Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Fred Tadashi Shingu Interview
Narrator: Fred Tadashi Shingu
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda, Martha Nakagawa
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: July 29, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-sfred_2-01

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: So today is Thursday, July 29, 2010, and we're at the Centenary United Methodist Church in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. And in the room we have Martha Nakagawa, who's helping as interviewer. Running the camera is Tani Ikeda, then I'm the interviewer, Tom Ikeda. And also sitting in is Dana Hoshide, who's observing. So, Fred, why don't we start and just tell me when is your birth date and where were you born?

FS: Yuba City. Yuba City, Sutter County. 4/14/23, so April 14, '23.

TI: So that makes you eighty-seven years old.

FS: Eighty-seven. [Laughs]

TI: That's great. So I'm gonna start, before we get to your life, I want a little bit about your mother and father. So let's start with your father. Can you tell me your father's name and where he was from?

FS: Hiroshima. Takuzo Shingu.

TI: And do you know anything about his family, like what kind of work they did?

FS: More or less, I think he was a former farmer in the country, I think.

TI: Now, do you know why your father left Japan to come to America?

FS: No. You got me. I don't know about that, either.

TI: How about how he met your mother? Do you know how he met your mother?

FS: Well, I know they was picture, "picture bride." That's all I, that's all I know.

TI: Okay, so your mother was a "picture bride." And why don't you tell me what your mother's name was?

FS: Katsu.

TI: Katsu?

FS: Katsu Hirota, I think. I think it was Hirota.

TI: And, and where was she from?

FS: Hiroshima.

TI: Okay, and do you know anything about her family?

FS: No. I think she was, I think she was the only one in the family.

TI: Okay, so going back to your father, when he came to the United States, where did he live initially, when he first came to --

FS: What did he do?

TI: Yeah, what did he do? Where was he?

FS: All I know is that he was in, he was in a orchard, picking, picking fruits or pruning the trees. And that's all I can remember.

TI: And was this around Yuba City that he did this?

FS: Yeah. Well, Marysville.

TI: Marysville.

FS: Marysville.

TI: Okay, so he was doing this for a while, and then your mother came over as a "picture bride."

FS: Yeah.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: So then they start having children, so let's, let's talk about you and your siblings. So you were born in 1923, but you had, I think, two older sisters?

FS: I have two older sisters and one younger brother.

TI: Okay, so let's start with your oldest sister. Can you tell me her name?

FS: Hideko Lillian.

TI: And do you know about when she was born, or how much older she is than you?

FS: She was born, I know she was born 1919, but I don't know exactly know the month and day.

TI: Okay, but about four years older than you.

FS: Yeah, she's four years older.

TI: And then...

FS: The, my second, my, yeah, second sister was...

TI: But this was a sister who died when she was an infant?

FS: When she was one or two years old. I'm trying to remember her name. God...

TI: That's okay. Let's, let's --

FS: Mitsuko or something like that.

TI: Okay, but then after your second sister, then you were the third?

FS: I was the third.

TI: And you were born in 1923.

FS: Yeah.

TI: And then after you?

FS: My, my brother. He was one year younger than I am, so he was born in '24.

TI: Okay.

FS: Yeah, 1924. And he passed away when he was either four or five years old.

TI: And do you remember how he died?

FS: It was from that flu they had those days. Bad flu. They, they had no cure for it those days.

TI: Okay, so, so your family, you had your father, mother, you had a sister and brother who, who died young, so it was really you and your older sister, Hideko, were, were kind of the family.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: So let's get started again, so early childhood memories. So when you think about your earliest childhood memories, what, what can you remember? Like can you remember the house when you were a little child?

FS: I can't remember the house, but the orchard, we were, my dad was kind of a foreman. They had nothing but prunes, picking prunes and then used to dry the prunes. And I remember that. They had a, set it on the tray, so many big tray, and then they set it out and they leave it out in the sun, let it dry up.

TI: And describe that a little bit more for me, like how many trays would be there? Would it be a few, a lot?

FS: Quite a bit. I could say, I could say fifty, I might be wrong. It might be more, because when I see it, it's just laying down on the, not on the ground, 'cause it has a little, build it up a little bit and just sit on the tray on top of there, so I could say fifty to a hundred, easy.

TI: Okay, and then from a process standpoint, so, what, they bring in boxes or barrels and they just place 'em on the trays and then they just let 'em sit there for...

FS: Yeah, after, after it's all dried up they put 'em in a box. They put 'em in a box and then they pack it again. It's in the big container that, they put 'em all in there, then they go into the, into the shed and then they start packing it into separate boxes, small boxes or something. It could be packaged.

TI: Now, I'm just guessing, I've never seen this in person, but I'm wondering, like, were there really strong smells and things like that that you can remember?

FS: Not that I, not that I remember, no.

TI: Okay, now was this something that, as you got older, you helped out with? Did you ever help out with --

FS: No, not at the, not for the prunes. 'Cause a lot of people, lot of people make a mistake between plum and prune. If you dry the plum you don't have anything left over. All you have is a seed left over. But the prune, when you dried it, it just shriveled up, and you, that's what the prune is.

TI: Okay, so it's a particular type of, well, a particular type of fruit. You have to make sure you get those.

FS: Right.

TI: I know up in Washington we get a lot of those Italian plums, so those are different? Those, if you dry those they'll just shrivel up and not be anything?

FS: Yeah. Yeah, you, if you shrivel it up a lot of those things'll be gone. Plum, anyway.

TI: And so what did your father do with, with this sort of production? What was his role with the prune making?

FS: You got me. [Laughs] That I don't, that I'm not sure of.

TI: Okay, so while your father worked with the prunes, what did your mother do?

FS: She was a cook, cooking... people that was coming down and work, work, she was doing the cooking for everybody.

TI: And so when she cooked for everyone, the workers and everything, did you get to eat with the workers?

FS: Yeah, we get to eat with them.

TI: So how many people would, would be there?

FS: You got me. I don't know how many people.

TI: But was it a lot? More than a few, or was it like one big table, or do you remember how it was?

FS: I can't remember that. I don't remember it..

TI: Okay, good.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: So in terms of playmates, when you were growing up, who did you play with?

FS: At that time was my, my brother was still alive, so we were playing. He always liked to be a catcher, so I was throwing the ball to him and we were catching, playing catch at that time.

TI: Okay. How about outside of the family? Besides your brother, did you have any neighbors or anything like that that you remember playing with?

FS: No, not that I could remember. No.

TI: So let's talk about sort of community things. Do you recall ever, like Japanese community events, like a picnic or church activities, anything like that where you would get together with other, other families?

FS: Only thing I can remember is my sister used to go to Japanese school, and I was, when I start getting to be around, I guess around seven -- six, seven years old, something around there. Grammar, kindergarten, eighth grade, eight year old... anyway, from there, my mother, my mother used to know how to drive the old style Ford, Ford with the three pedal, three pedal car.

TI: So you would have a gas, brake and clutch?

FS: Clutch, brake and, yes. Yeah. She knew how to drive that, so she used to take us to school and she would pick us up after we finished. Not, not at the, not at the grammar school, but after we finished the grammar school up in grammar school, we used to come to the, somebody's, they're having a, it's a... vegetables. Vegetables, going through vegetable, then we go, one family that we always come, wait over there for my mother to pick us up. And she used to drive us, drive us back, back to the 90. That was a different, different city altogether. That was in Yolo. This was in Yolo, they call it Yolo County, but it was, it's the west side of Sacramento.

TI: Okay, so I'll make sure I understand this. So your, so after school you would be waiting at this place and your mother would come and pick you up in this, in this truck?

FS: Yeah, just before, before then we had to go to Japanese school.

TI: I see. Okay.

FS: I didn't know how much, but I remember, we went.

TI: Now, in a previous conversation you talked about you actually driving at a young age also.

FS: Well yeah, in, I must've been about, about seven to eight years old, and then my, my boss -- my dad was a foreman of the orchard, so the boss, his name was Elliot, and then we called him -- Jinx was his name -- and we used to call him Niisan. And he was six feet six, and then he would put me on the car with him and then we went on the levee road. From the levee road we had to go to go to his, go to the orchard, anyway, so when you get on the levee road he would tell me, "You steer the car." And it's kind of scary because it's, both side is like you make a mistake and, one side is river and one side the orchard. It was kind of scary for me in the beginning, but he would, I'd pick it up and adjust it right away, so that's, that's the only way I learned how to make the car go straight.

TI: So while you were driving, where was, where was Elliot? Was he, like, sitting right next to you watching?

FS: Oh yeah, he was sitting next to me. Yeah.

TI: And were your legs long enough to actually put the clutch in?

FS: No, he was, he was the one that's touching the brakes and gas and all that.

TI: I see. Were, were you sitting on his lap then, on his, kind of... or, or between his legs, kind of right...

FS: I might've been sitting on top of his, yeah, on top of his leg.

TI: Yeah, because you were pretty young, so you probably needed, just to be able to see over the...

FS: Yeah. Oh yeah, he was really tall, so no problem, I think.

TI: And so it sounds like people liked having you around, or at least Elliot liked having you around.

FS: I think that's what, we liked to have him around, too, because he used to take us, he, he used make his own boats and then there's a river right there, so, you know, let's go boat riding. Nothing to it.

TI: And so this is on the Sacramento River?

FS: It would be, off of the Sacramento River, actually. There's a, we call it a slough, but the, there was a breaker for the Sacramento River and to there's a breaker, and if it overflows the water will come in to the, it's sort of like a channel, so that's where a lot of water was. It was always there in wintertime, too.

TI: Okay, so you'd go out with boats with him and do things.

