Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Akiko Kurose Interview I
Narrator: Akiko Kurose
Interviewer: Matt Emery
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: July 17, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-kakiko-01-0020

<Begin Segment 20>

ME: Are there any particularly positive moments that stand out in your mind about the camp experience?

AK: Well, I saw the togetherness and the community spirit where people went and had singing sessions, you know, we had community singing. And just, then later on they did community dances in the mess hall, you know. And so, that we felt the bonding and the togetherness. And I thought that was good and people were helping each other, and friendly.

ME: How about any particularly negative points?

AK: Well, the negative aspect was the inconvenience. The bathroom situation was very difficult, you'd have to go a whole block to go to the bathroom. And then it was all public type of facilities. And also, the laundry room was big tubs, and where you had to go wash your clothes with the scrub board -- which I had never seen done 'til then. And so those were the major inconveniences. But we did make do, I'd go pick up my girlfriend or she'd come pick me up and we'd go for walks or whatever. And so -- and we'd read books and things so there wasn't that real boredom -- read Gone With the Wind. [Laughs] And the American Friends' Service Committee sent in lots of books for us.

And then, Floyd Schmoe started a student relocation program, and he was checking out all the different colleges that will accept Japanese Americans. Princeton dismissed all the Japanese American students. And some of the colleges would not accept new Japanese American students. And so he placed many of the Japanese American students in Quaker schools. And so there were acts of discrimination and prejudice against the Japanese ongoing. And some of them, some of the people felt more victimized than some of us -- depending on the situation. There was a lot of turmoil when the boys volunteered for the service, because some of the parents felt like, "Why are you going to the service when we're thrown into camp?" And some of the older Isseis actually felt that Japan was going to win the war. And they said, "Hey, why are you doing this?"

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.