Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Jun Dairiki Interview
Narrator: Jun Dairiki
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: Emeryville, California
Date: March 15, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-djun-01

<Begin Segment 1>

[Description of photographs]

JD: These two pictures are really identical, but it was during, when the San Francisco Bay area had the Treasure Island International Fair, otherwise known as Hakurankai. And at times my mom and dad would take all of the families, or we would go separately. In this particular case my dad took me, and this little cone shaped thing that you see in my left hand is really a cone of French fries, my favorite food, and it still is today, but I always had to have French fries when we got there.

This is a picture of the three of us. I had two much older sisters, so this is my sister Margaret, my sister Rey, and that's me, and we were at an outing on the beach, at San Francisco beach on this particular day. Yeah, both of my sisters are now gone.

MN: Was that a kenjinkai picnic?

JD: No, I don't think so. I think this is just something that my mom and dad took us to, yeah.

Okay, this is a picture of my oldest sister, 'cause my mom had us take, had each of us take something, and so with my oldest sister it was a usual classical Japanese dancing, and so that's what Maggie was taking and this is part of her performance. This picture's in here are just as a fill in, but this was, this was before the war. This is after the war because we didn't come back to San Francisco after the war. I mean, we lived here before then and we went to Weiser, Idaho, afterwards, and this is, and that's where this picture was taken.

MN: How about the other side?

JD: Oh, that's my oldest sister again with her Japanese classical dancing. Yeah.

TI: Can you hold it up for the camera?

MN: Now we're getting into the war years. This is Topaz. You're in Utah now.

JD: Right. This picture is of my oldest sister. When we came into camp, because my sister was a junior at Cal at the time we had to go to Tanforan, and so when we got into Topaz I guess all these young adults were asked, well, "What you like to do in camp to make yourself a productive member of society here?" My sister's response to that question was, "Well, I want to get out of here," and so a couple of, three weeks later -- I don't think she was in camp even a month -- anyway, she got hired on by this family in a town called Hinckley, and she became their nanny as well as being a housekeeper for the family, and the family's name was also Hinckley. It was a small farming community.

MN: And this appeared in a newspaper?

JD: It was, yeah, it was in the Millard County Chronicle, which was a newspaper that was published in Delta, Utah, which was close by to camp as well, and Jane Beckwith's father was the owner and editor of this newspaper. And then, of course, later on it was taken over by the daughter, Jane's sister, because Jane herself became a teacher. But her sister took on the newspaper, but this was at a time when her father was still the editor, and so I guess when they found out that she was, my sister was working for this family, they went and took a picture and just did a little caption on her. And this was back in October 22, 1942, so it was the year that we went into camp, 'cause we got into camp around, I think, late August or something, and so she was, and by October she was already hired, so it must've been, like, maybe, probably late September when she got hired on. Yeah, so anyway, so that's what that picture represents.

This picture is of my father. He and a group of his contemporaries decided they wanted something, and so they thought, well, maybe a fishpond would be kind of nice, and so he and a group of his guys decided, okay, that's what we're gonna do. And so this is not quite finished; it's almost finished, but it is the fishpond that they constructed. And they filled it with catfish, 'cause my dad was like a supervisor for a irrigation crew, helping out the farmers that's outside of camp, and so there were all these catfish, I guess, that were in the canals, and so he brought them home and stocked it, stocked our fishpond with that. [Laughs] So that's what that picture's all about.

This is in Topaz as well. And I took Japanese dancing when I was in camp, and so this is, these two are, this was a part of our recital from the teacher. She had a, I think, an annual recital or something, and so I'm... I forget where I'm at, but anyway, I'm in here somewhere. I don't have my glasses on, so, but anyway, so this is the group that I was dancing with.

This was at a mess hall that was outside of camp, and my mother worked there. And this outside mess hall was to feed those people who worked outside of camp and who wouldn't have time to come back into camp to have lunch to go back outside again, so they had this outside mess camp and my mother was one of the workers. And of course, my father ate there because he was working outside of camp at this irrigation crew, so my mom decided that maybe we should perform for these people, and so that's how come we're here and not on a stage.

This is, again, of the same recital as the other picture, and I'm right there, and then these others are, were in my class. And this happens, this is before the war. That's me over here, and this was a neighbor of ours who lived across the street. She and I went to Raphael Weill Grammar School at the time, which is now called Rosa Parks. It was renamed a few years ago. But she and I would go to school together, and so, but I've never seen her after the war, so I don't even know where she is.

This was a photo that, I don't know who took it, but I'm right here at the end. There's my girlfriend. We all lived in the same block, and actually Vi Suto was her name. She is now, has, is now died. She died many years ago, but she was one of my bridesmaids. And she and I also went to Raphael Weill, and her family came back to San Francisco whereas ours didn't, but I connected with her after I came back from my overseas job with Uncle Sam.

MN: This is after the war.

JD: Yeah, this of course is, I think, before the war. That's my sister. But yeah, my oldest sister, when she, she worked for this family for about a year, I guess, and then she decided she would go to BYU to finish her college, 'cause she was a junior at Cal, as I mentioned earlier, and, but she didn't finish at BYU. She had a friend who was living in Chicago already, and her friend said, "You know, Maggie, there's a lot of jobs to be had. Why don't you come out?" And so my sister took her up on that, and so Maggie left, I guess, maybe '43, '44, something like that, and lived there ever since. Now she is also gone. And so that's the Michigan, that's Lake Michigan in Chicago.

And this is my sister and our dog. We had a dog in camp. Her name was Fudgesicle, but we called her Fudge, and when the war ended a lot of the families left their pets behind to be on their own, but my mother said no, that's too cruel, we can't just leave her here, so we took her with us and she died in Weiser, Idaho, which is where we ended up in. And that's my other sister. This is like the side yard of the house in Weiser, Idaho.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

MN: Today is Tuesday, March 15, 2011. We are at the Woodfin Hotel in Emeryville, California. We will be interviewing Jun Nakahara Dairiki. We have Tani Ikeda on video, Jack Dairiki is a guest in the room, and I will be interviewing, my name is Martha Nakagawa. Jun, let's start with your father's name.

JD: His name is Hatsuki Nakahara.

MN: And your mother's name?

JD: Kita Nakahara. Her maiden name was Yasutake.

MN: And which prefecture did your parents come from?

JD: Both came from Kumamoto.

MN: Are they both Issei?

JD: Yes.

MN: Were your parents active in the Kumamoto kenjinkai?

