Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: Mika Hiuga Interview
Narrator: Mika Hiuga
Interviewer: Alton Chung
Location: Ontario, Oregon
Date: December 4, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-hmika-01

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

<Begin Segment 1>

AC: This is an interview with Mika Hiuga, a Nisei woman, eighty-one years old. This interview is taking place in Ontario, Oregon, on December 4, 2004. The interviewer is Alton W. Chung of the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center's Oral History Program 2004. Thank you so very much for agreeing to go and speak with us today. So let's just start off with something, just very simple. Where were you born and when were you born?

MH: Okay. I was born in Hood River, Oregon, which is right near Portland. I went to, through high school there. Luckily, I was out of high school when evacuation came around, so I've lived here longer than I have been at home.

AC: So I guess where, do you have brothers and sisters?

MH: Oh, yes. My father was an orchardist. We had apples and pears and cherries. All together, we had a family of eight, five boys and three girls. But when my oldest sister was small and my older brother, the two, my parents took both of them to Japan. So my oldest sister, obasan, which is her auntie, said, "Leave this girl here because she'll just get in the way. And after you make your fortune, you can come back to Japan," which all the Isseis planned. Well, they left her there, and of course, you never raise a fortune. You had a lot of kids, so we were all born in Hood River. When she graduated from high school in Japan, Dad says, "Come and join the family," and she said, "No. I want to repay Auntie for taking care of me." So she stayed in Japan. Well, World War II came along, and so unfortunately, after about two years or three years after she was bombed in Nagoya, we got word that she and her children were bombed and killed. So I never knew her. I've seen her pictures. And so when Dad and I went to Japan in 1968, that's the first time I got to go Japan, we went to Auntie's home which is my dad's home, and her name was Masako. And so she, when they saw me, they said, "Oh, feel like Masako has come back." Well, I've had happy and sad events, both Dad's family and also Mom's family because Mom had already gone. So both places, they placed me as daughter or child. I had a good time, but it was, I still felt, you have different emotions.

AC: So your eldest brother also went to Japan?

MH: Yes, but they brought him back.

AC: Oh, he came back with them.

MH: And should I talk about him?

AC: Sure.

MH: Okay. My oldest brother was drafted. At that time, there was a draft. And so when Pearl Harbor came along, I had two brothers in the service already. Taro who was the oldest was in the MIS, and then my brother right above me was not but he talked the folks into volunteering, so I had two brothers in the service when Pearl Harbor hit. And I have a dear friend who was in the Military Intelligence Service, and they don't know how he was killed, whether he was shot by the Japanese or whether he was shot by the American, but he is buried to our family plot in Hood River, Frank Hachiya.

AC: So where was he and how was he involved in the war?

MH: He was in the Military Intelligence Service as like my brother, my oldest brother.

AC: But you don't know where he was stationed or --

MH: In those islands over there. And of course, we used to get letters from my brother in camp with little cuts all over his letter, but we were glad to have a letter. I don't know. He probably wasn't aware of what he was writing, but they had cuts all over, you know. But we were glad to hear from him.

AC: And this Frank Hachiya, he had no family?

MH: Yes. The parents had gone back to Japan. His mother was, it's a Buddhist sect. She had a church over there in Okayama, Okayama, and so they were in Japan. He has a brother, and he goes back and forth from Japan. So he's there with my brother and my family in Hood River.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

AC: Can you describe your father?

MH: My father?

AC: Yeah.

MH: He was not the oldest. You know in Japan, the oldest stays home and takes care of the rice field or whatever they had. He was the second one, and he was short, so he tried to join the Japanese army, but too short. [Laughs] And so he said, "I want to go to America," so he came. He was single. I would describe him as a very hard working person. I remember when we, I was growing up, we had moved from the home place to another place where we lived, and then we still had the home place. So in the morning, he'd go to work up there couple hours, and by the time he'd come back, it was time for us to have breakfast together. He really worked hard. His father was, liked alcohol, drank, so he never drank, maybe a hot toddy. But he was the head of the household. Everything he said was what we did, and I appreciate that because now in our family, we just never know.

AC: Never know...

MH: Whether the father is taking over the family or Mother or nobody, you know.

AC: When did your father come to the United States?

MH: Now you're asking me a question that I can't quite remember.

AC: Just curious.

MH: Maybe you can figure that one out because my brother died about three years ago at eighty-five, and he hadn't married for a quite a while, so it was a long, long time ago.

AC: How would you describe your mother?

MH: Mother was a very, she was, did everything Dad said. In fact, I never knew this, but my sister had married this Caucasian fellow, and his mother came over and asked Mother how she came to America. And I never knew this, but she said, "I never knew my husband." It was arranged by Father's mother and her mother and dad. She, the families knew each other, but my mother did not know my father. So when you think of this, I've gone to Ellis Island in New York where the people come from Europe, and so I placed myself that my parents came to Seattle in the same order. She was a very, she just did what Dad did, worked hard, had all of us children, have children, worked out in the orchard, and didn't have the conveniences that we have now. We have nothing to complain about, you know.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

AC: Can you describe how, what it was like in your home when you were growing up?

MH: Okay. Because my father was one of the early pioneers in Hood River and probably in the United States, he worked on the railroad, and then he worked for orchardist family and kind of learned how to raise... So he bought a land. It's way up there in the hills. It was kind of, to get up there, you had to go quite a, about a mile up the road to our house. We had a well for water. At that time of course, we had lamps. But then my father got ingenious and bought one of those, I don't know what you want to call it, but it makes electricity. It's one of these things, it's battery, lot of batteries, and it makes electricity, so you have to turn it on a few hours before you can have electricity. And so we didn't have the conveniences. The house was okay, but cold.

AC: How was it heated?

MH: Wood. You know, we had wood trees and apple wood, so we had wood.

AC: Was it a very large home?

MH: Big enough to, for us all to be able to have a place to sleep and eat and take a bath once a week. [Laughs] You know, they had these big barrels, and you heat up the hot water on the wood stove and put it in there. And once a week, we had a bath. But we washed our feet before we went to bed, I remember that. We always washed our feet.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

AC: We were speaking about Frank Hachiya and you grew up with him?

MH: Yes.

AC: And you played with him?

MH: Yes.

AC: What was it like?

MH: Well, you know how kids are. We still remember what we did. We might add a little, not a treehouse but a little house, where we kind of got together, and so I knew Frank and Homer very well. And I felt bad when he was killed, but nice looking fellow, very nice looking fellow.

AC: And you said it was your mother who had rheumatism?

MH: Yeah. She had bad rheumatism. And sometimes she'd have to go to bed because her leg. But you know, it's strange. When we went to camp, there's one of these men, they had a, they do, what is it they do? Anyway, they massage --

AC: Shiatsu?

MH: I don't know if it was shiatsu or not, but she went to him, and it helped. But she said the first day after she goes to him, oh, it was so painful. But then after that, it kind of relieved it. But it doesn't get rid of it. It's just a temporary thing.

AC: And so Mrs. Hachiya would come and help?

MH: She wouldn't come to our house, but maybe she would take our laundry or maybe she'd fix some kind of food and give it to us. She was very nice.

AC: And after, she went back to Japan?

MH: She went to Japan.

AC: Before the war?

MH: Yes, way before the war. I'm trying to think of that, not Tenrikyo, but name some of those, it's between Buddhist and Christian.

AC: Shinto?

MH: No. It's, anyway, one sector. She had a church. When we visited her, she gets up real early in the morning about four o'clock, and the people who go to work come to service, and she does service, you know. She was a very pretty lady, but I think she's passed away now.

AC: But even though she went back to Japan, Frank stayed in the United States?

MH: Yes and Homer. Homer, no, Homer, when he was small, he went with Mama, and he was telling me about how hard it was in Japan for him.

AC: What was, what was he saying? What kind of things did he tell you?

MH: I can't remember too much, but he did marry a Japanese citizen. And so when we went to visit her, she, this wife of Homer's took care of Mother, so Homer went back and forth from LA to Okayama back and forth. And I admire that daughter-in-law to take care of Mother, you know. She wasn't helpless, but then she was aged, so Homer had her stay at her home.

