Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Laurie Sasaki Interview
Narrator: Laurie Sasaki
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Richmond, California
Date: April 16, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-slaurie-01-0020

<Begin Segment 20>

RP: Let's pick up the thread of your other siblings. Your older brother who had joined the military, did he see action, combat action during World War II?

LS: You know he was in the China, Burma, India war. So I always think of him like the Bridge Over River Kwai, that kind of thing. He was in Siam. It used to be, Thailand was Siam. He was there and in India.

RP: So he...

LS: And so had to interrogate the Japanese so it was dangerous for him because they would think that he was the enemy. So, yeah, but he was over there and in that theater.

RP: Would he, did he first attend the language school in Minnesota?

LS: Yes he did. I think it was Camp Savage or is Camp Savage first? I don't think that it was Snelling yet by the time he left.

RP: Okay. So he attended Camp Savage and then from there he was shipped to China/Burma.

LS: Yes. Right.

RP: Okay. And he served in one of these small teams...

LS: I believe so, yes.

RP: And maybe you could just briefly share the story of Tad.

LS: Oh Tad, my brother-in-law, Tad lived in Nebraska. So he never had to experience the, the camp, internment. But he was also in the China/Burma/India War theatre and he was a paratrooper. And he parachuted behind enemy lines because at that time there were missionaries that had been captured by the Japanese. And when the Japanese surrendered, the Americans were so afraid that the Japanese would go in and kill all the prisoners of war, and so our mission was to go in there and free all of the prisoners. So Tad was in one of the groups that parachuted down behind enemy lines to free the missionaries who were imprisoned by the Japanese. So, anyway, my brother met Tad in India before Tad married my sister. So that was kind of a small world kind of thing. Of all places to meet.

RP: How did Tad meet your sister?

LS: Tad met my sister because he was going to Fort Snelling language school, and it was on a blind date and my sister was going to go out with someone and she looked at Tad and said, "No, I don't want to go out with that other guy. I'm gonna go out with him." So anyway, she went out with Tad and, and I guess since then they just hit it off well and they got married after the war.

RP: And your brother, was he sent to Japan at any point in time after the war was over for linguistic service?

LS: Not my oldest brother, but the other brother did.

RP: Hiroshi?

LS: Hiroshi was at Fort Snelling just when the war was over. So when they did drop the atomic bomb. And so anyway, he went over after as an interpreter.

RP: Was he able to visit any family members while he was there?

LS: No, my mother was so upset with him but, you see, there was no transportation between Tokyo and Fukuoka. And it would have taken days for either side to try to visit one another. And he said he certainly tried but there was no way that he could get down there. And when I talk to the people now they said there was no way they could have gotten up there because you couldn't move. I mean, it was just devastation everywhere. And you know, I just don't realize those things until... well, all you had to do is get on a plane right? [Laughs]

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.