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

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

gky: The date is February 9th, the year 2000, and we're interviewing Frank Fukuhara. Frank, can you give me your spelling of your name and the date of your birth?

FF: Frank Fukuhara, F-U-K-U-H-A-R-A, born 25th of August 1924.

gky: Okay. When you were little you went to Japan. You're a Kibei. What were the circumstances under you going to Japan?

FF: Well, our father died in April 1933, and November the same year, I was nine years old, and my mother took the whole family back to Japan. And I lived in Japan ever since, so I'm in Japan now sixty-six years right now.

gky: Who, who was everybody else, brothers and sisters?

FF: Well, at that time, my oldest brother was Victor. He's ten years older than I am. Then next was my sister, Mary, then Harry and Pierce, and I was the youngest in the family.

gky: What part of Japan did you live in?

FF: We lived in Hiroshima city, Japan all the time, until the war ended.

gky: Can you tell me a little bit about, can you describe the place where you lived?

FF: In Japan?

gky: Uh-huh.

FF: In Japan, at first we lived in a town named Hakushima, Hiroshima city was right close, the center of the Hiroshima city. And then in 1937 we built a house a little, still in the city, but sort of west part of Hiroshima city, and we moved there in 1937.

gky: Okay, in '37 your, your sister Mary went back to United States.

FF: Yes. She did not see the house completed, but she left for the States. And Harry left the year after that, in '38.

gky: What were the circumstances that Harry left? You know, he had to finish high school, he didn't want to come there?

FF: Yes, he, well, after my father died my mother wanted all of us to be able to speak Japanese because she never did learn English. So Harry and Mary, Harry was thirteen there and Mary was seventeen, but they, the two of 'em didn't want to go to Japan, but my mother said, "No, you all have to go and if you graduate high school in Japan you're on your own. You can go back to the States or stay in Japan, but regardless, I want you all to graduate college."

gky: College, whether in the United States or --

FF: In the United States, if you go back to the States, after high school, if you're going back to the States you have to finish college in the States, and if you're staying in Japan you still have to finish college in Japan.

gky: So you were, when Harry went back you were fifteen years old? Fourteen years old, fourteen?

FF: I was fourteen, yes. I was fourteen when Harry went back.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

gky: You underwent a little bit different education than your brothers, either Pierce or Harry, or Victor even. Can you describe a little bit about the kind of education you had?

FF: Well, since I was the youngest in the family, I think as the baby of the family, in other words, my mother wanted me to get a complete Japanese education, so I started primary school. I was in fourth in the States, but when I came back I was put into first grade again to start all over. So a year later I couldn't understand any English anymore. I forgot all my English. So, but my mother wanted me to go to a good public junior high school, high school, and college in Japan, so I kind of went along with her and I tried very hard to get into this government high school, public high school, junior high school, and I made it and she was very glad at that time, and I was too. But that was in nineteen, let me see now, it was, can't remember now...

gky: '35?

FF: Thirty, yeah, let me see now, '35 would it be?

gky: So you went back in '33, in first grade.

FF: '33, so it would be thirty, '39 I entered.

gky: Oh, so you entered seventh grade, what would be the equivalent of seventh grade?

FF: Equivalent to sixth, seventh grade, that's right. That's right. Seventh grade, and the school I went to was a sort of a high school and junior high put together, five years course, but Japan was in war with China, maybe five, seven years prior to that, so by the time I entered I found out, I didn't know that this school was sort of a preschool for the Japanese army and navy academy. I didn't know that at all. After I entered it I found it out, but I did not tell my mother that because I didn't think she would like it. But I suffered because medically, plus they give you, they give you pretty bad treatment. They slap you or hit you or kick you, and you have to take it. Fifth grade was, in that school, they'll do that kind of treatment to you. And the school knew it went on, but they just didn't bother, they just let it go.

gky: Was it because you were a Nisei or was it because they were, any young kid they came along and did this sort of hazing ritual to?

FF: Well, in my case they had me just stand up and the first thing this fifth grade student said, that I was wearing a blue shirt at home, and the rules for the school was that we were not allowed to wear underwear other than white color, but I thought, since I was at home I thought it was okay, but he saw me from walking by my home that I was wearing a blue shirt, and that was the excuse he started beating me up.

gky: Okay, so fifth grade really is the equivalent of seventh grade, eighth grade?

FF: Is equivalent to eleventh, eleventh grade.

gky: Oh, eleventh grade, so it was really the, the older children picking on the younger children.

FF: Young, yes, that's right.

gky: So you were in this pre military school.

FF: Pre military, well, it was supposed to be just a public.

gky: When did they change the way that it was regulated inside the school?

FF: That was changed, it seemed like to me, it was changed, it started changing about three years before I entered, and it got worse and worse every year. But the time I graduated from that high school it was 1944. The war was pretty well towards the end, and in Japan they were very scarce of labor, so we all had to go to work from school, and we, like the first, second and third grade students would go, maybe, volunteer type of work on weekends, like Saturday and Sunday, and go to school weekdays. But after third grade, third, fourth and fifth graders, we all had to go do volunteer work, like army arsenals and freight, what do you call, labor from freight trains to things like that, and third, third, fourth and fifth graders were mostly, worked five days a week, volunteer work, and go to school on weekends.

gky: Boy, that's pretty tough. I mean, they didn't, that doesn't give you much school time.

FF: Yeah, they actually, because after we worked five days a week and got your back, you're all tired out, you go to sleep right away and things like that, so I, we got healthy, maybe, but we didn't get any study, no study time. So I think it was, it was kind of tough on the teachers, too, because they couldn't, they didn't want to work. They came and helped us out, too, but for the students it was really rough because no time to study, and still when we graduate you'll have to take tests for entering college and we all didn't have enough time. And that was because we were in Hiroshima. Hiroshima is known as a military town and they need a lot of labor, so they finally put us to work.

gky: How about farm work, helping...

FF: Yes. Farm work started when we were in the second grade, yes, in that high school, second year. I went to help the farmers for two weeks to plant rice, and that same year autumn time came and I went to help farmers two weeks harvesting rice. And that lasted for, until I graduated because they were short on... but in case there's, farm work was a, had a higher priority because you had, it was a time limit on planning and harvesting things, so I had, I went, in other words, four weeks every year to help the farmers.

gky: When they changed the inside of the school, how the school was run, why did they change it and gear it more towards military education?

