EU: This is an oral history with Ed Miyakawa today is August 18th, 2007, andwe're in Ed's Home in Waldport, Oregon. My name is Elizabeth Uhlig and I will be interviewing. To get started, are you a Nisei or Sansei?
EM: I'm a Nisei.
EU: Can you talk about when your parents and grandparents and when did theyemigrate from Japan?
EM: Um, okay my Grandparents came to this country around the turn of thecentury; I just don't know. My mother's side of the family was called the Shigenos (sp?) and my father's side of the family are called the Miyakawas. And 00:01:00they came around about roughly about the turn of the centuries. And then my father came to this country when he was 10 years old, he was born in Japan and he came approximately around 1913. And my mother came when she was 1 or 2 years old she came around maybe 5 years later than that, maybe around 1918. I think my family history is, as I remember, it was Kyoto on the Honshu central island of Japan.
EU: Do you know, um. So your father was born here, your father was born in Japan00:02:00and came over as? Was that the first time then your grandmother and grandfather came to the United States?
EM: Well, my father's situation is that is that their parents uh gave birth tohim in Japan, and when he was still a baby, they came to America and kind of gave him up for adoption into the family. And then when he got to be about 9 or 10 years old, mother and father Miyakawa came went back to Japan, and took him and brought him back America. And at that particular time he couldn't even speak English.
EU: What were your grandfather and grandmother's name?
EM: You know--I have to look and, let me think about it--you know I can't remember.00:03:00
EU: Was it Jun?
EM: Well my father's name, given, was June. And my mother's name, English name,was given it was Agnes.
EU: Agnes okay--Do you know what your grandfather and grandmother were doing in?When they came to Japan where did they settle and what were they doing? Before they went back to Japan to bring your father over?
EM: My Miyakawa family: The father, my grandfather was a reasonably educated man00:04:00in Japan. And then when he came to this country he came because he realized America was an opportunity for him. And he was a very intelligent guy and became a lover of English literature and things like that, and that was passed on to my father too. So he, my grandfather, Miyakawa grandfather really saw America as a great opportunity; he was one of those kind of immigrants who knew what America stood for. This was his great opportunity, therefore when he came here he totally absorbed the American culture. As I mentioned to you earlier he made 00:05:00sure his that sons were baseball players and boycotts, you know, lovers of classical music and American literature. I mean when I was growing up, this came all the way from the Miyakawa grandfather side of the family, is that as I was being raised my father was always reading to us about great American literature and he was always exposing us to classical music and everything that he felt that made America great.
EM: Very much the Miyakawa side of the family. And then my mother's side of thefamily were people who never learned to speak English and yet they were part of the royalty of the Japanese family. History goes back to that. But my Shigeno 00:06:00family, my mother's mother and father never learned to speak English in all the years they were in America. They were famers in Florin which was outside of Sacramento. So the family history was very different from one side to the other.
EU: So you're mother grew up speaking Japanese at home but your father?
EM: But--Uh yeah, but that family also realized that it was important for themto learn to speak English too and so they used both languages, but the children had to speak in Japanese on the Shigeno (sp?) side of the family because the mother and father never learned to speak English. Whereas on the Miyakawa side you know they stressed the use of English even through everybody was also bilingual 00:07:00
EU: What kind of work did your grandfather do? Grandfather Miyakawa?
EM: When he first came here: he had to he had to survive like any otherimmigrant and later he became organized started big business that served the Japanese American community but the story I remember of him, the way he started, was that he would go out in the Japanese American community, outside of Sacramento and he was, he became kind of like a sales man or something think, that was what he was doing and he would get on a bicycle. This is a story I remember he would get on a bicycle and he would leave the family for maybe one week two weeks maybe and he would ride around on this bicycle in Florin and all 00:08:00those farm communities where the Japanese American people were to sell them products out there. I not too sure what he was selling but that's what he did and then he would come back home, and then eventually he was one of the main founders of the Japanese American town, you know Japanese American town.
EU: in Sacramento?
EM: Yeah in Sacramento right. And then he created a business you know and becamea business man he went back and started there. And that was the tradition that was passed onto my father.
EU: Did your father have siblings? Other brothers and sisters?
EM: Yes, he had two brothers and a sister who were born in America, unlike him,00:09:00and were therefore American citizens, and a reflection of who the Miyakawa family became was possible - you could see it through the three brothers and sisters and my father. Like I said before already my father was an eagle scout; he became Christian not a devout Christian you know, I don't think he believed in Christianity he did because that's what you had to do to be an American. Then he was an all state baseball player; he became a Sacramento champion golfer, all these American things. And then the interesting thing about his second brother and then the brother after that and then this child, sister is that the his one 00:10:00brother went to medical school became a doctor, his second brother Kay also went to Harvard while my father was already attending Harvard. And they became tremendous famous baseball players on the Harvard baseball team, again this is just a reflection of how to truly become an American. One of the most interesting ones of them all, was Yoshiko her name was Agnes the same as my mother Agnes. But Agnes Yoshiko studied singing at that the famous school in the east, what was that school?
EM: Julliard. She actually went to Julliard. And she learned to sing opera and00:11:00she literally became an opera singer. And because she was this beautiful 5 ft tall Japanese American woman, she was Japanese, she became very famous singing the roll of Madame Butterfly and I think I got all this story straight, but who knows by this time, but what I remember, I was told is that she actually sang in Paris. The role of Madame Butterfly became very famous and when the war started she returned to Japan and her career came to an end. That's the history of the Miyakawa family. And then my mother's side of the family was totally different. She had 6, 5 sisters and a brother and a couple of them are still alive and they 00:12:00made it in America too but not like the Miyakawa family. They weren't opera singers and all that stuff, but really successful American people.
EU: Jumping back a little bit, how did your father learn English then? He waslike nine or ten years old, when he came, basically he had been raised in Japan by relatives. Did he talk about what it was like coming here?
EM: Well there's a few stories that can, in a way, answer that question, that Iremember because there was an unbelievable, I mean shocking unbelievable stories, I am not going to share. But a story that I remember was this: When my 00:13:00father came back, my grandfather and his mother brought them back to America. They were the people who had this philosophy of success in America and they were going to do anything even if it was difficult for their children to succeed in this country. They bring this oldest son they had, who they left there and they bring back to America. And the story that I remember is that my dad telling the story, when he came back he couldn't even speak English. So the story is this: the first day of school that he had to go to, the grandfather Miyakawa gives him a book and says "go to school" and my father was in absolute shock because he 00:14:00couldn't even speak English at this time, and he was basically shoved out the door and he goes of course with his brothers and sisters to school. He has to go to school and he can't even speak English. So he had to overcome you know this tremendous obstacle he was facing which he obviously did. Yeah that's a story I do remember.
EU: Getting back to the Shigeno family, they had a farm in Florin? What kinds ofthings did they grow?
EM: Uh yes they grew strawberries in the strawberry season and they had grapesduring the grapes season and those were the things I remember, I still remember 00:15:00from. Those were the days where they had the farm and the tiny little house and I would go visit there when I was a boy before we went to the camp, we had to use outhouses and things like that.
EU: They weren't able of course to own the land? Do you know?
EM: What the Japanese American people did of course, both the Shigeno and theMiyakawa side because both the parents were born in Japan they couldn't own land because they were not American citizens and so they bought things in the names of their children. That's how they overcame that.
EU: So both sides of your family had land?
EM: The Shigenos, I don't how many acres they owned but that's where they grewtheir strawberries and grapes and whatever else they grew in those days. And my 00:16:00Miyakawa side owned property in a Japanese town in Sacramento. And that's what he owned, and I think my Miyakawa grandfather he created the buildings I remember where it was the hotel type of thing and he also owned business where people open businesses.
EU: Of course they all lost everything during the war. Were they able to get anyof it back after the war?
EM: Well, the Shigeno side of the family lost all their farm land and never gotit back, and then the Miyakawa side, my dad knew enough not to sell that property. So the property that we lived in Sacramento was on a place called X 00:17:00street and it was a mile away, or a couple miles away from the Japanese town. And so we kept that house, and he also kept the property he owned in the Japanese town so when we came back there that land and home was still available to us.
EM: He knew better than to sell that land.
EU: So there must have been people during the war that took care of that landand took care of that house?
EU: Okay, let's talk about your father then - I'm interested in the story on howhe ended up in Harvard, why did he go to Harvard and what did he study there?
EM: Okay well, again you know, the Miyakawa, his father, my grandfather00:18:00Miyakawa, he really understood what America was about and the opportunity there was there. And that being Japanese wasn't going to hold him back, he just knew that. And so it was very important obviously for him to make sure that his sons were very well educated, his daughter was very well educated, and he knew what a prestigious place Harvard was. And I'm not absolutely positive about this but I kind of remember is this. My father and his brother may have been the first Japanese American people to attend Harvard, if not the first, among the very first. Here this Miyakawa grandfather knew to succeed in this country he was 00:19:00going to search for the highest schools that he could and his sons and daughters were very intelligent people and of course, he forced them to succeed in the educational process. So here was my father capable of attending Harvard and becoming one of the first Japanese people to ever attend Harvard and then his brother followed him and then by that time they were quite well known baseball players, became very famous baseball players at Harvard 'cause I've seen those baseball pictures that came out of those days playing baseball [laughs]
EU: What was your uncle's name?
EM:: My uncle that went to Harvard with him was Uncle Kai. They spelled it "K --A -- Y" - that was the third son. And the second son was Uncle George. And Uncle 00:20:00George went to medical school and I'm not too sure where it was. He went into medical practice in the east and west Virginia, but I don't know whether that was where he went to school or not.
EU: And then your Uncle Kay? What did he do? Where did he settle?
EM:: What happened to Uncle Kay. His story was very fascinating too. Becausehere he was an American citizen, Harvard graduate, baseball player et cetera et cetera, Eagle Scout, just like my father, but he went back to Japan. And it seems to me, if I remember this correctly, when the war broke out, he got caught 00:21:00in Japan. So rather than coming back to America, he spent the entire WWII in Japan. And his famous story is that when the Russians took over Japan with the United States he became a prisoner of the Russians and what the Russians did, this is just what I remember because I'm not too sure I understand the historical aspect of all this, but the story I definitely remember is that the Russians took him and a lot of Japanese American people like him and were going to send him someplace, out of Japan, I don't know where it was. This is the 00:22:00story I was told by this time Uncle Kay was going through a lot of suffering anyway because he didn't have enough food and he was a very skinny guy anyway, and he was losing weight and everything and they put him on this train and they were sending him someplace and then he literally escaped from the train and the family lost track of him they didn't hear from him again for a about year and all of a sudden, can't remember exactly what year this was, all of a sudden he comes back and joins the family. And he's emancipated just about starved to death, and he escaped that train and somehow made it back to his family in Japan. That's what we all heard about him again, that he was still alive. And it was a fascinating story too because he was an American citizen and all that. 00:23:00
EU: And they were living with Miyakawa family in Kyoto?
EM: Yeah, because what happened was that the Miyakawa grandfather, mygrandfather, who Americanized everybody, when everything was coming to an end, the success he was pushing for, before WWII broke out, he returned to Japan [laughs]. He left America and went back to Japan. So when the war broke out he was in Japan, and I can't remember exactly that what that location is, I can't remember these names now. But anyway that was where he grew up and everything else, so when his son Kay made it back to Japan, he went back and joined his father, where my grandfather lived.
EU: And your Uncle Kay and Aunt Agnes, both of them lived out the rest of their00:24:00lives in Japan?
EM: Kay did, but eventually Yoshiko Agnes came back to America. Because shebecame very famous, her story is that she married a very famous, rich Japan man, this is before the war, and then got this sexual disease from him, started with an "s" or something
EU: Oh, syphilis or something like that?
EM: Yeah, syphilis or something like that; not a fun part of the family story.She gave up her opera career, because she married this very famous rich man. That was a fascinating story too. But it was the world war that really ended her 00:25:00career, because when she went to Paris and became famous singing the role of Madame Butterfly it was just before the war, and then later she came back and lived in New York. I visited her in New York in the '60s or something like that.
EU: The Shigeno side of your family did they all stay in the United States ordid they go back to Japan too?
EM: The Shigeno, my grandmother and grandfather, after the war since they losttheir farm and everything, they went back to Japan. Yeah and lived with their families up in Japan. I'm trying to remember if they came back at all; I can't remember now, I don't think so, I think they just stayed there. When I joined the Navy the '50s, I went back to Japan and visited them there. They stayed in 00:26:00Japan, I'm sure.
EU: So your mother of course stayed here. Did she have brother and sisters?
EM: Yes, she had one brother and she had five sisters. Two of the sisters arestill alive, there are only two alive. And my mother was a very interesting woman too because like my father she totally became a part of the American culture. And she was a very intelligent and talented woman and even though she didn't become famous or anything like that she was a classical pianists and she 00:27:00was playing piano all the time, Chopin and Bach, Mozart, all that sort or stuff. She was a very talented artist and then she did this Japanese art and she did this Japanese poetry and so she'd combine both American and Japanese culture in a very artistic way. So she was wonderfully talented woman, just like my father. But her personal story was this, as I was growing up, when I got to be in my early teens, I thought that married couples all they ever did was fight. I thought that was true for everybody because I grew up in an atmosphere where my mother and father, when they were out in public made this incredible impression 00:28:00on people how handsome my father was and how beautiful my mother was and how skillful they were dealing in social situations, but at home I'm not sure how much they fought, but I grew up believing that married couples all they did was fight [laughs]. Then later I found out from a lot of my friends their mothers and fathers didn't fight. I was like, oh really I can't believe this [laughs].
EU: Do you know how they met? And when did they get married? Was it an arranged marriage?
EM: By this time of course, my mother and father, the Shigeno mother and father00:29:00came in and out of Florin and out to Sacramento all the time because they would come every week for these farmers market they did all the time, they were keeping to this farmers market and I'm sure that my mother would come back and forth and was part of it. And I'm not sure how they met, but I'm sure my father was part of that Japanese American community that these farmers came in and out of and I'm sure that was how they met. And the Shigeno side of the family, even though they couldn't speak English, they realized that in order for their children to succeed they had to become very American themselves. All the children were fluent in Japanese and English. And my mother was very accepting of the American culture. Because I think she became a classical music lover very early in her life. And of course that was part of the Miyakawa side of the 00:30:00family, that was the thing that opened door for her. And when my father met her she was very beautiful, so I'm sure he was very attracted to her, just out of her beauty.
EU: So your father, at Harvard had studied international law and he became a lawyer?
