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Title: Frank Miyamoto Interview III
Narrator: Frank Miyamoto
Interviewer: Stephen Fugita
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: April 29, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-mfrank-03-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

SF: What was the thinking about where people might be sent, or under what conditions, about that point?

FM: Yeah, I think... I think the thing, the thought was, that we did not know what was going to happen. We had all kinds of guesses as to what could happen. There was the picture of the concentration camps in Europe, to which the Jews were being forced into. And there was fear that that kind of thing might happen. On the other hand... it was simply a situation in which people didn't have a realistic sense of what could develop out of this situation. In the face of that kind of circumstance, I think people concentrate on what is immediately in front of them. You live your life from day to day, dealing with the problems that immediately face you. If the, given the evacuation order, the question is, "What shall we do with our property?" "How can we deal with the financial problems that might emerge?" And so on and so on. You're -- I think the focus of attention comes to be fixed on the immediately addressable problems, and that's the way we tended to look at it.

SF: How stressful do you think this period was, as compared with the period where people actually were going into say, the Assembly Center? This kind of, not knowing what was going to happen, and the uncertainties?

FM: Yeah. Well, incidents would happen which distressed people, no doubt. But... for example, we'd read about these stories of where, people are forced to give up their homes and so on, and then they're gonna' try sell something and people come in and cheat them out of what they could possibly get. And things like this certainly happened. And you would have immediate reactions to that. But, it's hard to talk about what happens to people, given an event of this kind, because it's the immediate situations to which you are reacting at, that, given that kind of circumstance. Rather than thinking in terms of, thinking of the injustice in a larger sense or, thinking, being concerned of, "Whoa, what's going to happen to us in the future?" You are concerned about that, but then there's no basis for thinking about it in any realistic way, and so you just worry about it and deal with the problems in front of you. I think this is the way people, most of us, reacted.

SF: So, how was the actual evacuation itself?

FM: As far as the actual evacuation is concerned, we...our minds (were) fixed, for example, on the question of what to do with our, with the furniture, our property -- how to store it, how to lease it, how to rent it, or whatever could be done in order to get, you know, not lose everything, which we were threatened with. And I think that was the main focus of attention as to what could be done to save ourselves from total loss.

SF: Was there much help from the government, like the WRA here? Or was the community so huge...

FM: Well the, yeah, not so much the WRA, the WRA was not something that we knew anything about at that point. But there was so-called Federal Security Agency, (and some other) agencies that were out there which were sending out announcements of what to do, and so on. But I think it was evident also, that the government itself was not very clear as to what it was going to do. Especially now, in retrospect, it's very clear that the government was totally confused on many issues as to just... and many agencies were acting in conflict with each other, or overlapping each other, and so on. So that there was a great confusion, both at the governmental level as well as in the community, as to how to act. And one dealt with these problems as best he could. You studied the announcements which indicated that the government would store property for you if you took it to a certain place and this sort of thing. But by and large, people tried to take care of their affairs on their own, feeling that was the easiest and best way to deal with matters.

In our case, for example, Michi's parents had a home that they were renting out to some white people, and the attic was, there was an attic where everything could be stored, but was of a private character. And that's what we did. Subsequently we found that people, the renters got in there, and kind of picked out what they wanted, this sort of thing. But you had to take your chances with what was possible. And many people did that sort of thing. If there was a hotel owner who had storage space, he would allow his friends and relatives to store goods there. And things of this kind.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.