FF: Why did they change the... well, our school was a very well known school for the army and navy. It's just like the West Point or, in America they call, what, academy? That's academy, right. And the, our school students were known, maybe about five or ten percent of the graduate students used to go, peace time, go to these academy type schools, but the time, and they were doing very good, so they all wanted all of us to try to take tests to go to these academy schools. But if you don't have, if you're wearing glasses or things like that they won't let you in. In other words, they were very strict on the health test. But I didn't want to go, so I didn't go, but if I didn't I'll be drafted, I knew. I was a little bit older than the other kids, so to keep out of draft at that time, the only way to do for me was to either go to medical college or technical college. Then I can extend my draft. So I worked a little bit harder than I did because I found that out, so I took a test, about three schools that were public and technical, and I just passed one of 'em, so I went to that college, which was in Toyama, Japan. But once I got there I thought, I took, I chose the country college because I thought I could eat better, because food was very short in Hiroshima at that time, but I went there, but it was just the same. I couldn't get enough to eat.

gky: This is 1944?

FF: This is 1944, yes.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<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.

<Begin Segment 4>

gky: Can you talk a little bit about the, having to renounce your American citizenship? You had dual citizenship at this point.

FF: Yes, as soon as I entered this junior high school -- it was called the Hiroshima Prefectural, Hiroshima First Middle School, and I was, what was it, fourteen, I think it was -- I had to have dual citizenship to enter that school. So I passed the test, so I don't remember doing it, my mother went to the Japanese government and registered me and I became dual, until the war ended in 1945. For about six, seven years I was dual, but after the war I put in to go back to the States and they questioned me because I had, was in the army, and I said yes, I was. So they said, no, sorry, you're gonna lose your citizenship, so I lost it right after the war.

gky: Wait, I thought that you lost it before you went to technical school, that you weren't allowed to enter the technical school as a, as an American citizen. You needed to enter as only a Japanese citizen.

FF: Yes, I had -- no, as long as I had dual I could go to any government schools in Japan.

gky: Oh, so it wasn't a requirement that you renounce your citizenship and go to school?

FF: No. No, I just, my mother just registered me, registered when I was fourteen. I was, for Japanese citizenship, and I became dual. That was when I was fourteen, but I didn't know that until about a year later, but I, nothing happened, so I didn't, I just went along. And then when I entered technical college I didn't have to worry about it because I had dual already. But because I had dual they drafted me, but if I didn't have dual I'd be drafted before that because I didn't, I couldn't get into a government, or public college.

gky: I guess what I don't understand is, the Japanese government could have drafted you as an American citizen?

FF: No, they cannot.

gky: But as a Japanese national with dual citizenship...

FF: They'll draft, if I didn't have a dual citizenship, if I had only American citizenship, I would, I would not be drafted, but it'd be hard to live in Japan because no more, they won't give you any rations to eat, because ration for food, clothing had started already. That started right, right about when World War II started.

gky: So how did you wind up losing your American citizenship?

FF: Because I was drafted into the Japanese army in nine, tenth, 10 April 1945, I got my draft notice, and I had to enter the Japanese army.

gky: Now, you were telling me yesterday that the draft went into effect for medical and technical schools in the first of April of that year.

FF: Yes. 1 April 1945, they changed the law that even though you're in technical college or medical college we're gonna start drafting you. That's the law that came out. And I was, just happened to be visiting my mother. I was in Hiroshima, and I got a notice when I got back. I went back, it was either the second or the third of April. I went, 1945, I went home and the next day I got this draft notice. So in those days it was hard to travel. It would take me at least two years to go back to my school and process paperwork and come back, so I had my mother do that and I prepared to go into the 2nd West Battalion, which was in Hiroshima city, the center of the city. I was drafted right there, and I took, before -- training, basic training was about six months, but they, that was too much time. They couldn't wait, so it was shrunk to, like, three months. The time I took it was about two and a half months, and when I finished, end of June, basic training, there was notice in my battalion that half of this battalion is gonna go overseas and half will stay. So I wanted to stay because it's near my home, but after the next day they announced it and I was with the, the company that went, had to go overseas. So I, they issued me all new clothes, shoes, everything, and I thought I was going overseas, but I went as far as Kyushu island and found out there was no more ships to ship us oversea anymore, so I stayed right there in Kokura city, Kyushu. And then I was assigned to this, my whole company at that time was assigned to this suicide squad, and we were to carry bombs and dive into American tanks if they come up. That was our mission at that time.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

gky: This is Frank Fukuhara, February 9, 2000, in Honolulu, tape two. Frank, will you tell me again about how you were trained to be a suicide bomber and what you were supposed to do?

FF: Well, they, in Kyushu our main job was digging foxholes and caves, but about from three o'clock on we come back to our barracks and then they'll train us on suicide, which means we carry bombs and dive into American tanks when they come up, land in Kyushu island. And then, that's, that was the early part of July already, 1945, and then about that time, I trained for about a couple weeks altogether, and funny things started happening, happened. And I don't know exactly what date, but anyway, there was several Korean soldiers in my outfit, so a couple of 'em escaped, so we were told to go into town to look for 'em. So we went out, we couldn't find anything, but I was talking to this Korean, other Korean that graduated college in Japan and he told me that, oh, they're all gone back to Korea by now. So I couldn't understand. I didn't know that, I knew Koreans were in the Japanese army and they were fighting for, for Japan and all that, but I did not know that at times they would escape, go AWOL, in other words, and go back to their country. That's the first time I heard about it, and I felt real funny because I thought it was more, different than that, that the Koreans knew, I think, at that time they knew that Japan was gonna lose already. Maybe Japan, maybe, it was right close to the end of the war, and so after that several things happened. They never told me that the war ended, so eighth, sixth of August that year atomic bomb dropped in Hiroshima, and I was, since I was from Hiroshima... but I didn't know until, all this time funny things happening, but, like the Koreans escaped, and then they asked me if I wanted to become an interpreter for the American POW camp. I said no because I lost my English right away and I couldn't, I didn't use English for over seven years at that time already, see, so I couldn't understand any English, so I said no. And then they assigned us, our squad, to guard the Kokura arsenal, and the Kokura arsenal had guards already, but when I got there, there was nobody guarding it. So we got, our company, our company decided to stay there, and I was with them and we were guarding the arsenal, but the arsenal commander was a retired Japanese colonel.


gky: Okay, you were talking about the Kokura arsenal, but before you, you finish about that, can you tell me, with the Koreans, you said that you were named as squad leader? Will you tell me about that?

