Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Maria Sato Interview
Narrator: Maria Sato
Interviewer: Kristen Luetkemeier
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: July 11, 2012
Densho ID: denshovh-smaria-01

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

KL: Well, this is Kristen Luetkemeier, I'm a park ranger at Manzanar National Historic Site, and I'm here with Maria Sato. And it's July 11, 2012, and we are in the Portland Doubletree Hotel in Portland, Oregon. And also in the room is Steven Kammeyer, he's operating the video camera, Tamiko Takeuchi is here, and also Joey Sato, Maria's son. And before we begin, Maria, do I have your permission to ask you questions and to keep the recording at Manzanar and make it available to the public?

MS: Yes.

KL: Thank you.

MS: You're welcome.

KL: And I know you know some things about your parents and their family, so I want to start off by asking you to talk about your parents. We'll start with your dad, what was your dad's name?

MS: Manuel Sekutaro Mayoka.

KL: And where was he from?

MS: Hiroshima.

KL: What did his family do in Hiroshima?

MS: Like a carpenter, construction deal, and we have a few people over there working for my father.

KL: Oh, in Hiroshima?

MS: Yes.

KL: They did carpentry for them?

MS: No, that's in... excuse me, in Peru.

KL: Oh, okay.

MS: After they went to Peru.

KL: Did he learn carpentry in Hiroshima?

MS: I don't know, to be honest with you. Probably, because we were Catholic, and he used to work for Franciscan church, making things, fixing the church and all that.

KL: Just one church or several?

MS: The only one I remember is the only one, so I have no idea.

KL: Oh, you remember the church?

MS: Oh, yes, we went back in, I think it was after World War II, and there was a church still there, the name is St. Augustine, and it's old but it's still there. So that was nice to see, and that was a picture of my father over there, a sign over that.

KL: A picture in the church?

MS: That was in the school. We used to live next to the school, grade school, and they have Japanese, all the pictures of the Japanese men working and all of that, and I saw my father's picture. So that was nice.

KL: Did that neighborhood where St. Augustine is, does it have a name?

MS: The neighbors?

KL: What is the part of town called?

MS: Trujillo.

KL: Oh, so that was in Peru?

MS: Yes.

KL: And St. Augustine church was in Peru, too?

MS: Yes, right.

KL: Okay. Do you know when your father came to Peru?

MS: Oh, I don't remember.

KL: Was he a child?

MS: No, he was old when he immigrated, yeah. Sorry, I don't remember.

KL: No, that's fine. What about your mom, was she from Hiroshima also?

MS: Yes. She was the second wife. The first wife passed away, and so my father married to my mother. So I have a half sister.

KL: Where is she?

MS: She's in Hiroshima. She's pretty old now, she's still alive.

KL: How old is she, do you know?

MS: She must be over ninety. We went to visit, forgetful too, and she lost her husband, and she had two children.

KL: What is her name?

MS: Fumie, F-U-M-I-E. They were farmers, good workers.

KL: She and her family were farmers?

MS: Yes. I don't know what they do, they have two children. I don't think they're farming anymore. You know how this young generation, they don't follow the farmers, they go to the city, bigger city, so I really don't know. They're my nephews and nieces. The only one I know is my sister-in-law is still alive, the half sister.

KL: Fumie.

MS: Yes, Fumie.

KL: What was your mother's name?

MS: The last name was Ichioka. Oh my gosh, I can't remember. Can I see that?

KL: Yeah, yeah, you're welcome to look at it. Maria brought along...

MS: Sekino.

KL: That was your mother?

MS: Yes. S-E-K-I-N-O, Sekino. And the last name before she got married was Ichioka. And they got married to my father, Maeoka.

KL: Did her family farm?

MS: Yes, yes. Her brother was a farmer, and the whole family, they were farmers, too.

KL: What did they grow?

MS: Different kind of vegetables.

KL: Did they sell them at market, or did they grow mostly for their family?

MS: I think they grow most of it for the family. It wasn't great big farmers. And my mother was buried over there, because usually they have the family place. But I think they moved my parents' body to different places, because they needed it for their own place to bury their own family, because it's small grounds.

KL: But they were married in Japan, they were married in Hiroshima. Did they talk about how they met?

MS: No, not that I remember. The usual, what... oh, gosh. Sometimes the parents are supposed to find the kids, either the girl or the boy, marriage... can't remember.

KL: Someone who arranges it?

MS: Yes, arranged, right, right. I think that's what it was, but I'm not so sure, they don't speak too much. I think they were kind of embarrassed, I don't know. It's not like right now, you know, it's different, way different. I don't know which one is better, really, arrangement or the regular, find yourself.

KL: Yeah. Did they talk about their trip to Peru?

MS: Not really, not really. I guess they don't want to talk too much probably. That's the way, I have all my friends over there because when the World War II started, just pick up certain fathers, and my father used to help this little small Japanese school. And then when they start fighting each other, you don't know which one is a spy or which one is a nice person, so they picked up just certain fathers, I guess the suspicious ones. And they picked up certain fathers and they picked my father. I don't know how many fathers they picked up, and they left the family like us. They sent my father to three different concentration camp, and the last one was Crystal City, San Antonio, Texas. And after that they picked up the family, and we reunited in Crystal City. And we were there about a year and a half until the war finished.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

KL: When were you born, what year?

MS: November 19, 1930. So I'm going to be eighty-two in November, November 19th.

KL: And when you were born, where was your family living?

MS: Same place.

KL: In Lima?

MS: No, Trujillo.

KL: Trujillo.

MS: Yes.

KL: And are you, do you have brothers and sisters?

MS: Oh, yes. The oldest one is Luis, and he was born in November... I don't know Taisho, what is, that is Japanese. It says Taisho 12, juuninen. Anybody know that?

KL: Do you think it's a different name for Luis, Taisho?

MS: Taisho is the year, like in 1932 or 19 whatever. So he's going to be ninety-something, the oldest one. The second brother is Antonio Juno Mayoka. He was born in March the 14th, and that was the 14-nen, that's the... I don't know how to explain, like in 1930 or '33 or whatever. Juuninen and juuyonen. And my sister Teresa in March the 5th, that's the same thing, Showa ninen. I only had the one, mine, 1930. So you could minus three years, about three years' difference, my sister Teresa, Antonio and Luis. And Francisco is November 28th, now I got it here, so 1932.

KL: Oh, okay.

MS: And the youngest, Julio Yoji Mayoka, January 6, 1936. So you can minus and add the three years.

KL: Yeah. So you were pretty close together in age.

MS: Yes, right.

KL: Did you all play together or who did you usually play with?

MS: Oh, fighting, playing, you know it is, brother and sister. But after we grew up, we were pretty close. You know, we're all getting old, but when you're young, you know how it is, you fight.

KL: My brother loved it when I poured sand on him. [Laughs] That's what I told my mom, anyway, he didn't fight back.

MS: That's good, that's wonderful.

KL: Sometimes it's hard to be the little one, I think.

MS: Oh, I know. So you have only brother? That's kind of lonesome, isn't it? So you're living here then?

KL: No, I'm in California.

MS: Oh, going back and forth?

KL: Just here for a few days.

MS: Oh, really, I see.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

KL: Where did you live in Trujillo? What was Trujillo like?

MS: Well, the weather's not bad, and there mostly Latinos, you know, different, Indians and all of that. So it wasn't too bad, I don't think. And we went to the place where my father had a construction company, and the next one over was the elementary school, and we went to visit. And the next one was a German family, I wanted to go there and visit. He was a doctor and real nice, but we didn't want to bother. I should have gone, my sister Teresa said, "Let's go," I said, "No, we better not bother." But I should have gone and surprised them. I'm pretty sure they're still there.

