Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Ayako Murakami - Masako Murakami Interview
Narrators: Ayako Murakami, Masako Murakami
Interviewers: Dee Goto (primary), Alice Ito (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 14, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-mayako_g-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

DG: Did you teach anything about geography?

AM: All the subjects. Social studies and everything.

DG: Did they know where they were?

AM: What?

DG: Did you teach them about where they were? In camp?

AM: Yes, Uh-huh.

DG: Did you teach them anything about Japan?

AM: Not too much about Japan. More or less the subjects that pertain the fourth grade activities.

DG: And you helped, Masa?

MM: Uh-huh, Uh-huh. I wasn't there once when she gave the whole class five minutes to do whatever they wanted to do. And so they're visiting each other, they're away from their seats and here comes the principal. [Laughs] But then she explained to them, then after five minutes they're very quiet, very well-behaved. And there was two hakujin boys in the class. They were twin sons of the ano principal.

AM: Principal.

MM: Principal, kane.


DG: So your kids were smart.

MM: They're smart, uh-huh. They're all smart.

AM: They were doing fifth grade work. And that superintendent was so tickled pink.

MM: And his wife took over that class after they finished her class and she said, "I never had such a class like that." That was, it was nice that we had really nice kids. Then we still keep in contact with some of those.

DG: I know. I know some of the class members and they loved you.

MM: Well, she used to take -- she used to march them to the canteen and treat them ice cream.

AM: After getting my nineteen dollar check: "Let's go."

MM: And then when we get a day off we'd go to town, ne? And then we'd go to all the candy shops there. It was rationed, desho? We could only buy one pound at a time. And of course one pound doesn't cover all those kids, so she would go in and get a pound, I would go and get a pound, go to another store and get a pound. And Papa would say that some of the kids won't, can't wait for that, they come asking, "Are they home yet?" [Laughs] But then the next day the kids get it. They all know they're gonna get it. So those kids are, very nice kids. No problem. (...)

AI: I was wondering, the kids in class, did they ever ask you any questions about why they were there in camp? Or did you ever talk with them about that?

MM: They never said anything. But they took (it for granted, everything would be good, to be) with their parents.

AI: Did you ever talk to them at all about citizenship, or... fourth grade's a little young, but I imagine, did you have a, I know some classes had the Pledge of Allegiance every day and did you do that?

MM: We didn't do that, did we?

AM: What?

MM: American allegiance -- not every day.

AM: I had to do in the eighth grade class. When I was going to Central Grade School, I was a flag girl, so we used to have once a week, "I Pledge Allegiance to the flag." I went through that procedure. But I never did that during camp.

DG: Was there a reason you didn't do it?

AM: No one requested of it.

MM: It wasn't demanded of us. But anyway, we had a real good class.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.