Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Yosh Nakagawa Interview
Narrator: Yosh Nakagawa
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 7, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-nyosh-01-0001

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TI: Okay, so today is December 7, 2004, and we're in the studios of the Densho office. On camera is Dana Hoshide, and I'm the interviewer, Tom Ikeda. And today, this morning, we have Yosh Nakagawa. But before we get into the interview, Yosh, I mentioned today is December 7, 2004, and so obviously this day has significance. It's the day sixty-three years ago that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. And I know it's a day that many Japanese Americans sort of think about, and I just wanted to get your thoughts about this day and what it means to you.

YN: Thank you. Yes, it's a very significant day because December 7th, though I was a child, set the pattern of my understanding as a Japanese American from that point on. Just last week, I did something that I never would have thought of doing, but I walked from the Japanese Baptist Church, the pathway back to where our grocery store was, and continued on to Seattle University. And as I walked that path, I remembered clearly that it was the 7th of December, 1941, was Sunday, and it was also in the morning that the bombs fell. Never knew what that meant as a child, but as I walked (...) to celebrate a story of (the) remembrance (garden) at (...) Seattle University, I found a lot of significance of December 7th. From one that would never have appeared (or spoken) close to the date of 7th, wanting to be invisible through much of my early life, for the embarrassment of that of being a Japanese American, for the burdens of Pearl Harbor rested upon (my mind that led to) the internment of my people.

Today, December 7th, I'm speaking. It is a privilege to speak on the 7th of December, because I have come to the understanding that the 7th of December is a part of American history. It doesn't belong to the Japanese American. It's a part of a story from 1941, the 7th of December, to the end of Nineteen hundred and forty-five. And from that point on, the story of the internment for the Japanese American starts to collate to making sense of the awesomeness of America, and the fragileness of freedom. So therefore, instead of being invisible, ashamed, I speak on the 7th with the same remembrances of Pearl Harbor as an American.

TI: Good. That's a good way to start this interview.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.