Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: James "Turk" Suzuki Interview
Narrator: James "Turk" Suzuki
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: November 7, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-sjames_2-01

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: So today is Wednesday, November 7, 2007, we're at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. And we're here attending -- today's the second day -- of the 2007 Minidoka Reunion. And this morning I have Mr. Suzuki. Other people in the room, the videographer is, is Dana Hoshide, and then I'm the interviewer, Tom Ikeda. So, so let's start with the first question, can you tell me when you were born, the full name given to you?

JS: Oh, yes. I was born on October the 17th, 1923. And of course, my parents were immigrants from Japan.

TI: Before you go there, but what was, what was the name, the full name given to you?

JS: Oh, my name was Teruyuki. That's spelled T-E-R... Teru, Y-U --- U-Y-U-K-I.

TI: Okay.

JS: Suzuki.

TI: Okay, and then where were you born?

JS: Born in Seattle.

TI: And do you remember, was it at a hospital, or was it...

JS: No, in those days, we were born at home, basically, with a midwife's assistance.

TI: By any chance, do you know who the midwife was?

JS: Let's see. It may come to me, but the name escapes me at the moment.

TI: Okay, no, that's fine. So let's go to your parents, and let's start with your, your father.

JS: Yes.

TI: Why don't you tell me his name and where he came from.

JS: Well, his name was, first name was Teruharu Suzuki, of course, and he was born in a, what I recall as Tochigi-ken. I don't know the exact spelling of that, but... and my mother was born in Kochi-ken, so they were from two separate kens in Japan.

TI: Boy, see, I'm not familiar with these locations. Do you know whereabouts in Japan?

JS: Well, Tochigi-ken is north of Tokyo, and I don't believe it's very far north. But it's a country town, a village.

TI: Okay, good. And then Kochi-ken?

JS: Kochi-ken is in the south.

TI: And how far south? What would be a nearby city or...

JS: Let's see. I really don't know. We visited that several years ago, but I don't recall how far south it was. We did travel by train to get there.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: Okay. So going back to your, your father.

JS: Yes.

TI: His family in Japan, what kind of work or business did they do?

JS: Well, he came from a farming community and his parents were farmers.

TI: And then do you know why your father came to the United States?

JS: Yes, I do. Well, initially, my father was the youngest of, I believe, eight or nine children. And he was really spoiled by his siblings and, because he was the youngest. And when he was a young man, he was sent to Tokyo to go to the university, and he went to Waseda University, and he graduated there.

TI: So that, Waseda's one of the more prestigious.

JS: Well, I don't know that it's prestigious as such, but it's well-known.

TI: Okay, so he was -- and then his other siblings, were they also college-educated?

JS: No, although I've heard that there were, his, there was a doctor in his family, but I don't know if it was his brother or who. But I believe that he was the -- because he was the youngest, he was given the opportunity to go to college, university.

TI: Okay, so the youngest, kind of -- lots of extra privileges as being the youngest, went off, got a college degree at Waseda, and then what happened?

JS: Well, then he served in the, the navy, Japanese navy during the Russian-Japanese war.

TI: And do you know anything about that?

JS: No, very little about that, except that he was in the navy. And I don't even know whether he was an enlisted man or what.

TI: And then what happened?

JS: Well, shortly, he was still, of course, a single man at that time, and he became very ill with either typhoid fever or something of that nature, and he was almost given up for lost. He was, he lost a lot of weight, and they called his family to Tokyo because they thought that he would not survive. But he did survive, and I recall that he did have a, an experience. And later on I've read about it, and it's called the, an out-of-body experience, and it's a near-death syndrome. And, but the fact that he was so ill and was given up as a lost cause --

TI: Can, can you describe that out-of-body experience? What happened?

JS: Well, I don't exactly know, but what he related to us when we were children was that it was a very peaceful experience for him. And he had the classic experiences like going through a tunnel and seeing a bright light, being in a very green and lush meadow, but everything about that experience was very calm and not frightening to him at all. So, but that did change his life. He decided then, at that point, to go into the ministry, and so... and I don't know whether it was at Waseda or whatever, but he met my mother there because she was working with the American Presbyterian ministry over there. And that was his denomination as well, so he was, he was, his ambition was to become a minister.

TI: Before this experience, this out-of-body experience, was he a Christian before that, was he exposed to Christianity?

JS: I'm not sure, but I have the feeling that he probably was. He was exposed to Christianity.

TI: So, this is fascinating. So he then meets your, your mother.

JS: Yes.

TI: With the Presbyterian, sort of, group. And so, so keep going, this is fascinating.

JS: Oh, well, the, then they got married, of course, and my father being the youngest in his family was quite spoiled in terms of money and so forth. They had given him essentially a free reign while he was a student. And so when he got married, he wrote -- incidentally, by then he had lost his parents, his own parents -- so the oldest brother was the head of the family, so to speak. And so when he got married, he wrote to his oldest brother, who I'm guessing must have been at least fifteen years older than he was. And he requested some money to go on his honeymoon. [Laughs] And so the older brother asked, "Well, what sort of a honeymoon are you expecting?" He says, "Well, maybe a year or so." [Laughs] So you can see that he was quite spoiled, if you will.

TI: Well, was your father's family, were they wealthy?

JS: No, they weren't wealthy as such, but they were landowners. And so, and I don't know if they had other farmers, tenement farmers or what, but anyway, they had enough money apparently in this farming community. And my father, of course, when he got married, he had two children.

TI: Before you go there, I'm curious, did your father ever tell you the response from his oldest brother when, when he said he wanted to take a year honeymoon?

JS: [Laughs] Yeah, and so the brother wrote back and said, "Wouldn't six months do?" [Laughs]

TI: [Laughs] That's still pretty...

JS: Yeah. And so they did have an extended honeymoon, but I don't really know how long it was. But...

TI: Where would they, for a honeymoon during that era for six months, where would they go?

JS: Well, they would go wherever in Japan, to the resorts and so forth, the mountain resorts and so forth, Hakone or whatever. But I don't recall their ever saying where they actually went, but they did have an extended honeymoon, by certainly our standards.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: And do you know about what year your mother and father were born --

JS: Let's see.

TI: -- or not born, but were married?

JS: I don't. However, my sister was the firstborn, and she was, she is now eighty-nine years old. And so...

TI: So that would be... I'm doing the math really fast.

JS: Yeah.

TI: So about 1918 would be the year she was born, so probably a little bit before then?

JS: Yes, sometime before then, I'm sure.

TI: And so before we get to your, your siblings, tell me a little bit about your mother.

JS: My mother?

TI: And her, her family.

JS: Well, my mother was also a college graduate, although in Japan I believe it would be considered a, like a community college or a two-year college instead of a full four-year college. And she became involved with Christianity, with the American missionaries over there. And that's how my father and mother met, through the Presbyterian group.

TI: Now, do you know what your mother's family, what kind of work they did?

JS: I really don't, except that her name, maiden name was Matsui. And her first name is Toyoshi.

TI: Okay, so let's, so they're married now.

JS: Yes.

TI: And you said they had children.

JS: Yes, they had two daughters.

TI: And these are your sisters, so...

JS: Yes.

TI: The first one, can you give me the name of your...

JS: My oldest sister, who was five years older than I am, her name is Midori. And my father, he had a second girl, a daughter, and I can't... I believe the second girl, who died as an infant, was named Kimiye, but I'm not certain about that, 'cause I never knew her. Then he decided -- my father, that is -- decided to come to America to go to the university here, and he wanted to become a minister as I said earlier. So he left my mother and his two daughters in Japan, and he was attending the University of, I believe, of Idaho, which is rather strange, but that's my recollection. And, but his goal was to go to Princeton, and he never attained that, but I've heard him speak of Princeton University. Anyway, while he was here in the U.S. as a student, one of his daughters, the younger, second of his daughters passed away of some illness. Diptheria, typhoid fever or whatever it was, and so he returned to Japan and brought his wife -- my mother -- and my sister Midori to the U.S. And they came over in 1923 because that's the year that I was born in Seattle.

TI: Okay. It's interesting because, yeah, because of the Gentlemen's Agreement between U.S. and Japan, most men didn't immigrate to the United States after 1907 or '08, around there. But then your dad was different because he came over, it sounds like, as a student.

JS: Yes, he originally came over as a student.

TI: Not a laborer, so that probably is why he was able to come in.

JS: I'm not certain, yeah.

TI: Okay, interesting. So 1923 or the early '20s, so your mom and sister come, settle in Seattle, you're born.

JS: Yes.

TI: And so what, what kind of work did your dad and mom do?

JS: Let's see. My father attempted to operate hotels, but he was not a very good or successful businessman. In those days, of course, they couldn't own property, so most of the Issei men who operated hotels were leasing them, leasing the hotel and the, and the grounds, and then they paid monthly rent to the owner, and then they would operate the business. But my parents were never, my mother was more of a businessperson than my father, but he was never a roaring success.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: Well, tell me, let's talk a little bit about just who your parents were as individuals. And when you think of your dad, how would you describe him in terms of the type of person he was?

JS: Well, you know, my father, as far as we children were concerned, he was a very strict disciplinarian. Later, we were to find out that he was, he himself was rather happy-go-lucky. To us, he appeared totally different, because he wanted us to excel in school, and they wanted us, both our parents wanted us, all of our kids to go to the university. But I was a difficult child in terms of schooling goes, and I was a very poor student all through my school years. And of course, I went to school at Bailey Gatzert, and that was over ninety percent Niseis.

TI: And before we go there -- we'll get there -- but talk a little bit about your mother. What was she like?

