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_2-01-0006

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: Okay, well, let's, why don't we talk about that? So the date December 7, 1941, do you remember that day?

FH: Yeah. We were home. They were working and I was listening to the radio, and then I heard that so I went out and told them.

TI: And what was the reaction when you told them?

FH: Almost disbelief, but I guess in a way they had felt something was going on. I didn't notice it, didn't bother me at all, but they seemed to have noticed something was coming, because of the interaction between the countries.

TI: Now, did the outbreak of war affect their employment? Did they have any problems with --

FH: No, no. They wanted, in fact, the one place where we were said that I could stay and be a test case.

TI: Explain that.

FH: They would take care of me and see if we could avoid it, but my folks didn't like that idea.

TI: Oh, so the people that your parents worked for, they were willing to have you stay --

FH: Stay there.

TI: -- in Piedmont while your parents would be...

FH: Would be interned.

TI: Interned, or, or...

FH: Or sent to wherever they were sent to.

TI: But your parents said they didn't want that. They wanted to keep you together with the family.

FH: Yes.

TI: Now did you know that this was a possibility when...

FH: Well, I had heard that. They said, they told me what she said, but they said no, we have to stick together.

TI: Now, do you recall the name of the family that was willing to do this?

FH: No, I don't remember her name anymore. It's been a while.

TI: Okay. That's interesting.

FH: They were very nice people, though.

TI: And for you, when you went to school the next day, what was it like for you at school?

FH: Not bad 'cause I was the only the Japanese there, so I was an oddity, I suppose. But, no, they've all known, they knew me for a while, so they didn't think anything about it.

TI: But, now, how did you feel, though? Because here, I'm sure the big news at school was the, you know, the start of the war, and it's against Japan and your ancestry is Japanese.

FH: Yeah.

TI: So did you have any kind of funny feelings or any feelings about being, having your grandparents coming from Japan, any sense about that?

FH: No, nothing. Because I had been accepted all the time, never had any trouble, so just assumed that it would be the same. And all my friends, the friends at school were all nice and didn't think anything about it. Course, I don't think it really sunk in with our, at our age group. If we were older we probably would've had more different feelings.

TI: And at this point you're about, what, fourteen, fifteen years old? I think you're, you would be, you're born 1926, so about, yeah, fifteen, fifteen years old.

FH: Roughly.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.