FF: Oh, yeah, that's right, there was about ten or nine Koreans left in our company yet, and all of a sudden they told me to become a squad leader, and in the squad there would be nine or ten, I don't remember exactly, Koreans. They wanted me to be in charge of the Koreans, but I was the only one that, in that squad that only had four months' time and they all had six months to about three years' time in already, so I said, no, I don't, I can't control them. And they said, no, they wanted me to be in charge, so I said okay, and I asked them what they wanted to do. It was really something. They never told us the war ended or nothing, but that time the war was ended for sure because they said, I told my company commander that the, my men in my squad wanted to go out, outside, so he said, okay, but make sure and be back by six o'clock. So early in the morning we took off and I asked 'em where they wanted to go. They, they said they wanted to go to this certain Korean home and they were farming at that time, so we went there and they all enjoyed Korean food, and I was just with them, but they said, "Why don't you just lay down and take it easy?" so I did. And then about three o'clock I told 'em that, let's start going back home, so they said okay and they all went. They obeyed my orders, but it was really funny to me because I was just a new man in the outfit. But something like that, funny things happened, and all of a sudden they say I can go home, but still they didn't tell me the war has ended, see, so I went home. I took the train and went back home.

gky: When they trained you to be a suicide bomber, Japan was obviously then expecting some sort of invasion.

FF: Right, right.

gky: Because you were gonna be on Kyushu, but they only trained young, I mean, you're twenty-one, twenty-two years old, they were only training young people to be suicide bombers rather than the forty-year old men who were...

FF: No, there was a, just the younger ones. There was like a, when I was drafted, the same time, they were short on personnel, so they drafted, in my battalion they drafted about twenty or thirty, forty to forty-two, age of forty to forty-two, about thirty or forty of 'em were drafted, and that was the first time they ever drafted. But they couldn't train with us because we were so young they couldn't keep up with us. They're all our parents' age, some of 'em. And at that time, outside, like my mother or all the ladies that were holding their homes -- all the adult or grown up men were all either working outside or they were drafted in the military, see? So they, my mother and the ladies were training for, like spears, how to fight with spears, bamboo spears, you know? [Laughs] You haven't heard of it maybe, but they were training for that every day, maybe thirty minutes every day.

gky: How did you feel being an American in the Japanese army? I mean, you're fighting against your own country.

FF: Yes, I always tried to keep out. That's the reason why I, when I was drafted I was really disappointed. But through basic training I didn't feel too much about it, until I was assigned to that suicide. That really hurt me and I didn't know what to do, but I just had to obey orders. If I don't they're gonna shoot me anyway.

gky: You talked a little bit about the feeling of losing hope, of having nothing to live for and not minding as much being a suicide bomber. Can you talk a little bit about that?

FF: Well, everything started about 1940, '41, so food became rationed, clothing, everything started being rationed, and nothing, and we had to work all the time, no school hardly, just on Saturday and Sundays, and no hope for nothing. You know, if you live like that you start... and, but I didn't think about Harry or Mary much. I was just worried about my mother staying home all alone all the time. But when I was assigned to this suicide unit, that was, I thought that, well, I'm not gonna live long anyway, so I'll just go along with it and I might be lucky and live through it, but I just didn't have any hope, no fight. But at least my company commander was a very nice guy, and he was always on the side to try to help me. Since I was a Nisei he thought, he asked me, "Any hard feelings among the other guys?" And I said no. There was, but I didn't want to worry him. No use telling him yes, so I just said no.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

gky: When was the last time that you heard from Harry before the war, beginning of the war?

FF: Well, the war broke out 7th of December 1941, the last we heard from him was just about that time. We got a letter, and in that letter it said that he might be drafted into the American army. It was either army or navy, I don't know. Anyway, so my mother got all worried, and then the war broke out, so she, where the atomic bomb building is remaining yet, the bomb, there, at that building there was a commercial and industry association headquarters, there in that building, and there's one room they set up an American, Japan Red Cross. So my mother heard from somebody that at that building there is a Japan Red Cross that will take our letters and ship it to the States for us, so she wrote a letter saying, the first letter is the only one I remember, but she said, "Do not, if you're drafted you can't help it, but do not volunteer for the military." So in the second one she mentioned something about -- he was a houseboy at that time and going to college, and the people at that home wanted to adopt Harry, and she heard that. That was in the first letter. That, the last letter we received, it was on there, so on the second letter she said that, "No, even though I have four boys, I'd like to keep 'em all," so Harry lost his chance being adopted to this Caucasian family. And my mother was all satisfied that he received it, but I found out after the war he didn't receive any letters from us, but she was satisfied anyway that, she thought he received.

gky: So you didn't know that Harry had been put in, in Gila River internment camp?

FF: No, we knew nothing about camps. We didn't even know that camps existed, that the Japanese were picked up and thrown into camps. I didn't even know. Nobody knew about it.

gky: So in other words, you didn't, you don't know how the Japanese were treated in California?

FF: In California, no, we didn't know anything about it. I, we always thought since he was staying at this teacher's home, Caucasian family, that he was still there, we all thought.

gky: When was the first time that you realized that Harry was in the, in the army?

FF: I didn't know until the war ended, and after I got back home, Hiroshima, couple, three weeks later Harry showed up at my working office. That's the first time. I recognized him right away, but I couldn't figure out why he was there.

gky: Did he come looking for you?

FF: He came looking for the whole family. Since he was interviewing, interrogating all these POW, Japanese POWs, he got orders when the war ended to tell these POWs, especially the ones from Hiroshima, to explain about atomic bomb, but he didn't know anything atomic bomb, so he had to study a little and explain to the POWs, Japanese soldiers what end of the war was, atomic bomb, and atomic bomb is, from what I hear, is like this, and no trees or grass will grow for a hundred years, things like that. But he was explaining to the POWs, but at that time he wasn't worried about the home, but all of a sudden he, it shook him because he thought the whole family might be living there, see, in Hiroshima. So when the war ended and they wanted him to go to Japan as occupation forces, he didn't want to go. At first he said no, but they said they were short on interpreters, so he said, "Yes, I'll go," but he didn't think we were all living, so he didn't even think about coming to visit us at Hiroshima when the war ended. He landed in Kobe, and after he landed in Kobe he was very busy for about two, three weeks, occupation, and then he started writing letters or sending telegrams, trying to get through by telephone to Hiroshima, but he couldn't get through. But he found out there's some people living yet, so he put in for, into MacArthur's headquarters, that he would like to visit Hiroshima looking for the family.

gky: And at this point he doesn't, didn't know that you or Pierce were in the military?