JS: My mother, of course, was a very gentle mother, like all mothers are, and always hardworking and self-sacrificing for the kids. I'm not certain on what her goals were, but she was kind of adventuresome also, and she wanted to travel the U.S., but she never did. She was never able to until after evacuation. But she had a very difficult life, because there were six children, surviving children, that they raised.

TI: And I want to get to that, but I'm curious, you mentioned earlier your father attended the University of Idaho, and I was curious about language. Did he, how, did he speak English?

JS: Yes, he spoke English, but certainly with an accent, you know, Japanese accent. But he understood and wrote quite well, English, that is.

TI: Because that was pretty unusual for an Issei to be able to write...

JS: Well, I suppose.

TI: And so when you conversed with your parents, was it in English or Japanese?

JS: It was Japanese, especially, you know, preschool years, it was mostly Japanese. But because our folks ran a hotel, operated a hotel, they had to learn some English to be able to speak with the customers and so forth.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: Now, do you recall where the hotel was located?

JS: Well, the one that I recall, yes, I do. I'm, it was at Fifth Avenue and the corner of Fifth and Spring Street. The public library was on, between Spring and Madison on Fifth and, between Fifth and Fourth. That's the Seattle Public Library. And so we lived in this hotel across the street to the north, on Spring Street.

TI: So this is outside of your traditional Nihonmachi area.

JS: Yes, it was.

TI: You're, you're pretty much downtown.

JS: Yes.

TI: Were there other hotels being managed by Japanese in this area?

JS: Yes, there were, but not close by. But there were others.

TI: Do you remember the name of the hotel?

JS: Well, yes. It was called the Spring Lodge.

TI: And who was the clientele of the Spring Lodge?

JS: It was mostly, you know, Caucasians. I don't remember any Japanese staying there, but it was a transient, you know, one night, two nights or whatever, type of trade.

TI: And generally what, the people who would come through, what type of work were they, workers were they that would come through? Do you have a sense of that?

JS: Well, we were just kids then, so we didn't really care. But if I had to guess today, most of 'em were either the laboring class and so forth.

TI: And then any, sort of... so how old were you before they got out of the hotel business?

JS: Well, they continued to operate that through the Depression, and probably until about 1938 or so.

TI: Okay.

JS: '37, '38.

TI: Okay, so when you say your father wasn't that good of a businessman, I mean, through most of your childhood and up to your early teen years, you were running hotels, the family was running hotels.

JS: Yes.

TI: And so why do you say he wasn't a very successful businessman?

JS: Well, I think he, he lost the business, so to speak, or he was unable to make the monthly payments or whatever. Anyway, they gave up the business.

TI: And so this was about when you were about fourteen or fifteen years old?

JS: I was younger. I think it was probably when I was twelve or thirteen, that would be my guess.

TI: So let's just talk about growing up, being in a hotel. I imagine that your room was in the hotel.

JS: Yes, it was.

TI: The, or the family rooms were. So what kind of memories do you have of, of growing up in a hotel?

JS: Well, we didn't think of it in that sense, 'cause we had never lived in a house, per se. But we had Caucasian friends in the, that lived in the area. And I remember a fellow by the name of Willie Cockle, and his parents didn't like us because we were Japanese, but Willie, being a child like we were, we were just boyhood friends.

TI: And what did Willie's parents do?

JS: I really don't know, but they were, Willie's parents were from England. They had come over from England, and so I'm presuming that they were employed by someone, but I don't know exactly what his line of work was.

TI: How about chores? Did you have to do certain chores in the hotel?

JS: No, we really didn't. Not that I recall. In our childhood -- yes, we were compelled to do certain things, of course, you know, but we didn't make beds or things like that. My mother and dad did that.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: Okay. You mentioned your mother and father had six children to care for.

JS: Yes.

TI: So I know about Midori, and then the second daughter died. You were the third.

JS: Yes.

TI: So that means there were four others.

JS: That's right.

TI: So why don't you tell me about your siblings, then.

JS: Okay. Then I have a brother that is barely a year younger than I am. His given name was Terumichi.

TI: What, and what did people call him?

JS: Term.

TI: Term?

JS: Term.

TI: T-E-R-M? Term?

JS: Yeah. Well, it was Turk, I was given the name "Turk," a nickname, because my Caucasian friends could not pronounce Teruyuki, so they shortened it and called me Turk. And similarly with my brother, he was Terumichi, and they called him Term. [Laughs]

TI: So after Term, who was next?

JS: Then there was Sally.

TI: And what was her, did she have a Japanese name?

JS: Yes. Her Japanese given name was Mibaye.

TI: And so how did she get "Sally" out of that?

JS: Well, I don't know. I think that our oldest sister, Midori, is the one that gave us our English names.

TI: So, like, Term, Turk, Sally?

JS: No, Term, Turk, those were given to us by this Willie Cockle.

TI: Okay.

JS: [Laughs] You know, because he couldn't pronounce Teruyuki and Terumichi.

TI: So did Midori give you English names? Did you have an English name?

JS: Well, yes, I do. Well, but I think that it wasn't my sister at that point, it was some, someone that was staying at the hotel, and so he, my brother and I were just, as I say, barely a year apart, so we were running around like almost twins. And he, so he called me James, and my, James and John. But my brother never adopted the name of John.

TI: Did you ever use "James"?

JS: I did. I took James as my name, yes.

TI: After Sally, who was, who was next?

JS: Well, then I had a brother and sister who happened to be twins, fraternal twins, and the daughter, and she was, her name was... let's see, Japanese given name was... I can't remember what it was, but we called, everybody called her Peggy. And my brother was Peter. But Peter's given name was Teruhisa. My father gave all of us his own name, Teruharu, so he, Teru- something, you know. So all the boys were Teru.

TI: Okay. So, yeah, so it was a sizeable family.

JS: Yes.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: And you said you went to Bailey Gatzert for elementary school.

JS: I did. Through the first through the eighth grade.

TI: That's a pretty long walk --

JS: It was.

TI: -- or trek from your place to Bailey Gatzert.

JS: It was, although my folks wanted us to go to Japanese language school, which was close to, to Bailey Gatzert. No matter where you went to grade school, if you had, if you went to Japanese school or Japanese language school -- we used to call it Tip School -- you'd have to go the same distance anyway.

TI: So in the morning, how would you go from your place to Bailey Gatzert?

JS: Well, generally we walked.

TI: That, that's several miles.

JS: Yes. It's at least a couple miles. But we got used to it.

TI: And so you would, you would go with your brothers and sisters to Bailey Gatzert, you four together?

JS: Yes, uh-huh.

TI: And then from there, after school, you'd go to the Japanese language school.

JS: That's right.

TI: And then after Japanese language school you would then walk...

JS: Then walked home, yeah.

TI: So it was a pretty long day for you during school.

JS: Well, yes, it was.

TI: So you mentioned earlier that you were perhaps not the best student.

JS: No, in fact, I was, I might mention that the Nisei kids were very good students, and so among the Niseis, I would rank in the, certainly the lower half as a student. And in fact, in, when we, when I graduated from Bailey Gatzert, that's the eighth grade, my folks wanted me to take a college prep course in high school, but the teacher shook her head and said, "I don't think so. You should go for the manual arts." [Laughs] But my father insisted that we take the college prep courses.

TI: 'Cause he still had this dream that you would all go to college.

JS: Yeah.

TI: In, when you think of Bailey Gatzert, so you were there for, for quite a few years.

JS: Yes.

TI: Any teachers come to mind in terms of being influential?

JS: Well, the principal was an outstanding lady -- and Ms. Mahon -- and most of the Niseis, at least of my vintage, will remember her. She was very good to the Japanese American kids, and she was almost like a mother to them.

TI: And what would be an example of her being good to the Japanese Americans? Can you remember, like, an incident, an example of what she would do?

JS: Oh, she was very stern, and if you were called to the principal's office, of course, you were pretty naughty. But she was always understanding, but if you deserved a slap on the wrist, she'd give it to you.

TI: So did you ever, were you ever reprimanded by...

JS: Oh, yes.

TI: So, so what type of things would to you do to be sent to the principal's office?

JS: Well, I don't recall now, but I've been told, and reminded by some of my classmates that I was pretty naughty. So I don't know what I did, but certainly enough to be sent to the principal's office.

TI: Do you ever remember any conversations you had with the principal and what she, she told you?

JS: Yes. She was, as I say, as I said earlier, she was a disciplinarian, and she would impress upon me that the other students of Japanese Americans were always pretty good, and "Why are you this way?" But anyway, but she would, in a motherly way, give you a hug, and I remember her fondly.

TI: So what would you think when, when people would tell you things like, "The other Niseis, they're such good students, they're well-behaved, and so why can't you be more like that?" What would you think?

JS: Well, I don't recall what I thought in those days, but, well, you felt ashamed, of course, and then you wondered to yourself, "Why can't I do better?" But some are bright students, some are not. [Laughs]

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: So let's talk about, other than school and just, and Japanese language school, what other activities did you, did you have?

JS: Well, of course we, like all kids, we played baseball and stuff like that, but I was never a very good athlete myself. And some of the Japanese American kids were very good. They didn't have the physical attributes that some of the others had, they were always smaller. But for their size, they were very good athletes.

TI: Okay, so school, sports, let's talk a little bit about Japanese language school. How was, how was that for you?

JS: Well, it was also difficult, and I was not, I was not a good student there, either. But we managed to get through.

TI: Now, as a family, there were quite a few kids and your parents. Do you ever recall doing anything like vacations or anything social that, as a family?

JS: Well, the social events were like picnics, and going to Alki beach, Fauntleroy, we used to call it Lincoln Park in those days.

