Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Henry Miyatake Interview I
Narrator: Henry Miyatake
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 26, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mhenry-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: As he was talking about this, did you share his sort of impending fear that something might happen to the Japanese?

HM: Well, I was kind of naive at that point. I didn't think they were going to do anything to us. The only thing that caused me concern was the fact that my brother was a radio amateur. And on December 7th, when we got the news about 3:30 in the afternoon, December 7th, that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor, my brother thought, "Well, you know, I guess this is the end to our ham radio functions because we can't operate any transmissions." They came with a new message from the FCC to all the ham radio operators, that they should cease transmission. First of all because it's a radio beacon function, they can follow the radio propagation. And the other thing is that they don't want any transmissions to foreign destinations. First thing that happened that afternoon was the fact that Nobi Shigehara comes running over to our place and says, "They took my Dad." We says, "What are you talking about they took your dad?" He says, "These guys came and they took him into custody and drove off with him." Then, well...

TI: How did that make you feel when you...

HM: Well... that provoked my dad into action, he went to pack his suitcase. [Laughs] And he took some pictures off the wall, I remember. And then he was scrimmaging around with some of the family records and stuff. And I thought, "Gee, well, Nobi's dad was a veteran of the Russo-Japanese war, and he was member of the army. And because of that, they took him into custody." All former military of Japan, they had it on the FBI records of course, and they took all those guys the evening of December 7th. The next thing that happened was George Sekiya was a radio amateur like my brother. He called up and said, "They took all my equipment! These guys came and took the whole... all my equipment, everything I had."

TI: How did the FBI know who had equipment, radio equipment?

HM: Oh, if you're a radio amateur, you're registered. Name, address all this kind of stuff. They give you a call number. Well, like my call number was W7MFE. Which is, if it's W7 that means you're a old timer. But my brother had call letters and he was registered with the FCC. So gee, it was about fifteen minutes after we received the call from George Sekiya that here are guys pounding on our door. They identified themselves and I wasn't close to the door so I couldn't see what they showed 'em. Anyway, they came into our place and my brother showed them his equipment and all that kind of stuff. They started writing down a bunch of notations. And they, my brother, at that time, was a rifle marksman and he had a single shot target rifle up there, his pride and joy. They asked him if he had any other weapons, and he had a couple others. [Laughs] Then they asked if there's any other weapons in the house. My dad had a .32 and .38, and couple other weapons so they asked him to bring them out. So they brought them all out. They asked him about any short wave radios. I had one myself, so we brought that one out and they inventoried the whole thing and says, "Do you have any other transmitters besides the one you have on the table?" Yeah, we have another one. So they asked him for that one and he brought that one out. He was still working on it and it was in stages of assembly but they wanted it anyway. They gave him a hand written receipt of all the things represented and never saw any of it since then. [Laughs] But, they took it all. But my father was all ready to go. He had his suitcase packed. He thought they were coming after him. But luckily he didn't go. But they took the equipment and that's it.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.