Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: George Hara Interview
Narrator: George Hara
Interviewer: Loen Dozono
Date: February 5, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-hgeorge_2-01

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

LD: Well, it's February 5, 2003, and we're in the home of George Hara, Dr. George Hara, age seventy-eight, and we're going to begin our interview. George, tell us about your parents and how they came to the United States.

GH: Okay. I did a little research and came up with some names. Up until I talked to you, I wasn't too much on genealogy, but I got into it a little bit. My father was born in Japan, and he grew up in the rural Yokohama area. His parents' name were Magaemon Hara and his, my grandmother's name was Soyo. Anyway, in his family, he was the youngest, and he was the boy. He had four sisters that were older than him and one other older brother. I researched a little bit into his side of the family, but for some reason, the information there was more scanty. Whereas on my mother's side, she was born also in the contour, central Japanese area in Yokohama, and her background was more in the city. Her parents had a small shop, so they were merchant people, and the father's name was Kojima, mother's name was Nishikawa. My mother's history was sort of interesting. She was the second youngest in the family of four girls. And at a very early age, probably due to economic reasons, she was adopted out and raised by the Nishikawa family. And I mention this because this left a deep scar in her psyche, and she always resented the fact, and she couldn't quite understand why she was chosen to be adopted out.

And anyway, going back to my father's side, at the age of twenty, in 1903, being the youngest male in the family, he decided to seek better opportunities in the United States and more and more of the young Japanese were immigrating overseas mainly to Hawaii, South America, and then to the United States. The immigrants to United States came mainly to California, Washington, and State of Oregon. For some reason, my father landed up, ended up in a small rural area in Washington across from the Astoria, Oregon, near the Long Beach area. It was the area or peninsula where the main industry was oyster farming, and he became a worker on an oyster farm, and I think he rather enjoyed his new surroundings, vastness and beauty, the scenery, and he was really enchanted and enjoyed a life there. And after a while, he decided, I think, to go back to Japan, find a wife, get married, and raise a family, and then probably come back with her and the family back to the United States. And during his stay and after his marriage, my mother bore three children. The oldest was a girl whose name was Emiko. And I have pictures of her in my album and she, she's a lovely looking gal and, but unfortunately, during the 1923 big earthquake, she was living in Yokohama and suffered severe injuries and burns of which she died. Her younger sister had childhood illness and she also passed away, oh, in the first or second year. Her brother who followed was a sickly infant and died during infancy. Any rate, with the loss of three children, my mother felt a tremendous sense of loss, and along with the fact that she had this persecution complicity of being adopted out anyway, my father and mother moved back to the Washington, to the Willapa Bay area, and she was placed in a, or she got a job as a housegirl working for a pioneer family in the area. I think their name was Esbey. Any rate, the idea was for her to learn American custom, learn how to cook American meals, and learn English. As much as my father was enchanted with the land, for my mother, it was very lonely. She didn't have very many friends. There were a few other immigrant Isseis there, but she was very lonely. And knowing her personality, she was pretty persuasive; and eventually, my mother and father decided to move away from the oyster farm and seek their opportunities elsewhere.

They ended up in Portland, Oregon, where my father began his career as a hotel owner. And I say hotel, these were sort of rooming houses for the single man and occasionally for the married couple who needed a place to sleep. Their first business was located in southwest Portland on the corner of Washington Street and Front, and it was called New Market Hotel, and across the street was a Chesterfield Hotel also run by Isseis by the name of Yoshi. And over the course of several years, two families grew very close together. My mother became pregnant much to her surprise, and I was born in 1925. Because of the loss of three of her children, she was more than protective towards me. She was overly protective and probably pampered me which led Mrs. Yoshida kid my mother about raising me like otonosama or prince. At any rate, there weren't other Nisei friends for me to play with except for a few. One was a friend of my father who had a daughter my age, and whenever he came, he used to bring his daughter, and her name was Chiye, Chiye Tomihiro, and the Tomihiro families were later, I found out, very close to the Inuzuka family which was my wife's family background. Anyway, I used to kid Chiye in later years when I saw her that she was the first girl I took to bed with me, and literally this was true. We were about five, five years old; and most Japanese families in the hotel, there is one room for the living room and another room for a bedroom which all the beds are squeezed together and one room for a kitchen. Other families growing up like we did were more cramped for space, but we had three separate rooms for our needs, and Chiye and I would use the bedroom and use the bed as trampolines, and we had some great times when we were five or six.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

GH: At any rate, as I grew older, time came for me to go to elementary school, grade school, and my father researched it and found out that I could, we're in the Couch School District. Now we were located on First Avenue or even Front Avenue which is right by the Willamette River. And then as you moved westward up towards town, the streets went progressively higher, and Couch School is located on Twentieth and Twenty-first Street on Glisan, and he found out that there was the electric streetcar that I can take from Third and Washington which is only a few blocks from the hotel location, and so my school transportation was riding the trolley and riding it back, and this worked out quite well, and I did this by myself. And the other thing my father and mother investigated to see if there were some other Japanese family in the area that I can sort of depend on and have them look after me, and the Hiramura family lived up there in a rented home, a residential home which was really a palace, a yard, and they had a pond in the front yard, and I enjoyed going there. They had four boys, two were younger -- five boys, two were younger than me, one was about my age and one older and another one that was older. And I used to eat lunches there, and they were very kind and took me in as part of the family. Otherwise, my contact with Niseis at that time was minimal. And after so many grades, I must have adjusted well enough so that I skipped a grade and advanced one additional class.

And after about three years or somewhere in that neighborhood, my father had purchased a lease to another hotel. This one was First Avenue, farther south about four blocks up on the corner of Southwest First and Taylor, and this put our family in another entirely new neighborhood. We were getting into the so-called highly concentrated Japanese, you might call it a ghetto area. We lived in the hotels and the hotels were the most popular business. And between Morrison Street which is only a few blocks north on up for about six, seven blocks up to Clay Street on either side of First Avenue, each block had about four, five Japanese family, mostly in the hotel business, some restaurants, and these catered to the American public, small grocery store, laundry, pressing establishments. And as you walked up the street, these were all Japanese, the other people were the Caucasian workers. And as in most ghetto areas where the Japanese assembled in the city, it was located in what is commonly known as skid row, and among the denizens of skid row were the alcoholics, the muscatel wine connoisseurs. And depending on the time of the month when they came into their monthly check, there would be strewn bodies lying on the street. But this was so common that with a very secure sense, we never felt threatened as part of the neighborhood. The hotel, the shops were little on the grungy side, and the clientele was the low end of the economic scale, but this was all normal, and again, most families had their three room bedroom, living room, kitchen, etcetera. Some families who lived in the back of the stores were terribly crowded. They made one big space do the job of three rooms, but this was normal and we accepted as normal. We would go over to a friend's house in similar circumstances, and my setup up was more luxurious than others.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

GH: Anyway, I grew up in this surrounding, and the center of our activity other than going to another grade school which was located in Southwest Portland, Sixth Avenue on Hall Street. This was within walking distance. And on Southwest Clay was located the South Japanese school, and I was enrolled in that, and most of the Nisei kids growing up in this area attended both Shattuck, and after the regular schools was over went to Japanese school and this was called Nampo Gakuen or Nampo Gakkou meaning South Portland School. And growing up in this area all my friends were Niseis, and at home, my folks spoke Japanese plus broken English, and at school, we learned English from English teachers, but we were in the majority. The other main group were the Jewish group, and they were the next largest. The hakujin, the whites, were really the minority at Shattuck. And the Jewish and the Japanese kids were raised with a high standard to achieve academic excellence and study hard. This was the kind of tenet by which we were raised. And hakujin teachers at Shattuck School, I think enjoyed working with the Jewish and the Japanese kids. We were very obedient, respectful towards them, and we studied hard, got good grades. And so our lives started during the main part of the day in Shattuck with Jewish kids as friends. But after school was over, it was back to Japanese school where all our companions, schoolmates were Japanese, and we were spoken to in Japanese by our teachers, and we learned the language, learned hiragana, katakana, and kanji, gradually improving, and improving our vocabulary. There was certain subjects, and I was fortunate in having an excellent teacher that encouraged me. And one of my favorite was the study of calligraphy, the use of a brush and sumi and my kanji characters on the special paper. And we did this on Saturdays, and she was better than the textbook instructor and made learning calligraphy really a joy. And it was a challenge to try and emulate what she was doing, showing by drawing these characters. And the other course I liked was essay, sakubun. And on Saturdays too, we were encouraged to write within one hour or two hours span sakubun in Japanese and tell any interesting experiences or any thoughts. And I really enjoyed this, and we would read the sakubun to each other and most of them sounded alike. And I tried real hard to come up with clever beginning story and end. And if you did well, the teacher graded these papers and the top grade was kojo meaning ko is the top and better than top. And a lot of times, I managed to get kojo, and it was a challenge, and I enjoyed thinking of stories that the teacher and I and the other classmates enjoyed.

The other activity at Japanese school was the yearly graduation. And the teachers and the parents that was supervisors would go on and purchase tablets. They purchased pencil tablets and little finer grade paper, and they even handed out as presents to the students with the high, high grades in each class. I can't tell you the exact number of students there but probably in the fifty range. There were about five classes and the five teachers at all time, and Mrs. Fukuda that taught us about calligraphy and sakubun was one of my favorites. And as we went along, we learned how to read, and in the homework was to study the next day's lesson and each one had a little more kanji. We had to know the meaning of the kanji and learn how to write it, and then we would be tested for it the following day. And as we read the text, and my mother was quite strict in making sure that I kept up with the homework. My parents weren't of much help in helping me with my English school lesson, but Japanese school, they were very helpful, and you know, a lot of discipline to get me to study.

And so it was a routine of walking to school, grade school, finishing, getting out of Japanese school which lasted about an hour and a half during the day, weekdays, two hours, Saturdays, and it was a routine that we enjoyed, and all our classmates were Niseis. Then afterwards, we had a choice of places to go to. These weren't organized areas but empty lots by the waterfront. And one of the favorites was on the south side at the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge. Boys and girls, about ten, twelve of us would play softball there, and that was a great experience. And then on the other side of the Hawthorne Bridge was a sand and gravel pit company, and so we got the use not of a sandbox but a huge mountain of sand that we climb, and we had hours of fun there plus the fact that this was right on the end of the seawall, and we could walk down to the river's edge. And as we grew more accustomed, we ventured down there and found that there were huge crawdads that we can catch underneath algae-laden rocks, and this was another form of entertainment. We found different ways to entertain ourselves.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

GH: But mainly, all this was within company of other Niseis and the area that we grew up with in spite of the fact that it was in southwest Portland in the heart of skid row on that side of town, this was our home. We felt secure there. There were no threat of gang wars or racial wars. We ignored the skid row denizens, walked around them just like we walked around the pigeons that seem to congregate in that area. But we found people that were kind to us, and the ones that I remember were members of station, Fire Station 21. There were stations located on First and Jefferson only about four blocks from the hotel and right in the heart of where we walked daily. And in the back of their fire station, the firemen had built a four-wall handball court, and when it was not in use by the firemen, they let the Nisei kids use the court. And this was getting into, you know, real high level activity. We played with hard ball, handball, official handball and four wall which made it a much more interesting and the more delicate game of tossing a tennis ball back and forth against, you know, concrete wall. And we learned a lot of interesting things and some of the older Niseis actually became very adapt at the game, and the firemen were more than generous. I talked to a friend of mine that grew up that I was very close to, and he remembers being invited to their homes and eating dinner with them. I never got that close, but I enjoyed the company and the friendship of being under the care of firemen. And I think at times we were allowed to go up to the second floor where the dormitory was and slide down the brass pole, and that was one of the activities that I enjoyed. Other than that, weekends, on Taylor between Second and First, the kids would gather as many as twenty would play kick the can and hide and go seek and all kinds of American style games for kids, and we spend many delightful hours playing on the streets. Later on, we made paper airplanes and improvised, and we can get those things to float up to the second floor level and got a tremendous kick out of that.

Now the neighbors consisted mainly of these hotel laundry, but the Jewish people had stores there, working men's clothing stores, and right across the street from the Australia Hotel where I lived was the Alaska junk office and their main building. Now they were big into scrap iron, and Mr. Schnitzer, the owner, lived up in the Washington Park area, very large mansion like home we found out, and he was of the upper economic level, and it was their son, Leonard, was a classmate of mine, and we got along fine although our association ended right after school ended, and then my whole time at that time was spent with other Nisei kids. And the comfort and security of that Southwest Portland Japanese Town, and I mention that because even a few, half a mile away was the north Japanese Town that started on Front Avenue and extended to probably up to Fifth from Burnside on up to Glisan, another five, six blocks. Those were more commercial Japanese enterprises, some of the professional dentists, Dr. Tanaka was there, and I mention dentist, and the large Japanese stores that sold Japanese grocery, and they would send out salesmen that came once a week, and they covered the whole Japanese Town there taking orders. So my mother would order tofu, sashimi, sukiyaki meat, anything that she might be able to afford, satsumage and vegetables, and they would make deliveries. And so growing up in Southwest Portland, we had the advantage of being able to get real Japanese food, a lot of it were imported in cans from Japan that, takenoko and other things, the eel, and so we had really a combination of American made menu and Japanese menu. And one of the other activities that we grew into was weddings and funerals, and whenever they had that, after the services were over, they had a banquet, and most of these were in areas in Northwest Portland. They had Japanese cuisine restaurant, Chinese cuisine made by Japanese cooks, and we went to Chinatown, and one restaurant we went to was on Second and Oak Street which is right across the street from the main police station, but that was one of the favorites. There was good relationship in spite of the animosity between the Chinese and Japanese, but there they treated Japanese pretty well. And I enjoyed going there, and one of the delights were the tables were all set, and they had soda pop, and after a while you notice that there were different flavors. I think grape and cream were my favorite, and I probably pick a seat that had either those two. And after the banquet is over, they sent home all the people that were there with the extra food. And the interesting thing was the next day when we went to American grade school, we brought our lunch and lunch bucket and out would come these real made up sandwiches. These weren't just charsiu sandwiches, pork sandwiches, but egg foo yung sandwiches, chow mein sandwich. This was strictly Nisei, and we enjoyed eating it. It tasted good. We didn't bring musubis to school, but I remember eating egg foo yung sandwiches. I think it established a new level for sandwich making.