TI: Yeah, it's still, it's still there, Lincoln Park's there, Alki. And so what kind of, when you say picnic, what, a community picnic, what would that be like? What kind of activities?

JS: Well, you know, one, the Japanese language school had an annual picnic, and of course they would have races, and they would have a blindfolded, you know, you would try to smash a watermelon and things like that.

TI: And how many people would be at this?

JS: Wow, how many people? Well, when I think about it now, I don't know exactly what the accurate numbers were, but several hundreds, could be up to five hundred.

TI: And this was at a place like Lincoln Park, then, where it was quite large?

JS: Yes.

TI: So you talked about school, and you said you weren't the best student. You talked about sports and you said you weren't necessarily the best athlete.

JS: [Laughs] No.

TI: What did you like to do as a kid? What was your, like, favorite thing, when you think about what Turk Suzuki liked to do as a child?

JS: Well, my dad used to take us fishing, and I enjoyed that.

TI: And this was salmon fishing out in the Sound?

JS: Yes, both salmon fishing and rock cod fishing and things, perch fishing, and even shiner fishing. Do you know what a shiner is?

TI: Yeah, those little shiners.

JS: Okay, yeah.

TI: And so you'd do that off the dock, or would you guys get a boat?

JS: Well, we would do most of that off the dock, but they used to have a boathouse that rented rowboats on the waterfront. It was the Charles Street Boathouse, and my father used to love to fish himself.

TI: Now, you, you kind of grew up more downtown, so outside Nihonmachi, and so it's kind of a different neighborhood, so I don't know as much about what, what that was like. Can you describe what the surrounding, sort of, community around your hotel was like?

JS: Well, most of it was business-oriented except for the public library that was just across the street. And the public library did have a, a lawn area, and some cinder paths through the... it was a pleasant area, and we used to play ball there and play tag and things like that.

TI: And although it was business, you said there were other kids around that neighborhood that grew up there?

JS: Not very many. But there was a school that was within... one, two, maybe three blocks of where we lived. That was called Central School, and logic would seem to indicate that that's where we should have gone to school, but my dad was also impressed with Ms. Mahon, and so he wanted us to go to Bailey Gatzert.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: So, now, after Bailey Gatzert, so you went up through eighth grade.

JS: Yeah.

TI: Then what, what happened after Bailey Gatzert?

JS: Well, then we went to high school, and I went to Broadway High School. It has since been turned into a community college, but it was Broadway High School at that time.

TI: And what was Broadway, so you went from a school, Bailey Gatzert, that was lots of Japanese Americans.

JS: Yes.

TI: What was Broadway like?

JS: Well, Broadway had its percentages of Japanese and Chinese, but most of it was Caucasian.

TI: And so tell me, any memories about Broadway High School that come to mind?

JS: Yes, I enjoyed high school. Of course, we had intramural sports for those who weren't, you know, athletes that could turn out for football or basketball, but, so, I have fond memories of high school.

TI: Were there any clubs that you joined, or extracurricular activities?

JS: No, I didn't. Most of the kids did, though.

TI: So what would you do after school?

JS: Well, I went to Tip School. I still went to Tip School or Japanese language school, and then I worked at a, as a delivery boy for a grocery store.

TI: Oh, so tell me about that. Who, who, which grocery store did you do that for?

JS: Well, there was a grocery store not far from Broadway High School, and it was operated by a Japanese family, and I was hired to be just a general hand there, to deliver groceries or to help stock the shelves and so forth.

TI: And so when you say "deliver groceries," who would be the clientele? Who would you deliver to?

JS: Well, you know, strangely, in those days, they used to -- and I don't know if this was a custom -- but they didn't have the supermarkets that they have today, and so their clients were people that would call in and place an order of groceries, whether it's meat or bananas or whatever, canned foods, and then someone would deliver that to their homes.

TI: And then, so you would deliver, did they, was there a charge associated, would they have to...

JS: No, I think that was part of the service that the grocery store extended.

TI: And then did they do this on credit, or would they pay, give you the money, and then you'd bring it back?

JS: No, I never handled any money, so it was on credit, I would...

TI: Or some account that they would have with the store.

JS: Yeah, right.

TI: Interesting.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: And then did you graduate from Broadway High School?

JS: Yes, I graduated the year that we were evacuated, so that was in 1942.

TI: Let me, let me think about this. So you graduated after...

JS: Pearl Harbor.

TI: Pearl Harbor, but before you were sent to Puyallup.

JS: Yes.

TI: But you were sent to Puyallup in, probably the March/April timeframe?

JS: Yeah, April, probably.

TI: So usually you graduate in June, so how did you graduate before?

JS: Well, we didn't. So obviously, we, we did not attend Broadway High School in the last month, but we, they, we were given a diploma while we were in camp.

TI: So tell me about that, how did they give you a diploma in camp? How did that work?

JS: Well, we had enough credit hours, I suppose, and they may have relaxed the requirements because of evacuation. But anyway, there was a ceremony in, in Puyallup, "Camp Harmony" they called it, and we received our diplomas there.

TI: So describe the ceremony. What kind of ceremony...

JS: I don't really recall. It was... that, it was, of course, all the students were there to receive their diplomas but --

TI: And how many students were, about...

JS: Oh, it's about, I would just throw out a number, three hundred.

TI: Oh, that many?

JS: Yeah.

TI: So it was a sizeable number. All from Broadway High School?

JS: No, from the various high schools.

TI: Oh, so it was like, perhaps, Seattle high schools?

JS: Sure. Well, Garfield, Franklin, Cleveland, Broadway.

TI: Did they have anyone as a speaker at the ceremony?

JS: I don't recall. I'm sure that there was a... no, I'm not sure at all. It was a simple ceremony, not like they do these days, but because it was...

TI: Where in Puyallup did they hold the ceremony?

JS: Well, they held it in Area D, and I don't know even know where, but that, I think that was the fairgrounds itself. We were in Area A, and that was, must have been the parking area. D was, I think the camp, I mean, the fairgrounds themselves.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: Well, let's, let me back up a little bit now, back to December 7, 1941.

JS: Yes.

TI: How did you hear about the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

JS: Well, I think we heard it on the radio. And I don't recall the reaction that I had, except we were certainly alarmed and knew that it would affect us in some way. But, see, I was eighteen then, so... eighteen, yeah, I think it was. So it was, because I knew it would affect us, or our families. We were shocked and alarmed, but what could we do?

TI: How about your parents? Did you ever talk to them or hear them talk about...

JS: Yes. Well, not at that particular time, but shortly thereafter, my father was visited by the FBI, and he was taken to the immigration detention in Seattle. And so I can't remember how many days after Pearl Harbor, but it was shortly after Pearl Harbor.

TI: So do you remember when that happened and how you felt about that, or the family did?

JS: No, except at that point, because I was the eldest at that -- incidentally, my sister, my elder sister Midori, had, had been sent to Japan to go to college after she graduated from high school, and that must have been around '36 or so. So she was in Japan, and so I was the eldest child at that point at home. And so I did recognize that I would have to have some responsibility for the family, especially since my, since my father was taken to the detention area.

TI: Why do you think your father was sort of selected by the FBI?

JS: Well, he had served in the Japanese navy, and I'm sure that the U.S. had some record of that, and so I believe that was the reason.

TI: And so when your father went to the immigration station, did you or your mother go visit him?

JS: Yes, I did. I went to... and that is an interesting thing because I was, when I visited my brother -- my father, and he came out to an area where we could talk, he was not totally upset. He was concerned for the family and reminded me that, you know, since I was the eldest, I'd have to look out for the well-being of the family. But he wasn't frightened, he wasn't bitter or anything. He had his faith to fall back on, and felt pretty comfortable. And I think I recall him saying that, "Don't worry," he hasn't done anything, so it'll all work out. But there was an interesting thing. As I left my father, and of course, there was a guard there, a Caucasian individual, and I was more upset with my father being there than my father was. And so I was telling this guard that, you know, "What sort of justice is this when he has done nothing, and yet he's being detained?" And the thing that I recall about that is this Caucasian guard -- and I would guess that he was in his mid-thirties -- he said to me, he said he has a job to do, and he's compelled by the rules, and... but he said to me that, "When you get a chance to vote, the only way you're gonna change these things is by your vote." And I still remember that man telling me that, and he was not angry with me, although I was angry with him, but he was not angry with me. And he was rather kind in saying, "If you think this is improper or wrong, then the way to correct it is by your vote." And I had to, I still remember that man saying that to me. I should have thanked him, but I don't recall that I did.

TI: Because what he was doing, he was acknowledging that you were a citizen --

JS: That's right.

TI: -- and that you had a say in what happened in this country.

JS: Yes.

TI: That's good. So what happened to your father?

JS: Well, he was sent to Missoula, I think it was, where they had a camp for aliens. And he didn't, he was returned to us before I left Minidoka, but of course, we went to "Camp Harmony" in Puyallup and then eventually to Minidoka.

TI: Okay, so I just wanted to finish up with your dad. So your dad went from the Seattle immigration center, then was shipped to Missoula.

JS: Yeah.

TI: And then eventually rejoined the family when you were at Minidoka.

JS: Right.

TI: So we'll get back to that a little bit later in terms of picking that up.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: So let's, so you leave the immigration center, go back to the family. And soon, you get the orders that you're going to have to leave Seattle. So what happened to, like, the business and...

JS: Well, at that point, my father had lost the business, and he was just getting reestablished by leasing another place, a much smaller place, but nothing became of that. He had to, of course, couldn't keep up the payments or whatever, and so he had to forego that opportunity. And for us, we were more concerned about keeping the family together. And there was really, not really a threat to that because we were all, we were all similar, a whole bunch of us, you know. And we were sent to "Camp Harmony" in Puyallup.

