Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Richard Sakurai Interview
Narrator: Richard Sakurai
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: July 24, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-srichard-01-0014

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RP: Dick, can you share with us some of your experiences attending Minidoka High School?

RS: Yeah, the first year after we got there, soon after we got there, we went out for the first harvest and then they didn't start the school until we got back from that harvest. So we were out for the harvest for about a month and then they started school and the school started late because of that harvest. So we got back to Minidoka and I started going to school and I went to school for about a week. And then the next week I think I started to go to school in the mornings and then in the afternoons I told my mother I'm too tired, I'm too tired. And so I went to school about half day. And so sometime during that second week the homeroom teacher spoke to me and said, "I understand you're not coming to school in the afternoon." And so she was saying that I'm supposed to be in school both morning and afternoon. Well, next day I decided well, I just don't feel like going to school anymore so I quit going to school. So I dropped out. I dropped out of school and I didn't go back to school until the following year. And there it was you see I was a junior, starting junior in high school and I just dropped out of school and nobody ever said anything to me except that one time. After I dropped out completely, nobody said anything. My mother said you know, you're too tired, you're too tired. And I said, I'm too tired and she took me to the hospital, the hospital at Minidoka and explained to the people that, admitting people, and they sent out a young kid who happened to be somebody that lived in the same block that we did and I know he was about eighteen, nineteen years old. They sent out this kid and he interviewed me and asked me of course he's not a doctor or nurse or anything you know, and he interviewed me and then he said, well, okay, and that was it. And I never saw a doctor or a nurse or anybody that had any medical training whatsoever during the whole time I was there.

RP: What did you do with the time that you normally would've spent in school?

RS: I don't remember. I keep trying to remember what I did, I can't remember. I can't remember, there's nothing to do, but I should have remembered whether I wandered up and down or I just sat in the room or what, but I can't remember any details of what I did. All I know is that I didn't go to school.

RP: Were you depressed?

RS: I must have been depressed. Of course, nobody knew what depression was in those days you know. I must have been depressed.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.