AC: Is there anything else you can tell us about Frank Hachiya?

MH: I just know that we were kids, and we just enjoyed each other.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

AC: So tell me about you going to school.

MH: My going to school?

AC: Yeah.

MH: Okay. I went three grades at Oak Grove School which is near my, the home that my dad and mom, we all lived in. You probably know at that time that the firstborn of the Issei family always had to go two years to first grade because they didn't know any English. Most of the families, the firstborn had to go two years in the first grade. Of course, as the rest of us come along, then we kind of picked up English, so we didn't have to go through the first grade. But I spent three years at the Oak Grove School, and then Dad bought the place that, closer to town, so I went to Barrack School from fourth to eighth grade. Then I went to junior high school for a couple years and then Hood River High School for the rest of the years.

Could I mention my brother? He was right above me, and he was killed in an accident, but he was so smart. I don't see it too much now, but nowadays, before they used to pass you one grade. Well, he was passed two grades. He was fifteen when he graduated from high school. And I notice when he was sitting up in the front there, his legs would not hit the floor. He was like this. But they did that. They don't do that now. And if they do, I think the parents would object to it. But my brother was very smart. In fact, I have to brag. Our whole family had, got pretty good grades, even my kids. He went to college, and he even received a PhD at Illinois out of Chicago. My father was so proud of him. He was a chemical engineer.

AC: And so how did he die?

MH: This car accident. When he came home, he was, yeah. He was in his, I don't know what year he was at Oregon State, but he and my younger brother took their stuff to college and registered and everything. He was bringing the family car home, and Wyeth, which is right near Hood River, he must have fell asleep and the car went down the slope and landed on the railroad which is down there. So when my family got heard of it said there is a car on the railroad. Well, then they found out it was my brother. But he climbed up the hill up to the old highway. You know, now we got this highway on the, by the river, but it was the old highway. He climbed up to the road and hailed this person down and happened to be a soldier from Fort Lewis who lived in Payette, Idaho. Well, I was here in Ontario then, and so he, they took him, he just directed them to the hospital. They took him to the hospital. But I don't think he got a very good deal because they didn't give him a room. They had him in the hallway. And when he was injured, I got the call saying Ak was in the accident. He was in Hood River Hospital, and they gave him surgery, and they thought he was going to pull through. But the next day, I heard, I had got word that he died. I guess there was some internal injury that they didn't catch, but he died in the hallway. That was discrimination I feel.

AC: How does that make you feel --

MH: When he was so bad. So my husband and I after we came home from the funeral, I went to visit this fellow in Payette who picked him up and thanked him and told him that my brother had died, and he felt bad, but that's the way it goes.

AC: What year was this?

MH: Huh?

AC: What year was this that your brother died?

MH: Let me see. My son is fifty-six, and he was about almost two so '48, '49, '50 because he was born in '48, 1950 I think it was. It's hard for a parent to lose a child. In fact, it's hard to lose a parent. I think it's harder when you lose a child because they got lots to live for. It's too bad, you know.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

AC: Let's go back to your schooling. Do you remember any of your teachers?

MH: I do. I remember the principal of my grade school, and I used to go visit her, and she used to come to our house too. And I might, might interject this. When we go back to class reunion, I come clear from Ontario to Hood River which is quite a ways, and some of my classmates who lived in Hood River, I'm talking about the Niseis, did not come. And so some of my friends would say, "Do you think Mary didn't come because she was evacuated and she felt like she was discriminated?" And I said, "No. I think she's just lazy." But when we were evacuated, they had no idea. I mean, they didn't have no feeling about this evacuation. But after all those years when we went back to class reunion, I was asked that question. And of course, they'd say we were sorry, of course. It's something in the past.

AC: So when you were going to school, did you feel that tension from school?

MH: No, not when I was going to school. I, of course, in those days, us Niseis, we didn't date too much, and so no, I didn't feel no discrimination while I was going to school. But after the war, there was a lot of incidents.

AC: You didn't date very much because of why?

MH: Well, it would be, if I did, it would be a Nisei boy, but they're so shy. [Laughs] In fact, when he mentioned George Akiyama, his brother, Akiyama and my name is Asahi, so it's in the A's. He sat right here, but we hardly talked. You know, it was different those days. Nowadays, we visit and everything, but I don't know about you people, but anyway.

AC: Well, tell me more about how it was back then?

MH: I participated in sports. I always played tennis, and I was on the basketball team and got pretty good grades. In fact, my family all had pretty good grades I would say, and I still feel my children had good grades. I don't know whether you want me to talk about my children or not. Shall I do it now?

AC: As you like.

MH: Okay. I have son and a daughter. My son is in Sacramento, and he is a OB/GYN. My daughter is a manager of REI. I don't know if you know that place in Redmond, Washington. And I just visited her over Thanksgiving, and she had completed thirty-year anniversary. I said, "Arlene," I said, "has it been that long?" And she said, "Yeah, I started in twenty-two, when I was twenty-two," and so fifty-two, she's fifty-two now. So of course, that's a, she feels she works for a real good company, and she's still at it. Both of my kids went to Weiser High School. We lived on the Oregon Slope. I don't know if you know it's north of Ontario, and they were sent to Weiser High School. And my son was a valedictorian, and my daughter was a salutatorian, so they did, they did good. Of course, when they bring their report cards home, Dad's got to have his laurels, and Mom's got to get her laurels, but we both were very proud of them.

AC: I'm curious going back to when you were in school and you said you had this Nisei boy sitting next to you. What did you do to let him know that you liked him or --

MH: Well, I didn't have that feeling. He has a service station in Hood River now. So every time I go, I drive, I don't go there very often, but I always gas up at his place. But he's never there. He has helpers there, but I go to Nobi's.

AC: I was thinking more about all the Nisei women who were in the community there. How did you let the boys know that you were interested in them?

MH: There were, there was very few of us that really... we just didn't, we just didn't mix. We know, I know he was in my class or he was in the class above us, but we never had the personal feeling.

AC: And you didn't date outside of the community?

MH: No. The only time I got to go to dances, they used to have dances, and my brothers, older brothers would go, so Dad would let me go, so we went to dances and that, we danced but just for fun. I was kind of lucky to go because a lot of the girls couldn't go. But because I had brothers that go, Dad would let me go with them.

AC: So all the other Nisei girls who didn't have brothers who went to the dance, they couldn't go?

MH: They couldn't go, huh-uh. You know, the parents were quite strict those days.

AC: So what else do you remember from your school days? What is your fondest memory from school?

MH: High school? Grade school? I studied hard, and I don't know. We had, we went every day and did our stuff.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

AC: So was the Japanese community very strong in Hood River?

MH: Yes. We had a Japanese hall, and we'd have, oh, can I mention my minister and my sensei? Okay. We had Reverend Isaac Inouye who was the minister of the Methodist church. We didn't have what you'd call a church, but we had services at the community, Japanese community hall. And he also was a Japanese language teacher. So of course, our parents had us go to Japanese school, so I learned some Japanese. It's too bad because when you don't use it, you forget. When my parents were still living, I could write to them in hiragana which is not the kanji, few kanji, but it's hiragana, I used to write to them. But after they passed away, you have no use of writing it. So when I was going to go to Japan with my sister, I thought I should write to my relatives that I was going to be coming, and you even forget the hiragana. I had to bring out the dictionary to, it's something you just don't use, you forget. But anyway, he taught us Nihongo. I went to Sunday school should I say at that church at that hall, and it was Pearl Harbor Day when we were meeting at the hall. It was just that morning. We were trying to raise, we had outdoor toilets, so we were trying to have a program to raise money so that we can have an indoor toilet. Pearl Harbor struck. Oh, we all had to go home, and I understand. I was out of school then, but my brother was still going to high school, and I understand the principal had the Japanese kids in a room and had a little, I don't know what you call it, but talk to them. And as you know, after Pearl Harbor, we couldn't go more than five miles, had to be in our homes at 8 o'clock, so I took us to the grocery store. My brother, he'd go out, and he'd barely make it home. But restrictions went right in then. And then of course, FBI came in. And like your friend said, Mr. Akiyama was taken, Mr. Yasui was taken, you probably heard of his family, and Mr. Watanabe was taken. Three men were taken from our community.

