her, we got involved.

MN: How did you personally feel about atomic testing in the Pacific at that time?

KM: Being ex-military at that point, I did not have any strong feelings one way or the other, other than going along with the rest of the majority of the public that, what needed to be done as announced by the government was something that we had to do if there was further need for testing.

An interesting additional aspect of this is that, at the time of the hearing, unbeknown at that point, was a man listening to all that was going on. Dr. Earle Reynolds is also a well-known name. He and his family was harbored in Ala Wai Harbor, with the name of his ship being Phoenix. After the hearing, Dr. Reynolds and his family got on the Phoenix, and after, I guess after the Golden Rulers left, I think. About a month thereafter or so, a month or two months thereafter, we learned that the navy had stopped the Phoenix from entering into the forbidden zone. They had sailed all the way from Hawaii to Eniwetok, and it had sailed into the forbidden zone. And the navy stopped it and hauled the ship back to Honolulu. And so we had a hearing on what would happen. And Dr. Reynolds called me because he had seen my brother and I both. And he was smart, he said, "I want you to represent me temporarily," until he can get his regular attorney from Washington, D.C. to represent him in this hearing in Honolulu. For that purpose, he asked me to represent him. And I specifically tried to impress upon Judge McLaughlin again, who was a judge, that I was there for a very specific purpose, only to buy time to have a continuance of the case against this Dr. Reynolds, until his attorney... I forgot the name of his famous civil rights attorney for Washington, D.C., who would be coming to defend him, but the judge refused. He refused the continuance. He set for hearing before the attorney could get here, and again, Dr. Reynolds, I think Mr. Reynolds did go to jail. Again, Dr. McLaughlin was overruled because my purpose was to get, for time to have his regular attorney, or his appointed attorney to come from Washington, D.C., which was for a reasonable time only, but the judge refused to continue the matter until such time as the attorney could show up, and found Dr. Reynolds guilty of entering the forbidden zone, which was then overruled again by the Ninth Circuit Court. And so that was the Phoenix, which Dr. Reynolds and his family became well-known pacifists. And finally ended up going to Hiroshima, and I think he became, for a couple of years, I think he was professor of something. And the wife was a well-known educator too, Mrs. Reynolds. And I know they spent several years in Hiroshima involved with all these peace movements.

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

<Begin Segment 6>

MN: And then you know, you mentioned other cases where your firm helped make it possible for AJAs who had been in Japan during the war to regain their passports?

KM: Citizenship case, yeah.

MN: How many of them were there?

KM: As far as we know, there was an estimated over six thousand Niseis who were not stranded but who wanted to get back their passports. Not everybody did come back, there were a lot of friends who would just prefer to stay back in Japan, but those who wanted to come back were automatically denied their passport by the ruling of the State Department, and which the federal courts overruled and said you have to turn back. You have to give them, if asked, they were entitled to get it back because the Ninth Circuit ruled that service in the Japanese army was not voluntary. That by circumstances and whatever, those Niseis who were in Japan were forced to serve in the military of Japan. Not because they volunteered, but it was involuntary servitude in the military. And that voting in the first election after the war was not a voluntary thing, again, because at that time, the restrictions were if you did not vote, I think you were not entitled to get rations, or food rations or whatnot, something like that. Tied in with some very strict... which was, again, issued by General MacArthur. And so during this period of time, the voting was tied in with the ability to survive. If you didn't go out and vote, you weren't entitled to rations and whatnot. And so the two big items of serving in the military and voting, were ruled involuntarily. As a result, their stay in Japan was not a voluntary choice.

MN: So in the case of your sisters, they did not serve in the Japanese military, but did they later vote and then were barred from receiving their passports?

KM: No. Under the ruling of the Ninth Circuit, all the AJAs had to do was to just go to the American consulate and ask for their passports, and they were entitled to get their passport back again. They were all entitled to get the right to return back. And so, supposedly, over six thousand AJAs were able to do that. Until then, they were not able to come back.

MN: And what year was this?

KM: Early 1960s, early 1960s. That was a big case.

MN: How did the general public react to the situation where AJAs were not being allowed to come back?