EM:: Well he came back to Sacramento, well, why didn't he get into attorney, orbecoming an attorney or get into international law? But he didn't do that. What he did was, he got into the business of becoming a produce man. A "produce man" -- a term that was came from was that there were people who became the contact 00:31:00to the farmers outside of Sacramento, like my Shigeno side of the family. And they would go to these people and work out an agreement contract with them about when they picked their grapes, and strawberries, and you know lettuce and cabbage and things like that. They would purchase these things and then they would send these things you know on trains to the East and to the Midwest. And so that's what my dad became rather than become a lawyer he became a produce man, and it was an incredibly successful financial business to get in too. Too be in that middle person and that's what he did. And you know he was making a 00:32:00fortune during the years when he was doing all that. EU:: Let's stop here this was the end of part 1.
EM:: Okay, okay.
EU: This is the interview with Ed Miyakawa. Ed, we're moving now into thebeginning of the 1940s and the beginning of World War I. How old were you when World War-- I'm sorry--World War II, when World War II started?
EM: I was born in 1934. So in 1942, I was 7 years old, heading towards 8.
EU: And you were living in Sacramento with your parents and sisters, brothers?
EM: Yes, I had, have one sister. She's a year older than me--named Carolyn.00:33:00
EU: Okay do you have any memories of the bombing of Pearl Harbor or thebeginning of the War?
EM: No, I do not have memories of that period in history. And I often wonder whyand I. My personal belief is that because I was about to head through in the next few years was so emotionally devastating that I feel that my mind, to survive, suppressed it all. And even at this age and time in life and all trying to remember our evacuating, leaving our Sacramento home, and the train ride, and 00:34:00arriving Molarka (sp?), a temporary camp outside of Sacramento. And then being there for a month and being transferred to Tule Lake, is almost gone in my memory, and I personally believe now that loss in memory came about because of what I had to go through there. And will maybe share that story further along or however you want to do this.
EU: Did your sister and your parents share their memories of the evacuation andtrain ride and all that or?
EU: No? Okay--00:35:00
EM: But anyway that's what happened; we had to leave our homes. And Walerga(sp?), the name Walerga, of course is a life time thing. It was a fairground and they put us into that -- where the horse and the cows were butchered and all that and we were there for I think a month. And that's where we first start hearing about Tule Lake.
EU: Do you know, when your family went to your uncle's or other people in thecommunity did they go with you?
EM: Yes, by this time there were no Miyakawas left in that area. My uncle Kay,00:36:00that's, he was my dad Kay, George, and there was Agnes. By this time, Kay was back in Japan; Agnes Yoshiko was back in Japan. George became a doctor and I think he was going to medical school or something or other, so he was out of Sacramento when they came to get us. All the Miyakawa family was gone, except, his mother and father, my grandfather and grandmother were back in Japan. And so the only Miyakawa left was, my father. On my mother's side, the Shigenos (sp?), were still there in Florin, outside of Sacramento, and they all ended up in Tule Lake with us; we lived right next to each other. Jackamo Cheechem (sp?). And 00:37:00then four girls and sisters and then a brother and my mother.
EU: Can you talk a little about your life in Tule Lake? This trauma thatresulted--what was it like living there for you?
EM: First of all I do remember the barracks. I didn't know at the time how manybarracks there were. There was 1,200 barracks and the barracks were something like 20 feet wide 100, 90 feet long. And then they were all divided up with 00:38:00partitions, very difficult living conditions because in the winter time, you know, sub-zero weather and in the summer time, there was no trees there, just tar paper barracks and they didn't have insulation, just two by fours sideways and things like that, covered with black tar paper so they sucked in the heat. And then the partitions they were like gypsum board so--You could hear everything through the walls. And our grandparents were right next door to us. EU: Tule Lake was in Northern California, just south of the Oregon border, so it was basically desert? It wasn't mountainous?
EM: It was like a desert area and you know no trees at all, absolutely no trees.00:39:00And then summertime we'd have windstorms and all that dust and sand and lava, ground up lava would be flying through the air.
EU: Then the winters then were fairly cold?
EM: Yeah, pretty cold; had a coal burning stove inside. They were all dividedinto blocks and there were, I can't remember how many blocks there were, but we were in block #26. I think there were 6 barracks and then the in middle, they had a mess hall up and then they had latrines and then a laundry room, and those were the things in the center. So if you had to get up and go to the bathroom in 00:40:00the middle of the night, you had to go to the latrine.
EU: Did you go to school then while you were there?
EM: Yep, they had school there, in barracks.
EU: Did you also have like Japanese classes? Or, Kenge talked about, after theEnglish school, Kenge Kobayashi talked about after he English school then he would go to study Japanese in the afternoons of evenings.
EM: I don't remember that myself.
EU: Do you know what your parents did then? Were they assigned work?
EM: Yea, they had work. They created situation where the Japanese Americansactually grew things outside of the camp. I believe--I know they did that, I 00:41:00just can't remember seeing it or anything and my dad because of his high ranking, he was a foreman and things like that, that's what he did. And the interesting thing about my father, he was a very intelligent man, very talented man and one of the things I remember is that he took up, to kill time, he took up wood carving. And I used to have those, I always wanted to keep them. But after 50 or 30 years or whatever it was, I lost them and don't have and them anymore. But he got into it making little airplanes, like P47s, P51s 38s you know and little air craft carriers; he'd carve these things out and they were 00:42:00absolutely beautiful. He'd literally, carving with a knife and stuff like that. That he had this incredible collection and that's how he killed a lot of his time.
EU: Tule Lake had a reputation, I think, of being more radical or activist camp;do you remember if there were demonstrations?
EM: At this time, can I share a personal story?
EM: I'm sure that these personal experiences changed my life and I--a funnystory related to this is that, about 15 years ago or 10 years or whatever it was, I was with my sister and my book Tule Lake was a fairly well known book at 00:43:00that point before it was received as one of the 100 books of the last 200 years, when that happened I couldn't believe it, but anyway we were talking about my writing of Tule Lake and I'm gonna get into this thing in more detail, but my sister and I were talking about it and [phone rings] and Tule Lake was very well known but hadn't received that award yet. She said to me, "You know, you did a really great job writing that book and how long have you wrote that?" And we 00:44:00discussed that and then she says to me, "You know you ought to dedicate that book to Ken Mura/Nira" (sp?) Okay now I'll tell you who that was. And when she said that to me, I burst out laughing and then she came out laughing after me. And the laughter was so high-powered that it was a combination of laughter and crying. Now I'm going to explain to you why that happened, and what it was, because she was saying, "If it were not for Ken, you may not be able to write Tule Lake." Ken Mura (sp?) was the son of Mr. Mura and Mr. Mura, can't remember 00:45:00his first name now, used to always remember his name, was my father's, close to my father's best friend.
And he had this son named Ken and Ken was three years older than me, so then weget to Tule Lake. And by the time I leave Tule lake, I have developed 4 or 5 psychosomatic illnesses. I became a bed wetter at 8 years old. I developed a fear of the dark that I never had before, fear of the dark. I developed an obsession with matches, and I would steal matches and I almost started a major 00:46:00fire in Tule Lake. Because I got this obsession and I would get coals and I started this fire next to this barrack and all of the sudden this whole barrack almost started bursting into flame, and people started shouting, "Fire, Fire!" and I ran away and so then I lost my appetite, and I was a very skinny kid, and I stopped eating the food. And so my mother became very worried because she couldn't make me eat and I got even skinnier. And so I developed these weird psychosomatic illnesses.
EM: And what happened was that later in life it gave me an understanding of who00:47:00we are as Japanese Americans and as human beings. That here, we are persecuted like we were and then we turn against each other. And what happened was Ken, along with some older boys, started picking on me, and they made my life miserable. And I remember being in these barracks and then I'd look out the window and there were half a dozen guys standing outside of my barrack apartment waiting for me to come out. And we would play a game like "kick the can" and they would--I would be the guarder of the can and they would make sure I could never be anything but the guarder of the tin can. I just remember that, and I'd 00:48:00be sitting there trying to guard the can and they would distract me to one place, and they would kick this can and then the game wouldn't end until it got dark. And that is just an example. And then, they would blind fold me then they would have me walk with them and say "hey, follow me" and just kind of force me. And then I would step into this hole. I remember this and I pulled my foot out and it was filled with flour and urine. And, another time, they would take me and put me on this wooden horse it's just a 2 by 4 with wooden legs and they put me in there. I'll never forget this story: "Take the blind fold off!" And I'd 00:49:00take it off and I'd be in the women's latrine. Well that's not a big deal, but when you're a 7 year old, I was just infuriated! I'd come out and I'd throw a rock and hit Ken in the stomach and he'd come up to me and threaten to kill me, and all this kind of stuff. So this is just examples of what happened in my life in Tule Lake. So this is where that joke came in. And Carolyn says if they hadn't done that to you, you probably couldn't have written Tule Lake. But it became a very serious problem because it was affecting, very serious on my health, and I didn't end up being able to handle this urinating in bed until maybe I was 14 or 15 years old. So my mother always bought this rubber thing. I 00:50:00had to sleep on this rubber mat every night, [laughs], and change my pajamas in the morning, you know and wash this thing off. So it was a very difficult time for me, yes.
EU: Yeah----So even if you didn't understand the politics, you knew somethingwas wrong and that was affecting you that way and having those people be bullies?
EM: And this is when I began to understand who we Japanese Americans were. Andso, when I got into this writing Tule Lake, and I would call these no-no boys and I would call then and I would say, "Hey I understand you're a no-no boy and I would like to interview you because I'm writing this story of Tule Lake" and they would literally slam the phone on me. I found half a dozen no-no boys and their numbers and everyone did the same thing. And what it made me realize, that, in my own personal experience, that the Japanese American experience broke 00:51:00down to events: the first event was the evacuation itself and the second event was the questionnaire the government forced on the Japanese American people because when they came up with that questionnaire--
EU: This was that loyalty questionnaire?
EM: The key question was question 27 and 28; and question 27 and 28 then dividedthe Japanese American people and if you were a no-no, you carried that burden the rest of your life. You didn't just deal with that prejudiced from America, you had deal with prejudice from your own people.
EU: What were those 2 questions then, 27 and 28?
EM: And the reason why this loyalty oath came about was because there was about00:52:0010,000, something like that, fighting age men put into these concentration camps. So if you were a Japanese American in your 20s and you wanted, and you were a 4-1-A or 4-A or whatever it is, and you wanted to join the military, they wouldn't take you in. And they--what the government did was create another ranking for the Japanese Americans, fighting age men, and what was it? It was a number like 4-F and all these fighting age guys were that, so then they end up in the concentration camps. Well, if there's a dangerous group of guys to have 00:53:00in the concentration camps, it's anybody from 18 on to about thirty [laughs] and then the government realized they needed these guys to fight. So the government says, "We're going to do this questionnaire, so they created this questionnaire, and it's got about 35 questions or something, and it starts out like "Where were you born?" and "Did you own property?" and a whole bunch a questions about "Where did you work?" and blah blah blah and then it came to question 27 and 28. Of course and question 27 said "are you willing?" so this questionnaire was for the fighting age guys when it was first created and it said, "Are you willing to serve in the armed forces?" and then the next question says, "Do you quote your loyalty to America and don't want any part of the Emperor of Japan?" They 00:54:00actually mention the Emperor of Japan. And so the guy says, "Yes, I'm loyal to America." And "Yes, I'm not a supporter of the Emperor in Japan." And they became known as "Yes-Yeses."
Okay, then a few became--there was a hundred different reasons why you became a"No-No." And so some guy doesn't want to join the military now because the parents and grandparents lost everything and his brother and sister all in concentration camp have lost all their money they don't know what to do. So he feels like he has a responsibility to stay with his family to help them, so he says "no" and then he says "no" to the other one. Or he says "yes" to the other one and he becomes a "No-Yes." And all of a sudden the Japanese American 00:55:00population is divided and then this is only for the military guys. But then the administration says, "Hey we can use this for other people, you know like my father, for instance who was not of fighting age and he was not an American citizen. So they kind of changed that 27/28 a little bit, so it fits in with my grandmother and grandfather and my mother and father. And so my father sees this as an opportunity to get out of Tule Lake. So he says, "Yes, I disavow any loyalty to the emperor of Japan." So he becomes known as a yes-yes and we're in the Tule Lake camp. So that's what divided the Japanese American community, so it's the two events. One is the evacuation itself and the other is the questionnaire. And you know, only, well people have been working on there for a 00:56:00long time but still this prejudice carries on, even to this day, against the no-nos. So we became a yes-yes and we left Tule Lake and Kenge Kobayashi becomes a no-no and he comes into Tule Lake.
EU: But you never met Kenge at Tule Lake?
EM: No, 'cause we were gone; probably just a month after we left, he came in. SoI never even met him.
EU: You mentioned before when we were talking that you, in these day now, whenyou give talks about Tule Lake and you talk about the three Rs? Do you want to talk about those? The relocation, renunciation and repatriation.
EM: Yes, well, this is really my own personal view in the sense that as you00:57:00already know now, I've been a real deep researcher about what happened to us and why it happened with all this information things that I have. So I'm the one that really breaks it down to the three Rs and anytime I give a talk now, I'm the one that always brings up the three Rs. And let's see, you said? Help me--
EU: Relocation. Renunciation and Repatriation.
EM: First of all the Jap--the American term they used for us was "relocation" --they relocated us. That's what--.that's why they take 115,000, 110, 120,000 and relocated us into ten different concentration camps. And then, again because I 00:58:00just finished talking about the government needs these guys to fight and so they have what they call a registration, and that's basically what it was, basically to answer this loyalty oath. Then, because of that, they created a situation where the Japanese Americans come up with a totally new term at that particular time in history and then all of a sudden you became known as a yes-yes, or a no-no, or a yes-no or no-yes. So it divided the people in all these things, so they were divided. And then if you became a no-no, then what the government did 00:59:00was they decided Tule Lake would become the one true concentration camp and what they were going to was they were going to start bringing all the no-nos from the other camps and transferring them to Tule Lake. So anyone like Kenge and his family, who for whatever reasons, anybody could understand became no-nos, they come from Manzanar and transfer them into the Tule Lake concentration camp and it became a true concentration camp. So then all of a sudden, Tule Lake is just totally divided place, between people who believe in one thing and people who believe in another thing and people who are classified this or classified that. 01:00:00And it just becomes an insane asylum. Because my father was a yes-yes and we left the insane asylum.
EU: I notice you always say "concentration camp." Other people say "internmentcamps" or --.that obviously is a conscious decision to-- I mean. Why do you say 01:01:00"concentration camp" as opposed to "internment camp"?