TI: Now for you, going back home, now as, essentially, the head male of the family, I mean, what were you thinking? Was that kind of a burden that you felt, or a responsibility?

JS: Well, yes, I did. I didn't know how I would handle it, of course, but I thought, well, I'm thrust with that responsibility, I will have to see what happens.

TI: How about your mother? Was your relationship with your mother changed by, by the situation?

JS: No. My mother has always been about the same, she's, she was sorry or sad, of course, but... but she was not alone. There were other families that had, had the same thing happen to them, so...

TI: So, what did you do with your belongings in the time that...

JS: Well, we were limited, of course, to, on what we could take to, to camp. But I don't remember the details, but we did the best we could and boarded the buses and off we went.

TI: So the stuff you couldn't carry, what happened to that?

JS: Oh, I'm sure that we sold it or just left it.

TI: Now, both your parents were, were pretty religious. What church did you belong to?

JS: Well, it was a Presbyterian church. All through childhood, I did go to the Presbyterian church, not necessarily the Japanese group, but it was a church near where we lived, near the library, the frame of reference there.

TI: And how many Japanese were members of this church?

JS: None that I recall.

TI: So other than the services you attended, were there other activities that the family...

JS: Not insofar as the church is concerned, although we did go to some manual training opportunities with the, with a different church, it was a Plymouth Congregational Church, and it just happened to be very close also, and they offered, once a week, you could go, use their shop. They had workbenches and they had saws and things that you could use. So I enjoyed manual training there.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: So let's go back to Puyallup, so your family now goes to the Puyallup Assembly Center. Tell me what Puyallup was like for you.

JS: Well, of course, we were still quite young. I was eighteen, though, and once you get your family settled in the barracks or whatever, then you have your friends. And so there's always getting together with them and playing ball or playing cards or whatever. So it wasn't totally miserable; you had your good times as well.

TI: And so who would you hang out with? Kind of the same people, or would you kind of explore different areas and different groups? Give me a sense of the day, the daily life.

JS: Well, well, you kind of hang, hung around with the old friends that you knew, but you met new people also. So it was kind of an expanding experience, I guess.

TI: And then what would your mother do on a daily basis?

JS: I don't know, because we were out mostly with the, the younger people, so we'd come home at night, of course, and sleep with the family.

TI: And is that the same with your siblings, they would do the same thing?

JS: Yeah.

TI: They would go out with their friends?

JS: Sure.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: So we, the first hour, left it at the Puyallup Assembly Center. And so let's, let's now move on to Minidoka, and so what were your first impressions of Minidoka when you got there?

JS: Well, I don't have any clear recollection of Minidoka, except that I know that it was a camp, and the conditions were what they were. But, and frankly, I was not bitter about being there. We just kind of accepted it. We knew that it wasn't totally right, of course, but there was an attitude of, "Well, what can we do?" And while we were in, the first winter there -- I was only there that one winter -- we worked on the coal crew. And of course, that was a dirty job, you'd get all sooty and so forth, but it was enjoyable because all the other young guys were on the coal crew, too, friends of ours, that is. And so we kind of had a camaraderie about being on the coal crew. And I think that, as I recall, we did this work at night. Went to the railhead and loaded the trucks with coal, and then drove the trucks back and unloaded them in camp.

TI: And so when you say "unload," what would that entail? What would you have to do with the crew?

JS: Well, it's just shoveling coal, and transferring it from the rail car to the truck.

TI: So this was heavy manual labor. You're just, you're just shoveling.

JS: Shoveling coal.

TI: And then into the truck, then you go back to camp, and then you would then shovel that...

JS: That's right.

TI: ...into big piles, or would you have to go from --

JS: Well, no, they're, each block had an area where they had a coal bin, and you'd dump them into those coal bins so the people could use it for their, for heating and warmth.

TI: Now, you mentioned you did a lot of this at night. Why would you do this at night?

JS: I don't really know, but it was always at night that we worked.

TI: So it wasn't like early morning, that you'd wake up early? It was more at the end of the day you would do this?

JS: My recollection that it was always at night, yes. But there was a perk along with that. So after the shift, you'd get a meal, and usually the, it was better than what we had, the rest of the camp had as a, as a meal. So I think we had, from time to time, steak or whatever, which was a treat.

TI: So was this just at a, one of the mess halls that you would go to, and someone would have the extra supplies, and they would cook something for you guys. That's, oh, that's sounds great. And so then you slept in every morning?

JS: I presume we did. [Laughs]

TI: And so other than the coal job, what other activities do you remember doing?

JS: Well, you know, the guys, they played cards, poker or whatever, and they got to know other people, but that was it. And I think we were at that particular age where we, we were attracted to girls, and so the first girlfriend I ever had was in camp, and that was exciting, too.

TI: So was this someone you knew before camp?

JS: No, met in camp, yes.

TI: And so this woman was, like, from a different town, neighborhood?

JS: No, she was from Seattle, actually, but we had never met. She went to a different high school. I think she went to Maryknoll, she was of the Catholic faith, so we had never had a chance to meet until we got to camp.

TI: And so for social activities, to meet girls, how would you do that? What kind of activities or...

JS: Well, there were dances, and they would clear the mess hall or whatever, and then they would have dances in, in the mess hall.

TI: So describe that for me. I've asked this question of women, and they talk about the dancing and all that. What was it like for the guys? What would you guys do?

JS: Well, you know, it was really exciting and a new experience. We had never dated before, and so it's, I guess it would be part of growing up, but nonetheless, it was a different setting. And there was something that was unique about it also, and that is, it wasn't a mixed society, it was all Japanese Americans. So whoever you dated was gonna be a Japanese American. And so it was nice to get into that part of life, just getting to know a girl and so forth.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: So you mentioned that you were only at Minidoka through one winter.

JS: One winter, yes.

TI: And so in 194-, yeah, '43, the government came out with the, the "loyalty questionnaire."

JS: Right.

TI: So do you remember that happening?

JS: I do, I do. I didn't have any... at the point where I signed that, I didn't have a problem because I pondered the question of whether I should volunteer or not, and among the coal crew, there were some macho guys, you know, and there was a group that wanted to be the first to volunteer. And one of those guys was Bill Nakamura, who later earned the Medal of Honor.

TI: So, Bill Nakamura.

JS: Yeah. And there was Pete Fujino, who was a friend of mine, not before camp, but in camp, 'cause he worked on the coal crew as well. And they wanted to be the first to volunteer. I had not made up my mind to do so.

TI: Did they give reasons why they wanted to be the first?

JS: No, just that they wanted to. And, and a lot of the parents were upset with their sons volunteering for the military because we knew that it was going to be in the infantry. We all already knew that it was gonna be the -- we didn't know the term "442nd," but we knew that it was gonna be a segregated unit, infantry unit. So I gave it some serious thought, and I guess that was part of growing up. I was going on nineteen, or I was nineteen already, 'cause I was born in October. So I was nineteen, and it was at that time of my life when you had to make a decision to either go or not go. And I had not talked to my folks at that point. And once I decided, and it didn't matter at this point whether my friends went or not, I had decided for myself that I would volunteer because America, the U.S., was the only place I knew. There was no place that, regardless of how we were being treated, if there was any hope for the future, I felt that it was going to be here in the U.S. And so I made a decision, conscious decision to volunteer.

Before I told any of my friends, I wanted to talk to my folks, and I did. I talked to my father and mother. My father had come back to us by then, and they listened to me and they were quite supportive. They said that, "This is your country, and so you have to make your own decision on that." And my father had served in the Japanese navy, but he was, at that point in his life, I presume that he recognized that we, the Nisei, were Americans. That he also recognized that there was little chance that we would go to Japan and live, so when I told him that I had decided to volunteer, he was surprisingly quite supportive. And of course, my mother was sad, but... like all mothers. But, so I was able to leave under a feeling of having been given permission by my parents. So I was fortunate. Some did not have the same experience. Some had a difficult time with their parents, but anyway... and I might mention that this is the first time that I was able to talk to my dad, my father, as an adult. Up until then, I was still the, the son, he was the father. But I think at that point, he accepted me as being the, an adult.

TI: And what did that mean to you? I mean, you, so it was like a different dynamics with your father.

JS: Yes, it was. It was more of a feeling than anything else. Nothing had really changed except the feeling that I had, and the sense that I felt that he had a different feeling towards me. So...

TI: How long had your father been back from Missoula when you had this conversation?

JS: I would guess a month, maybe a month and a half.

TI: Do you think your father was changed by the...

JS: Experience?

TI: being away from the family?

JS: I didn't notice any real change in him, because he was quite peaceful when I visited him at the immigration detention area. He was less concerned about himself than I was at that point.

TI: And so this conversation with this different feeling was really around your decision as an adult to serve, to volunteer to serve in the U.S. Army.

JS: Uh-huh.

TI: So what was the reaction of your friends? Now that, eventually you go back to the coal crew and you let them know. What was that like?

JS: Right. Well, you know, surprisingly, a good many of my friends also volunteered, and some had good experiences with their, in telling their parents, and others had a tough time. But there's a fellow that's attending this reunion now, Art Doi, he lives in Sacramento now, but we've been longtime friends, and he volunteered but I didn't know that he was going to volunteer, and he didn't know that I was gonna volunteer, but we both did. And I think that it was a good decision that enough of us did volunteer because I think it changed the attitudes of people. And it, I think it improved our ability to become Americans.

