Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Asano Terao Interview II
Narrator: Asano Terao
Interviewers: Tomoyo Yamada (primary), Dee Goto (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: May 26, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-tasano-02-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

[Translated from Japanese]

DG: Okay. Today is May 26, and we are here again with Mrs. Terao, and we didn't finish the last time, so this is the second session. And, so, go ahead, Tomo... ko.

TY: May 26, 1998, Dee Goto and Tomoyo Yamada will conduct a Densho interview. We have already interviewed Mrs. Terao last week, but this time, we are interviewing her to hear the continuation of her stories.

AT: Hmm, I am going to talk only about the same things again. Probably there'll be nothing new.

TY: Okay. We are going to ask you mainly about the World War II... you had heard earlier that the war was about to break out, hadn't you? Who did you hear that from?

AT: Who did I hear that from? That was in the newspapers, too. That, the result of the negotiation. It was published.

TY: Was it a Japanese newspaper?

AT: Uh-huh.

TY: Was it the Hokubei Tsuchi? [Ed. note: mistaken for the Hokubei Hochi.]

AT: Yeah, it was Hokubei. And, instead of thinking about it by himself, Terao [Ed. note: Mrs. Terao refers her husband as "Terao."] got together with his friends, and they were comparing the newspapers in English and the Japanese newspapers. And, well, they summarized the information. They were like, "The war will soon break out after all, huh." Once they said it, it occurred to us when the war would start, but you wouldn't know such information unless you were in the military, right? We wouldn't know about it. But, I remember some newspaper article that suggested that we shouldn't waste things as much as possible so that we could take care of things before the evacuation.

TY: Before the war.

AT: Hmm, before the war, before the war started, it was before Japan started the war with the U.S. Such stories were on the newspapers. We were saying things like, "Let's see, I wonder what would happen to Japan if it started the war with the U.S." That was... I had a cousin in Utah. He told me, "Just in case, Oneesan. If the war was to break out, there would be nothing good about going into the camp with three girls, so you should come over here." But, if we went there, there wouldn't be any jobs. We would have problems in living right away. But, I said, "We have some money, and we could use it, so I don't mind going there, but let's talk to our children just in case." We talked to our children, and the big one was called Fusako. The next one was a boy. And, the next one was still small. The next one was still going to grade school and small. So, anyway, with the oldest girl and the boy... and there was an older brother who was managing a hotel called the Tacoma Hotel. We discussed with each of them. He said, "The hotel - and I can't be here - and I want to manage to get out. Well, I will discuss with Mr. Kawakami, and if things worked out for the hotel, I would leave everything in care of hakujin, and I would evacuate." I said, "If that's the case, then, Oniisan, you should do that. We have children, and Terao said that nothing worthwhile would happen if we went into the camp. Luckily, I have a cousin in Los Angeles, I mean, Salt Lake City, and also, there is Terao's good friend from grade school." He also said that we should just come. He said that we shouldn't worry too much about food because we could manage somehow, and that we should come. So, just in case, we discussed with our children. Then, they said, "Let's evacuate to Salt Laki. [Ed. note: "Laki", i.e. Lake, was pronounced as such commonly among Issei. From this point, "Lake" is spelled "Laki" whenever Mrs. Terao pronounces as such.] If we can't eat, we'll work and help you." I wonder if my daughter graduated from high school over there, or if it was before graduation. "In that case, let's evacuate." The house was... a friend of Terao was working at the Frye, and he said that he was going to watch the house since he lived in an apartment then, and he said, "Sam, don't worry. I am going to watch your house." So, we didn't worry about our house. We just left Seattle as it was. When we went to Salt Laki, my cousin was there, and he was farming. He said, "there are three vacant rooms on the second floor, and they should have enough space to sleep," because it was a large house. "There is nothing to worry about, so come here for two months or three months. Going into the camp, entering the camp with girls, just in case something happens, you should come over here." We couldn't go there without talking to our children just in case. Children were eating dinner. When we said that we had something to discuss with them later, they asked what it was. We told them to think about it thoroughly. They said, "To the Uncle Kazuichi's [Ed. note: mistaken for Kazunori] in Salt Laki, let's go stay at the Uncle Kazuichi's. If we couldn't eat, we, soon we'll graduate, so we'll work and manage to help you." That's how it went. "Then, let's evacuate," was the beginning of the story.

TY: It was in the beginning of 1942, wasn't it?

AT: In the beginning.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.