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-01-0006

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CN: So when you were living in Vancouver during Pearl Harbor, but when you evacuated, you were sent, your family was sent to Minidoka?

PY: Yes, that was because just prior, about a month before evacuation, we had already gotten rid of our things and so my grandfather in Gresham, Oregon, told us to stay with them 'til evacuation. And so, thinking that we were, the Vancouver people would be evacuated with the Portland people because it was a small group, but it didn't happen. They went down to Tule Lake and we went to Minidoka. First, of course, we went to the county fairgrounds, which was a terrible situation.

CN: How many of you were at the county fairgrounds? A lot?

PY: The whole Portland, let's see, we went in with the Portlanders, and so it was a large group.

CN: I forgot to ask you about your farm. What happened to your farm?

PY: Well, it was on lease, and so I don't know whether we... I don't think we started to plant anything because we knew before that that we had to be evacuated.

CN: Did you dissolve all of your possessions other than the trunk, everything else?

PY: Yes, all the equipment, yes.

CN: Okay. So you and your, mother, your stepfather went to Minidoka as well as your grandparents.

PY: Yes. But my stepfather, no, he was in California by then, all those years, so he didn't evacuate with us in Minidoka, to Minidoka. But my grandparents, yes, they were there.

CN: Oh, so your stepfather went to live in California?

PY: Oh, no, I'm sorry. Stepfather, yes, went with us. My...

CN: Your father, he went to...

PY: He was living in California so I don't know whatever happened to him.

CN: And your sister and your brother stayed in Japan during this time. Were you able to be in contact with them very much?

PY: My mother, yes, I think they were able to write letters. I don't know how they worked that out, actually. But my brother was eventually drafted into the Japanese army and lost in the Philippines.

CN: You said your sister was living in Tokyo at that time but she kept going south?

PY: No, then she was in Tokyo but the bombing started to become so heavy I think she then went to my stepfather's family's home in Okayama. But things were very, very difficult down there, an extra mouth to feed and everything was struggling so much in Japan and they were even taking all the hinges and doorknobs and things like that for metal. And she remembers having to start eating grass and wild plants and things like that. She had very bad memories of Japan.

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