Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Shig Kaseguma Interview
Narrator: Shig Kaseguma
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: November 6, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-kshig-01-0005

<Begin Segment 5>

RP: What did you favor in terms of a sport?

SK: I favored baseball and judo. There was a judo (club), they rented a place on our block, a triangle, a big building. (...) It was called the Finnish Hall. Basement of the lower floor, main floor, they made it a judo place. It was called Tentokan. And I was too young to be (a student but) I could see it, it was right next to (us), abutting our house. So I could see what they were doing. I could go (...) in the audience and see. (...) But I couldn't (join), they won't take us, until we were ten I think it was. Consequently, I would sneak in or break in from the back door and the window and crawl in and practice how to fall. So I was quite advanced when I became eligible to become a member.

RP: So how long did you take judo?

SK: From about ten to about fourteen, fifteen. But my mother insisted I go to the Boy Scouts at the St. Peter's, when St. Peter's opened up their own church, big church. We built a big church then in 1938, I think it was.

RP: That was a Protestant church?

SK: So she insisted that I go there, instead of go to judo. But I still did some judo. But our practice day was the same day as the Boy Scout was.

RP: As the Boy Scouts. She insisted that you go to Boy Scouts.

SK: Because it was a church affair.

RP: Ah, because it was kind of church sponsored.

SK: Yeah. It was a nice Boy Scout.

RP: And that was an all-Japanese American troop of scouts?

SK: Yeah, everyone was.

RP: And did you get much out of the scouting experience?

SK: You mean the Boy Scouts? Yeah, it was fun, we went camping on Mercer Island. Had to get on the little boat to get across to Mercer Island. There was no bridge then. And I remember I wanted to swim back from Mercer Island to Seward Park, and they caught me swimming. [Laughs]

RP: How long a distance is that?

SK: Oh, it's not that long. But it's still very dangerous if you have to come back again. But I was a pretty good swimmer then.

RP: Really? So where did you learn to swim? In the ocean?

SK: No, because every summer, that's all we did, was go down to Lake Washington and swim.

RP: Oh, yeah. Victor was mentioning Lake Washington.

SK: Yeah, I think everybody did. We didn't have any money. But if they give us a nickel to get on the cable car, we would just walk it and then buy something for a nickel, and then, after swimming.

RP: Save that nickel.

SK: Everybody did that. (...) All the kids. If we did (take the trolley car), one guy would get on and then he'd get a transfer and he'd throw it out of the window and next guy would catch it and he'd get on again. It was a lot of fun.

RP: So, yeah, these trolleys. So they had a really great trolley car system.

SK: It wasn't a great system, but it was a system enough to go.. It didn't cover a lot of territory, but it was just certain ways, if you lived in that village, I mean, that way, it was okay. The cable car was fine for us, because it wasn't twenty feet from our house.

RP: So a low cost means of getting around.

SK: Yeah, it was low cost. But we walked more than we even rode. Even a nickel was a lot in those days.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2007 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.