Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: Jim Onchi Interview
Narrator: Jim Onchi
Interviewer: Stephan Gilchrist
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: February 20, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-ojim-01

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

<Begin Segment 1>

SG: So, can you tell me what year, when you were born, and where you were born?

JO: I was born March 26, 1918, right here in Portland, Oregon, near 96th and Division which is, it's all building, new buildings down, I think Portland Adventist Hospital is there now, so, I don't know if I was born in a hospital or home, that I can't tell you.

SG: What was it like when you were growing up there?

JO: My family was a farming there, and that's all I can remember when I was growing up. Then we moved to Gresham, about 181st and Gresham. Family done the farming also there, and that's where I grew up most of the time.

SG: How old were you when you moved to Gresham?

JO: Oh, I can't exactly tell that part because I lost my dad when I was only thirteen, and that was one of the, 1932 was the worst Depression. It was the worst Depression in the world. And then I continued, my brother came back from Japan, and he was in Japan for seven year, came back, and we were kind of farming together with my mother. And meantime too, I went to school in Gresham area. Then I went to California also to work for a while. And before 1941, I believe somewhere, 1940, I guess, worked in Longview for a while logging, on a logging company. And of course, was 1942, I guess '41, December, the war broke out, December the 7th, and I was drafted into the army.


SG: You said you were born here in Portland, and your dad died when you were thirteen. And so what was, tell me more about your family, when you were a child.

JO: Well, of course, our time was, everything was done manually, and I remember working with a team of horses and harnessing them up, and we'd run the farm. We had a berry farm in what they call the Montavilla area. And so that was what my dad was doing and mother was farming, berry farming. And then we, of course, early before we moved to Gresham area, we had, we didn't have, I kind of remember we had tractors after going, moving to Gresham area, and my dad passed away just few years after we moved in Gresham. And so meantime, my brother came back from Japan after studying school over there, and my sister didn't come back. So in fact, she's still there in Japan now. So from there, we kept on farming in Gresham. When the war broke out why -- maybe I should go, say my dad passed away in 1932, and that was our worst year of Depression. So we went through that, and then we, family and I, we worked together, and my mother worked, that's all she did. She worked because she spoke little of English because she never did have opportunity to speak. She came over from Japan. My dad, my dad came from California. And in fact, he carried his buddy over, over the border of Mexico there because he wanted to get to United States, and so he carried him over the border, and he was over here working for railroad, I think. Then meantime, those early days, he was here alone and what they call a picture wedding. So my mother came over through the picture. And of course, my sister was oldest and my brother, George, was the second, and I was third, and then I got a younger brother, Joe. And all I can remember is the people from Japan, Issei people, worked hard. And then we moved to Gresham about, I don't know what year that is, but I remember when my dad passed away in 1932, so it was about couple years after him, we moved to Gresham. He passed away, and so my oldest brother decided to, he'd farm with my mother. And so that was 1940, 1939 or '41, worked in Longview, Washington, and for a while, and then I also worked in California for a while. Then the war broke out in December '41, I believe. And about four months later in March, I was drafted in army.

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

<Begin Segment 2>

SG: I'm going to ask more about your parents. Where did they come from?

JO: My parents, they both come from the Kumamoto-ken, Kyushu, the way southern part of Japan. And like I said, they got married through picture, and I have visited them, first trip was back in 1982. I saw my older sister first time in, first time in fifty-eight years.

SG: So your sister went back to Japan when she was young?

JO: Yeah. I was hoping that she'd come to United States back, but she just, she just won't come back. And it would have been better that way, but we went over there.

SG: How old was she when she went to Japan?

JO: She is now, I think she was around eleven year old. So not seeing her for fifty-eight years, you know, it is quite a big years apart. And then ten year later again, '80, 1988, I went back and saw her again. She still over there. So maybe I'm hoping that maybe I get over there again.

SG: Why did she, why did she end up going back to Japan?

JO: Well, she didn't go back. She was, brother, my oldest brother and older sister, my grandpa, I remember my grandpa took them over to Japan to learn schooling over there for seven year, and that was a promise they would come back. My brother, George, did come back. My sister didn't come back. And then meantime, my grandpa passed away in Japan, so sister kind of refused to come back leaving grandma there alone in Japan. So she stayed in Japan and raised, got married over there, raised seven children. So they're there, and so she just won't come back. And so that's why we have, I have a sister and my young brothers to the date now, you know.

SG: And your father was still alive when your brother and sister went back to Japan?

JO: Yes. My father was alive. And in fact, when my father was alive when my oldest brother came back after seven years, and he passed away soon after when brother come back from Japan, you know.

SG: Do you know what kind of work your grandparents did in Japan?

JO: They had farming over there and raised rice and stuff. I've been back there. And my oldest sister still had the place, and that's where they still live there now, yeah.

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

<Begin Segment 3>

SG: Can you tell me how your father passed away, what he died from?

JO: Well, of course, I was just a kid when I was thirteen, so I guess those early days when my mother make homemade liquor, you know, osake wine, already he's in the kitchen drinking before the sediment goes down, and I think that's one of the reason, I guess he got cancer in the stomach. And I remember my mom had, we'd go to hospital by streetcar because we didn't have a... we did have a car, but it was one of those Model T car and Model T, what it is Model T Ford, has the three pedals, and that's what we had. And that's when he passed away was in Gresham, had a lot of friends come over. They all decided to help us out because he kind of left a lot of debt. He goes to market, and he would maybe gamble and drink or something. But I remember he, the parents work hard, and that's all they did. They come home from work and just like us Nisei practically had to do the same thing. So after that, my mother was by herself. And my brother George, we kind of worked together in Gresham, you know.

SG: What was your relationship like with your father?

JO: Relation with who?

SG: With your father? How was your relationship with your father?

JO: My father?

SG: Yeah.

JO: My father and I got along fine. I remember one time go downtown Portland city, I want something, I put on the tantrum, he buys me stuff, and I remember that. They had a store there, Teikoku store and Furuya store, and I got along fine. In fact, I slept with my dad before he passed away, and my younger brother slept with my mother. That was right over here in Portland on 96th and Division. And there was an old house, and our bathtub was built right in the house, along the house, and we had to burn fire under the tub, homemade tub, with metal inside. And people would come from the highway, say, "Your house is on fire." No, it was our tub being heated from the bottom, so we could take a bath. And that was the only way you could take a bath.