FS: Yeah. We could've gone fishing, too, so it didn't matter.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: Earlier you mentioned school, so talk about school a little bit. What kind of school did you go to when you were young, like elementary school? Do you remember your, your elementary school?

FS: The first one, like I said, the Yolo County thing, was, I think the name of the place was Washington, Washington... it's a grammar school. I was in the, I was more just like in kindergarten then.

TI: And, and tell me a little bit about your classmates. Were they mostly Japanese or mixed or how would you describe your...

FS: I would say most of the, most of the people, I would say about half of, half of the school would be Japanese.

TI: And what would the other half be?

FS: Huh?

TI: What would the other half be?

FS: More or less, mostly hakujin. Very few Mexican at that time.

TI: Now, if people were to, like your classmates, if they were to describe you as a student, how would they describe you?

FS: You got me. [Laughs]

TI: [Laughs] Would they say you were a good student, or you were... I mean, where were you like in the class? Do you remember kind of how you did?

FS: You mean for the grammar school? No, I wouldn't remember that.

TI: Okay. How about teachers? Any special teachers as you were, as you were going through school that you can remember?

FS: You mean in grammar school or high school?

TI: Let's start with grammar school first.

FS: Grammar school I can't remember -- oh, wait a minute, grammar school... yeah, if it was Elk Grove Grammar School I would remember the, the eighth grade teacher. She was, we used to call her Mrs.... start with a K. I forgot. Any, she was very strict. If anything, if somebody was doing anything bad she got the ruler in hand and go pow, you know. So everybody is, don't make any noise. They were very quiet. [Laughs]

TI: Now, do you remember her ever getting mad at you? Did she ever have to discipline you?

FS: No, I never had...

TI: Okay, good.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: And then you talked about high school, that you remembered high school, so which, do you remember what high school you went to?

FS: Elk Grove High School. Well, I went, I would say, I went three, about three months, place called Patterson High School. That's a ways on the other side of Stockton. And it must've been about three months and then we came back, came back to Elk Grove and my, before we got, before our boss told us that... my dad and he had an argument so we left. So in between that grammar school, someplace else for two years, then high school, high school, where I graduated from grammar school was Terminus, and then I went to the Patterson High School for three, about three months where... that's when I got my name Fred, because the principal said, "I want, I can't remember, I can't call you the Japanese name, so give me a English name." So that's where I got my name Fred.

TI: Oh, let's talk about that. So up to that point people called you Tadashi? Is that...

FS: No, after that they start calling me Fred.

TI: Yeah, after that Fred, but before...

FS: Yeah, they would call me Tadashi.

TI: Tadashi. And then this principal gave you the name Fred.

FS: Yeah.

TI: Did he ask you if that was okay or anything, or did he just start calling you Fred?

FS: No, he just said, "I'd rather call you Fred than some other name." Said, "Japanese name, I can't, I can't remember that," so he said, "Give me a English name."

TI: And how did you feel about being called Fred, after being called Tadashi all the way up to high school?

FS: It would be easier for me, I think. Everybody would call me right away that way. The other way they can't call me, anyway so...

TI: And how about your friends? Do they right away start calling you Fred, also?

FS: Well, after I came back to Elk Grove High School, yeah, because I have a best friend and his name was Fred, too, and he came from, he came from Japan before the war and he was in high school together, so we got to be good friend.

TI: Okay, so you're, you're talking about all the different schools, so I really get a sense that your family kind of moved around quite a bit, or, or somewhat. Can you explain that again? I think you mentioned your father, 'cause he had a job here, job there.

FS: Yeah.

TI: So why don't you describe that?

FS: When he, when he had first... when we moved from Yolo County and he's the one that recommended to go to Elk Grove orchard, nothing but fruit orchard, plums and plums, pears, and a few grapes. And that's when the regular, original boss, he passed away while we were there, so this English man, he took over, he bought the place and he took over, and that's when we had a, that's when I was in, I would say... grammar school? Yeah, grammar school, about seventh grade or eighth grade. That's when we, we had a fall-out with the boss, so we, that's when we left. That's when I went to, stayed in Sacramento for a while, so I went to eighth grade in Sacramento Junior High School.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: You mentioned that one school, that seventh and eighth grade, was that the school you -- you mentioned earlier that you went to a segregated school. Was that the school that was segregated?

FS: That was, that wasn't one of 'em, 'cause I, seventh or eighth, one of those... anyway, Sacramento, Lincoln, Lincoln Junior High School to, we went, I went, next place I went to was, I think, Woodbridge, and then after, I think it was in (Clarksburg or Courtland) where it was segregated.

TI: So, so tell me a little bit, when you say segregated, so who, who was in the segregated school?

FS: Japanese. Japanese, Chinese and I think there was some Mexican or kurombo in there, mixed. We were all mixed.

TI: And how close was the, the white school? Was the white school fairly close to the segregated school?

FS: Yeah, they were, it was on the same, same ground.

TI: Oh, so same grounds, but two different buildings?

FS: Yeah, well, kind of separated. I would say maybe half a mile or more that separated.

TI: And what were the differences between the schools? If you were to compare the white school with the segregated school, how, how would they compare in terms of appearance?

FS: That I can't, I can't answer that one, no.

TI: How about size? In terms of, was one larger than the other or were they about the same size, in terms of number of students?

FS: That I wouldn't know, either. 'Cause I never, we never saw much of the white, white guys anyway, white boys.

TI: So did you ever, like, participate in maybe sports against the, the white --

FS: No. Not when I was in the, when I was in that seventh or eighth grade or so. Seventh grade, I think.

TI: So they, they kept it pretty segregated. Pretty separate.

FS: Yeah, separated.

TI: Any other memories about the two different schools, like, I'm trying to think... like in high school, if you had stayed there, would the schools have then come, the students have come together at the high school level, or do they stay segregated? Do you recall?

FS: You mean when I went to the high school?

TI: Well, if you had stayed in this one school that was segregated, I'm wondering if --

FS: I think if I stayed there, I think we would've been together in high school. I think everybody would be together. I don't think they could make it two, two high school, you know.

TI: Okay. You mentioned, I mentioned earlier sports a little bit, and you say you didn't do sports there, but how about in other places, did you participate in, like, organized sports, like baseball? Anything like that?

FS: You mean through school?

TI: Yeah. Or school or anywhere.

FS: For the school, we played. I... well, when I went back to Elk Grove we had our own YMA, Young Men's Association, so we played basketball and baseball with them instead of the high school. 'Cause high school people, they were too good for us. [Laughs]

TI: And so who would you play against? Like say, basketball, would you play with just the teams from the same area, or would they go outside?

FS: No, just like that map I showed you, segregated whatchamacall, we had, we had, like... we were, we were Elk Grove, right? They had a Florin group. They had a, they had a Taishoku group, Taisho, Taishoku. And they had a May Hill and a Perkins. They had a Oak Park and a Riverside. And they had a West Los Angeles team. That was eight teams in all. They called it the Sacramento Rural League.

TI: And so you would kind of play with the same, the same boys on your team, and then you would play against...

FS: Yeah.

TI: And then same thing in baseball, similar thing?

FS: Same thing, yeah.

TI: And, and what sport did you like the best? Did you have a particular sport you liked?

FS: Well, both of 'em, basketball and baseball.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: And we talked a little bit earlier about Japanese school and you mentioned your sister going. It wasn't clear about how much Japanese school you went to.

FS: That was a, that was a, not that big of a school. When I was, when my sister went I was going, but when I, when I was in grammar school and high school and going to a Japanese school in Elk Grove, then it's different.

TI: 'Cause it was much bigger, this school?

FS: Yeah, it's -- well, one, one whole class would be, would be more or less eighth grade, no, sixth... I would say six, seven, and eighth grade in one room. Maybe five. Five, six, seven, eight grades in one room. They were separated, but anyway, and then the other room they had the other, another smaller group. There were two rooms.

TI: And in Elk Grove, did you go to Japanese school, like, every day after regular school?

FS: No, it was only Saturday.

TI: Saturdays, okay. And how did you like Japanese school on Saturdays?

FS: I didn't, I didn't want to go, but my dad made me go. [Laughs]

TI: Yeah, that, that's a pretty common comment from a lot of people.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: So let's... we talked about high school, and so you graduated, what, 1941 from high school?

FS: Yeah, '41.

TI: And so what did you do after you graduated from high school?

FS: Well, right after that, that was just about war, just before the war started. There's three, three friends of, myself and guy named Fred Tanigawa and Ben Nakaya, we went to NYA school, learning woodwork, and we were, actually we were supposed to go work for the shipyard. But then the war started, so we all got kicked out right away.

TI: So NYA? What does NYA --

FS: National Youth Administration.

TI: And so it sounds like, almost like a trade school, so it's gonna give you some --

FS: It's a trade school, yeah.

TI: To, to give you some skills.

FS: Because my other, another friend of mine, he took up welding, but I didn't want to take up welding, so the three of us stayed together and did woodwork. So we had to go, actually we were supposed to build some shed, little, not a shed, but a room on a boat or something. That's what, that's what actually what we were supposed to do.

TI: Okay. And, and if you had stayed in the program, if the war had not broken out, how long a training would you have received, before you worked in the shipyards? How long?

FS: I would say about, at least, at least about two years, anyway.

TI: And then if you said shipyards, what shipyards would you have gone to?

FS: Probably went to Vallejo.

TI: Okay, to work on big ships and...

FS: Yeah, build a lot of ships over there.

TI: And was this something that lots of Japanese Americans did? They went through NYA, got these skills and then went around?

FS: I don't know anybody else that went, because most of them round there were strawberry farmers, they got their own ranch so they were mostly working at home.

TI: So this was a little bit different then, than what most people would do. So why, why did you want to do the NYA? Why did you want to do this?