EM: Well you know, again, this is when you get into again human condition.Because the government never wants to use the term "concentration camp" because that's horrible because when you think about concentration camps you think about Germany and you think about the Jews who died there. So you know when you think about concentration camps that what you think about well, my joke is, well if somebody said to me "I'm going to give you a choice of going into a concentration camp and the choice is this: you could go into a German concentration camp and you can go into an American concentration camp" and so I would jump on my feet and say "American concentration camp! American concentration camp!" [laughs] So okay-- so maybe that isn't quite the right terminology, "concentration camp." In my concentration camp you could go to the canteen and buy Hershey bars, [laughs] you couldn't buy Hershey bars at a German concentration camp, at least not that I know of. So maybe, the government doesn't want to identify with concentration camps so that's why they call it "relocation center." But, never the less, they had barb wire fencing and they did have machine gun manned towers. And the machine guns didn't face out, they 01:02:00faced in. It was a horrible living conditions, this terrible living conditions. And Tule Lake did become a true concentration camp because they were all "disloyals" there and it became like an insane asylum. And then they brought military people and then they brought tanks. Can you imagine tanks to guard 18,000 people? Then the military guys were out there and they were gone. And literally they brought tanks. So, okay, it wasn't a concentration camp, it was an insane asylum.
EU: One of the three Rs was "renunciation." They were encouraged to renounce01:03:00their American citizenship, and then there was the question of whether they were going to be repatriated or go back to Japan, go to Japan, or stay in the United States?
EM: After that loyalty oath thing, then the government passes a new law, and Imean there's no law in this country or anything that says you can renounce your American citizenship, I don't think so. So what the government did was that they created this situation where now you've got "disloyals." And then the government decided: well, maybe we ought to not do another law and allow all these disloyal Japs, if they want to denounce their American citizenship. So they literally 01:04:00pass this law, or whatever it was, so that people can renounce their American citizenship. So that, it pushes Japanese Americans one step further into this insanity thing that we have deal with so, we have to make this decision of whether we want to renounce our American citizenship or not. Why would anybody, anybody want to renounce their American citizenship? But then, as part of the human condition, all of a sudden, this is what we're doing. My friends, Kenge Kobayashi and his sister and his, her father. I'm not too sure whether her father was a Kibei or a Nisei or an Isei or whatever he was, maybe he wasn't even an American citizen; I'm not too sure.
EU: I think he was Isei, the father.01:05:00
EM: So he had no citizenship to renounce, but his wife did. And then and then,you know, Toshiko's brother, you know, renounces his American citizenship. But why? Why are they renouncing their American citizenship? Who knows? So then they renounce their American citizenship and they get sent to Tule Lake. So, the government is creating one in-step of insanity after another. And then what it does is it drives the Japanese American citizens into this insane form and have to make one crazy decision after another. Well we're all different so one guy says, "Hell no! I'm not going to renounce my American citizenship!" and another guy says, "I'm going to renounce my American citizenship." And so then there's that renouncing step and then the government creates the third "R." And they 01:06:00said, "Well since you're all bitterly yellow Japs now and you're all disloyals and you renounced your American citizenship, you're not American citizens no more, then we'll let you repatriate back to Japan." So then Japanese Americans had to make another critical decision: "should we or shouldn't we repatriate?" And this is where Kenge's story comes into it when he told me about it, powerful story.
EU: It's a story with his sister, about his sister Toshiko.
EM: Yeah, because here's this young girl, 20, and she's done everything now:01:07:00she's put in a relocation center and she renounces her American citizenship and the next step is to repatriate back to Japan. And the whole family is going there to be repatriated because of the father and the husband, and here is this 20 year old pregnant girl and she goes along with the father and the husband all the way into this miserable condition of Tule Lake and she has to now make a decision whether she's going to repatriate. And here's this little itty bitty sweet Japanese girl; she's a very powerful young girl obviously, you may not know by looking at her size and looking at her and what she looks like [laughs]. And she stands up against her husband and her father and says, "Yeah you repatriate, I'm staying here." You know, and so that story is a powerful story because it puts the Japanese American experience about all these three Rs into a human condition story and that's why the story meant so much to me when I heard it from her because then it's not just talking about the three Rs, it's putting it on a human condition which was done by the Toshiko story. And that's what 01:08:00made it such a powerful story, and an example of a powerful woman Toshiko was, and so then when I hear about the story, Toshiko hadn't thought about this in 60 years, or whatever is was, and she was so surprised that I was interested in this.
EU: And she now lives in Seattle, is that right?
EM: No, she now lives in Los Angeles. And so then just as part of the story,last weekend, or the weekend before that, Kenge calls me and says, "Toshiko is coming from Los Angeles and she's coming from Portland and we're having a kind of a family get together in Portland" And, let's see, Toshiko's son, was born in 01:09:00Tule Lake, that was the time she was pregnant, was him. He's coming from Seattle to Portland and he's bringing, he has a wife, she's a Caucasian wife, I met her and had a wonderful time with her. And their son and two daughters are coming. So that's Toshiko's grandchildren, so I said, "Oh, they're coming!" And he said, "Do you want to come and visit with us?" and I said, "Oh, yes!" And I already met Toshiko once when she came to Eugene. So then, two weekends ago, we're up in 01:10:00Seattle and everybody's meeting. They're coming to the Japanese American, that place up there, Nisei Legacy center. So I show up and I already met Toshiko, but I'm meeting her son, what was his name? Anyway, Japanese name; he's there, born in Tule Lake, and then his Caucasian wife and the children. I walk in there, and then all of a sudden, "Oh, hi! Nice meeting you" and all sudden I'm dominating the conversation. And I later thought, "Geeze I hope I didn't offend anyone by dominating the conversation." 01:11:00
Because of the setting, it triggered me into sharing sort of this JapaneseAmerican story of Tule Lake, and it was because I knew that Toshiko's son, who was born there, didn't truly know what his mother went through and what her uncle Kenge went through. And the three children didn't know what they went through. And Toshiko, the woman who's 86 years old never shared anything, her experience with them. So they're all curious but she'll never share it with them. So then I meet them and I'm triggered, so I run off in my mouth about this, but only about ten minutes, it wasn't two hours [laughs]. Then we all went out to super. Then I'm listening to the son and his three children and they're 01:12:00just absolutely fascinated, because they can't ever get Toshiko to tell the story. So I called Kenge and I'm going to send them all a copy of Tule Lake as a gift so they can all find out what their grandmother went through and then also what their father went through because he was born there.
EU: So then you're hoping to write a book or a short story about Toshiko?
EM: I'm writing, I'm working hard on a short story for her, to tell the story ofToshiko because I find it a fascinating story, that this twenty year old girl stands up against her father and she was going to give up her marriage, I 01:13:00thought it was a remarkable story because she's the one who saves that family.
EU: One thing before we end this second part here, you mentioned about, there'sjust a long legacy of yes-yes and no-no and animosity--is this still current today these questions about loyalty? And I wonder if you could talk about Aaron Watada (sp?) who was in the service. Is it navy? I believe?
EM: Not navy
EU: Air Force? Army?
EM: Maybe the army, Lieutenant, I have all that information downstairs too.
EU: He is serving, stationed up by Seattle and he is refusing to go back to01:14:00Iraq. So I feel there is still a division in the Japanese American community whether he is loyal or disloyal, whether he should be doing that or whether that's his right, that's the whole point, the right to express your points and so forth. Could you talk a little bit about that and your involvement with that issue?
EM: Okay. Well, again, as I keep mentioning you know, I'm just blown out by whowe are as human beings and what we call the human condition and but that's who we are as human beings. And here Aaron Watada comes into this thing again at this particular time in history and it's a fascinating thing to me this event of Aaron Watada. Because, here we are in this day and age, this period of history, we're not talking about World War II, we're talking about Iraq. And we're talking about a 25 year old man or 27 or whatever he is, and then he's a Japanese American guy from Hawaii. And my personal belief is that, this is a 01:15:00personal belief, that the war that we are fighting now is a truly, truly evil war; that's what I believe, down here in my heart. It's not a war about helping people. It's not a war of saving people, or of saving justice, it's a war about controlling oil - this is my personal belief and other people don't believe it, that's fine. And then a man comes up and he's 27 years old and he's a loyal American because he believes in this country and he voluntarily joins the 01:16:00military and then he realizes what this war is about and realizes that it is an evil war, and he can't bear fighting in this war. And then what amazes me, is he happens to be Japanese American from Hawaii. So then he comes to Eugene and they ask me to give an introduction to him.
EU: Was it him or his father?
EM: His father contacted me. Who contacted me? Somebody - I'm trying to rememberthe details of this. And how did they know who I was? Not sure whether they saw an article or whatever it was. But anyway, so all of a sudden I get involved in this because they want me to introduce him. And the introduction I made, and I 01:17:00have a copy of that, and can get it for you later if you want me to. It was very meaningful because, you know, I told you they wanted me is too reintroduce him later in the evening. Now the only thing that was interesting about this though, is that it brought up again who we are as human beings, and the Japanese 01:18:00American people are divided about: do you support Watada or don't you? And we're fighting against each other again. And then, two of my best friends Toshiko and Kenge, Kenge calls me and says "Toshiko is very, very disturbed about Aaron 01:19:00Watada." And she says that she thinks what Aaron Watada has done is horrible. I says I can't, I'm glad I heard this but I don't want to bring up the subject when I'm with Toshiko. And she's against him because she has a brother who died in, was it in Vietnam, Vietnamese War? She had a brother that dies in the Vietnamese War. And because she lost her brother she's against Aaron Watada. And I can't quite understand the reasoning behind that, but to me, it's the way 01:20:00human beings use our mind, we all got different minds and we use it in a different kind of a way.
And so anyway, that's what it is, we're divided about Aaron Watada. And he onlybased it on, his stance, when he said, "Hey, I gotta do research about this war we're in now. Why are we there?" And if you don't research it, and you just say, "Oh, the government tells us that there's evil forces there, we gotta defeat these evil forces" then you're a supporter of the war, but if you do research, and then you start understanding why we're really there, and the lies that were 01:21:00being told about why we're there, then if you're Watada, you're gonna say, "Wait a minute, this is against the principles that made this a great country and can I allow myself to go over there and kill people over there when I know that we're being lied to and deceived? Can I live with this? Can I kill people and say, 'Hey, this is for democracy. This is for freedom.'" When he knows it's a lie? And Aaron Watada says, "No."And only after he did research about why we're there, did he make his stance and then I think, a Japanese American guy? I hope 01:22:00that answers the question. These kinds of things just trigger me, right?
EU: Okay, this is good, this is the end of part two.
EU: This is part three of the interview with Ed Miyakawa. Ed, let's starttalking when you and your family left Tule Lake. When did you leave the camp? Your father was, said yes-yes to the questionnaire so you were able to leave the camp.
EM: Yes, right. And let's see, we were there in '42, so it was the latter partof '43, cause we were in Tule Lake about 15 months. So it was probably in the 01:23:00fall of 1943 that we left Tule Lake, 'cause my Dad figured this is a great way out, to do this yes-yes.
EU: Where did you go then?
EM: Okay, as I look back in history, one of the important things that I foundout as we were leaving Tule Lake is that at that particular time of course I was eight years old, close to nine I guess, and I didn't really know much of what was going on, but, the experience of leaving Tule Lake and going to Colorado Springs, Colorado, was a very important experience for me. In this sense: you leave Tule Lake and there you go, you go on out through this barb wire fencing 01:24:00and leaving it behind, you remember going in and now you're going out. And my grandmother and grandfather and some of my aunts and uncles were waving goodbye to us and then we're on the road and as we travel my dad doesn't know where we can get gas, he doesn't know where we can stop and get food. But you just keep going on, because some places are very antagonistic and you can't get anything from them so he has to figure out how to get enough gas to keep going until you can get to another place you can get gas.
EU: So you had a car then, you were able to buy a car?
EM: No, no. That's an interesting thing, a personal experience, that you startfinding out about yourself and the world that you live in. What happened was 01:25:00that we leave our friends behind in Sacramento because you don't know who hates us and who doesn't hate us 'cause we're "yellow Japs." And so my father had some friends, Caucasian friends, and when he was going to leave Tule Lake, these people literally drove from Sacramento to the Tule Lake concentration camp and brought our, my dad's car to us. So we get into out old car that we had, we leave Tule Lake and leave those friends who brought the car to us. So that's how we got the transportation. Then as we're driving across the highway, we come into a little small town you know and then all of a sudden some young guys come by driving in the car and they see "yellow Japs" sitting in the car and they start calling us names and swearing at us and threatening us, and things like 01:26:00that. So you don't know what you're facing, and I'm not sure where we're going but I find out we're going to Colorado Springs. And so then the next door opens about who we are as human beings and we go from these barrack, concentration camps to this beautiful house sitting on this block, it's the only house sitting on this block. And it was like a 1943 mansion, that's a little different 2002 mansion. But a beautiful home and it's a home by the name of, again a name that I remember for the rest of my life, the Parkers. 01:27:00
The Parkers, I think he was kind of religious people, I don't know what his rolewas in the religion, but they literally turned this house over to us. And we go inside of the house, and I'm investigating this house and I go through the drawers and desk and things like, that and I find jewelry, I find all kinds of personal things. And they totally gave it over to us outside of a concentration camp and it didn't register with me at that age, and it registered with me later about the world we live in. Here are these people, give us this key and they leave. And they let us stay there as long as we need to survive. So we're there 01:28:00for a month, I think it is, I'm not too sure of the time, but I think it was a month and my dad is trying to establish himself, and so here it was, the Parkers gave us their home. And then we go from Colorado Springs to Boulder, Colorado, and that's where we settle in.
EU: So this was you, your mother, father and sister?
EM: Yeah, and so we ended up in Boulder, Colorado. So should I just go ahead andtalk away? So then we go into this very teensy apartment, something like upstairs here. Everybody's crowded in this very small apartment, there's a triplex. And that's where we live when we first get out of there for a few months until we find a home to move into. And being a nine year old eight year 01:29:00old, coming out of a concentration camp and moving to a place like Boulder was quite an interesting experience. I think we were the first Japanese American people ever to come to Boulder. That's what I was told. And so, who knows what to expect, and we go to Highland Elementary School and the, so, I'm going into, was it third grade? fourth grade? Something like that. And my sister who's a year ahead of me, and who knows what to expect? And then I meet a lady, whose name I remember the rest of my life and that's Mrs. Blake. And given everything 01:30:00we've been through, we children don't know what to expect and Mrs. Blake was just an absolutely wonderful lady and she welcomes this little Japanese boy into her class and introduces me to all these students, and all of a sudden I am just accepted like I'm just another little Caucasian child and it was just an absolutely wonderful experience going into Highland Elementary School and having Mrs. Blake as my teacher, and she starts to develop my talents, and one thing that I always remember is that we had a classroom, an art thing or something, and we're just supposed to do some sort of art work, so I did a bunch of drawings that were fairly large; they were about Donald Duck and his son Huey 01:31:00and Louie?
