Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hanako Hoshiyama Fukumoto Interview
Narrator: Hanako Hoshiyama Fukumoto
Interviewer: Kristen Luetkemeier
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: August 5, 2013
Densho ID: denshovh-fhanako-01

<Begin Segment 1>

KL: This is Kristen Luetkemeier for the Manzanar Oral History Project. I'm here in Las Vegas as the home of Hana Fukumoto for an oral history interview about her experiences growing up in California, graduating from high school, being forced into Manzanar War Relocation Center, spending years there including the experience of meeting her husband, eventually relocating to Chicago, and eventually moving to Las Vegas where we are now. Today is August the 5th, 2013, Whitney Peterson from the National Park Service is also with us. And before we start with the questions, I just want to make sure for the recording that we do have your permission to record this interview and make it available to the public.

HF: Yes.

KL: Thank you for that.

HF: I think that's very nice. Lots of people don't know about, that we were put into camp.

KL: People sometimes... I'll go in to introduce our orientation film to visitors, and if I tell people that I've met someone who found themselves in a picture in the exhibits, people will audibly gasp, because they just are amazed that there is that connection. I think it's really powerful, so I'm glad you're willing to do this.

HF: Uh-huh. Because we were American citizens, so we told our parents, "They're not going to put us in a camp."

KL: I do want to start off talking about your parents. Would you tell us their names to start off with?

HF: My mother is Maki, M-A-K-I, Murayama is her maiden name. And then my father is Iwamatsu Hoshiyama.

KL: Would you spell Murayama?

HF: M-U-R-A-Y-A-M-A.

KL: And Iwamatsu Hoshiyama?

HF: I-W-A-M-A-T-S-U, H-O-S-H-I-Y-A-M-A.

KL: Okay. And let's start with your mother, to talk a little bit more about their backgrounds. Do you know when and where she was born?

HF: She was born in 1899. And then my father was born in 1877.

KL: Where were they from?

HF: From Niigata, Japan, which is up north, the northern part of Japan.

KL: Do you know much about Niigata, what its economic basis was, what people did for work?

HF: It was a farmland, and then my husband and I went back to Japan, went to Japan, gee, I can't remember the year. So we visited Niigata. And so my father's, he has a family plot there, and that's where he's buried, and also my mother is buried there, too.

KL: What was, was your mother's family farmers?

HF: Yes.

KL: What else do you know about them, like their educational background or their religious background?

HF: I don't know anything, they didn't talk about it. If they did, they talked in Japanese. Of course, I went to Japanese school in California, and we went on Saturdays, one day a week. But, you know, they never talked too much about it, so I don't know what...

KL: How did they know each other originally?

HF: I really don't know how they met. It's the same village, that's probably why.

KL: Do you know how they decided to marry, or how that was arranged?

HF: No. They didn't talk about it, or if they did, we didn't know, because they never talked about it.

KL: Your father came to the United States first, is that right?

HF: Yes, he did.

KL: When did he come?

HF: I don't know what year... my son has his passport, but I don't really know what he... but he worked in the railroad in Montana. And then I really don't know how many times he came to the U.S., but he went back to Japan. And the last time is when he met my mother and then they got married in 1921. My sister was born in 1922, and they came over and came to San Francisco. My sister was born in San Francisco.

KL: Do you have any knowledge of any more details about your dad's work, like what railroad company he worked for or what kind of work he did?

HF: No, he never talked about it, so we don't know.

KL: But you think he returned to Japan around 1921?

HF: I think he returned before that, too. He came several times, because he worked on the railroad quite a few times.

KL: Did anyone else from his family come over?

HF: His younger brother, and he lived in West Los Angeles.

KL: Did his younger brother kind of go back and forth with him and work on the railroad, too?

HF: No, I don't think so.

KL: He was alone?

HF: Uh-huh.

KL: Where did he fall, was he the oldest in his family, do you know?

HF: I really don't know. I don't think he was the oldest. I think there were some more, maybe, sisters.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

KL: But you said your folks married in 1921, and they had a daughter?

HF: Yeah. My sister, 1922.

KL: What is her name? I know I know it, and that'll be weird, but for the...

HF: Her name, Machiko.

KL: Would you spell it?

HF: M-A-C-H-I-K-O. She had an English name, March. She was born in March, so I guess somebody must have said, "Why don't you name her March?"

KL: What did you call her when you were growing up?

HF: I called her March.

KL: Did they have another child in Japan also?

HF: No.

KL: Just one. So was March born in Japan?

HF: My sister March? She was born in San Francisco.

KL: When did your parents come back then? How long did they spend in Japan after marrying?

HF: I really don't know.

KL: Probably not very long if they were married in '21 and she was born back in San Francisco.

HF: That's right. I had two brothers, one right under me, 1924, and then another brother that was born in 1927. Then my younger sister was born in 1938, but my mother had miscarriages in between. I remember two miscarriages.

KL: What do you remember about them? How did they affect her?

HF: Well, they didn't... boys are different than girls. Then like my younger brother was, he was put in camp, when we went to camp, he was fifteen years old, so he got in with a bad crowd.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

KL: When were you born, what year?

HF: I was born in 1923, so I turned ninety this year.

KL: Were you born in San Francisco, too?

HF: No, I was born in Montebello.

KL: Tell us about Montebello. Where is it, what's it like?

HF: Southern California, and it's like San Fernando. At that time it was lots of farmland. Well, California was mostly farmland anyway, at that time. Now it's nothing but homes.

KL: What were the big crops when you were growing up in Montebello?

HF: I remember we had friends that were growing carrots, and they would give us carrots in San Fernando. And that was the biggest crop in San Fernando.

KL: Carrots?

HF: Carrots.

KL: They were for commercial sale?

HF: Right. And they took it to the market in Los Angeles. My father was a foreman at this florist, we called it a ranch, it was 20 acres, and we just grew roses and carnations. And then I remember one year we had chrysanthemums.

KL: What were his duties as foreman?

HF: We had to take care of the carnations. He made cuttings, carnation cuttings, and then he would put it in sand and then take care of that. And then once it got big enough, then he would transplant it into bigger lots. And then he would have to... they put cheesecloth and made like a tent. It's really not a tent, but it was a big operation.

KL: How many people worked there?

HF: We had a lot of Mexicans working. There was quite a few.

KL: As many as, like, twenty?

HF: Maybe ten. And then my father had a horse, we had a horse to plow. Those days we had to plow, we didn't have a Caterpillar or a tractor or anything, so he would have to plow, and then plant the carnation cuttings and all the other flowers. And then they would take care of it and they would cut in the morning. Then Mr. Bessho owned the property, and he would take it to the market, he would take it home to Montebello, and they would fix it up, you know, fix up the plants, the flowers, and then he would take it to the market in Los Angeles.

KL: They were sold as cut flowers?

HF: Yes, the cut flowers. And so he did a lot, too, you know, that's a lot of work.

KL: Where did he live?

HF: Montebello. And that was a long ways from San Fernando.

KL: Yeah, so your family was living in Montebello also?

HF: No, we were living in San Fernando.

KL: I see.

HF: He lived in Montebello.

KL: When did you move to San Fernando?

HF: Let's see. It must have been about, I must have been about six or seven, I would say. Because according to the records of my parents, we moved around a lot.

KL: While you were growing up?

HF: When I was small, before I finally ended up in San Fernando. I remember going to Pacoima grammar school, and my sister was one year older, so she started before I did, of course. But I remember she walked all the way home, and it was quite a ways, because she didn't want to be there by herself, and she didn't know anybody.

KL: She just left the school and walked home?

HF: Right. So then I had to go to school, so I started school when she did.

KL: What was the nature of your and her relationship? Were you pretty close playmates, or were you, did that one year make a big difference?

HF: No, it didn't make that much difference. We grow up together, and then year she got mastoid, and that's an infection in the ear, back of the ear, so she had a big operation. And then she had to be out of school for one year, so that's why I caught up with her.

KL: Oh, I see.

HF: Uh-huh, she was out for about a year.

KL: And Pacoima is in the San Fernando Valley, right? You were always kind of in that orbit?

HF: It's on Van Nuys Boulevard and San Fernando Road. Those days, you just traveled a lot. That's the way it was, you know, everybody didn't live close together.

KL: Did your parents always work on Mr. Bessho's operation?

HF: Yes.

KL: Did they have a relationship before they went to work for him?

HF: I really don't know how they met. Probably during... because people close, Japanese people stuck together with Japanese people, they probably met them that way.

KL: And I haven't heard the name of the place where your folks were from in Japan very often.

HF: Oh, Niigata? Yeah, that's on the Japan Sea side, that's why you don't hear about it.

KL: Do you think Mr. Bessho was from there also?

HF: No, he wasn't. He was from a different prefecture.

KL: Were there other people that your parents were friends with who were from their area?

HF: No, they were all different from different areas. They all moved from Japan to the United States to make a better life.

KL: The laborers who worked on your farm, the Mexicans, were they mostly men, were they single, were they seasonal? What can you tell us about them?

HF: Well, the ones that I saw were just men, single men.

KL: Did you get to know any of them, did you guys socialize?

HF: We did. They had tortillas, so every once in a while they would give us tortillas and we would eat it. We got to know them pretty well.

KL: Were they pretty steady presences, or was it kind of, somebody would be there?

HF: They were steady workers. I think we needed, Mr. Bessho needed the workers, 'cause it's a big operation.

KL: Yeah, especially in that climate, I would think people could be kept busy all year round during...

HF: Oh, yes, uh-huh. Then a lot of times we had big rose plants, and then some of the plants would die, then my mother would plant vegetables in between so we would have vegetables. Then it would get watered when, the flowers got watered.

KL: Was that okay with everybody?

HF: Yeah, and then we shared.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

KL: You said you had a couple brothers. Would you tell us their names in order?

HF: Older one is George, and the younger one is Kazuo, K-A-Z-U-O. And then later on, after camp, he gave himself an English name, he gave himself Dave.

KL: So George was 1924 baby and Kazuo was 1927?

HF: Yes, uh-huh.

KL: Okay. When you were born, what was your name?

HF: Well, on the birth certificate it just says Hana, H-A-N-A.

KL: Okay. In the government records, there's a different first name, that's why I was curious.

HF: Hanako.

KL: Hanako? Okay. Do you have any idea why your parents chose that name for you?

HF: No. Hana means "flower," probably because they worked on the flower, with the flowers. They never said. We just assumed, well, that's my name, so we didn't question. Those days we didn't question too many things.

KL: How did they feel about their jobs, do you think?

HF: They worked hard; they didn't complain. They didn't complain, they just worked.

KL: Do you think it was a job they chose because it was available, or do you think it was something they got satisfaction from?

HF: Probably because it was available, I would think. That's what happened to most people, whatever was available, they took. My uncle, my father's brother, he lived in, they lived in West Los Angeles, so that was a little town. It's a big town now. So she was a schoolteacher, Japanese schoolteacher.

KL: His wife?

HF: The wife, uh-huh. And he worked as a gardener for these rich Caucasians.

KL: What were their names?

HF: Mother's name was Fuki, F-U-K-I, and the father's name was Suematsu, S-U-E-M-A-T-S-U, which means the last.

KL: I guess that's final when you get named that. [Laughs]

HF: And they only had one daughter.

KL: What was her name?

HF: Her name was Meriko, M-E-R-I-K-O. And she passed away last year.

KL: Did you see very much of that family when you were growing up?