JD: I think they were. 'Cause I think when they, Japanese immigrants came they, I think, felt comfortable with people who were from, not only from Japan, but from their own prefecture, and so you had all these kenjinkais, right, the Hiroshima Kenjinkai, Kumamoto Kenjinkai, and I don't know what else, but I think they had a comfort level in doing that, so I think they were active in that.

MN: Now, how many children did your parents have?

JD: There were actually five total. One of them was a set of twins, but they both passed away at birth.

MN: Where are you in the sibling hierarchy?

JD: I'm the baby of the family.

MN: Now, you have a very interesting name. It's Jun, but it's spelled J-U-N, which is masculine in Japanese. Can you share a little bit about the background of your name?

JD: It is a masculine name and it was, I don't know if it was intentional or not, but my mom and dad had four girls before me, and I guess when I was born, the way I heard it anyway was that the doctor asked him, "Now, what are you gonna name your daughter?" The first thing he came up with was Jun without an E, and I guess the kanji character for it, it is a masculine. Yeah, so that's how my, I got my name. My dad named me.

MN: So that's, does that mean he wanted a boy?

JD: Could be. I don't know. [Laughs]

MN: Where were you born?

JD: San Francisco.

MN: What year were you born?

JD: '34.

MN: And how were you delivered?

JD: Well, I was born in a hospital. It was known as Stanford Lane Hospital, which is now California Pacific Medical Center, but the location of CPMC, as it's known, was the former Stanford Lane Hospital. And I'm told that that hospital was the precursor to Stanford Hospital, but it was in San Francisco.

MN: Was it common for a family, Japanese American families in San Francisco to have their babies delivered in a hospital?

JD: You know, I don't know that. I don't know the answer to that.

MN: Now, before the war, what were your parents doing?

JD: My mom was a domestic. She went and cleaned houses for others. And my dad was a salesman for a Japanese export/import company, and so he had a car, a company car, and he took that car -- his territory, I should say, was all the way up to, from northern California down to central California, so he knew Jack's grandparents 'cause he conducted business with him, or with them. And then he knew Jack's parents because he stayed at the hotel in Sacramento, that Main Hotel that Jack mentioned.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

MN: Now, where did your family live before the war?

JD: In Japan?

MN: No, your family. Where did you live? Did you live in --

JD: Oh, we lived in San Francisco.

MN: In the Japantown in San Francisco?

JD: Yeah, right. Right. In fact, the house that I sort of grew up in for the first seven years of my life is still standing. It's on Laguna Street between Sutter and Bush. It's actually a building that has three flats in it and we lived on the very top flat, so the family below was a Japanese, and the one who lived on the, the family that lived on the first floor, the main floor, I don't know why I remember this, but they were a mulatto family. And I think the mulattos come from Louisiana somewhere. I think that, I think that's the derivation. So for whatever reason I remember that. It just stuck in my mind. I don't remember their names, nothing else.

MN: Now, you're telling me this building is still there, have you gone inside and examined what it looks like now?

JD: No. I would like to, but I haven't had the guts to go and knock on the door. [Laughs]

MN: Before the war, which grammar school were you attending?

JD: Raphael Weill. That was in Japantown basically, and most of us, the Issei families, lived in Japantown, so to speak, and so all of us pretty much went to that grammar school. And the ethnicity of it was probably mostly Japanese, maybe with a smattering of a few Filipinos and maybe Chinese. I don't remember any blacks because I think the blacks came, the African Americans, I should say, came in droves during the war years to work in the shipyards, but they really weren't physically in San Francisco before the war.

MN: Now, did you attend a Japanese language school?

JD: Yes, I did.

MN: Is it every day or just Saturday?

JD: I remember going after school. I don't remember a Saturday class, and I don't know how many days a week I went, but it was after school. It was at the San Francisco Buddhist Church, and the sensei that I remember was a reverend by the name of Sanada, Reverend Sanada, and he was my language teacher. If I had any others I don't remember their names. But that's, yeah, but I did go to Japanese language school. I hated it. I did not like going to Japanese language school, because it was after school and, you know, you want to go and have fun, not to go and go to another school, so I really fought that. But I went anyway. I don't think I learned much. [Laughs]

MN: Did your parents enroll you in anything else other than Japanese school? Did you do Nihonbuyo or ikebana?

JD: No. No, I didn't learn anything before the war. It was just a Japanese language school.

MN: Now, what about your older sisters?

JD: Okay, my oldest sister, as I mentioned, she took the classical Japanese dancing. My other sister, my mom had her take tap dancing, ballet, and piano, so that's what my second sister was told to do.

MN: So your family was able to afford having two daughters take all these different classes?

JD: Yeah.

MN: Your father --

JD: I think my mom wanted to be sure that they learned something, and so she just decided that with my oldest sister, she was gonna take Japanese dancing, and with my other sister she decided okay, maybe she should not take Japanese dancing, but maybe she should take up the American culture, which was the ballet, tap dancing, piano.

MN: That's very unusual for a Nisei to be taking ballet and tap dancing.

JD: I guess. I don't... I guess. I don't know. I don't, I don't remember if she had other, well, I think there were other friends who took that, too. I had a picture of her, but I think my niece in Chicago has that.

MN: Now, what about Sundays? Did you attend church on Sundays?

JD: I don't remember that I did. My two older sisters did, but my mother never forced it on them. But my two sisters went to two different churches, but it's because they had friends at these respective churches, and so Maggie, my oldest sister, went to the Christian church 'cause that's where all her friends were, and then Rey, my other sister, went to the Buddhist church because that's where all of her friends were. So it wasn't really a religious thing for them; it was mostly social.

MN: So your parents didn't care what churches your, their daughters --

JD: No. Not to my knowledge anyway.

MN: What did you do on your free time?

JD: I tried to play as much as I could, after school and do whatever study I had to do, but after homework was done, then you played with your friends. Yeah, that's, and then there was a YWCA in Japantown, which is still there, and it's now what they call Nihonmachi Little Friends. It's for little kids, kindergarten and all that. But I went there for activities after school, so on those days I didn't go to Nihongakuin I went to YWCA and did, participated in whatever activities they had. I don't remember what it was, but I remember going there.

MN: Now, other than the YWCA, when you were out with your friends what kind of games did you play?

JD: I don't remember what kind of games we played. I don't remember that. We might've played hopscotch. We might've played jump rope, that sort of thing, but other than that I don't remember what we did.

MN: So you're the youngest of your siblings. Who looked after you?

JD: When I was, before the war? Well, if my mom wasn't around probably one of my two older sisters.

