Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Yoshimi Matsuura Interview
Narrator: Yoshimi Matsuura
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Bloomington, Minnesota
Date: June 17, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-myoshimi-01-0014

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TI: And we're going to pick it up, the earlier, the first part we talked about sort of growing up in Fowler and then after Pearl Harbor and some of the things happening. And before we get to Gila River, one question I had was you mentioned earlier how your wife's sister and her husband were at the Fresno Assembly Center?

YM: Fresno Assembly Center.

TI: And so most Japanese Americans on the West Coast first went to an assembly center, and then to the WRA camp. Whereas you're going directly to Gila River...

YM: We're going directly, yes.

TI: And so why did some people in that area go first to Fresno?

YM: I think it was because Fresno was city... city of Fresno was a good size city in that area. So I think they decided to put them in an assembly center first.

TI: And then, but then there's also, nearby, the Pinedale Assembly Center. So they had that facility, too.

YM: Yeah, we had quite a few people moving in from other area. They were allowed to leave the area, go into what they called a free area. And even in our neighborhood, we had quite a few people that moved in from San Leandro or bay region area (...). So there were quite a few that moved right into Fresno.

TI: Well, so that's why I'm trying to get a sense. So was there a sense that in your area, that perhaps it was going to be a free area that wasn't going to be removed? Or I'm still trying to get a sense of...

YM: Well, at first, they allowed the people to move from the coast area into the inland valley area. So this is why they thought they were going to be okay in central California. So we had quite a few moving into Fresno area. Even on this little farm that we were, we had a vacant house, we had a family move in over there.

TI: And so there's this, sort of, I guess, period of uncertainty, that, whether or not people would be leaving or not. Because the people from the coast would only come to Fresno if they thought they could probably stay there.

YM: They would stay there. They didn't know how long, but at least they would be free for a while, they wouldn't have to go to the camp. So they all chose to move into central Cal. But eventually, of course, we all went to camp together. We had quite a few from bay region area.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.