Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mitsuye May Yamada - Joe Yasutake - Tosh Yasutake Interview
Narrators: Mitsuye May Yamada, Joe Yasutake, Tosh Yasutake
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Jeni Yamada (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 8 & 9, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-ymitsuye_g-01

<Begin Segment 1>

AI: All right. Today is October 8th, 2002. We're here in Seattle, Washington, with the Yasutake and Yamada families. I'm Alice Ito with Densho. Also from Densho on videography are Dana Hoshide and John Pai. Also from Densho in the room is Patricia Kiyono. We also have in the room as observer Kai Yamada, co-interviewer is Jeni Yamada, and I will have our narrators introduce themselves.

JY: Okay. My name is Joe Yasutake. I'm the youngest of the group. I was born in 1932. I currently live in San Jose, California.

MY: Okay. My name is Mitsuye Yamada. I'm commonly known as May to my family members. I was born in 1923 in Japan through an accident of birth, my -- when my mother happened to visit there. My two older brothers were born here. And I presently live in Irvine, California.

TY: I'm Tosh Yasutake. I was born in 1922 in Seattle, and presently I'm living in Bothell, Washington. And I'm, some of my friends know me as William, and some knows me as William. But I, my old friends call me Tosh, so I like to go by the name of Tosh.

AI: Thanks very much for being here. We really appreciate all your participation. And I thought we would just start off with some family background and history. And if perhaps you could start by talking about your father and your mother, their families and what you know of their background.

MY: Okay. Our father's name was Jack Kaichiro Yasutake. Jack was a, a name that he acquired. His, it was his pen name. He wrote senryu poetry, and his Japanese pen name was Jakki, and they transferred that to Jack, which he was known by his friends in Seattle. He, and he married my mother, our mother, around 1918 or 1919, as I understand it. Yeah, 1918. Our mother was Hide Shiraki Yasutake. They were both from Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan, and they were married in -- my father was going to school in the United States at Stanford. And he went to Japan to -- to marry. And so he, then he returned to the United States and moved to Seattle when he found a job as interpreter for the Immigration Service.

AI: May I back up and ask a little bit more about your father's family and what they did for a living in Fukuoka?

MY: Yes, they, they lived in a very small town that was known at that time as Mushirouchi in, in the foot of the Yamada Mountains in, in northern Kyushu. And his parents were farmers. They had two sons. My, my dad was the older son. And he, he told us then when we were quite small that he saw the handwriting on the wall that he would be the, as the older son, the heir to the job as a farmer, on, that he would have to take over his father's family business. And so, and he didn't want that. He wanted to, to get away for an education. And, and his younger brother was considerably younger than he. I think he was about seven or eight years younger. So when Dad was sixteen or seventeen, he essentially ran away from home, he said. And his younger brother was still quite young. He, and boarded a ship and came to California, to San Francisco, California. And there he... we have all kinds of amusing stories about, he was very interested in school -- in drama. So he enrolled in, he went to a mission school first to learn English. He enrolled in a drama school, and we have this little certificate where he, he must have been quite a fast learner. He worked as a houseboy for a while, and eventually went to Lowell High School in San Francisco, which is still standing, I hear. The high school is still there.

JY: It's a very popular school.

MY: Is it?

JY: Yeah.

MY: Yeah. That's, and it's still in --

JY: Still in San Francisco.

MY: -- San Francisco.

JY: Well-known school.

MY: Oh, is it really?

JY: Uh-huh.

MY: I don't know about the drama school. Do you know that...

JY: I don't know anything about that.

MY: Yeah. I wonder if it's still there.

JY: We ought to look it up some time and see.

MY: Yeah, I know. It would be kind of interesting because my dad was quite a ham, I think. And then eventually he applied to Stanford University, which was at that time called...

JY: Leland Junior --

MY: Leland Junior College

JY: Junior College.

TY: I thought it was junior college, but it's Leland, Jr. That's his name.

JY: Yeah, right.

TY: It wasn't junior college, either.

MY: Oh.

TY: It was a university.

MY: Oh, okay. Yeah.

MY: So that was Leland Junior --

JY: College.

MY: -- College.

JY: Yeah.

MY: Of San Francisc-, and it wasn't called Stanford.

JY: Uh-uh. Not then.

MY: And it became Stanford University. It was a school -- I would, it was not coeducational apparently at that time. I think it was just for men.

JY: I don't know about that.

TY: Well, why wouldn't it be? The drama, that picture we have of him in drama class is all females, mostly females.

MY: That's right.

TY: Was that -- so it had to be coeducational.

MY: I'm not sure.

JY: I, I have no idea.

MY: Because I remember when we were growing up, I, when I was in high school, my dad kept telling me that he wanted me to go to Stanford, but first they would have to, it would have to become a coeducational university. So I, I thought that it was not a coeducational university at the time.

TY: Well, well, anyway...

MY: Well, okay. That's kind of, remains a mystery. And so that was the rea-, you know, my father was very focused on getting an education, getting a college education. I think he majored in engineering, but apparently was not too successful at it. I'm not sure, but he, he didn't quite graduate, from what we understood later in life. We, he didn't ever tell us that he didn't, he dropped out or that he, he apparently went back to Japan. His parents wanted him to come home. He was in his thirties at this point, and they thought that he was getting old enough, he was way past marriageable age, he should come back to Japan and get married. And so he went to Japan. And my mother had a older sister who was married to a doctor, the country doctor in the town where my grandparents lived. And so the story is that, that the sister said that there was a young man in their neighborhood whose son is coming home from America looking for a wife. "How about your sister?" You know, how about our sister. And so the, apparently they had a family council, and they decided to marry the, my mother to my dad. And so my mother didn't actually meet him until they had a miai, you know, there.

And we have this kind of amusing story about Joe at one point where he, he was really upset that he wasn't -- his friends were about, over six feet tall in high school, and he was still, still quite short. And so he asked my mother, you know -- because my dad was shorter than my, than our mom -- and Joe asked her, "How come you married such a short man? It's all Dad's fault that I'm so short." And my mother said, "Well, at the, when we, when I was introduced to him, the family had already arrived at the restaurant, and they were all sitting down at the engagement party." And so then they got engaged, and so he, "I didn't see him stand up until the engagement was all over, and it was too late by that time." [Laughs] And so she'd already been promised to him. So anyway, that's how she got, they got married. She, then my dad came back to the United States. He promised to, to find a job or finish -- I think his, he said that, "I have to go back to the United States to finish college," but essentially what he did was he looked for a job so that he could call his wife over. And it wasn't until the year after that my mother came. And then I guess it was in 1919 because our older brother, Michael, was -- Seiichi -- was marri-, was born in 1920. And, and then, and then Tosh and I, we come kind of very close together. And so that's sort of the background of our parents and how they came to come to this country.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

AI: Well, it sounds as if perhaps your father had said that he would return to Japan, that he was getting married, he was going to finish college, and then perhaps he implied to the families that he would return permanently to Japan?

MY: Yeah. My, that's what my mother said, that, we asked her if she, she said she didn't have, she didn't have any intention of coming to the United States, that she, that my dad had said, "I have to go back to the United States to finish school, and as soon as I graduate from college, I'll come back. And then we'll live in Japan." And, but she -- he didn't come back. He apparently stayed and, and my mother at that point -- I think her mother was ill, and she was living with her in-laws. But then she went back, she went to the city, which was Hakata, where my mother lived. And she said that she was taking care of her mother. I don't know exactly what the timeline was, whether her mother died at that point, but apparently my dad's parent, father appeared at, at the house. My mother said that she was perfectly happy living back with her, with her family because she, she, her parents had a very, were, had a rather large business. Her family had a large bus-, lumber company there, and they had a very large, extended family living together. And, but her father-in-law, Kei, appeared one day and said that, "I'm sorry, but Kaichiro is supposed to come back and he's still not back, and it's not good for young people to be separated for such a long time." So they requested the family to, to send Hide to, to the United States. And so my mother said -- so my broth-, so my dad died when -- her dad died when she was eight years old. So her oldest brother was the, the head of the family. She was the youngest of eight children. And so she was sort of the baby of the family, and all her, her oldest brother -- sister was about twenty-four years old when my mother was born.

And so she said, "My older brothers and sisters had a family council." And I said, "Well, where were you?" I said, "Weren't you involved?" And she said, "No. They didn't even ask me to join the discussion." She said, "I was sitting in the next room listening. And my, my brothers and my sisters were talking about whether or not they should send me away." And she said, "My older sister said, 'No, no. Poor thing. We should keep her at home. She, don't send her away to such a foreign place, and why should we...'" And I think that, she said either her grand-, her, I think it was her sister, you know, she said she, she said, "Well, why should we exile her off? She's not a cripple or anything like that." It was a, the Japanese word for, katawa. You know, that you exile people off, send "undesired" people off to some foreign country. And then her youngest, her older, the younger of her older sisters said, she said, "My, that neesan was more modern, modan. You know, she said, "No. I think that nowadays, you know, modern women should be, expand their lives, and I think that she should go." And then, and then she said that then her niisan said, "Yappari..." That Hide, Hideko -- I guess they used to call her Nuni-chan -- and that, "she doesn't belong to us anymore. We gave her away to the Yasutake family and that, and that Yasutake, father said that she should go, then we have to honor his opinion and go." That it was, that "she now belongs to, to them, and this is what he wants. That's what we should do." And the comment that my mother made and that -- these tapes that, that I had made was that the -- that "Yappari, niisan ga chanto shita koto yu demo." You know, that my, my older brother was the wise one in the family and said the right thing, that, "she should go and join her family because she's, she now belongs to the Yasutakes." So and that, it was decided. And I remember asking her at that point, "Didn't you have anything to say about it? Didn't you ask, didn't they ask you for your opinion?" And she said, "No, I guess my opinion didn't count one way or the other." She had to do what her family ordered her, directed her to do, which I was thought was quite interesting. And as I, when I was younger, I remember, you know, "How come you didn't, how come they didn't ask you what your opinion was? Why, how come they didn't, they didn't do what you wanted to do? Ask you what, 'What do you want to do? Do you want to go or not?'" And apparently they didn't, and that was kind of --

TY: Well, I feel like -- she was the youngest, too. [Laughs]

MY: I know. And then her older brothers are all, and sisters all made her decisions for her apparently, including the person that she should marry.

TY: Well, actually the oldest brother was how much older than Mother? What? Twenty --

MY: Twenty-four years. Oh, the sis-, the, the oldest of the eight children were, was --

TY: Twenty-eight years older.

MY: Twenty-four years older.

TY: Twenty-four years older, so there was quite a spread in the family, yeah.

MY: Uh-huh. And she was the youngest, yeah.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

AI: And speaking of ages, I, I think I wanted to clarify that your father was born in 1891?

MY: '91, yeah.

AI: And then your --

MY: My mother was born in 1899.

AI: Right.

TY: There was eight years' difference, I think.

AI: And then they were married in 1918. And then it, I believe you mentioned in our earlier conversation that your father called your mother over, and she followed the family's wishes and came to the U.S. the year later, about 1919.

MY: Uh-huh. 1919, yeah. It was something like that, yeah.

AI: And what -- later she must have told you a little bit about her memory of coming to the U.S. and her first arrival here.

MY: Uh-huh.

AI: What kinds of things did she say about her experience?

MY: Well, she said that my dad -- do you remember?

TY: What?

MY: When she was talking about when she first came, they lived in this one room with a --

TY: Oh, well --

MY: My dad was a --

TY: Oh, I think one interesting thing --

MY: -- was a bachelor, you know.

TY: -- interesting aspect was when Mother came -- when my dad asked about my mother to stay, well, she came on the boat, there's a lot of, ladies were...

MY: Picture brides.

TY: Picture brides. And, and when they got to the dock, well, a lot of lady, ladies were just looking at the picture, trying to identify their husbands because they never met them before. And my mother thought, "Oh, gee. How sad. Some of them, they didn't find their husbands there waiting at the dock." So that really impressed me how, well, some of those Issei ladies, it must have been really hard for them, you know.

MY: So my mom was saying that she was the only one who was not the picture bride.

TY: No.

MY: That she knew her husband.

TY: With some pride she was saying that.

MY: You know, "I knew what my husband looked like."

TY: Yeah.

MY: But she said she was still kind of nervous and afraid, but she, she said, she was, she said she couldn't imagine, you know, coming to a country and being with a man who had, never seen before.

TY: Not knowing anyone and --

MY: It was kind of interesting because she actually didn't know my dad very well.

TY: Yeah. [Laughs] But at least she knew what he looked like.

MY: That's right. She knew he was short. [Laughs] So...

TY: But after, well, why don't you tell her -- them about what, after Mother got here, the situation.

MY: Yeah, she said she, he was work-, yeah.

TY: He, she, I think she worked as a --

MY: A clerk.

TY: -- maid or -- no, she did.

MY: Not, not yet. I mean, when she, when they first -- when she first arrived, she found that he was living in this one room, and, and I asked her, "Was it a rooming house or..." And he said -- she said, "No, it was some, in somebody's house. He had rented a room, and he had a small stove in the, in the bathroom for cooking." And so that's what she had to contend with. And she said she didn't know how to cook.

TY: Yeah.

MY: Because she lived in this huge extended house where they had a cook and they had lots of maids. And so she had no idea how to cook, which was kind of unusual for a Japanese woman, I guess. So she said my dad -- you know, he was a bachelor all this time, and he had this little one, small little stove that they, they did their cooking on. And she said that he worked as a clerk in the store during the day, and then he had a second -- you know, he was apparently trying to, to rack up enough money to, for my mother to join him. So he, he had a night job as a janitor in a hotel. And apparently it was rather a seedy -- one of those hotels, I think, in, in, she said it was really kind of grungy and --

TY: Probably a flophouse in the --

MY: Yeah.

TY: -- in the First Avenue someplace, in Seattle.

MY: And she said really kind of dingy. And so she said my dad came home from work and they had dinner, and he said that he had this second job that he had to go to. And he, he wanted -- and she said she wanted to go with him because didn't want to stay home by herself at night. She was scared. She was home all day while he was working. And so she went with him, and then she said, "I sat, I sat down," and then he, he brought a chair out and put it in the corridor and told her, "You sit there and wait." And so then he went to the closet and got all this mop and, and bucket and all the paraphernalia for a janitor to -- and then she said that he, he started to clean the rooms. And then she saw him cleaning the bathroom. And she said that just really made her very sad to see him clean -- she said, "Here's this Japanese, the -- Nihonjin no otoko no hito ga," you know, "They shouldn't do things like, be cleaning." So she said the first night she just sat there and was feeling really very sad about it. And then I think after she, subsequently she decided to help him. So she said, "I decided to clean the toilets because that's, that's the onna no shigoto, that's a job for women." And so she cleaned the bathrooms, and Dad cleaned the rooms. And then, then eventually she said she got a job. I mean, they found out that she was working, too. So they -- I don't know whether it was there or somewhere else.

TY: I, I don't remember the details.

MY: Do you remember that?

TY: No.

MY: But she did eventually work as a chambermaid, either there, she got a paying job herself. So the two of them were working as a, in the evening. But then they moved out, and I really don't have any idea of the timeline of how long they were in this rooming -- in this room, rented room.

TY: No, I don't remember when they bought the house on Remington Court. Do you remember?

MY: No, the first house was in Beacon Hill. Remember we just --

TY: Oh, that's right, that's where Mike, our older brother, was born on, in Beacon Hill. And we tried to...

MY: We... and it was right by the, the golf course.

TY: By Jefferson, Jefferson Park.

MY: Jefferson Park, yeah. That was the first house, but they were not there very long. Apparently that was rented. That was a rented house, and they didn't buy that house. They didn't have the money.

TY: Well, they must have stayed there until --

MY: Mike was born.

TY: -- Mike was, Mike was born there. And then I was born in the Remington Court house, and so there was difference between, two years' difference between us. So they must, they must have stayed in that house about a year. And then they moved to the house on Remington Court, and that's where I was born.

MY: Yeah.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

AI: So Mike's your older brother.

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: Yeah.

AI: He was the first-born, and...

TY: Yeah. And he, he was two years older than I was.

AI: So he was born in 1920?

MY: Uh-huh, yeah, right. And then he was born in 1922. And then we moved to another -- and then that house they bought, they bought that house in Remington Court.

TY: Yeah, I think they did. Oh, I don't know. To be honest, I don't know.

MY: No, I think the first house that they bought was in Beacon Hill.

JY: That's what I was thinking, too.

MY: Yeah.

TY: He did what?

MY: They rented that. The first house that they bought was on Beacon Hill --

TY: Beacon Hill, yeah. Right.

MY: -- and they bought it under Mrs. Hoben's name. Yeah, they -- because the, at that period the Isseis were not allowed to --

TY: Buy property.

MY: -- buy property, uh-huh.

TY: That's right.

MY: And so the house -- my father, in the meantime was already working for the Immigration Service after working as a --

AI: Excuse me.

MY: Yeah, yeah.

AI: I think you had mentioned in our earlier conversation that it was 1921 that he started working at the Immigration --

MY: Service, yeah.

AI: -- Service.

TY: Yeah.

AI: And Mike had just been born the year before.

MY: Born then, yeah.

AI: And in fact, I should clarify that "Mike" wasn't his name when he was born.

TY: No.

MY: It was Seiichi. Seiichi, yeah.

TY: Yeah, it was Seiichi Michael Yasutake, but yeah.

MY: Yes, he, he went as Seiichi.

JY: Actually he wasn't born Michael. It was just Seiichi.

TY: Yeah. Oh, that's right.

JY: And he added the Michael after he was grown.

MY: The Kaoli brothers gave... yeah, he went to live in a monastery in Boston aft-, when he was in college. He was living there when he was --

TY: That was before he went to seminary?

JY: Yeah.

MY: Yeah, he got a, he had a bachelor's degree in --

JY: That was when he was going to college.

MY: -- in Boston after he was kicked out of school.

TY: Well, so when he was going to Boston, he stayed at the, the seminary -- I mean the --

JY: At the monastery.

MY: He was staying at the monastery, the Kaoli brothers.

JY: At least at the beginning.

MY: Yeah.

TY: See, I don't know that segment --

MY: At that time they -- the Kaoli brothers told him that he needs a Christian name, so they gave him the name Michael. And then after that -- I just, I think we just called him Michael after that, and we never...

TY: Yeah. Was that -- during that time I was overseas, so I, that part is kind of a blank for me really.

AI: That's right.

TY: For what happened here.

MY: Uh-huh.

AI: But during all your, through your childhood, he was known as Seiichi?

MY: Seiichi, yes. Seiichi, Seiichi, yeah.

TY: I used to call him Seiich.

MY: Seiich, yeah.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

AI: And so then your father began working at Immigration Service down at the Immigration Station here in Seattle in 1921. And then you were born in -- Tosh, in --

TY: '22.

AI: -- 1922.

TY: So I --

MY: So you must have --

TY: I guess he must have, he must have stayed up in Beacon Hill -- that first Beacon Hill house, until he got the job with the immigration office.

MY: Oh, yeah.

TY: And then he moved on to the other house.

JY: I didn't even know about the first Beacon Hill house. That's news to me.

TY: That's the one that Mike was born in.

TY: Is that right?

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: Yeah.

JY: Huh. I always thought -- I always heard about Remington Court and all that, and I thought those were the first --

MY: The one across the street, yeah.

JY: Yeah.

MY: So the first house that, that they bought was the one that they bought in 193- --

JY: '3?

MY: No.

JY: '32? '32?

MY: No, after -- no, that was before you, you were born in '32. It was 1931 --

TY: '31.

MY: -- they bought the house up in Beacon Hill.

TY: Beacon Hill, yeah.

MY: And, and it was the first house, I think, that they purchased. I think there was --

JY: Under, under Mrs. Hoben's name.

TY: I think he bought -- as I remember, Dad told me that, that he paid three thousand dollars for that house.

JY: Is that right?

TY: Yeah.

JY: I'll be darned.

MY: I, I think I have the, the deed --

TY: Paperwork?

MY: -- yeah, on that.

TY: But that Miss --

MY: Mrs. Hob-, Sarah Hoben.

TY: Hoben, yeah. Mrs. Hoben.

MY: Yeah, she would, the telephone operator at the Immigration Service became a good friend of my dad -- our dad. And she agreed to buy the house in her name.

JY: Oh, put the house under her name?

MY: Put the house under her name, and then my dad, you know, paid for --

TY: And then --

MY: And then when Mike --

TY: Became twenty -- eighteen, they transferred the house over to him.

MY: Ownership of the house to Mike.

TY: For one dollar or two dollars.

JY: He could do that when he was eighteen? He didn't have to be twenty-one?

TY: Well, he couldn't have been twenty-one because I was twenty, went to war.

JY: It was already started.

TY: This is 1932, or so.

JY: He must have been, eighteen must have been legal age then, in those days.

TY: Yeah, I think so. I think it was eighteen.

JY: Huh.

TY: And they signed the house over to him then, after that.

MY: Yeah, I forgot about that. Yeah.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

AI: Well, let's backtrack, back to when -- to childhood again because then after Tosh was born then just the following year your mother, or -- so your mother was pregnant again, expecting another baby. And so tell me what happened next at that point.

MY: It, it's, some of the facts are kind of hazy as, about exactly why Mom went. But she told us that, that Mike, when Mike was born -- when Tosh was born, he came a little early. And, and I guess in those days they had a midwife that circulated -- she had a schedule of babies or, you know, expected babies and so forth. And Mike came a little -- Tosh came a little bit early, and so the, the midwife couldn't come because she was somewhere else. And so my father had to deliver him, I think. He, he said that -- and then my older, and then Mike was -- let's see. He was how old?

JY: Two.

MY: Two years old, and he had a convulsion at the point where Mother was in labor. And my dad was trying to, to deal with it and the midwife wasn't there and then his son, older son was screaming. You know how the baby gets. I think he had a fever, and he, and so my mother said, "So when I got pregnant again," which was like month, few months later because I was born the following year in July, on July 5th. We're only thirteen months apart. And so she said, so Dad said that, "I can't just deal with this." You know, of course, he had nothing to do with it. [Laughs] "I can't deal with this. Go back to Japan because you have relatives, your mom, they will help you in Japan." And so when my mother was seven months pregnant, which is kind of unbelievable because the -- considering the number of days it took the ship to get to Japan. And Mike was -- she was pregnant, seven months pregnant. Tosh was -- what? Eight months old? She was, he wasn't even walking.

TY: No, well, I don't think I was walking yet, yeah.

MY: And Mike was two, two and a half.

TY: Yeah.

MY: Yeah. And so she took the two of them and went to Japan. And, and so I was -- and so that's how I happened to be born there. And then when this -- immediately about a month after I was born, Tosh became ill.

TY: In Japan.

MY: And just really seriously ill.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And because it was a very small town, they felt that they didn't, couldn't have medical help there. So my mother, my dad told her that they a, a friend who owned a hospital, a doctor, in Osaka. So she took Tosh to Osaka, and they, and they, they told her that there was no hope for this child. So she became quite frightened, and she decided to bring him back to my dad in Seattle, thinking that perhaps he can get a better, specialists in the United States. So she came back alone with Tosh. She left Mike with our grandparents, and she left me because I was only a few weeks old -- I was only a month old. And there were no sterilizing bottles or milk, formulas at that time. So she left, they looked for a family where the mother had a child about the same -- who had a moth-, they looked for a nursing mother.

TY: A wet -- wet --

MY: A woman who -- wet nurse.

TY: Wet nurse, yeah.

MY: A woman who had a baby about the same age as I. And they found her, who, it was outside of Mushirouchi. It was not, it was kind of outside of the town, I remember. A small town, a nearby town. And so Mike and I stayed in Japan, but we were not together. I was there until I was about three and a half, as I understand. And then I came -- my dad sent a couple, a honeymooning, a Nisei honeymooning couple to Japan to pick us up. And they picked me up with the, my foster parents' home, and then they went over to pick up Mike. And my grandmother would not let Mike go. As far as she was concerned, there was this, two strangers come to her house and said that, "Your son said that we should..." you know. And she just didn't trust him, so she refused to, to let her go -- let him go. And, you know, there was --

TY: Well, she didn't want to hand her, hand Mike over to a stranger.

MY: Yeah, that's what she said. And so then, so, and then -- and my mom was saying, "Well, they, this is a young couple. They didn't think that they had the right to wrench this child away from the grandmother and, and bring her back." And so she said, "They came back just with me," and that's how Mike happened -- and then my dad, hearing this, was a little bit worried about, about, they kept worrying about keeping Mike in Japan until he was old, you know -- older. As an older child, they just thought they should send for him quickly. And my, but my, our father was kind of worried about his mother, you know, because she had become so attached to him. And so he stayed there a few more years. And, and so he came back -- I thought he was about eight, but he said --

TY: No, I think he's seven.

MY: I think he said that he was seven.

TY: I think he was seven, yeah.

MY: Yeah. So... which means that you were five and I was, it was soon aft-, I was four.

TY: You were -- yeah.

MY: Yeah, so I was here about a year, I think, and then Mike came and, and joined the family. And we came, became, yeah.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

AI: I'm wondering if you remember any of your childhood time in Japan.

MY: I don't. I don't. And I, it's really strange because some people remember a time when they were three, you know, when they were children? And, and so then when I went to Japan when I was eleven -- was it ten or eleven? 1932 --

TY: I think I was thirteen.

MY: I was eleven. Okay.

TY: I was thirteen. I think you were eleven or twelve.

MY: 1935 -- yeah. Okay.

TY: '35.

MY: Yeah, I was twelve. I, I went back to Japan, and I saw my foster parents. And the story was that my foster father became very attached to me, and he used to carry me around, because the mother was busy with her child. Her own child was the same age. And they, and so my foster (father) took care of me. And he was the, the story they used, I used to hear was they used to onbu me, you know, had me on his back, and he would carry me all over town. And so when I went to Japan, my foster father just saw me, and, and he just fell apart. You know, that was just -- and I, I remember sitting, standing there, thinking -- staring at him and thinking, you know, I, there has to be some kind of a recollection, you know, of this man. And I, I remember standing there kind of scanning my brain to see if there was any glimmer of re-, of a --

TY: Recognition or --

MY: Yeah, recognition of this person. And I didn't remember anything, but part of the reas-, I think that the, the first memory that I have of coming to Japan -- of coming to the United States is that I was wearing a geta and -- and Japanese -- and so my parents said, "Oh, we have to buy her a pair of shoes." And I remember that. And then my mother told me -- and I, I guess I, she said, and the, and she said I said in this very -- I didn't open my mouth. You know, they didn't know whether I could speak yet or not. And I said, "Wataki wa, akakato ga yo ka?" you know, it's just a very, very country, country dialect. [Laughs] And my mother said, "My heart just -- oh, mo gakkari..." She said, "Oh, my goodness. This kid is, she's a little country bumpkin." [Laughs] And, and she said I was very dark. And she said I was trying -- she said, my mother said, "This is not the baby I left in Japan." And she said, "I remember looking to see if she had a, you had a kind of a birthmark on your neck, and, and I remember looking under your shirt, you know, under the dress to see if you had..." and she said, "Yeah, I guess it was the right child." [Laughs] But that was the only, thing about the shoes was the only thing that I remember. I said, "I remember that," and then my mama said, "Yeah. And then you said -- you just opened your mouth, and I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, she's a country hick.'" And so, and that was very quickly repaired. She's taught us very proper Japanese. She taught -- she spoke, I found out years, when we went back to Japan that she spoke Hakata-ben among her own family. And, and I -- but she taught us when she came to this country -- I don't know whether she learned the Tokyo-ben here, do you think, or she already knew it probably?

TY: Oh, I really don't know.

MY: That's a kind of a mystery to me.

TY: I wonder what kind of, well, what kind of Japanese -- did Dad, Dad speak Hakata-ben?

MY: I don't know.

JY: Could it be from school?

MY: Mom? Oh yeah. Maybe.

JY: When she was going to school then, you know, then they taught them proper Japanese in school.

MY: Japanese. Because she taught us very proper Japanese, Tokyo Japanese, what they call Tokyo-ben, which is very different from Hakata, Hakata-ben or the Kyushu --

JY: Yeah, because I don't even understand what you said. [Laughs]

MY: I know. And so, and so when I went back to Japan with her in 1935, I remember being met at the train station, you know. And we got off the train, and all these -- of course we had many relatives. They met us at the sta-, train station. They seemed to know all about me because my parents had sent pictures. And so my aunt and my cousins were kind of clustering around me. And then I heard this Hakata-, you know, the people speaking right behind me, and I didn't understand a word they were saying because it was just such a strange Japanese. And then the voice sounded like my mother's. So I remember looking back, you know, to see who was speaking, and it was indeed my mother. And, and I had never heard our mother speak like that ever in our whole lives. She was very, very careful, and -- but when I went back to Japan, as an adult, my rela-, I had, we have relatives in Tokyo and rela-, on my mother's side of the family and in Fukuoka. And so I -- you know, I was, of course landed Narita, and I was met by our relatives in Tokyo. And then once in a while, you know, I, I was talking to them in Japanese, and then they would -- with this peals of laughter, they said, "Ha, ha, ha, ha. She sounds just like her mother," because my mom spoke Tokyo-ben, language, but it just once in a while this dialect would kind of creep in. And, it was speech like that. And they thought that was very funny. But it was just -- it was very amusing. You know, the, either a class distinction or it was a very regional speech, Japanese speech, that is very different. But --

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

AI: Well, so, so it was about maybe, since you were born in 1923, it was perhaps about 1926 that you came back to the United -- or you came to the United States --

MY: That's right, yeah.

AI: -- for the first time? And --

MY: Then Mike came around 1927, I think.

AI: Maybe '27 or '28.

MY: Yeah, yeah.

TY: It was kind of strange -- before you stop talking about her, is [inaudible]. She came to the States when I was four then. And, and oddly --

MY: About four and a half.

TY: -- I don't remember that first meeting or, and I just don't remember any of that.

MY: Are you talking about -- yeah.

TY: Do you remember me -- seeing me or anything?

MY: No.

TY: No?

MY: And --

TY: Well, I don't, I just don't understand -- I don't even remember going to the boat to pick you up or, you'd think that would've been a big event in our in our lives, but I guess it wasn't. [Laughs]

MY: Well, yeah -- I know. It's just, big deal. It's just your, the thing, and the thing that I started to say was that the, the thing -- that after, a few months after I was here, I was sick. I landed in the hospital with pleurisy and pneumonia.

TY: Was that when you got pleurisy?

MY: Yeah. And then I had that surgery for that.

TY: I thought you got pleurisy when you were a lot older.

MY: No. I was only about --

TY: When you were in, when you were in grammar school.

MY: -- about four.

MY: No. I was --

TY: Oh, my goodness.

MY: And, because I remember that very vividly.

TY: So you were, you were --

MY: I remember being in the hospital.

TY: -- you mean, you were three or, you were three or four years old?

MY: I, I remember being in a crib, you know, with the bars.

TY: You were still three then, or four?

MY: Yes. I was, well, I, I was three when I came.

TY: Yeah, well, how soon after --

MY: And I kind of figured that I was well by the time Mike came. So it was in between that period when I was, when I was really rather critically ill.

TY: Well, I remember you getting pleurisy, but I thought what, oh, I would swear that it was when you were --

MY: That was Mom.

TY: -- you were, say, in your very early teens.

MY: No.

TY: Oh, okay.

MY: So I had this surgery. I think I had an infect-, an infection in my --

TY: Yeah, well, you had pleurisy, that I know.

MY: Yeah, but then pleurisy is when water collects in your --

TY: Yeah, right.

MY: -- in your -- but then I, I had an infection. It was not water. It was, it was pus.

TY: Was it? Oh.

MY: Yeah. So they had to open me up.

TY: Oh, is that the --

MY: So I, so I had this huge scar --

TY: You have a scar on the back.

MY: -- all the way --

TY: I -- yeah. I remember.

MY: And as a small child, my mother said it just covered the whole back, whole of my back. And so I've had that my whole life.

TY: Yeah.

MY: They had to remove two ribs, which that was -- and they didn't have any antibiotics during that time. And --

TY: Well, I do remember, I do remember you getting sick, but it --

MY: Yeah.

TY: -- I, I thought it was just --

MY: And I, I always thought that the reason why the, I didn't remember anything about arriving and all of those early memories were because it totally eclipsed by the experience of being in the hospital and seeing the nurse -- you know, these, there was a big woman, white woman. I mean, it was just, I had never seen a white person in my life. And then there was this big -- and I remember her shoes. She had these huge -- [laughs] -- isn't that funny as a child? You know, well, you're down here, and you, you're looking -- and I remember she had these big, brown shoes that looked like gunboats, they were so huge. And, and the image, that kind of image that you store in your head, but I, I thought that -- when I was thinking about my foster parents and wondering why I didn't remember anything about my experience in Japan, I, you know, I thought, well, maybe it was because I remember so vividly about being in the hospital and, and this white woman --

TY: That's a good rationale. [Laughs]

MY: -- who was a nurse. You know? And it just kind of wiped out everything at that point. So I -- anyway...

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

AI: Well, and in the meantime, Tosh, here you were also a very young child and --

TY: Yeah.

AI: -- what kind of memories do you have from your youngest years?

TY: Well, as we discussed, several times -- the first memory I have of my sister is when we were --

MY: In preschool.

TY: -- three and four, I guess --

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: -- huh? When we were in the nursery -- ran away from nursery? The Baptist Church nursery school with the --

MY: I think we were four and five, I think.

TY: And that's --

MY: That was when Mom started to work in that, in the Seattle Center -- Seattle market.

TY: Public Market.

MY: Yeah, she started work for the Arakis --

TY: Yeah, yeah.

MY: -- at the florist.

TY: In the florist stand in, in the Public Market. And so we were in this nursery school, and I talked May into running, running away from the nursery and going home during the day. And --

MY: They didn't miss us.

TY: Yeah. Yeah, nursery was on the west side of Jackson Street. And so we had to cross that very busy Jackson Street and then go a couple blocks, go back to go to our home. And --

JY: On Beacon Hill?

TY: Huh?

JY: On Beacon Hill?

TY: No, no, no. We were living in the --

MY: We were in Remington Court.

JY: Oh, okay. So you were a little closer, then.

TY: -- in the Remington Court house, then, yeah.

JY: I can't imagine you walking all the way home to Beacon Hill. Good grief.

TY: [Laughs] No. And, well, it wasn't really very far from the nursery day care center --

JY: Busy streets, though.

TY: -- whatever they called it. Pardon?

JY: Busy streets.

MY: It was the Baptist Church.

TY: Baptist Church. Japanese Baptist Church --

MY: It was the Japanese Baptist Church.

TY: -- nursery or whatever they called it then, I don't know.

MY: Was it day, it was a --

TY: Day care center or --

MY: -- kindergarten, yeah. We were both -- I was four and, five.

TY: What was it? Four and five?

MY: Yeah, because you had recovered pretty much by that time.

TY: Oh.

MY: Because you were ill, you know, from the --

TY: Yeah.

MY: Yeah, we, and then we ran away and, and it was... I can't imagine, you know. I'd look at my kids when, my grandchildren when they were three, four. It was two little kids a year apart, you know, walking down --

TY: We were walk --

MY: -- crossing this big -- I mean, nobody ever stopped us. [Laughs]

TY: Well, apparently we walked on, hand in hand, very casually, home. And we, when we got home -- well, no one was home, of course. And so we sat on the curb and waited for Mother to come home. And in the meantime a, a good friend of Dad's, who was I think staying with us, had come home a little early from wherever he was and found us there and went in our house. And Mother was just aghast after she heard that we had crossed the Jackson Street particularly, that we made it in one piece. [Laughs]

MY: And they, they called the school, and they didn't, hadn't missed us. [Laughs]

TY: Yeah. [Laughs]

MY: We were gone for the whole day.

TY: We were so well-behaved and so quiet, they didn't even notice us, I guess. [Laughs] But that's my first recollection of, of her, really.

AI: And then other early childhood memories of yours of perhaps when Mike --

TY: Well, I, then when -- I do remember -- I remember when my, my brother came back to the States, and he was seven. And so I must've been six. The first thing I remember about that is one morning I got up, and apparently for -- well, I was sleeping on a double bed, I think. And my guess is he came -- they went to pick him up, and it was real late. I don't remember going to the boat to pick him up or anything, so they must -- I don't remember --

MY: It was late at night, probably.

TY: Well, it was late at night, so I was already asleep. And he, they put him in my bed. And when I woke up in the morning, his head was leaning right against my shoulders. And I, I was going to push it away, whatever it was. And I, then I felt his head. And in Japan they used to just --

MY: Shave the --

TY: -- clip their heads real short, real, real short. And so he had a stubby hair. And that's the first thing I felt. I was just absolutely startled. I couldn't figure out what it was. [Laughs] And that's my first recollection of my older brother. [Laughs]

MY: That's funny.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TY: And another -- so we stayed in that house, that old house in Remington Court, must've been a couple year -- just a couple years, I guess, then, because we moved to the house across the street from that, remember?

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: Where Joe was born? Well, I, because I remember with my -- one Christmas --

MY: Must've been more than a couple years because Joe was --

TY: Oh, that's right. Joe was --

MY: Yeah, about four and --

TY: -- I was ten when he was born.

MY: Yeah. Right. Yeah.

TY: Okay. Well, anyway, whatever. Another instance I remember about that old house is that one Christmas Eve, folks -- Dad apparently bought me a movie projector that you crank, the old-fashioned one. And he and his friend were settin' up Christmas Eve to make sure it was -- to learn how to run it so they could run it for me when I got up, or from -- it was for my brother and myself, I guess. And I remember we're hearing this click, click, click, click, click, click, when you're sleeping. So I couldn't, I thought, "I wonder what that noise is?" So I kind of got up, and I think I poked my brother. And we both snuck down the stairway, halfway down, you know, we're trying to, we're watching. They're trying to work, and they were swearing in Japanese. I remember saying words that I never recognized. [Laughs] And they --

MY: They were trying to work the machine? The projector?

TY: Yeah, I think it was Mr. Tokushige.

MY: I think, I think that machine probably, my dad used to be-, Dad used to befriend a lot of bachelors.

TY: Yeah.

MY: So we had these sort of uncles around all the time. And that all, during Christmas we -- they gave us all these very fancy things --

TY: Gifts and things?

MY: -- toys. Yeah. And that was one of them.

TY: Maybe -- yeah, maybe it was, but it, and I think it was Mr. Tokushige. Anyway, they were working on it for, for hours. And we're standing there -- sitting on the stair, I think we just --

MY: Did you --

TY: -- we were there about an hour --

MY: Were they showing a --

TY: -- watching -- what?

MY: Were they showing a film?

TY: No, they were, they were trying to --

MY: They were trying to figure it out?

TY: -- feed the -- no. They were trying to feed the film onto the, into the projector, and they couldn't do it. They were -- I don't know. They were having all kinds of problem with it. And it took, they took a long time. They finally gave up and went to sleep. But that, that's another thing that I remember for some reason.

MY: I remember that projector --

TY: You do?

MY: -- because we had the kids in the neighborhood come over, the neighborhood kids come over.

TY: Yeah, and then Dad bought Charlie Chaplin movies with that.

MY: I still have that. I still have that 16-millimeter --

TY: It's a 16-mil-, it's a 16-millimeter?

MY: Yeah. And it's in a little --

TY: It's a little, just 16-millimeter projector. It was a -- no. It was --

MY: It was --

TY: -- 35-, 35-millimeter projector, was it --

MY: Oh. Well, anyway, it's pretty fat, you know. It's pretty heavy. It's still in that can. I still have it.

TY: It is?

MY: Yeah.

TY: Wow. Why don't you bring it over sometime? [Laughs]

MY: I don't, I don't know who has any -- I don't know if anybody has a projector who, that we could use.

TY: Well, we could --

JY: Are you talking about the one --

TY: Maybe you could go to the Salvation Army.

MY: Charlie Chaplin.

JY: -- dropped ice cream and all that stuff?

TY: Yeah.

MY: Yeah. You remember that?

JY: I remember that, yeah.

TY: Oh, that, that was --

JY: We still have that?

MY: So that's -- yeah, I still have that.

TY: Well, that's what she says.

JY: I'll be darned.

MY: But I -- we had a lot of other ones --

TY: Yeah.

MY: -- but I think that was the one, maybe it was the one the FBI returned. And I know the rest of them, they, they didn't return them.

JY: Oh, that's right. We're were talking about --

TY: Well, we have, we have an awful lot of --

MY: Home movies.

TY: -- Kodachrome pictures, movie, movies that Dad took that we -- I don't think FBI returned those.

JY: Yeah, yeah.

MY: So, so the movies that Dad took with the -- what is it? 16-millimeter camera?

TY: Yeah. It was a 16-millimeter camera first.

MY: A lot of it, the -- we just have a few that you picked up that was returned. And so there -- yeah, there are a lot that I remember that they didn't -- and pictures of Joe when he was a baby.

TY: Yeah, there's an awful lot of picture of him.

MY: Yeah, and we never got those back.

TY: No.

MY: But then the ones that they, they did return after World War II, we noticed that they returned the ones where they had those, the Shriner Parades in front of the Smith Tower.

TY: Yeah. There was a Potlatch Parade.

MY: And then he, he took those pictures of the ships out at Alki Beach and so forth. And I kind of theorized that what they did was they kind of looked at all the films, and, and they kept what they thought were incriminating evidence because they were looking for incriminating --

TY: Yeah, right.

MY: -- evidence to, to keep Dad detained, right? And so they thought that the pictures of his scanning the horizon --

TY: Uh-huh.

MY: -- taking pictures of the ships out there and those pictures of the Japanese --

TY: Yeah, but what was --

MY: -- sailors, you know.

TY: -- but that, the pictures that, that we saw were Japanese naval ships.

MY: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. And so they, those are the ones that they picked out as the ones that they thought were suspicious or whatever. And then they were also wanting to in-, to identify the Japanese naval officers.

TY: That could be.

MY: You know, pictures of you and Joe.

TY: Yeah.

MY: I mean, I'm not in those.

TY: No, Mike.

MY: Mike. You and Mike with these Japanese naval officers. The pictures of those parades and pictures of the sea-, the seashore and the, the horizon --

TY: Yeah, yeah.

MY: -- and the beach. And all the rest of the -- you know, like the family pictures --

TY: They must have --

MY: -- of Joe as a baby.

JY: -- they must have thrown it out. They could have thrown it out.

MY: And our, our playing and romping around in the back yard and up, we went up to Mount Rainier and so forth. They took, put that aside because they weren't interested in those --

TY: That could be.

MY: I mean, they didn't see, they weren't, they didn't have to have any political meaning. And so --

JY: And so you're saying those are the ones that got lost maybe?

MY: Those are the ones they threw away, probably.

JY: We never got 'em back? That could be.

MY: And then they kept the ones that they had --

TY: Just a handful of them.

MY: They were part of Dad's file.

TY: They must've had --

MY: Well, they had --

TY: -- at least fifty, fifty to a hundred --

MY: They had a whole box of them.

MY: So they just had those few reels that they kept, right? And those are the ones that you got back.

TY: Apparently.

MY: And so the ones that we wanted --

TY: Yeah.

MY: -- were, were lost. And the, and the ones that just --

JY: That makes sense. Yeah, that makes sense.

MY: Does it? Figure -- that just makes sense that -- yeah.

AI: So just to clarify that, what you've all been referring to now is that much later --

MY: -- during World War II --

AI: -- in your family during, when Pearl Harbor was bombed and your father was picked up by the FBI that the FBI also picked up all these materials and records and films and pictures.

MY: Yeah, they came to the house, and they searched the house.