Anyway, as I look back, most of the activities were Nisei but some were Japanese-oriented, and one of the big events was the picnic, the undokai, and the undokais were big affairs. Each family would cook Japanese food, a different kind, and each mother would try to outdo the other's sushi, nigiri meshi, chicken, various kinds, and they would pack it in these lacquered boxes, wrap it up in the furoshiki, and you would have a virtual feast at the picnic, and south, in the Portland Japanese cook competed athletically. Each one produced a relay team, boys and girls and the South Portland had better runners every year and took the first place almost consistently, but that was our relationship with the North Portland Niseis.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

GH: The other thing that separated us, for some reason, the South Portland Niseis were Methodist. They went to the Epworth Methodist Church which is located on Sixteenth and Northwest Portland between Everett and Flanders Street, and they had a very active church program. But the congregation consisted of Japanese family, and most of the South Portland Niseis for some reason tended Epworth Church, a Methodist church, whereas the North Portland tended more to go to the Buddhist Church which is located, let's see, on Tenth Street between Flanders and Glisan, I think. That building still stands. The old Epworth Methodist Church was transferred further south as a historic relic and was placed up on Jefferson where one of the collectors placed a lot of these older homes, but that was like our second home. We attended Sunday school; and initially, they picked us up on a Sunday school, a red Sunday school bus. Mr. Oki was the transport, and he was the bus driver later on. The Sugai, George Sugai, a younger, or older Nisei than us, was the driver, and they would take us to church, pick us up. But as we grew accustom to the route, we walked home after church was over, and we had a choice of walking down Flanders or Everett right on down east, and we would go through the North Park blocks which is on Park right off of Flanders and Everett and then right on down passed the Customs Building to Third Avenue which was the heart of Northwest Japantown, and Fugetsu was open on Sundays, and we bought Japanese confection there. And then we would walk down Third Avenue on up to South Portland and then home. The other route from church was go a little obliquely down Washington Street, and the big shops and some of the big theaters were located. And then when you reach Broadway, we would go up south, and this was where most of the big theaters were located. And later on, this was the big city life was Broadway Street. Jolly Jones, a big restaurant that we used go to later on is located there.

And then going farther east, we would approach Fourth, and there would be a string of movie houses there from Morrison there, the Capital Theater and the Capital Theater was a little different from others. They had a continue vaudeville show in addition to their movie. They showed a second rate movies. Down another street was Circle which showed third rate movies, the third time around. But my favorite was right around the corner from Capital. Yeah, Morrison Street, it was called a Rex Theater, and their film supplies were western, and we would go there and watch western and our western hero, we were a little after Tom Mix. He was fading out of the picture, but we came in the era of Buck Jones came and Ken Maynard, Bob Steel, maybe Hood Gibson. And the singing cowboys weren't our favorite, you know, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry. But I think I remember most is on Saturdays, the theater manager was the most dapper and the friendliest guy you could ever meet. He was a hakujin, and he was one of these that wore a cream or a tan suit and a real colorful neck tie. He wore two-tone shoes. You didn't see that kind of, you know, outfit. And he would let a group of us in on Saturdays, and we were regular customers, getting in for free following the serial. At the end of the serial, the hero or heroine would be in dire difficulty, and we had to wait a week to catch the next installment, and this was a great form of pleasure for us. And then I have to mention that in this sphere of theaters, on Third Street, on Third and Burnside, there were Virtique house, burlesque house, Third Avenue. And farther on up is the Star Theater that had the bump and grind, comedians, and then later on right in the heart of our district on First and Main, they started a burlesque house. This is right on the same block as some of my best friends. And at first, we were too young to, you know, pay much attention or stare at the, you know, who was playing. But later on, this was one form of entertainment that sort of titillated our imagination and we used to go to these.

And so growing up in South Portland, our horizon continually expanded and also because at grade school, one of my favorite was the auditorium teacher. She was in the early years of her teaching career, and she would bring records to play. And the records consisted of college fight song, Wisconsin's fight song and the famous Notre Dame song. And we'd play these records, and by repetition, we learned the words and how to sing 'em. And after school during football season, we would, you know, hop, skip, and jump singing these songs. They would sort of vitalize us, and whereas at Japanese school, we didn't learn American fight songs from the colleges. We learned Kimigayo, the national anthem. To this day, I'm still not sure the meaning of some of the words, but we did learn the song and graduation, I think we sang Kimigayo. And I think with respect to teachers, we're very respectful to them. And Japanese school, we'd bow at the beginning of class. I think we bowed at the end of class. And with the graduation ceremony, each class or some of the classes we'd put on a skit, and I was chosen as the lead man in our class's skit because I was probably one of the few boys, and the other fellow didn't want to take part into that. Anyway, in between these activities, we broaden out into more American oriented activity. To begin with, the public auditorium was located only a few blocks up from, I remember when the public auditorium, I think goes by Keller Auditorium, it's located Third and Clay and the other street above Clay, Market. Anyway, certain times of the year before Christmas especially the Oregon Journal newspaper would have a production there, the popular radio announcers would be the MC's, and they rounded up a panel of singers, and they might have shown short movie clips, cartoons. And after the program was over, each member of the audience received a gift of one of these Christmas socks with nuts or fruits in it. We would take that on to Japanese school for the Saturday, and we looked forward to that program.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

GH: The other thing was as we grew older, the Scout program became part of our lives. One was located in Shattuck, Troop 98, and there were about five of us that were members. The scoutmasters and the squad leaders were mainly hakujin and -- but we learned the scout oath, and I got the manual here just to make sure I'm repeating right. "On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to guard at my country, obey the scout law, to help other people of all kind, keep myself physically strong and mentally awake, morally straight." And then they had the scout's law: "Be loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient." And then I looked up obedient; it says "obey your parents, scout master, patrol leader and all other duly constituted authorities." And this was the kind of discipline and respect that we were brought up with. This is instilled to us at school and scout activities and Japanese school and then home, and I think this affected the way things moved later on. Anyway, this was an activity which is more American oriented with Yosh Teshima, another about my age who was a scouter. One year, we signed up to go, to go to Camp Merriweather which is an all-boy scout camp for the area. We spent one week there, beautiful. And we lived in a tent, took a Trapper Nelson backpack and canteen, bedding, and this was a new experience. All other scouts were hakujin kids, and our squad leader was an all-city black football player, Dick Stanton, and he led us on a twenty-mile hike once, and it opened up a new horizon in a way. One of my tent mates I went to Washington High School with later, and then another went to Franklin. He became a pharmaceutical rep, and he called on me when I was a doctor and in practice later on. So these friendships developed over time. And there was a lot of activities. The one activity that I enjoyed was the Rose Festival, and we used to find good seating, bring our own orange boxes in front of Meier and Frank. And at that time, they used to come along Fifth Avenue. We'd get good seats. And before the parade started, the office buildings, the workers, they would toss coins, nickels, dimes, we would scramble, so we'd make, you know, few bucks, and at times we would try to sell our orange boxes. And it was fun.

And the other was Japanese, they had a Japanese training ship called the Taisei Maru. It was a 4-masted sailing vessel, and that the future officers trained sailing across the Pacific, and Portland was one of their chief ports of call, and the Japanese community both the south and the port -- North Japanese Issei would take the officers and the cadets sightseeing and do all they could for them. And in return, the ship would dock a few blocks away in South Portland, and they opened up their ship to us Japanese kids, so we'd spend a lot of time there, ate meals with them, even took furo in their ships bath, played ping-pong with them. And this was entirely different from the other one when the American fleet came in, the Navy fleet during Rose Festival. We found out that if we went there at the beginning of twilight, they would show first rate movies on the top deck, and we can sit out on the seawall and enjoy it. But we didn't have any free access, their visiting hours were limited. And we felt much more at home in the Taisei Maru which was like a second home when they were in port. Anyway, those were the activities. And, but the more I think about it, our lives, our culture was strictly different from those growing up in Japan. We were influenced by America, American school and the teaching. But in spite of all the differences that might be superficial, the main thing was the obedience to the parents, respect to the people in authority, and the teachers and study hard.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

GH: Now after finishing grade school, I began another period in my life that I want to go into and that was high school. The kids that I grew up with in Southwest Portland may -- went to Lincoln High School which is few blocks north of Shattuck on Broadway. But I, for some reason I chose to go to another high school, and the one I chose was Washington High which is about Tenth and Southwest, southeast Portland. And the way I got to change school district was I used address of a Nisei family who live in that area. And so I started by riding a street car which crossed over the Morrison Bridge and dumped me off one or two blocks from Washington High. So I began in my high school in an entirely different atmosphere. Most the kids there were hakujin. There were Niseis, about ten or so, but we were in the minority. And as a freshman, I remembered, I was without friends because most of them just came up from grade school, and they knew others, but I didn't. But gradually over the course of time, I made friends, eating lunch with them and talking with them, and some were just as lonely as I was, and we sort of congregated, and I grew, and I got to know more hakujin kids. And as our friendship got established, I found out where they lived, maybe what their family did, and I noticed the marked discrepancy. It seemed like they came from another country. I grew up in southwest Portland in skid row and that was normal, but these kids lived in the residential areas, lived in residential homes, and they had bedrooms by themselves or with their brothers and sisters, and they had bathrooms for their own use. We had to use sort of a community bathroom on each floor, and the bath, one on each floor, oh, my dad took care of that. He confiscated for our use the bathroom, and for the customers, they had to go on the second floor. And that's the kind of set up for most of us there in southwest Portland. But these kids in residential homes, they got it pretty nice. Anyway, I got to know them, and I got to know the Niseis there too. And but it was a different kind of a relation, more American-oriented.

And by the end of our freshmen year, kids were inviting me out, and at that time, they came from good residential districts in Portland to Washington High, the Laurelhurst area and Eastmoreland, and those were middle class up or middle-class dwellings. You know, you forget about these differences between friends, and they invited you not into their home but when they had access to the swimming pool at Reed College in Eastmoreland, and so they invited me to go swimming there. And so I did go there by trolley or by bus, and so I learned how that group of people lived. It was entirely different from what I was used to, and I had sort of a complex about that. I didn't think I can invite these friends from these residential areas down to my hotel in skid row. I thought I would, probably ashamed of the background.

But as my social horizon at Washington increased, my friends encouraged me to try out for the position of cheerleader. They weren't particularly fond of the incumbent cheerleader, and I began to think seriously of that. And one area where I found, I spent a lot of hours within the North Park blocks. There is a handball court, rings, and swings and all that sort of thing and organized activity. And the park director, there was a fellow named Art Brody, a real nice hakujin fellow. When I say hakujin, I'm talking about Caucasian as opposed to Niseis. Anyway, Art happened to be a cheerleader, head cheerleader at Oregon State, and I got to know Art playing handball and all, and he encouraged me and was delighted that I was interested. And so during the summer, we worked up a routine of yells. He taught me the fine intricacies and the tricks of cheerleading, and he spent a great deal of time trying to get me to master a running front flip or a standing back flip. But he just found out that my poor skinny old legs just wouldn't propel me high enough, and before I injured myself, we omitted that part of the routine. By the time the tryouts for the yell leading came about, as nervous as I was, I felt well prepared, and this is the first time I had gone on stage with an auditorium full of students, and some were, you know, very supportive of me. They wanted me to succeed. As I grew on, I gained more confidence. Then when I got into yell, you know, they're listening to me give the instructions. Actually when I got into the yell itself, it was a tremendous sense of relief and sense of exultation that I was able to lead that whole group, and they followed whatever I was trying to accomplish. And fortunately, there was no doubt about my winning. I walked away in that contest, and it was all I can do not to get, you know, overly confident because of that.