KM: It had headlines in the newspaper, these cases. And as far as I know, in Hawaii there wasn't... we all agreed with the ruling at that time. Basically these people were entitled to come back. And not too many... well, I wouldn't say that, I really don't know the numbers of those who served in the Japanese army, who chose to come back again. But like just recently, Miyo-san who passed away, he served in the Japanese army, he served in the Japanese army and he came back after the war. And I think he's one of those who were beneficiaries of this ruling that the State Department had to reissue. So not too many of the people who served in the Japanese army publicized the fact that they served in the Japanese army. It was something that there was nothing to declare or nothing to boast about.

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

<Begin Segment 7>

MN: I think I read somewhere that your law firm also was involved in cases where postwar brides were having family difficulties and were going through these court cases.

KM: I ended up doing a lot of domestic relations cases after the war and during the occupation. A whole bunch of American GIs got married to Japanese girls and decided to bring them back to Hawaii. And in many, many cases, it didn't work out, unfortunately. The cultural differences were too great an obstacle. And within five or six years, and this was remembering that the war ended in 1945. And about 1950 and thereon, the bulk of these GIs started to return and bring back the wives with them. And around 1955 or 1956, or five or six years after they came back over here, domestic problems became a big issue in Hawaii of these interracial marriages. And only a few of our law firms at that point had Japanese-speaking lawyers. My brother was one and I was one. I could converse enough to get involved, and so I ended up doing a lot of domestic relations cases because of the fact that there were not too many other attorneys in town who could handle the cases. But this is part of the reason why I was enticed to become a family court referee by Judge Herman Lum. After I got through with my political time, eleven years in the house, at that time, there was no family court system. Divorce matters were handled by referees. And the referees, findings and rulings were always subject to review by a circuit court judge. And the pay was so low that nobody wanted to become a referee in the family court system at that point.

But Herman Lum, Judge Lum, was a good friend of mine. We had a poker gang, what we called [inaudible] and Judge Lum was one of our members. And so he knew me quite well, and he knew what kind of practice I had, and he was the chief justice at that time. And so he said, "Kats, look, you're receiving a small, after my eleven years' term in the house," he said, he pointed out to me that I was getting x-number of dollars for my retirement fund, which I would qualify after I reached age fifty. And it was based on the high three, the high three for the state legislator at that point was thousand five hundred dollars. So the high three was one bulk... ten percent? Ten percent of the high three. So anyway, it was a very nominal amount, but he said, "Look, if you serve three years as a referee at the salary of -- I forgot what it was, nine thousand or ten thousand -- "and your high three, in just three years would triple." And so if after three years serving as a referee you wanted to get out, you get out. But your retirement pay for that short three years would triple for what I would be getting at age fifty. Unfortunately, at the end of three years, they made it into a district courtship. The raised the level of the... they formed the family court system and the family district court judge received a substantial pay increase from the referee. And so at that point it was a six-year term, I think. And so Judge Lum says, "Well, no sense you getting out in three years because if you now serve six more years, your retirement income will be that much more different," based on the higher three. And so I got enticed into staying six more years as a district family court judge.

MN: And when you say a district family court judge, what kinds of cases did you...

KM: Strictly, there was the matrimonial adoptions and juvenile cases were a family court matter. Juvenile -- all matters relating to juveniles, then the marital domestic relations cases and adoptions were the three areas of family court jurisdiction.

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

<Begin Segment 8>

MN: Okay. This is the second tape of the March 22nd session, and we just, we didn't cover your political career. And I want to take you back in time, and if you can tell us, what was your first involvement in politics?

KM: Somehow, after discharge, we were involved with all this forming of the veterans club. And along the way, there were a few very active members of the veterans group who wanted to get involved with politics. But my first involvement was, my brother Katsuro had been a Democratic party member, and he had worked for Governor Stainback in private practice. When the governor became the governor under the, just before statehood, he was involved with Mayor Wilson's last campaign. So I was involved as one of the steering committee, I think it was, advisory committee.

