Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Francis Mas Fukuhara Interview
Narrator: Francis Mas Fukuhara
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary), Elmer Good (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: September 25, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-ffrancis-01

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: So Mas... let's start and I'll start off by asking: where were you born?

FF: I was born in Seattle.

TI: And when was this?

FF: On January 30, 1925. And I was born right across the street from the existing Keiro, you know, the Keiro...

TI: So right off of Yesler, right around there.

FF: Right off of Yesler on Seventeenth Avenue. Yeah. There are no more houses there, but there used to be about three houses in a row, they're all down now and it's a vacant lot.

TI: And your parents, where are your, where were your parents from?

FF: They're from a town in Shiga prefecture called Hikone which is a city on the, on that big lake, Biwa Lake in western Japan.

TI: And both of your parents were from the same town?

FF: Yeah, yeah. I don't think that was so unusual, though. I, I think Isseis tended to marry people from the same prefecture anyway, if not the same city.

TI: And how did your parents meet? I mean, to get married? Were they, did they know each other as, as children growing up?

FF: No, I don't think so. Because I think my dad was really quite a few years, like more than ten years older than my mother, and I think -- and I know he was over here, as a teenager -- and he went back to Japan to get married. And so, it was I guess the typical Japanese arranged marriage.

TI: But if your father was ten years older, then your mother must have been quite young when they, they first met.

FF: Yeah, I think she was about maybe sixteen or seventeen. But I don't know that that was particularly unique at that time.

TI: What was your father like?

FF: Well, my father as I remember him, was really a kind of a very quiet sort of guy. He never did say much, you know. And I can't really, I don't really, can't really say that I really knew the man very well. Like in most Japanese families, the mother took care of the kids and raised the kids and the old man went out and, and brought home the bacon, so to speak. So... but he was a quiet sort of man. And he seemed to be respected in the community. I mean, he had a lot of visitors and they seemed to come over and talk business a lot.

TI: What kind of work did your father do?

FF: He was initially, when he came over here I think he was a clerk in the Furuya Company. The Furuya Company was really sort of a trading company, and they had a bank, too. He eventually went to work for the bank. The bank went bankrupt, in the, in the, during the Depression. And then he... I don't ever remember him being unemployed, though. He seemed to pick up right away and he went to work for Seattle First National Bank as a, as a teller and he was in the International Branch which is on, I think it's Sixth and Jackson Street.

TI: By being a banker -- I'm just sort of imagining back at that period -- I mean, being a banker must have been a little unusual, working in a bank, that's a pretty prominent position for a...

FF: Yeah.

TI: ...for an Issei.

FF: Yeah, especially working with a, with a non-Japanese company. I mean, most, most Isseis, I think, worked for Japanese companies or they had their own businesses. Yeah, I think his, his position was a little bit unique. And I think because of it, he was, he kept in touch with investment opportunities and I think these were the kinds of things that he advised people on.

TI: How about your mother, what was your mother like?

FF: Well, my mother seemed like really a... she was, I think, a very energetic type. She was always into something. She, I can remember she went to a, the old Pacific School -- there is, the Seattle University has a track down there, on that site used to be a school called Pacific School. And they had a, they had an English-for-foreigners kind of class there and she was enrolled in that. I guess, mostly because she wanted to keep track of her kids who didn't speak Japanese, so she was involved with that. And then she... I know she was, she went to beauty college and graduated from that. Somewhere, that was somewhere downtown on First Avenue or something. And then she was also involved in Japanese cultural stuff. She was very active in an organization called Hatsunekai, which was a Japanese dance and music organization.

TI: So it sounds like she actually was able to, to do things in both a more Caucasian environment and Japanese environment by going to the school to learn English, as well as a beauty college, as well as the Japanese culture, so she was able to bridge both. Is that...

FF: Oh yeah, I think she, as I remember, she made a huge effort, really, to speak English. We spoke mostly English, I think, at home. My dad had some education here, too, though. He went to an academy that preceded the present Seattle University. And so he spoke English probably much better than the average Issei. But he, again, he worked in a non-Japanese environment so, I guess that was necessary for, well, speaking English was a necessity for his job.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: When growing up as a boy, you mentioned that you were, when you were born you were living right off of Yesler. Growing up as a boy, was that pretty much where you lived or did you live someplace else?

FF: No, we -- yeah, I don't really remember living there at all. I mean, I know that I was born there, but my first recollection of a residence in Seattle was on East Spruce Street between Fourteenth and Fifteenth, and we lived in a four-plex. And the four families that lived there were all, they all knew each other before they came over here. They're all from the same city in Japan. And so we... one of them, one of the families was just a couple. Their name was Tokuda and he went to school with my mother, this fellow did. And...

TI: And this was back in Japan that they went to school?

FF: Yeah, yeah, back in Japan before they both immigrated here. Yeah, this... yeah, and then the other families were, well, the Tokuda's parents lived there. I don't know if you remember George Tokuda but he used to have a drugstore here. In fact, there's still a drugstore called Tokuda Drug, I guess. But he was the father of Kip Tokuda and, and... what was her name?

TI: I think, Tama Tokuda?

FF: Tama, yeah. The wife of, I mean, the husband of Tama Tokuda.

EG: How many were there in your family, how many brothers or sisters?

FF: I had one brother and one sister. I had an older sister and a younger brother. The older one was three years older and the younger one was three years younger. [Laughs]

EG: And you're in the middle.

FF: Yes.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: Going back... so in this four-plex there were four or five families who were all sort of connected back in Japan from the same city. Did they all come over about the same time, or was it a situation where someone was established and then they had a place where people could then come and help the others out? Can you talk about that a little bit?

FF: Yeah. No, they didn't all come over at the same time. My dad came over -- I think when he was maybe fourteen or fifteen years old -- and he came over with my grandfather. So my grandfather was here for a little while. And what he did and how long he was here, I really don't know, but I know that he was here. The other families, the Kitamuras and the Tokudas, they originally came to the U.S. and worked in the sawmills. And they, they were in a sawmill community in Mukilteo. There used to be a, well, a fairly large Japanese sawmill community in Mukilteo. I don't know what's happened to that site, but you know it was really up a little valley, and it was really a kind of a nice place. I mean, we used to -- I can remember as a kid it was sort of like an all-day adventure. We drove out there to Mukilteo and visited the Tokudas and the other people there. It was kind of an all-day affair. They had, we had dinner out there and stuff.

TI: And at the sawmill, were most of the workers Japanese?

FF: Yeah, yeah, they were practically all Japanese. Except really the, I would guess the supervisory people were probably not Japanese. It was at a time when Mukilteo was really a kind of a quaint little community. There used to be a sawmill dock there, and we used to catch, we used to fish for salmon there with hand lines, none of the fancy poles and stuff.

TI: Going back to the four-plex... I would imagine that because of the connection back in Japan, and then living together in this four-plex that the relationships between the families was pretty close.

FF: Oh, yeah. Yeah, of course, in the old days, I guess nobody locked the doors anyway. But we just went in and out of each others' apartments really like they were our own. As a matter of fact, I think really, I used to just eat with anybody I happened to be with when dinnertime rolled around.

TI: And so with parenting, you're almost parented by a lot of different adults. It's almost communal living in some ways.

FF: Yeah. I never thought about it until recently. In fact, until I talked to you here recently. But the... insofar as parenting is concerned, I really think that George Tokuda's mother had as much, was as much involved in my upbringing as my own mother. 'Cause we used to come home from school and even if my mother wasn't home, I mean, she, Mrs. Tokuda was always home. So we always had someplace to go, to get our after-school ration.

TI: That sounds like a rich experience. And it sounds like -- when we talked about earlier -- it became a very important part of your life, too, that connection, because as you were growing up, your mother became ill. And can you talk a little bit about that and that experience?

FF: Yeah, my mother came down with spinal meningitis. Which at that time was really, well, it was either terminal, or if people recovered from it they, they led a life like a vegetable, I guess. But she died in 1937, I think it was, at the age of thirty-four and I was about twelve or thirteen at the time. And I think that the problem with, or the, the pains of losing a parent was really a little bit softened by the fact that really I had these other people upon which we could, I could fall back.

TI: And so when this happened, when your mother went through the illness and then later died, can you describe some of the things or how the other families, especially in that four-plex, some of the things that they did to help the, especially the children? Because you were twelve, you said your sister was three years older so she was about fifteen and then your younger brother would have been about nine. So, so for children, a very hard age, at times, to lose a mother.

FF: Oh, yeah. But of course at times like that, the practical consideration is really having someone that takes care of your daily needs, like preparing three square meals for you and taking care of your laundry and those kinds of things. And those people were right there with that. I mean, it wasn't like things changed very much. I mean, they were somewhat doing that anyway, and so we didn't have really a very difficult transition there. I guess, really the biggest thing was really the loss of some maternal support. It wasn't like... sometimes, I guess, really there may be some compensatory effect of a father becoming a little more attentive to his kids and stuff like that, in the loss of a, of the mother. But it didn't happen like that in our family.

TI: How about your father? How did your mother's death affect him? Did you see a change in him?

FF: Well, I... I wasn't really very sensitive to that at the time. I don't really think that it affected, of course, he lost a lifelong mate and he had certainly, some huge trauma associated with that. But insofar as our relationship and what I could see of his daily living, it didn't seem to change very much. I mean, he seemed to, he carried on as usual. It wasn't very much difference in that, different in that respect.

TI: How about the larger community? The larger, I'm thinking of the Japanese American community around them. After your mother died, were there times when they showed more support or was there a stigma attached, in terms of losing your mother? I guess the question is, how did your mother's death affect your relationship with the rest of the community?