AI: Right. So -- which I think we'll go into in more detail a little bit later on.

MY: Later on.

TY: Yeah, right. Okay.

AI: But at this point it sounds like not only did you have a lot of activities at home and your father was very active, but he also recorded some of these in pictures and film.

MY: Yeah. Family pictures. Lot of family pictures we were just waving and... [Laughs] We didn't know -- in those days you didn't, you'd have a movie camera and we all kind of stand.

TY: We're all standing still and then waving.

JY: He must have, he must have just gotten that. And so it was like a toy.

MY: Yeah. It was a toy. It was my dad's toy.

JY: And so we'd go out, and he'd bring it out and do whatever, like people do now, I guess. [Laughs]

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

AI: Well, I, I had a question about these younger years also when, when you were children. It, was Japanese your first language, do you think, or do you recall -- have any recollection of, for you two older ones when you first started speaking English?

TY: That's a good question.

MY: Yeah, we, well, we were -- I think that Mike and, Mike and I -- of course, we, our original language is Japanese. And I didn't pick up English because I didn't go out in -- you know, as I said, I was ill when I was a child. So my mother really never let me go out to play, whereas Tosh played with the boys in the neighborhood, I think. We started school together, first grade together.

TY: Yeah, because I was sick, I was -- yeah, I was a year behind.

MY: And so we -- and I remember that, that I first, that I only spoke Japanese when I started school. But Tosh spoke both Japanese and English. And we, and so, and they always seated us alphabetically, and since, since my name was Mitsuye, I sat in front of him, and he always sat behind me. So I remember once, I was talking to him in Japanese, and the teacher told me not to, to talk, for one thing. Not to talk, but not to talk in Japanese. And, and I guess I didn't stop. So I turned around and talked to him in Japanese, and she, she put me under the kneehole of the desk, her desk. And, and I remember sitting there for the longest time, and I, and I was telling my brothers that I don't remember what, her name. I, I don't remember what she looked like, but I remember what her knees looked like. [Laughs] I guess her skirt had hiked up, and she was sitting there. And I was just sitting there for the longest time, staring at her fat knees.

AI: Tosh --

MY: And that was the only time that I remember being punished for speaking Japanese.

TY: So I, I guess my first language was English, but since my mother spoke Japanese and my, when I talked to Dad -- well, frequently was in English, half English and half Japanese, but with my mother I spoke nothing but Japanese.

MY: And then so my -- since Joe was so much younger, he didn't really pick up --

TY: I don't think he had that problem.

MY: -- Japanese.

JY: I don't know.

TY: Yeah.

MY: Well, he had us to speak English to.

TY: Yeah, right. So...

MY: So he didn't pick up, he didn't, he had to learn his Japanese a little bit later, and --

JY: Well, I used to -- but Mom must have --

MY: He spoke conversational English -- Japanese.

JY: Yeah.

MY: But, so I think Tosh was the only one who was bilingual when we started school. And Mike and I both only spoke Japanese --

TY: Yeah, for a while, yeah.

MY: -- until we could start picking it up for a while. And --

TY: I wonder if I understood you when you first came back from Japan.

MY: Well, probably not.

TY: I don't remember having problem with, you know, understanding --

MY: Communicating, yeah.

JY: -- yeah. And Mike, too. I mean... but I guess we, since we were, by then, you were kind of bilingual, by the time Mike came. We met two years after, so --

MY: Yeah, isn't that... yeah, I don't remember that either. But we, we spoke both Japan-, you know, I spoke Japanese so I was able to communicate with him. And --

JY: Usually you hear -- you were used to hearing Mom talk because she spoke Japanese only.

MY: All the time, yeah.

JY: So I'm sure could at least get a --

MY: Mom talked exclusively in Japanese, so that was the language of the family.

TY: Right, yeah.

MY: And, and so we all -- we learned to speak English outside the family when we went to school, you know, obviously.

TY: Yeah.

MY: But then when Dad was home, we talked, talked to him mostly in -- I don't remember talking to Dad in, in Japanese very much.

JY: No, I never did.

TY: Well, I think, kind of half and half.

JY: I don't remember --

JY: When things got, we talked about complicated things -- well, we probably, I probably spoke in English, and simple things I probably spoke in Japanese, so --

MY: To Mom? To Mom?

TY: And Dad --

JY: No, Dad, too, he's saying.

MY: Yeah.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

AI: So the, the two of you had started first grade together, and what, what elementary school was that? What grade school did you attend?

TY: Well, we went to Pacific School until we moved to Beacon Hill. And so we moved to Beacon Hill in 1932. No, wait a minute, now. You were born what month?

MY: '32.

JY: '32.

MY: May.

JY: May.

TY: May. And you were ten months old that --

MY: So it must have been 1931, it must have been.

TY: -- I remember, when we went up to Beacon Hill.

JY: We must have gone in late '31, then.

MY: And so, and the Pacific School at the house that we were in before at Remington Court and the one across the street --

TY: Yeah, two houses.

MY: -- the neighborhood was primarily Japanese.

TY: Yeah, our neighborhood was mostly, mainly --

MY: -- and all the, all the friends, Mom's friends, of course, were all Japanese.

TY: Right. I think a lot of, real -- on Fourteenth Avenue, in that area by Jefferson Street, that area is where we lived, and I think, I'd say maybe 60 percent, 70 percent were Japanese in that area -- living in that area.

AI: And when you were living in that area, do you ever recall going outside of that little neighborhood or outside of your school to a more mainstream white area at all, or did you pretty much stay in that neighborhood as little children?

TY: I think we stayed pretty much in the neighborhood.

MY: Yeah.

TY: We had a lot of Nisei friends, but real good acquaintances, I, the only one I can remember is one family. And we used to go to their house. They used to come to play at our house. The Katayamas?

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: But I think that they were, there were Japanese families living across the street from us in the corner house. And it was a large family, but I don't remember their names. I can't even imagine their faces now, right now. But for some reason, I don't know, we didn't play with them at all.

MY: No. But I, there were, there was a haku,- a hakujin family, a white family --

TY: Next door.

MY: -- living next door in Remington Court.

TY: Yeah. In Remington Court there was a hakujin family, living.

MY: Yeah, right.

TY: And I didn't, we didn't get to know them too well.

MY: No. Well, Mom was, you know, remember she, she reported --

TY: Yeah. [Laughs]

MY: -- Mom for, for being a neglectful --

TY: Yeah, I, I sure do, yeah.

MY: -- parent. So my mother just kept -- she thought the, the people were rather strange or dangerous.

TY: Yeah. But I, I don't even remember their faces. Do you?

MY: No, I don't.

TY: I don't either.

MY: I, and I remember that time. I only remember hearing about that, you know, the Halloween night --

TY: Yeah, yeah. And that incident --

MY: -- when, that was before Mike came. The incident when my mother, our mother went to visit a friend of hers -- left us. You know, put us to bed. And then she went to visit --

TY: Across the street, yeah.

MY: -- a friend across the street. And it turned out to be Halloween. And she, of course, she didn't know that. And so the doorbell rang, and, and I remember Tosh and I had, were in our nightgown. We were both in our nightgown. And we opened the door, and then there was a "Rah." You know, the kids were there with their masks. And we were standing there, just crying. And I, I don't really remember who came -- whether Mom just happened to come, maybe came later. But we just stood there and cried and cried and cried. And so the woman next door reported Mom as a neglectful parent or something, leaving two little kids at home by themselves, I guess. And so my mother just really stayed clear of, of them for -- kind of avoided. You know, as much as possible we just, we avoid these white people next door. But that was the only time I remember another, a people other than Japanese, other than Dad's co-, co-workers.

TY: Well, I know the house when we moved to across the street there was a hakujin living.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

AI: Okay. So we are continuing on with our interview here with the Yasutake and Yamada families. And right before our break we were still at, at the point of young childhood of Tosh and May, and Joe was not yet born yet at this period. So I wanted to ask if you had any other young childhood memories of that time when you're first starting out in Pacific School, the elementary school years. Any memories of first realizing that you as Japanese Americans are different from the white kids at school or, that you may see in the neighborhood.

MY: Well, frankly I do not remember any white kids in the school, in Pacific School. Do you?

TY: Well, one incident I think was when we, was in watching Mike's tape --

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: -- and, you know, about the ex-, about this nose --

MY: Yeah.

TY: -- and all.

MY: But the teachers were all white.

JY: The teacher -- and -- you know, and so they asked my older brother when, after he came -- when he came back from Japan and he started going to grammar school, well, his, you know how these young kids, when they have their cold or something, nose just dribbles down. Well, he was always going [makes sniffing sound], and so the teacher wanted to ask him to wipe his nose. So apparently the teacher asked one of the Niseis --

MY: How do you say --

TY: -- kids, "How do you say, you know, blow your nose?" And there was a, what was -- hana --

MY: Hana?

TY: Hana fuki nasai, right?

MY: Yeah.

TY: So they told her to say, "Hana fuki nasai." So every so often, well, he'd tell my brother, "Hana fuki nasai." Well, I think that might, kind of gave me a clue about, that we're no -- we're, we're a little bit different. But --

MY: Yeah. But I think the teachers were all white.

TY: Yeah. Every one --

MY: And that -- I remember that very distinctly.

JY: And all the students were Japanese? Or minority...

TY: Well, I'd say that the, in that area there was a lot, awful lot of Japanese living there.

JY: Huh.

TY: And I'd say maybe a third?

JY: Hmm.

TY: About 33 percent or something were, were Asians.

MY: Yeah.

TY: So --

MY: Japanese Americans.

TY: Japanese, mostly Japanese, yeah.

MY: And Mike often talked about, he was put in first grade when he was, he was seven, and that he felt very alienated from the Nisei kids as well because he didn't speak any Japanese and they didn't want to talk to him. And so that, I was interested in, in the teacher using his classmates to --

TY: Yeah, yeah.

MY: -- to tell him something. But we went -- we were very much aware of the fact that the teachers were white and, and that, it's kind of interesting because I don't remember that there were any --

TY: Yeah, among Niseis, I suppose we spoke mostly, all, all English. I don't think we spoke any Japanese, as I remember, among kids anyway. So I really, wasn't really conscious of the fact that --

MY: Yeah. But we were talking last night about our mother's, had -- you know, she, she had suffered through rather serious illnesses -- Mike's illness and his and mine. And so she became kind of a health nut. And she, any kind of a health fad that came along, she would kind of grasp at it and, and that -- you know, there, there was this one -- this incident with the garlic.

TY: Yeah.

MY: She was feeding us garlic. Fresh garlic -- fresh, grated garlic.

TY: This was still, this was still, we were still going to Pacific School?

MY: Uh-huh. Yeah. We were in Pacific School. And so, and so I mean, I think that with this garlic incident I guess we were smelling pretty bad because she took a clove of garlic and she grated it with that Japanese daikoroshi thing, you know, and grated it. And, and she had this edible paper that, that looked like cellophane paper.

TY: It's a very round paper, so... and very thin.

MY: That they have in apothecaries.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And she put the fresh grated garlic in the, this thing, and she made us swallow it with water. And so -- all three of us. And so we must have smelled terrible, you know. I mean, it probably was coming out of our pores.

TY: Just reeking. Reeking with garlic. [Laughs]

MY: And so when we got to school, the teach-, I guess the teacher thought that was some kind of a weird Japanese --

TY: Yeah, because of the incident, I really name -- remember the teacher's name. Her name was Ms. Beechler. And I can't forget -- I'll never forget her name. [Laughs]

MY: I knew it started with a B, but --

TY: Yeah.

MY: I kind of forgot. And so anyway, she took it -- dragged the two of us out of the classroom to take us to the principal to complain that we smelled bad. And then she, not only didn't she stop with that. She went to Mike's class and dragged him out of the class, and all three of us had to march to the principal's office and, and then, of course, after that Mom was told about it. And she stopped feeding us garlic. But she, Mike's -- you know, Seiichi -- Mike said that when he went back to the classroom -- oh, that you said that the principal said... what did he --

TY: Yeah, what -- I think principal was trying to negotiate the problem with telling the teacher, well -- he says, "Wouldn't be all right if they have it only on the weekends?" And she says, "No." [Laughs]

MY: They're going to smell bad when came they come back on Monday. [Laughs] And so then Mike said when he got back to his classroom, the teacher took him aside and told him, you know, "In my class it's all right. You could tell your mom that it was okay." So she was somewhat sympathetic. But there was, she, my mother had read that -- you know, Mom had read this, read about the, how therapeutic garlic was and --

TY: And then good for your brain, you know --

MY: Yeah, it was good for your brain and it's good for your --

JY: As it turns out, it's all true, you know?

TY: Yeah, that's right.

JY: Nowadays they have Garlique and all that kind of stuff.

TY: That's a good home remedy.

MY: So she, and so she, that was what she was doing with that. And, and she was very much aware of, of a good diet and, and all the -- they're talking about the juices that she made us drink and, and things like that.

TY: Yeah, well, she also read someplace that beef blood is really good for you. So she would buy --

MY: Steak, yeah.

TY: -- beef, and then she'd cook it just, just singe it. And then she got this terrycloth thing, as I remember, and she put it on, on the meat and then she'd squeeze it, the blood out of it.

MY: Put it in a cup, yeah.

TY: And made us drink, made us drink that. And I really enjoyed that, though, actually. It tasted pretty good. [Laughs]

MY: Eew.

TY: The garlic and olive oil and all the other stuff we, were sometimes forced down our throat wasn't very good, but --

JY: That was, that wasn't an ethnic thing, though. That was just Mom and her health kick, really.

MY: Kick, yeah. But I think the teacher thought --

JY: That it was something ethnic, yeah.

MY: -- that this garlic was some kind of ethnic, weird ritual or something that made us smell bad.

TY: Yeah, that's right. That's right. [Laughs]

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

AI: Well, and now at this age you were maybe in the third grade and Mike was in first grade?

MY: No, Mike was --

TY: Well, he must've been --

MY: -- he was so --

TY: Must have been, he must have been eight --

MY: Eight, nine, yeah.

TY: -- eight or nine and --

MY: And he, he really --

TY: --and so I was eight or seven. And so you were a year younger than that, so...

MY: Yeah. And I think that Mike was so -- he was very conscientious. I mean, he was very, he was very --

TY: Studious.

MY: -- very studious.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And he --

TY: He was a serious --

MY: -- he didn't want to be in the same class with us.

TY: He was a very serious student --

MY: But he skipped --

TY: -- and we weren't.

MY: Yeah, and she -- he skipped quite a few classes. And by the time we were in high school, he was ahead of us. He was where he was supposed to be. And then you and I were still in the same class, I think --

TY: Yeah, yeah.

MY: -- in high school. Yeah. But Mike was way ahead, and we -- he was a couple years ahead of us. But what he, he belonged, I think -- right? To --

TY: He was a quick learner, yeah.

MY: He was.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And he just didn't want to be stuck with the little kids --

TY: Yeah.

MY: -- anyway in the classroom than he, and so he was very conscien-, he was a very conscientious and sort of studious guy.

TY: Even in Japanese school, he was very conscientious.

MY: Yeah. That's true.

AI: When, when did you start Japanese school? At the same age you went to first grade or --

TY: When we moved to Beacon Hill, I think.

MY: Beacon Hill, yeah.

AI: And when was that again, moving to Beacon Hill? That would have been about --

MY: 1931.

TY: '32, '3-, well --

MY: '2? But he was born in '32.

TY: '32, so it must have been '3- --

MY: '1.

TY: '1. Well, he was --

MY: End of the year.

TY: The end of the year sometime. So it'd be either end of '31, '31 -- I mean '32 or beginning of '33? 1933 is when we moved there from --

MY: Oh, I see. I see. I was, I'm going backwards. Okay.

JY: Yeah, didn't you say that we moved there when I was like ten months old or something?

TY: Ten months old.

JY: So that would've been early '33.

MY: '33?

TY: Because Mrs. Merlino -- remember our neighbor?

JY: Uh-huh.

TY: Across the street from that Beacon Hill school -- I mean, the house?

JY: Uh-huh.

TY: She said that she distinctly remember Mother carrying you up that stairway to the house when we first moved in.

MY: When we first moved in, yeah.

TY: Yeah. So and --

MY: And then, and then the transition between being in a, in an all-Japanese neighborhood --

TY: Yeah, that was quite a change.

MY: -- and then moving to, to Beacon Hill. But, and then to Beacon Hill school, which was kind of a distance -- remember it was on the other side of the park, the Beacon Hill school?

TY: And that was quite a ways walk. Remember we used to walk there quite frequently.

MY: Yeah, and, and that school had a few Jap-, there were a few Japanese in that, on Beacon Hill at that time.

TY: Yeah.

MY: The Okudas, the Toribaros, and the Higanos, I think, and us. And --

TY: Well, my graduation --

MY: -- the Toribaros and the Higanos, the kids were older.

TY: Yeah.

MY: They were all a couple years ahead of us.

TY: Well, Norio, I think, was a year older than I was.

MY: Yeah, and then the Okudas -- you know, so I went to school with Nao and Bill, and Toyo. But --

TY: Well, you can tell by my graduation class that I had. Remember?

MY: That mostly --

TY: Eighth grade, yeah. That must be... oh, it must be --

JY: There was only one other kid who was not white.

TY: Fifty, about fifty-some odd students. I think there was --

MY: That was in Beacon --

TY: There was one or two.

MY: Beacon Hill school?

TY: Yeah.

MY: Yeah, so -- you know, I, I think the question was -- we were trying to figure out when -- whether or not we felt kind of strange having moved out of the Japanese area and, and going to school with almost totally white kids.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And I -- the thing is we, we couldn't think of -- we didn't, we kind of --

TY: Adjustment? You mean --

MY: Yeah, the adjustment.

TY: -- adjustment problem? No, I don't remember having --

MY: We didn't have any of that adjustment.

TY: I really don't remember having problems, myself.

MY: It seemed quite natural to me --

TY: Yeah.

MY: -- that, you know, to fit -- we just sort of fitted right in or whatever. And we didn't have any, very many problems at that school.

TY: Did Mike mention anything about having any problem when he started?

MY: In Beacon Hill school?

TY: Beacon Hill school.

MY: No. That, that's kind of interesting because when we went back -- remember? To the school -- now it's all boarded up, or they're using it as a community center or --

JY: Yeah, it's a community center.

TY: It's a, it's a Hispanic.

JY: It's a Hispanic, yeah --

MY: Hispanic?

TY: -- community center now, yes.

MY: So we walked over there and, and we kind of went in and walked around, and Mike was -- he remembers it quite vividly.

TY: Oh, I remember where the school -- nowadays, where the library was, and I remember where my homeroom was.

MY: And so did you recall from being physically in that place, having the sense of what it felt like going to that school that didn't have very many Japanese in it?

TY: No.

MY: Yeah, I don't either.

TY: No, I have really --

MY: That's really --

Jeni Yamada: Didn't you say the families in that, in that new community were more like the families that the -- you know, Grandma and Grandpa would be more comfortable around, that they were more professional?

MY: Yeah. They're not exactly professional people, but they were...

TY: Who?

MY: The neighborhood, like Merlinos, the next-door neighbor. The Greek family who lived -- the Greek family --

TY: The Greek family who lived next door.

MY: Yeah.

TY: And I don't know what they did.

MY: I don't remember, either.

TY: Merlinos are pretty well-to-do be- --

MY: I only -- the Merlinos had --

TY: They were pretty well-to-do.

MY: They had a spaghetti, olive oil.

TY: Yeah. They had a comp-, company that made olive oil, and they had spaghetti, so they had -- they were pretty well-to-do. Nice, beautiful brick home.

MY: That's right, yeah.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And, but I'm just trying to recall --

TY: And even there were, are, I think there were several Nikkei family there, and we got, got very close with them. They were one of my -- even Joe's friends were -- a Nisei fellow, right?

JY: Yeah, my two best friends were Nisei kids, yeah.

TY: Yeah.

MY: In Beacon Hill? Yeah.

JY: From -- yeah. Fumio and --

TY: Yeah, my, my best friend and I --

JY: -- and Art Takiuchi.

TY: -- were Norio and Kenji and, and then Paul Tietji was the only hakujin that -- Caucasian that --

JY: Yeah, the Merlino's kid, Lawrence, was a friend of mine.

TY: Yeah -- Lawrence? Oh.

MY: Yeah, that's the kid across the street?

TY: Yeah.

MY: He used to come over all the time.

TY: Yeah, they did. Yeah, I remember that now.

MY: But as for the, and it's, I was trying to think, you know, in my mind about what, what it felt like, and, and as we were talking about our experience in Pacific School where there were more Japanese kids, and the teachers seemed to be more intolerant of my speaking Japanese or doing diff-, something different like if you were eating garlic --

JY: Oh, at Beacon Hill?

MY: No, at Pacific School.

JY: At the other place?

MY: Yeah.

JY: Oh, okay.

MY: Because, because the majority of the kids were Japanese --

TY: Yeah, yeah.

MY: -- I know. Does that have something to do with it? Because -- and then once we moved to Beacon Hill, it just, it felt like, like we just fitted in.

TY: Yeah, well, by then you were speaking English, English pretty well, so --

MY: I was -- by then I was speaking English. I wasn't taking garlic --

TY: Yeah. [Laughs]

MY: I wasn't taking garlic anymore. [Laughs]

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

AI: Well, I did want to ask about one incident, and I think, May, that you may have written about it or may have been interviewed in the past and mentioned about the flag salute in school.

TY: About the what?

AI: The flag salute. The pledge of allegiance to the flag.

MY: Oh, yeah. I, you know, thing, the difference between my brothers and I -- well, my three brothers, my two older brothers and Joe -- was that my mother was very aware of the fact that I was not an, an American citizen and I was not -- but that I was not eligible to become an American citizen. And so she was very much aware that I should keep up with Japanese culture just in case, you know. And so she, and so when, when I talked back or I was smart or something like that, she would say that, "You're Nihonjin ware dakara." You know, "Since you were born in Japan, you're not supposed to talk like that, or you should, Nihonjin no kuse ni. Nihonjin no kuse ni. The fact that you're Japanese. You're becoming a little bit too arrogant," and you know, that kind of comments that would -- I remember that, it quite, quite well. And I thought that -- and also because I was the only girl in the family and, and the, so the, both the race -- the nationality and the, the sexism within the family, you know, my brothers were boys, and so they could go out and do what they wanted to play. But then you're a girl, so you can't do such and such. And they're American citi-, they're American citizen. Besides, they're boys, you know, like the two went together. And I used to think that was very strange. So then when I went to school and we had to salute the flag -- and I remember thinking, I was kind of listening to the words and thinking, I wonder if I should be doing -- you know, I'm, after all, I'm Nihon ware. You know, I was born in Japan, and I'm not an American citizen. But, and it used to -- it didn't worry me. I, it was just kind of curious, you know. I, I felt a little bit --

TY: Oh, I didn't know that.

MY: Yeah, yeah. It was --

TY: That's interesting.

MY: But Mom always told me, you know, You're Ja-, and that was why I had to go and take, you know, go and take odori and --

TY: I did recall that when we did things, a lot of times we did, we did things -- Mike and I did things, but you, you were never there.

MY: I know.

TY: Oh.

MY: The, the other thing was I was very physically weak.

TY: Hmm.

MY: And that in addition to the fact that -- because I almost died, and Dr. Thompson said, you know, that she shouldn't expose me to any germs, outside. So --

TY: And, and sun.

MY: Yeah, and the sun. Yeah. So any time that there was a epidemic of any kind like the measle-, they used to have measles epidemic. And they used to put those signs up on the front, call it Scarlet Fev-, I mean --

TY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

JY: You have measles and --

MY: When you had mumps.

TY: You mean quarantine signs?

MY: Quarantine signs on the outside. And, and as soon as that happened, Mom kept me home from school, you know, when the people in the neighborhood were --

TY: Is that right?

MY: Yeah.

TY: Oh gee, I don't remember that.

MY: So I missed school a lot when I was in elementary school 'cause she, she was afraid that if I got sick again, you know --

TY: Well, I'll be darned. No, I don't remember that.

MY: And so if there was any kind of an epidemic, you know, a flu or anything like that, she felt that she had to keep me home.

TY: Well, I know she protected you.

MY: I know. I was like a hothouse plant.

TY: Yeah.

MY: They, they thought that, that I shouldn't be exposed to any germs. And so when you guys were taken out to different public places, I didn't get to go.

AI: What kind of places would you and Mike be taken to?

TY: Oh, boy.

MY: Judo, you used to do --

TY: Oh, we used to do judo, we did kendo, and all that kind of thing.

MY: Tournaments.

TY: And we were looking at an old -- it just occurred to me now about last night. We were looking at a, some of the movies that Dad had made when we were kids and what few we had left, May had it put on videotape. And so we hadn't seen them for a while, so we put it on last night just to review it. And I noticed that that ship -- that picture on the naval ship? You weren't there.

MY: No. I was not, I wasn't in any of those.

TY: Yeah, you weren't, you weren't there. Just Mike and I were, were in, and, you know, we were small yet, and we were wearing, wearing knickers and --

AI: Can you explain more about these, these events where the naval ships would come --

TY: Well, to be very honest, I don't remember. The only reason I remember is because we saw it in the, in that little --

JY: Well, it goes, I'm sure it was because Dad worked on the ships. You know, he was an interpreter.

TY: Well, Dad was a very --

JY: So he would take them to the ships with them.

TY: No, she -- no, well --

MY: He knew the captain.

TY: -- he was a very prominent in, in the Japanese community when, and he was active in the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and stuff. And when, during Potlatch -- it's just like Seafair now. They used to call it Potlatch. And during the Potlatch season for a week, that summer, a Japanese training ship would come. And almost annually they'd come and almost annually -- annually we'll have these training ship officers at our house for dinner, and we'd take -- Dad would take them to Mount Rainier on a tour or Mount Baker or, and Mike and I always, and I would always go along. But May never went. And that, I remember. You know, you were nev-, you were never there --

MY: Yeah, I remember that, too, yeah.

TY: -- included, included in the group, yeah.

MY: Yeah.

TY: Which is kind of interesting come -- looking back now, I, I just didn't ever, I never thought of it before, but looking back I think --

MY: You mean you never about the fact that I was left behind all the time? [Laughs]

TY: No, I never thought much of you. I'm sorry. [Laugh]

JY: Did you re-, did you resent it?

MY: Yeah.

JY: You remember? Do you?

MY: Yeah, of course. [Laughs]

TY: Well, you spoke to me after I got back home. [Laughs]

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TY: But at -- and then we went to judo and kendo, and so --

JY: Boy Scouts.

TY: We, we did get out quite a bit.

MY: Boy Scouts. You played the drums.

TY: Boy Scouts, oh.

MY: Yeah.

TY: I was in the Boy Scouts.

MY: You were in the drum and bugle band.

TY: I was in the drum and bugle corps. And in fact, the movie last night showed the Potlatch parade, and I was, and it, and I was very, very short. I mean, very short and tiny. And, so when you look at the drum and bugle corps coming down the street, you can spot me right away because here I am, very... [Laughs] But that's, I think that's all I really remember about -- but I do remember that May was not included in the group when we went out to do things like this.

AI: And did you ever complain to your folks or --

MY: Well, yeah. I remember --

TY: Mightily, huh?

MY: Well, yeah. And she always said, "Well, because they're boys." You know, I didn't get --

TY: Well, did you, in judo and kendo, well, they had a lot of --

MY: "You're only a girl."

TY: Huh? Yeah.

MY: "You're only a girl."

TY: Well, we used to go -- remember they used to have tournaments periodically? And -- you know, at Nihon Kan. Nippon Kan?

MY: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

TY: And gathering? We -- did you go to the tournaments?

MY: No.

TY: You stayed home, huh?

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: Well, I don't remember you being there, but --

MY: No. No, I think the whole idea was that she wanted to keep me away from crowds.

TY: Hmm.

MY: So Mom didn't go either. I just was home with her.

TY: Yeah. That's right. Dad, Dad would be the only one there.

MY: Yeah. --

TY: But --

MY: And large crowds, she thought that there were a lot of germs --

TY: Well, when they did --

MY: -- she was really germ-conscious, you know. She --

TY: Yeah, when you had, we did, we were doing kendo and judo, they had tournaments quite frequently. And the most of the time it was at Nihon Kan. And, and I just don't remember her being there with us.

MY: Well, we used to go to those weddings, 'cause Dad and Mom were nako-, you know, they were go-betweens?

TY: Nakodo? Yeah.

MY: And I was there at those because I was always in those wedding pictures.

TY: That's right. Well, sometime you were in the procession, too.

MY: I know. And we didn't even know who those people -- we have all those pictures. We don't know these, who these people are. [Laughs]

TY: Yeah, well Dad --

MY: But Dad and Mom --

TY: Dad was the nakodo for a lot of fam-, a lot of weddings and so, a go-between or whatever you call it in English. And so...

JY: Matchmaker.

TY: Yeah, I do remember.

MY: Matchmakers.

TY: Matchmaker. Yeah.

MY: Nakodo, yeah. Nakodo, yeah.

TY: Nakodo.

MY: Yeah, uh-huh.

TY: Right? Yeah. But --

MY: It's kind of amazing the number of times they --

TY: Oh, yeah.

MY: -- there was just a lot of wedding pictures that --

TY: People we don't even know, right?

MY: -- know, right. But it was -- yeah. It was interesting.

Jeni Y: Tosh, didn't you say the judo came in handy when --

TY: I'm sorry?

Jeni Y: Didn't you say your judo came in handy when there was a child in elementary school who teased you?

TY: Oh.

MY: When you were about eleven, you said.

TY: Yeah, yeah. Well, when I -- so what, was I still in Pacific School? No, I must have been in Beacon Hill school.

MY: No, you were in Beacon Hill school, yeah.

TY: When I was about eleven, this one hakujin boy, he used to pick on me a lot. And he was about two heads taller than I was. And he was always picking on me because I -- maybe it was because I was so tiny and so "pickable," I guess. [Laughs]

JY: Pickable? [Laughs]

TY: And, and I, I had already started judo then. And, and one thing that the instructor in judo always stressed was never, you know, get in a fight and use judo. I mean, it could be dangerous. So don't -- you be careful how you handle yourself. And, but this kid was so persistent that one day I just grabbed him and I threw him over my shoulder. And he, and he's -- and it was just -- I wish I had a camera then. The look and expression on his face was completely stunned.

MY: Stunned.

TY: He was just like this on the ground. [Laughs] And I was telling everybody last night that's the last time he picked on me. He left me alone for the rest of the school year.

MY: So that's --

TY: Yeah, that time judo came in handy, but I think that's the only time that I really used it for that kind of a purpose.

MY: Last night we were trying to think of incidents, you know, whether... we were trying to think of incidents of that sort in Beacon Hill school --

TY: Yeah, yeah.

MY: -- where we were taunted or --

TY: But I, and I'm not sure whether he picked on me because I'm a, I was a Nihonjin or because I was --

MY: Because you were tiny.

TY: -- my guess is because I was so tiny and so vulnerable-looking that I think I was a -- his target. And, and I don't think it was because I was a Nihonjin, but, you know, who knows?

MY: Yeah.

TY: Maybe a little of both. I don't know. But that's the only incident I remember in school that was very negative.

MY: Yeah.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

MY: So, you know, all the time we were on Beacon Hill at either the Beacon Hill school and then we went to Cleveland High School. Mike went to Franklin High School.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And Cleveland High School had very few Japanese. And, and one -- a theor-, a theory that I have is that we were not a threat. You know, there were so few of us in numbers.

TY: And we were pretty quiet and pretty -- you know, studious --

MY: Yeah.

TY: -- and all that, so I think that's true.

MY: Yeah. And so I mean -- I think that because of that, there weren't as many incidents that you -- that we recall anyway from, in our, in our memory. And the only thing that I remember from Cleveland High School was that -- I think around the time -- and it was way before I was ready to graduate, but towards the, in the 1930s, all of the valedictorians and salutatorians in Seattle of, they would have these, all the schools in Seattle -- were Japanese Americans.

TY: Yeah, yeah.

MY: And, and so when I was about a junior --

TY: Yeah, that, and then that was in Garfield High School, Broadway High School.

MY: Franklin.

TY: Franklin.

JY: Cleveland?

MY: No, Cleveland wasn't --

TY: Cleveland didn't have that many Nihonjin going there, so I don't think that was the --

MY: And so we were going to Cleveland High School.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And then I remember there was a, a protest among the parents that the only reason why the Japanese Americans were getting the --

TY: Being the valedictorian?

MY: -- having the valedictorians because they, the way that they determined that was by grade point average.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And, and the only reason why we got straight A's was because we didn't do anything else except study.

TY: Oh, oh. I don't remember that.

MY: The Japanese American students didn't do anything. And the fact is that most of us, I was involved -- we were involved in kind of the extracurricular activities --

TY: Uh-huh.

MY: -- in Cleveland. But in some of the schools, the students were not -- Japanese American students were not eligible for student clubs and football...

TY: Well, they had, they had Hi-Y -- was it Hi-Y Club? Was that --

JY: That was in my day. We had Hi-Ys.

TY: I don't think --

JY: I don't know if you had Hi-Ys.

TY: No, I, I think they did --

JY: Did they?

TY: -- but I think that in some schools they didn't accept Nihonjin.

MY: Yeah, or...

JY: That could be.

MY: Yeah.

JY: That could well be.

MY: And then the student council, I remember, was, was by election.

TY: Yeah, yeah.

MY: You know, the, the members, the present members elected other students. And so the fact is that many of the Niseis didn't have -- were not too involved in outside student activities beside doing academic work. And so there was a movement when I was a senior to include student activities, to include --

TY: Oh.

MY: -- outside --

TY: For evaluating --

MY: -- extracurricular activities in addition to --

TY: Academic.

MY: -- academic grade-point average to determine the salutatorian and valedictorian. And I, and I remember we, we went to camp -- Nao and I, we were wondering. She was, she used to worry a lot about whether she --

TY: Yeah Nao is, Nao Okuda was a neighbor of ours and a good friend of May.

MY: And we were kind of in comp-, I didn't feel -- I was not at all competitive, but she, she was wondering if, you know, which one of us, and so it -- and that, of course, that's, problem was very quickly solved because we were in camp. We were evacuated before graduation. And --

TY: Yeah.

MY: And, but I remember very distinctly that movement was in pla-, was boiling -- becoming an issue during that year. And they were going to change the, the qualification.

JY: And then they, and then everybody went to camp, so they didn't have to have that anymore. [Laughs]

MY: They didn't, yeah, they didn't worry -- oh, well, of course, I didn't hear anything after that because I, we were gone, but --

JY: It'd be interesting to see what they -- yeah.

MY: What happened, yeah. But then I remember -- Nao remembers that the principal of the school came to camp to give us the diploma and --

TY: He did what?

MY: -- strange enough, she remembers this, the stranger -- that the principal came to camp to our --

TY: Cleveland High School principal?

MY: Yeah, the principal. And she -- that's what she said. And, and not too long ago she said she remembers that --

TY: What was his name?

MY: I don't, I don't think she remembers either. But I do remember... do you remember Alice Skelly or something like that?

TY: Alice who?

MY: Skelly.

TY: No.

MY: Somebody like that. Well, there, there was one of the --

TY: Who is she? A student or teacher?

MY: Yeah, student.

TY: Oh.

MY: One of the student who did become -- I don't know whether she was valedictorian or salutatorian -- wrote us a letter in, in camp to tell us that, "If it hadn't been for you, that I would not be here," so --

TY: Well, you were -- yeah, if you had graduated class, you would have been valedictorian.

MY: I don't know. And -- I don't know. But it was, it was kind of interesting, you know, that -- that whole scenario of the --

TY: Uh-huh.

MY: -- of that culture, but...

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

AI: Before we -- excuse me. Before we go too far ahead there, I do want to back up a bit --

TY: Yeah.

AI: -- now because I wanted to ask you if the two of you remembered anything about Joe's birth when he was born, around that time and --

TY: Oh, yeah, a bit -- quite vividly actually.

AI: -- what, what you recall about that, about that time.

MY: Well, I wanted a sister. You know, I already had two brothers and --

TY: She knew what they were like. [Laughs]

MY: Yeah, I thought it was very unfair we had another brother. [Laughs] I was very mad. But then once he came -- you know, once he came home, my mother was in the hospital for a while, right?

TY: Yeah.

MY: They wouldn't let her out because she was sick.

TY: Yeah.

MY: Remember? She --

TY: She stayed in the hospital.

MY: Yeah, she got --

TY: Yeah.

MY: -- she got pneumonia or something like that in the hospital. She, she claims that they left her in front of an open window or something like that, and she got cold. And, and she had pneumonia, and I think her arm got paralyzed or something --

TY: Yeah, paral-, yeah, paralysis in her --

MY: -- she had a paralysis in her arm.

TY: -- one of the arm, one of her arms.

MY: Her right arm, yeah. And so she was not able to carry the baby, so my dad hired a full-time nurse -- Teru Uno, a nurse to take care of you. So then all three of you came home together from the hospital. Teru came from the hospital with you, and she came -- she was carrying you. So I remember that, that Teru Uno, she was very properly dressed as a nurse with a cap and, and I, I was remembering very, with white stockings, and she came.

TY: Uh-huh.

MY: And she was a member of a rather prominent family, right, in --

TY: Teru Uno.

MY: Teru Uno?

TY: Teru Uno, that's Paul Uno's sister.

MY: Sister, yeah. And so she stayed with us for quite some time while --

TY: Well, she was live-in and --

MY: She was a live-in nurse for my mom and, and Joe.

TY: Well, do you, do you have a picture of you on the porch --

MY: With Teru? Yeah.

TY: -- sitting on the porch with Teru carrying you?

JY: Not, no --

TY: And we, I think, were sitting.

JY: I don't know about that, but I have a picture --

TY: You don't have a --

JY: -- of her when I must have been two or three.

MY: No, I remember seeing it.

TY: Yeah, I remember seeing the picture. Don't you have that?

JY: I don't think so.

TY: Mother might have given that to you. But I, I remember -- distinctly remember the picture. Because you were just --

JY: I have one picture of me with her, but I was a -- looks like I was maybe eighteen months or something.

TY: No, no, no.

MY: No, you were a baby --

TY: You were just a baby --

MY: -- and you were standing, and, you know, there was a flight of stairs on the long side of the house?

JY: Yeah.

MY: Isn't that what you're talking about? And she's sitting at --

TY: Yeah, it's the back stair.

MY: -- back stair, yeah.

TY: Back stair, yeah.

MY: I thought it was on the side.

TY: No.

MY: And she was, she was sitting there, and you could see her stocking --

TY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MY: -- white stocking.

TY: White stocking.

MY: And she was sitting there --

JY: Hmm.

MY: -- stand-, sitting on the stair with her --

TY: With her, with her nurse uniform, with her hat and her whole, whole bit.

MY: That was when you first --

JY: Not that particular picture. I have another one, as I said, but not that one.

TY: Is that right?

JY: Yeah.

TY: Well, maybe I have it among -- I should look for it, then.

MY: And then when -- and of course, you know, I was, Joe was like a toy for me. I was feeding -- I was changing him and feeding him. And he was like a little doll or --

TY: I don't remember doing that myself, but I guess you must have done all that.

MY: Yeah, I did all that. Took care of him, changed his diapers.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

Jeni Y: Talk about the name, his name.

MY: Oh, yeah. That's right. When, so when he was born, we -- Teru Uno -- Teruko. Her name is Teruko. And we, my dad, we would -- talked about names, and we decided to call him Teri.

JY: Teruo.

TY: Teruo?

MY: Teruo Teri -- or -- Teruo and something. So we were calling him Teri for a long time. And, and Teru was so thrilled --

TY: Flattered, huh?

MY: -- thrilled.

TY: Yeah.

MY: She was so flattered that the name was named after her. And, and then, I think a -- I don't know. It was sometime about a month later --

JY: Apparently, yeah.

MY: Yeah. My dad got a, our dad got this whole big box of -- from Japan. It was a crate. You know the way they used to ship things.

TY: Japanese, no, it was in that Japanese box, that real light wood that --

MY: Yeah, the crate, that --

TY: Yeah.

MY: -- wooden crate?

TY: Yeah.

MY: Yeah. And we opened it up, and there were just little boxes -- little packages of, of the -- you still have those dishes?

TY: Uh-huh.

MY: -- of dishes.

TY: Lacq-, lacquered dish.

MY: Lacquered, beautiful lacquered dishes of, stack of, stacks of eight -- well, not eight because they usually have them like -- five or something in each package. And they had "Yasutake Yoshiyuki" on the back.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And then my dad, our dad opened it up, and he said, oh, and then -- there was a, each dish was engraved, engraved in gold with "Yasutake Yoshiyuki" on it. And then he suddenly remembered that months ago when our mom got pregnant that he had written to his friend to ask him, "Can you suggest a good Japanese name for, for this child if he's a boy?" And so then the guy wrote back and said, I think you should call him such and such and said -- so then when he heard that, that we had a boy, he just went immediately out and --

TY: Had that inscription made on the --

MY: -- made and sent it.

TY: So that given to the people instead of cigars, and that was what -- it was commemorative.

MY: And so, and then I guess he -- well, it was a gift, that was a gift --

TY: Gift, yeah.

MY: -- to the parents to our, his gift to Mom and Dad, you know, for the birth of the son. And so he just assumed, since Dad asked him, you know, what -- and he suggested this name and because -- I forgot, he told me of, of the meaning of your word, the "Yoshi" means something and "Yuki" means such and such. And had, it supposed to, Yoshiyuki is supposed to be a very historical samurai name or something.

JY: Yeah, I knew it one time, but I don't know anymore. [Laughs]

MY: And so, anyway, so it -- these dishes are there, right? About a hundred of them. Hundred packets of them.

TY: No, I do remember that when -- when Dad said, "His name's going to be Yoshiyuki." I said, "How do you spell that?" And she spelled the name -- it looked long. The name looked so long, I thought, oh, my goodness. [Laughs]

MY: It's longer than Teri. And then, so then Dad decided that he had, we had to change his name to Yoshiyuki.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And then at, while he was at it, I guess in the meantime, Joe Spangler, his colleague --

TY: Dad's, Dad's, no that --

MY: -- co-worker at the --

TY: -- his supervisor, immediate supervisor, I think.

MY: He was the inspector, wasn't he?

TY: Yeah.

MY: He was an inspector?

TY: He, the inspector in charge.

MY: Yeah, he said -- he told Dad, "Well, you told me that if you had a son, you were going to call him, call him Joseph."

TY: Joseph. [Laughs]

MY: And so Dad said, "Well, as long as we're changing his Japanese name, we're going to change the, the whole thing." So they changed it to Joseph Yoshiyuki Yasutake. And that was when he, he was already about two or three months by that time.

JY: Easily. Because I have two gifts -- birth certificates --

MY: You do?

JY: -- one that says Teruo --

MY: Uh-huh.

JY: -- and the other one that says Joseph Yoshiyuki.

MY: Oh, he did, he did officially go to the change the names.

JY: He must have.

TY: Oh, is that right?

JY: Uh-huh.

TY: You have two birth certificate?

JY: Yeah, I do.

TY: I'll be darned.

JY: Well, I -- I guess I have one, but I mean, it was an amendment or something.

MY: Yeah. And so anyway, that's the story of Joe's --

TY: How he's got his name.

MY: How Joe got his name, yeah. But -- and so Teri, for the, Teri for the longest time kept calling him Teri because he --

TY: Oh.

MY: -- because he, she said --

TY: Well, I, yeah, that part --

MY: "I can't get used to changing it."

TY: -- that part I don't remember at all. I don't remember that part.