KL: When you made your visit back, you mean?

MS: Yes. So I think I made a mistake.

KL: What was their name, the family?

MS: Oh my, I can't remember.

KL: That's okay.

MS: The only one I remember, they were a nice German family. And he was a doctor and the lady was real nice. And then across the street, on the other side was a Chinese store, and then across the street was, I think they were German also, they were nice, I think there were two sisters. Yeah, real nice.

KL: Were you friends with the Chinese store owners, too?

MS: Yes, they were Chinese. They were nice, kind of nice people around there. We had nice neighbors. And the next one, the other side was Italian, so there was kind of together, different nationalities.

KL: Did you learn any Chinese language or German?

MS: No, not at all. I should have, probably.

KL: Did you all speak Spanish?

MS: Yes, we speak Spanish. So now I only speak, and I get all mixed up, whatever comes first, Spanish or English, it's mixed up. And so my husband said, "Gee, you were a mixed up kid." [Laughs] Because he didn't understand Spanish. He was raised in this country, no, well, Japanese, Okayama, he was from Okayama-ken, that's different. They speak the old Japanese style, so I understood some of it, but mostly we speak in English. [Laughs]

KL: You and your husband speak in English?

MS: Yes, uh-huh.

KL: When you were growing up, what language did you speak at home with your family?

MS: Spanish, mostly Spanish.

KL: How did your parents learn Spanish?

MS: They were pretty good, because my father have people working for him, and they all speak Spanish and no English, and no Japanese. So he was doing pretty good, and so my mother, too.

KL: Were his workers people who were born in Peru?

MS: They were Latinos, yeah. Mexican, I mean, Latinos, and Indians, kind of mixed, so they all speak Spanish, no Japanese, no English. So that was nice.

KL: Were they pretty, was it usually the same workers or did his employees come and go?

MS: Yes, the same.

KL: So he knew them well?

MS: Yes, they were nice people, good workers, too.

KL: Did you speak with them very much?

MS: Oh, sometimes, yeah, when I have a chance. Yes, we did. But I can't remember the faces anymore. [Laughs] That was nice, the weather's nice, too. It's not too cold, it's not too hot.

KL: Are there mountains close to town?

MS: Not really. The ocean is close. And we used to go to the ocean, the beach and all that. So it was nice.

KL: Was it a special occasion to go to the ocean?

MS: We went quite often.

KL: Could you walk?

MS: No, I don't think so. I don't think so, because they're not too close. Because we went in the sea. It was a nice place, I think.

KL: Yeah, your neighborhood sounds very...

MS: Yeah, it was very nice neighbors.

KL: ...interesting, it's very diverse.

MS: All different nationalities, so you find the cultures are different. But it's nice, anyway.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

KL: Was the school in your neighborhood, the school that you attended?

MS: Yes. You had to go to Catholic school, and I remember this all-girls school, we had to wear uniforms, and every morning we had to line up in the school and the teacher would come and they have to, they checked the nails and everything else, and you have to be clean. And I had a teacher from England, I remember the face yet. She was pretty tough, but she was a nice teacher. And the principal was a lady, she was tough, too. I remember her face, too. They're probably all gone now. They were nice, all girls, students.

KL: The teachers were nuns?

MS: No, they were regular persons, and she was, well, from England. She was a little tiny person, kind of blond hair, she was nice. Yeah, they were nice.

KL: Where was the principal from? Was she Peruvian?

MS: I have no idea, I think she's Peruvian, looks like, yes. Kind of chubby lady and not too tall. But the other, the English lady, she's kind of short and skinny, kind of blondish hair. They both were nice. So I have all Spanish friends, students, and I don't know if I have any Catholic students over there, I can't remember. They have all different, some other elementary school, not Catholics, some of them were Catholic, some of them not. So they just go to public school, I guess. But I still, sometimes I get letter from them, and I'm supposed to write to them.

KL: From other students?

MS: Yeah.

KL: Oh, wow.

MS: Yeah, I still have the addresses, I better start writing.

KL: And you said some were Catholic and some were not?

MS: Right, yeah.

KL: What was the name of your school?

MS: Oh, I can't even remember now. All I remember is Catholic school. [Laughs] That was very nice.

KL: Was it an elementary school?

MS: Yes. I think that was public school.

KL: You think that you went to the public school?

MS: Next to us was a public school.

KL: Oh, okay.

MS: And the one I used to go was a Catholic school. See, I didn't finish the whole thing, because World War II started and we had to pack the things and go to the camp. So it was all kind of mixed up.

KL: But both schools were right in your neighborhood next door to each other?

MS: Right, that's right. And so some of my students became teachers and doctors and nurses and dentists. So because they didn't pick up their fathers, see, so they're still there.

KL: Were they mostly Japanese?

MS: Yes.

KL: In the school?

MS: No, they're all mixed up. Japanese and whatever, the Indians, I don't know. Kind of mixed up.

KL: Did your sisters go to that school with you?

MS: I don't know which school did she go, Teresa. I can't remember which one. I think public school, my older sister. I only have one sister, and the other one, half, and she was away in the countryside, so I have no idea. Probably public school, I'm pretty sure.

KL: What about your brothers?

MS: Brothers, no. Oh, one, he went to seminary school. I don't think he wanted to become a priest, but it's just a, it was close to our place, to our house. And then, like I said, the World War II starts, so got all mixed up, so nobody finished anything. All halfway to go.

KL: Did you attend the church that your father worked on?

MS: Yes, I'm pretty sure I did. I remember that.

KL: Do you remember the priest or other people in that church?

MS: I can't remember the priest. I just remember the church we used to go. They're probably all gone too, now. All Franciscans, yeah.

KL: Were you part of a youth group there?

MS: No, not in those days. I don't think we had that kind of group like that in those days. Like they have one here, I don't think so. Just a regular group, and make friends.

KL: Did you go for mass, for service?

MS: Oh, yes.

KL: What was that like?

MS: Oh, I guess about the same, you know. It might be a little different there now, because these days, the Catholic church, they change a lot. It's different like it used to be. So I don't know, it's kind of hard to tell. Now we have to learn different, new things, it's a short note, but still, I used the old one, because that's all I remember.

KL: In the service, you mean?

MS: In here, they change it just recently. So, well, they gave us all a little book to learn. Yeah, they change a lot. Even the church is changing. So that's the way to go, I guess. But I'm happy. Yeah, the church is still there.

KL: That's really neat.

MS: Yes, it's very old, but it's still there.

KL: Is your house, was your house still there when you went back?

MS: Oh, yes, I went to see over there, and all still there, the same. And they changed to, oh, the lady gave me the number, and phone, I haven't tried him. And I meet her, and it's a store, they have a meat, they sell meat and vegetables and different things.

KL: Is the store in your house?

MS: Yes. It was big, it was a construction building, see. So they remodeled everything. They had meat and vegetables and I don't know what else. I forgot what else they had.

KL: What was your house like when you lived there?

MS: Oh, it wasn't that bad, it wasn't too bad. And I used to remember my little dog. It was so sad because we have to get rid of 'em, oh, I even remember now, it was a little puppy, and I have to give it to one of my friends, it was so sad. He's probably gone a long time. It's like your own children, you know.

KL: One of the hardest things to see my mom go through was putting our dog to sleep, it's hard to lose. You left him with a friend, you said?

MS: Yes, uh-huh. A little boy, I don't know, I forgot how old he was, maybe a teenager or nine, ten, something like that. I hope he took good care of him. I think I have the picture of that dog, very cute, yeah.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

KL: How did you find out, how did you find out that you were going to have to leave your home?

MS: You know, I don't remember that part. I guess I didn't pay attention.

KL: You were eleven, ten or eleven?