FF: He didn't know nothing about what was, what took place with our family. He didn't know. The only thing he knew, that atomic bomb dropped on the sixth of August.

gky: The plans, if Japan had been invaded by the United States, the plans were that you would be on a beach on Kyushu and that Harry would go into the, Harry on the American side would land at that same beach?

FF: Yes, I was in Kyushu, Kokura, and until about, approximately one month after the war ended I was still there, but after I met Harry I found out that their division was to invade Kyushu island, 1 November the same year. But, that was one of the first things he told me, but after that he forgot about it. Then he remembered he told me that, and so if the war had landed another two and a half months we could've been fighting each other.

gky: That's scary when you think about it.

FF: Scares me too.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

gky: Okay, Frank, you're a Nisei in the Japanese army. Did anybody in the army know that you were American born?

FF: Yes. When I was in Hiroshima, right after I was drafted into the Hiroshima unit there, my company commander asked me if I would like to transfer to the next door company, and he said the next door company commanding officer is a Nisei, so I was kind of shocked 'cause I didn't think he knew I was Nisei. So I said no, but the company commander was a really nice guy, so I said, I've never heard of his name, the Nisei name. "I don't know him, but I know you and I'd like to stay with you." And it was lucky I did because when they transferred me to, our company to Kyushu, the Nisei company stayed in Hiroshima, so they're all gone, because our outfit was right in the center there, maybe five hundred yards, something like that from the center. So everybody died.

gky: When... you said there was all this weird kind of stuff happening and you were guarding the Kokura arsenal, but then they finally let you go. The Japanese army finally sent you back to Hiroshima, but you said that they didn't tell you the war had ended and it was September when you went back?

FF: Yes, I didn't know. They didn't tell me the war ended, but they said, "Go home, we'll pay you." So I got paid and I start going home, and then on the train going back, as we got nearer to Hiroshima city the passengers on the city said, "Where are you going home? Where are you going?" So I said, "I'm going home back to Hiroshima," and this lady said, "Oh, Hiroshima was treated very badly." And I said, "What do you mean?" And she said, "Some new bomb dropped and it's just wiped the whole city out." And I was really surprised to hear that, so I got worried, but it just happened on the way back from Kyushu to Hiroshima, we, our house was located about, oh, about a hundred yards north of the railway, so I decided to look out the window and see if I can find my home, and sure enough, my home was white, it was a white building, so it was there, so I felt released. And I couldn't tell details until I got home. After I got home I found out that all the windows, all the doors are all blown out, just the framework was existing. And my mother was sick from radiation, and my oldest brother Victor was upstairs sleeping by himself and he was also very sick. So then I knew how bad, because our house we moved to in '37 is about, located maybe two, two and a half miles at the very most from the center, but the house we were in was, was in about a half mile from the center. But that part was okay, but still... and my mother, the day the bomb dropped, my mother was supposed to, each house had to send out volunteers to work in the city, and they were tearing down houses in the city, and if you go and help them you can take home wood back home for firewood, so my mother decided to go. She had to go, anyway, but there was two shifts that morning. This is on sixth, sixth of -- well, U.S. time it might be the seventh. No, it would be the fifth, maybe. The sixth, actually, the atomic bomb dropped at 8:15 in the morning on the sixth of August 1945, but anyway, that morning she was going to go on the second shift to pick up some wood, but she got up early, so her, my mother and the girl that lived, sixteen year old girl that lived right across the street from us, said, "Let's have our shift changed to the later shift, to the earlier shift, go early and come back early." So they said, "Okay, you can leave on the early shift," so all of a sudden they decided to leave on the early shift. And they went into town, which was about, it takes about an hour to walk. Not, not, a little less. It wasn't close to the center, but not that far, about forty-five minutes from our house. They had to walk with this, what do you call, wheelchairs?

gky: Wheelbarrow.

FF: Wheelbarrow? It had two...

gky: A cart?

FF: Cart. Cart, manual type, and the, anyway --

gky: I'm sorry, can you describe again how they had to walk, with this cart to carry the lumber?

FF: Cart to carry the wood back.

gky: I stepped on you. Will you, will you say it again please?

FF: Yes, she, the two of 'em took care of one cart, and the younger girl was pulling side and my mother was on the pushing side. They went into town and helped tearing down the houses, and they loaded their cart and came back home. And on the way they met the second shift people going into town, and after they got back the people that were on the second shift, none of 'em came back. They couldn't find anything of them. Everything disappeared. So they were very lucky, but my mother had relatives right in the center of the town, so the next day, well, yeah, she came back and she was at the front door that day and washing her feet, foot with pump water, and as soon as she washed it she was ready to wear her geta, and the bomb dropped. And it, lightning, she said it was, big lightning went through and then a big noise went through, and then black rain started coming down, she says. That's, everybody was told in that neighborhood to go to, they had shelters, about two of 'em on every street, so she went to the shelter right away. And she said she stayed there about two hours in the shelter because the black rain wouldn't stop. And after about two hours it started stopping, so she went back in the house, and she found nothing in the house. She couldn't even walk in the house because glass was scattered all over. It was too dangerous for her to go in. So meantime, another hundred yards from our home, north, the highway, main highway was running, and my mother went out there and she found all these people in Hiroshima were marching out of the city, and that was about 10:00, maybe 10:30 in the morning, so she was, she watched them for a while and then she found out that she couldn't, they were all naked, but she couldn't tell if they were a man or a woman. But they were still walking and they're hollering and things like that, and she got scared. And she saw one person with rags hanging under her arms. She thought it was a rag, clothes, but it was skin. And she got really scared then. Then she was ready to go back home, and one of the ladies, it was a woman's voice, she said it was asking for water. So my mother rushed back, got a bucket full of water and went back out and she wanted to drink it, and she, as soon as she kept on drinking, and she just died at that spot, so my mother said no, no more water. But if she, she was still watching and people would come by and ask for water and things like that. My mother wouldn't give it to 'em, but they would drink the water in the gutter anyway.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

gky: You must've had some pretty jumbled emotions at this time. On the one hand, you're an American, but you've grown up Japanese most of your life, and America is your country, but they've just bombed your family.

