Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Hikoji Takeuchi
Narrator: Hikoji Takeuchi
Interviewer: John Allen
Date: November 7, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-thikoji-01-0005

<Begin Segment 5>

JA: Tell me about the evacuation notice.

HT: Beg your pardon?

JA: Do you remember the evacuation notice?

HT: Yes.

JA: Did you have an experience with that in your store?

HT: No, no insurance, no nothing. Well, talking about store, just before the war, my mom decided that the refrigerator and the stove and the floorings were wearing out, and she said, "Hikoji, I think what we need in this store, we have to get new things in." And I told her, "Well, maybe that's so." So anyway, we decided that we should have new refrigerator, stove, linoleum put in. Paint the place and freshen it up a bit. That was before the war. So with us, at that time, the money that we put in at that time, to us, was huge. And when the war broke out, we couldn't sell anything. The evacuation, we had to start packing up, and packing up we did. And my dad, because of being in the sushi business, he used to have great big platters. I don't know if you've seen 'em or what, big platters.


JA: I'm sorry I interrupted you. You had nice plates.

HT: Yeah, my dad used to have these great big plates. It was decorated in gold and silver and red because of his business. He had numbers, a number of plates, and we had packed them. We got lumber, and I made boxes and we put 'em in for storage. And of course there were people coming around. By this time we were not in business anymore, but these guys had come around looking for -- I like to call them the scavengers -- to see what they can find. And my mom, she was trying to get, see if she can sell 'em, but no way. The guy who came in just looked at it and started laughing. Now, I guess it is funny to him, anyway. But my mom got mad and she just picked up the big plates. She used to treasure it. She just smashed it right on the floor, every damn one of them. I guess with every smash, smashing of the big platter, it just broke her heart because it was something that, she knew that my dad had worked with it. I guess that's the first time she died. Now that we talk about Mom, ever since the war, I guess she died a million deaths. I feel sorry for Mom.

JA: Did that man offer her anything?

HT: No. He just laughed, you know. "You trying to sell it?" We couldn't sell anything. Well, in a way I cannot blame the people. What the heck, we had to leave things behind anyway. We couldn't take it with us.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2002 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.