Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Miyamoto Interview III
Narrator: Frank Miyamoto
Interviewer: Stephen Fugita
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: April 29, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mfrank-03-0011

<Begin Segment 11>

SF: How did the actual evacuation movement to "Camp Harmony," or Puyallup, go?

FM: People were asked, well, required to assemble at certain places where they would be moved onto busses and so on. You've seen all these pictures of people, the evacuees, getting on busses to be shipped out of their community. Our... Michi's parents lived not too far from here, up on 15th, and near the Providence Hospital area. And they had to go, what, four blocks from their house to the embarkation point, where the busses were lined up. And it was kind of a feeling of people being... that we were cattle being herded together, to be herded out of the community. It was a feeling of -- a very distressing feeling -- of being forced out of our home, forced out of what was our due rights, to ship onto via busses, to God knows where. We didn't know where we were going, what we were gonna' have... we were told we were being sent to Puyallup, but Puyallup was known simply as the fairground, we had no clear sense of what would be, what would meet us there. So the attitude I believe was one of... That point at which we were loaded on busses and shipped out, I think that was one of the worse points of our experience for us, in that we got the sense of being, as I say, herded like cattle out of our homes and where we felt we had a right to be.

SF: How was your reaction to Puyallup when you first got there? I mean, here was this fairgrounds that you'd known about, but had no idea what the facilities would be like and all of that.

FM: It's a funny thing that one should have such mixed feelings about a situation like this, but the, Michi's family, with whom I was moving, were moved under the grandstands of Puyallup fairgrounds. There were other people who were moved into newly constructed shelters. They were very flimsy affairs, but nevertheless they were constructed -- kind of shacks, in a sense. The under-the-grandstands part of the fairgrounds were probably the worst area for living quarters, because it was damp, dark, musky. A terrible situation to find oneself in as a place to live. So we went in and I think we felt terribly envious of those who were getting better quarters. You had the feeling of, "How come they got off so much better than we did, and we're being treated so badly?" This is the kind of concern you have on the one hand. And at the same time you realize that everybody is faced with this same kind of misfortune of being driven around to share quarters of a kind that you had never experienced before. The toilets probably were among the worst -- the toilets and showers -- toilets, probably were among the worst things you had to experience because, they were just rows of open toilets. I think for the women it must have been extremely hard to put up with. And then the other very bad part of it had to do with the dining hall. You were forced to eat at long tables where people just were crowded into, with relatively poor food, under circumstances where you had no privacy of course, and you felt like you might be prisoners in some kind of jail being fed wholesale. So the physical features and the physical accommodations of the camp were such as to lead us to feel, perhaps, as badly as I ever have felt in my life about the way I was being treated.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.