Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: George M. Yoshino Interview
Narrator: George M. Yoshino
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Bloomington, Minnesota
Date: June 17, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-ygeorge_3-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: And so you said you did some other jobs, too. So other than oyster farming, what else did you do?

GY: (...) When I came back, (I) went to work, lots of us, Isseis, Niseis, worked on a holly farm. Holly farm, you got the holly trees. We were trimming the trees to make wreaths. Young people were out there trimming the things, and the Issei people were in the shed making your wreaths. That's when they came running out and said, "Pearl Harbor was bombed." So I don't know, maybe I said, "Where is that?" Who knew where Pearl Harbor was? [Laughs] That was it. From then on, it's curfew and stuff like that.

TI: So going back to the holly farming when you hear about Pearl Harbor, do you recall the reaction of the people around you and what people said?

GY: Well, we were sort of surprised, the young people were, because who knew anything like that was gonna happen? Nobody knew. But so it happened, so we just took it as a gift, took it as it came, yeah. But it affected everybody in different ways. Most of the businesspeople even in Seattle, they had quite a time there. But I suppose the farmers were the same thing. For the farmers in Bellevue, we had our crops in, I mean, we had our peas in and the strawberries are coming up, and we had to leave in May. So we sold it, they sold it to somebody that might buy it dirt cheap, you know.

TI: You're talking about the fields with all the strawberries almost ready to be harvested, you would sell that.

GY: And we sold the peas, peas were in a row that was coming up. And we transplanted from greenhouse plants to the outside that were ready to go. And we put 'em out because we were told, "If you plow 'em under, you'll be charged for espionage," and stuff like that. So the order came out that way. So we kept on doing it.

TI: So you have to explain this to me again. So they said if you don't keep farming, essentially, you'll be charged with espionage?

GY: Yeah. If you destroyed it, if you destroyed it.

TI: And this is your own work. This is your work...

GY: Yeah.

TI: And they said if you don't, if you don't keep doing it...

GY: Yeah, so we all farmed it. I think most of the farmers just kept on going and got rid of it somehow.

TI: But then it's kind of ironic, too, because then they took you away before you were able to harvest everything.

GY: Oh, yeah, it was before that.

TI: And so you had to then sell it.

GY: Yeah.

TI: So who would take over the farm? Like your farm, who took over the farm?

GY: Well, we sold it to one man, the crop and all, for I don't know how much it was. He took it and what he did with it, I don't know. I even sold him the horse that I had.

TI: So was this someone that was local or did someone come from a different area?

GY: Local, local. Most of us were all local. Even in Seattle, I think the merchants sold to somebody that knew somebody else or something like that. Or some of 'em took a licking, I think. That can't be helped. I think people in Bainbridge, they suffered quite a bit, the farmers out there. That's how it goes.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.