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

<Begin Segment 1>

RP: This is an oral history for the Manzanar National Historical Site and today this afternoon we're talking with Richard Sakurai. And our interview is taking place in the Marriott Residence Inn at the Portland airport. The date of our interview is July 23, 2010. Behind the camera is Mark Hatchmann, in front of the camera is Richard Potashin, and we'll be discussing Richard's experiences as an incarceree at the Minidoka War Relocation Center during World War II and also his experiences growing up in the Troutdale area of Oregon before the war. Our interview will be archived in the Park's Library. And Richard, do I have your permission to go ahead and conduct our interview?

RS: Yes.

RP: And can I refer to you as Dick?

RS: Yes, please do.

RP: Dick, okay, alright, well thank you Dick for coming and sharing some of your experiences with us this afternoon. I'd like to begin our interview by asking you to give us your birthdate and where you were born.

RS: I was born in Portland, Oregon, on December 26, 1926.

RP: And can you give us your given name at birth?

RS: At birth I was named Shoichi Sakurai.

RP: And when did you obtain the Richard name?

RS: Well, I'm not really sure about this but I think it was about the time that I started going to school. And what I hear is that the teacher at the school was having difficulty with pronouncing Shoichi and so she wanted to have a different name. So either she or my uncle who happened to be working on my father's farm then, every once and a while he would come out and spend a while working on the farm. So it was either he or the teacher that said, well, let's call him Dick. And apparently I accepted that name and so for a long time I went by the name Dick. And then later on of course after I grew up and started to look around for work, I thought, well, I really ought to have a real... formalize that and so I formalized it into the name that Dick represents. So I went to some state office to have a name change and so I went in and added Richard to Shoichi Sakurai. And so my birth certificate was changed to reflect that and so formally in my twenties I became Richard. But before that, for most of my life up to that time, I was known as Dick and the grade school and high school records are listed as Dick but then I figured well that's not a real formal name so I figured I'd better get it listed under Richard.

RP: Do you have any understanding of the meanings of your first and last name, Japanese names?

RS: Well, the last name, Sakurai, is sakura which means cherry, cherry tree. And i which means "a well" and so that means that at least according to my parents probably way back there was a well underneath a cherry tree where the family lived, so that's where that name came from. And I think that's probably what that name comes from for all the different people who are named Sakurai. Shoichi originally was named for my being born on the first year, ichi meaning "one," of the Showa emperorship, so first year Showa and Shoichi. However, later on my parents said well they really made a mistake, we can't name our son after the Japanese emperor who is the one that's the cause of this war. So they said well let's... we'll keep the name Shoichi but we'll change the meaning of it. Now I'm not quite sure what the new meaning is, but they wrote that name with different characters. It's still pronounced Shoichi, but it's got different characters, it still has the "one" in it, the ichi and so it has a different meaning. But I'm not quite sure what that meaning is and of course I no longer have my parents to ask so all I can say is I'm not quite sure.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

RP: I'd like to talk a little bit about your family background starting with your father. Can you give us his name?

RS: Masaru Sakurai.

RP: And do you know roughly when he was born and where?

RS: Yes, he was born in 1897 in Hiroshima, Japan, Yagimura, and his father, after my father was born, his father... after my father was born, his mother, my father's mother, my grandmother died very shortly after that. So when my father was a little boy my grandmother died. So my grandfather remarried my stepgrandmother and came to this country to work and left my father behind in Japan to be raised by his grandparents. And so he, my grandfather and my stepgrandmother were here in this country working like a lot of immigrants do, and my father grew up in Japan. When he finished the standard number of school years in Japan he decided he would come to this country too. So he came to join my grandfather and my stepgrandmother in this country in 1912. And they started working like a lot of people do in the fishing industry, in the lumber industry, in the railroads, did all the standard labor things that immigrants did. And eventually turned to farming, turned to becoming a farm laborer and of course he discovered that's what he wanted to do more than anything else, so eventually he started farming on his own.

RP: What do you remember most about your father in terms of his qualities, his personality?

RS: Well, he was, of course, an only son and was raised from the time he was a little boy by his grandparents. His parents were in this country so I would characterize him in many ways as a spoiled little boy, spoiled kid who never grew up. I think, and I understand from many different sources, my father was a very smart kid. He was always the best in every class that he attended and so forth. But he also was somewhat naughty and he was a spoiled kid and he wanted to do things his way. So even though he was by far the smartest kid in every class, he was always ranked number two. This is stories that I get... he was always ranked number two because he was always naughty as well as smarter. And this is throughout his life, the Japanese system is that the son is, the males are the predominant and in a marriage the father is the boss and everybody else is... and that's typically what happened. He was the one that said what was on and I think he cared for us kids, but he also cared for himself a great deal. I mean that spoiled kid part of him kept on for most of his life and he lived to be ninety-eight years old. So until he was in his nineties he was, still wanted to be the domineering person in the family.

RP: He never outgrew that initial personality.

RS: No.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

RP: So was he tempered by your mother and what she brought to the relationship?

RS: Well, my mother was also a very, very intelligent smart woman you know. But of course she was brought up in the system of deferring to the males but she couldn't quite do that. Things I remember is that there were a lot of arguments as I was growing up because she wouldn't always do the things that were demanded of her even though when it comes down to it she was the wife and of course he decided what went on and so forth. But she stood up for herself even though in the early part of my recollection of her she was not the healthiest. For a while she was not in very good health but even during those times she stood up in a kind of not in a big demanding sort of way but in a quiet very inner strength kind of way she stood up for what she thought was right.

RP: What was her name?

RS: Chiyoko and her maiden name was Takeuchi.

RP: She was born in the United States?

RS: She was born in the United States.

RP: And what was the circumstances regarding her parents, also immigrants coming over from Japan?