And so my first involvement in politics was being a member of Johnny Wilson's election committee. And my recollection, as I reflect now, is that the signs were there already, the mayor was past his prime already. He was quite elderly and there was this activist pretender to the throne by the name of Frank Fasi. And Frank Fasi incurred the wrath of some of the diehard Democratic party members because he defeated Mayor Wilson handily in the primary. And I think, to this day, some of the Democratic stronghold members going back, well most of them were not here now. But that time, the diehard Democratic members never forgave Frank for the vigorous campaign that he, during the time he was trying to succeed Mayor Wilson. But that was my first introduction to politics. This was, I think, 1958, I think, the election.

MN: And at that time, did you have a party, official party affiliation?

KM: No, no, I was not a member of any, either party. I was not signed up, my work was strictly voluntary as a young veteran. And I was neither involved... and thereafter I got involved with, must have been earlier than 1958 because I remember getting involved with Delegate Farrington's reelection. And then they left these city and county races of Clarence Taba, who was trying to run as a city and county treasurer. And actually, Clarence's run to become treasurer was the first, not the first, second political involvement. And then I also remember working for, working on behalf of Hiram Fong, I think he was the last, before statehood, I think, so I remember... so it was strictly on a person-to-person basis, and not a party affiliation basis. Masato Doi's campaign, I was very much involved, Clarence Taba's. And then this election, just prior to statehood, the first state legislator, I was involved with... what happened was that, at that point, my very good friend, Donald Ching, with whom we went to George Washington Law School and all that, [inaudible] at that time. So Donald called me up one day, although we were meeting every Friday, we were having our poker session every Friday evening. But this was, one day, said, "Hey, it's about time" I signed the card. Says, "Oh, you got to sign the card." So, well, okay, okay, he said, "Well, I'll be down in the office later on in the morning." At the same time, Tadao Beppu gave me a call, too. Tadao and I were pretty good friends and all that, we grew up in Maui. He said, "Donald's going to come." So I said, "Well, okay, I want to be there if Donald's going to be there."

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

<Begin Segment 9>

KM: In the meantime, there was this conversation going on with Hiram Fong and my brother and somebody on the telephone who just happened to be Blaisdell, Mayor Blaisdell at that time. Mayor Blaisdell was running for reelection in 1958. At that time, the city and county was run by city councilmen. Nine city council members running all at large, the whole island. And Mayor Blaisdell, Mayor Blaisdell had been in touch with Hiram because he wanted to get in, keep in touch with Hiram. The mayor had to run with a slate of officers, slate of candidates for the city council. They wanted to work as a team, and he was lacking one more candidate to be on his team, preferably an AJA. I think Ernest Yamane and I, at that point. Well, at that point, I hadn't agreed yet. So these two had a conversation. Somehow, I think it was Blaisdell who asked Hiram, he said, "How about Kats's younger brother?" I don't know why they didn't ask Katsuro. But he was never trying to become a candidate himself. I guess he and Hiram felt one was enough between the two of them, to be in politics. Back then, one was Republican and one was a Democrat. So anyway, Hiram says, "Hoy don't you go run?" I said, "I'm not involved. As a matter of fact, Donald would come up and make me sign a card. And we talked about, for one hour, I think, my brother and Hiram argued that it was bad for the AJA community that so many of the veterans would become only Democratic candidates, that for the AJA community to have all of its veterans joining the Democratic party and becoming only Democrats is not in the best interests of not only the Japanese community but for the entire community of Hawaii. And this discussion took place over about an hour, I would estimate. But at any rate, I got convinced that maybe I should not, even though my sentiments were... and now when I think about it, politics at that point was strictly on a person-to-person basis. I had not been involved in party politics, I had not been involved in any kind of party movement, like the Republican Party or the Democratic party. On top of that, what kind of moved me was that... you see, my brother, being a member of the Democratic party, was on the outside of the Democratic party. There was this Jack Burns group who was dominating the Democratic party. And somehow, and I guess because he was a partner of Hiram Fong, who was the Republican leader at that point, the inner party of the Democratic movers never did completely accept my brother as a Democrat. And I felt kind of hurt and disturbed of the fact that my brother was not given a proper recognition or a place in the party system. I think even back then, annoyingly, I think, this had persuaded me to get involved with the Republican party. Because basically I did not approve of the way how my brother was being treated by the Democratic party members. I know he was being left out of a lot of party inner meetings and whatnot. And above all, I think this was basically... well, one of the major reasons why I joined the Republican party. Not only because it was bad AJA influence, but more on a personal basis that my brother was being on the outside of the Democratic party. By the time Donald found out that I had already committed myself to run as a city councilman, but Donald didn't speak to me for about one month or so, I think. But after that, it didn't matter. We, all of my friends accepted me for what I am.

