Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Bill Hosokawa Interview
Narrator: Bill Hosokawa
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Daryl Maeda (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 13, 2001
Densho ID: denshovh-hbill-01-0023

BH: Back before the war, a Japanese American could go to the University of Washington and get a degree in pharmacy. And what he could do was open up a little drugstore in Japantown. He wasn't going to be hired by a big pharmaceutical company to do research. And that was true in most other fields. We have Japanese Americans who are officers in very large corporations, business firms, because the door was opened and these people were given an opportunity to exercise their talents and their abilities, their education, their skills. And that sort of opportunity did not exist in 1940. It used to be said that there were more Nisei wearing Phi Beta Kap-, Kappa keys piling oranges and polishing apples in the markets of Los Angeles. Well, you don't find that now. These guys with the Phi Beta Kappa keys are taking the kind of role in the American system that they are entitled to by their education, by their intelligence, by the drive and whatever. Economic success. We have politicians elected in areas where there are not an overwhelming number of Asian votes.

And so out of the terrible experience of the evacuation, we were blasted loose, blasted free from the confines of the Little Tokyos, where we were confined partly because we didn't have the courage to go out, but more by the pressures from the outside keeping us in there.

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