Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Sadaichi Kubota Interview
Narrator: Sadaichi Kubota
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: July 1, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-ksadaichi-01-0010

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SK: So after the summer ended before school started, I said, "Well, the money is good so I better stick on working." And then I was living with a family, friend of the family, and Sunday morning I was strolling the street after breakfast, and I see puffs of smoke up in the sky towards Pearl Harbor. I told myself, "Gee, what the heck is going on?" Then I saw planes swooping down, but yet I cannot see the insignia so I don't know whether it's an attack or anything. And then I saw cars, not the normal speed, they're really speeding, so I hurriedly went back to my, to the home, turned on the radio, then I heard the words: this is the real thing, this is war. The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor and my, just, hair just rose up, but at that time I said, "Gee, what a dumb thing to do, to attack Pearl Harbor like this." But I didn't know the real reason, being a country boy, never read the newspapers that much, but then I thought what a shame that two countries would be fighting like this. And then (...) announcer said, "All soldiers, all in the military return to your base," so I saw men in uniform taking (...) street (cars) or personal (cars) heading toward Fort Shafter or whatever. Then we continued to work as laborers.

TI: Before we go on, I mean, when, and so after the attack and you heard the radio and you saw the men, what did you think would happen to you? I mean, did you think about the pilots in those planes were Japanese, that you were of Japanese ancestry. What were you thinking at that point?

SK: Well, I was twenty-one years old at that time, so I thought, "Well, this is war. I guess I'm going to be involved also." That was my first thought, yeah. But then being Japanese myself, I thought, "Gee, what a tragedy to be fighting my own countrymen, yeah, my own race." But then I said, "Well" -- I'm thinking to myself -- "well, if we have to fight, it can't be helped. They'll fight for their country and I'll have to fight for my country." Practically the same thing I told my parents, my thoughts were in that line. So I worked for about a couple weeks after that here in Honolulu, and then I went back home just to be beside my -- stay at my parents' home and...

TI: Why did you do that? Because I would think there was lots of work that needed to be done on Oahu. Were there, did you feel a need to go back to Hilo? Did your parents need you?

SK: Well, yeah. I realized there would be more money here in Honolulu, but then I felt that my parents needed me in Hilo because to my family, my siblings, I was Anisan, the big brother. My big brother is in Japan and we had not much contact so my siblings, younger siblings, considered me as a big brother, you see. So this is the reason, too, I felt I should go home and well, work there.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.