Janet Matsumoto
A Different View

Identification Badges

Still employed by Young Brothers, Ltd., Janet's father, Kazuo Segawa, is allowed to work on the waterfront in Honolulu, but is prohibited from manning a boat.

He is required to wear a black badge. The black badge, issued by the government, identifies persons of Japanese ancestry and restricts work activities to those deemed appropriate by government authorities.

[M]y parents are nisei’s. And good thing, [my father] wasn’t sent to an intern camp because I guess since he came back from Japan was a long time ago.

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The Young Brothers, the boss, was Mr. Jack Young. He really liked my father.

My father told him that he wanted to quit. Because to go in the waterfront, Japanese get different kind of badge, yeah, and he’s the only Japanese. [During World War II, Japanese were required to wear badges, identifying them as Japanese.] The rest is all different nationality.

But Mr. Young didn’t want him to quit. He said, “No, you stay on.” Anyway, my father, he looked like Hawaiian (chuckles). He had curly hair, and dark. That’s why, in a way, he was lucky that he looked more Hawaiian than Japanese.

[My father] used to just work at the waterfront, that’s all. But he couldn’t drive his boat. The navy would not let him drive. But as soon as the war ended, the company sent him back to Molokai and he did the same job, yeah.

When [my father] was ordered to go back to Molokai, my parents decided that no sense the whole family go back, so we all stayed back [on Oahu]. And every weekend, he used to come home. By then already, I was able to drive. So I have to go and pick him up, and then early Monday morning, I have to drive him to the pier and drop him off, and he used to go [back to Molokai].

[My mother] never worked. She was a housewife until my father died, and then she had to work. 1948, my father passed away — she had to work after that.

Janet Matsumoto's interview reprinted courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photographs courtesy of Janet Matsumoto.

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