Densho Digital Archive
Japanese American Film Preservation Project Collection
Title: Eiichi Edward Sakauye Interview II
Narrator: Eiichi Edward Sakauye
Interviewer: Wendy Hanamura
Location: San Jose, California
Date: May 14, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-seiichi-03-0007

<Begin Segment 7>

WH: You were just mentioning that you were in Santa Anita Assembly Center before going to Heart Mountain. And there you had a unique job, didn't you, with the Terminal Island cars?

ES: Yes.

WH: Tell me about that.

ES: Well, in Santa Anita Assembly Center, I was appointed to be Caucasian personnel shuttle bus driver, taking personnel from the outer gate to the inner gate every day from eight to eight. But that... it made is possible to contact or get information what was going on outside of the center. And... now I lost track what your...

WH: So you used to go and look in the trunks of...

ES: Oh, yes. So I got this job as a custodian for Terminal Island people, and I don't know how I got this job, but I was appointed as a custodian. So as September came by, it got pretty chilly in the horse stables as well as in the barracks, so they wanted warmer clothing. So they asked the administrator if they can get in and go through their luggage and trunks to get warmer clothing. So I was appointed to do that, and they would give me the keys and they'd tell me what I want, they wanted, so I would get them out of the trunks. And you'd be surprised what, they had put everything they can put together and carried them on their cars, just like from Oklahoma dust bowl, tied 'em on their cars, came to Santa Anita center. Anyway, amongst the goods they had, they had cameras, knives, everything you could think of, 'cause they hurriedly put it together -- they only had twenty-four hour notice. But that time I had itchy fingers to borrow one of those cameras and take a picture through the buttonhole like my, one of my teachers told me. But I was trusted with this responsible job, so therefore I kind of said I shouldn't disobey my duties.

WH: So tempting...

ES: Awful tempting.

WH: 'Cause you wanted to take photographs so much.

ES: Yes. If I can get a hold of film, but still I would have difficulties, because all the mails and stuff were censored at Santa Anita Assembly Center. So anyway, I would get it out just by chance, by sending it to home and have it developed that way. But I was really tempted, I was just eager to do it. But I said, "Well, I'm given this responsible job," and I felt quite obedient to my job, that's why I didn't do anything.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2005 Densho and The Japanese American Film Preservation Project. All Rights Reserved.