HF: We didn't see too much because they lived quite a few miles away. But then every once in a while they'd come over, we'd go over for holidays.

KL: What holidays were big in your childhood or in your teenage years?

HF: Probably Thanksgiving.

KL: How did you celebrate?

HF: By eating. [Laughs]

KL: What were your favorites?

HF: Well, later on it was turkey, I don't know before that what we ate, but probably Japanese food, because all my mother cooked, was Japanese food.

KL: Where would you celebrate Thanksgiving?

HF: Now?

KL: No, then, when you were growing up. Would you go to West L.A.?

HF: Yes, we went to West L.A.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

KL: What were your impressions of West L.A. as a kid or a teenager?

HF: We thought it was really a nice place, you know, because of the lawns, everybody took care of the lawns, and we had lawns and streets. Here we just have dirt roads in the country.

KL: Would you describe your house? Was there a house that you kind of think of from that time period? You said you moved a lot.

HF: See, we only had a kitchen and a living room, and one small bedroom, and then a porch. So we all managed in there. And then we had, of course, we had our outhouse. And then the bath, I don't know if you know a Japanese bathhouse, well...

KL: Tell us about it.

HF: Yeah, well, they had these big tubs that you buy, so then, I don't know how, they made a little house for the bathroom, bathtub. And then we had to heat up the hot water, so we used logs or whatever we had available to heat up the hot water. And then there was a little area where you get out of the tub, there's slats, so you washed there. You wash yourself before you get in the tub, then you come out, and then you wash yourself again. Then you get in the tub and you warm up, and then you're through. That's the way most bathhouses are.

KL: Did you share it with anyone, or it was just your family?

HF: Our family.

KL: Who were your neighbors in that community?

HF: We had another Japanese neighbor, and her husband passed away from, with cancer. I remember when he passed away. And there were two boys and a girl. One boy was my age, and the girl was a little bit older than me. And the older one was quite a bit older.

KL: What was their family name?

HF: Tamura, T-A-M-U-R-A. They were in Manzanar, too, and then they went to Tule Lake.

KL: Do you remember the parents' names or the kids' names?

HF: I don't know her mother's name, but I don't the father's name. But the girl's name was Kimiko, and the boy's name, the younger boy's name was Jimmy, the one that was my age. And I think Barry passed away, the older boy was Barry, and he passed away. And Kimiko's mother took her back to Japan, and she passed away in Japan. Jimmy, I think, lives in northern Cal someplace.

KL: Do you remember your street address or your mailing address of that house?

HF: It was Eldrich, 11... it had five digits, 11 something. 116 or something, anyway. We lived there in Kagel Canyon, there was a canyon that was not too far from us. And I used to ride the bus to school, sometimes when they took us home, we'd stay on the bus to get a ride to the canyon.

KL: The bus driver was okay with that?

HF: Yeah, he was okay. He didn't say anything.

KL: So it was you and the Tamuras, who else was part of that community?

HF: Well, there was a Takeyasu family, and then Nishi, Nishi family. That's about all in that real close to us. I used to walk quite a bit. Those days we walked, there was no buses where we lived, so you had to walk, if you wanted to go see friends, we just walked.

KL Did those families work in the flower growing industry, too?

HF: No, vegetables. They grew vegetables like melon, honeydew and cantaloupe, lot of cantaloupe.

KL: Where did the Mexican men that you got to know live?

HF: Gee, I don't know where they lived. They must have lived in Pacoima, not too far.

KL: Were you living on Eldrich Street when you were attending the Pacoima school?

HF: Let's see. Pacioma school was on Van Nuys Boulevard near San Fernando Road. Then I went to San Fernando High School, that was Maclay, M-A-C-L-A-Y.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

KL: Tell us a little bit about both of those schools that you remember from growing up? Like was it difficult, what kind of ethnicities were represented, what do you recall of...

HF: No, it wasn't difficult. And I remember San Fernando High School, they had different building for commercial building, then they had a home economics building. So it was a pretty big campus, especially for a small town. But then people came from North Hollywood and different areas, San Fernando's a big place. Then on Saturdays we would go to Japanese school all day. My brothers wouldn't go. [Laughs] Boys are harder to convince.

KL: Were they supposed to go?

HF: Yeah.

KL: Who else was in... was the school mostly Japanese Americans, or who else was in San Fernando High School?

HF: Lot of Caucasians, because they came from all over, like Reseda and all the little towns around there. I guess San Fernando High School was the biggest high school.

KL: How were relations between people? Was there much thinking about different backgrounds, did everybody kind of mix?

HF: No, there wasn't. There was no discrimination like... and then I remember one colored boy, his name was Willie... gee, forget his last name. But there was only one colored boy in the whole area, and I don't even know where he lived.

KL: He was African American or black?

HF: Yeah, uh-huh.

KL: Yeah, I wonder, did he fit in, did he have a crowd?

HF: No, he fit in. We never had any problems with him.

KL: So you feel like the same opportunities were kind of available to anybody in your school?

HF: Yes, uh-huh.

KL: What track did you follow? Did you study home economics?

HF: Yes. I wanted to go into math. I told my sister, "I'm going to take math." She said, "Oh, you don't want to do that." So then I ended up doing home ec.

KL: What did she do?

HF: She took home ec., too.

KL: Did your parents ever learn to speak English when they were...

HF: No, they didn't. We would learn songs in English at school, and come home, and then we would sing it, my mother would pick it up, and she would sing, too, in English. I thought that was pretty cool. But then she couldn't speak English, you know, like everyday English, but she could pick up... but she loved to sing.

KL: Oh, yeah?

HF: Yeah, that's why.

KL: Did she have a favorite style, or what do you remember her singing most?

HF: No. You know, remember that... what that song was, I can't... well, anyway, do these dances with the song, she would pick it up, pick it up really easy, because she loved to sit there and sing.

KL: What was her personality like?

HF: Well, she was easy to get along with. My father was quiet, my mother was more outgoing.

KL: And you said your brothers were kind of, they were doing their own thing? What was your relationship with your brothers like?

HF: It was okay when we were living in San Fernando, but once we got in camp, then they went their own way and we went our own way. I think that's happened to most of the family in camp.

KL: It did for some. You were starting to talk about Japanese school on Saturday. What was the name of that school?

HF: San Fernando Nihongakko, that means San Fernando Japanese school.

KL: What were your lessons like there?

HF: Pardon me?

KL: What did you study there?

HF: We studied Japanese language, Japanese history, everything Japanese. Japanese manners.

KL: Oh, okay. What did you think, did you think that was going to be useful or did you enjoy those classes?

HF: Well, we didn't think, we didn't think like that, we just did it. You know, they wanted us to learn, so we just went and learned and that's all, that was it.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

KL: I'm curious, you know, Japan was changing a lot, I mean, there was increasing militarization and Japan was just changing a lot in those twenty years when you were growing up. What was your take on Japanese history or on current events in Japan?

HF: Well, you know, that really didn't change until after the war. Because that's when, because of the war, all the soldiers went to Japan, and that's when it started changing.

KL: After the war began?

HF: After the war began, uh-huh.

KL: Were your parents keeping in touch with people in Japan?

HF: Oh, yes, writing letters. So I kind of remember some of the addresses. We had to write the address in English for them. They wrote it in Japanese, and then we wrote it in English for them.

KL: Who would they write to?

HF: They wrote to my father's sisters, he had sisters in Japan, so they wrote to her a lot. And then my mother wrote to her family a lot.

KL: Did they talk with you about what was going on in their families' lives?

HF: They probably did, but then I probably didn't pay attention, because we didn't know better.

KL: Were your parents concerned during the '30s when you were a teenager about relationships between Japan and the United States, do you remember?

HF: No, we didn't talk about it.

KL: Do you think they ever wanted to go back to Japan or do you tink they intended to be rooted in the U.S.?

HF: Well, my mother went back, you know, she took my sister in 1939, but my father never, he never said he wanted to go back.

KL: What was her reason for going back in 1939?

HF: Well, see, my sister was born in '38, and then my mother would have to go work out in the field, and she would have to leave my sister. And then I remember that my sister, when she came home from school, she would be crying because she's in the crib by herself and nobody's around. And I think that's why my mother decided to take her back to Japan. That's when she decided, well, the whole family would go back, and we said we didn't want to go back, so she just took my sister and went back.

KL: Did she plan to stay there for a while or leave your sister with relatives?

HF: No, she didn't want to leave my sister, so she brought her back.

KL: What was your sister's name?

HF: Sachiko. She lives in Sunnyvale now. She's married and has one daughter.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

KL: We were talking a little bit about your religious identity or your mother's especially, religious identities growing up. Would you talk a little bit more about that, what you recall of religious life for your childhood and teenage years?

HF: Well, she was mostly like Tenrikyo. My father was, he would go along with her, so he didn't care what she was. So once a month they would have a service, we would just tag along.

KL: Where was the service?

HF: It was in different homes in the valley. And then, well, let's see, when we came out of camp, my mother went to Church of Jesus Christ, and that's when she decided she's gonna try all different religions.

KL: But she was pretty steady Tenrikyo when you were growing up?

HF: Yes, uh-huh. Pretty steady, she was Tenrikyo pretty steady on that time.

KL: What do you remember of those services?

HF: Well, the services, like any service, you know, after the service, you eat. I still remember...

KL: Did they do doughnuts at Tenrikyo?

HF: Yeah, they feasts they have.

KL: And during the service itself, was there, what was the structure?

HF: The priest would come, and then they would chant and then ring the bells. That's all I remember of that. I don't know what they said, either. I wasn't very religious. When I met my husband and then we got married, he was Buddhist. So then when we were in camp, he decided we needed a place where, to send the children. And there was another fellow, too, he had three girls, and he said, "Yeah, we should start a Buddhist church." So a few, about five of the fellows got together and we started a Buddhist church. And we went to San Francisco and got the okay. So we still have the service once a month. And first we had it at Heritage Square.

KL: This was after camp, this was in Chicago?

HF: It was here.

KL: Oh, in Las Vegas, okay.

HF: In Las Vegas. In Chicago we didn't go to church. Oh, we went to a Buddhist temple, that's right. But here, we didn't have a temple, so the fellows got together and said we needed a place to take the children, you know, have some religious training. So that's when we started this Buddhist church. So they still have it once a month.

KL: When you're in your childhood, in your teenage years, though, do you think your dad... what was your dad's take on religious life?

HF: He doesn't say too much, he was very quiet. And then, of course, he was tired, so a lot of times after the service he would sleep, take a nap.

KL: Yes, day of rest for him, for sure.

HF: Right.

KL: How else were your, was your family part of community life in the San Fernando Valley? You talked about Thanksgiving sort of celebrations and school? Were you guys part of sports or any kind of...

HF: I don't think we played... well, you know, the Japanese school had different activities. So because of my parents, we kind of went to all the activities at the school, Japanese school. They had lots of activities at the Japanese school, like they had picnics and different things, so we were all involved in that.

KL: The whole family?

HF: The whole family.

KL: Where was that school?

HF: It was on... it was in San Fernando. I think the address was on Mott Street, M-O-T-T. I think the school is still there.

KL: Really? It sounds like of like a community center, too.

HF: Yes, uh-huh. I think it turned into a community center after the war.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

KL: So did you graduate from San Fernando High School?

HF: Yes.

KL: What year was that?

HF: 1940, summer of '40.

KL: It sounds like it was important to you to graduate from that school if you asked your mom to stay back.

HF: Yeah, she was back. Oh, she came back from Japan, we had already graduated, so she didn't come to our graduation.

