Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Eugene Tatsuru Kimura Interview
Narrator: Eugene Tatsuru Kimura
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: September 5, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-keugene-01-0016

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TI: Well, eventually, I mean, how were you informed that you were to leave Seattle? Explain that.

EK: A sign was, two feet by five feet sign and so forth, tacked onto the neighborhood telephone pole. I think these were in all areas of the Western Defense Command, saying that within one week, "You will be assembled at such and such a corner, with a minimum of bedding and so forth, forks and spoons and so forth, no pets, no furniture, all the luggage you can carry, and we will direct you to somewhere." So we knew that we would be going to Puyallup, Washington, and that place was called "Camp Harmony." Some wiseguy probably called it a harmonious place. So that's how our, that's the next phase of our life started.

TI: And so when you were given those, that notice, describe kind of the day you left Seattle. And so where did you have to meet, and how were you picked up? Why don't you just try to recall that for me.

EK: Well, let me go back a little bit further. After the, after we read the signs there, we were dumfounded. Saying, "One week?" So, but we had to, had to get rid of our, we were renting our place, so we had to get rid of our furnitures and so forth, either gave them away or loaned them to somebody else. And others, we put into Bekins Storage Company and so forth. And then on the day of departure --

TI: And actually before you move on, who did you sell the furniture to?

EK: Oh, I think one person that I remember is my brother's friend, Seivert, and so forth. And then we told them that, "Could you please take care of this?" And then my mother and father had a beautiful porcelain flower pot or something, we loaned it or gave it to the Baptist Church Home, which was about, diagonally opposite our home, in the hopes that we would be able to come back and claim it and so forth. Other personal material, we put it into suitcases -- not suitcases, but trunks, and put it into Bekins Storage and so forth. So then we assembled only the necessary things that the government said that we can have, that we can take with us and so forth.

TI: And I'm curious, when you packed, you have to pack kind of the necessities. Did you ever pack anything that was more personal that you wanted to keep? And I'm not sure, I'm asking if there's anything that you can recall, like a memento or something, that may have been viewed as maybe frivolous to bring?

EK: Well, I didn't have any mementos of that nature there. So mine was a very simple life.

TI: Okay, good. And so let's go back to that, that day you left. And so where, where did you have to assemble?

EK: At the corner of where the bulletin... it's just about diagonally opposite where we were living.

TI: And then so you were picked up by buses?

EK: Picked up by buses, yeah.

TI: And then the buses would then bring you to Puyallup?

EK: That's right.

TI: And what was your first impressions of Puyallup when you got there?

EK: What a place. Then the first thing that we were told, after we were processed, our tags with numbers were taken down and so forth, and we were assigned a barrack. Fortunately, my mother and I were assigned a barrack, whereas some families had half a barrack with a sheet spread. But anyway, the first responsibility was to pick up the cotton ticking and so forth that was there, and then to go to the stable, and then to fill the ticking with straw, and then bring it back and put it on our army cot. That was our mattress. So then I don't recall what my mother's feelings were, or the feelings of the Issei were, but I'm sure it was, they were devastated. But what else could they do? Shikata ga nai.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.