Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Hope Omachi Kawashima Interview
Narrator: Hope Omachi Kawashima
Interviewer: Kristen Luetkemeier
Location: Fresno, California
Date: September 10, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-khope-01

<Begin Segment 1>

KL: My name is Kristen Luetkemeier, a park ranger at Manzanar National Historic Site with the Manzanar Oral History Project, and I'm here today in the Fresno home of Marion and Saburo Masada for an oral history interview with Hope Kawashima, who was confined in Topaz and Tule Lake, and we'll be talking about her experiences there, as well as growing up in Loomis beforehand and what her life was like after the family relocated out of Topaz. And before we start talking, Hope, I just want to confirm with you that it is okay with you that we record this conversation and we'll keep it at Manzanar and make it available to the public at their request to watch and listen. Is that okay?

HK: Yes.

KL: Okay. Well, thank you for agreeing to this interview today. And I want to start off, just so people can place you in time and space, if you would just tell us when and where you were born?

HK: I was born on April 2, 1937, in Auburn, California. And my family was living in Loomis, California.

KL: And I know you know something about your, both the grandparents in your family and their immigration experiences, so if you could, I'd like to just start off, if you would introduce us to, maybe starting with your paternal grandparents, their names and what you know about their lives?

HK: I'd be happy to. Actually, my grandfather, Masao Omachi, was born in 1857 and he migrated from Kanazawa, Japan, to Hawaii in 1891.

KL: Do you know what, do you know anything about his family that grew up in, in Kanazawa, or what, how they earned a living or where they went to school or their religious faith, or anything?

HK: Well, actually, I found this out much later, actually when my parents celebrated their 50th anniversary, I found out this information that was translated from a Japanese newspaper, that my grandmother had interviewed a pastor and told her life story, and found out that my grandmother, Tsuneko Ohashi, was born into a samurai family and my grandfather Masao Omachi also was from a samurai family. And they married when my grandmother was only sixteen years old. But then my grandfather, Masao Omachi, had received a stipend (since) the samurais had all received stipends at that time because it was the end of the samurai era, and unluckily -- he used up all their money in no time, by drinking and gambling on geishas and all kinds of other terrible things. And so my grandmother was shocked when he had completely run out of money and tried to sell their son.

KL: Do you know how their marriage was brokered? We'll back up a little bit and ask, do you know how they, had they decided to marry each other, or their families decided?

HK: Well, my grandfather's parents, coming from a samurai family, thought that it would be better for him to marry because he was a playboy. And so they thought if he married he'd settle down, and so they introduced him to my grandmother, who was also from a samurai family. And so it was what you call a pre-arranged marriage, and so I guess this is the reason that maybe he, in some way, (he) was rebelling. And the night of, their wedding (...), my grandmother's maid found her new husband with a geisha, and she of course was shocked, but she didn't know what to do and so she endured. But -- until the time when he tried to sell their son, then she decided that was the last straw, so she went home and then talked to her parents and then she divorced him, which of course was very unusual during that time, (to divorce).

KL: Yeah. Was she from Kanazawa also?

HK: Yes. She was from Kanazawa, and her parents, or her father was considered high ranking, I guess he was (what) they call a fire station person, or a person in charge of watching all the fires, so to speak. And so he was receiving a good salary for his position then. They (served) under Duke Mayeda, I think was the name of the samurai.

KL: I wonder what they thought of her situation.

HK: Well, of course her parents realized that her husband was a playboy and he wasn't going to change. [Laughs] And so they thought it would probably be best for her not to have to keep enduring that.

KL: Do you know how long they were together, at that time?

HK: Well, probably... I don't know, she didn't indicate exactly how long, but it was probably about a couple of years at the most. So she was very young. As I said, she was only sixteen when she married, but then...

KL: What was their son's name?

HK: Kenichi, Kenichi Omachi.

KL: Do you have any sense for who -- you said that his father thought about selling him for more money -- do you have any sense of who, what that meant? Who would've bought him, or what...

HK: No, she didn't say, who he was trying to sell her son to. I think she didn't (say), I guess she was so angry, you know, at that time, or shocked, I think she probably didn't even ask that, or find out about it. But of course she got the son back and took him to her own parents, 'cause she realized that it wasn't a good atmosphere for her son to be raised in. And so then my grandfather then decided to go to Hawaii, and he worked in the pineapple fields in Hawaii, and he was converted to Christianity, I think, well, I think the story was that he was on the ship going to Hawaii and then one of his friends got in a fight, they were in a drunken brawl type of thing, and the, somebody got killed. And so he was shocked because he, then suddenly realized what kind of life he was leading, and then he heard this missionary speaking about, unless he changes, or unless they change they would lead to nothing but death and destruction in their lives. And he realized that was where his life was headed at that time, and so then he decided to become a Christian at that time. So when he went to Hawaii he started attending the Harris Memorial Methodist Church, and then --

KL: What year was that? Do you have any idea?

HK: Well, it was (in) 1891 (when) he went to Hawaii.

KL: That's right, you said that, yeah, 1891.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

KL: Where did he go in Hawaii?

HK: Well, I think it was in Oahu, but then he left by 1893. So 1891 he went to Hawaii, then 1893 he heard that California was the land of gold and opportunity, so he moved to the Placer County area -- Loomis, California -- and he (worked) to acquire forty-five acres of farmland because it was during the Homestead Act where if you could work the land then it would become yours. So he worked hard doing that, and then in 1903 he started a bible study group and began acquiring land to build the First (United) Methodist Church of Loomis, which (still has) a ten-acre property that he had acquired. It's a beautiful church, with gardens and everything. But then he worked so hard that he acquired tuberculosis and died by 1913. My father was born in 1908.

KL: What was your grandfather farming? Or what was his work in this area?

HK: He was growing fresh strawberries, and then I think he had planted fruit trees, like apples and pears and peaches. Well, [brings out photos] I don't know if you can see this picture or not, but...

KL: Yeah, Hope brought, I'll just say for the tape, Hope brought a bunch of pictures, and we'll keep these with the interview so people can look at them. It's probably better to maybe film them afterwards or just have them with the...

HK: I see.

KL: 'Cause I don't think they'll show up real well on the camera.

HK: But this shows the acre, the fruit trees blossoming, over forty-five acres of land.

KL: It says plum, peaches and pear trees.

HK: But you notice that there (are) patches of snow here, so that was a problem in that area (as) sometimes the frost and snow would come at the wrong time, then they wouldn't have any crop.

KL: Yeah.

HK: It was hard work, but he was very successful at it, apparently, so he had earned enough to call my grandmother, who had become widowed (them), she (...) remarried a Christian teacher in Japan and then had two daughters.

KL: Was she Christian already? Was that --

HK: No, she became (a) Christian. She was converted to Christianity by her husband, because he was a Christian schoolteacher. And then they were happily married and had two daughters, but then he became suddenly ill from an aneurysm or a stroke and just passed away suddenly. So she was left widowed, they were living in Tokyo. She was left widowed with the two children, so then she had to go back to her parents' home again. Because she was depending on his income for their life and she was doing some sewing and other type of things, but not enough to make a living for them, so she moved back to her parents' home.

KL: She had a lot of trials.

HK: Oh yes. She went through (...) a lot of difficulty, I think just in her early years. But she was very strong-minded, and she knew right from wrong.

KL: Wow. I think you might be more comfortable if you set the pictures aside. I just want us to talk for right now. I don't want you to have to feel like you have to keep up with them.

HK: I see, yes, okay.

KL: So you mentioned that your father then had other, another son. Would you tell us the story of how that happened?

HK: My grandfather, you mean.

KL: I'm sorry, yeah, your grandfather.

HK: Well, my grandfather (had) my father, who is my father, Peter Omachi, born in 1908, and then he had a younger brother, Joseph Omachi, born I think about two years later, (in) 1910.

KL: So there's Kenichi, and then do you know the daughters' names, your (grandmom's) daughters?

HK: The one that came with her, Nagaki, became, married to a Takegishi. But then, I think the other daughter was younger and stayed with the grandparents, so she didn't come to this country, that I know of. There's some things, some questions...

KL: There always are, yeah.

HK: [Laughs] Yes, what happened to so-and-so? But I'm still not quite sure what happened to Kenichi, if he returned to Japan, because I don't have much information about him.

KL: Yeah, so he wasn't a presence really in your dad's life.

HK: No, I don't think he came with her, that I (remember), I have to read, I haven't reread our history in this translation that, we did in 1979, I believe it was.

KL: That's okay. It's just, yeah, what you know, and some of it you will and some of it you won't. But your, you said your, and then it was Peter, your father, and then what was his brother's name, his younger brother?

HK: Joseph.

KL: Joseph.

HK: Omachi.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

KL: Did your, do you have any sense of what your grandmother's thoughts were about coming to the United States and living, arriving in California?

HK: Well, of course she wanted to be sure that Masao had changed, that he... I think when he told her that he had become a Christian, that he was trying to build a church, I think that convinced her that he had changed, and so then she was willing to come. But otherwise, as she remembered him, he was nothing but a playboy. [Laughs]

KL: Yeah, that'd be a lot to get over, huh?

HK: Yeah. But I guess since she had become a Christian and then he had become a Christian, then I think she trusted him enough to come over.

KL: When did she come, do you know?

HK: Let's see... yes, she came in 1996 -- 1906, I mean.

KL: 1906.

HK: 1906. She migrated from Kanazawa, and she...

KL: And what year was she born, Tsuneko?

HK: That's, I was going to say... you know, I didn't, I couldn't find that information. I know (...) she passed away in April 24, 1948. But, so I didn't get exactly the date of their marriage either, so I'm not quite sure, so I would say -- she was younger than Masao. Since he was born in 1857, I would say she was probably born in about 1864 or something, because she was quite a bit younger than he was.

KL: Okay. Well, what about your dad, then? What do you know about his early years?

HK: Well, my father had to work hard because he had to take care of his mother and his younger (brother).

KL: He had a younger sister too?

HK: I mean...

KL: His brother?

HK: His brother, younger brother. I'm sorry, (yes), younger brother. I think they lived with his half-sister, Nagaki, who had come from Japan with his mother. So they lived together, 'cause he was only about five when my grandfather died. But then as soon as he was old enough to work, they put him to work. Because he says he remembers driving tractors from the time he was twelve years old, so he was doing all the farm work, literally. Because my aunt's, his half-sister's husband didn't like farming, but he liked to own the farm. But he was working as a shoe repair man; that's what he preferred to do. And so my father was doing quite a bit of the work, and (their) sons too, of course.

KL: Did your, your aunt and her husband live with the family, with Peter and his family?

HK: (Yes), apparently so, 'cause they have a picture of them all together. But I think, from seeing the pictures of the houses, I think my grandmother and then my father and his younger brother, (...) lived in a separate house later. I'm not sure exactly what the timing was on that, but I think when he was old enough to work, I guess, or when my grandmother (...) was very strong-minded, so I think maybe she preferred to live with just her two sons later. 'Cause she had her own house, and then the Takegishis had built a new house for themselves. And there's a picture in this book here of the house they lived in. I'll show you those later.

KL: We'll look at them later. Yeah, that'd be good.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

KL: So your father's life, a lot of it, anyway, was work, in his childhood, in his early teen years and stuff.

HK: Yes. In fact, he had to work so much he couldn't even finish high school, 'cause he was always busy driving tractors and trucks. He had to drive the fruit all the way to Reno, or to Sacramento. He had to drive, most of their fruit he had to deliver, so he was very busy working very hard. And so he had to quit high school even, so he wasn't able to graduate from high school until my youngest sister graduated. 'Cause he went back to night school, and then when my youngest sister graduated, he wanted to graduate, so he graduated at that time from high school.

KL: Wow, that's impressive.

HK: He wanted to go to school, and he did a lot of studying on his own. He had all these books about astrology and science and mechanics, and I think he would've been a good scientist. And he sent his younger brother, Joseph, all the way through law school, and he became a lawyer. So they said he just worked hard for his family.

KL: Where were they in school when they were children? What was the high school?

HK: I think they went to Placer High School. Or, I'm not sure, either, I know my mother went to Roseville High School, (...) there were only two high schools in that area at that time, and --

KL: Did -- oh, go ahead.

HK: But I know my uncle, Joe, I think probably went to Placer High School, and he was an honors student and then he went to UC Berkeley. And I met people later on, when they found out what my maiden name was, they said, "Oh, are you related to Joe Omachi?" I said he's my uncle, and he says, "I remember he was one of the outstanding students at UC Berkeley." So he was considered a good scholar, or good student. So he graduated from UC Berkeley, became a lawyer, and then his son too, I remember his son Rodney was valedictorian of his class in Stockton and won a full scholarship to Stanford University and then to Harvard University Medical School, and he became a doctor. So I think that if my father was able to go to school he probably would've become a professor or a scientist or something.

KL: Do you have any sense of what that was like for him? I mean, hearing about his younger brother who was pretty close in age to him, that, hearing about Joe's accomplishments, kind of with the support of your dad, do you know what that was like for your dad, to be the one who was working to enable that?

HK: I think he supported him because I think he realized that something was (...) quite amiss among the family, as far as his father's property and all this type of thing, so I think he thought that sending his younger brother to become a lawyer, maybe he could find out, you know, the laws and so forth. 'Cause, as I said, my father didn't even graduate from high school, but he knew the laws were what determined what happened a lot.

KL: Yeah. I was listening to an oral history on the way here, related to someone who was very connected to the United Farm Workers, and that person was talking a lot about how -- and he became a lawyer, and he was talking a lot about how important that was to his uncle and his father that he work really hard and have that understanding of law.

HK: Yeah.

KL: Or of medicine, he said was the other alternative to really impact the world around his life and his family's. That's interesting.

HK: Well, I think that's the way, my father felt the same way too. So he was happy to send his brother to law school because he thought that would help their situation, because he realized that he was working hard but they were very poor and, whereas his (sister) and their family were pretty well off. [Laughs]

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

KL: You said your grandfather acquired that land initially through homesteading.

HK: Right.

KL: Was he able to prove out on it? Did the family end up owning that land, then? What happened to the land after his death?

HK: Well, that's the thing, is that his sister married and then had three sons, and I think it was put into the names of her three sons.

KL: Because she was, she and her, was her husband Japanese citizenship?

HK: Yes.

KL: Okay.