KL: What do you remember of the ceremony?

HF: The graduation? It was outside and it was hot. And we had a big class.

KL: How many people?

HF: Must have been about three hundred.

KL: That is big, especially for a rural school.

HF: Uh-huh, because, see, they came from Canoga Park and North Hollywood, all different areas, that's why.

KL: What did you do after you graduated, with your time?

HF: No, I couldn't go out, see, I didn't learn how to drive. My sister drove. She went out...

KL: Was she class of '40 also? You said you caught up?

HF: She went on, at that time, they had "mother's helpers," so she went to work as a mother's helper for thirty dollars a month.

KL: What did that job entail?

HF: You helped the mothers take care of any children she has, and cook, and whatever the mother wanted you to do. So she did that for a while until the war broke out. So I didn't drive, so I couldn't go anywhere, so I stayed home. And I worked out in the flowers, with the flowers.

KL: You mentioned that there was some consideration at least, maybe on your family's part, of marriage at that point?

HF: Pardon me?

KL: You mentioned in your writing that maybe at least in your parents' mind, there was some consideration of marriage for you and your sister at that point? Tell us about that.

HF: Well, you know, those days, they said if you're over twenty-five, you're old maid. So you had to get ready for marriage. But they really didn't show us anything.

KL: Who would talk to you about marriage? Would it be something parents would do, or teachers?

HF: Teachers. We were going, we were in high school, they gave us more information than my parents.

KL: What did you think about marriage at age eighteen?

HF: It's just one of the things that, that's life, one of the things that's going to happen.

KL: Did you... how were you supposed to meet your future spouse?

HF: Well, they came... you know, when we were growing up, there was a lot of fellows that came out to the, to our farm, to the, where we were living, they'd come over to look us over, that's what it was.

KL: Was it like they would come to tea in your home, or there would be a dance, or how did that happen?

HF: No, no dance, just when we're working out in the field, they would come and look you over.

KL: What would happen if they liked the looks of somebody?

HF: It never happened, so I don't know. But there were some girls that got married that way.

KL: Were you hoping that that would happen, or what were your thoughts?

HF: No, I wasn't hoping that. Because most of the fellows came from Japan.

KL: And that wasn't what you were...

HF: That wasn't what I was looking at.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

KL: So you were working in the fields, staying close to home in 1940 and into '41. What do you remember of December 7, 1941?

HF: Well, when we were out in the field with the flowers, and then my younger brother Kazuo came running out to the, where we were working and said, "Japan dropped a bomb on Pearl Harbor." I said, "Where's Pearl Harbor?" We never heard of Pearl Harbor 'til that time. So he said, "Japan dropped a bomb and we're at war now." So then we all ran back home and listened to the radio.

KL: What were your thoughts when you heard his message?

HF: I think we couldn't believe it. We were wondering what was gonna happen to us now? And then my parents subscribed to a Japanese newspaper, so everything is in that newspaper. So it said that we were gonna be put into camp.

KL: It said that within a couple days after the attack?

HF: After, uh-huh. So we said, "No, they can't put us in camp, because we're American citizens."

KL: I always kind of wondered, people... you said that you were worried about being, you know, you didn't think anyone would put you in camp, but you heard rumors pretty much right away, and you said you were worried about what would happen to us. So you did, it sounds like you did have some concern that because of your ancestry you would be treated differently.

HF: Yeah, we had some concerns, but I thought, well, they would never put us in camp, we're American citizens. But then we couldn't stay there on our own, you know. That was the only solution, was to go into camp. Some people did move out of the area, but I think they had a harder time, too.

KL: Who did you know who did that?

HF: Like, you know, they went, moved to Arizona or... mostly Arizona, I think.

KL: You knew people who did that?

HF: Yes, uh-huh.

KL: Who were those people?

HF: This is somebody that we're just friends. But it wasn't any better in Arizona, too, they were discriminated, too.

KL: Did you keep in touch with them?

HF: I kept in touch with them. We have a good friend in Arizona. And then it turned out that my husband lived next door to her when he was growing up, and then he hadn't seen her for a while, years and years and years. So we met up after we started the church, so that was good.

KL: So when you... I mean, did people in your local area's behavior change towards you after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and those other sites in the Pacific?

HF: No. We had a good Caucasian neighbor, and she stored a lot of our furniture for us, because you could only take whatever you could carry. So she stored our sofa and table and chairs and then beds and dishes and pots and pans. And she sent it to us in camp.

KL: Where did she keep them?

HF: She had a big house, or she had a big storage area. Because she was raising chickens, so she kept it for us.

KL: Was she a longtime neighbor, did you know her?

HF: Yes, uh-huh.

KL: What was her name?

HF: I think her name was Girdelli, but I'm not sure. It was just her husband and just the two of them. I don't know if they had any children. I never did meet any of the children, so I don't think they had any, it was just older couple.

KL: Did anybody else in that area's behavior change toward you or towards your family?

HF: No, they were all nice to us. You know, and then when we, the war broke out, we had to turn in all our, the binoculars and cameras and everything to the police.

KL: Would you tell me about that? Like where did you take them and what do you remember of turning them in?

HF: To the police station. That's where we were supposed to take it, to the police station. And some things we buried, I think. Some Japanese artifacts, I think we buried it.

KL: Do you remember any of those things, what they were?

HF: I don't know what the Japanese things were. But anyway, we never got it back. No wonder we turned in to the police station.

KL: What was the police officers, the people you interacted with at the station, what was their demeanor when you turned the things in? Were they cold or were they chatty?

HF: See, I didn't go because probably my sister went. My sister and my brothers, they never complained, they never said anything, so probably it was okay. I think maybe it's different in the city.

KL: It sounds like it was very different everywhere, it just depended a lot on who lived there and who was in charge, and what the newspaper said.

HF: Because my husband never said anything either.

KL: Your parents subscribed to the Japanese newspaper you said. What city was that published in?

HF: It was published in Los Angeles.

KL: Do you remember its name?

HF: Yeah, Rafu Shimpo. I think they still have it, R-A-F-U S-H-I-M-P-O.

KL: Did you guys get an English-language newspaper, too?

HF: No. Because that one, the paper had English and Japanese.

KL: Did you have any large items that you disposed of?

HF: No, it was just mostly beds and I think a sofa, we got it back. They sent it to us in camp.

KL: Mrs. Girdelli?

HF: Yes.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

KL: Did you get any information or any guidance from the government or from anyone else about preparing to leave?

HF: Pardon me?

KL: Did you get any guidance from the government or from anyone else, from, you know, the church or your Japanese school teacher or anybody about how to prepare to leave your home?

HF: I don't remember that.

KL: How did you personally prepare to go?

HF: Oh, just... we didn't have any pants, so my mother bought us some slacks. And then she got us a hat, they said it's hot in Manzanar, that's where we're going. So she got us a hat and we got some pants, because it's a desert out there, so we needed pants. That's about all.

KL: Did you say goodbyes to people or do you remember...

HF: No, we couldn't say goodbye, just our neighbor that was close. Because we lived... everybody was so far away.

KL: Why couldn't you say goodbye?

HF: Well, I couldn't get there.

KL: Just the distance was too great?

HF: Uh-huh.

KL: So you knew Manzanar was hot, and it was the desert. What else did you know about it?

HF: That's all we knew. There's going to be scorpions they told us, so be careful.

KL: Who did you hear that from?

HF: You know how rumors fly.

KL: So just like neighbors or other people?

HF: Whatever it must have been.

KL: What happened to your, to the staff of the Japanese school after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor? Was anyone in your community visited?

HF: Well, most of them lived in Los Angeles, and they used to come from Los Angeles every Saturday just to teach us, and then to go back.

KL: Did you hear -- oh, go ahead.

HF: So they probably went to camp someplace, I don't know where.

KL: You didn't hear from them or about them, that they had been arrested? You don't know what happened?

HF: No. My uncle and aunt, they were arrested. They were put into a different camp. So then my cousin came to live with us in camp.

KL: Did she join you before you went to camp?

HF: I guess she did, she must have. Because she was alone, my brother had to go to West Los Angeles to close up her house, because she had nobody. So he had to drive to West Los Angeles and close the house for them.

KL: How did you learn that he needed to do that, or that...

HF: Through the paper, through the newspaper.

KL: Oh, really? That's how you learned that he had been arrested?

HF: Oh, yeah.

KL: Did he say what your cousin's state of mind was when he got there?

HF: No. At that time a lot of people got arrested and put into different camps.

KL: Do you know where your aunt and uncle were sent?

HF: I think Crystal City, Texas. And then they were released and they came to Manzanar. And then that's when my cousin, they got their own apartment.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

KL: When you did learn that you were gonna be forced out of your home, how did you respond, how did you make sense of that, or could you?

HF: We couldn't believe it. We couldn't believe that the government would do that, you know, to us.

KL: Did you see any options?

HF: No. My mother said, well, we could load up the car and then go to Arizona or someplace, then they decided, no, that's not going to work out. What if you got there and they didn't, nobody... couldn't work, you know, you didn't have a job, what were you gonna do?

KL: So they just didn't see any options, they didn't feel like they were supporting the war effort or like they were... how did you get to Manzanar?

HF: On the bus, they took us in a bus.

KL: Where was the departure point?

HF: Pardon me?

KL: Do you remember where you departed from?

HF: From San Fernando.

KL: Was it at the Japanese school, or was it at the police station?

HF: I don't remember where it was. I don't remember how we got there either, but somebody must have taken us, some neighbor.

KL: What do you recall about the bus ride?

HF: We had the shades drawn, we couldn't open the shades, so we didn't know where we were, we didn't where we were going. We heard Manzanar, but then where is Manzanar, you know?

KL: Did you speak with the bus driver at all or have interactions with...

HF: No, we didn't.

KL: Was there a military police or any guard type person on the bus?

HF: No. All I remember is that, just us and the bus driver. We had a whole busload.

KL: Who was the rest of the bus?

HF: From San Fernando, most of the people were from San Fernando.

KL: So they were people you know.

HF: Yeah, mostly friends.

KL: What was the mood on the bus? What did people do during the ride?

HF: Probably slept on the bus, and we talked on the bus and slept on the bus, but we didn't know where we were going. It's kind of a... you're anticipating, but then you really don't know if you're going to be in jail or what.

KL: Were there any stops on the way?

HF: We had to stop for the bathroom stop.

KL: Where was that?

HF: I really don't know where we stopped.

KL: Were there toilets or was it the side of the road, or what was it like?

HF: Yeah, there was a toilet. I don't know if we ate. We must have ate, unless we took something.

KL: How long was the ride?

HF: Took, seemed like it took a whole day to get there. It did take a whole day, because when we got to Manzanar, they were serving dinner. We had hot dogs, I remember.

KL: Where did you eat?

HF: We ate in the mess hall, they had a mess hall.

KL: What do you recall... how did you know when you were, how did you know you had arrived? Were the shades still drawn and the bus just stopped?

HF: They probably said, "We're here," I'm sure they must have said, "We're here."

KL: What did you see from the bus when you arrived?

HF: Nothing, because they had the shades drawn, so we couldn't see out, so we didn't know where we were going.

KL: And then when you first got out, what was your first visual impression of Manzanar?

HF: We said, "Oh, this is Manzanar?" Because we didn't know what to expect.

KL: Was it a busy place? Was there lots of... I mean, we were talking earlier, it looks like you arrived in Manzanar in March 1942, so was there construction work going on when you got there?

