Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Midori Suzuki - Sanzui A. Takaha Interview
Narrators: Midori Suzuki, Sanzui A. Takaha
Interviewer: Kristen Luetkemeier
Location: Millbrae, California
Date: July 13, 2015
Densho ID: denshovh-smidori_g-01-0013

<Begin Segment 13>

KL: What are your memories of those... of hearing about Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entering into the war and weeks afterwards?

ST: Unbelievable, I guess. [Laughs] And it disrupted my life. I was very happy on the farm, I had everything I ever wanted.

MS: I remember something you did.

ST: What's that?

MS: There were all the rumors about, oh, you're gonna get arrested and this and that, and then confiscate any weapons and all that. He had, what is it, a .22 rifle?

ST: .22 rifle.

MS: That he cut down and made it into a pistol. And he was afraid he was gonna get arrested, and he threw it in the creek. [Laughs]

ST: That's probably still there.

MS: Could be. Except Mickie and I found it once after that.

ST: Yeah?

MS: Yeah, we were wading around in the creek and we found it. We said, oh, that's his pistol, we dropped it back down. So it wasn't very deep.

ST: No, there was very little water in that creek.

KL: Can you just describe for us the sequence of events of how you learned that you were gonna be forced out and how you prepared to leave?

MS: I don't know, somehow the information was given to our parents. And anything to do with the evacuation, they had everybody go to the Satos' residence, they had a pretty big house, and I guess it was kind of centrally located for everyone. So we had to go there for our shots and everything else, and that was where they came to pick us up finally, by bus, when we left.

ST: All they told us you can take, only what you can carry, including your bedding. Little kids...

MS: One bag each. And with a family of eleven, of course, we didn't have enough suitcases for all that. So I remember Mother would be up late every night sewing, and she used to make those patchwork quilts and things all the time also, so she had material, and she started making these little duffel bags for us. So she'd be up late every night. When we went to camp we all had those pretty little duffel bags. And then we had to get those, the metal dish and utensils and cup for everybody, because we were told that we had to bring that, which we found out we had, when we got to Tanforan, yeah, you got to stand in line with your cups and your utensils to get food. [Laughs] Yeah, it was interesting.

KL: Had of the kids left home already, or were all of your siblings still living together? So you all left the Satos' together?

MS: Well, Mari was out of the house for several years. She had, she didn't get to finish high school, and she helped the family by going to work for the Folletts, so she only went through her sophomore year.

ST: Yeah, I know.

MS: But then she had to come home when war broke out. But she's the only one that was gone for any length of time before that.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.