Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank S. Fujii Interview
Narrator: Frank S. Fujii
Interviewers: Larry Hashima (primary), Beth Kawahara (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: September 3 and 5, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-ffrank-01-0018

<Begin Segment 18>

FF: But that whole camp scenario of athleticism and teamism and leagues was really an important part of everyone, really. If it wasn't for that, what is there? You know, gambling, there's, there always was that from poker to lagging dimes and pennies and quarters, like little kids would do, to penny ante poker to dollar poker, which is, in those days dollars were a lot, if you could win a dollar. But did mah jong and I learned to play mah jong, which I loved. And so you got those things to do and school, 'course, I wasn't academic in that sense, but enough to just get by.

And was able to leave camp and come back to Seattle and try to just get my diploma and get out supposedly and work and make money. But your interests change according to the friends you have who are planning to go to college, 'cause my intentions weren't there. But I had some good influences, I guess friends that when we came back to... 'cause I was too poor to think that I was going to just fall into an educational track and just get my degree and do whatever I want to. But it was tough. I, when I did finish, of course, I felt like I could conquer the world. But I don't think even my family ever thought of me as an academic kid, and I never was. Joe would say, Joe, no Daibo and Seibo were exceptionally high I.Q. And they had... and I think to me it's sad that they were not the ones who went to college and got their degree and become professors or whatever, because they could have been. In fact, they're the ones who taught in camp. Taught all the guys who had degrees how to teach trigonometry or analytical geometry or algebra to these high school students. And I was proud of my brothers, although I couldn't stand them making noise with the chalkboard in my bedroom.

But I think from that standpoint, I feel I'm the only one out of the whole family of nine to have a degree, and have an advanced degree and I feel real fortunate 'cause the timing was, for me on being the baby, I think afforded that. But I don't think that the timing was there for Seibo, who was an Aeronautic Engineer at the university when the war broke out, too. He was still working at the tavern, but during the daytime he went to the university. But when they kicked him out of the Aeronautic Engineer because they didn't want a quote "Jap" as a engineer, you know, he was let go. And Daibo, he was still in high school. But I think he had no intention of maybe going to a university. I think eventually he would have liked to. He got a scholarship from camp to Wesleyn (University) in Kalamazoo, Michigan. And he never took that, because when he visited my sisters in Chicago and treated them with a nice apartment, clothes, money, a job. Well, he said, "Well, what do I need a degree for?" But you know, in retrospect I wish he would have, because he would have been -- that would have been his comfort zone to be an educator, 'cause he was a good teacher. He's smart and, and I think you gotta have this certain... 'cause he taught me to -- you know, for a kid brother to be taught by older brother, that takes a lot of energy to make me skip from seventh grade to ninth grade and for him to be on my back. You gotta be careful, you gotta be nice and pleasant, patient, and made me, made me want to do well in school. I really think he was really more a part of my life in the positive sense, whereas my older brother Joe and Seibo, they were my role models for athletics. They were, Seibo was good in baseball, Joe was in basketball. And so I had all these lucky situations they don't have. And both brothers, we were real close in the sense that, not in the sense that we played ball together, but you have to -- we always, didn't compete, but you always were proud of each other. And I think that part was evident.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.