FF: Well, I think really the, our, my mother's friends were extremely supportive. And probably, if anything, my association with them probably became a little tighter. I don't know beyond that. Yeah, I'm not aware of really any real, I wasn't aware of any real changes, insofar as the broader community interactions were concerned.

TI: And after your mother's death, did your father remarry?

FF: Yeah, he did. It wasn't... yeah, he remarried probably in a couple of years. He did remarry.

TI: Can you describe, can you remember what the process was back during that period? I mean, I'm trying to understand how, that process of how he would find another mate. Would they date, or what would the process be? Or was something arranged?

FF: Well, yeah, that was it. I think really, just like nature abhors a vacuum, I think really people can't stand to see bachelors running around. So there are a number of his friends that seem to be on the lookout for appropriate mates and whatnot. And one of these fellows was, one of his friends down in Portland, suggested he knows one lady who was in all places, not in Portland, but up here, in the valley here. And so he eventually, he eventually did remarry. And so far as our reaction, our situation is a little bit different right now. After we got a few years of maturity and whatnot, your viewpoint changes. But because we had all this, this extended family sort of support, we didn't see, we didn't feel as a family, to need anybody to take care of us in terms of our daily needs, like cooking and whatnot. We became really very independent. I mean, each of us washed our own clothes and did our own ironing. And we pretty much got our own breakfast and, and everything but dinner we pretty much handled ourselves. But, so we didn't, we looked at it purely from our selfish standpoint, not from the standpoint of a father that probably needed a mate. 'Cause we, we didn't really accept his new marriage as really, with really any kind of enthusiasm, but we weren't antagonistic, either. But the... I think really, the part of the Tokudas, for instance, they kind of frowned on it because they thought we were all taken care of. They thought really, he, my dad -- considering his position in the community and whatnot -- they thought he really should marry some more mature person. But, it turned out really that this lady was just a couple of years older than my sister, who was just three years older than me. And so that created a little bit of a furor and whatnot. But eventually they did get married. And looking at it from hindsight, I'm glad he did. I mean, I'm sure that it really (added) a lot to his remaining years. So, right now things are fine.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

EG: Tell me something about outside of the family. Growing up, school, Seattle, neighborhood and so on. How was it for you?

FF: Well, I went to a, I went to grade school in Washington School. Now, there's still a Washington Junior High School. But this Washington Elementary School was situated... you know where the present Kawabe House is? Just directly east of that, is a sort of a vacant lot right now near, near the Wonder Bakery. But it used to be there and I went to, I went there from kindergarten to the eighth grade. And the population there was really a lot of mostly Sephardic, Sephardic Jews and a few smattering of Chinese, a few Japanese, very few gentiles, I guess. [Laughs] Anyway, I... I don't know what to say about that experience. It was great, I mean, I have some pleasant memories of going to Washington School. I can remember myself as being a mediocre to lousy student. But the... interestingly enough, here about three or four years ago we had a reunion of our class. The group of kids that have been together since kindergarten, and it was great fun. I mean, just by coincidence, my back door neighbor's father was a -- his name is Upper -- he used to be a teacher at Washington Grade School. And the minute I saw him, when they moved in, I knew he was Mr. Upper. And he always impressed me because boy, he was a hard-nosed kind of disciplinarian. And he still looked like a really a pretty hard-nosed guy when I met him back here. And, of course, that was many, many years later. But I took him to the reunion. It was kind of a surprise to everybody because they weren't aware that he was coming. And he was kind of like the, the like the "belle of the ball," everybody just really crowded around him, and he really had a great time. But his comment was that, when we, when I was driving him home, he commented on really, he made a social commentary on really how diverse that group was. And how seemingly trouble-free they were. We didn't have anybody going to jail or having, having really any huge problems with the law. And here we were, blacks, and Jews, and Japanese, and Chinese.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

EG: What did you do outside school, as a kid?

FF: Outside school?

EG: Yeah.

FF: Oh heck, I don't know.

EG: Did you have friends out of school?

FF: Oh yeah, no.

EG: What did you do with your spare time?

FF: Well, we used to... well, I don't know. We used to get out and play games with the neighborhood kids, of course. And I can remember, really, as a kid, I was -- gosh, it's something you can't do anymore. But I can remember many times we used to, just a couple of us would get together and we'd jump on the streetcar. And I can remember riding all the way out to, well, the area around Sears Roebuck there. That area used to be all kind of swampy. And we used to go, like catching polliwogs and catching stickle-backs and junk like that. That, that used to be a lot of our activity. I mean, that whole area, aside from the ponds, used to be Hooverville.

TI: Hooverville, meaning the sort of the temporary places where...

FF: Yeah, the homeless.

EG: Shacks.

FF: Yeah, the homeless of that time. I mean, it's not like the dinky population you see there now. There were whole cities of these paper packing crate houses where people lived at that time.

TI: When you went to this area, who were the buddies you went with? Were they Japanese Americans or were they a mixed group in the neighborhood?

FF: Some were Japanese Americans, but I used to have one next-door neighbor, his family was Finnish. And there used to be a lot Finns in this area that were involved in, mostly in fishing or lumbering. Mostly in lumbering. And he was one of them. The name was Luka. And I remember that kid and I, we used to go around a lot.

EG: Organized play of Little League baseball and that sort of stuff, was not a big thing then?

FF: Well, there was, there was a Courier League, but I wasn't involved in that. I used to mess around in the sandlot, whatever, but I never was involved in that.

EG: But you made your own recreation as kids, for the most part.

FF: Oh yeah. And...

TI: What were the ways that you were connected more with the Japanese community? Was it through church or other activities, social events?

FF: Gosh I... we used to hang around a lot, and you know where Collins Play Field is? I used to go there a lot. So the guys, I knew lots of guys that hung around that area, like the Hatas and you know, "Beans." [Laughs] All those guys used to hang around that same area and stuff. I knew those guys, but I don't know...

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

EG: What about getting on and growing up in junior high school and high school? How did things go there?

FF: Well junior high school, we never had... we were in one of those eight-four situations. We went to high school after grade school. But in my case, I went through grade school at Washington School. Then all of a sudden I became separated from the people I knew. I went to Broadway High School, whereas most of the people I knew went to Garfield. I think your dad went to Broadway.

EG: How come you went to a different school from most of your friends?

FF: Oh, because I moved. If you moved across the street, Fourteenth Avenue used to be the dividing point between Broadway and then Garfield, and I moved to Twelfth Avenue, which put me solidly in the Broadway High School area. So I went to Broadway High School.

EG: What was the population in that school then as different from your grade school?

FF: Oh, it was quite a bit bigger than our grade school. I don't remember what the population was, but...

EG: I mean, the kinds of kids that went to school there.

FF: Oh, oh, well, that had really a different kind of a population. I think it, there was, I think there was a lot of Asians there, but the school was predominantly white, probably Anglo-Saxon, Garfield was more Sephardic Jews. But the Broadway High School, I'm sure is the... many of the whites there were very prominent, they came from the north Broadway area and that was really a very sort of a, well, higher-class neighborhood.

TI: I think an example of some prominent -- I mean, my dad mentioned how at Broadway High School, one of his classmates was Brock Adams, who later on became a congressman. Were there others like that?

FF: Yeah, there was Brock Adams and then, there was a guy named Stuart Oles, who was really quite a prominent attorney here with, I'm, I think he was with Bogle and Gates.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

EG: What were the proportions of Caucasian and Asian at Broadway?

FF: I really don't know. I can't even guess. Maybe, it might have been fifteen, ten, fifteen percent Asian. But the Asians... in high school in Seattle, in high school, it seemed like really in spite of the fact that in the general, general community there was this horrible subjugation or discrimination, ostracization of Asians. In the high school it didn't seem that pronounced. Heck, at least in Broadway High School, gosh, a lot of the student officers were, were Japanese. And, it was quite common for the valedictorian or the salutatorian to be, to be Japanese.

EG: So you were a minority but you didn't feel discrimination as a minority?

FF: Well, I don't think so. That's... we were aware, of course, that we were, we didn't have the opportunities of everybody else. But insofar as our daily living, I don't, I don't really know that I ever felt discrimination. Obviously, I knew there were places that we couldn't go to. But, it didn't mean a heckuvalot to us because we come from a culture, I think, really, that was sort of, I would say the Japanese were, the Isseis were sort of culturally proud, even culturally arrogant. They felt really that, I mean, what they had was really as good or better than what anybody else had. And we had no shortage of activities going on in the Japanese community. So I mean, I think if you had a poll and were given a preference, I mean, we would have lived a life, lived our lives the way we did. It just didn't, to me, it just didn't seem like discrimination was a big thing. Obviously, it was because you couldn't really break out of the community. So as long as I was at an age where I didn't depend upon anything but my own community, it didn't matter.

EG: Nowadays, young Japanese are dating out, and marrying out from the community.

FF: Yeah.

EG: What was it like then?

FF: Oh, heck. [Laughs] That kind of stuff never happened. Yeah, in fact, people that, people that did that kind of stuff were sort of frowned on, by the community, I think. In fact, they thought... well, I don't know why, but there seemed to be the prevalent impression really that these gals that knocked around these Caucasians that, that associated with people outside their community, were sort of like kind of loose with their morals or something. Which isn't, which wasn't true, of course, but that was the general perception.

TI: Yeah, it was probably a way for the community to sort of frown upon this sort of interracial dating and then marriage, do you think?

FF: Oh, yeah. Well, as you know, the Asians are really horrendously fussy about marriage. I mean, even if it's within their own group. They have, they have these, have you ever heard of baishakunin?

TI: Uh-huh.

EG: Uh-huh.

FF: Baishakunin.

EG: Uh-huh.

FF: Okay, now one of the responsibilities of baishakunin is to investigate the background of these people to make sure that they're fit for your, your son or daughter. [Laughs] I mean, they had that kind of a attitude, even toward, within race marrying, marriage.

