Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Pearl Yoshikawa Interview
Narrator: Pearl Yoshikawa
Interviewer: Carolyn Nayematsu
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 12, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-ypearl-01-0015

<Begin Segment 15>

CN: So both of you are retired now?

PY: Yes. We're hopefully retired. And we lived, we moved over to Apple Valley to the townhouse because our driveway in the south Minneapolis was such a long driveway to the garage and it was so hard for him to shovel all that during the winter months and our house was getting older and a lot of changes to be made, eventually. It was okay at the time we sold it. We moved out to a townhouse, which we really appreciate now.

CN: It sounds like you have made some effort to go back -- you went to Minidoka and then did Ed go to Tule Lake to see, to the reunions there?

PY: Oh, yes, every time they had a reunion which was almost every year, we went to Tule Lake and I went to the Minidoka reunion a couple of times but people, the Tule Lakers, they had reunions a lot more than the other camps, I think.

CN: There's a lot of them, your friends, because, your town.

PY: Right. That's probably another reason why I wanted to go too. Because that's where I got to see my old neighborhood friends, Vancouver.

CN: Minidoka has changed a lot. I suppose Tule Lake area, too, correct?

PY: When we went to visit Tule Lake area, nothing was being done at that time. But I think they have a plaque there now. And then Minidoka, first time we went it was bare but now, which we, about five years ago it was all corn fields...

CN: Oh really?

PY: Uh-huh, agriculture fields.

CN: When you were in camp there, there was nothing, it was pretty barren? The Japanese had to kind of start it, kind of, the gardens.

PY: Right. The camp had a garden and they grew some of their things there and I suppose they kind of gave some incentive for the people around them that they could grow things too if they would clear the land and give it some water, you know. And Ed went to visit, we went to visit Topaz area not too long ago and that was pretty, well, there was some farming done nearby but it was pretty barren. We ran into Manzanar area and that was, I think there were some activities around that camp except where the camp was is pretty barren. So...

CN: Well, I have, did you have anything else that you would like to relate that I have not covered?

PY: No I think you've covered quite a bit more...

CN: You said your children are not too interested. Of course they're kind of young yet...

PY: Well they're not so young. They're nearing sixty now.

CN: Have they gone on the pilgrimages with you?

PY: No, no. Well one of them did. To Heart Mountain. We were nearby. We went out together to the Black Hills and then we went out to Cody and Heart Mountain is not too far from Cody, Wyoming.. And so we did a lot with our children, especially Joanne and Mark, the oldest, their family. We went on trips a lot together and so we happened to come close to Heart Mountain so we stopped there for a bit. And so she showed emotions to think that we were in camps, you know.

CN: Well, if you're like my mother, when I was growing up, I thought camp was a fun place. It wasn't until I was a teenager that I really realized that that wasn't what the reason was.

PY: But you know, you talk about being in camp and incarcerated and it sounds terrible, but the government didn't really treat us that harshly. Yes, there was a barbed wire and guards around but I don't know if they continued to have guards but I can't compare ourselves with the situation with the Jewish people. So I don't have that have that hard of feelings against America. I think through panic they did what they did and our parents were not citizens so they had their little questions about that, you know. They didn't understand so neither did we. So what a reaction. But I'm sure we wouldn't have tried anything against America. No, I don't think so. But it's one of those situations.

CN: Right. And plus you had siblings over in Japan so I imagine that was hard.

PY: Yes, it was difficult, I'm sure our parents and all the other Isseis really had a mixed reaction about the whole thing.

CN: Well, thank you for your interview.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.