Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: George Yano Interview
Narrator: George Yano
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda, Steve Fugita
Location: San Jose, California
Date: December 1, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-ygeorge_4-01-0011

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TI: Any stories from your, that you recall from your parents about this period of time in terms of what life was like, the work, anything that you can share?

GY: Yeah, that's, you mean after they got to Colorado? I intended to start on that and I better do it before, before all these people pass away. But what happened was, in addition to the sugar beet effort, there was lots of that. The small farms, truck farms in the area, owned by either German or Italian people, took in families. Like my relatives, the Sasakis, went to a family, the Mines worked for another family. They originally started at Zimbleman. Everybody was there. And then as the war, time progressed, it passed, they went off on their own. And, in fact, my dad liked... well, it's not electronics, but radio and those kinds of things. So he worked in a radio shop in Denver later on. And my grandparents moved to Fort Lupton, there was a Japanese community there. And so, but initially, during that period when they didn't know what was happening, it was the people of that area that really came through and helped out.

TI: And how about the prewar Japanese community in Fort Lupton? So there was a farming community of Japanese there that has been established. How much connection was there with that group?

GY: Well, in our case, we knew one of the families over there. And I guess those people were the ones who went to the mines in Wyoming and Colorado, the Isseis, the first generation. So their offsprings were there in Colorado and Wyoming and those places. They were aware of that, and also in Denver, the Buddhist church, I mentioned that in my report, too, but the reverend there, the Bonsan, helped this whole evacuation, voluntary evacuation quite a bit by housing people and giving them support, feeding them. And I think he was honored for that. But yeah, there was awareness.

SF: So the Japanese in the Colorado and Utah, they were always helpful. You never had any instances of where they were fearful of a lot of Japanese coming in, therefore were kind of riling up the locals maybe or something like that?

GY: I never heard of that. My memories -- of course, I left there when I was three, so they're very vague -- but there was a family, Furukawa, they had a store that was close to my grandfather, the house that they had rented. And they made tofu and other, they had a little store there, and she seemed like an aunt. One story is that I went over there one time and -- I don't remember -- and told her that my grandmother didn't have any money, but she wanted to have some tofu. And so, of course, Mrs. Furukawa came to my grandmother and said, "Geez, what's going on?" "Oh, that little guy," you know. I don't know the whole thing. But they were that close. They were helpful, and we still make Mrs. Furukawa's kuri manju, she had a recipe. [Laughs]

TI: That's good. Now, was there ever any thought from the family to maybe stay in the Denver or Fort Lupton area rather than coming back?

GY: Yeah, and I think most of the people that decided to stay, it wasn't that easy to just, again, just give everything up and come back and start anew. Or you had to have some money to get back. And a lot of people that we know stayed in Colorado a year or two later than the end of the war because they just couldn't do it. And then they eventually came back. The weather is pretty severe over there. It's colder and hotter, I think.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2010 Densho. All Rights Reserved.