RS: Yeah, my grandfather also came to this country early on, very close to 1900, and I don't know whether my grandmother married him here or back in Japan. Anyway, my grandmother and grandfather on my mother's side were here in Portland working and so my mother and uncle and aunt, couple of uncles and aunt were born here in this country. But after a while, after being here for a while, my grandmother just wanted to go back to Japan. She just... I don't know, somehow that she just missed Japan. So they went back to Japan, the whole family went back to Japan. So my mother, and she was a fairly young girl, went back to Japan with the family. Shortly after that, another uncle was born in Japan, and while that uncle was still a baby, that grandmother died as well. So my grandfather, after a little while, remarried and he didn't have his original wife with him anymore so he came back to this country again. And started doing his business here in Portland and left the kids back in Japan under the care of their grandparents. And so my mother did most of her schooling in Japan and when she finished the standard number of years of schooling then came back to this country to rejoin her parents.

RP: How many years did she spend in Japan overall?

RS: I'm not quite sure but maybe... it can't be very long, seven or eight years, something like that.

RP: She was what's referred to as a Kibei?

RS: In many ways she's a Kibei, yes. I'm not quite sure how many years of schooling she had in this country but I know she did go to school here for a while. Now whether she went to school before she went back or whether she went to school here after she came back this way, I just don't remember.

RP: And do you know how your parents met?

RS: Well, they knew each other from way back. Actually my stepgrandmother on my father's side is the sister of my grandfather on my mother's side. So of course you see the two families know each other very well. And so actually after my father and my mother got married, my stepgrandmother on my father's side is my mother's stepmother-in-law as well as her real aunt.

RP: That is really interesting.

RS: But then of course they knew each other from way back and so when my father came to this country when he was fifteen years old, my mother was still here before going back and so she was a fairly small girl, and of course they knew each other. But then she went back to Japan and then when she came back to this country, of course, as she was growing up, then she of course she knew him.

RP: Now she was a U.S. citizen and he was a Japanese national.

RS: Yes, but back in the time when they were first married, there was a law that said that if a citizen marries an alien who is ineligible for citizenship, they lose their citizenship. So for a while my mother lost her citizenship. It was only later that they changed the law so that people could recover their citizenship that my mother had to apply to recover her citizenship.

RP: That was the infamous Cable Act.

RS: Yes, that's right, the Cable Act.

RP: And I think it actually came into law just before they got married and then it was repealed later on.

RS: I don't remember when it was repealed but I think for a while my mother didn't know that it was repealed, but when the war started, then there were a lot restrictions put on Japanese people, particularly aliens. And so my father couldn't do any banking business for example. I mean everything in banks for aliens was frozen so he couldn't do anything. So at that point my mother learned that she could recover her citizenship so she applied to get her citizenship back. And then so all the banking things that needed to be done for the family, my mother did it.

RP: Another one of the many discriminatory laws that were in vogue at that time. So your parents initially settled in what area of Oregon?

RS: The farm was in Troutdale. In those days Troutdale was a farming community, there was a little town there. That's still the center of the town of Troutdale, but nowadays Troutdale, the center is surrounded by housing developments and things like that. But the farm area is still a farm area but then there's more and more houses being built up there too.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

RP: Tell us about your siblings, Dick. Maybe rank them in order from older to younger in relationship to what your age was how much older or younger they were.

RS: Okay, yeah, my sister Lily that you're going to see tomorrow, is two years older than I am. And she of course had graduated from high school just as the war started and I told you about her being assigned to be a assistant teacher in the camps and becoming a teacher. And of course that's what she did during the camp days. Afterwards she, for a short time she moved to... when she left camp she moved to New York to be with Tomiko's father's family. Let's see... Tomiko's father and his family, they all moved to New York for a while and my sister went and joined them and worked in New York for a while but then she came back to Portland after a while to rejoin the family.

RP: You were next?

RS: And I'm next and then George is next and he was just starting high school when the war started. And so during the war he was always high school age and actually he didn't finish high school until a year after the war ended. He finished high school in Portland after being back. Do you want more information about him?

RP: I think maybe a little bit later.

RS: Okay.

RP: Who's next?

RS: Next is Betty, the one that had all these handicaps. She was born with cerebral palsy and had multiple multiple handicaps, and so she always lived at home until she was about, I think it was in her fifties or something and she finally got... well, the responsibility for her was transferred over to the Cerebral Palsy Center in Portland and they took charge of things for her. By that time you see my mother was getting quite old and it was hard to take care of her. But she lived to be... I think she lived to be seventy years old, she only died five or six years ago.

RP: And then?

RS: And she was always a good person to have in the family. Even though she had all these handicaps, somehow or other something about her that just made everything... her attitude and everything was, just made everything much better. So it was always good to have her in the family even though it was a lot of work for everybody, particularly my mother, but still it was good to have her around.

RP: And who's next?

RS: Then it was Eddie, Edward who was I think about just about six years old when we went into camp. He started school in the camps. Back in those days there weren't any such thing as kindergarten so he went directly into first grade so he was just old enough to start first grade so he did that in the camps. He was just one of the rest of us. And then lastly there's Judy, the youngest one, who was four years old so I guess she probably started school in camp, not at the very beginning.

RP: Well, thank you, Dick for sharing the rest of your family with us.

RS: Yeah, actually I'm really proud of all of them. They've all accomplished a great deal and I'm really proud of them.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

RP: Tell us what life was like for you growing up in Troutdale.

RS: Well, that was during the Great Depression and so we were really poor and of course there weren't, no kind of help anywhere. That just wasn't the sort of thing that happened in those days. Everything was just sort of doing the best you can living day to day and hoping that you could grow something and sell it on the market.

RP: What did your father primarily grow in those days?