MY: She was saying, "I, I'm not going to," she couldn't get used to the -- changing your name, and so she was kind of upset, I think, but she didn't say anything, you know, but of course, it was a --

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

JY: You know, Teri came to San Jose about, maybe five, six years ago.

MY: Oh, really?

JY: Uh-huh. And, and I had her -- she was visiting her granddaughter or something in Santa Cruz.

TY: Well, she had come to Seattle first to visit a friend -- you know, she grew up here. So she came and visit here, and then I saw her then. She came on up to see Mother at Kawabe House.

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: And she asked me for your address.

JY: So that's how she found me then?

TY: Yeah.

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: An address, and I gave it to her.

JY: Yeah, so we had her over for dinner.

TY: And she was -- yeah. She said she was going down to California.

MY: So what did she tell you about when you were a baby?

JY: Well, what I -- you know, that picture that I was telling you I had of when I was -- you know, I must have been maybe eighteen months or whatever with her, and she had her uniform on?

TY: Yeah.

JY: And so I brought that out, and she said, "I remember that." And she's a lady that must be your age or older, when you guys were --

MY: Well, I was a child.

TY: Well, she must have been eighty-, I think she was eighty-four -- must have been eighty-five then. I mean she was --

MY: She's, I must, she must be over ninety.

TY: She's quite a bit older than --

MY: I'm eighty now.

TY: She's quite a bit older than we are.

JY: Yeah, and she said -- and she remembered, she said that she had bought the uniform specifically to apply for the job of being my --

TY: Nurse to our family, yeah.

JY: -- nurse or something. And she, and she remembered, she remembered -- and there was a black-and-white picture --

TY: Yeah.

JY: -- but she remembered what color it was. It was, you know, the red, I forgot what the colors were, but I was just astonished that she had so much information about --

MY: Information.

JY: Yeah, about the color and --

TY: It was a blue uniform.

JY: -- where she bought it --

TY: It was a blue one.

JY: -- and when she bought it and, you know, it was just all this detail, it just amazed me, yeah.

TY: Oh, is that right?

MY: Hmm. That was a very defining moment for her, too, because --

JY: She said that was the first job she had had --

MY: Yeah.

TY: Oh, oh.

JY: -- out of nursing school.

MY: I wonder how Dad found her.

JY: I don't know.

MY: But, you know, to find a Japanese American wom-, woman nurse, which was not too common in those days.

TY: Well, Dad, Dad knew an awful lot of people, so he must have by --

JY: Yeah.

TY: -- word by mouth, I think, that she must have gotten him some information that Teru was looking for a job.

MY: But he was looking for somebody who speaks Japanese.

JY: How long, how long was she with us? I mean with me, for, as a --

MY: About a year?

TY: Well, at least a year, I'd guess.

JY: Hmm. She lived at our house?

MY: Yeah.

TY: Yeah, she lived there.

JY: Really?

MY: But, you know, it took Mom a long time to recover from -- because she, she couldn't use her arm.

JY: Hmm.

TY: Well, who -- during that time --

MY: Yeah.

JY: -- who did the cooking?

MY: We had --

TY: Did we have some lady at our house --

MY: Yeah --

TY: -- doing the cooking?

MY: -- I did -- I forgot what, what her name was.

TY: I'll be darned. I don't remember the lady -- or who, the individual who did the housework for her.

MY: Yeah, I remember her, but I, I don't remember her name.

TY: Huh. Isn't that strange? I remember Teri very vividly, but I don't remember who was at the house helping with the meals. Well, that's interesting. Okay.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

AI: Well, so then there was a period of recovery then where your mother was recovering and Teri was there helping out and Joe was just an infant. And then within a few years, though, your parents decided that there would be a visit back to Japan --

MY: Uh-huh.

AI: -- in 1935, was it?

MY: He was three by that time.

TY: Yeah, we were up in Beacon Hill school then.

MY: Yeah, so we, in the meantime we moved to -- so Teri must have been with us less than a year because, because she left us before we moved --

TY: Oh, that's right.

MY: -- up to Beacon Hill.

Jeni Y: But then he had the high chair accident. Didn't she go back into --

MY: No --

Jeni Y: She became ill when he was one, I thought you said.

MY: Yeah, yeah. When, and then he was about -- that was, so he was about ten months when we went to, to Beacon Hill.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And then when she -- when you were about a year old -- well, you were older than a year old, I think, when you, when she got, I think it was a --

TY: Oh, that picture. Remember the picture?

MY: It was a -- I think it was kind of an aftermath of the illness she caught -- you know, in, in the hospital because it was about a year later that -- that she got pleurisy, and she had to go to a sanitarium for a year.

TY: That was while we were up in Beacon Hill home, then.

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: Yeah, okay. I remember that, yeah.

MY: And so that was when she was gone for --

TY: Long time, yeah.

MY: -- a long time, and that was about a year. And then that was when we had a series of housekeepers.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And that, that woman who was a Tenrikyo lady.

TY: Tenrikyo lady, yes, I remember her. Yeah.

MY: And so anyway, we had this Tenrikyo -- what is Tenrikyo? Is that a --

TY: What, what is it?

MY: Yeah. Is it a reli-, it's a religion?

TY: Yeah, it's a religious --

MY: It's a Shinto religion, right? I, I don't know. I don't have any information about that. She was a Tenrikyo -- I think there's a, it's a sect in Japan.

TY: Yeah.

MY: I thought it was a political sect in Japan around --

TY: No, it's not political.

MY: -- today.

TY: It's a religious organization.

MY: Yeah.

TY: Yeah.

MY: But, it's like it's Christian Scientists, isn't it? They don't believe in doctors?

TY: Yeah, yeah.

MY: Something like that?

TY: Yeah, I think that's true.

MY: Because anyway, Joe was still in a highchair, and we used to have one of those big cast-, we had that cast-iron stove.

TY: Yeah, in the kitchen?

MY: No, in the dining --

TY: No, in the, and they had a cast-iron stove in the --

MY: Dining --

TY: -- dining room, and we have a smaller stove in the kitchen.

MY: Well, the, the one in the dining room --

TY: We had a potbelly stove in the kitchen, small one.

MY: Oh, yeah. Okay. So then the big cast-iron stove in the, in the dining room to -- to warm because we didn't have central heating. And Joe's high chair was sort of -- I don't know why we had it so close to the stove. But I think the bottom, you know when those coal stoves that the bottom part opens out? You know, when you open up the part where the ashes --

JY: Yeah, yeah. To put the coals in or take the ashes out or something.

TY: Right. Okay.

MY: To take the ashes out? So that door was open, on the, on one side. And he was in, sitting in a wheel-, in the --

TY: Highchair.

MY: -- highchair, and he was rocking. You know how -- the way kids do? He was rocking it back and forth.

TY: Gosh, I don't remember that. Okay.

MY: And then he fell over, and he, he hit his lip on that --

TY: Yeah.

MY: -- cast-iron.

TY: Yeah, he had a --

JY: I still have a fat lip from that. [Laughs]

MY: On the cast-iron stove, and it just started to bleed and bleed. And so then --

TY: He must have been a year, he must have been a year old.

MY: -- Mrs. Takaha-, Mrs. Takamiya, Mrs. Takahashi, or what -- that woman who was with us.

TY: I can't remember her name.

MY: She, she took one of these, what she thought was a sacred paper, a white paper, and she put it on his lip like that, and it got all caked up there, remember?

TY: Yeah.

MY: It stopped bleeding because of, and --

TY: I think that serves as kind of like a, what they call butterfly band-aid you have now. I think that -- with that paper there, I think it, the blood clotted and held you, your lesion from spreading any more. And I think that really helped the heal, healing. So the paper did help.

MY: Yeah. But anyway, it really needed stitching.

TY: Yeah.

MY: Yeah. But it -- so anyway, by the time that, that Mom was gone for such a long time that it healed completely by the time Mom came home. But he had kind of a white -- his lip had, had this white scar.

TY: Scar tissue, you have scar tissue.

MY: Yeah. And so when Mom came home, the first thing she noticed was, "What's the matter with his lip?" You remember? And then, and so the whole story about what happened came out. And then, and then I remember Mom saying to Dad, "Why didn't you take him to the hospital? Why didn't you take him to the doctor?" And then Dad says, "Well, Mrs. So-and-so said not to." [Laughs] And I remember Mom getting really mad and saying, "Well, you're the father, Anta no sekinin desho." You know, Mother was really very angry to think that -- her child, and you didn't even take him to the doctor. And Dad saying, well, you know, the woman insisted. The babysitter, you know, wouldn't let me. [Laughs] I remember the argument. She -- and I thought, Oh, my gosh. Mom has just came from, just came home after being gone for a whole year, and they're already fighting. But -- [laughs]

TY: And that was before 1935 because that's when we went to Nihon.

MY: Yeah, yeah.

TY: Yeah.

MY: Yeah.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

MY: And then we went to Japan in 1935, yeah. 1935, yeah. When you were three.

JY: Uh-huh.

AI: Was there anything about that period when your mom was gone -- your mother was gone for so long --

MY: Yeah.

AI: -- how that affected you as kids or the, kind of the family --

MY: Yeah, I re-, I remember at -- it was during Thanks-, she was going to -- they said, "Well, she's not going to be gone very long." And I remember that she might be, she might be home for Thanksgiving, and then she, she didn't come home. And then they said that she might be home for, for Christmas. And then she didn't come home. And then they said that she might, she will be home by Easter. And then I was, I think it was shortly after that, but I remember sort of counting the days, you know, because she was gone for such a long time.

TY: Well, what's interesting is that May remembers several ladies that came to help, but I could remember only one, and that was the one. The seicho lady who took care of you when you cut your lip. But the others, I don't remember Mrs. Toribara coming over.

MY: Yeah.

TY: I don't remember that at all. And we must have had several others.

MY: Yeah.

TY: And I don't remember any of the others. Do you?

MY: Besides Mrs., -- isn't that funny we just remember her as the seicho --

TY: Well, during that time Mrs. Tsujimoto was there frequently, too.

MY: Tenrikyo -- oh, who was the seicho no ie -- that wasn't -- was that another one? That we kind of remember these people.

TY: Oh, she had a round face.

MY: Seicho no ie, yeah. So we just remember these women by the their association with Tenrikyo or --

TY: Physical features and, and one lady smoked. And so that's about the only thing I remember. It's very strange. I don't know.

MY: Yeah.

TY: Because they were there -- they were, we had a series of people come and, ladies come and help.

MY: That's why you remember.

TY: Yeah.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

AI: Well, then how did it come about that -- or how was it decided that you would be taking this trip to Japan, and was that only your mother --

MY: Because after my mother -- after Mom, our mother, re- --

TY: Recovered --

MY: -- recovered from the illness -- and I think they -- that my dad thought it would be good for her to get away for a while.

TY: Good therapy for her to --

MY: For her to visit with her family because she was sick for such a long time. So it was just soon after she, she came home from the hospital. And, and she -- he thought that it would quicken her recovery to go and visit her family. I think that was one of the reasons we went. So the three of us -- four of us went to Japan.

TY: So Mother and three of us, and -- Mike stayed home, though. The four of us.

MY: And then, that was in -- yeah. So it was, so she came home and she -- shortly after Easter, and then we went to, we went to Japan after our school year was finished that year. So it must have been June. Maybe sometime in June we left for Japan, and then we, we stayed, we stayed in Japan, and you came home in the fall.

TY: I came home before the fall quarter started -- I mean, the school started in the fall --

MY: In September.

TY: -- because I didn't want to miss school. So I came home by myself. By myself meaning a friend of folks, Mr. Tamai?

MY: Oh, really?

TY: I think he was -- anyway, he, he brought me home with him, a friend of, a family friend. And the only thing I remember vividly about that is that the captain of the sh- --

MY: Of the ship.

TY: -- boat, Heia-maru, I just thought of it now. I think it was -- the name of the boat was Heia-maru. Anyway, the captain of the ship was a friend of my dad who came from the same mura as my dad did in -- and from Fukuoka-ken. And I remember Dad telling me that he -- just paid just third-class fare to -- and I thought I was going to end up on the bottom of the deck someplace, you know. Well, I end up in a first-class cabin, and I just lived like a king. I, like I felt like I owned the boat because the captain let me go on the top of -- onto the bridge, and I steered the boat a couple of times and I had the run of the boat. And I'd be playing card game with one, one of the older men, and they'd bring me drinks. And oh, it was really the life of Riley then. [Laughs] I really had a wonderful time. I remember that. I thought, boy, this is what it's like --

JY: This is living, yeah.

TY: -- to live like a king, you know. [Laughs]

AI: Wow, what an experience. Well --

TY: And you came home -- you people came home -- what?

MY: Following year.

TY: Following year?

MY: Uh-huh.

JY: You were there that long? Yeah, you were gone, gone a long time.

MY: See, we went to Korea after you left.

TY: Yeah. And I -- the only thing I remember about coming home -- after we got home was Dad did the cooking. What he did cook was, what it amounted to was -- we always liked unagi. You know, the eel, canned eel? We had -- oh, we had unagi donburi at home. Well, the way Dad prepared it was -- you know, the, those came in like -- looked like sardine cans. You know, this thin and about this big. He'd open the can, put the can on the burner and heat up the fish that way. And then she'd make -- he'd make rice, and we'd put that on the rice, and that was our meal. And by the time you people got home, I finally got tired of it. [Laughs]

JY: You mean every day?

TY: Every day for a long time. [Laughs]

AI: Well, what about that time in Japan? I'm wondering, you know, I've heard from some other folks who in their childhood were taken to Japan and made fun of when they got to Japan. Did you have any of that kind of experience?

TY: No.

MY: Yeah.

TY: We were with our rela-, I -- as I remember, we were -- visited the relatives, right? And stayed with them, and they really treated us very well.

MY: Oh, they were wonderful, yeah.

TY: Yeah.

JY: You didn't go to school or anything?

MY: Yeah, I went to school.

JY: Were you exposed to other kids?

TY: You went to school?

MY: Well, I, after you left, we went to Korea.

TY: Yeah -- oh, that's right.

TY: Yeah.

MY: Yeah. And then we, we were -- I don't remember having --

TY: Well, we had an uncle living in Korea who ran a geisha house.

MY: He had a rest-, a large restaurant. He owned a large restaurant.

TY: It was a very, very large restaurant. He was very well-to-do, so, these people lived it up pretty well, right?

MY: And then he also owned, owned a geisha house with geishas in it.

TY: In Korea.

MY: That was a little distance from the restaurant. And I remember for the first time in my life, you know, I saw the geisha arriving. They all arrived in the jinrikisha, you know. And it was just like this old-fashioned -- you know, like something in the movies?

TY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MY: And these geisha would -- and they always had a handmaiden with them. It was like --

TY: Each -- each one?

MY: -- the geisha, yeah.

TY: Oh.

MY: Each one had a very young girl, about my age --

TY: Like an apprentice, huh?

MY: Yeah. I was about eleven or twelve at the time. And the girls looked like very young. They didn't have any makeup on. They just had very plain clothes. And the geishas, you know, were all, they were just decked up in this very glamorous clothes. And the -- and the handmaiden would help them off the -- off the jinrikisha, you know, and, and they would come into the restaurant. And that's for the evening. But I remember just standing in the doorway almost every day going, you know. It was just, it was just very fascinating, glamorous life that was there. But, and Joe was -- and the one thing that you remember about that was not -- the taking a bath. Do you remember that?

JY: What? No.

MY: Oh, you don't remember? We would take -- you remember taking a, trying to take -- our putting you in a bath in our house?

JY: In Seattle, I remember that. But not in Korea.

MY: Well, maybe it started in Japan -- in Korea then.

JY: Maybe that's why I hated it so much in Seattle. All -- the first recollection I had was our bathtub in Seattle.

TY: Well, I --

MY: Well, we were --

TY: I do remember now --

MY: -- the Japanese, you know, had this thing about taking a bath every single day.

TY: Oh.

MY: And he hated taking a bath. I mean, he just -- and he'd start screaming. I guess it was the first time you were in the Japanese tub then.

JY: Probably, then, because I don't remember that part.

MY: You probably, we probably got the Japanese tub later, because, anyway, but in Korea he, he wouldn't take a bath. And, and Uncle -- you know, our uncle --

JY: Oh, I, when you told me that, I thought you were talking about him in Seattle. But you're talking about in Korea. Oh.

MY: No, but in Korea, yeah. And, and he -- oh, yeah.

JY: Oh, then I don't remember that at all.

MY: And you were screaming and screaming and wouldn't take a bath. And, and we were saying, "Well, sometimes he doesn't like to take a bath," and he --

JY: Well, it was hot.

MY: [Laughs]

JY: You know, they just put wood under that thing, and they just kept boiling the water until it was -- and then they would stick you in like a lobster, and I, I didn't like it, you know, so... [Laughs]

MY: And so anyway --

JY: I don't know what the big deal was. It was hot.

MY: -- so our uncle and aunt, you know, they were just scandalized. Here's this child who doesn't like to take baths. So I remember my uncle, our uncle sent to a store for -- to a toy store. And they brought this big basket of toys. And he -- they delivered it to the house. And then they were supp-, they told Joe, "You can pick out anything you want to," and then he -- they picked out some bath toys, and they, they were buying -- and it was kind of sweet, you know, because he was trying to, to get you to --

JY: Bribe me.

TY: To bribe you. Appease you.

MY: -- to take a bath. And so he, so he got all these toys to -- and they said, "Okay. You could have these toys if you want, if you will take a bath." And they -- and then he remembers the, we had a -- I think it was that time we must have come back with a bath -- Japanese. So we had a Japanese bathtub in the basement in Beacon Hill. And he remembers vividly how he hated to take that bath.

JY: Yeah, that was awful.

MY: To take a bath. He was just deathly --

TY: No, but I -- now, that, that just made me think of -- for the first time I've thought in a long time, but I remember that trip to Japan I got boils. And we went to --

MY: Boils?

TY: Yeah, because the water that we drank or something, and I got boils all over my body.

MY: Really?

TY: And Mr. --

MY: Tamai?

TY: One of the, one of the houses that we went to in, no, in Fukuoka, one of our relatives', uncle's house. And he believed -- what he believed was, you know, not waiting for the boil to come to a head. He thought the best way is to get that boil go -- you know, get that, all that pus out of the boil. So he'd sit on me and he'd --

MY: Eew.

TY: Oh, that was painful. And about three of them he did that to me. I've still got scars of it in the back.

JY: Really? [Laughs]

TY: Yeah. You don't remember that, huh?

JY: She wouldn't remember it; you would. [Laughs]

TY: No, but you were there. My goodness. [Laughs]

MY: I don't remember. [Laughs]

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

AI: Well, these are some interesting examples of how some, the life in Japan was quite different in a lot of ways.

MY: Yeah, I remember the language was very different. In Fukuoka.

TY: Yeah, well the Hakata-ben is --

MY: Yeah.

TY: Fukuoka-ben or whatever you call it.

MY: Then especially when I went to school, the language that, the Japanese that I, that we all learned from Mom was a Japanese of deference. That kind of Japanese you speak to your -- the only people that we spoke to, Japanese to was to our mom and to our Japanese school teacher. Right? Who else did we learn? We didn't speak Japanese to anybody else except maybe her, or Mom's friends who came to the house. And so that was the only kind of Japanese we knew. So when I went to school, I didn't know the kind of Japanese that you speak to your peers. Apparently the vocabulary is very different. So I started to speak to, when I opened my mouth, they all went, "Ha, ha, ha." They were all laughing. And so I stopped talking. [Laughs]

TY: That was hard, I bet. [Laughs]

MY: [Laughs] They, it was like, I wasn't quite sure -- at that time I didn't quite, I wasn't quite sure what was wrong. You know, I only figured it out years later, was that my language was saying, "Anata ikimasen ka," or some very polite form of Japanese that you don't normally speak to your classmates.

JY: Peers, and that --

MY: Yeah. And they all thought that was very quaint, I guess. And then I couldn't keep up with -- I think it was fifth grade -- keep up with chuugakko, or something. Jogakko?

TY: Jogakko. Because chuugakko is middle school, or...

MY: For boys?

TY: Yeah.

MY: And jogakko is for girls. The, I couldn't keep -- my Japanese, my Japanese school Japanese wasn't adequate at that time to, for the Japanese, and I couldn't keep up with them.

TY: Well, did you stay at one place long enough to go to school?

MY: Hakata.

TY: In Hakata?

MY: Yeah. And then Joe and Mom left. 'Cause I stayed there longer than... you were gone. And so I, and I, when I was in school -- and then the teacher, that was before Mom left, she told her that my Japanese wasn't adequate to keep -- I couldn't keep up with the class. So he said, but then he thought it would be a good thing for me to have this, the social intercourse with my, with the classmates, and to go out on the playground and things like that. And that I could sit in on the class. And then he tutored me every day, after school.

JY: What grade were you in?

MY: I was in about fifth or sixth grade. Or eleven, twelve years old?

TY: Oh, so we went when I was thirteen, you were twelve, and then, you were twelve years old.

MY: Yeah. So I was in sixth grade or something like that. So he was very, he was a very gentle young man.

JY: Understanding man.

MY: And so he kept me after school -- and then he, after school -- I don't know, he probably got paid. Don't you think?

JY: Yeah, I don't know.

MY: Because they had this agreement and then he would keep me after school and I had private Japanese lessons. And I don't remember how long that was. I was, I was, missed about a whole year of school, though. And then when I came back --

JY: You mean regular school.

MY: Uh-huh.

JY: Then did you get sent back? Or did you just press on?

MY: No, I just went to one more year of eighth grade when I came back, and then I graduated and went to high, to Cleveland High School.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

AI: Well, we're continuing now again, after a short break, and --

MY: Where were we?

AI: We're still in the -- well, in --

MY: We're still in Japan?

AI: -- in Japan. Yeah, and during the break you started briefly telling about this incident where you almost drowned. And how did that happen?

MY: Well, my mother left me with her sister's family. Her sister had died the year before, and her brother-in-law had, had remarried. And it was, I think, I remember it was in August, because it was the hatsubon. And they called it hatsubon, the first Bon after the death of his wife.

TY: Is that where we dressed up, is that the occasion?

MY: No, I don't think so. I think that was a festival of some kind.

TY: Oh, okay.

MY: I'm not sure. I'm not sure what we -- because you weren't there.

TY: Oh.

MY: I was in Mushirouchi by myself, and that was when I met my foster parent and...

TY: That was almost a year or year plus from the time you went to Japan, then.

MY: Yeah. Because, that was why Fumiko and I are so close, to this day. Because she, she used to take care of, we were really close. Is when I was a child, as I stayed with her family. And her mother, Mom's sister, had died that year, I think. This was in August, or earlier in the year. And then her father -- Ojisan? The doctor? Had remarried within a half a year or so after Mom's sister died. And she didn't know about -- she, when we went to Fukuoka, when we went to Mushirouchi, she was quite angry. I remember, I don't know what -- I thought maybe I did something wrong. But she left me there with Fumiko's family.

TY: Oh, I see.

MY: 'Cause she didn't want to stay there. And I, I didn't quite understand at that time what the problem was, 'cause I don't know her sister. I mean, I didn't know Obasan at all. And so as far as I was con-, and then Fumiko told me she's not my real mother. She's my -- and so then I found out that the woman who was there was not my, was not --

TY: Stepmother.

MY: Yeah, Mom's sister, but she was stepmother. So anyway, I stayed at that house for I don't know how long. And, until, when the school started, I think I went to Hakata. But then there was some kind of a thing going on at the beach, and the Japanese have all kinds of festivals. And so the two neighborhood kids, one older girl and one younger boy, came over to ask if I wanted to go to the beach with them. And my aunt said, "Well, okay, that's okay." And she let us go -- let me go with those two kids. And we were at the beach and it was very, real low tide at the ocean, and we started walking to go swimming, we had our bathing suit on, and we were walking towards the... and the water just didn't get deeper. It was just sort of straight and it was sort of still on my knee, knee-deep, and we kept walking and walking and walking. And then finally some man came, was going out, and he said, "You kids better get back, go back, because the tide is changing," or something. I don't know what he said, exactly. So we turned around and we start walking back, and the current has, in the meantime, had changed. And we got pushed down or up, or whatever. And the water kept getting deeper and deeper, and all of a sudden we were, we had fallen into some kind of a drop, where it was deeper.

TY: It must have been a hole or something there.

MY: Yeah. So we started screaming and yelling, and screaming, and I swallowed the most water because the two kids -- I kind of knew how to swim. And every time I came up for air, they would grab me, and I kept going down, and we were screaming our heads off. And I remember looking over and seeing a man with a very small child walking along and looking over. Because the water was still up to here for them. And I guess he thought I was, we were just a bunch of kids horsing around, so he didn't pay any attention. And so we -- anyway, you know how that is, when you feel like it's forever, you were there trying to splatter around, and thinking you're going to die. And two young men -- they must have been teen-, they looked like guys, but they were probably very young guys, young --

TY: Young teenagers.

MY: Teenagers, probably. They come over and they just took us, grabbed us, and the water was not too deep. And they rescued us and took us back, and then they kind of disappeared. They just left us on the seashore, and we had to lie there for a while to recover. And so the girl, who was several years older than the little boy and I, said that, "This was my responsibility. Atashi ga sekinin aru..." That she said, "This was my responsibility to take of you two guys, kids and so when we go home, don't say anything. Keep quiet about it." So we said, okay. We got home and I remember my aunt saying, "The beach must have been really," we had dinner, and I was about to go to bed because I tired and she was telling my uncle, "That, oh, she's just exhausted. It must have been a very tiring day." And then the neighborhood woman, who was the mother of one of the teenage boys who rescued us, came over to find out how I was, she said that the boy came home and told her that, "I don't know who the other two kids are, but the Amerika no ojosan ga" -- there was only one Amerika no ojosan in the whole town -- that he told his mother what had happened. So she came over to find out if I was okay. And then my aunt got -- they left and she was really upset. She said, "We should have, we should have gone -- not had them come over here but we should have taken them orei," we had to thank them for this thing and I didn't tell them. And then, so that was the end of that. [Laughs] Didn't go the beach ever after that.

TY: Oh, I don't remember hearing about that. [Laughs]

MY: They didn't let me go anywhere after that. But, yeah, I know. It was just, it was kind of one of those things.

AI: Did you really have that sense that you thought you were going to drown? You really thought you would die?

MY: Yeah, really, it was really terrible. Yeah, we thought, we thought we were drowning. I mean, and I was screaming, they were screaming, "Tasukete," and I was going, "Help, help!" [Laughs]

JY: It's interesting that your aunt was more concerned about saving family face than the fact that you almost drowned. [Laughs]

MY: I know. [Laughs] She said, "Oh, shitsurei na. Oh, what a disgrace."

TY: It's not Japanese style, right?

MY: Yeah, that we should have been the one to go over there, having her come over here, what a...

TY: What a disgrace.

MY: She thought it was totemo shitsurei. It was just --

JY: Shitsurei, huh?

MY: Yeah, shitsurei was, shitsurei na koto.

TY: Yeah, right.

MY: I felt that... yeah, I know. That occurred to me, too. I thought, gee she's not even worried about what happened to me.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

AI: Well, and then another interesting part of that is that you were referred to as Amerika-no ojosan. American girl. What was that like for you, or either of you, you too, Tosh, to be in Japan and to be, by some people, identified as the Americans.

TY: Yeah.

MY: Yeah.

AI: Did that cause any shift or change in your self-image? Or the way you felt about yourself?

TY: Well, not in the younger days, but I think it did sort of, made me uncomfortable in later life when I went back in the '80s. Beginning of '80 and the beginning of, late '70s and '80s when I was in Japan. They just treated me special. I mean, I was, I felt like I was nobody special, but they treated you as such. And I felt very uncomfortable.

AI: In later days.

TY: I didn't quite, I didn't quite know how to handle it, really. And I had some problem with it.

AI: But as a child?

TY: No, as a child, I don't remember anything about as a child, no.

AI: And what about you, May, as a child?

MY: Well, I think that, because I went to school --

TY: Yeah, school, that made a difference.

MY: -- and that made a difference. And also, in my language, with my language I think that was a real problem in speaking, for one thing.

JY: Did kids tease you, or anything?

MY: Yeah, they did. Well, they didn't -- the girls were too polite. You know, they didn't tease me, but they would giggle. When I say something, "Tee hee hee," they would giggle. And so I knew that I said something, something wrong.

TY: Yeah, but among our relatives, when we were going, went to relatives' families, I don't recall any problems. Right?

MY: No, they were very good. They were very, very good. And they were very respectful of us. In deference to our dad, I think, they treated us very, very well. And I don't remember any incidents where, where -- I felt different. And as a, I remember, oh yeah, I remember, I do remember asking my cousin, Fumiko, she was a little bit older than I -- because I told Mom, "Everybody thinks I'm Amerika no ojosan, so it must be my clothes that I'm wearing." Because these clothes are American clothes? And so Mom took me to the store and then, and bought me a pair of shoes, because they had different kind of shoes. They had very square-toe, I don't remember the --

TY: Oh. Style? You mean different style?

MY: Yeah. They were kind of clunky-looking shoes that they had. And so they dressed me completely in Japanese-bought, Japanese-bought Western clothes. And then they, and then they still called me Amerika no ojosan. So I remember asking my cousin, "What's so different?" And then she said, "Oh, Mitsu-san, it's because of the way you walk."

TY: Yeah, I was just going to say, I remember --

MY: She said, "You walk," she said, "Nihon no onna no hito wa ne, chiisai... you have to walk in little steps. And you walk like this." And then I was also, walked with my toes out. I wasn't pigeon-, there was one thing that Mom was always criticizing me for, is I walk... and she said that, that was kind of interesting observation to me, Fumiko made, she said, "You look different, because the way you walk."

TY: Well, as I say, in the later years when I was in Japan, I was, that's the first thing they told me. "One difference is, you dress differently, and you walk differently." And they made a point of that, that -- so I said, because I told them, "Well, what if I just buy Japanese clothes and put it on?" Said, "It won't make any difference, there. They know that you came from the States." [Laughs]

JY: Well, as soon as you open your mouth they know, too. [Laughs]

MY: When you were a boy? Or when you were an adult?

TY: No, no, no. Later, as an adult, yeah.

MY: Oh.

TY: Because I don't remember anything about when I was a kid.

MY: That's kind of interesting with a, the man. I thought it was because I was a girl.

TY: No, I think men, well, I think --

MY: That I was supposed to walk with very dainty --

TY: Very timidly.

JY: Well, I think it's more exaggerated with women, with, being a girl.

TY: Yeah, I would guess that.

MY: Yeah.

JY: I, I don't know. In the present day when you see somebody walking down the street, unless you recognize the clothes, look a little different --

MY: Yeah, but they didn't like --

JY: -- women walk the same as men.

TY: Well, we had a lot of, at the lab, we had a lot of Japanese dignitary coming to our lab. And you can tell, the way they -- when they down the hall, you could tell by --

JY: It's the same thing that she's talking about.

TY: Yeah, you can tell, you can tell --

JY: It's the same kind of shuffle, shuffle, kind of...

TY: -- the difference. You really can tell the difference.

MY: With even a man?

TY: Yeah.

MY: Oh.

JY: Oh, really? It was the men you're talking about?

TY: Yeah.

JY: Oh, I thought you were talking about women. Hmm. Maybe so.

MY: A woman. Because, I just thought the way that Fumiko, you know Fumiko, she's very soft-spoken, you know how very lady-like she is? And she said, "Mo sukoshi, johin naru ga kara shinasai." Johin is what?

JY: Dainty?

TY: Proper, properly?

MY: Dainty? Yeah, dainty. "Aru kara kata shinai ikenai." And I said, oh really? And I remember getting up and going like this. And she was so funny. She was very, "Oh ho." And she said, "Well, this kid" --

JY: Did it work?

MY: Well, I forgot. I mean, you know when you're walking, you don't try to remember every step, or trying to, where you were stepping. And so I thought, oh, well. [Laughs]

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

AI: And excuse me, what was Fumiko's relationship now, to you?

MY: She was my cousin. She was my mom's older sister's daughter. And her father was a doctor. My uncle was a doctor. And he was one who had taken a second wife rather quickly, which kind of appalled both my cousins. My cousin kept saying, well, she was quite upset. 'Cause she was a teenager at that time. I think I was --

TY: Well, she still corresponds with her and talks to her on the phone periodically.

MY: I talk to her on the phone. See, my mother died in 1997, at ninety-eight. I used to, when she was living with me. And I just didn't have anybody to talk Japanese to, and I was getting kind of rusty. So I thought, well, I'll call -- so I called Fumiko up about once a month to talk to her and chat with her and find out how she's doing. And she's in her nineties now, Fumiko is. But she's doing well, she's okay. And then I call Asako, my other cousin. Asako was another, the other cousin who was the youngest daughter of my mother's oldest brother. He's, did you know Motoko? Mike knew her very well.

TY: Yeah, I met Motoko, yeah.

MY: It was Motoko's youngest sister. Asako is.

TY: Is what? Asako?

MY: Yeah, yeah. She's the only one left in that family.

TY: Asako.

MY: Yeah, Asako.

TY: Is she the one in Beppu?

MY: Asako-san. No, that's Sachiko-san.

TY: Oh. Can't get the, keep these relatives straight.

MY: But anyway, those are the two women that I, my cousins, they're my first cousins. And so Fumiko and I became very close, so we've kept in constant touch. And her daughters came, her two grandchildren, granddaughters and her daughter came out to California and we took them around. Did they go up to San Francisco? No. That was only Makiko.

JY: No, the one that lives in Yokohama and her daughter.

MY: Oh, Keiko.

JY: Keiko. Keiko and her daughter.

MY: Okay. Keiko is Fumiko's daughter.

JY: Right.

MY: So, so we're, pretty much keep in close touch with our relatives in Japan.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

AI: So then in the meantime, then, a year had passed that you had been in Japan. Of course, you, Tosh, had returned back to Seattle. But, so how --

MY: And Joe, Joe wasn't in school yet.

AI: Right. Right, you were still very young. By the time you returned to Seattle, you would have been maybe about three and a half, or four years old, Joe?

JY: I guess so.

MY: Four.

JY: About four.

AI: Four? And then when you returned to Seattle, what grade were you going into then?

MY: They put me back, they put me in the same grade that I was in when I left. I didn't lose any time, actually, which was --

TY: But then, but then you were a year behind me after that.

MY: No, we were still in the same grade.

TY: No? Same class?

MY: Yeah. Remember, remember we had that big argument about the fact that we were supposed to graduate together? And then you didn't want me to graduate so I stayed in school?

TY: You keep telling me that, but I don't remember that at all. [Laughs]

MY: Well, there's no reason that one would stay in school, high school for an extra year, just because you want to? [Laughs]

TY: I didn't remem-, I just don't remember. [Laughs]

MY: Why would I stay in high school for another year? Just because I liked high school so much I didn't want to graduate?

TY: Yeah, I know. But I just don't -- no, it's just, I'm just telling that I don't remember that part at all.

MY: But anyway, Dad said, "Tosh said he doesn't want you graduating with him."

TY: Oh. I think Dad felt that, he was just using me as an excuse. [Laughs]

MY: Yeah, yeah. So he said, "You have to stay in high school for another year and graduate next year." And that's how it happened -- I still happened to be in high school during Pearl Harbor.

TY: Okay, if it makes you feel any better, right in front of the television, I'll apologize to you. [Laughs]

MY: [Laughs] But then, what happened with that was that I was still in high school during Pearl Harbor.

TY: Uh-huh, yeah, I remember that, yeah.

MY: But then, but then I immediately quit school because we were short of money.

TY: So did I, yeah.

MY: And I went to work. But that was okay, because I already had enough credits to graduate anyway, you know, I didn't need that fifth year. I was just waiting for --

TY: Yeah, but didn't you get, didn't they give you a diploma in --

MY: Camp.

TY: -- in camp, right?

MY: Yeah.

JY: Did you get a diploma? Or did you get --

TY: I graduated already.

MY: He graduated. He was at the University of Washington.

JY: Oh, you did graduate. Oh, yeah, that's right.

TY: I was a freshman at UW when the war started.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

AI: Let's not get to far ahead of that, because I wanted to just go back just a little bit. Because I didn't get a chance to ask Joe for some of his earlier memories as a young kid, growing up there on Beacon Hill, and some of the things that might stand out in your mind as you were in grade school.

JY: Yeah, I just have, kind of snapshots of things that happened. I remember Beacon Hill grammar school very well. I went to it until I was, in the fourth grade when we were evacuated. And I remember playing sports. My best friend in, at Beacon Hill was a guy named Fumio Sakamoto, who was a super athlete. And he was a year older than me. So he taught me how to play various sports and so forth. And I had another friend named Arthur Takeuchi, who lived right, Takeuchi, who lived right down the hill from --

TY: Two blocks from us, yeah.

JY: -- just two blocks away from us. And then I had some Italian friends who were across the street. And that's, those are the only friends that I remember. When I came back from Japan -- I don't know if my first language was English or not. Do you know? Was it?

MY: Yeah, I wasn't...

JY: Well, I can remember my mother telling the story about when I came back from Japan, somebody spoke to me in English. You know, the same trip. And apparently I said something like, "Anna koto wakaranai." Or something --

MY: And so you already lost your --

JY: Saying, "I don't understand." Because I guess at that point in the brief time I was in Japan, I had just completely switched over to Japanese. So I don't know how long it took me, but by the time I went to grammar school, I think I was able to speak English, I'm sure.

MY: Yeah, because you were already --

TY: You were in, you were in Japan a year plus, and so during that time, you just switched over to English, Japanese then.

JY: Yeah, apparently so.

MY: Three, from three, that's a pretty crucial period, from three to four.

JY: Yeah. But, but with them, I was speaking English anyway, I'm sure. And so I must have picked English back up again quick enough by the time I went to kindergarten.

MY: So we were speaking in English even when we were in Japan, with each other.

JY: Is that right?

MY: Yeah.

JY: Well, maybe, I don't know. You know, I don't remember it. I just remember Mom saying that I had completely forgotten English.

MY: Yeah, but then, while I was at the Kitazakis', you went back with Mom to Hakata. So we were separated at that point. And then I remember going back to Hakata, and we went to Russia.

JY: Oh, really?

MY: For one -- no --

TY: You went to where?

MY: No, we went to Korea. Because Korea, because that was in North Korea.

TY: You were in North Korea then? Is that --

MY: That was North Korea, where Uncle was.

TY: Oh, is that right?

MY: It was called Keijo at that time. North Korea. And so we took a day trip across the border.

TY: To Russia?

MY: Yeah, is Korea right next to Russia?

TY: Yeah.

MY: Yeah, right, okay. I don't have my geography straight. We went on a day trip, on a sightseeing trip. And I had a picture of us, or of me, coming down a flight of stairs, it's some kind of a --

TY: Shrine, or something?

MY: -- official building. You know, when they have those really large, long stairs coming down, the stairs. But that's the only recollection I have of that trip. It's just the weirdest thing.

TY: I'll be darned.

MY: And Joe doesn't remember probably at all, but my uncle, I think our uncle, our uncle decided that he would take us on a day trip and we went to Russia, and went on a sightseeing tour and then came back. And then we came back to Japan together. And then I -- and then I went to school. And I think you -- I can't remember now whether you guys came home before I did, or what, at that time.

JY: I don't know.

MY: When you and Mom came home together?

JY: I don't know. My recollections of, like for example Beacon Hill was --

MY: Or he was staying, or you stayed, yeah.

JY: -- when I was in like the third grade already. So I just don't remember early days.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

MY: So I came back, and I graduated the following year in eighth grade. I was already put, I was put into eighth grade, I think I missed seventh grade altogether. I was in eighth grade, and then I graduated to go to Cleveland High School. And you graduated with me at that time. No, we weren't in the same --

TY: No, '41. I graduated '41 and you were still --

MY: Oh, that was high school. I was talking about Beacon Hill School.

TY: Beacon Hill School?

MY: You have that picture of you, but I'm not in it. So we probably weren't in the same class.

JY: That must be, yeah.

MY: But there were more than one eighth grade class, eighth grade class? Graduating --

JY: I wouldn't think so.

TY: Yeah, there were two classes.

MY: Yeah.

JY: Two eighth grade classes?

TY: I'm not, I'm not too sure -- I remember having the two class pictures, and I don't know what happened to the other one, but the one that I'm in, I still have.

MY: I have my graduating class picture, and we had, we had to sew our own dresses in a sewing class.

TY: Oh.

AI: For eighth grade graduation?

MY: In eighth grade, yeah. And so it's the most, it's the most amusing picture because all the hems are sort of like this, and all the girls', girls' dresses are awful. [Laughs] Because we didn't know how to sew, we had, that was our project. The eighth grade project was sewing our graduation clothes. And I remember everybody going, "Oh my God." But we had to wear our dress for the graduation picture. I might have that someplace.

TY: Oh, I wonder if that was true with our class, too. I didn't notice that, of course I didn't --

MY: Yeah, I was looking at that this morning, you know the picture you have? Where you were down here and everybody was up here?

TY: Yeah, yeah. [Laughs]

MY: And I was kind of glancing at them, and they look pretty respectable.

TY: Oh. [Laughs]

AI: So the two of you, then, both had your eighth grade graduations, and both of you went into Cleveland High School.

MY: Beacon Hill School.

TY: Well, the year I graduated, they changed the boundary line.

MY: They re-district.

TY: And so my older brother -- Mike was two years older than we are -- he was going to Franklin already. But the year I graduated, they changed the boundary line, and I remember in the school assembly when they made the announcement that, "You are going to Cleveland High School," and all the girls started bawling. I mean, they were just crying. It was a, chaos for about half an hour. [Laughs]

MY: Well, it felt like it was way out in boonies.

TY: Yeah, it was a country school. It was a, Cleveland High School was the newest high school there --

MY: Right by Boeings airfield.

TY: -- brand new school.

MY: Was it --

TY: It was toward Boeing --

MY: Yeah.

TY: -- in south Seattle. And it was, to us it was out in the tules, and we didn't want to go to that country school. We wanted to go to Franklin High School. But of course, we couldn't. So --

MY: And then we took a bus by the, that grocery store.

TY: By the Beacon Hill, that district there, we transferred over.

MY: Yeah.

TY: Well, we walked up to there.

MY: We walked to there and then we took a bus from there to school. And it was a long ride to school. I mean, it was --

TY: Well, now it's nothing, but in those days it seemed, it was considered, in those days, I think, it was a long ride. Must have been at least four miles.

MY: Oh, that's not very much.

AI: You were saying that when you were at Beacon, that there weren't that many Japanese Americans in your classes. What about at Cleveland?

MY: No, the only Japanese Americans at Cleveland High School were the farmers' kids.

TY: Well, there were a lot of -- in South Park, there were a lot of Japanese farmers at that time. And so there were --

MY: There were a few.

TY: -- a handful of Japanese. Not like Broadway or Garfield or Franklin, but there were oh, maybe, maybe about one-eighth of the class, students were Asian, and Japanese.

JY: That's still a lot.

TY: Huh?

MY: That's still a lot, yeah.

JY: That's still a lot, one-eighth of the school.

TY: Well, that was, it was, I think it was a lot more than --

MY: But I remember that Mike, at Franklin High School, Kenji Okuda -- that our parents knew a lot of the, the kids who went to Franklin High School, the Japanese American kids who went there, were friends of our parents.

TY: Yeah.

