Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Paul Bannai Interview I
Narrator: Paul Bannai
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 28, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-bpaul-01-0026

PB: And when I went up there, as I say I was very fortunate that the head of the school was Colonel John Aiso, who I knew from Hollywood. He was a prominent attorney there. And also because his mother and my mother were in Manzanar together and they saw each other every day, so John knew who I was, knew that, my inadequacy at Japanese very well. [Laughs] And he said, "Paul," he says, "I know how much Japanese you know." But he says, "This is an order." And he says, "If I have to get a tutor for you and start you just basic Japanese, you're going to have to learn Japanese before you leave here." So I said, "Okay, John. We'll see what I can do." So that's how I started. Now, there's one thing that I did there is during the day I could study. We had classes, at night I had to catch up. And the latrines were the only place that had a light on. So many times I'd be sitting in the latrine with the light on, and somebody'd come in, "Hey Paul, what are you doing? You're always sitting in here." I says, "I'm studying." [Laughs] They thought I was in the latrine all the time doing what I have -- shouldn't be doing. But anyway, I did finish school there.

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