Densho Digital Archive
Japanese American Museum of San Jose Collection
Title: Eiichi Sakauye Interview
Narrator: Eiichi Sakauye
Interviewer: Jiro Saito
Location: San Jose, California
Date: February 8, 2005
Densho ID: denshovh-seiichi-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

JS: Now, you got sent to Santa Anita.

ES: Yes.

JS: But I believe you said you didn't know where you were going.

ES: No, we did not know where we were going.

JS: You got on the train...

ES: We had no bearing at all, shades pulled down, the guards on each end of the coach, we were not able to visit our friends or someone on the next coach, and it was just wondering, "What in the world is this?" Or, "What's going to happen to us?" 'Cause nowhere in American history I have ever read anything what we're going through. But when we got to Santa Anita in the morning, we pulled that shade, and that's where we were.

JS: Where were you, where did you live?

ES: We were put in, into, near Arcadia, in the newer area. The barracks were new barracks, but the floor, being greenwood, it had cracks like that. And our little folding cots, if you move a little bit, it would fall in the crack. And nighttime, the cold air comes through the line, it was really cold.

JS: So you didn't, you didn't go into a horse stall like some --

ES: No, I didn't.

JS: -- some unfortunately did.

ES: But I had distant relative in a horse stall, and gosh, every day they would wash the apron of the stall, which was asphalt, and that stench would come up during the heat of the sun. It was terrible. Just imagine city folk, having a beautiful home here in San Jose, living in a horse stable.

JS: How did your mom and dad react to this situation?

ES: Well, they were heartbroken, sad, they had to leave their home, and that's why my dad always said, "I want to go home, I want to go home," all through the two-and-a-half years we were away. So therefore, I wrote letters often to my friends in my co-op, and, telling what we were doing, and sending the Heart Mountain Sentinel, which was the, their paper, and wrote in the Mercury, got articles in the Mercury. So I kept in touch, and so when I came back, I was immediately able to deliver my fruit to the co-op, I had no trouble with my other organization. So I was one of the San Jose, one of the people living here.

JS: So in one respect, you did this so they wouldn't forget about you, besides telling them what was going on, what was going on.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2005 Densho and The Japanese American Museum of San Jose. All Rights Reserved.