Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Ed Yoshikawa Interview
Narrator: Ed Yoshikawa
Interviewer: Steve Ozone
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 12, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-yed-01-0006

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SO: And then you went to Tule Lake.

EY: Yes, and we boarded an old train with fringes on the window, and I remember we didn't know exactly where we were going. But at night I remember it was so uncomfortable sitting, you know, so there was a little rack up there on top. I crept up there and slept very comfortably on the rack. [Laughs] I'm surprised it didn't come down. But so we ended up in Tule Lake.

SO: And what's your first memory, is that your first memory of it?

EY: That's the only memory I have of that trip to Tule Lake.

SO: What about once you got to the camp?

EY: Well, we were, here again, since our family consists of seven and they assigned us two barracks, two rooms in the barrack and we ended up where we had nothing but community bathrooms, community showers, community mess hall, and we entered our two rooms, they were just as bare as can be. Somehow my parents were able to make it comfortable enough, so we survived.

SO: Tule Lake was known for having strikes. Do you recall anything about that?

EY: No, I was not involved in anything like that. I was having more fun really. [Laughs] I did work as a dishwasher in the mess hall and got paid, what, sixteen dollars a month for washing all the dishes. Other than that we... in camp there's a group of guys that got together and there was all... college kids who had a room by themselves. And some of us got together and more or less organized a group of young boys, and we called ourselves the Okole-house gang. I don't know whether you know what okole-house is.

SO: No.

EY: It's a Hawaiian term for outhouse. [Laughs] And this group of guys, I would say there used to be about twenty of us. I still have snapshots of the group. Nothing mischievous but we did get involved in basketball, football and a few other things. So all this took place before school started, I believe it was sometime in April when we got into camp, Tule Lake, and so I had the whole summer, and we got involved in high school fellowship group, church group, playing basketball, baseball and football. As a matter of fact, there was two groups, older group and the younger group. And since I was only about sixteen, seventeen, I was in the, we were in the younger group. And I remember, and I have clippings where I played center on our football team and after the season was over, I was elected almost unanimously as the All Star center for our team,

for our league.

SO: Was everybody, everybody was the same size weren't they?

EY: Pretty much so, yes, yes, yes.

SO: So in camp, living there was like being in, almost like as far as the school year, it was like Sacramento where you had summer vacation, and then you had the summer off and then school started in the fall.

EY: All right, as you may be aware of, when they started the school in camp, we did not have sufficient tables, chairs, and on occasion they had to recruit college students to teach, so we were starting the school year barely with anything, barely with supplies. And then since I was a senior in high school, we had to organize the student body, and as a result of that I got involved in running for the student body president of our Tri-State High, and we called it Tri-State High because basically it was from California, Oregon and Washington. And because most of the students were from Sacramento, I guess, I was elected student body president. And being the student body president I had lots of fun getting involved in all kinds of activities. One of the things that I had more fun was setting up the school paper we called the Tri-Stater. And what we did was we had a group of guys and gals that would spend all night assembling information and typing on mimeographed sheet different articles, and each individual would bring a little snack, whatever they could find from their home, and we would start working from, oh, I'd say about 7 o'clock until 2, 3 o'clock in the morning working on this paper. We would mimeograph all this paper and assemble it together. Oh, that was a fun time I could remember.

SO: Do you know where the machines came from?

EY: I have no idea. [Laughs] And then since we were organizing ourselves from scratch, we had all kinds of activities lined up. We had different groups, the thespians, the ping-pong club, the girls club, Hi-Y. If I can find my yearbook I could name all these different groups that they started.

SO: And then you would write stories about those...

EY: Yes, the activities that were taking place.

SO: So you were the editor, you must have written a lot of the stories too.

EY: I was not the editor, but I don't know what I was. But I did have my share of writing, a few articles here and there.

SO: Okay.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.