Densho Digital Archive
Japanese American Film Preservation Project Collection
Title: Dave Tatsuno Interview II
Narrator: Dave Tatsuno
Interviewer: Wendy Hanamura
Location: San Jose, California
Date: May 17, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-tdave-03-0005

<Begin Segment 5>

WH: How was it for your father being in camp?

DT: Well, there's a difference. These are Issei, and they went through hardships, you see. And they also knew that the war with Japan, there's nothing much you can say. So his philosophy was to do the best you can, grin and bear it, and that was what he told us. So that my philosophy was, sure you can, so many people, he says, waste time, bitch, bitch, bitch, that doesn't do any good. It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. So with that philosophy, I carried it out, and look, I traveled twenty thousand miles around the United States, I made friends in Wisconsin, I made friends in Salt Lake City, they came to visit us here after the war. The couple from Salt Lake City, the wholesale store, and I took them to Monterey, I have a movie of it, of outing. And then the couple from Wisconsin came all the way here to visit us after the war. I mean, ordinarily things like that wouldn't happen. But you see, you make it happen.

WH: You must be happy to have those films of your oldest son, too.

DT: Oh, Sheldon, the one that passed away? Yeah, I took quite a bit of shot of him, of Sheldon, from his first coming out of the hospital, St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco, a little baby, and then when he was, until he was, until he passed away, I have shots of that. Yeah, he was a wonderful boy, very intelligent. Big eyes, long eyelashes, he was a good boy. And then the thing is, his name was Sheldon. After we lost him, we prayed for another boy. Well, we got another boy -- any kind of boy would do. It doesn't have to be as smart as he was, any dumb boy would do. We get a son and named him Sheridan instead of Sheldon, he goes to Yale and Harvard. Now, see? I said, any dumb boy would do, and he goes to Yale and Harvard. He lost his wife, you know, over a year ago. Yeah, it was very sad, and he has one daughter, only child, now just turned eighteen, I believe, going to college. But I hope he meets somebody real nice, because at the age of fifty-three or four, he can't stay alone.

WH: You've been very fortunate to have Alice with you all these years, huh?

DT: Yeah. I told them it's about time I changed. [Laughs]

WH: How long have you two been married?

DT: Oh, sixty-something years now, since 1938.

WH: In your film, you said, "Oh, there I am in Salt Lake City carrying the box that I used to hide my camera."

DT: Right, right.

WH: Tell me about that.

DT: Well, that was a little shoebox, Mrs. Day's baby shoes that we used to sell, you see, in our store in San Francisco and later in camp. And I put the camera, this camera, right in that little box, and I carried around that way, you see. Didn't look like a camera.

WH: What do you hope your film is used for in the future?

DT: I don't know. That's up to the people to decide. I have no control over that. All I'm glad is that I had the opportunity, unusual, to take that picture as a hobby; not for historical purposes. And I just took it merely as a hobby. And now, if it's valuable because it was taken secretly, behind the barbed wires, let them use it. That's my feeling.

WH: To share it?

DT: Yeah, show it. And I think fifty years from now, hundred years from now, they look at it and they say, "Gee, this is taken fifty years ago, hundred years ago, behind the barbed wire, by a Japanese American evacuee," might be interesting.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2005 Densho and The Japanese American Film Preservation Project. All Rights Reserved.