SG: Japanese style bath?

JO: Yeah. It's a, you go in and take a bath up to your neck. I mean, it was, taking a bath was comfortable. I mean, what they call ofuro, and that's what we did. And then of course, I went to early, when I was living over here, went to Russellville School, and we had to walk. I believe Russellville School is there on Stark Street. And just recently, they tore it down about two years ago, and they got nothing but apartment there now. They built a big apartment. And that's, we had to walk that distance, and I went to school.

SG: Elementary school?

JO: It's a Russellville School, yeah. It's not there no more now.

SG: What kind of relationship did your parents have, your mom and dad?

JO: Well, of course, they wanted to go back to Japan, but I guess a lot of Issei people did come to United States thinking that they could accumulate and get better money, they could go back. But a lot of them couldn't do that, and that was same with our family, you know. And so they ended up staying here and farm, and we got along fine as a family. We had no electricity, of course. They had what they call kerosene burning lamp. So that's the way, and water was, I don't remember the water exactly, but when we moved in Gresham for a while, we had to use our well water. You shoot a bucket down the hole and pull the water up with a pulley, and that's where we got our water. So --

SG: Could you tell me more about, you said your father died, and then how did that affect your family after your father passed away?

JO: Those was one of the worst depressions, so I could never forget the people was very generous. They were just generous, and they kind of had a meeting. Like I said before, there was a lot of debt. So they helped us out, and we paid them ten cents to a dollar like. And they all helped us out because it just was my mother and my brother, George, and I, so, and my younger brother was only eight year old, I guess. I was thirteen, so he was about, around ten or twelve, I guess.

SG: And who helped you out?

JO: Well, we managed to keep farming, and I remember, well, the things, a lot of things that happened that's pretty hard to remember. We had to borrow some money again or something.

SG: Where did you borrow the money from?

JO: I can't say where it come, who, they're not here no more, so --

SG: Was there a special community organization?

JO: Bank went down too, I guess. There was no money in the bank. Of course, we didn't have to worry about that because we didn't have money in the bank. But we, that's why I had to work out. I had to work in Longview sawmill. Then my younger brother and I, we went to California for a while. And as the time went on, war broke out in 1941, I guess.

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

<Begin Segment 4>

SG: So you left, so you moved from Portland to Gresham, and then you and your brother left. How old were you when you left for California to help support your mom?

JO: Oh, that was in maybe, God, '36, '38, 1936 to '38. Then I worked in sawmill for a while, and that was, I remember work in sawmill in '39 or '41 because I kind of saved, I got a brand new Chevrolet for around, for a thousand dollar. And when I came back after the war the same year, the car was, you had to pay twice or three time more the same year car. That's how the price went up after the war. So, and that's when I went to service from there.

SG: What made you decide to leave your mom in Gresham to go to California?

JO: Well, it wasn't, just discussed with my brother, older brother, and he said he'll do the farming. And we worked down there, packing peas and stuff there, whatever they're growing down there. It was called Delano, California, you know.

SG: How was it? Was it difficult for you to leave?

JO: No. It wasn't difficult. We had some friend that we knew down there. So my brother and myself and there was another family we went with, was Kinoshita brothers, and we went down there, worked for a while. I don't know how many years, but we worked down there.

SG: And your mom stayed here in Gresham?

JO: Yeah. Mother and my oldest brother stayed and farmed on the farm, a lot of hard work. Horse, I had to harness up a horse, cultivator. I had to do all of that. I raised a lot of what they call broccoli cabbage, and then we had a little bit of berry farm. Then came the tractor, so I kind of remember running a tractor for a while, also, yeah, a farmer tractor.

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

<Begin Segment 5>

SG: So you would go to school, when you were young, you'd go to school and then come back. Tell me more about what your day was like when you were a child.

JO: Well, we had to go to school. We had to come home. We had to work right away. Those days, that's why I say we Nisei had to work just like the Issei did. So, otherwise, it's a regular hard work routine every day.

SG: How late would you work 'til?

JO: Work 'til late, sun up and sun down. Of course, when we got to Gresham, the bus, they had school bus too, so we didn't have to walk. I did when I was going to Russellville School over here in Portland, so --

SG: What was it like going to school here in Portland?

JO: What, Portland?

SG: Yeah. What was it like going to Russellville School?

JO: Well, we just start school. I remember I was only about six or seven when they, Grandpa came over and took my oldest brother and oldest sister to Japan, and that's about all I can remember. I don't, I must have been pretty young because I kind of remember time or two, teacher was carrying me around, you know. I wasn't in diapers going to school, but --

SG: Were there other Japanese kids at that school also?

JO: I believe there was. I remember like Mr. Bob Oga. He kind of died a little early. But his wife Chiz Oga, she just passed away just a few years ago, I guess. Then I, as far as others, they had Japanese school in Montavilla there. That's after moving to Gresham. I played baseball with, I don't know what they call that baseball, Mount Fuji baseball team, or, all the boys from Gresham area played in that. They all, like Kato brothers, they had five brothers; they all gone, Takeuchi brothers. So I played baseball for a while. And then I started my judo in Montavilla School there when I was around eight year old, and then I stuck with judo after that. Then I done a little bit of kendo for a while too. And I had to quit kendo because I couldn't keep up kendo and judo. So after ten year or so, I, with a family, I had to quit kendo, and I kept on doing judo.

SG: How often did you go to Japanese school?

JO: Early, the Japanese school was twice a week, and then I would go to judo twice a week. And that was when I was living in Montavilla there.

SG: What was it like going to Japanese school for you?

JO: Well, just try to, a class there, and I remember the Fukuda's name, Fukuda-sensei, teacher, and his wife, and Mr. Nakata-sensei. He was a dentist here. Of course, he passed away already too. And he's the one that started me doing judo, and I kept on doing judo after that which is, I'm still doing judo now. I kind of supervise it now. But I was, after marriage, I was involved in, after the war, the local tournament, national tournament. I've been a national referee, and now I'm a national coach. So I'm still kind of dedicated to judo, I guess.

SG: I'm going to ask you a couple more questions about Japanese school. Did you like going to Japanese school?