MN: So they didn't have any hard feelings against you for becoming a Republican?

KM: No, no. Very few of my friends held it against me. Some of the people who I knew casually, never accepted me as a friend thereafter. There are some diehards, Democrats, who strictly, strong partisan workers and, soon, you get to know who they are. But those people didn't bother me. But the thing is that I soon found out that after I got elected in the first state legislature, that very often, I was very much outside the circle of the Republican train of thought. My friend, Jimmy Clark, and I, always ended up being the minority of the minority, which was a hard role, and as you know, Jimmy Clark ultimately switched parties. He tried to get me to go along with him, but my explanation to him was, "Jimmy, I don't feel it to be a personal choice." When I became a Republican party member and ran for politics, I had to depend on a lot of my personal friends who, in spite of their personal feelings, decided to back me up and support my candidacy. And their work as Republicans, I'm sure, they would not appreciate if I then switched over.

So after I lost in 1970, I was not involved with the Republican party functions or matters or what. As a matter of fact, becoming appointed as the referee, Judge Lum and I, we had to get the approval of Governor Burns. Governor Burns had put a freeze on employment in 1970. Yeah, 1970 it was a freeze. And any position like the refereeship was subject to the approval of the governor. And so Judge Lum had to obtain the approval of the governor to open up my position, the position of refereeship. And approved my appointment, so I am basically a Democratic appointee. Because although I was a Republican party member, in order to get a job in the state under the Governor Burns' regime, I had to get his approval. And I guess one of the reasons why I got his approval was because I've always been very friendly with his son Jimmy. And I think the governor knew that our relationship was very close, Jimmy and I. And the governor was very, always cordial, and for a time when he was out of office, I remember, there was a short period he was he completely out of it. He was not a delegate, he was not the delegate to Congress. And he was not a governor at that point. But during that period, there was occasions where I interacted or had a relationship with the governor and his family. So anyway, I got appointed with the blessing of the governor. And I don't think, when I didn't get my reappointment six years later, I don't think the people who were involved with the appointment process knew the background of how I got involved, how I got appointed. Because the only two people who did... the first renewal of the judgeship, the only two people who did not get reappointed was Barry Rubin and myself. And Barry Rubin was a strong Republican who was a candidate for house, as a Republican, before he became a judge. And they say that it's non-political, but when you have so many people appointed by the governor, so many people appointed by the house and the senate, the judicial appointment is not as non-political as it seems.

MN: Just for the record, what district did you represent?

KM: Fifteenth District was a multiple district, the biggest multiple district at that time, there were six of us. It covered all the way from Makiki, McCully, Waikiki, the biggest single district at that time. It was multiple districts. And so in a multiple district, very little party control, but I was reelected five times. I served eleven years. The first term was three years.

MN: And in those days, who were your fellow representatives from that particular district?

KM: From my district was James Shigemura, Hiram Fong, Jr., Dorothy Devereux, Eureka Forbes, myself, and Stuart Ho. And oh, Jin Ho's son?

MN: Stuart Ho.

KM: Yes, Stuart Ho, six of us.

MN: It was very mixed.

KM: Oh, yeah, it was very mixed. But then they made it into a single district.

MN: And that's when...

KM: That's when I got... they took away my AJA votes by putting three Democratic candidates. So that at the general election, my usual stronghold AJA votes was diluted because they had three AJA Democratic candidates.

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

<Begin Segment 10>

MN: And you know, during your tenure as a representative, you were responsible for the Horizontal Property Regime Law.