EU: Huey, Dewey, and Louie, his three nephews, yeah.
EM: [laughs] So all of a sudden I'm doing this, Donald Duck's Huey, Dewey, andLouie, and what I remember is that she pins them up on all the walls there, so it's a lifetime memory. And I guess they were beautifully done, I guess I have artistic talent and so anyway it was a wonderful experience, yeah, to go back to Boulder. But, what we do as little boys now and not only Japanese but all little Caucasian guys is that we play war games, in the empty lots. And so we're shooting American soldiers, are fighting against the enemies, so they're Crouts and Japs and Americans. Some of the time, I'm a Crout, some of the time I'm a 01:32:00Jap, some of the time I'm an American, so that's what're doing, playing war games.
EM: And then another, so the next memorable event, there's a whole bunch ofthem. Another memorable event is that we go to Saturday matinees and sometimes we're seeing Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse and Lassie Come Home and then one day we go to a matinee and the movie is called The Purple Heart, I don't know whether you have ever seen The Purple Heart. It came out during that period in history and there's a whole bunch of war movies, different from The Purple Heart 01:33:00and here am I and my three or four Caucasian friends, and we're sitting there watching this movie and it opens up inside a prison cell and inside this prison cell and there's a famous actor, I always remember his name, and I can't recall it right now, he's a famous actor and I've always known his name. He and five other Caucasian soldiers are sitting inside this prison cell, and the whole movie takes place in this prison cell and then pretty soon the bad guy comes in here and he's a slant eye and he's got buck teeth and he wears these glasses and 01:34:00he looks like this. And there's this "yellow Jap" and here's these five American guys and whose B-25 got shot down over Tokyo, and they've taken these guys and they put them in these Japanese prison camp prison. And so this "yellow Jap" comes in here and he questions them and of course these guys are powerful soldiers and they don't say anything. So the "yellow Jap" says, "Okay you come with me" and gets a guard and gets these two guys out.
And all of a sudden you hear this horrible screaming "ahhhh" I remember that01:35:00agony screaming, and pretty soon he comes back and he doesn't have a hand, and they take another guy out and then you hear this horrible screaming. And then they bring him back, and he's got things all over his eyes because he can't see anymore, and they take another guy out and then you hear this horrible screaming, and then they take another guy out and there's this horrible screaming, by this time I'm having, just about getting sick to my stomach, and I could just barely tolerate surviving that movie, and then we go out and then my friends say, "Wow those Japs sure were horrible weren't they?" [laughs] And for 01:36:00the first time I was really angry about what we went through. Because then I started adding everything together and I was just so angry and had a big fight, an argument with friends. And after that I had a hard time going to movies anymore so then I began to understand what we had gone through. Now to conclude this part of this story, so first of all, the war games and then a wonderful friendship with all these Caucasian guys, I mean they were wonderful friends, lifetime friends, lifetime memories, I still know their names, I still remember what they look. So they were very important friendships to me. Except for that 01:37:00one time when we saw that movie [laughs]. So anyway, I couldn't play war games after that one.
EM: And then one day, let's see, I was walking down the street of Boulder calledBoulder and it downtown Boulder and I was with my sister and I think this was only a few months after, I can't remember the timing anymore, months a year? Who knows? After I saw that movie I was walking down the street in downtown Boulder with my sister. This kid walks by me and he says, "You dirty yellow Jap!" I'm just stopped in my tracks, and a whole different thing is triggered in me. So I 01:38:00turn around and I look at this kid, he's walking away. And I run up to him and I grab him and he turns around and I say "What did you say?" He's kind taken aback. "What did you say, What did you call me?" He says, "You yellow Jap." So the fight's on, punching each other in this downtown street and we're rolling around on the sidewalk and all of sudden I notice these feet gathering around me, around us. So we're fighting and all of a sudden there's a whole crowd of people around us in downtown Boulder. And then somebody says something that creates a lifetime memory he says "Wow! This is a real thing: American versus a yellow Jap!" And by this time I think both of us were intimidated and the 01:39:00fighting just comes to an end. I don't know who won the fight, because there wasn't a point to the whole thing. But it was just that memory, and then Carolyn and I left and it was the first time I truly began to understand what we had been through. Now the other thing I want to share with you: I'm just this itty bitty sweet little kid and if you look at pictures of me when I'm little I'm just a sweet looking kid [pause] Just about that time.
EU: This here is a black and white picture of you and your sister then?01:40:00
EM: Yeah, that was my sister, see, because she was born in 1945, so that goes totell you about how old I was and that's what I looked like. Thing now, I really truly enjoy hearing people now, is this: is that I have no idea whether I had any physical strength or not. But when I was in junior highschool, they would have a rope climbing thing, entire rope right in the middle of the gym. And you can't use your legs, all you can use is your arms and so they would have us climb up there to see how fast we could do it. So I just fly up this thing faster than anybody in the class and then we do pushups and chin-ups and things 01:41:00like that. And one day I giving a talk like this and telling, my wife was sitting there listening, well in those days I could do 2,000 pushups, and afterwards my wife comes up to me and says, "You meant 200 didn't you?" [laughs] Well, I'm 70 years old now and that was when I was young so maybe it was 200. But you know I could do 2,000 sit-ups, 2,000 pushups, I could climb this rope like lightning, and I could do chin-ups, 75 chin-ups; all I'm saying is that I just happen to possess this incredible physical strength, natural physical strength. And at that time I didn't know I could do any fighting or anything like that. So anyway that was a fight and that was another monumental event in 01:42:00my life because it made me realize the world that we lived in. There were people who would give us their homes and there was still the guy that would walk down the street and insult me. Very interesting childhood experience.
EU: So Colorado has sort of a reputation, the governor welcomed in JapaneseAmericans during the war.
EM: Absolutely, I can't remember his name.
EU: I think it's Carr, Governor Carr.
EM: Yeah, yeah Carr.
EU: So I'm curious if that reputation is deserved because there must have been,obviously there was prejudice and stereotypes in Colorado like every other place.
EM: Basically it was really a wonderful place, there was very rarely that kindof thing came up. That only happened, that I can remember, that one time. But 01:43:00the Japanese American people truly believed in Carr, and if you go to Denver or Boulder or someplace like that they have a monument in the Japanese town or whatever it is of Governor Carr because he was one of the governors that opened the door to Colorado to us.
EU: And so how long did your family stay in Colorado?
EM: That was an interesting thing too because as soon as the war ended, we hadJapanese American friends there by that time, quite a few Japanese Americans did end up in Boulder and we were part of the Japanese American community there. But as soon as the war ended most of the people who lived there went back to California, where they came from, but my father was getting into the produce business again in Colorado and so he just decided he wanted to stay there and do 01:44:00that. But the growing season and the growing Colorado wasn't like in California. So after several years he lost, he continued to lose money and he couldn't make big money out of it like he did in California. So in 1952 or something like that, we left Colorado and went to California.
EU: To Sacramento?
EM: Yeah, back to Sacramento. Then rather than getting to that business again hegot into real estate business and became a real estate broker. But we still had our home there. Even after all those years and not going back we still had our home and we went back there and fixed the house up and then he had his property in Japan town and then created a real estate business down there. So back to California. 01:45:00
EU: So in 1952, is that the year you enlisted than in the Army, for the Korean War?
EM:: Yep, right, because my mother and father were literally driving me nutsbecause they just were lifetime fighters and I remember things like this in Boulder, when we were still in Boulder. We had a two floor apartment and back in those days you had a stove in the house that kept heat. So in order to heat the upstairs they created a hole in the floor with a vent thing. And so in our bedroom we were right above where my mom and dad were. And so Carolyn and I would go to bed at night and we would have to listen to mom and dad fighting all 01:46:00the time. It was just driving us crazy, really. So what was the question?
EU: Your decision then to enlist in the Army?
EM: Right, right, well, by that time, then we went back to Sacramento but thisfighting that was going on was really driving me crazy. I could hardly stand it anymore and also I was really thinking about this when we went back to Sacramento, I was getting close to college age. And I wanted to make sure I went to college and I wasn't too sure how we were going to pull it off because my father lost all his money. And they were driving me crazy with the fighting even when we went to Sacramento. I was upstairs and listening to it and it was just beyond my tolerance anymore, so I made a decision to leave home and get the GI 01:47:00Bill. And the Korean War was still going on, and I didn't want to go in the army because I wasn't like the young guy who wanted to go out there and fight on the ground, I thought "no, that's not for me." So I said, maybe the way out is I'll just join the navy. So I volunteered to join the navy. So I could get the GI Bill. So I got into the CVS so I didn't even have to be on ship. And so I went to Kwajalein and Guam and then eventually by giving a guy a couple of bottles of whisky he gave me, turned my assignment to Japan, so I got my last two years to spend in Japan.
EU: What did you do with the CVS?
EM: Oh, I was a surveyor and I learned surveying and became a surveyor, that'swhat they needed in the CVS. 01:48:00
EU: So how long were you in Guam and--?
EM: First of all, they sent me to Guam and then I was there for months orsomething like that and then they sent me to Kwajalein and Kwajalein is around that island chain where they were testing atom bombs, it was part of the island chain and then Kwajalein was way over there, can't remember what the name of the island was where they were dropping atom bombs. And testing atom bombs and at night you could see the lights flash up and things like that and so, and Kwajalein was this tiny little island, and we lived in the barracks there and it was hot and humid, things like that. After two years there or whatever it was, I 01:49:00can't remember exactly, they were going to transfer me and I didn't know where they were going to send me, to the Philippines or something, and I didn't want to go to the Philippines and I thought "Geez, I wish they could send me to Japan." So I was talking to another fellow soldier or sailor and he's the one who was actually making assignments of where you go or making recommendations. And so I was talking with him and I said "Well, if I gave you a couple of bottles of whisky will you assign me to Japan?" He says, "Sure" [laughs] So I gave him a couple bottles, I don't think you can do that anymore, but back in those days you could. And so they literally sent me Sasebo, Japan.
EU: You went to Sasebo, okay. So what was it like, this was the first time ofcourse you were in Japan.
EM: Well, I was absolutely fascinated and one of the things I'll never forget is01:50:00the moment we were landing in Japan and I was in this airplane. And I was looking out the window and all I could see down there were Japs [laughs]. And I thought "What?" - it just blew my mind that all I could see was Japanese people. And so anyway that was a very interesting experience for me. But then I found out about how if you're a war torn country and you're a young woman in a worn torn country and then you have a military guy then all these poor girls had to become prostitutes. This was part of the human being, these women literally standing on the street and watching these American sailors come by, soldiers. And I go far out.
EU: Were you able to travel see much of Japan? Or were you?01:51:00
EM: Yeah because my grandmother was there and she was very excited and she tookme on a tour, and I took 30 days off or 15 days off whatever it was she took me on a tour of all Japan and we went up to the family homes and then I found out another thing that was fascinating to me: you come to Japan and get down on your knees, so I start learning about the Japanese culture and started meeting all my relatives.
EU: Were you able to speak any Japanese then?
EM: In those days I had forgotten a lot of it because when I was a little boy 7,8 years old I was fluent in both languages and then because we left and weren't in the Japanese community anymore and our grandparents stopped using the Japanese language. And so by that time I had to relearn Japanese, so I was 01:52:00relearning, but never became super fluent. [29:50]
EU: So you left the navy and Japan at the same time then, 1956?
EM: Yeah, and leaving the military was a very fascinating experience for me too,because I remember certain kind of incidents. And I was an enlisted man and one night I was out, I can't remember what camp I was in, Yokohama and I was also in 01:53:00Sasebo, and one night.
EU: Sasebo was in Kyushu?
EM: That's the southern island, right. Honshu is the middle one.
EU: I'm trying to think of the big navy base by Yokohama; I'm drawing a blank.
EM: So anyway, one night, I hear this screaming sound, this agony sound"aaahhh." So I come out of the barracks, or wherever I was at, and there's an officer and a sergeant standing there, chief, not a sergeant, that's what they call them in the military. And another enlisted guy and there were Caucasian guys and I look up there and there on top of this telephone poll there was 01:54:00Japanese guy and he was trying to steal something and sneak in whatever he was trying to do but he got caught up there and he was suffering this electronic pain and he was just groaning and moaning and they were going to get guys out there to get him down. And then all of a sudden this officer says, I'm standing and watching all this he says, Well, he deserves what he's getting for being a 'yellow Jap.'" [laughs] Another picture of the human condition.
EU: You never can get away from it.
EM: But anyway what, I just absolutely was counting the days, for the last yearand a half, whatever it was, just marking off the days. Because by this time I 01:55:00couldn't stand it anymore, I couldn't stand being in the military anymore because it was a reflection of what this country was about. And then, you know, all military guys are getting involved in sex activities and listening to them talking about it and some pretty sickening stories, you know. About what part of the body this girl was sticking her nose up in and that sort of stuff. And I thought, "oh geez this is tough to take" So I got to the point where I can hardly stand the military anymore, and then I requested an early advance because college was going to start in September or October and I wasn't supposed to get out until November, and they gave me an early out.
Then, the last story about the military: when you're going out, the commanding01:56:00officer as you come into talk to him, and I wasn't quite sure what this was about. This was at that Yokohama base, so he was sitting there talking to me, and so he says "Are you interested in staying in the military? Resign up and blah blah blah." Because that was his job, to try to get me to stay in. So I said, "No, I don't think I'm going to stay in." and he says, "Oh, really? How come?" I says, "I think I want to go to college." And he says, "Well?" And I says, "I'm going to get the GI Bill" And he says, "Well, did you save any money?" I say, "Yeah, I've got $5,000 dollars." And those are the days where you get paid $100 a month, or $120 a month. And he says, "$5,000?!" And I said, 01:57:00"Yeah." And he stood up and he came around the table and shook my hand and said, "Congratulations, congratulations for leaving the military." He was so impressed that I saved my money to go to college, so that was the end of a military career for me.
EU: So where did you go to college then?
EM: Well, my father was a Harvard graduate and you know, I wanted to, I wasn't,didn't have the money to go there, but we had a lot of family members who went to University of California Berkeley, and my sister was there. And she was already a senior by that time or she was going to be a senior, and so I went to the University of California Berkeley. Took up architecture as a career there. 01:58:00
EU: So did you know from the beginning you wanted to study architecture?