MS: Yes. I think I was eleven, twelve, I think it was.

KL: You said you were friends with your neighbors who were German and you met Chinese people. Did you experience prejudice before World War II began?

MS: Not really, no. I don't think so. They were good people. We had good neighbors, we were lucky. So it's kind of hard to find good neighbors really that you could trust. And they're all different nationalities, so we were lucky really. Then, of course, we were trying to be nice to each other.

KL: Yeah, you and your neighbors would try to be nice.

MS: Right, right. So that's the way the parents, I guess, told us, got to be... especially my father, he was pretty strict. He was very strict, yes. You know, when we were a kid, we couldn't even get the permanent, you know, you didn't... just straight hair. So he was real strict. I don't know, I remember when he read the paper, he wanted to put it straight, not just get all the newspaper, one there, one here, just put it straight after you read, things like that. So we learned to do it straight, tried to clean the mess. So I think that was very nice. You have to teach the little when they're small. Otherwise when they get teenager, they won't listen like they were little, and you can't spank them all the time. He didn't do it. So he was a nice father and nice mother, too. Mother was a little bit easier, not like my father. [Laughs] So we have good, nice parents, strict. Sure miss 'em.

KL: And you said your dad was taken away?

MS: Pardon?

KL: You said your father was taken away after World War II began?

MS: What do you mean by that?

KL: Did your father stay with the family or did he have to go somewhere else?

MS: You mean after... they sent him to three different place, so we have to wait at home. And I don't know, I forgot how many months we wait, and then they come to pick up the family and we reunited with the fathers and brother's uncle, whatever, in the last concentration camp which was in Crystal City, San Antonio, in Texas.

KL: Did someone come to your home in Trujillo to arrest your father?

MS: I don't remember how we did that. I'm pretty sure somebody came to pick up all the family, just the family. Maybe it must be the United States government? I have no idea.

KL: I've read that the FBI and the U.S. embassy...

MS: Yeah, I remember that was the FBI.

KL: ...and the Peruvian government worked together to make a list.

MS: Yeah, I remember somebody came. I think it was either a policeman or FBI, I don't know which one it was, and then just took my father. Because I remember it was in the afternoon, he was taken to my oldest brother Luis, and then the person showed up, either policeman or FBI, he just took my father away. So that's the time. And I guess it was kind of a surprise because we didn't know that.

KL: Your father was surprised?

MS: Probably. I have no idea because he was taken to Luis.

KL: Luis was taken also?

MS: No, he stayed with us, just my father. They pick up just the father. I don't know, some other fathers probably the same day, too, I'm pretty sure. They probably got together when they were sent to three different camp.

KL: Were fathers of your friends also taken and arrested?

MS: Oh, yes. I didn't see, but I'm pretty sure, because I knew which father it was. I remember one family's father took it away. That's the only one I remember, the other one I don't know which father it was.

KL: What did you and your friends say to each other?

MS: Oh, they were kind of surprised too, I guess. Because they had four or five children, too. They were small, too, you know. They were kind of sad, too, I'm pretty sure. I don't know. Yeah, it wasn't too easy.

KL: What did your mother say to you about your father's arrest?

MS: I don't remember what she said, because she wasn't there at that time when my father was taken to Luis. They must have been talking something, my father and Luis, because my mother wasn't there, I don't remember seeing her. So maybe she was in the kitchen, I don't know, someplace else maybe. Maybe she didn't know that they were coming, I have no idea.

KL: Did Luis have to... Luis was about twenty then, right?

MS: Yes.

KL: Did he kind of, was he left to take care of the family, did he step into the role?

MS: Yes. He had to. [Laughs] The two oldest brothers. Because Francisco and Julio were kind of young yet. So we just wait until somebody come pick him up and send them to the camp.

KL: How did you react when your father was arrested?

MS: It was kind of sad. You don't know what's going to happen. It wasn't easy. I'm pretty sure the other families felt the same way, too. Yeah, that was kind of a mess.

KL: It sounds like your parents created a lot of security for you and your siblings when they were home.

MS: Yes, they were nice. They were nice parents. Like I said, we should listen.

KL: Did you hear from your father? You were pretty young, but did you get a letter from your...

MS: Oh, yes.

KL: When did you hear from him?

MS: Oh, I don't remember. I have it at home, I think. I saved all those letters. Yeah.

KL: You said he was taken to three different camps?

MS: Uh-huh.

KL: What was the first one, do you know?

MS: I think it was Santa Fe, and the other one was Kenedy, I think they changed the name of Kenedy, and the last one was Crystal City, San Antonio. I don't know why they changed the name but I forgot what was that, the new name, that's all I remember.

KL: When did you learn where he was? I mean, did you know he was going to Santa Fe when he was arrested?

MS: Oh, no, I don't think we knew that, no. No, I don't think so. They just took the fathers.

KL: Do you know how long it was before your family heard from your father?

MS: No, I don't remember. But I think I, like I say, I saved some of the letter that he wrote. I don't even know if they're supposed to write letter, I don't know.

KL: Some people at least in the U.S. heard from their fathers a couple days later, a couple weeks later, but other people I think it was much longer, so I was just curious.

MS: Right, I think all different, probably, I'm pretty sure. It depends which camp they send. Like my husband, they sent to Minidoka, and he doesn't talk too much either, I don't know if it was right away or they waited, I have no idea. I think each camp is different, probably, I'm pretty sure.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

KL: Do you have a sense of when your father was arrested? Do you think it was December of 1941? Do you know when your father was arrested, was it right after the attack on Pearl Harbor or several months later?

MS: I forgot, when was it? That was December, wasn't it?

KL: December 7th was the attack on Pearl Harbor.

MS: I think wasn't it after that they started taking the fathers? You know, I forgot. I was thinking the other day when I was home but I forgot, was it before or just before, or after that?

KL: Do you remember the attack, was that a big deal?

MS: Yeah, oh, yes.

KL: What do you remember about that day?

MS: I think, "Oh my, what a mess fighting each other like that." It was kind of a surprise. You don't know what's going to happen. So, gosh, to be honest, I don't remember if it was after or before. I wonder if he remembers. Joey, do you remember, did they arrest my father after?

KL: That's okay. You said it was a surprise that Japan attacked the United States?

MS: Uh-huh. We heard the news somewhere, I don't know how. Must be the radio, something. But anyway... but I forgot if they arrested the fathers just before or just after the attack. Oh, my gosh.

KL: Did the attack, did it scare you or what was your response to it besides surprise.

MS: Well, yeah, it was kind of scary. It was kind of a surprise, so I don't know.

KL: How was it scary?

MS: Well, what's going to happen how? Are they going to start fighting each other and killing each other? I don't know.

KL: Did your parents keep in touch with their families in Hiroshima?

MS: I have no idea, I have no idea.

KL: You stayed in your home, you said, after your father was arrested?

MS: Yes.

KL: What was that like after he was gone?

MS: It was kind of lonesome without Father, it was kind of lonesome. I guess we were kind of waiting to be reunited with our fathers, so we were just kind of waiting.

KL: Did things change at school?

MS: I don't even know if they knew I was going to the concentration camp. So they were nice people, so maybe they don't want to talk, I have no idea.

KL: Did your neighbors change their behavior?

MS: I don't think so. I don't think so, because we didn't talk too much about those things. So they might have just talked themselves, but not outside, I don't remember that either.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

KL: So you waited. How did you learn that you would be leaving your home also, that you would go join your father? Do you remember how you learned about that?

MS: No, I don't think so. I don't remember that either.

KL: Do you remember getting ready to go? How did you prepare to leave Peru?

MS: Gosh, that I don't remember either.

KL: You were little.