FS: I didn't want to be, I didn't want to be just a farmer all of my life. [Laughs]

TI: So this was a way to get out of farmer, or to do something different?

FS: Yeah. Right.

TI: Okay, good. Before we go to the war, I just wanted to, I guess, maybe just to mention, so your, father and mother, I think before the war, they actually separated?

FS: They separated.

TI: Is there anything you want to talk about, in terms...

FS: I don't want to talk about that.

TI: Okay, but before we do that, just tell me a little bit about what was your father like? If you were to describe him, what kind of personality was he?

FS: He was pretty strong-willed. Whatever he said, you were gonna obey what he got, what he's saying, so...

TI: And how about your mother? How would you describe your mother?

FS: My mother, she never, she never bothered me or anything.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: Okay, so let's, let's go to the war. So December 7, 1941, is the day that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Do you remember that day?

FS: Sure, we were, I was, we were... what was it? I think we were either picking grapes in Lodi... we're coming home, somebody, somebody drove, one guy drove the car and there's about four, four or five of us on the car, and it was his car and I was driving his car. "You drive it." He told me to drive, so from Lodi we come all the way home. That's about, at least, oh, how many miles? I would say at least fifteen miles away from Elk Grove to Lodi.

TI: And when you heard the news, what, what did you, what did, did you guys talk about that in the car, or what did you think?

FS: We were, we're kind of... I hate to, hard to explain. I wonder what's gonna happen to us, you know. That's all, that's the only think I can remember saying.

TI: This uncertainty, not knowing what was gonna happen and just...

FS: Yeah, uh-huh.

TI: Okay. Can you remember anything about the days after December 7th, in terms of what was happening, like in terms of do you recall, like, FBI picking up anyone in the community or anything like that?

FS: No, we didn't, we didn't hear about, I didn't hear about it at that time. Later on, probably just before we went into camp, I think that's when we heard about it, that people were picked up and taken, taken someplace else.

TI: But in, going back to Elk Grove, so like in the weeks after December 7th, do you remember any changes that happened in the community? Before, before you had to leave, just like what, what type of things were happening? Do you remember anything?

FS: Well, we, I think we, at that time we had a, just about that time we had a fall-out with the boss, with the owner. That's why, when I was, we were living in Florin already at that time, just before the evacuation.

TI: And this is your, your, when you say fall-out with the boss, your father did or you? Who had the falling out with the boss? What kind of...

FS: I don't know, he was with us then. I'm not sure what happened. It was right after that that something, something that I hate to say came between them, and then it broke up.

TI: I see, okay so, so it was after December 7th that... so your dad was still with you, he had a falling out with the boss, he moved to Florin, and then it's then that, that he left.

FS: Yeah.

TI: Okay, that makes sense. So that got you into Florin in that one area, because, and we'll get into this later, but there are, different parts went to different, different camps, so we'll talk about that. Anything else that you noticed? Well, so Florin was a little different place. I mean, anything else that you can remember, though, before, in terms of people preparing to go to camp?

FS: You mean what happened, people in Florin?

TI: Yeah.

FS: Most of the people in Florin were there, they had their own, own ranch, like a strawberry farm and all that, so there were so many, so many families out there, scattered all over there. So they, they used to ship, they used to have a, they called it a strawberry... what do you call it? In Japanese it was kumiai dakara. What do you call it? Corporation, I would say. So they would, a couple of people would drive the truck or whatever and then they'd, they'd pick up the, pick up the strawberries and they'd ship it on a train. There was a train going right through Florin all the time, so they put 'em on there and they would ship it to, it could be back to East or someplace.

TI: So what happened to all these businesses? With the war breaking out and then people having, to have to leave, what happened to all these businesses?

FS: I don't know what happened. 'Cause from what I, what I know is seemed like somebody wanted to take over. They wouldn't, they didn't know what to do with it, I would say.

TI: Okay, so let's go back to your family. So pretty soon families got the, the orders that they had to leave, so what, what happened to your family?

FS: What did, what happened to our family?

TI: Yeah.

FS: There was somebody that was helping us up, out, to making, putting the stuff together. By then my dad, I don't know where he was then, but he might've been with my cousin in Sacramento, so we had to, I think this guy made a box for us to put it in, and then we shipped, take it, take it to the railroad. Railroad track was right there, so we put everything on the, where the railroad track is, and they put it right on the train right away.

TI: And so at this point it was just you and your mother, just the two of you?

FS: Yeah.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: And let me back up a little bit and talk a little bit about your sister, because your older sister who was four years older, let's talk about her a little bit. So where was she right now?

FS: She was in Japan.

TI: Okay, so let's talk about, how did she, when did she go to Japan?

FS: In my, when I was in, when I was in the eighth grade I was going, I think eighth grade I was in Sacramento. We were in Sacramento. And I caught scarlet fever, so they, they put me in a county hospital, so at that same time is my sister supposed to go back to Japan. I was supposed to go back, too, back to Japan. So I couldn't go. It's a good thing I couldn't go because I would've been dead when I went back to Hiroshima. So that's the last time I saw my sister.

TI: Now, when you say you were supposed to go, why were you and your sister supposed to go to Japan? What was the reason for going to Japan?

FS: My dad wanted me to go back. It wasn't, I didn't want to go, but my dad said, "No, you got to go back and look, look at the farm over there." He had a farm over there, so supposed to look at it, after that, I guess, I'm not sure about that... anyway, it's a good thing I didn't. [Laughs]

TI: Because that was in Hiroshima, which again, yeah, during the war was devastated by the bomb.

FS: Yeah.

TI: But your sister, so she went to Japan, so what did she do in Japan?

FS: Well, right after that I had, my dad had her all made up already before that. She was supposed to marry my second cousin in Japan. And then, then the war came, the war started, and right after the war started, I would say one, one year, two year after the war started, he got killed when they bombed a part of the railroad station. He was working over there and he got killed over there. So then my sister stayed, stayed over there until when the bomb came down, the atom bomb came, and she had, she got a little scratch, I think, when she went outside with my niece. After that then, after the war ended in '45, my sister came back to United States in about '49 or '50, she came back with my niece.

TI: And so she was, she only got a scratch, but you didn't know that when, when you probably got, when you heard the news that the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, what went through your mind when you, when you heard that?

FS: At that time I didn't know what, where she was or anything, so I couldn't say if, if she was whatchamacall. Then I found out later that... we did get a letter from her. I don't know how they got, the letter came, but the letter came and then she said, like I said, about after the war ended, she said she's gonna come back here 'cause my dad, my dad called her back.

TI: Well it must've been a huge relief to the family when you got that letter, to, just to know that she was okay. So let's go back to, to your, your life, and so you talked about how you and your mother had this box made, put all your belongings in there and brought it to the train station.

FS: Yeah.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: Before we talk about you leaving Florin, let's talk about the Florin area because it's kind of interesting that, that in this actually fairly small area, people were sent to different places. And maybe you can explain the different places that the Florin people were sent.

FS: Yeah, they took, I was saying, they took a railroad track and divided from there, the people on the west side of the railroad track, up to, like I say, up to... I forgot the name of the road, anyway. (Narr. note: Jackson Road.)

TI: It was like Grady or something? Something like that.

FS: Yeah. And all the people on the west side, west side of the railroad track, into Sacramento, into Sacramento city, there's about two, two groups over there, (Oak Park and Riverside), that call, they're the farmers, Japanese farmers. They, they put us in together with them, and part of, I think part of Placer County people, someplace around Loomis and all that, some of those people, they were thrown into our same group.

TI: And this is a group that went first --

FS: Tule Lake. That's, that's one, the Tule Lake.

TI: Okay, went to Tule Lake.

FS: And the other group, other group was other side of the railroad track and up to, I would say railroad track up to Elk Grove, Florin Road that was going east, north and south. They took that road, the people on this side, they stuck 'em into, at first they stuck 'em in Fresno Assembly Center. From there they took 'em to Jerome. And the people, north side, I mean, east side of the... Jackson, I think they called it Jackson Road before, people over there, they shipped them to Poston. That group was from, they called Taishoku group and Mayhew, and I think there's a part of Perkins on, out on outskirts of Sacramento, Perkins, I think they were all together and shipped into Poston. And then the other group from... forget the name of the street now. Anyway, the other group was, they divided another road and then everybody that was on the south side, no... yeah, south side and probably a little bit of the west side, quite a bit of the east side of the whatchamacall, they were shipped to Manzanar.

TI: So in a relatively small area, there were eventually ended up in Tule Lake, Jerome, Poston and Manzanar.

FS: Yeah.

TI: Do you have any sense why that, your community, Florin, was divided?

FS: We didn't know why. Maybe they didn't want everybody all together, the whole group together, 'cause it would've been a big group because all the farmers, they were pretty big, pretty good group.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: So let's, let's go back to your story. And so you're on the train, eventually you go to Tule Lake, but before Tule Lake --

FS: We went to a place called Marysville, Arboga. Either Arboga or Marysville. That was in the city of Marysville.

TI: This is the, what they call the assembly center?

FS: Yeah, we called it Arboga Assembly Center.

TI: Arboga. And do you recall, what were some of your, your first impressions of the assembly center when you got there?

FS: What?

TI: What do you remember of the assembly, the Marysville assembly center?

FS: I can't remember too much. We were, we didn't know what to do, so we're, we were playing, playing ping pong or something.

TI: Okay, and so you were there for a few months or so.

FS: Yeah, a few months before we were...

TI: And then you were then transferred to --

FS: Straight to Tule Lake.

TI: And what were your first thoughts of Tule Lake, when you compare Marysville to Tule Lake?

