Yuki Kitaoka
A Different View

December 7, 1941

Yuki's father goes for a drive early in the morning. After hearing of the Pearl Harbor attack, Yuki wonders about his whereabouts and worries about him. He returns home without incident.

Her worries linger: "What's going to happen to my father and mother?"

Haruie Miwa is investigated. He and his wife -- both no longer teaching at the time -- are not incarcerated.

Takashi is recalled to military duty as an enlisted reserve in the 298th Infantry Regiment.

That morning, we were still in bed and we found out through the radio that the bombs were coming.

As I recall, I ran out and looked toward Pearl Harbor and all I could see was bursts of something or the other in the sky. I didn’t see any airplanes.

Japanese aircraft attack on Pearl Harbor

My concern at that time was my father. He used to want to drive around Waikiki and things like that. He had gone off with his car, and at that time, we didn’t know that Pearl Harbor was being bombed.

But as I recall, my mother and I, we worried about my father, where is he? Eventually, he came home and nothing happened after that. We just stayed home to see what the news was going to be all about. That’s all I remember.

Fears for Parents

I was concerned about my father and mother because they were not American citizens at that time.

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My worry at that time was, what’s going to happen to my father and mother, see?

Then, as the days went by, I would see these officers coming in and out of my house, questioning [my father]. But nothing happened; he was never interned. Why, I don’t know.

He had already resigned as a teacher [before the war]. My mother was still on Kauai — no, she was home, I think, at that time, but she was not teaching. The school closed, anyway, because of the war. Our worry was, what’s going to happen to my folks? Because most of the [Japanese-language] schoolteachers got interned but, luckily, they were not.

[My father] had already bought a home on 16th Avenue. That’s where we stayed, my father, my mother and myself. My kid sister was at a dorm, becoming a nurse.

[My parents] didn’t say much [about the war]. In fact, I don’t know how I ever conversed with them or they conversed with us because I didn’t know too much Japanese and they didn’t know too much English. All I did was observe. And we talked but I don’t remember saying too much.

Husband Called to Duty

Soon after that, my husband responded to [a military recall as an enlisted reserve with the 298th Infantry Regiment]. So he just went and I never saw him after that because they went into training.

I don’t know what my feeling was but all I remember is when [my husband] left [for training], I was feeling badly and I was crying. I know that much but aside from that, we didn’t know what was going to happen to us. We were numb, I would say.

I can’t recall [how long it was before I heard from my husband.] It was a bad time for all of us because we had blackout, we had to go and put all these curtains on so that no lights [show] and things like that. I think it must have been a scary time for most of us, but we just didn’t think too much about it, I guess, because I don’t remember very much.

Yuki Kitaoka's interview courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photographs courtesy of National Archives.

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