Anyway, this opened up a new area in school. In high school, there is sort of a social political system. Athletic, you know, football players, the lettermen were at the head, and then there came the other doers, politicians and fellows active in school activity, and they all had prestigious boys' only group and girls' only group and the mix group, and this opened up doors. The next semester, school -- I was invited to join one of the most prestigious groups, and I was delighted to, and I felt accepted by these fellow students, and then I got into another one which not only includes the athletes too. And in my final year, I was president of both of the clubs, and I really felt at home [inaudible] looking forward to going onto college, probably becoming a frat member, you know, continuing on at that high level. But during my senior year, unfortunately, Pearl Harbor came along.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

GH: And one of our favorite activities that I didn't go into that I'll mention now is the creation of a Nisei basketball league both for girls and boys with the cooperation of the City Park Bureaus and particularly Dorsey Lynch, a member. We were able to acquire a youth, a peninsula park, the two gyms that were there, and the locker. And they had the older men's league that was going full bore, and we used to watch, and then they decided to enlarge, and our age group was able to participate. So my friends in South Portland, we formed a group, got together, and we ran around soliciting donations from our parents and other business people, and we got five dollars. And by hard work and solicitation, we got enough money to purchase basketball and the uniform, and this is the first time in any organized sport like that, and we had real nifty satin uniforms, and I still, I don't have the uniforms anymore, but it was gray with maroon lettering. Nampo, we called ourselves Nampo Midgets, and we had warm-up jackets, satin with maroon trim, first class. And as I learned, as the Niseis grew older, went into golf, Niseis like good equipment and that worked for us at the time we formed the basketball clubs. Each one had two favorite shoes, ankle top, one was Converse, and the other was made by Spalding, and all the players had one or the other, and we practiced in the grade school gym, applied for times there. We had coach, learned intricate basketball warm-up drill, and this was really fun. But this was the Nisei league, and it wasn't because the Niseis as individuals couldn't compete at the high school levels because at Washington, some of the bigger Niseis before me, Chuck Shimomura, Ken Miyake were football varsity players, and at Grant High School, fellow I got to know later on, Ken Takeoka, I think he made all-city in football. I used to listen to the Grant game, and Takeoka waiting for the punt, gets the ball, running up the field. He was one of my heroes at that time. And wrestlers at Benson High School won state tournament, AU tournament. And so individually, they can compete, but in sports like basketball, the Niseis were at a physical disadvantage, and a league of Niseis only was more competitive, more fun, and we played in the same age group, and each team had their, you know, star player. And Nampo team, I wasn't one of the stars, I was more of a promoter, you know, of getting money. But we had some real good players, and our first year there, we won the championship. And anyway, basketball was a big thing.

And with that, the other thing I forgot to mention as I grew older in high school age, we learned how to dance and met more girls, and they had dancing parties with records. And during the grocery, I think, connection, at Wonder Bread, they had a recreation hall, and we bring our record players and record, and the ones I like to dance with have a record dance party. And later on money, how making events for our club was either a skating party at Rollerdrome located out on Sandy Boulevard near the top of the hill. We'd take over the whole thing from about nine until eleven and that was very popular. We'd go to Oaks Park, and it was big money, and it was a good social mixer. The other thing as we grew older was some of the Caucasian family church connected through Epworth particularly the Oliver family invited us into their homes, and a group of Niseis would spend hours there, you know, eating snacks and just being together. And so our lives, you know, were very busy in the Nisei world, but in the high school, I entered into this hakujin sort of society and felt accepted. And so by the time I was a senior, I had a lot of, what you call, piss and vinegar to meet the future. I wasn't, you know, in trepidation, and I like to know what comes, some of these stories that I hear in college graduates not being able to get jobs other than a grocery clerk.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

GH: But Pearl Harbor came and I'm jumping back and forth, but Pearl Harbor came, and we're on our way to play basketball that Sunday. And then somebody said, you know, "The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor." First question everybody asked, "Where in the hell is Pearl Harbor?" And through the days that followed, we realized that we were at war with Japan and that we became victims as a result too. And we were suspect of treason and all kinds of things, and this, you know, I grew up honoring the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and the Boy Scout oath and everything, and it's hard to accept. There was a reality that we faced, and so high school ended for me, and I didn't graduate with the rest of my class. And I remember one day when things were moving at a very accelerated pace, I came home from school, and there were a couple of big hakujins in a suit in the bedroom going through the dresser drawers overturning everything, going through the closet. Here I was, all-American Nisei boy coming in and wondering what was going on, and I was told in no uncertain terms to get the hell out of the bedroom and stay quiet and sit in the living room, and that was my first encounter with the authority and the seriousness of what was coming on.

And during the nights, my dad was active in the hotel premiere, hotel association and other hotel, and he was also a member of the Nihonjinkai or the Issei Nihonjin JACL you might call them, and ran community affairs, and so he was packed ready to go. He'd get the latest report. Mr. Yuwada down the street just was taken. Wes Tsugi was taken, so how come they took him. He wasn't doing, you know, active in this and that and hit or miss. And they came and searched the house and Dad, we had some Japanese dolls and hid those and toy katana or something. He put that in the furnace. We didn't have any shortwave radio -- yeah, we had a shortwave radio set to get the Japanese broadcast, nothing to broadcast. I think it was seen in the form of, I used to listen to Little Orphan Annie and Jack Armstrong.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

GH: But things were really happening rapidly, and then the notice of evacuation came on, I think, in February sometime. And in a very short time, Dad had to take care of the business end itself, but fortunately for my family, he was never picked up. And I never could find out the real reason why he wasn't picked up because he was active in a lot of these things, but there might have been informers that attended this meeting and my dad might have said something that was more pro-U.S. than showing too much sympathy and support for Japan. Anyway, he never did get the right answer, but we went as a family whereas a lot of the families were minus their fathers, and we reported in at Portland Assembly Center, rode a cab there, and we got there with what we could carry. And the moment we went through the gates, that was shut, and we entered into another phase of life. We're given number, given stall, and we were all stunned. We didn't acclimatize to the new surroundings, totally abnormal, and we had time. We would sit around and gaze up at the high ceilings of the, and looked over and ate, went to your bedrooms; and although they were compartmentalized, we were cramped together. We had communal shower and toilets, and the Issei women especially weren't used to that kind of, you know, communal togetherness. And the food was different. They had a Japanese cook, but they had them prepare what was given to them. And I'm trying to think... one thing that was popular down south was, we never tasted, I can't think of it right now, but that came out and they were serving, even the cooks didn't know how to serve that, and we got used to it.

And for me, it was, after a while it got sort of exciting with a new atmosphere or a new beginning and met more Nisei kids not only from North Portland that we knew through basketball, but kids, more kids from other areas and even from Washington from far away as Wapato, and these Japanese under the same circumstance, sort of feeling of comfort and security being with other Japanese even though you were all locked. But I think the thing that wore on me is the fact that we lost the freedom. We weren't free to walk out of the gate and go get milkshake downtown, and each person was assigned some kind of a job, and I marvel at some of the innovative Niseis.

Anyway, most of my friends got jobs from the athletic department, you know, building basketball courts, supervising games, softball diamonds outside. But again, I went by myself and found new friends, and we got to know each other, and one thing led to another, and I became a timekeeper. And I don't know the value of timekeeping when the top wages were eighteen dollars or sixteen dollars or whatever it was, but we'd go about two or three times a day to make sure there were, they were doing the things they were supposed to do. I got to know what the camp, you know, what made the camp work; the cooks, the waiters, the firemen, the policemen, the electrician, the athletic work, the mail clerk, and I got to know the older Niseis who were part of the, was main part of the timekeepers. They were doing the same thing, and Bob Takami was one of the, you know, real active student leaders that Lincoln High School, was the head timekeeper, and he was in the older group, and I marveled at his way of thinking. And one of the projects that occurred in timekeeping was they created a little room in the back, and we had room to build rooms in because we took the Henry Thealey space, and they had sort of a two-story arrangement, and what they finally built was a little crap-shooting room complete with a door and a sliding thing, you know, to see who's there, and this was lined with a wool blanket, L-shaped, with the blanket against the wall, and that was first class. And they let me watch, and I learned the game of 4, 5, 6 called shi go ro, shi go ro, marvelous game; the American version is Ship Captain and Crew. You learned to gamble. They never allowed us younger guys to gamble, but we could watch. It was an education, you know, and they treated us like younger brothers. And I remember when we left camp to go to Minidoka, the wiser people that I listened to would give me pointers on how to get along, you know. One was don't gamble, coming from a bunch of gamblers; second, don't get mixed up with any bad hakujin women. And with those axioms, you know, yeah, okay, we went to Minidoka.

And so camp life was exciting. Well, I knew, when I realized that our freedom was taken away, I was thinking of ways to get out, get back to more normal, and one of the ways was to apply for school. I finally did graduate from high school. They had ceremony for people like myself that couldn't finish grade school or high school or even college. They had a graduation ceremony, and I got chosen to be valedictorian, and I think I forgot when I said that I was full of hope and enthusiasm. Maybe, you know, I don't know if I believed any of what I said in the speech. I forgot what I said, but they had a ceremony. It was a substitute, and it was better than nothing. Anyway, played on a basketball team, got to know other people especially girls from other places. I went to dances for them, and we had competitive basketball, played with the lack of freedom. The fact that we were like in a zoo, on Sundays, people in cars would come around, you know, like a zoo and some of us would stand by the barbed wire, you know, they point out the, some men were playing, you know, baseball there. They got it good. So anyway, we felt like, you know, we're in a zoo or something, so I stayed away from the barbed wire near the highways. Anyway, I was ready to go on to the next phase and that was going to Minidoka. They loaded us into a UP cars, you know.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

GH: My stay in Minidoka... oh, let me go back just a little bit. We were loaded into these train and coaches, windows were darkened, for some reason they didn't want us to enjoy the scenery. Anyway, after a length of time, we arrived in Minidoka, Idaho, and for many of us, we'd never been to that part of the country. It looked like another world, another continent, but the camp was built there. We went again through barbed wire fences. And this time, the barracks were arranged by blocks, so many in a block with a central mess hall, laundry, shower, that type of thing. I noticed there were high water towers scattered throughout the area. In the camp, we ran from Block 1 up to, I don't know how many blocks there were. Again, I wasn't there too long, but it was somewhere I'm sure I didn't want to be. You're enclosed again, and the monotony, I think, would have overwhelmed me.

Anyway, I got a notice that I had been accepted to leave camp to go to school in the Midwest, and I applied through the National Student Body Relocation Organization, and I think Mrs. Hana Yamada was working for them and she liked me. We grew up on the same area, and I was accepted by two schools; one, Earlham College in Indiana and the other was Ohio Wesleyan, Delaware, Ohio, and I chose the latter, and correspondence with them must have started, and I was to leave on a certain day. I was taken by truck to Shoshone and boarded the Union Pacific headed back east to Ohio. Now unfortunately, I ate a meal in the regular camp mess before leaving. By the time I got on the bus, I had acute runs, acute case of intestinal diarrhea, and it was a horrible trip through Omaha. I was in and out of that john with horrible diarrhea getting dehydrated by the hour. By the time I reached Omaha, I knew I had to do something. There was a layover. I got off, finally found the pharmacy, and he sold me a bottle of Pepto-Bismol, and I immediately started taking that. And most fortunately and thankfully, I didn't die of dehydration, but the diarrhea finally calmed down. By the time I reached Ohio, as exhausted as I was, there wasn't any more stuff coming through me, and so that was my initial and horrible ride back east.

Now Ohio Wesleyan is in a small town called Delaware. The main industry probably is the university. And it being a Methodist oriented school, religion was one of the things that was foremost among the campus, you know, academic activity. Anyway, I was chosen to stay or room in a Episcopalian minister from England and his wife, his daughter, and son and I stayed there, and I have pictures of their house. And for eating purposes, they put me, gave me instructions to find a coop there. A coop is for the low income students, and they do their own menu, balancing the budget. And after several meals at the coop, I thought the camp food was almost better than the coop food. I had trouble adjusting to the coop diet. So until things happened, I made friends with some theological students who went out of their way to help me and befriend me, and they were working themselves in the girl's dormitory as busboys and dishwashers, and they encouraged me to apply for a job. They said the work isn't hard and the food is just great. So I did, and I was accepted. So twice a day, I would walk up to Monet girl's dorm, change my clothes, and man the dish wash. And then all the busboys and dishwashers would, you know, eat together, and we had all the ice cream we want and the meals were very wholesome, tasty, and I was very happy with my life. So as I was getting adjusted to the academic portion of college life, my room and board situation is pretty well in hand.

One day, the dean of men called me, and he was talking to me and I, you know, listening, but I wasn't really understanding what he was saying. And the gist of the message was, "George, you're fired, you can't work there anymore," and I was shocked, and he didn't go into the details of why I was fired. Anyway, I went to my fellow workers, the theological students and told them what had happened and what the dean told me and he said we'll look into it, see what in the world's going on. Anyway, they did and found out that someone had complained about a Japanese working in the dorm, and the dean of men, I don't know whether he consulted a committee or took it upon himself, gave me the notice that my job was terminated. Anyway, the theological students were successful talking to people that could be of help, and one of the people was the editor of the student newspaper. I don't know his name and I forgot the time of the year, but anyway, he wrote a scathing editorial denouncing the unfairness of my being fired and the reaction is such one of the student body that the dean had been backed up against the wall, and he rescinded that, you know, firing order, and he called me in and said if I wanted to, I can go back to work there, continue. And I wasn't that resentful of being fired, and I gladly accepted the job, and I'm glad I did because later on, the other Niseis that came -- followed me in working up there.

