Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Tokio Hirotaka - Toshio Ito - Joe Matsuzawa Interview
Narrators: Tokio Hirotaka, Toshio Ito, Joe Matsuzawa
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Date: May 21, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-htokio_g-01-0020

<Begin Segment 20>

TI: But after we got home, why, you know there was always talk that the war was gonna happen, and I had just gotten out of high school in 1941, the same year. So I was kind of in limbo, wondering what to do. Well, there was no talk of evacuation at that time yet, so we continued with our process of getting our plants seeded in the greenhouse, getting it ready for the following year's crops. And just continued on normally, like, like we would have. But when we found out that we had to evacuate... prior to that they put a curfew on the hours that you could stay outside, and that was I think until about 8 o'clock in the evening, or until dusk. And we had a radius of 35 miles where you could travel so, I mean, it was almost like being under house arrest already. And then they came out with this evacuation order, and we left in May. Some of the earlier crops that were just about ready to harvest, some farmers were able to sell those. But a company called Western Produce Company came along and took most of the crops at whatever amount of money that you could negotiate for. And a lot of times it was practically nothing. But we were all up against it, and the farmers had to sell their tractors and their trucks and their cars, and those that owned property had to make arrangements for somebody to take care of the place, not knowing when they might be able to come back, if ever. Others that were leasing, they didn't have as much to lose because they didn't own anything, but -- I mean property-wise -- but we all had a tremendous financial loss there, when we left. Of course we didn't know where we were going, either. They didn't tell us we were going to go down to Pinedale --

AI: Let me -- excuse me, let me take you back a little bit, there's a lot of things that happened in between December 7th and having to leave. But you mentioned on that day, when you heard about the radio, the war breaking out. That you were there visiting with your older sister. Do you remember if your mother, or your sister, or brother-in-laws had much discussion about what was going on, did they realize? You could understand English, so you heard the radio reports, but did they realize what was happening, and did they have any conversation about what was gonna happen, or what they were worried about, or what was... do you recall any of that?

TI: Well, maybe they were in too much shock, I don't really know. I think the reaction was that, "The war finally started." I mean, it seemed to me that they were all more or less anticipating that sooner or later Japan and the United States were going to go to war.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.