RS: It was vegetables, you know, it was a truck farm and so he grew all sorts of fresh vegetables and he did have a strawberry field part of the time, things like that. But he grew cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, that sort of thing, and it was always a matter of seeing if he could sell them. It was just hard times. And of course we were a minority that people just didn't like. Now we lived in the country and went to small country schools and so most people were friendly, we're friends with and so forth. So the fact that we were a minority that everybody hated and even there were laws, discriminatory laws about Japanese, our friends, we got along with them, our neighbors and so forth got along with them except for a few people who would resort to the excuse that well, they're Japanese and so they're these people that are no good you know. But most people in the neighborhood since we knew them, we got along with them okay. But the socialization was mostly with the neighboring Japanese community.

RP: What type of activities do you recall?

RS: Well, it's mostly work. From the time I was a little boy I worked on the farm. After school, weekends, all summer long I worked as a farm worker as soon, as I could pick up a hoe, I did that. Once in a while people in the community would have a kind of, sort of a community picnic and so we would celebrate that. Once a year there was a big Japanese in Gresham and Troutdale big gathering, or a big community picnic and games and all that kind of stuff. That's the sort of thing we did you know. But mostly just day by day just trying to... and so whatever kind of play we did was just sort of make do what you could do, you know. We didn't have a big enough organization to have any organized sports or anything like that. Any of that was done at school at the school, had games, athletic games and so forth. And we would participate in that but everything else we just sort of wandered around fooling around. If you didn't have to work and then neighbor kids and us, we'd do something or other. In some ways I think some of that was good for me. I think sometimes when you just sort of fool around and do nothing that's organized just go around and see what you could find, fool around with things like that. I think a certain amount of that is a good thing, at least it was for me. I think being too organized, having every minute of your life being accounted for by this activity or that activity, I think doesn't give enough... you don't have enough experience of creating something for yourself. And I think my having to do that for myself and also my having to sometimes just sit there and just wonder about things is probably a good thing.

RP: Did you have any interests or hobbies growing up?

RS: I really liked baseball and I wanted to become a real good baseball player. I didn't have much opportunity to do it because... but I really liked it, that's one of the things I really wanted to do.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

RP: Did you have any personal experience with prejudice as a young man growing up in Troutdale?

RS: Growing up before prewar?

RP: Before camp, before war.

RS: Well, there were times which somebody would call me a "Jap" which not really a very nice term because of all the implications behind it, you know. I don't remember a lot of real explicit things but there was, "He's just a Jap," kind of a casual underneath kind of experience. No one really ever came out and really did something really explicit which represented their prejudice but I knew that there was always was underneath it this sense that Japanese were inferior.

RP: How did you feel about your ethnicity and your heritage as a kid? Is it something you wanted to run from or did you --

RS: I think probably I must have had, felt a little bit as if I wish I didn't... in some ways I wished I wasn't Japanese. At the same time I think... I think probably a kind of a mixture of knowing that I'm Japanese and that was a good thing and then at the same time thinking well, gee, I wish I didn't have to be that, I wish I was white and therefore I wouldn't have to feel this way. But I never felt really explicit senses of that. Maybe because I don't know whether it's because I just avoided it I don't know.

RP: How was your upbringing kind of a mixture of Japanese culture and American culture?

RS: Yes.

RP: And your parents' outlook? Your mom was originally born in America.

RS: Yeah, but she also was raised in Japan.

RP: In Japan.

RS: And raised by her grandparents and so they were much more traditionally raised and so forth. But as long as you're going to school here in Oregon you can't avoid... American culture is all around you, and that's a predominant thing. And at home my parents sometimes would say, "Speak in Japanese so we can understand what you're saying." Or sometimes they would say, they would talk about some particular point of view which is particularly Japanese and that's, you know, that's the way we ought to behave and so forth. But at the same time I think that they recognized that we're here in America and that we're just surrounded by American culture. But I think their wanting us to speak Japanese was mostly so that they could understand what we were about.

RP: Did you attend Japanese language school?

RS: They tried to set one up out where we lived in a small community. And I think we probably went may have gone maybe... it was kind of after school, it was very infrequent, after school one day a week. I think it probably lasted a couple months and then we just stopped, so in effect, no, we never went to Japanese school.

RP: How about religious background?

RS: My mother and my father were members of a Buddhist church but we never went, we never went 'cause we lived in the country. And coming into town, it was a big thing. For our father coming into town was delivering vegetables and things like that, but coming into town for other things it was not... it didn't happen very often. After we moved to Portland, after the war, of course my mother was a much more regular participant and things in the Buddhist church. Of course my father never went unless it was some special occasion. But growing up we just never did very much in the church. All I can remember is a few times going to a funeral or to a memorial service or something like that. The Buddhist temple here in Portland, my grandfather on my mother's side was one of the founders of that, but we were always kind of members but we never participated.

RP: Where did you attend school, Dick?

RS: In Corbett, Oregon, which is another small town just east of Troutdale.

RP: And what kind of student were you?

RS: Me? I was a good student. I don't know, I probably was the best student in class, I don't know. I mean each class had twenty five students or so like that, you know.

RP: Had any of your older siblings gone to college yet or did your parents emphasize that fact to you?

RS: Prewar, no, none of my siblings... of course none of my sibling were old enough to consider college. My cousins who lived next to us, they never went to college. One of the neighbor Japanese people, two of their sons went to college before the war. I don't think that ever came up for us. We were too young. And I don't think that was the sort of thing that we thought about.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

RP: You were mentioning about how difficult times were during the Depression for not just your family but everybody. Did you see things change in terms of your economic situation a little later on in the late '30s and into the early '40s before the war?

RS: Yeah, in the early '40s, 1941, the farm got just a little bit better and everybody attributed it to the fact that more people were going into the army. The draft was being reinstated and so forth so more people were going into the army and therefore the U.S. government was buying more vegetables and things like that to feed the army. And so that trickled down to our farm and so we found it a little bit easier to sell the produce and so things had gotten a little bit better. It was late '30s and early '40s, but that was just gradually very slightly.

RP: Did you father always lease his land or did he, being an alien, he was ineligible to purchase land?

