Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: George Fugami Interview
Narrator: George Fugami
Interviewer: Dee Goto
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 15, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-fgeorge-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

DG: What was your future if you stayed where you were? What were you thinking that you would do for your future?

GF: For my future? I was going to go to -- I had a job at Sumitomo Bank. Because I could speak English, they wanted me to go there. Also they wanted me to go into military school because of the English because I think at that time they must had a thought that they're going to fight the United States. This could be embedded upon the kids.

DG: Now, we're talking about what years now?

GF: That was 19... see, I came here 1935 so it must be around 1933.

DG: Okay.

GF: So when I went to school, I figured, well, I should go to higher school I thought. So I took the higher school class. And then afterwards the principal says, "I think you better go back to United States." So I changed subject over to commercial things and soroban, all that bookkeeping and things like this. If you were going to higher school they train you. Because those days, to get into school, higher university, was hard. Certain class, like you want to go to military school, just one out of ten or one out of one hundred, terrific. Lot of schools were easy to get in, like you want to go into immigration school, or go into -- you know where they went to? They went to Brazil. A lot of my friends went to Brazil because Brazil was open, and they said that they give you a hundred acres of land. You know what it was? Swamp land. And Japanese went there and they made coffee plantations out of it. So now you go to Brazil, a lot of Japanese kids, Niseis or Sanseis. They're, they're right up there. They're all lawyers and things like that, I understand. I never been to Brazil, but that's what I heard.

DG: Now, overpopulation was a problem in Japan, so do you think your teacher kind of understood that?

GF: He must have understood that and so anybody that can get out, to go. It's a funny thing, after I left, my brother was still going to high school there, and he wasn't drafted to the army because I think he was younger than I was. He came to the United States. My youngest brother Paul, he went to junior high school and the time when I came here in 1935, he came with me. And then he went to high school here and he went to the University of Illinois, but I don't know what his thought would be.

DG: So what was your response when the teacher told you that, besides you said you thought you should stay there.

GF: Yeah, my thought. So I said well, the teacher's right. We're overpopulated in this country and they wanted to go to Manchuria. A lot of them were sent to Manchuria because it was open and a lot of people went to Manchuria, and I had no desire to go to Manchuria.

DG: But Manchuria was made to look really good at that time because I've heard stories.

GF: Yeah. Manchuria was good, Brazil was good. A lot of my friends went to... what they call takushoku daigaku. You know, that's immigration school, college, and they go there for two years and then they get to go to Brazil and a lot of my friends went to Brazil.

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