JO: Yeah. I was going Japanese school, but the thing is, living here in the States, you don't continue using Japanese school. Then when the war broke out, why there was no more Japanese school, none in Portland or anyplace. And I got to learn a lot of way of speaking, and then kanjis and all, but you never kept it up. So after the war, a lot of thing have changed. I wanted to keep up the culture and everything, but it was hard to do that. But I kept the judo up. So that's what I teach in judo is a lot to do with the discipline and the way, the culture and everything. That's my interest in judo.

SG: Did you speak Japanese with your parents?

JO: Yes. Well, we as Nisei, a lot of them had to speak Japanese because my mother never spoke English. So that's why we spoke, Nisei people will speak Japanese, most of us.

SG: And how about with your brothers and sisters?

JO: Well, among the brother and sister, we speak English. Of course, my sister never come back, so I have to speak Japanese to her because she doesn't know how to speak, she forgot all the English after going to school here maybe, she was thirteen, so she must have been at least around fifth or sixth grade. But when I went to see her after fifty-eight years, why, she never spoke Japanese, I mean, English no more. So she was hard to, of course, I had to speak Japanese when I visit her in Japan.

SG: What school did you go to in Gresham?

JO: I went to Gresham grade school, and then I had to work after that. The grade school is still there, and that's why I went to work in California and Longview and help my brother, my mother.

SG: What was it like for you? Did you, what was the experience like going to a school and being Japanese American?

JO: School, well, we just learn Japanese. Before the war, it didn't really affect, like after the war, that war made things a lot different. You know, I come back from war, looking for place to stay, stay to live, because we have, we were moved out of West Coast. So it was really disgusting when somebody goes and knock on the door, they slam the door on you. Even to live over here, it was really a hardship.

SG: Did you face that type of prejudice and discrimination when you were growing up here?

JO: No. I didn't feel it before the war, but no. The war changed a lot of feelings. I didn't feel too much. But that was, since I was born and raised here, why naturally, I believed in fighting for U.S. and that's what I did. It didn't seem to bother me too much.

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

<Begin Segment 6>

SG: How old were you when the war came?

JO: It must have been around, must have been twenty-four somewhere because at twenty-six, I was, I got married and that was right in the middle of the war. After the war, when I got married and, so I got married in March 26th, '42, I believe '42, I guess. That's a guess.

SG: So --

JO: '44, yeah.

SG: You left Gresham and worked in California for how many years?

JO: I sort of stayed down there a year or two, not too long because I worked in Longview also, in Washington, yeah.

SG: So you finished high school here?

JO: No. I went to work after finishing Gresham grade school there.

SG: So you're pretty young?

JO: Yeah. I was young. So, from there, I worked, and like I said, worked with my brother and my mother. So, well, my dad was gone when I was thirteen.

SG: What was it like to have to leave to go to work someplace else at such a young age?

JO: Well, it didn't, my brother and I went together, so it didn't affect us too much. Then I come back, and then I worked in Longview, Washington. That was after because I remember buying a 1941 Chevrolet, brand new one, for only around a thousand dollars.

SG: And you were sixteen when you bought it?

JO: I must have been around sixteen or seventeen, yeah. Then I went out in the army, I guess twenty-two, I guess around twenty-two, twenty-two or twenty-four because of the, two year later, I got married when I was twenty-six.

SG: You decided you went to work, did you decide to ever come back to school or did you just keep working?

JO: I kept working, yeah. That's about the only thing I did, I guess, work.

SG: Did you ever want to go back to school?

JO: No. I took up judo and stuck judoout for long time after that, and I did kendo too. I should have, I guess.

SG: So you finished the eighth grade; is that right? Eighth grade, you finished up through eighth grade?

JO: Yeah. Then I kept working after that.

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

<Begin Segment 7>

SG: When you were, you said during World War II, you lived here in Portland. Tell me about that.

JO: World War II, I was in Gresham. There's three of us that went together, was in Fort Warren, took my basic in Robertson, Arkansas, I believe. Then I was in Fort Wyoming, Fort Warren. Then they shipped us to Mississippi where they formed the 442 Combat Team. I was one of the early, first one to be in, when they started, activated the 442 combat.

SG: Did you join the army before the internment camps?

JO: No. Internment camp came after I was in the army, and my brother and my mother was farming. And in fact, I had a share in the farming also, and I had sell out everything practically for nothing. So I couldn't see my brothers, my mother for a whole year because they didn't allow us soldier to go on furlough to the West Coast. So I didn't see the family even though I had furlough leave. I just went to the other, Minidoka camp. And after the family moved to Jerome, Arkansas, I was able to go visit them over there in the camp. And that's where I met the other people, my father, I mean my mother, my brother, and that's where I first met my wife even though she come from Portland. I didn't know her in Portland, so I met her in Jerome, Arkansas. And then I went on a leave there from where I was, and I got married there in camp after, on a three-day pass, and we were there in Mississippi.

SG: How did you feel when you heard, you're in the army, how did you feel when you heard that they were rounding up Japanese Americans and putting them into internment camps?

JO: Well, to be honest, I didn't know about it. We did, everything was a secret when I was in Fort Warren. I was in Gresham when the war broke out. I just went to like Vancouver, Washington, just for ride how it feels having the war with Japan and how the people here react to it. So of course, right away, I'm being a Japanese, it kind of make me wonder, kind of helped that discrimination. I felt that. Well anyway, we didn't have no trouble. I know the people in Hood River had a lot of trouble. But anyway no sooner when the war broke out, well, I got in the army, so I had my basic. There were mostly German people. They were kind of segregated too. So I had my basic training with a lot of German people, you know, and then I was shipped to Fort Warren, Wyoming. I kind of, since I was taking judo, I teach officials over there, judo, a little bit. Then we had order to go to Mississippi, I didn't know where they're going to send us, they just put on the shipping. Those days, we didn't fly. We had to travel on railroad only. So we were sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi. And that's when I found out we were the first group of cadre to teach the others. There was a big shipment from Hawaii came in, and that's when we, I realized that we're in a special unit, combat unit. I didn't know until then.

SG: Was it hard for you to, what kind of feelings did you have being, fighting for the U.S. and having a sister in Japan at the same time?

JO: Well, it did bother me, yes, but I was over here teaching a lot of the new people coming in and from the camp also. And I was, of course, I knew they had to move the people from the West Coast because it was close to the coastal to Japan. And I couldn't take a furlough leave to the West Coast. I couldn't see my family.