And some of them are pleasant moments occurred there as a busboy/dishwasher especially after some of the other Niseis came; two in particular, one was from Portland. His name was Minor Azuma. We were in the Japanese sport club together, basketball club together. He's a very energetic, good looking, popular, tremendous personality, outgoing kind of fellow, good singer. And another equally energetic personality, why -- that's another thing I found out among Niseis that I grew up, some Niseis couldn't get along with hakujins with no difficulty, and others have a tougher time, and I was sort of in-between. Anyway, Minor and George and the two theological students, brothers, George and Jim Hickman and the other person named Chris Yekasef or something like that. I think he was Yugoslavian. He was a music major. We all got together and decided why not form a singing, you know, busboy group or waiter's group and sing before the girls before we serve them or afterward, entertainment. And with the help of the music major, we created really a nice repertoire of two songs, and the one I remember is "Easter Parade" by Irving Berlin, and our arrangement was great. So we practiced and smoothed it out, and we performed before the girls, and it was a smashing success, and they wanted us to sing on other occasions too. And that was one of the highlights of, you know, of being in Ohio Wesleyan, and the other was I didn't go to the Episcopal church because my background was Methodist. I remember they had two Methodist churches the student body from Ohio Wesleyan attended. I went to one Asbury Methodist Church. The reverend there was extremely nice, cordial, helpful, and I became a regular member of the church, went to church services without falling asleep, enjoyed the sermons immensely, and felt part of the congregation. He invited me to his home and meet his family, and the whole bit. And Minor and George were staying about a half a block up the street from me in the home of a missionary, a Methodist missionary who'd spent time in China. They had a lovely garden in the backyard, so we were well-protected and good home environment, and I studied hard, I was making the honor roll. Everything was going well.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

GH: The other interesting thing that happened in Ohio Wesleyan was I took beginning speech, speech 101 or something like that and the lady professor, one of our assignments, we had to tell an anecdote or something humorous. Anyway, it came my turn to give my little talk, and I caught the funny bone of her, and she saw something in me that, you know, thought there's potential, and she called me aside and said they're having a school play, and one of the parts is a part of an Eskimo called Ufty. It is a really big role in this play. I forgot who wrote it or what. Anyway, she encouraged me to, you know, try out. She didn't think I'd have any trouble, and I wrestled with that, you know, should I or shouldn't I because my experience and time from Japanese school in playing these little skits, I was the star of those skits. I thought this might be another opportunity like cheerleading, you know, open up avenue. But for some reason, I turned it down, and I said, "I will try to find you someone else that I think would fit the bill." I talked to George Imamura, outgoing, good person, and he decided to do it, and he was a hit. And so I would have missed out on changing my lifestyle and ambition, but that was one of the happiest moments too. Another was during the summer. I wanted to get a summer job to help, you know, defray the expense. We had to pay tuition, and I took a ride on a bus to Akron where I knew a defense industry were located, and I applied at several of these big companies, well-known, Firestone, not Firestone, maybe it was Goodyear or others, and I was turned down because I was Japanese. And I was sort of bewildered because here, you know, I thought I left that behind on the Pacific Coast. This was in the security area of I guess this was, you know, defense oriented industry. They said, "We can't hire you." Now I don't know whether other Niseis at other plants were hired. I finally got a job in a small foundry making molds. That was a new experience, and I met other Niseis too. And by then, Sundays, I even went to a church sponsored by Rockefeller money. It was a modern church. It looked like an oil can in a silhouette. And this was in Cleveland. But the racial discrimination I met there was sort of a shocker.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

GH: Then when school started again, I was in my second year and doing well making honor roll in premedic. When the navy recruiter came by, and they had a program called the V-12 in which premedic students were chosen. Premedic schools, if they passed their physics would be enrolled as a sailor or in the U.S. Navy, and they would pay your room, board, supply you with the Navy uniform, pay your tuition, the whole ball of wax, and this answered my, you know, prayer. I got in line. Finally, they recruited. The first question they asked me, "Are you Japanese?" and I says, "Yes, I am." And he said, "There's no use applying because we'll turn you down." And he told me that the week before, he had gone to Ohio State campus. That's the biggest school in Ohio, and one of the people applying for the program was from Hawaii, a Japanese Nisei, Ken Nakao, a world class Olympic candidate swimmer who was there on a swimming scholarship undoubtedly, and he was turned down and that really flipped me out. I couldn't concentrate studying when I was studying with 90 percent of my class in Navy uniform and I and the conscientious theological students were the only ones without access, you know, to that program, so I dropped out of school. I found my way back to not home but Minidoka with my folks.

And as soon as I dropped out of school, you know, I was eligible for the draft because I lost, while I was a premedic student, I was deferred. So the notice came for me, and I was a member to be inducted as a member in the United States Army. But the thing about that is that I had taken a language test of some kind somewhere in between. I don't remember doing that, but I must have. So they had a record saying that, you know, I went to Japanese school, my folks are Japanese, I spoke Japanese at home, and I must have taken some kind of a test and did well, and so I was assigned right away to go to Camp Savage located in Minnesota where there's the language school, and so I reported in at Fort Douglas. And even in my civvies, I wasn't issued the army clothing yet, spent the first night on top of a double decker bunk, and I remember being woken, Hara, you know, shake, yes, you're on KP, you know. This is about four in the morning, and I wondered what the hell KP was. And I soon found out in my civvies, you know, stripped down we're in the kitchen cleaning pots and pans, peeling potatoes and outside, picking up cigarette butts, and these were all the new draftees. From, I don't know, five in the morning we were doing all these menial work. And it was interesting because they had about a dozen German war prisoners, prisoners of war that were assigned to camp, and they were sitting around, you know, sweeping the floor and washing up. And geez, those guys should be doing the work. We're in the army now, but we were the lowest rank.

Anyway, I finally ended up at Camp Savage and then the first thing instead of classes, excuse me, we were shipped down to McClelland, Fort McClelland, Alabama, for our basic training. And being in the military intelligence and not going to Europe to join the 442, ours was an accelerated program. We had most of the hard things being, you know, digging in trenches and having tanks run over you, over the holes, you know, going, wearing a gas mask into a gas filled room, and then the 20-mile hike at night, full battle gear, rifles, and all that sort of thing. And during my childhood, my mother sort of overprotected me, and the one thing I didn't want to be labeled was, you know, a mama's boy or teacher's pet, and so I really strived to do, you know, keep up with the other Nisei soldiers and got through all the grueling test, and then we were shipped back to Minnesota. By then, the camp had transferred to a sort of a temporary camp setting to a more permanent protocol, Fort Snelling, which was located between Minnesota and Saint Paul, the two largest city. I didn't realize the Mississippi River extended all the way up to, you know, somehow I thought that was a Tom Sawyer thing down south. The Mississippi River started way up north. Anyway, I didn't get to see much of the Mississippi River, and I was placed in the accelerated Military Intelligence language class. And the Japanese that we studied and learned, memorized came strictly out of a Japanese officers' field manual, how to act. And we learned how the Japanese army was composed, division, how many soldiers, you know, troops, artillery and all that, little bit about interrogating prisoners, entirely new vocabulary, and very intensified and I might have had difficulty because it was a new part of the Japanese language, and I, you know, it's not Nampo Gakuen stuff anymore. This is more professional soldiers' talk. And our class, I think we had about twelve or fifteen, had all age groups. I was one of the younger ones, and others had gone to college were architects or engineer, other businessmen. So there was a diversity of classmates in my class, and we got along well.

And our schedule usually started about, woken up by whatever they call, the wake-up call, lined up outside, and the outside could get awfully cold in the winter. Anyway, eat a breakfast, line up, march to classroom. Classes began, I think, at 8 and classes, three, four classes learning different aspects of the Japanese army, Japanese language, lasted from about 8:30 'til 12 and then march back for lunch and then started in again about 1 till 4 and then march back after supper for compulsory study class from about 7 until 10. And some of the more industrious ones would study for the, down in the latrine, the restroom down the basement. Anyway, after six weeks, we graduate, and one of the inequities I thought that existed there was the fact that the teachers or Kibeis and some Niseis were very fluent in Japanese. They too had to learn this new language, but they were very efficient in teaching, but they were all staff sergeants, not officers. The only, there were a few officers among the top echelon; John Aiso was a colonel. He was a very brilliant Nisei lawyer.

Anyway, the rank and file, us who finished the course, finished, and we elevated to the rank of corporal technical grades. So we had two bars and a five, I think, or a T, technician corporal. Now there's a group contingent of thirty or so hakujin, took the same course. They came from the Michigan ROTC as I understand, and they took a similar course, at least they said a similar course, in Japanese, and they graduated. They were second lieutenants, officer. Anyway, that wasn't a big point; it is something you can live with. So after graduation, my basic wish was to get, serve. And at that time, the war with Japan was going pretty well, full blast, and the Marines and units of the Navy and Army were involved in the island-to-island mopping up operation. We were getting the heroic things that the Niseis were doing and all the good things, translating military documents saves a lot of lives, and I was anxious to get right into the thick of those things. But for some reason, we're put on hold in this sort of repo-depo area in the back of the Fort Snelling. And instead of shipping out in a week or ten days or so, we were there almost a month and a half waiting for assignment. During that time, it wasn't wasted because I developed good friendships with other MIS students from other parts of the country.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

GH: An interesting thing about the MIS was it was the first time that the Niseis from the mainland were together with Niseis from Hawaii, and there was a whole difference of cultural upbringing. They didn't have to go through, you know, relocation and all that, and they were the majority where they were living, but they were more Japanese in their cultural background and most of them that weren't, you know, had gone to college, they spoke a different language, pidgin English. That took a while before we can understand them. They sort of thought we were little different too, you know. So they called us kotonks. I don't know what that meant, but we were kotonks, and they were the pineapples. But as a unit, we got along, and so our stay here included my getting to know more people from the California and from Hawaii and some of them later on, I'm glad to say the ones I got to know good did well. One ran for district attorney in Hawaii and won the election. Then after that tenure, he became a judge. He was nominated by governor of Hawaii, a Nisei, to be a judge and later on when we visited him, he showed us his courtroom, and he had done well, and we played golf with him. His name was Kase, K-A-S-E, but they called him Casey, the hanging judge, I guess. Anyway, Kase Higa and his origin was from Okinawa, and that's first time we met someone from Okinawa there, Nisei. But in Hawaii, there are a lot of people from Okinawa background, and the other Hawaiian was Asahina, Ralph, and he finished his engineering. And when we met him, he was one of the chief engineers, structural engineers for Ala Moana Shopping Center, and he took us out to dinner. We met his family, and by then, I was, you know, a practicing physician. So all of us, you know, came out pretty well.

And the other good friend I made was from Oakland, and he and I got along especially well because one of the vices we picked up during our tenure at Fort Snelling was weekend leaves, just to learn how, and it didn't take long to learn how to drink beer and enjoy yourself. That was a good form of relaxation, and we never, you know, got to the point we're laying out on the streets. Sometimes close but somehow, we got back in time to meet the Monday call. But Navi and I got along especially well, and he had gone to Denver before going in the army. He learned how to play sax and even played sax, you know, with a can in front so people could put money in. He had an interesting background, and he was sort a different outgoing individualistic guy. He had gone to, started, he had ambitions of being an architect. But anyway, Navi and I were partners in crap games, 21 games, and shared the loot and the losses, and we became very close. We continued our friendship afterwards.

But that was the story, and also we met a lot of Nisei girl that were there going to school or working as housegirl or working at some job because the climate there was very hospitable towards the Niseis, and they had, I guess, what you call the weekend parties for the servicepeople. Anyway, the Nisei girls, you know, took part in that, and they had record dances and met nice looking Nisei gals, but god, here we're going to ship over and me especially I go to these and enjoy, make friends and said, "I thought you were going to ship out," you know, and I said, "This week for sure," you know. And then we were there a month, over a month and a half. Pretty soon, they didn't believe me. [Laughs] Anyway, I made some good friends there in Minneapolis.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

GH: And then we shipped cross-country all the way to California to a place right outside of San Francisco called Pittsburg, and that was a place where the army transport ship was docked, and we were assigned to a large army transport. Now at this time, the war with Japan is still going on and our group, all Niseis anyway, again were, you know, in a group by ourselves, and our place where we bunked was right at the bottom of that huge ship. And I remember first few days out, the weather was pretty rough, and the sea was pretty, and the Hawaiian boys in particular were getting more sick and were, you know, laid out in their bunks down below, and we used to just razz the dickens out of them. But one of the pastimes that was popular among the Nisei, you spread out a blanket, and you dealt cards, and you're playing, you know, 21. I don't know where the money came from; the money flew. So that was one way to pass the time. And it was going across, we weren't sure where we were headed. We knew we were going west towards, you know, Philippines or somewhere, and the scuttlebutt; that is, the rumors on the ship because we had a lot of Hawaiian Niseis in that group, was we were going to stopover in Honolulu. I've never been to the Hawaiian Islands. Gee, that would be great. They're going to, you know, wine and dine us, and then we get back on the ship and continue. So as we thought we're getting close to Hawaii, geez, I would rush up on, climb around three or four flights and get up on deck and look for land, Hawaii, and never saw it. The time I did see land, it was just a blown-out barren with palm trees that hardly had any leaves. There were just blown up by artillery, and the place was called [inaudible], and that was where one of the big battles was fought, and this look like nothing. Anyway, goodbye Hawaii and Honolulu.

