Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Yaeko Nakano - Kenichi Nakano - Hiroshi Nakano - Stanley Nakano Interview
Narrator: Yaeko Nakano, Kenichi Nakano, Hiroshi Nakano, Stanley Nakano
Interviewer: Tracy Lai
Location: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Date: July 4, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-nyaeko_g-01-0001

<Begin Segment 1>

TL: This is Tracy Lai interviewing a family, which includes Mrs. Yaeko Nakano and her three sons, Kenichi, Hiroshi, and Stan. Yaeko, I'm wondering if could you just start by telling us a little bit about yourself and how you came to Tule Lake.

YN: [Pauses] I'm sorry. Along with the Tacoma people, we were, left Tacoma on May the 17th, 1942. And I decided to keep a diary of this experience. As you know, before, we never traveled anywhere, our parents were always working; and I have never ridden on a train, I have never left Tacoma, I haven't even been to Portland. And so to me it was going to be a big adventure. And so I thought, "Well, I'll put something down in my diary." And this is what I put down for the first day, just a little excerpt of it: "The last day in Tacoma. Feel kinda blue, but also looking forward to our trip. We bade farewell to all our friends and that was hardest of all. Around 1:00, went down to Chinese Garden, had our last meal in Tacoma. Sort of a shame, but I stuffed myself when I thought, 'I won't be able to eat that kind of a food for some time.' At a quarter to three we locked our front door, looked around the garden, and with a sort of empty feeling, turned our back on our home for the last ten years. The station was a hubnub of people all trying to look unconcerned, and doing a pretty good job at that. I boarded the train, car E, seat 7, and at ten minutes to six we were on our way. We passed railroad yards, the lumber mills, around Point Defiance Park, Salmon Beach, Sixth Avenue, under the still proud-looking broken Narrows Bridge, Steilacoom Beach. (Narr. note: This is a small town southwest of Tacoma where we used to go swimming.) All very familiar places where we spent our childhood days." Then I went on about the rest of that trip.

TL: How old were you?

YN: Probably nineteen, going on twenty.

TL: And how many members were in your family? Who were you traveling --

YN: My mother and father, my brother, my sister, and then also a married brother and his wife.

TL: So you went first to Pinedale?

YN: Yes, we went to Pinedale first.

TL: What do you remember about Pinedale?

YN: In Pinedale, the first day as we got there, we had to stand in line under that hot sun; holding your own utensils and a tin cup like a beggar, lining up to go to the mess hall. And because of that experience, my mother said -- because they told us all young people had to work -- my mother said to me and my sister, "Go and work in the mess hall." She says, "At least I know you will be fed," and that's the reason why we worked in the mess hall. And then later on I applied for a job as a musician, and I was able to teach piano, and lead a glee club, things like that. Then I did a lotta accompanying at all the entertainment; and I have that all in my scrapbook here.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.