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-02-0011

<Begin Segment 11>

[Translated from Japanese]

TY: Although Salt Lake City was not a region where Japanese Americans couldn't enter, you needed a pass when you went out more than ten miles, didn't you?

AT: Oh, that was during the war.

TY: During the war.

AT: Yeah.

TY: Until 1945.

AT: Yeah, yeah, during the war...

TY: Even at Salt Lake City, such permits for going out...

AT: Yeah, that's right.

TY: Only for Japanese Americans, right?

AT: Only for Japanese Americans. Then, we went to the consul, and we received a card like this. It showed that we used to live in Seattle, and we had evacuated over here. It was fine if we showed it. You wouldn't really go out more than ten miles unless there was something significantly important anyway. If we were on the river, we could just go out though. But, people were very nice. People in Salt Lake were very good people. They grew up in the country and were really honest. They sympathized with us. They said that they were sorry about our misfortune. When they were making vegetables, they would come and say, "These, they aren't that good, but please eat." I rarely bought vegetables then. The farmers brought them over to us. So, before we returned, we had become good friends. Mr. Hama, a good friend of Terao's since grade school, lived there, managing a dye work [Ed. note: Dry cleaning. Mrs. Terao pronounced it as "dye oak."]. He wasn't married, nor ever did. Since many people came into town, he had to press a mound of clothes, right? All of them. Those washed clothes that came into the store. He was doing it by himself, but since he was such a happy-go-lucky man, he only worked on it when he felt like it. When people came to pick them up, he hurried pulling out the pants and ironed them. I told him that I would mend clothes if there were any in need, then he said, "If you can help me, madam, that'll be a great help." He called me madam. Then, I sewed all those rips, and he was pressing them, so I mended them right.

TY: You mentioned that you used to learn sewing.

AT: Yeah. A sewing machine had already been set up, too. He was originally a tailor. So, if I didn't know how, I asked him, "Ojisan, how do I do this?" What part of pockets, the torn parts in the back, I covered them with cloth and just sewed them back together, then money and other things wouldn't fall any more, right? The customers were happy. And, he paid me, so I said, "No, Mr. Hama. If you give me money, I won't help you." Also, when my children were wearing the pants in bad conditions, he said, "You look shabby. Take off your pants. I'll press them for you," and they went to the back and took off their pants. Then, he pressed them quickly and cooled them off outside, and said, "Here, put them on." The oldest daughter Fusako was... he was saying to her, "Fusako, your skirt is so wrinkly." When she said, "No, never mind. It'll go wrinkly anyway when I go out and sit on it again," then he told her to come inside and take it off. Then, she went to the kitchen and took it off. Then, he pressed it quickly and cooled it in the breeze outside, and said, "Now, put this on." She was wearing a neatly pressed skirt. "Oh, what is going on today, Fusako. Your skirt has neat pleats." "Oh, Uncle Hama pressed it for me." [Laughs] He was remaining single, and he was Terao's friend from grade school. He had done a lot for us.

TY: Permission to go out, the permit that we were talking about. You said that consulate issued it, but does it mean that there was a Japanese Consulate in Salt Lake City?

AT: There was one in Salt Lake City. The consulate, well, I guess we call it a branch office. There.

TY: Was it temporary?

AT: Yeah. It was temporary. We could go out if we got okay from there.

TY: That was...

AT: If we didn't have it, we had to pay fine if we went out more than ten miles.

TY: Ten miles, was it ten miles from where you lived?

AT: That's right.

TY: Who did you show such passes to?

AT: Hmm, we didn't show it. We carried it. When we went through the pass point, we showed it when we were checked.

TY: Was the fine fairly expensive? Or...

AT: I don't know because I never had to pay.

TY: You never had to pay. Oh, then, you got the permit every time. Have you heard about someone who was caught for not carrying permit?

AT: Generally, they overlooked, I think.

TY: Oh, is that right?

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.