HF: Oh, yeah, there was a lot of construction. It wasn't completed.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

KL: This is Kristen Luetkemeier back for tape two of an interview with Hana Fukumoto. And it's still August 5, 2013. And when we left off we had just, we were talking about your arrival to Manzanar, and how the camp was still under construction. So what did it sound like when you got off the bus?

HF: Well, first they gave us shots and then they took us to the mess hall to eat. So we had hotdogs, I remember that.

KL: Which mess hall was it? Was it in your block?

HF: Yes, Block 12, Number 22.

KL: What was your address at first in Manzanar?

HF: 22, Building 10, Apartment 1.

KL: How did you find Block 22? Did someone guide you or did you get a map?

HF: Somebody must have taken us.

KL: Do you remember that walk at all?

HF: No, I don't. I remember just where we ate, the mess hall where they gave us the shots.

KL: They gave you the shots in the mess hall?

HF: I think it was easier that way because everything is so far away, you had to walk to wherever you want to go.

KL: I don't know if that's an appetizing start to...

HF: Probably riding all day.

KL: ...dinner, yeah. You mentioned that you could see evidence of the lack of sewer system. Tell us about that.

HF: Well, because it wasn't completed yet, they had from, just for the water, must be from the kitchen, I remember the water running down the, not the street, but I don't know, they made a little ditch, I guess, and it was running down. That's all I remember of that.

KL: Oh, like in the blocks?

HF: Uh-huh.

KL: Oh, I see.

HF: I think the bathroom sewer system must have been completed already.

KL: When you first arrived at the barracks apartment, what did you see?

HF: Well, they dropped us off at the mess hall, so that's what we saw first.

KL: What did you do after dinner?

HF: Probably went to the, found our apartment, and we had to unload our things, try to see what we could do, where we could put our clothes when there was no closet.

KL: Did you carry your things with you to the mess hall and to the barrack, or how did they get to the barracks?

HF: I really don't know. I don't remember.

KL: When you walked into the barrack the first time, what was there? Would you describe it?

HF: There was nothing there. There was an oil stove for the heating, then there was one light hanging down, one light bulb, and that was it.

KL: How did people respond?

HF: Well, since there was no furniture and they were still constructing, the men went around looking for any kind of lumber so they could make any tables or whatever, and that's what they did. So they must have looked for nails, too, to put it together.

KL: Did you have cots or beds in your apartment?

HF: Yeah, they gave us a cot, and then they gave us a bag for a mattress, and you had to fill it with straw. So every morning you had to shake the straw and then plan it out again, or whatever.

KL: And who was in your apartment with you?

HF: My mother, my father, my sister, my two brothers, and then my younger sister, and then my cousin. That room was maybe from here, that much. We had no running water, and no toilet.

KL: You guys were in Apartment 1. Did you have a spigot outside of your apartment when you moved in?

HF: Do we have a what?

KL: A spigot, a water faucet outside?

HF: Yeah, there was one outside, I remember that. Because that's what we watered the lawn with that.

KL: Okay. I was gonna ask what you used that water for.

HF: To water the lawn.

KL: Did you guys plant a lawn?

HF: No, we didn't plant a lawn. We didn't have any seeds.

KL: Your neighbor had kept some of your furniture and sent that to Manzanar. Do you have a sense for how early that was when that furniture arrived?

HF: No, it was later on, quite a bit later on. So we just, we just got along with whatever we had.

KL: Did you, did anybody in your family build extra furniture or find any wood and do construction?

HF: No. My father was not very clever, so he didn't make it, but somebody else made the furniture for us.

KL: Oh, do you know who that was?

HF: I don't know, probably a friend of Mother or friend of somebody. They made us some chairs. They call it the...

KL: Adirondack?

HF: Yeah, that kind of chair.

KL: How did you arrange the space inside the apartment?

HF: That chair was too big. We had benches in the, we had a... first, let's see. First we put up, we must have used the bedspread or something to divide the front area from the sleeping area. And then we had a bench right in front, so that's where we sat most of the time.

KL: So there were those two kind of main divisions.

HF: Right, uh-huh. So I think we didn't stay in the room too much. And then you could hear the next door people.

KL: Who else was in your barrack? Did you know...

HF: There was a couple with two young girls. Sometimes you could hear the children cry. I think there were four rooms to a barrack, and the next one was that, with the two girls. I don't know who was on the other end. I don't remember.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

KL: What about across the way? Do you remember any other neighbors or Block 22 people?

HF: No, I don't remember them. We didn't keep in touch with them, so I don't know. I don't remember.

KL: What about the... oh, actually, one of the people you wrote down, Mr. and Mrs. Yoshitsugu?

HF: Oh, yeah, when we moved to Block 34, they lived across from us.

KL: Pretty early in Manzanar's opening there was a man who was, like you said, constructing furniture for his apartment, and he was shot by one of the military police. Do you have any recollection of that, or did you know anything about that?

HF: No.

KL: There's a man in Block 22 who was pretty deeply involved in the Manzanar riot eventually named Harry Ueno who worked in the mess hall there. Did you know Harry Ueno?

HF: No, I can't remember.

KL: Did you ever interact with the block manager in Block 22?

HF: No.

KL: Or go to his office?

HF: No, because he was quite a bit older than us.

KL: But that was kind of a gathering point, wasn't it, for newspaper reading?

HF: Well, he gave us all the news that was going around. He came around every night and gave us the news.

KL: You said he was quite a bit older than you? What was his personality like?

HF: Well, I don't know him, Mr. Yasuda, but I didn't know him.

KL: Was he grave or did he crack jokes?

HF: Not that I know, 'cause he spoke Japanese mostly.

KL: Within the block, within Block 22, could you... I mean, it was a pretty diverse camp as far as language like you mentioned, and rural versus urban, and people who had lived in Japan and had not. Were there any factions in Block 22 or ways that people kind of divided themselves that you were aware of?

HF: Well, actually... well, maybe there was, because probably the American-born people kept together, and then the other, the Japanese-born people probably kept together.

KL: Was Mr. Yasuda from Japan?

HF: Uh-huh, he was.

KL: Did he remain block manager for very long, do you know?

HF: No.

KL: In Block 22 there's one of the more elaborate gardens outside of the mess hall.

HF: Oh, yeah.

KL: What do you remember of that garden?

HF: There was a pond, I think. And you know, there was a lot of gardeners in camp, didn't used to be gardeners. So that's why they, there was a lot of beautiful gardens.

KL: Did you spend much time in that garden, or what are your memories of it?

HF: No, I don't. Because I went to work as soon as there was jobs available.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

KL: What was your first job in Manzanar?

HF: The camouflage, the camouflage netting.

KL: Yeah, how did you find out about that job opportunity?

HF: I don't know how we found out, there was word that gets around they're hiring. So my sister and I went, we worked that.

KL: Tell me about what that job was like, what was a typical shift?

HF: Because it's strips of gunnysack that we had to weave. And first there was, the background was a sample, so you had to follow that sample, the colors and everything, so we did that. And then you get that gunnysack lint on you, that's what I remember. But it wasn't bad.

KL: Who did you work with?

HF: Whoever that was working there. It didn't matter.

KL: Why did you, why were you interested in that job?

HF: It was a job, it was available. If you didn't work, you just played around, so since it was available, we worked. My sister went and worked in the canteen afterwards.

KL: Did you work at the factory until it closed?

HF: Yes, uh-huh.

KL: What do you know, what do you remember about its closure?

HF: I don't remember anything about the closure. I don't remember. I don't remember when it closed or anything. That's such a long time ago.

KL: Do you remember anybody... I've read that the camouflage net factory was somewhat controversial for some people because you had to be a citizen to work there and the wages were different. Did your parents or anybody care that you worked there?

HF: No. I only got twelve dollars a month. And then I read someplace they were paying more. Well, we never got paid more.

KL: What did you do after it closed?

HF: Then I went and found another job. I think I went and worked, I went and worked in the library for a while, then I went and worked in the mess hall for a while. Then I went and worked in the mess hall at the hospital, that's where I met my husband.

KL: Before we get there, tell us about the library. What did it look like and how did you get books for it?

HF: I don't know how the books, but the books were there. Somebody must have donated it.

KL: Was it in a... what kind of building was it?

HF: It was just a barrack. Everything was barrack, and then turned it into whatever we needed.

KL: What was your job for the library? What were your tasks?

HF: I don't remember what I did. Probably put the books away or something.

KL: Was it pretty popular, the library, or was it a quiet place?

HF: It was a quiet place.

KL: Yeah, I'm always curious about, you know, like what percentage of the people used the library.

HF: Well, I worked at the beginning, so there weren't too many people coming in yet. I think word didn't get around. And then you had to walk so far for anything.

KL: Where was it?

HF: I really don't remember what block it was in.

KL: But it was a distance even from --

HF: For me it wasn't that far, probably that's why I took that job.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

KL: And then you worked in the mess hall? Which mess hall was that?

HF: The hospital kitchen. That's where I met my husband.

KL: Tell us about that. Was he sick or was he on the staff with you? How did you meet?

HF: I think he was a cook at that time. Because his father told him the best place to work is the kitchen, you could get all the food you want.

KL: What was your husband's name?

HF: Fred Susumu, S-U-S-U-M-U.

KL: And do you remember your first meeting, like how you caught each other's eye or how you talked?

HF: No, I don't remember. I never dwelt on that.

KL: How long... when do you think you met him?

HF: It was in January. Because he went to, he went on furlough. Because they put us all in camp, now they were short of workers, so he went to Idaho to pick potatoes.

KL: When did he do that?

HF: Then he went to Idaho with me, then he came back, he came back in December. So I met him in January.

KL: And then he was gone until, for... do you think he went like in that spring of 1943 to Idaho?

HF: When he... no, he went to Oregon in 1943.

KL: When he left the camp, were you already, when did you marry?

HF: We got married in camp, Reverend Nagatomi.

KL: When was that? When were you married?

HF: We got married August the 7th, 1943.

KL: So maybe eight months or so after you met?

HF: Yeah, I guess we met in January, so, right.

KL: And you said Reverend Nagatomi presided?

HF: Right.

KL: Where were you married? Where did the marriage ceremony take place?

HF: There was a Buddhist church, one of the barracks they converted to a church. And different denominations had different churches, too, different barracks.

KL: What do you recall of the ceremony?

HF: I don't recall anything.

KL: Did you have a party afterwards or anything?

HF: Yes, we did.

KL: Where was that?

HF: It was in, must have been one of the mess halls.

KL: Oh. How many people were there, do you think?

HF: There was quite a few, but I don't even remember who was there.

KL: I've heard a couple people talk in interviews about a honeymoon barrack? Do you know anything about...

HF: No, they didn't give us, we just went to our own, we had our own barrack at that time.

KL: Where was that?

HF: Block 34. I don't know, remember the address on that.

KL: I actually have it, we can look at it afterwards. I brought you copies of some of those records. But Block 34, you said. And the two of you by yourselves, that's kind of a switch from your whole family of eight.

HF: That's right.

KL: How was that?

HF: It was a switch.

KL: Did you miss all the people, or was it nice to have your own space?

HF: It was nice to have my own place. I could decorate the way I wanted it, you know.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

KL: Who else was from Fred's family who was in Manzanar?

HF: His father.

KL: Where did he grow up and what was his background?

HF: He grew up, he was sent to Japan when he was six months old.

KL: Fred was?

