Kaye and David Hayashida, interviewed by Heather Read, 26 November 2015

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Kaye and David Hayashida, interviewed by Heather Read, 26 November 2015

Abstract
Kaye describes his memories of living on a farm in Port Hammond, near the Fraser River in British Columbia, until the internment, when his family was uprooted to Popoff. He describes how his understanding of the internment experience has evolved over time, in part through discussions with his son, David, who is present at the interview and his own research. Kaye talks about the internment bus tour that is run by the Nikkei National Museum, and valuable learning that he received on that tour. In the latter half of the interview, he narrates memories regarding belongings and property, such as how he hid a beloved fishing rod, assuming that he would come back and pick it up after the war. Kaye also discusses school throughout his interview, and both Kaye and David speak about language and how this period relates to current political events.
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Heather Read (HR)
I’ll start with the archival statement. This is Heather Read on November 26, 2015, from Landscapes of Injustice and I’m here with Kaye and David Hayashida in Kaye’s home in Waterloo, Ontario. So, thank you very much for your time today, both of you. It’s great to see you again David, and great to meet you. And Kaye, can you start by telling me what you remember of your childhood?
Kaye Hayashida (KH)
Yea, I guess, as a kid, you know, you enjoy what you have. And you know, we lived as a family, you never think about being poor. But okay, we lived in a rented house, small house. And I remember it was on a farm, and yeah there were all kinds of fruit trees and gooseberry plants, strawberry plants, all this. I remember going and getting involved, getting in the way, of doing all this kind of thing. But, one of the things that my Dad always enjoyed was going fishing on his days off. And so, that’s what I remember because I enjoyed it. One particular memory Chuckles. stands out: he had promised to take me—well, we lived in Port Hammond, which is just a couple of miles away from Port Haney. It’s on the Fraser River. And he says, “I’ll take you fishing.” Well, the story is that he hated to wake me up because I was sound asleep at four o’clock in the morning, like we got to bike to get there. And, so, anyways, I wake up, Dad’s gone. Well, I can remember bawling, you know making a big fuss over this. And so, anyways, we used to go almost every weekend. So the next weekend he took me, you know, to Port Haney, takes a rowboat, and rows across the Fraser to the sand bar. And those things, I really, you know it’s a highlight of, riding on the bar of my bike, my Dad pedaling, hanging on to the fishing rod, and you know making our way in the dark with a little flashlight to wherever, and then getting over to the other side. There were days when we didn’t catch anything. There were days when we did reasonably well. Voices can be heard in the background. But those are really happy memories. Others are going to school. Yeah, unfortunately the kids, the white kids were, you know, you develop a friendship. And they don’t, at that age, notice a difference. I had a neighbour, he was German kid, we used to chum around. Go hiking, fishing, in a local stream. Heather moves the mic, which causes feedback. And you never think about a difference. When it first became evident was, I remember December the 7th on ’41, right? We go to school and I guess there was some plot already amongst the Japanese. There was a bunch of us, we lived on kind of a main road, and then kids would come down and walk. So by the time we get to my place there was maybe 15, 20 kids walking. Yeah, and I remember going to school, and all of a sudden we get there, “You dirty Japs!” You know? Yeah, the kids are yelling it at us. I couldn’t figure that out, you know? Some of them were kids that I’d played with, you know. Disruptive background noises can be heard. But it all came from the family, right? The home, and all that. But it’s just absolutely amazing. And I think though, that, by the next day, they no longer, my friends didn’t call me that. You know. We were back to doing. . .
HR
Huh. Just that one day.
KH
Yeah but during that day at school it was kind of tense, you know? The kids now looked at you—I don’t remember the white kids calling me by that name, you know? Yeah. And so, yeah that was my first experience in that kind of racial, you know, yeah, thing. I’m sure my Dad must have run across it constantly because he was out there working, right? Yeah. But for me, you never forget that. And I guess, I tell people even to this day when somebody uses the word Jap, immediately my hair kind of stands up. Because that epithet raises such unpleasant memories. I mean, yeah. Anyways, yeah. Other than that, going to school, I remember as a young kid, my mom used to work, or something anyway, so she put me into nursery school while my sister, two years older, went to kindergarten. And so, when time came for me to, or for her to go to school, I remember kicking up a fuss. Because my sister and I were always together. I say, “Well she’s going to school, I’m going.”
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KH
And they said, “Oh you can’t. you have to go to kindergarten, you’re two years different.” I said ,“No, no, no.” And again, making a fuss. And so the kindergarten teacher, I remember, taking me to the school, and talking to the principle. And to this day, I remember the principle saying, “Alright, Kaye, we’ll take you. But, if you can’t do what everybody else is doing, you’re going right back.” You know. And well I never did go back.
HR
Wow.
KH
Yeah, so I was fortunate. You know, two years younger, and now, in the same class. And fortunately, I managed to stay up with the, yeah.
HR
That’s a big age gap for, that’s a big age gap for a young person in school. Was it, did you ever feel younger than the rest of your classmates?
KH
No, I didn’t feel younger than the classmates. Where I noticed the difference was in playing sports. The guys were always bigger. So they, like in soccer they’d always put me in goal. Where I don’t get bumped or whatever. I always says, “You mean I have to go in goal again?” And they’d say, “Yeah, yeah. That’s where you gotta go!” But during those years, between say age 4-5 and so on, yeah there was a period where, because I was born in the Depression, right? That my parents moved to Vancouver, and I remember being in the Fairview District. But most of my growing up till the war began, the Second War began, was in Hammond. And I still remember that traumatic day. And then of course I remember my parents talking about, you know, there’s a. . . some. . . community talk that Japanese were going to be all uprooted. And I saw that happening. My friend’s family going, disappearing. And eventually, my dad was one of the few that remained. He apparently had a job at the Hammond Cedar Mill, that was more skilled in some ways. But anyway, that must have been in March, April? April of ’42? When they moved to Hastings Park. That’s where we had to go. But I was a kid, you know. It’s another adventure, right? All of a sudden I get to this place and—yeah but I do remember the smell of the place where we were supposed to stay, because it was a horse barn, right? And people still talk about that. I remember the smell, but as a kid, “Oh well!” there were hundreds, more than hundreds of other kids for me to play with. Anyway, it was tough, in thinking back. It must have been very tough on my mom. It was, I think, four of us at that time.
HR
How old, what was the age range of your siblings?
KH
Oh, let’s see. I was, in April, I would have turned 9. Then Ats is two years older. And then below me was Roy, he was two or three younger. And then there was Saatchi, who was again another two or three younger. Yeah. So, you know Mom had—and they kept the men and the women with the kids separate. So it must have been very difficult. And, funny today, the only one that I talk to about this is my older sister Ats, right? Because the rest of them don’t remember, and Roy wouldn’t remember much either. And unfortunately he died a few years ago. So, today, I guess it’s a natural process. You tend to think back those days, and when I have a hazy recollection of something, I talk to my sister. And she remembers Chuckles. a lot more of what happened. But Hastings was fun, Hastings Park, we stayed there, I don’t think that long. We were lucky, they were already, what looked like thousands of other Japanese already in the stalls of beds, you know? The army bunk beds in rows, all sort of, kind of surrounded by blankets, that’s the only privacy you had.
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KH
And anyway, fortunately, we didn’t have to stay there that long. I remember my dad talking with my mom, and usually Laughs., I remember going to this wire fence. Dad’s on the other side, Mom’s on this side, and thing. And Dad saying something like, “Well, you know, I’m thinking of going to the Interior, to build these houses. To help build. And if I do that, you guys, you know you’ll be together as a family, much earlier.” And so, there was a period, I think he left in, I don’t know whether it was May or June, something around there. And then shortly afterwards, I think it was in July, we took this train. Again, as a kid it’s an adventure, never been on a train before, into the Interior. And, one place that, you know, I mean, there were these trestle ridges and so on that you cross. I remember those things. And I think at Nelson, there’s that river that runs through there? Well back then, I mean, it was whitewater. There were no power stations, so the water was. . . And I still remember. And then getting to Slocan, what was called Slocan City. You get out, and my god, it looks like a John Wayne movie set. With old boardwalks along the street and these false fronts, storefront things? Yeah. And of course they weren't really ready for us, and so I remember being told, the family being told, “Okay, that’s where you guys are going to live.” And we see the bunch of army tents, and yeah. So, we lived there for a period. And I remember Laughs. one rainy day, well it wasn’t rainy day, it just so happened there was a thundershower. So Mom says, “Come on, everybody get into this tent.” We go in there, and we’re standing there, and all of a sudden she said, “Grab a pot!” And we see all this water coming through, right? Because all of our luggage is in there.
HR
Yeah.
KH
And anyway, I don’t know why some of those memories still stay in your mind. But yeah, after a couple of months—we were lucky because Dad had gone on to build. So, when the settlements, like Slocan, next settlement is called Bay Farm, the next one is Popoff, and the farthest one away—they were all separated by a mile or so—was Lemon Creek. We were at Popoff. And again, I think it’s my Dad that had a big, big role in that. Of all the settlements, the best settlement was Popoff. Because the houses were separated. There were spaces between the houses, instead of being—like most places, they’re sitting five, ten feet between each. And then the next row of houses in front would be no more than twenty or thirty feet, you know? And then another series and another series. Wasn’t like that in Popoff. I’m sure there must have been at least thirty feet between each, each house. And the row of houses were maybe at least sixty feet apart. And then the next row, sixty feet. But, so, when you got there, as a kid, you have all this room, right? To play baseball and all this kind of thing. The other thing was that everybody had a big garden around their house. I remember that. One of the things is, these houses, we called them tar paper shacks, right? Yeah, I mean. . . and it was that. Because, originally when my Dad built it, it was made of green wood. Siding, and tar paper on the roof. Well, as winter came, you know, now going into—I think we moved in July or something. By September, there were cracks appearing because the wood is shrinking.
