One sunny day my brother, Yoneichi,
and I sat on a log floating in front of our home at Shawnee Beach
on Vashon Island, Washington. I was four years old and he was six.
That day in 1929 as we peacefully
rode the gentle tide of Puget Sound we could not know about the
impending tsunami of World War II. Thirteen years later a wave of
anti-Japanese prejudice swept across the United States and forced
my family to leave our secure island home and succumb to the will
of a hostile and turbulent world at war. Little did I know the political
storms and social upheavals that would beset my family, tear us
away from our home, and confine us in internment camps simply because
we looked like the enemy.
During World War II Japanese-Americans
endured the wholesale violation of our civil and human rights as
residents and citizens of the United States. Many would lose their
homes, livelihoods, and dreams, and left with pain, confusion and
shame. This legacy has shadowed my entire adult life.
years later I gaze at this photo, long and hard, recalling my innocence,
joy, and security. With what I know now, how I wish I could have
held that little girl in the photo and reassured her, "Have
faith in your family and the ultimate goodness of people. Especially
have faith in yourself to survive the catastrophic events yet to
come. In spite of all the terror, pain, depression, and tears in
your future, you will reach a final hopeful conclusion."
With the hindsight
of age, I have learned faith, hope, and love in a world gone crazy.
Over the years I have carved out a life marked by reason and hope
for myself and for my three children. I also learned the importance
of speaking, telling my story, in the hope that history will not
have referred to the interned Japanese-Americans as the "silent
generation" because most of us did not speak about our experiences--even
to our children. Years after the end of World War II, whenever I
met someone whom I suspected of having been a prisoner at an internment
camp, I might ask, "Were you in one of the camps during the
If the response
was "Yes," I continued. "Which one?"
He or she
would answer: "Amache, Gila, Heart Mountain, Jerome, Manzanar,
Minidoka, Poston, Rohwer, Topaz, or Tule Lake."
After a pause
one of us might say, "That was a long time ago, wasn't it?"
We would both nod and then fall silent. We understood each other.
This might seem strange to people who had not shared this experience,
but for those of us who did, we knew what the experience was like.
At the time, it seemed as if there was no need for words.
In the decades
following the internment I managed to suppress feelings and memories
of this painful period. I thought the only way I could achieve normalcy
was to forget about the evacuation, and work diligently to get on
with my life. To speak or even think of those times meant to revisit
what had happened, and that was too painful to consider.
I paid for being silent for years--even to myself--seems perplexing
even now. I complied and endured, albeit begrudgingly, but never
had the nerve to fully break out of those self-imposed "barbed
wire fences" built around my experiences in the camps. For
most of my life I was afraid to deal with those years of repressed
shame and anger and the unknown depth of those feelings.
As I reflect
on all that happened, I am reminded of a book, The Trial,
by Franz Kafka. In this story a man is accused of some crime about
which he is unclear. The elements of the trial are fearful and unpredictable,
and it is difficult to foresee the conclusion of the ordeal. I,
too, had a sense of guilt for a crime I had supposedly committed,
but I never understood what that crime was.
My three children
had to discover for themselves what the Japanese-American internment
was about. I kept a few relics from that era such as the three,
one-gallon jars of shells I gathered from the grounds of Tule Lake
Camp. These would stimulate occasional conversations, but I matter-of-factly
told the same safe anecdotes over and over again. As a parent, I
did not want to show my children how vulnerable I felt at that time,
nor did I want to get into the emotional part of my experience that
could lead me to tears.
In 1967 when
my oldest child, Martha, tried to write a research paper on the
internment, she could not find a single book that mentioned it.
But a few years later, books and films such as A Farewell to
Manzanar finally broke the silence. This is how my children
and the rest of the public began to learn about this regrettable
chapter in American history. More recently the best-seller Snow
Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson, and the subsequent film
showed the evacuation of the first group of Japanese from a fictional
island in Washington state. As I watched the part of the movie when
the FBI searched the home of a Japanese-American family who were
later forced to evacuate under armed U.S. soldier escorts, I broke
down and wept. Vivid memories of my own experience swept over me
When I was
74 years old I was invited to participate in a writing class and
began writing about those war years. The dam broke loose when emotions
and tears I had repressed for decades burst through, at times seemingly
uncontrollable. At last, I was telling my story--a Nisei no longer
willing to be silent.