HF: Fred was. And then he came back to the U.S. when he was nine years old, and then he was told that, "Your father is in America, so you're going to go to America." And he said, "My father's here." He thought his uncle was his father. And then his aunt in Japan passed away, he thought that was his mother, but it wasn't. His parents were divorced, and that's very unusual for that time. So he came to America in, let's see, 1931. And he lived with his father. He had a sister in camp, but I never met her until after the war, until we went to Chicago one year and that's where I met her. She was quite a bit older. And she passed away a couple years, few years ago.

KL: Was it hard for him to come back to the United States?

HF: Well, you don't know where you're going, you don't know anything about it, and just, that somebody told him you're going to see your father, he couldn't believe it.

KL: What did he think... one of the divisions that people talk a lot about some in camp is between the Kibei-Nisei and the U.S. Nisei. Did he have any feelings about being Kibei, or did it affect his time in Manzanar?

HF: No, he didn't say. It didn't seem to.

KL: Who did he hang around with? Who were his friends?

HF: Well, he hung around with a lot of Kibeis, because his brother was a Kibei, too. He had a half brother that was quite a bit older than him. And he was sent to Japan, but he lived with a different uncle.

KL: Were you able to make friends with Fred's Kibei friends, was it pretty easy?

HF: Yes, uh-huh. Because I spoke a little Japanese.

KL: So you said Fred went to Oregon? What did he do in Oregon?

HF: He became a supervisor. Because, well, he didn't know anything about fruit trees or anything, but then he said that's a better job than picking the fruit or pruning or whatever. So he learned how, he's a fast learner, so he learned how to prune, and he showed a group, he got the group together, the boys together, and then he was like a foreman.

KL: Did he get the group together in Manzanar or out in Oregon?

HF: In Oregon. And he did that because we were planning to leave Manzanar, and we didn't have any money, so he said he's gonna go earn money so we can leave camp, and that's why he went.

KL: Had he already gone to Idaho?

HF: He had gone to Idaho before he met me and I met him. That was the first year.

KL: So you were talking about going to camp. How did that happen? I mean, I'm sorry, you were talking about leaving the camp. What were your options?

HF: Well, we couldn't go back to California, so you could go to the Midwest or the East Coast, and we didn't want to go to New Jersey where everybody was going to Birds Eye, the factory there, and we didn't want to go there.

KL: Why not?

HF: I don't know why not. But anyway, my brother was in Chicago, so we decided, well, we'll go there to see how it is. And there were plenty of jobs in Chicago.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

KL: Before we leave the Manzanar time, you had a baby in the camp.

HF: Yes.

KL: Did you have him in the hospital?

HF: Yes, uh-huh.

KL: What was it like to be pregnant in Manzanar?

HF: It was okay. I didn't have any problems. I think if you had a problem, might have been... but then I lived near the hospital, so when I started spotting, I thought, well, I'd better start walking to the hospital. So I walked, and it was at nighttime, but you know, it was safe to walk in Manzanar, so I just walked to the hospital from Block 34. Of course, there was a firebreak in between that I had to cross, but it wasn't hard. And then I just left a note for Mr. and Mrs. Yoshitsuru, "I'm going to the hospital now." And then when I got there, my father was working there in the hospital. He was a janitor there. So he said, "What are you doing here?" So I said, "I think I'm having a baby, so I came."

KL: Did your father stay with you? was anyone with you in the hospital?

HF: No, it was okay. I stayed there a month.

KL: Oh, wow. Was that normal?

HF: No, it's not normal. But I said, well, when I go home, there won't be anybody there to help me, so, "Can I stay?" and they let me stay. Because my mother was in Block 22. And then it was too hard, she had high blood pressure, so I didn't want to have her walking to Block 34 every day. So it was okay.

KL: What were your accommodations like in the hospital? Did you have a private room, or was it like a dormitory?

HF: It's a dorm, but it was okay.

KL: Was Fred a pretty easy baby?

HF: He was a pretty easy baby, I would say. But then I remember one day I had to leave him because I had to go eat. Well, he cried so much, you know how they push their legs, and then he got up on his, against the bars, and then when I got there, there was an indentation of the bars on his head.

KL: Was that still in the hospital?

HF: No, that was when I went to eat, so he was home.

KL: Okay. And your husband, was your husband, he was gone, he was in Oregon when Fred was born?

HF: He was gone, yeah, right. He wasn't back yet.

KL: What was his response? How did you tell him the news that you had...

HF: I didn't tell him. He doesn't know about it.

KL: Did he know you were pregnant?

HF: Oh, yeah, he knew. Because let's see, he went in the springtime, and I had him in August.

KL: Did you get any, like any new mother training, for lack of a better term? What kind of guidance did the hospital give you, or how did you know how to care for a baby? How did you learn?

HF: A neighbor. She had a baby just before I did, and so she showed me how to give it a bath, give him the bath and everything.

KL: Did you guys spend much time together?

HF: Yes, we did.

KL: What was her name?

HF: It was Dr. Itatani's wife.

KL: And she was in Block 34 also?

HF: Yes, uh-huh. So she came and helped me.

KL: I guess you had kind of a medical community right there because of where you lived.

HF: Yeah, because of the hospital. It was closer for the doctors to stay in Block 34.

KL: Is it Dr. Iwatani?

HF: Itatani.

KL: Itatani. Was his wife a friend of yours already?

HF: Yes, I knew her before, I mean, I knew her in camp. She was a very nice lady.

KL: You knew her before you were pregnant?

HF: Yeah.

KL: Yeah, that was lucky.

HF: Yes, it was very lucky.

KL: We were talking before we started the interview about something that you did to your barrack to help keep milk cool.

HF: Milk cool, right.

KL: Would you tell us about that?

HF: Yes. My husband cut a square hole in the floor about this size, I think, probably double this size. And then, so put a wire basket in there to keep the milk cold, and a lot of people did that. We had no refrigeration.

KL: So Fred, your baby, was born in 1944. What time of year?

HF: August.

KL: That's pretty hot. [Laughs]

HF: August 21st, so his birthday's coming up. He's going to be, what, sixty-nine? I can't believe it.

KL: I can't do the math that well.

HF: Yeah, I guess sixty-nine.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

KL: How else did your barrack change to accommodate an infant?

HF: Well, I don't know where we got this bed, but we had this, like a day bed that was used as a sofa. Somebody must have left it when they left camp, could be, you know. So we used it as a chair, as a sofa, and then aside from that, it didn't change that much. We had a crib.

KL: Is that where he slept?

HF: That's where he slept. I don't know where we got the crib, somebody must have gave it to us. People moving in and out of camp.

KL: Did you and Fred do the same thing that your family had done with the division of space, or what was your, interior of your apartment like that you shared with your husband and baby?

HF: Like I said, it was this half wall, and then the bed here, and then the sofa was here, then the crib was here. So there was much more room, of course.

KL: Where was the heater in that apartment?

HF: It must have been in the corner someplace.

KL: And you said that half wall was something an earlier resident constructed?

HF: Right.

KL: It was hard and fast, part of the permanent part?

HF: Yeah, I thought that was neat.

KL: You said you didn't spend much time in Block 22 in the apartment.

HF: Because there was no room.

KL: Did that change in 34? Was it a place you spent more time in?

HF: Yes, uh-huh.

KL: Did you guys entertain ever in your apartment, did you have friends over?

HF: No.

KL: Where did social life happen for you in Manzanar? You mentioned you played board games?

HF: Oh, before I was married, they had this little, one barrack in Block, must have been in Block 22, where they had games and we learned how to jitterbug and all that. And then later on, they had movies, they put up a white sheet, I think. And then outside, we would have movies every so often, and we would sit out there and watch the movies.

KL: Did a lot of people come to that?

HF: Yes.

KL: What did you sit on when you watched the movies?

HF: We sat on the ground unless you took your own chair. You could take your own.

KL: Some of the kids, people who were kids have told me they would go early in the day and dig out a spot and kind of reserve it with a blanket or something.

HF: Something. We just went at night.

KL: Do you remember any particular films or previews or anything?

HF: No, I don't.

KL: What other places do you remember in Manzanar that you spent time?

HF: You know, they had a... let's see. They grew pears in the orchard, and they made a park over there. We used to walk to the park a lot, and it was cooler over there.

KL: Who was "we"? Who did you go with?

HF: My sister. Most of the time I went with my sister everywhere.

KL: Yeah, I wish I could have seen that park. What was it like? You said it was cooler.

HF: It was cooler, and lot of trees, so it was really nice. And then there must have been a pond or something there. Is that all gone?

KL: No, it's there. We've actually been excavating it. In the pond is a big rock, and a couple other rocks that are shaped like of like a turtle, and there's a waterfall in a part of it. So, yeah, it's still there. It looks very different, though, I've seen videos of it in the '40s.

HF: Oh, I'm sure.

KL: And the plants are mostly gone. Do you remember flowers being there?

HF: No. My brother worked in the vegetable garden, and I know he would catch fish sometime.

KL: Oh, in the plots?

HF: Yeah. They would block off something and then the fish would come. I don't know what kind of fish, but I think he brought some home.

KL: How'd they taste?

HF: Good.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

HF: My husband used to go fishing up in the, Mt. Whitney.

KL: Oh, he did?

HF: He did. He went with a fellow named Mr. Numa, N-U-M-A, and he had long hair. I don't know what happened to him, but he used to go up with him. And then he would stay all day, and then he wouldn't catch anything, and then come home.

KL: Was it risky to leave the camp when he would go to go fishing?

HF: Yeah, especially he had to go under the fence and crawl out, and then make sure you don't get caught.

KL: How would he manage that?

HF: I really don't know.

KL: What time of day would he leave?

HF: That was before we were married, so I don't know. He must have left in the evening, because it's too hot to go out in the daytime.

KL: There's a new movie out about people doing that, leaving Manzanar to go fish secretly. I'm going to have to go watch it again and look for Mr. Numa and see if your husband's mentioned in it anywhere, yeah.

HF: Probably not.

KL: The farm plots where your brother worked, were those inside the residential part of the camp, or were they to the north or south of it?

HF: To, let's see, it would be... it would be south, I think.

KL: Toward Lone Pine?

HF: Uh-huh.

KL: And you said sometimes he would bring home fish when they irrigated?

HF: No, I didn't see him bring home any fish.

KL: Oh, your brother didn't?

HF: He might have brought it home for my mother to cook, I don't know. But you know, later on, they were able to buy fish in the camp.

KL: I see.

HF: I don't know who brought the fish to sell, but they had a store where they had fish. And they say, "Oh, you can get raw fish now." So they would hurry up and go to the canteen before it sold out.

KL: Was that the canteen your sister worked in?

HF: That was the food canteen. My sister worked in the dry goods side.

Off camera: Could you tell us more about Mr. Numa?

KL: Would you tell us more about Mr. Numa?

HF: Well, I really don't know too much about him, but then too bad my husband is gone. He's the one that used to go with him to go fishing in the mountains.

Off camera: You said he had long hair?

HF: Yes, he had long...

Off camera: What else did he look like? Was he older?

HF: That's all I remember of him, that he kind of wore it in a ponytail.

KL: Is that a name you recognize?

Off camera: I'm just curious. If he's the in Manzanar Fishing Club movie, and we could kind of make that connection between those two stories...

KL: Did he speak mostly Japanese or English, do you remember, when he would talk to your husband?

HF: It must have been Japanese. I don't know, my husband spoke more Japanese than English until we went to Chicago, and then he worked in a company called Central Steel and Wire, then he started speaking in English more, his English got better.