MN: So did they take you to some of the social functions they went out to?

JD: No, no, it wasn't anything like that. If they had their social function it was strictly their social function. It did not include me. But I think they took me out to, like, the beach or wherever they, or maybe to the movies or whatever. We had a cousin who lived with us. He room and boarded with us, and I remember he took me to go see Fantasia. I don't, I remember that movie very specifically because there's a scene in there where Mickey Mouse is coming down the stairs with this bucket of water and the water is rising from the floor below, and this music was going on and it was, it was making me scared actually, and I was very frightened with that. And maybe that's why I remember that, but that's the only scene that I remember from, as a kid. I've gone to see if after that and yeah, I remember those other, when I looked at it the second or third time around, yeah, I kind of remember it, but I remember that one very specific thing. I still remember it today. [Laughs]

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

MN: Now, you were a child when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Did the atmosphere in your house change on that Sunday? Do you remember?

JD: I don't recall anything of that day. I don't even know if my dad was home or if he was on the road. I just don't recall.

MN: Now, how about the next day? Do you recall what it was like at school?

JD: No, I don't remember that either, 'cause most of us were in the same boat. My classmates were all in the same boat, so I don't recall that there was any consternation or anything like that going on. I mean, I don't know what the atmosphere was like at school.

MN: What about your father, did he go to work the next day?

JD: I guess. I don't know. Like I said, he might've been on the road, so I don't really recall that.

MN: Did you see or hear any of your neighbors being picked up by the FBI?

JD: No.

MN: Now, how old were you when this was going on?

JD: I was, okay, this was in 1941, so I turned seven that year. And then when we went into Tanforan a few months later, I think it was May of 1942, I was still seven, but I was going to be eight that year.

MN: Now, what do you remember of preparing to go into camp?

JD: You know, that's interesting because I don't because I didn't have to help with the packing. I think my two older sisters had, my mom and dad had to do all that, but I didn't get involved in any of that because they were the ones who determined what we could take and I was too young to really know what I could take or couldn't take, so I was not involved in the packing of the household. I do remember that we had to get rid of a lot of stuff. They sold it for pennies on the dollar, practically gave it away, I think. And we had, because my sister took piano we had a piano at home, we had a solid wood dining room table we had to get rid of, along with its chairs, and so I think my mother was a little bit heartbroken about that.

MN: How do you know that your mother was heartbroken?

JD: I think she was just very, a bit sad. I could tell by her, just the way she was, not behaving so much, but just her demeanor I guess.

MN: Now, you didn't have, like, a favorite toy you wanted to bring or favorite clothing?

JD: I guess not. I guess I didn't.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

MN: On the day your family was to go to Tanforan, where was the gathering spot?

JD: Offhand I don't remember. I know that there was a gathering spot. I just don't remember if it was at, I mean, San Francisco had two Japanese language schools. One was at Kinmon Gakuen, and the other one was at the Buddhist church. I don't remember that we went to the Buddhist church. I, seems to me like we might've gone to Kinmon Gakuen, which was, well, that wasn't too far from the house, but neither was the Buddhist church. But it seems like Kinmon Gakuen is where we had to all gather, yeah.

MN: Did you just walk there?

JD: Probably.

MN: Do you remember being given a family number?

JD: Oh, yeah. I don't know, I don't remember the number, but yes, we did have a family number, and my, when we got to the railroad station -- oh, to the bus I guess it was, to the bus, because it was gonna take us to Tanforan -- I remember my sister saying to me, "If we get separated, remember your family number because that'll hook you up with them." So I said okay, so I did remember the numbers then, but you also had a little tag, I think, that gave the family name and number, but in case I lost that.

MN: So from this gathering spot, how did you get to Tanforan?

JD: I think it was on the bus.

MN: How did you feel about this bus ride?

JD: I don't think it really mattered. The thing that I remember is that here I was, seven years old, never moved in my life, and all of a sudden we're moving. I thought, gee, this is kind of fun. It was very exciting because we were moving. Of course, I didn't know why we were being moved, but the fact that we were moving was, was an adventure for me, so from that standpoint, that's what I was thinking, I probably was thinking that on the bus.

MN: Now, when you arrived at the Tanforan racetracks, what was your first impression of that area?

JD: I don't remember what I thought of it. In fact, I don't remember even arriving there. I just know that we did, and we were assigned one of the stables, horse stables. And I don't know, a few weeks later my sister, one of my sisters got ill because it wasn't very clean in there, and so my mother went to the powers that be and she says, "Look, my daughter is very sick because of the stable. Don't you have anything else or another barrack or something that you could put us into?" Because it wasn't, there weren't enough horse stables for all us to be put into, so there were makeshift barracks that were built as well, and so they found one for us and so we moved into that barrack after that.

MN: And your sister got well after that?

JD: I think she got better, yeah.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

MN: Now, you folks got into Tanforan in May, so it's still school year, did you attend school at Tanforan?

JD: Yes. Yes, I did.

MN: What was that like?

JD: It was certainly different from Raphael Weill. It was a different set up. We had teachers, and I'm not too sure if our educational quality was as good as what we had in San Francisco. Maybe some of the teachers were not really prepared to be teachers at that point. But yeah, but we went to school, and I don't remember too much about the school except I know that we did go to school.

MN: Now, you have the story about your older sister telling you to go get some chewing gum from the soldier. Can you share that story?

JD: Yeah, because there wasn't too much to do in Tanforan, so on the weekends we would go to a grassy area that was right by the fence, and of course they had the guards patrolling the fence, and because she was twenty she didn't think she could go and ask someone who was probably about her age or maybe even younger or a little bit older, and so because I was a seven year old she said, "Why don't you go and ask them for some chewing gum?" So I said okay, so I went up and I asked one of the guards that went by, said, "Have you got any chewing gum that you can give me?" [Laughs] And so he, I can't remember now if he gave the whole pack or if he gave me a couple. I don't remember that, but yeah, but I got the chewing gum.

MN: So he was friendly enough to do that?

JD: Yeah, he was.

MN: Now, were all your friends also at Tanforan?

JD: Most of my friends, yeah.

MN: Do you remember what your parents were doing at Tanforan?

JD: No, I sure don't. I don't know what they did. I don't know what any of us did in Tanforan.

MN: Now, what do you remember of the food at Tanforan?

