Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Sarah Sato Interview
Narrator: Sarah Sato
Interviewer: Dee Goto
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: April 9, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-ssarah-01-0022

<Begin Segment 22>

DG: Okay, let's start again and start with the trip to Tule Lake. How was Tule Lake different from Jerome?

SS: Well, I just assumed everyone in Tule Lake were presumably "no-no's". And after we got there, we found out there, that there were a group that were pro-Japanese. And they were called the washo group because I guess in the morning they used to do their exercise and say, "Washoi, washoi". [Laughs] And most of the people who were in there were -- in Tule Lake somehow, they had people who were, farther on the outside of the camp, in blocks about seventy, in the seventies I guess. So... no, not seventies, in the fifties because seventies were on the opposite end were more pro-Japanese. And the block that we were in were not the real pro-Japanese, we were segregated. And people felt that they didn't want to be sent out because I guess, in the U.S. at that time, they had, the Niseis and all who were farmers, but they were, what... farmers who didn't have the land, that used to go from farm to farm. And they didn't want to go back to the situation, so they stayed in Tule and we were in the group that were not pro-Japanese, as the washoi group.

DG: When did you get there?

SS: We got there in September of '43. Yeah.

DG: And, did you start to work right away?

SS: I was fortunate to get a job. And then, I got to know Lily Yonenaka and Jean Sakata, who were very good friends. And I think I worked in the administration, it was in the administration building and I was there for four or five months, I guess. And then, Lily transferred over to the welfare department and then, she said why don't you come over, so I transferred. I was able to get a secretarial position there.

DG: What was the welfare department?

SS: I guess there were people, like... in our family, we were fortunate 'cause my dad, my mom and I worked. So we had some income coming in, even if it's sixteen dollars per month, per person. So, there were what... three of us, so that's $48 a month that we got, plus three something for clothing per person. And so with that, at least we were able to buy some food, at the canteen, right? We had in the camp. And some warm clothing from Sears; whereas, other people who had all little kids and if the adults could not find a job, then they had to depend on welfare.

DG: Oh, okay.

SS: So, within...

DG: ... particularly because you still couldn't go out, right?

SS: Yeah, right...

DG: Because you guys were in prison.

SS: Yeah, right. And so, when you think about it, it's sad that within the compound now, where we're interned, that we would have welfare... of the internees! Can you imagine?

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.