Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Susumu Oshima Interview
Narrator: Susumu Oshima
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Kona, Hawaii
Date: June 9, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-osusumu-01-0016

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: So he's there, and then what I've read is, so something unfortunate happened in May 1942. So he's at Fort Sill, can you describe what happened to your father?

SO: Well, that morning, there was a lot of, I think I was reading about him, and then there were all different stories, too. But mainly he was, let's see, he was playing Hanafuda, he didn't have fun, he walked away, and he wanted to cut some wood with an axe, he asked for axe and no one would let him. And after walking around, then he snapped, and started to run for the barbed wire trying to escape. And the other internees said, "Don't shoot," to the guard, because you know those sentries, being in the service against the Japanese, they would be glad to shoot that guy. So that's what happened. "Don't shoot, don't shoot." He cannot get far, but he just pulled the trigger, and then he went down and died right there.

TI: Now, did the family ever, were they ever able to talk with anyone that was an eyewitness to this?

SO: Well, the government did have, like Spain, the consulate in Spain I think was in charge of Japanese. So they were investigating, and said, "Oh, he tried to escape, so that's his fault."

TI: Now, I'm wondering, but like maybe after the war, did anyone that was at Fort Sill, did anyone visit the family and explain what happened?

SO: Well, just had one minister, local minister, he came back, and then he talked to my mother what happened. And then he was Reverend Nakayama. Whether he was close by or next tent or the same tent, I'm not sure. Forgot.

TI: But he came back and talked to your mother?

SO: Yeah.

TI: So when your father was shot and killed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, how did the family find out that this happened?

SO: Well, not immediately after what took place. But later on we found out. And then they would send a death certificate, that gunshot wound, he died from. So that's how we found out.

TI: Did your mother receive any other notice before the death certificate? How was she informed that your father was killed?

SO: Probably through the police department, through the army and then through the police department, they came to notify. I was at school.

TI: And do you know where your mother, was your mother at home or someplace else when she was...

SO: Yeah, she was at home. She was in the front of the store where the bench, so she was sitting there and talking with one of the neighbors. And then when she heard that, she just cried and cried, that's all.

TI: And how did you find out? Did they come to the school to tell you, or did you find out when you came home?

SO: No. Somebody came up to the school to notify that my father passed away. And all of a sudden I had a feeling, just, light feeling, lost someone valuable.

TI: And so when you first found out, you didn't really probably know what happened.

SO: No.

TI: So what were you thinking when you heard that your father...

SO: Just blank. Wonder what happened.

TI: When you went home, what was the reaction of the family?

SO: Just that Dad is gone, and can't do anything. And with the war going on, you just couldn't do anything, just listening.

TI: Do you remember anything, maybe your older brother, one of your older brothers said or said should happen?

SO: No one could answer, no one could say much because, you know, with the war going on, everything is, even the news is just go out and just, your father passed away, that's all. So we were just lost.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.