Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Robert Mizukami Interview
Narrator: Robert Mizukami
Interviewer: Ronald Magden
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: April 11, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-mrobert-01-0013

<Begin Segment 13>

REM: You went through the campaign in Italy and France?

RTM: Yes.

REM: All the way.

RTM: All the way, yeah.

REM: Untouched.

RTM: Well, I got my Purple Heart in France. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, I guess. Something like that.

REM: Uh-huh. What was, the spirit of the 442nd, were they of like mind? Did they all want to prove that they were good American citizens? Was this a fundamental idea?

RTM: Well, I think most of us are, were Niseis, naturally, so that we had our heritage from our parents and so on, that we would ganbaru and do the best we can with the situation. And so there was a real strong attitude of doing the best we can. When we left home, 'course, the advice that we'd get from our parents is, "Don't shame the parents or don't shame the nationality," and so on. So, I mean, that's pretty much ingrained in most of the Niseis, I'm sure.

REM: You had a brother, Frank, who came and joined you, didn't he? Or joined the 442nd?

RTM: Yes.

REM: Tell us a little bit about his...?

RTM: Well, he was the youngest in the family, and actually, he was too young to go overseas at the beginning. So he was kept over here in the States 'til he became old enough to go overseas. I don't know what the cut-off age was, nineteen or twenty or whatever. Anyhow, he was sent overseas just about time the war ended in Europe. And so he kind of went for the ride to Europe, and did the occupation force work. And I think he was in the Third, Third Battalion. I'm not too sure whether it was L Company or M Company or something like that. So there was three of us from our family in the 442nd at the same time, actually. I don't know how many families had that, but we were one of the few who had a multiple number of people serving in the service at the same time.

REM: Where were you on VE Day in August -- or no, it was in April, wasn't it, 1945? Do you remember when the war ended, your feelings when the war ended? The, when you didn't have to fight anymore, you were in France, probably.

RTM: No. I think we were probably back in Italy...

REM: Oh. Back in...

RTM: ...see, we went to France, and then we did our thing, and then came back to Italy again and ended the war up in Italy. So we were probably up in the Po Valley at that time. I don't recall where we were, actually.

REM: And who brought the news that the war was over, do you know? How did you learn that the Germans had surrendered, or was there just a...?

RTM: Just by word of mouth, I think.

REM: Word of mouth.

RTM: Yeah. I'm not too sure if there was any official announcement made or anything. But word does trickle down finally. [Laughs]

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2000 Densho. All Rights Reserved.