Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Gene Akutsu Interview
Narrator: Gene Akutsu
Interviewers: Larry Hashima (primary), Stephen Fugita (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 25, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-agene-01-0003

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LH: So let's go ahead and move a little bit forward, to your time sort of right before the war, growing up. I'm sort of skipping ahead here a little bit. But, so when you're going to school, 1939, 1940, 1941, what did you, did you have any sense of the, what was maybe going on with Japan overseas at the time? Or did you have any...

GA: Well, young as I was, when you're young you really don't think too much of, about politics, of the news of the world. However, yes, I knew there was a war going on and but whether we're going to, "we" meaning the United States, would be involved in a war with Japan was beyond my means. I never even thought of that. But as the issue got hotter and hotter, you could see that, I could see that the newspaper, the news media, started to bring up a number of things... how Japan had invaded China and how they had taken over much of the Far East. And in 1941, when the actual bombing of Pearl Harbor occurred, it really was a surprise to me because at that time -- that was a Sunday on December 7th, and that morning the neighborhood kids and I were getting together to play basketball. And when the news broke that Japan had invaded Pearl Harbor, we all got excited. We all ran home to listen to the news, to hear and verify that, verification that the war was imminent there and that the thoughts that came to my mind is, "How about my school? How about my friends at school? How are they going to react to what had happened? Are they going to look at me as an enemy or what?" So... I don't know whether I veered away from your question or not, but...

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.