Karleen C. Chinen

To read Isonaga’s story in its entirety, visit the Hawai‘i Memory Project website: nisei.hawaii.edu/page/chito

I graduated from [Kaua‘i] high school in August [1933], I remember going to Japan. I really didn’t want to go [to Japan with my mother and sister], but that was more or less planned. Mom looked forward to it, so I just went along. 

[I knew I would remain behind in Hiroshima.] For just a couple of years, I thought. I knew I had to go and so I accepted it. I thought it was okay that I stay there just for a couple of years, but I didn’t realize I was going to stay there for six years.

I think my parents wanted me to go there and learn the language because [my mother] was afraid that she couldn’t communicate with my other brothers and sisters. She wanted me to learn the language so I can interpret their thoughts and things to the children. But, really, that wasn’t really necessary because I never remembered doing that after I came home. . . .

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