KH
And so, people complain. Government agents said, “Well take the roofing paper and wrap it around the house.” And that’s basically all the insulation that you have. And so to this day, I think everybody refers to it as tar paper shacks. And it happens that that winter was one of the coldest, right? Well I still remember getting up in the morning and all the inside of the house is white, right?
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HR
Oh wow.
KH
Yeah, the frost had built up. Yeah, yeah. So anyways, as a kid, you didn’t tardy too long. These things had—well we were lucky that we had a fairly large family, so we got one of these houses which are larger than the others, with a bedroom-bedroom, and a kitchen in the middle. But at least it was one family. We were just by ourselves. Others that I knew, they were one family in one bedroom, one family in the other and they shared the kitchen. Yeah, I know. Anyways, during the time, of course, there was no school for that year. Because getting settled. As a kid, there was a river close by, a quarter of a mile. So you weren’t supposed to go fishing, but we’d go fishing. Or go rafting, or go hiking. All these kinds of thing. And so, from my point of, you know, I had lots of friends, and no school. It didn’t seem that bad. I still say to my sister, “Gee Ats, what did we eat in those days?” You know? And yeah I can’t, it’s a good thing I loved peanut butter and jam sandwiches, that kind of thing. Anyway, we didn’t starve. And, my favorite was, and still today, I love banana. During the war years, you didn’t get it. And every time you know a chocolate bar, or bananas came into the little store, we’d all go running. Or if they had a Popsicle or something. It was a luxury to get a banana, and to be able to make a banana sandwich, this is one of those things that I always remember. So, in ’43, school started. And I think for awhile we went to the neighbouring community Bay Farm. They started there while the school was being readied in Popoff. And when the school was ready we transferred over. Anyway, because most kids had missed two years, you know? They said at Christmas time, you’ll write an exam, and if you do well, we’ll transfer you, because you missed a year, to the next grade. So yeah, I fortunately must have done well because hey, I’m in the next grade. Yeah, yeah. As a result of this, because being advanced, going to school when I was five in the public school, and then this kind of situation, when the war ended, you know, I—I mean that was in ’46, I was already in grade nine, you know? So, but the days in growing up in Popoff—and this may be the reason that I like going back—the memories are rather happy memories. You know, you go to the river and you swim and you fish, and build a raft, and raft down and raft up. Go hiking, there’s mountains that are close by. I remember going with my Dad up the neighbouring mountain to look for pine mushroom, matsutake, right? Yeah. Not that we got them. Or with, going with my friends and go up the mountain, and go fishing for little brook trout, you know. And yeah.
HR
Did your parents ever talk about what was happening?
KH
No, that’s it—you know, I think like so many parents, I don’t ever remember my mum and dad talking about any of how things were, or weren’t, or how bad it was. I never saw my mother crying and being upset with the conditions, the lack of this or that. And yeah. But so, I think Japanese, in families, parents in general, try to shelter, to protect their kids. So they tended not to ever talk. And that goes right through, all through the years. Anyways, so, like I said, through kids eyes, you’re not aware of the hardship that your parents are having to—I remember Christmas, my parents giving you one gift. You know, that kind of thing still.
00:20:17.000
00:20:17.000 Background voices say goodbye to Kaye.
KH
So, the years from ’42 to ’46, you know, the only really difficult time came when the ultimatum was, I guess, given to the parents that you have two choices: you go East of the Rockies or to Japan, right? I remember that period. I was sleeping on the top bunk, my sister’s down below. Because there’s no partition, just an 8 foot wall and open ceiling. I could hear my mom and dad talking about what they were going to do. They think they should go back to Japan because they both have mothers, fathers, whatever, right? To my recollection, anyway. So the next morning, I talk to my sister, and say, “Hey, Ats, I think Mom and Dad want to go to Japan.” I said “I’m not going, I don’t want to go.” I said, “I hardly speak the language, or very little.” Yeah. And so we confront my mom and dad, and say, “I heard that you were thinking of . . . well, if you decide to do that, well both Ats and I will go live with our cousin who moved directly to Manitoba.” You know, they had more money, and whatever. And that posed the problem. By that time—all during the time that the settlement in Popoff would be shrinking, because people are moving. If you are going to, out east, you go to New Denver. If you go I think to Japan, you get settled in Tashme, which, you know, very—And so we have nothing but empty houses, and we have a few families like us still left, because of the indecision. Well, the final decision Dad and Mom reached was, “Oh I guess we have to go to the east,” because don’t want to break up the family with the two eldest going to Manitoba and the rest of the little ones move them to Japan. Well it turned out to be a fortuitous decision, going back to Japan was terrible. My older sister had a friend and she used to communicate, and yeah. Anyway, the big problem for Mom and Dad was how do you go east of the Rockies? Dad fortunately had a friend from a long time ago, and he had already moved. He was a single guy, right, in Toronto, working for the railway. CP. Anyway, and so he contacted them, they found a place in Oakville. There was—Oakville seemed to be a little cluster of Japanese. Because Sheridan Nurseries hired a lot of Japanese, right? Anyway, but Sheridan Nursery had some houses, but they didn’t have enough to accommodate everybody. The guy, I forget his name now. Anyway, did find us a place. I still remember to this day, when we first went there, it was a tractor shed, right? Yeah. And the guy, the owner, Peterson, said, “Well, if you don’t mind this, I can take the tractors out, and you can move there temporarily.” And that’s what we did, yeah. When we went there, there was not enough work on Peterson’s—he had a small nursery. So I remember going and working at Sheridan Nursery, with my dad and my sister.
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KH
I remember the—all the kids out there working, and I’m always two years younger, right? And so being two years younger, I think they paid me 10 cents an hour to do weeding and hoeing. And the other guys were getting paid 15 or 16 cents an hour. And we worked as a group, and I thought to myself, “This is crazy. They are paying me half as much as these guys are getting.” I said, “Sorry guys, I’m going to be way back here.” Laughs. So, I didn’t mind working alone, you know. And I still remember that. One weekend, I think Dad knew some people in St. Catherine’s, and said, “Oh let’s go down there and see what that area is like.” And Turgano is a well-known individual who had a big peach farm, had many acres and a packing house and all this. When we got there, they said, “Oh god, come down, we’ve got lots of work here.” So I remember from that point on, my dad, my sister, and I worked picking peaches. And that’s where I met the Sano friend I was talking about, who now has Alzheimer’s. Once they decided to move east, they moved to New Denver. So we were still in Popoff. And where I ran into Tak was back on this peach farm. He was working there. As September rolled around, Tak said, “I am going back to school.” I said, “How are you going to get back to school?” I figured where his parents were living, it wasn’t going to be in St. Catherines. And he said, “Oh, I found a place where I can go to schoolboy. And get room and board.” You know? And I said, “I’m not sure what I was going to do.” And anyway, one day I didn’t know he was going to become my future brother-in-law. He said, Kaye, how would you like to go to Mount Forest? Turgano’s bought a basket factory in Mount Forest, and he wants to move Japanese, some of the Japanese that want to go up there.” So I was one of the first to go up and see the place. And when I get here, it’s all evening. And we stopped the struck loaded with stuff, you know. And in fron t of this, I think, “My god, it’s a huge Victorian mansion.” It was the house of a former, one of the few senators that come from Ontario. Anyways, we go in and unload all the stuff, and yeah. Then I remember, Tak or whoever, said, “Come on, let’s go to the restaurant and grab a bite to eat before we go back home.” I remember going to this restaurant, and we walk in. The people were full. As soon as we walk in, you could hear a pin drop. People never seen Japanese before, right? And we didn’t look like the caricature that they had at that period of time, you know? At that point in time. Anyways, the upshot of all this is when I got back to my mum and dad’s place, Dad had gone back to Oakville. I said, “Listen, you guys should move up to Mount Forest. Because they have this big house, they have a little room, it has indoor plumbing. It’s got running water and so on.” And so they eventually moved from Oakville, I think it was in October period, just as school was starting, or yeah that they moved up there. And then I decided, well, I guess I’ll, you know, I’ll work this year. I was 13. And so I remember having to go to the OPP and saying to them, “Yeah, I want a work permit.” You have to go to school til 15 or 16. But my parents need some financial support, they have no money, etc. And so I worked for a basket factory. Bloody tough job, I remember. Because as a kid that age, getting up at 6, walking to the basket factory—it wasn’t that far fortunately, but nevertheless—working til 5 or 6, five and a half days a week. Yeah.
HR
So when did you end up going to school?
KH
My saving grace during that period of time is that when I went to Mount Forest, I used to play a lot of baseball as a kid. That was one of the things I was reasonably good at, back in the Popoff days. And so when I went to Mount Forest, they had a baseball team. And my friends, they were other Japanese kids, they were older than I am. They said, “Come on Kaye, let’s go out and try for the team.” And so I went, and this is a juvenile team, I guess. Everybody’s much bigger than me. But anyway, I said, “Yeah, I used to pitch.” “Okay, we’ll see how good you are.” And I started to play, and you know, I wasn’t bad. I would hang out with these guys and play. And so during the summer months, for me, that summer was a wonderful summer because we’d play baseball in all the neighbouring towns. So when people mention places like Listowel, Durham, I know all these places. Harriston, Palmerston. I’ve been there, I played baseball there.
