Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Miyamoto Interview I
Narrator: Frank Miyamoto
Interviewer: Stephen Fugita
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Date: February 26, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mfrank-01-0018

<Begin Segment 18>

SF: So, when you went on to junior high and high school, you started to play a lot of sports and that sort of thing?

FM: Yeah, sports obviously, are the means by which one can get especially well accepted into a juvenile society. I was not a great sportsman. I thought I was, but somehow I wasn't as skilled as I might have been. I was fairly fast on my feet, and so I ultimately in high school turned out for track and was on the track team, but I never won a letter. I couldn't run fast enough to win a letter. And in baseball, football and things like this, I really wasn't as good as I might have been. The other thing that stands out in my mind however is that, as far as sports went, the sports activities in the Japanese community were very much better organized than in my white society, the white society that I was in touch with. And my friends and I would play baseball or football, but somehow it involved nothing much more than occasional games on the school field and there was never any kind of team that was organized, whereas in the Japanese community, it was typical that if you played football or played baseball or basketball, very rapidly you would get drawn into some kind of team organization. I became aware then very early that there was a difference of this kind between the Japanese and the white community. My situation was peculiar in that, in the main, my school day was spent in the Caucasian community, however, my father had his business in the Japanese community and he had his business contacts. Also my relatives lived in the Japanese community and they had a host of sons. In fact there were eight boys in the family, one of whom who was a little bit older and bigger than I, became my, well in a sense a role model or he became the guy that I was always tagging along with. And so, especially on weekends, I would spend a great deal of time in the Japanese community with my relatives, family, especially in contact with this cousin of mine. As a result of that, I learned a great deal about what was going on in the Japanese community and got involved in team sports in the Japanese community which I would not have otherwise. But then during the weekday, why I was involved with my white friends, who as I say, somehow never had this kind of organizational network in which they could get involved. In high school of course they had -- or, yeah, in high school -- they had football or basketball teams and so on. But in the elementary grades (there) was nothing like the little league that exists now at that time and there was never any team sports that we got involved in, in any systematic fashion.

SF: So I think you've made the observation before that for Nisei adolescents or young adult that in a sense their life might have been richer in terms of social choices, which is a really interesting observation.

FM: Yes. That was my observation at that time. I began to feel that as far as finding others with whom one could engage in common interest activities, it was much easier to do so in the Japanese community than in the white community. The white community was broken up, it was very difficult to get organized activity going. And you might have an occasional, you might have one or two close friends, but beyond that, there was not very much that one could do that was as interesting as was going on in the Japanese community. There were things like Boy Scouts for example. I joined the Boy Scout troop in my local neighborhood and we had trips and things like this with the Boy Scout troop, but when I later joined the Japanese troop, I found that things were much more interesting there than in the white community., namely because the organization was stronger and better and there was much more joint activity going on in the Japanese community than in the white community. So I think that probably is a typical difference between white and Japanese community even today. That the Japanese for whatever reason, have an exceptional capacity for organizing. And members of the Japanese community have in a sense, an exceptional capacity for getting together and functioning well, coordinating their activities in a fashion that one doesn't find in the Caucasian community. And that was true in my, my early days.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.