FF: Right. Well, Hiroshima is known for having a lot of Niseis, so I think Niseis that had to stay in Japan during the war felt the same way I did, but we didn't, we were so scarce on everything it was hard to get anything. That's all we worried about, trying to get enough to eat and things like that. We couldn't pay much attention towards our family in the States all the time. But I think most of the Niseis that lived in the city, I think they all died. I was just lucky because I was drafted, but the people that were not drafted, there were a lot of Nisei, especially the girls. They were not drafted, and a lot of 'em died, I think, the Nisei girls. But I have no idea how many died, Nisei died at that time.

gky: Can you describe your feelings the first time you saw your mother and she was sick, and Victor when he was sick?

FF: Well, I don't remember much about Victor because the only thing I remember about my brother Victor was that he was so weak he didn't want to talk anymore. But my mother, she was feeling better, but I noticed she had a neckerchief over her head, so I asked her and she said she lost all her hair so she's hiding it from that neckerchief. And she said that ever since after she went looking for the relatives in Hiroshima city she was -- that was over a month already, almost two months, about two months already -- and she was still bleeding from her gums all the time, and she had diarrhea all the time, so she lost a lot of weight. And I noticed her, but she was really different. And it was less than a half year since I last met her, but she aged about maybe twenty years in that time, since she was in that bomb radiation. But she recovered from that later on, a little, but she was going out, going in and out of the atomic hospital in Hiroshima until she died.

gky: Can tell me about your cousin, I mean, your aunt going to find her daughter?

FF: Oh, that's my cousin. My cousin, Misao, she was Nisei and she came to Japan when she was about thirteen and she married a Japanese boy, and she had a daughter. When the bomb dropped she was thirteen years old. And that daughter Harry knows very well, I know very well, very close to our family, so when Harry left for the States in Japan she came to see him off and things like that. But about ten, ten years after the war ended, my cousin came to visit me, and she's not that type to visit people or talk too much, but she came and I was surprised she came, and I knew she lost her daughter in Hiroshima atomic bomb. And she was living about two, two and a half miles south of the Hiroshima city, so this girl, the daughter of her was thirteen and she was going first year of junior high school, and she knew just about when the drop, bomb dropped, so she figured from that, she took a bus, she took a streetcar and things like that, and she would be right on this area when the bomb dropped, so she went looking, the next day my cousin went looking for her daughter. And she found out that all the people that were laying down in the street, they all put 'em in this school that was still, everything was blown out, but the roof was there at least, and they're all laid down in the hallway and all the names were put up. And they're all sleeping; you can't tell if they're a girl or a boy, she said. But then she found her daughter's name, but she couldn't recognize the, and she was still breathing yet, so she called her. Her name was Kimiko, Nishimura Kimiko. Said, Kimiko... excuse me. So my cousin recognized her by voice, so my cousin said, "I'm gonna go back home and get you some musubi and something to drink, so you wait." She said there was no transportation. You had to walk all the way back home. She prepared the stuff and came back about four hours later. She was gone. But I didn't know that until she came to visit me. She didn't say to anybody what happened, what took place on Kimiko. But she wanted to tell me at least, that's the way she died, that her daughter died, but less than a year after that my cousin died, so I think -- she was in the atomic bomb, too. She was right close to the center, but she was lucky. She was living, but she was still having trouble with radiation.

gky: Yeah, because she must've only been in her forties when she died then.

FF: Oh yes, she was in, she was, older than that. She's Nisei.

gky: But too young. Too young for...

FF: Yeah, she was about, yeah, little over forty, I guess, maybe between forty and forty-five. But I think she had a feeling she's not gonna live long anymore, but she never talked to anybody about this, except me. She came all the way from Hiroshima to where I was living in Nagoya, took her about half, at least twelve, fifteen hours to get to my place, and so I had her to stay a couple nights. I heard a lot of stories about something like, but this daughter of hers said that she was, she saw a parachute coming down, so she looked up and was watching it and all of a sudden it blasted, and that was the atomic bomb. And it blinded her, so she had to crawl for about a couple hours. She said, "I crawled a couple hours, but I didn't know which direction I was going. I was crawling, but I finally lost fight and I found myself here." And she was really close to us, the cousin, the mother was a cousin, but the cousin wasn't that close, but the daughter was very close to us. So maybe that's the reason why she wanted to tell me about it. But we lost a lot, besides my mother, she died from the radiation later on, and my brother Victor, he died a year after the bomb dropped, but we lost a lot of relatives.

gky: The war has really affected your whole family.

FF: Yes, that's right. It's the whole family, because my, my mother comes from a big family. She had seven sisters and two brothers, altogether ten in the family, and half of 'em were living in Hiroshima city, see, so she was busy looking out for 'em. And then meantime, she didn't know any better, she inhaled all this gas or radiation, so she, she was more sick than a lot of people and she wasn't there. She was there, but she was on the other side of the house, so she didn't get direct radiation or nothing. She, just because she went looking for 'em in town, she got really sick.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

gky: What was it like, what were the conditions under which you met Harry for the first time after the war and learned that he was alive and had been serving in the army?