KL: I bet your Japanese got better first.

HF: Well, I'm sure.

KL: Are there other people or places from the camp that you recall spending time at?

HF: No. Mr. and Mrs. Yoshitsuru, they're from San Francisco. And he was a newspaper editor for the Japanese newspaper in San Francisco. Let's see, I'm trying to remember what the name of his paper, Nichibei...

KL: Yeah. Do you remember why they ended up Manzanar? Were they living in San Francisco? That's unusual.

HF: Yeah, they lived... we had people from all over, I don't know how they happened to end up in Manzanar. But Manzanar was a better camp, I understand. Like people who went to Arkansas, the camp in Arkansas, it was so humid there, it was bad. We were hot, but then hot was better than humid, I think.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

KL: What am I leaving out about Manzanar? Were there other things you wanted to hear more about?

Off camera: Did you know other people who worked at the hospital that you were friends with, or did you know other people who were staff at the hospital?

HF: No, I don't remember their names.

Off camera: Was there anyone in particular who cared for you when you were in the hospital for so long?

HF: They all cared for me, so I don't remember.

Off camera: And you kind of talked briefly about how people kept moving around camp or leaving and about how maybe you acquired a crib or something. Was that something that you remember happening all the time, people moving or leaving?

HF: Probably they left camp. But that's the only time they would leave their furniture, they couldn't take it with them. And I really don't know where I got the crib. Somebody gave it to me, because I don't remember buying it.

Off camera: What kind of food did they have at the hospital mess hall?

HF: Well, the same food they have in camp.

Off camera: So it wasn't different than the food you'd get anywhere else?

HF: No, nothing special.

KL: You said Fred was a pretty easy baby, but was noise ever an issue or anything with your neighbors? Was it difficult to have...

HF: No, it wasn't. Nobody complained, so I don't remember... well, he probably cried when I left him to go to eat. I couldn't take him, so I just left him. That's when he cried most. Most of the time he was okay.

KL: Why couldn't you take him?

HF: Well, then the soldiers came on furlough, and then they would take pictures for us. That's where I got some of the pictures.

KL: Oh. Who would take the pictures?

HF: The soldiers that came with the camera, and they would, there was a friend, he had a camera, so he took the pictures for us.

KL: Did you have friends who went in the army?

HF: Oh, yeah.

KL: What do you remember about their decision to go?

HF: They didn't complain. If you were drafted you went, and some people volunteered.

KL: Was that a difficult thing for people to do, to volunteer, do you think?

HF: I don't think so. Some of them, some families had several boys going.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

KL: So in 1943, I mean... actually, let's go back a little bit to the end of 1942. There was this event that got called the "Manzanar riot" later. What are your recollections of that event?

HF: Well, I was home, and then they said, "Oh, there's a riot." And we stayed away, of course, my sister and I stayed away, and my brother stayed away. My younger brother is the one that got in there, and when they threw that gas... not gas, whatever, so he ended up in the hospital.

KL: Why was he involved? What drew him?

HF: Well, he's so nosy at that age, you know. Must have been fifteen or sixteen.

KL: So he was just kind of curious, wanted to know...

HF: Yeah, I'm sure. So probably his friends went, so he probably tagged along. But then my husband was there also, he said the fellow next to him got shot. He was lucky he didn't get shot. He got shot in the leg.

KL: What drew him?

HF: I don't know what the fellow's name was.

KL: What drew your husband to be there?

HF: I don't know why he went. Like everybody else, they just congregated. You know, something's happening, they're so nosy.

KL: That younger brother of yours, the fifteen year old, what were his thoughts about being confined in Manzanar and the politics of Manzanar?

HF: He was probably happy he didn't have any restrictions in Manzanar. You know, like home had restrictions, well, in Manzanar, the young people, they were mostly on their own. They went to school, but after that... so I think it was a bad time for them.

KL: For that generation, that age?

HF: That age. For girls it was okay, but for boys, you know, boys get together and they cook up things, whatever.

KL: What about your, the older brother, George?

HF: He was more calmer than... he wasn't like that. Two different personalities.

KL: You said you stayed home during the riot events?

HF: Yeah, we stayed in an apartment, my sister and I.

KL: Were your parents with you, or was your dad at the hospital?

HF: No, he was there with us, my little sister.

KL: What were your parents' demeanors?

HF: I don't know that they thought.

KL: Were they pretty calm?

HF: Yeah, they were very calm. We figure it's one of those things that happened.

KL: Did you have any reason to fear for your safety particularly?

HF: No, I didn't.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

KL: So then after that event in December of 1942, the government came out with this, what people started calling the "loyalty questionnaire." What do you recall of that, of how people responded to that questionnaire?

HF: Some people said "yes-no," and I said "yes-yes." Because it didn't bother me that... but then my husband said, "yes-no," so then they wouldn't let him, they wouldn't release him. That's why we had to stay in camp so long.

KL: I see.

HF: WE couldn't leave anyway.

KL: Did you and your husband talk to each other about how to answer the questionnaire, or was it an individual decision?

HF: It's an individual decision. I don't know what year that happened.

KL: It was '43.

HF: '43?

KL: Uh-huh, midway through.

HF: Probably before we got married.

KL: Probably, yeah, I think it was in the summer. It could have been right around there.

HF: Yeah, it could have been.

KL: Because you were married in August, early August. What about your parents? What were your parents' reactions to being asked to complete that survey?

HF: They really didn't say too much. I think they figure, well, whatever will be will be type.

KL: Were they able to be in touch with their family in Japan at all while you were in Manzanar?

HF: No.

KL: How did that affect them, or do you know?

HF: They didn't talk about it, so I don't know. I'm sure they talked about it among all the Issei, but they didn't talk to us about it. My mother went back in 1957 after my father passed away. She had remarried, and then she went back, and then she died in Japan.

KL: Back in Manzanar when people were deciding to volunteer or were drafted into the military, did Fred ever have conversation with people who decided to join the military or who joined it? What was his thinking about that?

HF: He must have, but he didn't say anything. He wasn't thinking about volunteering. In fact, most of the people say, "Why should I volunteer? They put in this stinking camp and they want us to volunteer?"

KL: You think that was... that was the predominate attitude?

HF: That's the predominant, uh-huh.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

KL: Are there things about Manzanar I'm leaving out? Oh, I did wonder if, you said that your neighbors from San Fernando sent the furniture. Did you ever have visits from Mrs. Girdelli or anyone from the outside?

HF: No, they didn't.

KL: What about letters? Did you keep up with San Fernando in the camp?

HF: No, I didn't.

KL: Did you ever interact with anyone from the WRA or the army?

HF: No.

KL: What about local people from the Owens Valley? Did you ever leave the camp to go to Lone Pine or Independence?

HF: No. They wouldn't let us go.

KL: Did anybody ever come from those communities into the camp, like to, you know, to a baseball game or to like a demonstration day or anything?

HF: Not that I know of. They might have, but I don't...

KL: Did you read the Manzanar Free Press?

HF: Yes.

KL: What was your attitude about that paper? Was it a good source of news, or was it kind of for gossip?

HF: It was a good source of news. Otherwise we'd have no news, because the camp was so big. We don't know what's going on over there.

KL: Did you read any other newspapers in camp, or ever have access to a radio to keep up with the events in the country at large?

HF: No, I didn't. Our news was mostly by word of mouth.

KL: Did you hear any... did you hear any wild stories from word of mouth or any... what role did rumors play in the camp, or speculation?

HF: The only one that, when the boy, the little boy went after the baseball, crawled under the fence, and he got shot.

KL: Was that somebody that you knew, or that was a story you heard?

HF: No, I didn't know him.

KL: When did you hear about that? Was it after you were married?

HF: No, it was before.

KL: Before? How soon after coming into the camp did you hear that?

HF: I don't remember.

KL: Yeah, I hadn't heard that story before, so I was curious about that.

HF: I don't remember when that happened. They tell me it was shortly after we were in camp, but I don't know.

KL: Oh. I wanted to just kind of get your take on the physical landscape of Manzanar, and I guess starting with the climate. What are your recollections of the climate there? You said you thought it was better than the other camps because it was dry.

HF: It was dry, it was hot, and we had scorpions.

KL: What do you remember of the scorpions?

HF: Well, they said, "Be careful, the scorpions are, don't touch them."

KL: Did you have an encounter with them ever? Did you see any?

HF: No, I never. They showed us pictures of it, but we never encountered. But I guess some people did.

KL: Who showed you pictures?

HF: Probably somebody in camp.

KL: What about other animals? Do you remember any other animals that were strange or different to you?

HF: No. There were no dogs or cats.

KL: Now we have roadrunners.

HF: Oh, you have... oh.

KL: And elk. [Laughs] But I don't think the elk would come into the camp with ten thousand people living there like they do now.

HF: No, they wouldn't.

KL: What about the mountains? What were your thoughts about the mountains?

HF: Well, you know, in San Fernando we always, we had mountains, too, so it wasn't anything different.

KL: What do you remember of water in the camp? You talked about seeing the sewage when you arrived, and the faucets and the ponds. Do you have any other memories of water in the camp, the streams or the rainstorms?

HF: No. We must have had rainstorms, but I don't remember. I think different people remember different things.

KL: Yeah, for sure they do. One person I talked to, she said that she didn't, she has no memory of the mountains at all in her childhood. It was when she came back years later that she noticed them and wondered how she had missed them.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

KL: You've kind of alluded to this some, but I wonder if you could talk some more about how being in Manzanar affected the dynamics of your family. Did you see your parents' relationship to each other change at all?

HF: No, mostly my brother, my younger brother. And I think it was good for my younger sister, my baby sister, because my mother was with her all the time. She took her everywhere.

KL: What happened to your cousin who was with you? When did her parents return?

HF: So her parents was released from Crystal City, Texas, so then they got out probably together. And then I don't know if she left early to go to college. She might have left early to go to college.

KL: Do you remember that aunt and uncle returning? What was it like to see them again?

HF: Yeah, I remember them returning.

KL: Did you go to their... how did you see them the first time? Did they come to your apartment?

HF: I don't know where we met them. We met them someplace, probably in the mess hall someplace, I don't know.

KL: Did they seem different to you?

HF: No.

KL: Did they talk about Crystal City, tell you what it was like?

HF: No, they didn't. We probably figured that it's like any other camp.

KL: Anything else from Manzanar?

Off camera: What do you remember about Reverend Nagatomi?

HF: About...

KL: About Reverend Nagatomi? What are your recollections of this identity?

HF: Well, I thought he was a real nice man, that's all I remember. But we didn't talk too much, because he just officiated our marriage and that was it.

KL: Did you become part of that church after you and Fred started seeing each other?

HF: That one, yeah, here, the one...

KL: But in Manzanar, did you go to services or anything?

HF: No, I don't remember going to services.

Off camera: What about any other religious events that happened at Manzanar? Do you remember any festivals or other activities that happened?

HF: No, I don't.

KL: So you and Fred were looking at leaving Manzanar, and you didn't want to go to Seabrook Farms or Birds Eye.

HF: No.

KL: But your brother was in Chicago.

HF: Right.

KL: Did you have jobs in Chicago?

HF: Well, when we got there, I left my son with my mother because we didn't know what we were going to find in Chicago. We didn't know whether we'd find an apartment or anything. So then as soon as there was a WRA office in Chicago, so we went there. And then I found a job doing sewing in a sewing factory, sewing blouses. So I worked there for, until I had my youngest son, or no, until I had Barbara, I guess.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

KL: -- tape three of an interview with Hana Fukumoto in... I was going to say April, because that's when you left Manzanar, but it's actually August 5th of 2013. And we were talking about your work in Chicago, and I wanted to back up just a little bit and ask what you remember about leaving Manzanar.

