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-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

RP: And later on that year, September the rest of your family came out of Minidoka and returned to Portland and so did you? What was that like coming back to the farm and the home you had known three years earlier?

RS: Well, we didn't go back to the farm though. We didn't go back to the farm because we couldn't. We still owned that farm but we didn't own anything else. We didn't own any equipment or anything like that and we got back there in... I think it was also September, and you can't start a farm in September. And so we didn't have any money, no equipment, nothing, so my father started work for someone in the gardening business because that was the closest kind of work and of course he never left that business. It turned out that that was a good thing for him because he was quite successful in the gardening business. Also there was an incident about the farm. When we went up to look at the farm after we came back, one of the neighbors chased my father off and said that he didn't belong here. He didn't belong here. So he didn't think that that was the place to go.

RP: But legally the name was in your brother's name, right, or your uncles?

RS: Uncle's name.

RP: So did you contest that legally?

RS: No, when the guy said that you don't belong here, he's saying we really don't belong in that community. He saw this guy in a neighboring place, you see, as he was going past he saw him so my father said we're going to stop and he went to talk to him and then the guy chased him off. He didn't chase him off our farm, he chased him out the community. Later it turns out to be that this guy is just an old grump anyway, you know, I mean, he did that to a lot of people but of course there was a certain amount of prejudice involved with that too but of course we didn't know that. And of course we couldn't have gone there anyway because of the equipment problem.

RP: So you actually stayed at a hostel for a while.

RS: Yeah.

RP: Who ran the hostel?

RS: It was run by the Methodist church and so I'm quite sure it was the Epworth Methodist Church which is the church that the Japanese community goes to, it's called Epworth Methodist Church in Portland. And they had this building in which there were rooms and so forth and they ran that hostel for returning Japanese.

RP: So you had some support in the community?

RS: Oh, yeah, there was that kind of support. There was both kinds, there were people that wanted to keep us out and there were people that were very supportive of us coming back. And we were very grateful for the supporters.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.