Animosity between the Hawaiians and the mainlanders

Growing up in segregated schools Feeling prejudice while looking for jobs Joining the army Generosity of the Italians Animosity between the Hawaiians and the mainlanders Being scared during combat Never feared that he wouldn’t come back home On saving the Lost Battalion Coming home to his mother after the war Getting a PhD under the G.I. Bill Invited to teach at Harvard by his boss Feeling at peace with himself

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You probably may have heard of some of the animosity between the Hawaiians and the mainlanders. This conflict persisted for a long…even after the war.

Every night the Hawaiians, especially, would like to go to the PX, have beer – ten cents a bottle. Right after lights out, I think it was ten o’clock, we were in our hut, I heard a large commotion outside the door. A drunk Hawaiian came barging in, into our hut – we were all in our beds – and they started beating up my friend “Yuk” Minaga, who’s from Utah, and he was my radio man in forward observer crew. And they jumped on him and started pounding him. So I jumped up and I tried to pull off the guy that was on top pounding him. And someone else, maybe it was two, choked me and pulled me down and started beating me up too. All the while, nobody else got up, nobody could…I’m sure nobody could sleep through this ruckus – it was a small room with cots side-by-side. And they beat us up, but not to the point where we had to go to the infirmary.

And the next day, the captain came to us and said, “You know, they found the fellows that beat you up last night.” The question came, “Do you want to press charges against these guys?” After just a few minutes, it didn’t take us very long, we said, “Well why don’t we drop this completely and take it out on the Germans.” And we shook hands, and that was it. It was not even on our records. I think that was our good move that we made.

Date: January 3, 2015
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Lily Anne Y. Welty Tamai
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

442nd army hawaiians military training veteran World War II

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