Densho Digital Archive
gayle k. yamada Collection
Title: Frank Fukuhara Interview
Narrator: Frank Fukuhara
Interviewer: gayle k. yamada
Location: Hawaii
Date: February 9, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-ffrank_2-01-0003

<Begin Segment 3>

gky: We were talking about, well, I have another question about your, your earlier education before college. Was it because Japan was in war with America that they started changing so they were teaching younger boys about military, some military education?

FF: No, military education started way back. Maybe military education in school, like junior high school and high school, started oh, maybe ten years prior to that.

gky: Okay, so when you, when Japan went to war with China, then?

FF: Yes. Right after, when Japan went into China, war with China, I think they, they had about one year, one hour a week military training in these schools. Then it kept increasing and increasing, so when I entered junior high school there was two to three hours a week in military training in school.

gky: What kind of stuff would you do? What do you mean by military training?

FF: Military training, march and how to handle a rifle and how to, well, everything that, same as in the military. Yeah, they'll teach you all kinds of things. I think Harry took that too, so he remembers.

gky: It was, I guess you were telling me you went out on, I don't know, little trips like for, like they do in basic training.

FF: Yes, field trips. Like they'll give, give us a backpack and they'll put stones in it, make it heavy, like it may be about thirty pounds, and we have to walk, walk for about, maybe, eight, ten miles.

gky: And how about, in terms of the Japanese philosophy, sort of a military mentality, were they teaching you that also? Like the bushido code?

FF: That was, they had another subject in Japan. They called it shushin, and that was all separate hours, different hours, but they gave us this mental type of things. That's for all the kids from primary school.

gky: What does sushi mean? Sushi? What does sushi mean?

FF: Sushi? Oh, shushin.

gky: Shushin.

FF: [Laughs] Shushin means how to behave and become a nice person and things like that. Don't do the wrong thing. You have to do the right things. And they'll bring up some old-timer Japanese admirals and generals, how they were when they were small, and those kind of things they taught us in shushin, how to behave.


FF: Well anyway, the Japan society at that time was all military-ized. Everybody was working for the country or for the military all the time, so when... Hiroshima city was also a port they used to send food or soldiers overseas, so a lot of 'em gathered there for, from all over Japan, and there's not enough hotels, so they all slept over at the regular homes. So we took in, we used to take maybe five soldiers. Every time they're overloaded in the hotels we'd take 'em. So about twice, no, more than twice, three, four times a year we'd take in soldiers and, as a hotel. So it was all, everybody was working, everything was a hundred percent for the war.

gky: Your mother at this point had lived in America probably close to twenty years.

FF: Yes, but, little over, about, she lived about, yes, twenty-three years, I think.

gky: Okay, so she lived in America for twenty-three years. Was she pro Japan or pro America in the war?

FF: In the war she was, I didn't notice either way. She was kind of in between. She was always worried about Mary and Harry in the States, and always worried about us in Japan because she did not want us to be drafted all the time. But Victor was drafted already at that, no, couldn't help, and then Pierce was kind of sick all the time, so I was healthy, so she, she was kind of worried that I might be drafted all the time. And I didn't want to be drafted, so I tried to keep out. That was the only reason why I went to technical college.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.