Densho Digital Archive
Japanese American Museum of San Jose Collection
Title: Lily C. Hioki Interview
Narrator: Lily C. Hioki
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda, Steve Fugita
Location: San Jose, California
Date: December 1, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-hlily-01-0012

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TI: So why don't we move into the war?

LH: Okay.

TI: December 7, 1941, do you remember that day?

LH: You know, I can't remember where I was. I just remember at school nobody said a word. We were, all my friends, they're all hakujin -- well, I had Japanese friends, but not in the same class -- but nobody said anything. It was such a, I think about it and I thought it was so quiet. Everybody was just... and we went to school, I don't know, for a while before we moved, and yet nobody called me a "Jap" or said anything derogatory. All I remember is everybody was quiet. And so, and when we had to move and I went and told the teacher and everybody, everything went smoothly. Nobody questioned me or anything. I don't remember any upheaval of any kind during that transition time from school to moving.

TI: How about with your, your parents during this transition time, do you recall any conversations with them about what was gonna happen?

LH: No. All I remember was being told that the Kanemotos would bring us with their group, and so then at that, from then everybody's concern was getting rid of everything other than necessities, and we weren't the only ones. So it was a jumbled up time for everybody, because I knew, we had this old Model T Ford and my father had to sell it, but somebody bought it and I don't know who bought everything else 'cause... and I think what we brought was bedding, 'cause I don't remember buying anything, and as far as furniture, nobody took chairs or sofas or anything. I don't think we even owned a sofa in our life, but we had kitchen table and chairs.

TI: Now, what were you told to expect? I mean, in terms of packing things or getting ready, what did you know?

LH: I don't know anything. I was there and I just remember what I remember, and I don't, I don't even remember the Kanemotos coming after our things at the house. At that time we lived on Meridian. We moved from Fruitdale and on Meridian Road, and Mr. Nicora was our landlord then and he had an open field right off Meridian, so they just got through planting raspberries. It was our family and the Nakayama family. We planted raspberries there and then we had to move, so I don't know what happened to that farm after we moved, but like I said -- oh, and Mr. Nicora's house was the neatest house we ever lived in. It was a regular house and it had pinewood walls and had an indoor toilet. It was just great because we'd never lived in a place like that before. But anyway, and then we moved. All I remember was I went with the, I don't even remember which car my mother and father went in or my brother or my sister, and I went with the Matsumoto family because they went with us. Matsumoto's are related to the Kanemotos by marriage and I went with them up to Ogden, 'cause from Ogden they went to Colorado. The Matsumoto clan went to Colorado and the Kanemoto clan went, we went up to Tremonton in the north.

TI: But let's go back to the, the very beginning of the trip. Tell me about how many people were part of the group and just how you, you caravanned out of San Jose.

LH: I think there were about twelve families that went, and the main people that started this was Happy Fukushima and Mr. Sam Kanemoto, the oldest of the Kanemoto brothers, and Harry, his brother Harry, they went to Utah to Garland where Happy had a relative, and then they came back and I guess the Utah and Idaho Sugar Company decided to hire us, so they came back and the group (called U and I Sugar Company) formed. Happy had relatives in Sebastopol and so they became part of our group, the Yamamoto family, and the Yamamotos had a lot of boys and they were married to people, like in San Jose. And then the Kanemotos, we were the relatives for the Kanemotos, but it was basically our group... well no, I shouldn't say that. The, I think Happy lived in Berryessa, and then there were the Kakus that lived in Berryessa and Yoshiyamas. I don't know where the Taos came in, but they, and I don't even know where they lived before the war, but they settled in Watsonville after the war. Yoshiyamas, Taos, Yamamotos... Namimatsus from San Jose... Yoshiyama's... that's all I can remember.

TI: But roughly about twelve families?

LH: About twelve families.

TI: How many people would that be?

LH: I don't know, maybe, I never tried to count.

TI: About fifty or so?

LH: It would be under fifty, probably.

TI: Under fifty, okay.

LH: And we all left at different times. I don't know when the Kakus moved 'cause I didn't even know them, and I don't know, we all met in Utah when the sugar beet season started, and so my involvement, or what I remember would be the Kanemoto and our family.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.