MS: Yeah, I didn't pay attention, I guess. I have no idea. I don't know how they did that either, the other families. Kind of funny, but I'm getting old, I guess.

KL: Well, also it's hard, so sometimes you...

MS: It was very hard. Most of them were lonesome without Father.

KL: Did your whole family, all of your brothers and your sister and you and your mom all travel together to Crystal City?

MS: Oh, yes.

KL: Do you remember that trip at all?

MS: No.

KL: No?

MS: No. Just kind of scared, I guess, that's all.

KL: Do you remember anything special? You had to leave your dog, was there anything that you took that was important to you?

MS: No, we lost a lot of things, papers and pictures, and we couldn't get the whole thing in one suitcase, you know, it was kind of hard, because you got the limit and all of that.

KL: What was the limit?

MS: So I don't know what they did with the leftovers. Maybe they throw it away, I have no idea.

KL: Did you see anything that you left again?

MS: No, I don't think so. We couldn't get too many things anyway. There was a lot of things we had to leave. Most of us have to leave, you have to. It was kind of sad, but what can you do? 'Cause they checked also, I'm pretty sure, the suitcase inside.

KL: Did you each have one suitcase?

MS: I don't remember how we did it, I'm pretty sure we have some, but I remember on the way back after we moved from the camp, we're supposed to bring just one suitcase. And when we arrived in Japan, somebody... when was it? January, and it was snowing, it was so cold, we'd never seen snow in South America. And so somebody, when we were waiting at the station, train station, somebody stole my second brother's, Antonio's, suitcase, the whole thing. The whole thing. See, they knew we were Japanese each other, but they knew we were coming from different countries, and they took the whole thing, so he didn't have nothing to wear and everything. So that was kind of bad. And then we had to go see my father's oldest brother, he was a farmer. We never farmed, and my feet was getting so cold, it was swollen and everything, and you have to walk. And it's all rocks, you know, the country is no, that road is bad, you have to walk, it's hilly. And it took, I don't know how many hours, and finally we arrived at my uncle's place. It wasn't too easy. No, not enough food, and the weather's so cold, snow all over. We had a bad time. So in a way, it's a good experience because we learned how not to... oh, how do you say? You can't throw out any food. What do you say that word?

KL: To be thrifty or frugal?

MS: Yeah, you have to save everything. So do the [inaudible] volunteer work, and I see everything over there. We don't throw away food in Japan those days, you have to eat everything. Now I remember after we moved back to the city in Japan, we have a little room house and I remember when we used to cook the rice, you have to put some, I think it was sweet potatoes, those green leaves, wash it off and put it with the rice to make more food, because you don't have enough food. So we learned a lot in Japan. You don't throw away any food, that's what I do even now.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

KL: How long were you in Crystal City?

MS: I think it was a year and a half. It was a year and a half. And my husband was three years in Minidoka, that was a long time.

KL: Yeah.

MS: Three years, yeah.

KL: Do you remember the boat ride to Crystal City?

MS: Oh, yes, we went to... we went to, can't even remember the airport, New Orleans. Yeah, we went to New Orleans, oh boy, I got sick on the ocean, and then they were boiling egg, oh, that smells so bad.

KL: On the ship?

MS: Yeah, for breakfast, and I have to go in the bathroom. And here comes an American to help me, because I couldn't even stand up, I have to stay in the bathroom and throw up. And that smell, the egg, oh, I never forget that one. And she said to me, "You better go and eat something," and I said, "No, don't feel like to eat boiled eggs." Oh, it was bad. And the ocean was like this. I never forget that one, it was bad. And finally we arrived in, what was the airport in Japan? Oh, I forgot.

KL: You said you arrived in New Orleans for Crystal City.

MS: Yeah. And then when we arrived in Japan, I said, "Oh, my goodness," so they checked everything, you know, everything, the clothing in the suitcase, whatever you had. But we were kind of happy because no more eggs. Oh, it was bad, honest.

KL: Do you still dislike eggs?

MS: No, now I'm okay. He won't eat eggs. [Laughs]

KL: What was your, what was Crystal City like? Where did you live when you were in Crystal City?

MS: It's in a camp, was a great, great big camp that had a wire all around the camp, and find out they have a, we had an Italian family, German family and Japanese family, but it's a different section. And I never seen people... with the Japanese, we were just the Japanese. Now, the funny part was Japanese born in South America, and Japanese born in the United States, so one speak English and the other one speaks Spanish. So they couldn't figure out, sometimes, their language, communicate. So we had to use hands and everything else, well, I think we did pretty good. And then we used to play, well, the boys used to play baseball, basketball, they had a swimming pool, and we have a staging place to dance and all that. We have school, so I think we did pretty good, because mixed the Japanese born in South America and born in United States, and we did pretty good, and we had good teachers, too. So I think we did pretty good in Crystal City.

KL: What was the school like, was it in a barrack?

MS: It's not a barrack, just a regular building, different section, the grades and all of that. So that was good.

KL: Is that where you learned English?

MS: Yes.

KL: What was that like? Was it difficult?

MS: It's kind of hard. Even now, I don't understand that. And then when I went back to Japan, I was in Tokyo and I got a job at IBM. It was a building, there was IBM section, and I used to type, I learned, and the last one was a secretary. But, see, the secretary over there and over here is different. Over here is more, it's harder than Japan. And I used to have a lady, she was real nice, from Utah, she was Mormon, and she used to help me. She invited me one day to her house, and they don't drink coffee, they give me, it was tea, I guess. But anyway, I had a good time with that lady, I still remember, she was from Utah.

KL: Did you meet her in Japan?

MS: Yes, she was in Tokyo working for the Air Force. And I worked for the Air Force, United States Air Force.

KL: When you first learned English, did your teacher teach you English or did she just start talking in English?

MS: No, we just had to learn. It was hard, because the pronunciation is not easy. See, that's why I didn't, I goofed, I didn't teach Joey and Sum to learn English first. Because the accent is different, Spanish and Japanese, but you can't do that, you have to teach them when they're small, the English, too.

KL: It's easier.

MS: They don't know English, I mean, they don't know Japanese and Spanish. The only one he knows in Japanese is, "Let's go fishing." When I went to Japan, he loved to go fishing, so he told my brother, called his brother Luis, I think, "Let's go fishing," in Japanese. [Laughs] So you have to teach them when they're small, it'll make a difference on the accent. I goofed.

KL: So you said you became friends with some of the other kids in Crystal City?

MS: Oh, yes, we have all different kinds... well, I don't know how many they were going to, that was kind of sad.

KL: Did you ever leave the camp in Crystal City, did you go...

MS: Oh no, you cannot, because there were, and the wire, they have that small house, and there was a soldier with his rifle, so you have to stay inside the camp. You cannot go. Not like my husband, they used to go out, he said, and help doing some work outside. See, that's the difference, the camp, we have to stay inside the camp.

KL: Are there other places in the camp, you remember the swimming pool and the school in your house?

MS: No, that's the only one that I remember. But we cannot move, see, we have to stay in our own camp. I'm pretty sure they have, I don't know, maybe not. But we were lucky because they treat us good.

KL: The guards or the staff?

MS: Yes, the staff. And they had a, the Japanese people had to cook and deliver to us the food and all of that. So they were nice to us, the camp.

KL: Did they bring the food to your home, was there a mess hall?

MS: You, they deliver or you could go to eat, either way. Because we live in, like a barracks, you know, and we had a stove, wood stove and all of that. So it was different, either you go over there and eat or just stay home or whatever. So they treat us good.

KL: Did you speak or become friends with anyone on the staff?

MS: No, I didn't have a chance because their stuff, most of their work in the kitchen, they were all Japanese most of them. I don't remember any Americans.

KL: Were they prisoners, too, the people in the kitchen?