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KH
And yeah, anyway, fortunately though, by the end of the summer I said, “You know, guys, I don’t think I can hack this. Playing baseball is great, but the season comes to a close, and I don’t know what I’ll do if I don’t go back to school.” So I said, “I’ll go back to school.” I went to the Mount Forest High School because we lived there. And I stayed there one week. And I still remember the science teacher who was the principle of the school teaching us how to build a compost pile, you know? We spent a whole week on this thing. Heather laughs.. And I said to myself, “This is not the kind of science that I . . . ” Yeah. And so I wrote to my friend, Sano guy, who was going to—school boy. And I said “Listen Tak, I gotta get out of Mount Forest. Can you find me a place?” You know, and within a week of writing, I get a letter back, and it’s Tak saying “Yeah, yeah, I’ve got a place for you. He’s the brother of the mother that I’m living with, right? And his name was Rigbys.” And so a week later, after I received the letter, I’m hoofing it down, well, hitchhiking on—there was a truck, a basket truck that used to come up from St. Catherine’s to pick up the baskets they found. So I got a ride with them and they dropped me off at the camp, where the Japanese workers were—I don’t know whether you know quonset army huts, right? That’s where the workers stayed, and yeah. And the Rigbys used to tease me. They came to pick me up and here was this little kid, two big bag, waiting at the end of the road Laughs. as they drive down. And so that was my introduction to living with the Rigbys. And that was probably, that was one of my lucky days, because I happened to spend my whole life with that family. Now they’re gone, both gone, but because of that my kids all got to spend many weeks and sometimes months up in Algonquin Park, where they had a cottage. Yeah so all my kids love the outdoors, doing canoeing and fishing, all that stuff. Anyway, yeah. What a change, when I moved through from my family to the Rigbys, right? He’s a businessman, they had very a standard of living that, you know. The deal for me was that I do whatever, help cook, help wash dishes, wash the car, cut the grass. That kind of a thing. And then I get to go to school, and I got an allowance. Though I can’t remember it was 5 bucks a week, but it’s more than a handful. So I started to go to the high school, in St. Catherines Collegiate, there was only one high school at the time. I still had this notion as a kid growing up, you know a pretty good ball player. I always wanted to make that a career. You know kids growing up wanting to be a hockey player. In BC, in Hammond, my cousins owned a team, played baseball. My dad played. And so I had this notion, you know, “Hey, you’re playing with bigger kids, you keep up.” Well, I went to St. Catherine’s and now, all city baseball team, I tried out and I found out that yeah, okay, I could make the team as a pitcher, but I wasn’t going to be the number one pitcher, right? And I said, “Okay.” And besides, Rigby’s weren’t anxious for me to spend time when I’m supposed to be helping them. So I said, “Okay, it’s not going to work.” And so I thought to myself well, well, I guess baseball is not going to be your career, you’re going to have to do something else. And this is in grade ten, I had just started grade ten. And I said, Kaye, I guess you’re going to have to do it in school.” And so I thought to myself, Kaye, you’re not living at home, you’re living as a schoolboy, working your way through school. I said, “If you’re going to do that, you’ve got to do better than the rest of the kids in the class.” And so yeah, that was the attitude.
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KH
Until then I don’t ever remember studying. So, my goal was: I’ve got to stand in the top three of my classes. Anything less is not acceptable, might as well quit and go home. And fortunately, yeah, I managed to do fairly well. And of course, as I lived longer with the Rigbys it became like home. They treated me, in a way, when I was 16, I remember John Rigby saying to me—because they had a builder supply business—and he said, I think it was one day in the summer, “Come on Kaye, get in the car.” “What do you mean get in the car?” “In the driver’s seat.” He says, “You’re going to drive me to work this morning.” Laughs. I had no idea! You know, I guess I had fooled around that, practiced. I remember, okay, it was a small residential area. But soon I get to the main street, right? And I’ve got to drive that partly and then get onto another one. And I can remember Laughs. making the turn and headed for the sidewalk. John Rigby sitting beside me, never said a word. Heather laughs. You know he never said a word. I still marvel at that. And I said “Oh god, okay, well straighten it out and get it going.” And I drove to work with no incident. And from that point on, I was now a driver. Yeah. So my life in St. Catherine’s going to school was, yeah, suddenly, yeah coming from a really poor family to a family that’s quite well to do, it was quite a, quite a change.
HR
And they were—they would have been a white family?
KH
Huh?
HR
They were a white family?
KH
Yeah, yeah, John Rigbys. Yeah, yeah. Their father came from England. And came and started a construction company. He was involved in building the, what do you call it?
KH
The Welland Canal. Yeah, so he was one of the contractors doing that.
HR
Wow.
KH
Yeah. And so the Rigbys were a large family, they had about seven kids, right?
HR
Did you keep in touch with your family of origin after you moved in with the Rigbys?
KH
Oh yeah, yeah, yes. I would go home, take Christmas presents to my brothers and sisters in Mount Forest, that kind of thing. And then it got so that in the summertime I would work at the plant, I call it the plant, they had a ready-mix contract business along with the building supply. So there was lots of work. I remember working there one summer. And then, on the weekends, he’d be going up to the park. And he says, “Come on Kaye, leave work early and go up to the park.” And of course, I get to drive. And all that. So we’d go up on Friday and come back Monday. Because I’m working for him, and it didn’t matter that I, you know, don’t show up for work till later, right? But yeah, this is how I got introduced to Algonquin Park. And at that time, I thought where’s the mountains? You know? Laughs. I’m excited, we’re going North is what they tell me, right? And I said, “North, okay, I’m going to see mountains,” right? Laughs. There are no mountains in Southern Ontario until you get to Northern Ontario, a little bit more, yeah. But anyways, I got to really love the place. And besides the cottage is on a little island, lovely place. All kinds of boats and canoes, and fishing is right there, right? And so yeah, for me, it’s, at the time I went to the Rigby family, they had that one boy Richard. And then the year after I got there, they had the second girl Janice. And so, Janice still looks at me like an older brother, right? So, I’ve taken her on trips, and things like this. And Richard of course, he is for me like a brother. And yeah, so I still spend time in Algonquin Park. And anyway, the four years of high school, you know it was kind of a good period of time. There were at least half a dozen other Japanese kids doing what I was doing: school boy, school girl, right? And there were others in the community that were living outside. But we’d run into each other during school.
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HR
And was St. Catherine’s welcoming to Japanese folks at the time?
KH
Yeah, well, yeah, I—Yes and no, depending, yeah depending on where you went. You didn’t hear the epithet “Japs” often, but you did hear it. And I remember going to the barbershop, walking in, “I’m not cutting Japs hair!” Being told that. You know? Chuckles. And okay, there are other barbershops I can go to, and yeah. But there were the odd times where there was still that racial whatever. And but, as the years rolled on, as the Japanese became more . . . part of the community, I guess, they became, and so. But then, I’m going to school—at school no one ever called you a Jap, that I remember. Yeah, but I did reasonably well and so with my classmates. It was during that time of course that, I’m getting older, I’m getting interested in girls. Right? Yeah. And so I have a lot of fond memories of that period of time. My first girlfriend was a Japanese girl, she became a physiotherapist. You know? And unfortunately, she died about five years ago, yeah. And it’s, yeah. The guys that went to schoolboy, Tak, became kind of an aeronautical kind of guy, in the aviation industry. The kid that I chummed around with a lot, because he was interested in art and painting, David, became an architect. He went to art college too, and became an architect. His brother, older brother, became a pharmacist. Jack’s twin sister became a nurse, an RN. And there’s a, you know, many of us went on in school. I think probably because of the fact that you were denied that kind of thing, and yeah. My parents used to tell me something strange, like, “You know Kaye, when you were little, I don’t know what hurry you got, but you said, ‘One day, I’m going to university.’” They said they couldn’t believe that, why would I, we come from a poor family. Although, in Dad’s side of the family, Dad’s brother did go to university. And anyway. My next big decision was what do I do, after graduating? And David my friends says, “Come on you’re going to the art college.” So I applied. And my other friend, he was Ben Pownder, his dad was a music teacher and through him, he would always bring records over to my place, all the classical stuff, and we’d listen, we’d go to the symphony when it came into town. And so Ben comes over before school started and he said, “Come on Kaye, you and I are going to Mac.” “What do you mean you and I are going to Mac?” “Well, you’re a good student.” “I haven’t registered.” “Oh you don’t have to register, you can just go and do it the day you arrive.” And that’s the way it was.
HR
Wow.
KH
Yeah, back then, eh? And so I went to university. I knew I was interested in science. I didn’t know what I was going to take. You’ve got to major in something. So I said to Ben, “What are you going to take?” “Well, I’m going to take . . . ” In first year, everybody has to take calculus, right? And then you take physics, chemistry and then one of the two of: geology or biology. And Ben says “I’m taking geology.” “Okay, I’ll take geology.” And we started, and then amongst the others you take English, history, whatever, psychology. You used to carry 6 or 7 subjects, right? After two weeks in geology, every week—David would love this—they give you 50 rocks and minerals, right? And you had to look at them, and weight, hardness, luster, all these features.
00:45:25.000
00:45:25.000
KH
You had to memorize them all. Well, by the end of the second week, I had a hundred. And I knew maybe half a dozen of them. And I said, “This is not going to work, this is not my thing.” And so we used to have faculty advisers, so I went to this guy. I said, “Listen, I can’t do geology.” And the guy, I met him years later, he was a geologist and the Dean of Science. I said, “No, I can’t do this.” He says, Kaye, you’ve got only one option, and that’s to take biology. But, you’ll have to make up the two weeks that you’ve missed.” I said, “I’ll do anything.” Laughs. That’s how I got into biology! Yeah. And then, you know, things clicked and that was fine.
HR
What kind of biology did you end up specializing in?
KH
Well, at that time, it was good because being a biologist, I was interested mainly in animal stuff, right? They said, “No no, you can’t do that, you’ve got to take botany, you’ve got to take plant physiology, plant taxonomy. You have to know the other half.”
HR
Well rounded.
KH
Yeah. So I was forced into that. You know I loved the animal side better, but then I didn’t realize that later in my life, like between undergraduate and graduate, I spent a year—Well or, yeah I guess I. . . Anyways I had a job as a park naturalist, knowing how to key out plants, knowing what a herbarium is. And then when I’m taking people on hikes, nature hikes, you don’t see many animals. Laughs. It’s all plants out there.
HR
It’s true.