TI: But that, wasn't that a practice more in Japan? Or was that also happening here?

FF: No. No, it was here, too. In fact, there were lots of marriages, arranged marriages. There were lots of arranged marriages prewar amongst Japanese Americans. Yeah.

EG: Was yours a pre-arranged marriage?

FF: No it wasn't. But I...

EG: Friends got you together?

FF: No, yeah. I guess it was that way. No, mine wasn't an arranged marriage. But I didn't get married until I was rather old, too. I was almost thirty, I think.

EG: Yeah, it's kind of bit more informal more recently that families ask around, "Do you know someone that would be a good mate for my son, my daughter," rather than, rather than a formal arrangement for them to meet. Rather than the real formal baishakunin ceremony.

FF: Oh. In the Japanese community, that tradition of arranged marriages is out the window. I mean, I don't know of any Nisei that, that believes in that stuff.

EG: But families kind of help out.

FF: Well, yeah.

EG: To see that somebody meets somebody.

FF: Yeah, but then, that's no different than any other community, is it? I mean, I think really that's the way, that's the way it operates in Caucasian communities. But, I think really this arranged marriage stuff is probably not unique to the Issei, anyway. I think the Issei from any country were like this.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: Let me ask the question again to start off... and so, let's jump to December 7th, 1941, after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. You were talking a little bit about Broadway High School and going there, predominantly a white high school. What were some of the reactions that you came across, after the war had broken out?

FF: Yeah, okay. I think, after the war broke out I happened to be in a movie, watching a movie at the time the announcement was made. Of course, Pearl Harbor being where it is, was a, two -- three hours later, is the time zone. And so, I happen to be in a matinee performance at the Paramount Theatre when I heard the news. And actually, I felt really very awkward about the situation, of course. But then we sat through the movie and then I, I didn't see any... there wasn't any hostile reactions toward me anyway. But I don't remember, recall any. In the schools I don't think, it didn't seem like things changed too much while we were in school. There wasn't, I don't think there was a heck of a lot of public discussion about the situation anyway. But after we were evacuated, I had heard really, that several of the teachers were like very happy that we had left. And so evidently there were many of them -- even that knew us -- that felt that we were subversive and potential spies and saboteurs, like the West Coast politicians were trying to make everybody think.

TI: It sounds almost like, was the situation, when you say you didn't come across very much reaction but I imagine there was a lot of talk. But perhaps not directly with the Japanese Americans, that probably in their own little groups they talked a lot about it, but didn't deal directly with the Japanese?

FF: Yeah, I'm sure that that was occurring. But there was... well, I would say that there was, I didn't see any overt negative reaction to us. But on the other hand, I didn't see anybody giving us any words of encouragement either.

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

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: Going back now again to that day, December 7, 1941, what about your family situation? What happened with your family after that day?

FF: Okay my... one thing that happened, my dad was -- the day after Pearl Harbor the FBI came to our house and turned it upside down looking for contraband, I guess, which we did not have. But they... I guess we did have, we had a short-wave radio, but the short-wave never worked anyway. But they took him away, and I, at least I personally then, didn't know where the heck he disappeared to. But a couple of days later, I found out that he was at the immigration center. So I did have an opportunity to go down and talk to him.

EG: Were you at home when the FBI came, and when the FBI took your dad away?

FF: Yeah, oh yeah. I was at home.

EG: What did they say when they were taking your dad away?

FF: I was, I was still kind of like a teenage kid then, so nobody consulted me about anything. But, so I don't really know exactly what they said. I just know that these guys came in and I distinctly remember them just tearing the house apart, throwing over the cushions, and going through the books and magazines and whatnot. Peeking into the innards of the radio and that kind of thing. Then after it was all over, I mean, just put him in a car and off he went.

EG: They didn't give a reason?

FF: No. Subsequently, just, well, maybe ten years ago, I got some files. I asked for some files from the archives on my dad. And there it gives some reasons why they took him in. There was a lot of allegations about him belonging to a pro-Japanese organization. He subscribed to a magazine which had the same name as a pro-Japanese organization, but which was totally unassociated. And they also accused him of being an official in the, in the Japanese gambling club. And God, I don't know, he was really the -- aside from really penny ante hana and stuff like that, I mean, he was really kind of anti-gambling, I think. Although he had his, his very good friends were associated with the gambling organization. But that was really the, probably the most traumatic of things that happened.

EG: Did you hear from him from that point on?

FF: I didn't hear from him at all, no.

EG: Not after that one visit.

FF: No. And we didn't... I guess we had some notice that he was coming back. But after we were evacuated, he came back to Minidoka.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

EG: Tell us about the evacuation process.

FF: Well, things were just happening, like bing, bing, bing. We just, we just saw these posted notices on the telephone pole. Actually, there was one really right on our corner, which gave us notice, when to leave and what to take, and whatnot. So we packed up our goods in one little gym bag-like thing, and off we went.

EG: Now there were four of you, your stepmother and your sister, yourself, and your kid brother.

FF: Right. And by that time, we had physically drifted apart from our extended family. So we never did maintain any connection after that. It would have been more comfortable for us if we had, but we didn't. They still tried to look in on us, but they ended up in one area in Puyallup and we ended up in another.

TI: Earlier when you talked about your stepmother, it sounded as if the kids were pretty independent of your stepmother after your father had remarried. How did dynamics, how were the dynamics after the, during the evacuation with your father gone, and having the three of you with your stepmother? How would you describe it?

FF: Well, we were, of course, forced to be more communicative, and forced to relate to each other much more closely. Because what the heck, I mean, we eventually moved into one small room where we... we slept in one small room, the four of us.

TI: But I imagine also, there were lots of decisions that had to be made about your belongings and all those things that the four of you had to decide.

FF: There wasn't really much to decide there, because all you could take was what you could carry. So individually we decided what we wanted to carry. There was a -- we didn't have any property to dispose of and stuff like that.

EG: That's what I was going to ask. What did you do with the rest of the stuff?

FF: Yeah. Well, we had some things, like we had a car. I think... I had nothing to say about that.

TI: How about things like your father's investments and things like that? Were those all sort of taken care of?

FF: No, they were all impounded. Yeah, anything owned by "enemy aliens" was impounded. So all his assets were impounded.

EG: So now your father wasn't an "enemy alien," he was born in this country.

FF: No, no. No, he was an alien. He came here when he was in his, as a teenager.

EG: Sure, sure.

FF: Of course, it didn't make a heck of a lot of difference anyway. I mean, at the time, they didn't make any distinction. If you were Japanese, you were Japanese. It didn't make any difference whether you were an alien or a citizen.

TI: Let's go to... okay, so you were evacuated. At this point, the people in Seattle generally went to Puyallup.

MF Right.

TI: Is that what happened with you?

FF: Right, yeah.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: Could you describe what Puyallup was like? And where you were staying?

FF: Yeah. I think when we first went to Puyallup, it was a really kind of horrifying. Because jeez, here we were going to live in shacks that were worse than anything we ever had. Worse than any out buildings that I've seen on people's farms. And the first thing we were asked to do, was to get ourselves a mattress cover and go fill it with hay at this great big hay pile. So we went and did that. And then we were issued cots, these folding canvas cots. And we unfolded them and put them in our room and the rooms were really cubbyholes. I mean, they weren't really this size... and the four of us had to, four of us slept in that thing and there was, once you put the beds out, there was hardly any room for moving. But the walls of these barracks went up only, maybe seven, eight feet and then from there was all open. So, the, the conversations going on or babies crying down the barrack could be heard all over. It really, it was really terrible. For us, as teenagers, it was no big problem. But gee, for people with kids, they had to, they had to shush the kids up because it bothers the whole barrack and stuff like that. Must have been terrible for them.

TI: At this point, what were you thinking what would happen to everyone, what were you...?

FF: Geez, I don't know. Nobody knew what was going to happen. The... that's the awful thing about that kind of internment, I think, is really, you're shut off from any news. Access to the outside was strictly controlled. And so, all you fed on was rumors, and cripes, I mean the... there's always guys saying, "The guard told me this..." and all this kind of story. So we lived on nothing but rumors. I don't think I ever heard one thing that would lead me to believe that we would end up at Idaho while we were in Puyallup.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: Well, so, when the word came out that you were going to move again...

FF: Yeah.

TI: How did you feel about that?

FF: Well, you have some feeling of insecurity, of course, because you really don't know where you're going. And even if they tell you you're going to Minidoka, Idaho, heck, what does that mean to anybody? None of us had lived in the Minidoka desert before. We didn't know what to expect. But we went on to... they put us in these old railroad trains and we went off to Idaho and they pull all the shades down so, mostly so we couldn't see out, I guess. What difference that made, I don't know. But we went, finally got to Idaho. We got to this spur, and from there they trucked us into Minidoka. And there we were met again with these tarpaper shacks, and dust, and tumbleweeds blowing all over the place. We got there, I think, in August, and it was just hotter than blazes. Yeah. But after a little while of being there, we got kind of acquainted with the lay of the land and where everything was. And then life slowly went back to as normal as possible, under the circumstances.

TI: And how old were you at this time?

FF: I was, let's see, that was '42, so I was seventeen.

EG: And you were still in school?

FF: Yeah.

EG: How was school in camp?

FF: Well, I, I never did attend school in camp. I mean, I had to finish... I was, I was in one of these -- they used to have a category called mid-term, here in Seattle. And some people were full-term and some people were mid-term. The full-term people in my class graduated out of Broadway High School. And us mid-term guys were short, not number of credits, but kind of credit. And so we had to make these up when we went to Idaho. I was supposed to go to school, but I, I finally never did. And I don't think I ever should have gotten a high school diploma. But I left camp in '43, the summer, the summer of '43 and I applied for a college in Iowa. A place called Dubuque.

