Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Kenji Ogawa Interview
Narrator: Kenji Ogawa
Interviewer: Kristen Luetkemeier
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: May 21, 2015
Densho ID: denshovh-okenji_2-01

<Begin Segment 1>

KL: This is Kristen Luetkemeier, I'm a park ranger at Manzanar National Historic Site, here for an interview with Kenji Ogawa. He was the first baby born in Manzanar, and we'll be talking a lot about his parents' experiences before they were sent to Manzanar, and while they were there, and then also about the family's experiences in Tule Lake and in Japan immediately after the war ended. Rose Masters is in the room, too, from the National Park Service, she's operating the camera, and Alice Ogawa, Kenji's wife, is also here. We're in the Villa Brasil Motel in Culver City, California, and today is May 21, 2015. And Kenji, I want to make sure that we have your permission to be talking to you today, to record the interview, and to make it available to the public.

KO: [Nods].

KL: Okay, thank you. I'm glad, this has kind of been years in the making this formal oral history, so I'm glad it's happening. Let's start talking about your dad's family, and first if you could just tell us his name and when and where he was born.

KO: My dad's name?

KL: Uh-huh.

KO: Oh. Japanese name, Hatsuji Ogawa, and English name Harry. He was born San Jose.

KL: Do you know what year he was born? It says 1917 in something that I looked at. Does that seem about right?

KO: Yeah.

KL: Do you know his parents' names?

KO: [Laughs] I don't know, no.

KL: Do you know what their work was in San Jose?

KO: I guess farmer, I don't remember. His father's parents.

KL: What kind of stories did you hear from your dad about his early life at San Jose?

KO: San Jose, he said, "I just go to school." He never did farming. Then he was, I guess, a young age, he went back to, family went to Japan. (...)

KL: Did your dad like school in San Jose? What did he say about school?

KO: Yeah, he said it was good. My mom was born in Hilo.

KL: When did your dad's family go to Japan?

KO: He was about, I think, ten. Then came back fourteen, back again here.

KL: And he traveled with his parents to Japan?

KO: Yes.

KL: Who else was in the family that your dad grew up in? Did he have siblings?

KO: I mean, his brother.

KL: Who was his brother? It's gonna seem weird, 'cause I'm gonna ask you some questions that I already know the answers to, but just for the tape and for others.

KO: The name is Yoshio.

KL: And was Yoshio older or younger?

KO: No, younger. They have three, two sisters and my dad.

KL: Were the sisters older or younger?

KO: Younger. My dad was the oldest one.

KL: Do you know their names?

KO: [Laughs] No.

KL: It's okay. And the whole family went to Japan when your dad was about ten, you said, or so?

KO: Yes, he came back.

KL: Do you know why the family went to Japan?

KO: I guess, you know, my father's parents built nice homes, depending -- you know, they made money, so he wants to go back to Japan and build a house. They saved money, so went to Japan.

KL: So they were pretty successful in San Jose.

KO: Yeah. I guess those days, all the Japanese people making money, they go back to Japan, you're comfortable, built a house.

KL: Were all four kids born in San Jose?

KO: Yes.

KL: Where in Japan was your dad's family from?

KO: Kumamoto, Kamana.

KL: And what do you know about Kumamoto when he moved back there? What was it like in the...

KO: "Oh, I don't want to come home this way. Then I tell my mom, 'Let me stay in Japan.' It was so fun," you know. [Laughs] "I said, 'I don't want to come home.'"

KL: What was his family work in Kumamoto? Were they farmers or merchants?

KO: No. My mother's side... what is it? Government, governor.

KL: What about your dad's family?

KO: That side, he went back, they all passed away. You know, sister and mother, dad, they're all gone. That's the reason he wants, coming back. Fourteen, so he came back here.

KL: Oh, wow, they all died in those four years?

KO: Yeah.

KL: Oh, how sad.

KO: Sad. That's why, yeah, nobody.

KL: Do you know what happened to cause all the deaths?

KO: I never asked him that. But they all passed away.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

KO: So he came back, fourteen, then he went to school.

KL: Did he come back by himself or was he with other...

KO: Yeah, came back himself.

KL: Did he ever say how he made those arrangements? That's pretty mature for a fourteen year old. Did he ever tell you about that trip?

KO: No, no, he came home, and he was going to school, then about twenty, went back to Japan, married to my mother.

KL: We were looking at pictures before we started recording, and it looks like friends were really important to your dad when he was a young man. Can you tell us anything about any of his friends or how he met them or what they did together for fun?

KO: Oh, yeah, those days, he had to go downtown, Little Tokyo, they have a whole pool hall over there downtown. And he used to play in the young days. I guess a lot of gambling, too, over there. He works grocery, young age, going school, then went back to war start.

KL: Did he return to San Jose when he came back to California?

KO: No.

KL: He came straight to Los Angeles?

KO: Yes.

KL: Do you know where he lived?

KO: Boyle Heights.

KL: When he was fourteen? Do you know where he went to school?

KO: I don't know the high school, I don't remember. But he went to school.

KL: Did he graduate?

KO: Yeah.

KL: Did he live with other people in Boyle Heights?

KO: Yeah, all of them, his brother.

KL: Oh, so did his brother come back to the U.S. with him?

KO: Yes.

KL: Yoshio.

KO: Yeah. But after he went Japan, he never came back, brother never came home.

KL: Okay. And you said both parents and both sisters died in Japan?

KO: Yeah, they died. I think that's why my dad's kind of shocked, too, lost baby sister, went Japan, the whole family passed away.

KL: We were interviewing Robert Kame this morning, and he talked a lot about Little Tokyo and classes he took there and picnics. It was really interesting, did your dad ever tell you any details of what Little Tokyo was like?

KO: [Laughs] You know, a lot of time he'd go gambling, [inaudible], during the teenage days.

KL: He liked that, huh?

KO: He liked that. Buy car and bunch of friends.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

KL: Let's see, so we'll do kind of the same thing for your mom's side of the family. What was her name? What was her name?

KO: My mom? Yoshiye Ogawa.

KL: Do you know her maiden name?

KO: Yoshiye Hajime.

KL: Would you spell that, Hajime?

Off camera: H-A-J-I-M-E.

KL: And the date I have is 1919 for her birth, does that sound about right?

KO: Yeah.

KL: And tell us again, I know you said it earlier, but where was she born?

KO: She was born Hilo, Hawaii. And her parents, they have four... three sister and one boy.

KL: Do you know where your mom falls in that order? Was she the oldest?

KO: She's second.

KL: Do you know the names of her siblings?

KO: No.

KL: But she was the second oldest?

KO: Yeah.

KL: And she had two sisters or three?

KO: Three.

KL: Three sisters and one brother?

KO: Yeah.

KL: And what did she tell you about what it was like to grow up in Hilo?

KO: Oh, her parents used to work in the director Hitchcock, housekeeper.

KL: In Hilo?

KO: Yeah. They said they are filthy rich, Hitchcock. The family, you know, not just the director, whole family was a rich family.

KL: I didn't know they had Hawaiian connections.

KO: Yeah.

KL: Were they from Hawaii?

KO: Yeah, they were from Hawaii.

Off camera: They had a place in Hawaii.

KO: Yeah, you know, like a family, they said treat like a family. So, well, ten years ago, they're sending a letter together. So the brother said, "Come over San Jose." The one brother lived in San Jose, but can't find them.

KL: Your mother's brother?

KO: No, no, of the Hitchcock, director. His parents said, "You go see him, I bet you you'll get a good job." So looking for him. [Laughs]

KL: Whatever...

KO: No way. He's so big.

KL: How was Hitchcock as an employer?

KO: Huh?

KL: How was Hitchcock as an employer? Was he a good boss, was he nice?

KO: Oh, yeah, like a family he said, like a family. So nice. My mom said Hitchcock was a little weird. [Laughs]

KL: I can believe that.

KO: Yeah, you know, that's a director, funny, crazy.

KL: What kind of work did her parents do for him?

KO: Housekeeper. They said, boy, they treated family. They went to Japan, they sent a letter, all the greet, send to Japan. "Make sure coming back, you're going to see us." But we never have a chance to see. You know, those days, he's so big, no connection.

KL: Did your mom know both of her parents, were they still living during her childhood, and did they both work for Hitchcock?

KO: Uh-huh. They said it was so close to that family, brother and sister.

KL: Did they do any other kind of work while she was growing up or did they work for him for years?

KO: Just that family.

KL: Did she like Hawaii? What did she say about it?

KO: I guess so, she liked Hawaii. But we came this way, we stopped by Hawaii, but we never have a chance to meet the Hitchcock family.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

KL: What kind of things did she talk about doing for fun when she was growing up?

KO: Oh, you know, going school bare feet, no shoes. [Laughs] Type you go Hawaiian. She said, boy, those days, backyard, banana, papaya, they were growing, so she said it was fun.

KL: So much of Hawaii's population especially then had Japanese ancestry.

KO: Yeah, those days.

KL: Were most of her family's friends and her friends from Japan are Japanese American?

KO: Yeah, Japanese American.

KL: What did she tell you about her school in Hawaii?

KO: Well, I guess she said, "I was a good student in Hilo." She says she was a tomboy, yeah, she was a tomboy. She's not afraid of nothing.

KL: Did she play in the ocean or on the beach very much?

