Densho Digital Archive
Preserving California's Japantowns Collection
Title: Sachi Hiromoto Interview
Narrator: Sachi Hiromoto
Interviewers: Donna Graves (primary); Jill Shiraki (secondary)
Location: Clarksburg, California
Date: October 1, 2012
Densho ID: denshovh-hsachi-01-0007

<Begin Segment 7>

DG: So when did your family -- did any of you leave camp early?

SH: Yes. My sister and I did.

DG: Where did you go?

SH: We went to, we came to Sacramento to find some kind of job, and then we went, we were referred to this lady. What was her name? Mrs.... I don't know, she used to take care of the, finding jobs for the girls.

DG: In Sacramento?

SH: Yeah, or all over, anywhere where there was a job opening. And my sister, she went to San Francisco, so she went San Francisco and she's been there ever since. And my friend and I -- that's Howard, Howard Sakai's sister and myself -- we stayed in Sacramento. We had, let's see, what was, what did we do? We had mostly... domestic.

DG: So when did you leave camp?

SH: Gee... well, a year before the camp was released, so that would be, what, '44? '44.

JS: '44?

DG: So your parents stayed longer.

SH: Yes. Although my father came out couple times -- no, once, -- and he and Mr. Sakai, Howard's father, they came out together and they worked out in the tomato field, picked tomatoes. And then they went back to camp, and then they brought the family back after that.

DG: So were they recruited because there was a labor shortage?

SH: Could be. I'm not sure. I'm not sure. Maybe word got into camp that there was work available. I'm not sure.

JS: So the Sakais were at Tule Lake too. There, were there a lot families from Clarksburg that were there?

SH: Yes. Yeah, yeah. They were there same time. We were on the same train.

GH: Did you meet all the Sakais?

JS: No.

GH: No, Howard died when he was young.

JS: He's not feeling well. It's too bad.

DG: So when your parents came back, they were able to restart the farm. And did your siblings help them?

SH: My siblings helped them? No, they were too young yet.

DG: But you were in Sacramento.

SH: Yes. And my sister was in San Francisco, so, and the rest of them were, they're all going to school and so they all went to Clarksburg school.

DG: So did your father hire Mexican workers like George described?

SH: You know, at that time, when we first came out of camp and all the Caucasian farmers started to hire Japanese again, and so they used to have foremen and they used to have camps to, for these men to stay, and so he hired a Japanese crew.

DG: So these crews would move from farm to farm?

SH: Uh-uh, just your farm. So I used to cook for them. There was about sixty of 'em. [Laughs]

DG: So you were working in Sacramento, but you'd come --

SH: No, I came home. When my dad needed help I came home, and then I helped him with the books and then I used to cook.

DG: You cooked for sixty?

SH: Uh-huh.

JS: What would you cook? Japanese food?

SH: No. I have to cook breakfast. Lets' see, what time was that? About five in the morning, because they would leave around six. And then make breakfast, and then I have to pack lunches for them, one for mid-morning and one for mid-afternoon, and then I have to... breakfast, lunch, and dinner they'd come home, so I was forever in the kitchen. [Laughs]

JS: Who helped you?

SH: My sister, my mother sometimes. But my mother used to go out and pick tomatoes too, so I couldn't count on her. My sister, but then my sister's in San Francisco, but the next two sisters that was going to school, they could only help me after they'd come back from school.

DG: How long did you do that?

SH: Let's see, until I got married. [Laughs]

DG: Okay, we can date that.

GH: I took her away from home so she doesn't have to work.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2012 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.