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Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Betty Tanakatsubo Interview
Narrator: Betty Tanakatsubo
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Skokie, Illinois
Date: June 15, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-tbetty-01-0008

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: So you're talking, this is back to December 7, 1941, so your parents were concerned about Tom because he was in Hawaii when this all happened.

BT: Yes, that's right.

TI: What else did they talk about? So they were worried about Tom, did they talk about anything else?

BT: Well, I don't remember aside from being worried about my brother, I can't think offhand any major worries of my parents. I'm pretty sure the Isseis kept everything to themselves, how they felt, but they would never talk about it.

TI: Now did your father, I'm guessing that he read a lot, the Japanese newspapers, and did he have kind of an inkling that something was going to go on between Japan and the United States?

BT: Well, when (he was) with his cronies, yeah, I think he used to have an argument and he said he did figure Japan is going to eventually... Japan and U.S. eventually are going to collide. And they said no, no it won't happen, the other Isseis, and he said no it's going to. So he had some foresight in terms of what will take place because he's doing a lot of reading in the newspaper, he gets this feeling that something is going to take place in terms of Japan and US.

TI: I've heard this from other whose father's read a lot that when they read the Japanese newspapers they had a sense that something was... might happen.

BT: Yes.

TI: Okay so your father was like that also.

BT: Yes.

TI: And so when it happened did you see any reaction from him? Did he say anything?

BT: No, in terms I'm pretty sure he probably told his cronies, "See? I told you so," but other than that he didn't speak too much about it. He was more concerned about my brother being stationed in Hawaii.

TI: And you talked a little bit about the next day at school. What are some other things that happened in the days after Pearl Harbor that you saw going on in the community or anywhere else? Did you see like FBI pick-ups or hear about those?

BT: Oh, (yes)... I know some of the so-called prominent officers or a group, some of the leaders were taken by the FBI. Now my father was a secretary for the Kumamoto Kenjinkai group, and fortunately he was not... when it came to the FBI he was not touched at all, which we were grateful. We thought Dad's going to get called in.

TI: Now like for instance, was the president of the Kumamoto ken picked up? Were the people that were kind of close picked up?

BT: Offhand I (don't know)... when you're that young you don't ask questions about these things. (So) you have no idea what took place.

TI: Maybe this is a better question. Did your father in any way prepare that he might get picked up? Like did he pack anything or anything like that?

BT: No, he just felt, I think, if they're going to come after him so be it. But fortunately he was never ostracized in terms of being the secretary for the Kumamoto ken group. So he was relieved.

TI: How about things like after Pearl Harbor, did anything change in terms of the job situation for your mother, like did they... was it harder for her work at the cannery or anything like that?

BT: No, I think in terms of... I don't think there was any after Pearl Harbor... I'm trying to think back. Naturally we were all put in camp and after we were discharged from camp I don't think... my mother went back to Sacramento with my sister. The only problem they had was the housing, trying to find a place to live.

TI: This was after the war.

BT: After the war.

TI: Well, before going to camp, how about your siblings? Did any of them have any difficulties during those weeks before you left for camp? Do you recall any sort of problems?

BT: No, that we were... in fact, I think it was mentioned how well it was organized and how the Japanese people went without any resentment. There was no discussion in terms of, I think the government was quite pleased how the Japanese people reacted to the relocation, how organized, how quiet.

TI: Now were any of your older siblings involved with the JACL in Sacramento?

BT: No.

TI: And what was the perception of the JACL?

BT: Well, (...) I think some felt that they were against, I don't know, the policy there was a pro and cons about the JAC, and I know there was a certain officers that they resented. They called them inu, dog, right and so if you were connected with the JAC group, I don't know what really took place, but I'm pretty sure there were several like the lawyers who were for the U.S., how they were ostracized by some of the Japanese people, not all of them.

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