KO: Yeah, the ocean. Always bare feet, no shoes. You know, Hawaiians don't have shoes, either.

KL: You don't need to, I wouldn't think.

KO: So even when went to Japan, she was always a tomboy.

KL: Do you know why your grandparents moved from Japan to Hilo?

KO: Same like you have money, you can go back to Japan. The war started before, I guess, and they went back to Japan.

KL: Oh, they went back to Japan, too, your grandparents? Did your mother go with them at that time?

KO: Yes.

KL: Did the whole family go?

KO: Yeah, everybody went back to Japan.

KL: How old was your mother at that time?

KO: I guess pretty young, about ten? Yeah.

KL: She was older than ten? Okay, where were they from in Japan?

KO: They're from same thing, Tamana, Kumamoto.

KL: I forgot to defer to you about questions about child in the U.S.

RM: No, that's great. Would you mind spelling her name?

KO: Kumamoto?

KL: Tamana.

KO: Tamana?

RM: T, with a T, okay. Great, thank you.

KL: We saw some pictures, too, I think of your mother's family's house in Tamana. Would you describe that house? What did it look like?

KO: You know, like an old samurai, what's the roofs, more like pampas grass, you know, the old thatches?

KL: Like a grass and thatched roof?

KO: Yeah, yeah.

KL: Oh, wow. Did they have to replace that, the grass?

KO: Yes.

KL: How often did they do that?

KO: I guess every five years, I think.

KL: So a thatched roof, and what else?

KO: Oh, they used to have an animal, not a deer... what is it? Milk coming?

KL: A cow?

KO: Not a cow.

KL: Goat.

KO: Goat, goat. I used to play, I was a young kid, boy, they attack me. [Laughs] I'd fly.

KL: How many goats when you were a kid did they have?

KO: They have three. Wow, I'll never forget it, I'm flying, they tackle me, I remember.

KL: Do they do that to your mom when she was younger?

KO: Yeah, she used to fight like guys, she's there. "I was a tomboy. Lot of guys scared of me." That's what she said, I don't know.

KL: Did the goats scare her as a kid?

KO: She said she's not scared, but I was scared. I would fly. Oh, my god. But you know what happened? They have only boy, what happened was... you know Japan, they boil hot water to take your bath, so they were boiling, and they had two boys, oldest one, and something happened, he flipped, he went in the hot water, boil, and she said one day he was screaming, he passed away. He was about, I think, two. Yeah, burned to death. And then he was so good, a dog, always go to, this dog to a cemetery, stone, top of the stone, every day he said stay whole day. Yeah, his mom's brother's stone, he was there.

KL: How sad. And that was in Japan?

KO: Yeah, Japan.

KL: Wow.

KO: Yeah, they had two brother.

KL: What was the inside of her house like?

KO: Like a samurai house, old, traditional.

KL: I've never been in a samurai house.

KO: It's not a grass, what's that paper... shoji, we call it shoji, lot of room, tatami, you know that tatami? I like to sleep tatami, you know, I'm used to that, sleeping on.

KL: How many rooms were in the house?

KO: Five. And the top floor, lot of kame, how do you say that, kame? You know, that old floor tub, you know, deep one?

KL: Oh, the tub.

KO: I hate it.

KL: The tub?

KO: Yeah, it's so hot. You know, Japanese people love those hot water.

KL: Like ofuro?

KO: Boil, you know, the burn the bottom, make it hot. I hated it; I don't like it. To this day I can't stand the hot water. [Laughs]

KL: You're kind of unusual that way, huh?

KO: No, I don't like it. I never liked hot water. Every day I take a cold shower, every morning. I don't like hot water. Five minutes, I'm gone. You know, a lot of Japanese, they love it. Sweating, no, no, not me.

KL: What was your mother's family's work? Were they from the samurai class?

KO: No, I don't know way, history. But Grandpa was a governor. I had a good life in Japan, that's why I don't want to come back.

KL: Was he a governor even before World War II, or was that later?

KO: No, he was Hawaii, came.

KL: So he became governor later in life after he came back.

KO: Yeah, later in life.

KL: Alice, are there things I should ask about, or other things that Kenji should talk about from his parents' childhood from before they married?

Off camera: I don't know that much about the parents when he was growing up. It's what he told me, he was a brat, and he'd get away with a lot of things because of his grandfather.

KO: Yeah, same, my life. I was a bad boy, you know, Japan, get away everything.

KL: But you were close to your grandfather?

KO: Yeah.

KL: We'll have to ask more about that later, a little bit later after he's born.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

KL: How did your parents meet each other?

KO: "Picture bride."

KL: Okay.

KO: My mom had a boyfriend, but you know, since they're both born here, United States, so it's good to get them married. My mom didn't like it too much, she had a boyfriend in Japan.

KL: Yeah, that'd be hard.

KO: Yeah, it's hard. He said, "Why I have to marry picture bride?" But they married.

KL: Did she ever think about trying to run away with her boyfriend?

KO: No. You know what happened? The boyfriend went to war, but he came home.

KL: Was she still there when he came home?

KO: Yeah. Once in a while they'd see each other, but she already married to my dad.

KL: Do you know when they married? Let's see, she was born in 1919, she would have been twenty in 1930.

KO: Yeah, twenty.

KL: And after they married, where did they live?

KO: Married and came back this way, United States, Boyle Heights.

KL: Did he go to Japan to get her?

KO: Yeah.

KL: So the marriage was kind of arranged, and then he went to Japan, they met and they married, and then they came back together? That's interesting that she had that boyfriend and wasn't really excited about the marriage, did she ever say anything more about what it was like when she first met your dad?

KO: I guess she didn't like too much. But I guess her parents pushed it, you know. They're both born here, she's born in Hawaii, he's born San Jose, so it's good for them.

KL: And was your dad... he was already living in Boyle Heights when they married?

KO: Uh-huh.

KL: Where did they... we saw some pictures of a house in Boyle Heights, too. Where did they live when they went up there, married?

KO: (In) Boyle Heights, he can speak Spanish. [Laughs] I'd say, "Where'd you learn that, Spanish? But I guess Boyle Heights, a lot of them, Hispanic, so he learned, I guess.

KL: How many languages did your mom, what languages did your mom speak?

KO: Nah, she don't speak English, huh?

KL: Mostly Japanese?

KO: Most likely Japanese.

KL: Did your dad speak English?

KO: Oh, yeah. He went back to, after the war, he was working in a naval base, interpreter.

KL: So he spoke Japanese, English, Spanish, did he speak any other languages?

KO: No, three. [Laughs]

KL: That's pretty good.

KO: I'm not kidding, anybody see Hispanic people, speak Spanish.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

KL: What did your mom think of Boyle Heights? She'd never been to California even before.

KO: She liked that, but she was working, she don't know nothing. But she had to work.

KL: Where did she work, or what was the job?

KO: Some kind of factory, she said.

KL: And she liked it?

KO: She didn't like it too much. Remember, the bridge, go to Boyle Heights?

KL: Oh, I don't know it. Third Street?

KO: Yeah, Third Street. She used to race, you know.

KL: Race cars?

KO: No, no, running. [Laughs] She was a typical tomboy.

KL: She stayed that way, huh?

KO: Yeah, stayed.

KL: So she would race other people?

KO: Uh-huh.

KL: And did she usually win?

KO: [Laughs]

KL: What was your dad's job?

KO: Came back?

KL: In Boyle Heights.

KO: Boyle Heights, I think he used to do some kind of market worker, yeah, market.

KL: What kind of market?

KO: Grocery.

KL: Was the market in Boyle Heights?

KO: Yes.

KL: Oh, that's convenient. Was your mom's factory in Boyle Heights?

KO: Yeah.

KL: Do you know what the factory created, what it made?

KO: I don't remember.

KL: Yeah, I always feel bad when I sit people down and ask them questions about things that happened way before they were born for an hour, it's kind of unfair. But you said your dad used to go to Little Tokyo and gamble and shoot pool. Did he still do that after the marriage?

KO: No.

KL: Did he miss it?

KO: I guess. Once in a while he'd take me over there.

KL: Oh, he did? He took you around and showed you?

KO: Yeah, yeah.

KL: Did he tell you the stories? What did he do for fun after he married?

KO: Oh, he does gardening, we did it, I helped. Yeah, I'm the oldest one, my brother never touched it, he don't like dirty work, so he went to school. I liked to go to school, too, but I'm the oldest one, so I did work.

KL: Were they part of a church in Boyle Heights, or a Buddhist community?

KO: Buddhist. What was that, the first one? Nishi Hongwanji.

KL: Did they go every week?

KO: No, they're not a real church people.

KL: When did they go?

KO: I guess special occasions.

KL: We were talking a little bit about butsudan and the role that it had in your house before we started. Did you guys have a -- well, you weren't there, but do you know if your parents had a butsudan in their home in Boyle Heights?

KO: I don't know.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

KL: Are there good friends of theirs that you know about from their time in Boyle Heights? Any other people that they used to talk about a lot?

KO: Yeah.

KL: Who do you remember from the Boyle Heights community?

KO: They used to live... but I don't know the name no more. But they used to see Dr. Bo.

KL: Bo Sakaguchi?

KO: Uh-huh.

KL: In Boyle Heights, they knew him?