MS: Oh, yeah, the same over there, yeah.

KL: And they're the ones who were nice to you?

MS: Yeah, they're all nice. Because, see, you stay over there a year and a half, you become better friends, so that was nice. But I think there's a lot of them, they die already. Because they were a lot older than we are. See, we were about eleven, twelve years, the other one was twenty or twenty-five, thirty, much older than we were. Lots of them there are gone, too.

KL: What was it like to see your father again?

MS: Oh, that was nice, that was nice.

KL: How did you greet each other?

MS: Oh, forgot, but happy. [Laughs] So that was nice.

KL: Did he talk about Santa Fe or about Kenedy?

MS: Not really. I guess they don't really talk, I guess, I don't know. Maybe they had a not so good time, I have no idea. And I think that place was just for men, probably, just the father. I have no idea how their life was over there.

KL: Did he seem different to you than when you knew him in Trujillo?

MS: No, I don't think so. He's more kind of a quiet type person. No, about the same, I guess.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

KL: We're back in tape number two, continuing an interview with Maria Sato on July the 11, 2012. And we had left off talking some about Crystal City, and I had a couple other questions about your time in Crystal City. I wondered what a typical day was like in Crystal City. What were your activities in a normal day?

MS: Go swimming. Go to school first and then swimming, and I guess that's all. Not really things to do because you got homework and all of that.

KL: Was there school every day or were weekends different?

MS: I think it was every day, yes.

KL: And you said you had meals brought to your home?

MS: Sometimes, and sometimes, like I said, you go over there in the kitchen, see the people and make new friends.

KL: Who made those kind of decisions for your family?

MS: I Have no idea. You mean for the cooking and all of that?

KL: Yeah, like when you would go out or stay in?

MS: It must be the manager or somebody, I have no idea.

KL: Did one of your parents or your brothers...

MS: Oh, sometimes they helped. But they had a, looks like they used to have a lot of help or so. And one of my friends used to go all the time over there. Oh, he passed away, though.

KL: Was there a person in particular in your family who became the leader?

MS: Not really.

KL: Did you guys go to church in Crystal City?

MS: I don't remember if they have a church over there. Gosh, I don't remember that. Maybe they had a Buddhist, I don't think they had a Catholic church. I forgot. I don't think so, I don't know. Sorry.

KL: That's okay. Did your family have any Catholic traditions that they continued in Crystal City?

MS: No, not in Crystal City, I don't think so.

KL: Are there any people in Crystal City that really stick out when you think about that time?

MS: What do you mean by that?

KL: Are there any people, any teachers or anyone from the kitchen or anyone that you think about when you think about Crystal City? Or really just your family?

MS: Oh, I remember that, yes.

KL: Who do you remember?

MS: Especially my teachers. And I sometimes think about my friend from Hawaii.

KL: Who was she or he?

MS: Matano, Cherry Matano, now I remember her name, Cherry Matano. It was a real nice lady.

KL: What was her personality like?

MS: Real nice and sweet. And I just say that, all the same every time you see her. You don't see angry or mad or something like that, always the same, real nice person.

KL: How old was she?

MS: She was older than I am, so must be, maybe close to ninety maybe, now.

KL: How did you meet her?

MS: In the camp.

KL: Was she a student with you or a neighbor?

MS: No, just a regular person. I don't think she went to school, she was older than I am. And I don't think they had a... I wonder if they had a high school. I don't remember that. I only remember the elementary school over there, the smaller middle school.

KL: How do you think that your sister reacted to being removed from Peru and put in Crystal City?

MS: I have no idea. Probably just like me, probably scared, and what's going to happen, until we get in the camp.

KL: What about your brothers?

MS: Same thing. I think everybody was the same thing, until you find out what's going on. Because everything was new for them, too, you know.

KL: Did they seem happy or angry or nervous?

MS: No, I think more nervous, I think. Until they get over there and see what will happen.

KL: Do you think it was different for Luis and Antonio than for Julio?

MS: Oh, I'm pretty sure everyone had a different, you know, experience.

KL: How was it different?

MS: I don't know. Someone just talked, they just don't say nothing. So I don't know what they're thinking about it.

KL: What was your... did you have an apartment at Crystal City? What was the place where you lived like?

MS: Inside the camp? It was like a barracks, like a house, small house. It was green, not very big, we have a stove, and you had to put some, I think, wood or coal, whatever, because it gets cold in the winter. So not very big place for us to stay over there, you know. We made it.

KL: Was it a free standing house or was it part of a longer building?

MS: No, it was like that. I don't know what you call that.

KL: Who was in that place with you? Who was in the house?

MS: Just one family each, every different... it's all together one here, one here, it's kind of close. But it's one in one family, one building, small building. Well, you know, I don't know how many people were there, so you cannot have two big places, really. There were so many. So it was nice.

KL: And you were there for about a year and a half?

MS: Yes.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

KL: Why did you leave, or how did you leave?

MS: Well, they told us the war finished, so we had to move. So I guess they told us either stay in the United States or go somewhere. And so we couldn't stay here because nobody speak English. You wouldn't be able to find a job. And so I guess my father decided to go to Japan and stay with the oldest brother, I guess that's the only one over there. And he said we have to stay together. But my oldest brother, Luis, he kind of didn't want to do that, but no, he say we have to stay together, the family. So we went to see uncle.

KL: What did Luis want to do, do you think?

MS: I don't know. I don't know what he wanted. So we stayed together.

KL: How did your mom feel about going back to Japan?

MS: She didn't say too much. Well, maybe she was happy because she had family over there. I think it's an older brother... was it older or younger, I forgot. And nephew and nieces and all that, so that'd be nice for her, too, you know, she didn't say too much. But I'm pretty sure she was happy to go back.

KL: So the war had already ended?

MS: That's what I can't figure out, yeah, that time, yes. That time that was after. Yeah, we had to move from the camp, I think they wanted to do something to the camp, I'm pretty sure. I think my nephew went to see the place after the war. I forgot what is it now over there? I think they have some kind of monument, and it's all flat, I think, he said.

KL: In Crystal City?

MS: Yeah. I didn't have a chance to see it, but I think my nephew went up there, I'm pretty sure.

KL: How did you find out about the atomic bombs being dropped?

MS: I don't know that either. Maybe that was on the radio, because that was kind of a shock. And so, you know, kind of scared, too, with the atomic bomb and all that. Gonna start fighting again or whatever. I just don't like to see fight again, killing each other.

KL: And you had family in Hiroshima?

MS: Yeah, kind of bothers me.

KL: Do you remember learning about the Japanese surrender?

MS: Yes.

KL: How did you find out?

MS: Well, I think I was watching TV and they got the news and all of that. Wasn't it McArthur? I forgot the first name, Douglas? I remember he was signing.

KL: What did you think?

MS: Well, I was happy, end of the war, fighting. I think that was nice. And now they're still fighting, so I don't know.

KL: What was your parents' reaction to the end of the war and Japan's surrender?

MS: I'm pretty sure they were happy, too, all finished. Don't have to worry about it. Yeah, no more killing and all of that. So I think that was one of the happiest day, I'm pretty sure. Like I said, my father, he doesn't say too much, just inside. I think that's the problem with the Japanese, they don't let it go out, too, just keeping all the time. I don't know what the young ones think about, it's different, but all the time, they always like to keep it inside. I don't think that's a good idea all the time, you know, you have to let it go out.

KL: You said you were watching a movie when the news came?

MS: Yeah, it was the news, yeah.

KL: Who were you with?

MS: I don't remember that one. [Laughs] But I remember the news, yeah.

KL: What do you remember about getting ready to go to Japan?

