Densho Digital Archive
Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann Collection
Title: Donald Yamamoto Interview
Narrator: Donald Yamamoto
Interviewer: Raechel Donahue
Location: San Jose, California
Date: December 15, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-ydonald-01-0002

<Begin Segment 2>

RD: And do you remember the day that you were told that you were going to camp?

DY: I don't really remember that. I don't remember when we were told we were going to camp. All I remember is that we had to line up to get our inoculations of various diseases, I think.

RD: And where did you go first?

DY: We went to Santa Anita Assembly Center in Southern California.

RD: We went out to Santa Anita. We have a lot of pictures which we'll send you.

DY: I heard about it from Kaz.

RD: So you're a good friend of Kaz?

DY: Yeah, we were in the same Boy Scout troop, we lived in the same block, and we did a lot of things together as Boy Scouts.

RD: He was quite the little scamp, I hear.

DY: Uh...

RD: Come on. He told me about getting up on Seabiscuit.

DY: No, I guess I wasn't around with him when he was doing all this stuff he was talking about. [Laughs]

RD: Kaz talked about the searchlights at Santa Anita.

DY: Yeah, I remember those. They were situated on top of the, the searchlights were situated on top of the grandstand and used to play games at night when you're walking to the bathroom or some... if the light hits you as you're between the barracks, used to run, run into the shadow of the barracks just to see what the guy would do. And he would searchlight to the next opening to see if you showed up there, and I just stayed in the shadow until they went away.

RD: He told us about that game. So did you, how did you go to Santa Anita, do you remember?

DY: How did I what?

RD: How did you get there? Did you drive, did your parents drive?

DY: No, we got on a train here in San Jose. I don't remember from Japantown to the station on First Street, but I don't remember how we got there. Maybe there was a bus, I don't know. We did not drive or anything then.

RD: Some people drove to Santa Anita, but I think they were ones from Los Angeles. What was your first impression of the assembly camp?

DY: I really don't remember what my first impression of the assembly camp was.

RD: Were you afraid?

DY: There was a lot of Japanese people there. [Laughs]

RD: Did that make you happy?

DY: No, not necessarily. I don't really recall any special emotions that I had. I was too young, I guess.

RD: Children are remarkably resilient.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2010 Raechel Donahue and Garrett Lindemann and Densho. All Rights Reserved.