AC: And these were taken because they were leaders in the community?

MH: Leaders of the community, especially Mr. Yasui. Mr. Yasui was versed in English, so most of the Isseis, they didn't know enough for legal things and everything. So when a baby was born, Dad would go down to Mr. Yasui and register the birth or if he had different problems. Mr. Yasui did a lot for the Isseis.

AC: So going back to your Sunday school, was that also a Japanese school also or that was separate, just a bible study Sunday school?

MH: It was, it was us Niseis that went to the Sunday school, and I really have to give Mr. Glass my respect. He was a Baptist, but he came to our hall and gave us Sunday school classes. And so last Monday, we have what we call a lighthouse, and they said, "Who had the most influence on you to become a Christian?" and I would say Mr. Glass.

AC: Why is that, just because he took the time?

MH: Every Sunday, he gave us classes. He gave us scriptures from the Bible which we, I still remember John 14. We memorized it. And besides Reverend Inouye who was our minister, but I give credit to Mr. Glass.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

AC: So was Mr. Glass Sunday school, when Pearl Harbor was bombed, how did you find out that Pearl Harbor was bombed?

MH: I really don't know. It must have come over the radio or something, so we all went home.

AC: How did you feel?

MH: At that time, I wasn't quite an adult, I guess I should say, because I had just got out of high school. I just felt like, oh, that's a stupid thing for Japan to bomb United States. But I didn't give it too much thought. No, I didn't until we found out we had to leave home.

AC: And how did you find out? How did the orders come to you that you had to leave?

MH: Okay. You know, there was placards all over town in different, and of course, our JACL was kind of active helping, we had to get rid of our stuff and everything, so the JACL, we got together, and we tried to, they tried to help us families with that. So we were knowing that we had to leave, but we didn't know when until Roosevelt gave his...

AC: What was the feeling in the Japanese community about Roosevelt when he issued the order?

MH: Well, he was the President, and of course, he's the President of the United States. He had to do what he had to do, but we had to be the scapegoats. And you know, it's funny. I see these notices. It will say a certain group of people will be evacuated from the West Coast, this and this and this, and I still don't see "Japanese" on there. It says certain group. Of course, we know it was us, and General Dewitt was in charge of the Western Defense Command at that time.

AC: The JACLs all cooperated with the, helped you guys get organized?

MH: Yeah. They tried to cooperate. And of course, some of the Japanese thought JACL was stepping out of hand. But they were trying to help, but they couldn't do anything about us going away.

AC: Did you even know where Pearl Harbor was at the time of the --

MH: Yes.

AC: You did?

MH: Hawaii, uh-huh. And I'm surprised they didn't evacuate the Hawaiians when they evacuated the Japanese on the West Coast of the United States. But Hawaiians weren't evacuated, and there's a lot of Japanese over there.

AC: So how did you feel when all of a sudden you realized you had, were you given two weeks' notice to leave?

MH: Well, Dad had to find somebody to take care of our orchard. We had to find someone to, where to put our possessions. We were lucky because we had our place, and we thought we, there was an upstairs to our house, so we tried to put some of the furniture upstairs and locked it up there. But a lot of families had a hard time because they didn't know where to do with it. And the government says we have a place where you can send your stuff, but you had to crate it and ship it, and it took money to do that. And I heard a lot of it was looted after they'd come back, so it was a problem. What are we going to do with our possessions? And also, their land, a lot of the Japanese in Hood River did own orchards like my father, so they had to find somebody to take care of it, and we had a good neighbor, thank goodness.

AC: Do you remember anyone by the name of Reverend Vergoine?

MH: Vergoine?

AC: Vergoine.

MH: He was not, he did not know us. He came to the Methodist church after we were evacuated. But he was an understanding person, and I suppose you know that he won the Jefferson Award. He was sent to Washington, D.C. because he stood up for the Japanese. But he didn't know us at the time. We met him after we came home. I know Reverend Vergoine and his wife. But I have to give them credit because he didn't know any of us before because he came after we were evacuated.

AC: After all the Japanese were gone --

MH: Yeah, we were all gone.

AC: And he still stood up and spoke on your behalf?

MH: Right, right, right. They awarded him the Jefferson Democracy Award or whatever, yeah.

AC: So did you have any family possessions or heirlooms that you had to lock up in your attic essentially?

MH: My family didn't have too much heirlooms or anything like that, but we did put as much as we could in that one bedroom up there. So I can't remember what we did with our car or anything. I can't remember that, but maybe we just kept it at the orchard because so many people who lived in the city and who rented had to just sell everything, and those Caucasians were waiting for the Japanese bargains, you know. It was a big loss.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

AC: So when you were evacuated, where did you go?

MH: How did we go?

AC: No. From the orchard, where did you go when you evacuated? How did you get there?

MH: Okay. Our neighbor took us on a truck down to the train depot, and of course, we could carry only, take only what we can carry, you know. So the folks had to get sheets and blankets and pillows together, clothes, our clothes, and he took us down to the train depot, and it was on those troop trains that they transported soldiers. There were soldiers with guns guarding us. They pulled down the blinds. We didn't know where we were going. In fact, I had friends in Portland, and we thought we'd go to the Portland International Livestock Exposition which wasn't very comfortable I don't think, but we kept, I kept writing to them. I said, "Maybe we'll meet in the same camp." They sent us clear to California. They called it Pinedale which is near Fresno, and of course, we're from a temperate climate, and it was hot. And I really felt sorry for this lady. She had high blood pressure, and because of the heat, she passed on. I remember making paper flowers for the service. One child, he was about ten, he was playing softball. He got hit on the nose with the ball and bled to death because there wasn't too much medical help there. You just remember those things. And I might as well tell you. When we got to Pinedale, we got off the train and got on the bus and took us to the camp, and we all had a family number hanging on our neck. And they give you an apartment assignment, and then they give you a sack, canvas sack, and they said, "Go over there and fill it with straw." That was our mattress. That was the temporary, but we did that. We stayed there three months, then they sent us to the internment camp which was Tule Lake.

AC: So when you were there at Pinedale, were there guards around also?

MH: Uh-huh, barbed wire fence, guards, towers. And they built these, well, this was temporary. This is what they call assembly center. Portland was assembly center. Race tracks in Puyallup and race tracks and fair grounds in California were all assembly centers. They didn't have time to build the internment camps. They evacuated us before that. So I still remember at Pinedale, there was no buildings like a race track or anything like that, so they had the barracks up, but they didn't have these toilet holes. So all day and night, we hear the jackhammer, and it was a hard pan, and you know, trying to dig a hole for toilets. We stayed there three months.

AC: So where did you stay? I mean they had barracks, so --

MH: Uh-huh.

AC: Can you describe a barrack to me?

MH: Yes. It's army barrack with black tarpaper sectioned off in different apartments, and family gets one apartment. They gave us a cot and army blankets. And that was summer, so we didn't need a stove. But in Tule Lake, they gave us a coal burning stove. And in Tule Lake, they issued us 19, let's see, World War I jackets, peacoats and army jackets that were kind of red and black plaid with the elastic on the bottom. So we all had a jacket to wear because it got cold. We had to work. We all had to work, keep the camp going.


AC: Okay. You had mentioned that when you're in Pinedale that this older woman just collapsed --

MH: She died.

AC: And this young boy got hit in the face and he bled to death. Was there no medical attention at all?

MH: Well, there might have been little because even in Tule Lake and Heart Mountain where I went, they used the Japanese doctors and nurses. But when we went to Pinedale, it was just, all of a sudden that, evidently, they can save him, her, I don't know about her but him. I thought if they could stop that hemorrhage, they could have saved him.

AC: And so you were there for three months?

MH: Uh-huh.

AC: It was hot, dusty --

MH: Uh-huh.

AC: And what were you thinking? What did you do for three months there?