HK: But I think they were a little more aware of the laws and so forth, and so I think... this happened, of course, when my father was very young, and so we're not sure exactly what happened. But anyway, my father, and my uncle didn't receive any of that property, that I know of. Unless they paid him off for it or what. We don't know. But all I know is that my parents struggled financially all their life.

KL: And your father was working his father's property, right, when he was a teenager?

HK: Right, yeah.

KL: That forty-five acres.

HK: Right.

KL: Did they hire help? Or was it strictly family, do you know?

HK: I'm not sure about that, because his sister had three boys. Of course they were all younger than my father, so my father was the oldest among the boys, so he had to work the hardest. But I'm not sure if they hired other people or not. My grandmother didn't mention any of that in her history. But I think it was mainly family working the farm.

KL: Where was the property?

HK: The property is located in Loomis, California, in Placer County. It's in the foothills northeast of Sacramento. It's a beautiful area, and there was a lot of rocks and things like that, so all the land had to be cleared of the rocks before they could grow fruit trees. And then the weather was unpredictable in that area, because sometimes they would get even snow or frost when the fruit trees were blossoming, which was not very good for having a crop. So sometimes they had good crops, and some years they had very poor crops. So it's very unpredictable in that area. In fact, I don't think anyone has, there are very few people that have continued trying to grow fruit in that area, because of the inclement weather. That's why I think Fresno is more suited for growing peaches, (plums, pears and) apricots. So most of the people that their parents had started farming, all went to work in other areas, or for other companies, because it was hard to make a living just raising fruit.

KL: Would you, you've told us a little bit, I mean, I have kind of a sense of your father already from what you've said about his support of his brother, but would you tell us some sort of defining personality traits of his? What was he like? What was important to him?

HK: Well, he was just a very hardworking man. He didn't talk that much, so he wasn't that verbal. But he had a good sense of humor. Like he used to tell this story when people would complain about the drought year -- "Oh, California is in a drought" -- and so he was saying, "You know what they should do? They should have the whales pull the icebergs down from Alaska to help the drought situation in California." [Laughs] That was one of his stories he liked to tell people.

KL: I wonder if that's come up in the legislature these last couple months, as a possibility. [Laughs]

HK: But he was very advanced in his thinking, like he said that we shouldn't depend on oil from other countries to run our cars because you could use alcohol, which could be made from vegetable, like corn and so forth. And so he believed that our country would save a lot of money if they didn't depend on oil from other countries but just used their vegetables for oil. And so, even one time, he ran out of gas, so he used rubbing alcohol to run his car.

KL: So he was mechanical too. I guess you had to be.

HK: Yes, oh yes. He kept all the cars and tractors and everything running. He was very mechanical, so he fixed everything himself. He'd do all the plumbing. He did all the, as I said, all the hard work.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

KL: And what about your, let's move over to your mom's side of the family. What do you know about her parents, their names and their backgrounds?

HK: Yes. My grandfather on my mom's side was born on August 14, 1867, and then --

KL: What's his name?

HK: Kanematsu Igarashi. And he migrated from Niigata, Japan to Hawaii in... 1900, I think 1900. No, first he came from, to -- no, I'm sorry, he left Japan in 1886. That's right. He migrated from Niigata, Japan in 1886 to Hawaii, then he went to California in 1900. Or 1906, I guess, is when he came to Placer County.

KL: And your grandmother?

HK: No, it was 1900. (Yes), because Masao Omachi and Kanematsu Igarashi started the bible class in 1903. (Yes), so it was 1900 he came.

KL: Okay. And then your grandmother?

HK: My grandmother is Toshi Tashima, and she came from Japan... she was born in, 11/24/87, and in 1906 she came as a "picture bride" to marry Kanematsu Igarashi.

KL: Okay. Was she from Niigata too?

HK: You know, I'm not sure where, exactly where -- no, she was from Hokkaido. That's right. And someone sent a picture of her with her three sisters, or two sisters, and then of course the family custom was to try to have the oldest sister get married first, but then my grandfather picked her. He said he didn't want to marry the older one, he wanted to marry the one in the middle. [Laughs]

KL: Did he, do you know why he picked her, what appealed?

HK: Well, I guess maybe she looked most appealing to him. She was a very sweet, very sweet person, so maybe the older one looked like she might be too strong or something. So I guess you can tell people by their pictures. I don't know.

KL: Yeah. Is there anything else that's written down that you wanted to share about them? And then we'll just talk about them a little bit more, I'll just ask you some questions.

HK: Well, yes, my grandfather, Kanematsu Igarashi, came from a family that manufactured the Japanese koji, miso, tofu. In fact, we even went to visit them about six years ago, my cousin that's still doing the business. They had that family business for over fifteen generations. But my grandfather was a younger brother, so the oldest brother, of course, carried on the family business, but my grandfather learned all the tricks of the trade and then he came to California and then he started a Japanese store in Loomis. He had the first Japanese store in Loomis, and he made all those Japanese foods that were very hard to acquire at that time. Even tofu was very hard. He made the tofu, and natto is the fermented beans, and even sake and all the Japanese foods that are very, was very scarce at that time. And so he was able to start a store.

KL: Do you know the store's name?

HK: There, I had seen a picture of it, but I think it was called Igarashi.

KL: Probably that's what people called it, even if that's, wasn't on the sign.

HK: Uh-huh. And then he, one time one of his friends came to visit him from Salt Lake City or something and watched him make miso. You know what miso is? (Yes), and then he stole his recipe and he was producing miso in Salt Lake City but his name Kanematsu on it. But it was his recipe.

KL: That's amazing, fifteen generations of that family business.

HK: Yes, because there are secrets to that trade, to get the right taste. 'Cause miso, well, if you're familiar with miso, you notice that different restaurants, different taste, so it depends on the miso.

KL: Yeah.

HK: But that's where the flavor comes from.

KL: What was he doing in Hawaii?

HK: He was working in the pineapple fields for just a short time.

KL: Did your grandfathers know each other before they came to Placer County?

HK: I don't think so. I'm not sure. I don't think so, because I think when they moved to... no, because my father's father came in 1893.

KL: To California, yeah, to Loomis.

HK: Yeah, and then my mother's father came in...

KL: 1900 or so, you said.

HK: (Yes), in 1900. So Masao Omachi was in Loomis area first, so I don't think they met, saw each other, knew each other in Hawaii.

KL: Was Masao an only child? Do you know?

HK: Masao? I don't know. I didn't, we didn't get that information.

KL: Yeah, that's okay. But Kanematsu was a younger child.

HK: Yes, 'cause he had two older brothers, and I think he came from a family of five, at least five or six sons. And then, in fact, they had so many sons that, at that time if you have extra sons, then you took your wife's name if they didn't have sons in their family, so that's what his brother did. His brother married a Mayeda, so he acquired the name of Mayeda, but his younger brother was an Igarashi. So he had several siblings, I'm not sure exactly how many. I have to...

KL: That's okay.

HK: I have a book on (the) Igarashi (...) side of the family, and I couldn't find it, for this.

KL: What about Toshi's, the family that she grew up in? Do you know anything about her parents, or if she had siblings?

HK: Well, she did have at least two siblings because --

KL: Oh, the picture.

HK: They said that, I think she had two siblings, so that's why she sent her picture, or her parents sent her picture and then he, my grandfather chose her.

KL: Do you know why her parents wanted her to be a "picture bride," or what she thought of it?

HK: Well, I think at that time, California was considered as a land of golden opportunity, and he sent a dashing picture of (himself). It looked like he was doing quite well, so... [laughs] And I think Hokkaido is the colder part of Japan, and I think they do farming there, but then it's very hard to make a living there. So I think probably his family, her family probably was struggling to make a living there, so they were happy if their daughter married a rich man in California.

KL: Which, of course they all were, right, all the men? [Laughs]

HK: Well, particularly my grandfather, Kanematsu, was considered as one of the wealthiest in that area, because he (owned) the store and then he was also raising chickens. And so then he was the first one to buy a Model T Ford, and also he was the first one to have electricity. So they had a vacuum cleaner and electrical appliances.

KL: When did they get electricity?

HK: I think early, I think probably early nineteen... I don't know, when did the Model T Ford come out?

KL: I don't know. It was early 'teens, I think. It's a been long time since I knew that.

HK: 1912 or something like that.

KL: That's what I was going to guess, '13 or something.

HK: Yeah, about 1912 or...

KL: And it was around that same time that they got electricity. Wow, that's really early. Or it seems to me.

HK: Yes, it was early.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

KL: How did that affect their role in the community? Do you know, did they ever say?

HK: Well, Masao Omachi and him started the bible study and the church in Loomis, so that was their main social activity, or community activity, because (there were) other thing too, I think, was my grandfather Igarashi started a kindergarten for the Japanese families. Because they couldn't speak English, so they had to learn English before they could go to public school. So he helped with that too.

KL: What was his role in that?

HK: Well, I think he was one of the founders, or helped to build the building for (what) they called (a) Japanese kindergarten. And I think the building is still there. So he was very active in the community for the Japanese families in that area.

KL: Did he speak English?

HK: I think, (yes), he acquired some English, but not too much. That was the hardest thing, learning English from Japanese.

KL: At age forty-five or later, yeah.

HK: For anybody, I think, to learn a new language is hard. So that's why they had to have the kindergarten, so the kids could learn English before they go to school.

KL: And the kindergarten was a separate building. It was not part of the church?

HK: (Yes), it was across the street.

KL: What was the church's name? I don't know if we've said that.

HK: First United Methodist Church of Loomis.

KL: And what was its role in the community?

HK: Well, I think it's probably considered as one of the largest churches in that area. It's still a very active church. There are, I don't know how many, three or four hundred members, I think. But I have some pictures of the church when, earlier times, they had quite a few members.

KL: Did they ever talk about why they wanted to start a church? I mean, obviously they didn't --

HK: Of course, I think my grandfather Omachi, of course, realized how important church was to his life. It changed his life, 'cause he was just going down the wrong road completely, without it, before he became a Christian. So to him, to train children in Sunday school and train young people at an early age to become Christians, (so) they wouldn't go through what he went through. So it was very important to him; that's why he worked himself to death, literally, to build the church.

KL: Was Christianity part of the Igarashi grandparents' background, or were they converted also?

HK: Yes, I think, I'm not sure exactly when Igarashi, my grandfather Igarashi was converted, but he and Masao together started this bible class, or bible group, in 1903. And that was kind of the beginning of the church. These two history books, they, let's see, [holds up pamphlet] 1903.

KL: Yeah, I saw that on the internet history I found, too, on the church's website.

HK: Oh, you found that one?

KL: Well, no, I just, I saw the date, 1903. Founded in 1903 and they got the land in 1913, actually, is what the church history said, and the building in 1916.

HK: 'Cause 1913 is when my grandfather passed away.

KL: Yeah. Did the Igarashis homestead also? Did they have property?

HK: Yes, I think so. But then he wasn't doing that much farming, because as I said, he was, he had the Japanese store and then he was raising chickens. So he had a chicken farm.

KL: Do you have a sense for how large the Japanese American community was in Loomis, or who was part of it, or if they were a minority or a majority? Would you just kind of talk about what you know about...

HK: Well, I think --

KL: Like when your parents were growing up.

HK: According to the pictures, there seemed to be quite a few families that came to the church. I think they all lived in that area. And they were the ones, I think, that started farming in that area, 'cause most of the farmers before were mainly doing cattle farming or sheep. But I think they were the ones that cultivated the land to grow trees, fruit trees and strawberries.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

KL: What was your grandmother like, Toshi?

HK: My grandmother was very, as I said, a very sweet, soft-spoken person. And actually, my grandparents lived with us, when we came back from Nebraska. But then she was already sick. She became bedridden and had, (...) I think they said she had Parkinson's or something. And so my grandfather took care of her and we took care of her. But she was always very sick. By the time I really got to see her, then she was very sick. And so my mother took care of her too, so we all took care of her, 'cause she was bedridden and we had to bring her things.

KL: It sounds like your Omachi grandparents had a pretty tumultuous road of their relationship. I wonder what the relationship with the Igarashi grandparents was like. Do you have a sense of what kind of roles they played in their relationship?

HK: Well, from the history of the Igarashi family, my grandfather was very devoted to his "picture bride," and he would buy her presents all the time, 'cause he could afford it. He'd buy her beautiful jewelry and all the nice appliances and clothes and things like that. So he, I guess you would say was just (completely) opposite. And then they raised a family of nine, no, nine or ten children, and my mother was the oldest.

KL: Okay. What was her name?

HK: Mary, Mary Etsuko. And she was born in September of 1908. My father was born in April 10, 1908, and my mother was born September 11, 1908. So they literally were childhood sweethearts. So I asked my mother, "When did you meet Dad?" And she says, "Oh, I suppose it was when his mother brought him over when I was born." 'Cause my grandmother Omachi was a midwife, and so she helped all the newborns come into the world. And so (my father) had to go with her when she went somewhere, and so that's when they met, when she was born. [Laughs]

KL: Wow. And she helped your grandmother deliver your mom. You think she was the midwife who was present?

HK: Yes, I think so.

KL: Wow.

HK: Because I was reading somewhere else too, all the community, Japanese community wives all depended on her not only to be the midwife but to help when the children got sick, and she always knew what to do. And so she also was very good at cooking, so she knew how to cook many things. So I heard this from other people that remembered her, they said that she was very helpful in sewing, she knew how to sew clothes, and then also she used to make -- well, when we were in Tule Lake, she used to make jewelry. That's why I wore these seashell jewelry [touches earrings]. She would make -- and brooches. She was very artistic, besides being very industrious, she was kind of the person that if anybody needed advice they would ask her, "How do you do this?" And she would know how to do all that.

KL: What was your mom's upbringing and childhood like? Your dad had to work very hard. Was the same true of your mother?

HK: Well, my mother being the oldest, of course had to help with her younger siblings. But then her life was much more luxurious because her father was able to provide them with -- well, that's why she had, took piano lessons from the time she was young. So she and her sister used to go by horseback for piano lessons, and so that's how she learned to play the piano.

KL: Who taught them? Do you know?

HK: Yes, her name was Mrs. Stull in Roseville. And then when I was older -- my mother taught all of us when we were younger, but then my mother decided I needed to go to a more advanced teacher, so she took me to Mrs. Stull, her old teacher.

KL: Spell "Stull"?

