Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Muramatsu Interview
Narrator: Frank Muramatsu
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 10, 2015
Densho ID: denshovh-mfrank_2-01-0010

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TI: So, Frank, right before the break, we were talking about the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and that you had all these soldiers there. Because I was mentioning most people, almost, I think, every other person I interviewed, at most they maybe had one or two people visit their place right after the war. So it was curious that you had so many people. So tell me a little bit more about that.

FM: Well, we lived about maybe a quarter mile back from the paved road we had to go through on our land. And yes, we could see as we were walking this quarter mile to the house area, that there were many people there, and they were soldiers with rifles and so forth. And the first contact, verbal contact that I had was... and one was when I first stepped into the house, the guy asked me, "What are you doing here?" And I told him that, "I live here." And they had done a fair amount of searching already in the house. (...) As far as (...) doing anything with the stuff that we owned, Japanese type stuff, we didn't have time during the day. But shortly after, they did a lot of searching because a lot of the drawers and things were in disarray. But that afternoon, they were there for quite a while. That afternoon, they took my dad away to do some more interrogation, evidently. We had no idea whether (...) we were going to see him again. But fortunately, it was late, ten, maybe, he did come back. He was never really taken away.

TI: Now, after that incident, did they ever come back to the farm to check things out?

FM: Not that I was aware of. They may have. I think they came back a little bit later and gave us, brought back some of the things that they had confiscated like the lanterns. Then we had these lanterns, and in order to go, for us to go to the barn area, we didn't have lights back there, we had to go there at night, we had to carry a lantern.

TI: Now did your dad, do you think your dad requested to get the lanterns back?

FM: I would imagine that he did, yeah. Because... but on the other hand, we weren't doing any work by then. Work completely stopped, and we just didn't do anything in the way of farm associated work.

TI: And then tell me again, and then shortly after December 7th, they decided, "We need to expand the airport?"

FM: Yeah.

TI: And so how did they let the family know that they had to leave? Did they come out, did they send a letter?

FM: (...) I don't know whether they did it by letter, but we made plans fairly quickly after that to move away. Of course, Pop had to go find a place to live, and he did... well, he knew that Mr. Okazaki had some buildings on his property to be able to handle a family as large as ours, and he did that. Whether he did it by letter or what, I imagine somebody came out and talked to Dad.

TI: Now how important was the airport to the war effort? I'm trying to think, because back then it wasn't that large...

FM: Well, they had a contingent of, I think the Air Force had a (base) off to the side.

TI: Okay, so the military was using the...

FM: Yeah, they were using it.

TI: Okay. And so given the, I guess, fear during the time, or just the uncertainty, there was probably, some people were probably concerned having Japanese families so close to the airport with a military sort of contingent there.

FM: When we had to undergo the registration and all that sort of thing, things that were required of us after the war, (...) started, I remember it was all from Mr. Okazaki's place. When we had the curfew, it was there that I remember we had to go back home, and it was to the Okazaki farm that we had to go back to. And, of course, when we left, it was from there, naturally. But we had... everything was done. Because we had to move away from the airport pretty quickly, much before the evacuation efforts were begun.

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