KO: Yeah. They're all doctor, isn't it? The family?

KL: I think so.

KO: They have a clinic or something?

KL: I don't know a lot about their practice, I just, people come into Manzanar sometimes and remember that he was their dentist. And I think you're right, I think he had a sister who was some kind of doctor, but I'm not sure.

KO: Yeah. They're judo, really active judo.

KL: They Sakaguchis?

KO: I made it one time, judo, my boy was taking judo.

KL: Did your dad study judo?

KO: No, he was a kendo.

KL: He was? Where did he study kendo.

KO: Japan. I took it Japan, too, you know, judo, not for kendo.

RM: When we were looking at your photo album a little bit earlier, there was numerous photos of the guy you called your dad's best friend, and I think it said his name was Higashida. Can you tell us about him?

KO: Oh, he went to Japan. He graduated Waseda University, Japan. Then he finished and came United States. Then the war started, so he had to go home again to Japan. Then he got drafted, after that he died. My dad was already family there, so he don't have to go.

RM: How did he and your father meet? How long had they known each other?

KO: I guess since Japan.

RM: Since your dad was there when he was ten.

KO: Yeah, fourteen, he went to Japan, they met him.

KL: Did your dad go to Waseda University, too?

KO: No, no.

KL: Did either of your parents go to college?

KO: No.

KL: Oh, yeah, your dad was already back in the U.S., I'm sorry.

KO: Yeah, back in the U.S.

KL: There were a couple other pictures, too, of your dad with his car. Would you tell us about his car?

KO: [Laughs] He said he just bought it brand new, then war started, so he had to give it, everything. (...) Then my mom was already eight months.

KL: Pregnant?

KO: Yeah, the camp, (they) have to go to camp, she was eight months. So I don't know if they're joking me, "You're born in a train, you had to go train." So my mom cut it short like a guy, so she wrapped it all with a blanket, you don't want to show stomach, you don't know what's going on, train travel. So you're born on the train, you're going to drop it because you don't know, hospital over there or nothing. So that's why my mom was joking, "You're lucky you didn't born." She cut her hair short and everything.

KL: Did they ever tell you what they remember about learning that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor and that the United States was going to go to war with Japan? Did they tell you stories about what their day was like on December 7th?

KO: But my dad went to Tule Lake and "no-no," you know, loyal to Japan, I guess that's why he went to Tule Lake and went to Japan.

KL: Did he say how he felt in 1941 when the two countries were at war, whether he liked Japan at that time or whether he was more close to the United States?

KO: I guess those people, most of them went to Tule Lake. You know, I guess loyal to Japan. My mom don't want to go back to Japan, she said, "No."

KL: She liked it in California?

KO: Yeah, "I want to stay here." Japan lost, don't have nothing. Why you go home? But my dad side have a house, so I have go see it. Family's all passed away.

KL: Didn't work?

KO: It didn't work.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

KL: Did they say what it was like to prepare to go to Manzanar, to get rid of that car? What did they tell you about that time?

KO: I guess a lot of times they don't know what's go on, what happened, you know, over there at Manzanar.

KL: Do you know who bought the car from your dad?

KO: He said he had to give it away. Lot of people just give it away. You don't have time to buy it. Only two suitcase, one suitcase.

KL: What you could carry, for most people.

KO: Yeah.

KL: Where did they leave from to go to Manzanar? You said they took the train?

KO: Yeah, Boyle Heights. Boyle Heights, took the train.

Off camera: They lived in Boyle Heights so then they would meet, I think at Nishi Hongwanji.

KO: Yeah, all the people meet over there. Old temple, that corner one.

KL: That makes perfect sense and I'd never heard a story like that before of the disguise that your mom, cutting her hair and trying to hide her pregnancy and stuff.

KO: Because they don't know what's hospital over there.

KL: Do you know if she got any medical care before she left? Was she seeing a doctor in Boyle Heights, in L.A.?

KO: I guess so. You know, Dr. Hanaoka, I think.

KL: Who was Dr. Hanaoka?

KO: He was a doctor, my mother's. Then me, too, camp.

KL: Did she ever tell you what it was like to be pregnant with you before she had to go to Manzanar, like why she wanted a child?

KO: She was scared, you know. That's why she said, "You born on the train, I'm going to dump it," because they figured no hospital or nothing, you're not going to survive.

KL: Did they have friends that they went to Manzanar with, that knew her already? Or she was able to hide from...

KO: Yeah, she had to hide. So I guess she don't know nobody.

KL: I mean, she probably had a very different idea of what it would be like to be pregnant and have a baby then what ended up happening. Did she ever tell you what her first idea was, what she thought it would be like to have a baby in Boyle Heights?

KO: No, she never said. But she said at Manzanar it was windy, you know, sandy, used to cover face. Because half an hour, it was all sandy, face. They said you went over there, no privacy, bathroom.

KL: Did they tell you what they did first when they got to Manzanar, what the first day there was like?

KO: I guess you're living so many family, open. It was not a pleasure to go, live in. I guess slowly the carpenter, everybody, you know, make it private.

KL: Do you know when they arrived in Manzanar, what date?

KO: No.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

KL: When were you born, what's your birthday?

KO: April 16th, '42.

KL: What do you know about your birth? Do you know who was there or where the hospital was?

KO: I guess the hospital? You remember this? Yeah, we saw the hospital. I said, "This is the hospital?" Next to, not too long...

KL: Yeah. But actually, that hospital was not there yet when you were born.

KO: Oh, no?

KL: Uh-uh. There was a temporary hospital.

KO: Oh, which one?

RM: Yeah, you probably were born in Block 1.

KO: Oh, Block 1?

RM: That's where the hospital was, and then it went to Block 7 later, and then to its later location.

KL: I have notes here, and I don't know if these are things that Richard looked up or what, but it says that Dr. Togosaki assisted your mom with the delivery, and Dr. Kusuyanagi was the -- I can never say this name right -- she applied the anesthesia. And I don't know even if that's true, so I should clarify that, but I did find notes that said that. Do you know either of those names? Dr. Tososaki or Kusuyanagi?

RM: We can probably ask Dr. Kusuyanagi, because she's still alive.

KO: I thought it was Hanaoka, no?

KL: Well, maybe in Boyle Heights, maybe... Dr. Hanaoka is a man, is that right?

KO: Yeah.

KL: Yeah. So maybe he was in Boyle Heights? Or maybe, I don't know, we'll have to look into that. You thought Dr. Hanaoka actually helped her deliver you?

KO: Uh-huh, Hanaoka.

KL: Do you know that name, Hanaoka?

KO: I think his daughter's a doctor, I think.

KL: His daughter's a doctor?

KO: His daughter is the doctor, yeah.

Off camera: There's another doctor, Goto, James Goto.

KL: Yeah. Did your family know James Goto?

KO: Yeah, I think Dr. Goto, yeah.

Off camera: He had a, after the war, he had a practice down in Japanese Town.

KL: Do you know when... did your mom ever get any, did she ever see a doctor before you were born in Manzanar, or did she keep it a secret until she was delivering?

KO: I guess secret. Well, I guess once you go Manzanar, I guess they're all Japanese, so I don't know.

KL: Maybe she felt safer there.

KO: Safer, but you know, you go to train, she was scared, covered everything.

KL: Did they know anything about where they were going?

KO: No.

KL: But she never said whether you were born in a hospital or whether you were born in the barrack?

KO: Uh-uh.

KL: Do you know what their address was in Manzanar?

KO: I think Dr. Bo knows. He knows everything my family. He was 14, babysitting me, taking baseball, everything, you know.

KL: Maybe we can have you two interview each other and I'll sit and listen.

KO: Yeah, I want to see him so bad.

KL: Yeah, I'm excited that maybe you guys will be talking soon. That's the good thing about this.

KO: He knows everything, our family.

KL: But you think your family was in Block 14 in Manzanar, somewhere? And you were telling us a story about your name. Would you, for the recording, tell us about your name? There was some debate about whether you would be Kenji or something else? Tell us that story.

KO: They say a first baby, the government say, owns. My parents said no, too much memory, no way. They gave five dollar, put it in name. My parents said no.

KL: How did your parents feel about being sent to Manzanar?

KO: Then too much happening. They never went back to see Manzanar, never.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

KL: We just took a quick break to adjust the microphone, and now we're back. So Rose reminded me that we looked at some baby pictures of you. Who took those pictures?

KO: I guess that... what's his name?

KL: Toyo Miyatake?

KO: Miyatake, yeah.

KL: Yeah. And I think we saw, I'll just point out, I think we saw some pictures of your dad from before Manzanar that were portraits from Miyatake, too. Did your parents ever talk about the Miyatake family, what they were like, or about Toyo?

KO: [Addressing person off camera] You know more them, huh?

KL: That's okay. What else did your parents tell you about their time in Manzanar?

KO: You know what happened? Is that okay to tell?

KL: Whatever you want to tell.

Off camera: You know, people are going to look at this tape, now.

KL: Yeah, I mean, you know that people might see these, but whatever you're comfortable with.

KO: I don't know. My sister born, you know MP tower, my father was so excited, he wanted to go see born, sister. They say MP shot, you know, "Don't run." He thinks my dad's going to escape or something. No, no, I'm going to see my baby daughter born. So the MP...

