Densho Digital Archive
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Title: Mits Koshiyama Interview
Narrator: Mits Koshiyama
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 14, 2001
Densho ID: denshovh-kmits-01-0005

<Begin Segment 5>

AI: So in the meantime, at about that time when you were quitting high school, there were some restrictions being put on...

MK: Yes.

AI: ...people of Japanese ancestry. There were the curfew put in place...

MK: Yeah.

AI: ...and a restriction on travel. Did that affect you or your family very much?

MK: No, it didn't affect us because we didn't go far anyway. We just went to our neighborhood community, Japanese community, Japanese churches. So it really didn't affect me, but I know it affected a lot of people that were in business and stuff like that.

AI: Well, also in the very early part of 1942, as I understand it there was a so-called "voluntary evacuation" period.

MK: Yeah.

AI: Did you, your family talk about that, and did you ever consider trying to move out before it became mandatory?

MK: Yeah, my mother and father did talk about that. They talked about going to central California. That was in a different zone from -- eventually everybody in California had to move out, but that, they were allowed to move to that zone. And our friends moved to that -- I believe it was around Lindsay or someplace around there. And we did talk about that, maybe we should move over there. But our community in Mountain View, Japanese American community in Mountain View, actually went to Utah. They send some Issei, no, some Nisei -- older Nisei to Utah to look over the possibilities of our community moving to, voluntarily moving to Utah -- but they went there in the winter. They saw the harsh winter season over there, said, "No, there's no way that you could survive over there." So they told the group that it's best to stay here and to follow what the government had to say. So my father and mother forgot about voluntary evacuation.

And besides, I found out, Dr. Eric Muller's talk that all the governors of the western states didn't want any Japanese voluntarily moving into their states. In fact, Governor Smith of Wyoming told Milton Eisenhower, who was then head of the WRA, that there'll be Japanese hanging from every tree in Wyoming if they came to his state. The only way they'll allow anybody, any Japanese come to the state if supervised by the federal government, put into camps under guard, under the guard watching them. So I think I, that's why the United States government stopped volunteer evacuation because of the threats. I think that would've happened, too, because the governors were really getting the people excited about moving into a place like Wyoming. Who would want to, they worried about Japanese becoming permanent residents in Wyoming. I don't think any, anybody in Heart Mountain would stay there, even though they got paid to stay there. I can't understand their thinking, you know.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2001 Densho. All Rights Reserved.