Densho Digital Archive
Preserving California's Japantowns Collection
Title: Kiyo Nikaido Morimoto Interview
Narrator: Kiyo Nikaido Morimoto
Interviewers: Jill Shiraki (primary); Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Sacramento, California
Date: December 9, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-mkiyo-01-0011

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: Okay, so let's, just for my benefit, let's start from the very beginning in terms of, so when they picked up your father, he went first to the jail.

KM: Madera, Madera County Jail. And then we didn't know where he went after that.

TI: Okay. But when he was at the jail, you were able to visit him?

KM: Visit him, yeah.

TI: So talk about that. What was it like visiting your father at the Madera jail?

KM: Well, it was an experience. We didn't say much. My mother, we all cried, you know, because he was innocent. But nobody believed it, so they said, no, he had to be in jail until we just visited him and went home. And then we found out, find out later that they went to Sharp Park.

TI: Now, when you went to the jail, so you're the oldest, what role did you play when you went to the jail place? Did you have to communicate or talk to people? Do you remember that?

KM: No. We didn't talk to anybody. I don't remember talking, just looked at my father in jail.

TI: And how many other men were there?

KM: Oh, there was only one more from Madera.

JS: Do you remember the name?

KM: Yeah, Mr. Mochizuki.

JS: And why was Mr. Mochizuki picked up? What was his role?

KM: Well, he had, he had a grocery store, and he helped the community, like my father. He did, my father, there was Takarazuka, they used to come from Japan, he would put them up in hotels and he would do all that. And he was president of the Japanese Association. And when Japan people came, he would escort them all over, see. That's why they picked him up, because he was in between Japan and America.

JS: But your father didn't have a role like that. His role in the community was...

KM: Yeah, just to help the people. I remember, yeah, people came from Japan, my father would just take them to Yosemite and all that. He did that.

TI: And going back to the day the FBI picked up your father, you mentioned a Japanese man outside, you noticed. Do you recall how old this person was or who he was?

KM: Yeah, he was outside watching. So we said, "Why would he come?" And knew the same, the morning, the time the FBI came to pick my father up, he was right there.

TI: And did you know who this person was?

KM: Uh-huh.

TI: Do you want to, could you tell me who he was?

KM: No, I can't say that.

TI: Could you just tell me maybe how old he was? Was he a Nisei or Issei?

KM: No, he's a Nisei.

TI: And would he have been part of an organization or anything, did you know anything?

KM: No, he must be, he must have been the one that told the FBI, we think. That's what we think.

TI: Okay. And then from the Madera jail, you said he left, you didn't know where he was going.

KM: Yeah, we didn't know until they let us, somebody told us they were in New Mexico.

TI: How did you know about Sharp...

KM: Sharp Park?

TI: Yeah, Sharp Park.

KM: They must have let my mother know where he was. At least they were nice about that. But I think they suffered a lot when they were there. I don't know why they shot him in the back, but they did. And he was innocent, you know.

TI: And this is in New Mexico where this person was shot.

KM: Uh-huh, New Mexico.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2009 Densho and Preserving California's Japantowns. All Rights Reserved.