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-01-0025

<Begin Segment 25>

KL: I know your family's very important to you. Would you tell us who your other children are, too?

MY: Oh, Frances, my middle one, who is just getting married at sixty years old. She's marrying the nicest guy. But she had a job at Northrup in the days when it was called, before it became... I forgot what the name, it was a kind of an airplane... she had a good job where she used to travel all over for the subsidiaries. So she had a very good job, she just retired recently, and she's going to marry this guy who is some big shot at Northrup yet. And we're really fond of him. My middle one lives in San Jose, and she was working until she became pregnant with her second child. She had a very good job, too, as a salesperson, head of sales, so she had to travel all over. I think their company made these, I don't know, these tiny...

KL: A pacemaker?

MY: Yeah, uh-huh, so that's what he was, that's where she worked, and she had to travel all over. And when they became well-off because the company, when they went public, sold, after that, she had another child, so she's at home now. But her husband was a nuclear engineer, so he gave the kids the brains, and she gave them the personality, so the boys are doing very well. The older one just graduated UCLA, she has a very good job. And the next one is graduated and going to UC Santa Barbara, and we're very proud of them both. The younger one just, well, he was a freshman prince, he was the sophomore president, junior president, and he was a senior, not the class president but the whole student body president. And he was voted the most likable boy by the teachers and the students, so we're very proud of him. And then my son's daughter is an opera singer. In fact, I have a DVD that she sang for our Parkinson's support group at our church, I'll let you hear it if you could take it with you, because it's an hour. And my grandson is a pianist in New York, and he's very talented, too. Okay, and this one who's going to come in, lives in Redondo Beach but he works near here, and he's very good in art and everything, but he's going to come and put my things together

And I'm very happy with my family, that's the most precious thing in my life. Things don't mean anything, but it's very important to have a good family that you love and they love you. So I'm looking forward to this, we're going to have this big wedding at the winery in Santa Inez on August the 30th or 31st, and then they're all going to come here and we're all going to go to Knott's Berry Farm Camp Snoopy. And that's my life here now.

I worked at the school as an aide for about thirty years, and now I go as a volunteer on Fridays. Because you have to keep your mental alertness, otherwise you go downhill.

KL: How long were you and your husband together?

MY: Let's see. I got married when he was nineteen... I have it written down. 1942, I think? No.

KL: '44 maybe?

MY: Yeah, 1944. My son was born in '47, that's right, and then he passed away. We went to Mexico to the pyramids, you've heard of the pyramids?

KL: Yeah, I'd love to go there.

MY: Okay. We went there because his sister told him wherever he goes, that's where he should go first. So when he was sixty-five he retired and we went to that... not the beautiful part of Mexico, but the pyramids. And we had a wonderful time. And then when he came back he was so sleepy, he would start talking to me and just fall asleep. And I didn't know what was wrong with him, but finally he went to the bathroom in the wrong corner, and I thought, "Uh-oh, something's wrong with him." So I called up my brother-in-law's cousin who was a doctor and he says, "Get him to emergency right away." And with a spinal tap they found that he had encephalitis, that he got bit by a mosquito carrying this sleeping sickness, so he had encephalitis when he turned sixty-five. So he died at seventy-two, so I took care of him 'til he was seventy-two. When he got married I guess he was nineteen and he lived to be seventy-two right?

KL: Fifty years.

MY: Over fifty years, because fifty years, the kids took us out, but he was barely able to eat. So we were together over fifty years.

KL: Did you ever talk with your family members about your experiences having to leave Los Angeles and being in Poston?

MY: No, they're really not interested in that. I took them all to the museum, though.

KL: In Los Angeles?

MY: Uh-huh.

KL: And what did they think?

MY: Well, I took them with the kids, they didn't say too much and they kids didn't say anything too much. It's just not something you complain about, it's just something that happened, that's how I feel.

KL: Did you have any involvement with the redress movement in the 1970s?

MY: No.

KL: What did you think of it?

MY: Well, I think I was still in Chicago at the time.

KL: Well, this was later, this was in the 1970s and '80s when the $20,000...

MY: You know, I wasn't too involved because my husband was in the Japanese American Optimists group, and they did a lot of work with kids, CYC Youth Council and stuff, sports, things like that. But you know, you just don't complain, you just accept what's there and make the best of it. So we didn't complain, or if somebody complains about it, I said, "You should have been in camp," and we tell them things like that, but the kids never complained too much, either.

KL: And your parents had already died many years before the apology?

MY: Oh, yeah, because that was who should have gotten the $20,000, because they really had a hard time, but they were already gone. But they never complained either.

KL: When did they die, your parents?

MY: Gee, my father was ninety and my mother was eighty-three.

KL: So in the 1950s?

MY: I have it written down.

KL: Have you been back to Poston?

MY: No. My daughter went, though, but I didn't care to go. I'm not interested in... we went to Manzanar because it was on the way to skiing, to Mammoth. But at the time when we went, see, we quit about twenty years ago, there was nothing there except the gate.

KL: What did you do at Manzanar?

MY: Nothing. We just went there and one of our friends who went with us, her mother and father I think met there or something, so she picked up a rock or something to take back to her parents. But you know, it brought nothing to me. It's just something that happened.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2014 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.