HK: S-T-U-L-L. (...) I think Ardis was her name -- oh, Lillian, Lillian Stull. That was her name. So I took piano lessons from her too. And so my mother became the church pianist when she was only twelve years old, and then she taught all of our family, and her sisters too, her siblings. She taught all of us to play the piano.

KL: Did her parents, were her parents musical?

HK: My grandfather used to like to sing, and he used to sing and do the Japanese dancing.

KL: Do you remember any of the songs?

HK: I don't remember the songs, but he would try to teach me, when they were living with us after we came back from Nebraska. So he would teach me how to do the Japanese dancing, so that I always enjoyed that. But, in fact, he taught me so well that when I was in college they asked me to be in a play called Teahouse of the (August) Moon, and I had to sing a Japanese song and do a Japanese dance in it. So (...) that, to me was one of the most precious gifts he gave me.

KL: Is there a name for the type of dancing that he did?

HK: They call odori. Odori. And so he knew all the different (ones), he had these records and he'd play the records and then we'd dance and he'd try to show me how to do the different dances.

KL: Were there odori, I know Bon Odori, which --

HK: Yes.

KL: Were there Bon Odori celebrations or commemorations in Loomis, that you remember from your childhood?

HK: Well, usually the Buddhist church does the Bon Odori, whereas the Christians, of course, were a little stricter. I think they didn't believe in drinking and dancing. [Laughs]

KL: Was he unusual, then, in his enjoyment of it, your grandfather?

HK: Well, he just did it at home. But he did it mainly for his entertainment and exercise at home. So I used to just do it along with him. To me, I enjoyed it. I thought it was wonderful.

KL: Yeah. Was there a Buddhist church in Loomis?

HK: Not in Loomis, in a neighboring town called Penryn there's a large Japanese Buddhist church. They had the odori, Bon Odoris there.

KL: What, when you were growing up -- I know you don't, obviously, remember from before your time, but what was the relationship between the Buddhist and the Christian communities or churches, in Penryn and Loomis?

HK: Of course, I think probably they were closer than with the Caucasian community, because, since they were all of the same Japanese background. So I think I really don't know for sure, but I think they probably were, 'cause I know when we were living there we knew people from the Buddhist church, and the (Buddhists) would come, like if we had the church bazaars. But I think, since Loomis was a separate town then, the Caucasians started coming to our church too.


KL: This is tape two, we're -- and I didn't say the date on the first interview -- it is the 10th of September, 2014, and also Mark Hachtmann is in the room for this whole interview, operating the camera. We're back with Hope Kawashima, and right when we cut off the first tape you were saying that Caucasians started being more of a presence in Loomis. I was wondering who else lived in Loomis, what other ethnic groups or immigrant groups or people were in Loomis?

HK: Yes, mainly, as I remember, there were Caucasian families, and they all became, now they're all members of the church, of the First Methodist Church.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

KL: Well, let's get to you, then. When were you born?

HK: I was born on April 2, 1937, and I'm kind of in the middle of my siblings. I had, my two oldest sisters are twin sisters, and then I have another sister, Esther -- I have pictures of all the siblings -- and then my brother, Elbert, was born, then I was born two years, couple years after my brother, in 1937.

KL: What were your twin sisters' names?

HK: Joan and Jean.

KL: And then after you, you said there were some other kids?

HK: Yeah, my sister Esther.

KL: Esther was younger than you?

HK: No, no. She was after the twins. Then my brother Elbert, and then I was born, and then my sister Elaine was born after me. And then after we went to camp my mother, when we were in Tule Lake she had a stillborn sister that was born while, we were in Tule Lake. And I don't even remember the name that they gave her. And then when we moved to Nebraska, I had two (sisters), Patricia and then Kathy were born in Nebraska.

KL: So you were almost the -- when was Elaine born?

HK: Elaine was born, I think 1940. And that was another thing about my father, was, is that he would say the government could take away, "They take away everything else, but they can't take away my children." That's why he liked having children.

KL: Yeah, and your mom was from a big family too, right?

HK: Yes.

KL: Well, what are your, what are some of your very earliest memories?

HK: My earliest memories of living in, actually Loomis was where my grandmother lived, and I don't know how long we lived with her, but when we were there, I remember she had a goat, and the goat would eat, if we left anything out, even our clothes, the goat would eat it. And then also she had a dog and cat, so we loved to play with all the different animals there. But I remember that, I think my parents moved, I think it was near Stockton, or Tracy, because, as I was saying, it was hard to really make a living on just the fruit trees 'cause some years there was no fruit. So my father, of course, then would, I guess you'd call rent, or I don't know how you'd call it, find a house to live in and then he would (grow) tomatoes, I remember. So he would try to grow different crops that were more dependable.

KL: What was the name of the community that he was renting in?

HK: I think it was Tracy, but as I said, this is just very vague memories. And then of course when the war broke out, then we moved back to Loomis with my grandmother because, since she was a widow and she was by herself, my father worried about what would happen to her when the war broke out.

KL: Were your aunt and uncle still with her at that time?

HK: No. Well, as I said, his older half-sister (...) were living in a separate house. And then his younger brother, I think, when by the time the war broke out he was already married and living in Stockton.

KL: Joe.

HK: Joe was, uh huh. I have information about his family too.

KL: Great.

HK: They got married on December 1, 1940.

KL: Okay.

HK: Yeah, so they got married before the war.

KL: And they were in Stockton.

HK: [Looking at photos] This was his wife, and then this is his son in the family.

KL: Great.

HK: There's a picture of Joe in this book.

KL: Good. But your dad still felt a responsibility to his mother.

HK: Yes. And so that's why we moved back to Loomis when the war broke out.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

KL: Did you have a sense before, just backing up, before the U.S. entered the war, before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, did you, like through your grandmother or your other grandparents, were they aware of events in Japan and Japan's aggression and the U.S.'s sort of involvement in trade and military supply and stuff? Did they, was there a sense in your family, do you think, that the countries were going to collide in war?

HK: Well, I think when they heard about Pearl Harbor, I think that's what I remember. Before that, of course, I don't remember them being concerned about it. But as soon as Pearl Harbor happened, then my parents, of course, were worried what would happen to all of us. So that's why we moved back to my grandmother's in Loomis.

KL: What do, can you tell us some details of what you recall of both news of the attack and also what the months after were like?

HK: Well, I remember that we had an old radio and then we would all be listening to the radio, 'cause my parents were very concerned. They were saying, "Oh no, this is terrible," type of thing. And so, of course, us kids, we didn't know what even war was, or bombing, we didn't even understand it all. But it sounded very serious, foreboding, and scary. It was scary, mostly.

KL: We were talking a little bit, the Masadas and I last night, about just the history of racism in the decades before Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, racism in the United States and in California. Did your family have experiences with -- I mean, obviously with the land laws, that was a big part of your family's experience, but was there day to day prejudice that they experienced in their farming or with the neighbors or in, just the business community? Or do you know? You were real little.

HK: I was too little to understand any of that, but of course I know there was kind of like a competition and envy of people that were doing better than others, that type of thing.

KL: Do you think your parents experienced that? Did they ever talk about that?

HK: No, but just from seeing the pictures, you can see that, like some families were, looked like they were doing very well, whereas I know my family, from the pictures, it didn't look like they were doing too well, as far as clothes and so forth. And so you could tell that there was differences in the economic level. It was family by family, so there was quite a bit of, I think, competitiveness and this type of thing, just among even the Japanese families.

KL: And you were too little to be in school before the war, right?

HK: Right.

KL: Yeah.

HK: 'Cause I didn't really start going to school until -- well, in Tule Lake I think they had, like, a preschool or kindergarten, so I think I went to school then.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

KL: Do you remember going back to your, the move to your grandmother's property?

HK: Yes, I remember we always enjoyed going to my grandmother's because, as I said, she had the goat and dog and cat and all this (property), all these trees. My brother and I used to love to climb trees, so we'd climb up the trees, and these huge granite rocks, we'd climb on the rocks, so it was a fun place for us.

KL: Did you move into her house with her?

HK: Yes. We stayed with her until we had to go for the relocation.

KL: You wrote a little bit about what those months were like for your father, his attitude. Would you tell us about that?

HK: Well, since my, both my parents were born in California, my father would say, "The government has no right to do this. We're American citizens. We're all American citizens." So he was kind of protesting, I guess you'd say, in his own way by being very stubborn about voluntarily relocating. And so he waited until the soldiers came on the truck with bayonets to evacuate us out of the house and load us on the truck. And of course, we didn't understand that. I didn't understand it until later, that, why other families, I think, went voluntarily, but he refused to go voluntarily because he was very stubborn too. [Laughs] But he believed that they had no right to do that, but then when they came with the guns and bayonets, he didn't want to argue with them, of course. He didn't want anybody to get hurt. But then, also, though, the interesting thing is that apparently my mother had written to the government and asked permission to have her piano moved with us to camp. And so I remember the soldiers had to lift this huge upright piano, which was very heavy. They loaded it on the truck.

KL: With you guys.

HK: Yes.

KL: When you were taken.

HK: When we went to the assembly center, in Marysville. And then, but the sad thing was is that I remember when we looked back, our house was on fire. Someone had burned our house to be sure we didn't get back, go back again.

KL: And you have memories of that?

HK: (Yes). I remember we were shocked to see, "Oh, why is our house burning?" So then I remember my father said, "I guess they don't want us to come back."

KL: Did he, did he have a sense, or your parents have ideas about who did that or their motives or... I guess you said --

HK: Well, he thinks that maybe one of the soldiers did it, because they didn't want us to come back. Since we were not willing to go voluntarily, they thought we would try to come back. If you have, but if you don't have a house to come back to, you don't try to come back.

KL: Were there others on the truck with you?

HK: All (of us), my grandmother and my parents and my siblings.

KL: All your family.

HK: Uh-huh.

KL: Was your father unusual -- and I guess your mother too, for that matter, or grandmother -- in being so strong in not going voluntarily or not moving east or anything?

HK: Well, when I think back on it, they were, I guess most people would say they were a little brave but foolish, 'cause we could've been shot, we could've been killed. If he maintained his stance of not going, they might've shot him, so he realized that. He didn't want to be killed or... because they all had guns. I remember the guns. So of course we just, even we were crying and we said, "We don't want to go, How about our pets?" We didn't want to leave our pets behind. They said we couldn't take our pets. So it was a very traumatic time, but they at least had, (knew that) we had to go, and they didn't want anybody to get hurt or killed. So we just (...) voluntarily got on the truck.

KL: What do you recall about the attitude of the soldiers?

HK: They didn't say anything. They just (pointed) the guns, "Get on the truck." So we just had to get on the truck. We didn't want to get shot.

KL: Had your parents made arrangements with anyone to look after the animals, or did they try to find someone to look after the property, and what was that like?

HK: No, I don't think they did, because, as I said, they didn't go voluntarily, so they didn't know that the soldiers would come on the truck. They just waited too long.

KL: So they thought there was a chance 'til, pretty much 'til the end, that they wouldn't be taken.

HK: (Yes), I guess they thought maybe they won't know about us, we'll just hide in the house, maybe they won't know about us. But then, of course, they did.

KL: What about your father's half-sister? I can't recall her name. Did they go earlier?

HK: Yeah. Takegishis, I think they went earlier. They went voluntarily, I think. And I'm not sure, I'm sure they probably made, they were type of family that planned everything, so I'm sure they had someone to take care of their place, their pets and everything. So they made all the plans, but, whereas my parents, I think, just thought they didn't have to go. They didn't want to go, so they were trying not to go.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

KL: Where were you taken?

HK: We were taken first to Marysville Assembly Center, I think it was just a big, huge warehouse and we had to just all sleep on our suitcases and our boxes and things. And then they --

KL: What was the history of the assembly center?

HK: I don't know much about that. They just called it the assembly center, so all the families had to gather there.

KL: It was not a place you had been before or had any experience with?

HK: No. No, it's not, Marysville's not too far from Loomis, but it was just a huge warehouse or something. It wasn't made for people to live in, (or) for families to live in. So I think we just stayed overnight, or just a few nights there, and then they loaded us on these trains, and they wouldn't let us look out the windows. They kept all the shades drawn, and then the train took us to Tule Lake.

KL: Can you tell us anything more about, you said it was just a couple days that you were in the Marysville Assembly Center, you think?

HK: Yes. I don't remember that much about it, but I think it was, I remember we were very uncomfortable.

KL: What, were you inside anywhere?

HK: Yeah, it was a warehouse.

KL: Was it divided in any way? Or it was --

HK: No, it was just, people (...) all over, as I remember, just a huge warehouse. People (...) had to sleep on your own clothes or whatever you had with you.

KL: Was there a military presence there?

HK: Oh yes.

KL: Was it very visible? Did you have any encounters or...

HK: No, of course we just stayed with our family. But they didn't want anybody escaping. [Laughs]

KL: Were there other people from the community, Caucasians or others who were part of your memories of being taken from your farm or being in the assembly center?

HK: I don't remember. I just remember our own family.

KL: What was, what are your memories of your parents in those days?

HK: Well, I know my father was very stoic and stubborn. He was trying to insist on his rights, but then, yet, as I said, he hadn't even graduated from high school, so what could he say?

KL: Did he talk to you about this later? Or where does some of your knowledge come from about his stance?

HK: Yes, I remember when, I think I was in college, and he talked about some of it. But then usually my parents would say let's not talk about it, let's forget about it. "That was a bad time. Let's just forget."

KL: Did he ever -- you said that he would argue for his rights as a citizen -- did he ever mention, or do you know if he ever got a response from the soldiers or from anyone? Or do you think he was stoic with the soldiers and others too?

HK: I think he decided it was better not to say something, and he didn't want anybody to get hurt. So he just, (...) very silently just loaded us all on the truck. But they did get the piano on the truck too, so that was an amazing thing.

KL: So that was with you in Marysville too, the piano.

HK: (Yes, the) piano. So I think they put it on the train and took it to Tule Lake.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

KL: What do you recall of the train, of the trip to Tule Lake? Starting with your awareness that you were going to go and actually loading up the trains, what was that scene like? Or do you have memories of it?

