Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Joe Yamakido Interview
Narrator: Joe Yamakido
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Date: July 4, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-yjoe_2-01-0007

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AI: Tell me, tell me about the riot. What happened?

JY: I don't know. This Korean guy got beat up. They said he was a stool, he was a stool pigeon, ratting on all the Japanese, what they were doing. And somebody threw a typewriter in his face, and beat him up, and they said I did it. Well, it's like if there's a child molester in the city, and soon as somebody gets molested, they blame it on that guy. So same as with me. Soon as they had a problem, they picked me up.

AI: And what happened, what happened when they picked you up?

JY: Well, they put me in jail for five days. See, underneath the racetrack, underneath the grandstand, one of the toilets, men's toilet, they made into a jail. And I was there five days, and then they transferred me to Arcadia city jail. Then from there they sent me to Santa-, Tule Lake. They split me up, took me away from my, split me from my family.

AI: So what happened to you in Tule Lake? Where did, what block did you end up in?

JY: Pardon?

AI: What block were you in in Tule Lake?

JY: Seventy-five. They were still building it. But I was here about two or three months, 'cause they asked for volunteers for sugar beets, so I went out for sugar beets. I wanted to get out. I don't want to be locked up, so I went sugar beet, and I worked hard, and finished my contract. And wherever there's Japanese from camp helping the sugar beet, to save the sugar crop, they have a WRA representative checking up on their health and everything, and if they get sick, they send 'em back to camp. And when you're over, they give you a travel permit to go back to camp. It just don't make sense, because there was Japanese living in Montana before the war, they didn't have to have a travel permit. Then after sugar beet was over, everybody went back camp except me. I couldn't get a travel permit. He won't give it to me. He said I'm a troublemaker. I told him, "I finished my contract, I didn't give the farm any problems." He said, "You're a troublemaker." Hermosa Beach, Santa Anita, all that records in Montana. So that winter, that wintertime, I had to work in the railroad. I gotta eat. And it's too cold out there, so I think around February, somewhere around, I started hitchhiking to, I got to Salt Lake City, worked a little bit, and I went to Denver. There, both city had Japanese there before the war, so I went to Denver, and then there was a WRA office there. Then he finally gave me a pass to go to Jerome and get a transfer. Because I was supposed to go back to Tule, and my folks were transferred from Santa Anita to Jerome. So I finally got to Jerome.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2004 Densho. All Rights Reserved.