EM: Yes, very early because you know one time when I was still about teenage,01:59:00early teens, my dad was talking to me about what kind of career I would get into, and he's the one that brought up architecture. And he said, "Maybe with your artistic talent and intelligence maybe you should go into architecture." And that planted that seed and so not knowing what else I wanted to study, I majored in architecture.
EU: So what was it like being at Berkeley? That was before the sixties and thedemonstrations and the activism.
EM: Right, it was the early fifties, yeah. There was some movements starting,can't remember what the movement was now. There was some movement starting in that age, I can't remember. But one of the interesting things that I got involved in is that my sister belonged to a group called "The Panel of Americans" and she was a speaker on the "Panel of Americans" and so when I got to Berkeley, she says, "You know you better join the Panel of Americans." And I said, "Oh, what is that?" She said, "Well, there's a group of people and the panel is a public speaking panel and the panel made up of a Catholic, a Jew, a WASP" (white Anglo-Saxon protestant they called them WASPs in those days) "and a black, and Orientals. And it would be a real interesting thing to be public 02:00:00speaker with this group of people." So I joined the "Panel of Americans" and I became a speaker and I did that all my five years there and found it very, very interesting, traveling around and talking like that.
EU: What did you talk to people about?
EM: Well, I really did talk a lot about the Japanese American evacuationexperience. And then after that is when I got out and went to work in architect's office and that was from the mid 60s thing, the Watts riots broke out and all that sort of stuff. I think I graduated in '62 so it was only two years out of there that the Watts riots broke out. So to me as I look back on this, one door opens, and another door opens, and another door opens and that's really how I see life. The "Panel of Americans" door opened, then of course 02:01:00being in Berkeley is where I met my wife Mary. She's a Minnesota woman and she was in graduate school in Berkeley in social work.
EU: Okay let's stop part three at this point.
EU: This is part four of the interview with Ed Miyakawa. Ed, you'd just startedtalking about your wife, Mary. How did you meet Mary?
EM: Well, I was in architecture school and in order to pay for my, help pay formy last year in college, it last year something like that, I applied to become a 02:02:00dorm counselor and I could get free living conditions if I became a dorm counselor. And all that was, was a person who was a little bit older and who would move into one these dormitory buildings and he was kind of the guy who would look over everything and I think it was divided by floors or something like that. That's the way I was going to help pay for that living conditions and eating conditions at college. And at that time Mary, my, wife came from Minnesota and she was going into the graduate school of social work and she 02:03:00became a dorm counselor, that's how I met her. And we hit off absolutely immediately and she was a very open minded person and we started dating; that's how I got together with her.
EU: So her background was Scandinavian, she was from Minnesota?
EM: So she was Norwegian Swedish.
EU: So how did she end up in California then?
EM: Well, she won a scholarship to go to a couple of different universities tostudy a Masters degree in social work, so she chose Berkeley and that's how we met.
EU: And how long was it before you were married?
EM: Well, those were the days when you had to keep things like this secret, we02:04:00were students and after students we started working in the outside world. So we did fall in love so we moved in together and I think we lived together for about a year before we decided to get married. We had a lot in common and she was very fascinated with the Japanese American experience and things like that.
EU: And did you have political interests in common?
EM: Yes, we had political interests in common. And you know this is related tothe family and so I don't know whether or not this fits in or not, but tom me, another interesting human experience is that her parents, and I didn't know this 02:05:00at the time, were very racist people and so when they found out that Mary was going around with me, that really disturbed them. She told me things that probably she was better off if she didn't ever told me. But the father said something and the mother said to her that by going, by considering marrying a Japanese was stepping down racially. And then she had an uncle that lived in San Jose, so we would go visit them and they were the same way. They were very 02:06:00distributed that she was going out with me. So it was very difficult thing for me to get together with them. But I had this ability to push down my negative aspect when we went visiting her mother and father and uncle and aunt. And, then, given who I was, I won them over pretty easily. But it was difficult for me. But her father, that was the first time I heard about sexual abuse of children. And her father sexually abused her sister and things like this. And he was a serious alcoholic. Almost killed himself. He worked for a Ford Company, on 02:07:00repairing things in the building or something like that. His story was he had to climb up ladders and ropes and one day he fell down and almost killed himself. And he would get drunk every Saturday and be drunk every Saturday and Sunday, until Monday and things like that. But, I'd go over there and won them over.
EU: Where were you living then? Were you still in Berkeley?
EM: Yeah, we lived and stayed in Berkeley. She worked with a social workorganization and I got established with an architect organization there. Then, one year we decided that we were going to travel around the world and we left Berkeley and then went to Europe. Then went to France and lived in France for a 02:08:00month. And then went to Turkey and lived in Turkey for a year. Yeah, she went to Turkey because as an exchange student, not exchange student, but a program that took her there for the summer, or maybe it was an exchange student--so she went to Turkey when she was a student and then she wanted to go there when we were there so we went over there and lived in Turkey.
EU: What did you do there and where did you live?
EM: Well she taught there and it was then that I made a decision--then I startedpursuing seriously the writing of my book, Tule Lake. I had given it a lot of thought and I we went over there and had a lot of spare time. I thought this is the time that I have to pursue the serious writing of Tule Lake and that's when 02:09:00I started writing it.
EU: So for your book, what was the inspiration? Or what happened that made youthink about writing that book?
EM: As I started out--.when I told you about the Watts riots, you didn't havethis on, right?
EM: I was working in an architecture office and this was in the mid '60s. Andone day, I was in my office and the Watts riots broke out. And the Watts riots were when the black people went on a riot in Watts, which is near Los Angeles. So we would be discussing the Watts riots in the offices.
EU: This was what, about 1964?
EM: Yeah, 1964. And some of the things that I was hearing about it bothered me02:10:00because it reminded me of the racism that Japanese American people felt. So I felt I needed an outlet. So I stopped having lunch at the office and I started going back to my apartment, which was nearby, and using that noontime to write about the Watts riots. I got to seriously writing about it, just putting down my thoughts; it was writing, it was putting down my thoughts. Then, all of a sudden, after a while, I thought, geez, maybe I ought to be writing about the Japanese American experience. Now, this conversation, does this fit in with what you're asking?
EM: So I thought geez. I hadn't thought about that Japanese American experiencefor years because we shoved it in the background to move on with our lives. But 02:11:00I got started very interested in it. So on the weekends, I'd go from Berkeley to Sacramento and I'd start interviewing my mother and father and saying, "Hey I'd kinda want to write about what we went through. So I want to interview you and ask questions. Would you talk about it?" And then they would start telling funny stories. I would say, "Well, what else happened?" And I would get more funny stories.
And soon, I realized that I wasn't getting anything but funny stories. Then Isaid, well, I'm going to interview some of your peer group friends and my mother's and my children's friends and father's. And I started interviewing a bunch of them, and all I got were funny stories. All of a sudden, it started to occur to me, that in a lot of ways, we Japanese Americans didn't really know 02:12:00what we went through or the reasons for it or what took place, the historical or what decisions were made that put us in a concentration camp. So it was getting frustrating for me because I wasn't learning anything about what I wanted to learn about. So I decided that I would go to the University of California Berkeley Library and go to the archives. I was stumbling through all these things, you know. And then I came upon two books, to use an old trite term, that absolutely blew my mind. There was a sociology professor there named Dr. Dorothy Swayne Thomas. She had Japanese American students and they were literally taken away from her in her classes and put into these camps. And I started finding and 02:13:00so I stumbled across this book, one called The Salvage and one called The Spoilage, so I got them out of the archives and sat down and started reading them. To use an old trite term, it just absolutely blew my mind. And The Salvage is twice as big as The Spoilage and I started reading it. It was all about people like my father and mother, who decided that they were going to become--and then I learned about the loyalty oath.
The questions 27 and 28 were the key questions. That's why, I found out, we wereable to leave Tule Lake, because my father became a yes-yes. And then, I started reading The Spoilage and that's the one that absolutely blew my mind because it 02:14:00is basically all about the Tule Lake Concentration Camp and why it became the Concentration Camp that it did and why we left and why other people came to it. And then the hell these people had to go through and how crazy people became. We were persecuted and then we became crazy and we persecuted ourselves and turned against each other and violence was inflected on each other and hatred of each other. Then I felt this powerful urge to put it into a novel form because I wanted to write about it now. But I couldn't do a sociological study because I had a sociological study in front of me. So I wanted to put it into a novel. I had never written anything creative in my life; I was just a highly skilled 02:15:00plagiarizer when I was in college. So I read the Confessions of Nat Turner half a dozen times and I started reading John Steinbeck books over and over to find out how people talk to each other in a book. It took me ten years, but I finally produced a book and called it Tule Lake. That's how the novel came about.
EU: It's interesting that you did a lot of the beginning of it in Turkey.
EM: Yeah, I had the time then because I stopped working and my wife wassupporting us by working in Turkey. I just started writing Tule Lake. And then we came back and settled in Minnesota and I went to work, again, in an architect's office, and Mary was working, but I continued my writing. Then we stayed in Minnesota for a year and then we came back to Oregon and we started 02:16:00looking for a place to live. And this is where we found this house on the Oregon Coast in 1967. And I just kept pursuing the writing of Tule Lake.
EU: Why did you choose Oregon? And why did you choose Waldport and the coast?
EM: Okay, we decided that, rather than live in California, we'd never been toOregon before. Mary had never been to Oregon. But we just decided that we would go up north and get out of California. We just found out what a beautiful state, the state of Oregon was. We didn't know where we wanted to live, so we were just driving all over Oregon, you know. In the Eugene area, you know, and all these different places. Then we came along the coast and we found this house for sale, 02:17:00there was a big "for sale" sign right outside this window here, and we saw that. In those days, none of these trees were here. It was kind of a barren looking house and they wanted $20,000 for it and we offered $18,000 and then we bought it for $19,000. Then, I could still write, because we had enough money and we saved money, and it didn't cost so much to live in those days. Mary was still working too. So I kept writing--it became dominant in my life now.
EU: That was in the mid sixties, with the war in Vietnam going on and the CivilRights Movement and the Women's Movement, and the beginning of ethnic movements, the Asian American Movement. How did those, and coming from Berkeley, which was 02:18:00the center of a lot of those political and social movements, how did all of that influence you and your writing of the book Tule Lake?
EM: It had a very powerful influence on it. Because it was starting to give me aperspective view of what was going on in this country, in this world. Of course, that was the decade that Martin Luther King was assassinated and President Kennedy was assassinated and in those days, there was a powerful Civil Rights Movement. So here we were, a part of that American history. And it provided me a tremendous amount of incentive to learn how to write. Because I identified the Japanese American experience with the Black experience and the days of the Black Panthers and things like that. In the 70s, the Vietnam War broke out. So here 02:19:00were all these historical events that were happening in that period of history. To us, the American history of the sixties and the seventies is a significant and powerful time in American history. I mean it didn't change this country, but it brought out what this country really was about. So it was a fascinating period of history, and that's when I was working on this book, you know. So it provided a tremendous amount of incentive for me to tell this story. So this why Tule Lake isn't about me, it's about democracy, that's what my book is about. And what can happen when we lose perspective about what makes this a great country. So that was the incentive to right this book, yeah. 02:20:00
EU: How much was what you wrote about in Tule Lake autobiographical?
EM: Well, I started to know, not knowing which direction I wanted to go inwriting the story. But as soon as I really got into writing, I absolutely knew that writing about myself, an autobiography, was not the incentive, the purpose of what I had to write. The incentive was to tell how important it is that we maintain the quality, the thing that makes this a great country. It couldn't be 02:21:00about a little boy; it had to be about all those young guys and what the grownups had to go through, when you lose you know, what makes this a great country. There's little parts of this when the little boy Ben, and the other guy writes this little boy, and this little boy steps into this bowl full of piss and stuff like that. That's a part in there. But that just wasn't the purpose of the story. And what I had to do, was put myself into a lot of different peoples' shoes to tell the story of Tule Lake.
EU: In addition to the books The Salvage and The Spoilage, what were some of theother sources and resources you used to flesh out the story?
EM: Let me think about that one--well, did I interview anybody around here? I02:22:00don't think so. And by that time, I was away from my Sacramento American community, there was no oriental people here, so all I did, I think I did, by this time, I was really dependent on The Salvage and The Spoilage. Because if anybody ever looks at that, it's thousands of pages of interviews of people, so the interviews were there. So if you were ever going to look at this Tule Lake, there were a whole lot of notes I made off the side on the columns there. So 02:23:00that's how I was finding out about who we were and how we thought and how we made the decisions that we made. Because this is why those books were absolutely wonderful. And I'm just amazed that almost no Japanese Americans know about it. That's where it all came from, and I can add one personal thing to it.
When I was in Turkey, Mary and I were living there. She had a cousin, that was areally intelligent guy, but he had a really difficult life because he was sexually abused by his stepfather. He's about the same age as Mary and I, and he came to Turkey. Then one day he went out, in town, or wherever is was that we were, and he got some hashish [chuckles]. So he brings this hashish back and he 02:24:00says, "Have you ever had hashish before?" I said, "What the hell's that?" He says, "Well, you got to give it a try." So I got stoned for the first time in my life, and I got hooked on it. I had such a great trip, I got hooked on it. Then I got back writing and, I don't mind sharing this with you, in order to get into what I felt what was really important after reading those books was to "How I get into the head of somebody else, not myself, the head of somebody else?" Not this little seven year old boy, but in the head of these people. So I get stoned and I end up 200 feet above Tule Lake and I'm looking down on Tule Lake from up 02:25:00above. And then I created these characters, and I'm expressing what I was told, and now I become a believer, is that what makes Tule Lake a powerful story is that it's not a story about one person's point of view, it's a story about a number of different peoples' points of view, that are very personal, powerful stories. I was only able to do that because I felt a tremendous responsibility. And when I got stoned, one day I could be Tonato (sp?) and then when I got stoned another day, I could be this guy and another day I could be guy [laughs]. Then today I'll be Ben and today I'll be so and so. This is what I'm told, you know, by many readers that it's amazing how I can tell the story from so many 02:26:00different points of view. So it was a gift that was given to me and then marijuana brought it out [laughs].
EU: So you finished writing the book here in Waldport.
EU: And it was published in 1979? How did you find a publisher?