FF: Well, like I told you before, I was, nobody told me in our outfit that the war ended, so I was stuck in Kyushu until about another extra month or more, and I came back and I looked after my mother and Victor, but I had to work, so I found a job. But the first job I found was an interpreter job, and meantime I took tests at the prefectural government for interpreter, but I couldn't pass the test, of course, because all Japanese teachers, they couldn't understand American English, so I couldn't understand their English either. They asked me in their English, Japanese type English. I couldn't understand what they're talking about, so I couldn't pass it. And anyway, after about three weeks after I got home I decided to go to work, and at that time the American government has sent atomic bomb research team into Hiroshima city. I didn't know anything about it. Nobody knew about it. But I went to work for this Japanese company, which they were going to go after the Japanese soldiers that were sick patients. They're gonna, so I went, helped them, but that boat wasn't gonna take off for about a week because they were still getting ready, loading water and medicines and things like that, so they, right next to our barracks there, American atomic bomb research team was there, and they were looking for an interpreter. So my friend that got me this job, he said, "Why don't you go over there and train for about a week, you might pick up some English since you forgot it." So I went over there and they said, oh yeah, he understood me right away. I said I'd like to work, and he said, "Yeah, what is your name?" I said, "Frank Fukuhara." "Well, we were looking for an interpreter, but we never got an interpreter. Let's go to work. "

So I was working already, and next, two days after, the third day, I went to work and I start working for this one person. He was in uniform, but I didn't know what kind of uniform it was. And about five minutes after I got there, Harry was standing there. And I recognized him right away, but I couldn't figure out why he was there. The first thing went through my mind was I thought he was POW, he was a POW and deported back to Japan. That's the first thing that went through my mind. And I asked him what, how he got here. He didn't say a word about it, and next thing he said, "I'm in Kobe right now. Would you like to go to Kobe?" I said, I do, because I was looking for a job, and these two jobs, both of 'em are temporary. I'm not hired officially. I just started working day before yesterday, I told him. And he said, so Harry talks to this guy that I worked together with, and I was looking at him and I noticed that Harry had the same kind of uniform on, 'cause I didn't know what kind of uniform American soldiers were wearing at that time. So we all, my brother, after he explained to this guy that I'm his brother, because we were speaking Japanese all the time, and he said, "I want to take him back to my outfit," and things like that. They said, "Yeah, he's temporary, so please go ahead. We're hurtin' for interpreters, but," and then I later found out that he was the youngest and the lowest rank, but he was a still a major already. People say scientists and doctors were, all had temporary ranks on, like generals and colonels and all. But anyway, Harry and I started back for Kobe, and on the way back we dropped by Kure where the American 41st Division was there as occupation, and Harry was told when he left -- he was in the Kobe 33rd Division headquarters -- that if he had any trouble, to report with the 33rd Division commander, so when he was visiting us my mother told him to hide the jeep, doesn't look good. So my brother hid it right next, by --


FF: Well, I got permission to quit working for this atomic bomb research. Later on they called it the ABC something research center, but at that time they just came from the States and just started, and I took, so Harry said, "Let's go," and I went outside and there was a jeep sittin' there. And there was a big Caucasian boy sitting in the jeep, so I looked at him, didn't say a word, but Harry said, "Get in the back," so I got in the back, and he was driving. So I just, I just thought, I still had that in mind that Harry was a prisoner of war, so I thought that this Caucasian guy is guarding him all the time, because he had a pistol on both sides, see, and Harry had pistols, too, but I didn't know, I didn't notice that. So anyway, I thought he was, I didn't know who he was, but we went towards the 41st Division, and as you approach the 41st Division you have to go through a tunnel, and right after we finished the tunnel there was a big colored soldier. He was guarding the peoples going in and out through the tunnel, and he stopped us. And it was raining, and he started talking to Harry, and Harry, I couldn't understand what they were talking about because I forgot all my English at that time, but anyway, he said, I'm gonna, he had a talkie talkie, so he was talking to the headquarters' commanding officer. I didn't know that until later, but he was talking, he talked, the guard was talking to the commanding officer, and the commanding officer said, "Yeah, I know Harry and I know, I heard that he went to Hiroshima, so please let him in right away." So he came in and he asked for spare tires 'cause he, somebody stole all four, besides the four tires he used he had, from Kobe to Hiroshima he thought he'd get a flat tire because all the cities in between were all burned out. There's a lot of nails. But on the way coming to Hiroshima he had four flats, so they're all flat tires, but somebody stole all of 'em anyway, so he asked for good tires and a toolbox and things like that, everything that was stolen from us. And the commanding general says, gave us some C-rations and K-rations to eat on the way and things like that. That time guard said, "Go ahead," and he saluted Harry, so I said, why salute Harry? So I start talking to Harry. I said, "Why'd he salute you?" He didn't say much. He said, one thing he said was, "This Caucasian sittin' here is working for me," he said in Japanese. I didn't, I couldn't understand what he meant. What, what did he mean, working for him? Later on I found out he was driving for Harry and his commander ordered him to drive, but I found out later this Caucasian -- big guy, he was young, but he looked old to me. He looked like thirty, thirty-five to me, but he was only nineteen, and he was scared all the way, Harry said. He was so scared Harry would try to get off the jeep and go someplace, he'd follow him all around because all these Japanese soldiers were demobilizing, going back home, and they would start a fire on the street and get drunk and all that, so if they, they start talking loud words, "What are you doing wearing American uniform?" and things like that, so he was really scared. They were talking actually to Harry, but Harry said, "This is my boss. I'm just an interpreter." That's the only way he got through. That was a promised thing when they took off, he said. So they got back safely and they came in safely, and on the way back, but I still couldn't understand what he meant until I got back to Kobe. It took us about sixteen, eighteen hours. I have no memory for that. Early in the morning, pitch dark, we went into this hotel. There was a guard standing there, and he said, "Please go in," so this Caucasian boy, he was driving and he drove up to the entrance of the hotel, he got off and he drove the jeep and took off. So then Harry said, "This is the officers' quarters." I couldn't figure it out. [Laughs]