JD: Terrible. What I remember is we had pork and beans and egg foo young. We had it for so many times every week, every month that at this point in time in my life I hate both of those foods. I will not touch it. Yeah, I just will not touch it. Milk was another one because it was not real, it was not fresh milk. I think it was powdered milk, so it didn't taste good. Although I do drink milk now, but egg foo young and pork and beans I absolutely will not touch. I eat eggs, but just not egg foo young.

MN: Your oldest sister, you mentioned she was at Cal State, University of California, Berkeley.

JD: Right.

MN: Was she supposed to graduate from there?

JD: No, because she was just a junior, so she would've had that year to finish plus another year. Now, she did get an honorary degree that was a program that was initiated by Cal. It was a couple of years ago, and so she was a qualified recipient for that. Unfortunately she died the day before the announcement was made, so that kind of saddened her kids, as well as me. And I was in Chicago at the time my sister died, and a friend of ours here in San Francisco called to tell me about this honorary degree, so I said, oh, that's, I said I'm happy about that, but it's too bad because my sister just died the other day, the day before. And so, because my sister was still pretty clear of mind, even though she was dying from cancer she was still pretty clear of mind. She also had dementia, but as you were telling her something she understood, but it might've gone out of her mind the minute you finished, but I wish we could've told her about this. That's what saddens me. But yeah, we did get the honorary degree for her.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

MN: Now, when your family is put on the train from Tanforan to go to Utah, what do you remember of the train ride?

JD: It was a long, exhausting, I thought it was kind of long, very exhausting. The seats were not all that comfortable. They were, I think, wooden and like wooden benches. I remember that we had to have the shades closed when we approached any kind of station. It didn't matter whether it was nighttime, daytime or whatever, you just had to have that shades closed, shut down, so I remember that. We ate in a dining room and we had, I think, pretty decent food. I don't remember what we had, but I think we had pretty decent food on the train.

MN: Did African Americans serve you?

JD: That's what I recall with us anyway, on, at the dining room table. Yeah.

MN: Do you recall how they treated you?

JD: No, I don't.

MN: On the train did you have to sleep sitting up?

JD: Yeah. Yes, we did.

MN: Did some people sleep on the floor?

JD: I don't remember that.

MN: Now, when you got off the train in Utah, how did you get to Topaz?

JD: I think we were, were we bus loaded? I think we were. I think we were bus loaded. I'm not a hundred percent sure on that, but I think we were bus loaded and we were let off at the gate of the camp, and then from the gate of the camp we had to walk in to where our barracks were, and I guess we were assigned the barracks. I don't know if it was before or when we got there. I don't remember that part of it. I just know that we walked to our barracks. That was a long walk, and I thought, God, this place is sandy and dusty, and this was August summer, never experienced that kind of heat wave. It was kind of miserable walking. I mean, we finally did get to our barrack. It was not, it was okay. It was okay.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

MN: And when your family first arrived at Topaz your older sister was asked by the administration, "What would you like to do as a productive member of the camp?" Share with us what her response was.

JD: Her response to that question was, her response to the question, "What would you like to do while you're in camp?" her response was, "Well, I want to get out of here." So a few weeks later she did, and what happened was she was hired on by this family in a nearby town called Hinckley, and she was, her main purpose was to serve as a nanny for these two young kids, two girls, and to also serve as a housekeeper for the family, and... for the family. So she did that, and the family name was Hinckley and the name of the town was Hinckley, so she worked for them for about, I don't know, maybe a year or so. And that's when she decided that she wanted to continue her college education, and so she went to BYU, but while she was there, she already had a friend who lived in Chicago and her friend says, "You know, Mag, there's a lot of jobs to be had over here. Why don't you come out here?" And Mag felt that was a good idea, and I don't think we had the money to send her through college anyway, you know. So Mag did. She went to Chicago, and so that must've been in '43, '44, probably '44, early '44, and she was there for, from then on until she passed away couple of years ago.

MN: So she never wanted to return to the West Coast?

JD: I don't think so. Her two kids were born there and so she raised her kids there. And no, I guess she, I guess she and her husband decided not to come back, even though her husband's family was from Sacramento. I think they just opted to stay there.

MN: Now, you were a city girl from San Francisco.

JD: Right.

MN: San Francisco doesn't have extreme weathers.

JD: Right.

MN: And you experienced a lot of firsts at Topaz. Can you share with us some of the firsts that, things that you experienced at Topaz?

JD: Yes. Of course, one was this heat that we had to walk through to get to our barrack. That was number one. And it was very sandy, never saw that kind of fine sand. That was in the summer, and as the fall and winter came on we experienced winter snow, which we had never seen in our entire life, and the cold associated with that, so you had to wear, get snow boots of some sort and get warmer clothes because we certainly weren't really prepared for that kind of cold. I remember we had sandstorms, and I remember the, one of the first sandstorms we had, I remember the sand getting into my eyes, my nose, my ears, and my mouth, and I thought, God, what is this, you know? When I got home my mother had to kind of help clean me up because I had so much of this sand stuff on me, but I remember the sandstorm. And then the windows in our barracks were not really all that great, so there was a bit of an opening between where the two windows would slide when they did slide, so all the sand came in through this opening and it filled the track area where the windows would slide, so I remember all the sand coming in there and we had to kind of clean that out.

MN: Now, what month did you start attending grammar school there?

JD: Well, we got there in August, so we started in September. And so we did go to school, and here again, too, I just don't think we had the best quality of teachers. I won't say it's their fault necessarily, but it was, this camp thing was done in a hurry, so they probably couldn't get the best teachers. I did have one hakujin teacher later on, I think was the last teacher I had before we left camp, I guess she was okay. But yeah, but I just don't think we had the best quality teachers, and I always felt like I lagged behind from a knowledge standpoint.

MN: Topaz had two grammar schools. Which one did you go to?

JD: The two schools were Desert View and Mountain View, and I went to the one that was Desert View because it faced the desert, and the Mountain View was because it faced the mountain. And yeah, so that's the school I went to.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

MN: Now, one winter your family got a Christmas tree. How did you get this Christmas tree?

