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Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Homer Yasui Interview
Narrator: Homer Yasui
Interviewers: Barbara Yasui (primary), Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: February 11, 2022
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-491-8

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BY: So then you're in Denver for three years or so, you decide to apply to medical school. What made you do that and what was that whole process like?

HY: Oh, medical school applications. I don't remember how many medical schools there were that would accept, you know, outside the Western Defense Command, but I think it was around thirty or more. This is private schools and state schools all included. I think there were more than thirty. And of the thirty that I applied to, one accepted, and that was the Hahnemann medical hospital and college. And maybe the only reason they accepted me was because that medical school was under probation, meaning they may have their license pulled if they didn't do any better. But they accepted me and a hundred other guys from all over the United States, and that's what saved me. I think that I must have been second class type student, so they took me. But Hahnemann was under probation.

BY: And it was because your brother was going to be a doctor?

HY: Well, no. Shu had already gotten into medical school. Shu was smart. Well, he was. He'd gone to the University of Wisconsin. He applied to many different colleges, too, but he was accepted by Temple University, which is a private school, but a very prestigious school in Philadelphia. Already had been accepted, he was almost two years ahead of me. By the time I got accepted, he was, I think, a sophomore at Temple, which is in Philadelphia. So I was joining him in Philadelphia, not the same school. He was at a prestigious school, I was at a probationary school.

BY: But... and do you think that Philadelphia, that people were able to go to Philadelphia also because of the Quaker connection? Does that...

HY: Oh, I like to think it was because of the Quaker influence. But anyway, Chicago, Denver, maybe Salt Lake, New York, Philadelphia, were magnets for the Nikkei, because there were lots of Nikkei in Philadelphia. But as in Denver, I hung mainly to people that I knew, mainly Nikkei. And so my social life in Philadelphia, like in Denver, was not all that great. I mean, I'd go out dancing and partying.

BY: 'Til you met Mom, right?

HY: Pardon?

BY: Until you met Mom?

HY: Well, yeah, but that was late in my life in Philadelphia. That wasn't early.

BY: Okay. And so do you have any idea how many Nikkei lived in Philadelphia in those years?

HY: No, I have no idea. But I'm sure there's statistics that will tell you around '45, 1945.

BY: But there was a significant number.

HY: There were lots of them, yeah. But you know, Philadelphia is huge compared to Denver.

BY: Yeah, yeah.

HY: And New York was even huger.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2022 Densho. All Rights Reserved.