HF: Oh, we left Manzanar, we got on a bus and then went up to Tonopah, I think. And then we went up to --

KL: Did anyone come to see you off, or did you have a gathering or anything?

HF: There must have been, but I don't remember. And then we went from Reno to... no, from Tonopah we went to Reno, and then we caught a train, got on a train, and then to go to Chicago. And then we got caught in a snowstorm in Cheyenne, so we were stuck there for a couple of days.

KL: Oh.

HF: And then the trains, you know, they were so full of servicemen traveling that we had no, hardly any place to sit. And it was really packed, so I sat in the baggage, I remember sitting in the baggage area, with just a platform, and then when we got stuck in Cheyenne, I think we went to a show in Cheyenne. There was nothing to do, we just got stock there. The train couldn't move anymore, and I think we were stuck about a couple of days. And then...

KL: How was that after living in Manzanar for three years, to be able to just go see a show? What was that like?

HF: That was really something, yeah.

KL: Did you think of it right away?

HF: Well, first, when we got to Tonopah, we got to sleep in a regular bed, and that was something. We had rented a room in some hotel, I don't know what hotel that was, and then we slept in a real bed. And then there was a girl that, she was traveling alone, and her parents wanted us to take her to Chicago with us because they didn't want her traveling alone, so she was with us until we got to Chicago, and then she was on her own.

KL: What was her name, do you recall?

HF: [Shakes head]. And then we got to Chicago. I don't know if my brother met us, or anyway, we went to his hotel, the hotel he was living in. He was living in some hotel on Jackson Street, I think. I think the name of the street was Jackson. So we got a room at the same hotel and stayed there, and then we went looking for an apartment, and apartments were very scarce at that time. We found one, then we found out that the lady that lived there had died of tuberculosis, so we said, "No, we don't want to stay here," so we moved to a different, found a different apartment. And then we stayed... oh, then we found another apartment, it was a housekeeping apartment, and we had to share the bathroom with another couple, which wasn't too bad. And it was just a kitchenette, and the bed, it was the Murphy bed that came out of the wall, and that was an experience right there. But then after a while we just left the bed down.

KL: What part of town was that? Was that close to Jackson Street and your brother...

HF: It was on the west side next to where my brother was living.

KL: Can you describe who else was in that neighborhood, who was living in the west side of Chicago, what it was like?

HF: Let's see. Well, the fellow that owned that apartment was Greek. It was a mixed neighborhood, most mostly white.

KL: Did you have any, did people respond well? How did people respond to you as Japanese Americans?

HF: Well, I remember saying, I don't know if I wrote this, I was saying that one time, somebody asked us, "Are you Japanese?" and we said, "No, I'm Mexican, I'm Spanish."

KL: Was that during the war, was that during the '40s?

HF: Yeah, it was. Then they didn't bother us.

KL: Did your landlord care?

HF: Pardon me?

KL: Did your landlord care that you had Japanese ancestry?

HF: No, he didn't care. That's why he rented it to us. Otherwise I don't think he would have rented to us.

KL: Yeah, I don't think so.

HF: So we stayed there for a while, and then my parents came, so then they stayed with us for a while. So there were quite a few of us in that one room. And then my mother, my parents found an apartment on Paulina Street, and they moved there. The rental was very cheap, it was an unheated apartment, you had to heat it yourself. So then we decided, well, my sister-in-law, I met my sister-in-law for the first time. She lived in Indiana with her husband. Well, she came to visit us during the wintertime when there's no work in the, on the farm. He came to Chicago to work, so he worked where my husband worked.

KL: Do you know where they lived in Indiana?

HF: Yes, in Hamlet, a little town called Hamlet. Do you know North Jesitt?

KL: Uh-uh. What part of the state is it in?

HF: It's the northern part. So anyway, they talked us into farming and sharecropping. Well, I said, "I don't want anything to do with farming, that's hard work." Well, she said, "Oh, we're gonna make a lot of money planting mint and selling mint oil. Well, it was so wet, we couldn't plant the mint. It rained too much. So then we lost whatever we saved. And so we left Indiana. They still stayed there, but we left and came back to Chicago, and my husband went back to work where he was working before.

KL: Where was that?

HF: Central Steel and Wire Company. It was on the, not real south, 51st and Western, I think. So he got a job back, and we went back to work, and I went back to work.

KL: What happened to your sisters from Manzanar? Where did they go?

HF: My sister went to Minnesota from camp. She went directly to Minnesota and she worked as a mother's helper up there. And then she got married, she met somebody, so she married. And then they came back to, they came to Chicago afterwards.

KL: What was it like to be separated from her? It sounds like you had done a lot together growing up.

HF: Well, I was very... so it didn't bother me. And then she was up there anyway in Minnesota. And then my younger sister was with my mother and my father, and then they babysat my oldest. And then he was, Fred, he was saying that Grandpa was tall, but that was because -- my father was not tall -- because he was small, the thought Grandpa was tall, but he wasn't.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

KL: How was that for the three... was it just your father and your son who spent the days together, or was your mother caring for him, too?

HF: My mother was there, too, but she found a job. And my mother was able to travel in Chicago, I don't know how she did it, come to think of it. She got on the streetcar and went wherever she wanted to go. Then she found the Japanese stores even before we did. And she went shopping, and then she found a job.

KL: Where were the Japanese stores?

HF: On Clark and Division.

KL: And then she found a job?

HF: She found a job, Hart Schaffner and Mark's, doing sewing, hand sewing on the suits. She worked there 'til she got married. And then her new husband decided he's going to open a restaurant on Western Avenue, so he opened up a restaurant, and then my mother got a stroke. So then they decided they'd better go back to Japan.

KL: Her husband was also a Japanese...

HF: Right, uh-huh.

KL: Where had he been during the war?

HF: I don't know where he was during the war. I don't even know how she met him.

KL: How did your father and Fred do together when your dad was taking care of him? Did they get along okay?

HF: They got along okay, yeah. My father didn't speak English, but then they got along.

KL: And when did, you said your mother remarried. What happened to your father?

HF: He had passed away. Died in 1951, and my mother got married around 1957, I think. And then she went back to Japan, and she passed away in 1961. I think she was happy to go back to Japan with her family. She stayed with her family.

KL: What do you know about their wartime experiences?

HF: I don't know anything about it. And then we went to Niigata where my parents were. And then Fred's parents were from Hiroshima, so we went there, too. That was after the atom bomb had been dropped, and so we saw, we went to the atom bomb museum, to see what happened.

KL: Is Hiroshima where he grew up, too, where he was with his uncle?

HF: Yes.

KL: What was that like for him?

HF: Well, he thought he was living with his mother and father.

KL: When you two went back though, how was that for him to see the place totally changed?

HF: Well, he met his cousin that he grew up with. And he changed so much. And then, because his parents were separated, divorced, he wanted to find out more about his mother. Well, they wouldn't tell him. They said, "We don't talk about her, so we don't know what happened." So he was very upset on that, 'cause he met several uncles, one was in Osaka. We met him, too, but they wouldn't talk about the mother, and he wanted to know more about her. Well, later on when we were in Chicago, she was going to come to U.S. and then meet him. That's when Barbara was about five or six years old, so Fred was a little bit older. She wanted to meet the grandkids. Well, in the meantime, she contracted cancer, so she passed away before she could come. So that was sad. So he couldn't meet her.

KL: Was she in touch with him like when he was a teenager or when he was in Manzanar?

HF: No, because his father had told him she passed away. So he thought she was, she had died. And then at one point, one of his friends said, "I saw your mother in Sacramento?" And he said, "How can you see my mother? My mother's dead."

KL: But do you think she was actually in the United States?

HF: No, she wasn't. Well, she could have been, we don't know.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

KL: You mentioned Barbara. You have other children that you had in Chicago. Would you tell us who your other children are?

HF: Barbara was born in 1948 in Chicago, at the Women and Children's Hospital. She's my second one. She lives in Houston now. Her husband passed away about six year ago.

KL: What was she like when she was a little girl?

HF: But Father wanted her to learn ballet dancing. Well, anyway, he took her to this dance studio, she was so stubborn she wouldn't do it. And then she cried all the time. But then, later on, she did learn a little bit. My older son, he wanted him to learn to play the sax, so he went to saxophone class. Well, he doesn't play the sax anymore. [Laughs] You can't force the kids, they're not gonna do it.

KL: No. You can try, and they'll cry and it'll be ugly, yeah. What is your youngest son's name?

HF: He was sick when he was young, so we spent more money and a doctor on him, so he didn't learn anything.

KL: What is his name?

HF: Bob, Robert.

KL: And what were their interests? Who did they become as people?

HF: So then he's the one that lives in Colorado. He became a CPA... he wasn't a CPA, he was a CEO of small cable company, and he retired about... well, he retired when he was, I don't know, fifty, forty-eight. So he's sixty-two now. And then my oldest son had his own business, so he retired at forty-six or something like that. My husband kept telling them, "Don't work all your life, because your stress is going to kill you," so they all retired. So they're doing okay.

KL: What do they... what do they know about your experience in Manzanar? Are they, have you had conversations with them ever?

HF: Well, they know a little bit now that we're talking more about it. But they want a copy of the conversation today.

KL: Do you remember them learning ever about the camps or the Japanese American removal happened? Did they ever ask you about...

HF: No, they didn't ask me, but my son, the oldest one went to stop at Manzanar, so he's learning more about it, what went on. But we never discussed it at home.

KL: They never had a school project or anything that prompted them to ask you?

HF: No. I think now they do, but at that age, they didn't have it in the textbooks or anything.

KL: I was curious about... you've lived in several different places, and so you are kind of a good opportunity to see how those places compare. I mean, you were in California in the 1920s and '30s, and then Manzanar, Chicago from the 1940s until the '80s, right?

HF: Right.

KL: And now Las Vegas as an older adult. When you think back on all those places, how do they compare to each other, or what do you remember strongly about them?

HF: The weather's so different. I like it here because the weather's... but I think it'd be different if I had to live in a different house in a different area. We bought a house near Rainbow and Sahara when we first came, that was the end of town. Then my son bought a house at the Lakes, and he still lives in that house, and he moved here in '86. So he's still there. And my daughter, when she lived here for a while, she had a house on that expressway right there, in Far Hills, so that's not too far from here.

KL: What about what the places are like culturally, or how people deal with diversity?

HF: Well, when we first moved here, we were very active in the Japanese American club. And they did so much, George Goto, he was the president, he had founded that Japanese American club, he got us involved in a lot of things, and that was fun. So I did Japanese dancing, and it was a lot of fun. We volunteered to Channel 10, when they had the fundraisers.

KL: What is Channel 10?

HF: It's a PBS station. And they had fundraisers and we would go help them man the telephones. It was a lot of fun those days. Of course, now I'm older, I don't do all those things anymore.

KL: You said it was George Gota?

HF: Goto, G-O-T-O. And he used to go fishing to San Diego, and he would come back with a tuna, and then he would distribute the tuna, and we really enjoyed that.

KL: And you said the group was the Japanese American club?

HF: Uh-huh. We still have that, but they don't do those things anymore. It's a different generation.

KL: So you used to do dancing, and what else did that group do?

