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Change in attitudes after World War II

Personally -- but of course, we live in a society, and I think the societal change was enormous. The war really turned things around. The aftermath of the war brought about great changes in attitudes and, of course, technology and everything. The jet plane comes in. And all these things have a tremendous impact on our lives. But in terms of attitudes, I think, as we like to say, the 100th, the 442nd, the glorious way in which they performed, helped all of us in getting accepted as loyal Americans, as we should have been in the greater society.

So, as I said, statehood for Hawaii was great for Hawaii, but here again, the greater impact was on the whole United States, that we were no longer a foreign country. Because even when I went to, after the war, go to school in Minnesota, in some of the rural areas, they had never seen an Asian, for example. They always look upon me as a foreigner. Even at the University of Minnesota I finally, when I tried to find housing, they finally said, Why don't you go to a foreign students' housing area? They may have nicer apartments. [Laughs] So I qualified as a foreign student, but here I was on the GI Bill and everything else.

But, so I think personally, it eased our way into the greater society. We were more accepting. It's a great societal change. As I said, statehood meant a lot to us in Hawaii, and maybe helped our psyche and attitudes, but I think the greater impact was on the rest of the world, especially in the rest of the states. Oh, Hawaii is not a foreign country. You don't need foreign currency when you go there. [Laughs] Some people thought it was still true.

100th Infantry Battalion 442nd Regimental Combat Team discrimination Hawaii interpersonal relations racism United States United States Army World War II

Date: March 19, 2004

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Mitchell Maki

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum.

Interviewee Bio

Dr. Richard Hiromichi Kosaki (born September 14, 1924) was raised, educated, and has lived most of his life in Honolulu, Hawai`i. During World War II he served in the Military Intelligence Service, first as an instructor, then for several years in Japan as an interpreter during the Occupation. He graduated from the University of Hawai`i in 1948, then received his Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

Returning to the University of Hawai`i to teach political science, he embarked on a distinguished career there that included positions as Vice President for Community Colleges, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Chancellor of the West Oahu College, Acting Chancellor for the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa, and President of Tokai International University in Honolulu. Along the way, he helped found the East-West Center, and was the architect of the University of Hawai`i’s community college system. His favorite maxim is the cornerstone of his educational philosophy: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Dr. Kosaki is married to Mildred (Doi) Kosaki. Their son Randall was born in 1962. (March 19, 2004)


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