KH
Yeah, I mean things like this that wouldn’t have happened if you’d had a choice. But when I finished my undergraduate at Mac, the question was what do I do, you know? And so, I said oh maybe I’ll work a year. And I don’t know how I came across the job, but anyway, the Department of Ag had a field station of the environment that was just outside, so I said, “Okay, I think I’ll work there until I decide what I really want to do.” And fortunately, there was,my former principal at St. Catherines Collegiate, he was now superintendent of education at Hamilton, and so everyday we’d commute, he’d drive me there and I’d hitchhike home. And during our ride he’d say to me, Kaye, what are you going to do with your life? You should go on, don’t stop school. What do you want to do?” Well, earlier I said, “You know, I thought about medicine. But I’m always thinking graduate work.” And Henry said, “Listen Kaye, I’ll write a letter for you if you want to go to med school. I’m a graduate of Queen’s and I’m quite well known.” And so, Laughs. anyways, yeah, after one year at Vineland—it was a fascinating place to work. You know CA Apples? A controlled atmosphere? Yeah when I was there, the head of that division, a guy by the name of Truscott was instrumental in starting up CA Apples, and for me what a godsend because I love apples, even to this day. And come usually February, March or April, they had dozens of bins in the cold room, right? All sealed. And they would start opening them up to see how the gas combination affected the keeping of the apples. So, here I’m getting what tastes like fresh apples off the tree in March or whatever.
HR
Yeah. Laughs.
KH
Yeah it’s just unbelievable. And it happened a lot too in terms of working with Estonian scientists. I still remember his name, Dr. Szebecus. We hit it off. He liked me too, because I was good at chemistry. I had to do analysis. Plus other things that he got me doing. He was working with wine, and filtering wine, and boy his big project, his European, was carbonated fruit juice. My job was taking pieces of dry ice, where it’s just getting going, so that was the cheapest way for him to do it. But you had to get the dry ice the right size in this bottle otherwise it would explode. So we’d put the bottle of juice in a metal cylinder—there’s a bunch of components—and then my job was to drop the dry ice in and stick it in the cylinder, and hope to hell that the whole thing doesn’t pop off. Heather laughs. Most of the time I was pretty good, I’d get them right. But every once in a while I’d get a little too much because of the dry ice.
00:51:00.000
00:51:00.000
KH
As you know it keeps on, right? Melting away, well it’s not really melting, but anyways if you looked up on the ceiling where I was working, you’d see purple stains Laughs. and yellow stains, that’s where the bottle exploded. But it was great. Anyways, also the head of the horticulture research guy that started the gas thing said, Kaye you know, you have to go back to school too!” And I’m getting all this input, right? And so, the end result was okay. I get a letter from Greenville, saying, “Okay you’ve been accepted into meds, year one.” It’s year one, though. And I said to myself, “My god, it’s another four or five years to go.” And so, I said—and then I got an acceptance at Western in Zoology. Two years I can get a Master’s degree. Yeah so I chose that route. Anyways, managed to get back to school, which is good. And yeah, that. . . Western was a small university at that time. Population 4000 maybe? Today it’s 30,000 right? Very different. And another good fortune on my part was that you decided, you know how you go to a prof and say what kind of research are you doing, describe. I went through the department and found out that there were several—two—that were interested. But the one in particular was a woman. She was one of the few woman scientists, well known. I didn’t know that at the time but she was doing stuff that I thought was, “Hey, that’s pretty neat, yeah I’d like to work with you.” So I did my Master’s in the field of histology, you know. And she said to me, Kaye, if you do a study with this animal, lamprey, the fishery research board just came into town and set up a division there. So if you go on, and want a job, they’ll probably hire you right off the bat.” And I said, “Oh that’s a helluva good idea.” And so I did that. But it was during my graduate days that I met Carrie at a Christmas party, my wife. And you know, yeah, we ended up getting married. She was in nursing, I was in my first year or something. And yeah, so, by the time I finished my Master’s, Peter was just born. ‘57 or ‘56, I forget. So I didn’t have any more money. I had a bit of a fellowship that terminated with the process, grad work, doing my Master’s. And so the Rigby’s said, Kaye, tell you what you do. You’ve been working hard. Go up to the cottage.” You know, this is the month of May, and June. And he says to me, Kaye by the way, get a copy of the Globe and Mail, to look for a job.” Laughs. “There’s a charge account at this hut in Huntsville, so you don’t have to worry, go there and pick up the thing.” Anyways, while I was there, I did get the Globe and Mail and see this job teaching in Cornwall. I ended up—you know, this is in June, and they are already by that time most schools are hired. Well as soon as they get my letter, they get a telegram back that there was no telephone, you know, “Come and meet us at the Royal York.” And so I ended up teaching in Cornwall for a year. It was funny too, because I go and said, “Okay,” and once I went to the interview they said, “Okay, you’re hired.” I said. “No, no, it’s not as simple as that.” They said, “What do you mean, we just hired you?”
00:55:26.000
00:55:26.000
KH
I said, “I don’t have any money to live on between now—” Laughs.“end of June to September. So you’ve got to get me a job for the summer months.” Heather laughs. “Oh.” And he says, “Well, the chairman of our board is Dr. Talmondson, and he’s the chief of research at Dome Park. We’ll see what we can do for you.” Gee within a matter of a week, I had a job. Arrived in Cornwall July 1, you start work. So I worked in the research part of that, and again I was lucky because I ran into this Dr. Moose who was a professor of chemistry at Xanthan St. Lawrence University . He and I hit it off, and I learned a lot. He wanted me to come back after I started school. “Come back and work for me again in Christmas holidays—” Laughs. “—and the summer holidays.” Anyways, that was the beginning of my teaching career. High school teaching. Ended up I think teaching four or five years. Because each year went on. I had David, I had Tarissa, and John-Paul, I think. So I had four kids in six years.
HR
Whoa!
KH
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So some of them are a couple of years apart, but anyways, so.
HR
Maybe that’s a good time to stop. I’ve got a couple of questions about everything you’ve been sharing so far. Because we’re definitely in your adulthood now, Kaye laughs. so let’s go back and ask a couple of questions about childhood times. I think you did mention the names of your siblings. There were five in total, or did you say there were nine?
KH
There were nine. Ats, who was two years older than me, myself, Roy, I think he’s two or three years younger. Again another two years younger is Saachi, another two years younger is Yuchi. And then I think a brother, Mass, George. . .
KH
Alice, yeah, and then Jimmy. I think Jimmy’s the youngest, yeah. And so, unfortunately, Roy died Phone rings. about three or four years ago. He shouldn’t have. They were going to put him in the hospital, the doctor didn’t check him out and he had fluid in his lungs, eh? Anyways, always tell people it was nine. All have five fingers and toes, and we should all be around still, except for Roy, yeah. Considering so, we often, my older sister and I talk. You know, we’re lucky. None of us have a health problem, you know. And we don’t have, you know, arthritis, we don’t have any of these kinds of—
HR
Yeah, that’s incredible.
KH
Oh yeah. And as I said, Roy shouldn’t have . . . And most of us are reasonably good students and Laughs. although my mom used to tell me, I guess to put me down because I was the only one going to university. “You know Kaye,” she says, Mass was smarter than you.” Laughs. Mass did start university at Waterloo in Engineering. But he is such an introverted guy, he had a. . .so but anyways, he’s married today to a Jewish woman, and seems happy. No children.
HR
When you were growing up, did your parents speak Japanese to you, or was it English?
KH
Yes, yes. My sister, two years older, speaks much better Japanese. She still, you know, I can remember, I used to use every excuse in the book not to go to Japanese Language School.
HR
I was going to ask if you used to go to, yeah.
01:00:14.000
01:00:14.000
KH
Yeah, and I think I got to maybe grade two. And my sister finished grade eight. We were two years apart. And so therefore her Japanese is much better. But during the time in my travels, and also we met our Japanese family from Japan, and we spent some time with them, and I could make myself understood to some degree. The problem is as soon as I started to speak a little Japanese, they’d go on and I couldn’t follow it, right? Yeah. But at the, at the—I’m better in Japanese than David and any of all my kids. The only thing they know is takai, expensive. Right? We’d go to the store and they’d finger this—takai—you know. And gohan: rice. Few things like this. But there are even more challenged than I am. I surprise people at times, because as you get older it seems that that part of the brain becomes more active. Laughs. And part of the brain that is concerned with the here and now, and I’ll ask you, what’s your name? Heather. And then two minutes, thirty seconds later, “Oh my god, what was your name?” Yeah, yeah, there’s that. And, but, that’s a sign of the times, I guess.
HR
It’s funny, I feel like pregnancy is doing that to me right now, actually.
KH
Yeah, so, anyways.
HR
Can you talk a little bit about—so Landscapes has a particular interest in property, and you mentioned that you rented your house when you were growing up. Can you talk a little bit about what sorts of things were inside it? Can you like describe—
KH
Yes, yes, my dad was, well, the kids, Ats was born in ’30, I was born in ’32. But pretty much the height of the Depression at that point in time. So my Dad started to work at the Hammond Cedar Mill and then the job disappeared. I remember us moving to Vancouver and living in Fairview. It was a great big, kind of apartment block. But it wasn’t too much afterwards that we were back in Hammond, living with the Yoshioka’s, I guess. And it was a tiny little house, must have been tiny, anyway. You know, the kind of houses that you, I don’t know whether you see that anymore, that had shingles on the outside? Japanese painted their houses, right? And, yeah, simple. No indoor plumbing or anything. And then I guess it was well 1939, yeah, that we suddenly, Dad said, “We’re moving.” They bought this farmhouse from a friend, and had—I thought it had more than 5 acres, but my sister tells me it was 5 acres. And it had asparagus, strawberries, most of the 5 acres were an orchard. And so, I remember moving to the house, saying, “Wow, what a big house,” right? I had the whole upstairs to myself. Well in, I don’t know, some 20 years later or so, we were taking a trip out there with my kids, and I visited it. I said, “My god, it’s a small house!” You know? But again as kids everything, you know.
HR
Everything was big.
KH
Yeah, yeah, so.
HR
So where was—
KH
That was in Port Hammond. Story is my Dad’s Pause. no my Dad’s, Kusano’s, he was married to my Dad’s mother’s sister. So what was that, uncle?
