Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hiro Nishimura Interview
Narrator: Hiro Nishimura
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: April 28, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-nhiro-01-0015

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: So which base were you being trained at in Arkansas?

HN: March through... three months, three months. March through... three months' training, basic training.

TI: And where was basic training at? Where?

HN: Fort Robinson, Arkansas. Then came the shock, first shock in the army. After basic, okay, we're all going, the word was we were all going to Hawaii, all going Hawaii, to the Pacific Theatre. We all got on the -- well, everybody was getting, final day, we were all getting on the truck. No Nisei, we're all on the ground. We don't get, we're not ordered on the truck. So innocent me said, "How come we're not going on the truck, going to Hawaii?" Then it struck me. "Oh, yeah. Oh, sure. We're still discriminated." Then segregation, of course, that's why we didn't go. What a big disappointment. What a big disappointment. Then realization awakening that we are discriminated. We're not going to the war. We're not going with the white guys. Then we get shipped to another camp and we find out that they're all Japanese, no whites in the camp. We're segregated.

TI: And which camp was this? Where were you shipped after Robinson?

HN: I went to Camp Crowder, I think that was. Camp Crowder, Missouri. All the barracks we went to, all Nisei, no whites. "Oh, I see." Then it dawned on me, we're discriminated, that's right. We're still Japanese.

TI: About, at this Camp Crowder, about how many Niseis were there, would you say?

HN: The whole company.

TI: So hundreds.

HN: Hundreds, yeah. All Japanese. Then the realization came that we're discriminated.

TI: And so what did the army have you do during this time?

HN: Do? Menial tasks, KP, garbage detail, firing range. All the menial tasks. Pick up cigarette butts. Serving with the limited service people, who are handicapped. We were handicapped racially. We were, Nisei soldiers were discriminated because of the war.

TI: And how would you describe the morale of the Niseis?

HN: Morale? [Laughs] Of course, depression. Second-class soldiers, like I described myself, we were second-class soldiers. What else can they be? That's all we're doing. We're not soldiers.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2009 Densho. All Rights Reserved.