Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Hiratsuka Interview
Narrator: Frank Hiratsuka
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Skokie, Illinois
Date: June 15, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-hfrank_2-01-0004

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: Yeah, let's back up, and so when you were in Palo Alto, so let's talk about your classmates. Were there very many other Japanese classmates?

FH: No. No. I think I was the only one in my school.

TI: And how was that, being the only Japanese in your school?

FH: It was, I was treated normally like everybody else, so it was fine. I didn't have any problems with anyone. There wasn't any discrimination or anything as far as that was, that I noticed.

TI: Now, how about you in terms of a sense of being Japanese? Did your parents ever talk with you, or did you know that you were Japanese and were perhaps, you know, racially different than...

FH: No, it was never brought up on that.

TI: So how about things like Japanese language school? Were you sent to Japanese language school?

FH: Not there. Not in Palo Alto. Later on when I was in Piedmont I went to school for about a year. That was about it.

TI: Now, when I, when I said Japanese language school you had a little, you made a little face, so what was Japanese language school like for you?

FH: It was, it was mostly fun because it was after regular school. We used to go there after regular school and then we came home, so it was sort of a drag, I guess.

TI: [Laughs] So first you said it was fun, then a drag, so...

FH: Well, it was both. I guess there was fun in everything and there's both things. You meet a lot of people I never met before. That was a lot of Japanese that I never met before, but that's about the only time I really had too much contact.

TI: Too much contact with other Japanese?

FH: Japanese, except when I went to my grandfather's place. They used to go there once a week. On their day off they'd go down to his place.

TI: And then when you went to your grandfather's place, then there were a lot more Japanese there? Or what...

FH: No, just the boys who were there, in the family.

TI: Okay. So it sounds like, so when you were growing up, as a young boy, there weren't very many Japanese other than your family.

FH: No.

TI: And most of your contact was probably with family in terms of Japanese.

FH: Yeah.

TI: Until later on, Piedmont, then you mentioned the Japanese language school, and then you...

FH: That was more so than...

TI: Okay, this is, this is good. This is interesting.

FH: Actually, in San Jose I, we went, we used to go to a Japanese school, but that was mostly fun and games.

TI: And so when you would go to a Japanese event like a picnic, were there lots, you have your family, so there's lots of people there, but lots of other Japanese. What would you think when you saw so many Japanese? How did, how was --

FH: It was nice. It was nice. But they all spoke English and everything. It was all, the kids always spoke English there.

TI: Now, did you feel like there was a difference between when you were at school amongst, I think, primarily your white friends, and then you'd go to a Japanese event like Japanese language school or a picnic? Did you feel like there was a difference in how kids played or anything like that?

FH: No, they all used to play the same just about.

TI: Okay. Growing up, what about church? Did you attend church?

FH: Not really. We went to a Buddhist church in Palo Alto for, we didn't really go to church. I went to school -- well, I went there periodically, but not regularly. We didn't attend church regularly.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.