Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Miyoko Tsuboi Nakagawa Interview
Narrator: Miyoko Tsuboi Nakagawa
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: South Bend, Washington
Date: April 30, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-nmiyoko_2-01-0006

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TI: So now I want to move to Sunday, December 7, 1941. So this was the day that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Do you remember that day?

MN: I think, you said that was Sunday, so Monday we went back to school, in high school by then. We had an assembly, and they talked about Pearl Harbor and so forth. Of course, it was... it was really a shock to me. And being Japanese, even if I'm a, was born here and everything, but being of Japanese origin and my dad being Japanese, you know, you kind of wonder what's going to happen. And we... but that's when I heard all about it, is an assembly center in the morning.

TI: And what did they say at the assembly, do you remember?

MN: Not really. I think they just spoke very briefly about the attack and so forth, and then just, that was it for the assembly. They didn't go into any length that I can recall. But nobody treated me differently that I could...

TI: And how about your father's work? Did that change at all? Like did the business go down or did anything happen?

MN: Oh, it kind of remained the same. He never said anything about what would be happening to us. We didn't discuss things like that. But, I mean, really deeply. But we did try to kind of put things in order just in case, about whether going to Japan, or I don't know about that. So none of our immediate families or relatives are here in this country.

TI: But eventually the family had to leave Portland. So what preparations did you have to do to get ready to leave Portland?

MN: Oh, one of the things we had to do was you had to turn in your cameras and any, I remember that you were supposed to go to the police station and turn those contrabands, I guess they called it, in. And so naturally I'm elected to do it, my dad wasn't gonna go. So I did go to, that was the first time I've ever been in a police station. We did have a nice policeman that used to patrol around, very friendly, very nice, real big, tall policeman, and he was always very kind. But anyway, I did have to take the camera and binoculars and stuff, and turn it in, because we did have a few. And I went into the police station, and when you turned it in, it was like that, what is it, not Joe Friday, but like the movie scenes that you see where you have a desk with the officer sitting back there with a... what is, lamp there, and you turned your stuff in. Well, I was, there was a man behind me who was a Caucasian, he could have been a German, I don't know. But anyway, I went in and handed it in and they had me sign, because you're turning those things in so you could get it back. They said it'll be returned, but that was the ruling there, that you had to turn those things in. My dad always complied with things, so that was my duty.

TI: Now, did they give you like a receipt?

MN: I was just trying to think of... I must have had a receipt somewhere, or I must have been given a receipt, I don't know. But eventually we did get it back.

TI: Now how about all the things in the house? What did you do with that?

MN: Oh, well, where we lived, well, everything we had to get rid of. We lived at that house, but then we eventually had to, we moved to an apartment and so forth. But along the way, we had to, Dad had to sell his car, and all the, the cases that they used to have, the display cases and all that, everything had to go. And I don't recall everybody, I mean, I don't recall people coming and picking it up. They must have picked it up after we left, because we just left everything as-is, the car, I don't know who he sold it to or anything, I have no idea. But there was one cabinet thing I really liked, but had to leave that, too. And like oak table and stuff like that. But we, after... well, we just got prepared, just took whatever they said. I think it was one suitcase or two suitcase apiece or something like that, so immediate things that you would have to have, my dad thoughtfully packed. So he took care of things very well. So we were all kind of prepared when you went into assembly center.

TI: Now was there anything maybe unusual that your father packed that maybe was a little bit unusual?

MN: Well, he wanted to make sure that we had clean clothes, I'm sure, and all the things that went along with it, house-wise.

TI: There was one thing, when I looked at your sister's interview, that she said that your father packed that was maybe a little unusual. There were chocolate bars. Do you remember that at all?

MN: No, I don't.

TI: She said that he packed a big box of chocolate bars.

MN: Oh, yeah, my dad probably did. But I don't recall them. I think I was working while she was given that. [Laughs]

TI: Apparently she got one or two, like, a day or something, so it was a real treasure.

MN: Uh-huh, right. Because she wouldn't be working in assembly center, I was working. My father kept me busy working.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2014 Densho. All Rights Reserved.