KL: Your dad was so excited to go see the baby that the MP shot at him?

KO: Yeah. [Laughs]

KL: So that was for you, he was going to see you?

KO: Huh? No, no, my sister. (...)

KL: Okay. Did they say anything about the MPs in Manzanar or the fence at Manzanar or the towers or anything? Did they tell you anything else that they noticed at Manzanar, any other stories of things that happened there?

KO: I guess some people talk, I think he got beat up.

KL: Your dad?

KO: No, no, not my dad, somebody. He talked a lot of things, I guess a lot of Japanese don't like it, so they beat up these Japanese, they called "dog." [Laughs]

KL: What did your parents think about that beating?

KO: He didn't like it, but he shouldn't ever talk to, you know.

KL: Your parents didn't like the man who was beaten up? Right after that man was beat up, there was a big demonstration and a couple people were shot in front of the entrance. Were your parents there, did they witness that shooting?

KO: I don't know.

KL: Did they ever talk about that night and what it was like or what they saw?

KO: No. See, my dad, I don't know, he always said to me, "When I was young, I was big," he said he had a muscle. So everybody wants to, he's the leader, the (...) "no-no" group, but my mom said, "You lost one child already. You're going to keep doing, I'm going Japan," my mom said. So he quit the group.

KL: He quit being a leader?

KO: Yeah.

KL: But he was kind of a leader in Manzanar?

KO: Yeah, everybody choose my dad to be a leader. But he did it couple months, I guess, but my mom didn't go for it. (...)

KL: No, I think he was a leader in Manzanar, and then after Kenji's sister died in (Manzanar), his mom said, "You need to stop being a leader, you're risking your other children," and so he stopped being a leader (...).

KO: Yeah. He lost the (daughter) already, so he don't want to do any of this kind of stuff.

KL: But for a few months in Manzanar, he was really a leader?

KO: Yeah. That's what my dad...

KL: You know, there's kind of a debate about whether someone should beat up someone if they're telling the FBI things or whether or not. What did your dad think about that? Did he think it was, in that situation, okay to make someone be quiet by beating them?

KO: Yeah, quiet, he'll never talk to the FBI. So after that thing happened.

KL: Do you know how, like how was your dad a leader? Did he go to meetings?

KO: I guess so. I don't know. My mom didn't like it at all.

KL: Why didn't she like it?

KO: I guess she wants to be family, you know, forget doing that.

KL: Did your parents have jobs in Manzanar?

KO: Oh, my dad was doing carpenter, help in the mess hall, cook, did a lot of things.

KL: Do you know if he worked in the mess hall in Block 14, or if it was somewhere else? There was a Mess Hall Workers Union in Manzanar. Did your parents ever talk about that, if your dad was involved?

KO: [Shakes head]

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

KL: There was another guy who also worked in a mess hall who was also a leader in Manzanar named Harry Ueno. Do you know that name, does that mean anything to you? Did your folks know him?

KO: Maybe those people know my dad, I don't know.

KL: After the riot, there were some people who were put in jail in Independence and in Lone Pine. Was your dad ever put in jail?

KO: No.

KL: Do you know if he worried about it or if your mom worried about it?

KO: Maybe my mom. I'm still baby, so, didn't want to lose.

KL: There was a questionnaire, you mentioned the "yes-yes," "no-no" and your dad was kind of a leader with "no-no," what did your parents say about answering that questionnaire?

KO: [Laughs] He said everything "no-no," "glory to Japan."

KL: Why did he think that in 1943? And maybe it's obvious, but...

KO: I don't know. He's thinking Japan would win. My mom said, "No, I don't go back to Japan."

KL: But she did go with him to Tule Lake?

KO: Yeah. [Laughs]

KL: How did she feel about that, about going...

KO: She didn't like it. She didn't like it. She knows already, Japan, it was nothing, Japan.

KL: Yeah, do you have questions about Manzanar?

RM: Did your mom answer the questionnaire differently than your dad?

KL: I don't know, remember. My mom never talked about those things.

KL: Do you know when your family went to Tule Lake? The roster says February 21, 1944. Does that seem right, maybe?

KO: Yeah.

KL: Did your parents ever tell you what they thought of Tule Lake when they got there? You said your mom didn't want to go, what did she think when she was at Tule Lake? She's still pretty unhappy?

KO: She's not happy. See, you go Tule Lake and they're going to go Japan, most of them, they all went to Japan.

KL: Your sister Ryoko was born April 19, 1944. So it was kind of like you, your mom wasn't quite as pregnant, but again, she had to go somewhere new, pregnant, about to have a baby. Do you know if she did similar things, if she tried to hide her condition again on the train, or what the trip was like?

KO: No, she never said. But at Manzanar, yes, she hide, cut her hair and everything.

KL: In Manzanar?

KO: Uh-huh.

KL: Yeah. Did she say anything about what it was, did she have Ryoko in a hospital, or did she say anything about Ryoko's birth?

KO: No, everything's okay, then she have a cold, the high temperature.

KL: And then she had a cold with a high temperature, and then what happened?

KO: I guess the U.S. government sent a plane to get penicillin. So the United States government helped my sister, tried to get penicillin. Those days, only penicillin was good. But too late already.

KL: Yeah, the roster says that she died in August of 1945, so she was a year and a half old or so.

KO: Yeah, little baby.

KL: Do you remember her at all?

KO: No.

KL: We were looking at some pictures of her funeral, and Rose mentioned that it looked like a lot of people were there. Did your parents ever talk about the funeral?

KO: They say everybody came, sorry, lose the baby.

KL: What was that like for your mom to lose her daughter?

KO: Oh, you know, (...) she never forget. You know, we don't have, me and a brother, we don't have a sister, so she never forget that. She missed the daughter.

KL: What else did they say about Tule Lake?

KO: Tule Lake, she don't say too much, you know, both don't say too much. He wants to go home, you know, Japan.

KL: Do you know where they lived in Tule Lake?

KO: I have no idea. I want to go back maybe this, next year.

KL: Yeah, I hope you can, and I know Larisa --

KO: Maybe somebody know my... maybe Dr. Bo knows.

KL: We'll have to ask. Do you know if they stayed in, yeah, they stayed in touch with him at least back in California. Do you know the names of anyone that they were friends with in Tule Lake?

KO: No.

KL: Do know, there was a jail in Tule Lake. Do you know if your dad was ever in jail in Tule Lake or in the stockade?

KO: I don't know. Everybody say that's the troublemaker, you know, going to Tule Lake, "no-no," everybody say they're the troublemakers.

KL: When was your brother born?

KO: In Japan.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

KL: I'll start by saying this is tape two, we're continuing an interview with Kenji Ogawa, and it is May the 22nd, 2015. And we left off talking about Tule Lake, and I remember you had said that your dad stopped being very much of a leader and he got more quiet in Tule Lake. But your parents ended up leaving Tule Lake for Japan. Do you have questions about Tule Lake?

RM: Yeah. I just wanted to ask you, your little sister died in (Manzanar), and then you had told me before this interview about what your mom did with her ashes. If you could relay that story for the camera.

KO: Oh, the camera? Okay. Well, she took it Japan, you know, that MGM can, coffee can, and came back United States. (...) (When) my father passed away, my mom said, "You got to change to a... more better than coffee can." So we changed it. We still, to this day, pretty butsudan. My mom said no ground, so we carry it to this day, still.

KL: Do you remember Tule Lake at all? Do you have any memories of Tule Lake?

KO: [Shakes head].

KL: What do you know about your parents' trip to, well, yours, too, your trip to Japan from Tule Lake? Do you know how that happened, where they left from?

KO: For me, I was young, I really enjoyed Japan. My parents said nothing to eat, Japan, nothing. So my father never did farming, he had to do farming to grow vegetable, everything. He said it was hard.

KL: Your parents left, it says, or you all left on December 27th of 1945. Do you know where you, where the ship left from, that took you to Japan?

KO: I guess it was San Pedro, isn't it? No, no...

KL: Did they say anything about what the ride was like?

KO: They said that was a navy boat, you know, war, it's not a comfortable boat.

KL: Did your parents renounce their U.S. citizenship? Did they give up their U.S. citizenship?

KO: (No).


KL: Your dad thought, it sounds like, that Japan might win the war for a long time. When he was going on the ship, when he was finally going back to Japan, did he believe that the U.S. had won, or did he think that Japan had won?

KO: No, U.S. won.

KL: He knew the U.S. had won?

KO: My mom tell my dad, "No, Japan lost."

KL: When they got there, were they surprised by how bad it was?

KO: Yeah.

KL: What did they say about that, their first sight, that first --

KO: Nothing, you don't say nothing. No food, nothing. That's why my parents started doing the farming.

KL: Where did you guys live when you got back to Japan, when they got back to Japan?

KO: I guess on my dad's side, Kamana.

KL: Do you know how you guys got there from the ship to your dad's...

KO: I have no idea. They started doing farming over there. He said it was hard.

KL: Was his family glad to see him, or were they...

KO: No, remember? They were all gone.

KL: They were all gone? He had no relatives at all, no cousins, nobody?

KO: Yeah, so nobody helped my dad, my mom, so they had to do it by, don't know how to plant vegetables.

KL: Did anyone help them?

KO: No, nobody. Maybe a neighbor, I don't know, no idea.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

KL: But you said it was fun for you to be in Japan?

