Densho Digital Archive
Densho Digital Archive Collection
Title: Frank H. Hirata Interview
Narrator: Frank H. Hirata
Interviewers: Martha Nakagawa (primary); Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Culver City, California
Date: February 23, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-hfrank-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

MN: I'm gonna go back to your National Higher School years. You said when you were attending National Higher School, you worked in the U.S. military on commissary. Did you meet any Nisei MIS people there?

FH: Yes, I did. He was a guy from Okinawa, and I call, I do not recall his name, but we used to chat very frequently, yes.

MN: What did you talk about? Did you talk about what was going on in the United States?

FH: No, no.

MN: Did he know that you were American citizen?

FH: I don't recall. I don't recall. Maybe he did, but I don't recall.

MN: So other than that, you had no interaction with Nisei MIS or any soldiers?

FH: No.

TI: But how did your feelings about the United States change after the war? I mean, so now the war is over. Before, you talked about how you had this, almost this hatred towards America. So the war is over now, and now you're starting to meet American soldiers. So how did things change for you?

FH: Complete change. It was not what we were told the Americans were, American soldiers were. Like there was a scare, quite a bit of scare during the wartime and so forth to beef up the anti-U.S. feeling and so forth. You can never have the Americans on Japan, Japanese soil, because all the Japanese males would be castrated, and all the females, they'll be turned into... well, those kind of things, you know, bad things. But it was not so once the U.S. soldiers started coming around. Very generous, and very, you know, person with a deep heart inside, yes. Because when I was going to school and so forth, and the National Higher School and so forth, we visited a British -- especially in the Okayama area, there was British and Australians and the American soldiers. But one of the soldiers had the bible study at his own residence and so forth, things like that. And gradually learned about what was taught about the Westerners, American and British and so forth, completely different. Not like what we were taught to believe in.

TI: And how long did it take in terms of that change from one way of thinking to the other, how long do you think it took for Japanese people to change their thinking about Americans?

FH: Well, I don't think, in general, it took very long. Of course, there were incidents like what happened in Brazil and so forth, you know, the kachigumi and makegumi, the winners team and the defeating teams and so forth, things like that. But that was more or less isolated. And I think as far as the PR, U.S. PR and so forth was very good, worked very effectively. So it didn't take very long for the Japanese to change their thinking and discover what wrong they were being taught to believe in and so forth. I don't think it took very long. Well, otherwise, you could have incident happening here and there and so forth, but we very seldom hear about those kind of things. Like attacking the Western soldiers and so forth, you never hear about that.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.