SG: That make you mad?

JO: Of course, I was just a kid yet. So you don't really feel the effects. It was too much, I guess, when you're growing up until you grow up a little bit. You wonder this war really changed our ways and feeling about discrimination, and we did feel quite a bit when we come back for a while.

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

<Begin Segment 8>

SG: What kind of discrimination did you face?

JO: Well, the way we were treated, certain people over here, not all of them, but I didn't feel too much. I don't know because I worked in the shipyard after the war, and I know that working with them as a carpenter so, I worked on the shipyard for a while.

SG: You were in the South for a while, and what was that like?

JO: In the South? Oh, yeah. There are really discrimination down there. The southern, colored people were, they were all segregated, and we weren't but the colored people was.

SG: What was that experience like?

JO: Well, it's quite an experience that they learn all of that. The southern people and the northern people made me wonder, but at least that we didn't, we weren't treated as, like the colored people, you know.

SG: So where did you fit in? You weren't black or white, so where do you think you fit in, in the South?

JO: Well, we were there with other white people, and we didn't have no problem on that part, when I was taking my basic and stuff.

SG: So you weren't treated, you thought the black people were treated, more discrimination against the blacks?

JO: Yes. That was, yeah. They were discriminated more than we were, yeah.

SG: What was the relationship between blacks and Japanese?

JO: More black, there's black southern people who took basic down in Arkansas. There's a lot of blacks, so, but still they were discriminated. I really don't know how they are now.

SG: How did Japanese feel about the blacks?

JO: Well, we didn't feel any different to me. I mean, I know they were discriminated down there, but I felt, I didn't feel anything, I guess. In fact, when I come back, I worked with the black people, happen to have one black people. I was working with him also, so I didn't, I treated him same as white people.

SG: How did the army treat Japanese Americans?

JO: Army treat, well, I was, no, they treated okay. We had problem sometime, but it depends on the group of people, I guess.

SG: What kind of problems?

JO: Well, they just, I remember one time, his name was Yamaguchi. He was a big husky guy, and somebody made a remark in a bus. And boy, he stopped the bus, and I was in there too. And he got up and stopped the bus and was about to beat 'em all up, I guess, in the bus. Yeah, I'll never forget that. Discrimination, there were people, some were bad towards us. Of course, we were all soldiers also, too. But still, we get discriminated because we're Japanese.

SG: What kind of discrimination?

JO: Well, just trying to associate with them, I guess. Some people just don't want to get along with you.

SG: Did they call you names?

JO: Oh, yeah. They call us name too. I don't recall anybody calling me that way, myself. I know some people have been called that way, but I was always, I was a platoon sergeant, so I was always helping the others in basic training and all that. Besides, I didn't drink too much beer anyway. I know they have trouble sometime, yep, with a beer bust or something, you know. One time, I had a little problem, but they held me back. So I was just about to have trouble one time, I remember.

SG: What kind of trouble?

JO: Oh, that was among our people from the island too, so there's no problem, no.

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

<Begin Segment 9>

SG: That must have been strange to be fighting for the U.S. Army but then come back and to have to visit your family in the internment camps.

JO: Yeah. It was really disgraceful why, but that's the way they want us to live. I mean, they moved us out. And in the back of my mind, I said gee, it's too bad they do these things to us. But my attitude is to help us too because if you're here in the West Coast after wartime, why, you might run into more trouble too. So when the government forced us out of the West Coast, why, some people have different ideas why they do it, and why they didn't do it. I feel that the, I guess the government thought that if we stayed over here, and Japanese people, why it would turn against the people here, you know, what they call bomb the place or something. But then again, if we're here, our people would be here. We might have more problem because the discrimination people might get at them also, too. So to me, I don't know what would people do.

SG: Did you ever think about leaving the army because of the way your family was treated?

JO: Yeah. I did in a way because they had some paper flyer out saying if you're going to fight for U.S. or not, which way you're going to go. And of course, I'm being a soldier, I said, "Well, I'll fight for the U.S." I know they did the same thing to the people in the camp too. They had to answer yes or no.

SG: What made you want to fight for the United States?

JO: Well, I'm in the army already, so what else can you do. I took basic with other people. I know it's kind of hard, I guess, because, in the meantime, I was sent to Germany, and I was over there for a whole year in Germany.

SG: So it sounds like you didn't necessarily agree with what the American government was doing, but you, in a way, you had to fight for the, with the U.S. Army.

JO: Well, I was, I was a platoon leader and took my younger brother. He was in my, in fact, they sent him to my platoon, and I kind of complained why they didn't send me over right away to Italy. And the commander said, "No, you're not going to go over there." So they kept the 1st battalion, the whole battalion, the leaders of it. So they send the men across, but, so we had to stay there and train the new boys that come in for training. So there's another company was formed, and I was in that form of company to train the new recruit, so that's where I was. And then I, later, was shipped to Germany.

SG: Why do you think the Japanese Americans were signing up to fight in World War II even though the families were being interned?

JO: It's hard, it's hard to explain at that time.

SG: How about looking back at it now?

JO: Well, what the government did, you had to do, whatever they did. But they, I know they realized later on that they shouldn't have. But that was something, hoping that in the future a thing like that don't happen again. That's why we have the get together of fifty years after the war. I'm hoping that a new war like, you know, I don't think we have that kind of trouble, I don't think. I know the young people do kind of realize now that, what the Isseis and Niseis have gone through, made it easy for the Yonseis, fourth generation, and they do realize it. Like my grandson said something at the gathering here a week ago. Of course, my family, affected more too. We lost our son Curtis, and I don't know, affected me quite a bit. So we always miss him. We got his picture hanging back behind me. He was our oldest son.

SG: Your son was in, also in the army?

JO: Yeah. He got in the army, and he got commissioned over here. He just finished, another few more months, finished his college, and there's about three of them volunteered to join. And no sooner than four months in Vietnam, why, he got killed over there, so I couldn't get over that for a while.

SG: Even though you were in the army?

JO: Yeah. And that boy was born when I was oversea in Germany. He was born here. Then when I'm over here, he went over there and got killed. So I wasn't there both time. When he was born, when he was killed, he was there alone. So anyway, our oldest son was really close to us, but all the four sons are still here. We always get together.

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

<Begin Segment 10>

SG: So Mrs. Onchi said you were married, so it sounds like you were married during World War II?