KM: That's very interesting how that became law. In politics, if you're a member of the minority party, your piece of legislation never becomes law. If you introduce a bill under your name, majority party may put in their own, similar bill, under their member's signature. But in that case, it so happened that we had a big fiasco, development fiasco, what they call the Monarch, Monarch Development. The condominiums at that time was, you only had a leasehold. You did not have ownership in the fee. And so this Monarch Development, the developer absconded with down-payment money and whatnot. And a whole bunch of people lost their investment because the investors had no interest in the fee. All what they had was a lease-only interest. And so when the developer absconded with the money, they had nothing. And that was the right time to pass this horizontal property regime law because the horizontal property regime gave the apartment owners a percentage interest in the fee of the land. But what happened was that when I was going to law school in Washington, D.C., I knew of an apartment where it was a condominium, a fee condominium that was very unusual. There was no law at that point, but this one particular building in Washington, D.C., the owners of the apartment also owned the fee, a percentage interest in the fee. And I had heard about it, I had known about it, and so with my contact with the Finance Factors, Hiram Fong's, they had a finance investment very interested in land. And together, we located a model legislation that was being developed in Puerto Rico. So we got the model, basic model form of the law, horizontal property regime law.

The senate that session was under the control of the Republicans. The house was under the control of the Democrats, that year. I think the first state legislature. And so Yasutaka Fukushima, on the senate side, introduced the same bill that I introduced in the house. Now, both measures passed the house as well as the senate. But in the house, what they did was they turned over my bill to the senate after they received the senate bill. What happened was that when two bills pass the senate, you normally have an agreement that the bill that came over first is the one that we ultimately worked on. And so the senate bill came to the house first, my bill went to the senate. And the senate passed... but my bill was stuck in the house, meaning that the chairman wasn't going to have anything to do with my bill. Whereas the senate received my bill, it was sitting on the table, so to speak. And so at the very closing moments of the session, they were trying to bargain and play with the chairman of both, I think it was the judicial committee. Because of some differences, I forgot what differences it was, but the house killed Fukushima's bill. But what the senate did was, my bill, they passed it untouched, and so it became law as-is. And so a minority member's bill became law because of these circumstances. It was very unusual, but it changed the whole format in Hawaii. It was the bill that opened the doors wide for all of the developments we now see today, the horizontal property regime law.

MN: And it helped change the landscape of the city.

KM: It did, very much, because it provided all apartment owners security into the development, apartment development, whatever. They had an interest in the land together with the apartment.

MN: It really did change the landscape of the city.

KM: Oh, it was very significant. But pure chance, so to speak. Although eventually, I'm sure, someone would have found out about, and it just so happened that I had remembered this Washington, D.C., apartment where -- as a matter of fact, Ted Tsukiyama's wife, Fuku, and her roommate, lived in that apartment. That's why I found out about it. The apartment that Fuku and her roommate lived in was that condominium, fee-simple condominium. That's how I learned about it.

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

<Begin Segment 11>

MN: You know, like when you were in the legislature, there's a lot of wheeling and dealing to get things to cross over or to get approvals. To what extent did being a veteran figure into it, into your relationships and being able to make things happen?

KM: It played a big part, especially the ties of the 442 veterans. We had very strong ties among ourselves. Not only political arena, but at that time, I forgot how many of the 442 and 100th veterans were in the legislature. But they were a dominating factor in politics, in 1955 on. Even after that, in government aspects, I forgot the number of veterans who were judges at one time. Judgeship alone, we had a whole slew of 442 veterans or 100th Infantry veterans as judges.

MN: You were saying even among your artillerymen...

KM: My Field Artillery, 522 Field Artillery, we had Judge Hiroshi Kato, Judge Clinton Shiraishi. And in my battery alone, my very good friends Ed Nakamura, associate supreme court justice. Edwin Honda, with whom the three of us spent three close years in the same battery, so to speak. That was it, but that was the artillery group alone. But then in the infantry, you had a whole bunch of others who were, counting from Masato Doi to Matsy Takabuki, all the bunch of politicians and judges. But throughout the islands, we had these contacts, and so their influence on all things was very much influenced by veterans.

MN: Since you're an active member of the 442nd Club, how active was the 442nd Club in politics?