MH: Well, when we went to camp, we're used to privacy. We go to the bathroom, and we shut the door and everything. But we got, we had to take common showers and common latrines. At first, it was very hard for us and especially the Issei women I would say. But pretty soon, you just think, well, we're all the same so let it all hang out. [Laughs] What else could we do if you have to go, you know?

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

AC: And from Pinedale, they shipped you out to Tule Lake?

MH: Tule Lake.

AC: How was that? How did it go from Pinedale to Tule Lake?

MH: Ah, I can't remember whether we went on the train or whether we went on the bus. But Tule Lake is one of the internment, one of the ten internment camps that government built, and I'm surprised that they built two internment camps on the California, on the Western Coast where we were evacuated from Manzanar and Tule Lake. The rest was inland of course. Okay. Tule Lake was a lake bed. It was sandy. During the summer, it was pretty hot. Winter, it got cold. That's where we spent most of our time, I spent most of my time. After the two questions that came up, our family went to Heart Mountain, but I didn't stay in Heart Mountain that long. But in Tule Lake is where I spent most of my time. It wasn't too bad. They started schools. They used Japanese doctors and nurses. But all the rest administration; libraries, schools, whatever, they brought in Caucasians. They didn't use Japanese school teachers or librarians or whatever. They brought in Caucasians. Anybody who knew how to do anything like if I was an artist, I would start an art class. If a lady knew how to sew, she would start a sewing class. If anything a person wanted to do, you could start a class, and people would love to come because we had to do something besides work. They had movies into the mess hall for ten cents. We had dances with records. Jitterbug and swing was popular then. Sumo, the Isseis love sumo, so they had sumo. We had basketball teams, softball teams, baseball teams and played against the other blocks. We tried to keep busy and have fun too, you know. We all had to work, do something.

AC: Was your whole family with you at the time?

MH: When we evacuated, it was my father, mother and my older brother, me and my two younger brothers and sisters, so six of us I think. And at that time, my older brother was classified 4-C "enemy alien" at that time. All people who were supposed to be drafted was classified 4-C "enemy alien." Then of course, you know that after a couple of years, the army come in, and they made him 1-A and wanted them to volunteer to the 442nd. There was much controversy because the parents were in camp, and the boys were willing to go. But after all, I think when I have surveyed it, it's about 45,000 Niseis who volunteered to go to the army.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

AC: You said you had two other brothers who already were in the army?

MH: I had two brothers already, yeah. But my other brother who was 4-C wasn't drafted until we came home to Hood River. He went and my younger brother went, so we had four in the service.

AC: What happened, what were your two older brothers, where were they stationed?

MH: Where were they stationed?

AC: In the war. Where were they stationed in the war?

MH: Okay. My older brother, they sent the MIS people nine months of concentrated Japanese. They started in Presidio Monterey, went to Camp Savage and Fort Snelling in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and he was, during the war, he was in the different islands and questioned the Japanese they captured, the captured Japanese. My younger brother was in the, not younger brother, brother above me was in the army, so he went to Philippines, come home okay. But then when he came home, he went to school and was in the accident and died. After we went back, my older brother, my younger brother was drafted, so we had four in the service, and I need to mention this. But when you have fellows or people in the service, you're very proud to put a flag with stars on it, had four stars. This is after we went home. Big rock came through the window right by the flag. We had, even after we went home, we were, our family is one of the, what would you call pioneers to go home after camp because my older brother had gone home before the family had got out of camp, and so we met a lot of discrimination. We had to, Hood River was a, I don't know what happened to the American Legion, but you probably heard that the American Legion on the side of the courthouse, they had all the names of people who were in the service, and there were seventeen Japanese Americans in the service, and they tore off all the names there on boards. They took them all off. American Legion headquarters heard about that, and they said, "No, that is not right." So they had to tack them back on, and so you could see they were standing out. It was bad. I don't know why the American Legion, the leader was, they didn't want to have us back evidently. So can I talk about after we went home?

AC: Sure.

MH: Okay. Because my brother was one of the three fellows that went home to kind of survey everything, and so our family went out of camp and came home. I was in Salt Lake going to school, and so I went home. Well then, my brother was drafted and my younger brother was drafted, so I was the oldest in the family then, and my younger brother was still going to high school. My dad wouldn't drive the tractor or the car anymore, and so my brother and I had to learn how to drive and drive the tractor. And we were getting gasoline from Chevron, Standard Oil at the time, and after about a month, they said, "We can't give you anymore gas because we're going to lose our franchises in town." Well, they had a War Relocation Authority, WRA, in Portland where we could call and tell them our problems, so I had to call Mr. Borse and tell him Standard Oil is refusing to give us gas. Well, it took about a month before they worked with the headquarters in California, and then they were forced to deliver us gas. But we met a lot of discrimination when we first went home, and I feel like our family was probably one of the earlier ones that went home that kind of paved the way.

AC: So this was coming from headquarters of Standard Gas saying you will not give gas to --

MH: No. This was the local.

AC: The local franchise?

MH: Okay. Then when I checked with the WRA, they worked with the headquarters in California, and they said, "That's not right," so we got gas back. I don't know who, why people were so against us. I think it's economic. I think they didn't want us back because of money. It wasn't racial or anything. I think it was more money because we did lose a lot of money while we were in camp, you know. So when I talk about redress now, when I give my talk and talk about redress, this happened after the third generation worked hard at Washington and got us redress. And I said, "Whatever you do, whether you speed or whatever you do, it's money." Okay, they put us in camp, so then Reagan was the one who signed it, gave us redress. And by that time, a lot of our parents and the older folks had gone, so they didn't get it, but we who were still alive, children who were born in the internment camps received that money. And it seems like a lot of money, but we could have made much more if we would have stayed at home.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

AC: So going back to your time at Tule Lake, you had mentioned that you were there until the question --

MH: Two questions.

AC: The two questions came up, and that was in a specific... can you tell me more about that?

MH: It was called Question 27 and 28. Twenty-seven says, part of it was saying, "Would you serve in the service of the United States and defend your country?" Okay. That didn't, it wouldn't work with the Isseis because they didn't have citizenship. They didn't get, they weren't allowed citizenship until 1952 or '54, the Walter McCarran Act, so it didn't pertain to them. Twenty-eight said something about, "Would you foreswear all allegiance to the Emperor of Japan?" which didn't pertain to us. So both of those questions were very difficult to answer because it didn't, it just wouldn't work. So then they kind of changed it around. And so finally, if you say "yes-yes" to the two questions, you were to be sent away out of Tule Lake. They were going to keep Tule Lake as a "no-no" camp which means eventually, you would be sent back to Japan. So because we had two boys in the service, Dad says we better just get out of here, and so they sent us to Heart Mountain. But I notice I had families that said "no-no" and stayed at Tule Lake and still here. They didn't, they weren't sent back or anything. But I heard after we left, there was a lot of riots and different things that we didn't have when we were there.

AC: What do you remember of the "loyalty oath"?

MH: "Loyalty oath"? I don't know just what you mean.

AC: I guess, weren't they the, something about being, trying to maybe... when you went on to, these "no-no" people were stuck in Tule Lake, again, did they told you that they were going to be, sent back to Japan?

MH: They assumed.

AC: They assumed they would be.

MH: Uh-huh.

AC: And in, and when you went to Heart Mountain, was that another internment camp or what was that?

MH: Yes.

AC: And that was just because you said, okay. You said, "Yes-yes. Now we can move on. We're getting out of this place."

MH: Yeah.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

AC: And in Heart Mountain, how was it there?

