Densho Digital Archive
Topaz Museum Collection
Title: Nelson Takeo Akagi Interview
Narrator: Nelson Takeo Akagi
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Date: June 3, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-anelson-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: So tell me how they sold the property. I mean, I imagine other people were also selling at the same time? So it's probably a buyer's market, it probably was hard to sell the property.

NA: Exactly. There was no buyers to speak of, because we were just trying to get out of depression because the war, the war kind of started the economy up. But until then, nobody had money, and I'm quite sure nobody had money during the time of evacuation. So the only person that we could depend on to buy our property were the people that my dad was doing business with, like this nurseryman that Dad sold thousands of trees to. He bought our property... let's see, he bought the, I'm quite sure he bought the 40-acre piece, and that had 15,000 nurseries ready to sell, so he came out smelling like a rose. He only gave us $2,000 for the 40-acre piece, and then the 10-acre piece with a new home that we built two years previously, we sold that to the next friend that we thought who had money, so he gave us, I think, $2,000 and there was about $4,000 worth of tomatoes ready to pick the next day. We evacuated, and I'll come to when we evacuated, but anyway, there was a tomato crop ready to harvest, and then had, we had olive nursery trees on that 10-acre that he could sell for five dollars apiece. And in those days, that was gold. And so we lost all that.

TI: And so how much do you think those two pieces of property were worth, the 40 acres and the 10 acres? If they were just market price during that time, you said they got $2,000 each. How much, if it weren't for the war, how much was that property worth, do you think?

NA: Well, the trees, the nursery trees on that 40-acre piece was worth $15,000. That was the minimum price.

TI: And that didn't even account for the land, I mean, you still had the land.

NA: And that's not even counting the land. And the land was already planted in orange trees, and so $15,000 plus another $5,000 in those days' money. So $20,000, so we sold it for one-tenth of the value of what we could have received if we were never evacuated. And the same thing with the 10-acre piece, the house was worth money, the land was worth money, and the olive trees was worth five, five dollars apiece, at a thousand trees would be five thousand dollars just for the trees, and the tomato crop, 5 acres of tomato crop, that would have had to be worth at least four thousand dollars because we made four thousand dollars on five acres of strawberry. And we were able to harvest that in the month of April and May, before evacuation. And then we had the pool hall, we could not find a buyer for the pool hall, so we rented it out to a Mexican fellow, but we had, after we evacuated, we had to sell that because we got a letter from him stating that if it's in Japanese name, he cannot operate it. So he asked us to sell it to him, and I don't how much we got out of that pool hall, but I don't think it was that much.

And then here's another story. Like I said, my folks didn't think that we were gonna be evacuated because the evacuees from the coast, they came inland and they tried to start business inland because they thought also that they wouldn't get evacuated out from Lindsay. So we had that 3-acre piece, we sold that to an evacuee.

TI: Oh, that's interesting. So this was another Japanese family that thought that Lindsay was gonna be safe, or...

NA: Right.

TI: And so they bought a piece of property.

NA: Uh-huh.

TI: But then they had to then sell that 3-acre --

NA: And then they had to get rid of it, too, because Lindsay got evacuated out finally.

TI: So there was a lot of confusion in those days.

NA: There was a lot of confusion.

TI: In terms of what was gonna happen, whether you could stay, whether you had to leave.

NA: Right.

TI: That must have been really, really hard.

NA: It was all confusion.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Topaz Museum. All Rights Reserved.