TI: So I want to get back to -- you mentioned earlier -- how Bill Nakamura and Pete Fujino were vocal about volunteering. How much influence do you think that had on, on you and the others, when you heard people speaking out like that?

JS: Not much, because I knew that Bill Nakamura and Pete were... in a way, they were bragsters. And although Bill was a hero, in those days, he was just another loud guy. [Laughs] He was bigger, and so was Pete, and so the bigger guys got the bulk of the attention. [Laughs]

TI: Were there any of your friends, either on the coal crew or elsewhere, that decided not to volunteer and not to serve?

JS: No, I didn't know of any that -- and it was a personal thing. So I certainly didn't go around asking, "Did you volunteer?" It was just a personal decision, and if they did, that was fine. Looking back on it, I certainly salute them, those that did, because they did make a difference. But if somebody didn't want to go, well, that was something they had to decide.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: Okay, so now that you've decided to volunteer, what was the next step? What happened next?

JS: Well, I went out to Salt Lake City, that's where we were gonna, have to report anyway, and I worked in a garage. When I say "garage," it was a parking garage, so I helped park cars there. And I worked there maybe a couple of weeks, just to get some extra money before I went into the service, and I was inducted there at Fort Douglas, Utah.

TI: And then what happened after that?

JS: Well, we were inducted, and... oh, there is an interesting story about a personal friend of mine, his name was Kaz Hirabayashi. He was a small -- and even shorter than I was. And he wanted -- and this kid, Kaz, we called him "Sweet Pea." He was an outstanding athlete; ping pong, basketball, baseball, football. And the reason I bring out his -- incidentally, he's since passed away, but this guy, as small as he was, in "Camp Harmony" when we were there, some of the football players like Pete Fujino, they were punting the football because they were bigger, this Sweet Pea could out-punt any of 'em. He could punt it 60 yards.

TI: How large was Sweet Pea?

JS: Sweet Pea, well, I'm now less than 5'2", but at that time, Sweet Pea, I was 5'4" and Sweet Pea must have been 5'2". But that guy had the athletic gift. But the reason I bring up his name is he volunteered as well, and he, ever since childhood, he wore glasses. And he knew he had bad eyesight, and so he volunteered, and he knew that he was gonna have to take an eye test. So he memorized the chart, but the examining doctor thought that, you know, there's something not right. So he said to Sweet Pea, "Let's go into this room here." It was a room and there was a projection, you know, on the whole wall. He says, "What is that?" He says, "That's an 'A'." And he said, "Well, get a little closer." It was a sailboat. [Laughs] So they said, "Thank you, but we can't accept you." And Sweet Pea never joined the army, but he did volunteer, and he was not accepted. But he, that kid was good. Whether it was pool or ping pong or basketball or football, he just had the coordination.

TI: Oh, that's a good story.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

JS: So after being inducted at Fort Douglas, then what happened?

TI: Well, before we were assigned to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, we had an opportunity to come back to Seattle. And there was a group of us, I think about sixteen of us, and I don't know if you, you're familiar with Haribo Yanagimachi?

TI: No.

JS: Oh, yeah. Of course, he's older than your dad. But Haribo was a football player and an outstanding lineman for Garfield. And Royal Brougham, who was a writer for the, I think it was the P-I, Seattle P-I, expounded the ability of this Haribo Yanagimachi as a football player, and he did become all-city football, earned all-city honors. And he did attend the UW and turned out there, but I think he made the freshman squad, but I don't think he went beyond that. But this Hari was inducted at the same time I was, and although I knew of him, I didn't, we weren't friendly. But he was then assigned to be the leader of this group of fourteen or sixteen that wanted to come back to Seattle to, to visit some old friends.

TI: So that's unusual because Seattle was still in that --

JS: Still out of bounds, yeah.

TI: -- exclusion zone.

JS: Yeah, that's right.

TI: And so I've never heard this. So they let a group of you go back to Seattle?

JS: Yes, that's right, but we were in uniform. And we did, we came back to see some friends and teachers and so forth.

TI: Did you guys ever experience any difficulties?

JS: No, we didn't, we didn't. It was a very short stay, maybe like two days, I think, two or three days at the most. Three days -- I think, my recollection, it was two days. So all we had a chance to do was see some friends and some teachers that... and then we rendezvoused and took a took a train to Mississippi.

TI: And so did you guys, any of them stop by Minidoka before going to Mississippi?

JS: No, we didn't. I didn't go back to Minidoka until I was, had finished basic training, then we were on furlough and we were able to go back.

TI: So let's go back to that Seattle trip.

JS: Yes.

TI: And I'm curious, when you visited teachers or friends, and here you're coming in your army uniform, what kind of reaction did you get?

JS: Well, I don't remember exactly. There's nothing that is so memorable that it stands out. But the reception generally was good; the teachers were happy to see us and wished us well.

TI: Do you ever recall any, like, surprise, seeing you there?

JS: Well, I suppose there was some surprise on their part, yeah. But I don't recall an incident that would say, "Yeah, I recall that specifically."

TI: Did you guys have the opportunity to walk through, like, Nihonmachi and see how that looked?

JS: We did.

TI: And what was that like?

JS: Well, you know, the, things strike different people different ways. But when we got to Seattle, I was amazed at this, the incline of Jackson Street. I had not recalled that it was as steep as it was -- it's really not steep, but it seemed to be a lot steeper than I had recalled as a child.

TI: Because you just walked up the...

JS: Yeah, we just walked up, yeah.

TI: And were, like, were there a lot of shops boarded up or things like that?

JS: I don't recall.

TI: Or did it seem strange just walking through Nihonmachi and not seeing any Japanese there?

JS: Yes, it was. And I'm sure that we were, we never traveled alone, we were with a group of guys, and I'm sure that there were comments like, "This was the old Sagamiya," or whatever it was. But it was a short stay and a pleasant one, but we were on a mission, of course, to just say goodbye to some old friends and teachers, and then off we went.

TI: Do you recall any of the guys having an interesting story?

JS: Not specifically, no. Everybody had, seemingly had an enjoyable time, though, in Seattle.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: Okay, so let's go to Camp Shelby. So what was that like, what were your impressions of Camp Shelby?

JS: Well, military life is certainly not a normal life. You're, you have follow orders. [Laughs] Nobody likes to do that, but you get used to it and you fall in when you're called out, and the meals are never that great, but it's, that's the way life is in the army. But training was difficult in the sense that -- not physically -- but the, interacting with the Hawaii boys was difficult. They had an opinion of the mainland guys and they spoke funny. [Laughs] And so at first, there were some hard feelings between the mainland guys and the Hawaii guys, but they were the greater in number. Actually, of the -- I'm just gonna use an example -- but of the 3,000-plus men in the Regimental Combat Team, two-thirds were from Hawaii.

TI: And so when you say "difficulties," how would that show up? I mean, were there... yeah, what would happen when you say "difficulties"?

JS: Oh, there were some fights, and they had their groups. And we were kind of left out because we were mainlanders, and they were the greater in number also. But we came together pretty well, considering everything. But once we got overseas, then everything was fine.

TI: How was it just being in the South? This was your first time away from home.

JS: Yeah, that was different, too, because we were considered "white" by the southern populace, and so I know that some of the guys mistakenly went to -- they had segregated toilet facilities for the colored and for whites. And we were, if we wandered into a black designated toilet area, restroom area, we were severely reprimanded, "Hey, that's not for you." And so in a way, it was different for us. It's something that we had not experienced before, the attitudes towards the blacks. Of course, we didn't call them "blacks" in those days, they were either "Negroes" or "colored" or whatever. But we became used to the fact that we, we cannot go into the colored restrooms.

TI: And so how did that make you feel, or what did you think about that?

JS: Well, we had to recognize, this is the South, and it's different. But having felt discrimination ourselves, we felt that, that it was not right, but there isn't anything you could do about it.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: So, let's move from Camp Shelby, you said you then had an opportunity to go back to Minidoka.

JS: Yes.

TI: So tell me what that was like.

JS: That was a furlough that we were entitled to, I guess. We trained for over a year in Mississippi, and we were given this leave, so I did go back to Minidoka to see my parents. And I did meet my sister in Chicago. I spent a few days there in Chicago, my sister had gone out to Connecticut, I believe it was.

TI: And this was Sally?

JS: Sally, yeah. And met her there, but most of the furlough was spent in camp, really, or in transit. Because we traveled by train in those days, so what you can do in the, in hours now, took days.

TI: What was the reception by your family when you showed up in camp?

JS: Well, it was good. I have fond memories of them saying goodbye, you know. I don't remember the greeting that I got when I -- but I knew they were happy, and sad when I left.

TI: So talk about the farewell with your, say, your father. What was, do you recall...

JS: Well, it was... well, today, I would probably get misty-eyed, but, and I don't know whether he did or not. But it was, he was treating me like an adult, you know, so I felt good, and I knew that, where we were headed, so it was an okay experience. My father was a tough guy for us because he was so strict and was a disciplinarian. But at that time I felt that, well, he's treating me differently than I had known all the years growing up. So it was good, and we did write to each other.

TI: How about your mother? What was the farewell like with your mother?

JS: Well, mothers are different, you know. [Laughs] Mothers are always more sentimental and so forth, but I think that it was good, and she didn't cry or anything, but I know she was sorry that... but she also knew what was going to be was going to be.

TI: At this point, was there a sense of how difficult it was going to be for the 442 in terms of casualties?

JS: No, we didn't have any idea.

TI: But yet there was still this sort of foreboding, sort of, sense that, that this was going to be...

JS: Yeah. Well, if you're in the infantry, you know that it's a, a risky end of the service.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TI: So, let's, let's go overseas, then.

