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-01-0019

<Begin Segment 19>

KL: When did you leave?

MY: I left there right after my birthday. I think I had my nineteenth birthday on the train, that's what I did, on the way to Detroit, and I had my nineteenth birthday on the day I left Poston.

KL: So that was summer 1943. You were born in July, is that right?

MY: Yeah, I was born July 14, 1924. I went into camp in 1942, so I left in 1943, I think. I think I went in camp the spring of 1942, I'm not positive. I think my brother has all these papers written down, when we went to camp.

KL: Yeah, it's on those roster pages that I'm going to leave with you, too. So how did you find, why did you decide to leave Poston?

MY: Well, we were able to leave, so I'm the type that, okay, I could get out, I'm gonna get out. And we did, a bunch of us, in fact, there were about ten of us that were going to go to work in Detroit, at the end there were only three of us because the others chickened out. It's a group thing, they say, "Let's go, okay, let's go." Three of us went, and the rest did not go. And we worked at this dairy company, and we had one room to live in with, let's see, there were one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Eight of us in one room, bunk beds, in Detroit, Michigan, and the Johnson Dairy Farms, Johnson Milk Company.

KL: Before we get there, do you remember your birthday on the train or what the train ride was like? Did you have any trouble?

MY: No, we could not get off the train, and when we had to change the train we had to stay right there. No, we didn't have any trouble because you were not allowed to go get off.

KL: Did you have an escort or something?

MY: No, oh no. So you know, we were really young and dumb. When you think of it now, we should have demanded something for leaving, probably more. I think we got fifty dollars or twenty-five dollars, I forgot what it was. But we did get that twenty... I forgot...

KL: Twenty thousand, later, in the 1980s.

MY: Uh-huh, when our parents were the ones who needed it. We did not need it because most of us were already working, and my money went to my children, five thousand apiece for their college, and that's where my money, my twenty thousand went. My husband's also, we went to our... and so we were able to start a college fund for our children and our grandchildren. So when our grandchildren hit twenty-one, we were able to split it. That wasn't much, you know. When you think of it, gee, twenty thousand's a lot, but it really isn't when you have children and you're sending them to college and stuff, so that's where our money went to. But the old folks really, really needed it because they had a hard time when they came out, I'm sure.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.