Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Isao Kikuchi
Narrator: Isao Kikuchi
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: May 15, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-kisao-01-0025

<Begin Segment 25>

RP: There was another situation that you experienced and that was at a dance where a group of young men...

IK: Yes, that was, that was quite a happening also, that the girls club started the dance in this kitchen, and they sprinkled corn flour on the floor, made 'em slippery and all of that. And they invited, I guess, the club I was in, then to, invited to -- this is the way it just kinda worked -- invited us to the party. And so up come a group, and it just so happens that the head of this group is a former San Quentin boy, and that was, which is quite rare, to know any Japanese had ever been in San Quentin, but he had a big reputation of being tough and all that. But the gal that was at the table who -- very heavy, about two hundred fifty pounds or whatever -- and she had a couple of tough, very tough brothers, just as big. But she was tending the desk, and in came this group with this -- I've forgotten his name also, but he was well known, and he comes swaggering in, and he was about five foot five or six, somewhere in that area. And he says, "We're coming in," and so on


RP: This is tape three of a continuing interview with Isao Kikuchi.

IK: Oh, really? I talk too much.

RP: Isao, you were just sharing the story of this mess hall dance --

IK: Yes, and his name was Lou. So anyway, Lou walks in with, and he was the leader of this bunch, and he was gonna swagger in and take over the dance. And the gal just walked up to him and bumped him with his, her tummy. She just bumped him and he went flying down the, backwards down the stairs and just landed there in a heap, too embarrassed to say anything, 'cause his gang was there, all standing around him down there, on his back. And this gal's standing at the door, just tell him to go away. That was that. But that just, oh, that went all, all over camp. The next day it was just, it was a story. And stories went over real fast in camp, 'cause that's all we had to talk to about. But that was a shame because he bullied every, every where he went, because story, some stories were that he killed somebody and so on. It grew bigger as time flew by, went by. But he had a big reputation, and he'd broken in other dances and it's, it's just you knew he was gonna try somethin'.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.