HF: Volunteering different things, when they needed us anywhere, he would volunteer us. And then he would have parties in his backyard. It was fun those days.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

KL: You talked a little bit before about establishing a Buddhist church. Tell us how that came about.

HF: Well, that came about when about four or five fellows and my husband, they were talking and they decided, "Well, we need a place for the children to go to a religious... so then they decided, well, don't write to these headquarters, headquarters are in San Francisco. And then we got enough people together, I think there was about, less than a dozen people, we got together at George Goto's home, and then that's when we first started. There must have been about eighty-seven, somewhere around there.

KL: Did the congregation, does the congregation have a name?

HF: Just... Japanese Buddhist Church? Buddhist Temple.

KL: And you said that's how you met Rose Kakuuchi?

HF: Yes, uh-huh. She's a real nice person.

KL: So you said children's religious education was kind of the main reason for it.

HF: The main reason why we started, uh-huh.

KL: Was that successful? Were you able to start classes?

HF: Yes, we had classes, they still have classes now. But it's different now, different people now. It's changed over the years. And George Goto was really a gung-ho person.

KL: Sounds like it.

HF: He got you involved in everything. And then my husband would like to be involved, too, but he didn't want to be president. He was the president one year, but he didn't like that. He would tell people what to do instead of doing it himself.

KL: Who were your ministers?

HF: We had different ministers all the time, even now. Every month we have a different one. And mostly from California. And sometimes from... let's see, did he come from Arizona? But mostly from Southern Cal, because it's cheaper to pay the fare, airfare, then give them little appreciation. So it got to be quite a bit. And so when we first started, we didn't have a temple or a church, so they stayed with us. And then at nighttime, my husband would take them to the casino if they wanted to go to the casino, but they only stayed two nights with us, but that was every month.

KL: And you were involved somehow with the Japanese American Citizens League also?

HF: Now I do. Once in a while, but not often. I go to the Buddhist church, that's every month, at the second Sunday.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

KL: You went back to Manzanar at some point. When was that visit to Manzanar?

HF: Well, see, one year we took a trip to Idaho, my sister and her husband, we took them. Because her husband doesn't drive, she doesn't drive anymore. So we went up to Idaho.

KL: Was that when you were living in Las Vegas?

HF: Yes, uh-huh. And then on the way back, we stopped at Manzanar. We went to Idaho because my brother-in-law's aunt had a ninetieth birthday party. And that must have been about 1980, or no, 1997 or somewhere around there.

KL: What did you do while you were there at Manzanar?

HF: At Manzanar? Well, first I worked at camouflage.

KL: But I mean on your visit back with your sister.

HF: Oh, when I visited? We just, they didn't have, it wasn't a park then, so we just drove around and said, "Oh, that's where we lived." But there wasn't anything there for us to see. She wanted to see it, too, because she hadn't gone back, my sister. He'd never gone because he was never in a camp.

KL: Your brother-in-law?

HF: My brother-in-law, uh-huh.

KL: What kind of questions did he ask? What did he think, or was he pretty quiet?

HF: Well, kind of disappointed in what kind of place we had to live, you know. It was bare. Of course, he didn't see it had the barracks there or anything. Now they have the auditorium, I hear it's very nice.

KL: I think it is. A lot of people think it is. What was it like for your sister? She was the one who initiated it. How did she respond to being there?

HF: She didn't say anything too much. Because it was so different when we saw it. I think if it was original, then it would have made more of an impression. But because it was so different, she didn't say too much.

KL: What about you? What kind of memories came up while you were there?

HF: Well, I really wanted to see where we lived, and, of course, that wasn't there, so I was kind of disappointed, too. Just slabs.

KL: I'll have to send you a picture of that garden in Block 22 and 34, actually, too, because both of those have been excavated, and the hospital one. So yeah, I'll have to send you pictures of those.

HF: Thank you.

KL: And you said you've never attended any of the Manzanar pilgrimages, just that one visit?

HF: Pardon me?

KL: You've never attended a Manzanar pilgrimage, you just made that one visit?

HF: No, I never did. I know Rosie went every year.

KL: In the 1970s, actually, and into the '80s, people started organizing to ask for redress. Were you involved in redress issues at all?

HF: No, I wasn't involved, but we did get our...

KL: Were you aware that people were advocating for redress?

HF: Oh, yes, we were aware of it.

KL: What did you think of that movement?

HF: Well, we thought we'd never get it, you know. I didn't think we'd ever get it, but we were surprised that we got it. And then we shared it with our children.

KL: What did they think of it, your kids?

HF: They were happy to get the money. [Laughs]

KL: And then within the years after that, there was a presidential apology issued by President Bush for the wartime treatment. Do you remember getting that letter?

HF: No, I don't remember.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 31>

KL: So you were telling me -- and you've talked some in this interview, but also before, we were looking at this picture book that your family made for your ninetieth birthday. And you were telling me about the four generations of your very multicultural family now, and I wondered if you'd just share with us a little bit for the recording about who's in your family what your family is like.

HF: I have three children, and my oldest son is married to a Chinese American. My daughter was married to a Caucasian, well, he passed away a couple years ago. And then my youngest son is the only one that married a Japanese. And then my granddaughter, my oldest granddaughter married a Chinese, and then she adopted two Chinese, a boy and a girl from China. And the oldest must be about eight or nine now. And then my second granddaughter, she looks more Japanese, well, she married a Japanese. And then my son's two children, his daughter is married to a Caucasian, and they live in Denver. And then my youngest granddaughter, it's my daughter's daughter, she married a Chinese fellow, Chinese American, and they live in Los Angeles. So my whole family is just mixed up. We have different nationalities, and we all get along, which is good.

KL: Yeah, that's a good thing, I think. Family can be a real strength.

HF: Right. Of course, we live far away, too, so we can't be bickering over the telephone. But we get along. It's been fun.

KL: How did you celebrate your ninetieth birthday?

HF: My children gave me a party at the Suncoast. They rented one of the banquet rooms and invited a few friends and family, and they came from California.

KL: I bet that brought back some memories, too, of other times in your life.

HF: Right, uh-huh.

KL: What do you want people who may watch this video a hundred years from now, what do you want them to know about your life and what you've witnessed?

HF: A hundred years from now? [Laughs]

KL: Uh-huh. Or maybe, let's say fifty years from now, or even next week. Some seventeen year old who doesn't know very much about Japanese American removal...

HF: Yeah, what happened during the war.

KL: Yeah. What do you want those people to know?

HF: I just want them to know that we were put in camp, and then we were interned. We were treated good, though, considering. And then the children went to school, they had opened up a school, and they went to grammar school and then high school, and some of them graduated high school. I know my brothers went to school in camp, because my brother, I think he was in, the one, George, he was in his last year of high school when he was put in camp. And my younger brother was younger, he was fifteen, so he had to go to school, too. And I think good teachers, because a lot of them were teachers from before the war, before they went into camp. And they kept it up, and I thought it was good. Well, the discrimination part, I think in camp we weren't discriminated, but then outside we were discriminated. And I'm glad to have people know about it, know that, what we went through.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 32>

KL: Can you talk a little bit more about what kind of discrimination you experienced outside of camp, and share with us maybe some examples of what happened?

HF: Well, like getting jobs, you know. I think that was our... but then when we went to Chicago, you could get any kind of job as long as you worked. So there wasn't any discrimination, but it's before the war. Before the war and during the war, I think, it was the hardest part. Once the war ended, discrimination wasn't even thought about, you know. Because when we went to Chicago, we could find any kind of job we wanted. I don't know about the people that went back to California, I don't know what happened to them. And my husband didn't want to go back to California because he said the only jobs available is working in the fruit stand, and he didn't want to do that. But I think that changed, too.

KL: Did you guys always live on the west side of Chicago, or did you move around within the city?

HF: We moved north. Let's see. We moved north in 1961. We bought a three-flat up north.

KL: Still in the city of Chicago?

HF: Uh-huh, in the city of Chicago. And then once when I retired from, I worked for Time-Warner on Michigan Avenue, and I just worked as a clerical. And when I retired in 1981, we moved to Las Vegas.

KL: Are there any highlights from your career that you wanted to mention from your work at Time-Warner?

HF: No, I was just a worker.

KL: Any particular challenges or honors?

HF: What I remember is it was a nice building in Michigan Avenue, 540 North Michigan. And they didn't have air conditioner at that time, we had to open the windows if we wanted air. When we opened the windows, all the papers fly around. That's what I remember. But it was good working for Time-Warner. They still give me my medical.

KL: Oh.

HF: And look how long that's been.

KL: That's great, yeah.

HF: It is. And I don't pay a dime.

KL: We were talking about discrimination and how it was different in different places. And you were in Chicago when there was, in the late 1950s and into the 1960s, a lot of activism for African American rights and opportunities. Do you remember that at all?

HF: No, it didn't concern us. Where we lived, there weren't too many colored people. It was mostly all different nationalities and Japanese, and so everybody got along with everybody. Then I had to ride the subway to work. And then when the subway got kind of dangerous to ride, I took the bus. It was an Outer Drive bus, and it went down the Outer Drive. And I had no problem.

Off camera: Did you notice any changes in the city of Chicago from when you first arrived there to when you left? How did the city change?

HF: Well, of course, because I lived on the west side first, and there was a lot of blacks on the west side, it was kind of more dangerous there. And then we moved up north and it was better. So I don't know if circumstances changed or not. But then my, all my children went to school in Chicago. And went to the University of Chicago, the Circle Campus, which was downtown, and they didn't have any problem.

Off camera: Where did you move to in the north side of Chicago?

HF: I moved out to 6341 North Lakewood, so that was almost near Mundelein College. It was near Devon and Broadway, Devon and Broadway. And we were close to Evanston, we weren't too far from Evanston. Sometimes I'd fall asleep on the subway, we'd get up and go to the end of the line. Then I have to come back.

Off camera: So the reason you moved to the north side, was it was because it was getting more dangerous on the west side?

HF: Yes, it was.

Off camera: How did, did you experience any danger or did you feel...

HF: No, I just felt it. And then my husband worked on the south side, so he had to take the Outer Drive and go way... it took him an hour to get to work. But I didn't want to go to the south side either.

KL: What have I not asked you about that you expected to talk about? What have I left out that you wanted to share in an interview?

HF: Nothing that I could think of at this point.

KL: Probably five hours later we'll both be like, "Oh, I meant to..."

HF: I know, I'll probably think about that, too, later.

KL: There's, I mean, in your life, you had the trajectory of, you know, in the 1940s, someone asking you in Chicago about your national background or ethnic background and claiming to be Mexican, to now sitting here doing this interview with us. And I wondered if you would tell us sort of the -- and this is my last question, and it's kind of a big one -- but what do you think people gain by trying to kind of forget and cover up, and what do you think they gain by trying to remember?

HF: Well, I think it's better to try and remember instead of covering it up like we did. We didn't want to talk about it at all. I think we were ashamed that they put us in camp, that's why we didn't talk about it. But now, everybody's more aware of everybody else, and they're more able to get along with everybody. I think it's a better generation to be. Because I have no problem with here, with any nationality. Everybody's been really nice, especially living here, and we have all different nationalities here, too.

KL: Yeah, it sounds like that. I mean, it sounds like everybody's been nice. Well, that's all my questions. I really want to thank you personally. It's really amazing to get to hear someone sit and reflect on ninety years of life. And I want to thank you on behalf of the National Park Service, too. We really value these.

HF: Well, thank you so much for coming all the way. Yeah, thank you so much.

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 2013 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.