Toshiyuki Nakasone
1399th Engineer Construction Battalion


The Nakasones relocate as Toshiyuki accepts assignments in different island communities.

Karen and Ken, the oldest of the Nakasones’ four children, attend Mid-Pacific Institute on Oahu when their father assumes the principalship on Lanai.

Grace Nakasone teaches at various elementary schools.

Toshiyuki’s brother, Nobuyuki, practices medicine on Oahu for many years.

Children and Spouse

[My family] went from Kahuku to Waialua [in 1949] and we stayed in Waialua until [1962].

Toshiyuki Nakasone Family: Karen, Toshiyuki, Ken and Grace. 1950
Toshiyuki Nakasone Family: Karen, Toshiyuki, Ken and Grace. 1950

Ken and my two younger daughters [Laura and Irene] were born in Waialua. My oldest daughter [Karen] was one year old when we went. So when we went to Molokai, Ken was in the seventh grade and Karen was in the eighth grade.

When I got assigned to go to Molokai, I told Karen [my oldest daughter], “I’m going to send you to MPI [Mid-Pacific Institute, a private school in Honolulu],” but no, she didn’t want to go. She wanted to go to Molokai with the family. So we went to Molokai.

Toshiyuki Nakasone Family. Leaving Molokai. 1962.
Toshiyuki Nakasone Family. Leaving Molokai. 1962.

I was a teaching principal [at Maunaloa School] so I sent Ken and Karen to Molokai High School. And the reason I didn’t want Ken in my class or Ken in my school in high school was because when I was vice principal at Waialua and he was a seventh-grader, anytime there was a problem in school they would point fingers at Ken as if to say he was the one that told Daddy that maybe the kids were smoking in the lavatories or fooling around here and there. So he couldn’t be a normal student. So anyway, I sent him to Molokai High.

When I got assigned to Lanai, Karen and Ken, I sent them to MPI because I didn’t want them to be in the high school. My two elementary ones, they were okay [at Lanai Elementary School].

When I got to Aiea, I told Karen and Ken, “Aiea High School is over here, Radford [High School] is over here and Waipahu [High School] is over here, what school do you want to go to?” You know what Ken told me? He said, “Seventh grade I’m in Waialua, eighth grade I’m in Molokai, ninth grade I’m in MPI and now my tenth grade I got to go to Radford or to Waipahu.”

Toshiyuki Nakasone Family. 1968.
Toshiyuki Nakasone Family. 1968.

You know, like GI kids that come they got to go all over the place and the business of adjusting and meeting new friends. You got to do that all over again.

So I said, “Okay, you guys can stay at MPI.” So he finished up at MPI. Interesting, traveling around.

My wife taught. My wife couldn’t teach for a few years. Those years the Department of Education had a policy that when you have a child you’ve got to stay away from school for two years. So she didn’t teach until about 1957 or ’58 in Waialua.

Then when she went to Molokai, she taught a kindergarten class. When we went to Lanai she taught a kindergarten class and when she came to Aiea she taught the first or second grade at Alvah Scott [Elementary] School. So there was no problem as far as teaching [jobs] was concerned.

Toshiyuki Nakasone Family. 1977.
Toshiyuki Nakasone Family. 1977.

Brother Nobuyuki

Nobu got his notice to go to Harvard. He finished up his military service after he became a doctor. That’s when he became a lieutenant or captain, I think, in the air force.

Nobu opened his practice in the Medical Arts Building on South King Street and one of my sisters served as one of his receptionists in the office. He was so interested in the welfare of his patients that he spent hours asking questions, examining, and his waiting room was always full of patients waiting to come in.

What he used to do was, he used to come in in the morning. He left his house around 9:00 [A.M.] and he visited his patients at Kuakini Hospital. Then about 10:30, he comes to the office and then had a whole slew of patients waiting for him, he would give them a thorough exam and so forth. And then, about 6:30, he would leave to go to Queen’s [Medical Center] to visit his patients there and then go home. So he was spending about twelve hours with them.

Years later, when he began to show signs of slowing down, too, I said, “You know, Nobu, you take care of all of your patients. You tell them do this, do that. When the hell are you gonna take care of yourself?” Because he was showing signs of physically deteriorating and not being as active as he was.

In the meantime, he was [producing] research material. And I don’t know if you know about the book that he wrote but he did write a book. Before he retired, many of my retirees, members of the HGEA [Hawaii Government Employees Association] said, “Toshi, tell your brother not to retire. Who we going to go to?”

So I told ’em, “Look, he’s been attending to you people for almost forty-plus years and until then, he’s finally thinking about retiring and taking things a little bit easier, and you telling him to continue to work. I cannot do that because he worked for so long, and he needs the time to himself and to rest.”

When he celebrated his eightieth birthday, we had a big dinner at Oahu Country Club. Everybody stood up to thank him for all the work that he did to help us maintain our health. And he was the one that really pushed for longevity, term of life but the way he said it was that, “You’ve got to, number one, take your vitamin C regularly. Take your PABA [para-aminobenzoic acid] regularly. Exercise properly and have time to rest, too.”

“You tell us all these things, but you, yourself didn’t do that.” That was when he was eighty. “From now on that’s what you’re supposed to be doing, too. Take care of your health.”

He was such a dedicated, compassionate doctor that took care of all his patients. So, we are deeply regretful that he passed away.

Toshiyuki Nakasone's interview courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photographs courtesy of Toshiyuki Nakasone.

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