Densho Digital Archive
Frank Abe Collection
Title: Kats Kunitsugu - Paul Tsuneishi Interview
Narrators: Kats Kunitsugu, Paul Tsuneishi
Interviewer: Frank Abe (primary); Frank Chin (secondary)
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: August 22, 1995
Densho ID: denshovh-kkats_g-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

FC: How many, could you describe how many barracks in a block, how many blocks in a, whatever it was, a section?

PT: Well my memory's vague, but there were at Heart Mountain ten thousand people, there were thirty blocks and there were probably, probably eight to fifteen, not that many, could be depending on families, maybe around ten people per barracks. So I forget how many hundred barracks there were but there were hundreds.

KK: Let's see. I tried to remember by the numbers so there were twelve, twenty-four barracks to a block, and...

FC: Thirty blocks.

PT: Thirty blocks, but I don't remember how many...

KK: Then it depends on the family...

PT: That's right, size of the family.

KK: Size of the family. We were five of us in the family, so there were only four, four of us in, no, there were five of us when we moved to camp then one sister was born in camp. So within the camp we moved. We were in 17-11-C, or D, I forget, then we moved to 17-14-...

FC: How tall are you by the way, Kats?

KK: I'm 4' 8", I think.

FC: So you must cut quite a figure when you went to Cody to work on the paper, or to put the paper to bed, or to do some shopping?

KK: Oh yeah, people always stare. [Laughs]


FC: -- violence.

KK: From outside?

FC: Fear of violence from any quarter. Other groups inside camp? Was there, did you fear, "Oh, if I mention resisters they're all going to get together and storm me?"

PT: I never had that sense. It's interesting, there was, there was some concern about some young teenage males we call yogores, who went around in gangs, but that was about the extent of it.We had pretty good police force there made up of internees.

KK: Most of them could do martial arts pretty well, so they maintained order. [Laughs] Yeah.

FC: Very good. So you would say the conduct of the camp was fairly humane?

PT: Well, it was orderly. There was, they fed us, they clothed us, they gave us fourteen dollars a month for working.

FC: Did you have to pay tax in there?

KK: I don't recall.

PT: [Laughs] I don't remember if there was income tax in 1940.

KK: Sure there was. [Laughs] But I don't know, things seemed to be pretty normal in that sense of everyday life. You got up, you had breakfast, although you had to go to a mess hall to eat, but then you went to school and you had your regular classes and you had after-class clubs, Tri-Y and pep club.

Male voice: You were schooled on camp grounds.

PT: Right.

Male voice: They were Japanese teachers?

KK: Some were Japanese teachers, yes.

Male voice: In other words, they would truck in teachers?

PT: That's correct. My sister was a UCLA grad, and so she's qualified as a teacher and was a teacher at Heart Mountain.

FC: So the white teachers did not live on camp ground.

PT: No.

KK: Some did, but they, they were bussed to...

PT: Separate quarters.

KK: Yeah. They didn't live in camp in the sense that they shared barracks or anything, they had different quarters.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1995, 2005 Frank Abe and Densho. All Rights Reserved.