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-01-0033

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LH: When you returned to, when you returned to Seattle, did you... how was your reception amongst the community?

FY: Well, I think I mentioned earlier, I had this, just one terrible encounter. I had no problem after that. Friends I knew, I met. I saw John, too, and we got along. Others, you know, friends I knew.

LH: Would you say that there --

FY: At the same time again, again, I'm very busy. I'm working here and going to school. So I don't, I'm not with the community you might say. I didn't belong to any group, and at the art school, I met more Caucasian who were very interesting people and so you get into a totally different area. There was a, lots and lots of social issues after the war that was very important that we become conscious of. You know, we hear about, we speak in terms of the minorities and racial discrimination, but you know there are discrimination. And women are discriminated. People with AIDS are discriminated. There were so many areas of discrimination that, you know, we should be conscious of all these. And if we believe in a healthy country, the more conscious we are and the more active we are in this, the healthier the country would be.

SF: To take you back, what was the one instance that you bumped into with the community after the war? What was that? Was that one time you had a problem when you came back? What was that, can you describe that?

FY: Yeah, it was in the International District and it was a bunch and it was late at night and they saw me and it was after the war. There was a tremendous amount of, tremendous amount of frustration for everybody. Not only we, the Nisei, the vets that came back. There was a terrible frustration that existed and I was drunk. They were drunk, everybody was drinking at late hours. So it was that type of encounter and there was no... I didn't get struck or anything. But it was intimidation, name-calling and things like that.

LH: And amongst these...

FY: And the fellow that instigated it, was, got way in the back.

LH: Amongst this group that was intimidating you, were some people that perhaps used to be --

FY: They were a vets group.

LH: -- used to be some of your friends?

FY: Just one of them.

LH: One of them.

FY: The others, I know. Among the Japanese community, one time or another you see one person or another. You may not socially, have any social intercourse, but you... so I'd seen half of 'em before.

SF: So did you feel that this would always be an issue with some people about what you did that somehow made you more careful or sensitive or reserved or anything like that?

FY: Well, I felt that we have to respect others as well as they should respect our views. Certainly they'd gone through a traumatic moment in their life and a lot of my good friends were killed. Kids I grew up with. I don't think... beating the drum for me was over before we were even, I was even put into the jail. My idea is that I assumed that the entire camp would muster together and say, "To hell with it. This is wrong." Well, when it didn't happen, that was it. The chapter ended. And after the war I was involved more with the other unjust act or things that was prevalent. So my activity with the community was very, very limited until later on I was involved at the Buddhist Temple and other things of that sort.

<End Segment 33> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.