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Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Makoto Otsu Interview
Narrator: Makoto Otsu
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (secondary), Barbara Yasui (primary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 24, 2022
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-497-9

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: Okay, so let's go to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Do you remember how you heard about that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, where you were?

MO: I was in the new house there. And I think when they... well, they came and took my radio, I think. We were under curfew, we couldn't go out after dark.

TI: Now, do you remember going to school the Monday after Pearl Harbor and what it was like going to school?

MO: I don't know whether we were going to school at that time.

TI: Yeah, so December, I think in the United States, people were still going to school.

MO: I don't know whether we stopped going to school or not, right there.

TI: I mean, do you remember going to school at all after Pearl Harbor?

MO: I think I went to school. I finished grade ten, so Pearl Harbor was December, right?

TI: Yeah.

MO: So I finished that year.

TI: I guess what I'm thinking about is whether or not you or the other Japanese were treated differently after Pearl Harbor.

MO: No. I don't think we were treated any different.

BY: So when did things start to change? Like when were there... you had mentioned the curfew and they took your radio, like how soon after Pearl Harbor did all of that happen?

MO: Well, I think we were stopped from going outside right after the war broke out.

TI: Do you remember any changes with your father or your uncles or his cousin in terms of their work and how they changed?

MO: I don't think so. Well, that's December, so there's no fishing, they weren't fishing.

TI: So eventually your family is going to move from Steveston. Do you remember getting ready for that? Like preparing the house or the boat or anything like that?

MO: Well, I think my dad tried to sell his boat to somebody. But I think he left it for the custodian, they call it government custodian. They looked after the fishing boats and the house, and they were sold on the auction or something like that. I don't think my dad got any money out of it.

TI: But before that happened, before they gave it to the custodian, do you remember, like, packing things up and storing them in some ways?

MO: I don't think they did.

TI: For the Japanese families during this time, what were people thinking?

MO: Oh, they thought the war is not going to last that long. That's what the Japanese people were thinking.

TI: Because they thought that the war would be over really fast and Japan would lose or win?

MO: Oh, I don't know. You know, the Japanese people think, this war is not going to last that long. So that's part of why the... the government didn't come and gather all the people like they did in the States.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2022 Densho. All Rights Reserved.