KM: The club itself had absolutely no right to get involved in politics. You were a nonprofit charitable organization, you cannot get involved as a club in politics. And all of the years that I have been a member of the 442 as a charter member, it was basically a great concern that at no time with the club, officially get involved as a club in politics. Lately we've had a couple of instances when a individual would say, put out an ad and put down, "Member of 442nd Veterans Club." And that's strictly done on an individual basis, but it is borderline because the club didn't have to disclaim the fact that the club, as a club, was involved in politics. And so you never see any endorsement pictures or anybody as an officer of the club, or using the name of the club as an endorsement. This is one of the very... and just recently there was an article about Internal Revenue getting into all these non-charitable organizations getting involved in politics. This is of great concern because one of the reasons why we are tax-exempt is because we are not involved in politics.

MN: So historically only as individuals...

KM: Only as individuals, the members. Not as a result, but there were a few of us who were Republican candidates who were involved. But the great majority of them were of the Democratic party.

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

<Begin Segment 12>

MN: And I know that after your years of politics, and after your being a District Family Court judge, you returned to private practice, and you eventually became a counsel to Servco.

KM: Yeah, I got involved with the Hawaii Housing Commission, the public housing authority. That was under John (Waihee). So both so-called non-political jobs that I got, basically, political jobs is under Democratic governors, Governor Burns and Governor Wallace. Waihee, John Waihee. John Waihee. Under his regime I was appointed to the Hawaii Housing Commission.

MN: And how many years did you serve with the Hawaii Housing?

KM: The commission was appointed basically four years, but I replaced somebody after the first year. So the first term was three years, and then I served another second term of four years. So seven years I served as a member of the Hawaii Housing Commission.

MN: And basically, what was the job of the commission?

KM: Well, it was the executive director who was the appointee of the commission. But the housing commission's basic duty was to oversee the housing program of the state. More importantly, as commissioners, our authority was quasi-judicial because the commission had the power to evict residents of non-payment or for disruptive behavior or for whatever reason that we have as by state law. We have obligation to manage and run the Hawaii Housing. We had how many members? Eight members? I think it was an eight-member commission under the Department of Human Resources. And the department head was also a member of the commission. And what we did was the housing tenants were subject to eviction, primarily, number one, for nonpayment of rental. It was the primary duty of the commission to hear the, basically the appeals by these other low-level, they are ordered to be evicted for nonpayment example. And they would appeal to the commission the order of eviction. And the hearing would be held by the commission members, and then we would either allow the eviction or overrule the eviction. We've had instances where we've overruled the hearing officer's decision to evict. But ultimately, the eviction -- and they have a further right to appeal to the district courts. And during my tenure, I don't recall if we had any appeals of our decision to the district courts because the district court was to the circuit court, because the Legal Aid would step in, in cases where they thought that our ruling was no appropriate. But it's a real problem because after we evict the individual family members and they become homeless, the department continues to be responsible for them under the homeless program. So it is basically something that is from one hand to the other hand in the department of housing.

MN: So the problem doesn't disappear.

KM: No, it doesn't disappear.

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

<Begin Segment 13>

MN: I know that we're getting close to the closing of our interview session, so I thought I'd like to spend a little bit of time on your family. Tell us a little bit about your family, your marriage and your children.

KM: Oh, wait. The 442 member the club, very early in our formation, we wanted to get involved with some community activities. One of our first activity was getting involved with the All-Japan High School Baseball Federation back in 1955. Actually, 1953, there was a private sponsor, Mr. Torao Kobayashi, who was still alive at one hundred, two hundred and three years old, he was the first sponsor of an all-star high school member from Hawaii going to Japan and traveling all throughout Japan under the auspices of the Japan All High School Federation. And we got involved with this goodwill series. Every two years thereafter, Hawaii would send one all-star team up there. Two years later, Japan would bring over an all-star baseball team. And from 1955 until 1993, we continued this program. Unfortunately, in 1993, we found out that our veterans who used to provide places for home stay of the high school students, we couldn't get enough veterans to provide a place for home stay and so we ultimately turned over the program to the Interscholastic League of Hawaii. But the 442nd Club initiated not only that program, which is within ten years after the war, we got involved with this goodwill program of our kids going to Japan home stay and Japan kids coming to Hawaii on a home stay.

