Moriso Teraoka
100th Infantry Battalion

Reflections and Observations

“I believe my legacy is similar to most of the Nisei.

My actions, my decisions, and how I arrived at those decisions are but the reflections of what I inherited from my parents’ integrity, honesty, valor, perseverance, honor, and to love the earth that gave us life.

These intangible values are the legacies that my parents had willed me.”

[The following text is excerpted from "My Legacy: The Inheritance of a Will" by Moriso Teraoka.]

Legacy from My Parents

I believe my legacy is similar to most of the Nisei. My actions, my decisions, and how I arrived at those decisions are but the reflections of what I inherited from my parents’ integrity, honesty, valor, perseverance, honor, and to love the earth that gave us life. These intangible values are the legacies that my parents had willed me.

Shikazo Teraoka clan celebrating Miyo and Shikazo Teraoka’s 50th wedding anniversary at a hotel. Hilo, Hawaii. Mid-1960s.
Shikazo Teraoka clan celebrating Miyo and Shikazo Teraoka’s 50th wedding anniversary at a hotel. Hilo, Hawaii. Mid-1960s.

Legacy to My Children

Even after my wife passed away, I have continued to have dinner every Sunday evening with my family.

Moriso and Fumino Teraoka at their 50th anniversary celebration at the Natsunoya Tea House. Honolulu, Hawaii. June 2005.
Moriso and Fumino Teraoka at their 50th anniversary celebration at the Natsunoya Tea House. Honolulu, Hawaii. June 2005.

I am still the principal cook since my wife passed away. My culinary education plays an important role during these dinners and other family gatherings like a birthday dinner. I will do a turkey dinner including the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. I also love to do Chinese cooking. My stir-fried dishes, stuffed bitter melon, kau yuk with taro, and seaweed soup with fishcake and seequa are always popular with my family. My lilikoi chiffon pie is also popular with my friends. I learned to bake while a student at KCC.

My passion to provide new dishes for my family has led me to subscribe to a cooking magazine called Cuisine at Home. So far I’ve learned to cook peeled small rose potato, which the family just loves with braised short ribs, which I also learned from the magazine. I am always asking the chef instructors at Kapiolani Community College for recipes that I found to my liking after having them for lunch. Among my recent favorites are misoyaki salmon, Asian braised oxtail and Asian braised boneless short ribs.

"After I am gone my hope is that my sons and their families will continue this practice of eating together and that this will be part of their legacy."

Yet, I’ll be foolhardy to believe that my children will perpetuate this practice and other cultural practices in this forever changing society.

My oldest son Colin Mamoru and Stephanie have two sons. David Kei is the oldest and Jonathan Ken is the younger son. David is presently a student at Mililani High School and is in the ninth grade. David is academically doing well and was among a group of students who were awarded a Citation of Excellency by the President of the United States when he was in middle school.

Jonathan is presently a fifth grader and has been enrolled in the accelerated class ever since going to the elementary school in Mililani. I am proud of both of them for their present achievements.

My second son Bruce Mitsuo and Charlotte have a daughter, Marissa Leigh, and a younger son, Lee Isamu. Marissa is now a student at UH Manoa. Besides her formal schooling, Marissa loves to dance. She has been a dancing student of Rosalie Woodson Dancing Academy since her elementary school days and is an accomplished dancer of ballet, tap dancing, jazz, and performs as soloist for the school.

Lee is a student at the Lab School. I am proud of Lee. He is committed to his decisions and stands up to defend and protect his fellow classmate who sometimes is bullied.

Marissa and Lee are growing up to be well liked by their friends, respectful to their elders and parents and learning to make their own decisions.

I know that my sons Colin and Bruce are raising their children to be useful and productive citizens in this ever changing world where people are judged by their material possessions. Steven, my youngest son, is a licensed mechanical engineer and a bachelor.

I hope that I have provided a common adhesive to bond my family as a unit that will be remembered in generations to come.

"My Legacy: The Inheritance of a Will" was reprinted with the permission of Moriso Teraoka. Photographs courtesy of Moriso Teraoka.

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