RS: He bought the land under my uncle's name. See my uncle, Tomiko's father, you see was a male and therefore he was a citizen whether he got married to anybody or not it didn't make a difference; he was a citizen. So the farm was in his name but it was our farm.

RP: Can you describe your living conditions on the farm?

RS: Well, quite primitive. Initially we didn't have running water, didn't have electricity, didn't have anything like that. I remember my father and my grandparents putting a big tank on the back of the truck that we had and going to a place not too far away which there was some water coming out of the ground through a pipe, and the water was always coming out. And going there and filling that big tank up and bringing it home and that's the source of our water. Also, he also put together a cistern system where the water that ran off the roof of the house went into a tank underground and then there's a pump on top. There also was, in front of the house there was a well with a motor, engine on it for a pump, but that engine, something was wrong with it and so it just never worked, so we never used that well. 'Cause you see we were on a hill, on top of a hill so the well had to be pretty deep so it had to have a really good pumping system to get the water up. So he did that cistern system or he went over to that running water source and got the water. Of course, all the heat and the cooking and so forth was done with stoves, wooden stoves and kerosene lamps.

RP: Did you have any specific chores around the farm or the house that you did?

RS: One thing, one of the things was to chop some wood to make kindling for the cooking stove. That's one of the things that was one of my chores, particular chores. Another one was to start the fire for the bath. We had a Japanese bath with the big round tank with the fire underneath it and you fill the tank up with water and set a fire underneath it and heat some water up. And in order to take a bath there was a raft you made, and getting in the tub you stepped on top of the raft and that raft went down and so you had this wooden raft at the bottom of that tank, and so you wouldn't burn your feet because the bottom was being heated with the wood fire. One of my tasks was to start the fire and fill the tank up and start the fire for the bath, you know. Another one was once in a while the neighbor had a bunch of cows and so of course he had milk, and one of our tasks was every day to go over and get some milk. We had agreement with the neighbor to get milk from there every day so every day we had to go up and get the milk.

RP: That was milk that was never pasteurized?

RS: Yes, that's right, raw milk.

RP: Raw milk how'd that taste?

RS: I can't remember how that taste, I can't remember how it tastes of course in those days you see that was milk so that was the normal taste of milk. It didn't taste abnormal to me so I guess I can't remember if there is anything different.

RP: Issei farmers in Oregon and California, Washington, made great contributions to agriculture in their states. Did your father, was he involved in any cross breeding of vegetable varieties or was he very innovative in some of his farming techniques at that time?

RS: I don't know how innovative, whether he participated in any kind of experiment that somebody else had suggested I don't know. I do know that his cauliflower was one of the best. Now whether... but I don't think it had to do with him developing that particular strain or variety but I know that the cauliflower he raised was really good. And that's not an easy thing to raise but he was really good at raising that. Now whether he'd gotten some seed company to give him some experimental stuff to begin with or not I don't have any idea.

RP: Do you recall how he fertilized his fields in those days? Were animal manure still used extensively or were chemical fertilizers?

RS: Well, he used a combination of 'em. He used commercial fertilizer but he also used to get bags and bags of sheep manure that's composted, and from somebody else. Of course we never had sheep but I remember he would get lots of bags of sheep manure. Of course we had a horse, we had some horses when I was young and so there was manure there, but not enough to really fertilize the whole farm you know.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

RP: This is tape two of a continuing interview with Dick Sakurai, and Dick, we were talking about your Dad's farming techniques on the Troutdale farm. By the time you were growing up did he had tractors or mechanized equipment or was he still using horses?

RS: He started out with horses when I was young. Last few years he did get a tractor, and I remember when the last horse died and we buried him and then after that instead of getting another horse he got a tractor, but that was in the late '30s.

RP: Did you help in packaging vegetables?

RS: Yes.

RP: Onions.

RS: That's one of the things I helped him do. We never did any fancy packing, packing things in boxes and things like that, but not wrapping and things like that, just making sure the boxes were filled in correctly and things like that.

RP: And did he haul his own vegetables to market?

RS: Almost all of it he did. There were a few things which he had some neighbor come who had a big truck, big truck to come and when he had some kind of harvest, that was done all at once you know, not as the things ripened. And so there was a big truckload worth he had this neighbor come and pack it off for him, but most of the time he used his own truck to take it to market.

RP: Was he a member of a cooperative?

RS: Yeah, I think there was something like that, at least early in my recollection, but I don't know how much of that went on. I just don't know.

RP: Was your dad interested in current events? Did he keep up with what was going on in the world?

RS: Oh, yeah, yes. He could read and write English too, you know. Actually, after he got here, fifteen years old, fifteen, sixteen years old, there was a little school up near where we were at. He went to that school for a while to learn English and to read and write and so he was able to do that. I remember after he went into the camps, into Minidoka he insisted that we subscribe to Life magazine so he could see what Life magazine was showing, things like that, you know. So yeah, he knew what was going on in the world.

RP: Your mother briefly worked for a Japanese language newspaper?

RS: Yeah, she also was a very intelligent woman and she knew the Japanese language very well and she knew, Japanese language has all these characters and to know a lot of characters is an important thing for the printing business. So that's one thing she did was to work for the newspaper.

RP: And do you know the name of the newspaper?

RS: I think Oregon Shimpo. It was the newspaper in Portland. I'm not quite sure about the name of it but anyway. About my mother, she was a really good haiku poet, she was a really good haiku poet. She was published many, many times in the foremost haiku poetry magazine in Japan and so in the haiku community in Japan she was well known. She started this back in the '30s, she started sending haiku to Japan to this magazine and they started publishing her haiku. So that she had haiku published in almost every issue of that magazine. Of course, haiku is not very long, you see it's a short thing so each issue could publish a fair number of haiku. But she got published very often, sometimes even more than one haiku per issue and then of course during the war she couldn't do that, you couldn't send things back and forth to Japan. But after the war was ended then we moved back to Portland and she started up again, and until she got too old she continued to do that. So she was very good in that kind of thing, language things in general she was quite good at that. I think she was quite well read in Japanese literature and things, like that sort of thing.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

RP: Tell us a little bit about how your life changed after the war broke out.