TI: Going back to your high school, I'm not sure if I understood. So, where did your high school diploma come from? Was it from Broadway or from Hunt High?

FF: Well, it eventually came from Hunt High, but I didn't get that until I finished a year of college. 'Cause I never did go to Hunt High. I was supposed to go. Your dad went? Yeah, your dad went.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: When you think about your, your experiences at Minidoka, are there any memories that sort of stand out or feelings that stand out?

FF: Well, I kind of, I think that really... you read about all this lack of parental discipline and stuff like that that went on because people, they didn't have really the family circumstance. I mean, nobody ate together and stuff like that. But I think really, for a lot of us, we... it turned on a really, a lot of rebellion in a lot of people. And cripes, I remember we used to do stuff that we never would have done in our regular lives. I mean, gee, we used to steal stuff from the warehouse and stuff like that, and never give it two thoughts. And heck, we weren't brought up that way.

EG: What kind of stuff did you steal?

FF: Oh, heck, I can remember some friends needed, say, floor covering... linoleum. And we'd talk to some friends up in the warehouse and when they weren't looking, we'd walk out with whole rolls of linoleum. And we'd run off with bags of sugar, hundred-pound bags of sugar and stuff like that. We used to do a lot of stuff that was really...

EG: I can see the linoleum, and I understand wood and stuff that you could use for building or fixing up your place where you're living. But what would you do with a hundred pounds of sugar?

FF: Well, you'd distribute it, really, to your friends. I don't think I ever, I don't think I ever used the sugar I stole. But there was one guy in camp, his name was "Baghdad." They called him Baghdad because he was a thief. [Laughs] And anyway, we used to hang out with this guy. He was slicker than, slicker than heck. He knew just how to get stuff. He was always running around taking orders from his friends. He was sort of "Robin Hood-ish."

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

EG: You were in camp a relatively short time.

FF: Yeah, I was. I, for figuring longevity and all my civil service and everything -- what else was there that required -- yeah, I guess I was mostly... anyway, I thought I was, it just seemed like I was in camp forever. But they gave me credit for only six months, so I couldn't have been there very long. I think I was there more than six months, though, because I was there August. Well, maybe not. See, it was '42, August of '42. And then in summer of, in the summer '43, I was in Chicago. So I guess maybe I was only...

TI: But during those six months, you mentioned earlier that your father, you were reunited with your father. He was taken away by the FBI but then later on, he went to Minidoka when you were there.

FF: Yeah.

TI: Can you describe what it felt like having your father come back, and what was he like?

FF: Yeah, it was... it was really a shock to me to see him, because I thought he was gone for the duration. And he came back and really, a couple of things happened. One, he was really very bitter about, about being hauled off like that, and understandably. And one of the things he, one of the things that came up was, he was on one of the lists sent from Japan for repatriation. Somebody requested his repatriation. And so, I guess if we chose to, we could have gone on a, got on a boat and gone back to Japan.

TI: I'm not familiar with this. So there's a list that came from Japan?

FF: Yeah.

TI: That had his name on it?

FF: See, there are, yeah, there are people that want to repatriate to Japan. But, there were a number of them during the war. But whether you got to repatriate or not, you couldn't just say, "I want to go," somebody had to want you, too.

TI: Okay, I didn't realize that.

FF: Yeah. At least, that was my understanding.

TI: So it sounds like there were two lists. A list that had to come from Japan that said they wanted you. And also a person or a sense on this side saying, "I want to go over," and they had to match up.

FF: Yeah, yeah. 'Cause the way I understood it, somebody asked for him to repatriate. And so he wanted to go and I think really, the reason we didn't go was because I didn't want to go. In fact, I refused to go. I didn't want to influence their decision. I mean, I told him, "You do what you gotta do, but I don't know Japan and so I'm not going to go." So I, so they decided against repatriation. And the other thing is when that, that loyalty thing came along, and heck, I mean, I actually, I actually was going to volunteer. But I told my old man about it, and God, he just... he was really, violently opposed to it. And he said, "Gosh, I mean, if they call you, that's one thing, but jeez, I mean, they throw you in a place like this. I mean, why would you voluntarily go?" Well, it's a very reasonable argument. I could understand that. So I compromised and didn't go.

TI: How was your father changed by being taken away? Did he come back sort of a different man after this?

FF: Well, like I say, he was, he really was embittered by the whole experience. But I, I think once, once he decided that he wasn't going to... I think that was the turning point, though, when we decided we weren't going to Japan. I guess he pretty much made up his mind that he was going to stay here. Eventually he got his citizenship. He was a, he died a naturalized American citizen.

TI: Going back to, to when he sort of violently opposed you volunteering for the army, was that a fairly common thing that your other friends experienced, with the Issei fathers trying to convince their sons not to volunteer?

FF: Oh, yeah. In fact, that whole episode was really kind of shattering to some families. Because one of the, I know one of the guys was killed from the Seattle area, he, he was disowned by his father. He was thrown out of the house. And he went into the service and he got killed. Yeah. There was, I think... well, very understandably, the Isseis, many Isseis were pro-Japanese. And, heck, why wouldn't they be? Cripes, this country had rejected them. They were unqualified for citizenship here and, I mean, God only knows. There wasn't anything this country did for the Isseis, really, to encourage them to be loyal to this country. Their experience was really totally anti-Japanese. And so for the Issei to feel that way is no surprise, and even for a Nisei to be anti-American at that time, I don't think it's unthinkable or strange. But I think if you choose to be anti-American, then I think, really, people ought to follow through on it and go to Japan or whatever they want to do.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: What caused you to leave the camp? You said you were there for more than six months or so. What led you to leave the camp?

FF: Okay, I was like, really, most people in camp, I wasn't totally uncomfortable there. I mean, you were eating dust all the time and in the winter you were slogging through the mud and junk like that. But aside from, really some of those discomforts and inconveniences, cripes, it was a nice social environment for guys my age, now. And so it was a... I had really, no real burning desire to get out of camp. But I had a brother-in-law -- my sister got married, and I had a brother-in-law that relocated. And he was really old enough to know that staying in camp was really a dead end, and so he, he was relocated to Chicago, and he told my old man to send me out, see. And so, sort of against my wishes -- [laughs] -- I was sort of, sort of forced to go to Chicago. And once I got out there, I got a job at this place called Maclur's. And after getting a real paying job, after the relocation center where I was getting paid sixteen dollars a month, I had an honest-to-God job, out in Chicago. And boy, I was really living it up. It was really the life of Riley for me. And so I was planning to stay in Chicago for the duration, except my brother-in-law and sister had other ideas. And so they made some contacts with some Maryknoll people they know in Chicago and they got me accepted in a, in Loras College in Dubuque, you see. And then -- so that school year, all of a sudden, here is my brother-in-law and his friends came and hauled me out of the room and sent me off to Dubuque. So, it was... I ended up in Dubuque in spite of my desire.

TI: Well, it sounds like you, not only your father but your brother-in-law were really looking out after you. They didn't want you to, sort of while away your time, first in the camps and then later on in Chicago; they really sounded like they really wanted you to keep moving on with your career.

FF: Oh yeah, that's for sure. I suppose I recognized that even at that time. But when you're having fun you don't want to botch it up.

EG: You weren't thinking of going to college? This was not a notion that you had?

FF: I was, I can't say that I was... through high school I was -- unlike many Japanese Americans, I wasn't really one of those stellar students. In fact, there was many things about school that I liked. And things I liked, I really bore down on. And things that I didn't like, I just let go. And so, I always had some kind of a grade sheet that looked like night and day. Some things I was good at and some things I was lousy at. So I really hadn't aspired to going to college.

TI: And how long did you go to college?

FF: I went one year. And then, I got drafted and so I thought, well... so I finished the one year. And then I came back to Minidoka for a month or month and a half or two to wait for induction.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: What was your father's reaction during this one month? Did you talk to him about being drafted?

FF: Oh, yeah. No, he had no problem with that. Yeah, he had no problem with that. Of course, he didn't like it, but he had no problem with my going when I was called.

TI: So he felt that you should do this rather than resist and...

FF: Yeah, oh yeah. No, he never counseled me to resist. In fact, he did say, "This is your country, you gotta do what you gotta do."

TI: Okay, after you were drafted, where did you go and what did you do then?

FF: I was inducted at Camp Douglas, Utah, which is right outside of Salt Lake City. And we took a troop train down to Florida. And that was really quite an experience. It's not all that far but it took us all of five days to get down there. Because at every turn, they just, they just unhooked your car and leave you on the spur someplace until somebody comes by that's going in your direction and then they pick you up and haul you maybe a couple more cities down the line. It was a really a slow train, but I finally got to Camp Blanding in Florida. And that was kind of an eye-opener for me, because we had a... it's the first time I ran into real segregation. Even as we were going down, we stopped in places like Memphis and Amarillo, and every time we got out of the train, you went to the bathroom and drinking fountains and jeez, there were "black" and "white" drinking fountains. And that's something that, in spite of all the badgering that we had in Washington; we never saw white and black drinking fountains and toilets. But, this was really, it left us in a little bit of a quandary because we didn't know whether we were white or black. [Laughs]

EG: How did you work it out?

FF: Oh, we had a lot of difficult learning experiences, because when we got down to Camp Blanding, the camp was separated. They had a white camp and then the blacks were segregated in another impoundment, and you couldn't go in there. But the same bus picked everybody up through the camp and we, we sit where there were seats so we, if there was a seat in the back, we used to go sit in the back. And jeez, we used to catch all kinds of flack. I mean, people, the bus driver wouldn't move until we got out of the back seats and up front where we belonged. Cripes, I don't know, I don't know if the white guys thought we belonged up front, but that's the way it went. I know some guys that got in pitched battles with the bus drivers because somebody tried to kick them out of an open seat in the back and tried to make them stand in the front.

