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Title: Makoto Otsu Interview
Narrator: Makoto Otsu
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (secondary), Barbara Yasui (primary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 24, 2022
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-497-10

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TI: So talk about your family and when they left Steveston, how did they go? I mean, you mentioned, like, in the United States, they would come with buses and stuff and there's a pickup point. But it sounds like it was different for you and your family, can you remember how you left Steveston?

MO: You know, only reason I left...

TI: I'm sorry, what's that?

BY: Did you go by car or bus or train?

MO: Well, like Minto, I think we took... I don't know how we got that. Anyway, we took a train out of Vancouver, I think.

TI: Okay. Do you remember how you got from Steveston to Vancouver? Because it's about, what, 15 miles or so?

MO: Yeah. I don't know. Probably loaded up with probably... I don't know.

BY: So in the United States, when people were removed from their homes, they could only take what they could carry. Was that true for you?

MO: Yeah. Well, Steveston, too. They didn't take too much stuff with him when we moved to Minto.

TI: And when you got to Vancouver, do you remember anything when you got to Vancouver? Like how long you were there before you went to Minto?

MO: Well, I think it took the same day.

TI: Okay, so it's just like a transfer point, Vancouver.

MO: Yeah, going to train to Ashcroft and then to Minto there.

TI: Yeah, because I think I read someplace where, yeah, the train did go either to Minto or nearby Minto there was the train that goes there. And so who else besides your family went to Minto?

MO: Oh, the four family up there, and quite a few families from Steveston went to Minto. Minto really had, well, fifteen or twenty families from Steveston, and quite a few from Vancouver. And even from Vancouver Island, mostly all Japanese.

TI: So do you know how your family and the four families that were related and the other Steveston people, how it was decided that you got to go to Minto Mines versus many people went from there to Hastings Park, but you went to Minto Mines.

MO: I don't know how we decided. My dad was pretty active, so he knew some people in Vancouver.

TI: No, it's interesting because I read a little bit, and it seems like, to get to Minto Mines, it was only the early, kind of, the people who were removed earlier went to Minto Mines, and it was considered one of the better places to go for a Japanese Canadian, rather than going to, like, Hastings Park and to the other places.

MO: Oh, yeah. Well, we weren't forced to go Minto Mines, I don't think.

TI: Yeah. In fact, I think it was considered by some as a "voluntary evacuation," similar to...

MO: It's just volunteer, yeah. Because we weren't forced to go, like in the States, never gathered and forced to go.

TI: But you couldn't stay in Steveston, right? I mean, you had to go somewhere, right?

MO: Well, yes. Japanese have to move out of Steveston. Some people didn't, though, they decided they didn't want to move out of the coast. They were, I think they were forced to move to, just a place, camps outside, Tashme, called Tashme outside Hope.

TI: So it sounds like what you're saying is that your family was one of the early families to leave Steveston, that you left maybe earlier than some other families?

MO: Yeah, well, I don't know whether people that gathered in Hastings Park went to a relocation center in interior B.C. I don't know what time, whether we were, we left east before them or not.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2022 Densho. All Rights Reserved.