RS: Well, I look at the internment experience as being the thing that changed my life completely. Before the war broke out, which there I am member of a small community, farming community and so forth, and the people in that community not only in Troutdale but also in Gresham and so forth all the farming communities, the families, the sons always kept following what their fathers did. So the farms went from the father to the sons and if there were several sons in the family then they would expand the farm and so forth. And I suppose if the internment hadn't come up I would see myself as being part of that and I don't know if I ever thought in those days of breaking away from that. That's not something that I... it just never occurred to me to think otherwise than that. Now of course when I look at what happened since the internment, my life is completely opposite of that, I mean there's no similarity whatsoever between pre and post World War II in my life. So it changed everything, it just completely.

RP: Do you remember any of the... after Pearl Harbor Japanese Americans, were singled out in a number of different ways. There were restrictions on travel and curfews and did those affect your family financially or socially in any ways?

RS: Well, it only lasted for five or six months before we got interned. We never were ones to do a lot of traveling anyway. But the traveling was from the farm to Portland. Now that was further than the travel restrictions, but if it has to do with business, taking things back and forth, that was okay, you know. And of course we never went out very much anyway so to have a curfew, that didn't change very much.

RP: One thing that you were subjected to though was the requirement that all Japanese males over the age of fourteen be fingerprinted?

RS: Yes.

RP: Can you tell us about that?

RS: Just one day we learned that we were supposed to go to the FBI office in Portland to get our fingerprints and people who were fourteen years old or more were required to get your fingerprint so we went and got fingerprinted. I suppose to make sure that none of us had some criminal record or something, or somehow or other may be able to keep track of us if something happened, then they could always trace fingerprints and so forth to make sure that it was one of us or not. I just did what was asked. Ever since that time I always say I've had an FBI file open since I was fourteen years old, you know, fifteen years old. I've had an FBI file for a long time. I often thought I ought to get a copy of my files.

RP: So at that age you didn't feel that you were being singled out?

RS: Well, not any more than they've already singled us out you know. I mean none of my classmates had to do that so you see that's it's because you're Japanese you know.

RP: Do you remember when you learned about the fact that you would be excluded from the West Coast, from your community and reactions on the part of yourself or your family about that news?

RS: I can't remember exactly but I know that I was surprised that this would happen. I mean, what I'd learned, you could see that this country was the land of freedom and this country was a land of laws. And this country, you don't get put in jail unless you do something and you get convicted of it. And here we are they say, you're right everybody who fits in this classification is going to be put away. Well, that's a surprise, that's not something, not at all what I thought the system for the United States was. When they were talking about this before it happened I said, "Well, no, they wouldn't do something like that, that's not going to happen." But then it happened so then I just felt very surprised.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

RP: How long did you have before you left?

RS: I don't remember. I think it was a couple weeks between the formal notice and the time we actually left.

RP: And what do you recall about your preparations to leave in terms of what you did with the farm, the property and that type of thing?

RS: I think my father had an agreement with one of the neighbors to, I think, I'm not sure, to rent the place. I do know that we sold all the big equipment, the car, the truck, the tractor, and we sold... we had a refrigerator because I said we didn't have electricity at first but in the middle of the '30s the electricity did come through and in the middle of the '30s the running water did come through but anyway so we had electricity so we had a refrigerator. But we sold that. We sold all those things, not for very much money, but we sold them all. The little things, all the little farm equipment we just left there. Used little farm equipment I mean nobody's going to buy it from us and then other things we didn't have very much anyway. I keep trying to figure out with my sister what happened to one valuable piece of equipment that we had, my mother had a Japanese musical instrument called a koto. And I remember she had it, now what happened to it? I know we didn't sell it. Did we leave it there? I don't know, I don't quite remember.

RP: There were instances where families burned items, buried items that were Japanese.

RS: Well, there is one thing we did something like that. When they knew that we were leaving, the school that we were going to gave all the Japanese Americans that went to that school like a going away party. See, those are the good guys, those are the people that weren't the ones that were against us. They were our good friends and so they gave us going away presents, party, including a present, a going away present. When I got home with the present, the present was a flashlight, right, the flashlight is one of the things that we were not allowed to have, we were not allowed to have flashlights anymore because flashlights, we could use to signal any Japanese airplane where to go. So flashlights were forbidden so we were not allowed to have flashlights. Of course the school didn't know that, so they gave us a flashlight as a going away present. So soon as I opened it, saw this flashlight, we can't have this, so I went over to the outhouse and dropped it into the outhouse. That's how we got rid of that one thing.

RP: That contraband.

RS: Yeah.

RP: Great story. Was your family visited by the FBI at all in time after Pearl Harbor?

RS: Yes, they came once to search the house.

RP: Were you there?

RS: No, I was at school. I remember when we came from school, my younger brother and sister, Eddie and Judy, came running out of the house running towards the school bus that we came off of and saying, "The FBI was here, the FBI was here." [Laughs] Of course they didn't know what it was all about but they just knew it was some kind of excitement, and so they were telling us. But they came and searched the house and see if there was anything there that we shouldn't have had.

RP: Your father... there were other men, Issei community leaders that were being picked up in the communities in Portland, but your father had --

RS: He was not picked up.

RP: Was there any fear that he might be?

RS: Well, I don't remember that, but of course, I don't think I would've thought that there was any reason to have him picked up.

RP: Dick, what was the most difficult item for you to leave behind when you left home?

RS: Well, as I said there, knowing what's going happen. Unknown life, I mean, to leave something, a life that I knew what it's about, it's something that was completely unknown. Besides, we didn't have anything, what did we have to leave behind anyway, we were just a poor, didn't have anything. So the only thing we left behind was really these things which are not tangible items, they were intangible things like the knowledge and so forth.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

RP: Where were you sent after you left Troutdale?

