A Japanese American Family caught between two worlds during World War II
Katsuji and Kinu Fukuhara on their wedding day in Seattle in September 1911.
Kinu was a picture bride, her marriage arranged in Japan through an exchange of photographs with Katsuji’s family. She met her husband for the first time in Seattle. Courtesy of Harry Fukuhara
Victor at age four in Seattle, 1918.
One year later, he was sent to Hiroshima for his education, before his three brothers were born. Courtesy of Harry Fukuhara
Katsuji Fukuhara with the actor Charlie Chaplin.
Katsuji became friendly with Chaplin through the actor's secretary, who hailed from the same area of Hiroshima. Courtesy of Harry Fukuhara
Harry, Pierce, and Frank with their mother, Kinu, in Hiroshima in the mid-1930s.
Harry and Pierce attended a private school that catered to nisei high school students. Frank was on a traditional track, bound for an elite middle school, a precursor to a military academy. Courtesy of Harry Fukuhara
Harry, Pierce, and Frank with their parents.
Victor and Mary were already living with Kinu's sister in Hiroshima. The three boys grew up largely un-aware of their older siblings. Courtesy of Harry Fukuhara
Mary (bobbed hair) with Cousin Tazuko and Aunt Kiyo in Hiroshima.
Mary never liked Japan and did not understand why her parents sent her there when she was seven. Courtesy of Jean Furuya
Victor after graduating from an accounting program in Japan.
The nation was at war in China. In 1935 he was conscripted into the Japanese Imperial Army. Courtesy of Harry Fukuhara
Harry departing Japan for the United States in 1938.
His cousins Toshinao and Kimiko accompanied him to Hiroshima Station with Aunt Kiyo, his mother, Kinu, and his brothers Pierce and Frank. It was the last time that the group would be together. Kimiko would die of injuries sustained from the atomic bomb. Courtesy of Harry Fukuhara
Shigeru Matsuura in the Japanese Imperial Army in Dairen, in the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo, 1941.
Shigeru and Harry fought as teenagers in Hiroshima and would confront each other again in New Guinea in 1944. Courtesy of Shigeru Matsuura
Mary's 1938 bridal portrait in Seattle.
Mary married a man whose family hailed from the same area as her father, but her marriage ended in divorce several years later. Courtesy of Jean Furuya
Harry as a greengrocer in Los Angeles, 1938.
After a series of short-term jobs, he hoped that this one would last. He was fired after Christmas. Courtesy of Harry Fukuhara
Interpreters Ben Nakamoto, Howard Ogawa, Terry Mizutari, and Harry Fukuhara at play with captured enemy equipment in Arawe, New Britain, January 1944.
The Army classified photographs of nisei linguists during the war, lest the enemy realize that their communications were providing valuable intelligence. Five months later, Terry would become the first Japanese American to die in combat in the Pacific. National Archives and Records Administration
Harry interrogating Japanese prisoners of war in Aitape, New Guinea in April 1944.
National Archives and Records Administration
Major General Percy W. Clarkson pinning an award on Harry in the Philippines, summer 1945.
Courtesy of Harry Fukuhara
Frank, Harry, and Pierce in Kobe in autumn 1945.
Frank was wearing American clothing issued by Major General Clarkson; only his cap was Japanese. Skinny from malaria, Harry was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on August 10, 1945, four days after the atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima. Courtesy of Harry Fukuhara
Harry and Frank in the village of Shirakawa, 2005.
Frank had attended college nearby until he was drafted in April 1945. Harry was posted close by in Toyama with the Occupation forces in 1948; Frank joined him there. Courtesy of Harry Fukuhara