JO: Yeah. We got married in World War II, 1944. It's fifty-eight years now; it'd be fifty-nine coming up, I guess. I'm hoping to maybe get sixty years together. I don't know.

SG: So what was, you met your wife in the camp?

JO: Yes. I met her at the camp in Jerome. Like I said, I got married on a three day pass down there. We got married in the camp. I had a minister there, and most of our family were there. And our first son was born while we were in the camp... I mean, no. She was in Minneapolis, and I was oversea when our first son was born.

SG: How did you meet your wife?

JO: We just met at the camp, and we seem to get along good, and I used to go there on the weekend pass, and we correspond after that, and we decide to get married in the camp.

SG: What was the wedding like in the camp?

JO: Well, of course, I was up there, and I get married. I don't know how other people feel, but I just wondered, what am I doing up here, you know, getting married. I don't know. That's what I felt. But anyway, I got married in the camp.

SG: Was it traditional Japanese wedding?

JO: It was Japanese minister and then Japanese wedding in the camp, so there's only few people got together and the close friends. I got married in the camp.

SG: Did your wife have a wedding gown or --

JO: No, just a regular dress. I had my uniform on. My brother was there and best man was there. People, mostly just friend of the camp.

SG: What was the celebration like?

JO: Well, there was no really celebration in the camp, got married in camp and went to the town right below, what is that town, in Mississippi there. They went to camp, and we got a place in Hattiesburg, what they call Hattiesburg, and that's where my wife stayed. And I commute to the camp every day, taking my soldier's duty, Camp Shelby. And I would go home every night to home. We had a home there for --

SG: So it sounds like the, there wasn't... no special food or anything for the wedding and no honeymoon?

JO: No. The only honeymoon we had is just being there together. I mean that's about all I could say is we were lucky enough to get, before I went oversea, I had to take her to Minidoka -- no, Heart Mountain to where she stayed with the folks. Her folks was in Heart Mountain, Wyoming, so I took her back over there and rode back on the train. There's no planes; so there's train. Then I got my order to go to oversea. So I was in Fort Meade for a while for a month or so, and they decided to send us to Germany. So that's when I ended up in Germany for a whole year.

SG: Fighting in World War II?

JO: Yeah. I was clean up over there, more or less. Then I had enough points, so I came back, discharged from Germany after four years of service.

SG: What year were you discharged?

JO: Discharged in '46, I guess, four years after I went in.

SG: So I'll ask you a couple more questions about the, your wedding. In the camp, so what did you have to do in terms of, as a groom for the ceremony?

JO: Well, there's nothing I could do. My family was there. My brother and my mother was there, and her family was there. It so happened that when they left Portland here, I don't know how they did it. Because of relative, they request to certain group and my wife's family and our, they didn't know, but they, so happened, they ended up in Tule Lake together. And since her family, I don't know where they have the connection with my wife's family. But anyway, they ended up in Jerome, Arkansas. And that's why, where she was working in the camp, and that's where I met and I, only way I had to meet her during the weekend on pass, so we had certain time. I called her on the phone, and she would be there at the pay phone because there is no way we could make contact. We had certain time to call, and she would be there at the phone. And that's the only way, and we wrote letters, and that's how we communicated. Then I had Mr., my oldest brother's, they were all together family, so I asked him to, I believe, I purchased a ring, I think. I gave it to him to give it to her, the ring. And that's how we... of course, I guess I asked her to marry, I guess, and that was the only way I could give the ring, in fact. I get a friend to give my ring to her.

SG: You asked her over the telephone or you wrote her a letter?

JO: Well, I don't know how, both way, I guess. Yeah. She says she wanted to get married, and we decided okay, we'll get married then. And that's how we got married.

SG: Do you remember the first time meeting your wife?

JO: It was a short, I think it was only six months or so we decided to get married. You know, she's in the camp, and I'm in the army. We couldn't see what's going to happen in the future, but we just lived day-to-day, I guess.

SG: Do they have, when you went to the camp and when, were certain celebrations or festivals that allowed you to meet?

JO: Well, there was no celebration or festival, just among the family got together, and that was about all I could remember at the, in the camp there, that room in the camp. There was no other way. You can't go out of camp. So we got married in the camp, and that's about all I could say.

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

<Begin Segment 11>

SG: What kind of work, did you meet your wife when she was working?

JO: She was working there as a nurse's aide. So she got married, well, she came on a three-day pass. When she came back to camp with me, and I guess we had the room all arranged or something in Petal, and we got a rent with a family there. She lived there. We shared a kitchen, shared the house together. That was the only way we could live.

SG: So they let her live outside the camp after you got married?

JO: Oh, yeah. She lived outside in Petal, Hattiesburg. And I would come in, after the duty in the army, I would come home on a bus every day and then get up early. And at time, I might miss reveille, but the first sergeant kind of covered me up. So...

SG: How were you able to live outside the camp during that time?

JO: Well, I didn't have no difficult, I can't remember running into any problem. It's all army camps. Hattiesburg was kind of army during the war, a lot of soldiers.

SG: So you lived on the military base?

JO: No. Hattiesburg was out of military area, you know. Yeah. They had a USO, some girl named Mary we got to know. It was USO recreation there in that city because of our unit, the 44 unit was there, and they made a special USO area for us. We would go there.

SG: Were they Japanese Americans?

JO: Yeah. A lot of them go there.

SG: What would you do there?

JO: Well, they just talk, more or less get together. I had other couples that were there too. In fact, George Onishi and Johnny Murakami and his wife, they were married also there. And we just kind of get together and then go back to the army base. And they were living elsewhere also, somewhere. We lived there until the government says, "Well, you got to go and get transferred." Well, and then I had to take my wife back to the camp.

SG: So you could live outside the camp as long as, because you were in the army and --

JO: Yes. I have to still do my duties as a soldier, you know. I would leave that evening and come back in the morning to do my duties as a soldier.

SG: So you were transferred to Germany, and then your wife had to go, move back into the camp?

JO: Oh, yeah. She stayed in Minneapolis. She moved out of camp. She said she got a chance to go out, so she and the family moved to Minneapolis. The younger sister, Teri, who she married Arthur Iwasaki, I mean they weren't married, but we were married. And then I married the oldest sister of a three sister of my wife. So from there, after discharge, I came back to Portland. I didn't know what I was going to do in Portland. But anyway, I came back to Portland.