HK: Being so young, I remember it was a new experience. We had never ridden on a train. It was the first time to ride a train, so it's just like riding a train in Disneyland. You're excited about it when you're a little kid. But then we wanted to look out the windows and then they wouldn't let us look out the windows. We had to keep the shades all drawn, and we couldn't understand that. Here we're going on a train ride and we can't even see where we're going. [Laughs]

KL: Who enforced that? Or how did that --

HK: Well, they had soldiers on the train. They wanted to be sure nobody escaped, so if they had to stop or something. They had to be sure nobody tried to get off the train.

KL: How long was the trip?

HK: You know, for a kid it seemed like forever. Especially when you couldn't see out the window, couldn't see where you were going.

KL: Who was still with you for that part of the journey?

HK: My grandmother and my parents and then (...) six siblings. Six of us all together, yeah, so five siblings and myself.

KL: Are there any other memories from that trip out to Tule Lake?

HK: Well, all I remember is that we kept saying, "Where are we going? Where are we going?" [Laughs]

KL: Did your family know where you were going? Did you have awareness of that?

HK: No. I think they just said Tule Lake, so we thought maybe there'll be a lake there. But there was no, it was a dried up lake and some lava beds there, nothing can grow, and it's a kind of isolated area. I don't know if you've ever seen that.

KL: I've been up to Tule Lake.

HK: You have?

KL: Yeah, two years ago I was at the pilgrimage to Tule Lake. So I've been there just one time.

HK: We went, my husband and I (...) for a pilgrimage (...), I think it's about seven or eight years ago. But the memories came back.

KL: So it was, when did you first see, see the area? You arrived with the window shades drawn, I assume. What was, can you walk us through those first couple of hours of the, starting with getting off the train? What you did, what you saw.

HK: I just remember it was hot and dusty. Then there was all --

KL: When was it that you arrived there?

HK: In May, I think it was, 1942. But it was already hot. Or June 1942. Yeah.

KL: It was already hot.

HK: It was already pretty warm. And then we expected to see a lake and we kept saying, "Where's the lake, where's the lake?" We never saw a lake. It was just a dried up lake, and just very, red lava dust and hardly any trees even growing there. Just all these black tarpaper barracks lined up. And we said, well, this is where we're going to be living. So then they showed us our room.

KL: Who showed you the room?

HK: Well, I think we had to wait until we got our assignment, and then they showed us one, one room for all six, seven, eight, nine of us. The room was about the size of this living room, maybe up to this couch to the window. Al l nine of us would have to, that's where we'd have to be living.

KL: Was there anything in the room?

HK: I think they had these metal cots that we'd sleep on, and then a black stove, potbelly stove for heat. And that was about it. So kind of, I think, was surprising. There was no bathroom, no kitchen. All you had was one room to sleep in and live in. So it was kind of a shock.

KL: What were people's reactions? You were with your grandmother and your parents and your -- you said your siblings were kind of, you guys were excited looking for the lake -- what was, what do you remember of your parents and your grandmother?

HK: I think I remember somebody said, "Oh no. Is this where we have to live?" And then my father, of course, said, "That's impossible for us to live like that." So he had heard that if he signed up for work camp then he could go to the work camp, and I think it was in Idaho. So that's what he did, 'cause he thought, (...) he couldn't live there. Since my grandmother was with us and then my mother and then all of us, but he said he just couldn't, he didn't think that would be wise for him to stay there. But he wanted to go work and try to get us out of there, so that's what did.

KL: When did he go to Idaho?

HK: I know he wasn't in the camp (for) very long. Because he wanted to work and earn money for us so that we wouldn't have to stay there, so that's what he did. He moved all the way to Twin Falls, Idaho (and) worked in the potato fields. So then when he was able to save enough money, he came after us, and he rented a truck and came after us and took us to Twin Falls, Idaho.

KL: Before you left Tule Lake, did the, you described the room with the metal cots and the stove, did your living space change in your memory at all, during your time at Tule Lake?

HK: No, because it was just barely room for us to sleep. And then, of course, we had to eat in the mess hall, and then we had to go to the community, they call latrines, what was an outdoor bathroom with no stalls and pit toilets, I think, 'cause it smelled terrible. I remember I hated to go to the bathroom because it smelled so bad.

KL: Did you make any other arrangements? Sometimes people used chamber pots or did something different. Or did you just hold your breath and...

HK: Well, I think, my little sister was younger, (...) well, but I think she was already toilet trained, so we, of course, went, we didn't want our room smelling, so we all went to the bathroom. (...) Sometimes, when it would rain it would be muddy and it was very uncomfortable. It was cold, there was no heat in it at all, in the bathrooms. They had showers, but my sister and I were too little to take showers, so my mother would give us a bath in a laundry tub.

KL: Was that in a different place, a different building?

HK: Well, it was (...) near the bathrooms. There were laundry tubs, so we took our bath in the laundry tubs.

KL: Did the bathrooms change during your time at Tule Lake?

HK: Not that I remember.

KL: You remember them always being open and...

HK: (Yes), I think some people tried to put up sheets, just to give a little privacy.

KL: Some people built soaking tubs too, eventually. I mean, you weren't there for very long.

HK: Yeah. I think, (yes), well, the thing is that since our father wasn't with us, he probably could've done those things, but then he thought it was more important for him to earn money for our family and work outside the camp.

KL: How did you, how and where did you spend your days in Tule Lake?

HK: Well...

KL: The apartment, I mean the room, was very cramped. [Doorbell rings]

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

KL: Okay, we're just back after a quick break for UPS delivery. And when we stopped the tape I was asking how and where you spent your days at Tule Lake. It was a really crowded living space that you had. Were you outside a lot as a consequence? Or since you were little, were you close at home, or where...

HK: If the weather was good, of course, we liked to play outside. And so I remember my brother and I, we'd look for seashells and sticks and leaves. That's about all we could find (...) -- and rocks -- and then we'd bring (them) home (as) our treasures, and then my grandmother would make jewelry or pictures. She'd make all kinds of things, artistic things, out of all our little findings.

KL: Was that something she had done back at home too? Or was that new?

HK: Yes, she was very artistic, so she could make beautiful things out of just everyday things. She'd make beautiful pictures or jewelry. She was very clever that way.

KL: What, you said you have a memory, maybe, of where you lived. What part of Tule Lake did you live in, or what was what you recall of your address?

HK: Well, we were in, I think Block 21. I don't know how exactly, I was trying to look in some of these books how the barracks were numbered or -- [coughs] excuse me -- lined up.

KL: Yeah, we can, I brought a book and I saw that Saburo and Marian have a copy too, but we could look at a diagram together, if we have time. But who else was in -- do you want to take a break for water or anything?

HK: No, I'm just drinking some more water here.

KL: You know, at Manzanar, and I assume it was the same in other confinement sites, different blocks kind of had identities. Like this was the Venice block, or this was a bachelors' block, or this was a quiet block, or this was Terminal Island block or whatever. How was your, how was Block 21 characterized at Tule Lake, or who lived, were your neighbors there?

HK: I don't remember that. I think there were other families with children, but I don't recall seeing any of our relatives there.

KL: Yeah, I wanted to ask what, where your other grandparents went and your brother's, or your father's sister.

HK: They, (...) the Igarashis, I think, went to Minidoka, Idaho. 'Cause they, I think purposely, separated relatives, (and) different families. They didn't want them conspiring together. [Laughs] So I think purposely, kind of isolated everybody from people that they know or people they associated with before.

KL: How far was the Igarashis' home from where you guys were living, on the rental -- or I guess, yeah, it seems like often the assignment to camp was by geography. And sometimes people asked to go certain places or, one man at Manzanar used a fire, the address of a fire station in his sister-in-law's neighborhood so he could stay close to her. But --

HK: No, I don't think any of our other relatives were there.

KL: In Tule Lake.

HK: That I remember, because (...) the Igarashis were sent to another camp, and the Takegishis, I'm not sure where they went. So our, all our relatives, as I said, (...) were all, they purposely kind of separated us. They didn't want us to be together, I think.

KL: So you, the people who were with you in Block 21 were not your community from your grandmother's place.

HK: No, they were all strangers to us.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

KL: And when did your father -- you said your father left pretty quickly, so he's not part of a lot of your Tule Lake memories?

HK: Yes.

KL: What was his departure like for your mother? It sounds like they were --

HK: Well, of course it was hard for her, 'cause she was already carrying one of our siblings, another sibling, so she was expecting. I don't remember the date of when our sister was born, but because of the conditions in the camp, and I guess from the trauma too, the baby was born stillborn. And so we didn't get to even see her. 'Cause the diet conditions and all the conditions, I think, (the) stress of being there without my father, I think was not easy for her. She had a very difficult time, and so the baby was born dead, so we don't, (...) I don't even know the name they gave her or what. We know it was a sister, but she was buried there at Tule Lake. But I know that for my mother was very sad and I think she became very depressed, because my father wasn't there. Luckily our grandmother was there, but then my mother didn't speak that much Japanese. My grandmother spoke nothing but Japanese, so they didn't communicate that much.

KL: And that was your father's mother, too.

HK: Right.

KL: I mean, her parents weren't there either.

HK: That's right, it was her mother-in-law.

KL: Where was the delivery? Was she in a hospital facility somewhere, or was she at home?

HK: They had, they called the infirmary. It wasn't really a hospital; it was a makeshift infirmary that I think one of the barracks was made into a kind of a hospital. Well, I think that was part of it, that was the medical facility, they didn't have medical facilities. It was just all makeshift and just volunteers. If anybody had any background in medical training, then they were hired for, I think, two or three dollars a month. The doctors and nurses were paid just a very meager salary to work in the infirmary.

KL: Yeah. It would, I wonder what the date was because that was the same at Manzanar. I mean, it was in an old barrack and there was, it wasn't, there were no provisions -- well, from what I've heard from oral histories, there were hardly any provisions at all, but certainly not for things like maternity or geriatrics or...

HK: No.

KL: So if it was early, I mean, I'm sure it was... but she was away, she was in the infirmary for the delivery and for...

HK: Yeah.

KL: She was, how long was she gone?

HK: I don't remember. Because she had, this was her... [counting] (...) seventh child that she delivered, so I think she didn't have any difficulty delivering. Probably since my grandmother Omachi was a midwife, I think she helped her. So I'm not sure even, I'm sure she didn't have the baby in our room. I think she had the baby in the infirmary. They called it infirmary, but it was just another barrack.

KL: That's right, I forgot about the midwife experience.

HK: So I think she helped her.

KL: Did your grandmother Omachi or your mother ever tell you in words what it was like to have that stillborn birth in Tule Lake?

HK: Well, no, they just said that, I remember they just said we had a baby sister born but she didn't make it.

KL: Did that experience change your mother's behavior, in your memories? Was she different after that? Or was it just more stress?

HK: Yes, she was very quiet. She was very quiet and, and she didn't say much, because I think she was very depressed. Because she had come from a fairly wealthy family, she grew up in a fairly wealthy family, as I mentioned, that she had a vacuum cleaner, all the appliances and everything. So for her, I think adjusting to that camp situation was just another difficulty for her, 'cause even after being married and then living in more, what do you say (of a) poverty-stricken situation, because my father --

KL: On the farm, you mean?

HK: Yeah, my father was just barely making a living on the farm.

KL: Yeah. And those were right after the Depression years too.

HK: Right. 'Cause her parents, the Igarashis, were against them getting married because, "Why should you marry this poor farmer?" But they were in love with each other, so... [Laughs] They thought love would conquer all, but it was a struggle for her, I think from the time she got married. (...) Her standard of living and style of living was completely different than what she grew up with.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

KL: You started school in Tule Lake, is that right?

HK: Well, I think it was preschool or kindergarten.

KL: What, do you have any memories of your teacher or your classmates or the room or anything? Your activities?

HK: It was just another room in a barrack, big room in a barrack. I just remember everybody sitting in a row and... I don't remember that much about it. But what I remember most was that when I had to go home, this big black dog, I don't know where the dog came from, started following me, and I was scared to death of it because it was bigger than me. And it kept following me and I started crying, and then he kept following me more. So that kind of traumatized me, so I don't care for dogs much now. [Laughs]

KL: Was that one time, or that happened numerous times?

HK: No, I remember it happened two or three days in a row or something. I didn't want to go to school because I didn't want that big black dog following me.

KL: Yeah, I don't blame you. That's scary.

HK: [Laughs] It was very scary.

KL: Did your siblings ever tell you anything about what Tule Lake was like for them, or what they, what their school experience was like there, or what it was like to have so much change in your family?

HK: Actually, (...) they're just like my parents, they don't like to talk about it. They want, just want to forget about it, 'cause it was a bad time in everybody's life. So they said why talk about it, so depressing to talk about that situation. So they just avoid talking about it, 'cause nobody wants to be reminded of it, actually.

KL: Well, so is there anything else you wanted to capture in the interview about your time at Tule Lake, before I ask you about leaving to go...

HK: I think those were my main memories of Tule Lake.

KL: Mark, did you have questions about Tule Lake? You mentioned, actually, before we started the camera, that even before you left Tule Lake it was, there were difficulties between people and it was just a tense place.

HK: Yes.

KL: Would you say, what can you tell us about that?

HK: Well, actually, apparently some people wanted to go back to Japan, and then of course people that were born here felt like they had to be loyal to (the) United States. And so there were tensions between the different groups, and we heard about fighting, people fighting. I guess it was kind of like gang fighting, among the younger men. And then also, (...) a lot of people didn't have any jobs, so they didn't really have much to do but fight with each other, so there was a lot of fighting going on. And then some people wanted to escape or get away from the place, and then if they tried to walk out of the area, out of the barbed wire fences, then one soldier actually shot one of the internees for trying to take a walk. So there was a lot of bad feelings and tensions, and people were kind of afraid of each other. They didn't know who to trust. Who can you trust? You can't trust the soldiers, you can't trust your neighbors, you never know who's on which side. This type of thing.

KL: Do you have memories of the fence? I mean, was there, did you --

HK: (Yes), I remember seeing the barbed wire fence and the watchtowers and the soldiers, and then I remember my mother telling my brother and I, "Don't go beyond the fence. Stay inside, don't go beyond the fence." 'Cause my brother was very adventurous and he wanted to explore everything, but I remember my mother always kept telling us, "Don't go beyond the fence. You might get shot."

KL: So she told you that. I mean, she... yeah, I wonder how parents would deal with that. You have to convey the importance of it.

MH: I had a question. You asked a moment ago, what was your memories of your layout of your apartment? You said there was nine of you in that apartment. Do you have recollections of how the beds were laid out or how the room was set up?

