Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Yamasaki Interview I
Narrator: Frank Yamasaki
Interviewers: Lori Hoshino (primary), Stephen Fugita
Location: Lake Forest Park, Washington
Date: August 18, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-yfrank-01-0014

<Begin Segment 14>

LH: How do you think the Issei felt about their lack of freedom? How did they adjust to this, to "Camp Harmony" life?

FY: You know, at that time, it's hard to say. Again, I speak, I'm talking about this from a teenage perspective. I'm sure, in the evening when they're alone, they must have had a lot of reflection as to what is life, what's...? Some have lost a lot more than others financially and what they lost was very difficult because they worked so hard. They scrimped and they saved their money. And yes, I think many of them had desires of someday they would go back to their own village again and see their relatives and friends. So there it is, everything was just topsy-turvy, you might say.

LH: And for you, how did you cope with the loss of the freedom?

FY: Well, see, when you say freedom... when you say you lose your freedom. I lost my freedom when I was out there and trying to go into the swimming pool. I lost my freedom when this kid said, "There's that shack that guy lives in." That was part of what I grew up with. We can, I guess, go into that word "freedom" in multiple way. The, being incarcerated like that for me, it was a big picnic because I seen so many pretty girls and I never seen so many Japanese in my life. They had all these activities that went on. Even at "Camp Harmony," they had all kinds of sports, dancing, several activities.

LH: Can you describe some of those activities for me?

FY: Well, dancing, of course, we would get the tables that are in there and we would...

LH: Where was "there"?

FY: This Area A in "Camp Harmony." We would put those aside, and get some soap and put on the floor. And the thing, to this day, I often wondered where did they get the PA system for the music. I don't know. I had a portable radio, but you know... the, and if you have a larger dance group coming, then we would take these tables outside. But the activities, of course, were mainly in the mess halls. We would find ways of sneaking into other areas. And the Area D was the most interesting, because that used to be and that still is the fairground, so they would have these concession areas like these spook houses and haunted houses. So we would, they would be boarded up, but we would find ways of going in there. And especially with girls, it was fun teasing the girls... [Laughs] There was a...

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.