Densho Digital Archive
Friends of Manzanar Collection
Title: Kiyo Maruyama Interview
Narrator: Kiyo Maruyama
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: October 24, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-mkiyo_2-01-0018

<Begin Segment 18>

MN: Now the war broke out while you were at Berkeley. What were you doing on Sunday, December 7th?

KM: [Laughs] Yeah, that was the day. It happened on Sunday, and then about nine o'clock in the morning, we were notified by the guys that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. And at that time, I didn't know where Pearl Harbor was. And so, and then my finals started on December the 8th, and I don't know, I just didn't take of my finals that day, that time. I don't know why, but I just couldn't get myself to go back to school.

MN: So did you not go back to school after that?

KM: No, I didn't go to the classes after the war broke out. I was trying to get home. We went down to the train station to get tickets to go home on the train, and they wouldn't sell us any tickets unless they got, had a birth certificate saying that you were born in the U.S. I had to call my dad to go down to the county office to get birth certificate, copies of birth certificate. So those are the kind of things we went through just to get home.

MN: So your father went down there and then mailed the birth certificate to you?

KM: That's right, that's right.

MN: How long did that take?

KM: Oh, it must have took about a week.

MN: So once you got the birth certificate, were you able to buy a train ticket?

KM: That's right.

MN: And did you get harassed on the train at all?

KM: No.

MN: Now, you were mentioning that finals were supposed to start on December 8th. Your dorm mates at Euclid Hall, did they all not take their finals?

KM: That I don't know. I couldn't say. Some of 'em did and some of 'em didn't.

MN: Now when you finally reached Los Angeles, what was your neighborhood like?

KM: It was quiet, nothing that... people didn't come up to me and call me a "Jap" and then, "What are you doing here?" and all that. 'Cause my dad and mother, we lived in that house for twenty years. So the people that were, the old timers know we were there for a long time. It's the newer ones that... but they didn't harass us. I didn't get any harassment.

MN: Now, your father and your mother, did they lose any customers?

KM: I can't recall. Maybe they did, but I can't recall them losing any.

MN: Were there people that you knew who were picked up by the FBI?

KM: Yeah. We knew some people. I think my uncle was picked up, but my dad, he wasn't picked up. So that's why our family didn't have the repercussion of some of the other families.

MN: Now, you know, your home, you didn't finish Berkeley, what did you do? Did you have to go look for a job?

KM: You mean during that, after the war started?

MN: Just after the war started and before you went into camp.

KM: Well, a good family friend of ours who... he used to live, his family moved in with us for about a year before, but anyway, he had some routes, gardening routes in San Marino and some bigger houses. So had nobody to take care of it, so my dad told me to take care of that man's route after the war started.

MN: What happened to the man?

KM: No, no. That was a route, gardening route. So I took over his gardening route to do his gardening. So I don't know if I got paid or he got paid or what.

MN: Was this man unable to work?

KM: No, no, he was picked up by the FBI.

MN: Oh. Now when you started to work on this gardening route, did you get harassed?

KM: No. I just went around to do this guy's gardening.

MN: Now the Japanese Americans on Terminal Island were kicked off at the end of February 1942. Did any of them move into your neighborhood?

KM: No, none. Not that I know of, anyway.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.