Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Shigata ga nai or “it cannot be helped” – Hisa Matsudaira (OH0051)


People I think were able to look on the bright side or to go on because of, of the way they were kind of brought up. There’s a saying, shigata ga nai, which means, “it can’t be helped.” My father would always say, “You do the best with what you have and make it turn around.” That’s exactly, I think, what a lot of people did. There were some people who didn’t. But I think that’s instilled in many of the Japanese people and not only in the Japanese, I mean all cultures probably have that same type of drive. So some people will rise up and make bad things… and take the opportunity to make things a little bit better. It’s like when they first got here they knew they didn’t have anything and they were… they got up and then they were knocked down, like for the, for the stock crashes and things, and then they had to work their way back up again. Then, so when they got up again this came and they got knocked down. They just knew they had to pull themselves up and do it.

Hisa Matsudaira

Hisa Hayashida Matsudaira was six years old, in kindergarten, when her family was evacuated. She is the second oldest of five children. Her father was interned in a US Department of Justice camp in Missoula, Montana when they evacuated.