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https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/984/

Recalling Pearl Harbor

I lived about 15 miles from Pearl Harbor, but from there you can see the air activity and the smoke and the fire.

*I: So you were at home?

And then…well yes, this was Sunday, and as we do every Sunday, we were preparing ourselves to go to church. My mother was a very, very devout Methodist. And so, I would be putting on my necktie, at that moment I recall I was putting on a necktie, because a necktie was very significant. I wore a necktie for only funerals, weddings and church. That’s all. And the same applied to shoes. I went to school barefooted. Not after that. See that was one of the big changes, I wore shoes everyday after December the 7th. It’s a big change in my life. That sound insignificant to most people but it was a significant change.

And then all of a sudden, you know while listening to the music this voice comes across, the disc jockey stops the music and he starts, you know, high-pitched voiced, talking about “This is for real, this is for real, is it not an exercise,” I go, what in the world is he talking about? “The Japanese are attacking Pearl Harbor.” Japanese…bombs are dropping. And so my father was in the next room and I went to him and I said I think you should go out there, so we went out into the street looking towards Pearl Harbor and sure enough you could see the smoke rising. And all of a sudden 3 planes flew overhead, they had made their bombing run and they were just going out to the ocean-side, and it was grey in color, with the red sun. And I knew right away, something was gonna happen to all of us. I personally thought the world that I knew was coming to an end, and it did.

*”I” indicates an interviewer.


Hawaii Pearl Harbor attack, Hawaii, 1941 United States World War II

Date: May 31, 2001

Location: California, US

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

Interviewee Bio

Senator Daniel K. Inouye was born September 7, 1924 in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. He witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and at the age of 18 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Following the Rescue of the Lost Battalion, Senator Inouye was awarded a Bronze Star and received a battlefield commission as a Second Lieutenant. Later, in intense fighting in Italy, Senator Inouye lost his right arm from an exploding grenade. For his action that day, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second highest award for military valor.

Following the war, Senator Inouye became Hawai‘i’s first representative in Congress when Hawai‘i achieved statehood in 1959. In 1962 he was elected to the United States Senate and has been re-elected every six years since then. Senator Inouye, a Democrat, was the first American of Japanese descent to serve in either House of Congress.

In 2000, Senator Inouye and 20 other Asian American veterans were honored in a ceremony at the White House. The medals they had earned in World War II were given a long-overdue and deserving upgrade to the Medal of Honor.

He passed away on December 17, 2012 at age 88. (December 2012)

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George Katsumi Yuzawa
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Neighbors' sympathy after Pearl Harbor

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Reaction of Japanese American community toward draft resistance stance

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The role of the media in influencing people's opinions

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Gene Akutsu

Living conditions in prison while serving time for resisting the draft

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Talking to children about decision to resist the draft during World War II

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