Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Bill Nishimura Interview
Narrator: Bill Nishimura
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Date: July 2, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-nbill-01-0004

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AI: And can you explain what that "voluntary evacuation" was about?

BN: Well, government wanted as many as, much as possible to go, evacuate on their own to some other state besides, some other states in inner portion, region, so that when they do that, they'll, they wouldn't have to be bothered with them at all. If they stay, they'll be evacuated, forced into the camp, and the government have to look after them forever until the war ends or, either they relocate to some other places. So they wanted to have these Japanese people go on their own and go elsewhere.

AI: And so what did you decide to do?

BN: Pardon?

AI: And so what did you decide to do?

BN: Oh, at that time there's a rumor that east side of Highway 99 could be spared, perhaps we would not have to be evacuated. So I took a dry run to Visalia and made a verbal contract with the farmer there. And on the next-to-the-last day of this evacuation, I loaded my truck and headed for Visalia. And then, over there I stayed there for about five and a half month. And then on August the 7th, we left Visalia.

AI: So when you went to Visalia, that was you and your mother, and...?

BN: Right. That's all. Right, there's only two.

AI: And now, what was it, while you were in Visalia, what did you find out about the evacuation then?

BN: Oh, at that time, the government said they had their own storage place, so they were welcome to store their goods in the government warehouses. But I had to doubt the U.S. government. So I, the farmers said that they have a place for storage. So I decided to store my goods there. And I had nothing to do with the government. Then, when I was in the Poston relocation center, I heard that the storage place at the farm burnt down, so we had nothing to ourselves.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2000 Densho. All Rights Reserved.