MY: But at Cleveland High School, our parents, we didn't know any, have any family friends whose children went to Cleveland High School. I remember that, the distinction. That Mike knew a lot of kids at Franklin High School who used to -- that we used to know from Japanese school, or people that my dad knew. But in Cleveland High School, these, the students who were going to Cleveland High School were, seemed to be in a totally different part of the city. Or they were, it wasn't maybe geographical, but it was probably that they were farmers.

TY: Well, it was partly geographical, and then they were farmers.

MY: Yeah, so the, so we didn't really become friends with very many of the Japanese Americans in Cleveland High School. Did we?

TY: No.

MY: Remember? The only person was Elsie Yamashita, and she was, went to Beacon Hill School with us.

TY: And Hiro Eguchi was one of our neighbors, too, I knew him, but not really well. But that's only one that, only person I really knew in --

MY: Yeah.

TY: -- Japanese American that I knew in Cleveland High School.

AI: So, although you didn't have a lot of Japanese American classmates at Cleveland High School, still it sounds like you were, still kept in touch with the Japanese American community, partly because of your father's activities.

MY: And we also went to Japanese school.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 31>

AI: And Joe, did you go to Japanese school also, while you were in grade school?

JY: I did. Not very successfully, but I had to go. I think it was equivalent to the grade you were in, in regular school. So I must have gone through the fourth grade.

MY: Fourth grade, at least.

JY: I, and later on in years -- well, not later on, actually, a couple years later when we went to Crystal City -- they had a Japanese school there. And apparently I was so bad that they put me back in the first grade again. So I must not have learned too much at Beacon. But I do recall going to, walking down with them after school, going down the hill from Beacon Hill, going down into the valley and up across. And then we'd stop and get a ginger at a little store on the way.

TY: Oh, that's right, yeah.

JY: And then we'd go to Japanese school and so forth. So I remember things, things like that. And we had to walk down past the Marine Hospital.

MY: We went across the bridge, sometimes. Yeah, it was a Marine Hospital --

JY: Yeah, we did go across the bridge, and then right in front of that Bailey Gatzert --

MY: Bailey Gatzert School, yeah.

TY: By the bridge, yeah.

JY: -- School we'd go down the street there, and that's where that little store was, that we used to stop and get ginger. Little piece of sugared ginger.

TY: That store was across the street from the Japanese School on Rainier Avenue.

JY: Was it?

TY: Yeah, right on the corner where right now there's a sports store there, I think, where it used to be.

MY: You know that Marine Hospital was -- do you remember when it wasn't there? We used to fly kites up there.

JY: Really? I thought it was always there.

MY: No, I remember -- go all the way back.

JY: When you lived there?

MY: Yeah.

JY: Huh. You mean they built it while we were living in Beacon Hill?

MY: Uh-huh.

JY: I'll be darned.

TY: I think, no I think it was -- well, as I recall, they were building it when we moved there.

MY: Yeah, maybe.

JY: So maybe that's why I don't remember it.

TY: And there was --

MY: And then there was, and then they put that fence there. Remember that fence that they had?

TY: And they called it, it was the Marine Hospital. Huh?

MY: But the fence was not there. That was not, the fence wasn't there.

TY: No it wasn't. Just the trees. And they put the fence in.

MY: And so we used to go to the, to the area there to fly kites. Because it was on top of the hill, and there was a lot of wind.

TY: Yeah, I remember that.

MY: Yeah, and then the, and then the hospital --

JY: It's still there, isn't it?

TY: Huh?

JY: Is it still there?

MY: It's not a hospital anymore. Marine Hospital.

TY: The...

MY: Some kind of a community center.

TY: No, it's a -- oh, gee. What is it now?

MY: Employment center. Veterans center?

TY: No, that, no that book, e-mail... what is the name of that? Oh, shoot, I can't remember now.

AI: I think it's the Amazon --

TY: Amazon dot com. Yeah, they're there. They have their big shop there. And they store their books --

MY: A shop?

TY: Big, they store, they store all --

JY: They converted the hospital into an office building, basically?

TY: Yeah, they've taken over most of the building, I think.

JY: Hmm.

TY: Well, before it was Marine Hospital, and then it was a public hospital, public health hospital, and then I think it was a private hospital. Pacific Medical something hospital, at one time. And then they got, Amazon dot com bought it out and bought the whole building. I think they remodeled it, and I think they, their whole operation is there, now. Isn't that right?

MY: Mmm. It's kind of a -- so the original building is still there?

TY: Yeah.

MY: So, it's kind of a landmark, right? Because you could see it from anywhere in the city.

JY: Yeah, I can remember the park also, that --

TY: Beacon Hill Park.

JY: -- used to, right by the Higanos'.

MY: Yeah.

JY: And I used to walk down there and play in the park. And I used to think it was a huge park, you know? And when we drove by there a few years ago, it's just a teeny weeny little park. [Laughs] Middle of a city block. But the reason I could go there by myself is because the Higanos lived right there. So I felt like if something happened, I could just go right across the alley there, be with the Higanos. So I spent a lot of time in that park, when I was really young.

TY: They had a wading pool there.

JY: Yeah, they did. I remember that.

TY: And they had a handball court.

JY: And they had a basketball court that I was trying to learn how to play basketball, but I couldn't get the ball up to the net. I just couldn't heave it enough to get it up to the -- it used to be really frustrating.

MY: They had a tennis court there, too.

TY: Yeah.

JY: Yeah, I don't remember, I wasn't old enough to play tennis.

TY: They had two tennis courts and they had a handball court, just a concrete wall?

JY: I remember that.

TY: You remember that?

JY: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We used to play that.

TY: The court on both sides of it.

JY: Yeah.

TY: Yeah, yeah.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 32>

JY: I remember that. And I remember Bismark, our dog. You remember Bismark?

TY: Oh, yeah.

JY: That got poisoned, or something. That was a tragic event.

MY: Oh, yeah.

TY: No, Bismark is not the, Bismark is the dog that, it was in our old house in Fourteenth Avenue South.

JY: Well, did you bring him up to --

TY: That was the house that you were born in? That had the Bismark. And in the back we had a great big dog house?

JY: No, I don't remember that, but I remember, I'm sure that Bismark was at Beacon Hill, wasn't he?

MY: Well, we had more than one... we had more than one, yeah.

TY: We had, Beacon Hill School, we had Felix, that was a German police -- and we had a collie.

JY: No, the one I remember is a German shepherd.

MY: Yeah, because I think we had more than one --

TY: Oh, a German, well no, that was Felix.

MY -- we had more than one, no, we had more than one Bismark.

TY: No.

MY: Yeah, we did. 'Cause we lost one, and then Dad got another German shepherd and we called it Bismark.

TY: We did?

MY: Yeah, and then after that we had --

TY: On Beacon Hill?

MY: Yeah.

TY: Did we have -- because we had a German police dog there called Felix.

MY: Yeah, I remember that, too.

TY: You remember that?

JY: I don't remember Felix. I just remember the name Bismark. [Laughs]

TY: And the Bismark that we're --

JY: So I'm inclined to agree with her. We had another one.

TY: Well, Bismark Number One, if that's the case -- I don't remember the second one -- but he used to like to lick rocks.

MY: Oh.

TY: Remember, and we used to attach him to our wagon? That was when we were still little kids. And we'd throw the rock and three of us would be on the wagon, and the dog goes, choo. And we'd go flying in ten different directions? Don't you remember that?

MY: Yeah, I kind of remember about the rock. Isn't that funny? You remember... that's a funny thing.

TY: Yeah, he was a big dog. And he bit the newspaper boy one time, and I think Dad was hauled into the court.

MY: Oh yeah, I remember that was --

TY: And I don't know how that was resolved, but he was a big dog.

MY: Yeah, he was let out -- I was telling Jeni about that, right? About the dog that this couple whose boy -- was he a newspaper boy?

TY: Yeah.

MY: A delivery boy?

TY: A delivery -- no, newspaper boy.

MY: Yeah. But the dog apparently really didn't bite him, he just kind of scared him. And the parents apparently burned him and then took him to court and said the dog bit this child. And I remember Dad telling me about this years later. That they, the judge was furious -- that they had the child examined by a doctor, they found that the child had been burned with some kind of an object.

TY: Burned instead.

MY: And, in order to sue our family. And so the judge said, "Any parent who would put their child through something like this," and really got very angry. So that's how he, he didn't get --

TY: Oh, I see. I didn't remember that part.

MY: Yeah, he got out, he was not...

TY: But I knew that he was hauled into court.

MY: Yeah.

TY: So that's when we were still, when we lived in the house in Fourteenth Avenue. Fourteenth --

MY: Yeah, so Mom was saying, well fortunately that was settled, because, to their favor.

TY: Oh, that right. That Bismark, that dog was there before you were born. So that's why you don't remember --

MY: It was that first dog, yeah.

TY: Maybe we did -- gosh, I don't remember that second Bismark.

MY: So we had, if he remembered the, we had another Bismark.

TY: I'll be darned.

JY: And he got poisoned.

MY: Yeah.

JY: I remember, I remember being with him when --

TY: Well, Felix got poisoned, too.

JY: -- he went down into the basement and died.

TY: We had that coal chute window in, below our kitchen? And I think the poison was put into that, thrown through that window in the basement, the dog ate it and died.

JY: Yeah, I don't remember what the circumstances were.

MY: Well, a lot of people were kind of fearful of German shepherds, you know.

JY: Yeah. 'Cause we used to let 'em run around. [Laughs]

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 33>

AI: Well, I'm interested, you mentioned this incident with, that your father and mother had to deal with, being brought into court, but I'm wondering --

MY: It was the second time that they had, that happened to them.

AI: -- what kinds of things did your mother and father tell you as far as your behavior, or lessons that they wanted you to listen to, or anything about the way -- did they ever, for example, tell you that you needed to act a certain way because you were Nihonjin, or any of that type of thing?

TY: Yeah, we were discussing that --

MY: That there was, it was definitely, that you had to behave yourself, so that you don't attract --

TY: Bring shame to the family --

MY: -- too much attention.

TY: -- and to the Japanese community, that sort of things, yeah. And I think they've said that quite frequently. Reminding us --

JY: And in different ways. [Laughs]

MY: And sometimes, I remember, as we were talking about last night, that I remember the family whose son -- who was a teenager, I guess -- was a -- there was some kind of incident where a group of boys took a car and went on a joy-ride in somebody's car. And one of the boys was a Japanese American kid in our neighborhood. And it became kind of a huge community affair. Where they -- and then our parents said, "Nihonjin dakara," you have to, it was a -- I guess they've never had an incident where a Japanese American kid had been in trouble with the police before. You know, where they, where a child had, they had reason to -- and I remember our parents saying that they, that it was kind of a, haji ni naru, disgrace for the Japanese community, and that it reflects on the whole community when one child does something like this. And it was sort of like, and a kind of object lesson that they told us about was, well, you should behave yourself and never get into trouble like this, otherwise it would be a shame on the whole Japanese community. "Nihonjin no haji ni naru kara."

JY: And the family.

TY: Yeah, family, yeah.

MY: Yeah. But then that, too, but the, to expand that out to the whole Japanese community is something that was very strong in the Isseis, I think.

<End Segment 33> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 34>

AI: What did it mean to you, as a child or as a teenager, to be called Japanese --

MY: Be on your best behavior.

AI: Right. Or to be Japanese American? When your parents said, "Nihonjin dakara, you're Japanese and so..." and so what? How, what did that mean to you?

JY: I just obeyed orders. [Laughs]

TY: Just to be able to stay out of trouble, right?

JY: Yeah. I didn't think about it in any sociological sense or anything, it just, that's what my parents said. So I better do it, kind of.

MY: Yeah, but I think that it kind of pushed you to excel, going in the other direction, not to shame the family, but to do better. You have to do better than a white person and, but they didn't say that in so many words. But you had a sense that this was something they expected of us. Did you have that sense?

JY: Hmm... I don't know that I excelled at anything. [Laughs] That long ago.

Jeni Y: Some indication in your discussions earlier, that there were some feelings. Because remember when you said that, Joe, when you had a teacher, had to do with some experiences with a teacher, he was commenting on his children, the hair color of his children. When he grew up, he thought his children would be -- do you remember that? I don't want to --

MY: Oh, his blond, that he wanted to be a blond? Yeah -- no. That he, when he gets, "When I get married, I'm going to, my wife is going to be a blond." And I, and I said, "Joe, you can't..." Or no -- "When I get married, my children are going be blond." And I said, "Joe, that's ridiculous. You're not going to ever have blond children." [Laughs]

JY: I don't remember that.

MY: And so he said, "Yeah, because it's too hard being a Japanese." But that was in camp. And I thought that you had a blond schoolteacher, 'cause I thought you had a crush on your teacher.

TY: That camp in Minidoka.

MY: In Minidoka, yeah.

JY: I had a blond teacher in Crystal City. But not in Minidoka.

MY: Yeah, but that was -- I wasn't there when, there. But, so I remember asking you -- 'cause I didn't know where that came from. I was, remember, asking you that your teacher was hakujin.

JY: I don't, I wouldn't have thought I even knew what a "blond" meant, in those days. I was, what? I was ten? And I didn't see any anywhere. [Laughs]

MY: I know. That was why it was curious. I was, remember being curious.

JY: Unless I was looking at a Montgomery Ward's catalog or something.

MY: Something like, that, yeah. Or a movie, or something. Because I remember asking, you know, I thought, "Well, that's kind of strange. Where'd he get that idea?" And so I remember asking you, "Is your schoolteacher a blond?" And you said, "No."

TY: Well, we did spend a lot of time in camp looking at Montgomery Ward catalog. [Laughs]

JY: Yeah, that could be. [Laughs]

MY: But that kind of indicates, kind of a desire not to be a Japanese.

JY: Uh-huh. I'm sure it did.

MY: "It's too hard," you said, "It's too hard being a Japanese."

JY: Yeah, I don't remember saying that, but...

MY: Yeah... and you were what? Nine? Nine?

TY: Ten.

JY: Ten? I was ten by then.

<End Segment 34> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 35>

AI: But before that time, before World War II had started, before that, did you have some sense in yourselves as, a pride of being, having Japanese heritage, or positive feelings? Or, on the other hand, any negative feelings? And this is before World War II starts. Any sense of that?

TY: Well, I'm not sure. I think maybe you try to do the best you can, and not make, get into trouble. But I don't know whether I thought in terms of whether it would affect the Japanese community, in such. I think that maybe I might have thought that I didn't want to do some,- get in trouble because we'd be, it would reflect on my mom and dad. But beyond that, I don't know. I really --

JY: Yeah, we talked about that a little bit, and you know, like when I was really little, when I think about the days in Beacon Hill before the war, I can remember going to the grocery store down on Jackson Street where some good friends of ours owned a grocery store, I remember going to dinner at Gyokoken.

MY: Gyokoken --

TY: Gyokoken, the Chinese restaurant, yeah.

JY: It was a Chinese restaurant run by Japanese, wasn't it?

TY: Yeah, right.

JY: And I remember, and I was really little. And I can remember doing that. I remember she sent me to a, an art school. A class that I had absolutely no talent in art. And I, this --

MY: I did?

JY: Yeah, it was --

TY: Where?

JY: It was with -- what do you call it? It was charcoal.

TY: Charcoal?

MY: Oh, charcoal?

JY: Yeah, drawing with charcoal. And so I did that for a couple of weeks.

TY: Where?

JY: Someplace in Japantown.

TY: You're kidding. Boy, I don't remember that.

JY: Yeah. And, and a lot of our parents' friends were Japanese. So they'd come over, and it was just, that's just sort of the way it was. I never thought of it in terms of them being Japanese, and my other friends being, white and what have you. I just don't consciously remember --

TY: Well, Dad and Mom, because of Dad's prominence in the community, they entertained a lot.

JY: Yeah.

TY: And we had people over for dinner all the time. And they're mostly Nihonjins. People from the Japanese community. And so that's where most of the contacts were. Most of the people that Dad brought over for dinner. And Mother would be --

JY: And once in a while we saw his colleagues. It was the Spanglers, and so forth, but I just thought of them as being his boss and colleagues. But again, I don't --

TY: Beyond that.

JY: -- remember thinking of them as being white versus the rest of the people being Japanese, or anything.

TY: I guess we just weren't conscious of it, for some reason.

MY: Yeah, I think that unless you're thrown into the context of a all-, kind of a mix-, unless you have some people talking about it, and you're being different, or...

TY: Well, maybe being, maybe our type of lifestyle that we had was a little bit atypical of other Japanese Americans, I don't know. Do you think?

MY: It could be, yeah. I was just trying to figure out what it was that made us not too aware of how, how different -- well, you said that when you were in high school, you noticed how different --

JY: Yeah. That's the first time that I can remember --

MY: That was when you were in, at Hyde Park High School, when you were in Chicago.

JY: -- that was when I was a sophomore. I was telling them that when I -- the first time I can remember really being conscious of being different from other white kids -- because all my friends were white at that point -- was that we had a huge mirror leading out to the front door at our house in Chicago. And a couple of my friends would come over one day, and we were walking out to go someplace. And both of them were like 6'1" or so, and then I was like what I am now, which is about 5'4" or whatever. And I happened to be walking by the mirror, and I thought, "Whoa. I look a lot different from them." And it's really the first time that I, that it just struck me, that I wasn't white, I guess. I don't what it was. But just the fact that I just looked different, so much different from them. And this was after camp and stuff.

TY: Maybe just the, maybe just the height. [Laughs]

JY: Well, it could be partly that, yeah.

MY: "Oh, I'm so short." [Laughs]

JY: Yeah, it might have been that, I don't know. But I could remember thinking, gee I look, I'm just so different from them.

MY: And that was when you were sixteen years old? Already sixteen or so?

JY: Probably fifteen.

MY: Fifteen? Yeah, fifteen years old.

AI: And that would have been the late '40s in Chicago.

JY: Right, that was in '47, probably.

AI: After the war was over.

MY: So even as children, I think that it felt kind of, quite normal to us to, the intermingling of our lives with, because Dad, as we've, Dad's social life was very much in the Japanese community. Because he loved the Japanese culture. He was interested in song, and remember he sang? And he was interested in dance, and all the, all the activities of the Japanese community. But at the same time he worked with, his colleagues were all white at work. And so he felt very comfortable in both worlds. I don't think that he felt any -- and I think that that must have kind of rubbed off on us, too.

JY: Maybe so. That could be.

TY: I think you're right, yeah.

MY: We just felt, we just felt very comfortable in -- even if we were in, out of context in whatever the world that we were in. And feeling, talking about feeling out of place, I mean, I felt more out of place when I was in Japan.

TY: Yeah.

MY: You know, because the Japanese people were very vocal about how different, they call you Amerika-no ojosan, and they comment on your clothes, and they comment on your speech, and they comment on your age -- they ask you, on your appearance and so forth. So you were always constantly aware. Whereas wherever we were here, we were simply accepted into both the Japanese community as well as the other.

JY: Yeah, that could be. It's just a total unawareness of being Japanese.

MY: And our dad, our dad had a -- like Mom always said, he had this very amazing knack of feeling very much at home with -- he used to bring people, he would find people sleeping on the streets and he would tell them, "You don't have to do this." And he would bring them home for dinner.

TY: Yeah, I know he was bringing home lot of strange people when --

JY: Used to drive Mom nuts.

TY: -- unannounced. [Laughs]

MY: And drive them around, or loan them money. And Mom used to say that Dad really feels totally, totally at home with a hobo on the street, or with a king of some, she used to say that quite often. That he was one of these people who was very, very adaptable to make other people feel very comfortable with him, too. He, that his life was like that. He was very, very open to different kinds of people.

<End Segment 35> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 36>

AI: Do you think that your father or your mother -- again, before the war started -- gave you a sense that really you could do whatever you wanted to? That you could achieve pretty much whatever you wanted? Or was there also, maybe at the same time, some sense of limitation of any sort? Because now especially for the two of you, you were a little older, you're in high school, it's a time when you're starting to think ahead to your later, to your adult years, kind of having some hopes and dreams of what you might become.

MY: We kind of talked about that, because we went to Lordsburg, we, when Dad was talking about, "What are you going to do?"

TY: Yeah.

MY: And then I said I was going to major in English, and he said, "English? What are you going to do with that? You have to prepare for a career." And I remember Tosh and I -- and he kept going on and on about getting an education, and doing this and that. And I remember you and I kind of looking at each other and saying, "Gosh, does he get any news in this place?" This is in Lordsburg, New Mexico, when we went to visit him. We thought, "You must be totally isolated from their, from the rest of the world. I mean, does he know there's a war on? It was just kind of, it was a sort of a -- but Dad was kind of a nervous energy, too. I mean, he was nervous about seeing us.

TY: Well, he was doing a lot of small talk in the beginning.

MY: He was kind of on a roll, talking, chattering, chattering.

TY: Yeah, small, very small talk, and I think it's just that he was trying to put us at ease, not to worry about him, I guess implying not to worry about him, but in the process he was so nervous about it that it worked, I think it backfired. It made me feel a little bit --

MY: Well, he was saying, "When I was in college," da-da-da, "I was doing this and that," and then he was telling us that he was, there were some German, German and Italian sailors who were picked up at sea who were in the, POWs in that camp. And he said that he was translating for the Germans.

TY: That he even wrote letters for them.

MY: Yeah. Well, he wrote letters for the American soldiers who were guards there.

TY: Oh that's right, yeah.

MY: Because they didn't, they were illiterate --

TY: Some of them were illiterate --

MY: -- and they wanted to write letters to their families, 'cause they were from the South. And he said, "So I write letters, English letters for them to send to their mother or something, 'cause they didn't know how to write." But then he was also telling us, when he was asking us about what my plans were for college, that, "Well, I took German in college, and we have some German sailors here, and I've been conversing with them. See, I took German in college, and so it came very useful. And even here," so he was talking, bragging -- he used to, he was kind of a braggart anyway -- [laughs] -- but he was going on and on about how useful it would be to get a college education, but you have to prepare. I mean, English didn't seem like a very useful thing to him at that point. Although he encouraged me to take English when I was in high school. And he gave me books of poetry and things like that. But in camp he just decided that --

TY: It wasn't very practical.

MY: Yeah, that I had to go to medical school, or become a doctor.

AI: But prior to that point, before, before the camp and the worries of the war and that type of thing, did you pretty much have a sense that you were all going to go to college? You were all going to do some kind of --

MY: Always.

AI: -- have some kind of work life that --

TY: Well, I think we, we were discussing this last night, that we sort of -- he never specifically said, "You have to go to college." We just assumed that we were going to go. There was no question about not going. So the question never came up. And we just, it was just automatically --

MY: Just one of those things that we thought we would do.

TY: Yeah, we just automatically assumed that we'd be going to college. So that's the way we geared our college-prep courses in high school, too. It was, everything was geared towards going to school -- going to college. So I don't remember Dad ever asking me, "Are you really seriously thinking about going to college?"

MY: Yeah, I don't either. But I do remember, I went to college during the war years. And, because monumental obstacles. I couldn't get in because I was an "enemy alien" and so forth. And then once I got into college and there were all kinds of problems. And I remember a friend of mine asked me to write about my college difficulties, that I had going to college. So I sat down and started writing it, and I thought to myself, I must have been really dense. I mean, any sensible young person would have given up. I mean, said, oh well, to heck with it, and given it up. And I, and I just thought to myself, I think it was Dad's train-, kind of ingrained in us, you have to go, you have to do --

TY: Yeah, unconscious or otherwise, I think he did.

MY: And it was just something, no matter what, no matter what happened, no matter, Mike got kicked out of school, I got kicked out of the sorority house, I mean, all these different things that were happening to us during World War II, and somehow we just hung in there.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And so I thought, any sensible person might have just given up on it.

<End Segment 36> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 37>

AI: Well, what were some of the other kinds of values that you think were really important to your mother and your father, that they talked to about when you were kids or teenagers, things that they emphasized to you that they wanted to, wanted you to live by?

MY: He, do you remember any lectures?

TY: Well, just little things, like, when eating, when were eating, table manners. "Don't put your elbows on the table." We'd be eating with elbows, and Mother would hit our elbow like that, tell us to get our elbow off the table. Things like that I think probably made an impact, but...

MY: Manners.

TY: Manners, yeah, was an important thing.

MY: Manners, and, so she's talking about values, though.

JY: Yeah, I can't think of any lectures or anything that I ever got.

TY: Yeah, I can't, either.

JY: It just kind of --

TY: Subtle things.

JY: Yeah.

MY: But you know, Dad was also a very honest person. Mom used to say, "He is bakashojiki." That he is "foolishly honest." And, I think that that kind of rubs off, too, because --

TY: I think so. Because, a lot of things, I think it's just very unconscious. In other words, it just rubbed off on us, I think. Because I don't remember Mom or Dad saying anything very specific.

JY: Yeah.

TY: Pointed things to us.

MY: Didn't they ever say, "Don't rob a bank," or anything? [Laughs]

TY: Yeah, right. [Laughs]

JY: [Laughs]

TY: Yeah, we knew that was wrong. [Laughs]

AI: Any kind of religious training, or church life or that type of thing? That influenced you in some way as kids?

MY: Yeah, we went to the Methodist -- were you a member of the Japanese Methodist Church?

TY: Japanese Methodist Church?

JY: I sang a solo there.

MY: Oh, that's right.

TY: That's right.

MY: So we belonged to the choir.

TY: Tell them about that.

JY: Well, I must have been, I had to have been in like the third grade or something. And somehow, they decided I should sing a, had a little kid sing a solo with the choir. So I went over to this --

MY: We were both in the choir.

JY: -- yeah, I guess, I don't remember that, but...

TY: Yeah, we were both, we were both in the choir, yeah.

JY: But so I went to a family friend, in fact --

MY: Well, tell them who it was.

JY: Yeah, it turned out to be Monica Sone. In those days I knew her as Kazuko Itoi.

MY: Itoi.

TY: Itoi, yeah.

JY: And so I -- in fact, I didn't know that she was Monica Sone until a few years ago. But anyway, she was the one who was, for some reason she was my, like my voice teacher. And every day after school I'd go there and rehearse it, and rehearse it, and rehearse it, rehearse it.

TY: They lived two blocks from us, Beacon Hill.

JY: And so finally it got close to the time when I was supposed to do it. And I thought, I'm not, I can't do this. I suddenly, they took me down as sort of a dry run, dress rehearsal kind of thing.

TY: Stage fright.

JY: And all of a sudden I looked out there, and I thought there are going to be thousands of people there, and so I just absolutely said, "No, I can't do this." And they finally put me behind the choir, so that nobody could see me. And I did my thing, and I guess it worked out fine. But that's a specific incident I can remember about going to church. But I don't think that my parents were super religious or anything. It was probably because it was the proper thing to do was to go to church, so we all, we went to church.

MY: Well, Mom was, though. She always talking, talked about kamisama and kamisama this and that.

JY: Yeah, I suppose that's true.

MY: That you had to respect -- and she did, to the end of her life.

JY: Well, she got more that way, as she got older.

MY: As she older? Yeah, but she always was talking about how she prayed every day.

JY: Yeah, absolutely.

MY: And she had a kind of a prayer that she was -- she had to God bless so-and-so and so-and-so. That went on for about twenty minutes every day.

TY: And all the grandkids.

MY: All the grandkids, all of their friends, all of their friends' kids, all of their friends' grandkids. And the minister's children, and da-da-da. And then she named every single person by name. It was almost like a -- do you remember that? It was almost like a memory exercise.

JY: But that was much later on her years.

TY: No, in the later years, too, she --

MY: But she always did that.

TY: -- if she'd get interrupted in the middle of it, she'd have to start from the very beginning, to continue, because she couldn't start from the middle, remember?

JY: I think she had everything compartmentalized. Children, then the children of the children, and then --

MY: Oh, and then she, and then she told us later on in her life, when there got to be grandchildren and the great-grandchildren, she didn't remember their names. So she would say, So-and-so no chonan, the oldest son, "Chonan no chonan," you know, the oldest son of the oldest son. But she started that way back. I remember she was, always in the morning, and she, and then you said that you remember that we had a shrine. A -- what was it? Buddhist? We didn't have a Buddhist shrine because they weren't Buddhists.

TY: Well, it looked like a Buddhist shrine to me but it just, it's just very vague in my mind. It was in the house in Beacon Hill.

MY: No, you know what that was?

TY: What?

MY: That was, she had, she, but she always did that, even in Kawabe House. She had these little cups for rice and things, and that she, but so she, although she was a Christian, she had pictures of her dad and her mom, and then she had a little vase with a kind of a white flag --

TY: And a --

JY: That's probably what you -- yeah, I remember that, and that's probably what you thought --

TY: But in the house in Beacon Hill, where did she have it?

MY: It was on a shelf. On top of a bookshelf, or on top of anywhere that happened to be -- and she had a little kind of a glass -- oh, you remember that silver, like a silver bud vase? It was a very small bud vase that fluted out, and she had one of those --

TY: Like a champagne bottle?

MY: No, no, no. It was just a bud vase. It was just --

TY: Oh, no I don't --

MY: And she had a -- I don't know what that is. Is it a, it looked like a little flag with white, like a white...

JY: I don't remember.

TY: No, I don't remember, either.

MY: It looked like the kind of thing that the Shinto, the Shinto priests kind of wave around.

<End Segment 37> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 38>

AI: I'd like to continue on a little bit more about this, just a little bit more about your father, since you mentioned. And if you could tell a little bit about his poetry and some of his, the meetings that he used to have, his poetry club.

MY: Yeah, my fath-, so our dad, he founded the Senryukai of Seattle.

TY: Of Seattle, yeah.

MY: And of course, he was the president. And he had a meeting at our house. And I think it was about once a month or so. I don't remember how, it wasn't any more frequently than --

TY: Well, yeah, I think he periodically had it at the house, but other times he had it at places like Maneki and --

MY: Oh yeah, that's right. They had it at a restaurant.

TY: Yeah, other places, yeah.

MY: But very often they have the, had it at our house and I remember my mother preparing osushi, and there would be about, about how many people? About fifteen?

TY: Yeah, at the most. Not, not that big of a crowd, yeah.

MY: Fifteen poets would gather and, around our dining room table, and they would -- I think they gave themselves topics. And they got this large roll of butcher paper from somewhere, I don't know exactly where, but, and they would, and I remember that they put the butcher paper all around the room.

TY: As I recall, there were, they had, each meeting they have contests.

MY: Oh yeah, yeah.

TY: And then they put it up on the wall and then they, everybody would look at it and they pick the best one they think, by vote. And --

MY: But they took turns.

TY: Yeah, they, yeah.

MY: So what they did was they took turns and then they had a, they would write, there on the spot, they would be given a topic, and they would sit down and write. And then they would read it one by one, and then the calligrapher would take it, and he had a sumi thing, you know, you would scrape this --

TY: Sumi and fude, yeah.

MY: Sumi and fude, and he would, the calligrapher would write. That was the part that was really interesting to me. It was just fascinating to see. They would recite the poem and then it would be written on the butcher paper.

TY: Right on the spot, yeah.

MY: And so there would be all these poems all around the wall, and then they went around and they vote, they would vote which one they liked the best. And if somebody said, "I like that poem the best," they would put, the calligrapher got a brush with a red ink, and he would put one circle over it. And then if a person said, "I like that one," they did all that, and then if a second person said the same, they like the same poem, they would put another circle around it. And so, and then in the end, the poem that had the most red circles, had the largest number of votes, won. And they already had prizes. They had prizes.

TY: Yeah, I can't remember. I knew it was something, but...

MY: I remember Dad used to buy, buy little things, a notebook or whatever, a pen or a notebook or whatever that... and they had that quite often. I remember that it was just fascinating. And senryu, unlike haiku, is a very down-to-earth poetry of daily living.

TY: Sometime it's racy.

MY: Very often, apparently.

TY: Yeah. [Laughs]

MY: And so sometimes -- I didn't know that kind of vocabulary, so that, I knew when something was getting kind of bawdy, because they would start, "Ha, ha ha." They used to, there's a big laughter. And my mother -- I used to sit there in the dining room listening, because I was very interested in poetry myself. And it was just kind of a fascinating process, that they were doing. And my mother would come in from the kitchen and say, "Come in here." She would say, that, "Anna" -- what is that? "Kato na hanashi," kato, what does that kato mean? Coarse?

JY: That means "rough."

TY: Kato, yeah.

MY: Course, yeah.

JY: Coarse. Crude.

MY: "Onna no ko ga..." she didn't want me to listen to it. I didn't know what was being said, so it didn't matter. But she didn't want me to sit there listening to this bawdy language of the men. It was kind of interesting.

AI: So when she would say, "Onna no ko," she meant, "You're a girl. Get away from here, that's not for girls."

MY: Yeah, "It's not, that's not for you." And the other thing was, there was one woman in that group.

TY: I think a woman, two, a few.

MY: No, there was one, very often there was just one.

TY: Oh.

MY: And later on, maybe after, in Chicago, after the war, there were quite a few women. But in Seattle --

TY: They were being liberated, I guess. [Laughs]

MY: Yeah, in Seattle there was always this one woman who was there. She was a wife of one of the guys.

TY: She was what? Wife of one of -- oh.

MY: The wife, yeah. And she smoked. She was the first woman, Japanese woman I knew who smoked, other than the people that our parents knew, that Mom knew. And she talked very, she said, she said, "Kimi," for "you." And she just fascinated me. There's this woman who was acting like -- and then Mom said, told me, "Come on in here." 'Cause she wanted me to help her in the kitchen, for one thing, and she said, "Anna hanashi kikan demo ii no."

TY: You don't have to listen to such talk.

MY: And then, "Mrs. So-and-so, I don't know what she's doing here. Ano konna ni, otoko no nakamade. What is she doing, sitting there among men? She should be home watching her children or something like that." So she, Mom had this very proper sense of her position and women's position in the family. But, so I have this very vivid memory of the senryu, senryukai, although I didn't really understand all the, the language of the poetry that much. And I did try to, I did get some of his poems translated, but then they have to be put into poetic form, so I -- and it's rather, it's just kind of difficult. Putting Japanese poetry into English.

TY: 'Cause there's subtle meanings, I think, doesn't translate too well.

MY: Metaphors.

TY: Yeah, metaphors and things, yeah.

MY: Metaphors are really different, difficult to translate. And so we, and so I'm still sitting on it. I'm not too, I haven't really done anything for -- I would like to do something for, for the children, because they don't read Japanese. They need to be translated.

TY: We do have a book about this thick that Mother had --

MY: Compiled this book.

TY: Somebody compiled all Dad's senryu, and each of us have a copy of that book.

MY: I do. You have, we all have copies of that. You do, too?

JY: Uh-huh.

<End Segment 38> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 39>

AI: Did it seem unusual to you that you had a father who wrote poetry? In any community, there are only so many people who are writers or artists, and so forth. Did it ever strike you as strange that your father was so devoted to poetry?

MY: No, it just --

TY: Not really. Maybe we thought it was natural. I don't know whether, just took for granted, I guess.

MY: It's part of... yeah, I think my dad, being interested in literature, I mean, it just seemed -- so, and my brothers are always saying, "How come" -- because I had a lot of discussions with him about -- because we had something in common which the boys didn't have.

TY: Well, we had, in the library we had in our house down in Beacon Hill, yeah, Beacon Hill house we had a nice, a big library downstairs. A collection of books, National Geographics, and upstairs we had Harvard Classic books that Dad had bought for us.

MY: He, he gave it to me 'cause he said --

TY: He gave it to you? Yeah.

JY: She's the only one that read 'em. [Laughs]

TY: Yeah, she's the only one that read 'em. [Laughs] Only time we read was Book of Knowledge, 'cause we had, I used to look through that, but I never looked through the Harvard Classics. [Laughs]

MY: They were all novels. Henry Fielding, and Hawthorne.

TY: You still have that set?

MY: I didn't save the whole set.

TY: You didn't?

MY: No. Well, you know I moved about umpteen times.

TY: Oh. I thought you still had the whole thing.

MY: I did for a long, long time. But it's like twenty-some, twenty-four volumes.

TY: Oh you just, you just saved selected ones, then.

MY: If any -- yeah, I think I have a few.

TY: Is that right? Oh.

MY: Dickens, Charles Dickens and all that. But he was very well-read, actually. Dad was. He actually read them. You know, did a lot reading, Dad did.

TY: I think I looked, paged through them a few times.

MY: And --

JY: I'm not saying anything.

TY: [Laughs]

MY: So, and I'm really, he used to, he gave me my first book of poems when I was about twelve, I think.

TY: I wonder if, let's see. She thinks probably, thought it was a girl thing. I wonder --

MY: I did, too.

TY: -- if I got interested in poetry, whether he would have bought me a poetry book. [Laughs]

MY: Well I had, yeah, that was before the war, because it was, I treasured it. 'Cause it was, was leather-bound, and it had gilt, pages were gilt around the edges. And it was the collected poems by Christina Rossetti, and it started with "The Goblin" [Ed. note: Narrator is referring to "Goblin Market"] in the beginning. And --

TY: When did he give you that?

MY: I think when I was about twelve.

TY: Is that right?

MY: And then I, and then during the evacuation, it just got lost with a lot of other stuff. But, so for a long time after that, I looked at a lot of second-hand bookstores, to see if I could find something that was similar to, to this leather-bound book that I remembered, with the gilt letters, and to see if I could find it at a second-hand -- there's a second-hand bookstore in Long Beach. And I went there several times and I have a small, I think one of my kids gave me a small, small book, 'cause I used to talk about losing it. But, it's an old book but it's still not the same thing. But that was, remember, you know, you remember your first something. That was my first book of poetry. And then when I was going to do my graduate work at University of Chicago -- and I memorized some of the poems in it. And I was taking a course in critical interpretation or, oh, literary criticism. And you know, we were supposed to identify good poetry and bad poetry? And Christina Rossetti's poem was one of the, supposedly the bad ones?

TY: It was one of the bad ones? [Laughs]

MY: Yeah, it was suppose-, they had a poem by -- and they didn't identify it, but I knew it was by her 'cause I had recognized it. And then they had a poem by Robert Frost, which I recognized, "The Road Not Taken" or something like that, which was a very famous poem. And they put it alongside each other, and you were supposed to write a composition on which was the better poem. [Laughs] And I was going, "Gosh," this Christina Rossetti, "When I Am Dead, My Dearest," or whatever that poem was, I just loved it. I'd memorize them, but of course I had to do the -- I had to pass, so I wrote that the Robert -- and then you had to say which was the better poem and why. And I thought, "That's the University of Chicago. They don't know anything." [Laughs]

<End Segment 39> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 40>

AI: Well, we're in our, kind of returning back to a sense of chronology here, just before our last break, you were talking a little bit about the religion and church-going --

MY: Oh, yeah.

AI: And you had just started to mention that when your parents came to the United States, they were not Christian at that point? Or, maybe you could tell a little bit about what kind of --

MY: Well, I think that my dad, they must have both been Buddhists. Wouldn't you assume?

TY: Yeah, I think they were, yeah.

MY: Because when we went to Mushirouchi and Tonari's widow took me to the temple, she said, "Ohaka ni ikimasho," you know, we went to the Ohaka, and it's a Buddhist temple, right? With all the little, where the family is buried.

JY: Yeah.

MY: Have you been there?

JY: Uh-huh.

MY: Did you go, did she take you there?

JY: They had a family columbarium there. Remember that --

TY: Well, remember when we went to Japan in '84?

JY: '84, yeah.

TY: We went to, it looked like a --

MY: To Ohaka?

TY: It was a small building --

JY: No, remember that, remember that Buddhist priest?

TY: -- and it had a bunch of, bunch of names along the wall with, and there was, I would say, I'd say about three-fourth of the names --

MY: Shrines.

TY: -- were "Yasutake" on there. Remember that?

JY: There were a lot of Yasutakes.

TY: And that wasn't a, it wasn't a temple, it was just a small --

JY: No, we went to two.

MY: That was a columbarium.

JY: Yeah. The one we went to that you're talking about was on the Yasutake side.

TY: Yeah.

JY: The other one, the temple where the priest was that we met, that used to be Mom's --

TY: That's the Shirakis?

MY: That was --

JY: -- that was where Mom used to live.

MY: Hakata. Hakata saimon.

JY: And that's the temple that Mom used to go to.

TY: Oh, I see. I remember the --

JY: Apparently, and the Shiraki columbarium was in that temple.

TY: Buddhist priest gave us tea.

JY: Yeah.

TY: He had tea with him. Oh, I remember, okay, yeah.

MY: So I, so we have to assume... so we have to assume that they were both Buddhists.

JY: Yeah, I think so.

TY: I think they were.

JY: They must have been.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And so Dad was converted to Christianity when he was going to school, when he was at San Francisco.

TY: And so he was, he was a Christian before he married Mother?

MY: Yeah. And so then Mother came to this country, and then she became a Christian.

TY: Uh-huh.

MY: And then, and then what she did in, was that, it was kind of a hybrid shrine -- she would put up a picture, and then she would put up -- as I said, with the long-stem vase on both sides, and you put flowers up there. She was always putting food...

TY: For senko?

MY: Like a senko. And then she would pray but her prayers were -- I remember when I asked her, she was saying... I forgot what it was I told -- I think that, "Isn't that a Shinto ritual? Is that a Buddhist ritual or something like that?" And she said, "Oh, that's okay, because, sore demo dore demo ii desho. Shuesu kirisuto no," da-da-da. That, "I am praying in the name of Jesus Christ." [Laughs] And so it didn't matter if it was, even if, when she was saying that some of her prayers were, kind of sounded like a Buddhist prayer, "Ame tera some kami," da-da-da, that was a Shinto, but everything was kind of mixed up, right? And so I was kind of teasing her, saying that, and she said, "That's okay, because I'm, I just pray in the name of Jesus Christ, anyways."

TY: Well she probably thought that kamisama would, kamisama would understand. [Laughs]

MY: Yeah, that's what she'd always say, yeah. "Kamisama knows what I mean." [Laughs] So, but as Joe was saying, they didn't really, they didn't force us to go to Sunday school, make us go to church.

TY: No, well, Mother went. I can't remember Dad going very often. Where was Dad? He went to poet-, he went to senryu club meeting every Sunday, I think.

MY: Yeah.

TY: But anyway, I think Mother went very religiously every Sunday, and we went. And my days of, those days, the early days of high school and my social events that occurred at the church, I think there were -- I remember good things about it. In fact, even today, many of the Seattle friends that I do have -- are still living -- are former Methodist Church members. Or they are still active church members. I don't, I'm not an active Methodist Church member now, but they're, we're still good friends and we see them occasionally, have dinner with them. Like Itois, and, but those are very, both May and I were in the choir, we actively participated at choir, members. And one of the more memorable days is when we sang the Messiah, at the church.

MY: Oh, yeah. That's right.

TY: And that was, I was still --

MY: High school.

TY: -- maybe a sophomore in high school, then. Yeah, it was really, really had a good time.

MY: Yeah, that was really -- and then choir rehearsals were a lot of fun. We used to -- I think that, and then we --

TY: May, May Hara was our choir --

MY: May Hara was, yeah.

<End Segment 40> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 41>

MY: As a matter of fact, when, on December 7th we had a choir-, we were at church.

TY: You were at church?

MY: Yeah, in the morning when Reverend, the young child, the son of the minister came in and said, "Japan bombed Pearl Harbor," that was on the morning of December 7th. And we were going, "What?" I remember very vividly we were all gathering together. And I think we had, we were having a rehearsal and we were all gathered together in a room when we heard. And then, and then that afternoon, we were going to go to the University of Washington to a concert of some kind. Attend, to attend a concert, a musical or concert of something.

TY: That day?

MY: Yeah.

TY: I don't remember that.

