Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Yamasaki Interview I
Narrator: Frank Yamasaki
Interviewers: Lori Hoshino (primary), Stephen Fugita
Location: Lake Forest Park, Washington
Date: August 18, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-yfrank-01-0015

<Begin Segment 15>

FY: During that period was there an experience I had that was very revealing to me. In that, one day a messenger came and said that there was someone who wanted to see me, not a Japanese, someone from the outside. And so I was curious, and I'm thinking gee, could it be Norm Peterson, could it be Tony, could it be...? So I go, and here it is, my teacher. And I thought, God, my relationship with that teacher wasn't that...

LH: Where was this teacher from?

FY: From Queen Anne High School. And I, we shook hand and kind of walked. And he is still quiet, and he says, "Is there someplace we can sit and talk?" And I said, "Yeah." And I'd been up on the grandstand then with some date, girls before, there's, on the fairground, the grandstand still exists. So we went up there, and all of a sudden I just feel that the atmosphere has changed. All of the sudden I had a perspective view of the whole camp area and I never dreamed the rows of barrack that was there. It was a kind of shocking view. Because in the other area there's no, we're all ground level, and all of a sudden you get up in this grandstand and you look and you see all the rows and rows of barracks. They were built in this area where they would have the horse racing and all that. And this guy, the teacher said, he was telling me about his experience during World War I. And he's German and his father was interned. And so he went through a similar experience, and he said that it was a dirty rotten shame that this kind of thing had happened. And for the first time I really felt the impact of what was going on. It made quite an impression on me. Just prior to then I was a happy-go-lucky, carefree teenager.

LH: So this man had made a special trip just to see you.

FY: Yes. He had heard it, too. For years he carried that pain, and so maybe that's what he had to tell me, too. It was true. It was bad.

LH: So you felt that perhaps others outside of the camp felt some sympathy for your situation, is that...

FY: I didn't, no, I never gave it that kind of a thought. It's just that... yes, there was a whole chapter, different chapter in my life at that time. Seeing this whole thing in a totally different perspective. I was still ignorant, of course. I didn't know anything about what the Constitution said or...

LH: You're doing well.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.