Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Kimiko Nakashima Interview
Narrator: Kimiko Nakashima
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Sacramento, California
Date: April 3, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-nkimiko-01-0013

<Begin Segment 13>

RP: Do you remember anything about the train trip down to Fresno?

KN: Oh, there was black porters. They were real nice to us. And then one of our friends' kids, he'd go up, up and down the aisle imitating this black porter. "Please put your feet back in there." He imitated the black porter. Everybody had a ball listening to him. He's imitating this black porter. Black porter was going back and forth in the train so this, we called him Jui, his name is Juichi, and he watched this black guy doing all this and he goes up and down and talks just like him. [Laughs] We had a ball in the train.

RP: So he kept you entertained?

KN: Yeah, yeah, he kept on imitating just the way the black porter talks and he goes up and down the aisles telling us to put our feet inside and don't stand, all that stuff that the black porter did.

RP: Did they ask you to pull down the shades on the train?

KN: Yeah, yeah.

RP: All the way to Fresno?

KN: Yeah. Yeah.

RP: Were there, was there a soldier in the car?

KN: Yeah, black, there were a lot of black soldiers and they were nice to us. They sat by us and they felt so sorry for us that we're going into a concentration camp and these black soldiers were real nice to us in the bus, in the train.

RP: In the train.

KN: [Nods]

RP: Were they all black soldiers?

KN: Yeah, mostly. Maybe one or two white but most, they were, most were black.

RP: Did you have a conversation with them?

KN: Oh yeah. One sat by me and we sat together all the way to Fresno. He wanted to know what we did and where we came from and all that. 'Cause they never, they never met Japanese before. They're all blacks. And then so they wanted to know why, what we're doing there and where we're going and all that. So you had to fill them in for all this stuff. But they were real nice to us all the way to Fresno.

RP: When you told him what was happening to you, what did he say?

KN: Oh he felt sorry for us. He couldn't believe it. He looked at me, "Huh?" He didn't think that they were sending us to concentration camp just because we were Japanese.

RP: You were an American citizen.

KN: Yeah. But they were real nice. They're black soldiers and they were real nice to us.

RP: So did you have any feelings or thoughts about what was happening to you?

KN: Oh, oh yeah. I felt disgusted but what could you do. There's nothing you could do.

RP: How about your other sisters. Were they...

KN: Oh yeah, we all went together.

RP: Were they, did they express any emotions about how they felt about...

KN: Well my, one of my sister had tuberculosis. She was in Weimar Sanitarium. So she was the only one there. The rest of us... and my oldest sister was already married and she, she "voluntarily evacuated." So there was only my sister... just the three of us, four of us left that went to Fresno Assembly Center.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright &copy; 2011 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.