MY: And we were all kind of worried, and then Minnie, I'm going to have to ask Henry and Minnie, because they were there. We, and I remember standing around wondering, "Do you think it'll be safe? Do you think we should go as a group to an event like this?" And then we decided to go anyway, so we did go.

AI: When you say, "We were trying to decide if it would be safe," what was it that was going through your mind?

MY: Well, some of the kids said, maybe people will see us, and do you think that they'll be mad at the Japanese, and maybe we shouldn't go. And some people were afraid to.

TY: Well, I think the main thing was the uncertainty. We just didn't know what's going to happen.

MY: What, they wouldn't know, you didn't know what to expect.

TY: You didn't know what to expect.

MY: And some people like, then cancelled out, because they wanted to go home. And it wasn't required, we all, we were just attending a concert. And I remember Minnie came, and we said, we decided to go anyway, and we went. And we were a little fearful, I think. We went, as we were coming out and there were all the hakujins, people were coming out of the hall -- I forgot which hall, I don't remember --

TY: No, it was in the main, as I recall, it was in the main sanctuary, and the service was just over. And we were gathering in the back, and somebody came in and said, "Pearl Harbor was attacked. Japan, Pearl, attacked Pearl Harbor." And I said, "Pearl Harbor, where's that?" [Laughs]

MY: "Where is that?" [Laughs]

TY: I knew it was in Hawaii, but I had no idea, what, where Pearl Harbor was.

MY: Yeah, I didn't either.

TY: It was, that was a strange feeling. Everybody was just literally stunned, we were just standing there, just milling around, wondering what we should do. Uncertainty was really pretty unnerving.

MY: So do you remember where the concert was on the campus? It was some hall.

TY: Well, it must have been Meany Hall. Because that's where the concert hall is. So my guess is that --

MY: But, I don't, I don't have any recollection of what the concert was about.

TY: My guess, it probably was in Meany Hall.

MY: I know that it was a musical concert, but I don't remember whether it was --

TY: Well, the only hall they had there at that time was Meany Hall. So I think it probably was Meany Hall.

MY: Uh-huh. So that was, and then when we came home, and then that was the, that was right after church. So it must have been --

TY: Yeah, it was about -- it was about noon.

MY: Around noon. Noon, and then we got home about 2 or 3 o'clock when the FBI came.

TY: Pardon?

MY: It was, when they got, came when we got home. So it was that afternoon.

TY: Or shortly after that. My guess is it was closer to 1 or 2 o'clock.

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: The FBI men came.

AI: So you two had gotten home by then, and Mike was home...

MY: He was in bed.

TY: Sick, he was in bed.

AI: Sick.

MY: And my mother was still in church, I remember. Remember she said she had a meeting or something like that?

TY: Yeah.

AI: And Joe, where were you? Were you with your mother?

JY: I don't remember.

TY: He must have come, too. You must have come home with us.

JY: My first recollection was when the FBI came, and I don't remember all that stuff you're talking about.

TY: You, you probably were at church, too.

JY: Probably. If you guys were there, I was probably there.

TY: But one thing I find disturbing is --

MY: And I remember you didn't come to the concert with us.

TY: -- I don't remember how we got from the church home. Because Dad wasn't there, Dad was at a meeting, senryu meeting.

MY: We didn't go home.

TY: Huh?

MY: We went from the church to the concert.

TY: We went to the concert?

MY: Yeah, we went to that concert that day.

TY: We did?

MY: Yeah, and then we all got rides. I don't remember, there were, various people drove in private cars. And then, and then we got home, and -- I guess we must have gotten a ride home.

TY: Well, I'll be darned.

MY: And then Joe wasn't with us. So you must have been with Mom.

TY: Yeah, you weren't with us. I don't remember you in that picture at all. I don't know why, and I do, but I don't remember going to the campus. That I don't remember. But I often wonder how we got from the church home that day. Because Dad wasn't there.

MY: No.

TY: Maybe the Itois took us home, I don't know.

MY: That'd be interesting to ask.

TY: Yeah, we'll have to ask Henry. See if he remembers.

<End Segment 41> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 42>

AI: And excuse me, we kind of skipped over something here, because Mike had not been home for a while, actually. Mike had, was it in 1939 --

MY: He went to Japan.

TY: He went to Japan in 1939 to kendo school. And there, he got TB, and -- well, he must have been in, he said he was in a couple sanitariums --

MY: He said that he was in several sanitariums.

TY: Several sanitariums. Then, and then Mother went after him, to bring him home.

MY: That was 1940, a year before World War II.

TY: 1940, yeah. So he was in Japan, oh maybe about a year. And Mother went after him and he came home, and he was in bed from that point on, until... and December 7th he was still in bed. And I remember the FBI, when the FBI came, they made him come downstairs to sit in the living room with everybody. And I remember being very annoyed, mad about that because, I said, "Well, he's sick. He's not going to do anything up there. Why don't you let him stay?" And they said no, he'd have to come downstairs.

MY: Well, that, that was because about three -- isn't that funny, we had this discrepancy about the number of FBI men came. But one FBI, the rest, the two FBI men as I remember in my mind, left to go after Dad. They asked us where Dad was, and we said, "Well, he's not home. He's at this restaurant. He's at this senryukai meeting."

TY: Yeah, yeah.

MY: And then one FBI guy stayed, he stayed behind. And he was --

TY: No, what the discrepancy, I think that two FBI went to go after Dad, but there were at least three behind. Because one stayed with us in the living room, make sure that we didn't do anything, okay?

MY: Yeah.

TY: And the other two was the one that searched everything in the house.

MY: Oh, okay.

TY: They went down, they went in the kitchen, and opened up the kitchen cabinet, and dishes stacked up yea high, and they took each plate out and make sure there's nothing hidden between the dishes, I guess. Just looked through everything very thoroughly. They went, and they went downstairs and we had this big library, and they went through each book, page by page. They must have taken, I don't know how many hours.

MY: Hours, yeah.

TY: Hours doing that. They were very thorough, and they were searching. And, but the one always stayed in the, in the living with us.

MY: Living with us.

TY: Yeah. So my guess is there must have been at least five that came, two went after Dad, and three stayed behind. One watched us in the living room, the other two did the searching.

MY: Oh, yeah.

AI: And were you being questioned in the living room? Or basically just sitting there waiting for them --

TY: Well, about the extent of questioning goes, I do remember their going there, going through the closets, and looking at things. And they found my ROTC uniform. I just started university December, I mean, in September. I joined the ROTC. And I had my ROTC uniform hanging in the closet. And one of the guy was, the FBI was looking at it, he says, "What's this uniform doing in your closet?" I said I was in ROTC.

MY: He didn't know what it was?

TY: Yeah. I just was amazed that he even asked that stupid question, because it had the logo thing with the ROTC, very obvious that's what it was. And he questioned about it, and I think they took that uniform with them. And I had to get it back because, to get a refund on the uniform at the university over -- had to return it. So that was really strange.

MY: I, one of the agents --

TY: I thought, they're so dumb.

MY: Yeah, one of the agents asked us if we were American citizens. I forgot how the question was couched, but I said, "No, I'm not an American citizen." And he said, "Why?" And I said, "Because I was born in, I was born in Japan." And he said, "Why didn't you get an American citizenship?" And I remember being very surprised that an FBI agent did not know that Japanese people couldn't --

TY: Why you can't, yeah.

MY: -- why the Japanese people couldn't become American citizen. And I remember kind of being taken aback by that. He said, "Why? Why aren't you an American citizen?" In a kind of very hostile manner. And...

TY: And another thing I remember is when Joe, when he was about ten then, nine or ten then?

JY: Nine.

TY: Ten.

JY: Nine.

TY: Nine? And we were all sittin' on the couch, and we were sitting, windows are back of us. And so being the young kid as he is, he was curious. He just turned around and looked outside the window. I think we had, I'm not sure whether we had venetian blind or something. It was drawn, anyway, that curtain. And so he looked outside. And the FBIs chastised him, said, "Don't do that." And scolded him, and told him to turn around. And that upset me, sort of. I thought, "What can a young kid do?" But, that I remember, too.

MY: And then Mom came home.

TY: Shortly thereafter, yeah.

MY: Yeah. And she said --

TY: In Japanese.

MY: She came home, and then she, we ran to the door and she, we opened the door, and she said, "Kore, doshita?"

TY: "Doshita?"

MY: "Doshita no?" And she saw these guys, these hakujins standing in, she said, "I saw the hakujin guys standing behind you," and she said, "Kono hitotachi wa dare, dare no." She got really nervous. And she remembers that they said to her, "Don't speak in Japanese, don't speak in Japanese." So she said, she continued to ask, talk in Japanese, and she remembers the FBI agent yelling at her not to speak in Japanese. And she came in, and she said that she got a ride home from a friend, and as she was stepping out of the car, she stumbled, and she skinned her knee, and her knee was bleeding. So she wanted to go upstairs to wash it, and put a band-aid on it, and she says she started -- the stairway was right there by the hallway, she started walking up the stairs, and the guy came over and they said, asked her, "Where are you going?" And she said, "I'm just going to go to the bathroom to wash" -- and she showed him this knee. And so he came up with her. And she said, "And he followed me into the bathroom." And so, to make sure that she didn't do anything. And so, and she was just kind of in shock. Because she didn't have any idea what was going on. We couldn't explain it to her at that point. And then she described to my, to Jeni, right? About all of the scene we had, that he described, about the FBI agent searching the house.

<End Segment 42> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 43>

TY: But I think when they left, they took several boxes of things. And I don't know what they -- I know one thing that he had, all the movie, film that Dad had. Family film --

MY: Family movies, yeah.

TY: -- in the box. And some books, and I don't know what other items they took with them.

MY: Well, the --

JY: They took the short-wave radio, I remember that.

TY: Huh?

MY: Short-wave radio.

TY: We had a short-wave radio?

JY: Well, yeah. You know, that console radio? That I used to watch -- listen to Captain Midnight and Jack Armstrong?

TY: That's the big, the big console radio?

JY: Yeah, great big thing.

MY: And Jack Armstrong.

TY: Yeah, they took that radio?

JY: No, they didn't take the whole thing. They reached in and, I don't know if they just took the whole radio component in there, or whether -- because it had a record player, too. But there was a short-wave radio that was in there, and they took that out, and took that away.

TY: What, you mean a record player, that wind, Victrola record player that we had?

MY: No, no, that's a --

TY: Which record player are you talking about?

JY: No, this was, it was part of the radio.

TY: Part of the radio?

JY: Yeah, it was a great big thing we had. And I used to, the cloth in front of it was all worn out because I used to put my ear to it.

TY: We had a console radio that was yea high...

JY: Yeah.

TY: About this big and this deep --

JY: Yeah.

TY: That you and I used to listen to. Remember there was indentation where the speaker is?

MY: Yeah. [Laughs]

TY: Yeah, we were leaning on it. Well, that's the only radio I remember in the living room.

JY: That's the one I'm talking about.

MY: That's the one he's talking about.

JY: And it had a short-wave radio --

TY: And there was a short-wave radio thing inside that?

JY: 'Cause I can remember --

TY: I don't remember that.

JY: -- toying with it. You know, I could never get anything. But it was, it would, you'd hear [makes wailing sound], trying to tune in on something?

TY: Well that's in, you turn the knob, and you put it on a short-wave wavelength.

JY: Right, right. And I didn't quite know how to do that, and so it didn't work. But it wasn't like I was listening to it all the time, or trying to, but I remember trying. But that, that was specifically why they went in there. Because they thought Dad would be listening to messages from Japan.

TY: So they took that, that component out of the radio?

JY: Uh-huh.

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: Gosh, I don't remember that at all.

MY: They took one --

JY: Well, you didn't care about it. But that was my radio. I used to listen to it all the time. [Laughs]

MY: They took a box full of Japanese books.

TY: Japanese books, yeah, came.

MY: And then Dad had that desk, remember? That desk that --

TY: The roll-top desk, yeah.

MY: The roll-top desk? And that was full of his writings. A lot of the senryu writings were in Japanese. And he used to make a lot of speeches, remember?

TY: Yeah, right.

MY: And a lot of those were in Japanese.

TY: He kept them all, yeah.

MY: And then he had some Japanese letters, from Japan, from our relatives, from his rela-, from our relatives. And so they took all of that. All of the material that -- of course, they just took all the contents of his, of his desk drawer, into that box. And, so that must have covered about, at least one or two boxes.

TY: Well, it was several boxes, I know.

MY: And the books were mainly Japanese, the senryukai Japanese books, and the tsukukai books, he had a lot of subscriptions to Japanese magazines, and --

JY: And you mentioned the movies? With us...

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: Remember Dad had a trophy cup that said that he was the vice-president of Japanese Chamber of Commerce, or some organization, with a red ribbon on it. Did they take that, too?

JY: I don't even remember that.

TY: You remember that, you remember that cup?

MY: No.

TY: Oh. It was when he was elected vice-president of this organization, whatever it was. I can't remember.

MY: He was vice-president of a lot of organizations.

TY: Yeah, well this was, I don't know. But I remember he was vice-president of --

MY: You didn't see it.

TY: Name on it. You don't remember that? I haven't seen it, and I have a feeling the FBI took that, too.

MY: Because it said, Japanese on it?

TY: Because it was Japanese --

JY: In Japanese?

TY: -- Association or Japanese Chamber of Commerce or whatever it said, I can't remember.

MY: Did it have Japanese letter?

TY: No, it was in, it was in English. Oh, I haven't seen that in a long time. Come to think of it, I wonder if they took that, too. Well, we never got it back if they did.

AI: Well, when you were at home and these FBI men show up, what was your reaction? What went through your mind?

MY: I had no idea what they were there for. But I had, we knew that they were, they came to get my dad. And we said, "I'm sorry, he's not home." But they came in anyway. And they start searching the house and I just remember wondering, "I wonder what they're looking for." I mean, "What were they looking for?"

TY: Well, I think he had pretty good idea what they were looking for, like looking for some incriminating evidence.

MY: No, but we didn't know at that time that Dad was going to get arrested. You know, we had no idea that that's what was going to, that was in the future. That that was going to happen.

TY: Yeah. Well, but it was shortly thereafter they went after Dad, so you knew that they were after him.

MY: Yeah, well, that became -- but then she, I was wondering what we were thinking at the moment, when they were doing that. And I remember wondering what in the world they were looking for.

TY: Well, knowing that they, Japan, they've gone and attacked United States, well, I sort of understood why they were doing it, but beyond that I just didn't... but why they were so thorough, they were, why were they, looked between every page of the book that we had in the library, I found that kind of puzzling, myself.

MY: And then --

TY: But of course, if you're a spy, I guess you might hide things almost anyplace, so...

MY: And the other thing is, we couldn't talk to each other.

TY: Yeah.

MY: If I said something to, they said, "Don't talk, don't talk." So we just had to sit there.

<End Segment 43> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 44>

TY: And shortly after they went and picked up Dad, the, another -- those two, I don't think ever came back. But I think this must have been after they got through searching for the house, searching through the house, they, one of the FBI took me to the Maneki, that's the restaurant that they were having the senryu meeting where Dad was having lunch, meeting the senryu club, they took me there to pick up our family car. And I drove it home.

AI: Still with the FBI --

TY: Pardon?

AI: Was, did the FBI stay with you as you drove the car home?

TY: No. He had his own car. He drove me with his car, and then I drove the car home. I'm not sure, I can't remember whether he came back with me, or whether --

MY: How did he know the car was there?

TY: Well, he must -- well, it's quite obvious --

JY: That's kind of overly considerate of them, huh? To drive the son to pick up the car.

MY: I know, I mean --

JY: While they go arrest your father.

TY: No, well it was quite obvious that -- I mean, any intelligent individuals surmise that he got to the restaurant in a car.

JY: Yeah, but why would they care?

TY: Huh?

JY: That's what puzzles me.

MY: No, I mean, how did he know where to look? I mean, the Seattle International District --

TY: Oh that, I don't remember. All I remember is going after the car.

MY: So he's parked, he parked in the --

TY: I just assumed, it's Maneki, you know where the Maneki was?

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: It's right on Sixth Avenue, and, between Main and Jackson.

MY: Was it that blue car --

TY: That's where the restaurant was, so it was, car in that area someplace.

MY: Was it that blue car with red wheels?

TY: It was a Buick.

MY: The Buick?

TY: Yeah.

MY: Oh, that, you could recognize that anywhere.

TY: Yeah. I mean, I don't remember whether, how I found the car, but I found, I just remember going there, picking it up, and driving it home.

MY: That is interesting. That I didn't, I didn't think about that.

<End Segment 44> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 45>

AI: So you were, most of the time that you were held there in the house, you weren't saying anything.

MY: No.

AI: You were sitting there silently --

MY: Well, I mean, you were dying to talk to each other, see, you know, what's going on. And I remember looking at Tosh, and -- but every time we talked to each other, said something, they said, "Don't..." And they, they were, they didn't know what they were doing, either. I think they, they looked kind of scared, too. And Mom --

TY: Uncertain. I could tell --

MY: Yeah. They had no clue. They had no precedent for this kind of thing. And Jeni interviewed Grandma, right? And that tape when Mom was talking -- Grandma was talking, she said that one of the FBI agents kept telling her, "I am sorry, I am sorry, but this is my job." And I don't remember hearing that but I can --

TY: I don't remember that, either.

MY: No, but I was kind of, when I heard Grandma saying, she was talking to my daughter, her granddaughter, and she said, "Yeah, one of the FBIs kept apologizing, 'I'm sorry. I'm sorry, but this is my job.'" Gee I thought, found it kind of interesting.

AI: And while you were there, was there another, a family friend or someone else also there?

MY: Yeah, a man, I think Mr. --

TY: Yamasaki.

MY: Yamasaki-san?

TY: Yeah.

MY: Mr. Yamasaki just happened to drop by to discuss this with Dad.

TY: No, I, he heard about -- yeah, he heard about Pearl Harbor and he was very anxious about it.

MY: And he thought that my dad would --

TY: Thought maybe Dad would, might have some answer, what to do. And so he was very concerned, so he came over to ask Dad.

MY: Then the FBI told him to sit down.

TY: And of course, of course --

MY: I don't know what happened to him after that.

JY: After the FBI was there?

MY: Yeah, he was there, so they told him to come in --

TY: Yeah, so they came in the door, they said, they said, "What are you doing here?" He said, "I'm here to see Mr. Yasutake."

MY: They told --

TY: And then, of course, he's not there so they told him to sit down. And he couldn't leave, they wouldn't let him leave.

MY: Yeah, he was going to turn around and leave.

TY: Yeah. They said, "No, you sit down over here."

MY: "No, don't go..."

TY: So he said down, made him sit down with us on the couch.

MY: Yeah. But I don't know what happened. I guess he must, they must have gone home.

TY: Oh, he must have gone home. Yeah, I can't remember what happened to him afterwards, but after they --

MY: And then Mom, Mom said that during that whole, the telephone kept ringing, because all the people whose fathers were arrested would call my mom, to call my Dad to tell, ask what they should do, or ask him what's going on. And my mother was telling Jeni that, "I said, well, I don't know what to do either, because my husband is gone." And then she said she was talking on the phone and the FBI kept saying, "Don't talk in Japanese, talk in English."

AI: What was your feeling at this time? Had you received any explanation from the FBI? Or did they tell you they were going to arrest your father?

MY: I know, they didn't. They didn't, they didn't tell us that this was going to happen.

TY: They just asked where Dad was, and --

MY: They said, "Where is your father?" And so they, so we knew that they were going to -- I mean, I had no idea. I had no idea that he was going to get arrested. But I thought maybe they were going to question him, or whatever. And then when you went to get the car, and get a sense that he wasn't coming home. He wasn't coming home, right? Did you get that sense, or did you remember what you were thinking? Why you were picking up the car?

TY: Pardon?

MY: Do you remember why you were picking up -- while you were picking up the car, you certainly must have realized that Dad wasn't coming home.

TY: Dad wasn't coming, back, yeah. Well, at that time, we didn't know where they took him. It took us a day or two before --

MY: Yeah. Mr. Bonham called us.

TY: Was it Mr. Bonham who called us? Somebody, I don't recall, called us saying they --

MY: See, my father's boss -- they took my father to the detention center, at the FBI -- at the immigration building, where my father's office was. So it was either in the same building upstairs --

TY: Well, ironically, he was, his detention --

JY: I heard it was right above his office. I don't know where I heard that, but --

TY: Yeah. Right directly above his, where his office used to be. Where they --

MY: Was, there was a VIP detention room, or something. It was a place where --

TY: And I don't remember going to see him.

MY: I do, I do.

TY: I don't remember going to see him. You remember, Joe?

JY: I don't, I don't remember. I kind of have a glimpse of it, but I don't know if it's because I've been told that, or whether I actually saw it.

TY: Yeah, it's kind of a gray area to me, too. I really don't know whether -- she remembers going there with Mother, but I just don't -- I have a feeling I didn't go.

MY: I remember... yeah. I remember going there with Mother, and I don't remember if there was anybody else besides she and I.

TY: Yeah. I just don't remember going with you.

MY: Isn't that odd?

<End Segment 45> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 46>

AI: So this, this all happened very quickly, because it was that Sunday morning of December 7, 1941, you heard the news while you were at church, about the bombing of Pearl Harbor --

MY: We were still sort of in shock about the news.

TY: We were just --

AI: You got home, and then very soon after you returned home, these FBI showed up, and then the next thing you know, Tosh, you're picking up the car realizing your dad isn't coming back, then and not knowing where he is, so then in the next few days...

TY: We just, just uncertainty. I mean, just -- I don't know whether I was really scared, or what. But it's just the uncertainty that was very unsettling, really.

MY: It was scary. It was scary.

JY: Well, I was scared. That's the only thing I remember, is I was very scared. I don't remember any details or anything.

MY: And then --

TY: No, I wasn't, I really wasn't scared in the sense that, being very frightened. But I was scared because I, scared in the sense that I was, not knowing what was going to happen, but I was pretty sure that nothing really bad's going to happen. Bad meaning Dad's going to --

JY: Getting killed, or anything.

TY: Yeah, getting killed, or anything. So... I don't know. At that time, I think about it, and I think, I don't think I was really, really scared in that sense.

MY: Well, I think that was because --

TY: Maybe I was partly in shock.

MY: Was it, did Mr. Bonham call the following day? It wasn't that day he called. That was Sunday.

TY: No, it was at least the following day, yeah.

MY: December 7th, so it was Sunday. So they came to work on Monday, right?

TY: Yeah.

MY: Is that right?

TY: Yeah.

MY: So Mr. Bonham --

TY: Well Mr. Bonham was the, was the --

MY: Director.

TY: -- head of the immigration office. I mean, he was the, as Dad's -- not immediate boss, but boss' boss. Up at the top. And he was very, very nice. And he called Mother almost every day to tell them, to tell her what was going on. So he kept her updated on --

MY: So we knew that he was -- he called to tell us that he was there. And he said, "Don't worry, we're taking good care of him," and so forth. So my mom said that he called several times. And I was kind of hear -- listening to the tape, the discussion that we had about this thing?

TY: That period? Yeah.

MY: And she said that Mr. Bonham kept calling her and telling her, "Don't worry. I'm going to try to get -- I'm talking to Washington, I'm going to try to get Jack out." And then she said, "Come to think of it, sono, koto-o omottara. It's a good thing that Mr. Bonham didn't get him out."

TY: Didn't get out. Well maybe, maybe that's why I wasn't really, really --

MY: "Because I can't imagine what would have happened with his reputation in the Japanese community if all these men had been arrested in the, and the family didn't even know who, where they were." And some of the men, they were like Dad. They had gone somewhere, and they didn't come home. And so Mom knew, and we were kind of privileged in that sense, because he had a friend, he had his boss there. So Mom was saying that -- years later, decades later -- she was saying, "You know, it was a good thing that Mr. Bonham didn't succeed in getting him out, because donna koto ni natta ka wakaranai. Don't know what would have happened to him if he had been, he certainly would have, they would have thought that he was spying for the immigration service, since he was working for them.

TY: Yeah, they, I think he was thought of as being a plant in the group, there.

MY: By the -- yeah, and he was here, he was getting special treatment in, in the guest room. And all the other guys were all sort of in a whole, a big large --

JY: Jail cell.

MY: -- detention room. And...

AI: Because at this time, in 1941, by then, your father had worked there at immigration service --

MY: About twenty-three --

AI: -- for over twenty years.

TY: Twenty-five years, yeah.

AI: And, Joe, while you were only nine, well, Tosh, you were already nineteen?

TY: Nineteen?

AI: And had started the university, and you were a senior in high school, May.

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: Come to think of it, maybe I was not all that scared because I, because of Mr. Bonham keeping reassuring Mother that --

MY: Yeah, I think that that --

TY: -- so I had a, I had feeling maybe, well, he's gonna get out any day now. So maybe I was half expecting that.

MY: Yeah. I don't think that we felt, we felt like, well, we'll leave it up to him, and he's gonna do -- and that was what he said. "Don't worry about it. I'm working on it," and so forth. He was being really very reassuring. And my mom said, on the tape that, "Mr. Bonham ga, Papa wa totemo kawaii gatte kureta," which I thought was a kind of a funny expression, the way that he has such a great affection for Dad. You know, "Kawaii kara. Papa ga kawaii kara. He was really taking good care of him," and so forth. So I think in that respect, it was not, we had reason to be reassured that he was taken care of. But also in one of the tapes, my mother mentioned, after we went to assembly center in Puyallup, that she said that Dad came to visit us with Mr. Bonham.

TY: That I don't remember.

MY: And that is the strangest --

TY: I don't remember that at all.

MY: That was the strangest thing because none of us remember that happening. And then, when you come to think of it, the FBI arrested Dad -- the FBI arrested him, and they were under the Department of Justice. The Immigration and Naturalization Service was not under the Department of Justice at that point.

TY: Department of Commerce.

MY: Yeah. And so, the, there was a kind of a rivalry between these two departments. They were saying, "Well, how dare you arrest one of our men?" "Oh, you don't think" -- there was this kind of rivalry going -- and my mother, our mother, very interestingly enough, understood that. She said that there was some kind of a fight going on, a departmental --

TY: Power.

MY: -- power struggle --

TY: Power struggle.

MY: -- going on between these two departments, and that our dad was a victim of that. And I thought that was kind of perceptive of her, that she recognized this. And she said... so under those circumstances, I cannot imagine Mr. Bonham, who was having trouble with the Department of Justice at that point, be given permission to take Dad out of the detention center -- because he was still in Seattle -- to bring him over to Puyallup to visit his family. And I don't remember, I certainly would have remembered it.

TY: So maybe, maybe it could have happened after I left camp. Went into the army.

MY: No, because Dad was already -- no, he was in Lordsburg, New Mexico --

TY: He was already in Missoula, then. Yeah, that's right.

MY: Yeah, so why would Mr. Bonham have anything to do with that? And so the only thing that we can figure out is that she must have dreamt it. Or she had imagined it. That she saw --

TY: Could very well be, yeah.

JY: I can't believe that one of us would not have remembered Dad being, coming.

MY: Yeah. 'Cause that's a, would have been a really big event.

JY: Oh, yeah.

MY: Dad came, if he were to come to Puyallup. She said, "We were in Puyallup," and do you remember that tape? Well, it's on the tape, yeah. So that, there was kind of a strange --

TY: I don't think I've ever heard Mother saying that to me.

MY: Yeah, I have the tape for you. So that was kind of puzzling, but so then Dad --

TY: Oh, he was transferred to --

MY: -- was transferred to Missoula.

TY: -- Missoula. I can't remember exactly when that was, but that's when I finally realized that he's not coming home, for sure. Not for a while, anyway.

MY: And then from Missoula, went to Santa Fe?

TY: From Missoula, I think he went to -- he might have gone to Bismarck, at one time. And I don't know where, Bismarck's, Montana.

AI: Did you receive any mail or word from him? A telegram or anything while he was in Missoula?

MY: No.

TY: No.

MY: Not that I, not while he was in those, those detention centers. But when he supposedly finally settled into the POW camp in New Mexico, in Lordsburg --

TY: Lordsburg, yeah.

MY: I think we got the first letter when we were in Idaho.

TY: Because he went -- I think he went from Missoula to, possibly Bismarck, Montana -- Idaho and then Montana, and then to San-, what was that?

MY: Santa Fe, to Lordsburg.

TY: Santa Fe, and then to Lordsburg. And then from Lordsburg he went to Crystal City. And that's where Joe and my mother joined my dad. That was a family prisoner-of-war camp.

<End Segment 46> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 47>

AI: But before that point, though, you kind of finished out the year of 1941. He was still in Seattle at Immigration. The end of 1941 happened, and as I understand the history, there weren't too many immediate --

MY: Transfers?

AI: Right, but, and also, you didn't have immediate restrictions yet, such as curfew or travel. I think that curfew and travel came just a little bit later. But what do you recall of changes or shifts in your life after your father had been taken, but you were still in Seattle?

MY: Uh-huh. Well, the one dramatic change in our situation was that we didn't have any money. My --

TY: They froze all Dad's assets at that point, December 7th. Right at the point, from day 1, they froze all his assets so we didn't -- his savings and what have you.

MY: He had no cash.

TY: He had no cash.

MY: And Tosh remembers that we found the safe that was in my closet. I knew the safe was there. It was somehow -- what did we get, did we get a safe-cracker to open that safe?

TY: No, I think Mother got the combination from Dad.

MY: Oh, oh I see. So anyway we got into the safe, and we found a thousand dollar in cash.

TY: No, the safe was in May's closet, bedroom closet. And the safe was really inside the closet, in the back. And she had her hang, clothes hanging. So apparently the FBI just completely missed it. And, and then I think Mother got the combination, she used to go visit Dad periodically at the immigration office, and she got the combination from him then, she came home and she, I think I opened it. I, with the combination, I think. We opened it and found, luckily we found some money in the safe. And we lived on that for --

MY: Several months.

TY: -- for a while.

JY: A thousand bucks was a lot of money at that time.

TY: At that time it was a lot of money.

JY: That should have lasted you --

MY: Several months.

JY: -- for half a year, you know? That's a lot of money.

MY: No, that depends -- no because, I remember a couple of -- let's see. I was, I didn't go to school after December 7th.

TY: Oh, I dropped school, too.

MY: We all dropped out of school. And I, and then Mom thought that I should go to work. So I got that job working for that photographer --

TY: That photographer, yeah.

MY: As a babysitter, I think. And so I came home, and our mail was piling up on Dad's desk. By that time it was all empty, because the FBI took everything. So we piled our -- my Mom was not opening the mail. She just piled it up on the desk. And so one day I came home and I thought, we better open that mail and see what's in the mail. So I start opening the mail, and I found all these bills. And then there were some bills -- it must have been couple months later, because it said "Second Notice," for the gas bill, and electric bill and telephone bill.

TY: How come I didn't open the mail? I didn't even, I didn't look at the mail, either.

MY: I don't know. Yeah, I know. Well it was just sitting there, you didn't open it. And so I thought, well I better open the mail and see what's going on. And so I opened it, and I remember the utter astonishment that my -- I said, well, my father, who took care of all those things... there was a gas bill and an electric bill, and the water bill, and it just, it was the first time I had ever seen a bill. I mean, it was the first time I just realized that we had to pay for the electricity. [Laughs] Or the water. As far as I was concerned, you just turn the faucet on and the water comes out, and turn the light on, the light comes on. So, and then I said to Mom, "They're going to turn off our electricity if we don't pay this bill." Because they had sent several bills, and we didn't respond, right? And so then we, then that was when we got together and we were trying to figure out how we were going to pay those bills. Because it had accumulated for a couple months by that time. And, and then somebody, maybe you or Mike, remembered that we had a bank account, the school bank account.

TY: Yeah, school bank account. That we paid 25 cents a week.

MY: Ever since first grade, we were taking 25 cents every week on bank pay. Some kind of ritual that we had. So all three of us were putting 25 cents every day -- every week. And so we had several hundred dollars accumulated. And we looked at the bills, and we thought well, maybe we could, we better get -- so we got the money out from the bank, and I think we took the cash to the Seattle, water company.

TY: Yeah, I think we did.

MY: To the light-, what was it called, the Seattle Water and Light, something. Anyway, we took the, I didn't even know how to write a check, much less, I didn't know there was such a thing.

TY: Yeah, we were oddly ignorant about things like that.

MY: My dad, Dad took care of everything. So anyway, we paid our electric bill and so forth. So that was the part of it that was just very shocking to me. That, that we didn't know these things. We were just totally ignorant of our daily living expenses. Really strange. And then we were, my mother, Mom was talking about that period, and she said that when Dad had his first hearing...

TY: Had what?

MY: He had his first hearing --

TY: Yeah, oh yeah.

MY: -- at the immigration department, she said that they wanted her to come, but she didn't speak English. And so she said she had Machida Sensei --

TY: The minister for the Methodist church.

MY: -- the minister for the Methodist church go, and then we asked her years later, when she was talking about this, "How come one of us didn't go?" You know, you were what? Nineteen? I was eighteen. And she said, "Mada kodomo ga chiisai kara," you know. "Because my kids are so chiisai," meaning, she meant, not small, but young. "Kodomo ga chiisai kara." And she asked Machida Sensei to go to represent the family. And we both thought that was weird. [Laughs] How come one of us, we spoke fluent English, how come we didn't go? But it kind of shows the attitude the Isseis had toward the kids, showed, too, that they kept us rather young...

TY: A real sheltered life.

JY: Naive and innocent.

MY: Uh-huh, yeah.

<End Segment 47> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 48>

AI: Okay, we're, thank you for joining us again, we're here October 9th, 2002, continuing our interview with Tosh Yasutake, May Yamada, and Joe Yasutake. I'm Alice Ito from Densho. Also from Densho are John Pai and Dana Hoshide, videography. Also in the room are Jeni Yamada and Kai Yamada.

So yesterday when we left off before the break, you were just talking about some of the realities of daily life without your father in Seattle. That he had always taken care of the household bills, any kind of household business, and after December 7, 1941, his assets and accounts were all frozen. So you had to take on the responsibilities of paying the bills, finding money, you found your, the family safe in the house, you were able to get to your own school bank accounts for some money, for expenses, and you were talking about that period after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, but before the removal of all the Japanese Americans happened. So I wanted to take you back to that period again, and ask you a little bit more about, as December continued on, of that year, and then of course it was Christmas, holiday season, and then into the next year, other changes in your life, and how your household worked while your father was gone.

MY: Well, we were just discussing that. I think beyond some of those problems of dealing with those things, I left the house to go, I was a live-in babysitter. And I don't remember where they were, it was a photographer and his wife, and a very, one small child. I remember they kind of lived on the hill, and they had a brand-new house. But as I was somewhat removed from the daily life of the family. I went home occasionally, but since I didn't drive, I had to be picked up, and I don't know how often I went home at that point. And when it was that we heard that we had to be, we had to leave to go to camp.

TY: Yeah. Well, unfortunately, I don't remember the detail of --

MY: Where, you were going to school.

TY: And I kind of vaguely remember going to City Light to pay the City Light bill. I think I went on the bus or streetcar, I mean "trackless trolley," I guess we called it at that time. But other than that, I'm not sure... I don't remember how we bought the groceries. I guest we must have -- that ten dollar -- that thousand dollars we found in the safe, with that we lived on several months. But beyond that... and you worked, so --

MY: I was gone, yeah.

TY: -- you helped, you helped pay the bills, too --

MY: A little bit, pay the bills, yeah.

TY: -- after a while. But beyond that I just don't -- and you mentioned that we sold the car, the Buick we had.

JY: Yeah. Where I heard that, I don't know.

MY: Mom must have told you.

JY: It might have been Mike, actually --

MY: Mike.

JY: -- that told me that. And it was a fairly new car.

TY: Yeah, it was.

JY: And that they'd gotten --

TY: In fact, it was a '41 Buick, wasn't it?

JY: Yeah, it was.

TY: So we bought it in the early part of that year, then.

JY: It was almost a brand-new car. And I remember somebody saying that somebody bought it for a fraction of what Dad paid for it. And then they demanded that the gasoline tank be filled up before he would take the car. I think Mike told me that.

TY: Oh, is that right?

AI: About Mike, I was wondering, was he still really ill at this time? At home?

MY: Well, he kind of made a remark-, the thing is, he was being pampered because, in those days, when a person got TB -- and it was a very mild case so he didn't have to leave. Many people with TB had to go to a sanitarium. And the agreement, the doctor felt that it would be all right for Mike to stay in his room and not mingle with the rest of the family, so that he doesn't infect everybody. And so he stayed pretty much in his room. And I remember, that was about a year --

TY: Well, I know that he spent, I know that he spent an awful lot of time in bed --

MY: Yeah, and so then after --

TY: -- and he did lot of reading.

MY: Yeah. So when, after Pearl Harbor he kind of made, he got up and started to, he became healthy. I mean he, I think he was capable before, but my parents, our parents kind of pampered him. Wanted to make sure that he was completely well, so he stayed in bed. So I think that in that respect, he was probably almost fully recovered at that point. We kind of forgot about his illness.

TY: Yeah, because when we went camp, well, he, that picture, that he has, when we get on the bus, and he looked okay.

MY: Oh, yeah. The Seattle Times photo-, and so he was no longer ill. I mean, I think as far as, that was kind of the least of our --

TY: For all intents and purposes, I guess he was well.

MY: Yeah.

JY: The war cured him. [Laughs]

MY: But, so, but it was one of those things, I think that the rest of us were so preoccupied with, it's kind of like the least of our problems, with Mike's health, because he seemed to be okay. So once he got to camp -- he was still very thin, but he had, he recovered quite quickly because of the responsibilities that all of us had to shoulder at that point.

AI: And Joe, excuse me, were you still going to school? Because May had stopped her schooling, you hadn't really graduated yet, that was your senior year, May, but what about you? You were still in grade school. Did you continue on?

JY: You know, I don't know. I don't remember.

MY: You went, you continued going to school.

JY: Did I?

MY: Yeah.

JY: I just don't --

MY: I think that was one thing that Mom thought, you should continue going to school. Tosh stopped going because partly --

TY: Yeah. I stopped going December 7th. Actually, I think maybe it was the final exam, and I decided I didn't want to take the test. [Laughs]

MY: December, yeah, that's --

TY: It was the final exam week, I think.

MY: In December, was it on the semester system?

TY: Pardon?

MY: Were they on a quarter system?

TY: Yeah. Washington's always been a quarter system.

MY: Quarter system, okay. Then, so I remember you went on, continued to go to school.

JY: Hmm. Yeah, I just don't remember that time period. It's a whole blank for me. It's like I woke up and all of a sudden I was in Puyallup, kind of thing. 'Cause I, the whole time period they're talking about, I have just no recollection of it at all.

<End Segment 48> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 49>

AI: Any memories of Christmas or holiday season or New Year's that year?

MY: Christmas was very grim. [Laughs]

TY: Gosh, I don't remember Christmas at all, that year, do you?

JY: Uh-uh.

TY: Boy that is, I never thought of it, but that's right. It was December, so... oh that's strange. No, I don't remember anything about Christmas, how we celebrated or we, whether we even -- well, we must have had a Christmas tree.

MY: Yeah. A Christmas tree?

TY: Try to have some semblance of normal --

JY: I wouldn't be surprised, but I don't remember.

MY: I think for Joe's sake, we --

TY: Yeah, probably did.

MY: -- did continue. 'Cause he was still a child. And I don't remember if we bought anything, or a Christmas tree?

TY: Or New Year's?

JY: I have pictures of a Christmas tree and we played with a train and stuff.

MY: That year?

TY: But that was, might have been --

JY: No, see I don't exactly --

TY: -- that one might have been the year before.

MY: Year before. Yeah, we had that electric train, I don't know whether you got it out, because -- I think we must have, because we wanted to keep a semblance of normality --

TY: Yeah, yeah right.

MY: -- for your, for Joe's sake.

TY: And New Year's.

MY: Yeah, it was a big deal most other times. But Dad wasn't there.

JY: That's funny that you guys don't remember that period, either. You know?

TY: Well, I think maybe it must be...

JY: You blocked it out.

MY: Yeah, I think so, I think so.

TY: In denial maybe, I don't know.

<End Segment 49> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 50>

AI: Well, then also in the news of early 1942, I think in February is when, down in southern California, the first Japanese American community was -- the fishing community in San Pedro --

MY: Terminal Island?

AI: -- the Terminal Island people, they were removed. And so you may have heard something about that in the news, but then of course up here, the big news was in March, when Bainbridge Island people were removed. What do you recall of that time, if anything? Of hearing about them or seeing the newspapers.

MY: I don't remember that. I read rather extensively of that Bainbridge Island period because I had some friends, later on, who were involved in that. But I remember thinking, because Bainbridge Island, we used to go, was that, they had summer house in Bainbridge Island?

TY: Bainbridge Island?

MY: Where was that? Crystal Lake? Crystal --

TY: Oh, you mean that summer resort?

MY: Yeah.

TY: Who was it that had that?

MY: We used to go... Fuji something. Dad had some kind of stock in that store or whatever that closed up.

TY: Furuya.

MY: Furuya, okay.

TY: Yeah, Furuya company.

MY: So we spent summers there, in that house. Where was that? In Bainbridge? Was that at Bainbridge Island?

TY: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I think it was Bainbridge Island.

MY: Yeah, I think it was Bainbridge Island because I remember then hearing about this. And then I, I kind of, my mind went back to those summers we used to spend at Bainbridge Island. And --

TY: Yeah, the Furuya company had a summer resort on Bainbridge Island. So every summer we were invited there, some period of time, and we spent some time there, right?

MY: Yeah, yeah.

TY: And Dad used to, used to work for the company before he started working for the immigration office. And he had some close tie with the Furuya company. I don't know what, to what extent.

MY: Did he own some stock, or --

TY: So we did go to some resort, maybe week or two, two weeks every year. Spent some time there, but --

MY: So I, so I remember later, in retrospect, looking back and thinking, but I don't remember the moment of hearing about the people on Bainbridge Island being removed. We didn't know anybody -- we didn't have any family friends --

TY: No, no we didn't.

MY: -- who lived on that Island who were --

TY: But it made conscious of the fact that our evacuation was imminent. Just when it was, we didn't, of course we had no idea, but I figured, well, our time will come sometime soon.

MY: Yeah, I think that we were kind of aware that it was beginning. It was starting and that there were --

TY: Yeah. That was the beginning, so, in this area.

MY: -- some people who were being removed and that our turn will come next. But I don't remember specifically about Bainbridge Island, because I --

<End Segment 50> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 51>

TY: And I think about that time, I think they started, real restrictive. Curfew and... you remember that?

MY: Yeah, yeah.

TY: And so whenever we went anyplace we had to be sure to be home by -- I forgot what time -- eight o'clock?

MY: Ten, I think.

TY: Was it ten?

MY: I'm not sure.

TY: And I remember taking a sleeping bag over to my friend's place sometime, and we stayed overnight. But...

MY: So do you remember when the evac-, the curfew order came? Because the Executive Order --

TY: Well, it was sometime in the early part of the year, I know, but I can't -- do you have any record of when the curfew was...

MY: Was it January?

AI: I'm sorry, I don't have the exact date.

MY: The curfew, there must be some record of that. And so I remember that, and so that was kind of the precursor of the evacuation.

TY: That sure changed our lifestyle, because we had to work around that every, anyplace we went, we had to work around the time.

MY: Make sure that we got home. And then another thing that we -- I think we were very much aware of, is that for any groups of Japanese Americans, not to be seen in groups on the street.

TY: Yeah, at a time.

MY: Yeah, because I remember thinking, oh gosh, on December 11 -- 7th, remember we went to, we went as a group? The choir went to the concert and so forth, and that we can't do that anymore.