TI: But it sounds like, then, you were, down there, although you were non-white, you were classified as being in the white section of the bus.

FF: Yeah. Well, we were non-black. [Laughs] Yeah, so we learned how to behave as non-blacks. But the blacks themselves didn't like you in their area, some of them.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: Well, then after... so this was basic training?

FF: Yeah, basic training. I was there for eight months and then... no, I was there for about ten weeks, I guess. And just about... well, when we were well into our training, the Germans broke through in the Battle of the Bulge up in Belgium and they needed guys right away, of course. But, so really, infantry training as a whole was accelerated, and that's what that Camp Blanding was, it was an infantry training center. Of course, we were cannon fodder for the 442. So, and the 442 had just come off of that, the battle in Bruyeres and the rescue of the "Lost Battalion" and so they needed guys. And so our group was going over, okay... but for some weird reason I got left behind and I went to MIS. There was about four of us.

TI: So they sort of targeted you as having adequate Japanese language skills to go to MIS?

FF: Well, I don't think they ever thought of me as having adequate Japanese skills. They put me in a, I was in a group with, that was strong in English and weak in Japanese. They had such a category. I don't know how much you know about the MIS, but in most of their practical applications, the real linguists in MIS were guys educated in Japan. They were Kibeis. And that's kind of ironic, because jeez, you know, DeWitt went on for a half a page justifying the evacuation of Japanese... one of the things that he pointed out was that, really these, that these Nisei were, couldn't be trusted because they had all this knowledge of Japanese and Japanese culture, and Kibeis were the worst of all because they were educated in Japan. And it's kind of ironic to me, that really, they took us and threw us into camp for that very reason, and recruiters came in, really, and were recruiting us for that very same expertise.

TI: So they were actually recruiting those who had the most Japanese language, culture, to help them in the U.S. military.

FF: Right, and really, especially the Kibei. If it weren't for the Kibei, I don't think they would have had a successful MIS. And cripes, I mean... boy, DeWitt had nothing but bad to say about them guys.

TI: But if they were looking for people with really strong Japanese skills, why do, why do you think they chose you to go to the MIS?

FF: I don't know. I think they probably thought all Nisei... I think, I think it's probably at least a grain of truth to this, but they probably thought, felt that we had a higher propensity for learning Japanese or aptitude for learning Japanese simply because we've heard it all of our lives. In fact, I think really, for most of us, our first language must have been Japanese; we were raised by people that didn't speak English.

TI: But within your unit of Japanese Americans, they chose four. Was it almost a random process to get you four? How do you think they...?

FF: Oh, I don't really know how they chose.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: Why don't you describe going to the MIS training school, where was it and what was it like?

FF: Oh, we went to, we went up -- they had just moved the school from Camp Savage to Fort Snelling -- and we went up there, it was in the fall. For the first, until the next term started, we were housed in an area called the "turkey huts." And they were just tarpaper shacks, much like the ones we just left in Minidoka -- [laughs] -- but they, it had a coal-burning stove in the middle. And then we had -- I can't remember how many -- I think there were about, probably about four guys in a hut. But that was home for the first few months, that was in Fort Snelling. Fort Snelling, as you know, in Minnesota and it's in the Mississippi valley there, and boy, it's really cold in the winter. Gosh, there was snow on the ground for months, really, and it was pretty tough living there.

TI: And so these first three months was before you actually enrolled in the school, you were just there waiting for the next class to start?

FF: Yeah. That's right, yeah. And then once we were assigned to a school company, then we were in these brick, huge brick barracks. They're much like those big brick barracks you see at Fort Lewis. Yeah, very nice accommodations.

TI: So what were your classmates like, when you finally got together to start taking class? How would you describe, were they mostly Japanese, were they...?

FF: Oh, they were all Japanese. They were all Japanese, and all the guys in my section were kind of like me. They had some sort of brief speaking acquaintance with Japanese, but they didn't, they weren't really very strong in Japanese. When we first started, I don't think most of us could read but a few Japanese words and I guess I told you earlier my experience in class. I mean, I was, I would have preferred to go to Europe and so I -- and I know that they washed out people. Those at the bottom of the class, so many halls, got washed out. And so I decided that was my ticket to going back to some infantry company again, but I never got washed out. I mean, they kept washing, they did wash people out, but I never got washed out for some reason or another, even at the bottom of my class. They washed out guys above me but never me for some, I don't know why.

I finally got called into the... well, the instructor finally sent me in to see the Commandant, who was Major Aiso, and he really read me the riot act. He told me that, he told me that I, I better be prepared, to go out into the field totally unprepared with these people depending upon me. That I was going to be unprepared 'cause he wasn't going to wash me out. I guess I told you, Danny Aiso was in my class, his brother, younger brother. And he got washed out, and I wondered why he got washed out and I didn't, and of course, that didn't sit well with the Major. And I finally had to finish out school. And I climbed from the last man up to the fourth from the last, because I really, if they weren't gonna wash me out, I really didn't want to be the guy that was gonna screw up the team. So I came up to a point where I was, probably wasn't too much worse than the other people in the class.

TI: It seems you, as I'm listening to you today, there is a pattern of people looking out for you, your father, your brother-in-law, and even Major Aiso, in terms of not allowing you to wash out and sort of looking out for you. What is it about you that people do this with you?

FF: I don't know. I never looked upon it as people looking after me. I thought they were kind of frustrating my, my particular aims. But I don't know... I guess you can look at it that way. I don't know why. Yeah, because the situation in Fort Snelling, particularly, was odd. I mean, these other people had some vested interest, I mean, my dad and my sister and brother-in-law, of course. You can see why they were looking after me, but I don't think Aiso was particularly looking after me. [Laughs]

TI: But yet he chose to, he chose to not wash you out, even though you're at the bottom of the class. He saw something in you that said he needed to, rather than wash you out, read you the riot act and get you to perform. So there's something there about you that he saw.

FF: Yeah. No, he, he just figured out that I was just goofing off, I think. I think that probably happened because I knew one of the instructors. He was a former Seattle guy and I think he told me more than once, he says, "God, you better get off your duff, you know, and apply yourself." Because he says, "Heck, anybody knows you could be doing better than you're doing." But I, I told him I would kinda like to go someplace else. And so... but at that time, the need for linguists was extremely pressing, I guess more pressing than the need for cannon fodder for the 442. So I guess that's really the reason why, if Aiso had an honest-to-God gold brick on his hands, why he was gonna, he was not gonna let him succeed.

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

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: So after you finished the training, where did you go from there?

FF: Oh, in August of... the war ended, not the war ended, but the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on the... what is it? The 12th of August or something and on the 15th of August, Japan surrendered. So we finished out our term, which was really about in September and then I was sent to Japan. And I was sent to Kyushu, the southern island. And I was first sent to a place called Kawatana, and then I was stationed on an island in the Sasebo Harbor that was involved with repatriation. We were repatriating Chinese prisoners or forced labor that was forced to work in the mines in northern Kyushu and sending them home. And on the return trip, bringing back civilians and soldiers that were stranded in northern China and probably parts of Manchuria. Although Manchuria at the time, eventually became occupied by the Soviets. And you know what happened to them, they were just detained really interminably. I mean, they were hauled off to the Soviet Union complete with all the heavy industries equipment and everything. The Soviets hauled them off to Russia. Those people didn't get back to Japan for many, many years.

TI: What was your role at this repatriation center? Were you able to use your Japanese language skills?

FF: Yeah, but that was really -- I always wondered what the MIS guys did. Most MIS guys, of course, during the war it was pretty much classified operations, so they never said. But I guess it was in 1967 or so, Harrington came out with that book and I was kinda mildly surprised, really, that, these MIS guys were doing wonderful things, really. It just seems like, it's hard to imagine how they could've conducted the war without these few guys. But so, but these were a few guys and I didn't know what the rest of these people did. And judging from my experience, I really wondered if they did really anything very useful to the war effort. Because I was at this place, I had this language capability and whatnot, and I can't say that I ever utilized it. I was put in charge of the local facilities like the mess hall and the bath, and the administration building where we processed these people. And I had nothing to do with... I had to do with facilities and not with people at all. I was with the group, the group of guys I was with, were doing similar kinds of jobs. So our role insofar as being a linguist, it was non-existent.

TI: What branch of service were you with?

FF: I was, I was in the army. But, I was on detached service to the 2nd Marine Division. So we were a group of ten army guys with the Artillery Battery of the 2nd Marine Division. Our company commander was a rather famous guy, he was a football player named Muha.

TI: And how long was your tour in Japan?

FF: Well, I went from there to Kumamoto, where I was with military government. And my total tour in Japan was about eleven months, ten or eleven months. When I was in -- one of the, I don't know, did you know a Junks Kurose? Okay. Now Junks, when I first went to Chicago, he was one of the first guys that I saw working at, at this one mail order house. He was working in the shipping room and I was working elsewhere. But he was the guy that took me under his wing and kind of took care, looked after me while I was in Chicago. And I kind of lost contact with him but when I went down to Fort Blanding, Camp Blanding for training, he came down there and looked me up again. And then I moved up to Fort Snelling and by gosh, a few months later he came up. And then I went to Kumamoto and I didn't think, I never in the world would have thought that I would see him there but by gosh he showed up there.

TI: Was he in the military also?