Now as I near
my 80th birthday and the completion of my book in 2005, my tears
come more easily and with understanding and acceptance. I weep for
all Japanese-Americans who could not acknowledge that it was all
right to be angry and confused about our identity in the face of
the mass rejection by American society. At the same time, I am profoundly
grateful for the open-minded, compassionate, and humane fellow citizens
who helped Japanese-Americans make the difficult transition back
to normal life.
I yearn for
the day when the general American public will read, listen, and
understand the implications of what the United States did to Japanese-Americans--and
what we must do differently and far better in today's world torn
by terrorism and war.
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An Island in Darkness
In the midst of the complicated jumble of
waterways and islands of Puget Sound, there is a slice of rural
America called Vashon Island, just a twenty-minute ferry ride from
Seattle. In the 1920s Vashon had large-scale industrial logging,
substantial greenhouse operations, and farms specializing in diverse
products such as poultry, dairy, vegetables, and berries. Today
Vashon is home for thousands of people commuting to work in Seattle
Vashon may be only a few water miles from
two large cities, but it is protected from their influence by a
salt-water channel that extends more than 600 feet deep. Building
a bridge across these waters has been studied many times but never
accomplished because of the fierce desire by many residents to preserve
a particular lifestyle. Vashon maintains the character of a small
town where neighbor helps neighbor and the sense of community is
In 1927 my parents, Heisuke and Mitsuno
Matsuda brought my brother, Yoneichi and me to Vashon. Yoneichi
was four years old, I was two. My parents leased a small berry farm
and worked long days to secure a livelihood and a future for their
family. Like many others, we grew strawberries and lived a quiet,
self-sufficient life. By 1936, we were one of thirty-seven Japanese
families living on Vashon Island.
I attended Vashon Grade School with eight
grades in one building, two classes per room per teacher. The majority
of the students were Caucasian but in my grade level there were
two Chinese students and three Japanese-Americans out of a class
My life in that idyllic setting was one
of innocence and pleasure, just being one of the island kids. My
parents chose Vashon to raise their family in order to protect us
from the corrupting influences of modern life. But nothing could
protect us from the events following December 7, 1941, the day Pearl
Harbor was bombed.
That December morning Yoneichi and I walked
through a light rain to the Vashon Methodist Church as we had for
the past eight years. The Sunday service was in English so my parents
didn't attend, opting for Methodist services in Japanese often held
in our living room. My brother and I knew everyone in the church
so we always looked forward to singing the familiar hymns and feeling
a part of the congregation. As usual, we arrived early to dust the
pews, and distribute church bulletins and hymnals in the sanctuary.
Sunday services were a part of the rhythm of our week and that day
felt like years of Sundays on Vashon.
After church my brother and I wished everyone
a good week ahead and left for home. As we walked I studied the
Bible verse I had received and repeated it until I memorized it
for next Sunday. It was my last carefree morning preoccupied with
all the trivial cares and worries of a sixteen-year-old American
teenager. It was also the last time I fully believed I was an American.
When we got to the house, we cheerfully
announced our arrival. My father, whom we always called Papa san,
was sitting at his usual place at the kitchen table, eyes downcast,
silent. Normally, Papa san would have been working outdoors, only
returning when lunch was ready. Our mother, Mama san, always greeted
us with a smile whenever we came home, but that day she looked pale
as she leaned against the counter and stared out the window.
"Papa san, why are you home early?"
my brother asked. When there was no response, Yoneichi's wide smile
vanished as his eyes darted back and forth between the two of them.
Then he turned to our mother. "Mama san, is something wrong?
What's going on?"
I put my things down, suddenly frightened.
I had never seen this look on my father's face. I wondered, Why
won't they look at us? After a long silence Papa san looked up and
answered quietly in Japanese, "Mr. Yabu called. Japanese airplanes
bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii early this morning." Yoneichi
whirled around and snapped on the radio sitting on the kitchen counter.
We didn't have to wait long. The booming
voice of an urgent reporter burst out the news of the attack. We
listened with horror as he hurriedly spit out information about
the heavy losses sustained by the United States Navy.
All stared at the radio in stunned silence.
This can't be, I thought. There must be some mistake.