RS: To the Portland Assembly Center at the Expo Center which is still there.

RP: Had you ever visited that center as a kid growing up on a field trip or any other --

RS: Yeah, as a kid I remember the schools every once in a while when they had an expo show, the school would sometimes have a field trip there and we would... I remember going there, yeah, so I knew the place.

RP: What were are some of your most vivid memories of the short time you spent there?

RS: Well, the most vivid one is the one when I mentioned there is about walking out the door of the building which had a fence surrounding it, and soldiers outside the fence and guard towers every once in a while, walking out the door into the space between the building and the fence and looking up at the guard tower and seeing the machine gun pointed directly at me. And the soldier, a really nervous looking soldier standing or sitting behind that machine gun holding the machine gun and looking right directly at me. And there's this soldier with a machine gun pointed right at me and I was just stunned. It was just... it was a real big shock and I think that was the moment that I knew I was in jail. Before, you see, I knew that I was going into someplace that I didn't know anything about and of course I knew that there were soldiers around there and so forth. But to really understand what the situation was like was to have that experience of having that machine gun pointed at me with the soldier behind it. Of course it was very early in the time that we were all there so the soldier, of course, he was just a young kid and he was nervous, you could see he was nervous. He didn't know what was going to happen and so he was supposed to make sure that none of us escaped. And he sees this boy coming, walking out the door, he's got to watch and see and he got to be able to do the right thing. Well, that, to me, that was a really shocking thing. It really made me think about where I was. Of course, there were a lot of other things in the assembly center. Being able to play baseball in a league, there was an internal league there. And I got to play baseball game on a regular basis.

RP: Did you have a team?

RS: Yeah, there was a team I was on and there was a schedule for us and we played. That was a great thing from my point of view. And I think I mentioned in there about going out in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and it was very quiet because everybody was sleeping. But during that walk to the bathroom, which is several hundred feet away, I could hear this woman crying. And she was just crying and crying, terrible crying, it really, really... she was so sad about something and I can still hear it, I can still hear it. There are lots of experiences like that coming from a country, out in the country where you don't... it's a small community out there and then go to the place there and under one roof there's 3,000 people. And all sorts of things are going on and I never experienced those things before, and never experienced hearing something like that. It's something that's haunted me forever. First time some significant thing happens, some things you keep remembering.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

RP: Then you were sent with the Portland community to Minidoka.

RS: Yeah.

RP: Do you recall any memories about the train ride to the camp?

RS: Yeah, I don't know where they got the train, I don't know where they got the train. I'd been on train rides before, you know, before this and I know what railroad passenger cars were like. And here's this really, really old train car with I'd say really musty smell to it, and I don't know whether I'm making this up or not, but I sort of picture a potbelly stove on one end of it. I may have mixed that picture up with something else but anyway, it's old enough so that it didn't have a heating system other than that potbelly stove. And riding all day and all night, stopping very often and going on a side track so that other trains could rush through and then every time we'd stop there soldiers would jump out with their rifles and make sure that none of us escaped. And of course the blinds were pulled down so we couldn't look out. Why couldn't we look out? I don't know. Why can't people look in? I don't know. Anyway the blinds were pulled down and the seat was one of these things that sit like that. How do you sleep? Can't lean back or anything like that. You can't sleep sideways because there's only enough room to sit up. Anyway, I can't believe they found a train that old in order to transport us.

RP: When you got to Minidoka what block were you assigned to, Dick?

RS: Initially we were assigned to Block 39. We lived there for just a week or so but we were assigned to one room, one of the larger rooms, but that room was too small for our family. There were eight of us all together and that room was designed for six or seven, I think. But we stayed there for a week or so and they said you could go to the next block, you know, 41. We'll give you the same size room plus another one which is a small one right next to it. So room A was a really small room just for a couple people and then room B was one of these ones that was good for six or seven people. So we had two rooms.

RP: So who stayed in room A and who stayed in room B?

RS: Well, two of my sisters and my brother and I stayed in room A. And then in room B my mother and father and one brother and one sister stayed in there. And that was considered to be the main room, the little room, we had the four beds in it, you see, and that took up the whole space. But since there were only four beds in the bigger room, that left a little space as kind of a living room, that was the main room.

RP: Where was Block 41 located in the camp area?

RS: The very end of the... the camp is sort of spread out like that and at the very end of one end. There was a Block 44 as well but it was two rows of blocks and so it went at 41 here and then a long over here was 42 and then there was 44 over here but 43 was missing, that's where they had the softball fields and things like that.

RP: That's where you took advantage of that and you played a little baseball in there, didn't you?

RS: Yeah, somebody had cleared one corner of that block, empty block and put that softball field there. The rest of it was just left there so some of my friends and I, we smoothed out one section there and somehow we were able to get a post and some lumber and so we built a basketball post and put a board, the back board up there and put a basketball hoop up there so we had a half-court basketball court there that we built ourselves. And then somebody came along who drove one of the trucks that they used in the camp you know, truck to deliver things back and forth. Delivered something or other came along and backed into that post and cracked the post.

RP: Did you get it repaired at some point?

RS: The guy just went off and there's this cracked post and this heavy backboard up there so we were afraid it was going to fall over so we took it down. Of course we didn't have another post to put up there so we just had to abandon it.

RP: So do you recall when you got there? Was it later in the summer of '42?