FF: Yeah. As a matter of fact, one of the guys in my company in Kumamoto said, "Hey, there's a guy from the Criminal Investigation Division looking for you." Now God, I mean, are they nailing guys for selling packs of cigarettes? But heck, I mean, it was Junks Kurose. He came around. Yeah, he and I used to have a lot of fun. The ironic thing about that was that I used to work with military government and our main duty was really to get the infrastructure and stuff running again in Kumamoto. And one of the things that had to be done was to clear out all this rubble from the bombings, and so we had labor crews that came in to do this. And in charge of the labor crews were all these yakuza. So all of my friends were yakuza, and here was Junks Kurose, who was in the Criminal Investigation Division and his best friends became yakuza. It was kind of funny to me. [Laughs]

TI: That's good.

FF: Yeah, but he and I, we really used to have a lot of fun in Kumamoto.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TI: Well, most of the Niseis would have relatives in Japan. While you were there, did you ever have an opportunity to do sightseeing or visit any of your relatives while you were in Japan?

FF: Yeah, but I was coming back to the U.S. I was into the replacement depot, and I suddenly woke up to the fact that, gosh, I had been in Japan for ten months and I hadn't seen anything in Japan. And so I knew I was on a ship to go home tomorrow, but heck, I left the replacement depot, I guess they call it AWOL. Anyway, I went down to see my relatives. And it was really pretty easy to do at that time, because the military had special trains tacked onto the railroad system and special cars. And, I just sat in one of those cars and went down to wherever I had to go. So I went down to see my relatives, and that was really a weird experience. Because I can just remember my parents talking vaguely about the city they lived in. And I can remember them telling, get off the train, then you walk to the left and there's a school. And then you walk down the road, and then there's a bridge. And then there's a, should be a barbershop right at the corner and a two or three doors down from that is this drugstore where my, that my aunt operates... and by gosh, on those vague instructions I just kinda retraced those steps and sure enough I went up to this drugstore, and my aunt was at the door and she welcomed me. Yeah, it was really quite an experience.

TI: So your aunt wasn't surprised that you were there?

FF: No... well, she must have been surprised that I showed up, but she didn't seem surprised. She knew who I was.

EG: Did she know you were in the country?

FF: No, no, I don't think so, there wouldn't have been any way she could have known.

EG: Relatives back home?

FF: Yeah, but there was no communication during the war.

TI: What was the feeling, here Japan had just been in the war with the United States, a relative comes back in an American uniform showing up in her door, I mean, what was the reaction?

FF: That was interesting, too. Because I, I thought, this town was occupied by the American forces until about two weeks before I got there, then they all pulled out and went someplace else. Okay. But they still had some of these taxi dance places and things operating, so I was gonna go out and paint the town. And everywhere I went, they knew me already. You know, my, I went to this taxi dance place and the proprietor of the place, I sat down with him and drank beer all night. 'Cause he was telling me about how he went to school with my old man and stuff. So there I was, on liberty with no place to go.

TI: So word just traveled very rapidly that you were in town, and people just knew that you were there.

FF: Yeah, the old grapevine was very active there. Yeah, but that was my... oh, my cousin. I asked my aunt about meeting my father's side of the family and she told me to just walk across this dike through the rice paddy, and she said I'd come to a temple. And she says, "Just ask, there's always a bunch of kids playing at this temple. Just ask them." And so, I asked this kid, I said, "Hey I'm looking for a Fukuhara." And he says he's a Fukuhara. And I said, "Well, I'm looking for a Mitsuko Fukuhara." And he says, "That's my mom." And so, he took me to his house and that's the first time I met my aunt. But I, I met my cousin since then, a couple of times since then. Of course, at the time he was only about ten or twelve and I was nineteen. But I've gone back there and talked to him since then. It's been kinda nice.

TI: It sounds like the reaction from, and the response from the Japanese was very positive towards you.

FF: Oh, they treated me like I was, kinda like a long lost son or something, the prodigal son returns or something. Because there was, they really treated me like one of their own.

TI: It sounds like the highlight of your time in Japan, during this...

FF: Oh yeah, it was really the highlight of my military experience, and it had to be illegal. [Laughs]

EG: How did you work that out? The illegal...

FF: I was... I just left, and when I came back they were looking for me. And they didn't give me time to unpack, they just threw my duffle bag on a truck and I went on the truck, and they drove me into the side of the boat and I was on my way home. But it was, I kinda got a laugh out of that, too, because two things happened: one, I got a ride down to the boat and everybody else had to line up and jump in these buses and stuff. And then there was this vessel with 20,000 guys or something coming home, and so everybody, their main occupation during the day was standing in the chow line. And they put me on KP all the way home, so I was next to the food all the way home. [Laughs] Yeah, it was, that was great.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: So after that, you came back to Seattle and what did you do then?

FF: Oh, I was a -- for one year I was on this thing called 52/20. The state of Washington had a bonus bill and they paid all veterans twenty dollars a week for fifty-two weeks. But you had to go down to the, you had to show up in person to get your check at the employment office and tell them that you were at least looking for a job. Of course, all of us, we had some kind of an employment on the side. I worked for, I had a part-time job at a war surplus store, for instance, and we made tarps. And I used to work for a kind of a, irregularly with, with some Niseis who were gardening. Of course, there were lots of those at that time.

EG: Was your family all back?

FF: Yeah, my dad was, and my family was back here.

EG: How were things now, getting started after the war, for your folks?

FF: Oh yeah. Well, I guess the housing was actually very tight. So people were really... staying in the gymnasiums of churches and what have you around town here. My dad, by the time I came home, my dad had an apartment and I stayed with him.

EG: Where was your kid brother?

FF: For a long while he stayed out in Chicago. Yeah, he was out in Chicago and he was working at one of those fancy restaurants up on the north, a fancy hotel on the north side.

EG: And did your sister come back to Seattle?

FF: Yeah, they did, they came back.

EG: So it was your sister and brother-in-law and your dad and you?

FF: Oh, no, my sister and brother-in-law lived apart.

EG: Yeah, but I mean, came back to the hometown?

FF: Yeah, they came back. And my dad eventually went into the real estate business and so he was doing okay.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

TI: After spending a year with the 52/20 club, what did you do then?

FF: Oh, I decided to go to school. And so I enrolled at the UW in that GI bill, under the GI bill. Actually, I was a freeloader all the way around. [Laughs] Anyway I, yeah, I went back to, back to school. I didn't... to be perfectly honest, I didn't go back with my eye on some career or anything. I was just, I was just in school because there was the 52/20 -- I mean, the GI bill and it seemed to beat working, so I was going to school. There were a lot of guys going to school about the same time.

EG: What were you studying?

FF: Well, I was in general studies and then I was, I was in math for a little while and then I finally decided to, I finally thought I'd, I thought fisheries sounded interesting, so I went into fisheries. And I... well, I was really a pretty lousy student. I mean, just like through high school, I was good in some things and bad in others. And as a result of it, really, I became very personally acquainted with the dean there. He was always chewing my rump. But when the peace treaty was signed in '52, Japan was going to resume some fishing operations in the North Pacific and the U.S. had negotiated a treaty with Japan whereby she agreed to do certain things. And there were a lot of, there was a lot of knowledge that needed to be acquired, really, to truly implement the terms of the treaty. And so they were looking for a guy to go out, accompany the Japanese salmon fishing fleet, to set some of the groundwork for the research that needed to be done with regard to matters associated with the treaty. And of course, I had a foot in the door 'cause I knew the dean, I guess. [Laughs] But he sent me over to the Fish and Wildlife service lab over there in Montlake, and that's where I started my career and I ended it there.

EG: Your education was at what point then?

FF: I was a senior --

EG: You were a senior in the bachelor's program...

FF: Yeah, senior in the bachelor's program in the College of Fisheries.

EG: And the dean says, "Here's something for you to get into."

FF: Yeah. And here again, is another one of those guys that was looking out for my welfare. [Laughs] 'Cause I hadn't planned any of this, but he sent me over there. Mostly because I think, when I look back on that assignment, I think really what they needed, they needed some guy that knew something about... that had some biological knowledge, of course, but in addition to that, they needed somebody that could tough out living at sea and eating a hundred percent Japanese food.

EG: And someone that was fluent in Japanese.

FF: Yeah, that would have been ideal, except that I thought I was pretty fluent in Japanese. But I went aboard the, this mother ship -- I was hauled out there by the Coast Guard. And really, I was given VIP treatment because at the time, I was an employee of the Department of State and they really treated me with a lot of respect. In fact, I was coming aboard... I was at most, a corporal in the army. And I was... in the first place, I got stranded in Dutch Harbor because of some wind, weather conditions. The plane came in, and the wind came up, and gosh... and I was watching us land, and all of a sudden all I could see is sky and the plane just went like this because of the wind, the extreme winds up in the Aleutians. And they finally came down; it finally landed. And boy, the minute we landed, these Marines that were attending the base there, they threw cables over the wings so that the plane wouldn't bounce away. But almost as quickly as the storm came up it died down. And unbeknownst to me, while I was sleeping, this plane took off because they had an emergency, medical emergency, that had to be evacuated to Adak. So off they went. And here I was stranded in Dutch Harbor. And I had an appointment with these, I was gonna rendezvous with a whole fishing fleet, now, the next day and here I was stranded. So I wired back here and then all heck broke loose because my movement through the Aleutian Islands was classified. And then, here comes this plain-language message saying hey, I can't go anyplace. But boy, talk about important, they sent a plane for me from Adak, the Navy did. And they threw me aboard this PBY, which was one of these flying boats. They gave me the seat of honor, the front gun blister. And we took off and we ran out of runway. And gosh, the ocean came up and "splat," it hit this gun blister, and I had really a front row seat of some harrowing experience. But we finally took off. And as I was boarding this Coast Guard cutter, gosh, the captain of the cutter threw me a big salute -- [laughs] -- and it was terribly embarrassing because, like I say, I was really nothing but a, mostly a buck private during the war.