I didn't want to hear about all the ships that had been hit or that
more American servicemen had been killed. But the loud, blaring
voice of the announcer kept interrupting the scheduled programs
with more news about the attack. I couldn't catch my breath.
After awhile I turned from the radio and
looked at my parents. They understood enough English to grasp the
meaning of this announcement. As the gravity of the news sunk in,
Papa san's head dropped to his chest, and his shoulders slumped
forward. He looked defeated.
Little did we know that Sunday afternoon
how much our lives would change, but Papa san knew enough to be
afraid. He realized what could happen if public opinion turned against
him. Some forty years earlier, shortly after his arrival in the
United States, my father and several other Japanese men were working
in the coalmines in the Klondike, Alaska. One day a white friend
sought him out and said, "Harry, there's a bunch of guys who
don't like you fellows and they are planning to raid your camp tonight.
You'd better get out of town right away." The Japanese men
scrambled to gather their things, hurriedly broke up camp, left
their jobs, and escaped before the vigilantes arrived. At the time
Papa san told us about this incident, he also described learning
first hand about prejudice and how important it was to develop good
relationships with everyone wherever he went. Now all those good
relationships with neighbors and business associates would be tested.
My mother, Mitsuno Horiye Matsuda, was the
perfect Japanese wife--obedient and devoted. She had been cooking
fried chicken for our Sunday meal, but now it was set aside and
forgotten in the midst of the unfolding crisis. Ordinarily she was
lighthearted, gracious, and very practical about life. The pride
she felt in Yoneichi and me was something we understood even though
she always modestly protested whenever others complimented us. Now
her eyes filled with tears as she sank into the chair. I heard her
whisper to herself in Japanese, "This is terribly distressing.
What will happen to us?"
Yoneichi and I looked at each other, stunned.
We still couldn't believe what was being said on the radio. The
blaring, bitter news report was suffocating but I couldn't stop
listening. I thought, This can't really be happening. Are they
insane coming thousands of miles from Japan to attack United States
territory? Why did they do this? How will this affect us because
we are Japanese-Americans?
Even though Papa san had lived in America
since 1898, and Mama san since 1922, they could not become naturalized
citizens because of immigration laws and could not own land because
of the anti-alien land laws in many Western states. We had lived
in our home for eleven years, had cordial relationships with our
neighbors, and participated in the Vashon community, but my parents
were still vulnerable. Yoneichi and I had been born in the United
States, which made us American citizens. We were sure our citizenship
would protect us, but still, we were afraid.
As the news sank in, Mama san remarked thoughtfully,
"Now I understand why my brother, Moichi san, wrote me those
letters urging us to come back to Japan. I wonder if he might have
suspected that something like this was going to happen."
Mama san moved aimlessly about the kitchen,
touching different items on the counter. After awhile she stopped
in front of the kitchen sink and stared blankly out the window at
the front yard. Her usually erect body sagged. Her eyes, which were
usually bright and generated smiles from others, looked sadder this
day than I had ever seen them. As though trying to remove cobwebs
from her face, she moved her hands across her eyes and over her
graying hair as she sighed.
Papa san did not move from the kitchen table.
He kept turning his teacup around and around, lost in fearful thoughts
that deepened the crease between his eyes. Periodically he took
a deep breath and turned his sad eyes toward the window and the
Never before had I seen my parents so self-absorbed
and troubled. A big knot doubled, then tripled in the pit of my
stomach. Thoughts and feelings collided, trying to make sense of
what had just happened and how this would affect my family--and
Many times my parents had told Yoneichi
and me, "What you think about yourself is not nearly as important
as what other people think about you." Every once in awhile
my parents would ask me what image I thought I was projecting and
what people might think about me as a result of my behavior. They
were thinking about my future. Now I had a gnawing feeling of guilt--guilt
for being Japanese. I didn't want to think about the possibility
that now American people would consider me as the enemy.
I picked up our cat, Kitty, and sat down
on a kitchen chair. Repeatedly I stroked her lean silky body and
held her close. Our dog, Frisky, sensing that something was amiss,
stood near and stared at me with his searching gaze. I patted him
on his head and rubbed his ears. In turn, he licked my hand and
comforted me as he leaned his body against my legs.
