Densho Digital Archive
Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann Collection
Title: Bill Shishima Interview
Narrator: Bill Shishima
Interviewer: Raechel Donahue
Location: California
Date: 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-sbill-02-0008

<Begin Segment 8>

RD: Let's go back to the camp for a moment to the swimming hole. You knew the boy that drowned?

BS: Oh, yes. In camp, one of our Boy Scout members, Toru Shibata, him and his younger brother and I believe another friend went to the local irrigation canal. And there's different stories I heard, but I heard they challenged him to swim across the canal. He said, "Oh, I can do that." But when he jumped in, the canal was cold and swift and he didn't make it. So his brother had to view all of that, so it was really heartbreaking. And then after we heard the news, they lowered the level of the canal, and so the Scouts had to go in the canal and walk it hand in hand across the canal. And one of our Scout buddies, Kenny Yoshikura, we noticed he stepped on Toru Shibata because he ran out of the canal yelling, so we knew he found him. And it was really heartbreaking because he was the life of the party type of boy. He was always cheerful, always with a smile, always joking. But as I mentioned earlier, we had our Boy Scout softball leagues. And at one of the games, which happened to be about two weeks before he drowned, he asked our scoutmaster, Mr. Sab Fujise. He said, "Mr. Fujise, if you die, do you go to heaven?" And like a true Scout leader and father, Mr. Fujise said, "Yes, all good Scouts go to heaven." And that really shook me up because I recall him asking our scoutmaster that about two weeks prior to his drowning. So I thought, wow, maybe he had some kind of premonition about that event.

RD: That actually wraps up our whole story about him. Do you think you might have a picture of him?

BS: I think... did you get the troop picture? We have a troop picture, I believe he's in there.

RD: Oh, it's gonna be in, yeah, I might send it to you and ask you to pick out which one he is. Because it was in your pictures there?

BS: Yes.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2010 Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann and Densho. All Rights Reserved.