Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Brother’s shotgun – Jerry Nakata (OH0003)


Well, I was, I was through high school — I graduated in June of ’41. Pearl Harbor was December 7th. FBI came, I think, about a month before actual evacuation, and I was working at the market. My oldest brother John, said Pauline, his wife, had our lunch ready, which was about a mile away. So I went, hopped in the car and drove up to the house. As I was ready to leave with the lunch, the FBI drove up the driveway and they wouldn’t let me leave until his house was thoroughly searched. That was about four hours. And my dad was really, really pretty nervous, ’cause he served in the 1904 Russian War. Because they were taking all the Isseis then that had dynamites, stuff for, for clearing the land. My folks’, our folks’ land was all cleared, but like I say, he was in the service, and so he was pretty nervous. But he never, they never did take him away.

Then one incident I always talk about was my older brother, Mo — he was a couple years older — and he had a 12–gauge shotgun with a box of shotgun shells. And so FBI questioned me about this, “Whose is this?” I says, “That’s my brother’s,” and he loved to hunt on Bainbridge ’cause there were pheasants you could hunt any place on the island you wanted. So after all the searching, after four hours, I escorted ’em down to the Eagle Harbor Market where my two brothers were working. He questioned my brother Mo about the shotgun, and my brother says, “Well, I love to hunt, like to hunt pheasants with my friends.” And he says, “Why should I turn against this country when I got my draft notice and getting ready to go in the service in a couple of weeks?” So he did go into the service, but he never experienced evacuation. But he went, went overseas with the 442 and came back.

Video Interview — February, 2006

To see this interview in its entirety, go to the Densho website archives. You will have to register to be allowed access to their archives. Once in the archive, visit the Visual History Collections: Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community Collection.

Jerry Nakata

Jerry Nakata was 19 years old when he was evacuated. He was the second youngest of six children. As a young child, Jerry's parents both owned a barbershop in Winslow and farmed strawberries. In the late 1930s his older brother John started a small grocery business. Before the war Jerry was working for his brother. Jerry graduated from Bainbridge High School in 1941. Following the war, the Nakata family returned to Bainbridge Island and re–built their grocery business in partnership with Ed Loverich.