Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: George Morihiro Interview
Narrator: George Morihiro
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 15 & 16, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-mgeorge_2-01-0014

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MA: I'm curious about the atmosphere in your own family, in your household at that, during those kind of months when you're saying, right before you were removed from your homes. What was that, what was it like in your family? Were people scared or nervous?

GM: No, the Japanese people didn't get scared, but they were worried. They worried about what they're going to do to us, 'cause they didn't tell us what they were gonna do to us. Where are they going to put us, okay. I know families, my wife's family for one, they went out and bought these great big tents, big tents, and they weighed about fifty to a hundred pounds each, they were heavy canvas tents, way before evacuation. Because, you know, you've got to have a roof over your head, right? And they don't tell you where they're going to put you, and then they went and bought sleeping bags. In the old days, those sleeping bags were like a canvas roll that rolled up big. They bought that and they bought it for each kid. And not only that, they said, "What are you going to eat with?" They had to buy kitchen utensils and stuff. And then what's the weather going to be like, what kind of clothes we're gonna have to bring, what kind of... they didn't tell you that. So when it came down to evacuation time, they told you that, "Okay, you got one week to go in, and you could only carry, bring in what you can carry." That limited you to very little. Pretty hard to put an unknown life into one suitcase, because the necessities comes first. You got to have sheets, blankets, shoes, clothes, cooking stuff if you had to cook, they didn't tell you what you had to do there. Things like that. And you couldn't bring things like hatchets, axes, saws, hammers, all those things are... and there's a lot of things prior to that that you couldn't have in your possession. Knives over three inches long, you couldn't even cut a loaf of bread, and stuff like that.

There were a lot of things there that we don't talk about too much, I guess. I don't know if they, these people you interviewed have ever told about some of those little things. It's really, at that time, sanitary napkins for young ladies and women, to me, I was too young to realize what a problem that was, you know. And you can buy boxes and boxes, you could take it into camp with you, but it wasn't there available in camp, either. And the inconvenience for these people was there, but they never talked about it, as far as I know. And as far as sanitary napkins, Kotex and stuff like that, people talking about, "What do we use? All the toilet paper in the place?" [Laughs] Things like that, you know. Didn't bother me, because I didn't have to worry about that. But when you realize some of those things that the women had to go through, they don't even talk about it today, and I don't even know how they even got by. But this preparation for going into camp was very traumatic for many people. They laugh about it today, but most of 'em don't even talk about it. Fact, as far as my cases goes, I told my sisters, "I don't even know how I left that morning to go into camp to the time I went into camp."

MA: You mean you don't remember that journey?

GM: Not at all. I remember going to the gate.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2005 Densho. All Rights Reserved.