Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Richard Sakurai Interview
Narrator: Richard Sakurai
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: July 24, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-srichard-01-0018

<Begin Segment 18>

RP: And you graduated from Hunt High School. Do you remember anything about your graduation?

RS: I missed it. On the Saturday after the last class of the first semester I left the camp.

RP: Where did you go?

RS: I went to college. I just turned eighteen, and I knew that if I went into the army, that after I got out, the GI Bill would apply. So I wanted to make sure that they knew that I was a college student. So I applied to go to get in one semester's worth of college before I got drafted. So I left immediately after I graduated, so I left before the graduation ceremony so no ceremony.

RP: And you went to Miami University in Ohio?

RS: Yes.

RP: And why did you choose Miami University?

RS: 'Cause I didn't know much about colleges and somebody at one time had mentioned something about Miami of Ohio so I figured, well, that's about a good a place as any, so I applied to Miami and they said okay and so I went to Miami.

RP: Were you able to get a scholarship or how did you finance?

RS: Well, the previous year when I went out to dig potatoes I earned some money. And then also worked, I got a job at the university.

RP: And what was it like, you're a freshman first time college experience, you're Japanese American in a new community?

RS: I think my experience is probably not much different than most freshmen you know, the kind of adjustments freshman have to make. I was aware of the fact that I was an unusual student in that I was Japanese American. There was one other Japanese American at the university who had been there at least a semester or so. But I only met him once and I think he wasn't much interested in following up with me, but anyway, I was aware of the fact that I was different. But I entered in mid-year and went to the dormitory. There was a small group of people in the dormitory and they all welcomed me. I think there were a few that were kind of reluctant but the majority of them, the vast majority of them were welcoming and I would visit with them in their rooms and things like that. And so it was quite pleasant even though at first I was aware that I was different, but that didn't affect me very much. The adjustments I had to make were probably just about like what any beginning student would have to make.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.