But the Hawaii high school baseball tournament was defunct right after the war, and the 442 organized and sponsored and gave financial backing to the reentry of the state baseball tournaments which had not been in existence after the war, World War II. And so we, for a great many years, I don't know for how long, we financially supported the Hawaii State High School Baseball tournaments, and we just continued until today now. But Interscholastic took over after we started it. But in the beginning we'd pass out gallon cans for donations to financially support the tournament. And then the 442 got involved with this goodwill sumo tournaments, and this started off back in 1962, was the first year we promoted. But what happened was that there was this Hawaii Sumo Association of first-generation AJA community. And they had accepted a proposal by the Japan Sumo Association to sponsor a goodwill tournament in Hawaii in 1962. And when 1961 came around, the Honolulu Sumo Association found out that they did not have enough manpower to sponsor the appearance of the sumotori, and so they turned it over to the 442. And I was involved because I was approached first from the Honolulu Association and we would consider it. But being involved with the baseball program, the boys said, "Hey, that's too much." Because not only did we have baseball, but we were sponsoring circuses every two years or so, because we had to have a building fund hopefully that we would get a clubhouse. So we were involved with all this. Many of the boys said, "What is sumo? There's no sense in sumo." But I was involved with sumo from Maui days where sumo was very popular in Maui. I was luckily able to persuade the boys to take over the tournament. And we started 1962 with a small group of ten top-notch sumotoris from Japan. And a private agreement with a stablemaster, Takasago Oyakata. Takasago Oyakata was a very liberal-minded stablemaster in Japan. Stablemasters in Japan were tradition-bound. Sumo in Japan was very much bound by all kinds of tradition, and so most of the stablemasters were very concerned. But Takasago Oyakata was very forward-looking and he wanted to reestablish the ties between Japan and especially Hawaii with sumo. Because before World War II, there were a lot of appearances by Japan sumotoris in Hawaii and California with the immigrants. And so he wanted to continue this and he wanted to introduce the lifestyle and the traditions of Japanese sumo to the Western world. That was his ambition. And so we started in 1962. For ten years... not ten years, but ten different tournaments that we sponsored, but ten different tournaments that we sponsored. But it got enlarged into performances in New York, performances in Los Angeles, and then the Sumo Association went to China and Britain, to Paris, Brazil, Australia, as a result of reopening sumo back in 1962. And so the 442 had a great deal to do. And today, amateur sumo is a big thing. Just the other night I was watching a world amateur tournament in Madison Square Garden, just two nights ago. And this is a big thing now. Of course, it's a little different from the traditional Japanese type, they have a taiko drum intermission between bouts to rev up the enthusiasm of the audience. And it was a big show as compared to Japanese authentic sumo.

MN: And we should mention that you were also very instrumental in having Jesse Takamiyama.

KM: Yeah. And at that time, in 1962, we took the group over to Maui and Hilo, we had them perform and when we went to Maui the first time in 1962, Maui being my hometown, there was this young Baldwin High School football player who had been practicing sumo to better his football performance. So he was taking sumo with my good friend Okasawara, who was the stable, sumo master in Maui. And so Jesse was learning sumo for his football, learning the stance in a defensive light. And so he was participating in sumo. And so when we took over the sumotoris in 1962, he said, hey, maybe he wanted to get involved. But you got to remember, in 1962, the draft was still in existence, and so Jesse, being a high school graduate, he was subject to the draft. And so, but he decided he wanted to go, and Takasago Oyakata said, oh, he'll take him. But we had to bypass the draft system. Governor Ariyoshi was the governor at that point. Being from Maui, I had some contacts here in Maui. My very good friend was the head of the local board of Maui. So he advised me that I can try and get an exemption, at least one-year exemption from the draft for Jesse because he's going to go to Japan to get in. So we worked it out, I wrote a letter to the draft board stating the circumstances that Jesse wanted to go out and try to get involved in sumo, the national sport of Japan. And the Maui local board gave Jesse the exemption. One year later, when he had to reregister, or inform the local board, he had to report that he was weighing so much, which was way over the eligibility weight of the recruits. So he got exempted from the draft on that basis. And there was this story, he became such a... today, still, a stablemaster. All others, Akibono became a grand champion and all that, but he retired from sumo without being a stablemaster. And of the Hawaiian contingent, he was the first one post-World War II. As of now, he's still the only stablemaster of the Hawaii contingent.