FS: Yeah, but see, we didn't, we took the, they put us on the train and I think we, from there to Tule Lake we had to get on the bus, not on the train. It was on the bus. Pretty sure. I think it was, I think it was raining out someplace out that way. I'm not positive about that, but I'm pretty sure the train didn't go that way. I might be mistaken, too.

TI: No, that, that's okay. But so you got up to Tule Lake, though?

FS: Yeah.

TI: And, and what was Tule, how was Tule Lake different than Marysville when you got there? Do you remember?

FS: Big place. That's all I can remember, is a big, big place.

TI: And how about, like, the climate, in terms of the weather? How was that different?

FS: At that time it was, at that time it was hot. When we got there it was hot. But then wintertime we had snow, cold. It was about ten, ten degrees, I think it was ten degrees below zero, and yeah, that was wintertime.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: In the first part we, we talked about your earlier life and got you all the way up to when you first got to Tule Lake, and you had just talked about the weather difference, that when you got there it was summer, so it was hot, but the winters are really cold, like ten below zero.

FS: Yeah.

TI: So let's talk a little bit more about Tule Lake and let me just first talk about some of your leisure activities. I mean, you were there for a while. What, what kind of things did you do?

FS: What did I do?

TI: Yeah.

FS: Sports. I did a lot of sports. I did, start out with the regular baseball, and then from there we went to basketball then went to softball. After that it was mostly all softball.

TI: So describe that a little bit more in terms of the, first baseball. How was that organized? Like, what kind of fields did you have and how did that work?

FS: Fields was already kind of made already, seemed like it, 'cause when we start playing it was already graded and everything. But the only thing different is my whole block, our own block, we had a team by ourselves. We made, they made up a team, so we never play outside of our block, but we just, we did pick up somebody else from just playing one position, but beside that, all, even the young pitcher we had was, was younger than us. Softball, he was throwing softball. As long as they throw the ball over the plate, we got to catch it. So that was it. Beside that, activity was, rainy day we're in the block manager's office. We're playing, we're either playing bridge, some poker, mahjong. [Laughs]

TI: And so who would you be playing with in the block manager's office?

FS: All the block, the young guys, young kids they used, we used to play ball with, they were the one all play together over there.

TI: And so the block manager, was he a pretty good guy so he just let you guys come and play?

FS: Oh, yeah.

TI: And what block were you in?

FS: Block (11).

TI: Okay, so Block (11). The softball team --

FS: They call it Ward 4, Ward 4 and Block 11. Block 11's right in the middle of the ward. I think I got a picture of that, if you want to see it later.

TI: Yeah, maybe later we'll look at that. So softball, other sports, you played cards, mahjong. How about other activities? Do you remember, like, hikes or anything like that? Did you do anything like that?

FS: Yeah, I did, I did take a hike one time. They call it Castle Rock. I took a bunch of young kids, maybe nine, ten year old kids, and just the two of us, myself and another guy named, I think it was a guy named Ben Takamoto. He and I took the group, must've been about twelve, twelve kids, and we, we were, we walked to a place called Castle Rock. That was okay, but then we went up and went, came on the other side. We went over the mountain, came out other side. We come in, walkin' back, we were walkin' home and the MPs stopped us. "You're not, you're not supposed to be out here." So I said, "Well, we just, we just walked up to watchamacall." He said, "No, you guys stay here. Now wait. We're gonna send, we're gonna send a truck over here to pick you guys up." So the truck came and they gave us a ride back to the camp. That was it. No questions asked. [Laughs]

TI: Well, when you left with the, these boys, did you just walk out of the front gate or did you go through the fence? How did you...

FS: Walked out the front gate. There was no question, at that time there was no question, saying that you can't go or what. This, somebody else was going out, too, so that's why we just walked out.

TI: And so you walked up to Castle Rock and it was really just on the way back that the MP stopped you?

FS: Yeah.

TI: Okay. Any other adventures like that, that you can remember? Anything else?

FS: That's all, that's all I could remember.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: Let's talk about the jobs you had at Tule Lake. So most people had jobs when they were at Tule Lake, especially your age, so what jobs did you have?

FS: When I first went in, got in Tule Lake, I got a job as a carpenter. The sheet rock, you know the sheet rock they put inside the house? A lot of places, they didn't have anything in there yet, even when they moved, people moved in they didn't have anything, so we went in and block by block we were putting up the sheet rocks. Then after that, after that was finished... what did I do after that?

TI: Now, I'm curious, when you got that job, sheet rock, even though you only did it for a few months, did that training with the NYA, did that help you have skills that were useful for things like sheet rock?

FS: No, not exactly. We just got to measure the top and make sure it fits when you push it up there, sheet rock. There's some bar coming down this way, so you got to make sure you're gonna fit in there. So that's the only thing that was any hard about it.

TI: Okay, so after the sheet rock, you're finished with that, then what did you do?

FS: I think I worked in a mess hall. I think I got in first as a dishwasher, then I got to be a cook, cook's helper.

TI: And was there anything in particular you remember about being a cook's helper, like what, I'm trying to think, when you have to serve so many people, like, how would you measure to figure out how much --

FS: I didn't have to measure out the... all the head guys, like the chief cook, they were measuring out everything for you, so we just followed the direction.

TI: So what were some of the, the things you had to do as a cook's helper? Like, yeah, what would be a typical help that you would do?

FS: No, not, it's not that, it wasn't that difficult I know. If it was difficult I wouldn't have been working. [Laughs]

TI: So after a cook's helper, then what was the next job you had?

FS: After that was... what did I do? Maybe that's, maybe that's when I went to the motor pool. No, no, no. Maybe...

TI: How about typing? I think you did some typing?

FS: Yeah, I didn't work too long there, but it was typing out the... to pay the people. There was a three seventy-five -- no, three seventy-five a week? No, three seventy-five a month for, not up to the sixteen dollar, but it was supposed to be... I don't know what it was for. That was, that was the...

TI: Maybe like a clothing allowance or something like that?

FS: Yeah, must be something like that. Or something with a, buy like toothpaste or things like that, so maybe that was the money that they gave you, extra.

TI: Okay, and then after that you went to the motor pool and start working?

FS: I went to motor pool as a, working in the, lubricating cars, trucks mostly, mostly trucks.

TI: Okay, and we'll get back to that.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: I want to ask you more about that, but before we talk about that, what was your mother doing in camp?

FS: She used to be a, what do you call that? What the... maintenance. You know, cleaning up bathrooms or something like that.

TI: So for the, your block or something, she would, she would do that? Okay.

FS: Yeah, there was about, at least four ladies, anyway. Four, four, maybe more than that, doing the same job.

TI: And for her leisure time, what would she do, when she had time to...

FS: Who?

TI: Your mother, what would she...

FS: She used to, they used to, some people used to go out and pick some, pick seashells, and so she used to put the seashells together and make some kind of decoration in the, staying inside the bedroom and making something like that.

TI: And so, because of the, the land, at one point that used to be a seabed, so they had all these little old shells.

FS: Right. Yeah, a lot of shells, even in around where you lived, there were a lot of shells around there, too, sometimes.

TI: So they would go out and collect these and bring 'em back and then create things?

FS: Yeah.

TI: What, what were, what would be some of the things that she would create with the sea shells? You mentioned like, what, a necklace, or what kind of things would she make?

FS: Making a, like a flower. Instead of, instead of just leave one, she would put another one and make a flower out of it.

TI: And what would they do with these after they made these?

FS: Hang it up, decorate it.

TI: Did any of these survive after the war? Did they, did people bring these home and...

FS: I think I got some, one or two left over, decorating.

TI: Well, you should, you should keep that. That's kind of a nice artifact of the camps. I mean, I've heard about this from other people.

FS: I've even got, somebody made me, not a desk, but a cupboard to put the thing in. I got two of 'em. One, one's, two of the doors are, slide. There's no nail on it or nothing. They just, you slide it and, or just pick it up, fit it in the whatchamacall and drop it. It'll fit and then slide it back.

TI: So really good craftsman, in terms of how those were made.

FS: Yeah.

TI: Good.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: At some point in, let's see, 1942, 1943, they came out with a "loyalty questionnaire." Do you remember when they came out and had people -- in particular there were two questions, questions twenty-seven and twenty-eight. Do you remember that, that questionnaire?

FS: I remember it, but like I say, I never signed it. I think our whole block didn't sign it, as far as, as far as I know.

TI: So let's talk about that, because most people, when they, when they got it they answered the questions and signed it one way or the other. You said you didn't sign it.

FS: We didn't sign it.

TI: So tell me why you didn't sign it.

FS: I thought it was a stupid question. That's what we thought then, because we, a whole bunch of us, our whole block went to another block that said they're havin' a meeting, so they want to see what, what they're talking, what they're answer gonna be, so our whole block went down, down there and tried to listen in on what they were saying. And as far as I know, when we came back we said, to me, none of the, none of the people on our block signed the paper.

TI: Well, when you went to that other block to hear kind of people talk about it, what were some of the things you heard? I mean, for you to decide this, were some people for signing, like "yes-yes" and some people "no-no"? Or do you have a, do you remember what people were saying?

FS: I can't remember that. Only thing is, only thing I could say is people that signed their paper "yes-yes," it was certain block, people that signed it. You know what, you know what happened to them was all the guys that's against that thing, they put 'em on the blacklist. Even the whole block was on kind of a blacklist.

TI: The, the ones that said "yes-yes"?

FS: Yeah. "Yes-yes."

TI: Okay, so internally they were put on some kind of blacklist if they, if they went "yes-yes." And what, what would that mean, when you say a blacklist? How would that, what would happen?

FS: They wouldn't, they wouldn't talk to them. And certain, if certain blocks were, if it wasn't a whole block, it was some, maybe a couple families in a block signed it, that whole family, they wouldn't let 'em eat in the mess hall. Somebody else would bring the food to them so they could eat that day or that night.