HR
Yeah . . . Laughs.
KH
Yeah. Anyway, he said to Dad that, “Oh this farm is coming up to sale because the guy’s moving to Japan. It’d be a good idea if you bought it.” So my Dad bought it. So now, it was me, again, thinking back. All this acreage, fruit trees, strawberries, all this stuff. And we had a big apple tree in the front yard. Lots of plum trees and you know, mostly they’d drop. No one wanted Italian plums. I think we inherited a cat and a dog too, which was okay. And, yeah, but then it wasn’t long before of course it’s ’39, the war started in ’41, right? So we might have been there two years. And what I didn’t know until I talked with my sister was, well, people were now having to move off their land, right? And getting nothing for it in return. Well Dad managed to sell the place to a guy in Vancouver.
01:05:48.000
01:05:48.000
KH
There was a lot of concern amongst white folks that Japan was going to come and invade if you lived close to Hawaii, right? So, they wanted to get away from the coast a little bit. Anyways apparently Dad managed to sell the place, because he owed money to the first guy. And that was the means to pay him back. And so, I asked, “Do you know how much?” He said, “No, I have no idea how much.” You know but all the stories I get is that it was a fire sale, right? Either you get something or nothing. Yeah. And so, fortunately, I think my Dad came away with a little bit. I’m thinking back today, how did they manage, all during this time, right? And, yeah. Now it’s true I think that the Japanese guys were employed building houses or attending bath houses, was paid 25 cents, 50 cents an hour, something like, yeah.
HR
Do you remember what it was like to have to pack up and leave? Was there, did you have specific—
KH
Yeah, yeah, yeah. The thing that I remember, that strikes in my mind, is that I had my fishing tackle, right? And there were talks, I had discussion vaguely that, “Oh Japanese people were not going to be turfed out of their houses for long. They’ll be back again.” I remember my mom and dad packing up stuff, and taking it over to my cousin’s place, who had just built a new house. And they’d separated one room, and put all the luggages that we had. Some of it, anyway. Some, my sister said, the furniture just stayed in the house, right? Yeah but other personal possessions, like Japanese have these dolls, mingei, you know in glass cases? They all have those, those things all of course got put into there. And even taking dishes. But one thing my mother did was that she did pack some dishes and pots and pans. Mothers at that time always cooked rice in this cast iron pot for rice, right? And she brought that along. And so when, I don’t remember that packing and you know, the indecision-decision of what to take and that, but I do remember my decision. What was I going to do with my fishing rod? You know, I couldn’t take it. I said, “I know what, we’re going to come back, anyway, so,” as you go from the main floor to the next level, there’s that open stairway, and I said, “I’ll throw it up there, and then I know where it is and I’ll come back and get it.” Well that was the last of it, you know. Never happened, right? Yeah, yeah. But the one part that I do remember is when the truck came to pick us up, you know, to take us to Hastings Park, yeah waiting on the road in front of the house. And, I think that my sister said we were lucky. Instead of just two suitcases, we were able to take a large dunnage bag, you know?
HR
Okay.
KH
Yeah and my mom put all the clothing and bedding and stuff in it. And so we had that. I was talking to my sister, “No I still have that bag. I used to use it for carrying my duck decoys.” Laughs. Because it’s big, eh? But then, from then on, taking the, riding the back of the truck, going to Vancouver, ending up at Hastings Park. And I was at Hastings Park for the first time, that building, that horse barn, this past summer. I took that trip, Buzzer goes off. the Ghost town tour?
HR
Yeah.
01:10:06.000
01:10:06.000
KH
Yeah. That was amazing tour! I’d do it again, yeah. Because the people running it from the Japanese Cultural Centre in Burnaby, the three ladies that came, they were very good, knowledgeable. I mean they had done it before. And then everybody who wanted could get off and talk a little bit about what they remember, right? It’s too bad you’ve got 50 people on the bus, and I was going by myself. And then while we’re waiting for the bus, I’m introducing myself. And this kid says, “Name’s John Kato.” I said Kaye-to.” Laughs. “I said Kato.” Laughs. He laughed. Anyways I said, “I know you, your family.” He says “Oh, how’s that?” “Well, my wife’s name is Tsuyuki.” And suddenly—you know, the Tsuyukis and Katos are related.
HR
Oh, okay.
KH
Yeah, yeah, and so I told him, “Yeah, years ago, I remember Irene Tsuyuki, the person that Patsy’s, we’ve got to go see your cousins, the Katos, with Terri.” And so we went there, and there was this little baby, you know, flopping around on the floor, and all the guys were over. And that was John. And then I said to John, “You know, I know David along with your oldest brother.” I forget his name now. I said, “David was a chiropractor that came over, and he was getting married to some woman.” And we were invited, or Terri was invited to the wedding. And he said, “Oh, I didn’t know that!” And so we shared a bus seat together for most of the trip. In some ways that was both good and bad because, you know, as you went along it was nice to meet people, right? I’ve only—And there were—Fortunately, you’re riding the bus, but you can really only talk to your neighbor, right?
HR
Yeah.
KH
Yeah. And in the evening, after dinner, at dinner and at lunch, you sat with different people and met a few. At night, by the time you’ve done your day, everybody’s heading off for a shower, and whatever.
HR
Was it primarily people of your generation, who were doing the tour?
KH
No, that’s the thing that surprised me. There were people like myself—oldest one was about 85. And then there were others that were from Japan.
HR
Oh.
KH
Yeah. Whose parents were incarcerated. There were others Japanese from Japan, married to a Hakujin, you know, but she met him in Japan. And he was older than me. But boy, in great shape, better than me! And you know was interested in the history of the Japanese. Others were young kids in their late teens or early 20s. Their family was involved, and they wanted to know more about it. Yeah, so there was quite a range of ages, and some people who were like me, been living in some of the camps. You know, others that had no, never been there. Yeah, and that was, that was really quite an interesting mix. My regret is not having been able to talk, and in fact, I think on the last day of the trip there was this woman sitting on the other side of the row, who said, “Hey, I want to talk to you,” to me. I said “Okay.” “Do you think we can change seats?” We couldn’t, so we were chatting back and forth. I said, “Give me your email,” whatever, and anyway, through that contact, I think she sent me an email, or whatever. I said, “You’ve got to come and visit me in Los Angeles.” I was going out west anyways, and I thought okay maybe I’d take a few days and go out of town. Well, her name is Catherine Uchida. She and her sister are both born in Japan. Father was an American, because his father was going back, the grandfather. They ended up—he ended up going to Japan. The mother is a Canadian. And was the Canadian I think that . . . that parent chose to, oh whatever. Anyways, they’re both Americans and Canadian.
HR
Yeah.
KH
Catherine and Saachi are both Japanese born, you know.
01:15:10.000
01:15:10.000
HR
Yeah, interesting.
KH
But then they came to Los Angeles when they were 4 or 5, somewhere in that. So, home to them is L.A. You know I, a casual contact, but my god, she picked me up at the airport and she had all this itinerary, you know took me around to all the interesting places.
HR
Oh wow.
KH
Yeah, Huntington—do you know Huntington Estate Library and Museum?
HR
Oh, yes.
KH
Yeah, yeah, the library and garden. I had a fantastic, yeah. Even had bought me a ticket to go to the Hollywood Bowl, you know, with that big Hollywood sign. That kind of stuff. Took me to the Los Angeles Museum of Fine Art. Yeah, in a short stay. And then she says, “I’m a foodie, so I’ll take you to all my favorite places.” I said “Okay Cathy, I’ll tell you what. You take me, that’s great. I’m paying for all this stuff.” “No you can’t!” I said, “No.” So, she took me. It’s nice when someone lives there—I go to an ice cream shop, “This is the best ice cream.” Been there since the ‘20s, right? And people from miles around here come to buy it. And when I went there, sure enough, there were dozens of people in there. And we bought ice cream, and yeah. And said, “Oh, this sandwich shop has also been around for 40, 50 years, or longer. And makes the best sandwiches.” What do you call them? Ah, it doesn’t matter. It’s, yeah. And, “Oh, this is a good Vietnamese, good Chinese, oh Japanese,” right? So, she took me around.
HR
You got spoiled. Laughs.
KH
Yeah, yeah, I would never. And then she’s into—oh went to the Japanese American Museum, just in Japantown, right? That was never there when we went. Speaking to David. David won’t remember. Japantown, of course, 60, 50 years ago, has changed dramatically. So all of that. And Pauses. all through going on this trip, I was extremely fortunate, yeah.
HR
Speaking of history and passing on history, maybe it’s a good time for David to jump in. Motions to David. Did you ever talk about the wartime with your kids?
KH
Yeah. David I think is the only one of my kids who has read almost everything that I’ve read about that time. Yeah. Right David?
DH
Oh yeah, yeah. I found it really interesting.
KH
I don’t know that we’ve talked that much, neither Terri or I, certainly not in the growing up years, pass on any of the, this kind of thing. But as I got older, I wanted them to—but the only one that’s interested is David. So I don’t bother. But any time I get information on this, I usually say, “Hey, read this!” You know?
HR
So David, do you remember when you first learned about what had happened to Japanese Canadians?
DH
That’s a good question. I can’t really remember something dawning on me in a particular situation. It was probably just Dad when the books came out, and then he suggested I read them.
KH
Yeah.
DH
Because I did and I didn’t really, or Mom, really didn’t talk about that.
KH
Yeah that’s right.
DH
And I think, from what I read, that’s pretty consistent.
KH
Yeah the—
KH
The only thing that comes to mind though that you seem to, maybe it’s just my memory, but I thought you mentioned once when—because usually Dad’s talking to someone else and I’m listening and in, which is great, it works really well, David and Heather laugh. but I thought you mentioned one time that during the point where—well if you want to call it dispossession or whatever—that it was becoming clear to some people that the Japanese Canadians weren’t going to be able to keep everything. And so, some people were taking advantage of that situation and coming in and basically saying you know, “Oh, you’ve got a piano, I’ll give you like pennies on the dollar for whatever it’s worth.” And I remember you expressing something kind of like that’s really an unhappy experience.