RS: Yeah, it was either late August or early September. And as soon as we got there we were in one of the barracks which was used as a registration office and we were there for just a very short time standing in line waiting to register, and all of a sudden everybody that worked there jumped up and ran to all the windows and slammed all the windows shut. I thought, what in the dickens is happening? And a minute or two later there was a big dust storm, big dust storm, and of course the people that were working there, of course they were also internees but they had been there a few weeks longer than we were. They had been the ones that do the registering, they had enough experience to know when that dust storm were starting out so they, the windows were ones that came out from the wall like that. And so they just slammed them shut. That's my first memory of the camp. Later on all that dust that used to come up every once in a while after it started raining later that fall, all that dust turned into mud. Oh, it was terrible mud, it's just mud, really sticky mud, and of course there's no sidewalks, there were some planks that were put that you could walk on, but other than that there was just a big sea of mud. After we were there for a while, by the next year, of course, more things were growing again so it wasn't as bad but that first year of course they just cleared that place you see, the sagebrush that was there it had all been cleared away so all the dirt had been exposed and of course it was hot, so it all turned to dust and so this dust storms were just really, really thick dust storms.

RP: Did you ever get caught out in one of those?

RS: Oh, yeah, nothing you can do, close your eyes and so you wouldn't get all that stuff would get into you. Just wait it out try to get in the shade of a barracks building or something like that so that the dust wouldn't blow against you.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

RP: Now you mentioned your sister Betty had cerebral palsy, and were they any modifications made to your barrack to allow her --

RS: Later on they put a little porch outside the door so she could come out and be outdoors. She couldn't go any further than that because the wheelchair wouldn't go up and down the stairs of that porch. And if she got down to the ground, of course it was either muddy or something like that so she couldn't leave the room. There weren't any bathroom facilities in the barracks so my parents asked me to build a little chair for my sister that they could put a chamber pot underneath it. So I built... somewhere or other I found some tools, of course there's lumber, pieces of lumber all scattered around, so I gathered pieces of lumber together and built a chair and cut a hole in the seat of the thing there and measured underneath it just enough so that the chamber pot would just slip underneath there, underneath the hole and that my sister could use that as a toilet. I did that at the assembly center and I did that at Minidoka, and I also made another chair for Betty, for her to sit on the rest of the time. There was no other furniture you know. The only furniture was these army cots, nothing to sit on. So I made a chair for Betty and all I had was pieces of lumber, one by fours, okay, and a hammer and some nails and a saw.

RP: Where did you get the hammer and the saw from?

RS: I don't remember where I got those. Somewhere or other I was able to get a hammer and saw and some nails and the lumber. I asked myself, how can I make a chair so that it won't just be a wobbly old chair with these pieces of wood, which that wide and this thick and so forth. And you just nail things together like that, they're always going to be wobbly and so forth. I can't have my sister sitting and suddenly the chair collapses. So I got to design a chair in such a way as just using nails to hold the lumber together, it will still be stable and won't wobble and fall apart. So I thought about this and finally come up with a way to make a chair. And years later I discovered that I had re-invented a famous chair called an Adirondack chair, you know what an Adirondack chair is like?

RP: No.

RS: It's a chair that has a slanting seat, and there's a back to it that stands up and those are connected together with... the back legs of the chair are a piece of wood that goes down and hits the floor and this other part, if you put another piece of lumber this way, that's the front leg, right. So we have a piece like that and piece that goes down like that and same on the other side so it rests on this leg, that leg and the ends of the two slanting ones, okay. And then you run some lumber this way and then you put some lumber this way and run another piece of lumber across the back like that and then across from there you run a piece of lumber over here to the top of this front leg, okay. That acts as an arm for the arm rest like this and also holds this thing in place, also holds the back of the back in place. You do all that with nails and not have to put pegs in there to hold it steady. I discovered that's very close to what an Adirondack chair, how it's built.

RP: That's great. Did you have a chance to leave the camp to go into Twin Falls or any of the neighboring communities while you were at Minidoka?

RS: Once I went into Twin Falls when I was a senior in high school and we were allowed to... the whole senior class went into Twin Falls to get pictures for the yearbook. Three times during those three years I got released for about a month to go out and do the harvest.

RP: Is that potatoes?

RS: A couple years it was sugar beets and one year it was potatoes. I have some stories about those things but I won't have time to describe those but there was interesting things going on with those trips as well. And one other time, one other time my sister and I and Betty were released to go take a trip to Boise for Betty to see a orthopedist or somebody like that, some specialist, and somehow or other we were able to get on some buses and travel here to there and so forth and we got to Boise and the three of us, and we saw the orthopedist and then we came home. But other than that I don't think we... at least I don't remember going out.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

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.

<Begin Segment 15>

RP: This is tape three of a continuing interview with Dick Sakurai. Dick we were just sharing some of your experiences with going and not going to school in Minidoka. I wanted to ask you something came up in the camps that was very divisive in early 1943, the government circulated a "loyalty questionnaire."

RS: Yes.

RP: To extract young Nisei males for a special military unit and also to register everyone else in the camp for quote, "relocation eligibility." Can you tell us how did your family respond to the questionnaire, one, two was there significant discussions that went on within your family and other families in your block about how to answer this questionnaire, was there confusion, chaos?

RS: Yes, at that time, early 1943, I was too young to be required to answer it. But of course this is something that involved my father and so I know that he was talking with many other people outside the family about it and so he would come back home and tell us about the different things that people were saying about these questions. And so we talked about these different responses. But it wasn't a major discussion and I don't think there was any real controversy within the family about this. Because in the end, everything was answered in a satisfactory manner so that questions twenty-seven and twenty-eight, for example, my father answer "yes-yes" even though that meant certain inconsistency because the answers, the way the questions were asked, you had to give inconsistent answers. Anyway, there was some discussion within the family but not a real, real controversial kind of discussion, yes.

RP: Most people categorize Minidoka as one of the quote more "loyal" camps of the... compared with Tule Lake and Manzanar.

RS: And that early 1943 when they were using that to recruit people for the army, Minidoka, they rated which the volunteers came out of Minidoka was much higher than the other camps.

RP: Do you remember seeing men volunteering or leaving?

RS: Oh, yes, and I remember hearing all sorts of really big discussions and controversies within other families about volunteering and so forth. And actually I think there were some within our block, controversial things going on within a family.