So anyway, he, they, everybody knew he left four years ago, but nobody knew when he, when he was gonna come back. But word got around fast, because we got in about four o'clock and I slept a couple, three hours, and I got up -- and I never lived in a, or stayed in a hotel before, nice like that -- and he said, "Let's go to eat breakfast." I said, I was kind of worried because I only had one set of clothes, and I was wearing it all the time, so... and I went, we went to the mess hall and Harry said, "What do you want to eat?" I didn't know what to eat, so Harry just ordered me, like bacon, eggs, and things like that. And I hadn't eaten American food for a long time by that time, maybe thirteen years, something like. I was nine and I was twenty-one that time, so twelve years I hadn't eaten American food, so I was really -- besides, I was hungry. I couldn't eat much, last four or five years I couldn't eat much, and I was young, so I think I ate quite a bit. I'm not sure. I ate all the rolls up there and everything. [Laughs] But anyway, right after breakfast I went together with Harry to the headquarters. The American army, or military has this newspaper, Stars and the Stripes, those people were there. Japanese newspaper people were there already. I don't know how they found out that, I think words got around after he came back that night before, so they're all there already. I didn't know what was going on, see. I knew there was Japanese people and taking pictures and things like that. That's all I knew, and I didn't know they were news press people. Anyway, the word got around fast because from the Stars and Stripes the news got, all over America, mainland too. And I hear that the news press people in Chicago, where my sister was living at that time, got a hold of it, and they located Mary, my sister, in Chicago and, early in the morning, she said, my sister did, they woke me up and said, your brother Harry located your family, he said, or mother or something like that. Anyway, related people. And she didn't know anything about it. Well, she was very much surprised, she says, because she, she knew he was in the service. They went to camp together and Harry volunteered from the camp into military and into the language part, and then he was sent to Intelligence school where they had to take Japanese courses. But anyway, she was very much surprised that, because she didn't know the exact type of work Harry was doing in the military. She didn't know he was a lieutenant. And, well anyway, words got around pretty fast and a commanding officer said that, to tell me that I can live on base, I can go to any mess hall, officers, non-commissioned officers, or GI, the private, I can eat any, so I was really hungry, so I ate about five meals, sometimes six meals a day I'd eat. [Laughs] That didn't last long, but for about a week I was really hungry. I ate, ate, ate, ate. Because I remember coming back from Hiroshima to Kobe there was a box of chocolate bars, chocolate bars, and I ate the whole box in about two, three hours, but for five years I didn't even want to look at chocolate anymore. [Laughs]


<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

gky: Could you go over again being tossed into the barracks in total immersion? Will you tell that story again?

FF: Harry decided to have me to live together, instead of living at the officers' quarters, he thought it would be much better to stay with the recruits that just came over from the States. And I thought it was States, so I didn't bother, but the, there was some Japanese looking kids and like that and Caucasian, about five or six of 'em, right nearby me. That way I couldn't, I don't have any chance speaking Japanese. They're all, nobody understands me, so little by little I talk English, and they would help me out and things like that. And about a month's time, maybe less than a month, but I could speak a little, so I start living with Harry because Harry moved out into a Japanese home at that time, and Niseis, military people, Nisei GIs and officers and sergeants and all, they were all living in a Japanese home at that time, about a month later. So I start living with them, and they all wanted to eat Japanese food. That's the reason why I think they moved out. [Laughs] It was a, I guess, [inaudible] but since the war they didn't say much about it.

gky: Did, did Harry tell you that he was in Military Intelligence Service? Did you know he was serving in the Intelligence?

FF: No, I didn't know. I just thought, see, I looked at the sign board going into his office, and it said Language Detachment, so I thought he was just an interpreter or translation and things like that, plus he gave me some lists to translate, names and addresses, so I didn't know he was Intelligence until way, way late. That trip, he was ready to go home. When he left the Philippines for Japan he said, "I'll stay a half year, something like that, and I'm gonna go back and get out of the service." So he stayed about a half year and went back and got out of the service. Then by that time my mother and my brother that was in the atomic bomb moved up to Kobe, and we were living together, but my, Victor really got bad after that, so he wrote a letter to Harry. I didn't know that, that letter to Harry to have Harry come back to Japan again, but there's no way to come back to Japan in those days unless they're military. So Harry called up his commanding general that was still in the States, active duty, and the general says, "Oh yeah, if you want to come back" -- by that time they were trying to get rid of all the GIs, so they were kind of downgrading their ranks and things like that -- and he said since he was a field commission, "I talked to the people that you come back as a lieutenant again." So he got, he got that and in '48 he got back to Japan, and I joined him again, March.

gky: How did, how did you feel seeing all the occupation, American occupation forces in Japan?

FF: Well, I was, I was happy actually, that, number one, the war was ended and I got to meet Harry and things like that, and I was also talking, when I was still in Hiroshima right after the war, I talked to a lot of my friends, my schoolmates and things like that, and they were all happy to see the war ending because it could last for a long time and Japan was gonna lose anyway, and by ending that war by atomic bomb -- people in Hiroshima say this, you know -- by ending the war by atomic bomb was a good thing, is what they said at that time. Later on maybe they changed a little bit, but right after the war majority of the people were happy that the war ended, even though that was because of atomic bomb.

gky: So in other words, your being an American, did that have any effect on, on...

FF: No. I, some of these people I talked to knew I was Nisei, but lot of 'em didn't know I was Nisei. They were all happy the war ended, because it was lasting so long. It was getting worse every day, the situation, living situation.

gky: What gave you more hope?

FF: Who?

gky: More hope. You said that as a twenty-one-year-old trained as a suicide bomber you had no hope for, I mean, you might as well die.

FF: Right, but after I got back, yes, I, at first I was kind of worried because my mother was sick, my brother was sick, and nobody to help. I go for a job and nobody, I can't pass the test and things like that. But once Harry showed up, everything changed after that for me. I was really happy. But later on, Communist was very strong in Japan from about that time, so a lot of people thought that way. They were glad to see the end of the war, but since the Communists was against atomic bomb, then they start kind of cooling off, but they were all happy, especially the Hiroshima people were very happy to see the war ending because it was very miserable.

gky: Do you and Harry ever talk about your roles in the war, you being in one army and him being in another?

FF: No, we never talked seriously. We just, talking to our friends, in conversation might come up, but I never talked to him about it until, I think it was last year. Harry said, What do you think about war?" And I said war is no good, I thought. He said, "I think the same way." And then I said, "The war is for certain people way up there. They're the ones that decide if it's war or not. Well, these people should talk it over." That's the way I looked at it. And Harry said, "Yeah, that's a way of looking at it, but there's gonna be a war on earth all the time. I don't believe there's gonna be an end to it." He didn't like war either, even though he served forty-eight years in the service. He served twenty-nine as military and nineteen as a civilian, so forty-eight years. Even though he served forty-eight years, he didn't like war, he said. Because, I think that's because his parents, mother died in the atomic bomb, and seeing a lot of our relatives die. Some of 'em he met, our relatives he met after the war, but they, they died from atomic radiation, so he, we hear this a lot, relatives, So-and-So died, So-and-So died. It's really, that's the only thing we talked about, was, that first time last year, I think it was.

gky: And so you haven't ever talked about your feelings about being on opposing sides during the war?

