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-01-0029

<Begin Segment 29>

FF: We can't have this community anymore, but it's nice that we could still do so, however the contact would be the only contact for community kind of thing would be like JACL, because it's, seems to be the only organization that sort of grabs a community. Because there's a eastside community JACL in Seattle and this is the main one. And that type of a thing, and then it's easy to talk to people about JACL and the community, because it's sort of the focal point, so to speak. I think without JACL -- I'm not trying to be, patronize JACL -- but it's the truth that without it, I think, where's the contacts going to occur? Where are you gonna say, "Hey, I'm important, come to my house, let's just talk about internment camp." No, the JACL has been such a big part of the whole picture of internment camps. And yeah, there were some sad lights about some people who think we should have gone and so forth, and I'm not gonna argue that point. But I still think that's crazy to think that we should have gone. I think we shouldn't of had to go, but I think the fact that JACL has held the community in a lot of respect... I might not go to all the functions and meetings, but I still feel akin to the officers and to the people... if I don't like the officers, I don't go, if I do, I go. Hey, human nature takes over, but I still think it's a plus thing.

And to be... I'm sort of proud of the fact that I have been because when I did the design for the Issei, Nisei, Sansei with the barbed wire going through the design, I really felt real proud that I'm able to interpret Issei, Nisei, Sansei and the circle representing the Yonsei and Goseis or whatever you might talk about. But I think that issue of the Japanese American picture -- I like to think that we could always refer back to it. I'd be upset that my kids can't talk to other people. So as much as I've talked to my kids about it, I tried to talk about details, camps and some of my tears about my dad and mom and stuff like that. And I think to me, they should know that, and I think there's nothing wrong with that. And they can't feel the same as, themselves because of what I felt, because you know, we come from a different angle. We're -- I'm out of camp and been successful in the sense that raised the kids without poverty, so to speak, and looked after their welfare. But I want them to still be sensitive to the fact that Grandma and Grandpa and everybody else that, and the Niseis have really paid their dues and we have a good story to say and really be proud of their heritage.

And I think one thing I'd like to say is that the irony of this whole issue, of the Japanese American is the epitome of the true American dream because the parents tell you to be honest, forthright, get educated, listen to the teachers -- they're always right, and what have you. You know, the citizenry of the Japanese Americans, that how we were brought up, we're -- actually the irony, we were the perfect minority, and yet the irony is that we were the ones that were incarcerated, and I think that to me it's a crazy irony -- and I'm so put aback by the government thinking, we are the enemy here at the time and to go through that suffering as we did. Sure, if you're going to say, well there's a lot of things that happened to the community and there were some pluses and minuses. Yeah, but does that mean my folks had to suffer just for our case? That's not right. I mean, there's a lot of communities now that, that their parents suffered things, but not, not in the degrading parents like they did our folks, you know, when the war broke out so... but that part I'm proud because as a minority then, I would say the Japanese Americans were the real special. And I'm saying it because I am, yes, but I'm saying it because there's so many goodness that I've, you know, even talking about war, which war is war. But the mentality of the loyal Japanese Americans who fought in the 442nd and all these military organizations were real. Everybody's proud of, and I think to me, that part I'm proud, and they proved a point that hey, we are a strange, good breed. And that proved -- and proven themselves and now they're finding out, there's people in this country finding out that the MIS, the Military Intelligence School has been such a big step, who saved a lot of American lives in the Pacific also, which is another irony that thinking that we're the enemy. We've been actually saving the American lives, you know. And you weren't able to expose that issue or tell anyone, because I think you were under oath to keep it quiet until so many years after the war or something. And I think that was hogwash, I think they should have said something before, but anyway, I could go off on a tangent.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.