MS: Well, that was kind of scary, too, because we'd never been in Japan. I guess it was the same, Japanese, when we weren't looking, they stole it. They stole the one suitcase. It was just not a nice thing to do. So I don't know.

KL: And that was at the train station that your brother's suitcase?

MS: Yes.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

KL: So you took the boat, and you said the boat ride was where you were so sick.

MS: It was with eggs, oh, my goodness. I never forget. [Laughs]

KL: How did you get back to your family, your brothers, your father's brother's house?

MS: We walk. And like I said, they don't have no bus, and the road is all just a little grass, and it's hill place, it was generally ice, the feet are swollen and shoes... it was bad, anyway.

KL: It was January of 1946?

MS: It was bad, yeah. When we arrived... well, we didn't expected it because we'd never been out there.

KL: What did you expect?

MS: Well, little bit more like the United States, I guess. [Laughs] Not rocks, but straight or something, it's got rocks and weeds and it was bad in sun and ice, it was kind of dangerous, too.

KL: When you arrived on the boat, did you have to check in with the military or...

MS: I'm pretty sure they were military. They have to check everything, see.

KL: What was that like?

MS: Well, it was kind of surprising, because we didn't know what they're doing and all that. They have to check everything. So, well, I guess they have to do that because you never know when you'd find a bad person. So anyway, everybody have to check.

KL: How long were you with your uncle?

MS: Oh, I don't remember that either. I don't remember how long we stayed there. Pretty soon, until spring maybe, until the snow melts.

KL: Oh, not very long.

MS: Right.

KL: And then where did you go?

MS: We went to this... it's more city, it wasn't like Uncle's place, little house, like a little house, it's a small house. You can't find a big house because you can't pay. And so, well, we were kind of happy got your own house, even it's a small house. And so like I said, the food was not so good, not enough food. That's the one that's kind of bad.

KL: What was the name of the city?

MS: Miyoshi. It's a small city.

KL: Were there other people from South America or from the United States?

MS: No, we were the only ones, we were the only ones.

KL: How did local people react to you?

MS: Well, sometimes, until they're used to us, it's kind of strange feeling. You feel yourself, we're same Japanese, but you feel the same kind of, you don't feel the same. Because they knew that we were from different country. But gradually got more friendly, and the neighbors got better. So it was nice, finally.

KL: How long do you think that took?

MS: I don't remember.

KL: For people to be...

MS: I don't remember. It wasn't, it was tough, anyway, either way you look at it, to go different country, and then you get used to it. But then after that, was good neighbors.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

KL: Did your father or mother or your brothers find work?

MS: Yeah.

KL: What did they do?

MS: They did... what in the world they did? Was it some kind of, like carpenter or something, I think it was, the same job they had in South America, just helping them. Because they were so... hard to find a job yet. So I don't think they found a permanent job, whatever they had. So it wasn't easy. I don't think anybody had an easy job after the war, especially when you come from different countries.

KL: Where did your... you said you ate a lot of sweet potatoes and some rice?

MS: Yeah.

KL: Did you grow them?

MS: I think we... no, we bought potatoes and I think the sweet... they used a lot of sweet potatoes, I didn't like that. I didn't like the rice, sweet rice. [Laughs] But you got to eat it. When you're hungry, you got to eat anything. So you find those vegetables, whatever you have, just mixed together. But I didn't like sweet potato with the rice. I still remember that. I'd rather have sweet potato separate. It was amazing.

KL: What did you and Teresa and your younger brothers do with your time? How did you spend your days?

MS: I think they went to school. They didn't want to school, but Father said you have to go to school, you have to have education, so they did.

KL: Did he find a Catholic school for them?

MS: Oh, no. I think most of them were Buddhist. The next door, the neighbor was a Buddhist lady, but then they didn't have no school, just a church. She was real nice. No, I don't think you found Catholic these days over there. Most of them were Buddhist. So, see, because we were born in South America, we become Catholic. But like you go different country like Japan, I don't think you would be able to find a Catholic school. I don't know now.

KL: Did you go to, who was still in school? Was Teresa still in school in Japan?

MS: Regular, I think she went to... what kind of school was she in? I know I went to a regular school and I learned how to sew, and so I think it was regular school.

KL: You went to a regular school?

MS: No, I think it was a different school, but I forgot which one. They have different, for age, you know.

KL: Did Francisco and Julio go to your school?

MS: Oh, yeah, they have to. So you know, they didn't want to go, but they have to go to school. Then after they got a job and they married, they got married and all of that, they stayed, same place.

KL: Did they marry Japanese women?

MS: Yes. Julio just lost his wife a few years ago. And Francisco, he's still had his wife, so they're farmers, too.

KL: Still in Japan?

MS: Japan, yeah.

KL: What about Teresa and Antonio?

MS: Teresa passed away in Dallas, and not too long ago. And Antonio... oh, Luis passed away, and Antonio passed away. The only one alive is me and Francisco and Julio.

KL: Did Luis and Antonio remain in Japan?

MS: Yes.

KL: When did Teresa come back to the United States?

MS: Teresa, she passed away.

KL: When did she come back to the United States?

MS: Oh, same time we came back.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

KL: Did you work -- so when did you... well, let's go back to 1947 or so in Japan. Did you graduate from high school?

MS: You know, I think I did, but it was kind of mixed up because I went to a sewing school and the other school. So I think I did. It's kind of mixed up anyway.

KL: Did you find work after graduation?

MS: I went to Tokyo because my sister went to Tokyo first, and then she got a job. I forgot, where was it, Air Force, too, I think. And I went to Air Force also, and I found the, I stuck with the clerk, and what do you call the other one? Oh, boy.

KL: You worked as a clerk?

MS: Yeah, first.

KL: Do you remember your job interview or applying for work?

MS: I think, I must have interest somebody, otherwise I wouldn't get the job? But that part, I don't remember. The only one I remember, got the job as a clerk, and then typist, and the last thing was the secretary. Well, I guess the secretary in Japan is not as hard as in the United States, it's more easy type. And I mentioned that lady from Utah, a Mormon lady, she helped me, so that was nice. Did typing...

KL: How did she help you?

MS: Oh, when I don't understand all these forms to type and things like that, because I didn't know English too well. So that was nice, she helped me. I think she's till alive in Utah, I'm pretty sure.

KL: Who did you live with in Tokyo?

MS: In Tokyo? Well, my sister was there, so we stayed in the same apartment and all of that. I used to have a friend, she used to work for IBM across the street in the hospital, and she used to come to our place, office, and have coffee and doughnuts, whatever. And she got married to my brother-in-law in San Francisco. And so she introduced me and my husband. So he came from Portland, Oregon, to Tokyo, my husband. We got married at the American embassy.

KL: When did you and your husband meet?

MS: Oh, he came to Japan.

KL: What year did you meet?

MS: Oh, my goodness, I forgot. [Laughs]

KL: Around 1950s?

MS: We've been married almost forty-seven years. And, see, we corresponded about three years before we met, and then he decided to come to Tokyo to meet me, I guess, and make sure this is a nice person. [Laughs]

KL: You corresponded by letters?

MS: Three years, three years, yeah. And so he came and I guess we got along pretty good. And so my sister-in-law, she was in Los Angeles already, I mean, in California, and she's still there. And, well, she's not doing too good now, but anyway.

KL: Who did you say introduced you and your husband?

MS: My sister-in-law, my friend. She used to work in the hospital across the street from my building, come to my building.

KL: And who was she married to?

MS: My husband's younger brother, George.

KL: Oh.

MS: Yeah, my younger brother. And she's the one introduced me to the older brother, Joe, my husband. Well, he wasn't married yet, see.

KL: She just suggested you might want to write?

MS: Yes. So that was nice.

KL: And he came to visit you?