KO: Yeah, for me, it was a lot of fun. I thought everything was fun, good memory.

KL: You told us about the scary goats and you told us that you took kendo. What else are your early memories, what are your first memories of Japan?

KO: I was a rascal, I'm not kidding. [Laughs]

KL: What kind of trouble did you get into?

KO: Well, I get into a lot of trouble. You know, train come in, you know those all steam trains? I used to stop in front of the train, stand and stop. [Laughs]

KL: So the bee sting that prevented our first interview, that's not the first brush with death.

KO: Then the [inaudible] and my (mother's grandfather) was the governor, so I get away. [Laughs]

KL: What did your grandfather think about your...

KO: He'd tell my mom, "Boy, this boy is too much trouble." [Laughs] "You better go back to the United States." I'm a shame, you know.

KL: Did you stop?

KO: Never stopped. Then the next day, I went to underneath the train bridge. [Laughs] Then remember I used to say... what is that? You know, people talk about comedy? What is that? Comedian, they come in the front. So I made a rubber band --

Off camera: He was just standing around.

KO: Yeah, shooting. [Laughs]

Off camera: [Inaudible].

KL: Where did you do that?

KO: Japan.

KL: Like in school or in church?

KO: No, all the people coming to see these people.

KL: Like at a theater.

KO: Yeah, yeah, theater, more like a theater.

KL: Did you have friends who did this with you, or just you?

KO: No, I did it myself. There are friends, too. So I had a good time.

KL: Yeah. Are there any other stories? What else did you do?

KO: You know, Japan, lot of watermelon. Find me a bunch of watermelon, so we used to take it, watermelon. Japan, lot of lake, so we'd, couple hours. Oh, the Japan watermelon is good. We used to steal the watermelon, apple, pear. So I have a good memory.

KL: I've heard, actually, that right after the war ended, people from the cities would come to the country and steal potatoes or whatever food. Did you have, did that happen to your family? Did other people steal?

KO: Oh, yeah, (...) they steal.

KL: Do you remember any trouble in your childhood? Like were you ever hungry or was there anything hard for you? Or it was okay?

KO: We were fine.

KL: Did you try to keep, did people in school or neighbors know that you were American, or did you try to hide that?

KO: Yeah, you know, they say, when I went to Japan, my mom would say, you're speaking English, so those Japanese kids said, "How come you don't speak Japanese?" Same thing happened when I came back here? It was hard; it was hard.

KL: Were there problems in Japan because you spoke English or because you were American?

KO: Yeah, yeah, I don't speak Japanese, speak English all the time.

KL: How did you learn Japanese?

KO: Oh, I guess you stay, going to school, every day speak, you learn.

KL: Sometimes kids have told me that they would have to go to the city to update their documents. Did you have to do anything like that?

KO: [Shakes head].

KL: But you didn't try to keep it a secret that you were American?

KO: No.

KL: It was just hard to learn Japanese?

KO: Yeah, it's hard to learn.

KL: Were you guys part of a Buddhist group in Japan? What was that like?

KO: Well, I guess same.

KL: And then you had (a) brother in Japan. When was he born?

KO: He's five year, I mean, younger than me (in Japan).

KL: 1947. How long were you in Japan?

KO: I was thirteen.

KL: When you came back? Uh-huh. [Addressing RM] Do you have questions about Japan?

RM: Yeah. You mentioned that your family continued practicing Buddhism in Japan. Do you know if they practiced any Shinto traditions as well, or if your grandfather did?

KO: Yeah, maybe grandfather. I have no idea.

RM: You don't remember, though?

KO: No.

RM: You kept saying, when you were talking about getting into trouble, you said "we." I was wondering who your friends were and what they were like.

KO: (Sometime), couple, four or five guys. We were young, so those people, core, you know, throw the face, yeah, they were so mad, stopped the train. [Laughs] I guess when you're young age, you don't know scared, nothing.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

KL: Tell us about school, going to school in Japan. What was your elementary school like?

KO: You know, I guess... you know, uniform, everything uniform in Japan. I guess to this day it's still uniform.

KL: That's what I hear.

KO: The hat, the whole uniform. I liked it.

KL: You liked school?

KO: Yeah, it was good. I don't know, when I went to Japan, I grew so fast, I was (tall), then became this way, I shrink, I stopped growing. I guess the food different, I don't know.

KL: That was like me, I was always really tall --

KO: Oh, yeah, me too.

KL: -- I grew early.

KO: Early start, you know, I was the tallest one. Everybody passed, summer vacation, everybody passed me. I didn't grow, not an inch after that. When I came back here, I just drinking the Coca-Cola. I don't like bacon, I don't like eggs. You know, Japan eat the miso shiru, rice, I like that. But I came back this way, bacon eggs, pancake, I didn't like it. Now I love it, but when I was a child, I didn't like it. I didn't hardly eat nothing, just Coca-Cola. You know, the old Coca-Cola was good.

KL: Maybe that's why you didn't grow anymore.

KO: [Laughs] Yeah, I think stopped that, you know. But I loved that Coca-Cola.

KL: What were your favorite subjects in school?

KO: In Japan or here?

KL: In Japan.

KO: Oh, I liked painting. You know, what's that soroban, you know, that Japanese, like a calculator.

KL: An abacus?

KO: Yeah, yeah. I was good. I was good at math, too.

KL: You mentioned stopping the train and shooting people with slingshots. What else did you do for fun in Japan as a kid?

KO: I did... was a frog? You know, Japan, lot of frog, so we'd catch that, put it here, in the stomach, so they can't see no more.

KL: What did you put in the stomach?

KO: The ear. [Laughs]

KL: What happened to the frog?

KO: That's it, it's gonna die. Yeah, he can't see or nothing.

KL: I kind of wish that the camera could see Alice's face during some of this, too, because it's kind of...

Off camera: He didn't tell you that when they blew into it...

KL: That's probably the most direct route, yeah. I'm kind of scared to ask what else you did for fun. Did you guys travel around Japan at all?

KO: Oh, yeah, we would travel all different states. I guess it's same like here, you don't know nobody, they all start fighting each other. Then sometimes you go onsen.

KL: What's onsen?

KO: Hot springs. You know, female, male separate. But you go underneath, you can go either way. [Laughs]

RM: Did you do that?

KO: Yeah. [Laughs] I had a good time, you know, the child life.

KL: What else do you remember from those trips around Japan?

KO: Most things are train, I liked train travel, the bento, oh, it was good.

KL: There was a picture in the album of a park in Kumamoto, I think. What was that park?

KO: That's a zoo, koi, wow, used to be this big, big old koi, we used to catch it. You can't do that, you know. [Laughs]

KL: What did you do after you caught it?

KO: I don't know. Yeah, that's a castle there, castle, all samurai, used to be big koi. About a hundred, two hundred. Nighttime, you go, nobody see us.

KL: Was that close to your house?

KO: Yes.

KL: What was your, the area around your house like? Did you have close neighbors, were there kids who could come over and play with you, or did you work all the time?

KO: Yeah.

KL: You guys could run around and play.

KO: There you go, river, used to have a, like a boat, bamboo, you know. That was a lot of fun, catch fish. Then we used to go catch unagi, you eat unagi? Eel?

KL: Yeah, that'd be nice to have fresh eel.

KO: Oh, you know, the ryokan, like a hotel, Japan, oh, they barbecue in front, the smell. (Have) you been Japan? Oh, you should.

KL: What other sites or important towns or anything should we go to, if we go? I mean, what do you remember?

KO: You should see countryside, top of the mountain. Good food, castle, [inaudible], people nice, country. You should go country, then Tokyo, Osaka. We went to Osaka, Kyoto. Kyoto is nice, temple, all the temple, beautiful temple.

KL: Your mom did not want to go back to Japan. Did her feelings ever change while you were there? Did she become okay with being in Japan, or did she always want to go back to the U.S.?

KO: She wanted to go back. But hard time, we're the last one.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

KL: Did (you) want to come back to the U.S.?

KO: No. I tell my mom I don't want to go U.S. I don't speak English, so let me stay. But I'm trouble, so Jiichan said, "You stay here, you cause your trouble."

KL: What about your dad? Did he want to come back to the U.S.?

KO: Yeah.

KL: When do you think he started to want to come back to the U.S.?

KO: I guess working an interpreter, all the American soldiers.

KL: Yeah, you told us --

KO: Used to bring home the jeep, all the GIs, I never seen black man or Hindu people, you know, the funny hat. Wow, gee. But they're all nice people, real nice. I didn't know candy, chocolate.

KL: You liked that?

KO: I love it. My dad, the GI people bring it home, cake and stuff. So I ate good food. Those Japanese people didn't eat, but my dad bring home.

KL: When did your dad get that job?

KO: I think as soon as back to Japan, maybe five years later, got a job.

KL: Was it hard to get that job because of the "no-no" answer?

KO: No. He was just so, he speak English, Japanese, so no problem.

KL: How long did he have that job?

KO: 'Til coming back here.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

RM: Can I ask a question about Japan before we go back to the U.S.? I was just scribbling some things down. You mentioned that you learned, that you studied kendo in Japan. Can you tell us about that? Where you classes were and who your teacher was?

KO: Oh, it was in Japan, Kumamoto.

RM: What was that like?