JS: Okay.

TI: So tell me about your experiences of traveling and arriving in Europe.

JS: Well, we went by Liberty ship, and we landed... and that was a difficult trip, so many of us did get seasick. But after a few days, and then you got your sea legs and it wasn't as bad. But we... and, of course, on your way over, you have to do your calisthenics, because you're still in the military, you don't play around, you have things to do. And most of it was keeping fit. But we landed in Africa first, and I think that was to fuel up and so forth. And from Africa we...

TI: Now, do you recall, sort of, the approximate date of when you were shipped over?

JS: Yes, I think it was in May.

TI: Which company were you in?

JS: I was in L Company.

TI: And so that's which battalion?

JS: 3rd Battalion.

TI: 3rd Battalion, okay.

JS: Yeah. There is an interesting story about my being in L Company. I actually trained in Camp Shelby with C Company, that's in the 1st Battalion. But some of the boys went over, were shipped out earlier as replacement for the 100th, who had, who was already in combat, and so there were losses and they needed replacement, so some of the boys, I don't know whether it was through volunteering or can't remember, or whether they were picked, but some of the fellows from the 442nd were sent to, as replacement for the 100th. So they were in Italy before we were, the whole Regimental Combat Team. But because of taking the soldiers from the Regimental Combat Team, what they did was they sent over, instead of three battalions of infantry, they sent two. And they took the 1st Battalion and sent the individuals to the 2nd and 3rd, to make, to fill the complement of individuals. And Pete Fujino was in L Company, and so was Ken Higashi, who's here today here. But I trained with, in C Company in the 1st Battalion. But just prior to being shipped overseas, they took the men from the 1st Battalion to fill the quotas necessary for the 2nd and 3rd Battalions. And just by coincidence, I ended up in L Company. I didn't have a voice in it or anything, it just happened.

TI: So was that hard for you? Because here you'd trained with a certain group, and then kind of last moment you're switched to a whole different group.

JS: Yes. So you're not familiar with all the guys, but there is an interesting aspect to this. When Pete Fujino, he was one of the first to volunteer from our camp, and I don't know how his mother knew that I volunteered also, but she knew that I was a friend of Pete, 'cause we worked on the coal crew and fooled around together. She asked me to kind of look after Pete. Pete was one year older than I was, and he was, I think, 5'11" and weighed 170 pounds, he was a big kid for a Nisei. And I told her, "Well, I don't even know if we're gonna be together, but I'll do the best we can." But the coincidence is this: when I was shipped to, from the 1st Battalion to the 3rd, I ended up in L Company, which Pete was already trained with. Not only that, but I was assigned to the 2nd Platoon and Pete was in the 2nd Platoon, and I was assigned to the 2nd Squad, and Pete was in the 2nd Squad, so we became squad-mates.

TI: And how large is a squad?

JS: A squad is, let's see... let's see, I can't remember now, but maybe about twelve.

TI: About a dozen.

JS: Yeah.

TI: And then a platoon is about twice that size?

JS: Yeah. Well, a platoon is four squads.

TI: Four squads, so about, close to fifty, and then a company is about 200 at full.

JS: Yeah, right.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: Okay, so what a coincidence for you to be...

JS: Yes, to end up with...

TI: ...amongst thousands of men...

JS: Yeah, that's right. [Laughs] End up with Pete.

TI: get down to the same...

JS: No, Pete was a very likeable guy, and he was a handsome boy. And so he had girls that always flocked to him, so he had no problem with girls. And he also liked to drink. And beer or whatever it was, and in those days, I didn't drink at all. And so when I got together with Pete, I reminded him that his mother had asked me to kind of look out for him. And, but Pete liked to drink and have fun, and when I would get on his case, so to speak, we were like brothers. He would rip me up and down and say, "Mind your own business." And he had a premonition of death, and I don't know if that was true or not, but he told me that when he was in high school, that he went to some fortune teller, or that read his palm or something, and this fortune teller told him that he was gonna die before he's twenty-one, so that was the excuse he gave for having a good time. And so when I joined up with Pete in 2nd Platoon, 2nd Squad, I was kind of his older brother. And at first he tolerated it, and then he got ticked off with me about that, so when we were overseas, he was big and strong, so he was a BAR man. That's a... it's a type of machine gun that we used to have in those days, and it's heavier. It weighs more than the nine pounds that the rifle weighs, I think it weighed twice as much.

Anyway, Pete was a good soldier on the line, when we were on the front. But when we were not on the line, he was always looking for vino or women or whatever. And we had our verbal differences, and this one incidence when, after we came back from front line duty, and we, every so often, if you're on the front line, they take you to the rear to get some rest. And Pete and I shared a tent. Each of us carries what we called a half a tent, and then you put the two halves together to make one pup tent. Pup tent's only about that high. And when we got back to this rest area, Pete wanted to go to the closest town to get some wine or beer or whatever. And I said, Pete, we have to make, put up our tent, and we have to make our bunks and so forth -- which was nothing more than blankets on the ground. And Pete said, no, he's gonna go to town. I said, "Okay, when you come back, you can't get into our tent." And he said I was a sorehead, but off he went. And when he came back, he was three sheets to the wind, and it was dark, and he tried to get into our pup tent. Pup tent's only about that wide. And I said, "No, Pete, you can't come in." And so he called me some foul names, and so he was pretty tired anyway, so he slept outside. And in the morning, he was covered with dew and all wet. [Laughs] And he, oh, he was very unhappy about how chicken I was for not letting him get into the tent.

Anyway, even while we were in the rest area, we called it rear echelon area, we went to school. And I was a scout, so I went to scout school. So we have certain training, even while we were overseas. When I came back, Pete was lying in my tent, because I had built it, and he was lying on my blanket. And so his feet were sticking out, so I kicked him in the foot and I said, "Pete, get out." And he said, "Don't be like that, I just wrote my mother a letter." And so that kind of softened me up, and I says, "All right," and I crawled in beside him. And so we were almost touching each other. But Pete was on his stomach and elbows reading the newspaper. We, it was a military publication, and all of a sudden, I heard a "bang." In the rear areas, we unload our arms. But when I looked next to me, Pete was, had... on his back, and the newspaper had fallen across his face. What had happened was someone picked up a rifle that had been used for guard duty, and without unloading it, and somebody accidentally pulled the trigger and fired a shot. And what had happened was Pete was on his stomach reading the paper, and the bullet hit him right behind the right ear and came out here. [Points to left cheek]. But I didn't see it, because the paper, newspaper had fallen across his face. The only thing I could see was his eyes; they, they had that glazed look. And of course, we had seen enough, you know, dead soldiers. And so I leaned over, and then I -- across his body -- and I saw that big hole. So I went out and hollered for the medics, and they came and they took him in, wrapped him up in my blanket, 'cause he was lying on it, and they put him in an ambulance to take him to a field hospital. And I asked for permission to go along with him, but they said no. But I went AWOL and I hitchhiked to the first field hospital down the road, and that's further away from the front line, and asked if they had brought in a Nisei soldier with a head wound, and they hadn't. And so then I hitchhiked to the next one, next further field hospital, and I was inquiring about him there. And I heard on the -- I was, I heard someone speaking on the radio, and I heard that they did bring in a guy with a head wound, but he didn't make it.

And so then I hitchhiked back to our area, and I got back just as they were preparing to, for his burial. So they buried him right there in the field. Of course, they register it so that they know where the bodies are and so forth. And the, so they buried him in my blanket. And so I went up the captain, I said, "You know, is there some way to say that Pete was a KIA?" that's killed in action. And the captain says no, they can't do that. So although today, I believe that on the monument in D.C. he's listed as a KIA, but in those years, we didn't have the term "friendly fire," but that's what happened. Some kid -- it wasn't even his rifle -- somebody had come off of guard duty and laid his gun down, rifle down, and someone else picked it up and accidentally discharged it. So as he was lying down, my head came up to his shoulders. So the bullet, when it hit him, it hit him here and came out here, that's it, flipped him over, yeah. So it had whizzed over my head, 'cause I was lying next to him. And I said to him, "Man, that was close." But when I looked at his eyes, I could, I knew that something was wrong.

TI: So that must have been devastating to you.

JS: It was, yes, it was. That was hard to get over. And it's, it was tough to have to tell his folks that he was killed in that way.

TI: And so when you went back to Seattle, were you, did you visit...

JS: Yes, I was able to visit his mother, I don't remember the father. And I told her, and I met the... before I went to Seattle, I met his sister in Denver, and I told her how he was killed.

TI: Did they know before that?

JS: They did. They knew it was an accident, yeah. But it was unfortunate. And the, I don't know the fellow that actually pulled that trigger, that fired that shot, but I had heard that he became emotionally disturbed over that incident. And so we used to call it Section 8 in those days, it's a psychological condition that prohibits their remaining on the front line. But it was very difficult. But true to his prediction, I think he was twenty-one when he was killed.

TI: So how did the squad deal with this? Did you guys talk about it?

JS: No, we didn't. We didn't really talk about it, not that I recall. It was just one of those things, I guess. They, others have seen their buddies killed, too, but this was an unfortunate way. So, especially for the family, you know. But anyway, he was a good soldier on the front line, but he was a rascal otherwise. [Laughs]

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

TI: So we're now on the third tape, and so we just finished you telling us about how Pete Fujino was killed. I now want to go back and talk more about just your battle experiences.

JS: You know, my battle experiences are nothing really memorable for me. I know that I was continually afraid, and wondering if I would be able to survive without having some sort of a breakdown. But I managed, but it was... that was probably the most difficult part of it. Once, you know, you get into charging or whatever, racing across the field with gunfire all around you, that wasn't as difficult as the, your own thoughts of fear of being killed or maimed, you know. So that was a burden that you had to live with, and it was, that was the most difficult part.