JD: Well, that one particular year my girlfriend and I, well there were four of us in our block that went to Desert View, two guys and two gals, and for whatever reason the school system board had, they said my girlfriend and I had to transfer to the Mountain View school, grammar school. I don't know why. But the two boys stayed behind, and my mother went to the powers to be -- my mother was very good at this, she would always go and ask why -- and she says, "How come the two boys aren't being sent instead of the two girls?" Because our camp, our block was kind of far from the mess hall, and so when the school board would not relent my mom says okay, she'll go to Block 8, which is where Mountain View School was, and she knew the head of the kitchen staff 'cause they were neighbors of ours in San Francisco before the war, and so she went and asked her what was happening and would it be okay for my girlfriend and me to eat in their mess hall so that we wouldn't have to come all the way back to our block and then hurry and eat and then rush back to school. And so she says, "Of course your daughter and her friend can do that," so we were there for, I don't know, maybe one school, maybe a half a year or something, and then we, then we got transferred back to Mountain, to Desert View, and we stayed there for the rest of the time. But anyway, while we were in this Mountain View, Christmas, we spent Christmas there and so they, somewhere they got, our class got a Christmas tree. And of course school was being let out for the holidays and they couldn't leave the Christmas tree there, so we did it by a lottery system where you picked the shortest straw or the longest straw, I forget what, but I picked the right straw, so I got the tree and I dragged it all the way home because I couldn't carry it, so I dragged it all the way home and we got it, I got it home and we, my mom and dad stood it up. Well, it leaned to one side because I had been dragging it for so long it wouldn't stand up straight, so it was kind of lopsided, but it was still a tree. [Laughs] It was still a good tree.

MN: How did you decorate it?

JD: God, I don't remember. I don't remember how we did it. I guess we had something, but I just don't remember.

MN: Now, I want to ask you about this Halloween party your block had one year. Share with us that story.

JD: Our block one Halloween decided that they would have a little Halloween party for us kids, and then the teenagers would help out by telling us stories and, Halloween stories and whatnot. We also saw a movie. The movie was King Kong. I was never so scared after that movie. It was like watching Fantasia all over again, but in a different perspective, and I was so scared of that when we finished to go home, it was really windy outside, but I ran to my unit and I got my pajamas on and everything, and I slid under the bed and I stayed under the cover. I was so frightened. And so I remember that movie King Kong -- I don't watch it too much nowadays, although I'm okay with it, but I don't watch it -- and yeah, but we had that Halloween party and that's what we were shown. And the older teenagers, or the teenagers, read us Halloween stories which were kind of spooky, so that coupled with the movie didn't help the situation at all. [Laughs] So anyway...

MN: So that night, did you go to the bathroom?

JD: No. I was too scared. I was too scared to go, so I just stayed. I just held it until I went the next morning.

MN: Share with us why it's an issue to go to the bathroom.

JD: I was too scared. I didn't want to, because it was already late at night and the wind was howling, and for us to go to the bathroom you had to go to another building. You didn't, each of us did not have individual toilets. You had a common toilet area, so you had to go out of your unit, walk a few, it was more than just a few steps, it was like walking a half a block or three quarters of a block from where we were to the, to the toilet, so I was not about to go out in that spooky weather.

MN: Now, your school had a May Day celebration. What was that all about?

JD: I don't know how that came about except that we did have it every year, at least a couple of years that I remember. And we would decorate the pole with crepe paper, and then we would choose a May Day Queen, and then we would go around the pole with this, because they had, we all, there were these streams of crepe paper, and so each of us would grab one of them and we'd go around the pole in a circle until we covered the, covered the maypole. So that, I guess that was just like an activity for us.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

MN: Your mother encouraged the girls to take extracurricular classes. What sort of activities did she encourage you to do in Topaz?

JD: I took Japanese dancing. That was really about the only thing that we could take. I also went to Japanese language school, but I didn't like it either. But we, but I went, but it was Japanese dancing that we took and I really actually enjoyed that. I enjoyed that dancing. But that was about the only thing I took.

MN: The photos you showed us, you're wearing a kimono. Where did that come from?

JD: You know, it's interesting because I think, for whatever reason, my mom decided to bring some of the Nihongis with her, even though we were not allowed to carry very much with us, she decided she was going to bring that with us, and so the Nihongis that I'm wearing are the one that my mom brought. And so she, then she brought the obi and all the accoutrements that go with it, and so she brought a couple of them with her. I don't know why, but she did.

MN: Now, for the music to go with the odori, was it real instruments or was it records?

JD: Mostly records. Mostly records. Sometimes there was a shamisen sort of thing, but it was basically records. Yeah.

MN: So somebody had brought a shamisen?

JD: I think so, yeah.

MN: Now, you said you went to Japanese language school also. Is this like when you were in San Francisco, was it after regular school?

JD: The one in camp you mean?

MN: Uh-huh.

JD: The one in camp was after school. I think it was after school. I don't think it was on the weekend. If it was on the weekend I don't remember that. Maybe it was on a Saturday or something. I don't remember what day I went. I just remember that I had to go and take it.

MN: Now, what did your parents do in Topaz?

JD: Well, my dad became a supervisor of an irrigation crew for a farmer, probably a farmer outside the camp, and so he was always leaving the camp with his crew. My mom was one of the cooks at this mess hall that was built outside of camp to feed people like my father and his crew and others who were doing like sort of thing, but they wouldn't have to come back into camp to have their lunch and to go back out again, 'cause it was kind of a distance. And so they had this mess hall, and so my mom was one of the cooks there.

MN: And how many times did you perform for these crew people?

JD: I can only remember once. That one time only is, is what I remember. If there was another time I don't remember that.

MN: Was that for a special occasion?

JD: No. I think my mom decided that it might be nice for these people to have some entertainment, and since my dad was there as well, as well as others, my mom just got some of us kids together and said why don't we have this odori thing for, for the people that are coming to eat, and so that's what we did.

MN: Now, by your barrack is this huge pond that your father built.

JD: Yeah.

MN: Can you share with us how we built it, how long it took?

JD: I don't remember how long it took. I don't even remember how it even got started. I just remember that my dad got it started and he got some of the other, his contemporaries to see if they were interested, and a lot of them were, and so a lot of them helped out. I don't even remember where they got the material to build it, because when we went back last year to Topaz that pond was still pretty well intact with that same material, and it looked like some kind of concrete, but I don't know where they got it. But so they built it. It took them, I think a little while, and then they had to stock it and it was stocked with catfish, and the catfish came from the irrigation canal, so my dad just got a bunch of it and brought it back to the barracks and put it into the fish pond.

MN: Did you guys eat the catfish?

JD: No. No, they were strictly there for our enjoyment.

MN: You know, when you were leaving camp, what did you do with the catfish?

JD: I think they were just left there to die, I think. As near as I can tell, I don't know.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

MN: Now, what about your mother? What did she do in camp?

JD: She's the one that worked as a cook outside the camp.

MN: That's right. Now, you know, in April 11, 1943, Mr. James Wakasa was shot and killed.

JD: Yeah.