SG: With your family?

JO: Yes, with my family. I came back. I stayed in Minneapolis for a while not intending to stay there. But that's where my wife was, so I got discharged over there.

SG: What did you do in Minneapolis?

JO: Well, I didn't do nothing there. I just had my discharge. They gave you so much for travel from there to Portland because I got discharged over there. Then I came back to Portland to look for a job.

SG: So what was your, what was your army experience like overall during World War II?

JO: Experience in the army? Well, I don't know. I just did whatever they told me. I was, most of the time, I was in the army like Camp Sharvelle. I was a platoon sergeant, so I took care of the men. They all, most of them were younger than I were anyway. And then when I went oversea, I was in the quartermaster over there, and that's where I stayed and then came back, discharged from there.

SG: Did you ever have to go into battle?

JO: No. I had some close shaves in training. But when the hand grenade, somebody dropped a hand grenade one time. All I could say is, I shouted out, "Hit the ground." We all hit the ground and nobody got hurt. A hand grenade went off on the ground because we all hit the ground.

SG: This is in training?

JO: Yeah. It was in training, yeah.

SG: So you had a closer shave in training than actually in Europe?

JO: Yeah. [Laughs]

SG: So you came back discharged in Minneapolis, and you lived there for a little bit?

JO: Where?

SG: Minneapolis. You discharged there --

JO: I stayed there for a while, and there is nothing I could do. My wife was working there. And while I'm getting out, I'll get my, I had my discharge, but I had to go somewhere to get job, so just head for Portland, Oregon.

SG: So you were in Minneapolis for how long?

JO: I'd say about few months or so, and then I came back to Portland looking for job. First of all, I had to look for a place to stay. And like I said before, I had little problem looking for a place because they slammed the door on me. They look at you, you know. That's when I really felt the discrimination.

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

<Begin Segment 12>

SG: What made you decide to leave Minneapolis in the first place? Was it difficult for Japanese to live in Minneapolis or find a job?

JO: No. I didn't feel anything like that over there because my family already was there, not my family but her side of family. That's where she was with my little Curtis, the Curtis picture up there. He was only about a year old. And after that, I left Minneapolis, came to Portland, and I worked in shipyard. In 1948, we had a high water in Columbia river, and that's when they had Vanport flood, and I was in that flood. And I lost everything, everything, all my clothing, all my personal belonging. And I kept on, I had a job anyway, shipyard. I worked in the shipyard.

SG: How long did it take you to find a job?

JO: Well, I didn't have too, first of all, I had to go to union. And being a veteran, I had to go to class over there for a carpenter class, apprenticeship. And I got my union card, so they, you always had work through the union. So after the flood, I had no place to live. And they finally had a place, another place by government buildings that's in Fairview. Then I moved from Fairview to Portland. I think they call it University Home. I had to go to private home for a while after the Vanport flood. That was one place I stayed; this is the Inutsuka family. That's George wife's family place, George Azumano's family. She's gone too, but I stayed there for a while.

SG: When you first came back to Portland, you said you faced a lot of discrimination looking for a job or looking for a place to live. What kind of discrimination did you face?

JO: Well, I just kept looking for it. And meantime, I find, that was 1952, I guess. I built that house over there which I've still got over there. I built that house, and I lived there for twenty years, I guess, yeah. And then I moved over here, this house here now. I kept busy, of course, I kept busy raising family, all my five boys over there and a house that I built. And of course, I kept up my judo, kept the boys busy.

SG: How many kids did you have when you moved back to Portland?

JO: I only had Curtis, my oldest boy. And when I had, when we went through the Vanport flood which was 1948, two days later, Gary, our second son, was born after the flood. Then of course, we didn't have no place to go, no house to go, and I don't know where to go. I went to the, that's when I did the Inutsuka family. That's where George Azumano's first wife was there for, family was there, helped us out with a new baby. Gary was born; our second son was born.

SG: The Japanese American community really helped.

JO: No. The only people that, I still support them is the Red Cross. They gave us a hospital lounge. They bought us a washing machine, so I never forget what they did for us. Even now, just this year I was there, and I always pay my dues for the Red Cross. Of course, I'm member of JACL also which is, I don't know, dues are coming up, one hundred dollar this year, oh my god. But I keep it up, whatever they could do to help, I keep it up.

SG: When you first came back to Portland after the war, did you come back with your brother and mom, also?

JO: Yes. They were, they were here already before I got over here, back. My brother and my mother was here in Gresham, and we were here together. So that's one of the reasons I came back to Portland because they were already back before me.

SG: Did they still have the farm?

JO: Yes. They had a farm in Gresham. So my brother and mother was there, yeah. My brother, my younger brother, oh, he got shot. He got injured in Italy, and he got out, I don't know when he got out, either before I or not. I don't know what happened. Anyway, he got out, and I got out '46, I guess, four years later. Then I had to work and raised the family.

SG: Did your brother, your brothers help your mom out at the farm when you returned to Portland?

JO: Yeah. They were in Gresham after the war. So they were all, was altogether different. I didn't go back to the farm at all because I came back married. I looked for job or something to do. And like I said, I had to go to apprenticeship for union member which I started my carpenter work. And since I like carpenter, so that's why I stuck it out. I don't know what year it was, but I formed my own company, and I run the company. So people still ask me for advice and no more, I don't want to even look at it now. [Laughs]

SG: You said when you came back, you didn't have to work on the farm. Is that because your oldest brother had the responsibility of taking care of your mom?

JO: Yes. He was running the farm, yes, because he was married and had a family also too. So I, in fact, I built his house in Gresham also. In fact, I built quite a few houses in Gresham area, all the farmers out there, because that's when I... I like carpenter, so that's what I did, yeah. I didn't make money, but I should have maybe, but I didn't.

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

<Begin Segment 13>

SG: So it sounds like after the Vanport floods, you, that's what you're really interested in carpentry, and that's what you pursued?

JO: The Vanport flood, yeah. Yeah, I had nothing after that. In fact, I had debt. In fact, they helped me little bit too when I formed. And what I owed, I'd returned them all, and I kept on working, yeah. So I had my hard time; I'm still having a hard time. [Laughs]

SG: How difficult was it after the Vanport floods for you?