MH: Okay. It was okay. It was near Yellowstone Park. We thought, "Oh boy, we're getting to the Yellowstone Park." But anyway, it was cold, real cold. And of course, with ten camps and 120,000, each camp would have had between 11 and 12,000 people. When the "no-nos" came to Tule Lake, there was more. Heart Mountain was cold and everything, but you know, when you were in camp, you could take leave, and a lot of the people took leave to go to college in the East or go for a maybe housekeeping job or some kind of job. So when I was in Heart Mountain, I thought I just want to go out of camp, and so my friend and I thought we'd go to Salt Lake City. It was... I tell you my life has, when I think of it, I was very lucky that I decided to do that because Dad didn't have any money, but he was getting an allotment from my brother who was killed in the accident, five or ten dollars. I can't remember now, but he said, "I'll give you that and you can go to Salt Lake," so I had that check every month. And then I went to, I registered at LES Business School because I liked to do that kind of thing. They gave us a choice of families where we could stay with, and of course Salt Lake is a Mormon town, so I stayed with this Mormon family. She had three boys. Her husband was in the navy, so I stayed with her, and she treated me very nicely. She gave me board and room, and she gave me three dollars a week. I helped her on Saturdays with different things. And then of course, Wednesday night when she went to her church class, I stayed with the boys. And so everything turned out okay because I got a degree or whatever from the business school. I started, can I go on with my life here? When I came here, I, you've heard of Oreida Foods which is Heinz now. I applied for a job over there. And first, they put me in the processing plant for three years, so I worked specking potatoes and different things. Then an office job came open, and so I applied, and so he said, "Go to the employment office and take a typing test," and I passed with honors, so he hired me. And so when I think of it now, I worked twenty-five years in the personnel office and administrative assistant, and if I hadn't gone out of camp and got that education, I probably would have never got this job. So I just think everything falls in place in your life, and I worked there twenty-five years, and I retired before I was sixty-five.

AC: So you had mentioned when you were in camp that you went to movies, I mean, they had movies in the mess hall for ten cents. Were these just popular movies?

MH: Well, I can't remember now, but whatever we could see is entertaining, because we didn't have TV or we couldn't bring radios. So with the outside world was some of that newspaper we could get, but not very often. So it was good, gave us something to do, you know.

AC: You also had dances?

MH: Uh-huh.

AC: And so how was that? I mean you were a young girl --

MH: Oh, it was fun.

AC: -- and you had all these boys.

MH: Yeah, we had fun. [Laughs] Yeah, it was good.

AC: Now here it was, you had a very strong strict family and all of a sudden, you're in this camp now where all these other young kids --

MH: Okay. I'm glad you brought that out. It was hard for the parents to be strict with their children. We lived in an apartment, and as you can see, the wall hit the ceiling. But the wall just didn't come up that high, and so there was a space between the apartments, so you couldn't scold your kids very much or talk too loud or you know. Privacy was taken away from us. Although the kids, I suppose the little kids, they had a good time because they didn't have any responsibilities. You know, they became friends. And then my parents, I would say that they were their age that they were just about to retire and hand over the orchard to the boys, but that gave them a rest. But it wasn't just that. It was just to have to leave home, you know.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

AC: You said you also had to work?

MH: Yes.

AC: What did you do for work in the camps?

MH: Okay. Okay. I worked as a waitress. So every three meals, I go early, set the table, this and that. And afterwards, we have to clear the table, mop the floor, sweep the floor, mop the floor, wash the dishes, and go back to whatever you want to do. And then three times a day, we had to do that and received twelve dollars a month which we could go down to the canteen and buy toothpaste or toilet, soap or whatever you needed. And sometimes, we'd get word that new material would come in. Oh, we all go down there. And so within two weeks, you find maybe a new blouse or new dress or new skirt or whatever by same pattern, but we didn't care. It was all new, you know. So we had a little spending money, should I say.

AC: What kinds of things did you eat?

MH: Oh, army food. Every day, the truck would bring food to every block, every mess hall. So if you had a cook that could figure out, like if he brought, they brought a chunk of beef, maybe one mess hall would have roast beef, the next might have stew. You know, he can vary it by using the same ingredients, and we had a pretty good cook in our mess hall.

AC: Everyone was assigned to a specific mess hall?

MH: Each mess hall had a cook.

AC: Right. But you were assigned, you had to eat in a specific mess hall?

MH: Yeah. We had to stay in our block. Some of the boyfriends would come and want to eat in your block, but they get frowned on because you're supposed go back to your block because food is assigned for so many people. This is, when he mentioned tongue, this is the first time I ate tongue, heart. We had a lot of Vienna sausage, apple butter, different things that the army would eat, and so we learned to eat it. Of course, we were Japanese, so they gave us rice sometimes which was good. We appreciated that. And one time, I guess this guy found a snake, and I guess snake meat supposed to be pretty good, but when you think of it as a snake and it's long, you know. [Laughs] But I didn't, we didn't complain about our food. And my father was saying some people complained about the food, and he said, "I bet you they didn't have all this stuff at home." But, and then they had a farm out in Tule Lake. It was a lake bed, and so the land was really good. And my father worked out in the farm, and I don't know if you ever heard of these, we call them naba, but it's kind of orangeish, yellowish mushroom, and he would get that and bring it home. So when he brings that home, then we could cook in our little, we never cooked in our apartment, but we did have a hot plate. And so we go to the mess hall and get our rice and whatever, and then we cook that, and we had a private dinner. [Laughs]

AC: So your father was allowed to go out and go to the vegetable --

MH: They took them out in trucks. They took them out in trucks, and they provided lunch. And so I don't think, they just provided vegetables, Tule Lake, but sent them to the other camps. Rutabaga is something I learned to eat. They raised rutabagas, parsnips, different vegetables they raised out there. So they got to go out of camp. Of course, they had a guard, you know.

AC: Did your brothers and sisters also work?

MH: They all worked except my younger sister and my younger brother. They went to school. But everybody had to work either in P.E. or garbage collector or whatever work there is to be done.

AC: And you said they also had sumo tournaments?

MH: Yes.

AC: Tell me about that.

MH: I have never gone. Dad used to go. You know, I wasn't interested in that, but Dad loved to go. So middle of the camp, they would have a sumo tournament or whatever.

AC: And so when you went to, from Tule Lake to Heart Mountain, did you also work at Heart Mountain?

MH: Did I work? I don't think I was there that long that I even tried to work.

AC: Okay.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

AC: Then so after, so you got a leave to go to Salt Lake City to go and study business. How long were you on leave and how long did it take you to get that degree?

MH: Okay. While I was still going to school in Salt Lake, my folks had gone home. The camp closed.

AC: Oh, so this is at the end of the war?

MH: After the war. A peace was signed in August, and the government says in December of this '45, you must all leave. Okay. That caused a problem for many of the people. They didn't know where to go. Many of the people rented land in California and Washington, and I don't know about Oregon, but they didn't know whether to go back to see if they could farm or not. And so if, it really was a problem, problem to leave home, but this time, problem to where to go. I know there was a big processing plant in Seabrook, New Jersey, who took a lot of Japanese over there. My friends, some of my friends went there. If you had relatives in some of the towns, then you would go there. So they had to decide where to go, and my in-laws, I wasn't married at that, my in-laws came here because they had a friend who was here. So when my husband was in the MIS also before I married him when he came back here. This is where I got married in Hood River, but this is where I lived. And like I told you, I've lived here more years than I did when I grew up.

AC: So you, one of your older brothers went back to your place in Hood River?

MH: Uh-huh.

AC: Which one was that, out of the service?

MH: Uh-huh.

AC: So he was discharged?

MH: Yeah. All my brothers came home. So two of my older brothers has passed on. My brother above me has passed on. I have a younger brother that passed on. Out of eight, we have three left. I am the oldest, and I have a brother-in-law, but he had a sister in Coos Bay.

AC: So he came back. He opened up the farm. What, and then your parents went back to the place after. Then you were still going to school?

MH: So I went back.

AC: After school or, so did you finish school?

MH: After Salt Lake, I went back to Hood River because my brother said, "I think I'm going to be drafted. You better come home." So when he was drafted, I wasn't, I didn't know too much about orcharding or anything. Dad did, so it was kind of hard. I had to take care of the expenses. I had to write the checks. It was kind of hard for me, but good experience.

AC: So this was your older brother who was drafted? He had served in the military before?

MH: No.

AC: No. This is the one who was --

MH: Second brother.

AC: Second brother.

MH: My oldest brother was in or still in there. Then my second brother was 4-C. They made him 1-A.

