Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Ed Yoshikawa Interview
Narrator: Ed Yoshikawa
Interviewer: Steve Ozone
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 12, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-yed-01-0008

<Begin Segment 8>

SO: Did you volunteer for that?

EY: Pardon?

SO: Did you volunteer for that?

EY: No, I thought I was volunteering but I think I was drafted. And was assigned to basic training down in Camp Blanding, Florida, with all the other Niseis. So we were all Japanese American. One of the strangest things was there was a guy named Yamada and he didn't look any Oriental at all. He was Caucasian as can be, looking at him, but because his name was Yamada he was assigned to our basic training unit.

SO: What was it like in Florida as far as outside the base?

EY: Nothing unusual happened. We went through our basic training, and when it was completed I thought I would like to apply for the paratroopers. So I checked and found out I qualified, so there was a couple other guys that signed up for paratroopers, that means an extra fifty bucks salary, and I thought that was attractive to me. So I signed up and the rest of the guys took off for their two weeks' leave before going to the port of embarkation camp, which was in Fort Meade, Maryland. And I waited about a week, and the papers never came through, so I said, "Oh, you guys take off," that's when I left for Topaz again to spend two weeks there, and then I reported to Fort Meade, Maryland.

SO: And once you were in Maryland, what happened?

EY: [Laughs] One of the most important things in my life happened. That was on a weekend, some of my Hawaiian buddies said, "Hey Eddie, Ed, we met a girl you know in New York City. So let's go." I said nah. And then finally twisted my arm and I said, "Okay, I'll go." This girl I knew from camp lived in a YWCA, so we went there and I met her and it just so happened that this girl had a girlfriend and her name was Pearl Hirata. And she had missed school that day and even when Rosie went after her she said, "No, it's not right for me to go out, go down," and after the third call she finally came down and turned out to be the girl that I fell in love with more or less. But before this happened, maybe a strange thing, but when I was in Kalamazoo, Michigan, going to Western Michigan State, these two guys that I was rooming with was from Minidoka camp and they were getting monthly newspaper. And on one occasion I remember seeing a picture of the queen candidates for Minidoka camp and one of them was Pearl. And I looked at her and said, huh. Never in the world thinking I would meet ever her, but I do remember that. And then when I met her in New York City of all places, so we went out and had dinner, and I remember one thing. I love shrimp tempura and she wasn't too hungry so she had a few shrimp tempura left over. Guess what she did? She gave it to everybody else except me. [Laughs] So I never let her live that down.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.