Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Fred Shiosaki Interview
Narrator: Fred Shiosaki
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Spokane, Washington
Date: April 26 & 27, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-sfred-01-0010

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TI: When you were in high school, the war broke out, and I wanted to ask you, on Sunday, December 7, 1941, how did you hear about the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

FS: Well, I just heard it on the radio. It was just, it was, it was big news, and as I recall, we had, there were probably two or three radio stations in Spokane, and I had the radio on and Sunday morning, it was the one day that Dad and Mom didn't work in the, in the laundry. So as I recall, on some Sundays my dad would make breakfast and I don't know, but we were listening to the radio and this story comes on about Pearl Harbor. The time, I have trouble with the timeline, but it happened early in the morning in Hawaii, and it was, I think it was close to breakfast time in Spokane. And we heard this story about the "Japs" this and the "Japs" that, and so that, that was the thing, and of course we told our mother, told my dad and mother about it, and of course, they, they were in disbelief. But it became apparent as the day wore on that this was happening.

TI: Now, was there any discussion, 'cause at this point, your oldest brother George was in Japan.

FS: Yes.

TI: Was there concern about him or discussions about what might happen to him?

FS: Not at that point. I don't, I don't recall that my mother said anything at the time, although I think that was one of those things that gradually the realization is that, hey, he's in trouble, he's in Japan. But I don't, I don't recall that there was a discussion about, about George.

TI: And so the, the day went on, did you go out at all, or did you stay inside?

FS: We stayed inside.

TI: Now, how were you feeling during this period?

FS: Well, I guess I was scared. I just, now, what the heck is going on? I'm, you know, I guess in a family like that, you identify yourself with Japan, I'm Japanese. You realize, of course, you were born in that country, but Mom and Pop were Japanese, and so I guess that made us Japanese. And that, that really, I felt, I guess, I think I felt vulnerable. I didn't know what was going to happen.

TI: So you didn't see any of your friends that day?

FS: No, I stayed home, we stayed inside.

TI: So let's talk about the next day. So the next day was school for you. Did you go to school?

FS: No, I stayed home.

TI: And again, was that your choice, or did your parents tell you to stay home?

FS: Well, I think... I, it was my choice. I just didn't go to school the next day. I don't know why I didn't go, but I just didn't go, I didn't feel... I don't think I felt guilty, I just was, I was really uncomfortable.

TI: And your siblings, did they, did they go to school, or did they also stay home?

FS: Well, let's see. My brother, well, George was gone, Roy was gone, and...

TI: Like Floyd, did he...

FS: Floyd, Floyd was a freshman in high school. I think we both stayed home, yeah, we did.

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