Densho Digital Archive
Steven Okazaki Collection
Title: Jim Kajiwara - Sox Kitashima Interview
Narrators: Jim Kajiwara, Sox Kitashima
Location: San Francisco, California
Date: December 11, 1983
Densho ID: denshovh-kjim_g-01-0002

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Q: Sox, could you talk about your feelings now, looking back. What do you feel about having gone through the camps?

SK: How do I feel about it today? Well, I certainly wouldn't want this to happen to my son, because maybe some people when they were small, they enjoyed it, they had a good time, they had a lot of friends to play with every day. But with the grownups, you know, in camp, almost every month there was some rumor about what's going to happen to us. So we were always worried, you know, what's going to happen. They're gonna separate you from loyal and disloyal, that type of thing was going on all the time. And it wasn't all good. And you know, you're so restricted to things, we don't have all the comforts we would normally have, and as the time goes -- I was in camp for three years and four months -- and as time goes on, you know, you get kind of weary of all the kind of disadvantages you have and inconveniences.

But after I got out of camp, I didn't have too much trouble finding a job because my supervisor in camp had written me a good recommendation. So I worked for the War Relocation Authority when I got back, which is part of the camp system. And so I stayed on until they had to close, 'cause they were all just temporary wartime agencies, so after that closed I went into another agency. But didn't have any discrimination as far as civil service work was concerned. But did work with some people at work that never saw a Japanese person before that came from Massachusetts or something like that. And they kept asking me, "My, your eyes aren't slanted and your teeth isn't buck teeth," and all that, "And you don't wear glasses," and things like that. And they found out we were just like anybody else, you know. They treated me all right, I didn't have too much problems resettling.

But when I got out of camp, we had to stay in what they call hostels and the Buddhist church was one of the hostels, most of the churches were. And I married in camp, so when we got out, my husband and I had to sleep in the balcony of the Buddhist church gymnasium. And all the couples were sort of separated by army blankets. But the Health Department came and said that we couldn't live this way. And all the bachelors were on the main floor of the gymnasium and we were, the married couples were all upstairs. So then they switched me to the projection room of the gymnasium, and I stayed there for a couple of nights and then they said no windows to the outside, so it's not healthy and I had to get out again. So my husband had to go and sleep down on the floor, and I had to share a room with a couple other families and their children, so we were really all cramped in there. But people could eat there at the hostel if they wanted to, but my sister had found a little place for herself. So at that time we were still on food stamps, so I gave them my food stamp and I paid my share and I ate meals with my sister and friends until we found a place. But these are some of the things that we had to go through. A lot of people had it rougher than I did because they had small children. But we didn't have any children then so we did all right.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1983, 2010 Densho and Steven Okazaki. All Rights Reserved.