TY: Yeah, yeah.

MY: We can't go anywhere as a family, because we were, for -- I don't know whether we felt like we were forbidden to, but we knew that we shouldn't travel in groups anywhere, with more than two or three people in it.

TY: After that, I think we stayed home much of the time, really.

AI: When was that, that you had that sense of, that it wouldn't be good to travel in groups?

MY: I think it must have been after the evacuation order came, and we began to hear about the, the people who were being removed -- we heard that there were some Japanese who were being forced out of their homes after two weeks, and therefore we had to hurry up and get our house in order. And, during, and I do remember, my father had many friends in the immigration service, and they came and picked up things from our house, to store in their basements. Mr. Schwandt, and various, Mr. Spangler. They were just incredibly helpful. And we, I think Mr. Bonham must have organized that, because people simply offered to, opened up their homes to, so --

TY: And also when we, thought about evacuation, I thought, I can't -- the thing is, I can't remember, and I was trying to look back to see, think back to see how I decided to take what with me, because you just had limited luggage to take. And I have no idea what I took, and what I didn't take.

MY: Yeah.

TY: Do you remember? Your decisions that you made about taking --

MY: Yeah, I do. We had to, we had to take some clothes, and I remember putting a dictionary in there, my Webster's Dictionary that I -- and I remember taking couple books, and those -- and then Dad had those, Dad had those notebooks. They were notepads, and it had a, it had a kind of a red cover, with a big chief on the front. And it was made, it was newsprint. They were little pads. And he had a whole stack of them in his roll-away desk.

TY: Oh, I don't remember that at all.

MY: Because he used to write --

TY: Write, yeah.

MY: -- he used to write senryu --

TY: Senryu and stuff, right.

MY: -- and things like that that. So he had a whole bunch -- so I remember taking half a dozen of those and putting it in my bag, and that was when I wrote Camp Notes. Unfortunately, it was newsprint. The paper was newsprint. It was newsprint and they had little lines.

TY: Yeah, they did.

MY: And so about years, 1976 -- I mean, by the time that I got it out, I was carrying it around for a long time, it just fell apart. The newsprint was, it was just disintegrating. They had turned yellow and... and then I had written in pencil.

TY: Oh. No, but I think, if I recall, those note paper, if you used regular ink, it blotted, it smeared a little.

MY: Oh, yeah, yeah. That's what -- I don't know. For some reason -- I thought it was before, I was working in the hospital at night, and I used pencil and I was writing it in pencil. So by the time I got to it, and then Alta was, when I was publishing my poems, she was looking, we were looking through it, and the more you handled it, the more it fell apart. And then half of it was faded because the pencil, and then I used to write very light, small, handwriting was very... couldn't read the handwriting half the time. So then I, but those are the things that we, I think we packed. And mostly clothes, probably. It's like packing, packing for a trip.

TY: Yeah, obviously it was clothes, but I was wondering what other miscellaneous item I might have decided to take with me, and I don't remember what they were.

Jeni Y: Do you remember taking any toys?

JY: Well, I talk to the high school and junior high kids a lot, about the internment and so forth. And you know that picture? Of me carrying this little --

MY: The wood cabinet? [Laughs]

JY: Yeah. And so they ask, "What do you have in it?" And I didn't really know, but I started making things up just to make it interesting. [Laughs] But I know I had a baseball glove.

MY: Yeah.

JY: And I know that when we got to camp, one of the first games I, we played every day was Monopoly. And so I have a feeling that we might have taken at least those two things.

TY: Oh, we must have taken Monopoly with us.

MY: And you had --

TY: I remember having Monopoly game, set with us.

MY: Yeah.

JY: Oh yeah? Well that might be -- and I wasn't sure whether I was making that up or whether it really was for real. [Laughs]

MY: But I remember, you know the poem that I wrote about your collecting the snakes in the mayonnaise jar?

JY: Uh-huh.

MY: And somebody asked me, "Where did he get the mayonnaise jar?" And I, and I said, "Well, I remember that Joe had some kind of a collection of stuff, and he had it in this mayonnaise jar." And mayonnaise jar, it wasn't, it wasn't a screw-, it had, the top was different from what it is today. But that you had taken the jar full of whatever, in this mayonnaise jar.

TY: Marbles?

MY: Could be.

JY: Might have been marbles. 'Cause that was my big thing when I was in Seattle, was --

TY: 'Cause I had a real marble, big marble collection, I think I gave it to you.

JY: Yeah.

TY: So you might have --

MY: So you took some of that, yeah.

JY: I'm sure I had marbles, then, yeah. Because in those days, when I was a kid, agates were the big thing, you know.

MY: Yeah.

TY: Yeah.

JY: So I'm sure I wouldn't have thrown all those out.

MY: And they survived after many years, because when we went back to make Mitsuye and Nellie, the film, there was a woman who lived in the next, in the next farm who came over, and she said, "I found these things in the, when we were digging in the ground." This was like, 1980, forty years later she found these little relics in the --

JY: Oh, is that right?

MY: Yeah.

JY: Maybe one of my marbles was in there.

MY: [Laughs] She -- feel like an archeological relic? [Laughs] Somebody dug you up, but she found these little shard, pieces of a teacup, and --

JY: Uh-huh.

TY: Oh yeah, I remember that, yeah.

MY: Yeah, barrettes, and things like that. I was looking at it and I thought, gosh, feel like an archeological relic of some --

TY: I was really surprised that the lady found those and kept them. She had them in a little box, didn't she?

MY: That was kind of interesting, I think -- yeah, she had it in that little wooden -- you were there.

TY: Yeah, yeah.

MY: Little cigar box. And she had it wrapped up in some kind of a man's, like a white handkerchief.

<End Segment 51> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 52>

TY: That was when we went to Minidoka to film her, Nellie and --

MY: Mitsuye and Nellie.

TY: Mitsuye and Nellie. And we went to some of the, we asked them what happened to some of those barracks, and they said that some of the local farmers had bought it on a auction, and were using the storage area. So we went to some of those farms to look at those barracks, and that's where one of, the lady brought out this box of...

MY: Yeah, the farm that we used, I think the story that they told us was in 1946 or the year after, the end of the war, that the government had offered homesteaders two and a half acres of land, and that one and a half -- barrack, barracks --

TY: Like a homestead.

MY: Yeah, and that if they would develop so many -- five acres, or I forgot exactly how many acres of land around it, that they could have it for free. That if they would -- there was sort of the, the kind of deal that they used to give to the American Indians in that time. They were homesteaders. So then the house that they were living in was half a barrack, if I remember. Which they had -- by that time it was almost unrecognizable, because they had built onto, and electricity and water, and so forth, of course. And then the other full barrack that we filmed around there was, they used it for storage for feed and --

TY: Tools and things.

MY: Yeah, and I remember, but they didn't do any -- they just left the tarpaper outside, and it was pretty much intact, and because of the dry weather in that desert area, things don't disintegrate like they do in other parts of the country. They, it, so we, I noticed that the apartment, like A, B, C, D -- remember, there was a little white lettering? Apartment and, on the top there were these, the entrance, and there were six, six rooms in each barrack.

TY: I think so, yeah.

MY: And our, we lived in Room C, and so the sign on top said, "C and D," there were a couple stairs that go up to it, and then the door, two doors with the apartment C and apartment D. And --

TY: We were in C?

MY: We were in C, yeah.

TY: Block 4.

MY: And those signs were already -- were still there.

TY: Yeah.

MY: The signs were, they hadn't removed it. They boarded up the door, because they, and they used it as a barn, but you could see from the outside, the exact configuration of the, of the building as it was. And they left the stairs the way it was. And so Nellie and I were sitting, I think, on it when they filmed --

TY: You sat there.

MY: We sat there, yeah. At one scene we were sitting on the steps. But it was kind of interesting to see the buildings kind of, almost intact. And we, and then we, I think we went inside the barn, and there was some graffiti on the, on the wall. And Nellie was saying, "Oh, look. Must, some kids must have written on the wall," it was still there. And so that was quite interesting to kind of recall that specific period.

AI: It's interesting how much came back to you when you were there so many years later.

MY: Yeah, one of the things that -- it took time to film that, the scenes there, and I realized in retrospect later, that I, we should have gone the day before. I should have gone there the day before and kind of -- 'cause I hadn't been there for forty years, at that point -- to take in the scenery, get some of the emotional impact of being in that place out of my system, sort of, before we started filming. Because I just couldn't deal with it. I'd start reading my poem, and I couldn't get through it, and we did another take, and it was just kind of painful for them, because they had to keep using all this film. But I realized that it was more emotional than I real-, I thought, at that moment. I didn't think that it would become a big deal. You go there, just film, make a film and then leave. But it was, it took a lot longer than we thought it would.

AI: What about you, Tosh? Were you surprised at your own reaction at being back at Minidoka after so many years?

TY: Well, of course, only thing is, several... the cabin brought some memory, but other than that, there's nothing bearing, like a desert, there's nothing there. So, and I did bring back a souvenir from one of the barracks, just a piece of wood that I found on the ground from, that had broken off from one of the buildings. And brought it home as a souvenir. But, I don't know. Beyond that, I didn't, it didn't really, it just looked so different.

MY: Yeah. That was, one of the things that Allie kept -- the filmmaker -- kept asking me about it is, about the sense of how you felt when you first arrived, that the place felt like it was the end of the world. I mean, it felt like another planet, because you never, when we traveled, we never really went through deserts or desert areas. We used to drive to San Francisco or wherever. But, so you get off the bus, and you just really felt like it was Mars or someplace. Where there was no vegetation, it was just absolutely -- with all the miles of sagebrush around. And what was different at the time that we did the filming -- and they had a hard time trying to capture the sense of isolation, the sense of alienation that we felt because there was, all the trees by that time, and then the, and they were trying to avoid the, the telephone poles and the wires that were not there at that time. And so, in that respect, I think that you do, don't have that feeling of being in that place at that time. You don't recall that. It was only when I started reading my poems because I had written it there, that I, that the emotion started coming out. It was kind of interesting.

TY: Well, I was trying to think, the comparison from the, when we first got the impression, my impression when you first arrived to Minidoka, during the evacuation time, and that, when we went back in 1980, '80 or so to look at it. That, I remember when first got there, I remember seeing lot of sagebrushes, and that was it. That was the only thing that was there, it was very, like a desert. But this last, the second visit, sagebrushes weren't even there. Because farmers were farming the land. So it was just very barren. I mean, absolutely nothing there except for, I think we went there, time period where they just planted things, so nothing was growing, as I remember.

MY: Uh-huh. But it was green around the, there were trees.

TY: Just around the house, around their homes there was stuff. But other than that, there was nothing there.

<End Segment 52> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 53>

MY: But, Joe was, you remember, what did you do during the -- you had friends, you played with Ted.

JY: Well, I can remember my first impressions. Did we, did we go on a bus or a truck?

MY: Yeah, we went --

TY: Yeah, or a bus, yeah.

MY: We went on a train.

TY: No, no, no we went --

JY: No, but not to the camp site. It was --

TY: No, no.

MY: Oh, no. To Puyallup.

TY: We just got on the bus to get on the train, from Puyallup --

JY: We're talking about Minidoka now, right?

MY: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

JY: I remember getting off and it just, it was sand, and it was just barren.

TY: Because we came from evergreen, everything --

JY: Yeah, yeah.

TY: -- everything was green, but there, everything was just nothing.

JY: So I have a vivid remembrance of --

TY: Such a contrast.

JY: Yeah, that everything was just so --

TY: Barren.

JY: Barren. And I felt like I was out in the Sahara Desert, or something, because everything was just kind of -- I don't remember much more than that.

MY: You remember playing on, in the --

JY: Oh, yeah. During the, I can certainly remember playing at, at Minidoka.

MY: With your friends.

JY: It was all kinds of stuff.

TY: Do you remember the train ride? To Minidoka?

JY: No.

TY: We had to, I think we had to, the blinds were all drawn.

MY: They had this little, kind of pot-bellied stove in the middle of the train.

TY: Stove, yeah. And we couldn't look outside --

JY: Yeah, no, I don't have any recollection of how we got there or what we ate...

TY: They made us pull the blind down.

MY: What we ate.

JY: Except, except, yeah, I remember the mess halls.

MY: Oh, at the camp.

JY: Yeah, at camp, but I don't remember on the way up, I don't remember anything about --

MY: Of the train ride itself.

JY: Yeah, yeah.

<End Segment 53> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 54>

AI: Before we get too much into the life at Minidoka, I wanted to back up a little bit and back to that period where the government -- you're still in Seattle -- and the government was calling your moving an "evacuation." And you were seeing what happened to the Bainbridge people, you mentioned that you knew your time was coming, that you were also going to have to leave. But hearing the, seeing in the newspaper and the notices tacked up around town, and the government called it "evacuation," what did that mean to you at the time? Do you recall what you thought was going to happen to you, or did it, what did "evacuation" mean to you? That word? What was going through your mind?

MY: I think, well, we still had the house. I think we had the sense that it was going to be temporary. I don't think that we thought the war would last forever, did you?

TY: No, no, of course not.

MY: We just thought that, and so --

TY: No, the whole thing was so unreal.

MY: And so the house -- yeah, and the house was going to be rented. We, one of the, one of Dad's co-workers took care of that. He got some, a couple to rent the house. And so we weren't going to get rid of the house, it was going to be rented. And then our belongings was going to be scattered around to different friends' homes. And I think we had kind of a sense that when this was maybe over in a few months --

TY: We would all come back and go back to normal life again.

MY: -- a year, that we were going to come back, and things were going to be back in place. I don't think that we even had any sense that this was going to be permanent, or that we would never be coming back to Seattle. It might have been kind of blocking it out, but I think that our family was somewhat privileged by, from having such good friends, and so forth, that we, we felt somewhat secure that -- don't you think? That we were going to be okay.

TY: Yeah, I think, in comparison to many of the families, I think we were very fortunate. Because the people who, Dad's immediate supervisor, fellow took care of the house, and he asked the real estate company to take care of the rental and everything. So he took care of everything, whereas lot of the people had, who had businesses, lost it completely. And so I think we were very lucky that things turned out as well as it did for us. Because we, after the war we came back and the house was still there. In fact, I stayed there for two years when I was going back to the University of Washington, so, and that was really nice. We had someplace to go back to. And many of the people didn't.

AI: Did you have any sense of fear or concern about your mother and her status, that, again, she was a Japanese citizen, not eligible for American citizenship, and of course your father was still being --

JY: And she was the same status, too.

MY: I was the same status, yeah.

AI: Yes, and you were also. Did you, so did you have any concerns about that?

MY: No, I don't think so. My mother was kind of a, she was sort of a chronic complainer, if you remember.

TY: She was a worrywart. [Laughs]

MY: She was very -- and she was like that when we were young, because we were so sick, and she was always worried over us, and she, and she complained a lot. And I think we kind of had --

TY: Eminent disaster around the corner. [Laughs]

MY: [Laughs] It had a, kind of had a way of tuning her out, I think. And so if she -- I know, she complained a lot. I mean, she was complaining about the inconvenience, and about Dad, Papa being gone, and what was going to happen to him, and so forth and so on, and we somehow didn't join her with that. We somehow went on, went on with our business without -- and unfortunately, she didn't get too much sympathy from us, because we kind of, had gotten immune to, to getting, joining her with all of her worries. But as far as Mom was concerned, I think that she was pretty intelligent and competent, although she didn't sound like it at that time.

TY: Well, come to think of it, maybe it didn't bother us as much because she did all the worrying for us. [Laughs]

MY: So we decided not to do it. [Laughs]

<End Segment 54> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 55>

AI: And, I think at some point, all the Japanese aliens, including yourself, had to register.

MY: Uh-huh, I did. I had the alien registration card.

AI: And then later on, as a family, also, I think -- even the American citizens were required to register, also.

MY: For the evacuation?

AI: Yes, as that part. Do you recall anything around these registration processes or how, how you felt about being required to do that?

MY: To sign -- do you remember going for the registration process for the family and getting our num-, getting our family number?

TY: No. I know I did. I'm the one who did it.

MY: I know, yeah, you did. I think Tosh was, since I was --

TY: Yeah. I know that I did it but I have no idea where I went.

MY: Yeah. Since Tosh was, since I was gone during that time, I was working, he, Tosh was the one who took care of all the family things.

TY: Yeah, I went and, I remember getting the notice about registering, but just were we, where we were instructed to go to get, to register... I was talking to Kenji about that one time, and he said he and I went together.

MY: Really?

TY: Yeah.

MY: Well I would, that sounds --

TY: And then so, he said that our numbers were --

MY: Very close?

TY: Yeah, but... it was very close.

MY: Like 3-2, 3-3.

TY: But beyond that I just don't remember.

MY: I remember that, too, but I didn't remember why it was -- I thought it was because we were neighbors, but that's interesting. But it makes sense for you and Kenji to have gone, representing the two families.

TY: This is, Kenji Okuda was our neighbor. Lived couple blocks down from us, was our good friends, and so some years ago I asked him about that, and he said, "Yeah, you and I went together." And I said, "Where did we go?" and he says, "I don't know." [Laughs]

MY: Oh, he didn't remember that?

TY: He didn't remember, either. And he was pretty smart, I thought that when he forgot, understand that I forget, too.

MY: So the, there must have been a registration center someplace.

TY: Yeah, I'm sure there was.

MY: Where the families were told to report.

TY: Maybe it was at the immigration office, maybe it was the federal building downtown, I don't know.

JY: You know, it could have been someplace like Bailey Gatzert grammar school, or something.

MY: Grammar school.

TY: It must have been someplace in the International section where... but I just, unfortunately I just don't remember.

MY: Hmm.

TY: There's so much gap in that period of my life, that --

MY: Yeah, there's this whole, hole in our memories, and unfortunately, of that specific period.

<End Segment 55> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 56>

AI: What about right before you left to go to the Puyallup, the assembly center, it was called? What do you recall of that time, if anything, just getting ready to go --

MY: Go on the bus?

AI: -- and then and actually that day, yes.

MY: I remember boarding the bus, but, and I remember driving, the bus driving away as people were saying goodbye to us, but I think Mr. Bonham and a couple people were --

TY: Was he there?

MY: -- yeah, I think he was there.

TY: Mr. Bonham was our Dad's boss, so...

MY: And I just remember him. There might have been other of his co-workers there.

TY: No, just prior to that, though, prior to that, getting ready to evacuate, and our -- I remember, remember we had the movie camera that we gave to your employer?

MY: Oh, yeah. Okay, when we were in the process of storing our belongings, we had, Dad had all this photographic equipment. The projector and the camera, it was just, the films that we were talking about, sort of his big toy. So we thought we'd better put that in a safe place, so I took it to, so the family decided that we should ask the photographer that I was working for since he knows about cameras and so forth, to have, ask him if he would store it in his house. And he said he would do it and so we took the, there was a considerable amount of stuff there.

TY: A big box.

MY: And we never got that back.

TY: What?

MY: We never got it back.

TY: No. And then another thing I remember storing was some items like, remember that wooden horse statue that we, carved statue that we had on top of the piano?

MY: Yeah, yeah. Don't you still have it?

TY: No. That was stored, that was put in the box, one item that was put in the box to take to the Merlinos' across the street.

MY: Oh, yeah.

TY: There was an Italian family living across the street from us, so we took that item, and several other things which I don't remember. I just remember that beautiful carved, wooden carving of a horse. We took that over there, and I'm not sure whether they ever got that back.

MY: I don't know. Well, I know that the camp, we went to pick -- well, years later I was in New York, I think by that time, and you said that you went to pick up the -- oh maybe when I was in Chicago -- you said you went to pick up the, to the -- I forgot their names, even -- the photographer's house? And they denied they had it.

TY: Yeah.

MY: They had forgotten, or, I don't know. So many years passed and they --

TY: I don't remember going to the Merlinos after the war to pick up that, and then we took over there, either, but...

Jeni Y: What happened to the rest of the belongings in the house? You just named a few things that people stored for you, what happened to --

MY: Yeah, Grandma got them back, I think.

TY: What?

MY: The other stuff that was stored with the, Dad's co-workers. They returned that.

TY: I think most of the stuff, I think one of the items --

MY: And a lot of things, and like I had stacks of those dishes that -- Grandma bought a lot of things when we went to Japan. And all of the hana, ikebana equipment that Grandma collected. And that little well? That antique well, and all the dishes, and things like that, we got those back.

TY: I think we got most of the items back, except for the camera, that we had stored.

MY: Uh-huh.

Jeni Y: Were there a lot of things you had to get rid of? Like extra, clothes that you didn't take, toys that you didn't take?

MY: Yeah, there were a lot of things that were lost, and I don't know exactly if they were thrown out, or... there were some books that I treasured.

JY: Was the house empty when we left?

TY: No. We left all the furniture there.

JY: How, what about the loose items, like dishes and clothes?

MY: Yeah, those are the things that we packed up and then -- the portable things, I think, we --

TY: Well, I think we stored a lot of stuff downstairs in the basement.

MY: Oh, that's quite possible. I don't remember that, but yeah. And some of the furniture was still there when they dismantled the house to take it to Japan.

TY: Yeah, but the reason those house, those furniture was still there was because --

MY: They were so big.

TY: Well, when Mrs. Motoda bought the house and converted it into a church, she removed most of the furniture, and she stored it downstairs.

MY: In the basement.

TY: So, yeah. So when they came to dismantle the house, they found all the furniture there, yet. That's why it was still there.

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: They weren't many using many of the stuff.

JY: So whoever rented the house during the war, then, just used the furniture that was left.

TY: Yeah, yeah.

MY: They used the furniture as, they used the house as is.

JY: They just left it.

MY: Yeah.

<End Segment 56> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 57>

AI: Do you recall getting rid of anything because it was Japanese?

MY: Oh, yeah. I think that we burned a lot of things in the fireplace.

TY: Yeah, yeah. Sure did.

AI: Did you have some --

MY: But then, see, most of the Japanese stuff, the FBI took them. And whatever, they were gone. Like my dad's desk was just totally empty. So all the letters and things like that. And so, but my mother had some scrolls and things like that, that she felt we needed to get rid of, and we burned it in the fireplace. But, but there weren't that many Japanese stuff in the house. Most of the things that Dad wrote were in his desk.

TY: Were gone.

MY: They were gone, yeah. And --

JY: What happened to all the swords and stuff? What was done with them during the war?

MY: That was, those were stored. And Mom got those back.

JY: Stored where?

MY: In somebody's house, probably.

TY: All the what?

MY: Sword.

JY: You know, the samurai swords and all that.

MY: I think you have one, but you know that, the sword -- so some of them were quite antique. But then Mom sold it to some Issei guy after the war.

JY: No, but I'm wondering -- yeah, but I'm wondering what happened to them during the war.

TY: I don't think I, I don't --

MY: It was stored in somebody's house.

JY: Somebody's house?

MY: Mr. Bonham's house, or --

TY: I don't think we had -- not the sword Dad got after he got to Chicago. As some of the, he got them, I think...

MY: He bought them later?

TY: Or he got 'em as a gift, or whatever.

JY: Oh yeah?

TY: Yeah.

JY: Huh.

MY: I don't think so.

TY: No?

MY: I don't remember Dad buying anything while he was in Chicago.

TY: Then where did we have, where did we store the swords, then?

MY: Those, I think those were one of the things that were stored in --

TY: The one, that sword that I have right now?

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: I don't remember having that before the war. I think that was given to Dad after, in Chicago, as a gift.

JY: I have no, I don't remember him getting, I just don't know. Because I wasn't there that much in Chicago.

TY: Yeah, but I --

MY: I thought Mom, Mom remembers --

TY: Because I don't remember seeing that.

MY: Mom remembers kind of specifically who gave this to us, and who gave -- they were, you're right, they were gifts. But I don't think it was during the days in Chicago.

TY: Nothing, in Chicago?

MY: No, I don't think so.

TY: Oh, that's --

MY: I think most of them were from Japan.

TY: Yeah, but one with that beautiful stand that I have is, I can't remember seeing that before the war.

MY: Well, you probably didn't notice it.

TY: Probably, well, that could be.

MY: Because she remembers specifically, this was from so-and-so, Mr....

TY: Yeah but, sword like that would have been, I think sword like that would have been on disp-, she would have had it out, or Dad would have had it out.

MY: But they had so many of them.

TY: Yeah, but that's, that had a nice stand. That's the only one that had a beautiful stand.

MY: Oh, that's true.

TY: And I would imagine, it would be, in places like the photo that we have of the house in Massachusetts Street, Beacon Hill house, on the piano we had bunch of stuff. Ningyo --

MY: Did you see it in the photographs?

TY: Huh? We had Hakata ningyo and that horse, wooden horse?

MY: It's on the piano.

TY: Yeah, it was on the piano. And I thought that maybe you put things like that beautiful sword --

JY: Yeah, getting back to Jeni's question, we lived in that house for what? Ten years?

TY: Ten years, yeah.

JY: And you accumulate stuff in ten years. I just wonder what happened -- did you have a garage sale?

MY: [Laughs] No. Garage sale.

TY: They didn't have garage sales in those days, I don't think, really.

MY: Well, a lot of --

JY: They had evacuation sales.

MY: Evacuation sales, a lot of people did, yeah.

TY: Oh, that's right.

MY: I don't remember selling anything.

TY: No, I don't think --

MY: I think if anything, I either threw them out, or they were just stored.

TY: Well, we had friends store it.

MY: Uh-huh. And all the other excess things were just tossed.

<End Segment 57> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 58>

AI: Did you have a feeling that you had to really put away anything Japanese that, especially after that FBI visit, and them taking all the Japanese writings, your father's writings, and that type of thing. Some other families had mentioned to me that they really felt that they were trying to get rid of, and kind of wash away or put away anything having to do with anything Japanese.

MY: Like the short-, the thing is, the fact is, they took everything of that sort.

TY: So anything that they left we thought it probably won't matter, they won't be incriminating, anyway. So I don't recall --

MY: They had boxes of stuff from the house. I mean, they took books --

TY: Yeah, they took several boxes.

MY: -- my dad had stacks of mag-, you know how you collect magazines from one month to the other and you don't throw them -- so they took all those magazines, and, and so we had, we literally had very little left, of that type. But they wouldn't, they were, very meticulously went through the house. And they looked behind picture frames to see if there were any -- and Dad and Mom were saying, "They were looking behind the pic-, what did they think they would find there?" They maybe thought that there would be a hidden safe or something on the wall. But that was probably years later, the people were hiding, safes, in the movies, they had safe in the wall. Because my mother was saying, "They were taking pictures off the wall, and looking in the back of the pictures, as if we would be hiding something between the frame and the" --

TY: Well, you see 'em, in the spy movies, doing that. [Laughs]

MY: Yeah, I know. One of those FBI agents read a lot of spy movies, saw a lot of spy movies, I suppose. But because of that, I think we didn't really have very much left --

JY: To worry about.

MY: Yeah, that looked like it may be incriminating. So with, for some families who heard that some of the houses were ransacked by the FBI, I imagine that they went through their things and got rid of lot of their Japanese things, just in case the FBI came to --

JY: Well, we didn't have time, or you guys didn't have time, anyway, 'cause they got there so fast.

MY: Well, we had no idea that that's what we were supposed to do, at that point.

TY: Well, we didn't even have time to think, because the FBI was there within a couple hours.

JY: Yeah. [Laughs]

TY: They didn't give us much time.

MY: Yeah. So, to answer your question, no, I don't remem-, I do remember my mom had some scrolls. I imagine that they were quite old. I still have a few of those, but some of those are stored. But she --

JY: 'Cause I think each of us have a scroll.

TY: Yeah, a scroll.

MY: Scroll, that --

JY: Are they from prewar days?

MY: Yeah.

TY: Yeah, they're all from, most of them are.

JY: So they must have been stored by the Bonhams or somebody.

MY: Yeah, yeah. But when the FBI came, I don't know where they were.

JY: They didn't mess with those, yeah.

MY: I don't know where they were, because there are quite a number of them.

TY: Yeah, quite a few.

MY: Because --

TY: We got several, several, we got several each, between us and Mike, so she must have had a lot.

MY: The fact is that they went through everything of Dad's things very scrupulously. But somehow they missed those, and then whatever they didn't miss, Mom burned them, a lot of things. And we still have a few. And some of those scrolls had Japanese characters.

JY: We have more than a few. I probably have three or four.

TY: Oh, each of us has several, actually.

JY: Yeah, each of us have several.

TY: Yeah, I have a lot of --

MY: Did Mom pick those up in Japan, after the war, when she went to Japan?

TY: I have no idea. Some of them look fairly new.

MY: Yeah.

TY: A few of them I have are very, look very old.

MY: So, so there weren't probably very many in that batch that we have today that was still intact in there, because the FBI took whatever...

JY: Did they, maybe they thought the scrolls were like art pieces, and so they didn't bother...

MY: It could be. Because I remember Mom, you know, the scrolls, how they have a kind of a dowel on the bottom and the top, where it's rolled up. And Mom opening it up and just throwing the thing in the fire. And so, and they probably had a lot of Japanese characters on them.

TY: Could be.

MY: And --

Jeni Y: Do you remember your emotions around throwing things in the fireplace?

MY: No, we were kind of busy. [Laughs] We thought, we'd better hurry up and get rid of these things. "Oh, the FBI missed these," and so you just thought, better hurry up and get rid of them. But there weren't very many of them. I mean, it just constituted one evening of activity. Getting rid of them. But Alice was asking about other books and things like that, and I don't remember -- there weren't any, anymore. So that... but then we had to, to pack a lot of things, and I don't know -- I can't imagine the accumulation of twenty-some years of household stuff. But the things that were stored in the co-work-, my dad's, Grandpa's co-workers' houses, were obviously things that my mother treasured. So they weren't just everyday things. We did, probably burned a lot of old junk and mail, and junk and things like that that we collected. And a lot of the stuff that we got rid of had to do with school papers and I think, high school. We do have a few high school annuals, though, from our high school annuals.

TY: Yeah. Well, I kept those.

MY: Yeah, I don't think I have any --

TY: That got lost in the shuffle in Chicago.

MY: Yeah. But a lot of those things, you still have, the amount of personal items that you, you save.

TY: I wonder, where did we have those stored? Annuals and stuff.

MY: I don't know. Somebody's house?

TY: Because we, I still had 'em after the war, and you still had the, in fact, I have yours, now.

MY: My annuals, yeah.

TY: So we, we had it stored by somebody, someplace.

MY: And I had a whole case of doll, I had a doll collection.

TY: Yeah.

MY: That, and then every time somebody came from some, different parts of the world, I'd, that little doll collection. And then it had the, the Hinamatsuri, Emperor, Empress --

TY: You still have 'em?

MY: No. That, we burned that, too. That was one of the things that they didn't take. The Emperor and the Empress -- you know, they had the --

TY: Oh yeah, for the doll festival?

MY: -- March 3rd? Or is it May 5th? March 3rd, I think, is the Girls' Day, right?

TY: Yeah.

MY: And you have this, these little dolls, Emperor and Empress, and all these little things. I just have few, I don't have the Emperor and Empress, 'cause I think we burned that. That was something we thought we should -- but I do have the, the little drawers. You know those lacquer drawers?

TY: Oh yeah, yeah.

MY: I still have those. And that was stored. But then, most of that doll collection was --

TY: That's right. You did have a real extensive collection.

MY: Yeah, and then Mr. Somebody, one of the guys who used to live with us --

JY: Abe?

MY: The handyman?

JY: Abe?

MY: No, Mr. Shoji-san?

TY: Shoji-san, yeah.

MY: Shoji-san. He made a cabinet for me, with a glass case.

TY: Oh.

MY: With a glass, drawers. Because it was all over the, my room. So Mom had him make this thing, so we put all the dolls in there.

TY: Yeah, I think that --

MY: And that was all gone. And I don't know what happened to the case, but, to the shelf, but... and when I come to think of it, when Alice was asking that, I think, yeah, that's right. They didn't really look at those dolls. They just thought they were decorative things, and Mom looked at the Emperor and Empress, "Oh God, we got to throw that, get rid of that, quickly." [Laughs] And the rest of it, I just have a few -- remember those little, that little, on your seventieth birthday, I gave you that little geta?

JY: Uh-huh.

MY: That you chewed on when you were three years old? And I kept that.

JY: Yeah.

MY: You had the little teeth marks on it. [Laughs]

<End Segment 58> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 59>

AI: Well, so by the time that the actual day of leaving came, you had already gone through quite a bit of this sorting, and this constant packing --

MY: Yeah, right. I think, I think the effect of hearing about, about the Bainbridge Island and the people who were chased out of their homes and forcibly removed, was kind of a signal that we had to get ready. The time was coming for us, although at that moment, we didn't have a, the evacuation order hadn't come yet.

AI: Do you recall when you did get that, see that actual notice, that your area of town was going to have to report and actually leave --

MY: Yeah, I -- that must have been when you -- the evacuation order, I think, came when the specific, the families were ordered to report to, to get your, that was when we got our family number, and we had to register. And, the Japanese American National Museum might have a record of when they -- and then we had to fill out a questionnaire. And we had to fill out -- the questionnaire had something -- and my older brother and I were going through that, and talking about how funny it was, 'cause we lied. "Do you speak Japanese?" "No." Of course we spoke Japanese. "Do you..." [Laughs] They ask all these questions, and then they asked you, "What is your job?" Or I think I put "housekeeper" or "babysitter" or something like that. I mean, the jobs that you had, and educational level, there was that little questionnaire that we filled out. And part of it was, you could tell why we lied, that you didn't speak Japanese, "how long did you go to Japanese school?" The questions was obviously designed to find out how loyal you were to this country. And apparently we were quite aware of that. Either we were told --

TY: See, I don't remember, I don't remember the questionnaire.

MY: You got the, didn't you get it back from, from -- Japanese American National Museum has a copy of --

TY: A copy of the questionnaire?

MY: Yeah.

AI: This may be a questionnaire that you might have filled out in camp, maybe, rather than --

MY: Rather than at that moment, okay.

AI: -- at the registration. The registration questions might have been, some similar, but not as many.

MY: You may, yeah, you may be right about that. Because I had forgotten about that questionnaire, and I thought, and I was wondering, when did we fill that out?

TY: And, then I don't remember when I registered, what was asked, or...

MY: Well of course, because he went by himself. So the rest of us would not have had the questionnaire.

TY: So I'm not sure what kind of form I filled out, or anything about that.

MY: But you --

TY: I wonder if they have samples of stuff like that, someplace? Do they have...?

MY: They must have

AI: Yes, they do, they do.

MY: I'm sure they have it in the National Archives, right?

AI: Yes.

TY: You mean the registration itself?

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: You think so?

MY: I'm sure they do. The, the U.S. government kept some remarkable footage. They, if you go the National Archives, Nellie and I went there to look for -- they kept, every step of the way, the evacuation, all those films, those were all taken by the army. They kept documenting their, their activities.

TY: Well, I did get, looked in my WRA archives, my own record. And I got that. But about the evacuation and registration and stuff, where would you go to get that? I don't know. I'll have to find out, because I'd be curious to see what date it was that we --

MY: You have, you have yours, because I think I sent it to you, right? Your little questionnaire, that...

JY: I don't remember that.

MY: The only person --

JY: Where did you get it?

MY: At the National, Japanese American National Museum.

JY: Oh, really?

TY: It'd just be on there --

JY: I may have it, I just don't know.

MY: Somebody was missing. I think Mike or somebody was missing from that.

TY: You, did you send me mine, too?

MY: I thought I did. I thought I sent it to all of you, when I first went there.

TY: Well, I don't remember. I have to check, check my files.

MY: Maybe, I'll look in my files and see. But we, so that's quite possible that that was filled out in camp, where all the, these inmates, after we got into camp, were told to fill out these questionnaires. But then, so after that, in actual preparation for the removal to Puyallup, that's the part that I really don't remember. How we got to the house with our belongings, and to the place where we boarded the bus. I remember boarding the bus, and I remember leaving, but I don't remember specifically -- the thing is, even at, I was seventeen, eighteen? Eighteen at that time? But I never drove, and I had no sense of geography of any place --

TY: Even now.

MY: That's true. [Laughs] Where things were.


<End Segment 59> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 60>

AI: So we're continuing again, and just before our last break, you were just at the point of leaving Seattle for the Puyallup Assembly Center. What do you recall of that day and that time?

MY: That was part of the, probably part of the, the period that we seemed to -- Tosh, I mean Joe, I don't know if you remember.

JY: My first recollection is when we got there.

MY: As you said, yeah. So we just seemed to have blocked that out in our mind, is that, I don't even remember the feelings that we had. Whether it was panic, or what. I do remember -- oh, the one thing that I do remember was that we saw a lot of people with big bags, like duffel bags or laundry bags with their stuff. But when we were told to take two suitcases, we took that literally. And we had two suitcases. So, two suitcases, remember? That was the order?

TY: Yeah.

MY: And then there, and then when we got to the bus stop, and then we saw the, we saw a lot of people with huge laundry bags, sacks full of stuff. And we thought, "Oh gosh, we could have taken more." [Laughs] I remember thinking that. They, this one woman had this big, like a laundry bag that was tied on the top. And it looked like it was just chock full. And a canvas, white canvas bag. And I remember looking at that and thinking, "Gosh, we could have taken more," but in our family, we just -- I don't know where we got --

TY: Took it literally, I guess.

MY: We did take it literally. So we just, we had one paper box, kind of, suitcase. And literal suitcases. I don't know where we found ten suitcases. Did we have them?

TY: I wish I could remember, but I don't remember. The whole thing is very vague to me.

MY: Yeah we, and I remember packing the suitcases, but -- and that was the only time that I remember anything about the --

TY: Well, remember that photograph that appeared in Seattle Times --

MY: The Seattle Times? Yeah.

TY: The things we were carrying. What happened to the big stuff?

MY: Was I carrying something? Oh, I don't know if I --

TY: Well, what happened to the big stuff?

MY: You were carrying a bag.

JY: Yeah, I was, I had a shopping bag.

TY: You carried a little bag.

MY: Oh, you had a shopping bag? Oh...

TY: You had a shopping bag or something, too, right?

MY: Oh.

TY: And so what happened to the other stuff? The suitcases.

MY: Oh, maybe they just put them in the bus.

JY: They probably just threw 'em into the train, or something.

MY: That was a bus, I think.

TY: Oh, that was a bus. I think we were boarding a bus to go catch the train.

MY: To Puyallup.

TY: No, no. To Puyallup, because we went by bus.

MY: Yeah.

TY: Yeah, we were going to Puyallup then, right?

MY: And there was one with Mike with that helmet on?

TY: Yeah, he had that -- what?

MY: Safari --

JY: Safari.

MY: Safari helmet?

TY: Yeah, safari helmet, yeah. And I wasn't in the photo.

MY: You were not in the photo. Oh, then that was, that was, then we were going to Minidoka.

TY: Yeah, oh that's right, okay.

MY: We weren't going to Puyallup.

TY: That wasn't going to Puyallup.

MY: 'Cause if it had been a -- so we were leaving Puyallup to go to Minidoka?

JY: Uh-huh.

TY: Yeah, yeah. That's why I wasn't in the photo.

MY: Okay. But so --

TY: I had already gone.

AI: But on the bus to Puyallup, you were all together. You and Mike and your mother were all together on the bus.

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: Uh-huh.

AI: And then also on the bus, were there some of your neighbors and other --

MY: Yeah, the Okudas, I remember now, and our neighbors the Okudas were there.

TY: She remembers the Okudas and I don't. I just, I can't even remember who was on the bus.

MY: I remember Kenji 'cause he was acting up.

TY: Oh. [Laughs]

MY: As Kenji often was doing. But that's, that's the only thing I remember about that trip.

TY: Is that right?

MY: And I remember the bus driving away and our waving to the people goodbye, but, who were left behind, but that was it, that was it.

TY: Well, the Itois was our neighbors, also, and so I asked Henry, I still --

MY: I don't remember them.

TY: -- see him off and on, and I asked him about whether he remembers who was on the bus, whether I was on the same bus, we were on the same bus as his family was. And --

MY: Henry? Hank?

TY: -- he couldn't remember, either. Yeah, Henry Itoi.

Jeni Y. Do you remember what people were talking about while they were on the bus?

TY: Well, no. I don't. My guess is everybody was sort of anxious and not, and not knowing what's -- we didn't know what was coming.

JY: Did you know where we were going?

MY: No.

TY: No. But, even if they had told us that they're going to be taking us to Puyallup Fair, while I'm visualizing -- we'd been to Puyallup Fair when it was a fairground. So I would have visualized the main fairground, and the parking areas, and so forth. And when we got there, of course, the parking area was, nothing -- it was divided into four different sections. Section A, B, C, and the main campground was Area D. And that's where the administration office was, that's where the hospital was located. And we went to Area C originally.

<End Segment 60> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 61>

AI: Excuse me, when you first arrived there at the Puyallup fairgrounds and you were getting off the bus, what did you see, and what was your impression at that time?

MY: It was just, they had constructed some temporary structures --

TY: Yeah, it was just temporary barracks.

MY: Barracks. And they, I think they were, they had these animal stalls that they had put walls -- I think they had these large exhibit halls, and they had put walls between it. And the walls were kind of low. I mean, they were, you could look, if you got on a chair you could look over. So they were only about, maybe six feet high. And I think the first thing they told us to do was to fill our mattresses.

TY: Yeah.

MY: They gave us these tick --

TY: Mattress cover, mattress covers.

MY: They gave us these canvas ticks. Were they called "ticks"? Yeah. And then they had a whole pile of hay.

TY: Yeah, we had to stuff the mattress covers.

MY: And we had to stuff our own, told to stuff our own mattresses, and then take it into the, our designated rooms. And the rooms had, there's a little, like army, are they army cots?

TY: Yeah, army cots, yeah. Army folding cots, if I recall.

MY: Where there were springs in it? Like iron, iron cots?

TY: I think they were canvas cots, originally.

MY: Oh, okay.

TY: But I don't remember.

MY: Isn't that funny? You kind of visualize this thing, because you've seen it later, but I don't, I remember that there was kind of iron cots.

TY: Well, if it was an iron cot, it must have had springs on -- it had those wire --

MY: Springs on it? Yeah.

TY: -- wire springs on 'em.

MY: But if they were canvas cots, they would fold up. The kind that folds up?

TY: I just don't remember. No, the area that we went to, Area A, B, C were part, former parking lots. And each section was walled off, and we went to Area C, and in -- you know, I didn't see any guard towers in those areas. Did you, do you remember seeing guard towers?

MY: I remember seeing soldiers.

TY: Soldiers standing at the gate, but I don't remember seeing guard towers as we saw in Minidoka, for instance. So I'm not, I do remember seeing a bunch of soldiers guarding the gates and what have you. And, but in these parking, the buildings were just barracks. Just nothing but barracks. And the main fairground they had converted the grandstand, and so forth, underneath the grandstand rooms, and there was -- but the, when we were transferred over to Area D because I started working at the hospital, they put us in similar barracks. Our rooms were barracks, and they were --

MY: Those were constructed specifically to house -- the ones that we were in, because I remember --

TY: It's just the one barren room.

MY: Yeah, because the, they were plywood or something. And there weren't, there were all kinds of wood. And I remember when we were in there about a month it was hot, and the wood shrunk, and you could, about a half-inch.

TY: And there were spaces in --

MY: Spaces in-between.

AI: So you arrived there in April, and then over the month that you were there, as time went on, it became warmer and hotter.

MY: Uh-huh.

AI: And so you all five stayed in one room?

MY: One room, yeah.

<End Segment 61> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 62>

AI: First in Area C, and then you were moved to Area D, you were saying?

