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-01-0008

<Begin Segment 8>

LH: Well, let's go to that, sort of that period of evacuation, 1941-1942. What do you remember of that period, sort of that, right after Pearl Harbor?

FF: Well, one hour after Pearl Harbor, I was very, you know, this innocent kid that opens the door. And this is one hour after Pearl Harbor now -- and here two big white gentlemen would say, "We're the FBI, where is Mr. Jimmy Raisaku Fujii?" And I say, "Oh, Dad's here somewhere." And I get him and then they took him. And I thought... I didn't see him after that for three and a half years. And to me that was devastating. And so as I try to track Dad down, he was shifted constantly, from Missoula, Montana, to Bismarck, North Dakota, to Lordsburg, New Mexico, and ended up in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Four camps and they were all fathers. They weren't intermixed, you know, husband and wife. They were separated, of course. And I think from that, here we're in California and he's in Mexico, New Mexico and... it was hard, because as I wrote letters, he couldn't write back. He wasn't that adept to writing long letters or whatever. I think he was just dejected. I could sense that. But I did my writing, just to write. And you know, I get really kind of touched by that, 'cause I know for the kind of person he was, to see him go through this whole ritual of abandonment, losing his business, being alone... but, 'cause most of us in Tule Lake were family and we could survive with our friends and athletics and I think the tough part is when you realize that your father is doing nothing. And I think for most Isseis to be not given anything to do, it's almost as much torture as giving them hard labor or something. Because they, they just existed. And to me that ruined a lot of their function to, to feel good about themselves. And once they came back from the war, gee, I could sense the loss of energy, self-esteem, pride, gee, you name it. And I think that's the part where I think bothers me the most, that I can't forget. And I don't feel bad about not forgetting; I'm glad that I do. 'Cause Dad was such a good person that I, I kinda really feel hurt inside, you know.

LH: So how did the rest of the family react after your father was taken?

FF: Well, I probably... I couldn't relate to that. I was too young then. But for me, I think it was really tough. Really tough.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.