Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mas Akiyama Interview
Narrator: Mas Akiyama
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Spokane, Washington
Date: March 15, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-amas-01-0010

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TI: So it was when you were at the farm that, about that time, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.

MA: Yes, uh-huh.

TI: Can you tell me what, what you thought about that when you heard?

MA: Well, I was quite disappointed that Japan would start a war with a big country like this. And I didn't like it at all, I decided to enlist. My brother was already in the army, he was already at Fort Lewis. So I decided, well, maybe I should join with Spady, Spady Koyama, and there was this Roy Funakoshi. And somehow, the newspaper got the wind of that -- I don't know how they learned it -- and they came and interviewed us and took pictures of us three. And it appeared in the Spokesman Review sometime in the middle of December.

TI: And so what was the reaction of the Japanese community when they saw your picture and Spady and Roy's picture?

MA: Oh, they had no objections. They thought we were, we were heroes. [Laughs] Volunteering.

TI: So what did the Issei call you, the three of you? What did the Issei, when they called you heroes, what did the Issei call you?

MA: Oh, Isseis called us sanyuushi, "three heroes." [Laughs]

TI: So do you think the Isseis were proud that you did this? Even though they were gonna fight, you were gonna fight, possibly against Japan, they were still proud that you did this?

MA: Yeah, they were proud of us. I don't know, I haven't heard any objections.

TI: Like Mr. Hirata, do you recall him saying anything to you about, about what you should do?

MA: No. He, he had left for Japan in 1940, and he wasn't able, he didn't come back until after the war.

TI: Okay, so, so you went down to the office to enlist, and then what happened? So the three of you went down there...

MA: Well, they sent us to Fort Lewis, all three of us. Yeah, they had no objections here. At Fort Lewis they were a little skeptical of us but two, two of my friends, they went on in the army, but I was rejected because I had a spot in my lung at that time.

TI: And so, and so you came back to Spokane?

MA: Yeah, I came back to Spokane.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.