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Title: Tosh Yasutake Interview
Narrator: Tosh Yasutake
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: November 14, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-ytosh-01-0016

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TI: Well, as a unit, as you were being transported to Europe --

AI: Oh, excuse me Tom. Before leaving Camp Shelby, there was one aspect of Camp Shelby I wanted to ask you about, and that is, there it was, you were in Mississippi, the state of Mississippi, for the first time --

TY: Oh, yeah.

AI: -- and I wanted to ask what your observation was about that.

TY: That was interesting. Of course, I remember going into Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and getting on the bus. You know, and all the blacks were sitting in the back. I heard about that, but I'd never really experienced it myself. And being really, actually into that type of culture, and it really kind of struck me when I first got on the bus. I remember thinking, and I got on the bus and I started walking back and I noticed all the blacks were sitting in the back. And I thought, "Oh my god, I guess I'm down in the South, all right." And then separate bathrooms, black and white. Drinking fountains were different, separate. It really shook me -- that was very, that really shook me up, I think. It was, it just struck me, all of a sudden I thought, "Oh my god, I guess I am in the South," and it was sort of an uncomfortable feeling, really. I didn't quite know how to take it. I knew how to handle it, but emotionally I had a difficulty trying to cope with it. I really felt sorry for the guys that were sitting in the back but shikata ga nai, there's not much you can do. And I think the Hawaiian fellows had problems with that, too, when they -- there were a lot of fights, I think, in the beginning, when you go into town. Well, there was a lot of conflict physically with Niseis, mainland Niseis. In the beginning, I think things were pretty bad. But I think eventually things worked out. And I guess there's a story about when they finally -- when they... Daniel Inouye took a contingent of Hawaiians to one of the camps, the story goes that once they realized the situation that we were in when we volunteered from, well, they changed their thoughts about us. But, I don't know. To me it sounds like too much of like a good story; that things just changed all of a sudden. I don't think it changed that suddenly. But I think there was a gradual change and I think the big change came when we went overseas. I think the big change with them because we were all in the same environment and going through the same thing and that brought us a lot closer, I think.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.