Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Masao Watanabe Interview
Narrator: Masao Watanabe
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 19, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-wmasao-01-0027

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TI: And what was the impact when, when people that you knew or grew up with were killed in action? An example, we talked a little bit about Bako Kinoshita and John Kawaguchi, who actually went to the 100th. But then they were, early on, killed in action. What impact did that have on you and the other Seattle boys who were there?

MW: Well, it, when... well, see John was killed with the 442. Bako was killed with the 100th. But I think it really... well, reality set in on, you know, when somebody you knew quite well all your life, you start losing them. And things get a lot more serious and grimmer on that type of realization. 'Cause, gee, they were real good friends. You played ball with them. You go to school with them. I think it was very difficult. I don't know. I think, like a odd way to say it is, we were more determined to get together in between battles.

TI: When you say "get together," the Seattle...?

MW: Yeah, the Seattle group or the Northwest group. We went to extra pains to get together.

TI: And I want to try to understand why you felt an extra special reason to get together. Was that to support each other?

MW: I think so. I think it was support, and, I don't know. It's more reminiscent of family and things when you do get together with friends who know your brothers or sisters or something. And the few letters that we got, we would exchange what happened to who. I think that's kind of a closeness that's very hard to describe intelligently.

TI: When you did get together after, say one of the Seattle boys were killed, generally what -- did you guys talk about that or how did you deal with that?

MW: I don't think we spent too much time talking about it or worrying about it. We just instinctively knew that, hey, life is pretty -- pretty screwed up. If you get it, you get it. But then from my perspective, it was just a matter of making the best use of the time that you did have together.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.