Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Masako Yoshida Interview
Narrator: Masako Yoshida
Interviewer: Kristen Luetkemeier
Location: Monterey Park, California
Date: August 14, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-ymasako-01-0011

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KL: How did your family prepare to go Poston?

MY: Well, to tell you the truth, people would come and buy this and buy that, typewriter for fifty cents, but the piano, I know my mother left it with the neighborhood music school because it was very important to her. But most of the things, the big things, my father had an Italian friend I didn't know that he had, and they kept everything for us that, furniture that we needed in their garage for us. So he had most of our things, big things, furniture. But the little things, they would come into our houses and say, "I'll give you this much for that," so you get rid of it, what you can, because we could only carry two suitcases, and that was our bedding and everything. And the kitchen stuff that we needed, and my brother wanted, you know, my brother, being a musician, took all of his records, and it's in the museum somewhere. And I asked him, "What are you taking that for?" He says, "I'm never going to part with them." They're records from, you know, Glenn Miller, and he was really a musician at heart. So it was in the museum, too, this wooden box with all his records. He didn't care about taking clothes or anything, he wanted to carry the box of records. It was very important to him.

KL: When you say the museum, is that the Japanese American National Museum in L.A.

MY: Uh-huh, but I think it's now in the San Francisco, he was very active up in the north, San Francisco Bay area.

KL: What about you? Was there anything that was very difficult to leave, and what did you choose to take?

MY: Nothing. I just did what my mother told me to take and we just did. Nothing was really important to me, I don't think. I had my school annuals and everything, and I guess my father must have had this Italian family keep everything 'cause I still have them.

KL: How did your father know that friend?

MY: I have no idea, and I don't even know who they were. I was just surprised that he... but I don't know, my father was very friendly and a very giving person, but he wasn't very talkative I really don't know how he met him, but I just know that this Italian family kept our furniture and everything.

KL: Were you able to reclaim it after?

MY: Yes, he did.

KL: What about in LACC? How did your teachers or your classmates react to your having to go?

MY: Nothing, we just didn't. We just couldn't travel anymore so we couldn't go to school anymore. We couldn't go over a mile away, and we just couldn't go, so we just didn't go. And that was just a short period of time that we had to just sit around and do nothing, I guess.

KL: You mentioned having to burn the kendo equipment.

MY: And the schoolbooks, all the books. Because in Los Angeles we had incinerators in the olden days. Everybody had, instead of trash pickup, we just burned everything ever morning until the smog, I guess, got bad and so they quit that. But every home in Los Angeles had an incinerator in the backyard.

KL: What was that like for your mother to burn those books?

MY: I don't know. She never said anything, and they don't complain about anything, they just did what... like now I guess the young Niseis would say, "We're not going to go," or something like that, but in those days, we're just taught to obey. So I don't know how they felt, but they didn't tell us.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.