Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Thomas T. Kobayashi Interview
Narrator: Thomas T. Kobayashi
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: April 30, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-kthomas-01

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: Okay, so let's go back to right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Any events or memories from that time that stand out?

TK: Well, what I remember most is that at that time, all the shades had to be drawn. I remember sneaking, taking a peek underneath, and we would see these searchlights over West Seattle going like this. [Waves arm back and forth]. I remember that.

TI: And what would you think when you would peek and the whole city's dark except for these searchlights?

TK: I think of it now, it seemed like a game. [Laughs] War games.

TI: How would you... like on Sundays when you would go to --

TK: Church?

TI: -- church, would people talk about what was going on, or would Father Tibesar say anything about what was going on?

TK: No. But I remember that curfew was six o'clock, so we had to be home by six, and in the house.

TI: Okay. How about your father and mother? Did you ever talk to them about what was happening or what might happen?

TK: Good question, because I asked Dad one time, "What's going to happen to us?" And you know what he said? "The government will take care of us." I'm gonna cry. "The government will take of us," that's what he said. So they were Americanized then, the parents were. 'Cause what happened to us would happen to him and Mom, too. "What's going to happen to us?" I remember asking him.

TI: And so when the government ordered the removal and later on went to camp, did you ever talk to him about how he felt then?

TK: No. I remember we had to get rid of everything that was Japanese, everything. Textbooks, anything that looked "Japanesey" we had to, I remember burning them.

TI: Did you ever get a sense that he felt disappointed in the government in terms of what happened to him and other Japanese?

TK: Well, at that time, I was only twenty-four or so. Didn't dawn on me. Discrimination didn't dawn on me then.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.