TI: So there were these ramifications if you, if you signed "yes-yes" or "no-no." I mean, there was, like, this split, this tension between the two groups.

FS: Yeah.

TI: But now, you, you didn't sign one way or the other, so how did they treat you? What, what was your treatment like?

FS: Well, because our... they, they treat you by the block, people in the block. Like I say, our, seemed like our whole block didn't sign, so we talked to each other and everything else, so they couldn't do nothing to us.

TI: Well, what was the reaction of the administration when people in your block didn't sign one way or the other? What did the administration do?

FS: I don't, that I don't know. I don't know, because they didn't do nothing to us that time, so I don't know what happened.

TI: Okay, so it was like nothing happened from the administration?

FS: Yeah.

TI: Versus some other blocks, when they didn't sign it, they were actually kind of taken away or pressured to do something, but you, sounds like your block, they, they didn't do that.

FS: No. No, nothing from our block.

TI: Okay, so "loyalty question" happens, your block, they don't sign one way or the other, but after people turned in the, the questionnaire, then what happened at Tule Lake? I mean, later on it became a segregation camp. And so can you describe some of the changes that happened at the camp when it, when it became a segregation camp?

FS: After that?

TI: Yeah, like what, how did it change?

FS: I can't, I can't remember that. I can't remember what happened.

TI: Okay, but in your block, did it pretty much stay the same? People stayed there?

FS: Yeah.

TI: Did any new people come into your block during this time?

FS: There was only one or two families that came in from another, out of another camp.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: So let's, let's go back to your job. Now you're at the motor pool and you're greasing the vehicles, and so describe the process. So after you grease a vehicle, what, what would happen next? What would you have to do after you finished greasing a vehicle, in terms of, like, paperwork? Did you have to do anything --

FS: No, I didn't do the paperwork. My, the guy on the block, he was one of the, he was a foreman for that place, so that's how I got my job, through him. So he does all the paperwork.

TI: But then, after you finish working on a vehicle, a particular one, did you have to sign off that you, you worked on that car or that truck?

FS: Well, when you go pick up the truck to grease it up you had to sign off, sign in, sign for the truck to take it out.

TI: And the reason I'm asking this is, I think it's because of, your name was on one of these documents that you were kind of picked up or selected as, as a potential troublemaker, and so that's why I want to, to sort of establish that. So you're working on the trucks, you have to sign out for the trucks and, I guess, sign 'em back in, and there was a particular truck, or a vehicle that you worked on that, I guess, was used later on for something. Can you describe some of that? Do you know what I'm talking about, kind of?

FS: Yeah, I think I know what you're saying. When I did, when I did sign off for the truck, and that day, the time they had the riots, people, people would go to the administration building to be able to go in and hit the guys or something, and there was, there was a bunch of gangs anyway. And when they, so when they, we then brought the truck out, maybe they didn't sign... that person had to sign out, they couldn't do it because they were, they took the truck out already. So I think that night already the guys, we left, we already left already when they, when they started the riot. We left and we were eating in the mess hall.

TI: So you had left the motor pool and you were...

FS: Yeah, we left the motor pool and we were eating in the mess hall. And the guys that was in the motor pool, the guy that's, what do you call, taking care of all the paperwork, they were, the MP came in, told him to get the heck out of here, all had their guns, right? So they all, they all had to take off. They say when they took off and went out they got shot at, and so they said they all ducked. They all, on the ground. They ducked and then went through the warehouse so they won't get shot through there, and then they finally end up where we were eating. They said, "We got just shot at," so we better all get out of here. So that's when we all left, left the mess hall to go back to our own block.

TI: And, and I'm trying to understand the reason. The reason was during this disturbance, or riot, that vehicles were used in that disturbance against the administration, so the MPs wanted to find out who actually, I guess, was using the trucks, and so that's why they went to the motor pool and they wanted everyone to leave and actually shot at people to get 'em out?

FS: Yeah.

TI: Okay. And then what happened? So you, you leave the mess hall, you go back to your barracks, and then what happened?

FS: So next morning, next morning the MP came through, started from one end of the camp, picking up everybody, and I was, that's when I was picked up and thrown in the stockade with all the people, quite a bit of, quite a bit of people that time.

TI: So before we go to the stockade, I just want to talk a little bit, up to this point, where you involved with groups like the Hoshidan or anything like that?

FS: No, I wasn't. Our whole block wasn't nothin' to do with the Hoshidan, because they're the one that used to wake us up five o'clock in the morning, blowing the bugle and running around the camp. We couldn't stand that. We were getting tired of it.

TI: And so there were these more pro-Japan groups like Hoshidan, but you, but you and other people in your block weren't involved?

FS: No, nothing, nothing out of our block. Nobody.

TI: And so there's really no reason, sort of political reasons or anything, for you to have been picked up other than your name was just probably on some document, and so they suspected that perhaps you were the one who took the truck out or something?

FS: Yeah.

TI: Okay.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: So you, you go into the stockade, then what happens?

FS: Well, they, not right away, but about, maybe about a month later or something, the lieutenant, lieutenant, sergeant and a corporal came in and they want everybody's name. They want, they want to type everybody's name out, so the one guy was typing, the corporal was typing the name out and he can't catch the name right away and take him a long time, and everybody waiting in line, so I said, I said, "Hey, you want me to type it for you? I mean, I will type it," I said. Okay, so I sat down and I start typing all the name out for them. So then, so then about a week later they got me out. Somehow, somehow they told me, this guy's not whatchamacall, so they said we could leave, so I left about a week after that.

TI: Now, when you offered to help and helped him, after that was over did anyone give you a bad time or hard time for helping the, the MP?

FS: No, they didn't. Nobody, nobody did anything because even in, in a block, I would say, living area where we were staying, the guys in there was more or less, they're Kibei, Kibei and there's a couple of, one newspaper man, newspaper guy, I think from San Francisco, and he was, he was more or less nice to me, because when they, when we went in, went on a hunger strike for about two weeks, he used to come in and give me vitamins. So they treated, they treated me good, certain guys.

TI: So let's, let's talk a little bit more about in the stockade, so you, when you first got in, so you're in there and a month later you helped the corporal and then a week later you're gone, but in that first month, first tell me, roughly about how many men were, were in the stockade?

FS: Roughly? [Laughs] It's pretty hard. It's two, two barracks full. Let's see, how would I count it? Maybe fifty on the one. Maybe fifty in one barrack, except there's the both sides.

TI: Okay, so there's a substantial number of men. And describe who was in there. I mean, why were those people in there? They were picked up and brought in there, and if you were to kind of generalize a little bit, give me a flavor of, of who's in there. You mentioned Kibei and... but try to tell me why they were picked up.

FS: It was... that I can't, that I don't know how they, why they got picked up, either, because I know a couple of guys, second generation guys, and they're maybe younger than I am, they got picked up and they got nothin' to do with it. They were in the whatchamacall. And most of the, most of them was, in our barracks was Kibei. Not all of 'em, but most of 'em was Kibei and some Nisei, and the other barracks, they had most of them, most of them was Hawaii boys, from Hawaii, and they were thrown in, in the blocks. I think, most, most likely... I don't know if they came from Leupp, called Leupp, they came over there or another group, another group they had that came in. But the thing is, after they were in there, and another people would come in, say, say one or two people would come in, then they had, they were what you call a kind of a big shot of the camp, kind of a controller of the camp inside by his self. They would question everybody that came in, to see what the, what are they coming in here for?

TI: So let me, let me make sure I understand this. So when you say big shot, this was another inmate, someone in, in the camp, but someone who internally, I guess, had some, I guess, authority or control, and so he would question the new people that would come in?

FS: They would question them.

TI: And why, why would he question them?

FS: The way I understood was if they didn't like the way they get their answer from them, they would take these guys to the gates, to the gate where the stockade, getting out, "These guys are spies. Get 'em out of here. They're spying on people." They said, "These guys are spying inside of the camp, among us here." They said, "We don't want 'em," so they take 'em out of here.

TI: Interesting. So they were concerned that the administration was gonna plant spies in there to find out what people were talking about, and so, so the people inside the stockade didn't want that so they would question people to see if they were spies, and then if they were suspected they would, they would essentially kick them out of the stockade?

FS: Yeah.

TI: Now, when, when you were picked up, it's almost like they cast, like, a wide net. I mean, it was almost like, I mean, you weren't guilty of anything. You weren't part of the riot or disturbance. You weren't, you weren't ever protesting. So did the people inside the stockade ever suspect that you might be a spy or something because you never went to their meetings, you weren't part of the Hoshidan. Did you, did you ever come under --

FS: They never, they never asked me anything like that.

TI: Okay, but you got along pretty well with everyone in the camp?

FS: Yeah.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TI: Earlier you mentioned a hunger strike, so describe that. How did that come about?

FS: It was, I forgot what it was about, but maybe they said, "Get us out of here," or something like that and then they wouldn't do it, so maybe that's, that's what the hunger strike was about. I'm not sure, but it, but anyway, for sure that we had a hunger strike. Two weeks, two weeks of not eating anything.

TI: And so this is everybody in the stockade?

FS: Yeah, the whole, everybody in the stockade.

TI: And what did the administration do when you guys were doing a hunger strike, like when you decided, what happened?

FS: You mean the people outside?

TI: Yeah.

FS: They didn't do anything.

TI: So they just quit sending you guys food because you wouldn't eat it? Or would they still serve food and you just wouldn't go?

FS: Well, after the two weeks there was, then we, then they start, they started cooking, the people in the whatchamacall, they start cooking and we start eating, so I don't know what happened after the two weeks. I don't know what happened, really.