KH
Yeah, yeah, that I think, you know, was not uncommon. Right? Yeah well the Japanese had hoped, you know in conversation that I hear, that they were, well having to leave their house, that they will be coming back after the scare mongering was over. You know? But, at the same time, there were also doubts, because apparently the Kusanos immediately decided—they had money, so they had trucks, so they had Hakujin friends I think drive the trucks to Manitoba. They went directly.
HR
Wow.
01:20:21.000
01:20:21.000
KH
Yeah, so some people either understood the situation more clearly, that this is not just going to be an event and then we’re going to be back where we were, and so those people did pull up roots. I asked my sister whether the Kusanos got any, you know did they sell their house? Because they had a new house, a nice house. Laughs. Such that you know the Japanese are. All the time we used to go visit them, quite often because, you know there’s just a house and a yard down the way or whatever. We’d play in the basement of the house, you know? Heather laughs. We never, I never remember—they had a beautiful house, upstairs, sliding thing, dining room, living room, all this stuff—I remember going and looking at it, but we never spent any time there. Nor did we ever eat. We ate always in the basement, yeah.
HR
In the basement, huh.
KH
Yeah. And, but anyway, they had a lot more land, and they started to buy land on the other side, on the Abbotsford side. Whereas all the Japanese lived on the North Shore of the Fraser, right? Yeah. And then after the war, they all moved to the South Shore. And then, yeah. So, I guess some people more clued in than others. Yeah. But there were others I know that totally lost everything, right? Talking to them they say “We didn’t get anything for . . . ”, yeah.
HR
I know in downtown Vancouver, there was a certain amount of theft that happened as family’s were leaving. Instead of offering pennies on the dollar, it was more like, ‘we’ll wait until you’re gone, and then come in and take what we want.’
KH
Phone rings. Yeah that happened, according to my sister, to, there was—when we were in Popoff, there was a window where they said, “We will allow you to go and retrieve some of your stuff, if you can contact someone who’ll then ship that thing to you.”
HR
Oh.
KH
So Mom and Dad got in contact with whoever was now living in Kusano’s place, asking for certain items. One of the stories I get is that Mom had, remembers, we used to buy—because we lived on a farm—shoyu in a barrel like this, eh? Yeah. So it was already open. But nevertheless it’ll keep. Phone rings in the background. What happened was the people added water and so by the time it reached Mom it was no good.
HR
Oh. . .
KH
Yeah, stupid things like that. And some of the things that she requested didn’t come. But they sent some other thing. And yeah. So, whereas some things did come. Not a great deal, but nevertheless there was that—. Phone message plays in the background; David and Kaye speak briefly about the message. So, yeah. I think depending upon each individual’s, yeah, you know some, like we had, we were able to stay longer than some of the others, post December 7, right? And you read where some particular people on Vancouver Island only had a matter of hours or several days to pack up. We had a lot more time. Whereas I don’t know the discussion that took place between my mom and dad in terms of deciding, you know, what they are going to be able to take and that. According to my sister, we were lucky because we at least could take more than a couple of handbags each, you know.
01:25:02.000
01:25:02.000
HR
Yeah, do you or she know why that was? I haven’t actually heard that.
KH
No. I think part of it was, when we were leaving and the truck came, the truck was half empty. Laughs.
HR
Oh . . .
KH
Yeah, there wasn’t that much luggage, and I remember, therefore, we rode on the back of the truck, along with the luggage. I think by that time—I can’t remember when Terri and them had to leave, but I know Terri said they were late, later than some of the others, because friends knew that the BC Commission people were going to come and get them. Background noise throughout. They decided to leave and go to Terri’s place and stay there for awhile, rather than having to leave right away, that kind of thing. Yeah. I don’t remember much beyond that other than getting to Hastings Park, and then wow, all these kids, you know? Yeah.
HR
That’s a pretty common experience that I’ve heard, of people of about your age said that they remember just kind of like packs of friends that roaming around.
KH
Yeah, yeah. Most of us lived on farms, and I had a neighbor, a German kid that I played with. But as far as Japanese friends were concerned, they were some distance away. Only when we were walking down the road to same Port Hammond—no, it was called Maple Ridge Public School—yeah that we’d all go there en mass. Talk about bullying Laughs., I remember my mom and dad coming out with me to the house at the front of the road and scolding the kid that was tormenting me. I was the smallest of the kids, so I would often get pushed around a little bit more than the other kids. I remember that part of it, but yeah.
HR
A question about life in the camps, and Slocan and Popoff—I know as a result of having to leave so much behind, there’s really interesting stories about people who carved furniture or sewed clothes for themselves. That things had to be made from scratch. Do you have any memories of people making things?
KH
Yeah I remember my Dad making lots of things. He was really quite skilled. Sp any furniture that we had, that came home, he made. Benches.
HR
Wow, wow.
KH
Yeah, yeah. And he had a little workshop at the side where he was making. . . you know there—one of the, in his part time, he built a cedar chest. But it was unusual. Other people were doing the same thing, they were made of one inch square piece of cedar, right? And they alternated white cedar and red cedar, so they had this striped effect.
HR
Okay, wow.
KH
Yeah, you know, that kind of thing. I remember him spending time—I don’t remember what happened to that, we had that for quite a while. I remember him building me—I said, “I want to go skiing.” Well, that costs money. He says, “Well I can fix that for you. I can, you know . . . ” So he’d go and get a piece of wood and steam it, and you know put a tip on it, and then hey, I got a pair of skis, you know?
HR
Wow.
KH
Doing that kind of thing for me. My first fishing rod and reel was made by him. A fishing rod is just a piece of wood, tapered, and then he fashioned a reel that I could wind my line around. He was, yeah.
HR
Amazing.
KH
He was pretty handy. The only—I don’t—when I got to do a little bit of carpentry, was when Dad got up the first house in Oakville, and he bought it because it was old but it was another double lot? It was a huge lot, and for most of the time they used that lot as a garden. And but after, he—I forgot what I was going to tell you. Both laugh.
HR
Must have been nice to have such space to be a handy person.
KH
Yeah, yeah. He was really very handy that way.
DH
You don’t have any of that stuff.
KH
No, no, no, no. I don’t have any of that stuff.
DH
Like, Mum has a piece from her dad, right? That lamp with the—.
KH
That’s right, that lamp.
DH
That’s the only piece I can think of.
01:30:01.000
01:30:01.000
KH
No, no. I have some of his, like the Japanese saws and that were different, right?
HR
Okay.
KH
And plane. I have a few of those things still.
HR
Tools.
KH
From the one that he made.
DH
Oh yeah, I remember those. Yeah.
KH
But there’s not much left.
DH
I didn’t know that duff bag though was from way back when. Well is that green, or?
KH
No, brown.
DH
Brown, oh okay, yeah.
KH
Remember the brown one? And its still got the name Hayashida on the outside of it.
DH
Right.
KH
Yeah. I don’t know, it’s probably still around.
DH
Better be. I didn’t know that was from there. I didn’t know that was there, actually.
KH
Oh yeah, it was from—that, that wasn’t, I mean, I guess I hang on to things, right? And then, oh maybe one day it will become useful. Yeah it did—when I started hunting, and needed a big bag that I can just carry stuff. We used to have . . . we used to call them kago, kago is like a woven basket. You know, about two feet long and a foot and a half wide. It had a little top and bottom. And I saw these in the Japanese American Cultural Centre, what do they call it? Museum Centre, or whatever they call it. In Japantown. They’ve got a wall and they’ve got all these suitcases and these baskets, piled along as a kind of a display from way back when. But their museum is really quite amazing. I haven’t seen—I’ve been to the one in Burnaby, and also the one in Toronto, but I think the one in Los Angeles is even more spectacular as far as design and also the arrangement of the rooms.
HR
Yeah. They do museums a little bigger and splashier I think in the States than we do here.
DH
Well not only that, but they wouldn’t have lost as much in that time frame.
KH
Who, the Japanese Americans?
DH
Yeah, because they got their stuff back and—.
KH
Well, yes and no. I’ve been reading a lot more on Japanese American since I went down and saw Cathy, and she sent me some more links to things. And depending upon where you came from, you know, if you lived in say like Bainbury—I think it was Bainbury Island, off of Seattle—you weren’t given a, because they were close to a naval whatever, given as much time. They didn’t have the time to do things. And again, they were . . . much, didn’t have the time. And they had to get rid of their properly or whatever. Some didn’t get rid of it, they left it to friends but the friends didn’t look after it.
DH
Oh yeah, I remember reading that. Well one of the most famous pictures of that situation, of the Japanese Americans, is of a Hayashida down there. Which I always thought was a curious coincidence.
KH
Yeah, so anyways, yeah.
HR
I want to zoom ahead to the 1980s now, and I’m curious about what you knew, know, or think of Redress. And the compensation.
KH
Yeah, I. . . When I think about that, and I didn’t get involved and I feel badly about that. But that 1980s period, I’m raising my family and all this, right? But still, that’s an excuse more than anything else. I think, yeah, it’s amazing what the people who were involved in that, the amount of time and effort, and dedication, and it wasn’t just the, that hadn’t been going on, it’d been going on for a long time, right. And finally the break through comes, and they were able to get—and I still maintain, had Trudeau been Prime Minister, we’d never have gotten that. Yeah that Brian Mulroney, because of him, we were able to get that kind settlement that we did. Yeah. Dishes clanging in the background. Well Pierre Trudeau’s attitude was that you cannot rectify the wrong that happened in the past. We move on. You know. And, so . . .
HR
Do you remember, actually both of you, because you might have been old enough to maybe remember, Heather gestures towards David. do you remember the announcement? Was it, was it like a day that was specially marked for you?
01:35:22.000
01:35:22.000
KH
No, I think that probably came afterwards as I was doing more reading. As you read and the stories that are told, or who wrote “Justice in our time,” yeah things like that. Then you realize how much you really owe to these people, that got so involved. Yeah. And that marched, that took to Ottawa, and so on. But that activism really emanated from the third generation Japanese, right? Yeah. The Miki family.
