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To view video, Click Here. During World War II, most Hawaiians of Japanese ancestry were unaware of the mass incarceration of mainland Japanese Americans. Japanese American soldiers from Hawaii who came to the mainland for training were shocked to discover the existence of incarceration camps. In this video segment, Senator Daniel Inouye reflects on visiting Rohwer while training in Mississippi as a young soldier and the impact felt by all the Hawaiian soldiers of Japanese ancestry upon learning of the mass incarceration.

"Then I remember when we turned the corner, the bend of the road, and the valley came into view, and what we saw was row after row of barracks. Now, we thought this was a military camp and that we're going to pass that to go someplace else. But no, we came up to this camp and stopped. High barbed wire fences and there are machine gun towers all around the camp with men there with machine guns. And greeting us at the camp, at the gate, were men in uniform with rifles and bayonets. We are in uniform and I thought, "What in the world is happening?" Then you look into the camp and there they were. And we tried our best to be happy and sociable, but it's not easy realizing what was happening there. And when we left, the atmosphere was totally different. Because when we arrived, we were all singing and playing ukuleles and having a great time, and when we left, it was absolute silence all the way to Mississippi. No one talked. And I can imagine what was going through their minds, and I think almost all of us must have asked ourselves -- would we have volunteered?"

Daniel Inouye Interview - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

Daniel Inouye is a nisei male who was born 1924 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II, lost his right arm in action and earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. Following the war, he became an attorney and then a U.S. Senator for Hawaii.

Courtesy of Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project

Tom_Ikeda — Atualizado em Mar 30 2011 8:01 p.m.


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