Norman Kikuta
Military Intelligence Service

Life After the War

Norman visits the U.S. Army Commissary on Richards Street and decides to return to work there.

Two weeks after his discharge he meets Natsuko, a school cafeteria manager, also from Maui. They marry in June 1947. The couple has two sons, William and Robert.

Norman transfers to Fort Shafter for a management position and retires in 1980 with thirty-five years of service.

He continues to work as a driver courier for his son’s dental laboratory business.

Richards Street Commissary

Of course my family is back on Maui. I didn’t go back home. I stayed with my sister who lived in the Date Street area.

I dropped in on the [Richards Street] commissary, where I worked prior to entering the army, to say hello to the boys. Then the supervisor said, “Hey, don’t you want to come back and work again?” So I started working right there. There wasn’t too much of a [vacation]. I started working as soon as I came back.

Airflow Express

After about a year working at the commissary I was asked by Angel Maehara of Airflow Express to come work for him as an office manager. Since the pay was $300 a month instead of $275 that I was receiving at the commissary, I went over.

But I found out that private business is not that easy and cut-and-dried. Airflow Express at that time was more or less a [cargo]-hauling business. After about ten months of that I decided to go back to the commissary, which was a [federal] civil service job.

[I went back] in about October of ’47. In the meantime I had already married. So I needed an assured income.

Marriage to Natsuko

[I was married on] June 21, 1947.

Norman and Natsuko Kikuta. Wedding Photo
Norman and Natsuko Kikuta. Wedding Photo

[Natsuko] was the first girl I dated after getting out of the service. She was working as a cafeteria manager at Kailua School and her roommate in the cottage was my cousin Tadashi Sato’s future wife.

I have a cousin who was married to a Methodist minister and his parish was in Kahaluu on the Windward side. So on about January 26, two weeks after I got discharged, I was invited to dinner and that also included Tadashi Sato. The Reverend Terauchi picked up my wife and also Tadashi Sato’s wife and we went to Kahaluu for dinner. That’s how I met her.

After that, she’d come to town to visit her sister so I used to get together with her and go to Waikiki Theatre, places like that.

[Natsuko] is a Maui girl, coming from the heights of Haleakala. She comes out of Waikoa [Kula] area.

Fort Shafter

From then on I moved to Fort Shafter in a management position [in 1949]. The army is a good place for those wanting to learn management practices and they have huge or extensive management programs. This was in the manpower management field. You have budget analysts and supply analysts. Now we got manpower management analysts and that’s the field that I got into. I served in that field until I retired in March of 1980.

I was fifty-eight years old then, but I had enough years of [federal] service (thirty-five years) just at that time my son was expanding his dental laboratory business and he wanted me to help him [in his business]. I don’t do any inside lab work but I do the outside — work as a driver courier. You deliver things, pick up things, go to the post office, et cetera. That’s what I’ve been doing for twenty-six years. I still do it.

Family

I have two [children]. William, he was born in ’48, so that makes him fifty-eight. The second one, Robert, was born in 1950, so fifty-six.

Kikuta Family. Father’s Day at Plumeria Room, Kahala Mandarin Hotel
Kikuta Family. Father’s Day at Plumeria Room, Kahala Mandarin Hotel

And I have two grandchildren, the children of William. Paul, who’s twenty-six and Scott, who’s twenty-four. They’re both out of college. Paul went to Oregon State [University] and Scott went to the Ringling Brothers School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. So he’s now working in computer animation. He’s working for a company in Seattle in that field. The older one is working for the local board of water supply in information technology. He also took up computer work.

Norman Kikuta's interview courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photographs courtesy of Norman Kikuta.

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