HR
Yep.
KH
They were sort of . . . Whereas there were some Nisei’s, yeah, but the real impetus I think came from that group. Yeah looking back, I’m amazed at the kind of concerted effort that they devoted for the benefit of all Japanese Canadians. Looking back, I think we tend not to give the necessary credit to these people. We don’t have. . . we have not established anything that celebrates that. You know, kind of thing. Oh, Cathy took me to the Go For Broke memorial, you can call it. You know, in L.A.? In Japantown. Again, part of the memorial, it doesn’t even stand out as a memorial unless somebody pointed it out to you. And then there is a wall that they built, on which there are about 15,000 names, of all the Japanese soldiers that participated in that part of the Japanese American fought in the 42nd division. And the hundred. But as I read more about that and everybody I knows about the fact that they were the most highly decorated unit in all of American military history, right? But the price they paid to achieve what they did—it was a huge price. Yeah, yeah. That’s hard to—and even then, when they came back, after the war, the Japanese Americans still were not treated with that kind of openness and, yeah.
HR
Can I ask, what do you think prompted your interest in history as you’ve gotten a little bit older? Why do you do the reading you do now? Why did you go on the tour?
KH
I say it’s a function of age. I think today, I think, “Okay, I’ve got maybe 2 years, 4 years, 5 years.” My friend says, “Ah, you’ve got 10.” Yeah, if you’re lucky you might have 10. But I think you come to a point where you realize that the end is a lot closer, and so you . . . I want to know more about the Japanese Canadians or Americans, and their history. And I think—I’ve always loved history anyway, but this is of course much more personal, right?
01:40:06.000
01:40:06.000
HR
Mhmm.
KH
Yeah. And so, right, at times, I say to myself, “Why are you doing this Kaye? You’ve only got this much left.” It’s different when you’re 10, or 12, then you’re accumulating knowledge. Just like I’m a real reader of the Economist Magazine. I read that cover to cover. And I say to myself, “What are you doing Kaye? After you finish 15 pages, can you remember what you read on page 1?” You know? Yeah. And that’s true, that a lot of it, if I want to remember it, I have to do it slower, I have to take notes, I have to, yeah. But I find it, nevertheless, I want to know what’s happening in Syria, I want to know what’s happening in Ethiopia. I want to know what’s happening, and currently. I find that’s satisfying to me. It’s something that I enjoy. The fact that I may not be able to retain it, like I used to, yeah.
HR
That’s okay.
KH
That’s okay, yeah. And it’s funny, eh, I mean when people used to ask me, “Do you miss teaching at university?” “Yeah. I still teach today though.” And I do. In my dreams, I’m still doing that. Right? And it’s how real it is. And a lot of that information still comes back, right? That you never lose, yeah. That part always amazes me. The thing today when I have these is usually I’m in a bloody panic because I haven’t done what I’m supposed to have done. I’ve got more work to do before the next lab. Heather laughs. It often runs like that, yeah. But I don’t know whether there are other older Japanese or non-Japanese, they also do a similar sort of thing that I’m doing. You get much more focused, or interested in what happened way back when, you know? And, yeah.
HR
I think it hits people at different times of life, maybe. And certain people are interested in the past when they are really young, and others it takes a little bit of time and it’s when they are done working, they have a bit more space to engage.
KH
Well, I figure, I’m one of the lucky ones because I truly, really enjoyed what I was doing. And it didn’t feel like work., right? I used to tell my students, you know, you guys are probably going to have half a dozen jobs, or do different things by the time you’re 40. And I said, “If you’re going to do any of them, do them well. Because you never know at what point something pops up, and because you’re not a slacker, that you go at it, that somebody will pick you up for that. But no one will remember you if you go through the motions.” Yeah. And my dad told me that, too. I was a kid. Laughs.. As a kid, “Oh do this!” And then you do this quickly, and, “Oh it’s done, Dad!” Laughs. And so anyway, I always remember that advice. Also, I love measuring twice and cutting once, or you know don’t muscle it, these instruments are made to do a particular job. Don’t use the saw like a hammer and plank. Heather laughs. It’s not going to do a better job, or any job. You know. I mean, anyways. The things I regret now are, with my own parents, is that I didn’t spend more time asking them questions. About their lives. And why he came over so many times to Canada, how did you and my mother meet. I know they were cousins, you know. And what made my mom decide to come with him.
HR
Yeah.
KH
You know, so leaving her entire family, coming here. And they had never been back to Japan, til some 50 years later, which is I think about 1970, or 80, yeah when they first were able to go back and visit. Yeah, I wish that I could ask a lot of these questions. I wish I had done more. I wish I spoke better Japanese, so I could tell my mom and dad—and I think back today of all the things that they did for me, right? And that how much I’ve appreciated that. You know. And particular today, when you think back, because now that you have no opportunity to tell them that, right?
01:45:35.000
01:45:35.000
KH
And now I regret that. But I also am happy that I did some things for them, and have taken them on my travels, and so on. But you know. Laughs. I remember my mom one time telling me, it was while I was taking them to Florida or I had a meeting, so I’d take them along and they did their thing with Terri, or I went to the. . . and I remember I was with them at dinner time and she leaned out and said, “You know, Kaye,” she says, Ats and Tak”Ats is my older sister—“have never ever taken us on holidays with them. They’ve got no kids,” she said. “We’ve gone a number of places with you.” I said, “Oh, I didn’t know that they had never taken you.” Anyway, most of the traveling that they did, to different places, other than when they went to Japan, was because they came with me and Terri. Anyways, its . . .
HR
Do you have any memories of your grandparents? Heather speaks to David.
DH
Not a lot, actually. Because Grandpa, Jichan and Baachan, only spoke Japanese.
KH
Yeah. I’m trying to think—could she say jello? All laugh. She could say jello. That was a big thing. So they would talk to us, but we wouldn’t, it would be difficult to understand it. Even the name, like David, was Davido, and she’d say that to me, and I’d think “Why’s she calling me that?” Becuase that’s David in Japanese. So, that’s the sad part, too, is sad really because I didn’t teach these guys any Japanese really. And, why, you know, part of that I attributed to, amongst the Japanese, it was not uncommon to have the feeling that the reason why we got treated the way we did was because we tended to stick together. You know? But then, all people—
DH
Immigrants.
KH
—of all countries do this, and yeah so you forget that they were marginalized, and they were not always treated as outsiders, racially. Racially it was much more comfortable to be part of that thing. But anyway, because of that closeness that they developed, this was part of the reason why the Japanese were singled out. And so, the idea, notion that grew was that the better, the more we become assimilated, the better we would be. And I guess, that’s probably true in my life, too. When I was growing up and doing whatever, we had very few Japanese friends. All our friends were, we would say Hakujin, you know white. Well for one thing, there weren’t many. I think I was the only Japanese teaching at Laurier back then. Or Lutheran. And even in high school, when I taught, there were not many.
HR
Yeah, I was about to ask about that actually. My parents are from here, so I spent lots of childhood coming to Waterloo, and I know it as an overwhelmingly German place. With like Oktoberfest and lederhosen and things like that. Were there other Japanese families?
KH
Yeah, there were. When we came to Kitchener there was a Japanese association, and they usually got together once or twice a year. New Year’s time, Japanese New Year is very, more of a festival, festive time. And they would all bring whatever they made, and like potluck, eh? Yeah. And they would get together and we would do a thing. Terri used to go to these things. And also the women’s group that did different things, and yeah. So that still exists apparently. But once Terri got Parkinson’s, it became difficult. We haven’t tended to do that.
01:50:35.000
01:50:35.000
KH
███████I mean, I’m sorry that because of that, I wouldn’t go to my son’s whatever, wrestling match. I said, “Sorry, I’ve got a tennis game or a squash game.” Unmentioned female voice says something inaudible. And anyway, so, what it meant was every day I had something that I enjoyed. And during that time, my main concern was getting that damn ball back, and yeah. I was reasonably proficient, I’m playing with guys, all my playing with guys are twenty, thirty years younger than I am. Yeah. And, they all comment. As, you know, I’m getting older from 70 to 80. Now they’re able to beat me more handily. But they say, “Listen Kaye, don’t sweat it, I’ll never be playing tennis like you are, at that age.” Right? Yeah. There is that truth. But what bothers me now is that I don’t play anywhere close to what I was playing. But then when I was playing, none of the older guys, my age, would ever ask me to play. They watch you play. And so, they don’t. Or I’m playing, when I’m at Club Meds, and people watch you play, and they come up to me and say, “How about a game?” These people are much younger than me, right? They have no idea. They see me running around, hitting the ball, and they know they can get a good game, so they ask me. But you reach a plateau. There is a, beyond which, things begin to happen, you know? And when I think about it, yea, I’ve been lucky to be able to go.
KH
I’m going away with my friend, Tulio, from Montreal.
01:55:37.000
01:55:37.000
KH
Tulio is a multi-millionaire, I think, but anyways, we never talk about that. And, we met at a club med some 30 years ago, playing tennis.
HR
I think you mentioned that on the phone.
KH
Huh?
HR
I think you've mentioned that friend on the phone when we talked before. That you go away,
KH
Yeah, yeah, yeah, and so I'm going . . . Tulio says “You gotta come to Montreal, we've got people that we want you to meet.” I said “I can only come on the 4th.” He said “No, not good enough; you gotta come on the 2nd.” So I said, “I gotta talk to somebody and I'll change it, and see if I can get it.” And, I did, so I am going there on the 3rd, the 4th, we fly out to Marrakesh on the night of the 4th.
HR
Marrakesh? Wow.
