Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mits Takahashi Interview
Narrator: Mits Takahashi
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 20, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-tmits-01-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: So, let's, let's talk about it. So in, soon, you started hearing about the orders to leave Seattle, you had to start getting ready. What was that like for your family?

MT: My dad was not interned, so he was around, so he worked until almost a few days before evacuation. So our family was quite intact. But I can remember him coming home and, "Did they come?" "What do you mean by, 'Did they come?'" Did the FBI come around to pick him up, but this was the thought because so many first-generation men were picked up by the FBI. So that was almost the first thing, he came in the house and says, "Did they come after me?" [Laughs]

TI: And I imagine he was pretty concerned about that, 'cause he was very active in this Japanese Gardeners Association, which many of the leaders of other business associations were picked up.

MT: But, you know, the story is that the American FBI and the police and things, they didn't know anything about the Japanese. But that's a bunch of baloney because when the war broke out, prominent Japanese were picked up within twenty-four, forty-eight hours, and you don't just go down the street picking up a person because you have black hair and brown eyes. So they knew who a lot of the so-called Japanese leaders in town, and these men were picked up, oh, within, oh, I would say within two, three days. The majority of the men were picked up.

TI: And so when that was happening so rapidly, do you recall the community kind of getting that? That, oh, the FBI must have had lists or something? Or was it just a blur back then? Do you recall?

MT: I didn't think about it, but we realized that they knew who they wanted to pick up. You name any of the Issei, prominent Isseis that were in Seattle, they were picked up right away.

TI: How about within the Gardeners Association? Were there any Isseis picked up in that group?

MT: I can't think of any Isseis but there must have been some.

TI: I want to ask about your sisters during this time period. Do you recall any of their experiences after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and before going to Puyallup? Any stories or anything that you can remember?

MT: Oh, it's pretty vague at that time. I can't think of anything. I really don't know what they were doing because my two older sisters were out of high school already. What they were doing, whether they were working or what, I have no recollection of that.

TI: And so I'm guessing -- I should probably ask -- I mean, your older sisters, did they have to help out with the gardening business, did they do anything?

MT: No.

TI: So that was just, that was just you. And would it be... like, did any woman work in the gardening business before the war, or was it strictly male?

MT: Some, some of the daughters may have gone out a little bit, but it's strictly male thing.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.