TY: We were in Area C first, and then we were transferred over to Area D.

MY: That was because you were working in the hospital.

TY: Yeah.

AI: What was your work in the hospital?

TY: Oh, just a male attendant. In fact, several of the people that I worked, started work with, I'm still in contact with them. Henry Itoi's one. But I started working at midnight shift. And I remember, and I worked in the emergency room, and I remember one thing very vividly. There was one lady came in ready to deliver a baby. And I remember being there in the delivery room with the doctor, the nurse, and myself. And that was the most horrible experience I think I've ever had. The sudden exposure to something like that, because all I remember is it being very bloody and very messy, and I was asked to hold the lady's leg, and had to watch the whole procedure. And it was just ghastly, I thought. [Laughs]

JY: And this was just a birth, right? [Laughs]

AI: Yes, and so at this point you were twenty years old, and had not been exposed to this kind of thing before. And what was the hospital like? This was in the fairgrounds, they had constructed some --

TY: Well, it was very barren. It was just very spartan. And another part I remember is carrying bedpans around and things like that. And there were several doctors. Most of the doctors were doctors from Seattle that names I heard of and knew. Several, there were several nurses and then there were several girls who were in training as nurse, and they hadn't gotten their -- what's your nurse's -- RN? Yeah, RN.

MY: Registered nurse.

TY: Yeah, so they had those student nursing, nurse uniform on. I think they outnumbered regular nurses. And there were -- did you work there?

MY: No, not in, I worked in the hospital in Minidoka, yeah.

TY: In Minidoka. Okay. Well, there must have been --

MY: I don't remember how many, yeah.

TY: -- I'd say, twenty young people working, and most of them were nurse's aide and male attendant -- they called us male attendants. And we just, we did things like nurses would do. We took temperatures and took the pulse and blood pressure and things like that.

AI: Were you recruited for this job?

TY: No.

AI: Or were you paid for the job?

MY: You volunteered.

TY: I remember getting paid when we were in Minidoka.

MY: Paid in Minidoka.

TY: But I don't think we got paid when we were in Puyallup.

MY: I don't think that --

TY: I don't remember.

MY: -- that was, that process was in place, yet. Paying people.

TY: Because we were there only about three, four months, I think, before we went to Minidoka. So in the interim, I don't know whether we got paid or not. But I know that we started getting paid when we got to Minidoka.

<End Segment 62> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 63>

AI: So, in the meantime, so you had this regular job at the hospital, and May, what about you and Mike and your mom --

MY: I was, I volunteered -- I think they, I don't know whether there was a call out for volunteers to do certain things, for us, but I worked teaching in the nursery school. For little, the children were about three or four years old. I was kind of babysitting for a friend of mine, anyway, so, and I heard that they had this nursery school in the recreation hall, I think somewhere. So I remember going there to -- and I didn't know anything about children, much less interested in them at one time, except babysitting for a little baby in Seattle. But that was quite interesting for me. I, but I remember, and you were talking about the hospital, I remember we had, everybody had diarrhea.

TY: Oh.

MY: You remember that?

TY: That was when we were still in Area C, I think. Not too -- shortly after we got there, in fact.

MY: Oh, I know.

TY: Oh, that was --

MY: And everybody thought, oh, we all have typhoid fever.

TY: And there was nothing but outhouses.

MY: And, and nobody could, half the people couldn't get there on time because it was --

TY: It was, yeah, it was...

MY: -- it was, that was pretty messy.

TY: I haven't thought of that for a while, but boy --

MY: Do you remember that, yeah.

TY: -- as I recall, it was a mess.

MY: I was just thinking of that, when you were talking about the hospital, I was wondering, did anybody come to the hospital for that, or...? Because some people got really sick.

TY: Yeah. Well --

MY: And do they know why?

TY: Dysentery. I mean, it just, probably salmonella or something, I don't know.

MY: And then it was, it was very contagious?

TY: Well, salmonella is, but --

MY: So it just spread like anything. So everybody, everybody was sick.

TY: Well, because we're all eating in common mess hall.

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: So, if there's food poisoning, well, we probably all ate the same stuff.

MY: And somebody told us that we all had typhoid fever. [Laughs]

TY: No, no, I don't think so. [Laughs]

MY: And I go, "Oh, my gosh." [Laughs] But you know how those rumors spread, that the government planted stuff in our food, and so forth. But anyway...

TY: And I do remember, I think, starting from Puyallup we got, the foods that we had was something else again. I think, yeah.

MY: It was army food, wasn't it?

TY: Yeah, we had a lot of Vienna sausages.

MY: Beans?

TY: Vienna sausage. To this day, I don't like Vienna sausage. And what else --

JY: Maybe that's why I don't like it, too. I didn't know why I didn't like it. [Laughs]

MY: And pork and beans.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And can-, they were all, Vienna sausages were in cans, right?

TY: Well, as I recall, the food when we were in Puyallup was pretty bad. I think it improved a little bit when we were in Minidoka.

MY: Well, you know why that was? Because they used Nisei cooks that didn't know --

TY: What they were cooking? [Laughs]

MY: -- zip about cooking.

<End Segment 63> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 64>

AI: Well, and what about school? Joe, did you recall having any kind of classes, or anything in Puyallup?

JY: There was no school that I can remember.

MY: In Puyallup?

JY: My -- oh, in Puyallup, yeah.

AI: In Puyallup.

JY: There were no schools.

TY: Well, I think there was, we kind of ran into summer vacation, right?

JY: Probably.

TY: So maybe they didn't, maybe they didn't even start it because of that.

JY: 'Cause we probably went there in, what, April?

TY: April, mid-April, so...

JY: So I, I was in the fourth grade at home, and so, in effect, that was the end of my fourth grade. And the whole time we were in Puyallup -- my recollection is that Puyallup is just, it's kind of a fun time, because --

MY: April, May, June.

JY: There was a, it was a fairground. So they had a fun-house kind of a thing, where they had mirrors that distort your face, and barrels that you could run in, and all kinds of stuff like that.

TY: That was a fun-, that was a fun-house.

MY: At Puyallup? They had a fun-house there?

JY: Yeah, yeah. So that was the first time I did kind of naughty stuff. Like sneaking in -- it was blocked off, of course. And we would, we found a little break in the, in the boarding-up that we could squeeze through, and then we'd run around inside.

MY: Gosh, you never told us that.

JY: Of course not. [Laughs] It was where I learned how to play cards. I'd never played cards in my life, at home. Somehow, somebody had a deck of cards, and I learned how to play poker.

TY: Poker at ten years old?

JY: Yeah.

TY: Oy. [Laughs]

MY: Mom would have killed you.

JY: [Laughs] I know.

MY: My mother was so anti-gambling. Remember, we never even had a deck of cards in the house.

JY: So that was sort of a branching-out time for me. [Laughs]

AI: Well, so in some ways, you had these activities that were kind of like normal life, but in --

TY: Well, yes, because in camp Puyallup is where I learned how to dance. Here I was twenty years old, and I didn't even know how to dance. And they had weekly dances, and I remember going to it, and Minnie Itoi showed me, taught me how to dance.

MY: Oh yeah, I remember that.

TY: Yeah, she showed me how to dance, taught me how to dance. So they had activities, and they had a Nisei band in Seattle. What was it called?

MY: Koichi... Hayashi?

TY: Band leader, band leader.

MY: Koichi Hayashi. Remember?

TY: No.

MY: No? Okay. That name just --

TY: Well anyway, they had a, so that band was activated when we were in camp, and so they played when they had dances.

MY: Benny Goodman?

TY: So, that was semblance of normal life.

MY: Benny Goodman music, and...

TY: But the thing is, I think if we hadn't been evacuated at that time, I probably didn't, probably wouldn't have learned how to dance until I graduated college, or something. [Laughs] I don't know. But I did, when I danced at, in Puyallup.

AI: But at the same time as you had these jobs and work, and some social activities, and playing with other kids, what else was going through your mind as far as being there against your will, really, seeing the guards, the soldiers there, and not really knowing what was going to happen next?

MY: I don't know when we became aware that we were going to be moved to another -- that must have felt very, very temporary, when we were, the way that we thought that the war was going to end any minute. But I think that the time that it really started to sink in, was we, when we moved to, from Puyallup to Minidoka, to the -- I think the, I remember getting this sense of foreboding.

<End Segment 64> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 65>

AI: Oh, excuse me, before we go to that point, had you mentioned earlier that some of your dad's work colleagues had come down to visit you in Puyallup? Or had you gotten some news of your father while you were in Puyallup still?

MY: Well, my mother claims, claims -- she, later in her life, was talking about that period, and none of us remember my dad coming to visit us in Puyallup. And we almost feel as though she had kind of fantasized about that, when she was, something that she really wanted.

TY: Yeah, Mother apparently thought that they, Mr. Bonham had arranged Dad to come and visit us in Puyallup, and that he in fact had. But none of us remember that.

MY: I think that, at that point, she was really depending on Mr. Bonham to, thought that he can do anything. That he can get my dad out, he could do this and that. And I think that that was maybe one of the things that she was hoping for, that he would be able to bring my dad to see her, but -- see us. But none of us -- it would have been a momentous occasion if we had, and none of us remember that. It wasn't until years later that she said that, so I hadn't really -- and then I, remember I -- I remember hearing her say that, and then I didn't really press her about it, but --

TY: Didn't you say that Mr. Spangler came and visited us?

MY: Yeah, he did. I think Mr. Schwandt did. Do you remember him?

TY: Schwandt. I don't even remember --

MY: He had a shock of white hair. He was a very nice person. But I don't remember --

TY: I remember Mr. Spangler visiting us, but I don't remember Mr. Schwandt.

MY: Oh, yeah?

TY: Yeah.

MY: They brought some things to camp. I remember seeing them in the visiting section, near the gate. They were brought in and then we -- but I don't think that Dad, there's just no way that Dad would have been able to come. But, and during that period when our father was in detention in Seattle, and then was moved to Missoula, probably very early, in the early period of 1942, we, we just heard through rumors, through Mr. Bonham, who kept us informed about his, his movements. But it wasn't until he got to Lordsburg, New Mexico, that we actually got letters directly from him.

AI: And that was some time later?

MY: That was later, yeah.

AI: So at this point, you still weren't sure.

MY: We had no... we had -- as I said, we were kind of aware of his movements, because we were informed through, through Dad's co-, former boss. But other than that, we didn't know, know anything.

<End Segment 65> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 66>

AI: And then soon you were --

MY: And then we were moved --

AI: -- moved.

MY: -- moved, we were moved to Minidoka.

AI: What, what do you recall of that time? You were just saying that you had this feeling of foreboding as you realized you were being moved to another place.

MY: Yeah. And, and then as I said, we arrived in -- I mean, we were on the train, and you said they had to -- I don't think that they pulled the shades down on the train. They might have on the bus when we were going to Puyallup, but not on the train, because I remember seeing, seeing the des-, there were just miles and miles of desert on the train. And it just really felt like we were, where are we going?

TY: But no, I really recall -- at one point during that trip, when we went -- of course, we went before you.

MY: Oh yeah, you went before us, yeah, okay.

AI: Oh, could you explain that? Why did you go before -- you and Mike went before?

TY: No, just me.

MY: No, he went by himself.

TY: I went with the advance party because I had worked in the hospital, and they needed someone to get the hospital ready for, for the patients when they, when they came later. So I went with the advance party, and we went in and prepared the wards and the bed and all the, get the whole place prepared for the patients.

JY: Who was in charge of all that?

TY: Huh?

JY: Who was in charge of all that? Was it a WRA person?

TY: I'm sorry, I don't remember. No, there was a hospital administrator, what was his name? I remember his face, but I can't remember his name now. But he was in charge, and --

MY: Was he, was he from WRA?

TY: -- I think not all, I think couple doctors went, and oh, handful --

JY: Nisei doctors, or doctors from the outside?

TY: The head doctor was, administrator was a, was a Caucasian.

MY: From the WRA?

TY: Yeah, I think. Anyway, he was, he was a hakujin. But the doctors' staff was Nihonjin.

JY: Hmm.

TY: Doctor --

MY: Suzuki...

TY: Suzuki, Dr. Shigaya --

MY: Hasegawa.

TY: Dr. Koike.

MY: Dr. Hasegawa.

TY: Dr. Hasegawa. But they're all, they're all Nisei. Nisei doctors -- no, no, some of them were Issei. Like Dr. Shigaya was Issei. In fact, most of the doctors were Isseis.

JY: Yeah, they probably were.

AI: So when you first got there, to Minidoka, Tosh, were you put into a barrack room by yourself? Or how --

TY: In Minidoka?

AI: In Minidoka when you first arrived there.

MY: It wasn't finished yet.

TY: That, I don't remember. But I, well, very honest with you, I can't remember where we stayed.

MY: Well, we were told that the barracks were not ready yet.

TY: Oh.

MY: After -- I don't know. After you got --

TY: We might have stayed in the hospital living quarters. They had living quarters for nurses and doctors, and we might have temporarily been, might have stayed there. But I, I, frankly I don't, I just don't remember where we stayed.

AI: So that might have been around June of '42, that you went with the advance group?

MY: Yeah.

AI: Possibly May or June?

TY: Let's see. We went to Minidoka in April, so it was... my guess is it's much closer to July or August, but I really... do you have any, do you recall when they first started taking...

MY: And data about the, the people in Seattle, yeah.

TY: Huh?

MY: Is there any data about the people in, from Puyallup, to...

TY: Yeah, do you remember when they --

AI: I'm sorry, I don't have a date on that, but...

JY: Actually, again, you could find that out in the National Museum.

MY: Yeah.

TY: My guess is it was in July or August, but it was pretty warm, pretty hot.

MY: Uh-huh. It starts getting hot in the desert around April.

TY: Yeah, but it was hot when we got there.

MY: It was June, too, because it must have been later on in June, because I remember the graduation, in June, right?

TY: Yeah.

MY: From the, from high school. And that was in Puyallup, it wasn't in Minidoka. That graduation. And then it must have been after you --

TY: Must have been after June, then.

MY: Yeah.

TY: Maybe July.

MY: But I was just trying to figure out, as you were talking, that I remember after you left, we had some communication. And I don't know how. Letters, or what, that, that either you or some of the people in advance party had written back to the families, that the camp isn't ready yet. The barracks aren't, are not finished, and there was no water, the water had to be carted into the camp in barrels, drinking water and so forth. So that they couldn't figure out how the families were to live there, because the conditions.

TY: Isn't that funny? I just don't remember that part.

MY: But we still lived, very primitive condition, when you were --

TY: Well, that's not surprising.

MY: Yeah.

TY: That's not surprising. I'm sure that, the first section that they started was --

MY: A?

TY: -- from Block 1, Block 2, 3, 4, numerically. And those are the barracks that were first prepared, I think, because those were, they were the barracks that the doctors and nurses and people who work in the hospital lived in. So, and we were in Block 4, and Dr. Nakamura, the dentist, was living, our next-door neighbor, right?

MY: Yeah, yeah.

TY: So we might have stayed in the barrack. Maybe the barracks were ready by the time we got there. I really can't tell you. I'm sorry, I don't remember.

MY: But our barrack was ready, already. But we did hear that the people in Block 10 or somewhere down the road, that their barracks were not finished, and they didn't have --

TY: Help.

MY: -- they didn't have --

JY: Partitions?

MY: -- partitions, yet. And then the families had to put blankets up, in order to, to keep, for some privacy, and so forth. But I remember hearing about that, but our barrack was ready already, when we moved in.

<End Segment 66> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 67>

AI: So, May, you recall that as you were on the train, going to Minidoka, you recall actually seeing the scenery outside, and --

MY: Yeah, because it was very strange and foreign-looking, because we'd never been out in the desert before. But I remember wondering where we were going, but I don't know whether I just saw glimpses of it, and Tosh was saying they pulled the blinds down, and I thought, "That's strange." 'Cause I remember seeing the scenery. And then once we got there, of course, as I said, as we got off the -- we got off the train and then we boarded some buses to get to the camps?

TY: I think so, yeah.

MY: As we got off the buses and looked around, we just went, "Whoa."

TY: I remember seeing pictures of --

MY: "Oh, this is the end of the earth."

TY: -- of trucks next to buses. So I was wondering whether, it occurred to me wondering whether they must have just thrown all the luggage on the truck, and then transported us on the bus. I don't know. I really don't remember how we got to the camp.

MY: But we, yeah.

JY: I don't, either. I just remember the time when we were getting off.

AI: What do you remember about getting off?

JY: Well, same kind of description. It just looked so desolate, and everything was just flat, and there was nothing there, and it was just like, literally like a desert to me.

TY: But, the thing about it is, I remember not knowing where in the heck we were going.

MY: Yeah, yeah.

TY: I think somebody might have said, "Minidoka," or something, but at that time, of course, I had no idea where that was. I didn't know whether we were going to Idaho or Montana or wherever. So... and even after we got there, wonder --

MY: Did we know where that was, when we got there?

TY: All I knew, it was in the state of Idaho.

JY: You did know that?

TY: Huh?

JY: You did know that?

TY: Yeah, I remembered -- somebody said we were in Idaho, but where in Idaho I had no -- I didn't know where Twin Falls was, or --

MY: Oh, yeah.

TY: Because the camp was very close to Twin Falls, right?

JY: Uh-huh.

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: I didn't even know where Twin Falls was Idaho. Just geo-, I was completely ignorant about the geography of that area.

MY: And this, and the ground was very, the dust.

TY: Fine dust.

MY: Very, very, very fine sand -- it was sand, but it wasn't like a desert sand. It was very, very fine dust. Because --

JY: It'd go poof, the dust would come up. [Laughs]

MY: The boulders -- you stepped in and you got --

TY: Like smoke.

MY: Your foot just, foot just sank into the dirt, dry dust, because it was very soft, and it had just been bulldozed. I think that the bulldozers came and just cleared --

JY: To build it, yeah.

MY: -- off the sagebrush. And so it was just very puffy. You walked, and every time, every step --

JY: You took one step, and your shoes were all white. [Laughs]

MY: Down to your ankle -- your foot just sank in. So then, that was why I ordered, the first thing I did was order those majorette boots. So you don't get any sand in your, in your shoes. But the dust was all over. And, but once we got into the apart-, into the, into our room, there was just no way you could keep it out of your life. It was just completely -- and it was fine, it was just really like powdered sugar or something. It was just very, very fine dust.

AI: Well now, you started to say "apartment," and the government called your living quarters "apartments."

MY: "Apartment," but ours was a room, yeah, right.

TY: It was a studio apartment. [Laughs]

MY: It was kind of an improvement to that room that we had in Puyallup, I suppose.

AI: But still, there was no running water.

MY: No, not, not in the room. But we did have --

TY: We had a stove.

MY: Yeah.

TY: Now, we didn't, did we have stove in Puyallup? I don't remember seeing, remember a stove in that room.

MY: We didn't need it, 'cause it wasn't cold.

TY: Yeah. I don't remember a stove in the Puyallup fair...

MY: Yeah, I don't, I don't remember needing it, either.

TY: But we did have a stove in one, must have been on one of the walls, alongside the wall, the far end wall, in the middle.

MY: Yeah.

JY: Yeah, I don't remember, I just remember hearing people talking, all the way, the next family --

TY: Well, that's one thing, well, one thing -- going back to Puyallup, one thing that really startled me that first night, and I remember this vividly, too, because the first night we slept there, the walls, it wasn't completely up to the ceiling, it was just wall. And you could hear people talking but at one, that first night I was sleeping, and I heard somebody walking with their slippers. And I thought, I was sure it was in our room, but it was somebody in, some other room. And I thought, "Oh, my gosh." [Laughs]

MY: Yeah.

TY: That kind of scared me. But Puyallup, I mean, the room in Minidoka was enclosed, so --

JY: Not, not to the ceiling, was it?

TY: Yeah, it was.

MY: Yeah, it was, yeah. It was about 20 x 20, or something like that.

JY: Yeah, that was the standard size.

TY: It was, what by 20?

MY: 20 x 20. It was square.

AI: And again -- excuse me, all five of you were all in that room together?

TY: One, yeah.

MY: We all had cots.

<End Segment 67> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 68>

AI: And Tosh, you were continuing to work in the hospital, now at Minidoka, what about you, May?

MY: I don't think I worked for a while. I started probably through Tosh, they needed nurse's aides. And I started working as a nurse's aide in the hospital.

TY: Did you get paid six dollars a month there? Or was it eight dollars --

MY: I thought it was twelve.

TY: Was it --

MY: I thought the doctors got sixteen.

TY: Doctors got sixteen.

MY: Okay.

TY: And nurses got twelve, I think. And I think we --

MY: We just got --

TY: We got eight dollars, or six dollars.

MY: I don't even remember. Oh, yeah, six or eight dollars.

TY: Six or eight dollars a month.

MY: But, so I was, I worked as a nurse's aide, which is about all you could do, and, for a while, and then I handled the bedpans and that kind of thing, but then, then I started to work -- I don't know when it was -- in the emergency room, as a nurse's aide in there. Because after you accumulate some experience, I guess there was a... Natsuko, I think was, she was the head nurse. And they said they needed somebody in the emergency room, in the clinic, in the emergency clinic. So I started working there at night. And I think I took --

TY: Oh, yeah, out-patient ward.

MY: Oh, I see, okay. So it was something like four to midnight, or something like that, that I worked for a while. So that was a pretty good shift. My son works like that now, but working from four to midnight, and then walk home at midnight. And then, then I started working from midnight to eight in the morning because I was writing a lot. And there's nothing happening, if somebody doesn't get hurt or injured, or nobody comes in, so it's very, very quiet. So I got to know the ambulance drivers a lot. 'Cause they didn't have anything to do, either. So we just sat around. But, unless there was some busy activity, when people got sick and so forth. So that was pretty cushy job that I had. [Laughs]

<End Segment 68> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 69>

AI: You just mentioned that you were starting to write then, during your night job.

MY: Uh-huh. I was reading, and I just decided -- I remember thinking that there was a lot of activity during the day. I think what turned me off was, they were having beauty contests or something like that. And I thought it was kind of silly, they were trying to normalize -- of course -- they were trying to normalize all the activities in camp, and I just thought, well, I'm just going to get away from that and start working at night. And so I don't know if I was antisocial or what.

TY: You were.

MY: I guess so. [Laughs] So I, I had some books, I was reading a lot, and then also I was writing letters to schools. I started writing after several months for admission to, sending for admission papers and things like that. And I think, in those days, it didn't cost anything to apply to a school. Since then you, in order to apply for a college, it costs, I don't know how much. How much does it cost?

JY: Nowadays?

Jeni Y: Fifty.

JY: Fifty bucks, a hundred bucks.

MY: Yeah, whatever, whatever it is. Because I sent a lot of applications, I sent, sent for, to a lot of schools, and there was a whole list of universities and colleges in the back of the Webster's Dictionary. Hundreds, hundreds of them. So I remember sending out letters for applications.

TY: Well, didn't you have to write to people for character references?

MY: No, because I never got accepted. I was rejected from every single school.

TY: Because I was kind of surprised when I went back to the National Archives and looked at my WRA record, I noticed that there were letters in there, a recommendation that Mr. Bonham wrote for me.

MY: Uh-huh. Oh, really?

TY: Mr. Bernard, that's my English teacher in high school.

MY: For what? University of Washington?

TY: No. Just, just, "to whom it may concern."

JY: Just in case?

TY: Just a character reference. And so I was thinking -- I guess I must have been thinking of going to school, too. That was before I volunteered. So that must have been --

MY: Did you notice the date on those? The dates?

TY: Well, there's a date, obviously, but I can't remember it was. But my guess is it was sometime in --

MY: 1942.

TY: -- after, shortly after we got to Minidoka. So at that time, I was thinking of applying. But I don't remember sending any, applying for any school. But I was surprised -- I didn't even remember those letters. There must have been about five letters of character references from various people.

MY: I think that Mike must have done that, too. Because Mike was doing the same thing I was doing. But then he got very quickly accepted by the University of Cincinnati.

TY: But those letter, the files, apparently I hadn't sent them out.

MY: Oh, I see. So Mike must have, was accepted and left --

TY: So it must have, my guess is those letters were sometime in early '43.

MY: Okay, yeah.

<End Segment 69> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 70>

AI: You know, something else that also happened in early '43, was when the government decided to accept volunteers to the service. And at the same time, they were also starting to encourage more people to go out for work leave.

TY: Oh, yeah.

AI: And so they had a questionnaire at that point that they called "Application for Leave Clearance." It was a very detailed questionnaire. It's the one that later people started calling the "loyalty questionnaire," or so-called "loyalty oath." And one of the questions there did ask for references, for about five --

MY: To leave? Uh-huh.

AI: -- references. And that was part of that--

MY: That might have been it.

TY: Maybe that might have been --

MY: And I don't remember that. I don't remember who I asked. I think I might have asked the Weddells in Chicago. But Mike remembers the questionnaire quite vividly. I probably just filled it out, "yes-yes," whatever.

TY: I did, too, I think.

MY: Probably. But Mike kind of took the questions very seriously, and he, and that was the reason why he got in trouble when we got to Cincinnati. But I remember that Mike and I were -- I don't know, I don't know whether because Tosh was already, were you already planning to volunteer for the army? Or, that wasn't even an issue in early 1943, though, was it?

TY: No.

MY: Yeah, because...

TY: I think it was, when people started going -- because I remember, I went out to, when they told us we can go out and help the farmers top sugar beets, etcetera, I remember signing some kind of a form, and I can't remember what that was. To get permission to go?

MY: Oh, yeah. Then you did go out.

TY: Yeah.

MY: Yeah, you were gone.

TY: So, remember Victor Izui, and Henry Itoi, and couple other people went as a group to Idaho Falls, to a sugar beet farm.

MY: Do you remember when Tosh went out?

JY: I hardly remember him being in camp, actually.

TY: You were too busy playing in the fun-house. [Laughs]

JY: [Laughs] That wasn't Minidoka, that was in Puyallup.

MY: Minidoka, that was in Mini-, they didn't have any fun-houses there. [Laughs]

JY: No, they didn't.

TY: Well anyway, I think, the only thing I remember very well was when we got to the farm, they said, we asked them, "Where are we going to, where's our sleeping quarters?" And they pointed to a boxcar that was out in the field, way, way down there. I could hardly see it. And so we said, "Fine," so we all walked down there with our luggage. And we opened up the boxcar door, and the stench just hit us, wham. And we found out what it was.

MY: It was a cattle farm?

TY: It was a pigpen.

MY: Oh.

TY: And it was just awful. And it was five o'clock in the afternoon, and we had to clean it up before we could even sleep there. And it took us all, almost all night to just scrub it, and clean it.

MY: Did you have any water to clean it?

TY: No. They brought water for us in milk cans. It's this tall. And we had to dip into it, to, they had a dipper. And then, and another thing I remember is they also brought us milk can full of milk, in milk can, and then the flies were so thick, that when you opened the lid up to get your milk or water, you couldn't, pour it in the cup and there'd be three, four flies in there.

MY: Eew.

TY: And what could we do? We just took the flies out and drank it. [Laughs] And surprisingly, we didn't get diarrhea or anything. [Laughs] But once we got it cleaned up, it was tolerable. And it was our luck to get a farm that had real small, sugar beets usually grow about, average about this big. And we were paid by the pound, how much we topped. And most of the ones they had were about this big, so we had to work twice as hard to get our money out of it.

MY: They grow in the ground, right? They pull it out --

TY: Yeah. They grow like carrots in the ground.

MY: Yeah, so you pull it up.

TY: And they have a big knife about this long, with a hook on the end. And before we top it, the farmer goes with a cultivator and loosen up the dirt, and then we go and our, and just bend over and we hook the beet with a hook, pull it and put it across our knee, and then top it. Get that, on top part like sugar beet. And then we throw it in the truck. Well, the sugar beets were so small, that it took us forever to fill up the truck. And we didn't make any money at all. In fact, I think we lost money. By the time we left, we didn't have any money, really, to other -- we had to pay for our food, and so we didn't earn anything extra while we worked there.

MY: How long did you work there?

TY: Oh... ten years? No. [Laughs] Seemed like ten years.

MY: Yeah, I know.

TY: Well I, I think it was about two months.

MY: So then when you came back, you went to the, worked in the hospital again?

TY: Yeah.

MY: Back to the hospital?

TY: Well, when I came --

JY: How many, how many of you were there? I mean --

TY: Well, there was Henry Itoi --

MY: You were all --

JY: Just on one hand, basically.

TY: Huh?

JY: Just one hand. I mean, it wasn't like you had a team of twenty people there.

TY: No, no. Each, each group was assigned to a different farm. And we just, it was our luck to draw a farm that was, that had poor sugar beets.

MY: So...

TY: And, but the farmer, the farmer was a Mormon, as most of the people in that area in Idaho are --

JY: Oh, really? I didn't know that.

TY: Yeah, Mormon.

JY: Is that right?

TY: They're very, very nice people, and lady used to bring us fresh baked, a fresh made bread, and once in a while she'd bring dessert for us, and she treated us very, very nice. And she made biscuits for us, but that didn't make up for the poor sugar beets we had. [Laughs]

MY: Well, you were working in the hospital, right? Before then?

TY: Yeah, and then Vic and Henry Itoi, all of us worked in the hospital.

MY: What did they do in the hospit-, yeah?

TY: And then when we came back, we went back to work at the hospital, and at that time I got promoted to be a lab technician. So I took, they drew blood and all that.

MY: Well, what did they do -- when all the guys left from the hospital, did they replace you? Or they didn't need help in the hospital anymore?

TY: I just don't remember.

AI: When you went out to do the beet topping, was that the first time you had been out of camp, then?

TY: Well, we, I remember we had permission to go to Twin Falls periodically. And I can't remember whether it was --

MY: Go shopping.

TY: Yeah, going shopping, and things. And I'm not sure whether that was before I went to the farm, or after. Do you know? I just don't remember. But we did have permission to, get permission to go into town, Twin Falls, which was the closest city --

MY: I remember going out a couple of times.

TY: Yeah, and we went to eat at the restaurants.

MY: And then the whole family went to get our picture taken before you left for the army.

TY: Yeah, that's right. So that was kind of nice, to be able to do that. But that was latter part of our stay there, I think.

MY: Our stay, yeah. So that was sort of more towards mid-1943, or later -- well, you were gone by 19-, June 1943.

TY: That was kind of like R & R.

MY: R & R. [Laughs] But 1943, you were gone by June.

TY: Yeah, I was inducted in June, 30th.

MY: Yeah, so the, so the visits to Twin Falls -- I, because I remember going to Twin Falls a couple of times. But that must have been after you came back from working.

TY: Yeah, that could be.

MY: So you, so the sugar beet, the sugar beet season must be in the spring. April or, March or April or something like that.

TY: Could be. But the weather was pretty good, so it couldn't have been --

MY: It wasn't cold.

TY: -- mid-winter.

MY: No.

TY: My guess is it might have been in --

MY: April or May.

TY: Well, March --

MY: March, April.

TY: -- or April.

MY: Yeah. That, that would figure. That would make sense.

<End Segment 70> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 71>

AI: And Joe, what about you? Were you in school in Minidoka in the fourth grade?

JY: I was, they just moved me to the fifth grade.

AI: To the fifth grade.

JY: And so, while I was in Minidoka I finished the fifth grade.

MY: When did you start?

JY: That, I think that fall. And I don't know when we got to --

MY: '42.

JY: Minidoka, but it was in '42, fall of '42, yeah. September, probably.

MY: Yeah, we got there in the fall of '42.

TY: Fall of '42?

JY: Uh-huh.

MY: And then you finished out the fourth grade through, fifth grade.

JY: I finished out the fifth grade in June of '43, and then we went to --

MY: To Crystal City.

JY: To Crystal City.

AI: Any memories of that fifth grade in Minidoka?

JY: Yeah. Actually, again, it's kind of ironic, I guess, but my memories of that were not -- except for the evenings when I'm, there was a family discussion going on and I knew there were some serious things being talked about, about him going to the army and stuff like that -- my life was pretty, we went to school and played sports. We had an organized, like a Little League kind of thing. People would set that up, and we were playing games against other blocks, and things like that. I remember ice skating. We got ice skates, we played ice hockey, because I think the -- I'm not sure how --

AI: The canal?

JY: -- but I think everything just kind of froze over. And so there were places where we could play ice-, play ice hockey.

TY: And you say you bought your ice skates in Montgomery Ward?

JY: I think so.

MY: Yeah, we ordered it through Montgomery Ward.

JY: Yeah.

TY: Is that right?

JY: Yeah. And I remember going to the canal. I'm not -- we were talking about that -- I'm not sure why we went there, because there were rattlesnakes and all kinds of bad stuff around there. But we used to go out to the canal and play, play out there. Played Monopoly. I bet you to this day, I can still recite every piece of property around that Monopoly. [Laughs]

MY: [Laughs] And how much they cost.

JY: Yeah, right. Because we played that every day. You know, we wore out the money. And we, we figured out ways of speeding up the game by just shuffling the cards and handing out --

MY: No wonder you were so good at winning Monopoly. [Laughs]

JY: [Laughs] And I have, and my, the schoolteacher, I remember her name was Ms. Erickson. They had obviously brought her in from the outside. Very nice lady. And she used to use the Hardy Boys. I don't know if you ever read the Hardy Boys or not, but they're, chapter by chapter, at the end of each chapter there's some crisis. And then you have to wait 'til the next chapter to find out how they got out of it. And she used to read that every day if we were good. If we weren't good, then she didn't read it, and so forth. So, and my memories of school were very pleasant, from that regard.

TY: Were the classes, did several classes, first, second, third, combine in one class?

JY: I don't know. I don't know. In fact, years, in fact, after I moved to San Jose, I met a woman who, we were, turned out we were classmates in that school. And she had a picture of the girls in the fifth grade. And then I have a picture of the boys in the fifth grade. But somehow, they segregated us in terms of, by sex, when they --

TY: Not in the classroom?

JY: -- took the pictures. But in the classroom there were girls, we were all together. So I never did figure that out. 'Cause she did have the same teacher I did. So for some reason they just separated --

MY: Did you, did you remember her?

JY: No, I don't.

Jeni Y: Did anyone --

JY: But there's a picture where we're both in the same, same picture.

Jeni Y: Did any of the teachers have children that went to school with you?

JY: Not that I'm aware of. She did not. She was single, I know. In fact, I kept in touch with her for fifteen, twenty years after camp. And they, exchange letters and stuff. But she was a single woman. Apparently, she became a librarian in Detroit or something, after she left camp. But she was a very nice lady.

MY: She wrote to you years later. Is she the one who wrote to you years later?

JY: No, that was my teacher from the sixth grade, in Crystal City.

MY: Oh, I see.

JY: That, that I got in touch with. And she's still alive to this day.

MY: Yeah.

JY: Yeah.

<End Segment 71> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 72>

AI: You know, I had another kind of question I wanted to ask you. Because again, here in Minidoka, again, you had some activities that kept you busy, in some ways you have some good memories of school and playing as a kid, and you were busy applying for schools, but getting rejected, Mike was applying to go to college also, and you were working. But what was happening to your feelings about what was the larger picture? That the war was going on, here you were, stuck inside of camp, although you did have some privilege later on to go out, what was your thinking about what was happening to America, and yourselves as being part of this country? Of course, May, you weren't an American citizen, but still, what was your feeling about, and what the leadership was doing, and the government. What were your thoughts?

MY: We didn't have much news. I think that we must have been somewhat isolated from, because I remember, someone had a radio. Kind of a, radio that was either constructed, or... because radios were not permitted, in camp. But I remember there was someone who did have a, not a short-wave radio but just a ordinary radio that was, I don't know. Put together through a kit or something like that, and everybody hovering around the radio listening to what's going on. And it was very scratchy and --

JY: Was there some rule against radios or anything, in camp?

MY: Cameras...

JY: Were you allowed to have...?

MY: You were not allowed to have cameras or radios or weapons, of course.

TY: Yeah, we --

JY: I new cameras were not, but even radios were not allowed.

MY: Yeah.

JY: Hmm.

MY: And so I, it was kind of a huge event, when somebody had a radio. And then we had, kind of huddled around, and close all the doors and so forth. And we were listening to the news, and somebody said, "We're winning the war," or something, "We're losing --" I mean, I remember the conversation was, "Who's 'we'?"

JY: "Who's 'we'?" [Laughs]

MY: "Who's winning the war?"

TY: "What's the score?" [Laughs]

MY: Yeah.

JY: You don't even know which side you're on.

MY: I know. I remember that very distinctly. "We, who's 'we'?" "Is Japan winning?" There was, that, that part of it kind of stuck in my mind, the listening to the radio. But other than that, I don't think that we had newspapers.

JY: I don't think so.

TY: Well, they had --

MY: We had very litt-, unless we had news --

TY: -- the camp had newsletters.

MY: But that was about all the activities within --

TY: It's just superficial stuff, really. Nothing --

MY: Yeah. So I still have some copies of the newsletters.

TY: Oh, you do?

MY: They were, it was called the Irrigator.

TY: Oh, that's right. You're right.

MY: And so, but then it was all about goings-on, the dances, just, things that are going on in the camp, but very little awareness -- I think that it was kind of, quite deliberate, probably, about what's going on in the outside --

TY: Well, probably it was censored.

MY: Exactly. And so, unless you heard from the outside, news from your visitors, when Mr. Schwandt or these people came to visit, we just didn't have any news at all, from the outside. And maybe some more politically astute Niseis were able to keep in touch, go to Twin Falls and pick up newspapers if you're really interested, but I don't think that we, we were not very politically astute. I mean, we weren't very aware.

TY: Yeah, you might, I just don't remember.

MY: Yeah. And you know, we talked about being kind of protected and isolated.

JY: I think it was, I think we were more concerned about immediate things. The family and what was happening to Dad, and how, where are we going to, you guys are leaving.

MY: What's going to... yeah.

JY: Yeah.

MY: And whether or not you should go in the army or not go in the army, what's going to happen to Joe. That was one of the things that we worried about. And then, my mother, we talked about -- it was after I left camp that we talked about your going to Crystal City, to the camp, to the family camp. It was a family camp that was populated by Peruvian Japanese.

AI: But at this time, you were still all together.

MY: Yeah, we were all together. But we did talk about -- because we had a sense, my mother had a sense that the family was getting kind of scattered and dispersed if he leaves and all of us, we were leaving, waiting to go to school.

<End Segment 72> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 73>

AI: You mentioned that Mike had gotten accepted to school fairly quickly.

MY: Yeah. He applied and he -- well, okay. I think he, he, the Friends, the American Friends committee, people were there helping us contact the outside world. And they, they were, I think Mike applied through him, I remember. And then after he was accepted, which was in 1943, he told me to go and see this person who might be able to help me get a job. Since I couldn't get accepted, he thought I might be able to get a job. He said, "Why don't you come with me when I leave camp?" And I said, "How could I do that?" And he said, well, "Maybe you can get a job somewhere." And then I did get a job in the, at the University of Cincinnati cafeteria, which was about as close as I can get to a university. So I thought, and since Mike was going there I went out with him. So the two of us left together.

AI: When was that?

MY: That was in 1943, I think that Mike got in, I think school started around October. And it wasn't, it was very close to that. We didn't get there until maybe late September, or so. I think it was partly because we were kind of worried about Joe and my mom. 'Cause Tosh left already, for the army. You left in June or something.

TY: Yeah, well, June, yeah.

MY: Yeah, so Tosh was gone, and Mike and I kind of worried about, when we left, what's going to happen to them, and so forth. And then we heard that there was a family camp. And I remember when my mother saying, "Well, a family camp is different from the, it's a real internment camp. It's different from the camps that we were in." And so she was wondering, if he goes, if he goes into such a camp, would he have a record? That would have a criminal record. And my mother was kind of sharp. She worried about how it would impact his... [Cries] But I think that that's the kind of thing that really worried, worried Mom. My mother cried a lot. I've been thinking about her.

AI: We can take a short break.

MY: Yeah. And I was thinking about my mother, and the worries that she had. Actually, she was really quite panic-stricken that he had left. And we were about to leave, we were talking about leaving, and she was just going, "What am I going to do?" Going to be left with Joe.

<End Segment 73> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 74>

AI: ...short break. We were at a very emotional time for your family, because you're still in Minidoka, but early in 1943, the call for volunteers to the army service had come out in camp, and so you were having quite a bit of family discussion, it sounds like, about what to do, and Tosh, you were thinking about what to do. So what, what was your thinking about this, when you heard about the call for volunteers.

TY: Well, when the volunteer notice came out, of course, a lot of fellows started volunteering. And I was very close to the people that were working in the hospital, and about three-fourths of the fellows had volunteered already. And I was considering doing so, but then, one thing that upset me, disturbed me about the whole situation was that the volunteer was, the volunteering was specifically for a segregated unit of Niseis. And at that point, at that time I thought, well, that's not very, that's kind of a rotten idea. I thought that if we're going to be, volunteering or being drafted in the army, well, I thought that the best thing for us, and for army in general, was that we be assimilated among hakujin outfit. And not have a segregated unit. So I held off until the very, very last day. In the "nth hour," I decided, well, gee, maybe I should volunteer, and maybe help Dad get out. And so I didn't tell, I just thinking to myself, and not even discussed it with May or anyone else. And I was afraid to go tell my mother I'm going to volunteer, so I went to Father Joe, was our Episcopal minister that we were --

MY: A family friend.

TY: -- a family friend, and asked him -- well, actually, I had, I can't remember the exact procedure that I went on, but when I read my mother's discussion that she had with this, right after they had, this lady wrote a oral history of Mother that this lady had taken, written, well after reading that, and what Mother had said, it all came back to me. And I, and what I had done, as I recall, was that I went to Father Joe's apartment, and I asked him whether he would tell my mother that I had volunteered. And so he asked Mother to come and -- we went over to our apartment, I think, at that time, and I went with Father Joe and sat down, and Father says, "Well, I think we have something, important news to give you." And told Mother at that time that I had volunteered. And I think the first remark was, she said, "Maa." And of course, she was kind of shocked that I had, so I told her why I thought, why I made the decision to do so, and I think she felt a little better. So I think that was, must have been --

MY: In May?

TY: -- must have been April.

MY: April or May?

TY: April, because I got inducted in June. So --

MY: That happened very fast, didn't it?

TY: Yeah, it did. Well, since it was the last day and I was the last one, I think, volunteered in Minidoka, and so I, once I volunteered, things got, very rapidly. And I went to Fort Douglas in Salt Lake City, and Ogden, Utah. I forgot what, in Utah, anyway. And I took my physical, and when they took my physical, one humorous incident was that I think the weight requirement was 110 pounds. They didn't have any height requirement, for some reason. But anyway, the weight requirement was 110 pounds. I weighed 106 pounds.

JY: [Laughs] Nineteen years old, 106 pounds.

MY: That's less than I weigh now.

TY: Well, anyway, I, he said, "Well, I don't know. You're a little bit too light." And I told him, well, "With all that good army food, I should be able to gain my, get that extra four pounds in couple days." [Laughs] And I almost got on my knees and begged him to take me. So he finally relented and says, "Well, I guess, I guess you're right. You probably will get it, get that extra four pounds at least in a month or two." So I was accepted. And I, and I had a... but before that, that's when we went to see Dad. In Lordsburg.

<End Segment 74> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 75>

MY: Okay, we went to Lordsburg, New Mexico, in, it must have been May, then.

TY: Yeah, it must have been, yeah.

