Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Lillian Sato Interview
Narrator: Lillian Sato
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: July 6, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-slillian-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

MA: So I'm curious about Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. What do you remember about that day or hearing the news about Pearl Harbor?

LS: Well, I wasn't aware of all the political things or the tension between the U.S. and Japan. And so I really didn't know that Pearl Harbor was attacked 'til the next day when my girlfriend told me that, because my parents didn't say anything to us. And so that happened on Sunday, and we went to school on Monday. And like I said, overnight, all my school friends for six years, they kind of turned against you. And that kind of frustrated me, I couldn't understand what was going on, and then we went to Japanese school after that, and that's when my girlfriend told me.

MA: I see. So you didn't know why they had turned their backs on you or they stopped talking?

LS: No. And then we still continued going to the American school, and of course the teachers explained everything, which was good.

MA: What did they teachers say?

LS: Well, said that we were born here, and we shouldn't be treated any differently. And the principal even came and talked to all the, especially the older ones, 'cause in sixth grade, fifth grade, we're more aware of what happened.

MA: So they were supporting the Nisei students.

LS: But of course as far as the children were concerned, they get all that at home, you know. And I think that turned them against us. I'm not saying all of 'em did, but the majority of them did.

MA: Did you continue to go to Japanese language school, or what happened to the Japanese school?

LS: Well, I think it closed down. We didn't go after that because all the authorities were at every Japanese home, and questioning, and taking some away and all that.

MA: Was your father ever afraid that the FBI would come target him?

LS: No, he didn't seem to. But come nighttime, it was a no-no to open the door except for that one time, when my dad asked who it is, and he says, "Japanese." And so he cautiously opened the door, and it was a couple of friends. And how they made it there is beyond me.

MA: Because there was a curfew, right?

LS: Uh-huh. And I think they came to discuss what everybody was gonna do. And my mom's sister lived here in Colorado, so that's what they planned on doing. By my dad had to get permit for all of us, including my parents.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright ©2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.