Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Shigeko Sese Uno Interview
Narrator: Shigeko Sese Uno
Interviewers: Beth Kawahara (primary), Alice Ito (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: September 18, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-ushigeko-01-0013

<Begin Segment 13>

BK: Well, as you can try to bring yourself back to 1941, December 7th, can you describe how you heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and what your immediate feelings were?

SU: Well, of course, you couldn't believe it. At least we knew where Pearl Harbor was. But it was such a shock. We were really shocked. The same day, my brother was supposed to announce his engagement to get married. And so since we had made the arrangements, we had dinner. But oh, nobody talked. We left as soon as we could. And as we were coming down this Chinese restaurant, which was on Main Street -- run by Japanese but Chinese food -- and as we came down this stairway to the street level, the FBI people were already there, and picked up about two of our friends who had been dining in the same restaurant. They're already, and they were American citizens. But because their company had been dealing with Japan on the sale of steel -- remember when Seattle used to have trolleys that ran in the middle of the street? And all those railings, they were able to sell. So for that they were picked up.

But it, when evacuation orders came through, that we were, just couldn't believe our ears. For days, we could hear commentators, especially from California, who began saying, "We're gonna put those Japs behind camp, in camp, behind barbed wires." And Chick and I would say, "Oh, that means our parents, because they're aliens." They couldn't become citizens. The law forbade them to become citizens. So we're just saying, "We'll have to go visit them," not realizing that, my goodness, they meant us, too.

BK: Right, right.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.