TI: Did Pete's death have an impact in terms of your thinking when it happened?

JS: No... yes and no. Yes because, you know, you see a guy that's, was having a good time, and, just a short while ago, and now, not there. So it is difficult to accept. But that's the way it was. Other people lost, you know, friends, and I guess it would your uncle on the Kinoshita side. And whoever you lose, it's, it leaves a mark. So, but it's not unusual; it's happening all the time with soldiers.

TI: Did you feel bad because Pete's mother asked you to kind of watch out for him? Did you in any way feel any guilt about this?

JS: Well, yes, I did, but then I knew that there was nothing I could do. So, did it prevent me from functioning? No, I was still able to function. As I said earlier, the most difficult part was the fear that you're experiencing, and wondering whether you're gonna be killed or whatever. But you can't let your buddies down, if you will, so you have to keep going. But it was difficult, yeah.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

TI: There was one story I've heard that you were involved with. I believe it was in a French farmhouse.

JS: Actually, Italian.

TI: Oh, Italian farmhouse.

JS: Yes.

TI: So can you explain or describe what happened?

JS: Well, yes, although I've told this story to the Hanashi people from L.A. The main reason is it's memorable for me because I don't like to talk about my experiences per se, but this Italian farmer -- and I didn't know him from Adam. We were on a mission, a night mission, it was a reconnaissance patrol to go into the town of Pisa, because our intelligence had heard that the Germans were gonna be evacuating Pisa. So they wanted to send a reconnaissance patrol in there to make certain that the report that they had heard was correct, that the Germans were pulling out. Pisa is along the Arno, close to the Arno River, and so this was a time when Pete was still living, Pete had had not been killed at this point. And they asked for volunteers, and in the army, there's a saying that you never volunteer for anything. But Pete, for whatever reason, volunteered to, to go on this patrol. He was the first guy to say, "Yeah, I'll go." And eventually, there were twelve of us GIs that went on this patrol. And the mission was to go there and return by dawn, so we were to observing things in, while it was still dark. But we didn't get to Pisa until almost dawn, and it was getting light, so we were stuck in the, in enemy-held territory. And the, the Italian partisan who was guiding us led us to this farmhouse. And we never thought much of it, but he, this farmer, it turned out to be -- I learned years later -- sixty years later, that the farmer was a brother of this partisan guide that we had, and that's why he took us there. But this farmer took us upstairs to his living quarters, and, to hide us during the day. And in the early morning, a German patrol came to the house, and while we were upstairs, the German soldiers were downstairs. The downstairs is not a living quarters, it's where they kept the cattle. And so the German soldiers down below, and we were up, up above. And the farmer had to go out and do his work, and interact with the German soldiers, but he never gave us away. He had two kids, one was a little girl about two years old, and a boy that was, I think, seven at that time. Anyway, when darkness came...

TI: Explain, I want to know a little bit more. So the Germans that came, that were down below, so there were twelve of you upstairs, and how many Germans were down below?

JS: A squad. So there were about twelve.

TI: And if they knew that you were upstairs, what would have happened?

JS: Well, you know, there would have been a... we would, there's a couple of possibilities: we would have surrendered, or there would have been a gunfight, a firefight. And we had the advantage of knowing they were there, but they didn't know we were there, so if there was any firefight, we probably would have had the advantage. But our orders were not to engage in a firefight unless necessary, out mission was to get information and get back to our own lines. But the, this farmer allowed us to stay, he had a wife, and I remember her, and he offered us, or they offered us bread. And you know, during wartime, bread is very important, any food. And, but he recalls something differently, the farmer, that is. He recalls that we were good to his kids by giving them candy bars. And we used to get bars of chocolate with our rations, and so we shared them with the, his kids, and he remembered that for years afterwards.

TI: But then more than just the candy bar gift, if he were found out by the Germans...

JS: Yes.

TI: ...he would have been at risk, not only him but his family.

JS: That's right.

TI: And so he was taking a huge risk by, by hiding you upstairs and not turning you in.

JS: Exactly. Sure, right. And we didn't know his name, we didn't know who he was, and then...

TI: But go back and tell me, while the Germans were downstairs, what was going through your minds? I mean, I imagine you guys weren't saying anything, you were just totally quiet.

JS: We were quiet, yes.

TI: What was going through your mind when this was happening?

JS: Well, I don't really recall what was, except that this could be it. This could be a fight or whatever, but it was a, we had two officers with us, and we were all to remain quiet and not engage in any fight unless it was, became absolutely necessary. And fortunately, it wasn't. But I can't really tell you what went through my mind, but it was obviously a combination of fear and trying to think ahead. And if we did get into a fight, what would we do? But nothing happened, fortunately, so we didn't have to face that.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

TI: So you've talked about years later getting more of the story in terms of what this Italian farmer thought or remembered. Tell me how you reconnected with this Italian farmer.

JS: Oh, yeah. That's an interesting question. Yuri and I -- that's my wife -- she and I had gone to Italy several times just to try to find this farmer, or this farmhouse. 'Cause I had a clear picture in my mind of what it looked like and what the countryside looked like. I was mistaken in one, only one aspect of it, and that was another house that was maybe five hundred feet away. And in that house, German officers were using that as an observation, and they, we saw the officers looking across the field with their glasses. And I thought that was on a hillside, but it wasn't, it was flat. But that's the way I recalled it, and I had, I thought that I would never lose that image of where that farmhouse was. So we tried to look for it on three previous occasions before we actually found it, but it was just by coincidence that we located this exact farmhouse and farmer. Because there was a fellow by the name of George Watanabe, he's a Hawaii boy, and he's younger than we are. But he was a career soldier in the army, U.S. Army. And he spoke with a very heavy Hawaiian accent, but he was an educated man, he graduated from the, through the army, the University of North Carolina, I think it's an extension course that they had for army personnel. So he was a college graduate, and he wrote well, but he spoke with such a heavy Hawaiian accent that it was difficult for my friends to understand him. But we didn't know, and this was in 2000, we went over there because we had received a news article about our mission from the Stars and Stripes, an old one. And it kind of showed the area that this farm was in. And so we went... this is our third venture to try to locate the farmhouse in 2000. But we looked all over the countryside and I could not find this house that I had indelibly etched in my mind. [Laughs]

But then we came home, disappointed that we didn't find it, then someone in Seattle... oh, yes, it was Charlie Okada, I don't know if you interviewed Charlie, but he told me about this George Watanabe that was retired from the army but still living in Italy. And he was a kind of a self-made historian of the 442nd. And so he, Charlie Okada suggested I e-mail -- Yuri's better at e-mailing, so she e-mailed George Watanabe, we had never met him, and George, who lived in Livorno, that's Leghorn, it's a port city not far from Pisa. But he worked at an army camp very close to Pisa, so he knew the people around there. So he asked me to send him the sketch that I drew up from what I had in my mind, and I sent it to him and verbally described what, what it was like out there, the area. And just by coincidence, he was working with an Italian native that worked for the army, for the U.S. Army, at this camp. And so they were kind of coworkers, and this, so he, George Watanabe enlisted the help of this young Italian guy, and just by coincidence, this fellow happened to be a family friend of the farmer. And so he visited this farmer, his name is, now we know to be Bardelli, that's his surname. And he told Mr. Bardelli that there was some Nisei soldiers that were trying to locate him because they had, or he had helped them, and he recalled. And the man was ninety-one years old, this was in 2000, and he had recently fractured his hip. After he turned ninety, the family took away his driving license, so he was riding a bicycle and he fell off of that and broke his hip. And we learned about the fact that George had made contact with this farmer, and when he told this farmer that we were looking for him and the farmer became misty-eyed and he remembered clearly. And so we learned who Mr. Bardelli was, and that was in early, I think it was in February of 2001. And since we learned that he was ninety-one years of age, we said, "Hey, we'd better get over there before he expires." And so we went over in, I think it was either May or June of 2001, and we had a very nice reunion with him, we thanked him.

TI: And so who went with you? Was it you and Yuri?

JS: Oh, yes. Yuri and myself, and we had two Caucasian friends, a couple, two couples, and they wanted to go along. And they had, we had, the three of us, three couples had gone in 2000, and so we were all familiar with what the heck we were trying to find. [Laughs] But when the farmhouse itself, Mr. Bardelli no longer lived in, it was vacant, and it was kind of broken-down. But when I went to this house, when George took us to this house, it was clearly what I recalled. The flight of stairs going up to the living quarters, the kitchen area and so forth. And that, this is in 2001 now when we finally located and found out who this farmer was, that was in 2001. And so we were able to meet with them, and the little girl that was two years old was now in her sixties. And so, and he, the farmer himself was living with his son, and they had us over for drinks and refreshments, and we had a very nice chat, and I thanked him as best I could in my poor Italian. But he was very happy to see us, too, and he was happy that we remembered him. And so that was gratifying for us to be able to, after sixty years, to be able to thank our benefactor.

TI: It just seems, I mean, for you to have gone back so many times, this farmhouse, this incident, meant a lot to you.

JS: Well, it did, yeah. Of course, in our early years of marriage, we couldn't afford to go over there. So, but later when we had the means, I certainly wanted to find him to be able to thank him, but we didn't know whether he was alive or what. But it was really fortunate that he was still living. He has since passed away, but we are fortunate that we were able to thank him.

TI: And so did you tell the other guys like Ken Higashi?

JS: Yes.

TI: So they appreciated that you did this.

