Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Victor Ikeda Interview
Narrator: Victor Ikeda
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: November 6, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-ivictor-01-0028

<Begin Segment 28>

RP: Well, let's, we kind of jumped over from post-Pearl Harbor to, back into sports again. We'll probably be doing that a little bit more. But what, what do you recall about the moment or the time when you heard actually that you were going to be evacuated? What was going through your mind at that time?

VI: Reaction? Well, when you look at the, it was hard for people to realize how we felt, what kind of situation we were in, especially with Pearl Harbor and all that, and realizing that our parents were Japanese nationals, and we knew something was gonna happen. And people ask us, you know, why did you just go along with it? Well, in that kind of an atmosphere, situation, there wasn't very much choice, so you accepted it, what the army was doing. Now, people look back now and look at the executive orders and that wasn't right and all that. It's easy to say that now, looking back, but at that time, it was not much of a choice of what to do. First of all, a lot of the fathers were taken away. When you do that, you almost are in a position of "you're the enemy" type. And so that the feeling was, like they say in Japanese, shou ga nai, you know, que sera sera. It's happening, so we will go along with it. I know being a teenager, you don't think that much about it, but I'm sure like my parents who had just bought the lease of the apartment and had all this furniture, they have to either sell, give it away, or what. And nobody was gonna buy it 'cause they know we were leaving, so it was, what, ten cents on a dollar? And if you had good friends that could run it for you while you were gone, but we didn't know if you're gonna come back or not. So you've got this decision of what do I do, try to get somebody to run it, sell it, take whatever you can, give it way, store it, all these decisions. And not knowing at that time what was gonna happen. Most of the people just kind of says, "Give me what anybody would give me."

RP: So what, how did it play out for your parents?

VI: I think they got five hundred dollars for the whole thing, you know.

RP: For the furniture and everything?

VI: Furniture and everything, yeah.

RP: So they took a financial loss. Did you have vehicles, automobiles?

VI: No, we didn't at that time.

RP: Did you store any items at all?

VI: No, we just...

RP: Sold.

VI: ...everything, we left everything behind.

KP: Did you personally have anything that was confiscated as being contraband?

VI: Yeah, all our cameras and radios were all confiscated as contrabands. So everybody had to turn their radios...

RP: To the police.

VI: Yeah, contrabands.

RP: The other thing, to kind of follow up on Kirk's question is, a number of families, fearing the wrath of the FBI, destroyed items that kind of linked them with Japan.

VI: They might have, yeah.

RP: You don't know if that happened in your family.

VI: In our family, we had really... I don't think so. I don't know.

RP: Dolls, samurai swords, pictures of the emperor.

VI: My dad might have, but I wasn't aware of it, 'cause I didn't see it around. Like some people that had strong ties, they had it as things around the house, as memento, things to show off. Now, they might have got rid of that, because it tied 'em too closely to Japan, but I didn't.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 2007 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.