HK: Well, can you imagine sleeping nine people in this area? The beds (...) were all kind of in a row.

MH: Were there any bunk beds?

HK: No, I don't recall bunk beds. There were just these hard metal cots. Very uncomfortable. But I think we each had our own, I think we each had a cot. Maybe my youngest sister might've slept on the floor, so that she wouldn't fall off the cot.

MH: Did you have mattresses?

HK: I think we had, like, straw mattresses, mattresses made out of straw. But they didn't smell good, and they were very sticky, poky, poked you when you slept. I remember very uncomfortable. But you know, when you're young, if you're tired you go to sleep, sleep on the floor or (whatever). [Laughs]

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

KL: So the Tule Lake roster, I think, says that you guys left in, I have to look back, but I think it says you left early in '44. But I know you left before that.

HK: Yeah.

KL: What can, how --

HK: I'm not real sure. I have it down that (in) September 1943 we moved to Twin Falls.

KL: Okay. There were strikes in Tule Lake in early 1943.

HK: Yeah, so that's why my father was anxious to get us out of there, soon as he could. So he came after us and took us to Twin Falls, and he had rented a house for us to live in and then he was working in the potato fields. And I remember we helped him sort potatoes. (There was) one room we were sorting potatoes in.

KL: In a room in the house?

HK: Uh-huh.

KL: Was the house right alongside the potato fields, or where was it located in Twin Falls?

HK: No, it was more in the suburbs, because we could walk to school. 'Cause I started going to first grade when we were in Topaz -- I mean, Twin Falls. And then, but the thing is is that the public schools told my parents that he had to pay tuition for each of us, all six of us. Well, my youngest sister, I think, was too young, but at least five of us. And so my father says he couldn't afford it, and he says that a public school has no right to charge tuition, and so then my father, I think, made arrangements with the government and they told him to move to Topaz.

KL: So you guys did not go back to Tule Lake from Twin Falls?

HK: No.

KL: You were just at Tule once.

HK: No, he didn't want to go back to Tule Lake.

KL: Were there other Japanese Americans in Twin Falls?

HK: No. No, we were the only family that I remember.

KL: Do you know anything about your dad's work days, who was running the farm or what conditions were like? Or when his work...

HK: Well, I don't know if he was running the farm or he was working on the farm or what, but then I remember we were sorting potatoes, so he was trying to sell potatoes. He grew potatoes and tried to sell 'em, but I guess they didn't do that well, and so then I think he got a job for my mother and him to work at a dry cleaner's. So they were working in a dry cleaner's, to earn enough money to rent the house and everything.

KL: Do you remember the address? Or the name of the street or neighborhood?

HK: I don't remember the address. But I remember, it was a nice two-story house, it was, I mean, we were just so happy to be in a house after living in that one room.

KL: Did your grandmother go with you?

HK: Yes.

KL: What do you recall of your parents' reunion?

HK: What?

KL: What do you recall of your parents' reunion?

HK: Of course, I remember when my father came from Twin Falls to Tule Lake, I remember (...) when he got off the train I remember her waiting for him and giving him a big hug. [Laughs] So of course she was very happy to see him. We were all happy to see him.

KL: It wasn't difficult to renew acquaintances after he'd been gone, or it was pretty immediate, you were...

HK: Oh yeah. No, we were just all happy to see him.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

KL: Do you remember any neighbors in Twin Falls, or what the climate was like?

HK: I remember there were some Caucasian -- all our neighbors were all Caucasian -- and I remember when I, we went to school, there were some of 'em that would say, "Oh, I can't play with you because you're a dirty Jap." And I remember crying on the playground 'cause nobody would play with me, and then I remember one girl came up and she says, "I'll play with you." So I was so happy to have one friend in school. But otherwise the other children treated us like we were "dirty Japs," type of thing, and I remember crying and that was very hurtful to hear that. And then when we were going to school, walking home from school or something, I remember there were some kids that were on bicycles and they would call us names and things, while walking home from school.

KL: What about the teachers? What was their attitude?

HK: Well, I think in the classroom, of course, teachers maintained discipline so the kids couldn't be calling names. It was on the playground, at recess time.

KL: Did the teachers treat you the same as they treated the Caucasian students, or was there a difference?

HK: I don't recall that. I just remember I liked going to school and learning things, but it was, the whole experience was (...) new and different, being in a different setting than the camp.

KL: Do you have any idea if it was tough for your dad to be able to rent that house, if he experienced discrimination from landlords or sellers?

HK: He never said anything about it. I guess they were happy to rent it. We just had to be very careful, (...) we had to keep it clean and this type of thing, so we had to very careful not to break anything and this type of thing.

KL: What was, you mentioned the one girl who said she would play with you, do you know what made her different?

HK: I don't know what made her different, but all I know is I was so happy to have a friend, someone to play with. Otherwise, I was sitting in, (or) standing in a corner. The other kids would say, "I can't play with you. You're a dirty Jap." That's when you're a first grader, that's the most hurtful word you can hear.

KL: Did you talk about that at home? Or did you kind of keep that from your parents?

HK: I think I was so hurt I couldn't talk about it. 'Cause I just remember I just cried about it. I think I asked my mom, I didn't even know what a "Jap" was, I (asked), "What is a 'Jap'?" Then she says, well, that's for Japanese. And I says, "What's Japanese?" She says, "Well, those are people (whose) grandparents came from Japan." Then I think I remember saying, "Well, I don't want to be Japanese. Why am I Japanese?" I remember saying that type of thing. Then of course my mother, what could she say? So I think that type of feeling I had until I, I think until I went to college. And then I was asked to be in that play about the, Teahouse of the August Moon. Then I found out what it was to be Japanese. I thought, oh, this is not so bad. [Laughs] But otherwise, I was ashamed to be Japanese. Why did I have to be Japanese, you know?

KL: It's interesting, sometimes people, I've read people will, or even heard occasionally, people saying, "Well, they make themselves different. They choose to be Japanese American instead of just American," you know, and it's... but I hear other people who were kids in the '30s and '40s saying that they didn't see that distinction. They were just American, in many cases. There wasn't this Japanese American identity, that they were aware of necessarily, or a Japanese identity, certainly. And it sounds like that was, it sounds like you didn't really have an awareness --

HK: No, not until I was called that. I didn't realize, I didn't know what I was 'til then.

KL: A kid, a first grader.

HK: Yeah, yeah. I thought I was just another kid.


KL: This is tape three that we're starting. It's Kristen Luetkemeier again with Hope Kawashima on September the 10th, 2014, and we were talking about your time in Twin Falls. Can, are there other things that you wanted to tell us about Twin Falls before I ask about your next move?

HK: I think that's mainly all I could recall about Twin Falls, 'cause we weren't there for a very long time.

KL: How long were you there? You came in Sept '43.

HK: Yes, September 1943 we moved to Twin Falls, then February 1944 we moved to Topaz, Utah.

KL: I did want to ask you, you mentioned the school tuition being a factor in leaving. Was that, was that, I mean, when you moved there was there tuition, or did that change?

HK: No, that changed after we went to school. I guess the school decided they had to charge us tuition or something because we didn't look like Americans.

KL: So it was specific to your family.

HK: Yes, yes, it was just to our family, 'cause we were the only Japanese Americans there.

KL: What was the school's name?

HK: It was Twin Falls Elementary School, I think. I don't remember the name.

KL: Okay. Do you think your father and your mother thought maybe you would stay in Twin Falls for a while? It sounds like they did.

HK: Well, they were hoping. That's why my father had made all the arrangements to rent a house and get a job for him and my mother, so they were hoping that we could stay there for a long time. But I think we were there only from September to February the next year, so just only a few months.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

KL: And you said you went from Twin Falls to Topaz.

HK: We went to Topaz, Utah.

KL: Do you know why Topaz?

HK: Well, because since we were all American citizens, we couldn't go back to Tule Lake because Tule Lake was mainly for those that wanted to go back to Japan. So those that wanted to stay in this country, they said it was better to go to Topaz.

KL: There was no consideration of, like, Manzanar or Rohwer or Heart Mountain? Do you know why Topaz?

HK: I don't know that reason. Maybe there was, maybe the population was less there. Or was closest, probably closest from Twin Falls, Idaho.

KL: What do you recall about your parents or your grandmother's demeanor about going to Topaz?

HK: Well, we didn't want to go back into camp, I don't think. And then I think that time too, I think... well, now when I recall, I don't think my grandmother went with us to Twin Falls. She went to the camp, I think, where the Takegishis were, so she went to -- and I'm not sure which camp they went to.

KL: Are you sure they were in a camp, or could they have relocated east?

HK: No, they didn't relocate.

KL: They were in a camp.

HK: They were in (a) camp.

KL: I'll have to look them up. I'll look them up when we get back.

HK: I have to look that up. But, 'cause she didn't go with us to Twin Falls, that I recall, or to Topaz. Or maybe she did go to Twin Falls and then Topaz, she didn't go with us to Topaz. I think that might've been it.

KL: Well, how did you get to Topaz?

HK: In a truck. I don't know if the government lent us a truck or my father had to rent at truck or what. 'Cause we had that piano, we had to move the piano.

KL: I was going to ask, yeah, so the piano came with you to Twin Falls?

HK: Yeah, the piano came with us everywhere we moved. So as I said, my father knew how to drive trucks, so usually he would rent a truck to be sure to get the piano on it and all of us and all our belongings.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

KL: Can you tell us -- I should asked this before, but can you tell us more about the piano at Tule Lake? How it was used, or who used it?

HK: Actually, the piano became a very useful tool for the whole camp because we were able to have worship services. Since my mother was a church pianist she could play the hymns (and) play music for worship services. Then also she used to give piano lessons to some of the other internees besides us, and then we would do recitals and then do programs. And they even used it with the dance band. They used to have dance band practice with the piano. So it was very useful for the whole camp.

KL: Did your mom play with the dance band?

HK: Yes, she played, 'cause she was probably one of the best pianists there and then she taught other people to play piano too. But she was, of course, busy herself.

KL: Even in Tule Lake she played?

HK: Uh-huh.

KL: Where was the piano in Tule Lake?

HK: They put it in, they called the recreation hall, which was not too far from where we were living. So, in the recreation hall, then they could have programs, and I remember different people would be singing and she'd be accompanying them. And then my sisters used to play the violin, and so she'd accompany them on the piano, so they would do (so), called talent programs. So it was very helpful, at least I think, to entertain people and then occupy people to practice on the piano and take lessons. So it was a very useful tool.

KL: What kind of music was her favorite?

HK: She learned all kinds of music, classical music, popular and hymns. I think, of course, she liked church music, probably, best because she played for church every Sunday.

KL: What church were you part of in Tule Lake?

HK: I don't remember what church it was, but I think it was probably kind of a interdenominational Christian group, because there were some pastors of different denominations.

KL: Do you remember any?

HK: No, I don't recall that.

KL: Did you get to go to the dances ever?

HK: No, I was too young to go to the dances, but I heard about 'em.

KL: Did you ever go to -- that's Topaz, never mind. Did you attend a church in Twin Falls?

HK: I don't recall that clearly, but I think we probably did, or tried to. But I don't remember going to church in Twin Falls. Maybe we could've, but maybe they didn't welcome us, that type of thing.

KL: Yeah, it sounds, I mean, from your experience in school, it sounds like it was not a real welcoming climate. I don't know if the adults were the same way. Do you have a sense for what kind of treatment your parents received from their neighbors or customers at the laundromat or the farmer or anything?

HK: I don't remember those things.

KL: So you got to Topaz... [HK coughs] Do you want me to get you some more water?

HK: No, I have it here. February 1944 we moved to Topaz, Utah.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

KL: And what do you, what were your impressions of the landscape at Topaz, or the camp itself?

HK: Well, we moved in February, so all I remember, it was very cold. There was snow, a lot of snow on the ground, snow and ice. It was colder than Tule Lake. So we thought, "Oh no." [Laughs] Not much improvement. And the bathrooms were just as bad. The mess hall, the food was just as unpalatable, I guess you'd call it.

KL: What are your, can you share with us the memories of the food?

HK: I remember our main food that we (had) was beans and pork rind. That was our main (food), every day we'd go, "Beans again?" And usually, the food was not at all what we were used to. We didn't get rice and soy sauce and fish and vegetables. But I remember it wasn't very good food, but of course, when you're hungry you eat anything.

KL: And your dad was with you, right? You all went together to Topaz?

HK: In Topaz, when we were in Topaz.

KL: Where did you live in Topaz? Do you know the address?

HK: I don't remember the address in Topaz. I think I tried to look it up at the National Museum, but I don't know if I ever did find the address. 'Cause we were there only from February 1944 until August 1944. We were there only for six months.

KL: You talked some about the tensions between people and the lack of trust in Tule Lake. How did the climate compare -- I know you were a kid, but kids still sense things -- how did the climate compare in Topaz to Tule Lake?

HK: I think the neighbors were a little friendlier.

KL: In Topaz?

HK: In Topaz.

KL: Who were your neighbors, do you recall?

HK: Well actually, I found out this much later, when my husband and I moved to a church in Ontario, Oregon, then one woman asked me, "What was your maiden name?" And I told her Omachi, and she says, "Oh, I remember you. I remember your family," she says, 'cause we lived near, in the same block, in the same (barrack), she was one of our neighbors. And then she says, "And I think I remember you. You were the little girl that would cry and then pretty soon you would sing." And I said, "I did?" And I said I didn't remember that, so I asked my mom and my mom says, "Yes. I don't know why, but you had to cry every day, and then after you cried for a long time you'd start singing." And then, so my mom, when people would say, "What's wrong with her?" and then so my mom would tell them, "She's just practicing her singing." [Laughs] And this woman that we met in Oregon says she remembers me because of that, and I didn't remember doing that until my mom mentioned it. Then I remembered doing it, 'cause I remember I loved to sing "Glory, Glory, Hallelujah." I used to love singing that song.

KL: Would you, if you're comfortable singing any of it, would you sing some of it for us? [HK laughs] You don't have to if you don't want to.

HK: Well, if I clear my throat. I'm having a little tickle here.

KL: I'll have some water too.

HK: If I can get through it. [Sings hymn] But that was my favorite song.

KL: Even as a kid?

HK: Yeah.

KL: It's kind of comforting. I mean, it keeps you going.

