Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Atsumi Ozawa Interview
Narrator: Atsumi Ozawa
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Skokie, Illinois
Date: June 17, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-oatsumi-01-0013

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TI: And so what was your daily life like? You're now there, you get settled down after the curtains go up, what was your day like in Crystal City?

AO: I think we were having good time because we had everything in there. They gave us plenty food, and we used to have recreations, and then we used to go to the Japanese school. Oh, we had everything. I didn't feel bad or anything, it was nice.

TI: So you had food, you had school, you had recreation. So what were some of the recreation type things?

AO: There was a ping pong table, there was a piano, and, let's see, we used to play volleyball, the boys, they used to play baseball. Let's see. And then we used to have a play... I don't know if it was once a year, everybody used to sing a solo or something. Let's see, plays, they used to have a play. It was nice. It was nice.

TI: Now, the school, you said Japanese school. Was this just for the Japanese Peruvians, or was it for all the children?

AO: For all the children. But many Japanese from the United States, they went to English school.

TI: And so in the Japanese school, you had the Japanese Peruvians and the Japanese from Hawaii?

AO: Yes.

TI: But then the mainlanders had a different English school.

AO: Yeah, but some, they were in Japanese school also.

TI: Okay. And how did you get along with the Japanese Hawaiians and the Japanese mainlanders who were in Japanese school? How were they?

AO: You know, we got along better with the Hawaiians, because they knew Japanese more than the mainland Niseis, the Hawaiians knew more Japanese. They were more Japanese style, I guess. So I don't know, somehow we got along better with the Hawaiians.

TI: So when you were with the Hawaiians, did they try to teach you how to speak pidgin, different English words?

AO: I think we must have speak in Japanese probably.

TI: Did any of them ask you could you teach them some Spanish or anything like that?

AO: No, there was no... and in the Japanese school, the teacher, they didn't want us to speak no English, no Spanish. All strictly Japanese.

TI: Now when you were at Crystal City, did people have an idea of where they would go next? Did they think maybe they were going to Japan or what did they think?

AO: Well, after the war ended, many of the Japanese, they went to Japan. They still thought that Japanese won the war and they went back to Japan.

TI: Oh, so in Crystal City, people were thinking, even though the war was over, that Japan won the war?

AO: Yes. And (some people) went back to Japan.

TI: And what did you think?

AO: Well, you know, luckily, I don't know, but my mother made a real good decision to stay in United States. So that was the best decision my mom made.

TI: Now, did she know that Japan lost the war or did she maybe not, wasn't sure?

AO: Probably she knew. I think she knew. And I'm lucky we stayed here, because I don't know what would have happened to us if we went to Japan. Like my sister's mother-in-law that went to Japan, the first one, she lost a son that was sixteen years old (because of malnutrition), and she lost her son-in-law because there wasn't enough food.

TI: So they starved.

AO: Yeah, they had a very hard time.

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