EM: That's an interesting experience too. Because what I understand now is thatin those days, well nowadays, everybody writes. But back in those days, only writers wrote. In those days, there were no Japanese American writers, basically or just a few. And nobody ever put the Japanese American experience into a historical fiction form. And that's what I wanted to do, was to put it into a 02:27:00historical fiction form. Now what was the question?
EU: How it came to be published?
EM: Oh right. And so, therefore, I wanted to look for people to help me publishthis thing. I was so ahead of my time that nobody was interested in me at all. So I'd write to publishing companies and they'd say, "Send me a copy of your manuscript" and I'd send a copy of the manuscript. Then I wouldn't hear from them for a long time and then they'd finally write a letter and say, "Nah, we're not interested in it." So everybody rejected it. Nobody was interested at all. One time, I went to an agent and he said, "You know, this writing is no good 02:28:00here and you have to change this and change that" [laughs]. And so I was totally confused about whether it was headed for anything. But then, every once in a while I'd send it to a Japanese guy. And this was before I'd even finished it, I was three quarters of the way through and I'd take a chapter and I'd send it to him and he'd write back and say, "This is an amazing story you're telling." He was a guy that recognized that I'd had writing talent and that I was in the process of telling, giving a powerful story about what we went through. So it was that occasional encouragements that continued for me to push through the writing. But that was interesting experience. Because he says, "You couldn't 02:29:00possibly write this unless you experienced it yourself." So then I write to him and say, "I didn't really experience it, I was just writing about it." And that's the last I heard from him [laughs]. But, never the less, I kept that letter. I still have the letters and copies of it because it was such an important encouragement letter for me to continue. You know, I didn't know whether I had any ability to write at all, I had no idea. I didn't know if I was writing a bunch of BS and garbage. But then when he writes back and says, "This is so powerful, I can't believe what you're saying. This is a powerful piece of writing."
So then, when we tried to find publishers, we basically couldn't find anypublishers. That was at the time when, the connection was that we adopted our 02:30:00children and then at '75, we adopted two children from Vietnam. Through that adoption, we met a lot of Vietnamese people because of that. Here was this guy in Portland, a Vietnamese man, and he was guy about my age. He was a Vietnamese guy that had a powerful, social conscious. He was the one who did a lot of opening doors and bringing Vietnamese into Oregon and having children adopted. We became very good friends with him because of our adoption and he actually had a small publishing business that he was doing. So he recognized the importance of what I was doing. He says, "Well, I can help you publish your book." So we published it through him. And that's how all that came about. Then, it became 02:31:00fairly well known, but we only sold about 8,000 copies of it, and then that was the end of it. Then we got into raising these children and I had to get back into supporting the family. So I gave up writing and forgot the book for about 15 years.
EU: So then the book was reprinted in 2002?
EM: Yeah, and let me tell you how that came about, 'cause that was veryfascinating to me. I did a house for a guy that was just up the road, a mile up the road here. He was a sociology professor from Long Beach College, southern California; it's not Long Beach State anymore, it's called something else, but in those days, it was Long Beach State. And I was designing this house for him. 02:32:00And one day, it was a winter day in 2001 or 2002, he calls me and he says, "Ed, would you come over here? The wind's blowing and this house's shaking like mad. And I need you take a look at it because something's wrong." And I'd designed the foundation of it. The carpenter built it and he didn't build it right, he didn't fasten it correctly, he didn't secure the walls, so the house was shaking. So I went over there and we looked at the foundation and all that sort of stuff, you know. It was windy day, ready to rainstorm. I just wanted to get back home. I didn't want to stand there on the beach looking at his house. All 02:33:00of a sudden, he says, "Hey Ed, you gotta get your book back out." I'm looking at him like, "Book? What the hell you talking about?" And he says, "Yeah, your book, Tule Lake." I said, "What do you mean? You got my book?" He says, "Yeah you gave it to me." I said, "When?" He said, "You know, four or five years ago." "Really?" And I said, "Why?" He says, "You know, since 9/11 happened" he says, "it's really important to bring your book back out." So he was the one who really triggered this thing, you know.
So I started thinking, "what bring what Tule Lake, this piece of trash?" So hetriggered me and we came back out again and we found a publishing company and 02:34:00all and you can do it for $2,000 and people can order one book, you know or ten books, or something like that. And publishing, book houses aren't interested in carrying it because of that. But that's why the book came out and again so much of our human lives, we don't have control over. All you try to do is to go through life in kind of an intelligent kind of way, in a survival kind of a way. Because of that, then one day I get a call, and this guy says, "We're commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the Oregon State Library and this is the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission. We've chosen 100 books from the last 200 years. We've chosen your book Tule Lake." So I'm thinking, "this is a big joke, this is a con artist, it couldn't be serious. Pick my book 100 book of 200 years." Ken Kesey, Ursula Le Guin, and Ed Miyakawa [laughs]. So I thought it was 02:35:00a big joke. Then I found out it was for real. So we republished it and everything and it came out again.
EU: So that was a great honor to be--
EM: Oh, unbelievable. Then I thought, "Gee, I guess I can write."
EU: Would that help you think about doing more writing? Like short stories?
EM: Well, you know, because people do know me, constantly telling me, "youshould be writing." I've been told that for many years. I don't know--who knows what motivates people and motivates myself. But then this story I told you about 02:36:00Toshiko came up and my friend Kenge and fascinating short stories, if I could make them into short stories, so I'm working hard to make them into short stories. And then I started writing about--Bunke (sp?), that was my nickname when I was a little boy. I have an aunt, no, daughter of an aunt down in Los Angeles, and they're interested in buying this house. And she writes me an email and says, "Dear Bunke," [laughs] I'm still being called Bunke, I gave that up when I left Tule Lake. But people want me to write again. So I'm working really hard on it.
EU: This is the end of part four.02:37:00
EM: Oh, okay.
EU: This is part five of the interview with Ed Miyakawa. Ed, let's, uh, go backand talk a little bit about your family. You and your wife have adopted six children?
EU: From many different countries?
EU: [clears throat] um-- could you talk a bit about that, who was the first onethat you adopted, and how, how did the idea of adopting come about?
EM: Okay. Well, you know, when you get into it, your late 20s and early 30s andyou're married and you don't have children, you know you [sigh] you feel like maybe this is an appropriate time to think about having a family. [clears throat] And so Mary and I, you know, couldn't, you know, she couldn't ever get 02:38:00pregnant, and so we did go see a doctor and found out that, you know, I had a problem that, you know, made it so that we couldn't have our own children, and so then we had to make a decision about, you know, the family that we're gonna have. So then [sigh] we, when we're in Minnesota, we started going to [pause]. They were giving talks about adoptions and, uh, there's again another very famous man in our life who was in Minnesota and he was giving things about adoptions; that was very interesting, and so we went to a couple of courses given by him or somebody with him, or something like that, [clears throat] and, 02:39:00uh, and this was the time when [pause] people who adopted adopted children of their same race, you know, they weren't going across racial barriers and things like that, and, you know, the adoption person would get to know you, you know, they would try to find somebody that was same as you as something same to you, and that was the right person to adopt. Well, just at this particular time, the adoption rules was beginning to change, and uh, people were starting to cross barriers of race, for instance, and uh, and so we were started attending these courses and people and trying to learn about adoptions and [pause] we, that was started in Minnesota, and we came to Oregon and we found out about the Holt 02:40:00Adoption Agency in, in Eugene area; it's a little town south of Eugene. And, um, and what was his name? Uh, uh, the Holt? Harry Holt.
EU: [At same time as EM] Holt, Harry Holt.
EM: And, and, we heard about Harry Holt and we were blow out by his story, thislumberman well-to-do wealthy lumberman, and he was retiring from his work and he said that he was going to travel around the world to see what the world was about, and he never, and his story was, I remember, was he had never been out of the state of Oregon. I'm not too sure that's right but that's what I remember. That he was never out of the state of Oregon, so then he started travelling around, and he went to Korea and was this when the Korean War was still going 02:41:00on? Or had ended? Or something like this. So then he would go around and, and uh, what Seoul, Korea? Yeah, I think it was Seoul, Korea, and, and then he started seeing these children on the streets, and, and he started seeing children of mixed races, Black and Korean, White and Korean, and these kids were street-kids, and he started finding out that lotta Korean women were getting impregnated by American military people. And then, when the kids were born, the kids were suffered from racial prejudice from the Koreans, strongly suffering 02:42:00from prejudice from the Koreans. [clears throat] So here were these kids, born of this, you know, of a, of a war, which is horrible human experience, and then they have to learn to suffer the rest of their lives, and so Harry Holt [pause] decides he's going to [pause] I think he six or seven or eight children? So here's this Caucasian man who's never been outta the state of Oregon [laugh] and then he takes these children, and he works it out with the government he brings them back to Eugene, or to Holt, I mean to the, to that little town south of Eugene.
EM: And, and then he becomes start and becomes known for it, and then otherpeople, then it starts bringing out these human beings that give you a hope on the Earth of what who we really are. And, and, and, and these are the people who said "Hey, I want to adopt this child too." They didn't have any racial 02:43:00problems. "I wanna help these children!" So then it opens the doors to this human beings that we need to survive and they started, so he creates the Holt Adoption Agency, and so then, [pause] we're anti-Vietnam war, and we want to, oh no no still the Vietnam War going? No, no, no, still Korean War time because this was in the 60s, yeah the 60s, and uh, so we decide that we're going to adopt a Korean child, so we went to the Holt Adoption Agency. That's how we got our first child. And, and she was a, and they gave us a picture of her, and the history of her was that she was put in a basket and then she was put on the doorstep of the Holt Adoption Agency, so when Holt opened the door in the morning, there was Ok-Soon Jeong (sp?) sitting in this basket. And, and, so when 02:44:00we decided we were going to adopt, they sent us a picture of Ok-Soon Jeong, and we said "Yeah," and so we got this one-year-old child, and um, and they send her to the airport in Portland and we went down there and picked her up.
EU: Picked her up
EM: Yeah. And then I have a picture of, of Mary holding Ok-Soon Jeong, andhere's this one-year-old little girl, or was she 13, 14 months, and she's got this look on her face like--"Who's that?" [laughs]
EU: Who's that, yeah. [During EM laugh]
EM: Did I realize that at one year old, you already, as a human being, you know,really want the person that you know who it is.
EM: You know. And so that's a monumental picture to me [laughs] "who the hell is02:45:00that?" [laughs]
EU: Yeah, yeah.
EM: So anyway, that was our first child.
EU: And you named her Kimiko (sp?)?
EM: Yeah, and we named her, we, I didn't wanna keep Ok-Soon Jeong, so I decidedwe would name her Kimiko.
EM: And that was our first child. And she was our gift to us.
EU: Mmhmm. And that was in 19--
EU: Okay, so.
EM: Now, should I go to number one, number two?
EU: Yeah, number two, Okay.
EM: [laugh] So anyway, so we're having a wonderful time, and, uh, and then westarted finding out about other people through the Holt Adoption Agency. White people, not Orientals, not Blacks, only White people, [laugh] who were crossing racial barriers and adopting children. And that was fascinating to me, that, that that's stage of my life I found out, I mean it isn't that way anymore, I found out at that particular period in history, the only people, and I think this is correct, it wasn't my personal experience, the only people that were 02:46:00adopting international and interracial were Caucasians, that was a fascinating thing to me again.
So anyway, we decided to form an adoption agency up in Newport, and uh, and sowe, there were three Caucasian families, and we got together and we formed the Holt, I mean uh, Planned Adoption Agency, which is now in McMinnville, but it was formed right in this living room right here. And uh, [clears throat] the only reason we could form it was because of the other three families, they were non-college educated people, and uh, no, some of them were college-age and some weren't, but none of them had they had to have somebody who had a social work degree or something like that, and Mary's the one who had her Master Degree in social work, and because her Master's Degree in social work, we were able to 02:47:00form an adoption agency. They state allowed us because of that. So that's when we formed the Planned Adoption Agency. And uh, and then, and, and, and the Planned Adoption Agency was formulated because at that time, the Vietnam War was going on, and um, and again, just like this Iraq war, it was just chaos to the human lives and human beings and innocent human beings. I mean, they were getting killed, and they were being ahhh I mean it was just wars are ugly and innocent people suffer because of it and, and we were, we had no right to be in that country doing what we were doing.
So anyway, we, they're, they're bringing these children back and, and now we'revery actively involved in, in the anti-war movement, but then the doors opened 02:48:00when they were starting bringing children back. And, and so, [pause] they were trying now, it was getting close to, you know, April of 1975, although we formed this year a year before that or something like that, I can't remember exactly when that was, but now we were working hard to try to find families who were interested in adopting children being brought back from Vietnam. You know, like Harry Holt was doing in the Korean War, and, so, through the Holt Adoption Agency, we started making contacts with people all over the state of Oregon, who would be interested in adopting these children, and then because of Mary's 02:49:00social work degree, she was doing home studies, hundreds of home, um many home studies, about, so they could adopt these children. And, and that was the movement, and then, so then [sigh] in April of '75, we get a contact and they're saying, uh, but first of all, we were going to adopt a couple of children from one of those countries around there, wasn't Lebanon, it was, uh, Thailand or something like one of those countries. And, uh, so we're thinking about it, and then all of a sudden we get a call and they said "Well we're bringing these two children from, from Vietnam, and they're coming to Denver sometime this weekend, and we have to find a home for them, and we were wondering if you and Ed would 02:50:00adopt these two children," and, and, I says "well, what about them, what about them?" Says "well, we're not too sure about their ages, but the girl, is a brother and sister, and the girl is ten years old and the brother is nine years old, and, and because of being nine and ten we're having hard time finding home for them. Would you consider it?" And so we said "well, [sigh] when do you need to have an answer, we've got to think about this." They says "well, we'll call you tomorrow."
EU: Yeah, oh boy.
EM: [sigh] So Mary and I make a decision that we're going to adopt Huong (sp?)and Muong (sp?) and we already had Isaac, and we had Kimi, you know, because Isaac came in 1972, and so then, on Wednesday we call them and say "yes" and then on Saturday, they show up in Portland. And so Huong and Muong came into our lives. But, I skipped Isaac, should I? 02:51:00
EU: Yeah, yeah
EM: You want Isaac? Okay.
EU: Yeah, we skipped Isaac.