HK: (Yes), but I just loved to sing that song because some way I think when I heard the church members singing it, they sounded happy when they sang it. 'Cause that's from "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," the Civil War song, but it's about war and so forth, the whole song. And I don't know if you want to hear this part of the story, about that song, because later on when I was in New York I was selected to be on the United Methodist Hymnal Committee, twenty-five people throughout the country, and that was one of the songs that we tried to eliminate, because it was a war song, and a Civil War song and we're saying it was outdated. So we tried to remove it to make room for the new hymns, and then somebody, the press picked it up, put it in the newspaper and then the hymnal office got flooded with phone calls and protests. They said, "You can't take out my favorite hymn." Then they even called our church in New York, and my husband answered the phone and they said, "Do you know 'Battle Hymn of the Republic' and 'Onward, Christian Soldiers'?" And then he says oh yes. He says, "Do you like those hymns?" And he says oh yes. And so then what happens, the (New York Daily News) picks this up and then says that "Wife Tries to Eliminate Husband's Favorite Hymns." It was that hymn. [Laughs]

KL: When was that? When was that committee?

HK: This was in 1985, 1986.

KL: Yeah, my parents are Methodist and I grew up in a Methodist church, so I'll think of you next time I have a Methodist hymnal. Yeah.

HK: You can look for my name in it.

KL: Oh, is your name in it? Neat. Yeah, that makes sense. So do you remember "Glory, Glory, Hallelujah" from your church in Loomis, or from singing in Tule Lake?

HK: I think we used to sing it in Loomis and we used to sing it in Tule Lake, because I think for the internees it was kind of a rousing song. "His truth is marching on," you know. So that was very important. I mean, they felt like they could overcome, that's the only way they could overcome the difficulties they were having.

KL: What else can you tell us about your memories of church services? If you, I don't know if you can differentiate, since you were so little, but first in Tule Lake and then, if you can, separately in Topaz? If you can't, that's okay.

HK: No, because church services are similar no matter where you go. Somebody preaches and then you sing hymns, then you have prayer together. So it's hard, at that age, to distinguish. I just enjoyed the hymn singing, always looked forward to singing the hymns.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

KL: Where was the piano in Topaz?

HK: Well, that was in a recreation hall too, and then they used it for dance band practice and programs and everything.

KL: Did the churches meet sometimes, then, in a recreation hall, where the piano was?

HK: Yes, usually they met on Sundays, for worship service.

KL: Was it more members than just that block?

HK: I think it was for the whole camp, whoever wanted to come for worship.

KL: Church came to you guys, with the piano.

HK: Yeah, 'cause then they were able to have real church service, 'cause otherwise they just had (what) they called prayer meetings. But then with the piano, then they were able to have real worship services, I think.

KL: You had mentioned your grandfather and his dancing. Was, do you remember dancing having a role in Tule Lake or Topaz?

HK: Well, our, my grandfather Igarashi didn't go with us to Topaz.

KL: Right, he wasn't with you. But even for you, or for, on holidays, either privately or as part of a community event, was dance a force in the camps?

HK: Well, I know the dance band was active. But we were there for just a short time, only six months, so we don't really know if they did the Bon Odori. I think probably they might've had Bon Odori. I think I vaguely remember them doing that.

KL: Do you, was there a funeral service for your stillborn sister? This is jumping back some, but...

HK: I don't recall that. I think maybe we might've had a private service, just our family.

KL: And her body was buried there.

HK: Yes.

KL: Was it ever removed after the, after you guys left?

HK: I don't know any more details about that. 'Cause (...) when we went to the Tule Lake pilgrimage, I tried to see if there were any markings or -- 'cause there are, there is a grave, we saw the gravesite. There were a lot of, quite a few infants and children buried there.

KL: Did you ever go into the town of Delta, or have any connection with local people from outside of the camp in Topaz?

HK: No, I don't think so. Not that I recall.

KL: What about a military presence or any kind of safety concerns in Topaz? Do you remember any similar warnings to...

HK: Well, they had the watchtower and the barbed wire fence and the soldiers, so it looked the same as Tule Lake to us.

KL: Mark, do you have any questions about Topaz?

MH: No, but I have --

KL: Oh, I wanted to hear, actually the same question Mark had about your barrack in Tule Lake, I wondered if you would describe your unit, your apartment in Topaz? Was it any different?

HK: It was about the same, just one room. And then the thing was that Topaz was cold, and I heard later that when they constructed the barracks they used green wood and then the wood shrank, so then there were cracks between the wood, so they just covered (it) with tarpaper, and so of course the wind and dust would come into your room, so there was always dust around. And then it was cold, especially when we had a blizzard or snowstorm, and so it was freezing cold is all I remember. It was very cold. Then we had to walk to the bathroom and walk to the mess hall for our meals. And then one time I think I had, well, I ended up in the infirmary with an ear infection, and I remember that was a very traumatic time for me. But I remember, I don't know (who), somebody was poking around and I saw all this blood comin' out of my ear, and to this day I have trouble with my ears. But anyway, I had a fever and everything, so -- and I think I also had my tonsils removed, too -- but anyway, I was supposed to stay in the room because I couldn't go out to get my meal.

KL: In the infirmary?

HK: No. Well, I was in the infirmary for a while, but then I came back to our room. Then my mother said that unless she went she couldn't get any food, so she said she was going to get my food. And then, of course all my siblings were all hungry, everybody went to get their food, and so she told me, "You stay here, and I'll get your food." But I had never stayed by myself, and I was scared and I thought, "Oh, I know where the mess hall is. I'm going to go," after they had left. But it was a blizzard, and I tried to walk to the mess hall and I got lost in a snowdrift or something, in the blizzard, and I guess I was crying in a snow pile and a neighbor -- I think it might've been that neighbor that we knew in Oregon -- knew who I was and so she took me to my mother. But I remember that was the scariest thing, 'cause I couldn't see, I couldn't see where I was going, I got lost, nothing but snow. And so to this day, I don't like snow and ice. [Laughs]

KL: I cut you off, and I will get back to you, but I wondered what your memories of the infirmary at Topaz are. Who cared for you? I mean, you mentioned the blood, so...

HK: It was, as I said, one of the barracks (...) they tried to make it into an infirmary. But I just remember somebody poking in my ears and I just remember all the pain. So I don't know who it was that was poking in my ears, but somebody poked in my ears and I remember just seeing all this blood coming out. I thought, "What are they doing to me?"

KL: Were you in there with other people? Was it kind of like your barrack where it was very dense with beds and patients?

HK: I don't remember other people there, but I remember crying and being scared. 'Cause it was very traumatic to me, 'cause I didn't know, I don't think my parents were even there. But it was very scary, to go through that type of experience. I don't remember anybody else being there, but I just remember crying. [Laughs]

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

MH: I had an interest and maybe you could follow up on this, did everyone in your family become musically inclined because of your mom's piano playing? Did, was that important to your family, that music be a part of your life, or not? Did anybody take up playing other instruments or anything like that in camp?

HK: Well, my two older sisters that were the twins played the violin, and then my mother taught all of us to play the piano. But I think I was the only one that liked to practice, and so I'm the only one that actually went into music, studied music in college. But my other sisters, my two oldest sisters both became nurses, and one married a doctor, one married a pharmacist. And then my next sister, Esther, became an occupational therapist. Then my brother, he was a good pianist, I remember. He used to play, he could just play without music, play by ear. So he was good, but he studied electrical engineering. And then my youngest sister's -- well, nobody liked to practice as much as I did. Or maybe it was my fault because they would say, "Why is Hope always on the piano? We don't get to practice." Because to me that was my only entertainment, or I enjoyed doing it. But my parents, of course, (...) particularly my mother, always encouraged me to continue my music studies, so that's why she sent me to her former piano teacher.

And then I remember when I was in high school my choir teacher told me, asked me to sing a solo for the spring concert. I said, "I can't sing, I've never (sung) a solo in front of people." He says, "You can do it." So I told my mother I was panicked, and she says, "You can do it. I'll take you to a voice teacher." So she took me for voice lessons and she taught (...) me to sing "One Fine Day" from Madame Butterfly, and I had never even heard of it before, but then she taught me how to sing it. And so (...) before that my mother says, "Well, why don't you sing some solos in church so you get used to singing in front of people." So I sang in front of people in church and I was scared to death, but then I was surprised everybody liked it, so then I got up and sang for the spring concert in front of (...) all my classmates. And they were all shocked because I was always very quiet and they couldn't believe I could sing. And so then that's, kind of started my singing adventures, I guess you'd say, 'cause then they'd ask me to sing for their weddings and all this type of thing. So I would sing for concerts and weddings and conferences and dinners, all kinds of things. I always enjoyed it, but I just never expected to do that much singing.

KL: It's always neat when there's some important theme like that that goes through a couple generations, I think. Neat for your mom, too, I'm sure, to see you share her --

HK: (Yes), my mother always encouraged me, 'cause I always said, "Oh, I can't do that," but she always said, "You can do it." So it was very helpful because she always encouraged me. But then I think my siblings said you can't make a living on music.

KL: Well, it takes some discipline to become good, too, at music. For most people, anyway. I mean, you had a love of it, it sounds like, so you can do it a lot.

HK: Yes, I always liked it. But then, even to this day, it's hard to make a living on music. But I enjoy teaching, so I still teach. I teach private lessons in piano and voice, and I enjoy doing that. The hardest thing is teaching my grandchildren. Three little boys, can you imagine three little boys that'd rather be outside, trying to get them to play the piano? [Laughs] But they're learning.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

KL: Are there things we've left out about Topaz? Before I ask you about leaving, was there anything else that sticks in your memory from Topaz?

HK: As I said, we were there just for six months, so it was a very short time. But I know my father thought the food was despicable. (...) That's why he said, "We can't raise children on this kind of food. Children can't grow properly without good food." So that's why he found the advertisement in the newspaper for, they called truck farming, so that he could get a rent-free house and then grow vegetables and chickens. So that's what he decided, that he would take us to Nebraska. That's how we ended up in Nebraska.

KL: Did he work for a salary in Topaz?

HK: In Topaz, no. No, he didn't --

KL: He was at home looking for opportunities.

HK: (Yes), so that's why he was looking for work again. So then he decided that, since he was a farmer since the time he was young he knew how to grow everything, and so he decided that it would be best for us to move to Nebraska. That's how we --

KL: And where in Nebraska did you go?

HK: I think first we went to Bellwood, as I remember, and then I think we were there only for a short time because I think, I don't remember exactly the situation, but anyway, we were there for about, maybe less than a year. Then Gibbons, Nebraska, we were (there) too. And then finally we ended up in Silver Creek, Nebraska, because there was a restaurant owner that had this acreage and she had a two-story house, big house that we could live in, and then all this acreage that we could grow any vegetables and fruits and then also chickens. And then she had a cow too, so we had a cow for milk, and then we even had pigs and duck and geese, so it was a real farm.

KL: Was it supplying the restaurant, primarily? Or were there other markets?

HK: Right, no it was to supply the restaurant. So we had to get up early before school and then we had to pluck the feathers off the chickens, clean the chickens, and then when we went to school everybody (said), "I smell chicken. Why does it smell like chickens?" 'Cause we all smelled like chickens. [Laughs]

KL: It's a strong smell. I went to college in a poultry area.

HK: Because the restaurant had to have an order of chickens, they had to have their chickens.

KL: And you helped with that, all you kids.

HK: (Yes), all of us kids, 'cause with our little fingers we could pick off the feathers. But then we didn't realize that we smelled like chickens. [Laughs] But we went to a little one-room school, so of course in one room, which is a little bigger than this, well, both rooms together, one-room school. You've seen, I'm sure, in Nebraska you've seen the one-room schoolhouses.

KL: What, what was the school's name?

HK: The one I remember is Silver Creek, and I remember our teacher's name was Patricia something. I have a picture.

KL: That's funny you remember her first name. Did you call her by her first name?

HK: I think we called her (...) I think she was Miss Patricia something, but I don't remember the last name.

KL: Who were your classmates?

HK: I think the only family that I remember is the Dobsons, Sylvia and then her brother. They were Dobsons, 'cause they used to play with us afterwards, on weekends and things. And they used to have horses, I remember, and we used to ride their horses. That was fun.

KL: You started to answer this already, but how was school and your classmates and your teachers in Silver Creek different than in Twin Falls? Or was it? It sounds like it was.

HK: It was much better. People were very friendly, and then they would ask us, "What are you?" And then so our parents said, "Just tell them you're Americans." I said we're Americans. So they thought we were Native Americans. [Laughs] (...) "Don't tell 'em you're Japanese." So we never mentioned Japanese, so we just said, "We're Americans." So they thought we were Native Americans. We never let them know we were Japanese, 'cause we didn't want to have the experience we had in Twin Falls.

KL: Do you think you would have, or do you think it would've been different?

HK: I don't know if we would have, if people would've treated us differently if they knew we were Japanese or not. I don't know what the climate of hysteria was in Nebraska at that time. You were born and raised in Nebraska?

KL: I wasn't born there. My dad was stationed there twice with the Air Force.

HK: Oh, at the Air Force.

KL: Yeah, and it was further, it was closer to Omaha than where you were. You were probably more rural.

HK: My brother-in-law was stationed at Omaha Air Force Base, (with) my sister, we stayed with them when we traveled from Oregon to New York. When we moved, we stayed with them in Omaha.

KL: How, did you see any of the places you had lived?

HK: No, we didn't, 'cause we had this big rental truck and we had all our things in the rental truck. So we, (...) I remember, took us to a lake and we went boating on a lake near Omaha. But all our memories, all my memories of Nebraska was that people were very kind and even, we went to the Methodist Church in Silver Creek, I think it was, and, in fact, the organist would pick us up for Sunday school, to take us to Sunday school.

KL: Did the piano come with you to Nebraska, and all the different towns?

HK: Yes. Oh yes. And my mother was able to give piano lessons to the neighborhood kids, and to all of us. (Yes), that piano came with us everywhere.

KL: Were there other Japanese Americans at all, in Silver Creek?

HK: No, there weren't. That's why we, I think, we got by with being Native Americans. They didn't know we were Japanese.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

KL: Did your parents make friends in that area? Do you have a sense?

HK: Yes, I remember that people were very kind and they'd even bring us used clothes. I remember getting boxes of clothes and some toys. They were very kind to us. And then we grew enough vegetables that they would buy the vegetables. We had a vegetable stand. They would buy vegetables from us.

