Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Yasu Koyamatsu Momii Interview
Narrator: Yasu Koyamatsu Momii
Interviewer: Sharon Yamato
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: October 25, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-myasu-01-0015

<Begin Segment 15>

SY: So as people left Santa Anita, like your friend, did you have, wonder what was gonna happen, where you were gonna go? How did you find out where you were gonna go?

YM: After we were there, when we went to assembly center I don't know if we even knew we were gonna be moved again. We didn't know it was temporary or anything. We just went wherever they told us to go. So then I don't know when we found out that we were all gonna be separated, and so all the people in Santa Monica, Santa Anita went to several, went to several different camps.

SY: And your group, was there still the St. Mary's group that stayed together?

YM: Yes, there was. I didn't know how they figured the two groups, but Frank told me that it, that at St. Mary's there were two days that left the group, the groups left on the 29th and 30th. I didn't remember that. So it was those who went, registered on the 29th, and we registered on the 30th, they were divided. That's what he told me. I didn't know that. But so, yes, Father John, which is the second generation Father John Yamazaki, went to Gila. So that's where we went. We happened to be in that group.

SY: And he, yeah, he was the son of, of...

YM: Yes, and the father went to Jerome with a group.

SY: And they basically took a big group of people, or did...

YM: Yeah. Well, like Frank said, the certain people that registered on a certain day went with Father John, and certain people went with Father Yamazaki.

SY: And Frank is Frank Omatsu, who was a friend of yours.

YM: Yes, Frank Omatsu. Yes.

SY: And he sort of gave you that information later.

YM: Uh-huh.

SY: Interesting. So the group that you were in was all your family, right? They, you stayed together with your family?

YM: Yes.

SY: And where is it that you ended up going to? What camp?

YM: Gila, Arizona. And their barracks were a little bit different, and we got two units and we opened the door in the middle or something like that. So my brother's family lived in one part, larger part, and my mother and my other brother stayed in, we were connected, but it was adjacent to each other.

SY: And so was there another family on the other side of you?

YM: Yes. Each barrack had about, I guess four units of different sizes. The end units were probably larger, and some would be just big enough for four or whatever. But there was a description of how they divided each barrack.

SY: And you were, you remember the family that lived in the barrack with you?

YM: Now that I think of it, I think my, my sister must've lived in the same barrack. Not in the same barrack, not in the same room, the same barrack.

SY: With her husband.

YM: Yeah, I think she was there too. But I don't remember who the other ones were.

SY: So you probably had three separate rooms.

YM: Yes. All, the whole clan of us, yeah.

SY: And was it, so it was pretty much divided, though? You didn't, you didn't have, you couldn't hear what was happening in the unit next to you?

YM: Well they were all, yeah, separate apartments.

SY: It was pretty private?

YM: Yes, it was. And in Gila, since it was so hot, they had a double roof to try to make it cooler, I guess.

SY: But did it help? [Laughs]

YM: Well, it was really hot out there too, though.

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