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-01-0042

<Begin Segment 42>

TI: Now, coming back to Spokane, how was it different for you, or was it different? I mean what was it like coming back to Spokane?

FS: Geez...

TI: Well, maybe the question is, how were you changed? Maybe Spokane didn't change, but how were you changed?

FS: Well, you know, I can't say that I had any sense of purpose. More than anything else, there was this, this sense of relief, Jesus, man, you've made it. I didn't, I don't recall that I particularly wanted to do anything or go anywhere or anything, I just, I just wanted to hunker down somewhere, I think. That was pretty much the way I felt. But once you're in, in your family, there are always these obligations. You have to socialize, you try to look up friends who got back ahead of you. And I... I wasn't much of a drinking man, so I didn't get involved in that particularly.

TI: How did people in Spokane treat you? Was there any incidences as a Japanese American, that, any sort of prejudice or anything that you noticed?

FS: Well, I, I recall that I was, we were out somewhere, I think, I think... God, I don't know. Yeah, I was, we were, we were -- oh, I know. We were on a double date with somebody, I was on a double date with somebody, and we went skating. I was confronted by a guy who said, "You dirty so-and-so, you tied me up and beat on me," obviously claiming he was a, was a Pacific war veteran or something. And I don't know whether it was true, but he was drunk. And so I, they just pulled me off and went away, but I, I remember that as the guy, the guy was anti-Japanese, or anti-Asian or something.

TI: And they said they pulled you off because you, you went after him?

FS: Well, yeah, we were, were gonna hassle, you know. But at that...

TI: Now, I'm curious. If that happened before the war, would you have gone after him in the same way?

FS: No, I'd probably back down. But in reality, I think I backed down anyway. [Laughs] I didn't need any more hassles. Two years of hassles in the army was enough.

TI: Now, how, how familiar were people in Spokane, sort of the Caucasians, about the 442? Did anyone know anything about that?

FS: I don't think so, although my, my mother made a point of, in the window she put those stars for us, that two of her sons were in the army. And I'm sure, as I say, in the newspaper article they were aware that I was, had been in the army, or was in the army at the time. But other than... again, my sister says there was an occasional newsreel story about us, and so they were aware that the Japanese Americans were fighting in Europe. But the story of the 442nd took a long time to come together, and it was not until the '50s and '60s that people really knew that there was such a unit, and that it, it fought with distinction in Europe. People, lot of people know about it now.

<End Segment 42> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.