KL: Did you work at the stand?

HK: Yes. We worked (and) helped to, I remember planting tomatoes and helping to weed the plants and take care of all the plants. So we grew everything, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, even popcorn, sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkins. Because my father was very good at (farming), he knew how to grow everything.

KL: What do you think his thoughts on being a farmer were?

HK: Well, he was very proud when the vegetables produced. You'd get bushels of tomatoes and cucumbers, and when people would come and buy it, he was very proud of being able to do that.

KL: I wonder if it was, he worked in three different climate and soil types...

HK: But Nebraska's soil was very good. 'Cause it was not too far from the Platte River, so (...) you got (...) enough water and the soil was very rich, so everything grew. I remember the corn grew very tall.

KL: So it wasn't a struggle, really, for him to adjust to the different places. It was probably welcome, actually, since it was so tough where you started, in Loomis.

HK: Everything grew well there. It's like Fresno. It was hot in the summer but cold in the winter, but you don't grow vegetables in the winter, anyway.

KL: Who was the, the restaurant owner also owned your house and the acreage and stuff? Where you were living?

HK: Her name, I think the name was Sowalik.

KL: What do you remember about her, her personality or if she...

HK: I have a picture of her. Well, I remember she was just very demanding. (She'd say), "I need two hundred chickens by such and such a day." So we had to prepare so many chickens and so many, so much of this and that, but she was very demanding. And then I remember one time, I think then she was complaining or something that we weren't keeping up the house or something. We had gone through a hail storm, and the hail was the size of golf balls and made huge holes in the roof and broke windows and everything, and she was complaining 'cause we didn't repair it. It was her house. [Laughs] But anyway, she was very strict about things like that, so I think that was when my parents decided to come back to California.

KL: And when was that?

HK: That was in 1950.

KL: Okay.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

KL: Can you bring us up to speed on where the rest of your family went in those years? They left the camps. Did they all go back to California?

HK: My immediate family, my two oldest sisters -- I have pictures of them -- (...) graduated from nursing school and one married a doctor and one married a pharmacist that they met at University of Nebraska.

KL: Oh, they attended University of Nebraska.

HK: So they both got married before we came back to California, or about that time. And so then just my sister and brother above me and then my three sisters below me -- I told you that two of my sisters were born in Nebraska, too.

KL: Did they, your older sisters who attended college there, did they speak about what, socially or, what kind of treatment they received at University of Nebraska?

HK: Well, apparently they liked it, 'cause I think (...) one of the twins graduated with honors -- well, they both graduated from high school with honors. One was valedictorian and one was salutatorian. And then when (one of them), Joan, graduated from nursing school, she scored the highest in the state on her state board exams. So they, I think, (did) very well, what do you say, I think Nebraska was very welcoming to Japanese Americans. 'Cause then their husbands, too, both of their husbands were from Hawaii, and they went there and they finished their schooling there too.

KL: Did they both have Japanese ancestry?

HK: Yes.

KL: Yeah, I think it was one of the schools, during the camp years, that admitted -- I mean, obviously it was, but I think it was part of that sort of placement program.

HK: (Yes), so that, I think Nebraska was a good experience. The only problem was the weather was so harsh. In the wintertime it was so cold, thirty below zero sometimes. And our house didn't have electricity or gas or running water, and the only way we heated the house was (and) to cook (...) we had to use corn cobs, we had to save the corn cobs and dry 'em and cook with that. And then for our, we had a potbelly stove, used coal and corn cobs to keep warm in the wintertime. So we had no electricity; we had to use lamps for lights. (The) only thing we had was a telephone. We had an outdoor toilet again.

KL: Do you, you mentioned crying kind of secretly in Twin Falls and then crying most days in Topaz, did you, did that continue in Nebraska? Or do you think things were --

HK: Nebraska, I remember I enjoyed singing on our truck bed, the flat truck bed. That was my stage and I'd get up there and sing all kinds of songs. [Laughs]

KL: Who was your audience?

HK: The cornfield.

KL: The chickens.

HK: And the chickens and the cow. [Laughs] That was my entertainment.

KL: Was there anything -- I want to hear about your return to California -- was there anything else about Nebraska that you wanted to bring out?

HK: Well, I think particularly my mother was very anxious to come back to California, 'cause it was very hard for her to adjust having to cook with corn cobs and no running water, and sometimes the water pump would freeze and we'd have no water. And so for her that was a very hard adjustment. And then she had contacted, or gotten malaria when she was young, and so she kept having the malaria, the flarebacks... it comes back or something every so many years, and she'd be having the shivers and she had to stay in bed. I remember she suffered with that, especially in the cold, she'd just be freezing. So she had a very hard time adjusting to Nebraska, so she was anxious to come back to California, I think. Well, my father, too. We all were anxious to come back to California, so we came back in 1950, end of December 1950.

KL: That's probably especially good to come back in the middle of a winter, or early winter.

HK: Yes.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

KL: Where did you come back to?

HK: I remember we came back, we took the southern route because of the wintertime, and (...) my father always rented a truck and put all our things, including the piano, and we drove all the way, I remember we came to Pasadena, California, and it was on New Year's Day, right after the Rose Parade. And we were looking out and we were saying, "Why is this place so dirty? There's trash all over." It was right after the Rose Bowl parade, and we had just missed the parade, but then all the debris and trash was still on the streets. We said, "Gee, California's kind of a dirty place." [Laughs] That was our impression of California. But we drove from Pasadena all the way up to Loomis, and actually Penryn was where my father had found a rental house, a house that we could live in that he could (farm), it was mainly fruit there too, pears and peaches and apricots.

KL: Did you go by the site of your house in Loomis that had burned? Do you remember going back there?

HK: (Yes). I think our relatives had rebuilt it, a new house there. And so we had no place to go back to. That's what I was saying.

KL: They were back on that forty-five acres of your grandfather's.

HK: (Yes), but none of that went to my father, and so he rented this place, or was doing the same, farming and renting the house. And when he saved up enough, then he finally bought two acres with a house, a two-story house in Loomis, with his savings.

KL: When was that?

HK: That was in nineteen, let's see, I think it was about 1952. A couple of (years), about 1952.

KL: What can you tell us about the role that the church, First United Methodist Church of Loomis, played during the camp years and then in people's return to Loomis, those who came back earlier, like in '45 or '6?

HK: I think the church was very important to the Japanese Americans, mainly for, not only worship and community gatherings and helping each other. But I remember when we came back to church we felt a little bit embarrassed because everybody was dressed better than we were. [Laughs] We were wearing all our homemade clothes. My mother was a good seamstress, but we made all our own clothes, but compared to other people, our shoes and things were very shabby. But we always had nice dresses. It was kind of an adjustment because we felt like people were kind of always staring at us.

KL: The church survived, the building survived your absence and stuff.

HK: Yes.

KL: Did people store stuff there, do you know?

HK: Probably so.

KL: Or was it a hostel or anything?

HK: I think probably. I don't recall that much about it, 'cause we were actually living in Penryn when we came back, and then when we moved back to Loomis it was a couple years later.

KL: And it was a different time then, too, I mean as far as...

HK: And by then, too, my mother got a job with the army depot, signal army depot in Sacramento, 'cause she was a very good bookkeeper. And so she got a full-time job there, and my father got a job at Campbell's Soup in Sacramento. So they commuted from Loomis to Sacramento every day.

KL: What was that like for them, to have full-time jobs outside of their home and teaching and not farming?

HK: Well, I think they felt like they could get their life together and make a decent living. Because they were worried about having enough money for us to go to college.

KL: So in '52, when you, or in '50, when you moved back, you were like thirteen or fourteen?

HK: I was in eighth grade.

KL: And where did you go to high school?

HK: First, when we were living in Penryn, I went to Placer High School in Auburn. Then when we moved to Loomis, then I went to Roseville High School, and that was the high school that my mother graduated from.

KL: What was it like? What are your memories of it?

HK: I remember I enjoyed Roseville more than I did Placer High School, I think, 'cause people were very friendly. I was able to make friends. I enjoyed the school there.

KL: I found an article from 1945 in the Rocky Shimpo from Colorado about a house burning in Loomis, a Japanese American returning family's house burning. Did you ever hear people talking, your friends or parents of your friends about what those years were like in the Loomis area, that you were gone? Do you have a sense for what it was like to return right at the end of the war for Japanese Americans? Or did you ever encounter any residual hostility in the early '50s?

HK: No, because by the '50s most all the Japanese families had returned before, and so (we) were kind of actually late in coming back. But you read about a house burning in...

KL: Yeah, I'll show you, I'll show you afterwards.

HK: I'd like to see that.

KL: The person's name... let's see, Mr. and Mrs. Kay Sakamoto, it was burned around October of 1945.

HK: Oh, Sakamotos. (Yes), I remember the Sakamoto family.

KL: That was the report, at least, in the paper, that their house was burned. And it sounded like an arson.

HK: I didn't know about other people's homes being burned, but I just know that our house burned, so that's why we didn't have a house to come back to.

KL: And that your dad saw that as an arson, believed that it was, or saw it actually happen, that the soldiers had lit it.

HK: Well, he didn't see anybody do it, but it's just that when we were driving away, leaving, the house was burning. You don't see who does it, you just see smoke comin' up.

KL: So there was nothing left of your possessions or anything in Loomis at all?

HK: No.

KL: I mean, you had been carrying everything with you when you came back.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

KL: And Roseville High School was a good setting?

HK: Yes.

KL: You, it was nice and you achieved.

HK: I enjoyed it, because I still have friends, classmates that I went to school with that I still communicate with, send Christmas cards to. And then we have our class reunions. I go to the class reunions.

KL: Was it pretty mixed ethnically by that time?

HK: Yes, it was mainly Caucasians, all my, most of my classmates were Caucasian. There was just two or three other Japanese American students in my class, and there's a few Hispanic, but pretty, mainly Caucasian students.

KL: I think we have about five more minutes or so on this tape, and I wondered if you could just kind of walk us through some of the big high points, and we may run out of time, but some of the big high points of your adult life after graduating from high school. And then I'll have some more specific questions. But what did, what was your life like after high school?

HK: I remember studying hard because I wanted to go to college, so I became a, what do you say, California State, what is it, Scholar (of the) California Scholarship Federation, I think.

KL: I don't know.

HK: Then I received a scholarship to UC Davis, and I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to study. I was thinking to either study food science or else I was really hoping to do something in music. But then since I got the scholarship to UC Davis I decided, well, I would study food science, so I went to UC Davis. But then I found, I mentioned that all my classmates would ask me to sing for their weddings, every weekend I was singing somewhere. And so everybody said, "Why are you majoring in food science? Why aren't you studying music?" So I thought maybe I should change, so then (my) second year in college I decided to go to Sacramento State (University) because it was within commuting distance from Loomis. So since my parents were both going into Sacramento every day, I commuted with them. That way I would save on room and board, 'cause the scholarship wasn't that much to last more than a year. And I was working too, at UC Davis, to pay for my room and board. So then I switched schools and then I decided to study, music therapy is what I was interested in. I thought, well, it's a combination of music and science, 'cause I like science and I like music, so that's what I studied. But they didn't have music therapy; they had recreation therapy. So I did music and got my degree in recreation therapy and also majored in music, and then when I graduated from there I got an internship in Stockton, at the Stockton State Hospital as a recreation therapist. And then I decided to take classes at University of the Pacific. Because they had the music therapy degree there, but I couldn't afford to go to music there, because it was too expensive. They had offered me a scholarship too, but it wouldn't have been enough to finish there. So I was working full-time and going to University of Pacific to become qualified as a registered music therapist, so that's what I did for two years in Stockton and then I went to (...) Napa State Hospital to work there, because I wanted to go to San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo. So I commuted from Napa to San Anselmo to study at the seminary, 'cause they had a degree in church music. Because I was mainly interested in church music, so that's what I studied there. So a week after graduation from there, I married my husband at the seminary chapel. We got married there.

KL: Is that where you met?

HK: Yes, that's where we met.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

KL: Okay, so this is Kristen Luetkemeier, this is tape four on September 10th of an interview with Hope Kawashima. You were talking about your training, and I'm curious about how, I mean, you had a real focus on both music and on therapy, do you, how do you feel like your early experiences with being forced out of your home and in these confinement camps and stuff, do you think that there was an interplay between those experiences and your work and your study in therapy? And how did those things relate, if they did relate at all?

HK: Actually, when I was working as a music therapist, we had to read the case histories of different patients, and when I read their stories, then I was always thankful that I had a family that stayed together even with the difficulties we went through. Whereas many of the patients had (...) families (that) broke up or else they went through other types of personal trauma, whereas I was grateful that my parents were always there for us, no matter what we went through, even if we went through difficult times. So I found that, (and) I think having a strong faith, our religious faith was very important and I found that when I was working as a music therapist, I would play different kinds of music for the patients and I noticed that they responded best to hymns and church music. I would do these little programs and pass around song sheets. They responded and would sing the hymns most. And there was particularly one patient that was catatonic, she didn't speak or sing or do anything for ten years, but then (...) when I brought the hymn book she started singing. So everybody was amazed because she had never spoken a word. From then she (would) sing, and then she started talking. So I felt that the music was a healing force for her and for other patients too, and particularly to renew their faith. Because of course I think real healing comes from God. But then we used these channels of music or talking and so forth to help them to recover, and so I felt like the music, especially church music, is very important. But then I was concerned that maybe the people that came into the (...) psychiatric hospital, were too far gone, or they'd been under difficult situations and then sometimes they would get well in the hospital, then they'd go home and then face the same situation, (and) bounce back in again. And so I felt that if they had more religious faith in their families, if their families were more loving and understanding, there would be less of the psychiatric problems they were having. Because many of them became either drug addicts or alcoholics, and they depended on that rather than trusting in a God that could heal them or save them.

So that's why I wanted to go to seminary, because I wanted to learn more about how God can heal people or how God can help people. 'Cause I knew just music alone doesn't do it, you know. And so I think that having gone through a difficult childhood, or different traumas in my life as a young child, helped me to understand how other people go through difficulties and how it affects them emotionally particularly. But then I think that having faith in God, you can overcome these difficulties. And then, (...) you have to learn to forgive what's happened, because sometimes the people that caused your grief (...) it's hard to know exactly who, but you just have to forgive (...) and overcome the difficulties and not kind of feel sorry for yourself and kind of wallow in all the bad things that happened to you. You have to think of all the good things that can happen to you if you have faith in God, and so I think that with God's help you can overcome any difficulties. No matter how traumatic your life might've been, if you learn to forgive those that have hurt you, then just go forward and rise above the difficulties.