AC: Tell me about him. So all of a sudden, now, they were going to form the 442nd, and he was drafted into the army?

MH: Uh-huh.

AC: Do you know what his, what happened to him?

MH: I really haven't followed, he was, I don't think he was in the 442nd, I don't think he was. But anyway, he and my younger brother both were drafted, went into the army.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

AC: And so what did your parents find or what did you find when you moved back home? You've gotten all your belongings, you put them up in this room, you locked it away, you let the farm out to be taken care of by neighbors --

MH: Uh-huh.

AC: What did you discover when you came back?

MH: It was okay. Sometimes I would want something out of that room, and I would write to my neighbor and he would send it to me, you know. But we were lucky we had a place that we put our stuff, so we still had our original, some of our original furniture.

AC: And so what changes did you notice in your parents as a result of the war?

MH: After they came back? Like I told you, my dad wouldn't drive or drive a tractor or drive a car.

AC: Why was that?

MH: I don't know. He just wouldn't. That changed him. He knew how to farm, you know. So between my younger brother and me, we kind of ran that farm until my brothers came home. Of course, we had a good neighbor that kind of helped us.

AC: And you're still running the two orchards?

MH: We were running the one we moved to, and I think finally Dad sold that place up there. But I still remember, he used to go early in the morning and work a couple of hours and come back, and we'd all eat breakfast, and he'd already got two hours of work already, and he did that. Right now when I think of my parents... and being a woman, I think more of my mother, what she went through. You know, she didn't have any conveniences. She had all of us kids. She had to work out in the field. I don't know how they did it, but she developed heart, her heart went out, and so she passed on before Dad.

AC: While, while you were in Hood River?

MH: In Hood River, yes. I was here.

AC: How did you meet your husband?

MH: Well, it's ironic. I knew him before I even went to camp. They used to have what they call a basketball tournament. It was in Gresham at the time, so Portland, Hood River, Auburn and another town in Washington all came together for a basketball tournament. And of course after our basketball, we had dances and dinners and stuff, and I had met him. And what do you know, I go to Pinedale and there he was. [Laughs]

AC: So you met him in Pinedale again?

MH: Yeah, and Tule Lake.

AC: Oh, he was also, so did you date when you were in Tule Lake with him?

MH: Uh-huh.

AC: So what did you do, here you are in a camp?

MH: Well you know, you visit, you play cards, and you might go to a dance or like that. Then he went in the service, and he was in the MIS, Military Intelligence Service. He was in Tokyo after, he was in Philippines and then Japan surrendered, and so he was sent to Tokyo. And it's a farce, but he had to listen to the Tojo trials, you know. And then he, I don't think he visited his relatives. But anyway, he served. And then when he came back, we got married.

AC: All this time during the war, you knew you had a sister who was in Japan?

MH: Yeah.

AC: And you know we were at war with Japan, and we were bombing Japan, how did you feel?

MH: Yeah. I just happened to be working in Portland. After my brother came home, I took a job in Portland, and my father called and said he finally got word that Masako had been bombed in Nagoya, fire bomb, and so they were coming, they were Buddhist, so they were coming to Portland for a memorial service. So he told me to be at that service at a certain day and certain time. And you know, how he found out my sister died is because my boyfriend was in Tokyo. So Dad wrote to Harold -- his name is Harold -- and wrote a letter to my uncle, so he sent this letter on to my uncle. My uncle wrote back to Harold, Harold back to my father and said Masako was bombed, and that was about two and a half years after this happened. But that's how he found out, through my friend. And so she had a hard life I would say. She never got to live with her parents although she lived with her auntie, and war comes along and she gets bombed.

AC: Was she married at the time?

MH: Yeah. She had two children, three, three had died. So when I went to Japan, in Japan, they have a graveyard or whatever, cemetery, right near their place, so she's buried right in the uncle's or my dad's home place.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

AC: So your husband came, was discharged. He came back to Hood River?

MH: Came back here.

AC: Oh, to Ontario, and you continued to --

MH: Then we got married in Hood River, then I lived, come to live here.

AC: That's when you took the job --

MH: He worked on the farm and he farmed some, and I worked at Oreida.

AC: So you told me a little bit about the troubles that you've experienced when you came back from Hood River, to Hood River.

MH: To Hood River.

AC: The gasoline, the brick through the window. Anything else happened to you when you were there?

MH: Well, it's funny. My neighbor was a German descent lady, and she'd take this dollar, and she'd go to these different stores. She's quite a lady. "This dollar good here?" Of course, the store would say yes. She would just, kind of mocking them because if it was my dollar, maybe they wouldn't honor it, I don't know. But we were lucky. We had a Safeway store where we would get our groceries. That was one place where we could go. We knew that if we go to Safeway, we can get groceries. We didn't try any other grocery store.

AC: So how was it when you moved from Hood River to here, to Ontario?

MH: When I had to leave my home? Oh, happy times because I got married, and I could still go visit, we visit, while the folks were living, we went to Hood River a lot. You know, when our children was born, we'd take them and show them. We went back and forth a lot, and I still go. Our families are kind of unique I would say. The children are, some of them had decided we have a get together, and for three times a year, we get together if you want to go. They have a golf tournament, a bowling tournament, and a camp out. And I don't golf, so I don't go to the golf, but I had just gone a couple weeks ago to the bowling tournament. It was in Portland. It's kind of a reunion, and I could see the kids growing up, and so we're very lucky. We do that three times a year if you want to go. We have a camp out at Lost Lake in Mount Hood in the summertime. It's nice, yeah.

AC: So when you moved out here to Ontario and Japanese American out here, how were you treated?

MH: Okay. We were, I came later, but some of the ones that came earlier like maybe George Iseri and some of these people did meet some discrimination. My husband, he came from out of camp. I wasn't married to him. He came out of camp to work in Homedale in Fruitland, and the people who used him like topping beets or picking peas or whatever, treated him good. Okay. Saturday night was a treat night, and they'd take him to town like in Ontario or Payette, and they met some discrimination. But the farmers were welcoming them because they needed help, and then they could make extra money. In camp, you don't have that much, so they could buy a few things that they could take back.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

AC: So when you arrived here in Ontario, you had your family. Was there a Japanese American League here?

MH: Yeah, JACL. There's a Snake River JACL and Boise Valley JACL which is right across the river. I think it's called Nampa Boise. They're not too active, but the Snake River JACL here is, the third generation has taken over, and it's quite active and we support them.

AC: And so did you, when your children were born, were you, did a lot of things to keep them tied to the Japanese community?

MH: I think church, there's a Methodist church over here and the Buddhist church here. Church, we used to take them to church. But as far as when they were young, there wasn't any, what you call, Japanese things for the younger folks. For us, there were but not for them.

AC: I guess when did the thoughts of redress first begin to surface?

MH: I understand it was the third generation that decided this was not right. The Niseis did not, third generation, so there is a Ujifusa from Wyoming who was very active, and so I didn't think we'd ever get anything. I just figured, but we were lucky that they lobbied and got us this redress.

AC: And how did the community feel once redress had been achieved?

MH: Say that again?

AC: What was the general feeling in the community after redress had been achieved?

MH: Before it was passed, there was this gentleman, I know him. He ran for county councilman, and he was elected. But anyway, at that time, he had this pickup and he had this huge board which said, "The Japanese should not receive this money." Then of course, we had an election and he was elected. And I don't know what he's thinking, but I personally did not vote for him. [Laughs] And he is saying, in the paper, he's saying we shouldn't help the Four Rivers Cultural Center, and I am on the board, and I feel that we need all kinds of help from the city to keep that place open. But I notice he said Four Rivers doesn't have to have that, so I hope the other councilman disagrees with him.

AC: So Bill Hasegawa --

MH: Are you talking about Mr. Hosokawa?

AC: Hosokawa, Bill Hosokawa was named, the Nisei as the "quiet Americans." How did redress changed that? I think the attitude change, did that attitude change for the Nisei after redress?