And the next thing we knew after time -- and during the course of our travel, we didn't go straight, we zigzag, and at night, the portholes were covered. War time, you know, condition, we finally landed in Manila. And then our group, the Nisei, were taken to the outskirts of Manila, to a repo-depot where other Nisei translators and interpreters were stationed waiting for assignment, and this was at the grounds, Santa Ana Racetrack in Manila, and I was assigned a tent with five other Niseis. I think it was a six-men tent. And then about, after a week, before I was assigned, two of them, my tent mates were assigned. And I thought, "God, you're lucky guys. You get to see combat and get your infantrymen's badge," and you know, so I was thinking. I wasn't, but you know, we learned two days or so afterwards that they were involved in a plane crash, and all members on that plane were killed, taking off from Okinawa. And Jesus Christ, this was wartime, I'm in the army, you can get killed, this is serious. And anyway, we get, leave from Santa Ana to go out with the atmosphere outside among the, you know, Filipino people. They were all anti-Japanese because of the way they were brutalized by the Japanese army during their occupation. And even though we wore American army uniforms, you know, they thought maybe we were spies or something and some people, they were threatened. There's always all this sunshine in the Philippines. I darkened very quickly. And I got to know some of the Filipino kids that hung around the camp, you know, helping us with laundry, and they taught me Tagalog, and I learned some phrases like, you know, "I'm not all Japanese, but father's Filipino, or Ilocano," you know. He said I look Ilocano, so I might get away from sort of a testy situation that one might encounter. But anyway, for the most part, and Manila itself was blown up pretty bad [inaudible] and met other Nisei..

And finally I got my assignment, and I was assigned to a language team, and we were, got out of Manila, and the next place I was stationed was living in a tent on the sea cove in a small town called Lawang as part of the 33rd Infantry Division, and they organized the, from Illinois National Guard, and this was all hakujin outfit. But one time, while we were still stationed there on the sea cove, our company leader got a jeep, and we drove up the mountainside to Baguio which was about 30 miles away and that's a mountain capital of the Philippines, a resort and everything, and we met Niseis from the 32nd Division that were stationed there. And at that time, the war in the Philippines in the hills were still going on. General Yamashita and a group of his troops were still hiding out in the mountains up there. And when we were in Baguio, we saw how the Nisei contingent there had taken over a nice summer home, and they lived apart from the rest of the troops, had their own car, had some pesos for spending money and some Filipino girls working for them, you know, and there were pretty nice living, I thought. Here I was, you know, just out of high school, thinking, god, this is great. Anyway, back we went to the 33rd Division.

And after a time, the war ended, and that was my chance to get a infantryman's badge but that was no more. I didn't mope about that because the next thing we knew, our unit was assigned to go to Japan as a occupation U.S. Army troop. And that was a moment I really looked forward to going to Japan because of what my folks told me, the articles in the magazines, and they emphasized the good part of Japan, the scenery, the food, you know, all the good things. They forgot about some of the hardships that they had. But I was looking forward, because it was like going home and seeing, you know, like that movie, the Roots, establishing my roots again. And interesting enough, our transfer from the Philippines to Japan, we were ordered to prepare full combat gear, and we were on the tail-end of a typhoon, and there was an armada of troop ships, you know, just like we were going to land invading the beach. The war was over, and we landed on the beach in Wakayama, and it was interesting. In order to get on a proper vehicle, landing craft from our big troop transport, you had to climb down cargo nets with full troop, you know, full combat gear, a backpack, a rifle, and I for some reason, I got ahold of some machine gun that I never fired. Anyway, carrying all that equipment, I was frightened to death because there was a drop of about ten to fifteen feet from the time the wave brought the landing craft up and the time the waves went down, and so you had to time your leap. And fortunately, I got through that phase and got on the beach, and we didn't meet any enemy troops. There were just a few scattered old men and young kids, you know, that was wondering what the hell is going on, and there was confusion. We were separated from each other. It took time before we got organized, but the army had arranged to use the Japanese railway system to transport us to more permanent quarters.

And one of the amazing things, first night in Japan we stayed in a large dormitory-like room of a factory where the workers stayed, the men workers. It was a tatami room, and we laid our blankets or sleeping equipment gear and about ten of us went to sleep in these tatami rooms. And during the night, we were invaded by a whole horde of insects. And we woke up in the morning, we found that the tatami was an ideal incubation grounds for fleas, and you can actually see thousands of fleas jumping around. And those that, you know, managed to get it on their clothes, were infested with flea bites. But the army was prepared for this contingency, and they gave us, you know, insecticide bombs. We just bombed the hell out of the tatami, clothing, and everything. And the next night, no more fleas.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

GH: And eventually, I ended up in Kobe. Now Kobe was one of the larger seaport towns in Japan, and some of our language squad leaders or head had gone through with different divisions and were part of the invasion of the different islands, so they had combat duty. But I was amazed that, here we were, new country, new city; they had access to jeep for our language attachment. They got in the jeep, and I was, we ended up in the hills overlooking Kobe, and it is sort of a cosmopolitan town with a population before the war, you know, of hakujins. Anyway, our men in Japanese ryokan eating miso soup. To this day, I don't know how they made this kind of connection, but from there, I was assigned to the 33rd Division to 136th Regimental Infant Headquarters Company, and they were situated near Kyoto in a little town right on the shores of Lake Biwa called Otsu.


GH: Anyway, my job was to work with the Caucasian officer and work with the Japanese foreman who had a crew of Japanese laborers who were converting these buildings so that American troops could put in their bunkbeds and individual stoves. They redid the lavatories they had and made arrangements to have that cleared. They had a "honey bucket" crew, and one of the problems was that the people that took the "honey buckets" used it for fertilizer in the outlying farm, but they complained that the American troops had too much toilet paper in the "honey buckets." But that was something we didn't have much, you know, they said you have to work that out. Anyway, again I had to learn a new language, you know, and then pretty soon after that was completed, I was accompanying the officers and go to outlying smaller towns. And as a Nisei translator, interpreter, I would be, you know, the main cog in making sure that they understood each other, and this was to accompany troops in an area, find out a little bit about that, get the cooperation of the people there, and one of the place is Tsuruga, which is located on Japanese sea coast, Japan Sea side. We were entertained by the mayor, and he rustled up a good Japanese meal and had a party for us.

One of the earliest things I learned that dealing at that level with prefectural governors, city mayors, and so forth was that they believed in entertaining the Japanese, the U.S. Army, you know, officers that were going to have a great deal of say about how their government was going to be formed and run. I wasn't into all these mundane duties like translating numerous, you know, documents. I had no interest. I was out there in the field working with the Japanese people, and I was just a young kid just out of high school. And here I was given equal role, equal share, and some of it was difficult. Some of these American officers sort of still looked on the Japanese as enemies, and they wanted to establish the dominance. They would go after them and raise their voice and shout and, you know, berate them. And I had to interpret all that, and I couldn't, you know. Finally, I tell the Japanese people, you know, "I'm supposed to be mad at you," and everything. And the officer, he's not a dummy. He says, "Sergeant," he says, "I want you to interpret word for word what I say, and when I get mad and raise my voice, I want you to do the same." It was a ludicrous situation I was put in, and I think he was smart enough to realize that, you know, I couldn't do that kind of stuff. But the other kind of stuff like, you know, arranging for parties, this or that or girls, I could do, you know. That's the kind of language you pick up in a hurry. I didn't use all that military training language about how many in your troop or anything like that. It's another field entirely. But we moved, met all these people, and I was introduced to parts of Japan that my father and I had never even of dreamed about, and I enjoyed every bit. And later on, when I was going to premed at University of Oregon, I stayed with a group of Niseis, about three of them had been in the same capacity in Japan, and our stories were very similar, and we would exchange all these stories and drink beer and get acclimatized again. Anyway, stay in Japan was interesting.

And then from Otsu, I was transferred back to our language headquarters which was in Kyoto, and we were occupying space in one of the big office building, and we really didn't have any set duties that kept us all that busy. Something came in, we'd go out and accomplish it. We had a jeep to ourselves, and we had a lot of freedom. And I think Nishi Hongwanji Church, the headquarters for the Buddhist located several blocks out, and they invited us as a group, and they entertained us and showed us, you know, the whole place. And Kyoto was a cultural ancient capital of Japan, and it was not bombed, and we were fortunate enough to be stationed there. And actually, our living quarters were right outside one of the famous garden, Heian Jingu Temple, and we were in the center of a previous museum, large halls, we're all stationed there, but we were free to go. You know, we answered evening mess hall, and then we're free to go. Then we did find lots of avenues where we could go and enjoy ourselves. But the beauty of it was that we didn't have the yen to enjoy a lot of these facilities. So being in the United States Army on the winning side, we had access to sake on a ration base, and then we can go to the PX and get cigarettes, and one item that the Japanese enjoyed was Almond Roca, cans of them wrapped up in the little tin foil in the can and that was like gold, and so we bartered. This was a system that we, and they, Kyoto not being bombed, and they had lots of enterprising Japanese there. They opened up a dance hall on the hill nearby called Higashiyama Dance Hall. They had two bands; a Latin band and a Japanese jazz band, and they had these girls dressed there in, you know, kimonos. And after so many, you know, rounds, they changed the band; the band up here in the balcony would play Latin music. None of us knew Latin dance, so it was different. And we were teaching the girls jitterbugging, and you buy dance tickets, actually about twenty dollars' worth, and you get about four or six bottles of beer, and we get tables, and then we'd give these dance tickets about five or ten dance ticket, you know, good for one dance with hostess. And we turned, this is after you learned the ropes. You turned it over to our favorite dance hostess; they would sit with you all night. You won't have to chase them, you know, take them away from some hakujin soldier, you know. They were ours to drink beer, you know. And that's something I learned in Minneapolis to do, and Japanese beer, by the way, was good.

And then, they were all roaming around, I wandered around, and I was by myself at one of the railway station, Shijo, I think it meant forest station or bridge or something, and there was a middle-aged lady, clad in kimono and a younger girl dressed a little more colorfully, finally struck up a conversation. I thought she was a housewife and her daughter. Actually, she invited me to her place of residence. She was not a madam, but the owner and the person running a machiai, a tea house. Now next to, you know, the maikos and the geishas, Kyoto had lots of machiai places, you know, where you meet and where you can eat, drink, and then can call up the central supply, they send girls over. Some can dance, even play shamisen, but mainly it was the next level up from a pure whorehouse. Anyway, she happened to be a madam and most cordial and hospitable, invited me to her place of business. By golly, I took her up on it by myself, god, started out with the food, fantastic meal, sake, she's doing entertainment, girls came, shamisen, sleepover, and I said, "How much is this all this costing me?" I don't have much. So I, you know, soldier, I want to do something good for you, but I knew she ain't in the business for, she's buttering me up, and finally, you know, more conversation, we found out the worth of a, you know, carton of cigarettes that we can bring and that she can sell. And sake, we were allowed about two of those big bottles a week, and we'd bring sake, and then we established the entertainment activity route. We go to the dance hall, drink beer and then instead of going back to, you know, Heian Jingu and the barracks, we head for the machiai, stay there all night. A couple of times the MPs came through, you know, but they hid our uniform, we were in yukata. Good thing for those damn MPs, they're pretty sharp, you know, they sort of wink at you. They knew you were a Nisei, but they didn't bother you. Anyway, you know, this kind of entertainment was beyond dreaming about. This was bad for your health, but in our way, you know, constituted goodwill of the Japanese people, revive the dying industry more or less.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

GH: But in between, I did manage to go on tours by myself. I met the Yoshi family who were our neighbors from the Washington Hotel, the Market Street hotel days, and they had a nice home, retired there, met them, talked with them, reminisced, met both their daughter and son eventually. One was married to a Japanese politician, a member of the parliament. Other was a... at one time their chief English speaking announcer on the radio. And I went and saw a family of my friend that I made in assembly center. His mother still lived near Hiroshima, and he had a younger brother. Found out he was near the epicenter when the bomb hit and he, you know, died, learned all about radiation sickness. He invited a friend, got together, and gave me a meal, and then took me to Miyajima, you know, which is close by. So I was one of the early troops that saw Miyajima and the temple and torii there, and I walked through Hiroshima, Okayama was bombed out. Most of the places were bombed out, and then I went towards Yokohama; and finally located my father's side of the family. For some reason, my father never kept in contact with his relatives, but I did meet an old lady who was his older sister, and they lived out in a thatched roof and everything, and I brought them k-rations.

And then I met my mother's side, younger sister, older sister, and their family. I went to Osaka and met a foster sister, and she had married well. Her husband was an editor of the Asahi Shimbun, Japanese section, lived in Takarazuka. Their son, little older than I was, was an officer in the army, Japanese army, but he made it through without getting killed. And later on, you know, he took us to different, a real nice person. So I really got to, you know, discover a lot about my family background, and the Japanese at that time are going through a horrible period. They're short of soap, food, and I had some chocolate, k-rations weren't that great, but they appreciated it, but they were more than hospitable. They didn't resent me being a Nisei, a Japanese in the army uniform come there as a occupy. They're glad to see me. They can talk Japanese, and I developed a -- or had compassion for those people, and so it was easy for me to converse. So a lot of times on these so-called political junkets with my officer, people we're dealing with were nicer to me because they felt they understood me better or I can understand them, you know. Couple times I would be out there engaged in some social activity with one of the entertainer and the officer, hakujin would notice that I was missing from the party, god, he'd go around screaming, you know, "Hey George, where are you, where in the hell are you?" And I'd be in some room by myself entertaining myself, not by myself but with a companion, but he was understanding. And so, you know, a lot of times you make friends with the hakujin officers that you go out with. Sometimes you end up, you know, pimping for them, secure, they wanted me to go with them on a date or something so they can converse with some girls, and some of them want to leave their wives and marry one of the, you have to sort of talk to them too, you know. You got to realize this is just part time.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

GH: Anyway, my experience was very broad, something I could just get, you know, from going to college or school, but I was -- all that time, I didn't want to get married there or stay there. I wanted to still come back with the hope of going to medical school and being a doctor. I thought that was something I had to achieve. And so when I came back, got discharged from the army, there was sort of a period of adjustment from all that high cost of living. When I went to Reid, I couldn't quite hack it there. I went to University of Oregon, actually the teachers were very nice, but one of the requirements in my junior year was write a paper, and that was something that was beyond me. I just couldn't put time and effort into a, you know, original paper. I went to Oregon over there. They didn't have any requirements, and there were more Niseis like I said. I've roomed with them, so again, I'm with a bunch of, you know, Nisei, but I went to medical school, finally got in. Yeah.