MN: Do you remember that at all?

JD: No, I don't. I didn't know about it until after the war. In fact, much after the war did I find out about that, but I did not know about it at that time.

MN: What about the "loyalty questionnaire"? Did it affect your family at all?

JD: I don't think so.

MN: Did your parents ever talk about wanting to return to Japan?

JD: They never, if they did they never mentioned it. I don't know that they really had a strong desire to go back. I'm not sure about that, but they certainly did not talk about it.

MN: Now, in your block you had mentioned that there were people from Hawaii.

JD: Yes.

MN: Can you share with us that?

JD: Yeah, there were, there was a group of Hawaiian Japanese, Niseis I guess, who were brought into Topaz as well as other camps, I think. They were scattered throughout Topaz. They weren't all in one block, but we had one living right across from us, and they were, kind of stood out like a sore thumb because they wore these bright Hawaiian shirts, and the guys that lived across from us had one of those bright shirts and had a, I remember he had royal blue trousers on with suspenders and this bright shirt. And he, I mean, they stood out like a sore thumb obviously, you know? And I think for those of us, because most of the people in Topaz were from San Francisco and the Bay Area, were pretty conservative and kind of, I won't say laid back, but they're not, they weren't exactly forward people, I guess, so I don't know that the Hawaiian Japanese made a lot of friends. I think we kind of kept, left them alone.

MN: Now, share with us this dog you had in Topaz.

JD: And I don't remember where we got the dog, but I think my dad brought it home one day, and so we had him -- we had her, I should say -- for all the time we were in Topaz. When the war ended, a lot of the families who did have animals just abandoned them. My mother said we're not gonna do that with Fudge. I mean, you can't just leave her here, you know? And so my dad made a crate for Fudge to go into, and so she became part of our luggage, baggage to be carted along with our luggage. So we took her with us and we took her up to Idaho, which is where we migrated to after the war, and Fudge died in Weiser, few, a few years after.

MN: Why did she die in Weiser?

JD: Well, someone poisoned her. Yeah, I think she was making too much noise, and my mom and dad didn't really, should've kept her in the house, but we, it was a farm area, so they just let her run around, but she was barking a lot and I think somebody just very tired of it, and I think that's why she got poisoned. That's what we think.

MN: It wasn't because you were Japanese American?

JD: I don't think so, no.

MN: Why did you call her Fudge?

JD: Good question. Maybe it's because she was kind of black and white and brown. Don't know, maybe made me think of ice cream. [Laughs]

MN: Manzanar has a pet cemetery. Did Topaz have a pet cemetery?

JD: Not that I know of. If they did I'm not aware of it.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

MN: Now, you talked about going out of camp, how did you feel about leaving Topaz?

JD: I was somewhat saddened because we were not going, we were not returning to the Bay Area and all my, most of my friends returned to the Bay Area, but my mom and dad didn't come back because there was no jobs for them to come back to. My dad was a salesman for a Japanese export/import company, there was no such thing as that before the war, or after the war. My two sisters who were living in Chicago said there's nothing out there for him to do either in Chicago, and so we had this friend up in Idaho who said, "Well, if you want to come up to Idaho there's, there's jobs up here, but it is farming." So given those choices, my mom and dad decided okay, that was the best choice they had. So they went up to Weiser, Idaho, never farmed in their life, they were past fifty at the time, and they had to learn a new vocation all over at that age. And I have to tell you, they struggled for a good number of years, and I remember helping them out during the summer months. Because at school, when school was on we were not taken out of school, but in the summer months when most of the farming was done we were there to help out, and so I was only like, I was eleven when I left camp, so from eleven until I graduated from high school we, I had to go out and help them on the farm. We would help, there would be crews of people helping out all the farmers, potato farmers, onion farmers and whatnot, and when, when it was potato season time we would get up, like, two o'clock in the morning, have our breakfast, go out to the farm, which was, like, a few miles from where we were, and you would start picking the potatoes at, like around four o'clock in the morning. And people will, people have asked me, "How could you see at that hour?" Well, up, you're up in northern, the northern part of the United States and so the sun is, I mean, it's not real bright or anything, it is kind of dark, but you can see the potatoes because the potatoes are, with the machinery, are brought up to the surface, and so then you start picking the potatoes, and you could pick the potatoes in one of two methods. One was you had this barrel, was a wire basket which would hold approximately fifty pounds if you filled it, and then you put that over the mouth of the gunnysack and you flipped the basket over and potatoes would go in. Then you would pick the second basket and put that on top of the first one that you put in so it would make a hundred pounds. And we did that from the time we started 'til about eleven or so, and then you would quit because the sun would be too hot and you couldn't leave the potatoes out on the surface, otherwise it would bake. So you quit, you had lunch, and then you would go out and help the other farmers, what they call weeding, which was like when the onions were coming up you had to make sure that the onions were clear of any weeds so that the onions could grow and it wouldn't be suffocated by the weeds. So you did that for the rest of the day, so you had a long hour. You'd start like two o'clock in the morning when you got up, and you'd get home around six o'clock at night, and then you have just a few hours to sleep and you start the whole process again. And so my mom and dad had a very hard time, and I think that's probably why I don't like farming. I respect them, but I could not ever do it, knowing just what they have to go through. It was very, very difficult for them for so many years, and finally they were able to do a little bit better, but still they were already in their seventies and whatnot, and just hard for them. So once I graduated from high school I never went back. I went back to visit, but I didn't, I knew I was not gonna go back there to live.

MN: So did the war really change the life of your family financially?

JD: Yeah, I think it did. Yeah, from what we had in San Francisco compared to what we had to endure after the war, yeah, it did. My mom and dad really had to scrape for a good many years before they could actually come out and smell the roses, so to speak. And I would, when I went to Chicago after I graduated from high school, I went to school back in Chicago and took secretarial courses and I went and got a full time job, and because of the experience I had with them, with not having enough money all the time, I would send them home money. It would be like a hundred dollars. A hundred dollars back in 1952, '53 was a lot of money for an eighteen year old kid, but I would save my money, and it's because while I was going to school I lived with my sister, oldest sister who was married and, and then had her first child while I was living with her, and she didn't charge me any room and board while I was going to school, so I was able to save money and pay for my own schooling and then still have enough left over for me to send money home. But I was also working. I was working part time while I was going to secretarial school. I actually went to Northwestern University for my secretarial training 'cause the year that I went to Chicago there was a book publishing company called Houghton Mifflin or something like that, and they published all of the Gregg shorthand textbooks. Well, apparently there was a Gregg's School of Business, and I don't quite know what happened, but in that particular year the school was given to the Houghton Mifflin people, and the bookkeeper, I mean, the book publishers didn't want to be saddled with the business school so they offered it to Northwestern. And Northwestern said, "Yeah, I think we might like to do this," so I think Northwestern kept it on, the School of Business, they kept it on for a few years. But anyway, so that's where I went. So, but I was working at the same time, and so I could pay for my own schooling and I was able to send money home to my mom and dad.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

MN: I want to go back to your days in Idaho for a moment. Despite the struggles your parents were going through, they, your mother still encouraged you to learn things and you were enrolled in a class. Share with us this voice class.

