Densho Digital Archive
Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL Collection
Title: Chiyoko Yagi Interview
Narrator: Chiyoko Yagi
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Watsonville, California
Date: July 28, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-ychiyoko-01-0010

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MA: So let's talk about December 7, 1941, the day that Japan, you know, bombed Pearl Harbor. And you were actually out of Watsonville at that time. Can you talk about where you were and what you were doing?

CY: Well, we had one week before Pearl Harbor, so we, we went down south and went to Catalina Island and then we went as far as Mexicali. And then we were working our way back up, and we were in either Florin, around there, Harry had a friend, so we went to their house, and we were there having lunch when the father of the boy that we were, Harry's friend's father came and said that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. And we didn't know where Pearl Harbor was, and we didn't think much about it until we, we left that place, then we went to San Francisco to check in at a Japanese hotel, and that's when we met, we were met with the FBI at the door. And they separated us and told my husband, go and have to show is ID and want to know why we were there, what we were doing. And they released him and they didn't do nothing to me, and we came straight home. And the parents were glad to see us because they didn't know where we were. Because we were down as far as Mexicali, it was the last, they knew of. And after that, let's see, maybe a week later, they took my father-in-law in because he was president of the Japanese Association and he was, I think he was the treasurer for the Buddhist temple. And they just came, two men came and told my father he has to come with them. So he went, and we didn't know if, we thought maybe just a hearing or something, but, "You have to stay overnight," so we took his toothbrush and change of clothes, but we never saw him again until two years later, maybe two and a half years later in camp when they released him.

MA: So they took him away.

CY: Yeah, they took him, they took him, the next day they took him to San Francisco, and from there they went to North Dakota. So we were separated from the father-in-law. And so, let's see, that was right away, and then about a month later, I guess, the FBI came to our house again and they told us all to go into the shop and stayed there, and they told me to open the safe. And I opened it and they said, told me to stay in the barbershop. So we stayed there for oh, maybe two or three hours. And the FBI went through the whole house and took, according to my father-in-law, we had some money, cash in there, and the FBI took and they were never traced back. So when he mentioned it when he was interned, they gave him a hard time because we didn't have no proof. 'Cause he was also a Sumitomo Bank agent, so he used to have, get money from other people to send to banks, so they think he was kind of a, some kind of other things besides banking. So he had to, had a hard time trying to convince that he was nothing but an ordinary person, you know, doing his job.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright ©2008 Densho and the Watsonville - Santa Cruz JACL. All Rights Reserved.