GH: After my month at the University of Oregon premedics, I applied for admission into University of Oregon Medical School. Unfortunately, maybe too much time was spent reminiscing about my experiences in Japan and not enough time spent in the classroom. Anyway, I wasn't admitted at that time, so I enrolled at the University of Washington in the postgraduate study. And of all the subjects, I chose one I was probably the least qualified in and that was chemistry. So I went up to Seattle, and I roomed on campus down in the dormitory with a hakujin classmate. And about three blocks away, there was a all Japanese coop of sorts called SYNKOA House, and I found out that I could eat my meals there, and they had a Japanese cook; and occasionally, he would prepare Japanese style food. On the other hand, when he prepared American food, it tasted like Japanese cooking. Anyway, I made good friends with students at University of Washington at the SYNKOA House; among them, some were MIS veterans. A real good friend of mine was a member of the 442, Bob Sato, and Bob is very active and well-known in the Northwest and elsewhere promoting activities of Niseis during World War II and promoting the development of memorials. I keep in touch with Bob and feel very close to him, and we play golf together with his wife. Anyway, after going through a carefree time at the University of Washington, I received a very happy letter being accepted into medical school. This was probably one of the happiest days of my life. And so I was ready to matriculate, I guess, at the University of Oregon Medical School in Portland, Oregon. Meanwhile, my social life went into another phase, I found a perfectly lovely delightful lady I wanted to be married to, and she was a Portland Nisei, Yoneko Inuzuka. And after our somewhat harrowing courtship era, we were married in July of 1949, I believe, about the same year I was ready to start medical school.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

GH: Anyway, it was in July of 1949 that we were married in a church, Sunnyside Methodist Church, and so began another phase for me with Yoneko. I was quite fortunate, I think. I was able to afford medical school because I was in the army, took advantage of GI Bill of Rights. And for spending money, I married a girl that had a job, and she was working. And between those sources, we were living, you know, a thrifty life, but a comfortable life for a medical student. We progressed from one apartment to another, eventually ended up in a one-bedroom apartment right by the medical school with a pull down bed with thin walls. I remember having guests, and our guests would hear strange noises and probably be a newlywed next door in the phase of whatever they were doing. Anyway, life as a medical student was very exciting, entirely new experience for me. My freshman class, I and two other Niseis were part of the group plus one Chinese American. There were four Asians in that class, so I think that sort of debunked the theory of a quota system for Oriental. Those three were much better students than I, but we studied together and I finally got my degree in medicine. This was a landmark time for me. I think my dad was extremely happy that I had finished medical school. As for myself, it was a long sought after goal in having graduated from medical school. There was a great sense of relief with a sense of accomplishment in another sense. Anyway, from medical school you continue your education, internship, and then if you wanted to specialize which I did, I continued at Emanuel Hospital in residency program studying obstetrics and gynecology, and I was probably the only Nisei doctor that was an OB/GYN practicing in Portland after I had finished.

And this was interesting in that at that time the shousha, the people from Japan that worked for different companies with the offices here were bringing their wives, and their wives were getting pregnant, and most of them chose to come to a Japanese speaking OB/GYN, so I had a lot of shousha people. And another group was the Chinese cooks working in the various areas who had married girls from China who were becoming pregnant, and so there not being any Chinese speaking OB/GYN, I was the next best substitute and ended up delivering a lot of Chinese patients. The benefit of that was very cordial, hospitable, reception at a lot of the Chinese restaurants. Having accomplished, you know, my getting a medical degree at, it gave me a certain amount of status as a professional -- as a profession, as a professional person, and I think this helped me in my sort of a quest to become Americanized in a middle-class American family and take my place among the rest of my American, you know, friends. I was now, after living for a long period of time in a Portland housing project, they finally kicked me out after I was in practice, and Yone and I purchased a nice colonial building in northwest Portland where we stayed for a number of years where our older kids went to grade school, and then we found another location on the west side of town, and we moved to our present location in Forest Hills right above, well, it's in the Hill District this side of Skyline, and we have nice lovely home with some acreage. Anyway, my kids grew up in this atmosphere.

And during this time, I was ambitious. I wanted a, gain and own things that qualified you into this so-called middle-class level. And one of the things that interested me because I was taking up golf in a more serious manner as did my wife, was a dentist friend of mine in the medical arts building where my office was located invited me to play golf at the Oswego Country Club and asked me to join the club. He thought I would make a good member. And I brought up the subject of racial discrimination in most, in the country clubs, which was a basic policy at that time. He inquired and found out that, you know, if I can come up with the dues that I would have no trouble gaining admission. So with some degree of trepidation, I joined the Oswego Lake Country Club. And through the course of years, I was fortunate enough to make some very close lasting friendships, and I enjoyed my play there, a little high class, but I enjoyed that high-class living. It was a little expensive. My wife didn't enjoy that part but things went along.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

GH: As my family grew, first I had a boy then two girls, another son and then along came a third child. I had a family of five, two boys and three girls. And because of my past experience, I was sort of a curious student as to what kind of experience my children would face because they were Sanseis, all Japanese. But they went to school that was predominantly hakujin in the area where we were, and they progressed on to high school at Lincoln High School on the west side. Now besides the country club, I had found myself signing admission blanks to join the Multnomah Athletic Club which is a social club of sorts with an athletic facility, and that club too had racial discrimination policies, and there were no Nisei members. But with the help of my medical colleagues that sponsored me, I gained membership there, and so my kids naturally as members of the family could use the pool, and they learned to improve their swimming abilities, and the younger ones learned to swim there. And so at Lincoln High, a lot of the students were from Council Crest from the high-class residential area. This time, I don't think my kids had any qualms about talking about where they lived or what their fathers did for a living. I was getting established, and they had a nice home. So their cultural upbringing was entirely different from what I had experienced. We tried to instill some Japanese teaching or beliefs or festival, things of Japanese cultural value. My kids weren't too interested in that at the time. I couldn't even get them to go to the Japanese Methodist Church and go to Sunday school, and they went to nearby Methodist church. And although they knew kids in their age, Sanseis, who were my friend, Nisei friend's kids, they only met on certain occasions like birthday parties. They would be invited, and we would have a whole flock full of Sansei kids at the house. But otherwise, their upbringing, their friendships were made with Caucasian kids, and they thrived on this relationship. They didn't have any second qualms about racial inferiority, and I don't think they saw too much discrimination. And so theirs was more of a tranquil existence in a society they felt very much a part of.

So as they grew, I, you know, really studied them to see how they, things have turned out. And the interesting thing is when they got serious with their partners, each one of my kids that got married, married, had an interracial marriage and married into a hakujin family. And interesting enough, my in-laws, the parents, the fathers were physicians, retired pediatrician and another was a surgeon. And as good fortune would have it, these were wonderful people, and there was harmony, and we got along fine. The kids themselves seem to fit in well. They divided their times between our house and their in-law's house. And as they began having their family, it was an interesting study again to see how these kids who are really hapas, I use that term endearingly not with any derogatory meaning. I think it's a good term. It's better than the other Japanese term called ai no ko meaning "love child." Hapa is more deserving and a correct terminology. Anyway, my kids were all hapa. And as they grew, they had Oriental features, dark hair, some had a little reddish tinge. I think one had red hair. But as each grew, they maintained their Oriental features to a certain degree, but their thinking was all-American Caucasian. They didn't revert back to their Japanese background at all. But when they came over here, they got used to using chopsticks. And although we didn't feed them all Japanese menu, they got to enjoy Japanese food, and we take them to Japanese restaurant, Chinese restaurants, and they had a taste of all kinds of food, and they made their pick. They attended school, and it was interesting to me to watch my grandkids and I had nine grandkids, five girls, two boys, that's only seven. Maybe seven... no, anyway, two of the grandkids live in the Portland area. The others, the good features were the kids, they're pretty intelligent and physically attractive, and the thing I enjoyed the most was they're good athletes. They competed because their folks sort of pushed them along the line. They were good soccer players, and now that they're attending high school, their playing varsity soccer along with their hakujin teammates and doing very well. Vicariously, I was sort of going through their experience in getting the benefit of how well they're performing, and they fit in. But like I say, other than what they might eat that's Japanese, I don't know if they make any particular effort to really establish their cultural background. Sometimes on a homework assignment, they might come up to me and, you know, the usual question, "What did you do in the war?" and I would start in, but their attention span would be quite short, and so I never pushed this, and maybe some of these tapes would help answer questions later on.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

GH: Anyway, I retired about thirteen years ago from the practice of medicine, and the medical practice was getting to be a burden. It wasn't as much fun as when I started. HMOs were coming in, increased paperwork, and worst of all was increasing malpractice premium. And at a time, I had to give up OB because the premiums for obstetrician malpractice insurance was so high, it wasn't economically feasible. So I limited to gynecology and had a very nice tranquil practice here in Portland. A number of several hospitals, mainly Good Samaritan Hospital in northwest Portland and Southwest Meridian Park Hospital and had an ideal practice that wasn't overbearing, and I enjoyed it. But alas, I was struck with a diagnosis of having been stricken with squamous cell carcinoma of the pharynx. In other words, in plain English, they found I had cancer in my throat. The doctor initially that was treating me thought, you know, a little squirt of radiation would take care of the problem, but I asked my oncology colleagues about it. He said, "George that can be a very serious disease." And eventually, what happened was I found three excellent physicians, each with their own specialty; first a chemotherapist, and then a oncology specialist in head and neck surgery, and third a radiologist who is in charge of irradiation therapy. And those three doctors got together, and I had talked the surgeon out of his first proposal that he gave me which is a very mutilating destructive procedure to get all the cancer. Anyway, the three put their heads together, and I ceased being a physician at that stage, and I completely became a patient. I was going to do everything they suggested. Anyway, they started out with a fairly heavy dose of chemotherapy, and they used the battleships of the chemotherapeutic agents, and I thought that therapy alone was going to be my demise, but I lived through that and behold, when the surgeon checked the area to cancer, he thought he couldn't feel the cancer. And the latest technique in scanning magnetic image resonance, things like that, was sort of indefinite. So I had couple more opinions on the hill at the medical school, and they thought they can feel something. So we went ahead with the surgery; but this time, it was a local incision with wide resection around the area of the tumor and the bilateral lymph node dissection which was not nearly as mutilating, and they found that the tumor had shrunk, and it was very manageable. And so question of whether it was worthwhile to do irradiation, so I went ahead, had irradiation. And as you can see, I survived all three varieties of treatment and feel so grateful to be a survivor.

And during the recovery period, I remember my association at Oswego Lake Country Club was such that I made very long lasting friendship. One in particular fortunate in having that relationship with a golf pro, the head golf pro at Oswego, Bob McKendrick. And during my recovery, he'd come to the hospital and just sit there for an hour or two and maybe talk a little bit and then come back again, just giving me moral support, and this I appreciated. And later after I had finished my treatment, I was still horribly weakened and had to go to physical therapy just to begin lifting my arms up. Anyway, Bob invited me, he got a part time job at another country club to ride around the course with him while he hit the ball. And then he, you know, told me, you know, "Hit some balls whenever you feel like it." Anyway, he made my recovery that much more pleasant and instilled a lot of hope that I would someday be able to pursue golf again because at that time, I watched the people out on the driving range pushing out the long drive, oh my god, I could never do that again. But anyway, things went quite well, and I recovered, and Bob was with me all this time. And so, my happiest memory of golfing really came from my association with Bob and his friend, an elderly gentleman, who was a member of one of the more wealthy prestigious club is Waverly. And on Monday, which was a non-member day, the course was empty except for some caddies and workers playing. An elderly gentleman, Mr. Peter Murphy, retired lumberman, Bob, and I had a threesome which developed into a real, really outstanding friendship. We got along well. There was competitive urge which made the game more interesting. We played for a dollar or so a nine. And then since the bar at the Waverly was closed on Mondays, we end up at tavern in the Sellwood District and share a pitcher of beer. It was a great relationship. But unfortunately, Peter got so old that he wasn't able to play golf anymore and finally passed away. And so Bob and I would play, but poor Bob had heart problems. And finally there was no medication that could vitalize his cardiac musculature, and he too passed away.