KO: It's not easy. They're strict. You know, all the teacher is an ex-soldier, oh, mean. Bamboo, you don't it right, bamboo, hit it. It's not like here, the teachers are real soft. No, Japan, it's not easy.

RM: Did you like it?

KO: I didn't like it, but it was good, make you strong person, discipline, really you have to listen to those teachers. Not like here. Those days people don't... not like nowadays.

KL: You probably didn't bring your slingshot to kendo.

KO: [Laughs] They're too tough for me.

KL: Just checking.

RM: What about any holidays? Do you remember celebrating, like, Boy's Day, New Year's?

KO: Oh, yes.

RM: Can you tell us about Boy's Day?

KO: Boy's day, they got, you know that manju? What is that manju? You know manju...

RM: Oh, yeah, yeah. Do you remember making big carp, the flags that were --

KO: Oh, yeah.

RM: Koi?

KO: They did that koi.

RM: Where did you put those?

KO: Outside.

RM: On the house?

KO: Yeah, outside the house, yard, the bamboo stick, they fly. Girl's Day is different. The ningyo.

KL: The dolls?

KO: Doll, you know, whole bunch of different...

KL: Was Girl's Day hard for your mom? Did she associate it with her daughter?

KO: Yeah, she don't have Girl's Day.

KL: What about Buddhist festivals like Hanamatsuri?

KO: Well, they're so big.

KL: What were those like? How many people would...

KO: So many people, so many people. You know, Japan is hot, summertime, humid, sweat. It's not like here, way hotter. But I remember watermelon was so good, you know, fruits. When I came back, I used to tell these Nisei people, you know, Japanese, they don't know how good, Japan thing, nothing good. Well, I used to say, "You guys go over there," it's different. Sweet and everything. Even (the) meat, oh, it was good.

RM: Do you remember making, do you remember mochitsuki for New Year's?

KO: Oh, Japan, we call it shogatsu, New Year's shogatsu, big, making all the gotso, everything.

RM: Did you ever do any of the cooking or making the mochi?

KO: They are still doing, huh? You know, you want to come New Year's? Come to my place.

RM: Yes, please.

KO: We do a big thing. Today's Japanese, I still do it, New Year's. I like it. The soba, yeah. You got to taste my soba.

KL: Thanks for the invitation.

KO: Yeah, I'm not kidding. We do sushi.

RM: I also wanted to ask you, you said that your grandpa would get you out of trouble. I wanted to ask you what kind of, if you could tell us what kind of person he was, what your relationship with him was like.

KO: He was strict. When I get in trouble, he's always mad, but he always helped me. He'd tell my mom, "You got to do something, this boy." [Laughs]

KL: And what did she say?

KO: Yeah.

RM: What did he think when your family decided to leave Japan?

KO: Oh, you know, see, they have a lot of land, lot of... they have a peach farming, lot of big oranges, big family. So he said, "You don't have to go back. What you go back for? You can stay, we can take care, you guys stay here." But my mom wants to go home, come to the United States.

RM: Did your parents ever talk with him, or even with you or with each other about Manzanar and Tule Lake?

KO: I guess so, I don't know. He never went to Manzanar, he went back to Hawaii and Japan. (...)

RM: Do you remember what you talked about? If you talked about Manzanar, do you remember what people said?

KO: Yeah. That her parents?

RM: Yeah.

KO: I guess sad that lost (a) sister. So same thing, her mother lost brother, boys, so same position.

RM: That's all the questions I've written down, thank you.

KL: Alice, are there other stories that we should ask Kenji about from Japan, do you know?

Off camera: Nothing in Japan. It's what his parents would say, talk about. They would talk about Manzanar and Tule Lake some, but not like a whole lot.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

KL: So you've said a little bit, but I want to hear more about your trip back to the United States.

KO: It was hard. I came in '57, oh, it was hard.

KL: How was it hard?

KO: [Laughs] You know, I can't go Hollywood, Westwood, they don't like me, Japanese, I guess. They called me a name and everything. You go school, those professors, they talk about history, first thing, "You sneaky Jap." [Laughs] Wow, come on. It was hard after the war. Then I went to, you know, I used to hang around a lot of Caucasians, you know, mixed. Then one time, house party, I went to the guys, my friend's father said, "That Jap's got to stay outside." Then my friend said, "Sorry, my dad." That's okay. I said, "It's okay."

KL: How old were you when that happened?

KO: I was about fourteen, fifteen, thirteen. Fourteen, fifteen --

KL: High school?

KO: Yeah, high school.

KL: Where did you guys live when you came back?

KO: Came, Sawtelle, West L.A.

KL: And your teachers would say things like, "You're a sneaky Jap"?

KO: [Nods].

KL: That sounds hard.

KO: Yeah. Boy, you know, a lot of people experience my age, you know, fifties.

KL: What's the name of your high school?

KO: High school? Uni. [Inaudible] High, yeah, same thing. I guess happens, (after war).

KL: It's interesting, I've heard other stories about University High like that, after the war, that if you look at their web page now, it talks about how proud they are of how diverse their school is.

KO: Different.

KL: Very different.

KO: You know, the guys picking, "Jap, Jap," so (...) stabbed a pencil.

KL: Started a what?

KO: Stabbed the back with pencil.

KL: Did (he) stop?

Off camera: Yeah, they stopped.

KO: [Laughs]

Off camera: We're like ten years apart.

KL: So that was in the '60s that you had. At Uni High?

Off camera: This is, what junior high, so it was in the mid-'60s. And the teacher didn't say nothing, she didn't stop him. And he stopped right away.

KL: I don't know if the camera can hear. Kenji said the same thing happened to Alice, someone would call her "Jap, Jap," and so she stabbed him with a pencil and he stopped.

RM: And the teacher did nothing.

KO: Yeah, those days, teacher...

Off camera: My class, everything was in alphabetical order, so he kind of always sat in front of me.

KL: Yeah, everything was alphabetical, so he was always in front of you.

Off camera: And later on, in high school, this happened in junior high, and then in high school, I bumped into him, and we're good friends. [Laughs]

KO: Yeah, even the Japanese born here, second generation, used to call me. I said, "What's wrong with you? You're Japanese. You don't speak Japanese?" I used to fight with those guys. Own people called me a "Jap." I was born here, but I went to Japan and came back. So they're more better than us, I guess. I used to call them "banana," "you banana." You don't speak Japanese, you banana. [Laughs]

KL: So you would fight with them, you said?

KO: Oh, yeah.

KL: What about the Caucasian kids?

KO: I used to fight, too. The one time, coming home party... no, I was going to party in, I had to go bathroom, the off-duty police see me, I was coming home, bunch of guys stop, three cops stopped me. "What you doing your friend's place?" Didn't do nothing. "I didn't do nothing." "No, you did something. You got to go back over there." Then he took over there, "What you doing here?" "I didn't do nothing." "You did something, I saw you." "I didn't do nothing." "No, you did something." I tell 'em, I should have never said, "I don't speak English." Oh, he got mad, he beat me so bad. "You did something." "Okay, I did it." You know, those days, '50s, racial thing, it was bad.

KL: So he beat you and then they left after you said okay?

KO: Yeah.

RM: Was it pretty regularly that you faced --

KO: Oh, yeah. I hate to go school. You know, the history, you talk about history, government, "Jap," always "Jap."

RM: What did you think about the way that they taught World War II history when they were talking about Japan?

KO: I used to don't like it, talk about war, because you hear "Jap." You hear "Jap." So I didn't like school too much, because you go history or government, you got to hear it.

RM: Did your parents know what was happening to you in school?

KO: I never talked 'em, that.

RM: Do you think they faced anything like that?

KO: I don't know.

KL: What about your little brother? What was it like for him?

KO: He's a five year, about her age, so maybe he got experience, I don't know. Fifties was bad, '50s to '60s, still.

KL: What was your housing in Sawtelle?

KO: You know, a lot of Japanese can't buy it, lot of place. Yeah, you had to buy this area.

KL: Did you guys buy a house?

KO: No, we came... we went into a place, tried to buy a little bit better area, you can't buy it. Said, "No." Not a Japanese, don't buy here. So lot of places you can't buy. Even your job, you can't get a good job. That's why a lot of Japanese doing laundry, (gardening).

KL: How did you learn English?

KO: Before, when I came back, I didn't like it. But you know, you have to speak English. [Laughs]

KL: Did you take special classes or you just...

KO: No.

KL: So you were just stuck in junior high in the normal curriculum?

KO: Besides, hang around a lot of different nationalities.

KL: So you did some, you did make some friends?

KO: Oh, yeah, I had a lot of friends. But I didn't hang around Japanese, here Japanese, because they put down me, you know.

KL: Did you know anyone else like you whose family or who had been in Tule Lake and then in Japan and came back around that time, were there other kids?

KO: You know, when I was a young age, I didn't know, we don't talk about camp. So lot of guys think I'm from Japan, born there. Never pay attention to those kind of stuff.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

KL: When did you graduate from high school?

KO: '61.

KL: And what did you do after that?

KO: Well, after start working... I went to Santa Monica City College a little bit. But same thing, I went back, the professor talk about war, I don't like it. So I never go back.

KL: What were you studying at City College?

KO: Commercial art.

KL: And you said you got jobs? What kind of jobs?

