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The FBI and the radio

My father was a strong willed person, a couple of events I always remember. About a month and a half after December 7th, two men came to the door, dressed in dark suits with hats on. They were FBI. And it happened that my father was home at that time, maybe it was Sunday afternoon, and the men said, one of them said, “Do you have a short-wave radio here? Because we have to report it and if you have any radio that can catch short wave, you gotta report it. So we filed that.” And my father said, “Yes.” He says, “Bring it out.” My father says, “You can come in the house.” “No, no you bring it out.” So he brought it out and the guy says, “You got a table?” so he brought out a small table and put it on the table and instead of carefully examining that, he got a screwdriver, he had in his back pocket, and started opening the back. Pluck, pluck…you know not unscrewing it, just ripping it open and lo and behold he stuck his hand in there and started pulling out the wires and the tubes!

And I know what he intended to do, was to put the radio out of commission so my father said, oh just a minute I’ll help you. So these fellows didn’t know what was going to happen. He walked to the back, and in those days just about every Japanese home had an outdoor stove. Often times, we boiled water there or we cook our rice outside, you know in the big pot? And naturally you had kindling wood and a little hatchet, right? So he brought the hatchet and, oh my god, the FBI thought he was gonna attack them, so they reached for their guns and I thought, oh good, please.

*I: Oh so you were right there?

Oh I was right there. And he proceeded, he walked right up to the radio and he began smashing it. Bang, bang, bang, bang. And he says, “Saves you the trouble, here it is.” And these guys were so stunned they walked away and left. And he picked it up, took it in bag, put it in a rubbish can and that was it. That was our Christmas present, so we had no radio.

*”I” indicates an interviewer.


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)

Robert Katayama
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Robert Katayama

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.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Arrest of father

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Grayce Ritsu Kaneda Uyehara
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Grayce Ritsu Kaneda Uyehara

Importance of education in achieving redress for incarceration

(1919-2014) Activist for civil rights and redress for World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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Wakako Nakamura Yamauchi
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Wakako Nakamura Yamauchi

Her experience as a Japanese-American schoolchild in Oceanside, California, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor

(1924-2018) Artist and playwright.

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Art Shibayama
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Art Shibayama

Thoughts on the post-9/11 atmosphere in the U.S.

(1930-2018) Nisei born in Peru. Taken to the United States during WWII.

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Frank Yamasaki
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Frank Yamasaki

Loss of happy-go-lucky adolescence in Puyallup Assembly Center

(b. 1923) Nisei from Washington. Resisted draft during WWII.

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Frank Yamasaki
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Frank Yamasaki

Memories of dusty conditions at Minidoka incarceration camp

(b. 1923) Nisei from Washington. Resisted draft during WWII.

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Frank Yamasaki
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Frank Yamasaki

Making the decision to resist the draft

(b. 1923) Nisei from Washington. Resisted draft during WWII.

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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto
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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto

Ransacking of family home by FBI following the bombing of Pearl Harbor

(b. 1927) Japanese American Nisei. Family voluntarily returned to Japan during WWII.

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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto
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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto

Witnessing father's arrest through a child's eyes

(b. 1927) Japanese American Nisei. Family voluntarily returned to Japan during WWII.

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George Azumano
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George Azumano

Discharged from the U.S. Army after Pearl Harbor

(b. 1918) Founder Azumano Travel

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George Katsumi Yuzawa
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George Katsumi Yuzawa

Reaction to a 1942 speech by Mike Masaoka, Japanese American Citizen League's National Secretary

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

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George Katsumi Yuzawa
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George Katsumi Yuzawa

Death of sister in October 1942

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

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George Katsumi Yuzawa
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George Katsumi Yuzawa

First impression of New York City during war time

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

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George Katsumi Yuzawa
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George Katsumi Yuzawa

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

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