EM: Okay, well, [clears throat] so then we had, we had Huong, I mean uh, uh, uhKimiko, and uh, then we were ready to adopt, and I found out another interesting experience, personal experience, about who we are as human beings, who I am as a human being, and, uh, so one day we get a call, and they said "well, we have this boy here, and he's in Portland, and, you know, we're trying to find a, he's a baby, and we wanna find a home for him," and so they said "well, we'll send you some information." So, we get this information and here's this little boy, I can't remember what his name was at the time, but he's, his mother was a 15-year-old Caucasian gal and her father, no they weren't married, impregnated 02:52:00was a 16-year-old black kid. And, and the, mother and father, white mother and father, just absolutely couldn't deal with adopting this kid, so they're putting him for adoption and they said "So, would you and he's living now being raised by this black woman, he's four months old now. We're trying to find a home for him, so would you consider adopting him?"
EM: So we thought about that for a while, and we were very active in the PlannedAdoption Agency by this time, and so we decided to go visit him and then saw him and then Mary especially just fell in love with him, so we adopt him, and he comes home, and, and then here's the story I love to tell. At my age, I not be embarrassed by it anymore, I can tell this story 'cause it was a picture to 02:53:00myself of who I was, and, um, so anyway, we have and I can't again all this timewise, you know, it's just hard to remember that far back, but I think we had him for about 2-3-4 months, something like that. He's crawling around on the floor, you know, and right in this living room, and one day I'm sitting here and he's sitting over there and he's looking at me, and he had and this is a kind of like the expression on his face: [pause] [laugh] And I'm lookin', and, and, and the expression on his face "Who the hell is that?" And then when he looks at me with that look, it suddenly hits me that I have never touched him.
EU: Oh, yeah.
EM: It, and, and it practically shocks me because all of a sudden I am hit withthis true realization that who's got the racial problem in this family? My 02:54:00Caucasian wife or this Japanese guy who was in a concentration camp?
EM: And I suddenly realized that I never touched him because unconsciously, hewas a black, he was a black kid, well, half-black, half-white, but then as soon as that realization came, it was overcome. And then after that, it was all over with. But, it's a fascinating story to me, too, that that's who we are, and that's who I am too. And I have to constantly work on myself as a human being, you know, too because, you know, I have characteristics that I detest, you know, and other people too, see? So anyway [laughs] he was number two.
EU: Mmhmm. And did
EM: And so, so
EU: Did you give him the name "Isaac," then?
EM: Well, um, Mary did, yeah.
EU: Mary did.
EM: Yes, she picked, yeah, she, and then there's, um, a meaning to Isaac. I02:55:00can't remember she always says it's so-and-so, but, that's why she gave him because as Isaac got older, he looked at her and says "why the hell did you name me Isaac?" [laugh]
EM: So, anyway, then, then, you know, we were ha have just this incredibly happyfamily, you know, and, and doing all the things that our conscious tells, it's who you know, and bringing children from overseas, and then Huong and Muong come into our lives. And then I find out about [pause, sigh] the next step of human behavior. You know. And how, [sigh] what Huong had to go through, and [pause] when Muong came into this family, and, and he saw Isaac, and he couldn't believe that Isaac was his brother, because he was part of that Vietnamese people that 02:56:00hated black people. And, and so, he just couldn't believe that he had this half-black half-white. Yeah yeah, yeah that Keith hadn't come yet, so it was only, he couldn't believe he had this half-black half-white kid that was his brother, and then, and then Huong's story comes out, and Huong, you know, was just [pause] she's in, in, in another world, knowing that she's a part of this, you know, she suffered on the street, you know, and, and, and her mother that's working with her, you know, says "Well I'm gonna be gone for a few days," and the mother disappears. And, and because she's has to survive by being a prostitute, and Huong doesn't really know this? And she comes back, you know, and Huong's living on the street to survive, and, uh, so, she comes to this 02:57:00family, and she can hardly believe, you know, what's going on, that she's a part of, and then, and then she would go into deep depression. And she'd put herself in that closet. And she'd be in that closet for 16 hours at a time sometimes, you know. And she's sobbing in there, and, and, and [pause] she got out of there just in time before [pause] she was still too young to be sexually abused, I think. But her mother had to survive as a prostitute, things like that. And then that's where that story comes in where I was telling you about, you know, so should I quickly tell that story?
EU: Yeah, yeah
EM: Okay, well, so, one day, well one day the observation comes to me, that the02:58:00family is in this room together, and then pretty soon somebody leaves, and pretty soon another leaves, pretty soon somebody leaves, and pretty soon the only two people in this room are Huong and myself, and then Huong immediately, soon as that happens, she gets up and disappears. She does this over and over again, so, I don't quite know what's going on, it doesn't mean anything necessarily. [clears throat] Then one day, and this was after, how long was it, a year? I don't know. Something like that. We're up in the Portland area with the family, and then we're doing family activities up there and then I had to come back to do my architectural work, so I'm gonna get in the van, and I'm gonna come back here, and then all of a sudden Huong says "Dad? Can I come back home with you?" I says "Sure, sure." So she gets in the car, and I'm driving in 02:59:00this car, and something hits my head and I don't quite understand it, you know. I think "what's going on, something weird is hitting me, I don't understand what's going on."
And all of a sudden, a thought hits to me, that I've had this girl for 12 monthsor 15 months or whatever it was, and I have never been alone with her. And [sigh] so I don't quite know what to make of all this, so we come home, and we're together, and then a few days later everybody comes home, and for the first time in my life, in 1976 or whatever it was, I discover that there's sexual abuse of children, and uh, how did I find out that she was sexually abused or whatever it was? I don't really know, but it's a next human shock that 03:00:00I go through, that human-grown men have sex with children. I just couldn't believe it, and uh, and of course [sigh] the fact that she had learned to accept me made me realize that I'm, I guess I'm a decent guy. Though, that's a great reward for me. So anyway, that was a, a very important story for me, in terms of Huong, you know, and, uh, and and then Muong, you know, he, now he has a black brother, so I'm learning more and more about the human thing, and then [clears throat] in 1976, we're very actively involved in the adoption world, as of always, and, uh, we get a call, and, um, Planned Adoption Agency that's what it 03:01:00was, I was in the Planned Adoption Agency, oh no no no no, this wasn't that one. That's the next one. [laugh] Try to get all this stuff straight.
They do call us, and they said that, um, there is a, a black kid that, inCincinnati, and he's seven years old, and they wanted to know if we would adopt him. So, we talked it all over in the family, including, you know, Huong and Muong, and Isaac, and Kimi, and, uh, we make a discussion about adopting Keith from Cincinnati, so we answer back "Yeah, we'll adopt Keith." So, then they bring Keith down, and, uh, and here's this seven-year-old black kid, and, and, he's, he's, he's walking this high up off the ground. 03:02:00
EM: And, and so, uh, a Caucasian social worker comes down with him, and, andhelps deliver him here, and then she comes to this house to stay with Keith because they're gonna have Keith stay here for a few days or a week or whatever it was, because they wanted to let him make a decision as to whether he wanted to become a part of this family or not, and so we're all here, you know, and this social worker from Cincinnati's here, and so, the next morning, we're all outside, and I'm outside, and, uh, all of a sudden I hear this car racing into our driveway down on this gravel road. I mean, he's just racing in there, and 03:03:00this big pickup comes screeching to a halt, and he jumps out and he sees me, and he comes running up to me, and he says "look at my windshield!" And there's this big crack on his windshield, and he says, and he looks around, and he says "that kid," and he points at Keith, "he threw a rock at my car, and he cracked my window" [laugh] So I'm just totally taken aback, this is the morning after we bring him back, and he says "Who the hell is that kid?" I said "well, he's over there. He, he, he's with," and then en this Caucasian guy looks over there and he sees Keith he says, and he sees Huong and Muong and Kimi and Isaac, and, and he's just absolutely taken aback. And so then he gets back into his van, I mean 03:04:00his pickup, and disappears.
EU: And that's it.
EM: [laughs] I said, yeah, I said, yeah, we just brought him here yesterday, andhe believed me and he, you know, when he saw the family he was just so taken aback by what he saw that he just got in his car and disappeared.
EU: Yeah, yeah.
EM: So they were that was an interesting story of Keith.
EM: And then, and then a few days later Keith decides that he wants to be a partof this family.
EU: So he stays, then, huh?
EM: And his story was that he was so abused; I just couldn't believe what he hadgone through. His mother and father gave him up and then he's adopted by a black family. [cough] The black family, wasn't adopted, you know, it was just a, a home for him, so then he gets to be six years old, five years old, whatever, and then they take him down to this adoption place and they dump him off and he thinks it's his mother and father and then never sees him again. And so he 03:05:00crawls underneath the table close like this and he just disappears. Yeah, and then he's adopted by a black woman, and he has, um, what is that thing that calls it when you can't read, dys-
EU: Oh, dyslexia?
EM: Yeah, dyslexia.
EM: And, and they didn't even know that. So this black woman adopts him, and hecan't read, so sh- what she does is, uh, she says "you can't r-, you read this," and he can't read it and so she pin- pokes him with a, a pin. With a pin! And so, you know, pretty soon, he, he's so miserable, you know, they have, they give up on him and they send him back to the adoption agency, and then they contact us and he comes out here. And he's just floating in, in air.
EU: So he's happy to be here.
EM: Yeah, 'cause he's so abused, you know, he just lost his family, and he went03:06:00through horrible experiences.
EM: So anyway, that's Keith's story. And then, uh [pause] uh he's, [pause] uhand I'll share this one funny story that I shared with you already, is that [clears throat] he, um, is a black kid, you know, and, and course my joke is that if he was my son, he would small but slow, but he's all black, and so he's got this lightning fast athletic ability of the black people [laughs]. So, he was a tremendous basketball player, and uh, and so he joins the Waldport High School basketball team, and he's playing a game in Monroe one night, and it was an important game because in order to qualify for the state playoffs, they had to win that game. So that's 50 miles away, so when he gets back it's around 03:07:00midnight, and I'm still doing architecture work, and all of a sudden I hear this car drive up, you know, car slams the door and disappears and all of a sudden I hear this footstep running in the house, and Keith comes running into the office and he's so excited, and he says "Dad, Dad!" He says, "there's something to tell you." And, uh, so I says "You won?" And he says "yeah, yeah, he says, but that isn't what I have to tell you." I said "oh, really?" He says "yeah." He says "well," I said "what is it?" He says "well, they was announcing the starting lineups and, and they said 'starting at small forward for Waldport, Keith Miyakawa!'" So Keith says "I go running out on this floor, and all of a sudden this white guy stands up and he says real loud: 'He doesn't look Japanese!'"
EM: [laughs] So he was so excited to tell me that story [laughs].03:08:00
EU: Yeah, he was, that's great, yeah.
EM: So anyway, that's, that's Keith, and he was the, the, the fifth child, andwe're still active in the adoption world, and uh, [clears throat] and so I'm on the Board of Directors of the Planned Adoption Agency, and uh, I was on the Board of Directors for about ten years and I was the President of the Board for a couple of years, and then one day, uh, I go up there, and somebody shoves a paper in my hand, and, and there's a picture of a, of an Indian girl, and they said, "you know we're, we're having a hard, she's uh 12 years old, and we're having a hard time finding a home for this Indian girl, and would you adopt her?" And, and I said "listen, if I adopt one more child, I'll become a physical abuser, "not a sexual abuser" a physical abuser. 03:09:00
EM: So I said, no no nah, I can't handle that. And I literally said that, I saidI, you know, I'm gonna be a physical abuser if I adopt another child. And so then, I go up the next month, and they show me a picture of her again, and the next month another picture. So then finally I decided to "Well I'll take a picture home of her," so I take it bring it home and then we show all these and everybody looks over it and everyone in the family says, "We're going to adopt her."
EM: So then we go back, and, and and uh, and then Kanka (sp?) becomes a part ofour life, our, a part of our lives, and uh, bring her back, and um, and she's just gone through hell. She's was given up at birth, was it birth? By her mother. Oh no, and, and [pause] and then some other mother, family adopts her, but only as a servant, so then she becomes a servant in the family, and uh, and 03:10:00then one day she goes out and, this is in Calcutta, and she gets lost, and then they don't find her or don't want to find her or something, so they, so the officials pick her up and they put her into this women's, it was a women's prison or something. So the next three years, or several years, or five years, or whatever it was, she was raised in this women's prison. And, uh, so she, so that's her world. That's the world she lives in, and you know, she's got lice all over her hair, and she's got, uh, what do they call those things that live in your intestines?
EU: Oh, tapeworms?03:11:00
EM: Yeah, tapeworms, yes, tapeworms, in there, and, and then she had polio, orsomething like that, and every once in a while a polio attack would hit her, and so they brought her back, and they wanted to find a home for her, and they wanted to know if we would take her, and so we took her, and had to make sure we didn't get any lice from her, and all that sort of stuff, and brought her back to a world, yeah.
EU: And that was huh, yeah.
EM: And then, and then, uh, a funny story was this one about was it Huong orKanka? [laughs] I think it was Huong. Huong, one day when Huong comes, we're out in the yard, and all of a sudden I hear this screaming, yelling sound. It wasn't a pain screaming, yelling, but it's kind of a screaming, yelling, and so, "What the hell's going on out there?" and I go out there, and, and I don't know, no I didn't go out there. Was I told of about it? Cause I never saw them, but she's, 03:12:00you know, excavating out there, and, and, and, and Huong didn't know about tapeworms, [laughs] and so she sees this tapeworm coming out of her [laughs].
EU: Oh no! [laughs]
EM: [laughs] And so this was what that screaming was out there.
EU: Oh boy.
EM: But these are these amazing stories of human stories of, you know, what wehuman beings are about, what we go through, you know, and it's just why you know these stories are just absolutely amazing stories to me. But anyway, Kanka had all that stuff, and she would just get into, you know, a, a, a sickness fit, you know, when this malaria hit her, and stuff like that, and cured her of all that. Yeah. [pause] They were all very happy to be Miyakawas.
EU: Yeah, and so, and they all live, you know, in Oregon, still.
EM: Yeah. Yeah, except for Isaac, he lives in Washington, yeah.
EU: Oh, in Washington.
EM: The architect guy.
EU: Okay. So Isaac became an architect?03:13:00
EM: Yes, but he's not, you know it, none of my children went to college. They'reall High School graduates.
EM: And, and why that happened, I'm not quite sure. [laugh]
EM: But maybe it's because we couldn't afford it, or something, or other. Youknow, but, but they're all very highly intelligent kids, you know? I mean, we human beings are very intelligent, you know. We got this incredible brain, you know, and it's just how it's used. But anyway, they're very, very, very wonderful children, you know, and we are a very, very happy family, and, but, you know, periods of life, when as you're growing up, you know, whether you're Muong, the Vietnamese guy, and whether you're Huong, you know, you're going through so much and, you know, you can't stand the family anymore, and then you leave, you know, and then you come back, and, an-and then, but as you get older, you know, you analyze whether you come from the sick evil family or whether you really do come from a good family, just fight all the turmoil in it, you know 03:14:00you make that decision, and, you know, I had no idea what kind of decisions they were gonna make. They might all decide that, you know, we're a sick, weird family, and then they don't ever anything want to do with us again. They all love to be together, so I thought "gah, we musta done an Okay job!" [laughs]
EU: Yeah. And you have how many grandchildren do you have then?