JS: Well, we invited them, too, but it was certainly short notice, and we were, we felt the urgency because of his age. He died at the age of ninety-three, so it was a couple years after we met with him that he passed away.

TI: Oh, that's a good story.

JS: Yeah, it is.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

TI: So let's go back and talk about sort of the rest of your involvement in Europe. So you're, were Pisa, you had the incident with Pete Fujino.

JS: Yes.

TI: Now, were you shipped to France?

JS: Yes. After Pisa, we were shipped to southern France. And in southern France, the Allies were really pushing the Germans back, and we had to, we couldn't just march, we had to board trucks in order to catch up with where the front lines were. But the, I think the most important encounter was the rescue of the "Lost Battalion." And I'm sure that you've heard stories of that, but in that engagement, we survived, but I, I had trench feet, 'cause we had feet that were soaking wet for days, and hadn't taken off our shoes. And so once we were relieved from that after rescuing the "Lost Battalion," that evening I, when I took off my boots, the feet swelled up and that was the end.

TI: So let's go back to the rescue of the "Lost Battalion."

JS: Yes.

TI: And what was your squad's role in that rescue?

JS: Well, you know, initially, my recollection was that we were in support. We were not the spearheading platoon, but I do have a recollection of seeing someone from Seattle. And of course, everyone knows Shiro Kashino and his role. But as we were going up this hill, and it was like the hills in Washington, they were, it's a forest, the trees, like fir trees. But as we were moving up this hillside, for some reason, there was this guy standing there, it happened, it turned out to be Shiro Kashino. And I don't know what his role was, but he was telling our lieutenant and captain, "Your company's over here, line up your areas here." And so to me, when I got up there, Shiro said, in a quiet voice, he says, "Oh, hi, Turk," and I said, "Hi, Shiro," and we, of course, he was with a different company, he was with I Company. And so, but the thing was, the amazing thing to me was here's this individual, he's a noncommissioned individual, GI, he's telling our officers in our company where we should go. So it seemed to me as if he was kind of directing that hill as if he were the commander, but he wasn't. He wasn't the commander, in fact, he had been busted before. But, so I came away with the impression that that's an outstanding soldier.

TI: And the officers felt comfortable taking orders from Shiro?

JS: Yes, exactly.

TI: Because he a reputation for...

JS: He had a reputation, yeah.

TI: ...had the respect of...

JS: Nobody, not one the officers said, "What the hell are you doing?" or anything like that. They just accepted his word that we should be over here. So that's an amazing, to me, was an amazing role that I saw personally.

TI: And so you're now positioned on the hill, then what happened?

JS: Well, then, of course, it's... as I say, we were kind of in support; we were not on the leading edge. But we were close enough to the German soldiers that we could hear them and they could hear us. But it was a miserable time because it was raining and we were in foxholes, and the foxholes would fill with water. [Laughs] And it was just not comfortable. But, so we did not, or company or our squad did not actually come up to the Texans. So we were just part of that whole force.

TI: But were you engaged in firefights as you were advancing?

JS: You know, yes, we were. Because it wasn't like you could see them and you'd fire, but you could hear them, the Germans.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

TI: And so then after the rescue, you still were sort of up there on the front for still a few days, and then finally you said when you came off, you took your boots off and your feet just swelled up?

JS: Yes. Well, we were then put into some sort of a barn away from the front there. We were relieved, in other words. And, and so we were in this barn with hay to sleep on and so forth. And so I took off my boots, and immediately they swole up and you couldn't even walk, you know, you couldn't stand on 'em. So that was the end of my service.

TI: Because what kind of recovery? I mean, what would have to happen to recover from trenchfoot?

JS: Well, all it is is time, I guess. And it was a painful experience, and you couldn't tolerate the sheets to be touching your feet in bed. So what they did was, like, cardboard box, they'd cut off one end of it so it'd be a three-sided box, and so that the sheets wouldn't touch your feet. And you know, interesting thing, in my interview with Hanashi people, I didn't realize it, but I had said that I lost all my toes. And while I was saying it, what I really meant was I lost all my toenails, not my toes, because I still have them. [Laughs] But years afterwards, they had sent me a tape of that, and I listened to that and I told my wife, "Hey, I didn't realize I said I had lost all my toes," which was not true. [Laughs]

TI: And so after you recovered from trenchfoot, then what happened?

JS: Well, I was sent, it would be some months before you could recover. I was sent from, down to Marseilles, and then from Marseilles, a ship to Boston, a hospital ship. And then from Boston I was sent to Spokane, to a hospital in Spokane. And they tried a treatment in Spokane, and it was on my, it was a spinal tap that they made. They stimulated one side -- I had trenchfeet on both feet -- and in order to help the improvement of the circulation and so forth. And I do know that for years afterwards, I had athlete's feet on the side that they did not treat. I don't know if that was just by coincidence, but I had, I've had athlete's feet for years, but not on the foot, the side that they treated with that spinal tap.

TI: That's interesting. And so you're in Spokane, at what point did you see your parents again?

JS: Let's see. I saw my parents, they had moved from camp to Connecticut, and they were working, my father was cooking for a family, and my mother did housework. And so I visited them after I returned, I was discharged. And I was living in Chicago because I had hoped to, I applied to the University of Chicago. But that's an accelerated system where some very bright students, and I would never have made it there, but I tried to get in. But they wouldn't accept me because they, they had to give preference to in-state residents, veterans. So I came, I moved from Chicago to Seattle to enroll at the UW.

TI: And so you finally did get your college education.

JS: Yes, I did.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

TI: And then tell me how it was seeing your parents after all this, your military service.

JS: Well, yeah, it was kind of sad because my father and mother were working essentially as, as house servants. But they were happy, they enjoyed living in a part of the country, New England states, and they liked to travel by bus or whatever and visit the historic areas of the U.S. They went back there because when they first came to the U.S., to America, they landed in Seattle and spent all the years there, and had never traveled.

TI: And so for you, when you said it was sad, why was it sad to see...

JS: Well, it was sad to, in my mind, because to see your parents working as, as servants. And they had, my dad had a college education and so did my mother. And so they had spent their lives here, and of course they had raised all of us, and that's a chore in itself. But to see them working as, it was just sad, that's all.

TI: And so did they eventually make it back to the West Coast?

JS: No, they didn't. I had, Sally was living in Connecticut, and Pat Oyabe, I don't know if you know Pat Oyabe, but your dad knows Pat. But my father and mother, they lived back there and worked until they retired, and I can't tell you when that was, but then they traveled by bus across the U.S. because they wanted to see the U.S. And they, and I had a brother that was living in Santa Monica at that time. My brother had gotten his Ph.D. and he was working for, I think it was RAND, Research and Development. Anyway, my parents came out to visit him in Santa Monica, and so I met them there. And let's see... about a year afterwards, my father and mother were, they didn't drive, but they liked to take their walks. And they were taking their -- for their health -- and they were crossing a street in the crosswalk, and they were hit by an automobile. And it's unfortunate because the driver was not drunk, he was a responsible individual. It was just that it was in the evening, and the sunlight was difficult. And he ran them down, and my father was killed at a... well, he died within an hour, I believe. And my mother lasted for a few more days, and then she died as well.

TI: And where was this again? Was this...

JS: In California, Santa Monica.

TI: How tragic.

JS: It was, yeah. It was sad, but... the family, it was tragic for them, too, that, the driver's family. He was, as I said, a responsible individual. I think he worked for RCA or Westinghouse or something like that, and he had two teenage kids. And there was no real violation on his part except that he violated the right of individuals in a crosswalk. But it was a, purely an accident.

TI: How tragic.

JS: Yeah.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

TI: So we're, we're kind of winding down this interview.

JS: Sure.

TI: The last part I just wanted to finish with is, is how you met your wife.

JS: Oh. Well, you know, your dad is a good friend of Juggo Hata, and you know David and Larry. Well, Juggo is married to Yuri's sister, and I met Yuri through Juggo.

TI: So this was through a mutual friend back in Seattle, you met Yuri, and you started dating.

JS: Right.

TI: And so how much, how long did it take before the two of you got married?

JS: Let's see. I would say that it was relatively short. I had graduated from the university, and my plan was to go east to where my folks were. And, let's see, so I had met Yuri about a year before we got married. And so since I was planning to go back east, I guess I must have proposed to her, and she said, "Okay." And we had planned to then go back together, but at the urging of my family, my parents, they said, "If you have a job out, out there, in Seattle, that would be just fine." They were doing okay back east on their own. And so I hadn't, while I was going to school, I worked as a janitor cleaning the offices of an engineering firm. And when I graduated, the owner, he knew that I was in engineering. He said, "Well, if you'd like a job," he'd... 'cause he liked the way I cleaned his floors, I guess. [Laughs] So I accepted a job with them. The firm's name was Kerry & Kramer, and now it's called KCM, yeah. KCM stands for Kramer, Chin, and Mayo. Art Chin, do you know Art Chin?

TI: Yes, I do.

JS: Yeah. Art was, became the CEO of that firm. It's a fine consulting engineering firm. So I worked for them and, until I went into construction.

TI: And then how about children? Did you and Yuri have children?

JS: Yes.

TI: And so tell me about your children.

JS: Okay. We have four children. Yuri was married prior to my marriage to her, and so our daughter Cheryl, the eldest, who is fifty-nine now, she was three years old when I married Yuri. And then I adopted Cheryl. Then we had our son Dean, who's our oldest boy. I think it was about, about a year after we were married, we had Dean. And then we had Jason, who was a year younger than Dean. And then there was about four years and we had our youngest, Doug. So we have four.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 2007 Densho. All Rights Reserved.