FF: No, never talked about that. Never did, because I, myself, I couldn't speak up. It was too dangerous to talk anything about the United States during the war, so I did not talk about it at all.

gky: So in a way you were kind of a closet American.

FF: Kamikaze American, right.

gky: Closet, a closet American.

FF: Closet, closet. Yes. And I always wanted to go back, that's for sure. Even though I got my Japanese dual citizenship, my mother put in for it, so, and I got into trouble when I was in the third year in high school and I almost got kicked out. If I got kicked out at that time, well, they were waiting to draft me right away. So we got in a big fight, our school and another school, and we were fighting behind the school, and there was some lady was watching from her home, the fight was going on, and she reported our school that, "Ten of your students and fifteen or eighteen other school students are having a fight." So the teachers came to look for us, and it was all done by then. We were all gone and scattered up. And they had a pretty good idea who was in this thing. The teachers knew I was in it. Everybody, they had a list of the ten right away, and I was in it, but my classmates said, "If you are in it, if they find out you're in it and if you get kicked out you're gonna be drafted next month." So they said, "We're gonna fix it up, we might be punished, but we're gonna say that there was only nine in there and we're gonna keep our word." So they kept their word all the way through and I wasn't included, so they couldn't punish me. They were right, one guy was punished, though. He was kind of a leader, you know. I was a kind of a sub-leader, see, all the time, when trouble comes up in school. [Laughs]

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

gky: If things had been a little different, if you had gone back to the United States, do you ever think about what may have happened, what may have happened if you went to the American army out of internment camp? Or would you have not joined, joined the army?

FF: No, I never, I never thought about it that way, but I was satisfied with the American army, though, because the Japanese army, or service, any kind, you don't have your own way of doing anything. Everything you have to do exactly the way you're told, no freedom in the, like you can't even talk about things. They'll throw you in jail right away if you do. But in the American army you can argue and fight and do whatever you want. They'll still, war comes, you're gonna have to fight for your country. That's the way it should be. But I was satisfied with the, working for the American army right after the war, with Harry. And then, so when Harry left, I think it was January or February 1946, he went back to the States and got out, and then I stayed and worked in Kobe for the military or Red Cross and things like that, and by the time, and I had business going on already, a pearl shop. I had a couple of 'em. And I first made money, but then I start losing money and I couldn't make a living anymore, and that, about that time Harry received the letter from Victor and he decided to come back, and by the time he came back, Victor was dead already. He didn't know that until he got back. Well anyway, I was satisfied, so I went to work for the American navy for about, after Harry left, two months, and American Red Cross recreation center, I worked for about a half year, and here and there, and I was doing the business and things like that. And then Harry came back in March '48, so I start working, see, it was, it was a coincidence, but Harry was assigned to Toyama prefecture and I was going to school in Toyama, so he said, "Hey, Frank, I'm assigned to Toyama CIC and you want to come up and help us?" And I was just ready for it because I started losing money at that time, so I went to help him right away, so I stayed there until that outfit closed in July 1952.

gky: So even though your brother was in the United States, you really had close ties with your family, close family ties?

FF: Yes. Harry got out. He wanted to go out that bad. I don't know why he wanted to get out, but he thought outside looked good to him, I guess, and he bought an old apartment house. He had saved money. In the military there's no place to use money, see, so he bought that and he was doing carpenter work and plumbing work and fixed the place up, and then he gets this letter from my brother to come back again, so he got rid of the apartment right away and joined the military and came back to Japan.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

gky: Can you remember what Hiroshima looked like when you first walked, went in there? And you went in there about a month after.

FF: Yes, about a month after, no, more than a month, because it was sixth of August that the bomb dropped and I came home about, pretty close to the end of September, so almost a month and a half, maybe, month and a half. And then I stayed another two, three weeks.

gky: What was it like? What did people look like, both spiritual as well as --

FF: Well, when I got off the train, before, when I got off the train at Hiroshima city, all I can see, the hotel building right in front of the station, but I can see clear across the city. Nothing, flat. And all the bridges went down, so by the, I had to cross about four or five rivers to get back home, so every time I get close to a river I look for a boat to take me across the river, see, so it took me, if I walked and the bridges were still there it took me less than an hour, but it took me, like, three hours, I think, to get back home. And everybody was kind of, looked, they're dressed raggedy because nothing, no rations, things like that, but they looked much better than when I left, because the war was ended, they feel release, but still nothing hardly to eat, no rations and food and things like that. The image I got was the people sounded or looked much happier to me, that the war ended.

gky: How about a smell? Did it smell?

FF: No, by the time I got back it didn't smell, not too, the smell wasn't, it still smelled, but not too bad. It was really bad for about a month, they say, because body was left, they didn't do anything about it. They just left the bodies all lying down. And so about, starting for about a week later up for about a month, they kept gathering all the bodies and throw oil over it and burn 'em together, see? All over that happened, so after they got rid of all the bodies, then it, not much, by the time I got back it didn't smell too much.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

gky: Do you have any last thoughts on being an American in Japan, or meeting up with your brother, or your brother being in the MIS?

FF: Well, I thought I was, I was very lucky. Even though I got stuck in Japan, I always wanted to get back to the States, but if I didn't go to this technical college I would be home, or I'd be drafted already. I wouldn't know what happened, but at least I was in college and it was just spring vacation I came home, and I got my orders and I went in, but if I was still in college, August is summer vacation for us, so I would probably be home and I'd probably be dead, see? But I was lucky I was in the military. Plus, I found out later, I was in Kokura, Kyushu, and the second bomb that was dropped is in Nagasaki, but when they bombed Nagasaki, their first target was Nagasaki, but their second target was Kokura. So they flew over Kokura, and the pilot, I read what the pilot said in a book, and he said, the pilot said Kokura's clear, so he went to Nagasaki. It was all cloudy; they couldn't tell, so he went beyond that and turned around and came back, and it was still cloudy when he approached it, but by the time they came above Nagasaki it cleared, so they dropped it on Nagasaki. If it wasn't for that they were gonna bomb, on the way back they were gonna drop that second atomic bomb in Kokura because there was a big army arsenal there, which we were guarding.

gky: Boy, there were a lot of coincidental things.

FF: I was lucky. Oh yeah, I was really lucky.

gky: Okay, I think that's all the questions I have for you, Frank.

FF: Thank you very much.

gky: Thank you very much.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.