Yoneichi paced about the house, going in
and out of the kitchen, listening to the radio reports. Whenever
he sat down, his right leg nervously jiggled up and down, unable
to contain himself. His lips were pursed, his brows knitted in a
perpetual frown. He kept raising his right hand to rub his neck
as though he had a pain there. What could my brother possibly be
thinking? Yoneichi was a recent high school graduate and was working
on the family farm while he thought about his future. Suddenly,
his future seemed suspended.
I looked at my family and thought, What
beautiful people they are. What will happen to us now?
We spent the rest of the day near each other,
tense and silent. Our telephone was ominously quiet. We tried to
brace ourselves against some nameless premonition of trouble, which
we each intuitively knew would overtake us. Radio reports brought
more bad news--additional ships destroyed, growing casualties, more
disasters wrought. Yoneichi kept going outdoors to search the sky
for any evidence of airplanes. In time the rest of us joined him,
unable to listen any longer to the devastating news that hammered
away at our fears. That night we had very little appetite for dinner
and we stayed up later than usual. Each of us spent a restless night.
The following morning I reluctantly went
to school at Vashon High. I felt guilty, ashamed that the Japanese
government--to which my parents tied me--had done this terrible
deed to our United States. As I went through the halls from one
class to another, every time anyone looked at me, I imagined hatred
in their eyes. I assumed that everyone was prejudiced and didn't
want to have anything to do with me. In one of my classes, I began
to cry as much from confusion as frustration. Crying seemed to be
the only thing I could do. I thought, I am an American yet I
don't look like one. I am Japanese but ashamed that I am.
It seemed as if an unknown penalty awaited
my family, yet I didn't know what, when, or how. Even though all
of my classmates and teachers were kind and behaved the same towards
me, everything had changed inside of me. It was clear non-Japanese
students shared my fear of the future and the shock of the sudden
turn of events, but no one did anything to single me out or blame
One friend came up to me and linked her
arm with mine as we went to English class together. My classmates
offered their silent support, and I was grateful, but my perception
had changed. Now, I felt like an outsider. Ever since the third
grade, when one of the white kids called me a "Jap," I
knew I was different. But still, we got along pretty well. Only
now, things were not the same.
All the years we lived here, our parents
had stressed the importance of our being good citizens of the community
and nation. "America is made up of people from all walks of
life from many countries of the world," they declared. "The
equality of all of the people, and tolerance, are keys to living
peacefully together." We had tried so hard to promote favorable
relations between the Japanese community and our neighbors, but
I assumed that all our efforts had been ruined. My parents had taught
us to be stoic, brave, serene, respectful of authority, and in total
control of our emotions. But on that Monday after Pearl Harbor,
in place of my usual serenity, I felt incredible tension building
inside of me. Afraid and helpless, I couldn't do the thing that
I most wanted--to change things back to the way they were.
That evening as we ate dinner near the radio,
an announcement by the Civil Defense Authority declared: "Beginning
this evening at 7:00 p.m. all citizens in the Puget Sound area are
required to implement a complete, dusk-to-dawn visual blackout to
prevent an attack on our defense industries." The blackout
was to last every night until further notice. Cooperation from the
entire community was mandatory. If we had questions we were supposed
to call the local Civilian Defense office.
We briefly discussed what we had to do to
be sure no light was visible outside of our home. Mama san got up
from the table and said to me, "Mary san, help me gather up
some blankets to cover our windows. We'll have to bring out the
old kerosene lamps, too."
As I got up to help my arms felt heavy and
my hands were clammy. And the lump in my throat wouldn't go away
no matter how often I tried to clear it. Mama san quietly commented,
"Kowai desu ne." "This is frightening, isn't
Yoneichi got a stepladder and helped drape
the blankets over every window. He voiced what was running through
my mind. "I wonder what will happen next. You don't suppose
more Japanese planes will come over and bomb us here, do you?"
After a few moments, he added, "And what about us? Surely it
will make a difference because we have been good citizens in our
community, and Mary and I are Americans, not Japanese, won't it?"
His questions trailed off. No one could answer them.
A few days later when I was in the living
room doing my homework, I overheard snatches of conversation between
my parents. They had lingered at the dinner table long after we
had finished our meal. Papa san said with a worried tone, "I
wish Japan hadn't attacked Pearl Harbor. Our lives will certainly
become more difficult."
"Yes, I'm afraid they will," Mama
san replied, distressed. "It's hard to tell who will still
be our friends and who will turn against us. I hope our neighbors
will still be friendly."
