Densho Digital Archive
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Title: Masao Watanabe Interview
Narrator: Masao Watanabe
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 19, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-wmasao-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: And while you were at Puyallup, I mean, then they decided to send people to Minidoka. What was your reaction about going to another place, in Idaho?

MW: Well, you don't know what's going to happen or where you're going to go. What the hell was Minidoka, Idaho to me? And I just... my older brother volunteered to be one of the lead groups that went to Minidoka first, to prepare the area for our coming. So I don't know. I just didn't have much thought after that. I just figured, boy, they were treating us like dogs and we just have to live with it.

TI: And what was your reaction when you first got to Minidoka? What was it like?

MW: Well, I don't know how I should answer it, because it wasn't very nice. You know, it's wide open and fences and barbed wires. And quite frankly, I just thought, "What the hell is this?" Just... I know it irked me tremendously. I don't like guard towers or gates. It just... how would you feel?

TI: I'm sure it was very difficult.

MW: Very same. [Laughs] It was very difficult and some of the areas had two rows of barbed wire, and I thought, "Jesus, enough is enough."

TI: And how about your friends, the ones that you went to high school with? What were their reactions?

MW: I can't help but feel they all felt the same way I did, 'cause I don't think I was any different from the other guys. I don't know. I just... thorough disgust. I just didn't like it, but there was nothing we could do. Ask me something else. It's a hell of a subject. [Laughs]

TI: No, I know.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.