MH: I don't think it's just redress that changed. I don't think it is. I think it's just, like when you go back to Hood River now, you never know what all happened. You just never know it because everybody's getting along okay. But in order to achieve that, some of us had to go through some of these hardships. But I don't think it's only redress that did it. I don't think so. People are people, you know.

AC: What do you mean by that?

MH: We're all good. There's good in everybody. And sometimes you have a leader that is not good, and they kind of go we him, but most people are good. There's some good in anybody. So if you just think that way, we'd get along.

AC: Yeah. We've talked about all kinds of things. Is there anything that we haven't talked about that you'd like to talk about?

MH: I don't know whether it's in this interview, but like I told you, I have been asked to talk about evacuation and internment by many groups, and I'm fortunate they do ask me; civic groups, high school, grade school, and even now at the Four Rivers Cultural Center, the schools bring their classes. I just had one Wednesday to a high school group, and I always tell them, I says, "I'm very happy to tell you about my experience because I don't want it to happen to anybody ever." I say when the Iran crisis came on, I worried about them, but it just kind of passed over. So I think it was war hysteria that did it. You know, it's all of a sudden this happened, and we were thrown into camp, and it was a lot of big expense for the government too, to build these camps and keep us going. But of course, we lost our income because we had to leave our places.

AC: Do you see parallels between Pearl Harbor and 9/11?

MH: No. No. It's a different situation that Pearl Harbor was nation to nation. 9/11 is terrorism, and we're still fighting it, facing it. You don't know.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

AC: So tell me more about what do you, when you're asked to go and speak to people, what is the thing that you want to leave people with as far as --

MH: With my talk?

AC: Yeah.

MH: I just tell them about what happened and our experience in camp, and I describe what was in camp and different things. But it's just that I want them to know what happened so that it won't happen to anybody ever.

AC: What kind of reactions do you get from students?

MH: Well, it's, they don't say too much after I talk. They might have a question or two, but they don't say too much. I really don't know. But when I talked to one grade school class, we have a lot of Hispanics in class. And so after I finished my talk, the teacher would say, "What do you think, kids, if Joe and so and so was taken away from our, from this class?" You know, she kind of says that. And they said, no, you know. So they sort of react to my talk I would say. And it might be good for the little kids to know that. It's kind of hard to talk to little kids. You don't know how much they're absorbing. But I have talked to grade school kids. I've talked to civic organizations. I've talked to a lot of, at first, I was doing quite a bit. Lately, it's just maybe classes that come to the Four Rivers Cultural Center and they ask me, so I'm glad to do that.

AC: Well, looking back over all your entire experience of your entire lifetime now, what lessons have you learned about living in America?

MH: Say that again?

AC: All the things that you'd experienced in your entire lifetime, what conclusions or lessons have you come to about living here in America?

MH: Okay. I thought many, many times how thankful I am that Dad and Mom came to America and have us become American citizens because when I visited Japan and have gone there about three times now and it's good to meet the relatives and see how they're living, but it's such a crowded country and living in small homes and all this kind of thing. And I'm just so thankful that my parents came here, and we can become American citizens, live in this free country if you want to call it that. So I tried to do the best I can to not only take but give, and we're here to help our fellow people, and a lot of people won't, they don't volunteer for anything. They don't do anything, and I just think, no. I volunteer a lot. I do a lot of volunteering.

AC: And that's how you give back to the community?

MH: I tried to give back to the community, get to know the people. In fact, we're lucky in this small community. We all kind of know each other, and so I don't know if you heard of the Help Them to Hope, but it's gone on for years that we collect money, toys, and food and give to the people who are not quite so blessed as we are. And so there's good things going on in this community.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

AC: So what kinds of other volunteer work do you do to help --

MH: Okay. I work two days at the senior center back here where they serve Meals on Wheels and also meals, and I serve Tuesday and Wednesday there. I take the money and count it and do that. I volunteer Saturday afternoons which is today, but I got excused because of the parade. I go to the, help in the museums, sell the tickets, and take them to the museum. I help at our church. Yesterday, we sent out our bulletin. I do fun things too. I play bridge. I belong to a couple of clubs, and we have what we call another group that we play Shanghai which is a card game with a little money on it, and I like bingo. So I also enjoy things too. I'm by myself, and I don't like to stay at home too much. I must tell you about my husband.

AC: Please do.

MH: He was, we were on the farm, and I don't know what happened, but he was in a farm accident. It's been sixteen years now, and he passed on. And so when I figure how long we were married, it was about forty-two years that we were together. And I told you, he is, was very active in judo. He had a fifth degree black belt. He helped a lot of people, very disciplinary. He left a lot of friends for me.

AC: So you said very disciplinary with the children and how he lived his life?

MH: Uh-huh, yeah. We went to a lot of the kids' programs and sports events. You know, my son played baseball, and so we work hard all day out in the field, hurriedly take a shower, and go down to the baseball field. And sometime, he'd be pitching and sometime he'd be sitting on the bench, but we don't care. We just went down and watched him. So I encourage these families now that raising kids, I says, "As long as they're doing something, go. Before you know it, they're gone."

AC: And where are your children now?

MH: Like I said, Steve is in Sacramento. He's an OB/GYN. I think he's practiced for over twenty years now in Sacramento. My daughter is the manager at REI in Redmond, Washington. She's just finished her thirtieth anniversary. I was surprised, and the company gave her a beautiful pin with two diamonds on it. Her employees gave her a surprise party, and she's still at it, but she is good. She's good with people, and she loves her company. The company is a good company that has treated her good. And then Steve has two children. This is my grandchildren. They're both adopted; Tommy, who graduated from high school this year, I went to the graduation, and then Kimmy, his daughter, will be graduating next year, and I'll be going down there. Arlene has a daughter. She's thirteen, and she goes to not a public school, but it's a school that is funded by the state, and it's called, what they call, they concentrate on environment, so they go out a lot, you know. And so I have three grandchildren and lucky that I have these two kids.

AC: So if your father were here today and he looked upon seeing you, you and your life, your grandkids --

MH: Right.

AC: What do you think he'd say?

MH: I think of that a lot. My father would be very proud, and I'm going to name all the people who, the grandchildren who achieved so much. Okay. He has a doctor and he has a dentist. He has about four, no, more than that, six pharmacists, manager of REI. Of course, some of these pharmacists come home to take care of the orchards though. I would call them orchardists. What else? Secretary, very professional secretary. Dad and Mom will be proud of the grandchildren. They all have good jobs, good homes, more than any of us would see.

AC: And you're still, someone still running the family farm?

MH: What?

AC: And someone is still running the family farm?

MH: Yes, my nephew, my nephew, my oldest brother's son. He had three daughters and a son, so the son took over, and same with my second brother. His son has taken over, but they're having a hard time in Hood River. Fruit is, apples, they import, and they're having a hard time. Pears and cherries is what's keeping them, apples, they're pulling out all the Red Delicious apples and all the apples that used to be, popular, putting in different varieties. Farming is hard, even here, so many of the Sanseis who took over their dad and mom's farm is quitting. They can't make it, cost so much to raise those onions and sugar beets and potatoes. But I feel for the Sanseis because we who are Niseis don't have any kids to take care of. You know, we can kind of get along, but the Sanseis still have kids going to school and high school and college that they need to do something. They got to fall back on something. Some, they have degrees, but I don't know about jobs, you know.

AC: Is there anything that we've talked about that you'd like to revisit or add more to?

MH: I think I've told more than my life than, maybe more than I should have. [Laughs]

AC: Okay, one last question. Looking back over all your experiences, I guess what advice would you give to your grandchildren and your great grandchildren?

MH: What I would give to them? Well, one thing is I believe in the Lord, and I hope that my grandchildren would go to church and become believers of Christ. I just wish them happiness, success in what they're doing. I always tell people, some people say, what are you doing? He says, "I got this dumb job, but I don't like it," and I think, "Oh, why do they do this job if they don't like it because money isn't everything." Do what you like to do because you can do it good. If you don't like it, you can't do it good. But I've heard so many people, "I don't like my job," you know.

AC: Have you always done what you really like to do?

