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-01-0031

<Begin Segment 31>

LH: Did you have any notions about how you would be treated when you were released? When you got back to your hometown?

FY: Yeah, I thought about it a lot. I used to hear... I'd get letters about my friends that got killed. Good friends, you know. Of course, my feeling was they should have done what I did. But they did what they had to do. And so, I came out and I just figured I got to pick up from there. And I was kept busy because the tragedy of this evacuation is not really when you're in there. It's when you're taken away from home, put in there, and then when you're thrown out. Well, my parents are old now. Where do they go to? No business. Start from nothing. They got no place to stay.

LH: So at the time you were in prison, they in the meantime were let out of Minidoka?

FY: Yes, they were let out but then it wasn't that long and they had a small flat, you know, that some friends by word of mouth, each one would find places for one another. Very small room and, but you know, again, gaman, and you start from there. And at the same time, other Japanese were in the same, similar situation. They were all having to start from scratch. And I know my dad, he went back to this factory where he was a foreman for years and years, and now this little boy that he trained, the boss' son is grown and he was the one managing it. And I remember one day when he came home, his face was just like a sheet, white as a sheet. The boss, apparently, things had changed during the wartime and they have a different manager and a different way of operation and I guess the boss said, "Yama, you stay home." He built the business for the company, you might say. And so when he was told to stay home, it just really killed him, you might say. And it's like a big fish in a small pond. He had certain respect being the, because a lot of these machine power workers were hired by him. They wanted Japanese employees, so then he worked, went to one of the semi-relative or close friend who had a restaurant and he went over there to wash dishes. I saw him. He died. He was hurt, his pride and everything else. So the pain of after the war is, I think, much more severe.

LH: What happened to your mother after that?

FY: My mother was taking care of George, because he was still a child.

LH: How old would, would he have been?

FY: At that time I think he was seven or eight maybe.

LH: Very young.

FY: Yeah. Maybe seven. Someplace in that area. And he came home one time and he said they still had the remnant of some of those wartime movies where "Japs"... and he was shocked. Yeah... war's no good.

LH: So you returned from McNeil and your dad was in the middle of switching jobs.

FY: No, he was just getting started. He was going for two or three days or a week at a time to work for places and he just felt like he just started work again.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.