Daniel Watanabe during World War II
Japanese-Americans who were children during the war saw things through more innocent eyes, but they can still recollect the strife of their families.
Daniel Watanabe, 65, a biotechnology consultant in Houston, was born in the United States, but his family moved back to Japan when he was a young child. When the war started, he was 12 and spent much of his early teens underground. Often, he finished his homework in the family's small bomb shelter.
"Being that young at the time, and not knowing the facts, it was sort of an exciting time as I remember, " he said.
Watanabe said the excitement waned as his family's struggle became reality. Food shortages were serious in his suburb of Tokyo. He remembers traveling to the country to harvest wild grass to thicken soups.
Life also got scarier. He could see flames at night darting up from Tokyo's horizon. Only after the war, when he joined the U.S. Army as a translator, could he put his younger years in perspective.
"It wiped out a lot of time when a young kid had time to play, go places and do things," he said.
Looking back, Watanabe said the war was the hardest experience he has endured in his life.
Stefanie Asin, " V-J/PEACE, PROSPERITY AND PAIN/STIRRING MEMORIES/Relocation to
internment camp was a nightmare for Japanese-American couple," Houston Chronicle (1995)
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