Discover Nikkei

Being an American soldier and an "enemy alien"

I have no feeling except that my parents of course came from Japan, and I really had no feeling about my “enemy” as it were. But I served in Hawai`i Territorial Guard for about a month or two, and we were called in and they said that all Japanese Americans are being discharged from the territorial guard. And we were considered “enemy aliens.” We were Japanese Americans nevertheless, and they said we were enemy aliens and that’s why we were discharged from the territorial guard.

Date: May 29, 2006

Location: Hawai`i, US

Interviewer: Akemi Kikumura Yano

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Francis "FranK" Y. Sogi was born in Lanihau, Kona, on the Big Island of Hawai‘i in 1923, the youngest of five children born to Issei parents who farmed vegetables, bananas and coffee.

Francis began studies at the University of Hawai‘i (UH) in 1941 at 18 years old, and—as required--served in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) to prepare for military service. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, all R.O.T.C. students were inducted into the Hawai‘i Territorial Guard. However, he was soon discharged as being an “enemy alien,” and he returned to UH to continue his education. Men at UH with knowledge of the Japanese language were being recruited to join the United States Military Intelligence Service, so Francis volunteered and in 1944 was sent to Camp Savage and Fort Snelling, Minnesota, for training.

After serving in Japan, translating documents for the U.S. counterintelligence corps, he once again enrolled at UH in 1947. He completed his studies in 1949 and went on to Fordham Law School in New York City while his wife, Sarah, attended Columbia University. He passed the bar exam in December 1952 and was admitted to the New York state bar. In 1953, Frank was asked to serve at the Tokyo office of the law firm of Hunt, Hill and Betts and represented Fortune 500 companies doing license agreements, joint ventures and investments of all kinds. From 1959 - 1984 he was with Miller Montgomery Spalding & Sogi, and in 1984 he joined Kelley Drye & Warren until his retirement in 1993.

Because of their growing philanthropic interests, Francis and his wife Sarah created the Francis and Sarah Sogi Foundation, a charitable foundation that currently supports the work of several non-profit organizations.

He passed away on November 3, 2011(November 2011)



Prom during the war

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

Yuzawa,George Katsumi

Neighbors' sympathy after Pearl Harbor

(1915 - 2011) Nisei florist who resettled in New York City after WW II. Active in Japanese American civil rights movement

Ariyoshi,Jean Hayashi

Day Pearl Harbor was bombed

Former First Lady of Hawai'i


Japan vs. the United States (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman


Interest in Japanese migration studies (Japanese)

Tsuda College President, researcher of Nikkei history


Japanese Canadians get the right to vote in 1949

(b. 1928) Doctor. Former Chair of the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation.


Life in camp as teenager

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline


Memories of my infancy: Japanese 1, Japanese 2… (Spanish)

(b. 1932-2016) Peruvian painter


Mistreating the Japanese community (Spanish)

(b. 1932-2016) Peruvian painter


Prejudice in Japanese school (Spanish)

(b. 1932-2016) Peruvian painter


Being ordered to keep a diary that was later confiscated, ostensibly by the FBI

Hawaiian Nisei who served in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.


Bombing of Pearl Harbor

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.


Helping soldiers

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.


Fun at concentration camp

Senshin Buddhist Temple minister and co-founder of Kinnara Taiko.


Okinawan discrimination

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.