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-01-0032

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LH: What was your plan when you got released from prison?

FY: Well, there was a person I met there who was at one time a very prominent Japanese. He's a Nisei, but he was evacuated because he happened to be president of a West Coast, a big corporation. We got to be good friends. I learned a lot from him during the yard period. Like I say, I did, I enjoy sports. I played a lot in high school, but we used to walk together and he'd tell me about lots of things. And it was interesting because it was a totally different area, about corporation, all the import/export and all that. And he kind of got fond of me and so he had in mind to have me... he's saying that oh, this situation with America and Japan would all go away, so they know something ahead. So he wanted to me to get some bookkeeping experience. And so, I mean, since I did study economics and I was working in a bookkeeping office then he wanted me to go to some other place and he wanted to meet some Japanese businessmen that were coming. I don't know if you're familiar with working for a Japanese company, you know, you're very subservient. The earliest one to go there, and the last one to leave, clean the place. If they have dinner, you (...) have a date, but you have to forget that and go have dinner to meet somebody. At the same time, I don't think my personality fit this atmosphere. And there was lots and lots of promises at that time. So, but, so I quit and they came over and talked to my parents that I'm making terrible mistake and then when I told my mother I wanted to be, "What are you going to do?" I saidm, well, I wanted to be an artist. "Artist?" she says, "My God, you're going to end up having long hair, and you won't be able to make a living." She was right about the long hair. [Laughs] So I worked as a houseboy on Queen Anne. Did dishwashing again, worked in drug stores and doing this and that while going to school.

LH: And this was art school?

FY: Art school. Yeah, I was interested in fine arts at first. And I realized that I couldn't make a living at it. [Laughs] They were right. So I went into commercial art.

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.