Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Don Maeda Interview
Narrator: Don Maeda
Interviewer: Carolyn Nayematsu
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 13, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-mdon-01-0004

<Begin Segment 4>

CN: So when December 7, 1941, occurred, how old were you?

DM: I was seventeen.

CN: Seventeen. Well, let's talk about your high school then. You were going to high school. You were about what, a junior?

DM: I was a junior in high school.

CN: And it was a pretty much Caucasian high school?

DM: Right.

CN: Were there other Japanese to speak of in your class?

DM: Class-wise I don't really think. There were, by high school there were probably ten or twelve Japanese kids in our high school. Most of them went to, there were two high schools close to Japantown and most of the kids in Seattle went there, but yeah, I went to Franklin High School down in the south end of town.

CN: Do you remember that day?

DM: The day?

CN: Pearl Harbor?

DM: I do very... I was driving by then. I had a driver's license, and I remember it was right after church and there's Lake Washington in Seattle where there's areas where they feed the ducks and we were down watching them feed the ducks and I had the car radio on. That's when we heard about Pearl Harbor. But at that time of course we were shocked but we didn't really know what effect would be.

CN: Did your parents think "Oh dear..."?

DM: I'm sure they did. I don't remember them discussing much about it.

CN: So Monday you went to high school as usual, probably, December, right? Do you remember classmates or teachers saying anything?

DM: No. My friends didn't turn on me and call me names or anything. But I remember by then I had joined a youth group with this Japanese church so I knew a few Japanese kids. And there was this one girl that her mother had returned to Japan and she was born in Japan so it affected her more than, she was not a citizen and so her parents weren't, she was born in Japan, so it affected her much more than it did the rest of us.

CN: Your parents kept in contact with the relatives and all in Japan?

DM: My mother did, she did all the letter writing and all.

CN: And were there any indications through the letters that things were getting...

DM: I don't really know. I do remember her after the war sending a lot of care packages regularly, but before that I don't remember much.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.