TI: Now, did any of the men in the stockade get really sick from the hunger strike?

FS: No, not that I know of, no.

TI: Two weeks is a long time, so just, just drinking water...

FS: It is, yeah. I know it is.

TI: And you mentioned vitamins, too, sometimes vitamins.

FS: Yeah.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: Inside the stockade, tell me a little bit about the discussions that went on. Did the men talk about kind of what was happening and what needed to happen? Were there quite a few discussions?

FS: There was no discussion, nothing.

TI: And so what did you do to pass the time?

FS: I don't remember what I did.

TI: So things like maybe cards or...

FS: I know, I know the Hawaii boys, Hawaii boys or whatchamacall, they're playing Hanafuda. You know Hanafuda?

TI: Well, it's like a gambling game.

FS: Yeah, that's a Japanese game. They call it Gajibana. Gajibana is, if you have four people, four or five people in the game, only two get left, two left over. What they do is he wants to, if he wants to play you give the next guy some money, and if the other guy want to play, he give the next guy some money, and it goes round until the final, final two guys are left. And then the, instead of being a nickel game, the one game sometimes is worth a hundred dollars, just one game.

TI: Oh, this was inside the stockade? So it was big gamblers?

FS: Yeah, that's right. In the stockade. In fact, one game was worth two hundred dollars, so the guy said, when somebody said, "Why don't you guys quit this game? You guys are playing for, that's too much." But this other guy didn't want to quit, and the other guy lost. The guy that said, "No, I'm not gonna quit." But he lost two hundred dollars. He thought he had the best hand, but it didn't work out that way.

TI: When you had things like this, which were pretty, lots of money, were there ever, like, sometimes disagreements or fights inside the stockade?

FS: No, I... no, he didn't, they didn't, he didn't fight. He just, "Oh, I lost," or somethin' like that, so on.

TI: Now, I want to try to get a sense of how order was kept inside the stockade, like a hierarchy. You mentioned earlier there was, like, a big shot that would question. Can you describe, like if there was any kind of hierarchy inside the, the stockade?

FS: Well, the, I would say the guy that was, I didn't want to say it, but it more or less gonna come out anyway, I guess, so it was a, he was a top reverend, and he had guys under him that was a judo sensei and a kendo sensei, and somebody else was under him, too, so they won't, they won't even touch him. Nobody would, nobody come up and tried to go against him. So that was, that was... he had the main, he had the final say of everything, whatever happened. But we, at least they didn't mess with, we never, they never bothered us, my barrack, any of 'em. Nobody bothered us.

TI: But if someone were to maybe disagree with the top guy, was there, did you ever see, like, maybe force or anything like, or intimidation to get that person back in line, kind of? I mean, how was, how was order sort of kept?

FS: I would say more or less they said, "We don't like this guy," so mostly likely they might tell 'em to get him out of here. I would say that.

TI: And so there's enough, I guess, understanding with the MPs that so when, kind of, the people in charge inside the stockade, when they decided someone needed to leave and they brought him to the MPs, the MPs would then take them?

FS: Uh-huh.

TI: And what would happen to the people who were sort of kicked out of the stockade?

FS: Gee, I don't where they, I don't know. They took 'em to another jail, I guess.

TI: Yeah, I'm trying to think what, what would happen to them because...

FS: I would say they, they must have another jail someplace.

TI: Any other memories or anything else that you can share about the stockade, about maybe friendships you made in the stockade or anything else that you can remember?

FS: Friends, no. Only, only... well, people that I, whatchamacall, one guy was, one guy was a judo man. He had, he treated me good. He won't let me, he won't do anything bad. Other than that, I said, I did know a lot, I did talk to a lot of people, but we were, actually they were Kibei, I'm a Nisei, you know.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

TI: Well, you mentioned the newspaper guy from San Francisco who was kind and gave you vitamins. Did you ever have discussions with him? 'Cause I'm curious 'cause he's a journalist and so the press is always important in terms of reporting what's going on, so he's probably always thinking and observing.

FS: No, he never, he never said anything, but he just knew that I was a Nisei and then he knew that I, my mother used to come to see me every day, from the other fence. There's a long fence on the road. There's a fence on the other side. My mother used to come and see me every day, my mom. So I used to always tell her, "Go home."

TI: So every day at a, at a certain time your mother would be there?

FS: Yeah.

TI: And then you would, you would be there and, and...

FS: Somebody would tell me, "Hey, your mother's out there. Go see her." So that's, that's about all.

TI: Was that, was that common for other people to have a relative or somebody do the same thing?

FS: No, and I never saw nobody else besides my mother. Nobody else came.

TI: And what did, how did that make you feel, or what did that mean to you, that your mother would come every day?

FS: I would say she was always worryin' about me, so I do want to get out, but I can't do it, so...

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

TI: Okay. I was gonna ask, Martha, any other ideas or questions? Okay, so Martha just reminded me, inspection, the inspection day while you're in the stockade. Do you remember that?

FS: While I was in the stockade?

TI: Yeah, when you were in the stockade, was there, there was, like, an inspection where they went through and wanted to find things like... oh, now I remember. So at one point, and there's, there are pictures I've seen, but they used to line everyone up in the stockade. Do you remember any incident about being lined up or anything like that?

FS: I guess, more or less they wanted a head count, so they line up right against the barrack. And I think right after that, I think they start, maybe that's when they start putting the people's name down on the paper. I think that's, I'm not positive, but that might have, that's what happened, I think, after that. Even though the, if you, I don't think you could see it clearly, but people that were lined up outside, outside like that, there was, there was a Jeep, Jeep with a gun pointed at us, machine gun pointed at us, and then another one. I think there was two. One was, seemed like one was a, one was a tank, and they were both, both of the guns were pointed at the whole group there. So I thought what the hell are they gonna do? Are they gonna shoot us? So that's, that's all I could say about...

TI: And so when you saw the Jeep and the tank with machine guns with, pointed at you, did you ever fear for your life or your safety?

FS: Yeah, I was, I was kind of worried of what was gonna happen. Are they gonna shoot us, you know.

TI: And how many times did that happen?

FS: Only that one time, that one time that happened.

TI: Do you recall the reason they lined everybody up? Was it a punishment or anything like that?

FS: No. No, nobody got punished, so that I...

TI: Do you recall did that have anything to do with the hunger strike, whether it was before or after the hunger strike, or anything like that?

FS: You got me there. I'm not, I'm not sure which way that was.

TI: Okay, that's good. So, Martha, can you think of anything else about the stockade? I mean, the stockade and what you went through is pretty significant historically, so we're trying to, to try to get any other information or details because not much has been documented about this.

FS: No, that's, that's about all I could say. Even the guys that we used to work together, he came out from the motor pool and he would, we were facing that way, facing that way, so that would be south, and two, two guys that I used to work with and they walked by then. I was trying to talk to them. He said, "No, I can't, we can't talk too much because there's a, there's a guard up there looking down at us." So even they didn't want to talk to us because they might get shot, so you know.

TI: So there's a lot of security around there.

FS: I know who they were, too. I know their names, who went by there.

TI: Okay.

MN: The stockade has been destroyed, so can you tell us how big, how many barracks the stockade was?

FS: There was, I would say, only, see, two barracks are facing this way, where we're sleepin'. They were facing east and west. And there was another, there was another place where, I think it was the kitchen and everything where we -- mess hall. I don't know if we used the mess hall, mess hall for those guys, for whoever comes in after to check up on, I don't know if that was the same place or not. That's all I can remember is this two, just the two barracks and one mess hall and a meeting place or whatever. That's about all I can remember.

MN: How much contact did you have with Leupp group?

FS: Not, not too much. I didn't know, I didn't know who was... well, I knew one guy that was in there, that came from Leupp, anyway. [Interruption] He was a Terminal, a Terminal Island, Terminal Island boy, so he would, if he doesn't like somebody he'll whatchamacall about it. He never did bother me. Soon as he saw me in the camp, he, not in the stockade, he never did bother me. That's the funny part, was I might look tough, but I ain't. [Laughs] So anyway, this guy was a big guy, so I don't bother people.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

TI: So now I want to try to understand, how did this experience change you or change your thoughts about what was going on? 'Cause you mentioned before earlier, you weren't... I mean, you're Block 11, you seemed like you guys were pretty much on your own, not worrying about things.

FS: Yeah.

TI: Now you get sent to the stockade, picked up, put in the stockade. You were there for a little more than a month. How did that experience change you?

FS: It didn't change much, because I was in there four and a half months.

TI: Oh, four and a half months.

FS: Yeah, four and a half months, then I, when I came out they still treated me, all the guys in the block, they treated me just as much as when I was in, when I was there. Because I think, I was looking for something to do or work, so they wanted, the guy, a manager of a magazine stand, he said, "Come work for me over here." So it was in the same block, and then so I started working in a magazine stand until, until we left camp.

TI: And I'm wondering, because you were put in the stockade, from what you've said, really for doing nothing wrong, and you're there for four and a half months under pretty harsh conditions. Did that change, or maybe made you more bitter or anything, in terms of the administration, what they were doing? Anything like that?

FS: Well, I think that, that more or less made me... well, the renouncing the citizen, maybe that's what happened to me at that time, because thrown in a stockade without no, no trial, no nothing and not, I'm not doing anything bad. So I said what, what the heck am I doing here for? Maybe that's why I renounced my citizen.

TI: Okay, so yeah, after you're released from the stockade, then there was this time period when they, they, for Niseis, U.S. citizens, they had this time period when you could renounce your citizenship, and so you decide to renounce your citizenship, and, and this, you think, may have been caused by your experiences in the stockade. So tell me how you went about, what you can remember in terms of the steps to renounce your citizenship? Do you remember how that happened?