MS: Yes. No, he just came to visit me, and they have to check my background, I was in concentration camp and all this and that. They have to check all these things, so it took time?

KL: Who did?

MS: The government have to check.

KL: Before you could work?

MS: No, before I married to my husband. And they have to have a blood test and everything. And everything was okay, I didn't do anything wrong. So I guess they must have, tell my husband that everything is okay, so he came to Tokyo. And then we married in the American embassy. And then he waited, I think he only stayed about a week maybe, because he have to come back to work. So I wanted until I get the passport, and the result of they checked the blood and my background.

KL: What was your citizenship then?

MS: Japanese. I didn't have the... I didn't know that either, those days, and I didn't know it was gong to happen that way. And then they gave me the American citizenship, I went to school when I came to the United States.

KL: Did you become a Japanese citizen when you arrived in Japan?

MS: It was already American, I mean, Japanese citizen.

KL: It was already Japanese because your father was Japanese?

MS: Right, right, yeah.

KL: Were you ever dual with Peru?

MS: No, I didn't want to... I didn't even know they had those days, dual.

KL: When you were born, though?

MS: No. See, that's why they pick the certain fathers, probably, because they're Japanese, no citizen papers, Peruvian.

KL: Do you think there were other reasons why they picked up your father instead of some other person?

MS: No, I think because, see, he used to help this little Japanese school. And person like that, I think probably they think they were kind of suspicious and spy or something, I don't know that, too. That's why they pick up just certain fathers when they picked up my father, because he used to help the Japanese school.

KL: How did he help the school?

MS: Oh, just different things, you know, I don't know what he really did, but they find out he was doing it, helping. I don't know really myself what he did.

KL: Was it a school for kids?

MS: I think so.

KL: Like a language school?

MS: I don't know. I don't know what it was. So anyway, that's what happened.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

KL: So you came back to the U.S. with your husband? Was he living in San Francisco?

MS: No, he came back first. Yeah, he couldn't stay because he had to work.

KL: Was he in San Francisco, did you say?

MS: No, he was in Oregon. No... I don't know where he was. Was it in Oregon? I forgot. Yeah, I think it was. I got mixed up. Yeah, he was in Oregon. And then I hve to wait for the result, and everything was okay. And so I came over here, and then we got married in American embassy, and they gave us all the certificate and everything.

KL: Were you married in the American embassy in Tokyo?

MS: No, in here.

KL: Oh. In Oregon?

MS: No, no, in Tokyo. You have to get married over there and then get the papers and everything, and then come on United States.

KL: And you came to Oregon?

MS: Yeah, so I have all these, whatever you call, have certificate, everything, anyway.

KL: Did you and your husband talk about Crystal City and Minidoka and your father's arrest?

MS: Sometimes, not all the time. Yeah, we used to once in a while.

KL: Did you find things that were similar about your experiences?

MS: No, it's different. It was different. Because, see, we couldn't go out from the camp, but they could do that to do some work and then come back again. But we coudln't do that, that was a different... and I don't think they have a, because he never mentioned it, but a swimming pool and the schooling, I don't know how they did. So it might be a little different.

KL: Was he your age?

MS: No, he was about six years older than myself.

KL: And you said he was in Minidoka for three years.

MS: Three years.

KL: Did he come back to Oregon right away?

MS: I think he did. He did, yeah? Did they stay... they went to Beaverton? Beaverton, right. They went to Beaverton. You know the place, where was the place they were now? They had a flat. So I guess they lost everything. They had a kind of rough time, too, with the flat and everything, and a large family. That was kind of sad, too.

KL: Where did you two live?

MS: After we got married? In Portland. It was in the south, you know, by Brookline school, southeast?

KL: I don't, but other people from Portland will.

MS: Oh, I'm sorry. Southeast, yeah. Lived with mother-in-law, she was there alone, too. Yeah, and my sister-in-law and her hsuband lives around, not too far either. And older brothers, California, Seattle, and what is it, Michigan, and I think Ann Arbor? Where's... oh, boy.

KL: That's okay.

MS: There's one...

KL: Did you work when you came to Oregon?

MS: No, I was just a...

KL: Were you guys, were you or your husband especially involved in any of the hearings in Congress or the redress movement to get an apology from the --

MS: Oh, yes, I got a letter apologizing from President Clinton?

KL: Bush.

MS: No, Clinton. What is the first name?

KL: Bill?

MS: Yeah. And I got five thousand compensation, and my husband, Joe, he got twenty thousand, and I think we're still fighting to get the fifteen, the leftover, but I don't think we're going to get it because the government don't have money either. And I wanted to do something good, and so I bought Joey with the five thousand dollar... what do you call that?

Off camera: [Inaudible].

MS: Yeah. Just keep as a memory, the money I used for that.

KL: How did you feel when you got the letter and the check?

MS: It was nice, I was happy. A very nice letter. I still have it at home. But I think we've got to forget about the fifteen, the leftover. I don't think we can do it. That's okay, I'm happy.

KL: Have you talked to anyone else, any students or anyone about your experiences in World War II?

MS: Students? Friends, neighbors, yes. They told us, I get a newsletter from headquarters in California, we have headquarters, they were people who were in a concentration camp, and they send us about three times a year, and they told us to tell the American people what happened. That's the one I got you...

KL: What's the name of that organization?

MS: Oh, I forgot. I got the name somewhere, yeah, it's in California. We get it every year.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

KL: I wanted to hear more about your trip back to Peru also. When was that, when did you go back to Peru?

MS: Oh, that was '77. No, 1985. '95, yeah. He knows more than I do. [Laughs]

KL: And who was with you on that trip?

MS: You went with me.

KL: Joey?

MS: My husband didn't want to go because I guess he was afraid he'd get sick because they have to take pills. And I think he asked Kaiser in South America. Anyway, he said no, so I took Joey, so that was nice.

KL: Just the two of you?

MS: Yeah. And then the group. So it was nice. And they knew we were coming.

KL: Who was the group that you were with?

MS: What was the group? Well, the people born in South America, they want to go back again and see the people over there.

KL: Other people like your family?

MS: No, not mine.

KL: I mean it was like your family, people from Peru?

MS: Right. I think some of them, not everybody. Some of them I don't know. But I don't know from, there from Portland. I think a lot of them from California and maybe Hawaii. You got some you've telephoned, Joey? No?

KL: They were other people whose families were from Japan?

MS: I'm pretty sure, yeah.

Off camera: It was called the Campaign for Justice.

MS: Oh, Campaign for Justice.

KL: What did you see? You saw your home and your, the church?

MS: Did you see the home?

KL: Oh, just you.

MS: Oh. Well, I was happy because the house, the old house, they have, like I said, the meat department in grocery, and I don't know, a lot of different things, you know. And then next was school, elementary school, it was still there, too.

KL: Your elementary school?

MS: No. I went to Catholic school, yeah. And then next door was the German, the nice family, they were still there. And then across the street was another German family, and the next one, the Italian family, they were all still there. But they probably passed away, though.

KL: Did you write letters with any of your neighbors from Trujillo?

MS: I don't think so, no. Because that time, I didn't get the address, see, when we left. There's no time to get the address and name, you just have to pack and go. So, no, not even one, but I got one, about the house, that's the only one. They want to get the meat store and the grocery. I think that's the only one.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

KL: When you were a child in Trujillo, you mentioned that your dad was involved in that Japanese school. Was it important to your family, your Japanese heritage?

MS: Oh, I'm pretty sure, yes. Because somebody have to help, you know what I mean? And the kids, they don't mention them, probably.

KL: What kind of traditions did you keep that were Japanese? Did you have New Year's traditions?

MS: I don't think so. I remember mostly Christmas... see, they don't do Christmas, they didn't used to do Christmas in Japan, I don't think. Things like that.

