Paul Bannai Interview I Segment 1

Grandfather's and parents' immigration to U.S. (ddr-densho-1000-128-1) - 00:09:55
Father's early jobs in U.S., coal mining and farming (ddr-densho-1000-128-2) - 00:04:39
Growing up in a small coal mining town, being the first in the family to attend school (ddr-densho-1000-128-3) - 00:06:15
(ddr-densho-1000-128-4) - 00:02:17
Memories of working on melon farm in Glendale, Arizona (ddr-densho-1000-128-5) - 00:03:34
Living in an ethnically diverse community in the Boyle Heights area of California (ddr-densho-1000-128-6) - 00:09:32
Communicating with and learning values from Issei parents (ddr-densho-1000-128-7) - 00:06:15
Learning values from parents through "inspiration" (ddr-densho-1000-128-8) - 00:04:41
Participating in social groups and leadership activities while attending public school (ddr-densho-1000-128-9) - 00:05:12
Working weekends and summers in agricultural labor camps while still in school; active in athletics, student government (ddr-densho-1000-128-10) - 00:05:27
Becoming involved in Japanese American community activities, Japanese American Citizens League, Nisei Week (ddr-densho-1000-128-11) - 00:07:18
Facing and overcoming employment discrimination in the late 1930s (ddr-densho-1000-128-12) - 00:04:11
Forming a multi-ethnic dance band (ddr-densho-1000-128-13) - 00:04:05
Impact of bombing of Pearl Harbor: being denied weapon as National Guardsman (ddr-densho-1000-128-14) - 00:05:22
Reporting to draft board, changed from 1-A to 4-C, "enemy alien" status (ddr-densho-1000-128-15) - 00:06:02
Assisting other persons of Japanese ancestry in preparation for removal to concentration camps (ddr-densho-1000-128-16) - 00:05:49
Reflecting on role of Japanese American Citizens League during mass removal, personal decision to comply with the exclusion orders (ddr-densho-1000-128-17) - 00:08:06
Making the best of life in Manzanar concentration camp, California (ddr-densho-1000-128-18) - 00:03:42
Impact of camp on Issei generation (ddr-densho-1000-128-19) - 00:02:27
Being paid to work in camp, outside friends not allowed to visit (ddr-densho-1000-128-20) - 00:04:35
Photography not permitted in camp without War Relocation Authority (WRA) permission (ddr-densho-1000-128-21) - 00:02:54
Leaving camp to work as a farm laborer in Idaho, harvesting potatoes (ddr-densho-1000-128-22) - 00:03:41
Moving to Des Moines, Iowa to attend college, volunteering to join the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (ddr-densho-1000-128-23) - 00:07:53
(ddr-densho-1000-128-24) - 00:04:34
Basic training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi; relations between Hawaiian and mainland Japanese Americans (ddr-densho-1000-128-25) - 00:06:24
Attending Military Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS), Camp Savage, Minnesota, studying hard to catch up on Japanese language skills (ddr-densho-1000-128-26) - 00:05:24
Description of Military Intelligence Service Language School (ddr-densho-1000-128-27) - 00:06:52
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ddr-densho-1000-128-1 (Legacy UID: denshovh-bpaul-01-0001)

Grandfather's and parents' immigration to U.S.

00:09:55 — Segment 1 of 27

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December 28, 2000

Densho Visual History Collection


Courtesy of Densho


Paul Bannai

Paul Bannai Interview I

02:27:06 — 27 segments

December 28, 2000

Seattle, Washington

Nisei male. Born July 4, 1920 in Delta, Colorado. Grew up in small mining and farming towns in Colorado, Utah and Arizona, until his family moved to Boyle Heights in the Los Angeles, California area. After graduating from high school, he tested discrimination and employment practices and eventually succeeded in obtaining a job at a bank. During World War II, his family was held in Manzanar concentration camp, California. Mr. Bannai joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and was later transferred to the U.S. Military Intelligence Service. He served in New Guinea and elsewhere overseas, was an interpreter for the Allied Translator and Interpreter Service (ATIS), and interpreted at the surrender of Japanese forces at ceremonies in Indonesia. Married and eventually resettled in Gardena, California, where he worked in the floral industry before founding the Bannai Realty and Insurance Company. An extremely active community and civic volunteer, Mr. Bannai joined the Elks Club as well as many veterans' and other organizations. He was elected to the Gardena city council in 1972, and in 1973 was elected to the California State Legislature. In 1980, Mr. Bannai became the executive director of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC). In 1981, he was appointed chief director of the Memorial Affairs Department of the Veterans Administration by President Ronald Reagan.

Alice Ito, interviewer; Dana Hoshide, videographer


Courtesy of Densho