Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: Henry Ueno Interview
Narrator: Henry Ueno
Interviewer: Stephan Gilchrist
Date: May 1, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-uhenry-01-0004

<Begin Segment 4>

SG: And you, when we had a chance to talk last time, you said that you, yourself, went through military training in high school?

HU: Ah, yes. It's just a requirement. You know, we started about fourth grade in elementary school and so go on to the elementary school, high grade, seventh and eighth grade, and training is actually how to shoot the gun, how to throw the hand grenade, and that type of thing. In high school, I went to a technical high school, and I majored for the, what do you call that, mechanical engineers. And even that, and I went to night school because I couldn't afford the day school. I had to work a day and went to night school by the same way we were trained just advance for the trainings throughout two years. And over three years, the war ended, so we just dropped, of course, military trainings.

SG: What kind of work did you do while you were in high school?

HU: The high school, I worked for the Osaka City Hall. And just before, I worked there about a year, then I start working for the factory because my chosen course was mechanical engineers, so I start working for the Japanese factory in the engineering department, and I learned for the drafting, high skill drafting.

SG: What was it like working in the factory for you?

HU: You know, because of my job, nature of my job, we stayed in office for the drafting. But during the war, I was chosen to be a leader of a youth group of the company, and remind you, I was American citizen. And our youth group function was that in case of emergency, work with the factory employees and police department and fire department. And at that time, already air raid started, so we experienced for the rescuing for the Japanese citizens escaping from fires. The entire city was just engulfed with the fires, and so we helped those citizens out. And I don't know whether I touched the subject or not, but again I cannot talk about this without my tears coming out. Seeing for those escaping Japanese citizens is you cannot really describe, and big fires in the background, they're escaping from fires, and mothers holding the small child, their hair is all burned, skin is burned. Mothers holding dead child, and herself, hair is all gone, and the skin is just hanging from all over the face. Of course, our job was to help the fire department, the police department. After the fires, we see just hundreds of dead bodies, and so we dig a trench and find the dead bodies from ashes and throw into the trench and pour the oils and burn them and bury them. Those are the experience that I still vividly remember. And because of the experience, even today, when you see the mangled body from auto accident and that type of thing, I don't think I have the same feelings as other people because you witnessed so many dead bodies in my life, when I was young, so I feel really guilty about it. I should be deeply emotionally involved or react to those dead bodies, but I just don't. I cry a lot, little things, I cry. But a dead body, the people die a normal death in the bed, I cry a lot. But when you see those mangled bodies in the auto accident, I just don't feel the same way that ordinary people probably would.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.