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-01-0022

<Begin Segment 22>

ME: So you, you left camp after a couple of years?

AK: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

ME: And went where?

AK: Oh, and I went to Salt Lake City and I was supposed to go to the University of Utah. And had all my papers taken care of, and in order to leave camp, a requirement was that we find housing and many of the families opened up their house, homes for... and offered board and room. And so, I was placed in a home, but those people had no intention of letting me go to school, they wanted a nursemaid and a housekeeper. And so, I said, "Well I need to go register in school." They said, "My dear, you may go only in the evenings, you need to work during the day for your board and room." And they offered me the bus pass of the man of the house, and that was for my days off on Thursdays, where I -- and so when I went to the school they said, "Well, you're not going to be able to attend with this kind of schedule." And so they -- and I said, "Well, I want to go to school." And they said, "Well how's about business college?" So I went to LDS Business College. And then, when my brother came to visit Salt Lake City during his furlough, the woman said, "I do not want any Jap soldiers coming to the house." I said, "My brother's in the U.S. Army!" And she said, "No." And also she didn't want me to get any mail at my house, at her house, so I was getting my mail at my sister's. My sister had also left camp to go to work in this home. And so when my brother came up, he said, "You're not going to stay there any longer." And so the woman said, "Well, I'm going to send her back to camp." And he said, "No, I'll take her back to WRA office," which was War Relocation Authority office. And my sister's family, the family that she was staying with, offered a space for me and said I could stay with her until I found another place. And so then I stayed with her, and then found another place, then continued school. Then the release came and we came back here. And then I came back here and worked with Floyd and then I went to Friends University in Kansas, and stayed with his wife's family down there.

ME: So tell us about Friends, what was that like there?

AK: Friends was very... it's, Wichita, Kansas is a small town. It was a -- well, it's not that small, but most of the students at Friends University were farm kids, and people from the rural area. Very friendly and very nice, and they didn't think of me as an oddity but just took me in -- very cordial, warm. And so it was lots of fun down there. And I still am in touch with those friends. And so, it was a very good experience.

ME: You mentioned Floyd's name again, why don't we talk a little bit about him?

AK: Uh-huh, uh-huh.

ME: And how did you, how did you first meet?

AK: Well, Floyd was very active in helping Japanese American students at the university. He was a professor at the University of Washington, a forestry professor. And he housed many Japanese students that came from Yakima, Wapato, whatever. The family always took in students. And I started attending Friends Center -- Friends meeting, which is church. And he just kind of adopted me, and said, "Hey, you're going to be our daughter." And so I'd go in and out of his house all the time. And his wife was very, very nice, and I got to know the whole family. And I've kept up this relationship with them. And he is just the most uncanny person I've ever known. He's very bright, very giving; he's just a very nice person. And I think I feel real honored to be his friend.

ME: And even today?

AK: Yes, yes. Every Sunday I pick him up and go take him to meeting, and bake him apple pies, because that's his favorite. And in the meanwhile he's writing another book, he's writing books all the time. And he's writing In the Beginnings right now about this story of Lucy, Lucy's child, that Johanson and Shreeve discovered. And he's doing a historical fiction about that. And I'm transcribing his material.

ME: That's wonderful.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.