JD: Yeah, it was not so much a class. It was, because they were private lessons, and like I said earlier, my mom always had us do something, my oldest sister with the Japanese dancing, my other sister with the American dancing and piano. And so when I was in high school, when I started high school she says, yeah, we better call Mrs. Binning, who was this voice teacher in town. I don't know how she found out about her, 'cause I certainly didn't know, but she, she said we better call Mrs. Binning and make an appointment to see her. So I did and my mom and, so, but let me back off a little on that, 'cause my mom had said, "When you get to high school I think you better start taking some kind of class, and I think you ought to take singing." And so I said, well, maybe I ought to start now, and I was still in middle school. She said, "Well, if you want to, go ahead." But I never, I was always a great procrastinator, so I never did it. I never pushed myself into it. But the minute I became a freshman in high school my mother was relentless. I would procrastinate calling Mrs. Binning. She said, "You are going to call her," so I finally did have to call her, and so, because I was a freshman and she wanted to be absolutely sure that I started something, so we went to see Mrs. Binning and she tested me out and she took me in, and I was her first Japanese American student. She didn't have one before, but I was her first one. And then many years afterwards there were others who followed, but I was her first one.

MN: Why was it important for your mother to have her daughters learn different things?

JD: Well, I think it's like if you were in Japan you have to learn ikebana, you have to know how to cook, you have to know how to do this, this, this, and this, right? I think it was that mentality, except she just didn't necessarily choose it to be all Japanese. She certainly did with my oldest sister, but she just felt, okay, we're in America now, we ought to learn some of their things, and so even though my oldest sister was in the traditional Japanese thing, with my other sister and me it was mostly American stuff. But I think that was the mentality that she had. She says, well, you don't necessarily have to learn ikebana -- besides, there was no ikebana teachers in Idaho for me to learn from -- there was certainly no Japanese classical dancers, and cooking, forget that, I'm not a good cook today, as I was then. My mother was an excellent cook, but she was the kind who would say, "Well, you add a little bit of this and you add a little bit of that and you taste it and you do your own tasting." Well I can't learn that way, so, but anyway, so yes, I think the mentality was we had to learn something. I think that does come from Japan.

MN: Now, when you were going to school in Weiser, did you experience any hostility? What was school like?

JD: No. No. There was enough of a Japanese community in Weiser, not that we were the majority or anything, but, but there was enough of us in there that you made friends with whoever, and I never felt hostility amongst them, or they towards me anyway. I had some very good teachers who were very sympathetic with me. I didn't know that at the time, but when I think back about it now that's actually what they were doing. They were very sympathetic with me, and they were very kind.

MN: When you were living in Weiser, where was the main area that Japanese Americans went to socialize?

JD: It was in a town called Ontario, Oregon. Weiser and Payette, Idaho, which was another town on the Idaho side, the Oregon side and the Idaho side was just separated by the Snake River, so all you had to do was cross the bridge and you're in Oregon or cross the other way and you could be in Idaho. But Ontario seemed to be the focal point. It was, it had a large Japanese community there already, and so all the surrounding towns, whether you're on the Idaho side or the Oregon side, if there were any festivities that were held it was held in Ontario. Like Obon Odori, Obon service and whatnot, was in Ontario.

MN: Now, how far was Ontario from Weiser?

JD: About twenty miles.

MN: That's a long way.

JD: Yeah, but that's where we had to go.

MN: Now --

JD: Oh, they had a supermarket. They had a Japanese supermarket there, in Ontario.

MN: Do you remember what it was called?

JD: Don't remember too much about it, but they had, like the sashimi and the tofu and stuff like that, yeah. And then because we were so far away, that store would have a truck that came along and sold to the families, about once a week, or maybe, maybe it wasn't even once a week. It might've been once every two weeks or once a month. I don't remember the frequency of it, but yeah, they used to come. It's either that or you went to Ontario and you bought your food. So I remember that, yeah.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

MN: Now I'm gonna move ahead a little, and I want to ask you about redress and when the Japanese American community started to talk about, "Let's get redress from the government," what was your reaction to that?

JD: I thought that was fine. What I was sorry about -- because I didn't feel that I really deserved to have that money 'cause I was still a kid, okay. Who I felt sorry for were the Isseis who were gone, like my mom and dad were already gone at that point. I wish that they had gotten the money 'cause they're the ones who really suffered. And sure, some of the Nisei suffered too, but for myself as a kid, I thought, what did I do? I mean, yes, I was wrongfully imprisoned, as you will, but getting the twenty thousand, yeah, maybe yes and maybe no. At least we got a letter of apology. If it wasn't for that I would've said, "Phooey with you, Uncle Sam," but at least we got that as well. But I felt sorry for my mom and dad because they didn't get it.

MN: After the war, what, when was the first time you returned to Topaz?