EM: Well, each, um, my Korean daughter, has a daughter that's, uh, I think fouryears old. My, uh, Vietnamese daughter has a ten-year-old daughter, and uh, [pause] my Isaac Miyakawa has a Caucasian wife, and they have a two-year-old daughter, and then my Indian daughter has a son from a Caucasian marriage that 03:15:00broke up, and then has another son with a Caucasian husband that she has now. So, two boys that are half-Indian and half-white, and then, you know, Korean, and Vietnamese, and Caucasian and black. Beautiful children.
EM: Yeah. Beautiful parents.
EU: Yeah. [pause] Okay, I think we'll stop part five here.
EU: This is part six of the interview with Ed Miyakawa. Ed, could you talk alittle bit about, um, raising your children in Waldport--what kind of community 03:16:00was Waldport?
EM: [clears throat] Well, again [sigh] to me everything is a life-learninglesson, and um [pause] so you, here you live in this little town, in one tiny little coastal town, and um, the thought that comes into my head is that in Waldport High School, I don't think they ever had--I know they never had a black student there before, and I don't think they ever had any mixed-race children in this town before. I'm not positive about that, but I know it's close to being the truth, and, uh, so here we live in this little town and you don't know quite what to expect living in a place like this, but it's another lesson to me about 03:17:00who we are as human beings, and Waldport itself, it's like my experience in Boulder when we went there and they just totally accepted us. Well, that's what it's here too, you know? And there's other people who think that my black son is a nigger, and, but we basically, in living here, never really, well my kids have, you know, you go to school and they'll face racism.
You know, and, and, but I don't know too much about their stories because theynever shared it with us. You know, occasionally you get stories about what they had to go through themselves, you know, and it was really racism. On the other hand, you know you meet these teachers here, and, and then one teacher has a, 03:18:00one teacher I remember, has a kind of a racist thing, you know, and she saw sees, you know, our black kids as inferior, but then you meet these other teachers who are absolutely wonderful people, who, who are admirers of the Miyakawa family because of what we did. So here we are, that's the way it is, you know? You deal with this and that, and uh, and, and, so the kids have to deal with all that themselves, and now what was I talking about again?
EU: Yeah, well just what it was like raising them
EM: Yeah, what it was like raising them. Yeah.
EU: And, and.
EM: Yeah, yeah. And, and [pause] so, one of the things that we felt important todo was to continue to be involved with the people who founded the Planned 03:19:00Adoption Agency, and, and the people, you know, who were part of the Holt Adoption Agency, and, uh, and, and the Vietnamese people who were bringing these Vietnamese kids from overseas to make sure that our children, you know, know all this stuff that is going on. And, uh, and, and, and they do understand it now, and, and then, you know, again, I already mentioned this I guess, but you know, my Vietnamese daughter marries a Caucasian man, and my Vietnamese son marries a Caucasian woman, and my Korean daughter marries a Caucasian man, you know, all down the line, you know, and so, you know, this is, this is the family 03:20:00experience, and, and, it's a, it's a fascinating experience to me, see. And, and and even at my age, it's a constant learning experience.
EU: You gave me this article, a copy of this article in The Oregonian where shewrote about, about um, um, about your family.
EU: Yeah. "Family, Assembled in Waldport."
EM: You know, and the, and the fascinating thing to me about that one is thatwhen that article came out, because, you know, when you get to be my age, and my wife's age, and then this little family, and you see all those pictures of them and they're all grownups, this woman went back in history to ask, to tell the story, and usually you I feel like, you know, they're interested in the ones who 03:21:00are doing it right now, they're not interested in somebody who did it way back in history.
EU: Uh huh.
EM: You know, and so here this woman, you know, writes this article about thisfamily and uses all these pictures, and I'm, it was just absolutely fascinating to me. It was like "Well we're going to give you a reward, you know, because you're an old man now,
EM: by doing this article. And, and it was just a, you know, a wonderful article.
EU: Wonderful article, yeah.
EM: And, and, and, and, and then, you know, Gabrielle Glaser, and, and I think,"Who the hell is Gabrielle Glaser?" and of course her husband, you know, is one of the high ranking members of The Oregonian newspaper. I don't know what his name is, I forget what the heck is, well anyway, you know, he, he's the one who, who heard about me and had her come, and um, and then to me what's interesting too is Gabrielle herself. And, uh, an-and because not only do I talk, but I'm 03:22:00always interested in the people who are interviewing me and things like that, I want to know about them too. And, and she tells me this story that, that she's, you know, comes from a Jewish background, and then she tells me "but I didn't know about this until I was 35 years old."
And so, so I said "really?" She says "Yeah." She says "my Jewish parents came toOregon, and they, they changed their name, so that it wasn't a Jewish sound to the name." And she says "and they never told me that we were Jewish, and then later I grow up and then I find out that I'm a, I'm a Jew. And, and so, it was fascinating to me, and then she, and then she does, this Jewish lady does this article about us. So I thought how wonderful that was, but that was fascinating 03:23:00to me.
EU: And there's wonderful pictures of, of the family and-
EM: Yeah, but she chose those pictures, you know, because they were taken wayback, you know, and I didn't think anybody would be interested in all those pictures, but she puts that family picture right in the front, you know. And then of course, that article that I gave you for the University of California thing, they used that same picture.
EU: Yeah, this was a-
EM: [papers rustling] [unintelligible] No, no, that one right there.
EU: Oh, this one here. Oh this was in the, um
[EM California one
EU: The Californian the Un- Un- Un- the Berkley University of California Berkleyum, uh, yeah, and it's
EM: So, when they chose a picture to show of the family, they chose that samepicture too, and I thought that's fascinating too.
EU: The title of this one, "The No-Nos of Tule Lake."
EU: "A research project on it internment turns into a celebrated novel, and apost-9/11 lesson."
EU: Yeah [pause]
EU: Umm. Were you involved, um, in the, the memorial that they, theJapanese-American memorial, that was dedicated in Eugene, uh, earlier this year? 03:24:00
EM: Yes, Yeah, mmhmm, yeah. And, and that's how I got connected with Eugenebecause I heard about the about, it was four or five years ago that they first started the idea of creating a Japanese-American memorial. And, and, without getting side-tracked, again it was another fascinating thing to me about the world we live in. And, um, how, how sick we are as human beings to, you know, see people on a racial basis, and then making judgments about them, because here we are, having created this wonderful memorial that's taken many years of hard work from many, many people, and um, but the whole thing was generated, not by Orientals, but by Caucasian people, in Eugene, and, and, and then that, the guy, 03:25:00what's his name? I can't, uh
EM: But anyway, the young guy
EU: Yeah, he was, he was
EM: The military guy
EU: Yeah, he was in the Navy, serving. Yeah.
EM: Yeah. And, and, and he's the one who triggers all this, and, and, you knowthe judge, you know lady, and you know here they are, creating this Japanese-American memorial and giving so much of their lives to do this, you know, and it's just, uh, absolutely wonderful to me.
EM: And, and, and you know we have to keep understanding and knowing thatbecause there's so much stuff that's going on the world that can be very depressing to people, you know, and uh, it's just wonderful memorial. Yeah, and uh anyway when I heard about it, how did I, I can't even remember how I hear about it anymore now, but I just started to go down there because it was very 03:26:00interesting to me, and then I got in more involved in the committee and all that sort of stuff, and through that process, you know, I met all these wonderful people.
And, and and uh, and then, uh, I met Mal (sp?) and Malice A- uh, Mal and AliceAikens, and uh, and and, uh, an event happened that became a lifetime memory to me again, and, and, and the memory was this: I got to know I got to know Allen, uh Alice, and uh, and she was very interested in me because she saw that article about the family and then she knew that I had written Tule Lake, so that was very wonderful for me. Uh, but one day [pause] that I got to know her, and, and 03:27:00I don't know how I found this out, but she had never, never talked about or mentioned her experiences in Japanese-American. Never told that story, and so one night there was, we were giving a presentation someplace, I can't remember where it was, I have a record of it. And it was, and the thing that meant so much to me, it was, it was, she told me, she says "this is the first time I'm ever sharing my experience."
And so she does this slideshow and then, and then she's reading, you know,telling this thing, and, and later or before or whatever it was, she was telling me that she was an absolute nervous wreck making this presentation she tells me 03:28:00[laughs] and, uh, and, and, and so I said w- so I said "you've never talked about this before?" and she says "Never. This is the first time I've ever talked about this." And so here this memorial is presenting an opportunity for people like Kenge and Miya and Alice to come out before they die to come out and, and tell the stories that they went through, and, and, and that they just totally suppressed it all their lives until now, and, and I found that very interesting experience too. And, and, and then, but it's because of people like you, and it's people like, you know, Judge, you know, it's people like, you know, and, and they're not Japanese, they're not blacks, you know, they're white people 03:29:00like you, you know, and so. You know. Just, it always interesting to me. 03:30:00
EU: Yeah. Well, I think I do think it's important to preserve the stories, and,and just seeing the memorial and seeing the memorial stones with all the different names from, many of them of course are Japanese-Americans, but many other people in organizations, and it's, it's an amazing memorial and,
EM: Oh, geez.
EM: Oh, geez, yeah. Amazing memorial.
EU: So, are there other things I should have asked you, other things you want to add?
EM: Well, let me think about this. Um, I kind of don't think so, you know, I'vebeen talking and talking, and so,
EU: [laughs] Okay. Okay.
EM: [laughs] But, but, you know, I just, I do find it interesting that peopleare interested enough to sit there and have me do this, you know, because it sure is a wonderful opportunity to share these inner-stories with you, you know, and stuff like that. And, and me, though, you know, I'm a little bit different than the Japanese-American people, because, you know, I didn't wait until I was Alice's age and Kenge's age and Miya's age to tell my story, you know.
EM: I was one of the pioneers in it because I started out there in the '60s
EU: The 60s, yeah.
EM: by writing the story of Tule Lake,
EM: but uh, a- and and, you know, just, the stories that keep coming, you know,that just never cease to amaze me. For instance, this one: [clears throat] I have a friend, uh, in California, who's now gonna move up to Oregon, and he's a friend that, you know, when you go back to friends that you had in college, and, 03:31:00and you graduate in the '60s, you know, you lose contact with them a lot of them, and you never see them again.
EM: [clears throat] Then every once in a while, one will come up, you know, outof the past, and, and uh, there's a, a, a, a friend of mine named Kinya (sp?), and Kinya was a Japanese boy, and he came to Berkley to go to architecture school there. And so, so, you know, I graduated with him in the architecture school, and then, you know, I went to overseas, then I went here and there, and he went someplace in California, you know, and never heard from him again for many years, and then later, all of a sudden, you know, I get a contact from him, and so we, we renewed our, our friendship, and he's going to move up to Oregon now. 03:32:00
And, and, and then his connection was very interesting because he met theSacramento people, and, and he met them, one of our closest family uh friends, and, uh, and oh, called the Oshimas (sp?), and, and there was a, they had a daughter named Karen, no Sharon, Oshima, and so my architecture friend Kinya Japan ended up marrying Kinya, I mean, uh, uh, uh Sharon, and what I want to share with you is that it's all, you know, that's a long complicated story too, but anyway, that's the connection that I have. And so, after all these years, we're renewing our friendship, and, uh, and Kinya's not an American, he's he was born in Japan, but he just stayed in America.
And, and then a year ago, we were in California, and we were discussing him03:33:00coming up here his family, he and, and Sharon were gonna move up there, and so we got into talking, and then he shares with me a story that was very interesting to me, that he doesn't ever share with anybody else, and, and here's the story that he tells me: he says "well I go out and golf a lot on Saturdays," and then he says "I'm going out there and I'm golfing with my Japanese-American friends," and he says "all of these guys are like, you're and my age," and, and he says "what they are is that Nisei Japanese guys who are very grown, very old in life now," And, uh, you know, they're the guys who some of them are part of the 442nd Regiment and all these guys were in the concentration camps. And then Kinya says to me, he says um, he says, "You know, these guys get together and then you talk about the No-Nos." He says, "These guys hate the No-Nos" [laughs] 03:34:00
EM: There's this guy telling my friend telling me that here are these guys areour age and older, and some of them older because they were part of the 442nd, they're going to carry their grave to their grave, their hatred for the No-Nos, their fellow Japanese. And so, so he he he just, he's kind of shocked by this, even then, you know, but it's been happening to him for quite a while.
EM: But I'm the first guy that he can come and tell, tell me this story aboutand so that was interesting story too then, you know, that he goes out there, and he's kind of No-Nos are still, you know, you know, highly prejudiced against anybody who was a No-No.
EM: We Japanese-Americans are just like anybody else [laughs].
EU: Yeah. It's just, it just amazes me, you know, it just amazes me the legacyof, of, you know, the, the history, and how it doesn't go away, and people, I 03:35:00mean it's, yeah.
EM: And, and you would think, you know, that when you live in a country likeours that opens up things, you know, and it's not controlled, you know, it's a free society and a free democracy, you know, that we human beings can grow past this kind of thing, living in this "great country" and some people can, and some people can't.
EU: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
EM: And then, I'm, I'm living here by myself now, and, and so I go up toPortland a lot, you know. Normally I wouldn't be here today because I usually I'm in Portland, but school hasn't started yet, so I'm sitting here listening the news at night, and uh, and my sister and my, and my wife basically don't want to watch the news, and, and, and when I'm sitting here watching the news, it's absolutely shocking what I'm watching, you know, about human hatred, and 03:36:00and and and and then I'm sitting here, and then they give news, and then a commercial comes on, and then they give news, and another commercial comes on, and another commercial comes on. [laughs]. And, and, and, and, and then I think about going to Wal-Mart and walking around, and I'm walking up and down these isles, and, and I can't believe the things that, you know, are for sale in there. I mean, I'm so blown out going into these stores nowadays. And, because all of these things, watching news, watching commercials, going to the stores, is just a statement of where we are, and I'm thinking "where the hell are we headed anyway?"
EU: Yeah. It gets, yeah. Yeah.
EM: and I appreciate being able to share all these personal thoughts [laughs]
EU: Well, and we thank you for sharing with us, so, thank you, Ed.
EM: Yeah, yeah.03:37:00