Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Runs into Koba brothers – Earl Hanson (OH0069)


Well, the first pass that I got on, I caught the first bus out to Ephrata for Seattle, and I’m sitting there and I’m looking out the window, and here’s, two of the Koba boys, and boy, they came up and we were hanging on each other,[gestures] How are you, and gee, all this. And uh, about that time, well then the bus driver said close the window, we’re leaving. And I forgot to find out, but I did find out they were in Moses Lake and Junkoh Harui told me there were 4 families there.

And I said goodbye to the boys, closed the window and somebody up in the front of the bus, smarted off about those uh, Japs, and I don’t use that word, but that’s what quoted from there. And I stood up and said those kids are just as white as everybody on this bus. They are good kids. They were born in Bainbridge Island. They went to Bainbridge High School and I went to school with them and they are good American kids. And I sat down. The person that said it didn’t have the guts enough to come back and apologize, but it was complete silence in the bus until we got to Seattle. And I never seen those Koba boys since.

Video Interview — August, 2007

Earl Hanson

Earl Hanson grew up on Bainbridge Island. He is a member of the Bainbridge Island High School Class of 1941, a very close-knit class that kept in touch. Earl was good friends with classmate Jerry Nakata. Earl served in the army during the war.