Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Esther Takei Nishio Interview
Narrator: Esther Takei Nishio
Interviewer: Sharon Yamato
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: September 21, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-nesther-01-0011

<Begin Segment 11>

SY: And had you heard anything at all from your father when you were there?

EN: No, it was, he was missing, period. And then I don't recall exactly when it was, but he suddenly showed up in Santa Anita.

SY: So it was at Santa Anita that he appeared.

EN: Yes. And we, our family was shipped to Colorado, I believe, in September, so he arrived sometime before we left Santa Anita. That's all I remember.

SY: And never really talked to him about what happened to him?

EN: No. We were too busy just trying to survive, and we never talked about what was, had happened. I'm sure he talked to Mom about it.

SY: Was he typical of the Japanese male who didn't say much?

EN: No, he was really quite outgoing. He was really a wonderful man.

SY: I see, so you had a pretty close relationship with both your parents.

EN: Yes, we had a great rapport. They were both so loving and caring, both for each other and for, for me and others. It was fun growing up with them.

SY: Do you remember your mother's reaction when he appeared? Or that's a blur?

EN: No, I don't remember. I'm sure he was thrilled.

SY: I'm sure. I'm sure. So was it, it must've been shortly thereafter that you were given instruction as to where you were gonna go next?

EN: Well, they didn't tell you where you were going. They just loaded you up on the train and off you went.

SY: And was this at a time when everybody was leaving?

EN: Yes. People were just suddenly disappearing, and we never saw each other again usually.

SY: Really? So a lot of friends you made at Santa Anita just were taken.

EN: Right. Never saw them again.

SY: I see. So all those boyfriends, they were gone.

EN: Gone. [Laughs]

SY: What a shame.

EN: But the one girlfriend that showed up at the yellow mess hall when I started working there, we had just started, I guess on the first day, and she came up to me, said hi, said, "My name is Aki Nakagawa. What's yours?" And I told her Esther Takei, and we've been friends ever since, and she ended up in Amache as well, so that was wonderful.

SY: I see. So that was good that you were able to stay friends with at least a few people.

EN: Yes.

SY: But you had no idea --

EN: But I think she was the only one that, from that period.

SY: Really? Wow. So would your, were your parents able to make friends, or do you know?

EN: I don't know. I was too busy pursuing my own life, I think.

SY: Right, right.

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