KO: I was just doing, helping my dad gardening, landscaping.

KL: And did you work as a landscaper for... were those always your jobs? That was your career?

KO: Yeah, we had it good.

KL: Did you guys have a name for your business?

KO: No, me and my dad. I don't know how we did it, but I guess we were hungry. [Laughs] Big apartment, I don't know how we carried those heavy stuff. Those days, no labor people, fifty, sixty, seventy.

KL: Who were your clients? Were they like in people's homes or businesses?

KO: Just working people.

KL: Around the Sawtelle neighborhood?

KO: It was nice. Then the last one, we helped my friends, you know, Ann Margaret?

KL: What is the name?

KO: Ann Margaret, yeah, the movie actress?

KL: She was nice, real nice. And the husband, Roger Smith, in 77 Sunset? Did you watch that? No? [Laughs] Real nice actor. Big name, you know, Ann Margaret and stuff.

KO: No, that hillside, ten acre house. Well, they're nice, come on, come on, real nice people. They don't act like, hey, I'm a big actor.

KL: How did your dad feel about that business? Did he like it or was he sad about it?

KO: No, he didn't it too much. You know, he's an office worker, he had to do only gardening. I didn't like it. When I was young, I hated it. Said, "Why I have to do this kind of job?" My brother never touched it, dirt.

KL: Yeah, I was gonna ask what your brother's job was.

KO: He hated it. He tried a little bit, "No, I'm not gonna do it."

KL: What did he end up doing with his life?

KO: Engineer. He went to school and then he went to the Air Force.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

KL: How did you and Alice meet?

KO: Oh, her sister's husband, we used to go fishing together. She was a young, way younger than me. You know he set me up, I said, "You're crazy," she's like a baby. [Laughs] About the second time, huh?

KL: You hit it off?

KO: [Laughs]

Off camera: He would go down with his friends and go bowling in L.A. he would be in the bar while I'm bowling, so when I finished they would come up, him and his friends. So one night his friend told him to take him home, and he lived like maybe on mile from my place. And I said, "I didn't bring him, so I'm not taking him home." He was carrying my bowling ball to my car and everything like that, so, you came with them, you go home with them. So he gave me my bowling ball. So I got it and put it in the car, and I left. And I don't know how he got home, I think his friend left him. And I didn't see him for about a year and a half later, and then my niece were dancing at Disneyland, and then my brother-in-law brought him again. And so after that, we started dating again. But he never griped when I was bowling or anything like that, so that was good. [Laughs]

KL: That's funny.

KO: We used to go a lot of fish, deep sea fishing.

KL: Have you been back to Japan?

KO: Oh, yeah. My boy used to teach English over there. So, "You got to come back, Japan." Wow, it's different. You have to go, beautiful country. Food so good.

KL: That's neat that your son taught English over there.

KO: (Yes), my boy.

Off camera; His girlfriend was over there teaching, too. She went first, and then he went after.

KL: Oh, that's really neat, yeah, that he gets to experience where you lived and where your parents were.

KO: So you know, making money, (...) they went all over Asia, Vietnam, all over, you know, China, he said he don't want to go China no more, he got sick. He don't eat Chinese food too much, (they) got sick, he said no.

RM: Yeah, I had a question about your dad, because it struck me while you were talking that he went from being an interpreter, years working as an interpreter, which must have been good work. And then he came back here and suddenly had to be a gardener. Did he know that was gonna happen?

KO: No.

Off camera: A lot of them ended up like that.

KO: Yeah, most of them. It was hard for him. That's why I helped him, no labor people.

KL: Did your mother have jobs in the '50s and '60s?

KO: Oh, yeah. You know Jacqueline Kennedy? She wore a garment, huh, clothes, Jacqueline Kennedy, clothes, all that, she used to make it, company make it.

KL: Your mom made Jackie Kennedy's clothes?

KO: Yeah.

Off camera: The company that she worked for.

KO: All the Kennedy family.

KL: What's that company called?

KO: Jack's. I don't know if they still have it.

KL: What did your mom think about being back in California? Was it what she expected?

KO: I guess so.

KL: She seemed pretty happy back in California?

KO: Yeah. I don't know, my dad, his business in Japan, he sold that house, he had money. He missed pachinko, you know, pachinko, Japan.

Off camera: So you win like certain...

KO: Oh, plinko? I have heard of that. My mom talks about that.

Off camera: Like you would win, depending on what --

KO: Yeah, candy or cigarettes, something. Anyway, he invested all the money, the house money, he lost it, all the money. So we had to come, came back. Yeah, he did that.

RM: Did your mom work when you all lived in Japan?

KL: Did she have a job?

KO: No, she didn't work. Her dad's comfortable, so she didn't have to work.

KL: Was that hard for her to have to adjust to working in California?

KO: Yeah. Coming back, start over again. But it was hard. It's not easy to work, lot of people.

KL: Well, and garment work is pretty hard, too.

KO: She used to cry a lot. And not everybody good working, you know, mean, too. She said she used to make all the clothes, Kennedy family, movie star.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

KL: I know you've taken trips back to Manzanar to visit. Would you tell us what it's been like to be back at Manzanar? When did you first come back to Manzanar?

KO: That's the time I saw Dr. Bo.

KL: Oh, yeah, please tell us that story.

KO: Somebody said the first baby here, so Dr. Bo came. "Oh, you're Kenji." I don't know him. "Hey, I'm going to show you, your parents used to live." I guess he knows, he took it, and that's your parents used to live here. "Oh, yeah?" That's the first time.

KL: And where did you see him? What part of Manzanar was that?

KO: Then I guess he tell, I don't know, go to a stage. I don't like it, I'm a shy, I said, "I don't want to go," so I took off. [Laughs] They're looking for me.

KL: Was this at a pilgrimage?

KO: Yeah. I said, "I don't want to go stage, no way." [Laughs]

KL: So did Bo babysit for you when you were a tiny baby?

KO: Uh-huh. I was a clown, too, my mom said, everybody wanted to be a baby... but Dr. Bo always babysit, take to baseball, always grabbing me, he said, "Let's go."

KL: So nobody else got to be your babysitter, just him.

KO: No, always him.

KL: You say you were a clown. How were you a clown? Did you make funny faces?

KO: I guess so. That's what my mom said, "Yeah, he was a clown." I don't know. He used to take me all over.

KL: Was that pilgrimage before Manzanar was a national park?

KO: I guess so.

KL: 2000, Alice is guessing?

Off camera: [inaudible].

KL: Okay, yeah. How did you feel being back at Manzanar in 2000?

KO: You know, to me, it's just like a same, no special to me.

KL: You had heard your parents talk a little bit about Manzanar?

KO: Yeah, yeah.

KL: Did it look or feel like you expected, or was it different? Or maybe you had no expectations.

KO: I just looking, "Oh, this is the place?" For me it's not special, nothing special.

KL: Are there any other trips back -- I love that story about your meeting Bo Sakaguchi at the cemetery. Are there any other trips back to Manzanar that have been really special?

KO: Oh, you know Brian.

RM: Maeda.

KO: Maeda. That was the last one. Anyway, somebody looking at me, you know. I tell her, "Who's that guy who's keeping, staring at me?" See, we went to same school, Uni. He's younger than me, about her age, I think. And I didn't know, since graduating, sixty year, keep staring at me. I said, "I don't know this guy." Then he just came to me, "You're Kenji, huh?" "Yeah." "Hey, I remember you. Uni, huh?" "Yeah." "We used to go, remember?" "Yeah, yeah." [Laughs] Yeah, we went to the same school. I remember him, high school. But he remembered me. His brother is really active.

KL: Yeah, his older brother is around a lot.

KO: Older brother, there's a way different gap there. Brian's still doing?

KL: He's still going, yeah. I don't know him real well, but yeah, he's still around.

KO: But he don't do Manzanar thing?

RM: He's still making movies.

KL: So you mentioned that when you met Bo at Manzanar, he wanted you go to up on stage and stuff like that. So I wondered -- this is kind of a weird... and we do the same thing, when you came and I first met you in person, Alisa was like, "This is the first baby born in Manzanar." So I wondered what -- we'll shut the window so that car is not so loud in this. So I just wondered, what is it like to be the first baby born at Manzanar?

KO: I don't know. Everybody say, "Oh, you're the famous." You know, the funny thing, it's okay, I do gardening, this house, this lady. One day he bring a book, said, "Kenji, you're the first baby born in Manzanar?" She's a Caucasian lady. "That's you, huh? Kenji Ogawa?" "Yeah, that's me." "Oh, you're the famous baby there." [Laughs] So I guess a lot of people read Farewell to Manzanar, so she said, "Oh, that's you." So she always tell all the neighbor, "Hey, this is the famous baby." She tells everybody. But you meet a lot of people, a long time you don't see it, then one... well, this week, I saw, working this friend's place, guys come in, walk in. "Hey, you're a Manzanar boy, huh?" "Yeah." "Yeah? Oh, you're born the first day?" And another thing happened to me, that was about twenty years ago, I go fishing, deep sea fishing. Well, this is not a camp, but I guess so, you know, 442? He's a Caucasian. Came to me, "Hey, you know anybody 442?" "Yeah, I know 442." He was a Texas ranger, wartime. He said he was climb the mountain, he got, whole bunch of people, they got caught. "442 people saved my life. That's why I was coming fishing. You guys, parents or anybody know, 442 know, saved my life. That's why I'm fishing today. Anything you want, I'll buy for you." "No, no, it's okay." He appreciated it. "442 saved my life," Texas ranger.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

KL: This is tape number three, we're wrapping up an interview on May 21, 2015, with Kenji Ogawa. Why are you laughing at me?

