Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hiroko Nakashima Interview
Narrator: Hiroko Nakashima
Interviewer: Tracy Lai
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 15, 1999
Densho ID: denshovh-nhiroko-01-0015

<Begin Segment 15>

TL: Let's start talking again about when you were in high school, working in the factory, and the students were going to that, to work in that factory. And could you talk a little bit about when there was a bombing and what happened?

HN: Oh, it must have started, the bombing must have started when the war accelerated. And well, we used to have, they had these bomb shelters there all along. And one day the siren went off, and they said everybody had to run to the bomb shelter. And we were, didn't kind of believe that airplane would be coming. But then we saw the airplane actually, American airplane. And they started bombing. And later on we learned that one of schoolmate, well, she was a senior and I was a junior then, she got killed 'cause she didn't go into the shelter fast enough.

TL: So you can remember actually rushing into that shelter?

HN: Shelter. And we could even see the pilots.

TL: Wow. Flying so low.

HN: On the airplane. That's how, flying low. So that, that really scared us then 'cause we knew it was real, that they could bomb Hikari anytime since it was a factory.

TL: So in those bombing raids did the factory get damaged enough to close?

HN: Not that much because we still went.

TL: The next day?

HN: Yeah, went the next day. But that was almost near the end of the war because one day when we were coming back we heard on the radio that Hiroshima was bombed. And they said, A-bomb, but we didn't know what atom bomb was until later on when we kind of saw it in the news, what happened. And then after, we were still going to the factory. And then one day in August, I can't remember when, when it was, but it was in August I think when they bombed Nagasaki the second time, and then they said the war was over. Well, we felt relieved, so we wouldn't have to go to Hikari anymore. So I think a lot of people in Japan were kind of happy that the war ended, even though they did lose. So after that we were back in school. And quite a few of the girls, they went to college. And the ones that didn't go to college, we went for another year, like a post-graduate class. And we learned sewing and flower arrangement and things like that.

TL: Did they ever try to make up for some of that lost time? 'Cause you mentioned that since you were going to the factory every day there wasn't so much time to learn the other course information.

HN: No, they didn't, we didn't actually learn anything after that. But I imagine the other students in the lower grades, they were learning the same subjects and everything.

TL: I'm wondering if, the classmate who died, was there a public funeral or some kind of mourning, and did people talk about that very much?

HN: They had a little memorial service for her at school, but I didn't really know her personally 'cause she was the year ahead of us.

TL: Now, were you being paid anything for all this work in the factory?

HN: Yes. They paid us a little bit I think. But it was, well, extra money to give to my mother since she was having a hard time making a living.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.