Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Toshiko Aiboshi Interview
Narrator: Toshiko Aiboshi
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Culver City, California
Date: January 20, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-atoshiko-01-0010

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RP: In your time at Amache, did you take any, for any reason at all, did you leave the camp to go to, into Granada?

TA: We did go, and I understand, I read in one of my -- when I went to City College I took an English class; it was, I think it was composition or something -- I later found out, found my papers and I had written something that we had gone to the town of Granada. And when we saw a sign and it said something, Navius Hardware Store or something of that sort, we said, "Oh, let's go in there because we used to have Mr. Navius at Foshay Junior High School." And apparently Mr. Navius's brother was the one at Foshay Junior High School, and I, until I had seen that paper way before that I had written, it was just a short piece of paper that, it was such a small world, that he had not seen his brother in a long time because Granada and Los Angeles are so far apart. When I went to City College and I had written one of the articles about, something about camp, I found out that the teacher loved these articles because he was one of these who was interested in what was happening at this thing, so I said, "Here's an easy A." So I kept writing about different little aspects of the, of camp. [Laughs] And so that was one of the experiences that I had written about, so I knew that I had gone out to camp.

RP: By that letter.

TA: And I think we also had a ditch day for high school, and we had, apparently there was some kind of river or something close by, and we were able to go out and have a picnic. And that was our ditch day.

RP: Now, do you recall guard towers and a barbed wire fence around the camp?

TA: Yeah.

RP: And how, how did you relate to that?

TA: Well, I think it was a fact of life, but we always talk after the war about how we were supposed to be there for our protection and having the guard towers' guns pointed inward. And so I don't know who was guarding who against. [Laughs]

RP: Right. Now, years later, you're back in Los Angeles and you took a drive to Arcadia and ended up seeing Santa Anita again.

TA: Yes, it was many, many years ago, and I don't know I happened to come upon Santa Anita. I said, "There is Santa Anita." And all of a sudden I started to cry. It still makes me cry. It was, I'd never been so emotionally struck by... I can't explain it.

RP: A couple of other questions about Amache, Tosh. Did you leave after the war ended with Japan, or before, do you remember?

TA: You know, I can't remember when VJ Day was.

RP: I believe sometime, what, August 15th or...

TA: I can't remember whether I was in camp or whether I had left before.

RP: Do you recall the day? Do you remember the end of the war?

TA: You know, I would only have to guess that after graduation of high school, which I think was in June or so, is when we left. But I don't recall that. I think I was in L.A. for VJ Day, I think. Because I can remember VJ Day, whereas a lot of people would not know what that term meant. So I think we were relieved that it was all over.

RP: What about the atomic bombs, the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

TA: You know, that seemed kind of remote to me. I have since talked to people who were in Japan at that time, but I don't know, it was just kind of a horrible thing, but it was not within my circle of reality. But I thought if that would've ended everything that would've probably been the right thing to do, maybe. I don't know. But I have talked to one woman who's since, she said she was, I think, I don't know if she was in Hiroshima itself, but she was trapped for three days and unable to get out after that bomb. She is over our, at our Venice Japanese Community Center. She said she knows a lot of people who died at that time. So from a human standpoint, I don't know that, to take so many lives at one time seems kind of inhuman.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright &copy; 2011 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.