JD: The first time was, I think I had gone up to Idaho for a class reunion, high school class reunion, and I can't remember now if it was the fortieth. It was a long time ago. We were at that time living in Walnut Creek, and we had gone up there for a high school reunion, and I said, "On the way back, Jack, I would like to stop and visit Topaz if we can." So we flew in from Oakland to Delta -- I mean, there was a direct flight from Oakland to Boise, but since I wanted to come back into Salt Lake we took a plane that took us from Oakland to Salt Lake and then transferred from Salt Lake to Boise, and the reverse. So we stopped in in Salt Lake, got a car, went down to Delta and started asking around about where this, where Topaz is, and we went into this gas station and there was this young teenage girl, and we said, "Can you tell us how to get to Topaz? It was a camp during the war." This girl didn't know anything about it. She didn't know of its, of its existence or anything. So I said okay, so then we went across the way and we drove around a little bit, and close by to where this gas station was, was a newspaper office, and I thought, oh, they should know, and so, but it was after five o'clock, so we thought, well, maybe it isn't open. But as were parking we saw this, I don't know, she was probably an eight or nine year old girl who went into the office, so I thought, oh, it's got to be, at least the door is open, so we decided, okay, we're gonna park the car and go into the newspaper office. So when we went in we asked about Topaz and where it was, and it turned out to be Jane Beckwith's sister, and so she says, "Well, if you can wait until she comes here she'll be more than glad to take you," and her sister said she, that her sister Jane always went to the nursing home to feed their mother and so, and that'll take maybe a half hour or whatever. So anyway, so I said okay, so she said come back in about, I forget what time it was, but as we walked back to the car and we got into the car and we're getting ready to leave, here came, I forget whether it was Jane or her sister who came running out of the newspaper office and says, "Oh, wait, wait, wait. Jane is here. Jane is here. Why don't you wait and talk to her?" So we got out of the car, talked to Jane, and she said, yeah, she has to go feed her mom, and she says why don't we meet at the corner parking lot, which was the parking lot for the police department, but it was kind of empty, so she said, "Why don't you wait for me there, and I'll be back in a half hour and I'll take you out there." So I said okay, that was fine.

So we did and she took us out there, and when we got there it was, I think I want, because for all the years that we were out after the war ended I never wanted to go back to Topaz. I don't know if it was because it was too painful or what, the memories of it or what. I don't know. I just, or to me, I guess it associated with the fact that we were Japanese and we were not liked before the war, and I didn't want to associate myself with that. And so, but then as I got older I have to put a closure to this chapter of my life, so we went, and she showed us the camp. We went through the gate -- I mean, it was open -- and as we, and I told her about my father's fish pond 'cause she asked me what block did I live in, so I told her and I said there was a fish pond there. She said, "There was?" And I said yeah. She said, -- and at that time she was trying to get a project going where she could stake each block, and I think that actually was just finished not too long ago by the Boy Scouts in that area, but at time that's what she was trying to do. So she knew where Block 20 was, so we walked from the gate to Block 20, and sure enough this, there was this fish pond. She said, well, she never knew that. And, but I remember, too, as we were walking to the block I would look down on the ground and you'd see bits and pieces of broken china, Japanese broken china. People couldn't take it with them, so they just broke it or they maybe threw it out or whatever, so here were all these broken pieces on the, looking straight at you. So I remember that, and then after we finished with that we came back to, to Delta. And she did ask me about Toru Saito at that time, and I didn't know him at all, I didn't know about him until last year when we made this decision to go to Topaz, but she asked me about him. I said no, I don't know him. But anyway, so then we stayed in Topaz that night and had dinner, and then we left the following morning and went to Boise and -- not Boise, but to Salt Lake. And I think we looked around Salt Lake for a little bit and then we caught the plane, took it back to Oakland to go back to Walnut Creek.

MN: So when you visited that time, did you get the closure that you were searching for?

JD: Yeah, I think I did. Yeah, I think I did. Just the fact that I went to see it and to see what was there. There was nothing there, actually, except there were a couple of families, I guess, who bought a couple of the barracks or a couple of the blocks or something, and I think they're still there. They were still there when we went last year. Course, in the meantime, since that time and today, Jane had started a project to try to buy as many blocks as she could, or at least selected blocks anyway. And I remember when she came and sent a flyer out about that, and one of the blocks that she was wanting to purchase was Block Twenty, so did contribute at that time 'cause that was the camp, the block that I was in, so I did that.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

MN: Now I'm gonna change the questioning a little bit. I want to ask about your husband, Jack. When you met him did you know he was a hibakusha?

JD: Not when I met him, no, I didn't. I didn't even know that he had been in Japan for that matter, but I, but he did tell me later on. And I think maybe I asked him about, too, as we were dating, and, but he didn't think too much about it, about being a hibakusha or anything. But many years after our marriage, because my mom was still living with us and we were taking the Nichi Bei Times for her, I would read the English section and I remember reading this thing about the doctors coming and there were gonna be some reporters asking about, about the aftermath of it for these people like him. And so I said, "Jack, you ought to go to this examination. You may feel like you don't have anything, but I think it's not gonna cost you anything and if you have to donate something donate it, but I think it might be well worth it." So he started with that, and the doctors, of course, have been coming every other year and he's been going every other year. He's been actually helping out with the logistics of setting up the tables for the interview and exams and whatnot. He doesn't do the exams himself, obviously, but he does set up and he tries to be the receptionist at the desk, so he checks in all the people that come in and things like that, so he's been involved with that for all these years. And of course they're coming again in, it's either June or July that they're coming this year.

MN: When your mother found out you were dating a hibakusha, did she have any problems with that?

JD: I don't think so. Yeah, I don't think so. Of course, they knew the family from before the war. Let me go back to something. When my sister got married, the first thing my dad asked my sister was where is Hiromi from, wanted to know, because there's this eta thing, the mentality of that. That's why my father was asking, "Where is Hiromi from?" So when, then Mag had to go and ask Hiromi, "Where's your family from?" And when she got the response, or when she gave the response, then my dad was happy with that. So I remembered that, and so I had to find out where was he from and that's when I found out he was from Hiroshima, so when I, when we decided we were gonna get married I told my mom and dad, "Well, he's from Hiroshima-ken." [Laughs]

MN: You and Jack don't have children.

JD: Correct.

MN: Is that a decision you made?

JD: Yes.

MN: And why is that so?

JD: Well, I think like a lot of the people who are hibakushas in Japan, they were afraid they might have deformed kids or their sons or daughters would not be able to marry if the other spouse or whatever, spouse to be, found out that they were A-bomb victims, and so I guess consciously we just decided not to have any kids, yeah. We have a friend who, Mariko-san was a womb, was in her mother's womb when the A-bomb struck, and as she was growing up her mother said, "If you ever get married, do not have children." So Mariko married. She married, she immigrated to the United States, lives in the East Bay, married a hakujin guy, but she never had children. And she does go and gets herself examined because she was in her mother's womb at the time she was born, at the time the bomb happened. Yeah, so it's all these unknowns. And yet there are hibakushas who've married and have very healthy children. So, so I don't know.

MN: Now, you mentioned eta earlier. Were there eta families in Topaz?

JD: Oh, I'm sure there were. I mean, if they were from the whole Bay Area I'm sure there were, yeah. I mean, I don't know who they were, but I would expect that there must've been some. I think all camps had them.

MN: Okay, I've asked my questions. Anything else you want to add?

JD: I don't think so.

MN: Okay. Thank you very much.

JD: Oh, thank you.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.