The FBI and the radio

Responding to the U.S. government Recalling Pearl Harbor First election A story about his mother A story about his father The FBI and the radio Father’s words

Transcripts available in the following languages:

My father was a strong willed person, a couple of events I always remember. About a month and a half after December 7th, two men came to the door, dressed in dark suits with hats on. They were FBI. And it happened that my father was home at that time, maybe it was Sunday afternoon, and the men said, one of them said, “Do you have a short-wave radio here? Because we have to report it and if you have any radio that can catch short wave, you gotta report it. So we filed that.” And my father said, “Yes.” He says, “Bring it out.” My father says, “You can come in the house.” “No, no you bring it out.” So he brought it out and the guy says, “You got a table?” so he brought out a small table and put it on the table and instead of carefully examining that, he got a screwdriver, he had in his back pocket, and started opening the back. Pluck, pluck…you know not unscrewing it, just ripping it open and lo and behold he stuck his hand in there and started pulling out the wires and the tubes!

And I know what he intended to do, was to put the radio out of commission so my father said, oh just a minute I’ll help you. So these fellows didn’t know what was going to happen. He walked to the back, and in those days just about every Japanese home had an outdoor stove. Often times, we boiled water there or we cook our rice outside, you know in the big pot? And naturally you had kindling wood and a little hatchet, right? So he brought the hatchet and, oh my god, the FBI thought he was gonna attack them, so they reached for their guns and I thought, oh good, please.

*I: Oh so you were right there?

Oh I was right there. And he proceeded, he walked right up to the radio and he began smashing it. Bang, bang, bang, bang. And he says, “Saves you the trouble, here it is.” And these guys were so stunned they walked away and left. And he picked it up, took it in bag, put it in a rubbish can and that was it. That was our Christmas present, so we had no radio.

*”I” indicates an interviewer.

Date: May 31, 2001
Location: California, US
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

FBI World War II

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