"I won't feel as comfortable coming
and going as I have in the past," Papa san confessed. "And
doing the business for our farm will become more complicated, I'm
sure. We'll just have to wait and see how things unfold to know
how to proceed."
"Yes, I agree," Mama san said.
"Even though you and I have never been able to become citizens,
we've raised our children to be good members of the community. We
must have faith that this will all work out eventually."
"Yes, and I think it is important for
us to cooperate with the civil defense efforts," Papa san added.
"We'll do whatever we can to show that we are good citizens
in spite of everything."
They continued talking in Japanese in hushed
voices as if to protect Yoneichi and me from their private concerns
and fears. Sometimes one of them spoke rapidly with a quick response
from the other. Much later, I recognized the anguish they must have
felt knowing the country of their birth was at war with their adopted
In the fall of 1941 before the bombing of
Pearl Harbor, there was no way we could have known how close the
United States was to an imminent war with Japan. Neither could we
have known about an U.S. government study conducted a decade earlier
that examined the loyalty of Japanese-Americans living on the West
Coast and Hawaii. Years later Michi Weglyn would reveal in her book,
Years of Infamy, that an investigation by the U.S. State Department
"certified a remarkable, even extraordinary degree of loyalty
[to the United States] among this generally suspect ethnic group."
Yet, in spite of thoroughly researched conclusions by U.S. intelligence
that "there is no Japanese problem," this information
was not disclosed to the public prior to World War II, during the
war years, or in the years shortly thereafter.
I, of course, knew nothing of this. All
during my childhood I had believed that I was "one of the group"
in America. It was wonderful.
One of my Nisei first-grade classmates on
Vashon, whose family spoke only Japanese at home, had a different
experience. Occasionally the teacher left the classroom for a minute,
leaving the children on their honor. One of the mischievous boys
shot spit wads around the room and created havoc among the kids.
When the teacher returned and wanted to know who the culprit was,
the troublemaker pointed to my Nisei friend as the offender. The
teacher disciplined him with many swats on the hand with a wooden
ruler. He did not know how to defend himself from the teacher nor
the offending classmate until much later.
When Yoneichi started first grade, he too
had a difficult time understanding his teachers. He almost flunked
the first grade because we spoke only Japanese at home. But with
additional tutoring, he caught on quickly and eventually graduated
as the salutatorian of his high school class. Because he was two
years ahead of me, I learned English from him and had a much easier
time starting school.
In the weeks following the bombing of Pearl
Harbor, high school proceeded as though things were unchanged. The
elaborate junior prom being planned by my classmates for the end
of the school year did not interest me. Instead, I was struggling
to understand what was happening and the implications for our future.
I attended Latin I and U.S. History classes but I didn't remember
anything. In English III we studied poetry and that caught my attention.
I began collecting poems, made my own poetry book, and included
illustrations. The poems took me outside myself, comforting me in
a way that nothing else could. A poem by Rudyard Kipling foreshadowed
what was in store for us.
you can keep your head when all about you
losing theirs and blaming it on you;
you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
make allowance for their doubting too:
you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
being lied about, don't deal in lies,
being hated don't give way to hating,
yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise...
As the war in the Pacific progressed that
winter following Pearl Harbor, Guam, Hong Kong, Manila and Singapore
fell to the advancing Japanese forces. This brought increased attention
to the Japanese and Japanese-Americans in Hawaii and on the West
Coast. Many non-Japanese Americans began to see us as conspirators
responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor. There were false stories
in local newspapers and on radio broadcasts that Japanese "sympathizers"
in Hawaii cut arrows into the cane fields, directing Japanese planes
to Pearl Harbor. There were reports of Japanese-American sabotage
on the West Coast and of an impending attack on our continent. Although
these rumors were never substantiated, General John L. DeWitt, the
Western Defense Commander, insisted that "no proof of sabotage
was indeed proof that sabotage was imminent." California's
Attorney General Earl Warren, who later became Chief Justice of
the Supreme Court, supported General DeWitt's assessment.
As the anti-Japanese propaganda machinery
kicked into full gear, I began to withdraw more and more. I started
to drop my eyes whenever anyone approached me. Never much of a talker,
I spoke even less in those months following Pearl Harbor.
Japanese people like my parents had come
to the United States to make a better life for themselves and their
families, and to be good upright citizens in their new country.
