Segment 1


Interview begins with the interviewer stating that Senator Inouye is and always will be the most influential Japanese-American to have served in World War II and is the most decorated. Inouye is also one of the most influential Japanese-Americans since the war due to his public career.Interviewer discusses how the interview will be conducted.7 December 1941 was a Sunday. Every Sunday Inouye and his family got ready for church. At about the time of the attack, Inouye was putting on a necktie while listening to the radio and he noticed the commentator was acting beserk. The commentator was saying that Pearl Harbor was being attacked. Inouye thought that this was another fictional production like an Orson Welles program.Inouye called his father and they looked towards Pearl Harbor and they could see the attack happening. They noticed lots of smoke and little puffs in the air from the antiaircraft fire. All of a sudden three aircraft flew directly over them; they were gray and had the red dot indicating they were Japanese. Inouye knew his life had changed.Inouye went to the first aid station, but it had already been destroyed. He was 17 years old, a senior in high school and a pre-med student.A month after Pearl Harbor, the government announced that Japanese Americans would be labeled 4-C, the classification for enemy alien. Inouye considered himself a true American but at this point he was being labeled as an enemy. He joined a group of young men who petitioned the government to let them serve. They got a response about 10 months later indicating that they could indeed form combat units. Inouye is proud to say that when they opened the doors, 80 percent of eligible Japanese Americans joined up.Inouye was a Nisei in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. They were shipped from Hawaii to San Francisco. They were on a train that was headed to Mississippi. When they got to Mississippi, they were greeted by about 100 grey dressed Red Cross women who served them coffees and donuts. Within weeks, homes and farms would open up to them. The people of Mississippi were very good to them. Inouye's first USO dance was in Mississippi. He had never danced with a white girl before that USO show. He spent a few weekends at the Roosevelt in New Orleans. Inouye ran the biggest craps game in the outfit and as a reward to the people who had lost their money to him; he rented out a suite at the Roosevelt. Inouye went to New Orleans about 4 or 5 times. He ate at AntoineÂ’s. Inouye was treated well in New Orleans.


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