Densho Digital Repository
Friends of Manzanar Collection
Title: Grace Hata Interview
Narrator: Grace Hata
Interviewer: Martha Nakagawa
Location: West Los Angeles, California
Date: March 16, 2012
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1003-10-17

<Begin Segment 17>

MN: So in 1943 when the government passed out the so called "loyalty questionnaire," Thomas answered "no-no" on the, question twenty-seven, twenty-eight. Do you know why he answered "no-no"?

GH: Well, I think mainly because we were not treated as Americans, and so I think that was it. Before we went into camp we had a party for this fellow who was drafted, a Japanese fellow who was drafted, and as soon as the war started he was discharged. We found that out, that he was also in camp because he was discharged. And so I don't know, I think that it was a very confusing time for people to have to make up such a mind, you know? It wasn't voluntary. It was kind of pushed on you in a bad situation, so I don't know, but I think mainly because we were not treated as we should, we thought we should've been as American citizens.


MN: Okay, let's go back. So how did you feel when you found out you had to move to Tule Lake?

GH: Well, it was one of, you had no choice. You had to do what you were told, so we all went to Tule Lake. I still wrote to the government to have my father sent back so that we could be reunited, our family could be together, and I think, then we finally had a little short time together.

MN: How would you compare your living situation at Tule Lake to Manzanar?

GH: It was different because my dad was there now too. And I don't remember too terribly much of it, but I know one time my mother and -- my mother's a nagger [laughs] -- and she got into something with my father and he pushed her, and she, like I say, was a pleasantly plump little lady, so went staggering back and fell. And I went after my father. You know, how dare he. So my father, I know he didn't mean to do, to harm her, but she wasn't very steady either, so she fell. And I don't remember too terribly much, and then after that, again he was separated from us. I forgot exactly how that happened.

MN: But when your father came back, it's because you wrote to somebody in Washington, D.C.?

GH: I'd been writing to them, yes, to reunite our family, and my father was nobody really that important that should be locked away, and he was just a businessman running a restaurant. But we didn't get to be together until they put us into the "disloyal camp" and he finally, we were reunited for just a short time.

MN: What was the reunion like?

GH: It was kind of strange. He was different. We were all different than we were, with the stress and everything. I don't know, we were all different.

MN: How would you say different?

GH: I think not as harmonious as it was. There was a little tension.

MN: Did your father and Thomas get involved with the Hoshidan?

GH: I'm not sure.

MN: What about you and your mother? Did you get involved with the Joshidan?

GH: I don't know that either, but we did exercise. We did go for exercise, so I don't know if that was it.

MN: Tell me about the exercise. How early would you have to get up?

GH: We had to get up very early and do these exercises and come home, go back to what we were doing.

MN: Were you out there with the hachimaki and everything?

GH: I don't think we did that, but yes, we did go exercise.

MN: Now, your mother's not very healthy, so how was she able to stand all...

GH: She tried. And one time she did fall, and thereafter we didn't go. [Laughs]

MN: Now, was this all women, or were there girls, young girls? Or how, and how many --

GH: I think it was all woman, and it was a group.

MN: How big was the group?

GH: I don't know, I don't know anybody in there or anything. We just went, did our thing, and came back. But it was a group. There was quite a few people. And we did, "Wassho, wassho, wassho," ran up the street. I think I remember that the street was, like, a red gravel street, and (Mother) fell and it really scraped her leg badly, and I think she hurt her back too. And thereafter we didn't go very much.

MN: When you were exercising, were the men exercising also?

GH: [Shakes head] Maybe they were separate from us.

MN: I know, like the men used to have bugles and stuff. Did the women have that too?

GH: I don't remember that.

MN: Now, at Tule Lake you attended the Japanese school rather than the regular school.

GH: Right.

MN: Why did you choose the Japanese school?

GH: It wasn't that I chose it. My mother said that they had better education there because they taught everything in Japanese, so it was better than the English school, the regular school, because they... I don't know. She felt that it was better for me to go to Japanese school, so I did. And I had a little bit of background from Moneta Gakuen, so I caught up with them very quickly.

MN: So how many hours a day was Japanese school?

GH: It was all day.

MN: Like a regular school.

GH: Like a regular school.

MN: And then you mentioned that you also resumed odori lessons.

GH: Well, that was, Mother wanted me to go to Bando Misa and so I did learn from Bando Misa, yes.

MN: Now, when you were at Tule Lake, nobody tried to convince your father to remain in the United States?

GH: I don't know about that. I don't think so.

MN: How long was your father with the family before, this time your father and Thomas were taken away, right?

GH: Yes.

MN: Do you remember how that happened?

GH: I'm not sure about how that happened. And I can't even remember when it was. I guess I'm trying to wipe out all that part of, of my life. [Laughs] I can't remember it very well.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2012 Densho. All Rights Reserved.