And by then, I wasn't a part of Oswego. I had dropped out. I was living at another standard of living. I was no longer practicing, Social Security, I was a coupon cutter in all the grocery stores. We had a few investments that provided us income for us to live comfortably, but it was certainly a more stripped down, thrifty, economical style of living. And my golfing was with the Nisei group that played the public courses, and I joined the seniors because that was more my age group, and I got along. I knew most of them through all the years that I played golf. It was a good group. And then they formed an boy-girl group called the Swingers, and they had beginners. They had all levels of golfer, and they were a good group. So my golfing experience from the country club level certainly at another level, but I certainly enjoyed myself, and the fact that I was able to play was a bonus. And, you know, the idea of paying big bucks to play a fancy course no longer appealed to me. I didn't have the finances to go and spend a hundred dollars a round. But during the heydays, I was the, you know, I couldn't spend money fast enough to enjoy myself.

I was a car buff. I took up skiing, and finally the whole family did. We went to Sun Valley, and we had a beach house down at the lake, Devil's Lake, and my kids certainly enjoyed the bounties of all this that I was able to, you know, provide. The only thing was I wasn't able to save much money, so what they saw what was they're going to get, I think. Anyway, I am fortunate in having raised good kids, and the older ones went through a difficult time when drugs was really a problem, the hippy era, the flower child, the Vietnam War, the college demonstration, and I was so happy that they came through that period without any horrible lasting, you know, damage to them, mentally or physically.

And so when it came time for me to retire, I felt complacent, at peace and tranquility. The only worry was whether I was going to survive, and fortunately I did. And these last thirteen years after I recovered enough to play some golf although frustrating not as well as I want to, I watch my grandkids grow, and I see the family problems that each are accomplishing and how they're meeting it, but it's certainly a real different cultural upbringing. And I don't know what their future's going to be like, but I'm certainly very optimistic that theirs will be much smoother and that they don't have racial discrimination to the degree that my parents or even my generation had witnessed. And in a way, I think... in a big way, I think the Niseis have clean up the pathway for future generations. And so now when I think back over the times, I reminisce and I, really it wasn't a hard time. There was a lot of pleasant memories and I, one thing I was fortunate, each stage in my life, camp life, army life, medical school, I was able to make good friends, and my friendship with these people, individuals have continued. One of the things I notice is our economic level, you know, one gets richer, and I get poorer. It seemed, you know, we have different interest, but basically we have good friendships and lasting relationship which I'm very fortunate, and I hope this tape is of some interest to others in the future. I'll probably think of other things. Thank you.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

LD: One of the most important things listening to what you said was about how things always work out. Just like to go back and clarify just a couple of little details for the record. I think you were talking about your parents, but we just forgot to put their names in. Their names?

GH: The names, on my father's side, my father's father's name would be my great-grandfather or grandfather, no. My father's father is my grandfather, huh? Yeah. That's right, grandfather. His name is... just a minute now, Magoemon. Okay. You mentioned, you know, I didn't talk about my father's side. Well, here it is. My father's father's name in Japan was Magoemon. That's a mouthful of Japanese first name. It has a samurai sort of a connotation, and yet he had no samurai background. He was a farmer. And my father's mother was named Soyo, and I don't even have the names of my father's sisters. But for some reason, my father never kept close contact with his side of the family, and I don't know the story there.

On my mother's side, my mother's mother was Kichiro Kojima -- no, that's the father, I guess. My mother's father is Kura Nishikawa was my mother's mother's name, and I know a little bit more about her side of the family. She kept in touch. There was a Suzuki, Toyama, and Koshijima. And there's, as I said, were merchant oriented, and I think there were tiny little shop in Yokohama. Anyway, that's the background from Japan. Father's name, oh, my father's name, okay. Start again.

My father's father was Magoemon, and that same fancy name carried over to my dad. His name was Ginosuke. When he came over to America, some of his American friends referred to him as Frank, Frank Hara. Anyway, Ginosuke, that's sort of typical of that generation, giving them pretty fancy first names, and I was named Shigeru. And that's an interesting thing because I was, that's the name on my birth certificate, and yet when I went to grade school, and they changed it to George, so I went to grade school as George, Shattuck as George. So my friends growing up in the South Portland area knew me as George. When I went in the army, you sign your, you know, name. I'm thinking what name shall I put. Just put the name on your birth certificate, and the name was Shigeru, so I went through the army as Shigeru Hara. And so I tell my grandkids when these memorials come up that I might be on, look for Shigeru Hara not George. They might think I'm, you know, giving a bunch of BS. Anyway, I had it legally changed to George Shigeru Hara or George S. Hara, and that was my professional name.

LD: That's great and thank you so for clarifying that.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

LD: One other point that I'd like you to clarify would be about your grandchildren since this is a record --

GH: How many grandchildren. Nine?

LD: I think you have, are there seven grandsons?

GH: Seven grandsons and two daughters. I missed two boys there, but you know, they're very respectful. That's maybe a carryover, I think, maybe from the Meiji period, my folks teaching or, you know, something, but they haven't gotten, what do you call, smart ass with me yet, and I enjoy them. They respect me in a way.

LD: I think we just forgot to mention the children, your children's names also. You told who they were and --

GH: You know, like name and dates sometimes are hard to recall, but starting with the oldest, okay. We have Peter, and then Peter has a brother named Evan. Those are the two children, Nancy my second daughter. Now my oldest daughter has two boys too, Adam and Raider, very fancy name. Now Leslie is their mother's name. She's the oldest of my daughters. Now they happened to marry brothers, the Shick brothers. Fred was married to Leslie and Nancy married Paul. They all went to Lincoln High School, and they met each other. The interesting thing is the Shick brothers, one is tall and one is short. Leslie is taller than Nancy, Nancy's short, and the kids followed the same thing. Adam is one or two heads taller than Peter who's even older, and the other one, Raider is tall too. In fact, Adam was 6' 2", I think, tall gangly kid, and I look up at him, and I wonder how, I don't even think my genes were part of that boy's makeup, you know. He is huge, but he plays soccer and likes to ski. They take up these expensive sports like skiing and snow boarding. Anyway... oh my daughter, I have two daughters both offsprings of my oldest son. They live down in California, small town called Belmont. They have a nice home there, and they come up during the holidays and Christmas. They all get together. Fortunately, they all get along very well. And their names are Natalie, she's the youngest, and the oldest girl Olivia, and the oldest boy is called... what the hell was his name, his name is George, Nicky George sounds like a Greek, but he's my oldest son's, you know, that's like asking me to count backwards from 9, subtract from 9 from 100. It is very difficult. Anyway, that's my, oh, who else? Who is that name? Louie, oh yeah. God, I forgot about the youngest two. My youngest daughter's sons, two boys, Louie and George, Georgie and Louie, yeah, in that order. And they're trying to, you know, follow in their older cousins' footsteps and follow them around. But --

LD: And they're the children of which daughter?

GH: Phyllis, my youngest. They're growing up in Bend, Oregon.

LD: And then do you have another son?

GH: Another what?

LD: Another son?

GH: Anymore kids, grandkids?

LD: You have another son?

GH: Who else is that? George, George and Louie. Oh, another son. He's sort of a neutered sex, never gotten married, and he's well-accepted by his brothers and sisters and all the grandkids and well-accepted part of the family. That was a blow to me when I first found out, but those things happen, I guess. And fortunately, I get stubborn at times. I never made a big issue out of it. That reminds me, one time in Ohio Wesleyan, I don't think she even knows this story. My association with the church group, I was called on by theological students. They would ask me to go to different parishes, and they were assigned certain small churches out in this country, and I would talk to them about camp about the Nisei. And for those people in the country, in Ohio, they didn't know anything about the Japanese or the evacuation, and so that was one thing, and then one thing led to another, and I was invited to a big conference, Christian-sponsored, on world peace in the town, Columbus, which is only about, you know, twenty, thirty miles away from Delaware, Ohio. And with these people from Delaware that went to Columbus to be a part of this peace conference, and we went to one of the host family's residential home. And the first night there, I was given a room with a black person, older black person, and I think, you know, the studies part of the program. Anyway, it was all related to peace and trying to bring changes about. And that night, I was sleeping in bed, we're sharing a double bed, and as I was awakened, and it startled me, and this guy was cuddling me. And really I was, you know, never encountered a situation like that where another male was, you know, getting, fondling me, and I was rigid, anyway -- my muscles that is. Anyway, I got, excused myself, got out of that bed in a big ass hurry and went to the bathroom, composed myself, and, you know, I wasn't quite sure what to do. But I got in bed again, but I made sure I was on the far end of the bed, turned my back towards him, and this person got the message and nothing further happened, somebody was looking after me. And the next morning, you know, I never mentioned this to my host or even talked about it to the, this guy, and sort of brushed it off. Because emotionally, I wasn't that shook up because it could have gotten worse. But anyway, I found out he was the chief speaker, a brilliant speaker at that meeting, and he was a brilliant singer. He sang solo, and I remembered his name. I won't mention it, but he was such an interesting character that I, you know, thought he would be in the news if not as a lecturer, maybe accused of molesting young boys or something, but I never saw his name. The other day, I was talking with the reverend at church and asked her if she heard of this person. "Oh," she says, "I heard of him, saw his name in the, some church news," so he's still active in there. But that was one horrible experience that I kept to myself. But fortunately, you know, it didn't leave any scars.

LD: Well, we appreciate it. There are so many stories that you shared with us that have been so descriptive. We appreciate all the time and all the thought that you have put into your life. I think they're wonderful lessons.

GH: One more thing I want to add. One of the activities as we grew older as Niseis, you know, playing softball, basketball, dance, skating party, I was invited to join, in my high school years, an older group of Niseis, Portland Midget Cardinals, and they're good athletes and good looking Nisei boys, and got to know some of them real well, and they let me tag along. And one of their activity was to make the rounds around the Sixth Avenue in Portland. I don't know if you're acquainted with Sixth Avenue at prewar time. That was the red light district of Portland. All the way from Burnside to Union Depot, and intermingled within those were some Japanese hotel, and even the hotels down South Portland where I grew up had signs, "no girls." I never knew what that meant, you know, "no girls," "no girls." Well actually that meant there is no, you know, prostitutes living here. But I found prostitution flourishing in town and they, one thing, if you had the money, they were very democratic, egalitarian, you might say. And that was, you know, beginning of my next phase in my sex education, you might say. So by the time I got to college, I wasn't, you know, what you call, an innocent virgin by a long shot. That's still off the record. [Laughs] I don't want them to say Jesus Christ, that guy was horning around when he was in high school. But I think if you go, if some of the Niseis did talk about it, going to different whorehouses was an enjoyable activity, not everybody did.

LD: As you think back about all of the things that you've experienced, is there a message that you'd like to leave for future generations?

GH: Well, I think education is very important, I think, regardless of generation, but I think you want to get into a field that you enjoy at what you're doing, and that's not always the easiest thing to find. But if you can find the happy combination where you're happy doing it, making enough money, I think you can qualify as being a good American, you know, and then being modern in your vices.

LD: Thank you very much.

GH: It's from an old pro. You know, Tim, as we went to these whorehouses, each one, they're on the second floor and you walk up a stairway, each one had one rung that was connected to a bell that rang upstairs, and you got to know which rung that was in each different place, and you can bypass and go up, surprise the madam or whoever was greeting, you know. But they liked the Nisei boys because they get the hakujin kids up there, and they start playing touch football, you know, and all that sort of thing. And we were more well-mannered than the, no trouble from us. But that was an outlet, and I don't think the Nisei ladies had, girls had to worry too much about getting pregnant and all that sort of thing.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

LD: Well, there were a couple of things that I was thinking about asking, one about his feelings on this, visiting Hiroshima. You didn't really elaborate on that. I didn't know if there were any particular emotions or your reaction.

GH: I had the experience of being one of the first GIs that went there by myself, not in the investigating, you know, the condition, the radioactivity and all that sort of thing, but I was one of the earliest ones, and I got there late in the day. By the time I got there, they had cleared and made some of the streets passable, and I came across a gentleman with a bicycle. And in Japanese, I told him I wanted to see this person living in the outskirts in the village and wondered how I can get there. And he knew exactly where this place was and he accounted for, you know, showed me the way about four, five blocks to one little electric trolley that was still functioning. And I thanked him profusely and offered him some k-rations or something that I had. He refused that, and he was almost apologetic that Japan had started the war and that maybe this was, he was getting punished. But the thing that stood in my mind was that after having seen all these other horribly leveled cities, Hiroshima, one goddamn bomb did the whole, you know, thing, and it was beyond my imagination. I even drew a picture of that, and it stayed with me, and the fact that they bombed Nagasaki after that was something that I always felt was wrong. But the people there, you know, they didn't come after you because American airplanes had dropped that bomb. They thought they started the war. Maybe this was God's way of punishing them, repentance, I guess, and those were added to the Japanese population in general. And the willingness to sacrifice and build up Japan again, they were building a new, forming a new constitution. The Emperor's image was completely turned over. The zaibatsu was being, you know, busted up, and they were just digging to get a foothold. And some of the things I remember doing, a lot of young people and even older people by the Tokyo eki, Tokyo station, and there were shoe shine, you know, and you pay them a little bit, and they shine your shoe, and they earned enough money to get by. Now I went back to Japan with Yone, postwar, we went by eki, the shoeshine fellow was there. I stopped again, and this older gentleman was polishing my shoes, and we struck up a conversation, "Where are you from?" I said I was American. "Oh," I said, "I was here during the war occupation, shinchuugo." "Oh," he said, "I was young, I was shining shoe." And he said, "I still remember and can taste the chocolate candy that the GIs gave us," you know, and he just was polishing my shoe and very proud of the fact that he was one of the older master shoe shiner. He had a badge. And the other thing I enjoyed in Japan besides all the wine and dine stuff was just going to the old fashion hot spring areas that were still intact. And I think those were things my mother might have experienced at one time or another, and they were outstanding.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

LD: How about when you were in high school, you spoke of being at the top of self-confidence, a feeling that everything was going so well because of your status that you would had achieved in high school. Then because of the attack on Pearl Harbor, there was a curfew imposed. How did you react to the curfew?

