Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Art Ishida Interview
Narrator: Art Ishida
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: August 24, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-iart_2-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

MN: Now when the so-called "loyalty questionnaire" came out in 1943, were there block meetings at Jerome?

AI: No.

MN: How did you answer the two controversial questions?

AI: My answer was "no-yes." No, I'm not volunteer unless I'm treated as U.S. citizen, and twenty-eight, I think I'm still citizen so if I get drafted, yes, I'll go.

MN: Did they try to change your mind?

AI: No, they don't try to change my mind. I was looking through my scrapbook and some more information came out, but I think there was another hearing came and they were asking me a little bit more detail, what the background is and so forth but my answer was still the same.

MN: So if you were drafted you would have gone.

AI: Yes.

MN: But you didn't change your answer so what did they do?

AI: Well, I being a Kibei and at the time I wasn't speaking much of English either, so I guess the FBI figured that well, this guy is no citizen so he says, "Well, we're going to send you to Tule Lake." So I says, "No, I'm not going," but they sent me. Tule Lake from Jerome, the very first group of about 1,500 went and second group, about 200, went few days later. And when my time came we were about 200 out of Jerome which was if I remember correctly somewhere near months later from the first group went. We went to Rohwer, then about 200 from there joined us, then we went to Amache, then we'd pick up about 100 there, then we went to Tule Lake. I don't remember that we stopped in Amache or the Rohwer but my scrapbook said that.

MN: Because you kept a journal.

AI: Yes.

MN: So the truck left from Jerome with about 200.

AI: 300.

MN: 300, then this truck --

AI: No, 400. 200 from Jerome, 200 from Rohwer.

MN: Well, the truck went to Rohwer, picked up another 200.

AI: Train, we got on the train at the Jerome, the train went to Rohwer, pick up 200 there, then train went to Amache, pick up about 100.

MN: And then the train went to Tule Lake.

AI: Tule Lake.

MN: Was security very strict?

AI: For that, yes.

MN: How was it strict?

AI: Well, just like going, everything closed down, shut down, MPs on the train.

MN: Were most of the people on the train men?

AI: No, a lot of families on there because I think a lot of people that went to Tule Lake is because of the father says, "We're going to go back to Japan," so what else the mother and the kids going to do, especially young kids, teenage. So lot of family went.

MN: What about your younger brother? What happened to him?

AI: He went out with his friend to work in the sugar beets at the time so he was out of the camp. Because of my time for going Tule Lake was so late is I applied to leave the camp, I had application in and all my question "yes-no," I mean "no-yes" and so forth that FBI interrogation so forth that took us so long to get answer. That's why I think I was sent to Tule Lake later time.

MN: But your younger brother must have answered "yes-yes."

AI: Yeah.

MN: So he was able to get a leave clearance.

AI: He might have even went out before the questionnaire but when he came back, "yes-yes."

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.