MN: It's an accomplishment.

KM: It's quite an accomplishment.

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

<Begin Segment 14>

MN: And then, now I want to get into your family if you can. Tell us about your family, your wife and your children.

KM: Oh, I have four children. My wife is Laura Masuko, she is a former Iida. Her family ran Iida Shoten, or Iida Store, ceramic store in Ala Moana for over a hundred years and, unfortunately, recently closed down the store. I have an eldest daughter named Carolyn Mariko Miho, and Arthur Kengo Miho, and Celia Yukiko Fujikami, and Ann Takako Johnson. Interestingly, Kiko -- Celia is known as Kiko -- but her name was named after a very good friend of mine, Celia Molina, who was a Filipina that my brother and I both knew in Washington, D.C. Beautiful Filipina lady, and Kiko was named after her. They're all adults now, married.

MN: And how many grandchildren do you have?

KM: Oh, now I have, Arthur has two girls, sixteen and twelve, and Kiko has an eight-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter, and Ann has a four-year-old daughter and a two-year-old boy, and one more coming on the way in May. So I will have, I have six grandchildren now and one more on the way.

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

<Begin Segment 15>

MN: When you think back on all of your life experiences, what do you want your children and grandchildren to remember and learn from your life experiences? If you had to choose a few things, what do you want them to remember and learn?

KM: I think I would want them to remember that, like my high school teacher has impressed upon me, that you should not devote yourself only to one aspect of your life, say, earning a living. Beyond that, you should become an active member of your community and be involved with community activities, without saying what community activities, but community activities of your choice. You should not be restricted to only one aspect of your life, but you should get involved with the general activities of your community. Unfortunately, from my upbringing in the island of Maui where we did have a sort of a community. Today's modern life is a different aspect. All the more, I think it requires one to get involved with... you don't have a small community like when you have a place like Manoa, and we live in Manoa Valley, but the Manoa Valley is just the place where you live unless you participate in other matters beyond Manoa and in Honolulu as a whole. So you have a broader view of community today than when I was brought up in the small little town of Kahului, Maui, where most of the activities involved the Japanese community per se. When you talk about community now, the community is the entire island of Oahu. It's a big city and you're not limited to a small settlement. You have Kakaako, you have McCully, you have Waikiki. All these different satellites. But you shouldn't limit yourself only to whatever in Manoa because it is no longer the type of community that I grew up in. And so there is some adjustment that needs to be done, but hopefully my kids would learn that it is not very limited, restricted, or limit themselves to only making a living and raising a family. But I hope that they would realize that besides making a living and raising a family, there's a lot more involved as a community of Honolulu or of Hawaii.

MN: I have one last question. It's a real broad question. How did the World War II years affect your outlook on life and how you've lived your life in the postwar years?

KM: One of my impressions which I continued to learn throughout my journey is that when I went to Mississippi and got exposed to the Southern culture, I found that people were people. Although they looked different, they spoke differently, then when we went to overseas, the few civilians that we met in Italy, and the few French people that we met in France, and before the war ended in Germany, there were all of these various people that I met. The values of life were all the same. What was important to them basically was important to every Italian person or French person or to the German people. Primarily there seemed to be rules on how you lived, how you got along with your neighbors. The only thing that... in fact, I did get into, I remember getting into a conversation with some Germans, people that, "How come, how come Germany and Americans are fighting when we were friends from before?" And, "Why are you allowing the Russians to move so far west into Germany when, you know, you Americans are going to fight the Russians eventually? You're not friends with the Russians." And this is the Germans telling me before the end of the war. And then when the war ended and we decided to know them personally, and basically the family life, what was important to them was what would be important to me and my family. I saw very little difference in humanity; French, Italian, Germans, we're human beings, first of all. This is my strongest impression. That people... and many times I remember telling, "It's not the people who want the war." The people don't want, no German, no Italian wanted war, it's only the upper ruling people that wanted, for one reason or another, get engaged in war. And this conversation, I recall, having had this type of conversation with Italians, French and German people.

MN: Good place to end, we made it.

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