Densho Digital Archive
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community Collection
Title: Tatsukichi Moritani Interview
Narrator: Tatsukichi Moritani
Interviewer: Frank Kitamoto
Location: Bainbridge Island, Washington
Date: February 25, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-mtatsukichi-01-0007

<Begin Segment 7>

FK: When did you start maybe getting the feeling that maybe people might be removed from Bainbridge Island because they were of Japanese descent? When did you first start getting the feeling that that might happen, or what triggered that off?

TM: I know that the people that got interrogated, they said the FBI knew quite a bit about Japanese life on the island -- where they've been, people that visited the old country and came back, whether they were men or women, they were really interrogated on this.

FK: Was the, when they posted the notices that we all had to go, was that the first time you realized that we were gonna have to close everything down and leave?

TM: Yeah.

FK: And then when those notices were posted, what feelings did you have?

TM: What?

FK: When those notices were posted on the posts and walls and things, what feelings went through your mind at that time?

TM: Well, yeah, I didn't know where we were going. They said there was a chance that Bainbridge was going to the Moses Lake area, the whole group. But then that kind of fell through, there were too many little kids and families and stuff. There wasn't anything, any place for them to go, except out of the restricted area.

FK: What things did you decide to do when you found out that we had to leave? What steps did you take and what did you decide to do?

TM: They had several meetings at the Japanese Hall there, and something about power of attorney and all that stuff. People left... they said you had to leave their farm. They didn't let you just leave it, they said somebody gotta be, you gotta get somebody to run that farm while you're gone, I guess. So you had to find somebody to take over. But our place was, nobody wanted it because it's so small and run down. One guy decided to hold, take it for one year, and then just went practically broke, so just left it. We had to get some, somebody from the American Friends took over and looked after that place until we came back.

FK: Was that someone on the island that did that?

TM: Yes, Orville Robertson.

FK: So he just, so the farm, he kinda looked after it, but no one really ran the farm while you were gone, then?

TM: No.

FK: Okay. So what preparations did you make to, when you knew you had to leave on March 30th, what preparations did you make as far as personally deciding what you were gonna bring and so forth? Did you get rid of a lot of stuff or did you just decide to bring certain things? How did you go through that process?

TM: Well, first, they said any stuff you got to store, you stored at the Japanese Hall there, and they would be guarded twenty-four hours a day on it. So we took some stuff up there. The car we put in some neighbor's place. The stuff that, the stuff that we left to the neighbors, we all got back. Stuff we took up to the Hall there, we got that back. Stuff that we left around the house there, that's, most of it disappeared.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.