Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Akiko Kurose Interview II
Narrator: Akiko Kurose
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 2 & 3, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-kakiko-02-0004

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AI: Did they emphasize any values that, for example, emphasize any values about being American, or stress anything about acting in an American way?

AK: No. It was... when the war broke out is when my dad said, "You know" -- to my brother, he was the oldest in the family and he was in college already -- he says, "You know, Haru, you may have to take care of the family because your mom and I are not citizens and we may be taken away." With no thought of us being incarcerated or anything like that. They just thought it's a given that, okay, the war broke out, they're Japanese aliens, that they'll be suspect or something.

AI: And when was this, was this soon after Pearl Harbor was bombed? Or was it sometime after?

AK: Uh-huh. Well then, all the rumors started coming around. Then my dad...

AI: In fact, let me ask you if you remember before Pearl Harbor, now that year was 1941, and you would have been sixteen? What grade were you in?

AK: Senior.

AI: An senior in high school. So you were, that fall you were beginning your senior year in high school? And then that fall in high school, do you remember anything leading up to the war? Some families said they --

AK: Not really. I was in the band, and I was in the dramatic club. And I was just having a good time. And, but I do remember we were in Girl, Girl Reserves and it was a Nisei group.

AI: An all-Nisei Girl Reserves?

AK: Uh-huh.

AI: What kinds of things did the Reserves do?

AK: Just went to the Y and just did crafts or something. But it wasn't any emphasis on being a -- maybe it wasn't all-Nisei, now I can't quite remember, but we just went and did activities like that. But I never felt that it was any exclusive thing. And, I was a kind of a joiner, so I joined the Girl Scouts -- and the Girl Reserves, and...

AI: But you don't remember your parents talking about the possibility of war with Japan, or anything like that?

AK: No. In fact, my parents didn't... I know some of the people were saving tinfoil and things, for the Japanese army or for Japan and things. And so I kind of joined in a couple times, I guess, to give my friends... we used to save the foil from the Hershey kisses, that was the big thing, and see who could make the biggest ball or something. But it really wasn't a big emphasis. So it didn't...

AI: So really it didn't really enter your mind very much until Pearl Harbor was actually bombed.

AK: Right. And I was not sophisticated enough to think of it in terms of a political thing. It's a... I really didn't know anything about politics. I didn't know where Pearl Harbor was, and didn't care at the time. You know what I mean, I hadn't a clue.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.