Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Joe Yasutake Interview
Narrator: Joe Yasutake
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 9, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-yjoe-01-0003

<Begin Segment 3>

AI: So excuse me, but before that happened, before you got to leave Crystal City --

JY: Uh-huh.

AI: -- there was the ending of World War II and the, the bombing of Hiroshima.

JY: No.

AI: In '45?

JY: When we left Crystal City the war was still on.

AI: It was still on.

JY: It was still on. We left Crystal City in 19-, probably in the summer or early fall of 1944.

AI: Oh.

JY: So the war was still going on. It was not until we got to Cincinnati that the, that the war was over. And I don't remember -- and at Crystal City I was exposed for the first time to, to judo, and I took judo for a year there. And in, in Seattle I can remember my -- one of the -- I think my sister was talking about the string of people that lived with us over time. And this guy, Mr. Abe, was like a grandpa to me at the time, and he lived with us for a year or so, and he introduced me to sumo and entered me in a sumo contest in Seattle when I was probably six, seven, eight years old, so that was my first exposure to that. And then in Crystal City they started that again -- or not they started it, but it was going on there. And, and I went to sumo... I don't know if it was lessons or whatever. And I have a picture, actually, of a sumo tournament; there were a whole bunch of kids lined up around the ring and so forth. So there were activities like that, and as well as we played baseball, which was my favorite sport. And other than that, you know, I don't remember the kind of activities. Between school and just, you know, playing with friends and, and going to sumo and judo and things like that it was, it was, it was pretty well in a sense normalized in my, from my day-to-day activities kind of standpoint.

AI: I think I remember hearing that there were some families at Crystal City that were eventually planning or thinking that they might return to Japan -- the parents were thinking of going. Did you know of any families like that? Or...

JY: The only ones I remember talking like that were the, were the Peruvian Japanese, through the kids. I don't recall any -- in fact, I don't even remember any parents, meeting any parents of my friends there, and I'm not sure what kind of discussions had been goin' on. I don't think it ever occurred to my dad or my parents that that's what they might want to do. I never heard them say anything like, you know, like that, but I do recall that -- and, and it didn't surprise me that the Peruvian Jap-, you know, I heard that they were interested in doing that because they were -- they just seemed more Japanesey to me than even my own parents, and, you know, the, the way they carried themselves and bowed and were very, very formal and so forth. They just seemed to be more "old country," if you will, to me than, than the mainland people were.

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