JO: Well like I said, I had a bucket with a big hole in the bottom. I mean, I had nothing. I really had nothing. In fact, I had a car, but that's the only thing I came out, I came out that morning, I was going to go borrow my brother's truck to move out, but it happened when, the day I went out to get the truck, it happened. The water came into Vanport. So I was out there with the car which I owe my mother in law's, owe the money for the car yet. But anyway, that's the only thing that I got out, and I found out, for a while, I couldn't find my wife and Curtis, my oldest son, and I found out they already went out with the next door neighbor, Mr. Shimomura. They were in Foster Hotel already, a restaurant there. But for two hours, I couldn't find them. I thought I lost the whole family, but they got out. They were at the Foster Hotel, what they call Foster Cafe at that time.

SG: It must have been scary.

JO: So I had nothing after that. I lost everything. I went back there looking because we were in the lower section of the two-story building that went down, crushed down, so there was nothing there. Toys were there but all crushed and rusted out because it was under water for a whole month. Clothing was no good, nothing was good. The only thing, something in metal I got out. Whatever few silver dollar I had, I found that, but that's about all I got out of it.

SG: Were there other Japanese that lived in --

JO: Oh, yeah. There was quite a few. One of, a photographer, Mr. Mizuno, lost his life, and I think Mrs. Oshi Nippo, Oyama desu, Mrs. Oyama lost her, she lost her life there, yeah.

SG: So some friends died in the flood?

JO: Yeah. And I know him, he's doctor here, son is here yet.

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

<Begin Segment 14>

SG: My understanding is not a lot, not a lot of Japanese came back to Portland after the war.

JO: Well, a lot of them did. A lot of them ended up in Ontario, a lot of Gresham people. Some farmers on the Columbia slough, they're still there. A lot of them are already passed away. But so I do go there, Ontario, once a year, and I see the people there. I guess most, a lot of Japanese did come back to Portland, but there was no more Japanese community, no more, you know. Before the war, they had bath, ofuro thing, and they had noodle houses and stuff like that, but not no more.

SG: That must have been sad to see.

JO: Yeah, it's all gone. It's a sad deal, I guess. Now our kids are all got other things going. They won't take over the job no more. Even the farmers, they all sold out. Just yesterday, I was out there visiting. It used to be nothing but farming out there, but not there no more. Mr., I don't know if you know Maz Kinoshita. I was out there just yesterday visiting him. He looked pretty good, but he's paralyzed. The whole left side is paralyzed. And Mr. George Toya is out there too, and he's kind of paralyzed too.

SG: How about your parents' farm?

JO: Whose farm?

SG: Your parents, your brother's farm?

JO: Oh, it's still there, but it's all built with house now, yeah.

SG: So they sold it?

JO: Where I was and where he, after the war, the farm is still there, used to do it way out there in Troutdale, so the farm is still there. My brother, my brother passed away. Before he got, I don't know how many years ago now, been maybe about twelve years he's been gone.

SG: He was still farming?

JO: No, no, no. He died twelve years ago farming. Then my mother was there for a while too, the house that I built.

SG: And so now they sold the farm?

JO: Yes. The ground, they saved some ground up on the hill where I built the house.

SG: When did your mom pass away?

JO: She was ninety-two. I got few more years to go, but I don't know if I'll make it. But anyway, she was ninety-two.

SG: So after, you didn't have anything after the Vanport flood. What did you, what was your next step?

JO: Well, I just kept on working, and I built the house over there in North Portland which I still got. Then I lived there from 1952 to '80s, thirty years, I guess. And then I moved over here now, and that's been twenty years.

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

<Begin Segment 15>

SG: What kind of work did you do after the, after the floods?

JO: Well, I did carpenter, I was working shipwright then.

SG: What kind of work is that?

JO: Shipwright is carpenter work on a ship. You're more or less making the scaffolding and stuff on the ship. And when they, they was still making the ship, and we built the ship. And they, I remembered maybe about two or three ships, we put it out in Willamette there, and I think two, three ships.

SG: What kind of ships?

JO: It's a regular, at that time, it was a regular shipping ship, not a warship, you know. But that's Oregon shipyard, so that's where they made all the ship during the war.

SG: How did you find your job, Mr. Onchi?

JO: Well, that's when I was in the union, so they called me. When there's opening, they call you for a job. I got along pretty good, just work hard. And we had, there was three of us, Japanese people, and we all got in the same job there, Yamasaki, and, but he's been gone. Seems like all my carpenter are gone that worked with me, and people that worked for me, my company is gone also. Mr. Onishi and Kawamoto, they were all from Gresham there; he's gone.

SG: Did the union treat you pretty well?

JO: They were all Niseis, yeah.

SG: You felt that the union would never discriminated against you or treated you pretty well?

JO: No. I didn't have no problem. When I started a company, I was in Cedar Hills, why, they prefer buying the house that I built because they knew that it was built right. Obviously, there was house built other area, other builders, and I had no problem building. I built quite a few houses in Cedar Hills. A lot of people that worked on our houses, why they said it's well built. They don't have no trouble putting up a sheet rock and stuff. Everything just fits.

SG: When did you start your company?

JO: I was in business for forty-five years and, maybe thirty-five years as my company, and I don't know how many of that is, I couldn't tell you.

SG: And you started that with friends, other Japanese?

JO: No. I started with, well, the one that worked long with most was with like Mr. John Murakami. He'd been with me long time, and then there was another fellow from Gresham there, and then I had two other people, Caucasian people. I had no problem. They all work hard for me, yeah.

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

<Begin Segment 16>

SG: During this time, you had how many children?

JO: How many children?

SG: Yes.

JO: Well, I had five boys, all was when I was living in North Portland there. I raised all five of them, and they all went to Benson. And so when my oldest got to be around, he was finishing college there, then he went to service. That's when I lost him over there when I was living over there.

SG: He was in Vietnam?

JO: Yeah. I don't know what year Vietnam was. But anyway, what year was, they had Korean War and then came the Vietnam, I guess, yeah. I was still building home then, yeah. And then here come the colonel on the job. Oh boy, I knew what happened, you know. It really upset me, but what can he do. He came, told me they were notified that you lost your son.

SG: Did you want your son to, were you against him joining the army?

JO: My son?

SG: Yes.