RM: Because it sounds like you forgot what year it was.

KL: Oh, I did, but then I remembered. So you said as we were talking that you never talked about Manzanar or Tule Lake really. When did you start hearing about Manzanar or Tule Lake, or realize that this a was kind of different?

KO: You know, I guess when I met Dr. Bo, it started to get a little interesting. My mom used to talk about it, not that much into it. My mom don't talk too much, my dad don't talk at all.

KL: What did Dr. Bo tell you, or how did it start to get interesting?

KO: Well, you know, my mom used to tell, "Dr. Bo used to babysit you all the time." Then the whole family used to babysit, his sister.

KL: And you said your parents never... well, I guess I should ask you for the tape. Did your parents ever return to Manzanar or Tule Lake?

KO: No, never did. Never.

KL: And they lived for... they had pretty long lives.

KO: Yeah.

KL: When did your parents pass away? When did they die?

KO: Mom, what, ten years ago?

KL: Maybe 2001, I thought. And your dad a little bit before her?

KO: About seven years before.

KL: So they were still living in the 1980s when there was testimony in Los Angeles about what it was like to be in the camps and with the presidential apology. What did they think of all of that?

KO: You know, they get a, remember the payback, $20,000. They didn't say too much. You know, they should have given more (to) the older people who passed away, they should have given those people. I was just a baby, just born over there. But they should have given those who passed away, older people.

KL: But they were pretty quiet about all of that?

KO: You don't talk about too much.

KL: It didn't really change for them.

KO: No, no. You ask him, they talk.

KL: What did you think of the redress movement and the apology and the check?

KO: To me, they should have given it early. See, a couple of my friends, they're really active, to get apology. But they're doing a long time, those people, long time. You know, a lot of people already have people there already.

KL: Who were your friends who were active with that movement?

KO: Well, Arthur Ishi?

KL: Tateishi?

KO: (No).

KL: John.

KO: What's the other guy? Victor? Victor Shibata?

KL: Oh, you're friends with Victor Shibata?

KO: Yeah.

KL: Tell us about him, because he was really important to Manzanar, but I don't know...

KO: Yeah, he was really active, those two were really active way before those guys.

KL: Did they ever tell you why it was so important to them?

KO: See, I never talked to... they don't know, I think, I'm born in camp. We don't talk about it. But (I know) they were active, those guys.

KL: Why were they so active? Why did it mean so much to them?

KO: I guess the mother? Mother was really active. His mother was really active.

KL: Victor Shibata's mother?

KO: No, Ishi. Yeah, the mother was really active.

KL: Your friend, was his name Ishi or Tateishi?

KO: Ishi.

KL: Ishi. What's his first name?

KO: Art.

RM: Can you spell his last name? Is it with two I's at the end or just one?

KO: One. Victor has passed away.

KL: I know, and he is really important to Manzanar, but I don't know very much about him. What was his personality like?

KO: Young day, we used to play baseball. He was my enemy. [Laughs] He was a nice guy, real nice.

KL: Is that how you met, through baseball?

KO: (Her) brother-in-law, I guess, hang around. One day he came to our house, "I know this guy, we used to play baseball together." (...) Even then I don't talk about camp, brother-in-law, he was born in camp, Manzanar, too, but (we) never talked about camp. All the guys think I was born in Japan, so I never mentioned born in camp.

KL: Did they know that your family was -- did Victor Shibata know that your family was at Tule Lake also?

KO: I don't think so, nobody.

KL: What was Victor Shibata's job?

KO: He was a what? Chiropractor. (...)

KL: Did he tell you any of his memories of being in camp?

KO: [Shakes head].


KL: Do you remember how he reacted to the apology and the check?

KO: I think it was good, they tried so hard, those two.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

RM: Kenji, I'm curious, what do you think about Manzanar National Historic Site, the fact that Manzanar, where you were born, is now part of the National Park Service? What do you think about that?

KO: That's very nice, it should keep going. Young generation... see, young ones not that interested. You have to teach it more.

RM: What do you think we should tell people about Manzanar?

KO: Teach more of the story, tell the young ones, so they know more.

KL: Why is it important that they know about Manzanar?

KO: So history go on, our generation, they stop. Even my kids, they don't know, they don't talk about camp. Now they get older, they're interested. The parents, they have to teach those young generations. Otherwise, they don't know.

KL: I meant to ask you earlier, I know your kids are interested, or at least I know your daughter's interested in Manzanar. What do your kids think when you tell them about Manzanar and Tule Lake?

KO: I guess they're more interested, huh?

Off camera: I think it's hard for them to picture it, how much our...

KO: My parents, grandpa went through. They lost a lot, everything.

Off camera: When my son was in grammar school, sixth or (...) fifth grade, he had to do a project, and so we went up to Manzanar and we took pictures and everything, and then he made out of toothpicks, the camp site.

KO: School project.

Off camera: And then he made barbed wires, like this size, made barbed wires around it, made little barracks and everything, saw pictures of how it was lined up, and we did that, and then he made the guard towers and everything out of popsicle sticks and toothpicks and whatever, got sand and everything like that, to show what it looked like when they first went into camp, and he wrote a report on it. And his teacher kept his project so she could show the other kids that she gets about Manzanar, because she didn't know anything about it either. And we went to Japanese town and we got books on Manzanar and then he took it in for the teacher to read and everything. So it's been a good twenty-something years, and she still has it.

KL: Was the teacher surprised when he did that, did she know?

KO: I guess a lot of teachers don't know too much either.

KL: What was your kids' emotional reaction to hearing that you were born in a confinement camp?

KO: They said the family's...

Off camera: Yeah, we didn't know that until we got older.


Off camera: [Inaudible] Even the Kunitomi family, they're real active.

KO: Yeah, whole family. The father still alive?

KL: The father? Sue Kunitomi's father? No.

KO: Oh, passed away.

KL: Well, there's an uncle of Sue's named Jack, who's very elderly, and he comes to the pilgrimages and he's still alive. He came this year, I didn't see him, but he was there, I heard.

KO: How about the son?

KL: Jack's son Daryl? Daryl's fine.

KO: This year is more like new people.

KL: Yeah, Daryl's not on the Manzanar Committee anymore, but he's still, he's fine, he comes to visit, I've seen him in the last year.

KO: How about that Hispanic-Japanese mix?

KL: The guy who came to Manzanar? Ralph Lazo?

KO: Yeah.

KL: Ralph's daughter has been to visit, I think. I'm not sure. Do you know anything about...

RM: Well, you might meet him, because Ralph's daughter married Bo Sakaguchi's son.

KO: Oh, you're kidding.

RM: That's my understanding.

KO: [Laughs] You're kidding.

Off camera: My daughter's boyfriend is Hispanic, so it's the first time for him to go up there, and he was going around reading everything in sight.

KO: I tell him, "You go Japanese, you got to see this."

KL: Yeah, what did he think? What was his reaction to that trip.

KO: He thinks it's very interesting, he likes it.

KL: I wondered about you guys because that film that we showed on Sunday, Dr. Ina's film, From a Silk Cocoon, about her parents, I just, that's a pretty intense film. And since your family was in Tule Lake, too, and your parents --

KO: I'd like to meet her.

KL: I hope she'll come back. She would like to come back at a calmer time, and we've talked about maybe showing that film again and having her come and answer questions.

KO: (...).

KL: Yeah, I think you would really... I think you would really appreciate going to Tule Lake on a Tule Lake pilgrimage. She is very involved in that, and so are some other very knowledgeable people whose families were in Tule Lake, and they're very committed. The Tule Lake pilgrimages started just after Manzanar pilgrimages started in 1970. They're a whole weekend long, there are seminars, there are films, there are discussions. It's really good. So maybe, they fill up very fast, they're very popular, and they want to keep it... they don't want it to get too big because they want people to be able to talk and know each other and stuff. But you could look up the Tule Lake Committee and see about the pilgrimage, see when you can try to register and maybe try to go. That'd be neat, to go to Tule Lake at a pilgrimage.

KO: I want to go.

KL: And you could maybe meet Dr. Ina and talk to her more. I'm glad we're talking about Tule Lake because one last question I did think of is Tule Lake has a reputation, and it sometimes, it was a real divide. Sometimes people, if they find out someone was in Tule Lake, they react badly to them, and sometimes people from Tule Lake react badly to others, and sometimes people... I wondered if you ever have people who react to you when you say you were in Tule Lake or your parents were in Tule Lake. Does that ever come up, and what are people's reactions when they hear you were at Tule Lake?

KO: I don't know. When I was grow up, I never talked about camp, so I never meet somebody react different way.

KL: So it wasn't really...

KO: No. A lot of people think I'm from Japan. I never talk about, I was born in camp. So I when I grew up here, then late in the year, people say, "Oh, you're the first baby."

KL: Well, thank you very much for talking to us and for sharing this story with our visitors and researchers. I'm really glad we got to do this.

KO: Thank you.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.