Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hank Shozo Umemoto Interview II
Narrator: Hank Shozo Umemoto
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: February 6, 2019
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-462-8

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TI: But at this point, you weren't working yet, you were going to school, and your mother wasn't working. So how did you...

HU: From the proceeds of the farm.

TI: Okay.

HU: And maybe, Mother actually never told me about their finances, but maybe she had some cash, maybe she had from before the war.

TI: And so during the day, when you would go to school or be out, what would your mother do?

HU: Nothing. Just...

TI: Stay in the room?

HU: Stay, yeah, cook and wash dishes and wash the clothes. My sister was there for about a year, and she was working at a garment factory.

TI: Okay, so she would leave, too.

HU: Yeah, she would leave eventually.

TI: Now, did your mom have friends that she would get together with?

HU: No, she didn't. I mean, she had friends, but friends from back home, in Boyle Heights and Westside, but then back in those days, the situation was a lot different. Because when my father was alive, people would come visit them, and I remember Mother mentioning that after my dad died, people just weren't friendly. Of course, you have five kids and widow, maybe that's why people just didn't approach her. So when we came up here, there were friends from back home, you go out, but we never asked to stay with them.

TI: How about when she was at Manzanar? Did she have kind of a friend, friends or social circles that she had?

HU: Yes, she used to attend the Seicho-No-Ie meetings, so she had friends. And my sister, she was taking shigin, one of those classic Japanese singing, so they had friends. And, of course, there were neighbors and people in the block, they knew each other and she worked at the mess hall, so she had mess hall friends.

TI: So I'm trying to get a sense, because one of the things, I've heard lots of stories about life in camp. And, yeah, the Isseis, they had, in some cases, they had more time than ever, right, they had time to take art classes and to socialize. But I'm curious what happened after the war. Like your mother, so now they're away from that. Was that a easier time or a harder time for her?

HU: I really don't know. I really don't know. She was so devoted in raising me, I guess. She always seemed happy and contented.

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