Remembering Pearl Harbor

Panelist Betsy Fujii Young explains the internment camp experience

On Tuesday, November 29, Tomodachi presented “Remembering Pearl Harbor” at Natsunoya Tea House in honor of the upcoming 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. Panelists who were living in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, shared their first hand experiences and experiences of relatives. 

Guests enjoyed a special buffet lunch prepared by Natsunoya, in an upstairs room that holds a lot of history. In the months before World War II, a spy from the Japanese Consulate in Honolulu would watch ship movements in Pearl Harbor from this very room and send coded messages to Tokyo. The telescope belonging to Natsunoya that he used is no longer in the upstairs room, but can still be viewed downstairs inside the sushi bar.

Panelists recounted that during the war everyone had to carry around gas masks. Children were even fitted for these masks at school. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor many families slept together in their living rooms. A panelist also shared stories of internment camps. Another panelist gave this message: “my hope for the future is that the hysteria of the time that caused prejudice to the Japanese doesn’t ever happen to another people.”

Tomodachi Co-chair Shirley Miyamoto explains her Pearl Harbor day experience

JASH would like to thank all those who shared their experience. We would also like to thank Pearl Harbor Park Ranger Amanda Carona who was present at the lunch and shared information on events that will take place to observe the 70th anniversary. Finally, a big mahalo to Tomodachi co-chair Shirley Miyamoto who planned this event and brought memorabilia to display.