Having already experienced discrimination earlier, my parents were
not surprised at the severe degree of distortion in the press and
elsewhere. However, this was my first real exposure to discrimination
and I could not believe nor accept what was happening. I also knew
the negative claims against Japanese-Americans were not true.
A couple years before, Papa san had told
us his story of leaving Japan for Hawaii. "From the time I
set foot in the Territory of Hawaii in 1898, I saved my money to
pay off my debt for my passage from Japan. Going into debt was the
only way most of us could afford to make the trip. Then I began
saving to settle down somewhere in this land that held so much promise."
"Did you like Hawaii?" I asked
him, enthralled with his brave adventures and how courageously he
"Yes, the weather was nice but after
a couple of years working in the sugar cane, I decided to go to
the Territory of Alaska to see another part of the world. I found
work in a coalmine in the Klondike. That was very hard work and
so dirty but the pay was pretty good for that time. You already
know about that harrowing time when we barely escaped the vigilantes
who came to raid our camp."
"Yes," I affirmed. "That
must have been a terrible experience for you."
"Yes it was, but I learned a lot. I
learned first hand about prejudice and I'm grateful for the friendship
of some of the hakujin, white men From that experience I learned
to be more aware of others and to always strive to develop good
relationships wherever I went.
"From there I decided to go to another
place. I found work in another coal mine in Cle Elum in our state
of Washington. But wherever I worked, I saved my money. At one point
another hakujin friend advised me to invest in a $1000 New York
Life Insurance policy as well as put my earnings into a savings
and loan bank. That money would earn interest and grow for me. Later
when I was ready I could take the money out of both accounts and
buy a piece of property and build a house. So that's what I did.
I was saving for the future when I could have a family."
I wanted to have my father's courage in
the face of adversity, but I continued to worry about what all of
this would mean for us. Intimidated by all of the propaganda, I
felt increasing self-reproach for being who I was. Every time a
newscaster blasted the Japanese army for the "shameful attack
on Pearl Harbor and the destruction and loss of lives that resulted,"
I cringed. The caricatures of Japanese soldiers featured on the
covers of such widely circulated magazines as Time showed them as
jaundiced bespectacled men with squinty slanted eyes. They had huge,
white buckteeth framed by a sardonic grin. The tiny button nose
with high prominent cheekbones, and large pointed head under a miniature,
grotesque military cap made the Japanese soldier look like a crazed
monkey or an insane degenerate.
The December 22, 1941, issue of Time
magazine contained an article, "How To Tell Your Friends
From the Japs." It discussed how even an anthropologist has
difficulty telling the difference between Chinese and Japanese people.
Some examples were that Chinese are taller and slimmer, not as hairy,
and their facial expressions are more placid, kindly, and open.
In Washington, D.C., a journalist wore a large badge on his lapel
reading "Chinese Reporter--NOT Japanese--please."
I hated what I heard and read but I couldn't
help but pay attention to what was printed and broadcast over the
radio. Is that how people saw me? I wondered. I wished I
had never been born.
Following Japan's sweeping early victories,
the perception emerged of the Japanese soldiers as evil supermen.
Many editorial cartoons and other propaganda reinforced this image.
I recoiled every time I saw these caricatures. I wanted to run away
and hide but there was no place to go. I had a terrible feeling
of guilt by association, but there was no way I could change my
skin color, my eyes, my straight black hair, or my name. Shame and
self loathing framed my sense of self. Yet, that's the way it was--I
looked like the enemy.
I began to have frequent stomach pains.
Food didn't taste good even though Mama san's cooking was always
delicious. I began having nightmares with a constant theme of trying
to run but my legs wouldn't work right. In some nightmares I was
running down stairs and falling but never hitting bottom. Many nights
I would wake up in a cold sweat, my heart pounding, gasping for
Was I Japanese? Or was I American? This
became the defining question I ruminated over daily. From my earliest
memories, I had been both. I grew up playing hopscotch and jacks,
learning kendo and ikebana. I studied U.S. History at school and
Japanese on Saturday. For breakfast I ate scrambled eggs and mochi.
Dinner could include fried chicken and sushi. I always felt that
I was Japanese American and I belonged in America, that I was part
of the group. Before December 7, 1941, it never occurred to me that
I was not.
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