Tomodachi – Sharing Memories of Pearl Harbor Through the Eyes of Kamaʻaina Citizens, 75 Years Ago

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(L-R) Mr. Seikichi “Chick” Takara, Mrs. Shirley Miyamoto, Mr. Herbert Kiyoto Yanamura

On Thursday, November 3, 2016, the Tomodachi Committee presented Sharing Memories of Pearl Harbor – Through the Eyes of Kamaʻaina Citizens, 75 Years Ago at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Stunning first-hand accounts surprised and enlightened event attendees, many of whom expressed hope that the younger generation will also delve into such personal stories to obtain a more thorough understanding of this momentous world event.

Speakers Mrs. Shirley Miyamoto, Mr. Seikichi “Chick” Takara, and Mr. Herbert Kiyoto Yanamura shared personal experiences and memories of December 7, 1941, and its aftermath with the 21 JASH members and guests in attendance.

Panelists recalled the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941, and said they first dismissed the bombs as target practice. Mr. Takara described how his neighborhood — including his house near the intersection of King and McCully Streets — was destroyed by projectiles.

Mrs. Miyamoto, who had been staying overnight at a friend’s house, remembered her father being delayed in picking her up because no cars were allowed on the street until later in the afternoon. She also noticed that the car’s headlights had been painted black and windows of her house were covered.

Mr. Yanamura, who was on the Big Island, explained that the family’s shortwave radio that provided Japanese-language broadcast from Tokyo was prohibited. Consequently, Issei immigrants who did not speak English could not get any information because Japanese-language radio broadcasts and newspapers were banned.

Further, schools shut down for one week after the bombing. Japanese community leaders such as Buddhist priests, school principals, and prominent businessmen were arrested and sent to internment camps. Many families crowded in a single room to sleep. Also, the government required everyone to obtain fingerprint ID cards by January 1942 and to carry gas masks until the war ended.

(L) Rev. Takamasa Yamamura of Honolulu Myohoji Mission offers a prayer for peace.

(L) Rev. Takamasa Yamamura of Honolulu Myohoji Mission offers a prayer for peace.

JASH was pleased to arrange this special lecture in support of the 75th Commemoration of the Attack on Pearl Harbor.

(R) Tomodachi Committee member and Panelist Shirley Miyamoto recounts her daily life after the Pearl Harbor attack. Mr. Herbert Kiyoto Yanamura, left, and Mr. Seikichi “Chick” Takara, center, also shared their stories.

(R) Tomodachi Committee member and Panelist Shirley Miyamoto recounts her daily life after the Pearl Harbor attack. Mr. Herbert Kiyoto Yanamura, left, and Mr. Seikichi “Chick” Takara, center, also shared their stories.

Thank you to Mrs. Miyamoto, Mr. Takara, and Mr. Yanamura for sharing their experiences, and for bringing related memorabilia to display. Thanks also to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center at WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument for allowing JASH to use its Center. Mahalo to Tomodachi Committee members for providing refreshments, and special thanks to volunteer Mr. Ray Tabata for his photography.