KL: When did your family become Catholic? Was that in Japan or in Peru?

MS: No, after they went to Peru, I don't know the year.

KL: Did your folk, did your parents grow up Buddhist?

MS: I think so, yeah.

KL: Did they ever talk with you about why they chose to become Catholic?

MS: No. I think maybe because they used to work for Franciscans, priest, and all of that, probably. Unless the priest told them to become a Catholic, I have no idea. And we used to go to the nuns, that you're not supposed to see their faces and all of that.

KL: To what?

MS: The nuns. What do you call that? There's a group, the nuns, Catholic nuns, you're not supposed to show the face, you just stay in a building.

KL: And you would go visit them?

MS: Yeah, and take some goodies, and they have a little window. They just open the window with the inside, and just talk, but you cannot see their face. I forgot the name.

KL: What did you talk about?

MS: Oh, something, you know. I don't know what, I forgot, but anyway, we used to talk and take some goodies. And I guess they were happy to talk to people from the outside, see, but you just cannot see the face.

KL: Did you celebrate Girl's Day or Boy's Day?

MS: No.

KL: What were your Christmas celebrations like?

MS: Christmas? Oh, just the regular, I guess, you know. Not too much like here, like in United States, unless they changed it now, I have no idea either.

KL: Were there special foods or decorations?

MS: Decorations, yeah.

KL: What kind of decorations?

MS: Oh, like Jesus and flowers or whatever, you know, different things, cars, I don't know, I can't even remember the whole theme. I'm pretty sure we have something.

KL: Joey said the church that your father helped build or maintain was pretty elaborate, pretty beautiful.

MS: Yeah, it is.

KL: Did he specialize in wood carving?

MS: I think he did. We got a picture and all of that, and they have a lot of memories over there.

KL: Can you describe the church?

MS: I don't know how to... he saw the picture. [Laughs]

KL: No, I want to hear what you thought of it.

MS: I didn't see the whole, I saw the whole picture, but I kind of forgot. Well, he kind of, what was the one he did? Oh, boy. Should have checked more, huh?

KL: No. Is it dark or sunny inside?

MS: No, inside the church is kind of dark, well, they have lights and all of that. But outside when you enter it's kind of more light, and they have lights, so I don't know what kind of ceiling he did. I remember it was kind of a nice picture of something, was it a flag? Peruvian flag or something. So it got a flag and then I think got, what do you call that thing? Like you have one over there.

KL: Just a painting?

MS: Yeah, painting. I think that was flag, I don't know.

KL: Did he carve things for your home?

MS: No, not too much, no. I think the houses are so small, the home, I mean, you know. And probably they were busy doing something else instead of doing, got to make some money probably. But those days it was pretty bad. Yeah, can't find a job or whatever.

KL: Did you... so you don't really have Peruvian friends any longer, you have people that you -- you don't really have friends back in Peru? Did you have friends who were involved in trying to get Peruvian citizenship?

MS: No. They all went back to Japan. Yeah, and one is living over there, I don't even know the others. They probably, some were there, already died. Because they were much older than I am. So I don't know what they're doing either.

KL: And you're involved in the Campaign for Justice, you, the trips. Do you think it's important that people remember these events?

MS: I think so. I think so, because it's not in the history book either, some of it. Students should know those things, teach 'em more about what happened during the World War. Because a lot of kids, I don't think they know that.

KL: Why do you think it's important that they know?

MS: Well, I think that's a good thing to remember, those things, what happened when they were younger, what happened to their parents, because their parents are all gone and some didn't even talk about it. So the young generation think they're supposed to know that. I think so.

KL: For you, as someone who was about a twelve year old, pretty young person, what do you think you gained and lost because of your father's arrest and leaving Peru, coming to Crystal City and Japan?

MS: I don't know. I lost all my friends. I don't know what I gained in Japan, I guess I find new friends, I guess, and different culture.

KL: Do you think your experiences have made you think differently about other groups, about Japanese people or about Caucasians?

MS: Oh, I'm pretty sure it was different, yes. I don't know what to think about.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

Off camera: When you were a little kid living in Trujillo, did the Japanese kids go to the same schools as the local kids?

MS: Yeah.

Off camera: So there were no problems with race and you didn't have separate schools?

MS: Not that I know, no. I went to Catholic school, and there's a public school, so they're both... some would go to the Catholic school and some just the public school. I didn't see any race there, though, so I don't know. I don't think they have any.

KL: It sounds like it had to have been a shock for you to have to leave your country because it sounds like your neighborhood and your friends were good.

MS: Yeah, it was a shock. It was kind of scary, too, because we didn't know what's going to happen. And then you have to leave a lot of things, you lost everything over there. You cannot take everything with you. So that was another one that was kind of bad. I don't know what they did with it, probably throw it away. We're not the only one, everybody's the same.

Off camera: How hard was it for you to adjust to living in Japan if you hadn't spoken predominately Spanish?

MS: That's hard because you can't have any communication.

Off camera: Did they put you in different classes?

MS: Nope, same class. Same class because that was Catholic school, Joey. I don't know there, the schools, what they did, but I don't think they had any problems. Then, of course, now they might have some problems, everything changed over there, too. So maybe the Indians might have some problems over there now, I have no idea.

KL: Are there things that I didn't ask you that you wanted to talk about? Are there things I left out that you wanted to share.

MS: Oh, I don't know. There's so many question I forgot. [Laughs]

KL: I have so many or you have so many?

MS: You have so many questions. I don't know what... see, I'm forgetting, too, you know. Comes with age.

Off camera: Was it ever an option to go back to South America after being in Crystal City?

MS: I don't think I want to go back again, because I have new friends over here now.

Off camera: But then when you first got out of camp, did your folks talk about going back to South America instead of going to Japan?

MS: Oh, no, no. They probably already had it. They lost everything and it's hard, because you cannot have anything. They lost everything. You have to start from the beginning, and they get older, it was hard. So no, they didn't mention anything. I guess that's part of the life. So hopefully, hurry up and finish fighting, I think it's going to be awfully hard, bring peace.

KL: That's another reason I think it's important to hear from people like you who have experiences with war and who saw what it was like to go to a country that a war had been fought in.

MS: Right, yeah, different country, yeah.

KL: A lot of us don't know.

MS: That's right. I don't know why in the first place they don't put that back in the history book when they teach it.

KL: What's that, put what back?

MS: This concentration camp deal.

Off camera: They're starting to put it in now.

MS: Really? I hope so.

Off camera: But not to any depth.

MS: Yeah, because the kids have to learn yet.

Off camera: And just the part they don't want to talk about.

MS: Yeah, but look how many years. Don't you think it's time to put in the book already? I don't know how they're going to do that, that would be a good idea.

Off camera: I think things like this, what they're doing, the oral histories, and you're speaking up, this will be part of the history.

KL: Do you think that people's willingness to speak or interest, have you seen changes in how the United States or in how you think about what happened to you and your family?

MS: I have no idea. I don't know if they change or what. They're still fighting and everything now, the government. I don't think they're thinking about a concentration camp right now, the way it's going, the government.

KL: Have you changed your thinking?

MS: About what?

KL: Did you think differently in the '50s than you did in the 1970s than you do now?

MS: Well, I don't know. I hope it's going the good way. [Laughs] Someday. I have no idea.

KL: Well, thank you so much for participating and for sharing.

MS: I hope it helped you.

KL: It's a whole world that's not around anymore, to get to hear about your childhood and your neighborhood in Trujillo and what it was like to have to leave your home and go to a place like Crystal City. You've had an amazing journey and I very much appreciate our sharing it.

MS: Thank you. Lot of troubles I forgot.

KL: Thank you.

MS: You're welcome.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2012 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.