MH: Yes, yes. I've always been wanting to be a secretary, and I got there. And I felt like every time I got my check, I earned it because I worked hard. I worked hard at it. I hardly miss, my husband, I got a little headache. "Stay home." I said, "No. If I don't go, it puts a hardship on the other person," so I hardly missed. Sometimes, the weather might do it. I know one morning, I started out and rained, and the rain just froze on the ground, so I thought, well, I better not proceed on to Ontario. So I turned and went to my friends, and I said, "Can I stay here a while?" And said sure. So I waited until about 10 o'clock, and then I said, "I'm going to go out, and I don't know whether I'm going to turn to Ontario or whether I'm going to turn home." Well, it wasn't too bad, so I came to work. That day, everybody was pretty late. But you know, it's better to be safe than sorry. And yesterday morning, it was pretty slicky, so when I talked to Tim, he said, "The road is okay," and I find the road is okay.

AC: Well, thank you so very much for taking the time and speaking to us.

MH: No, thank you. I've enjoyed it.

AC: Oh, no. It's been our pleasure. Thank you so very much.

MH: Thank you.


<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

AC: In Tule Lake was this place were opened to the "no-nos," people answered "no" to questions 27 and 28 were sent, and you know, I guess generally we call that the "loyalty oath." What was the general feeling amongst the Issei and the Nisei about when this "loyalty oath" first came out?

MH: Okay. I might say this is not only Tule Lake. Every camp had these two questions. And when the two questions came up, I just thought, "What is the government trying to prove when they've already put us in camp? We're all put in there. What are they trying to prove?" And I think maybe they did that because they wanted the boys to volunteer to go into the army. And so like, it was really hard because, like I say, the Isseis could not receive citizenship. We were put into camp. The boys would say, "Well, why should I go when my family has to stay here?" You know, there was a lot of controversy, lot of controversy. And after all that happened, I'm surprised how many fellows volunteered to go. And of course like my family, I had two brothers already, so there was no question how my dad was going to answer that or we were going to answer that.

AC: But your brother was still drafted. He didn't volunteer. He was drafted.

MH: My older brother was drafted. My brother above me was volunteered.

AC: Right.

MH: So there's two different statuses in the army, I mean, in the service.

AC: There's the army of the United States and there's the United States Army, and how did your brothers feel about that distinction?

MH: About the what?

AC: You said the two different armies; one is the enlisted, people you drafted, and one is when you volunteer.

MH: Well, the one that was drafted, you can't help it. He had to go. The one who volunteered, I don't know what he was thinking, but he was still young, and he just wanted to go, and I admire him for that. He had just got out of high school, and you know, he wanted to go in the army.

AC: And your parents were --

MH: Little bit hesitant. But they said, "Okay, if you want to go." And that's where that allotment came, that brother that I got to go to Salt Lake.

AC: Because he went to the army, he was getting a small pension?

MH: Allotment.

AC: Allotment that he --

MH: Wasn't getting very much from the army either. My father think, "How can he send us this when he's not getting very much." But it was something he wanted the parents to have.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

AC: So when you, when your parents and your brother returned to Hood River and after you finished in Salt Lake you also returned, you had mentioned some of the troubles that were going on.

MH: Uh-huh.

AC: Can you tell me more about life, about that? I understand there was an Anti-Japanese League going on there?

MH: Yeah, you see these, in the newspaper, people signing this signatures on, I don't know what they're signing, but they were not for us. We had some dear friends though, but the majority was kind of anti to us.

AC: How did that make you feel?

MH: This is winter now. I've lived here all these years, and I've grown up here. Why do you feel that way? I just feel, what changes your feeling because we used to, when I used to go to school, I used to walk to school. And on the way home, there is a store, grocery store, and Dad or Mom will say, "You buy some hamburger or you buy something," and we used to trade with them. Well, they just turned right around after we were evacuated. I don't know what people think, you know.

AC: Did you ever go and talk to these people who were from before?

MH: No, no, I don't dare.

AC: Even after all these years?

MH: Yeah. Well, they're gone. They're gone.

AC: Also, you've mentioned that, there's the American Legion Honor Board where the seventeen Nisei --

MH: Uh-huh.

AC: What else can you remember about what was going on at that time with that board?

MH: Well, it came out in the Stars and Stripes. It came out in the Stars and Stripes. And I thought, "What is that American Legion thinking to take off those names? They're serving in the service just like their own son." It was just anti-discrimination. I don't know. You just wonder what people are thinking when they do something like that.

AC: Because your brothers' names were on that board?

MH: Yeah, two of them.

AC: And so how did you feel?

MH: Like I said, I don't know what they're thinking.

AC: And it didn't make, it wasn't in the local papers. It was just in the Stars and Stripes that came out?

MH: Yeah. They said it came out in the Stars and Stripes. So the guys in the service were thinking, "What's going back home anyway?" you know. They're questioning the acts of the people in Hood River. It was one of the worst places on the coast I would say, and we didn't do anything wrong. We just were sent to camp and left our homes, and I was glad there were seventeen people in the service already and more after that.

AC: So did you ever go down and look at this wall?

MH: Well, you can't help but see it. It's on the, against the courthouse wall. You drive through town, you can see it.

AC: So how did you feel when they put the names back?

MH: I thought, "Oh, good for the National American Legion of the United States." See, there's always someone who can correct wrong, there is, like the gasoline and like, but it takes time. And in the meantime, there's all that feeling, you know.

AC: So how did you deal with all those feelings?

MH: Well, I'm glad they had, they put them back up there, and I just feel that we didn't do anything wrong, and we're just innocent people, you know. But now, you go back, you never know that this happened. In fact, the Japanese are well respected in Hood River. I had a friend who was in the fire, firemen's group. He passed on, and I went to the funeral, and I think in that church, I don't know how many rows of pews it took for the firemen to sit. It was just, you know. It was a memorial to him.

AC: Again, you had mentioned your friend, Frank Hachiya.

MH: Uh-huh.

AC: And he passed away in the service of the country. Do you remember anything about the circumstances of his death at all or even how, I mean, where were you when you heard about the news?

MH: It must have been while we were in camp because he was killed in the Pacific where my brother was. To this day, we don't know whether he was shot by the Japanese soldiers or whether he was shot by the American. There's a question there.

AC: Do you know what he was doing at the time?

MH: No. He was probably doing what my brother was doing, being in interrogation. But you know, it was hard for the Niseis because they had Japanese face. They might have had American uniform on, but they all had the same faces of the enemy, and so whether it was them or us, we don't know. And it's unfortunate that he was taken. But of course, a lot of the boys gave their lives in Europe too. You know, George's brother, George Iseri's brother was killed in France.

AC: So your brothers, one of your brothers and your husband were also in the MIS?

MH: MIS, uh-huh.

AC: Did they ever speak about what they did?

MH: Well, my oldest brother didn't say too much about it. But my husband, he was in Tokyo, and so it's just a farce. When you lose or come to lose, then they're tried for, tried in a trial, and he had to participate in that. But when we went back to Japan when we visited after the war was over and we had taken a trip, he was trying to find the building that they were stationed at. He says, "Every morning, General Douglas MacArthur would come in. They'd all have to salute him." He was trying to find the building that they were built to that. But evidently, he was gone, but he was in Tokyo.

AC: And he wasn't deployed until after the war had ended?

MH: He was the army when the war ended. He was already in the army. And then they said because the war ended, then they sent him to Philippines and to Japan because there was no fighting now. But my older brother went through all that fighting in the different islands, you know.

AC: Did he say about where he --

MH: Yeah. The only thing that was bothering him, they called it "jungle rot." On his neck when it was hot, it would irritate and come out, but that was the only thing that he would talk about that he was suffering from his experience. Yeah.

AC: So anything else that you... we talked about all kinds of things. Is there anything that cropped up in your mind that you'd like to speak more about?

MH: Not really. I think I've told quite a bit about our family and my life, and I appreciate it.

AC: Oh, no, we really appreciate you taking the time and telling us in such vivid detail your extraordinary life. Thank you so very much.

MH: Thank you.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.