FS: I couldn't remember that.

TI: Do you remember, like, an interview or a time when someone asked you questions about it?

FS: You got me. I'm not sure if they did, if I did talk to them. I'm not sure about that.

TI: How about remember talking to your mother or your friends about your decision to renounce?

FS: No, I think by that time, by that time maybe my mother was out. I'm not sure. Because only, only people that were left in our block was all the young guys. All the parents was gone already. So maybe that's what happened. I'm not sure.

TI: And then was it pretty common for the Niseis that you knew, were they also renouncing their citizenship?

FS: I'm pretty sure they did. Especially in our block. I mean, I don't know about everybody else.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

TI: Okay, so after you renounced your citizenship, you sign the papers and it goes through, then what happened? What happened next?

FS: Well, we couldn't get out right away, anyway. And then when they started releasing us, I just wondered where I was gonna go. Then I, my mother wrote me a letter saying Los Angeles, so that's, that's the only reason I came to Los Angeles.

TI: Now, was there ever any thinking on your part that part of renouncing your citizenship would be to go to Japan, that you would perhaps go to Japan after the war was over?

FS: At that time maybe I, I thought maybe if I did I might get shipped back. That I'm not sure. But then when I heard that Hiroshima got bombed, atom bomb, I said no, I don't want to go back. I don't want to go back to Japan. So that's, that's what changed my mind right away, I think.

TI: And so you get a letter from your, your mother, who had resettled in Los Angeles and she's saying come, come to Los Angeles.

FS: Yeah.

TI: So how, how was it that you were able to go to Los Angeles? Was it something that they said, "Now you can go," and you just left? Or...

FS: I think, that time, we, mostly all of us in the block, we got released at that time, so that's how we got out, I would, I would say. The only thing I could remember about that.

TI: So at this point you are literally a man without a country, 'cause you...

FS: Yeah. Right.

TI: And so how does that work? You're, you're not a U.S. citizen, you weren't born in Japan, you're Nisei, so what, what happens next? I mean, how do, how do you get your citizenship back?

FS: Well, we got it through a guy name Wayne Collins. Collins. I think we all did, got our citizen back through him. It wasn't right away, until we got back to L.A. and all that. It was after that when we got it back.

TI: Do you recall any meetings with Mr. Collins? About --

FS: No, I don't remember that.

TI: Do you remember any part of the process, like what kind of documentation you had to find or anything like that?

FS: No. I don't remember that, either.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

TI: But eventually, through this process, you were granted your U.S. citizenship back.

FS: Yeah. I'm pretty sure we got a paper, but I don't know what I, what I did with it.

TI: So tell me, what, what does your U.S. citizenship mean to you? I mean, you wanted it back. Why did you want it back? What, can you talk a little bit about that, the importance of the U.S. citizenship?

FS: Well, I will say if I'm gonna stay in the United States, I guess I better get my citizen back.

TI: Okay, that's... so you are released from Tule Lake, you go to Los Angeles, Little Tokyo to be with your mother. What happens after that?

FS: I couldn't find a job, so I went back, I went back East on the WRA, they furnished my train fare and everything, so I went to Seabrook Farm, working over there.

TI: And, and tell me a little --

FS: Just because, just because my girlfriend was in New York City. [Laughs]

TI: Oh, so get you closer. So Seabrook Farms is in New Jersey, which isn't that far away. Tell me a little bit about Seabrook. What was Seabrook like when you got there? Like how, what, how was it set up?

FS: Mostly all, at that time, a lot of people from camp was there already, too. Even the family, if they had a family they had a home ready there. I don't know how they got it, but they already had homes. And it was almost right next to the factory we were working in. The factory was over here and all the homes was lined up on this side. And we were, we were thrown in the barracks, single people, so...

TI: And describe the work. What kind of, when you said factory, what kind of work did you do at Seabrook?

FS: They call it labeling, labeling department. We were, you know the can that comes out? They label it. So when they come through the can, they label it, it goes into a case and then that case, it goes onto a, onto a roller, roller, and then some time later it goes straight onto a truck. So when we come up to there and we're on the truck, and we got to handle one, one case at a time and stack it up inside the truck. It was a semi truck.

TI: So it's like an assembly line to process the food to get to the market?

FS: Yeah.

TI: How, how well did you think you and other Japanese were treated at Seabrook?

FS: We were treated fine.

TI: And so how, like pay, do you remember what you guys got paid and how that was?

FS: You got me. I forgot however much I got paid. [Laughs]

TI: But the sense was it was a job and...

FS: Yeah, it's a job, so you know...

TI: Good, so, but you weren't there that long. Why did you leave Seabrook?

FS: Why did I leave? Well, it was, my mother got sick, so I, she wanted, she sent me a letter telling me, not feeling good, so I decided I better go back, back to L.A. So I went back.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

TI: Okay, and what kind of work were you able to get in Los Angeles when you, when you went back?

FS: When I first came, went back I didn't find anything, so I went to, I went to Lodi to work for a picking, picking Tokays or trimming after that, trimming the trees. And when I got back after that, I think that's when I found the job at a grocery store they call Enbun, Enbun Grocery Store. I worked there for, I worked for them for ten years, until final, until I found supermarket store work.

TI: And when you first, you first got to L.A., couldn't find a job, then you went to Seabrook, you came back, couldn't find a job. Was that pretty common? Were jobs really hard, or was it harder because of, of being someone who renounced his citizenship? I mean, was there any discrimination in terms of finding jobs because of that?

FS: No, I think the job was scarce that time, anyway.

TI: Okay, so I guess maybe the question is have you ever come across any more difficulties because someone knew that you had renounced your citizenship? Was that ever an issue?

FS: No, no. But they didn't know about it. A lot of people --

TI: Yeah, that's why I wanted to know. So how, was there any way for people to know that you had done this?

FS: No, they wouldn't know. Unless I told, unless I said I'm whatchamacall.

TI: And was that something that you shared with other people? Did other people, other people know?

FS: No. Even my wife didn't know. [Laughs]

TI: And so, but now you're, you're sharing what happened, so is this something that happened more recently in terms of, of letting people know that, your story?

FS: I was, I was gonna almost not do this, but I was, I talked to my daughter. She said, "Why don't you do it? It's alright." So that's the only reason I decided that... 'cause like I told Martha, I said, I think I'll change my mind.

TI: No, yeah, and I really do appreciate you doing this because it is part of, I think, a difficult part of this history, and inparticularly your case, where you did nothing wrong, you're thrown in the stockade. I think that really did influence in terms of how you, you saw things. And so it really does show, to me, it almost goes back to the, the, when you're in Florin, just how things were separated, it was almost by chance.

FS: Yeah.

TI: And how sometimes you, a person gets thrown into it and this, this journey takes them a certain way. So for people that see this, I think is really important, so, again, I really appreciate you sharing that.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

TI: So I want to talk a little bit more about your, your career, because you went into the grocery business. And so can you tell me the type of work you did in the grocery business? We were talking a little bit off camera, I was really interested.

FS: You mean after I went, how I got into the supermarket?

TI: Uh-huh.

FS: Well, somebody I knew was at the church, one of the ladies, her husband is a buyer, supervisor buyer for a place called Gelson Market, so she said, "Why don't you go see my husband?" So I went to see him, and said, "Okay, you come work for me." Started at, so I had, started at North Hollywood store, and I had to, I had to tell my boss, my Enbun, Enbun boss, I got to tell him. I gave him two weeks' notice, but he said, "That's okay. You can go in one week." And I left, after I got the whatchamacall, I left one week and then went to work for Gelson Market. And that was, I worked for them for (twenty) years. (Twenty) years for Gelson, I mean Enbun (ten years), Japanese store, then (twenty years for Gelson).

TI: And, and part of what I really enjoyed was your, your discussing, it's almost like the art of displaying produce and how important that is. Can you, can you, who taught you that? I mean, how did you learn the importance of how you display things in a supermarket?

FS: I would say, actually, the way that the buyer supervisor display things, and they will tell me he don't want it that way, he want it this way. Somebody else would tell me that. And when I, one time he, he displayed this... I was doing, I suppose, doing what he was, I was supposed to put up, and he said, "No, I'm gonna put this up this morning." And he displayed the beans, beans, string beans. You won't know what he did. He laid everything down and he made a, like a building out of it. Every one, every one of the string whatchamacall, it was interchanged, interchanged then made like that, so the people will come say, "Where am I supposed to take it from?" [Laughs] So he was, he was a perfectionist. Really was perfectionist, so everything else they tell you to do, you got to do his way is the right way. If you do it the wrong way, he'll take it down.

TI: Interesting, but he never really told you to do it a certain way. It was like you would have to kind of watch how he did it and then you would have to just know, okay, I have to do it the same way or he won't like it and perhaps take it down?

FS: Yeah. Well, if he wasn't there and somebody else was putting up the stuff, I got to watch the other guy, too. Manager, or assistant manager, he put it up, I say I got to watch him because he's the one that learned from, from the boss, see? So if I don't do it their way and I do it my own way, he said, "This no good." He'd take it down.

TI: So for you it was more like you really had to know your bosses. I mean, what they liked and how they did it, so you had to be really in tune with that.

FS: Yeah, if you don't like the, if you don't like the buyer, I mean, you're gonna be out. 'Cause the one guy, one guy thought he was pretty smart, so the boss was there, he didn't, he kind of didn't see him and he was saying, "Oh, I could do this any time." And he heard about it, one week later he got fired. [Laughs]

TI: Oh, that's good.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

TI: Okay, I'm coming to the end of my questions and I guess what I'm thinking is more recently, the story of men who renounced their citizenship, that story's coming out more, and I'm wondering, in terms of, of how you want the story to be known, is there something in particular that you think is important for people to know about men like you who decided to renounce their citizenship? Whether it's maybe how you were treated or, or what, but what do you think are some of the important things for people to know?