TI: Now why was this a classified sort of trip? I mean, the treaty had been signed, what was the secrecy behind you going up there and talking with the Japanese fleet?

FF: I don't really know. The only thing I could think of really is that they didn't want really the press jumping all over me as I was going through the area, 'cause I never did see one, one newspaper guy. When I came home there was lots of them, yeah, so I think that's probably, they were just trying to avoid publicity.

EG: So what was your assignment then?

FF: Well, my assignment was... the treaty, one of the main conditions of the treaty, they got Japan to agree to abstain from fishing salmon east of 175 degrees west, which is roughly in the area of Anchitka Island, it's kind of like halfway between the two continents, okay? And so Japan agreed not to fish east of there, but that abstinence was conditional, upon studies, scientific studies which determined the oceanic migrations of North American and Asian salmon. And so I was kind of on the ground floor of that particular investigation, which was really quite a fascinating one. And so I was sent aboard there, first to determine if they were honestly going to fish salmon. I mean, there were many people, salmon experts here that were convinced that salmon never got off the continental shelf. And so when they signed, when they got Japan to agree to abstain from fishing east of 175 degrees west, these guys were just chuckling under their mustaches, saying, "Oh boy, we really put one over on these, on the Japanese." But I think the Japanese had some prior knowledge, or at least a suspicion of how far salmon migrated. Because as a result of our study we found that, Asian salmon almost come to... well, they come as far as Kodiak, we know that. And we know that North American salmon now in their ocean migration probably get within twenty miles of the Kamchekan coast. There is a broad area of intermingling there. So they thought they had the problem solved when they said 175 degrees west, but there was no, no way.

EG: So you were in a real pioneering operation.

FF: Yeah, I was. In fact, all my career in the fisheries service, I would say was, really, just filled with those kinds of new discoveries. Because at the time I went in the business, the bottom fish operations, some real high powered authorities described the Bering Sea as a biological desert. And we knew that it wasn't a biological desert. After all, the largest king crab resource in the world is in the Bering Sea. And before the war even, very early in the century, the sailboats -- there used to be a bunch of sailboats in Lake Union -- those guys, they used to go up to Bering Sea and fish cod. And so we knew there was a cod resource up there. But when the Japanese started to utilize mincemeat, surimi, for all this kamaboko-like stuff -- fish meat, fish cakes, then really there was a huge demand for this one fish up there that occurs in huge abundance, a species called pollack. And that's really been the source of a lot of political bickering lately. But it turns out really, that the "biological desert" supported fish that could be harvested in the millions of tons. So I was there when all of this started to open up, so it was, yeah, I really enjoyed what I did.

TI: It also provided you with lots of information for your studies later on, because later on you continued your schooling and used a lot of this information and experience.

FF: Yeah. As a matter of fact, I mean, certain techniques for... I finally utilized some of this information for my doctoral dissertation. I was working on a technique for identifying groups and quantifying, the groups of salmon that are out on the high seas.

EG: So the dean was right, you were someone that should keep on going to school.

FF: [Laughs] No, he was mostly, most of the time I went to see him he was ready to throw me out. But later on, after I began to work and stuff, boy, he was really a... my strongest advocate. Yeah. I really owe a lot to that guy.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

TI: Mas, next I want to do is talk a little about an organization that you belong to, the Nisei Veterans Committee, a group that at one point you were Commander. [Interruption] Before we get into your participation, can you just tell me a little about the Nisei Vets and the organization?

FF: Okay, well, I, I don't consider myself a real authority on the Nisei Vets, but they began right after all the guys came home from the service. I think in 1946, they had, they already had the nucleus of the organization. And they've been in existence for how many years now? Forty-some years anyway... no, fifty years, right? Tthey just had a fiftieth anniversary. And so, and... well, they take great pride in the fact that, really in fifty-some years they've never had the same Commander. But it was set up as a non-political organization, a purely fraternal organization. And so they shy away from political endorsements of any kind.

TI: One of the things that was of interest to me, is when I talk to veterans in other communities up and down the West Coast, generally they have joined existing veterans' organizations like the American Legion or VFW. And it almost sounds like the Nisei Vets Committee is unique in that this was a veterans' organization -- again, you said fraternal -- that was started on its own rather than having the veterans join the existing veterans' organizations in Seattle.

FF: Yeah. I think I, I think it at some point probably crossed their minds really to affiliate with some of these nationally franchised veterans' organizations. But I think some of the original founders of the Veterans' Organization, Nisei Veterans, had some earlier bad experiences with the American Legion or the VFW. I know one fellow in particular was going to join one of these organizations and was turned down just simply because he was Japanese. It's very odd really, that after what they had been through... when he was applying for membership from a hospital in which he was recuperating, they turned him down.

EG: There was also the role of the Legion and the VFW in California in time of internment, too, which I would think would turn the Japanese Americans off.

FF: Yeah. But, I think very wisely, these, the Nikkei at least in California, I guess they've taken the, "If you can't whip 'em, join 'em" philosophy. They're part of, they're very strong in the VFW down there. I attended one of their meetings, and boy, I tell you, the officials, the top officials of VFW from the national through the state were there at this Nisei VFW reunion. And I think that's one of the things really, probably most Japanese Americans, the younger ones don't think about is... one time, as you've mentioned, the VFW and the American Legion were tremendous political enemies of the Japanese Americans. As a matter of fact, they probably tipped the balance when, when evacuation came around. I mean, they were four square behind it. So it was, no way, it wasn't gonna happen. But as a result of, the Nisei now being members of the VFW and the American Legion, gosh, you contrast the situation prewar in 19... I think in 1984, both the American Legion and the VFW had resolutions which supported redress. They didn't support redress itself, but they condemned the condition which really brought about redress. And with that, you had really these two powerful political forces assuring you that they weren't going to interfere with the redress process. And boy, I tell you, that was really a... the JACL had to breathe a big sigh of relief, because they could have been, they could have turned that over in a second.

TI: In this non-opposition or support that these organizations did, you attribute to the, the sort of... I'm not sure about the right word, but the Japanese Americans joining these organizations after the war and...

FF: Yeah. I think that act in itself was really not as, not as meaningful as, as these organizations becoming aware that, there were Japanese Americans that contributed substantially to the war effort and that they deserved equal recognition.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

TI: Were you Commander of the NVC?

FF: I was Commander in 1988, 1988-'89.

TI: Okay, so that was right about the time the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 was passed, and it was also a time when I know the JACL was putting together a resolution to apologize to individuals who answered "no-no" during the camps to the so-called "loyalty questions" during registration. When that was happening locally in Seattle, what was the reaction of the Nisei Vets?

FF: The Nisei Vets, of course, if you read the resolution, it only obligates JACL to thank the "no-no boys" for their action and it only obligates JACL to apologize for the shoddy treatment that they got because they answered "no." But, so we had initially considered that sort of an internal JACL matter. But when we read some of the comments, some of the comments about that resolution, by authors of that resolution in the local vernacular, Nikkei vernacular papers, we got the feeling that they were really looking beyond, apologizing for the actions of JACL. Because they came out with comments such as, "The Nisei Vets have ostracized the 'no-no boys' until very recently," and all this kind of stuff. And actually that as an organization, I don't know that that was necessarily true anyway. But I know for a fact, really, that not all Nisei veterans have that kind of hard-nosed attitude toward "no-no boys." And even those that did, I mean, at that point in time, that was forgotten. If there was any, what... there was no hard feelings at that time toward "no-no boys" on the part of the Vets. So, but, also at that time, you mentioned the redress effort that, that JACL had. Okay, now at the time that the, that resolution was proposed, the Civil Liberties Act hadn't yet been signed. And there was a lot of political agitation against it at the time, and we figured really that jeez, I mean, not only is this resolution inaccurate, in its allegations, but really it's not doing any good for the redress effort. And so I think that's the reason why I think the, the organization itself, really decided to oppose it.

TI: And so what was the outcome of the opposition?

FF: Well, the... 'course the resolution had its discussion at that meeting, and very wisely, some Sansei got up and said, "Heck, let's table this thing because we don't know enough about the subject matter to comment meaningfully about it." And so it was tabled and it was referred to a JACL presidential committee for resolution and for discussion at the 1990 meeting.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

TI: In our earlier discussions you've, we've talked about sort of, the "no-no boys," the ones who later on who actually said "yes-yes" but resisted the draft. And our conversation sort of centered around how you really can't lump that whole group together, that there are a lot of different, essentially reasons why people did what they did. Can you talk a little bit about that?

FF: Yeah. I think as you've indicated, the reason why there were "no-no boys" is because they were the people that answered negatively to questions 27 and 28. Now, as you probably know, those, there was a horrible amount of confusion associated with answering that loyalty oath, because on the one hand, the selective service was using that as sort of a prelude to recruiting for the 442. And the WRA just jumped onto the bandwagon and said, "Hey, this is an opportunity for us to assess the loyalty of evacuees for purposes of relocating them." And so, they came out with one form for the Nisei citizens of draft age and another one for other people. And this other one indicated that it was really an application for relocation. And with that kind of confusion now, when they went into these relocation centers, many people knowing that there was the unfriendly attitude of people on the outside, they didn't want to relocate. Okay, so they said, "Heck, if we sign 'yes' to this thing we're going to be relocated," and so they said nix, "We're going to sign 'no.'" And that had nothing to do with loyalty. Well, of course, all along, the WRA, the War Relocation Authority, was trying to use this as their gauge or their criterion for loyal and disloyal inmates. And as it turned out, because of this kind of confusion, there was a... most of the people, probably, that answered "no-no" did so for reasons totally unrelated, really, to loyalty. But the WRA chose to segregate those people anyway.