RP: Did you ask yourself how you might have answered if you were of age?

RS: Yeah, and actually when I got of age I did have to answer those same questions and I answered "yes-yes." When I think back now, whereas I would've have been one of the ones to scream and yell about the inconsistency of all these things, but back then I just figured well, you know, the easiest thing to do is to say "yes-yes" and so I think I'll do that. If I had to answer in 1943 I probably would have said "yes-yes" and when I did have to answer it after I turned eighteen, well then I did in fact answer "yes-yes."

<End Segment 15> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

RP: There was another memory of Minidoka that you mentioned about a woman that you saw at Minidoka.

RS: Yeah, I remember seeing this woman who walked all day long. She walked from one end of the camp to other and she did it continuously all day long, just walked and walked and walked and walked. And that's another thing, I'd never seen anything like that happen before and my mother said that she's nervous. Well, it's more than nervous, nowadays we would say that she's got something really major going on inside this woman that she has to let out by doing this walking. But of course in those days that's the extent of what my mother could describe it as, as being a nervous women. Well, see, I've never encountered people with real mental disease kind of things a real things like that going on within a person's psyche that you just had to let it out somehow or other. And here's this woman that's doing this. And so that's something else that I can remember all these years you know. She didn't bother anybody else, she just walked and walked and walked and walked. And it just amazed me, part of my learning experience about people and about the way things go in this world.

RP: Did your father work in camp?

RS: Oh, yes.

RP: What did he do?

RS: Originally he worked as a janitor, that was his assignment, but I think later on he got switched over to driving one of these trucks that delivered things within the camp. That was his job.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

RP: And now when you did go back to school in 1943 was it?

RS: Yeah, everything was fine. Everything went according to... and I finished, instead of finishing in two years I finished in a year and a half. That's why I graduated in January. It's as if nothing happened before, I just went back to school and did everything.

RP: What were the teachers in your high school like? What do you recall about the teachers and you shared that story earlier before we started the interview, I wondered if you could share it again.

RS: I had some really good teachers and few that really didn't do very much. But I think in general I think the teachers that I had were pretty good. The one teacher that really in some ways influenced my life a great deal besides the one that was the former missionary, was the one that taught the geometry class. And by the time I went back to school there was a shortage of teachers, that's why my sister got appointed to be a teacher. But then there's a shortage of math teachers. So to teach the geometry class in high school they asked the teacher who was all her life had taught elementary school, an elderly really nice woman, gentle old woman who taught elementary school and so they assigned her to teach geometry. Well, of course it was years and years since she had done anything like that, you know. She taught her grade school teachers arithmetic, nothing like geometry so she had a hard time. So she would we would go over some things in class and then she would assign some problems and of course mathematics was one of my strong points, and so it was no problem for me, but all the other people can't do mathematics very well. So the next day there's always somebody that said, "I don't know how to do problem number such and such that you assigned." And of course the teacher was kind of... didn't quite know what to do about it so she always asked me, "What's the solution to problem such and such?" And so I would say, well, this is the way you solve this problem. And this got to be habit, and so I in many ways I taught, along with this teacher, geometry. And that meant I really learned geometry. Geometry is something that ever since that time, geometry is the thing that I used to guide my way to thinking about mathematics and science. The way geometry is structured is the way I structure my way of thinking about other mathematics and other science. And so I think she had a great deal of influence on my life and my career because my career is in mathematics and science. And so it started about there.

RP: That's great.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

RP: And you graduated from Hunt High School. Do you remember anything about your graduation?

RS: I missed it. On the Saturday after the last class of the first semester I left the camp.

RP: Where did you go?

RS: I went to college. I just turned eighteen, and I knew that if I went into the army, that after I got out, the GI Bill would apply. So I wanted to make sure that they knew that I was a college student. So I applied to go to get in one semester's worth of college before I got drafted. So I left immediately after I graduated, so I left before the graduation ceremony so no ceremony.

RP: And you went to Miami University in Ohio?

RS: Yes.

RP: And why did you choose Miami University?

RS: 'Cause I didn't know much about colleges and somebody at one time had mentioned something about Miami of Ohio so I figured, well, that's about a good a place as any, so I applied to Miami and they said okay and so I went to Miami.

RP: Were you able to get a scholarship or how did you finance?

RS: Well, the previous year when I went out to dig potatoes I earned some money. And then also worked, I got a job at the university.

RP: And what was it like, you're a freshman first time college experience, you're Japanese American in a new community?

RS: I think my experience is probably not much different than most freshmen you know, the kind of adjustments freshman have to make. I was aware of the fact that I was an unusual student in that I was Japanese American. There was one other Japanese American at the university who had been there at least a semester or so. But I only met him once and I think he wasn't much interested in following up with me, but anyway, I was aware of the fact that I was different. But I entered in mid-year and went to the dormitory. There was a small group of people in the dormitory and they all welcomed me. I think there were a few that were kind of reluctant but the majority of them, the vast majority of them were welcoming and I would visit with them in their rooms and things like that. And so it was quite pleasant even though at first I was aware that I was different, but that didn't affect me very much. The adjustments I had to make were probably just about like what any beginning student would have to make.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<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.

<Begin Segment 20>

RP: I'm going to conclude our interview, Dick, by asking you if you had any advice or insights to share about your incarceration experience with future generations say ten or twenty years from now, young people, what would that be?

RS: If we say that this is a country of laws and this is a country that promotes freedom and liberty and civil rights and that sort of thing, we ought to go by that. We got to remember these things, we want to remember the laws that run this country and the traditions that this country claims to follow and not let emotions and prejudices and so forth overrule that. I think a lot of people have a lot of good things within them and let them show that. Don't let the bad parts of people overrule the good parts of people.

RP: Thank you on behalf of myself and Mark and the National Park Service for a great interview, Dick, appreciate your time.

RS: Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.

RP: It's an honor.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright &copy; 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.