FS: Well, my point is the way I was treated and thrown in the stockade. That's what my point is, because I wasn't... you know, I was thrown in there without any reason, and they didn't give me no, what do you call, hearing or nothing. So I said, "What am I, what am I doing, anyway?" So that's, that's more or less, like I guess they don't, they don't want me here. That's the only way I could think about. My, my side, anyway.

TI: So something we can learn from this is how you treat people really makes a difference, in terms of, of changing what they think or how, based on how you treat. Okay.

FS: Yeah.

TI: Good. And so I'm done with my questions. Go ahead.

MN: Just so we have this on record, when Tule Lake became a segregation center, you were working in the motor pool.

FS: Yeah.

MN: You're driving trucks, so when you, when all these new people were coming in, what was your responsibility?

FS: My, I was, I was responsible to take whoever was assigned to the barracks or whatever, I was assigned to take all the luggage and everything and deliver. But I had, in fact, I had two escorts with me. I had two ladies, girls who escort. I'm just, I'm just driving and they got two escorts, and they were, these girls from Marysville and I was more or less kind of born in Marysville anyway, so I got to know them pretty good. So I just, all I did was drive and whatever they tell me, take -- they had the, they get the papers said you take 'em over there, so we more or less did that.

MN: Where did you take these people mostly to, to the Alaska area?

FS: Let's see, depends on... it could've been, could've been Ward 8, yeah. That's Alaska, Ward 8. More the Ward 6, part of Ward 6, part of Ward 8, and part of Ward 7 is on the west side.

MN: What we refer as Mexico?

FS: Huh?

MN: What, what the camp people kind of talked, referred to as Mexico, the Ward 7?

FS: No, we, so happened anyway, I'm not sure... because our block was hardly anybody moving out or anything, so I don't think nobody, nobody talked bad about them or anything.

TI: So I guess I have a couple follow-up questions because I'm not as familiar, so first, I want to ask about the two woman escorts. Why, why did they have two escorts with you? What was the reason?

FS: Maybe they didn't trust me with the truck. [Laughs] I don't know. All I know, they, I think, I think they took, they got the papers to tell 'em to take over here, so it's, I don't know which girl had it, but anyway, so they tell me, "We got to go over here." So that's the main reason. I think I was just more or less the driver, more or less. I know where to go, but they had to tell me where to go, where to take 'em.

TI: Okay, so they, they did more the processing of the paperwork. So the other follow up question is, the terms "Alaska" and "Mexico" in Tule Lake, how did those terms come about?

FS: I don't... because "Alaska" was the furthest one out. I'll show, I'll show you the picture later.

TI: Okay, so it was more kind of, almost like the geography of the camp and how things were, so there's up, up in this --

FS: Well, there was a canal there, a canal with the water in it, and that was other side of it, see, on the other... I think it was Ward 6, Ward 6, and the, Alaska was other side of it. So that's why they, it's so far away, the furthest one, so that's why they call it Alaska.

TI: Okay, that makes sense. Were there other kind of areas that they called the camp? So Alaska, they also mentioned Mexico, was there other kind of...

FS: Well, I knew where most of the people, when they first came in, came and gone over everybody, which, where they came from. But from our block, or from our, more or less, from our ward, we came from west of Sacramento.

TI: So was there a nickname for your area? You mentioned, like Ward 4, there wasn't anything?

FS: It was just Ward 4.

TI: Okay.

FS: Then, I think, the original group, original block, not the original block, but the first people that came in, I think was Ward 1, and then that's why I can't say why, why... we were in Ward 4. We were about the third people. I don't think, I don't think it was, maybe we're about the fourth group to go in. Ward 1 and Ward 2 was more or less Sacramento bunch, and Ward 3, I think, was mixed, and then we were here, Ward 4. And Ward 5 was on the other side of the firebreak and they're more or less from Marysville and Placer County.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

TI: So was there any kind of group that had the reputation of being perhaps more dangerous than others, that you had to kind of stay away from? When you think of all the, 'cause it seemed like every kind of area was from a different area, did, was there any of that?

FS: No, we never, when we got in, we're first, we never had no, only trouble we had was they used to call, the Oregon, Washington people, used to go, "You're a white Jap." [Laughs]

TI: Now, so explain that.

FS: You'd say, "You're a black Jap." That's what they... so all the California people were darker. We'd call 'em, "You're a white." They used to call 'em back, say, "You're a, you're a white Jap."

TI: So it was the people from, from Washington, Oregon, they're lighter, less tan because...

FS: Yeah, I think that's what, that's what it was about, beginning. They were kind of, they never had a fight, but I mean, they were callin' each other name like that.

TI: But was there more tension because perhaps, yeah, the people from Washington, Oregon versus the people from California. Was there kind of a difference, cultural difference almost, in the two groups?

FS: It seemed like there was, beginning.

TI: And how would you explain the difference? What would the difference be, if you were to talk about, say, the Washington, Oregon people, how would you describe them?

FS: Gee, I don't know how to, I don't know how to explain that.

TI: How were they different? Were they more country-like? Or...

FS: Because they were more, more light-skinned, anyway, so that's what kind of started the callin' each other kind of name.

TI: Do they talk differently? Could you tell by how they talked, sort of a Washington, Oregon?

FS: Seemed like they did, to me, but I'm not sure. I didn't, I was not associated until later with all the Washington people, because one of the Washington, lady that was work in the magazine stand, she was from Washington, so I got to know their family pretty good, too.

TI: Well, you ended up marrying a Washington woman.

FS: Yeah, well, she was, she was from L.A.

TI: Oh, before?

FS: From, yeah, she was born in, she was born in Seattle, but she was evacuated from L.A.

TI: I see, okay.

MN: You're a Nishi Hongwanji member, is that correct?

FS: Huh?

MN: You're a Nishi Hongwanji --

FS: Yeah, Nishi Hongwanji member. Yeah.

MN: Tex Nakamura is also big in Nishi Hongwanji and he worked very closely with Mr. Wayne Collins. Did, have you and Tex ever talked about the renunciation situation at all?

FS: No. Lot of, I don't think, a lot of people didn't know I was a renouncee. Even, even I didn't know right now that one of the, one of the guys. I thought he was whatchamacall and I found out he went back to Japan, Japan and came back here. I didn't know that until recently, about, maybe about two, three months ago. We were talkin' about it and he said, "Oh, I went back to Japan." I thought, "What? You went back to Japan?" And then he, that's how he learned judo, in Japan. And he's one of our church members. That I didn't know until recently.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 31>

MN: Now, you worked at Enbun and Mr. Taro Kawa, the head of Enbun, was big JACL person.

FS: Right. Yeah, he was JACL. I didn't, I didn't talk about him, about JACL, because I didn't, I didn't like the JACL. [Laughs]

MN: So was it difficult to work at Enbun?

FS: No, it wasn't difficult. It was, because the other manager, he would tell me, "You've got to start, got to start puttin' up the fruit for us," I mean the vegetable, so he would tell me do this and do that, but once I got on the, finish all that and doing the grocery, putting up the grocery can, I would, I would go out there and just count how much I need and I go down there and I think the manager and, was it Taro Kawa? He would come say, "How'd you remember all that?" I'd say, "It's easy to remember all that. This one needs six, I need five of this and so on." I'd go downstairs, picking it up, he said, "Well, darn." He didn't know how I could remember all that. [Laughs]

MN: But you never talked about the war years with Mr. Kawa, or anybody at the store?

FS: Talking about what?

MN: The war years.

FS: War years?

MN: What, like did they ask you, "What camp were you in?"

FS: No, they never did. Never did. Probably, if I said something he might not have liked it. I don't know.

TI: So is there anything else you want to say for the record? I mean, all our questions are done, so you're all finished, but I just want to give you an opportunity, if there's anything else that maybe we didn't ask that you want to share.

FS: No, that's about... only thing I want to say was, is that in the tape or what? "Are you one of those guys?"

TI: Oh, the, when the...

FS: Tule Lake. "You're one of those guys from Tule Lake?" That I didn't want to hear, because, because we were, like I said, we were a group that was put over there and the rest of the group went different camps. That's the only thing I wanted to stress, that we were in there from the beginning, so you can't be tellin' me, "You're one of those guys."

TI: Good. Okay, so that's, that's on the record, too.

FS: Oh, that's on the record? Oh, okay.

TI: Well so, thank you so much.

FS: That's alright. Oh, I was gonna say about the whatchamacall. Is it in here?

TI: Is that the Florin, or the, the map?

FS: Was it this one or what? Oh, here it is.

TI: Oh, the...

FS: That's Tule Lake. [Indicates map of Tule Lake]

TI: Okay.

FS: See? That's, that's where they, that's Alaska, way out there.

TI: I see. Okay, good.

FS: So the whatchamacall is around here someplace, the stockade. Not on there? should be around here someplace. No?

TI: I can't... it's over this way? The motor pool...

FS: Motor pool?

TI: Is it... yeah, I don't see it.

FS: I thought I saw it.

MN: Wasn't it next to the motor pool?

FS: This is Ag. building.

TI: Yeah, so the motor pool's right down here, but I don't see...

FS: The motor pool's right here. So this is the motor pool area, and it should've been... I'm looking for the stockade part.

MN: That map might be, have been made before the stockade was built.

FS: It, it had to be near, close to the fence, I mean, this fence here. I can't say for sure.

TI: Yeah, okay good. Well, Fred, Fred, thank you so much for the interview. This was, I learned a lot, so thank you so much.

FS: You learned a lot? I hope. [Laughs]

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.