KL: Who is your husband? What is his name?

HK: My husband is Mas Kawashima.

KL: And what was his family, did his family have an experience with any of the confinement sites?

HK: No, because he grew up and went all the way through college in Japan. So he, of course, faced all the difficulties in Japan, and he says he remembers being hungry all the time because they had a shortage of food. And then he said that because of his age he was sent to his aunt's place who lived in the country, because they could raise their own food (...) but he says he remembers eating lots of pumpkins when he was young. But his experience in Japan, of course, was quite different than my experience here in this country. But he remembers having to run for shelter whenever they heard the planes going over their city and bombing.

KL: Did he ever, or his family ever encounter any of the people who repatriated or expatriated to Japan in '46 or '7?

HK: I don't think he would recall or know that, no. No, because that's kind of hard to know, because he's been working here in this country -- Because he got a scholarship to Fuller Seminary when he graduated from college, and so then he got his Bachelor of Divinity degree and then he was helping in this church in Pasadena, a Japanese American church for, Presbyterian church there. And then they sent him to San Francisco Seminary because the Presbyterian church required that any Fuller graduate has to go to a Presbyterian seminary, at least one school year. So that's why he came up to San Francisco.

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<Begin Segment 30>

KL: I wondered if you would tell us about the latter part, also, of your grandmother Omachi and also your grandparents, Igarashis' lives. Where did they, what was their life like after, after the camps?

HK: Well, I think, as I said, my grandmother Omachi went back with the Takegishis, 'cause that was her oldest daughter, and then she lived there in Loomis with them. And then she passed away in 1948.

KL: Oh, that's right. That's right, I forgot she died shortly after. And the Igarashis?

HK: And then my Grandmother Igarashi, as I said, lived with us in the '50s, but by then she was bedridden and so we all took care of her. She passed away on July 24, 1959.

KL: And she was already a widow?

HK: No, no. No, because then our (...) grandfather, Kanematsu Igarashi, continued to live with us. And (...) he passed away in... oh no, I'm sorry, he passed away in '59 and my grandmother passed away in '52.

KL: Did he ever become a U.S. citizen, or consider it?

HK: I don't remember, recall if any of my grandparents became citizens. I know my husband became a U.S. citizen when, he wanted to become a U.S. citizen when we had our bicentennial, (in) 1976, I think it was. (Yes), so he thought that was a good way to remember.

KL: What about your uncle Joe? What was...

HK: Uncle Joe...

KL: Was he in, was he in one of the camps? Or did he leave the exclusion zone?

HK: Yes, I think I have that here. [Reads notes] Yeah, he married Arlis Kaneda (...) in December 1940, and then they were interned at Gila River Relocation Camp in Arizona from 1942 to 1944.

KL: I would be interested to know more about him as a lawyer, to be in one of those camps.

HK: (Yes). And then he returned to Stockton December 1945, where he was practicing law in in 1945. Well, I think I remember asking him what kind of law he was doing. He was saying that he was mainly doing family law, especially couples that were divorcing and so forth.

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<Begin Segment 31>

KL: You've lived a lot of places, you and Mas together. Would you just tell us the places that you've lived during your adult life? And also I'm curious if you ever talked about your experiences during the camp years in any of those different settings where people might not have been as familiar.

HK: Yes, well, right after we got married (at) San Francisco Seminary, then we had our honeymoon in Yosemite, and then we drove down to Pasadena, California, where he had a job waiting for him. So he served as, actually, (the) Japanese-speaking minister for the Pasadena Presbyterian Church, and I served as the choir director and organist there. And then the church had this old house, farmhouse on acreage of land, that was our first house that we lived in. It was a real old house that we had. Our first daughter was (born), I remember when we brought her home to live with us, from the hospital, then at night I'd wake up and I (realized) all these cockroaches came out. [Laughs] So full of cockroaches and then also mice. But anyway, it was an old house, but it was our first home. And then when the church had to move from the other location -- a freeway was going through, so that's why they had to rebuild the church. So then they tore down the house, so we had to live in a rental house in Altadena, California. So when we were in Pasadena, I think we, first (...) lived in a small apartment, when we were first married, and then we lived in that old house -- 'cause someone else was living in it before -- and then we lived in Altadena in a rental house on Crosby Street. And so we decided, "Oh, we're tired of moving around so much," so there was a house that was foreclosing in Pasadena that we could buy, I think it was eighteen thousand or twenty thousand dollars (for a) two-story house in a nice section of Pasadena, so we decided that we would buy it. So we moved to this house on Mountain Street, near Lake Avenue. It's still there; we go by and see it. So we bought that house, and then we were only living there (...) just a short time, I think only a couple of years, and then the Methodist church inducted my husband. They said, "We need you, you can't be doing Japanese ministry all your life. You need to do bilingual ministry so you can preach in English too." So they (appointed) us to move to (...) Ontario, Oregon, (eastern Oregon). So we were in Pasadena about eight years and then we went to Ontario, Oregon, and we lived there for about eight years. And then --

KL: What was your church there?

HK: Ontario Community Methodist Church.

KL: And then? I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you.

HK: And then the bishop -- now we were under the bishop's orders, so the bishop said there was an opening in New York City, the church there, because the pastor was ill and the church, (...) needed a bilingual minister. So then we moved, we got a rental truck and moved all our stuff to New York City.

KL: What was the church in New York City?

HK: It was the Japanese United Methodist Church.

KL: That's a big move.

HK: Yes. It was actually a cultural shock for us.

KL: I'm sure. And Ontario, of course, has its history of Japanese American farming in World War II, and there was even, I think there was a labor camp close by there, wasn't there?

HK: Yes. Actually, a lot of the families, Japanese families never went to camp because they were inland far enough, so they didn't have to go to camp. So some other people came from California and Hood River, other areas, to settle in Ontario. But, actually, the Japanese were highly regarded in that area 'cause they built up that area with planting, row crops they call, corn and sugar beets and potatoes and onions. (...) When you'd walk into a store they'd welcome you. That's the first time I ever had that. They'd welcome you with open arms. But anyway, we moved from there to New York City in 1980. We took this big Ryder truck, a twenty-five foot Ryder truck, and our church was on Manhattan and Seventh Avenue and we parked the truck in front of the church, and everybody was surprised to see this huge truck. [Laughs] Because the farmers in Ontario taught my husband how to drive a truck, so he drove the truck all the way across the country. That's when we stopped in Omaha, Nebraska, to visit my sister and stayed there. It's a good thing, because the truck was having trouble leaking oil, so it had to be repaired. I think we had to be there five days or something.

KL: Helps to have a relative in the Great Plains.

HK: Yes.

KL: And then you were back in West Los Angeles, is that right?

HK: That's right. And then --

KL: What church was he attached to there?

HK: So we went from New York City, in 1988 (...) to West L.A.

KL: The United Methodist Church?

HK: Right.

KL: Wow. And that church is closely connected to Manzanar.

HK: Oh yes. Yes, a lot of the members went to Manzanar, right. And then at that time my father and mother were in a very bad car accident, and my mother had a bad head injury. She began to lose her memory. And so then my father (...) got sick in 1980, and then he passed away in 1990 -- no... (in) 1990 he got sick, so he passed away in (1992). But my mother couldn't remember that he passed away and kept looking for him. So she couldn't be left by herself. She'd walk around in the middle of the night looking for him. So then, since we dropped our daughter off for college at Cornell University in New York, 'cause she wanted to go there (since) her classmates were all going there, and then we drove to West L.A. But then my parents needed help. So then I had a job working for this piano store, this music academy, I started a music academy there for all the TV and movie people, so we had all these amazing students. Like Alex Trebek was one of my students. And then Gail Getty, from the Getty family, was one of my students, and then she asked me to play for her daughter's wedding, which was in their huge house. And so they had this huge house that looked like a church, it had a stained glass window, a huge living room, and so I played piano for the wedding and then also for the reception. When I was playing for the reception, I heard this voice saying, "You're doing a good job." I said, "Joan Rivers?" Joan Rivers was right behind me. And then my husband was turning pages for me, he says, "I think I see Superman over there. And I think I see..." he'd name all the characters. He didn't know the actors' and actresses' names. But it was real fun (when) we met all these Hollywood people.

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<Begin Segment 32>

KL: That was also the time period when the redress campaign was pretty visible.

HK: Yes.

KL: And I wonder what your memories are of that. Were you guys very aware of redress, and what were your thoughts about it?

HK: Oh yes, yes. Well, no, I was very thankful for that because (...) our younger daughter was going to college, and so it was very helpful because she wanted to (also go) to medical school, so it helped us to finance her schooling. And so I was very thankful that we had received that.

KL: You wrote, too, that it helped you overcome feelings of bitterness toward the government.

HK: Yes.

KL: And I wondered if you'd talk a little more about the impact, about that impact of redress, how that, how that happened.

HK: Well, I felt that it was a small reward for all the pain that we went through, especially for my parents. But the sad thing was is that my father died before he got his redress, (though) he knew it was coming, but he didn't receive it himself. My mother got his (and) hers, but of course, my sister said, "You have to share it with everybody," so we shared with all the family. But I think he didn't, (or) wasn't able to forgive or forget. He always had that bitterness in his heart that the government had really done something wrong for its own citizens. So he wasn't able to overcome that. And then my mother just said, "I just want to forget about it," (so) then she lost her memory. She forgot about (everything).

KL: You're kind of different that way. I wonder if you would tell us in the recording why you feel that it's important to remember and to talk about what happened?

HK: Because, I think because of my music therapy training, where talking about your problems and so forth is the best therapy to overcome any bad feelings that you have, instead of holding it all in. So that's why I believe that talking is very important, and it helps you to understand the picture more, too, because every time I've done a talk about it (...), I get a new revelation on exactly what happened, or what had happened. And I think that if you hold it all in it's not healthy, 'cause I think any difficult experiences in your life, you need to share or come out in the open with it, then you can kind of go beyond and move on in your life.

KL: Both options sound scary. You know, holding it in, but also being public and...

HK: Right. Well, I think just trying, like my mother just wanted to forget about it, then she lost her memory, literally. She just wanted to forget everything, which I think is very sad too. And so that's why I had to commute from West L.A. to Loomis every week, to take care of her half of the week, and then my younger sister (who) lives in Sacramento took care of her half the week. But she kept asking the same question, "Where is your dad? Where is he?" And then she'd try to go out and look for him in the middle of the night. We had to lock the doors (and) hide the key so she wouldn't be looking for him. But it was kind of sad to see her like that.

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<Begin Segment 33>

KL: I just have really one more question, and then if there are things that you want to bring up or that Mark wants to hear about... so when, I mentioned to you when we first started talking about this interview, that parts of Tule Lake are part of the National Park Service now and there's a private foundation developing a museum at Topaz, and I wonder what you would like to see at those places. What do you, what do you hope will be at Topaz and Tule Lake for visitors to come see in ten or fifty or one hundred years? What do you want people to remember about those places?

HK: Well, to tell you the truth, my sister still has my mother's piano in her garage and she keeps asking me, "Where can we send this?" She says," Can we send it to some kind of memorial or something?" I said, "Well, I think they're still working on it." So I'd like to see the piano at either Tule Lake or Topaz, if that's possible, because it did play a significant role, I think, for the internees to be able to have worship service and recreation and dances and recitals and programs and so forth. So I think it played an important role, and it's something that has historical value.

KL: Yeah, it sure sounds like it did. I was really struck by that, the travels of that piano.

HK: It traveled all over the country.

KL: Yeah, and I'm sure a lot of people heard it while they were there, too. Anything else that you want to share with us?

HK: Well, as I said, I have a lot of pictures, if you wanted to see the pictures.

KL: Yeah, I definitely want to see those.

HK: But...

KL: Maybe we'll just leave this set up, we'll turn it off and stop it, and then we'll look at the pictures and then if there's anything else that comes out of that conversation, we'll be ready to record a couple more minutes if need be. Does that sound like, sound okay?

HK: That sounds good.

KL: Is there, in case we don't come back to it, is there, is there anything I left out that you think is important about your family's story, or your own, and the legacy of these places?

HK: Well, I can't recall anything now, probably come up later. Because we covered so much here.

KL: Yeah. Well, thank you so much for your time, and for sort of the exhaustive responses that you gave and for agreeing to this. I really, really appreciate it, and I suspect that others that may view this recording, strangers to all of us, in future generations or times, will appreciate being able to hear...

HK: Well, hopefully it'll be helpful so that other people won't have to go through what we went through, especially as American citizens. That's the thing. But of course, war causes hysteria, people do crazy things.

KL: I did want to ask you, actually, if there had been any other times in your life that reminded you of the early '40s. I know you were a kid in the '40s, but has there been a time later in your life that you've been reminded or concerned that this, there's a possibility of something similar developing?

HK: Just whenever someone kind of makes a racist comment, then it always brings back some of those old feelings. Can you believe one of my college professors told me that I can't play the violin because my ears are too Asian? Because I wanted to learn to play the violin, 'cause my sisters played it and I thought it'd be fun to play the violin, and he just outright told me, "You can't play the violin. Your ears are too Asian." And so I was so upset, I said, well, then I'll just go play the organ. So I learned the organ, which of course --

KL: From a different teacher.

HK: [Laughs] (Yes), from a different teacher, right. And then when we retired here in Fresno, I heard about the string class and (the professor) used to be the concertmaster for the Fresno Philharmonic, (and) was teaching a class and that they wanted more string players, so I said, "Can I learn the violin in your class?" And I said, "I already read music from the piano and organ." And he says, "Sure, give it a try." And so I joined the class, (also) my husband had been trying to play the string bass, so he learned (and) wanted to improve his string bass, so we still go every week for our string class and enjoy playing our string instruments. But I was so mad when that teacher told me, "You can't do it." I said I'm gonna do it anyway. [Laughs] So whenever someone comes up with that type of remark, I always say you have no right to say something like that, to anybody. So I think it's very important what people say to other people, (if) they're (...) basing it on racial feelings, because people are very sensitive to that. We have to all learn to get along with each other, so there's no use criticizing each other.

KL: Well, thank you.

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