Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Victor Ikeda Interview
Narrator: Victor Ikeda
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: November 6, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-ivictor-01-0021

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RP: Tell us a little bit about what you recall about December 7, 1941. Where were you when you heard --

VI: Yeah. My dad used to take us, take me to the movies on Sundays, so we were at the Atlas Theater on Sunday morning. And all of a sudden they stopped the movie and an officer got in front and told all enlisted men or all military men to report to the thing, that we had, Pearl Harbor had been attacked. So I remember the thing closed down so we all went home, and I remember going home, and my dad and my mom and two sisters, and we kind of sat there and says, "What happens? We need to know what's gonna happen." But we figured whatever happens wasn't going to be very good. And we didn't know whether we would be split up because they were nationals and we were citizens, or if anything would happen at all. So it was kind of a trying day, I remember, of uncertainty, you know.

RP: But families spent the day together kind of contemplating?

VI: Yeah, kind of contemplating. And after you did that, then you got into, all of a sudden, into rationing and things like that, so that you were more engrossed in what we can get and what we can't get until you got the executive order that we had to get out. And that was always kind of interesting. They had a curfew at 8 o'clock, so we used to go to the movie with an alarm clock so that at 7:30 it'd go off so we'd get up and go home. [Laughs]

RP: Sometimes in the middle of the movie?

VI: Right. [Laughs] So, and then being Seattle, a waterfront town, of course, that's a restricted area, the first one would be the waterfront. So you had areas that were restrictive where you couldn't cross the street because it was restricted. And the grocery store might be on the other side so it was kind of ridiculous, dramatic, whatever you want to call it.

RP: What was your personal reaction to the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

VI: Well, you never really thought about that 'cause you never consider yourself to have any kind of relationship with Japan. Of course, the folks did. They used to tell us stories about it, but they were stories. So as far as we were concerned or I was concerned, that was about as far as you could get because I've never been there. So it's kind of a mixed emotion. And that's when you start thinking about, you know, my Japanese ancestry. Until that time it never dawned on us that we were --

RP: You were just different.

VI: Yeah, we were different, but so were the Italians and so were the Jewish people.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2007 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.