KH
And, he says “It's booked.” He sent me a ticket and everything in full. I've seen its a one way ticket, right? Woman laughs. Right? He says “Well, I don't know where we're going to go after this.” You know? And, so he says, he's got an apartment in Paris, he says “We might go to Paris, and then go from there, or whatever, you know.” And, I said “But be prepared to come back here after two weeks or something like that,” you know, and so, I took the train to Montreal, figured one way ticket then I'll probably fly back from wherever to Toronto and then, yeah. But, you know,
HR
Quite the adventurer.
KH
Hmm?
HR
You're quite the adventurer.
KH
Well, yeah, I, I'm very fortunate, you know, because of . . . you know, lately Tulio's been paying, picking up all unclear thing, right? And, I went to Australia last January for a little two weeks, and I had a place to stay and he says “Remember, when I get there, you're moving over to my hotel.” I though, “Okay, Tulio.” You know, he stays at the Intercontinental, I don't know what the hell the room rates are, I never see it, anyway. Now, we're staying at a, you know, I mean I thought “$200 bucks a night, you get a fairly decent,” Noise from another person. Yeah, but anyway it, this place must cost at least double, triple that. You know? But anyway. Pause.
HR
Question for David, and then I have kind of a couple of wrap up questions. I sort of know the answer to that, but would love to get it on the recording for this project. You live in a very historically minded place. I’m curious if you can reflect on what it’s like to live in Newfoundland, but carry this very different history with you?
KH
Well, yes, I mean Newfoundland is certainly, they’re really proud of their culture. But when I first moved there, I really thought Quebec had always been a distinct society. But moving to Newfoundland, I thought, well there’s definitely another one in terms of from A-Z, whether it’s the way they talk, or what they’re interested in. So, a real pride of place, which is fascinating. And yeah, probably one of the things, just to tie back to here, is that when we were growing up here, as Dad said, didn’t learn Japanese and that was fairly common across the board from what I’ve heard of other Japanese Canadians in our situation. And what I thought was interesting is, you know, actually everybody around me was almost 99% German. So they were all taking German classes after school. And I actually did that for awhile too, Heather laughs. because I wanted to be just like them, and I was the only Japanese Canadian, you know, in our family, in that school. And all the way up, I don’t remember until, until university there being anybody else. It was pretty much just the one group overall. Having said that, going to Newfoundland and Labrador, it was a lot like that too. Laughs. When I first went there, there certainly, there is the odd Chinese family here and there. They’re very sparsely located. And when I went to Springdale for the first time, I can remember their young kids on the other side of the street chanting, “Chinaman, Chinaman,” on the other side of the street. And I can just imagine from the books I’ve read and Dad’s description of going into Mount Forest, and other places like that, is people just stop and stare, “What planet are they from?” sort of thing. It was sort of an interesting, almost going back in history, where you’re the odd one out. Re-imagining that sort of historical sequence. So it was interesting that way. And I certainly find Newfoundland and Labrador some of the friendliest people I know, so it’s not been a negative thing in that way. But yeah, it was sort of interesting going from here to there. Because of course, it’s more cosmopolitan here. And I was working in Toronto before having moved there.
02:00:48.000
02:00:48.000
HR
Right.
DH
And so Toronto is very much that way. The other point that I wanted to connect, because there were a bunch of questions there, and there was one I wanted to chime in on. And that was with some of the books that Dad—I’m thinking that maybe some of that was brought about through the Redress, because I remember there being more talk about it with Dad and his brothers and sisters, so that would cultivate more of an interest in that. One of the books was The Enemy that Never Was.
KH
Yeah.
KH
That was a great book. On the back cover of that, you know, was—this just came to mind the other day—was that he’s talking about the immigrant situation, yes they were Canadian citizens, blah blah blah, but there was that whole sense that they were the enemy. And I think that circles back to the situation of today. Especially on the back cover where he says, “That was an issue then,” and he really wonders whether it continues to be an issue in Canada today. And then you talk about the Syrian immigrant situation, which Dad and I were talking about, and you know, there’s a real sense of whether it’s the Saskatchewan Premier or whether it’s our own Premier in Newfoundland and Labrador, an ex-police person, who’s the present premier? They’re—I call it the politics of fear, but you know, in terms of looking at immigrants as potential terrorists, or the enemy, this kind of thing. And so, it’s terrible how quickly things can deteriorate, and you can just point a finger, people just accept that information as being factual. So, certainly part of my interest in understanding where we are as Japanese Canadians is you know, “How did we get here and why are we like we are?” And that curiosity continues on. And I’m sowly getting a better understanding of that. You know, some of the things you just take for granted, you can sort of over time begin to understand why those things occurred. Or even what’s going to happen now unfortunately to the situation with bringing over the refugees. Well it’s not a new thing I think, the memory is so short for a lot of Canadians that just easily accept the idea of, “Well there might be a connection between a—.” You know, in the Paris situation, that one of them could have had a Syrian passport and he might have been a refugee, and of course I think that was just wild, not based in fact. I think they are going to have a tough time, and I certainly think though that—and Dad was saying the same thing—that certainly what the Trudeau government is doing is a good thing. And we’re very much in support of that.
HR
It’s interesting that you bring that up. We all, everybody that works on the project found things that were brought up during the recent election very chilling almost. Like we’re reading documents from 60 years ago that are using similar language. And that nobody seems to be putting two and two together, that it’s, like we keep doing this, and keep using this language, keep making judgments that are not, not right.
KH
Yeah.
DH
Yeah. And I think the words that people use are so critical. And that’s part of the discussion that we’ve had around, that there’s potentially, in artwork, is to resurrect some of those words and use it into an art piece because it really clouds a reasoned discussion when you have the terminology that was used in the past. Certainly a lot of it’s very well documented. And well they never at that time, I think, the word terrorist wasn’t really a term, you take all of the different words that were used and they all add up to one word: terrorist today. They would call Japanese Canadians terrorists, right? Spies, fifth columnists, you know. The list goes on and on. So it is sad that it continues to circle around and around in that way.
02:05:05.000
02:05:05.000
HR
So thinking about—that segues beautifully into my last little segment of questions—thinking about this as a museum show, and teacher kits, and a website, that what we’re doing here is meant to teach to the future. I wonder if both of you can reflect, maybe we’ll start with Kaye. If you could tell people, if you could tell schoolchildren 20 years from now something about this history, what would your message be?
KH
You mean about our history? You mean the Japanese Canadians?
HR
Yeah, Japanese-Canadian war history.
KH
Pauses. I think, I think. . . you have to emphasize the fact that you look different. From the norm, whatever people would call the norm, which is the White norm. It should not ever be a basis for deciding that they are not Canadians. That, in other words, I think there is no stereotype, or there should not be a stereotyped vision of what a Canadian looks like. It should be what the person—it should be all about the person: what he is, his values, his ideas, ideals. And so long as those values are ones which are basically universal to whatever the country is, then they should be part of the mosaic. You know, in other words, by now we should have gotten beyond this whole notion that a Canadian should look like this. Yeah. That a Canadian could be of whatever colour, you know. And we have to, somehow, get young kids to realize that all these people who appear differently, we’re all the same. And that when you isolate and begin to treat any one of them differently, then you have a situation that created our “us,” in other words the problem that we, as a group, had to go through.
HR
That’s a wonderful message. David?
KH
Well I think it’s complicated in many different ways. Certainly as Dad described, but as well, maybe it’s my dislike of politician or something, but the politicians made a lot of those decisions. And I think we give them too long a leash, in terms of what they call “spin” and what I call “lies.” We should be expecting more from our politicians to be doing the right thing, and not to be able to just spin out to what is consistent at that time, and I think that was a problem that existed back then and it still exists today. You know when you’re able to use terms to demonize certain segments of the population, I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think it’s right. And it could be certainly the Canadian situation at one point might have been more about who’s white and who’s not, but I think that, to me, that situation is a global one. You could be a situation where everybody is black and you’re the only white person, and I could see there being discrimination there, which is wrong. And so, I think, as Canadians, we have to think more globally, and the planet is one sort of spaceship, as it’s been described before. And we’re all here, very fortunate to be alive, and hopefully we feel a responsibility to other people on the planet to be fair to them as well, to help out when things are bad. Those kinds of things.
KH
Yeah.
HR
Those are both wonderful reflections and we’ve talked for just over two hours, so that’s quite a long time. So I think it’s a good time to say thank you very much to you both.
DH
Thank you.
KH
Yeah, thanks for coming over. Any time you’re in the neighbourhood, you know where we live! Kaye and Heather laugh.
HR
That’s true, I do.
02:10:06.000

Metadata

Title

Kaye and David Hayashida, interviewed by Heather Read, 26 November 2015

Abstract

Kaye describes his memories of living on a farm in Port Hammond, near the Fraser River in British Columbia, until the internment, when his family was uprooted to Popoff. He describes how his understanding of the internment experience has evolved over time, in part through discussions with his son, David, who is present at the interview and his own research. Kaye talks about the internment bus tour that is run by the Nikkei National Museum, and valuable learning that he received on that tour. In the latter half of the interview, he narrates memories regarding belongings and property, such as how he hid a beloved fishing rod, assuming that he would come back and pick it up after the war. Kaye also discusses school throughout his interview, and both Kaye and David speak about language and how this period relates to current political events.

Credits

Interviewee: Kaye Hayashida
Interviewer: Heather Read
Transcriber: Nathaniel Hayes
Audio Checker: Jennifer Landrey
Final Checker: Jennifer Landrey
Final Checker: Natsuki Abe
Publication Information: See Terms of Use for publication and licensing information.
Setting: Waterloo, Ontario
Keywords: Education; Newfoundland and Labrador; intergeneration; Nikkei National Museum ; internment bus tour; recovering property; language; current politics; Redress ; renting; incarceration; internment; family; work; 1930s-40s

Terminology

Readers of these historical materials will encounter derogatory references to Japanese Canadians and euphemisms used to obscure the intent and impacts of the internment and dispossession. While these are important realities of the history, the Landscapes of Injustice Research Collective urges users to carefully consider their own terminological choices in writing and speaking about this topic today as we confront past injustice. See our statement on terminology, and related sources here.