GH: I remember the one incidence is at the Hi-Y Club that I mentioned threw a farewell banquet, and they held it at Bohemian Restaurant which was a high-class restaurant right near Broadway and Washington, I think, and all the members and the advisers attended that and they all wrote little notes for me, and one of the fellows had borrowed his dad's convertible. And after the banquet was over, we're, I was the guest of honor, riding in the back of the convertible. And it was getting dark and the curfew time , you know, I forgot what time, but anyway, I left. I'm going to be out past curfew. I'm going to get picked up. Fortunately, I enjoyed the ride and never did get picked up. But you know, the curfew was imposed, and I was sort, we no longer went out in the streets after dark and played our usual games and things.


LD: Did it make you angry at all having to be in on curfew?

GH: I don't remember having any particular resentment feeling about that. I have a theory, you know, I might have mentioned it, obedience, obedience to authorities in charge, school, police, this was instilled as, the Boy Scouts instilled in this. And so we got the notice, this was from the President of the United States, and that's why I think the Nisei leaders, the JACL decided to cooperate was the best. I think the Niseis weren't used to confronting authority or people in authority about injustices. I think they had faced that they were going to be treated well, you know, and fairly, and this evacuation thing was totally, totally something that they were unprepared for mentally to combat, and they felt that the best way to handle it was go peacefully, and that's why like very gentle lambs, we walked right through those gates and went into our stalls. But I think this was the brought up from the, during from the Isseis through the Niseis, founded, you know, reinforced all the time.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

LD: Would you care to talk about your participation in JACL? You spoke about what they did during that time. You were, I believe, active in JACL, what you did and why?

GH: Yeah. I, after I got established in practice, I felt, you know, that what the JACL was doing, I believed in what they were doing, and if Portland had a chapter -- and eventually, I got interested in JACL activity and became president for one year. But, at that time, you know, I was very, had lots of new ideas. I was a dynamo, and my accomplishment as a president, I'm very proud of. We got the Chapter of the Year award for the Northwest Council, and I think some of the activities that we promoted helped us get that honor. One, I was instrumental in forming a junior JACL group and got enough Sanseis interested as a nucleus, and they brought in their friends, and they were active. And we had Japanese artists in town, and I would ask them to throw another performance, and they'd draw pictures of sumi-e. We would sell those for, to make money. And we'd go to the art museum, see Oriental exhibits, and so we threw in a little culture. And then the crowning achievement, I think, was getting Dan Inouye to come to a youth conference, and he spoke to a larger group, a formal speech, and then he gave a sort of impromptu, more informal speech to the young Nisei, I mean Sansei, and I think they appreciated it, and I think their folks thought that was a good thing. And so the young junior JACL, we also held a workshop at Louis and Clark, had some of the established Nisei talk about their experiences and have a question and answer period. And people from Tacoma and Seattle came down, and I think they were impressed with the quality of the kids that were running that, you know, workshop, and about three of them, I think, became doctors. The one I grew closest to was unfortunately killed in the Vietnam War, Curtis Sonchi. Another member was Brad Henjoji, and he got killed in the Vietnamese war, and the others, pharmacists, now I see him, and I have a very good relation with these kids as they grew up. Another doctor was Wally Kurihara and Sasaki, and he's a very famous doctor now, and those were kids that were the nucleus of the junior.

The other thing that we pulled off as a revenue source was had a luau, and that involved the whole membership plus the friends they had in Hawaii, plus the students that were attending school in this area, and we put on an exquisite show with lights and everything at the Masonic Temple. Hawaiian Airlines flew over stuff for us for nothing because of the connections with Hawaiians, and we had authentic, you know, salmon prepared the Hawaiian way. It was very successful. If it was publicized a little better, we could have had, you know, sell out. But it was really a venture of cooperation between a lot of different groups and came off very well. But I didn't want to be known as Mr. JACL or anything like that. I just served my time and got my friend, I think, Al Oyama, to follow me, and he did a good job. Then he got his friend, so for a time, the transition was smooth. Lately, I haven't been very active except for Legacy and some of these things they have for reunion day and things like that.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

LD: If we could go back just a little bit to the train ride to Minidoka. What do you recall about the train ride? You couldn't see outside, but what about your feelings?

GH: First of all, you know, I missed seeing the scenery of the places that we were going through. Now they had, what do you call, the black... what do you call those people that work on the train, make the beds, serve the food? Car hop? Not car hop. Porters. And they had porters to each car, you know, we would go in the dining room and eat, sit down, silver dining room and march back. And the people that were going, the Isseis, were taking up a collection as a tip for the porters, you know, and here we're going to the damn concentration camp. [Laughs] Some of the things my mother felt was necessary to get along was typical custom in Japan, orei, give people money, oseji, playing up to a person, you know. Those are things she felt she had to do to get a good lease term. She would present the lawyer in charge of the lease signing, give him a nice necktie or give the doctor she was going to a necktie or something, something maybe they never even wore, you see. And she spent -- going to Meier and Franks. She was an extravagant lady, drove my father crazy. But she had this, you know, quirk, psychological thing that she liked to keep up. She wanted to be a part of the group. She wasn't a member of Fujinkai, she was upset, you know, and that was her goal, to become a member of Fujinkai, and then she was sort of snobby. [Laughs] You know, and those are the thing, you know, I resented. I could see what she was doing; whereas my father, I thought he was a saint. He put up with all this. And he's quiet, and yet he was a community leader and accepted. When he died, he had a tremendous funeral. I was so proud of him, and then I was also so happy that he saw me graduate medical school.

But all in all, you know, my dreams of becoming an established middle-class American, it was a goal, but I don't know how much satisfaction I eventually got out of it, but I'm happy that things worked out the way they did. But it did allow me some years where I lived extravagantly almost, you know, into another society.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

LD: You grew up in the Methodist church then because you were on the south part of the town. And when you were exposed, were you exposed to the Buddhist religion in funerals and weddings like you spoke of?

GH: Yeah. We went Christian wedding with a Methodist minister. I remember going to church. Although I'm not a singer, I was part of a singing waiter group. The other thing that I felt important at language school was they formed a military Nisei choir, men and women, and I signed up for that. And we were fortunate in having a hakujin choir director was a music major finished Stanford. And our big program was to sing on the world-wide military network, and the song that he chose was "My Fairest Lord Jesus." And to this day, I think that choir did a marvelous job on that song. I heard it the other day at a funeral, and the vocalist, you know, didn't touch the meaning of that song at all. But there, I sort of faked my way through, but I'm right in the picture with my mouth open.

LD: Did you ever have any trouble with prejudice or anything when you were trying to buy a home on either the east side or the west side?

GH: We moved into our northeast home, the realtor explained, "We want you to, if you like this house, we want you to, you know, buy it and live in it. But to make sure that there's no problem, I'll canvass the neighborhood to make sure that there's no neighbor that would object to a person of your, you know, ancestry moving in," and I said that'll be great. Although I should have said, you know, forget that, we're moving in, you know. But our neighbor was very nice to us; and both sides, kids made good friends, so it was a peaceful transition. Then when we moved up here, there's no other, you know, this is isolated.

LD: In speaking of those transitions, when you got out of the army and came back to Portland or even to go to medical school, were there feelings that when you had left, had you lost friends? Were there bitter feelings and what, was there any inhibition or negativity about coming back to Portland?

GH: No. There were enough Nisei friends that had come back to Portland, so it was a nice congenial group. And those of us that were, you know, had been in the army, we'd meet weekly at one of the government centers to collect our 52/20 check. If you were unemployed, they gave you 20 dollars a week, see, for 52 weeks. It was our meeting ground, spending money for the week. So we lived on that, and then we started going to school, and then we took advantage of the GI Bill. And after we came back, there's enough of us that enjoyed playing basketball. We formed a basketball team, got white T-shirt painted stars, called ourselves Portland Stars, and we went up to Seattle, play basketball, had a good time. We won one game, lost another. It was sort of good to get back to Portland. I enjoyed it. And I was wondering if, you know, people that stayed back east were enjoying themselves. Apparently, they thought theirs was a, their new environment was the best, you know, having conversation with people that came back for the reunion. But Portland, you know, going to all different places, Portland is a very small town. It's a nice place to live.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

LD: How about when you had to leave for assembly center and you could only take what you could carry? Were there things that you had to, what was your feeling on leaving behind many things, on having to choose only certain things? Did you feel lost at only being limited to what you could take?

GH: From home? Oh, yeah, only what you can carry so, actually your bare necessities, you know, and I didn't mind that too much. Once we got in, if you had a few bucks you can spare, you can phone up and order things from food from, you know, you can't spend too much money, but you can have mail catalog things sent, and even food from cakes that you might have enjoyed, Bohemian cakes and that. Plus, you know, eventually, you cut yourself off and only depend on what they were feeding you. Hominy grits, that's what I was trying to think of. Nobody, the cooks never knew hominy grits. Everybody tasted that, and then, "What the hell is this?" [Laughs]

LD: So the things that you left behind, what happened to them? When you returned, were you able to get them back? Did you have somebody in Portland taking care of the things that you left?

GH: We were fortunate. One of the tenants was an Italian gentleman, single, and he owned a tavern two blocks up. My dad always thought he had connection with the mafia or something. Anyway, he had purchased on the east side on Hawthorne below Grand, one building, two stories. And when he found out that we were going to move, and we had to move, he said, "If there was anything you wanted to store, I got lots of room in that building." And so I think one of the things we got a very big tin can and put rice in it. Anyway, that was stored along with a lot of other, maybe some minor furniture and kitchen gear, but that was all intact when we came back so, you know, sort of picked it up. My dad was fortunate in that the business arrangement that he made with the person he sold it to turned out smoothly. Came back, the guy promised to sign the lease back over to my dad, so he continued. And during the war years, this guy made a lot of money there in that hotel because the housing was very short.

LD: How did the camp experience affect your father?

GH: I think he handled it remarkably well. Minidoka, I found out when they came back from school, he was a block manager. Each block chose a manager who with other managers would deal with administration, so that was sort of like high, you know, sense of elective post. And he was block manager of 35, and he wasn't much of a carpenter or a gardener, so he didn't do too much along that line. But I think he never, you know, griped about it. I think he accepted it as part of being Japanese and being at war on the losing side. As far as I was concerned, I was in the, you know, U.S. Army, 'cause this was the country that I should give my allegiance to. And when that "no-no" thing came out, you know, I didn't have any qualms about yes, you have to take an arms up whereas some of my more serious-minded friends, you know, thought it was morally wrong.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

LD: You talked about the Rose Festival, about really enjoying participation. Did the Japanese, the Nisei, the Issei businesspeople have a float every year? Did you always feel part of it because of the participation of the whole community?

GH: You know, I don't know if they had a float every year or not, but I see pictures where they had rather elaborate floats that they, you know, put together. And the Nisei beauties of the time, you know, really rode those floats. But I don't know if that was a yearly thing or not. My wife's side of the family would know more about it because --

LD: Did you know any "no-no" boys?

GH: Yeah, I knew 'em but never kept correspondence with any of 'em. And really, I felt a lot of them were very sincere and courageous in going that route. And I don't have any qualms that they, I don't think JACL had to apologize to that group, but I certainly sympathize with what they did. I think myself, if I had enough guts, I would have -- might have been part of that group. But here again, I was so anxious to get in the army. [Laughs]

LD: Do you have anything else that you'd like to say about, oh, the things that have come down to you from your mother and father? You've referred to some of them, about certain ideals that you felt were instilled in you. Have you passed them on, and do you see that going into your grandchildren?

GH: Well, I think most of us grew up with, you know, don't bring haji to the family, don't do anything to disgrace the family. That was number one, and even from the time I was small, they always said, you know, be proud of the fact of your Japanese ancestry, which is, you know, normal thing. You accept so you don't feel inferior to hakujin. But you have to study harder, do better than the hakujin on an equal level because you're in a hakujin country and you're competing against them, and you're a minority. And they knew that there was prejudice, but you carry that further. And they were very, you know, racially intolerant towards other minority group: kurombo, the Shinajin, Chosenjin, you know. And so the Isseis were very, you know, had strong racial discriminatory tendencies, and that carried over. And during high school, you know, you get the president of the club, there's certain social intermingling between president, and we would have joint things with other girl's club, particularly say Franklin, the Haikaikai Girl Club, and I could never bring myself to go on those things. I just had this complex that carried over. I think it was a fear that I wasn't equal to them; and second, if I step forward, they might turn me down. Jesus, the thought of being turned down by a girl, you know. Whereas with a Nisei girl, I was almost too brash and forward.

LD: Well, for my last question, is there anything that I haven't asked you about that you'd like to say?

GH: Probably tonight I'll think of something, but right now, I can't. I appreciate your time and effort.

LD: Thank you, very much. I think you did an outstanding job, and we covered everything.

GH: I really enjoyed doing it.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.