MY: Because, as I recall that period --

TY: Wait a minute, if I'm not, according to the record, it was in March. So it must, I must have --

MY: Really? Maybe I just remember the "M." As I recall, we really didn't have too much time to think about, about it. From the time you volunteered to the time you went. It was so quick, we didn't, it was after he left, I think that, and then Mike and I started talking about leaving, that Mom got really, really kind of hysterical because she thought we were all leaving her.

AI: I think, in an earlier conversation, you had mentioned that it was March, that you were --

TY: Went to Lordsburg?

AI: -- making plans, and then, and how did you decide that you would try to get permission to go to see your father at Lordsburg?

MY: To see Dad? You know, the thing about, I was talking to Yuri Kochiyama who is, who has all kinds of information about, dates and things like that. And years ago, maybe about fifteen, even, we were talking about this period, and she said, "Do you remember that in 1943, after, about a year after we were in camp, that," that was the period -- she said she read, and I don't know, I wish I had asked her what the source was. She probably doesn't even know, wouldn't remember now, if I asked her, that she had read that it had suddenly, suddenly occurred to the army that after having all of us in camp for, 120,000 of us in camp, in the nine camps, that they kind of tallied up how much money it was costing the government to house and feed us. It was a lot of money. And of course, in 1943 they were just right in the middle of the war. And so they decided to encourage the Nisei to leave. Not the Nisei, but, encourage people to get jobs, go to school or whatever, to leave. Because -- oh, I know what we were doing. We were discussing how, I was telling her how strange it was that it was not difficult for Mike, for me to leave camp, even though I was an alien. That I applied, and I got accepted right away, and that Mike had not answered "yes-yes" to the questionnaire. And because, I'm not exactly sure what the wording was, but he said later, "Well I figured, they asked me if I was" -- what did he say? That "I would forswear allegiance to the Emperor, and I said, 'Well I don't see why I should forswear allegiance to the Emperor, 'cause I didn't swear allegiance to him in the first place.'" Or something like that. I don't know if that's what he told them, but he wrote something in the questionnaire. Which they, they came after him later. But when he left camp, if they were, if they were using the questionnaire to weed out the people who were leaving camp, you'd have thought that I would be prime candidate not to get an acceptance to leave camp. Mike would be a prime candidate not to get accepted, but we both got accept-, got permission to leave camp, and we both left. That was when Yuri told me, "That was when the army was trying to get us out, because..." and I said, "Well, they didn't figure it out before? How much money it was going to cost them?" And she said, well it was, "They had the x-number of dollars that was costing the government to keep all of us in camp, and so they were trying to get as many out as possible, as soon as possible." And that, she said, "You must have applied just around that, that first wave of us who were leaving camp," and it was easy to apply. We'd get to the WRA office, we applied for permission to leave, and we got permission to leave and we left.

<End Segment 75> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 76>

AI: And so what do you recall of that trip down from Minidoka down to Lordsburg?

MY: Oh, yeah, that was kind of scary.

TY: Yes, it was. Scary experience.

MY: Because it was after -- that's right, because was the Bataan March --

TY: That was, it was shortly after the Bataan March.

MY: That was in March, right?

TY: And the thing was that --

MY: When we got to Albuquerque --

TY: -- the Bataan March, a lot of National -- a lot of the people in the National Guard from Albuquerque was involved in the Bataan March, and so the feeling was quite high. Anti-Japanese feeling was very high, particularly in the Albuquerque area. And so when we got to Albuquerque --

MY: There were Mexican Americans in Albuquerque?

TY: Pardon?

MY: There were Mexican Americans, I think, or Hispanic, yeah.

TY: Yeah, I'd imagine so. And a priest, Episcopal priest, minister, met us at the station. And when we got in the car, he asked us to crouch in the back of the car, remember?

MY: Yeah, crouch down.

TY: Yeah, crouch down on the floor, back seat of the car. And so I couldn't quite figure out what that was all about, but we --

MY: He didn't explain why, but we --

TY: Yeah, but we go ahead and did it. And once we got to the -- was it parish?

MY: He was a canon of the cathedral of Albuquerque. So, and then he took us, because we met his wife, to his home. To the parish house there. And then we stayed there overnight.

TY: Yeah, what he explained at that time, why he told us to crouch in the back of the car.

MY: Well, I think that was because, I went outside and the air was just so, the place was so beautiful. We had come out of camp, and the mountains, and it was just so gorgeous, I wanted to go out for a walk. And Canon Snyder or something like that.

TY: Snyder, yeah.

MY: Mrs. Snyder? And she said, "Oh no, no, no, you shouldn't do that. You can't go out. You can't go out." And so that was when they explained to us that they didn't want us to be seen. That they were afraid of our safety with, this happened. And they explained that many of the, the natives, the Native Americans and Mexican Americans, I guess, in that area were used as sort of -- they feel that they were used as kind of sacrificial lambs in the army, and that they, and that a very great number of them had died. And it was just very fresh, because it was only a few weeks later that we came along. And that was not very safe for us. And that's when he told us about that. And then the following day, they drove us back to the station. They were very protective, and put us back on the plane -- on the train, to --

TY: To Lordsburg?

MY: To Santa Fe -- was it to Lordsburg?

TY: Yeah.

<End Segment 76> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 77>

AI: So when you got to Lordsburg itself, to where the camp was, what happened there?

MY: Well, we got to the gate and we told them who we were -- I think we must have had permission to visit Dad. 'Cause they had already -- we must have written.

TY: Yeah, I think we did.

MY: Yeah, that we were coming. And --

TY: They had, they had a visitors --

MY: Compound, yeah.

TY: -- room.

MY: Yeah. And the lieutenant or somebody who was there was very, they were very familiar with my father because he apparently was in very friendly terms with them. And so they said, "Oh, Jack will come in a minute." So we sat there and waited. And we were talking about that, my dad was always, he was short, but he was very round. He was always quite -- well, he wasn't really heavy, but he had a big stomach, and very light skin. He had a very -- 'cause he was a office worker -- he had very, very pretty hands, I remember. And that somebody said, "Oh, here comes Jack." And I looked out, and I just saw this old, wizened man who was, very ruddy complexion, very skinny old man walking towards us. And I, I kept looking behind him, because he just, it didn't look like my dad at all. Through those months he had aged quite a bit. And then we sat down and talked. I don't remember how long it was that we visited.

TY: I don't, I don't remember how long it was, but it must have been an hour or two.

MY: Uh-huh.

TY: At the beginning, he was just talking about superficial things.

MY: Well, he asked how Mom was doing, and we told him of the family and so forth.

TY: And then you told him you're gonna major in English.

MY: We never talked about your going to the army.

TY: No. Not a word was mentioned of that.

MY: That was one thing that I remember, was we went there because Tosh was going overseas, right? Or going into the army. And I kind of remember that we just simply --

TY: We sort of...

MY: -- avoided the topic. And then he asked us, asked me what I was going to -- and I said, "We'll I'm planning to, I've been writing letters to, planning to go to college." And he said, "What are you going to major in?" I said, "I'm going to major in English." And he said, "Oh, well that was just fine in high school, but in college you have to prepare for something. You have to have a career." And I remember at that point, we kind of looked at each other, and I thought, is he, what's the matter with him? Who worries about careers at this point? [Laughs] I mean, you know, or even about -- he was seeing, thinking about the future, right? And we were thinking, "What future?"

TY: Right now, yeah.

MY: Yeah. I mean, there is no fut-, we just really didn't think that there was a future for us at all. But, and, "Beyond getting, going to college, what are you going to do with it? What are you going to do with your education? So you can't major in English because that's just, that's a nothing job." And Mike was going to, and then I said, "Well, Mike is planning to major in philosophy." [Laughs]

TY: Philosophy. [Laughs]

MY: And then he said, "Well in my college days, we called philosophy 'foolosophy.'" [Laughs] Doesn't that sound like Dad? And so we were, he was kind of bantering in this manner, and we're going, "Gosh, he's, he doesn't seem to be in touch with reality in any way." It was very, kind of unreal, the whole conversation was very odd -- to me, I just felt like, gosh. He was just exactly the same way that he was before.

TY: Yeah, yeah.

MY: As if he hadn't thought about anything except just continue, life continuing all as it was when we were in Seattle.

AI: Whereas in reality, here he was incarcerated, in this Department of Justice camp, with prisoners of war. And here you were, you had, were also in camp.

MY: And he was always quite a storyteller. So he was, if it was a story, "Oh yeah, I wrote letters with, there was a lot of Southern soldiers here, and they were illiterate, they can't even read or write English. And so they would come to me and I'd write, they'd want to write to their mother, and so I'd write letters in English for their mothers." And we kind of thought that, kind of the irony of this prisoner of war writing letters for a soldier, for his guard, or something. And then he was talking about how -- he hadn't been elected to --

TY: I don't think he had, yeah.

MY: Well, I think that when we were in -- we heard in camp that my dad, our dad had been elected to be governor of Lordsburg, or something. It was not mayor, it was governor of Lordsburg. And when my mother heard that, she was furious. [Laughs] I remember she was saying, "What's the matter with him? How stupid of him, baka, baka. The reason why he's there is because he was -- " and she had this expression, a "busybody," deshabate, bakari iru ga. "He's always minding everybody else's business." And so, and she was just ranting and raving about how Dad should just have kept to himself.

TY: Yeah, he should have kept low profile.

MY: Exactly, yeah. And that she thought he hadn't learned, hadn't he learned anything from this? But that was the kind of person he was. And when we saw him, it just looked like he hadn't changed at all. And it felt as though, and I think we didn't bring up going in, because we didn't want to bring anything up that would worry him. And, but he didn't seem to have any worry in his mind.

Jeni Y: When you were talking about this conversation earlier and you were saying that the conversation was really lighthearted, but you had the sense that he had some underlying fears, or that he really --

MY: Well, I don't know if we were projecting it, or what.

TY: Well, I think it was mutual, really. That we didn't want to --

MY: Yeah, he didn't, and he didn't want to worry us.

TY: Yeah, 'cause he didn't want to worry us, and we didn't want to worry him, and so I think he was, it was a mutual thing.

MY: Yeah, yeah. I'm sure it was in your mind. On your mind.

TY: Yeah, yeah. And that's why we didn't bring anything about the army or anything like that, yeah.

MY: Why you volunteered, or, he didn't ask him, "Why did you volunteer?"

TY: Yeah, I wanted to tell him, but I decided not to.

MY: Oh, really?

TY: Yeah.

MY: So it was very, a very surreal moment, when we were talking. It was like we had just lifted ourselves right out of Seattle, and wiped out everything that happened after December 7th, and we just carried on as if nothing had happened. And I don't know. Psychologically this is what happens to people when, totally denial. We weren't actually in denial, we were very aware.

TY: Yeah, definitely, yes. That's true.

AI: And was your father aware that you were going into the army?

MY: Oh, yeah, he knew why we were coming.

TY: He knew why we were coming, but we just didn't bring this up. And he didn't bring it up, and we didn't bring it up, and we --

MY: Did you ever discuss that after the war, after Dad came back? About that period with him?

TY: No, I never did. That's really... come to think of it, I haven't. I should have.

<End Segment 77> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 78>

MY: One of the things, though, about -- I think that this kind of sense of optimism is part of his character, I remember. 'Cause when I was going to the University of Chicago, I moved back with my parents for a while after I graduated from NYU. And we did talk about that period. And Dad, about his, about his incarceration specifically, not about the evacuation, but about his -- and he said, "Well, there must have been a good reason. After all, America was at war." He was making all these -- and I just thought that was rather odd, too, at that time -- was making all kinds of excuses, as to --

TY: Rationalizations.

MY: Rationalizing as to why it was necessary for him to be incarcerated. Because of his job and this and that. And then also, and then I also talked to him about, about the rumor that I had heard that his fellow inmates were, had turned against him, and that his life was in danger in camp.

TY: Did he, did he ever tell you that he sensed that? That he was aware of it?

MY: Yeah, he said that, he said that he was, but he thought that it was not, wasn't unusual, that was not a word.

TY: Not an immediate threat.

MY: Yeah, I know. He was a very forgiving person, if you remember. He didn't hold anything against -- because he was the kind of person he was, he didn't think ill of anybody. He didn't really -- I've never heard him speak bad things, say bad things about other people.

TY: No, I have not heard, yeah.

MY: And because of that, he was making all these excuses, or rationalizations for the behavior of his inmates, his fellow Japanese, some of them who had turned against him. And he said, "Well after all, their families were suffering and they lost a lot of money in the war," and so forth, "and in comparison, we came out of it quite well." And so forth. So he was very forgiving in that respect, of the United States government, and so forth. And I was kind of a cynical graduate student during those days. And I just thought -- and it was kind of remarkable to me, that he didn't hold any, any grudge or any sense of resentment about his treatment during that time. And by that time he had become director of the Chicago Resettlers. And he met quite a few Isseis who were coming out of camp, and some of them were really in very dire straits. And some of them had become homeless. And lost a lot of property and money. And he was, what he was doing as part of his job, was making applications to the federal government for, for them to get aid. For their welfare, welfare aid for them and their families and things like that. So he was very much aware -- and then also, it was during that period when the government permitted the Isseis to put in an application for the amount of money they lost during the war to... what was that called? Where they were returning --

TY: Reparations?

MY: Not reparations, it was before that. And returning some of the funds that they lost during -- we got our money back that, he got his funds unfrozen, the money that he had. So he was helping the -- you had to apply for that, I think.

TY: Oh, I see.

MY: So he had to, he was helping a lot of Isseis do all of this, so he was very much aware that in comparison to many, many of these families, that we came out of the war rather well. Because we didn't lose the house, we didn't lose our... and so it was kind of, well, it wasn't amazing, I suppose, but I remember thinking at the time, "What's the matter with him? How come he's not angry about what happened to him?" But he was lecturing, actually, to me. "Well, it just couldn't be helped. Shikata ga nai." That was very much ingrained in him.

AI: So even, even at that time, when he was still at Lordsburg, and you were visiting him at this time of -- in some ways, kind of a crisis, that he didn't display that to you outwardly.

MY: No, it's just really... yeah.

AI: Although at the very end of your visit, Tosh, I think you were the one who had mentioned at an earlier time that he, that your father did say something to you at the end there about not doing anything --

TY: Foolish.

MY: Foolish, yeah. We kind of figured that -- what do you think he meant?

AI: What did it, what was it that he said?

TY: Well, I think he just meant for me to just not get myself killed. [Laughs] To come back alive.

MY: That would have been foolish. [Laughs]

TY: But I think he just very quiet, in his way, trying to, telling me to be sure that I don't do anything silly and get myself killed. Come back alive.

MY: Be careful.

TY: Be careful, yeah.

MY: It's kind of a way of saying --

TY: Kiotsuke nasai.

MY: Kiotsuke nasai.

TY: And --

MY: But he wasn't talking in Japanese, though.

TY: Huh? No.

MY: He was talking in English.

TY: He was talking in English. Because the guard was there, he couldn't speak Japanese, really.

MY: He never spoke Japanese to us, anyway.

JY: Yeah.

MY: No, he didn't, he never --

JY: Yeah, I never talked to him in Japanese.

TY: Well, it was a mixture, I think. I don't think he spoke all Japanese. He mixed in Nihongo with it, too.

MY: Well, yeah, when we were sitting at the dinner table, for instance, because Mom was there, and she didn't understand English, so we spoke in Japanese so that she would be included in the conversation. But other than -- on a personal --

TY: One-to-one basis, yeah.

MY: -- one-to-one basis, he always spoke to us in English. And, he was kind of a remarkable person.

TY: Well, then we just sort of hugged, and I guess... [pauses] well, to keep us from breaking down, we didn't say anything.

MY: Uh-huh. It's, anyway, and after that, and then I left, then Mike and I left together. We left camp --

<End Segment 78> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 79>

AI: Oh, excuse me. Before going on to that point, the two of you then had to leave Lordsburg and leave on the train.

MY: Uh-huh, we went back, we went back to Minidoka.

AI: Go back to Minidoka, and as you were going back on that trip, anything that was going through your minds, or anything that you were discussing about --

MY: God, I don't remember anything about when we get back.

TY: I don't either.

MY: You remember --

TY: Isn't that weird?

AI: I think maybe earlier you were commenting about how you thought that your -- how your father had been during the visit, and you were commenting about --

MY: Yeah, we, probably we talked about how we felt about Dad, and how shocked I was, you know --

TY: Yeah, right. Yeah, we did have that discussion.

MY: -- for one thing. How shocked we were that, that his physical appearance had, you know. I think that was it. His physical appearance had changed so much, he's gotten years, he's aged years, his skin color --

TY: Yeah, he always had a very rosy cheek and very health, he looked very healthy, but...

MY: Yeah, he used to, remember somebody, he told, he told us somebody asked him, "How could you, why are you so healthy? You look so healthy." And he said, "Well, I went on a diet for about a year and a half one time and they" -- oh, "I went on a milk diet for a year and a half." [Laughs]

TY: And that lady was on the wagon, huh?

MY: And his friends said, "So when I didn't eat anything, drink anything except milk," and his friend asked him, "Well, how many, when was that?" And he said, "Well, that was about sixty years ago." [Laughs] When he was born. But he did. He looked, he was very round, and I don't think he had, it was a very healthy appearance, because he probably had high blood pressure. He was always very pink-cheeked and very, his very light skin. And so when -- and as I said, he had very dainty-looking hands and very, he was a very graceful person. And so then his appearance was so, I would not have recognized him if I saw him on the street.

TY: Yeah, yeah. That was --

MY: I don't think either of us would have recognized him until he started talking. And then, so we talked about how different he looked, but inside, he seemed to be the same. I mean he, the way he talked, he was the same. He was joking around, and, we really didn't learn very much. I said, "What are you eating?" Or, the kind of things you ask people. "What do you do every day?" and things like that. He just avoided those topics altogether. So we didn't really find out about what they do --

TY: We sure didn't yeah.

MY: -- what they did, except for the few senryu poems that I translated to put in my book, that Dad wrote about --

TY: Oh, the senryu? Yeah.

MY: The senryu poems that that wrote that -- and I think those were written when he was in, in camp.

TY: Do you have senryus that he, that you know of that he specifically wrote in camp?

MY: Yeah, those are the three, I think, that I had. I think he gave them to me.

TY: Oh, that's the one you have? Oh.

MY: Yeah. And they were, someone asked me, "Do you have the, a version of the Japanese?" And I never did, because he never gave them to me. He translated them himself, and thought that I -- since I don't read Japanese, that I wouldn't understand the Japanese.

TY: Oh, you have the English translations?

MY: So he gave me the English translation, yeah.

TY: Oh. You don't have the --

MY: So that's the --

TY: You don't have the original, then?

MY: No, no.

TY: It's not in that book?

MY: I don't know. It might be, well I'd never -- I don't think so, because I think if I, they were, I would have found them. But when he gave me the -- either he mailed it to me, or gave it to me. Because the version that I had in my notebook was in my hand, that Dad sent to me. And it was in English. But I think that probably, senryu, of course he would have written it originally in Japanese. And then I think if I had thought about it, I would have asked him, when he came back from camp, when he was released, to, "Do you still have the original copy of the thing?" but I just never thought to ask him. Of course, I wasn't even thinking about my own poetry at that time, either. But those were the poems -- but they were the only specifically relevant poems about his experience in camp that I know about. Otherwise he talked very little about his day-to-day life there, which we were really interested. "What do you do every day?" and so forth. He said, "Well, I write letters for these -- " and things like that, that were kind of lighthearted conversations, bantering.

<End Segment 79> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 80>

AI: So then you returned to Minidoka and told your mother and Mike about the trip.

MY: Uh-huh, about the trip. Do you remember our talking about that when we came back?

JY: I was not even aware you'd gone there.

TY: You didn't even know we were gone, right?

JY: No.

MY: You were, you were out there playing --

JY: [Laughs] I don't know, but I --

TY: You were just playing out in the canal. You didn't care. [Laughs]

JY: Yeah, I really don't remember anything about that trip.

MY: You used to play under the barrack. Do you remember how hot it was, and under the -- there was a little space, kind of a crawl space under the barrack?

JY: Uh-huh. Yeah.

MY: It was coolest there.

JY: Uh-huh. 'Cause the wind would, what wind there was, would come --

MY: There would, the crawl space there was --

JY: That's where we played Monopoly a lot. [Laughs]

MY: Yeah, I used to -- that was where you played poker, too, I suppose. But I remember when I was looking for you, I was, went down and looked under the barrack to see if I can find you.

JY: Yeah, yeah. Actually, I hadn't thought about that, but that's true.

MY: Yeah, that, and then I realized that it was coolest down there. It was just very small space, actually --

JY: Well, we weren't very big. [Laughs]

MY: Well, any adult would not be able to stay, be able, you had to crawl under there. But the kids were under, they had discovered this space under the barrack, which was, on a hot day was very smart, 'cause it was very cool down there.

JY: Yeah, that's right.

MY: Uh-huh.

AI: So then, fairly quickly you said, then you were soon taking your physical and going -- then you went to Fort Douglas. And then on to Fort Shelby in Mississippi?

TY: Camp Shelby.

AI: Camp Shelby for basic training. And in the meantime, May, you were saying that you were writing --

MY: Yes, I wrote to him every, I mean, every single day I wrote to him.

TY: Thank you very much. [Laughs]

MY: [Laughs]

TY: Yeah, you did.

MY: Yeah.

TY: Thanks.

JY: Do you have all those letters still? Or just some of them?

TY: Well, I, no, I don't have -- unfortunately, I don't have hers. I have the letters that I had written to her.

MY: He has letters that he wrote --

JY: Oh, that's right. That's right. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

MY: -- because I saved them and send it back to him. But he didn't save any of my letters.

JY: Shame on him, huh? [Laughs]

TY: Sorry. I wish I had.

JY: Yeah.

TY: It would have been interesting.

MY: It would have been interesting to me, too, because that would really capture that.

TY: That would be a good chronological record of what all went on.

JY: Yeah.

MY: And really capture that period of the dispersion of the family, too. Because I think that was why I was writing to you.

<End Segment 80> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 81>

AI: What kinds of things was your mother saying to you and Mike while you were still there? Tosh had left already, but was she --

MY: She was very fearful. I mean, she just --

TY: Yeah, uncertainty.

MY: She didn't tell us not to leave, 'cause she didn't feel that -- but she kept saying, "What am I gonna do, what are we gonna," well, just said, "Kokorobosoi." It was just really very... how do you translate kokorobosoi, it is, hitori, futari...

JY: Not "pitiful," but...

MY: No...

JY: "Sorrowful"?

TY: "Fearful"?

MY: Fear -- yeah, yeah. And, "What am I gonna do with just, with just Joe? You're gonna be all gone." Of course, she had come to depend on the three of us so heavily. And so, and then little Joe there, and he wasn't much help. [Laughs]

JY: [Laughs]

MY: He was off playing, and you know, she just really felt like she was going to be hitori bosoi. Which is true. "Be all by myself." And, and then, of course, before that, when my dad was around, my dad took care of everything, right? And then, and after he left, somehow, we had to grow up really fast and we kind of looked after her and took care of her after that. And so it was just, and I just remember that she was just agonizing, through, during those days that, of our leaving. But as I said, she just never said, "No, I don't want you to go." She knew somehow that, that it was something that we needed to, needed to do. And so we both left.

<End Segment 81> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 82>

AI: And that was in about September, or so, that you went to Cincinnati?

MY: Right, right. Because it was just about, in time for Mike to enroll in school. And, and there was a lot of troop activity during that time. We left -- there were quite a few of us, and -- what's her name? Ruth Sasaki, Sakai. Ruth Sakai was --

TY: Ruth Sakai? Yeah.

MY: Yeah, remember Ruth?

TY: Yeah.

MY: She died quite a few years ago. But she was with our group. So I don't remember anybody else.

TY: When you went to Cincinnati?

MY: Sam Shoji, yeah. Yeah, Sam Shoji and Ruth, and there were quite a, rather large group of us.

TY: Oh, yeah?

MY: And we got, we got to the train station and the, the guy there... who was it? The conduc-, not the conductor. Conductors are, the train master, the ticket-taker, or whatever. He told us that, "The train already left," or something. "It left hours ago." And we were going, "What?" We were standing around with our bags.

TY: This in Twin Falls?

MY: It must have, I thought it was in Boise.

TY: Boise? Well, how did you get there? On the bus?

MY: Did... yeah.

TY: Boise's a bigger town, bigger city. Twin Falls is kind of --

MY: Small town.

TY: -- very small town.

MY: Okay. Somehow, Boise sticks in my head.

TY: Boise could very well be.

MY: So we, we were waiting there, and, and then they told us that a troop train was coming through. 'Cause they were moving a lot of American troops back and forth, and that, that they told us, if you want to go to Cincinnati, or go East that we should caught -- so we hopped that troop train. And we, so we didn't have to pay anything on that train. And I think that was the train that we were meant to take. And I remember very distinctly that it stopped in Lincoln, Nebraska. Does that, does that make sense?

JY: Yeah.

MY: Lincoln, Nebraska?

JY: On the way to Cincinnati?

MY: Yeah, we almost missed the train because we got off to buy some food.

JY: Uh-huh.

MY: Okay, they changed tracks or something, and Mike and I thought -- they said, "Well, you can get off." And so we got off, and we came back to the track, and the train wasn't there. And all our bags and everything was on the train, and we just -- then it turned out that they had changed tracks. And then all the guys who were on the train were sticking up, "Hey, better hurry up and get on." So we hopped across the tracks, and we got on the train. But that was a period when they were, troops were being moved here and there, I guess, during the war. And then we got on that, stayed on that train, and went to Cincinnati.

AI: Did, excuse me, did you get any harassment at all, or anything along the way there?

MY: No, you know, the soldiers were really fascinated with us. They didn't have any idea -- "Where are you from?" And we told -- and, and then we told them we were Japanese and they, and there were a couple, many of them very young, very naive, too. They, I don't know where -- and they said, "God, I didn't know they, I'd never met a Japanese woman before. I didn't know that they were so pretty," and things like that. They were very funny. But -- and they, of course, hadn't heard about the camp, about the camps. And so we had a very interesting conversation on the train.

Jeni Y: Didn't you say they also said that you didn't look like the --

MY: Like a cartoon?

Jeni Y: -- images in the propaganda movies.

MY: Yeah, yeah. They thought, they didn't, we didn't look like those buck teeth, you know, people in... and we were, I remember thinking, gosh, these guys were -- and they had never seen a Japanese woman before.

TY: After all, they were eighteen, probably eighteen, nineteen? They were probably that age, so --

MY: Uh-huh, very young --

TY: -- young kids.

MY: -- very young kids.

TY: Yeah.

MY: And they probably didn't know where they were going, either. You know, they were probably very scared people, young men going to, overseas or whatever it was that they were being shipped to from here to there. And so they were not seasoned -- they didn't, maybe their parents would have been, kind of have hostile feelings towards the Japanese, and things like that. But these kids were, they were kids, like us. They were the same as... and we, so then we got off -- and most of them, I think, got off at Lincoln, Nebraska, probably, and either changed trains or went somewhere else. Because from there, I think that most of them got off. Is Lincoln, Nebraska and Cincinnati fairly close?

JY: Well, yeah, relatively close.

MY: Relatively close, and, because I think after that -- I was trying to think if they were still on the train from there. I don't really have anybody to ask, 'cause I don't, Sam Shoji is still in Seattle, though, right?

TY: Yeah.

MY: Sam is still there. Then we got to Cincinnati. And somehow or another, from Cincinnati, we got to the university campus. Oh, we stayed, yeah, we stayed at the hostel, hostelry. The American Friends Service Committee had set up a hostel in Cincinnati -- you stayed there, too, when you came out -- for people leaving camp. And they were incredibly, incredible people.

TY: Yeah.

MY: They set up these places for people to, for Japanese Americans to stay for --

JY: They did a lot. They did a lot.

MY: They were wonderful. Yeah, they were wonderful, wonderful people.

<End Segment 82> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 83>

AI: There must have been a lot, some mixed feelings for you at the time, because here you were free out of Minidoka, free of camp, and yet some of your sadness of leaving your mother and Joe behind.

MY: Uh-huh, yeah. Right. Right, and, but we were very busy, getting adjusted to the campus and so forth. But -- and I was, started working right away in the cafeteria, and my job was to, was behind the counter. The food counter. Because -- was it air force? One of the, air force was there. And they came back with those army trays to be fed in the cafeteria. And that was sort of like... and I remember those guys were always -- I was behind the counter, and the counter was up to, it was so short. And a couple guys came back and said, "Are you standing in a hole down there?" [Laughs] "Are you on your knees, or what?" But they were army, air force, I think. I think they were having some kind of training. They were in training.

TY: Well, the university, I think, a lot of the university has a lot of -- what did they call them? They're students. They were going to school, but they were in the service.

MY: Yeah, well, universities have students. [Laughs] That's one of the things that they have.

TY: Well, they might have been training. Using the campus as training, training area.

MY: But they were there, I think in some kind of an air force, intelligence training or something.

JY: Yeah, probably. Some kind of academically-oriented training like language or something like that.

MY: Training, yeah. And then the other thing that they were doing, was they were doing war research or something like that, and that's, at least that was the excuse they used when Mike was kicked off, when he was kicked out, when he was suspended. They, that was what they said, that they were doing sensitive --

JY: Defense-related research.

MY: Yeah, exactly. And that was why they wanted him off the campus.

AI: That was early in 1944, was it? That he was forced off of campus?

MY: Yeah, that was before, right before finals. So probably finals were about May, right? So I think it was April, so it was... and so he went through school, almost finished out the year, and I don't know when it was that the transcript -- I think that we had that transcript of questions that --

JY: I have it.

MY: -- he was questioned, yeah. So they must have a date on there.

JY: Probably does.

MY: Maybe around April, or so. But they came on campus and sought out Mike to talk to him. And they asked him the same questions on the so-called "loyalty oath," and he, I guess he -- he didn't, he wasn't aware of what was happening, but he did, apparently responded in a similar fashion. And then from that, from the line of questioning, you could almost tell that this guy was trying to give a -- he kept asking the same question in different ways, and was hoping that Mike would, was trying to give him a --

JY: Tricking him. Tricking him.

MY: No, no, was giving him a chance to, to correct himself. And said, "Would you, are you willing to take up arms?" And he said, "No, because I'm a pacifist. I would never take up arms against anybody," and so forth. And so, and he would ask, "Well, are you sure that," da-da-da. And he kept saying, "No, no, I'm just," and so --

JY: It was actually a pretty amazing transcript, when you look at it.

MY: When you kind of think about it, because just think about it. Mike was, what? Twenty-one years old?

JY: Twenty-one?

MY: He had, it was like he had no support anywhere, he was not, we were not with our parents, there were practically, there was no support system, right, around. He was virtually alone, because guys were expected to volunteer for the army, to get themselves killed to show their loyalty to the country.

JY: It was not a time when you should be saying, "No, I will not bear arms."

MY: But he was, he was very adamant, he said, "No I, this is, this is something that is, it is against my principle, and I just absolutely refuse to do that." And I was just amazed when I read that transcript.

JY: Me too.

MY: And you were trying to get your mind -- it's not amazing now, but at that period --

JY: Knowing what he turned out to be. [Laughs]

MY: Well, no, yeah.

JY: But at the time...

MY: He didn't, he didn't waver from that.

JY: No.

MY: From that, ever, throughout his whole life. He stuck pretty much to that philosophy. I don't know where it came from --

JY: Yeah, right.

MY: -- even within our family. He, it wasn't something that my parents taught him. And see, he said that he recognized the evilness of war and the military when he was in Japan. And while he was in Japan, he heard a lot of propaganda, anti-American propaganda.

AI: In 1939, that he was there.

MY: Yeah, and he said he, he knew that wasn't true. Then he came back in 1940 and then he started hearing all this anti-Japanese propaganda that he knew wasn't true because he was there. And then he, he just put all of this together in his mind. And it was just kind of a remarkable thing, that a young person, you know how they, how they process information in this way. It's very interesting. And really admirable, actually.

<End Segment 83> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 84>

AI: Now, was it about this same time that the friend of the family came through and visited you? Tom Ogawa, was it?

MY: Yeah, that was after Mike left. After Mike left, I was still in Cincinnati, and then this pers-, who was, oh, he was a Canadian Japanese. And at that time, as you know, Canadians -- he was a Canadian citizen, whose citizenship had been taken away.

TY: This is, you're still in Cincinnati?

MY: Yeah, when I was in Cincinnati. It was after you left. Yeah. You came in right before you went overseas, in your uniform.

TY: No, I, I came to visit you. I went to visit you --

MY: I was in --

TY: -- I got two-week leave, after I got inducted.

MY: Oh, okay. You were in --

TY: And then two-week leave, so I went to visit you in Cincinnati.

MY: Yeah. And you were in a uniform, 'cause we have pictures.

TY: Yeah, I still, looked like a --

MY: I was living in a dormitory, at the time.

TY: Yeah, right.

MY: Okay, so I --

TY: -- you and Mike, Mike was still there.

MY: Oh yeah, Mike was still there, okay. So it was after that, 'cause I think I would have probably discussed it with you, and Mike, Mike was gone, and Tosh was --

TY: Yeah, we have pictures of you and Shimoko.

MY: Oh, yeah.

TY: I think Shimoko was Mike's roommate then, right?

MY: Uh-huh. He was kicked out, too.

TY: Huh?

MY: I don't know whether he was kicked out because he was Mike's roommate, or --

TY: Oh, he was kicked out, too?

MY: Yeah.

TY: Where did he go after that?

MY: I don't know.

TY: Oh.

MY: And so after, after they left, this person who's a, who was a Canadian, so he was much younger than my dad, and he was a little bit older than I. I remember when we were in --

TY: He's a Canadian Nisei?

MY: Yeah, he's Tom Ogawa. Do you remember him?

TY: No, I don't.

MY: He had a wife and a couple of kids, I think. So he was a very young Issei person. He spoke fluent English. He, I think he grew up in Canada. But anyway, he was, he was also interned. And he was in Lordsburg. And he came by Cincinnati, I think on his way, I think his family was in New York. And looked me up, and I had dinner with him. And he said, that, "Your dad is in really serious trouble, and he might get killed." And I said, "What are you talking about?" And he said, "Well, I just overheard this sort of conspiracy or conversation going on in camp, and I just thought that, that there's going to be some kind of a uprising on that camp, in that camp. And that your dad may be, his life may be in danger. You should try to get your dad out of there."

TY: This is Lordsburg, right?

MY: Yeah, yeah. And he, so, and then he said, "Well, how am I going to do that?" And he says, well, the prospect of having him released seemed quite remote. He said there's one thing you can do, which I wasn't familiar with. There was a family camp. Because Mom was talking about it one time, there was one in Crys-, in Texas. This family camp. And that, "You should try to get him transferred there." So I said, "Well, should I write a letter?" He said, "No, that's just, it'll be too late. You have to go there right away." So I remember taking a train and, and years later when I told my dad about this, he said, "Well, did you apply to leave Cincinnati?" Because I was still an "enemy alien," and you couldn't, and one of the conditions was that you could not travel without a permit. So he was, he was asking me when we were in Chicago, "Well, did you apply to go to Philadelphia?" And I said, "No, I don't remember." I just think, I just got on a train and went to -- and I said, "Well, I walked into the Department of Justice and talked to those guys in the Department of --" and then I, and then I went -- and Corey, somebody was there in Philadelphia. They met me at the train.

TY: Yeah Corey Wy. Corey Wy.

MY: And I went to Philadelphia because the headquarters of the Immigration and Naturalization was in Philadelphia at that time, I think. So when I went to Washington, the most logical person was to see Edward Ennis, there, in the Department of Justice. And then they told me, well, "You should go see the Immigration and Naturalization and go there." And so then I went to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and I don't know whether I got an answer right away or not, but I had to go back to Cincinnati. It was, I think, during midterms or something. I remember missing some exams. And, and then soon after that you all were -- and I guess it was, well, I had gone to ask that Dad be released. And if not, to have him removed from that camp anyway, to go to (Crystal City). And, I'm kind of surprised, because I was very scared, timid, very timid. Hardly knew how to talk to strangers. And I, and soon after that, and I guess it was a successful trip, because they got out, they went to Crystal City, not long after that. It only took a couple -- I was surprised, surprised at how soon it was. But I told them, "This is very crucial. It's a matter of life or death." I was getting quite dramatic, and told them that they had to do this and so forth. [Laughs] And so I guess I persuaded them to let my dad leave, leave there and join Joe, and have Joe and -- then of course Joe and my mom had to apply to go there, as well. And so they left. And that was -- do you remember what months that was?

JY: You know, I really don't. But it was in time to start school.

MY: 1944 in the fall.

JY: Yeah. It was in 1944.

MY: About September 1944, yeah.

JY: In the fall. Probably like August or September, or something around that time period. Because I think when I started school, all the kids were new, too. It wasn't like I went into an existing classroom or something... there was registration and things like that, that I went, so I must have got there...

<End Segment 84> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 85>

MY: So you got into -- so, so he went to Crystal City. Crystal City? Is that what it was called?

JY: Uh-huh. Crystal City.

MY: Crystal City.

TY: That was in '44 then, you said?

JY: '44.

TY: Fall of '44.

MY: And the Peruvians were, there were Peruvian Japanese were there. And that's another whole story about how...

JY: Yeah, I guess.

MY: -- how incredibly, I mean, how did, what business did the United States government have in incarcerating Peruvian, Japanese Peruvians?

JY: They were almost literally kidnapped from South America, from Peru.

TY: Well, I, the understanding I have was --

MY: No, I thought there was an agreement between --

TY: -- they were going to use them as an exchange.

JY: Exchange, yeah.

TY: For Americans in Japan.

JY: Right.

MY: Oh.

TY: That's why, that's why they...

JY: That's why they were, they were kidnapped from Peru.

TY: That's what I heard, but I...

JY: Peru, yeah. No, that's true...

MY: Is it kidnapped? I mean, they said that --

JY: Well, they had an arrangement with the --

MY: Government.

JY: -- with the Peruvian government, who were kind of -- from what I've read -- were kind of interested in getting rid of the Japanese there anyway. So, they kind of had an agreement of some sort that they worked out, and they moved them out.

MY: So the, so the Japanese, Japanese Peruvians were very different from the Japanese Americans?

JY: Oh, very much so. Well, they spoke Spanish, like we spoke English. Except that their Japanese connection was much stronger, in the sense that all the kids, like my age, spoke impeccable Japanese. I mean, and they, like Japanese kids, they had shaved hair, the way the Japanese students --

MY: And the school was conducted --

JY: And they had... I don't know if they had school in Spanish or not, but I know that they did have a Japanese school, yeah.

MY: Japanese school, yeah.

AI: Well, it must have been, in a way, it must have been a great relief for the two of you, knowing that your father was out of --

MY: Yeah, it was a great relief for me, yeah.

AI: -- Lordsburg, and then reunited with Joe and your mother.

MY: And, it was a great relief to me that my mother and my dad were finally together.

TY: Well actually, I didn't know this was happening.

JY: Yeah.

MY: Must have written to you about it, in my, all those letters I wrote.

JY: [Laughs] That you destroyed.

<End Segment 85> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 86>

TY: Well, see, I got wounded October 19th of that year.

MY: '44. '44.

TY: So it must have been shortly after you got to Crystal City. And after I got wounded, I get, they sent me to Italy, so all the letters that came to me, I got, I got it about two or three months later.

MY: Oh, yeah.

TY: See, because I was wounded in France, and then they flew me to Italy, in Naples, and I stayed in the hospital there --

JY: When was it? October of '44 when you got wounded?

MY: If they were there before -- they went to Crystal City before that.

TY: Yeah, you were there before, but how soon before that? In the fall is, is September, October.

JY: Yeah, there's a discrepancy there. Because I feel like we heard about your being wounded when I was in Cincinnati.

TY: Cincinnati?

MY: I do, too.

JY: You know? That somehow...

TY: Well, that period, I didn't write much letters then. Because I was being moved around so much.

MY: Oh. We didn't hear from you for months and months and months.

TY: Yeah, for a long time. And then I heard from --

MY: And we were wondering, did something happen --

TY: And then one day, the chaplain at the hospital, I think, came --

MY: Yeah, that makes sense.

TY: -- and says, "I think the Red Cross got in touch with them." I said, "What?" [Laughs]

MY: Yeah, because Dad, Mom and Dad -- I mean, we didn't hear from you and we didn't hear from you --

TY: I was so embarrassed. [Laughs]

MY: You know, we thought he was missing --

TY: So maybe it was in that time. I don't know.

MY: We thought you were missing in action, or something.

TY: Oh, that was, that was really...

MY: And he didn't write for months and months and months.

TY: No, no.

MY: Months and months.

TY: No, no. [Laughs]

AI: Well, at least it --

MY: Because we were worried about him for a long --

AI: -- at least it must have seemed like months.

TY: [Laughs]

JY: [Laughs]

MY: [Laughs] But I remember we were worried about him, and then finally, and that's why I think we contacted, I might have contacted the Red Cross to have them track you down.

TY: Well, what I, because I remember --

MY: And they tracked you down. That's kind of efficient, isn't it?

TY: Yeah, the Red Cross... and then, and then the chaplain came to see me and says, "You know," he says, "when's the last time you've written to your folks?" [Laughs]

JY: And you said?

MY: "I don't remember."

TY: "Oh, a month ago." No, because I --

JY: Then what did he say?

TY: -- during that time anyway, there was a time that I didn't get letters from anybody. I didn't get any -- usually it was, people sent me --

MY: Because it was held up, someplace.

TY: Yeah.

JY: Or it didn't catch up to you or something.

TY: People sent me, periodically send me care packages and all this, and that's the time that Toshiko sent me this five-layer cake...

MY: Five-layer cake?

TY: Yes.

MY: From the United States?

TY: It was chocolate. I think it was a chocolate cake. And it went to France, okay? And then I was wounded there, so it followed me all the way to Italy, and then to, and then the recondition center, after I got out of the hospital in Italy, and then I went back to France, and it caught up with me after I went back to France. About four months later. And when I opened that box up, it was green.

MY: [Laughs] Did you eat it?

TY: I had no idea. I surmised that it was chocolate cake, but I had no idea whether it really was. So anyway, for a period, for a period of several months, the letters didn't catch up with me. And I got it all in one bunch. A great big box like this, when I got back to France they gave me, when I joined the outfit. And it must have been that interim that I probably didn't write letter, because I was moving around so much. [Laughs]

MY: And you were wounded --

TY: Oh, that was a good excuse, I guess, but...

MY: Yeah, and then, that was when, then we got a picture of him in his bathrobe.

TY: Oh, I sent it from the hospital, I think.

JY: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's right, that's right.

MY: He sent us a picture. Yeah, and then --

TY: Yeah, and crutches.

JY: And that was in Cincinnati.

TY: No, that was in... what?

MY: We got the picture--

JY: I mean, we got the picture in Cincinnati. That's why I thought --

TY: In Cincinnati?

JY: Yeah. Because I remember Mom getting hysterical, when she, we got the telegram --

MY: Picture.

JY: -- the telegram saying that --

MY: That you were wounded.

JY: -- I forgot what it said, but, like "your son has been wounded," or something or other.

TY: But you got the picture in Cincinnati. My God.

MY: Yeah, because --

JY: But wasn't there a picture in the --

MY: There was a newspaper article in the --

JY: -- yeah, in the Cincinnati Enquirer about you getting a, the Purple Heart or Bronze Star?

MY: But that's later. That was later, because a Purple Heart would be later --

JY: That might have been later.

TY: That was later.

MY: -- much later.

JY: Maybe that's what I'm mixing up. That might be what I'm mixing up.

<End Segment 86> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.