And so, insofar as the Vets are concerned, they're not talking about "no-nos" as one big category of people. The reason the Seattle Nisei Vets reacted the way they did is because most of them are from Minidoka, and Minidoka was in some ways kind of not the typical center. Preparations for the loyalty program were really well-thought out beforehand, and so when the situation came, there were, of course, a lot of questions raised by the evacuees that were embarrassing to the administration, but there was not this antagonism towards the program. And so there were very few "no-nos" in the, most people signed "yes" in Minidoka. Not only that, having, Minidoka having only what? Seven percent of the, of the evacuee population accounted for twenty-five percent of the volunteers for the MIS -- 442. So the situation in Minidoka may not have been typical.

But to go on with this "no-no" business now, the guys that signed "no-no," at that time, nobody had to give any reason for saying "no-no." They just... in fact, they didn't want any elaboration of your "no-no" answer. And so we knew, we knew some guys that signed "no-no," although it wasn't really common knowledge to everybody that these individuals signed "no-no." It was not a big thing. And there were actually guys, at that point in time now, there were actually guys that volunteered that were very good friends with guys that said "no-no." It was a, but you know that, the situation between the guys that went to the army and the guys that answered "no-no" changed really further down the line. But that was because of the answers these guys, because of comments these guys made when they resisted the draft.

Okay, now the loyalty program was in 1943. And at that time, they only took volunteers. In 1944, as a result of the success of the 442 and the MIS and whatever, the army decided that it was going to draft Japanese Americans just like everybody else. And so it was at that time that the draft resistance came up, because there couldn't have been draft resistance before that, 'cause there was no draft of Nikkei. So when you're talking about "no-nos" and you're talking about draft resisters, they're products of two different events. They're not... they're not... well, lots of comments you see in the papers and what have you, seem to indicate that people think draft evaders are synonymous with "no-no boys," but that isn't true. Simply because there are a lot of "no-no boys." For instance, in Manzanar, I think, it was more than half the people signed "no," and yet, after a while ,after they got that off their chest they recanted and they said, "Aw heck, call me in the army, I'll go." So there are a lot of "yes-yeses," I mean, guys that went in the army that are "no-no." But on the other hand, one of the more famous draft resisters, of Nikkei draft resisters, of the Second World War were those Heart Mountain people. And they had a meeting, oh, I don't... a few years ago. Anyway, they, they made it perfectly clear that none of them were "no-no boys," they're all "yes-yes." And still some of them got segregated and sixty some of them resisted the draft. And they resisted the draft because they said, "Gee, as long as you guys got us locked up in this joint, why should we volunteer? Get us out of here and take care of our families and we'll volunteer tomorrow." I mean, that was their attitude. And so, I mean, it's a very reasonable position, I think. And it's a one of several positions that I think we Nikkei ought to be glad that somebody took.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

TI: So from the Nisei Vets perspective, so the Nisei Vets were those who either volunteered or were drafted into the 442 or MIS and served. And so what was their, as a group, their feelings towards, in this case people like the Heart Mountain resisters? People who actually said "yes-yes" but then resisted the draft and were then sent to prison.

FF: Yeah, well, as I indicated, we... the local Nisei Vets are really primarily from Minidoka and we had no knowledge of these guys from Heart Mountain. This only came up really, probably after that whole business, that whole controversy between us and the JACL regarding resolution seven. But I think really, most of the vets, I can't -- I haven't taken any poll of the vets or anything like that -- but most of the vets that I talked to, they feel like... yeah, I mean, what's wrong with the Heart Mountain guys taking the position that they did? They have no problem with that. They have a problem with, the problem... Minidoka had some "no-no" guys who eventually were draft resisters, and these guys, they didn't just say, "I don't want anymore part of the U.S.," these guys went further than that. They said, "I don't want any part of the U.S. I want to go to Japan. Not only do I want to go to Japan, I want Japan to win the war. And I want... and if possible, I'd like to join the Japanese military and fight against the U.S." Now, I think really, I personally -- I can't speak for the vets -- I personally think that it would have been very reasonable at that time, to say, "No, I don't want any part of the military because of the way I've been treated." But I think they've gone a little bit too far when they said, "I don't like the way I've been treated so I want out." I think it's one thing to redress your grievances within the system, it's another thing to say, "The hell with the system." If you say, "The hell with the system," I think you ought to leave.

TI: So that was part of when, when the JACL resolution came to thank and apologize to this group, that was, it's really this group that you just mentioned, was the one that you felt that it was inappropriate to do something like this?

FF: Yeah, because that's, that's really the only group with which the NVC is, is aware. They aren't from other camps where other circumstances occurred. I think, like I mentioned, I think, you know, the, most of the "no-no" replies were really for reasons other than loyalty. They were for reasons of self-preservation, for family preservation and things like that, which I think really are probably very reasonable. But I really... having said that, I don't think that's really any reason to thank them or to cite them for some meritorious act or something. I think it was far more meritorious for the guys who knew they had families, and they went out and fought for the U.S. and died.

TI: Were the feelings pretty strong for the ones who served both in Europe and Japan? I mean, as this was all happening in the camps, were they aware of what was going on?

FF: Oh, that's a... I'm glad you brought that up because that's another point I think really escapes people. When... like I told you, when the "no-no," when the loyalty oath situation occurred and these guys answered "no-no," at that time I mentioned that some guys that volunteered for the service were still on very good terms with the people that were "no-nos." But the thing that really struck these guys in the service was that they had just -- when the 442 had just come off of their initial baptism of fire on the Hill 140 or something like this, and they had come down and then they were burying their dead and licking their wounds -- and cripes, I mean, they looked forward to getting their mail. And in this mail was these statements, it was in the Minidoka Irrigator, it was statements from these guys saying, "I don't want any more of the U.S. and I want to fight for Japan." And the emotional impact of that to those guys, under those circumstances, can be expected to be far different from some Sansei looking at it forty years later and looking at it with a very objective eye and saying, hey. But even that, that isn't our problem with the resolution seven though. Resolution seven, the allegations are all incorrect. The resolution states that, that these guys should have been thanked for being "no-nos." Well, I already mentioned some categories of "no-nos" and no way do they deserve thanks. But I don't think, on the other hand, I don't think all the "no-nos" deserve condemnation. You just can't lump all the "no-nos" together into one resolution, without having some logical inconsistencies. And the other thing is that it's claimed, it's alleged in the resolution that the "no-nos" were harassed by JACL.

TI: By JACL, or by NVC?

FF: That's the point I was saying, stuck in our craw. Because in the resolution they say, "The actions of JACL." And yet in the newspapers, they mentioned not one thing the JACL did, they mentioned really that the NVC has been harassing these guys for all these years. And so, to me it seems like they got beyond their initial terms of reference. They're talking about us, not them themselves. And so... but even with that aside, I think, really, and like I told you, the Nisei Vets never harassed a "no-no boy." They're on good terms with "no-no boys," okay. It was only after their -- they made statements, anti-, well, unpatriotic statements associated with their draft resistance. And so... I think the other thing is that the claim that people harassed the "no-no boys" is totally incorrect. There was no example of that in Minidoka. And I mean, having been the mouthpiece for the NVC on this whole issue, I was determined... I didn't want to be out in left field here someplace. So I looked into the literature to see what was happening in other camps and there is no camp in which really the JACL harassed the "no-no boys," it was totally the other way around. The "no-no" elements were hell bent and determined that the registration would not succeed. And so they really harassed and threatened people that were, that seemed like they were inclined to cooperate with the administration or worse than that, to sign "yes-yes." So I think that's totally incorrect. Now, I don't really see why JACL would want be, go on record as really supporting a resolution in which the allegations are totally incorrect.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

TI: Well, I'm glad you had this opportunity, for me to ask this question, I think it really clears things. You know, at this point, Elmer, is there any other questions that you have? I was going to ask Mas if there's anything else that you wanted to talk about or any other things. The one thing I wanted to get on the tape was for you just to -- and I forgot to mention this at the beginning -- is just for you to mention your family. We talked about your parents and your siblings but I never asked about your family and if you could just say a few words about, about your children and your wife.

FF: Oh, yeah. No, I... it was when was it back in the early 1960s, I was a living the life of Riley, like I said, I was really a part-time student and a full-time Jackson street bum. [Laughs] I never give a thought to getting married but I don't know, somehow that changed. In 1963, I married a girl from... she was originally from a place called Brooks, a little bit north of Salem. But she, postwar, they relocated in Portland and I met her through some mutual friends and we got married in '63. And we've had four kids now. The oldest, Cathy, she's married to Mark Takisaki who's in the construction business. And then Teresa, she's married to a fellow named Jay Mori who's a, he's an electrician. And, oh, David. David, he's a, he's married to a Chinese American girl, Sandra Goong. And Marci, she just recently got married last year. She was born, she's fourteen years younger than our oldest, and nine years younger than our youngest, the previous youngest. But she is now married to a fellow named Eric Shimizu. But we have seven grandkids and they're kind of the, the joy of our lives now. Yeah.

TI: Thank you. Elmer, do you have anything else?

EG: I was just wondering if the mutual friends that got you and your wife together were concerned that you needed to be got together with somebody.

FF: I don't know, that's a -- [laughs]

TI: That goes, the theme of the interview. [Laughs]

EG: I keep pushing that, don't I? [Laughs]

FF: You know, strangely enough, the, we're still married and the person that got us together is divorced. [Laughs]

TI: I hope they're not because they got you together. [Interruption] The date today is September 25, 1997. We're at the home of Mas Fukuhara doing a Densho interview. Interviewers today, is myself, Tom Ikeda and to my left is...

EG: Elmer Good.

TI: And the videographer behind the camera is Matt Emery.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.