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-01-0021

<Begin Segment 21>

ME: When you were in camp, what did you find yourself missing the most about home?

AK: Well, the thing I felt most was the lack of privacy, and that there wasn't anyplace you could just go and sit down and reflect. It was just like, hey, everybody's around, and it's just -- was no privacy. And also the warm interaction with the family was missing, because we used to spend so much time together talking, and joking, and singing and all that. You don't have that kind of opportunity in a barrack with six cots lined up and your meals are at a mess hall. You know the mealtime used to be a happy time, where we discussed things and had fun, and share things. And so, it was just a lack of that kind of comfort.

ME: Would you say it was more stressful on the family than it was bringing you closer together?

AK: I... I really don't know. My parents never complained, but we also never got together like that anymore. We didn't sit down and share food together; we didn't sit down and eat together. And we're all going in and out of the barracks at different times. And so, there was a lack of that kind of... lack of communication as well. And, but, we didn't have the real stressful, anxious times that some of the other families had because of the age situation. We were old enough so we could listen to our parents and not rebel. But the youngsters, the real youngsters, kind of fell apart without much structure and a lot of freedom.

ME: Was it hard when you would receive letters from Curt, your brother's friend --

AK: Uh-huh, uh-huh...

ME: -- was it hard knowing that your furniture was being stolen, and you're thousands of miles away and there's nothing you could do about it?

AK: Right, right, you know.

ME: What was that like?

AK: It was just like, wow, but this is what happens. And always the fact that we were together was okay. And, my folks didn't make too much of that. They said, "Well, if it's gone, it's gone." And I think that was how most of the Japanese in camp... were feeling, that, "Well, shikata ga nai, that can't be helped. So let's make the best of it." And so, people were making gardens in that awful soil there and really being very successful. You know, they bought lots of seeds and plants and kept growing things. And so that the people made good use of their time, I felt.

ME: What do you feel that you've learned about yourself from your camp experience?

AK: Well, I have so much to be thankful for to my parents, because I didn't get that bitter feeling or the angry, bitter feeling, or feeling that something useful can't happen. They encouraged me to go to school, and so I left camp to go to school. And, I felt that they were constantly supporting me just in the way they were. And so throughout our whole experience we found good friends that were always trying to help, people like Floyd Schmoe and Emery Andrews, and all these people. And so, we didn't feel that abandoned, and that was good.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.