JO: Well, he joined, and I went to see him when he went oversea. But I miss him so much because when I was still working weekend night job, he would come back on furlough, and he'd come back and help me on the job. And then our Curtis, we got Curtis, another grandson named Curtis after him. So we do have, and that Curtis that I... I raised him. I changed his diaper and all, the Curtis we got now, our grandson, and he knows it. He's still doing, he does judo. He's been all over the country, going judo, so I support him in judo.

SG: So you raised five --

JO: Five boys.

SG: Five boys, and how many grandkids have you raised?

JO: We got six grandkids, and now we got two great-grandkids. And I just learned just a couple weeks ago that we're going to have another great grandkid. So it's all boys too. And I told them, "You're going to have another, a boy."

SG: What was it like raising a family in North Portland after the war?

JO: Well, we have no trouble there. I built home over there on North Portland, not way over to Saint John, but it's near I-5 there and Denver Avenue where they call the Kent district. So anyway, that's where I raised all five boys. They're still here all together in the Portland area. They all got a job, so I'm glad of that.

SG: Did your wife work also or, during this time?

JO: No. She didn't work. She was raising the five boys, so she couldn't, she couldn't get away to work, no. Well, she always says well, it's a work for her too. She says, you didn't do all the work. She says, I did all the work also. Anyway, that's the way it is. We, yeah. It's quite a job raising family. Well, like I tell my grandkids, you know, we worked hard, and our folks, the kids that coming out, Yonseis, you know, Yonseis are fortune rich. They got grandparents, grandmas, so many of them. When I, Nisei didn't have, very few had grandparents, you know. We didn't have nobody to back up on; we just didn't.

SG: It seems like --

JO: The kids now, they got all kind of support. If the, my son, Gary, is a grandpa, but he's got a great grandpa like myself. So if he can't do it, I'd do it. So they got all kind of support.

SG: You think the struggle that the Issei and Nisei went through really has helped the Sansei and Yonsei?

JO: Who help what?

SG: The struggle of the Issei and Nisei has really made life easier for Sansei and --

JO: I believe that, that's what I told, you know. That what made it easy for them, I think, a lot of it. The thing is that a lot of them don't know that. I think that's what they're doing now to get the Yonseis and people to know a little bit about what we went through, and that would help them. Some kids don't realize that.

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

<Begin Segment 17>

SG: It seems like judo has, all through your experience, since you were a little kid, all through your adult life, judo has been an important part of your life. Can you tell me more about how, what role judo has played in your life?

JO: Well that's why I help, our Oakland Club has a good reputation, and I believe in discipline, and the customs and stuff, what we people have to go through, what we went through, and that's what we teach in judo. Our club, to me, our club is different, and they all know that. When they walk in our club, we always teach to be good discipline student, and they are. Otherwise, I don't, I don't really, people, you know, it's hard to change people, some of the people. We do have some problems sometimes, and we have to teach to respect others and Isseis especially. And we got Issei or, of course, all the Isseis are gone. We used to have Isseis. You have to respect the Isseis. They're the people that, we got some judo people passed away recently. Their help in eighth and ninth degrees, they're gone, and I see to it, I go to their service when possible. Last one died, Mr. Kuniyuki in Los Angeles. They said the plane fare was five hundred dollar. I just said, I had to just send him a flower to show, to respect. I knew him pretty well. But those people, Mr. Kimura from San Francisco passed away. You know, that only leaves me. It leaves me just about the oldest judo people in the United States.

SG: How long have you been doing judo for?

JO: About seventy years. When I started in eight year old or something, you know, I'm pushing eighty-five. You know, I've been in judo over seventy years.

SG: And you're still going.

JO: I'm still going there. Every two, twice a week. I see to it, everything in order because I have seen other clubs that seem to can't get along. I tried, I don't want to, I like to delegate the job, and they seem to working out good. Otherwise, sometimes, some club, one gets ahead too much, and then you're stepping on their toes, you know, and they'll quit. And our kids, we have quite a few young instructors are still there because I see to that they don't step each other's toe. If they don't get along, I say I got to know some reason for it. So they're all there according to the rank.

SG: Can you tell me more about the award you got from the Emperor of Japan?

JO: Well, that's mostly being in judo and contribution and support and doing just, keeping the community, I think. The Okuan been here for over seventy-five years, and that's about the only club in Portland continually going, and that was my still, my still goal is to get a club somewhere, our own, you know. So I'm looking for some people that would help me out somewhere.

SG: And the Japanese government or the emperor recognized you for this?

JO: Yeah. Through the consul general over here recognized me and how much time I spent and locally and nationally. So that is how they recognized me, all the recognition I got through judolike awards from various tournament I've been to.

SG: Well, Mr. Onchi, I think we were getting, was there anything else? We're getting towards the end of the interview, probably getting a little tired. Is there anything else you would like to add that we might have missed, any questions?

JO: Well, another thing too, like I said, that the last get together, our members gave me a party. Another thing, in judo, I don't just teach judo. I study people also. To me, I do, throughout the whole United States, people, City of Portland, in fact, who people are, how you are, how Tim is, and I kind of study the attitude which is very important to me. You know, some people are different. They think, same as judo, if they're higher rank, they got to come down to the people's rank and teach, you know. You don't go up there and high and start dominating people, you know. And that's what I do, and that's what I want to see people like that in judo. You know, you want to get up there and start dominating people, the kids are not going to learn nothing. You're going to hate him, you know. I want them to get along with any teacher or senseis, and I do that to all nationally too, out of all the nationally that judopeople, high ranking, and that's the way I rate them accordingly. I'm one of the Northwest people here representing Kodukan commission. I'm on the United States Kodukan committee here in the United States. I'm one of the four. And I even go to Japan, talk to Sensei Daigo who is the head of the Kodukan headquarter. I tell him, he's younger than I am see. So I tell him, I kind of tell him what I want to do, what they should do, but I know I shouldn't. But I did tell him something like that because I believe in Kodukan, and that's why I teach the Kodukan way of judo that you always respect others and to get along.

SG: Do you have any message you would like to give to the future generations?

JO: That is my, that is my future is to teach to kids, and I'm hoping that Okuan will live forever. That's what I told our club members here. To me until now, I don't think I have any people that resent what I do or teach to my knowledge. If I'm wrong, well, I hope they will tell me or something.

SG: Well, thanks so much, Mr. Onchi.

JO: Okay, whatever.

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