Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Carol Hirabara Hironaka Interview
Narrator: Carol Hirabara Hironaka
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Sacramento, California
Date: October 18, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-hcarol-01-0012

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RP: We're continuing our, continuing our interview with Carol Hironaka. And Carol, we were talking about your high school experiences. And I wanted to move into another area, and that's the time just before Pearl Harbor. I wanted to know whether you were aware of the situation with Japan fighting in China, and just... was there any discussions going on between your grandfather and your father about this escalating situation in the two countries?

CH: Yes. I think they probably were discussing it, but I didn't get hold of it. It didn't sink in to me.


RP: Did you have any indication from your father or grandfather where they stood in the event of a war between Japan and the United States? Did they express any outward loyalties to either country?

CH: Gee, I can't recall that.

RP: Tell us what you remember about December 7, 1941.

CH: I remember that we had to go to school on Monday. I guess that took place on Sunday, wasn't it? And we were so afraid. I don't know, scared, or we thought it was a terrible thing that Japan could have done. It was kind of a... loss for words. I'm sorry.

RP: You mentioned in your write up that you had a teacher by the name of Mr. Seligman?

CH: Oh, Seligman, yes. History teacher. He never talked about the war, I mean, Pearl Harbor and things like that. It was just like any other day, it was nothing. I mean, so nobody had any comments or... so it was, as they say now, pretty cool, you know.

RP: Kind of, just by his demeanor, diffused any potential comments or negative reactions that might have been directed at you or other Japanese American students.

CH: Well, I don't know if you, if Mr. Seligman was being subtle or what, but...

RP: You said you were afraid or scared.

CH: Not in that class we weren't.

RP: Elsewhere you were?

CH: Well, we kind of stuck together, you know.

RP: Closer than you would have?

CH: Yeah. We didn't mingle, you might say.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.