100th Infantry Battalion, B Company
Reflections and Observations
"You get a rifle, right, you go to war and then shoot somebody. You kill a guy.
Are you a murderer? What are you doing? You're killing somebody. You tell was self-defense but actually, it's a murder.
You're murdering somebody."
Are you a murderer?
What are you doing? You're killing somebody.
You tell was self-defense but actually, it's a murder.
You're murdering somebody.
Because I had that experience at one time. This guy had a motorcycle, messenger and he was going. So I stood up, I shot the guy. In those days, the bicycle is like this, so his leg got stuck and he went over, topple over and all his hair was shaved off. Then, about fifteen minutes later, I went across. I look at the guy, his eye was half open like this. But he's dead already. And I search all the things and I took some away.
At that time, I felt good that I killed somebody. But when I went back to my foxhole, I start thinking, funny, human being, no matter what, he must have a family. He must have a father or mother, or brother, sister.
I feel so bad that I shot the guy. But yet, you shouldn't feel like that because if you shoot them or let 'em shoot you. . .you might be killed yourself or kill them. But at that time, you feel good you killed somebody. But when I came back, about one hour later, I start thinking. So I took the jacket and stuff, I threw 'em away. And my friend, Tokuji Ono picks it up and he told me he took it with him. But that's one of the things I threw away. And he told me that he found the jacket, he took it home. Take with him.
But war is a funny thing. If you do something wrong, they try to court martial you or something. But when you kill a guy, I mean, they don't say anything. And you don't know if the word "kill" is a murder. Are you a murderer or what? I don't know what you call that. But when I think back, I thought of that guy, if I didn't think of his family, I feel nothing. But I figure, chee, I get a family, too. He has a family, must be, someplace. So I start feeling bad. But human beings are strange, yeah. You always get a soft heart somewhere.
After you're married, you get a family, you get really more matured. You think differently, you're willing to sacrifice, you're willing to work hard. When my three kids were sent to college, I had two jobs. I hardly see my wife, I hardly see the kids. I come home from work at five o'clock, I just eat, boom, I'm working till ten o'clock at night, I'm coming home.
But you don't feel that way. You feel, well, I'm going to see that my kids get the right training, things like that. That's why, on my third year at university, I drop out. I could finish it up. I think maybe twelve credits or sixteen more credits, I could do it. But I didn't get it because I start working two jobs and I think of my kids going school and all that. So that's why I didn't finish.
But I don't regret it. I bet your parents, too, they must have worked hard. Don't think that you got it easy. Maybe you got it easy but not the parents.
The parents all work from the heart, to see the children succeed. I think most of them feel better, unless I see some paper sometimes that is contrary to that. But most of the parents, I think their heart and soul to work for the kids.
I think our parents should be really looked up to, because they're the ones that gave you some incentive to get ahead.
That's the disadvantage of us - our days. You know, between the nisei and the issei. We cannot express our true feelings to the parents because we cannot converse. You know, they don't understand certain words and I don't understand Japanese any better, too. It's altogether different.
But now, between our children today, you can talk to them. Explain to them. If they don't want it, still, but at least you told your story. So it's altogether different from the time that our days.
I don't know if you could speak good, well, when you were young but I know I cannot explain to my dad what I want to do, why I did that, you cannot explain in Japanese because - we can say arigato [thank you], that kind [of] short kind words but to express your feelings, I never could do it.
Well, right now, I go doctor all the time, and so I feel grateful that somehow or the other, that God is still watching me from upstairs. Still watching me. But when I feel bad, you know, I always feel this way: if I die, I'm going to see my friends up there, my mother, my father. I always think that way and then I feel better because they must be there someplace. So if I die, I'll join them over there anyway. So whether I'm here or there, I still have friends, or relatives.
Ray Nosaka's interview reprinted courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photographs courtesy of Ray Nosaka.