Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Bob Fuchigami Interview
Narrator: Bob Fuchigami
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: May 14, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-fbob-01

<Begin Segment 1>

RP: This is an oral history for the Manzanar National Historic site as well as the Densho Legacy Project. Today we're talking with Bob Fuchigami, and Bob was a former internee at the Merced Assembly Center as well as the Amache War Relocation Center and we'll be talking about his personal and camp history today. Our interview's taking place at the Marriott Residence Inn in Denver, Colorado. The date of the interview is Wednesday, May 14th. Our interviewer today is Richard Potashin. Our videographer is Kirk Peterson and our interview will eventually be archived in the Manzanar park site library. Bob, thank you so much. It's a real honor to have you today sharing your stories with us.

BF: Okay.

RP: And want to... give us a little background on, first of all, yourself. Your full name at birth.

BF: Pardon?

RP: Your full name at birth?

BF: Oh, Yoshimitsu Fuchigami. Robert came about later.

RP: Later? Was it after the war, or...

BF: No, no. When kids started school, the teachers had difficulty in, in pronouncing names, I guess, and so they, they just assigned names. And so most of us received, oh, names like "George" and "Bill" and "Robert" and "Walter" and so forth. So they gave me "Robert." It was... I think it was a kindergarten teacher. So after a while we could always shorten our names from William to Bill or Robert to Bob. So that's how I ended up with Robert, or Bob.

RP: Your Japanese name, Yoshimitsu, do you have an idea of what that means?

BF: Not really. I think it was... I went to Kyoto one time and there was a big pavilion and there was... the Golden Pavilion was named for... oh, it was built by a guy name Yoshimitsu. It was a shogun, probably. Other than that, I don't have any relations to, to that name, or...

RP: We'll refer to you as Bob today.

BF: Okay.

RP: Bob, where were you born and what year? Give us your exact birth date.

BF: May 15, 1930. And for a long time I thought it was May 20th, May 20th. Then I found out later that it wasn't registered 'til May 20th, but I was actually born on May 15th. My mom was a, was a midwife, sort of a professional midwife. I mean, she went to school and got training in Japan. My dad was a, came from a family in, near a little village, little village near Yamaga. That's near the larger city of Kumamoto in Kumamoto prefecture. My mom was also from there.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

RP: Tell us your father's name.

BF: Heita. H-E-I-T-A.

RP: Heita, okay. Do you know a little bit about his early life in Japan? Was, did he come from a landowning family, farmers?

BF: Yeah, he was, he was... on the trip I was there, one of the uncles said this little valley that they had, they owned this little valley and so they had farmers working for them, I guess. He was one of, what, four boys? He was youngest of the four. In those days, the eldest inherited everything. So the other three boys had to fend for themselves if they wanted to, to become successful in any way. So two of the brothers came to the United States. They went to Hawaii first, then to the U.S. Then one of the, that two went to Brazil and my father stayed in the U.S. And then the third ended up in Korea. So... and then that one from Korea eventually went back to Japan after the war. The one in, in South America or Brazil stayed there. We don't know what happened. And my dad stayed in the U.S. He came in 1906 and then went back to Japan in about 1915 and married my mother and they came to the U.S. in 1917.

RP: Your father primarily came to the U.S. to better himself economically?

BF: That's right. Like a lot of others, he, he became a farmer. From what I understand, he was in Hawaii for a short period of time then came to the U.S. with his brother and I guess they had a restaurant in, in Sacramento. Then I guess did fairly well and when they started to change -- the California legislature was going to pass legislation on the Alien Land Law, essentially saying that the non-citizens couldn't own land in, in California -- he and a group of maybe eight others formed a corporation and purchased some land near Honcut.

RP: That's near Marysville?

BF: Yeah. That's, it's maybe ten, fifteen miles from Marysville. They, I guess they did fairly well. So he, it enabled him, anyway to, to go to Japan and to, and to get married.

RP: So that's his early life. Many Issei had to go through a number of stages and work jobs on the railroads or mining or farm labor jobs before they could establish themselves on their own farms and whether leasing or owning so, sounds like --

BF: I'm not sure my, my dad got into railroads and stuff like that. But the earlier pioneers did that. Excuse me. [Blows nose.]

RP: How much, how much schooling had he had in Japan? Had he at least gone through grammar school? Did he have a...

BF: He got through high school. And my mom went through a midwife school and so she was, she had some training.

RP: Tell us your mother's name, Bob.

BF: Tokuye. T-O-K-U-Y-E.

RP: So your father went back to marry her, and in those days, likely it was an arranged marriage?

BF: That I don't know. I don't know a heck of a lot about my, my father's, my father and mother. Unfortunately, I didn't learn Japanese, so... just one of those things.

RP: Did your mother or father eventually learn some English?

BF: Father did. As he became a farmer and started selling produce and interacting with the, like the grocers, and others who were, who were in that same kind of venture, he, he picked up some English. But, but Mom basically stayed at home and didn't, didn't learn English. So when it came time to become a citizen in 1950, what, about '54, he became a citizen and she did not.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

RP: I, you mentioned that your father formed a corporation with other, with other Isseis?

BF: Yes. There were, oh... I think there were seven, eight others.

RP: And this was a, a way of circumventing the --

BF: Ownership problem, yeah.

RP: -- alien land laws?

BF: Yeah.

RP: Created an obstacle for Issei land ownership. That was a strong action to take.

BF: It's survival.

RP: Right. It's also a feeling that, "I want to be here."

BF: Yeah.

RP: Do you have any other additional recollections about your dad you can share with us? What are your most vivid memories of him as a man, as a father, as a provider?

BF: Well, I know he helped start a language school in Marysville. He was, I guess, like a treasurer for the association. He certainly was hard-working, and to raise eight children during the middle of a depression, that says something about the character of the man. As a farmer, he learned farming from a Chinese man. He, his first attempt at farming was to plant tobacco in California. It was a failure because there's no real market, you know, for processing and selling. So the next year he was going to try something else and, and there was a farmer down the road about less than a mile, I guess, and he'd walk down there at probably four in the morning and watch this Chinese farmer plant different kinds of vegetables and then he'd go home and, and imitate or replicate what that, what that farmer was doing. And that's how he learned to raise crops. Otherwise, I think he would have just given up and I don't know what he would have done then. But there's five, five acres that he leased and...

RP: It was mostly growing like truck crops on...

BF: Yeah, it was, yeah...

RP ... vegetables primarily.

BF: Tomatoes, squash, and you know, cucumbers and so forth. We lived near a, a river with a levee and so we had a lot of, so-called, hobos in those days who would be wandering around. They'd be making their, their stews and stuff and they needed vegetables and they'd come down. And I guess my dad just, you know, just gave them extra vegetables for their stews. Never charged or anything. I think they, they sort of put a mark on, on the property so they could help other hobos. Come and say, "This fellow's a generous man." So my dad was a, was a good man. Worked hard from sunrise to sunset and after. So he must have put in at least sixteen, eighteen hours a day. And my mom was, was just as hardworking. I mean, she raised the kids, cooked in the house, cleaned the house, and so forth. Then, and then went out in the fields and helped Dad.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

RP: You said that she was trained as a midwife in Japan and she, that was... how much did she work at that profession when she came to the United States?

BF: Well, she helped other Japanese families when it came time for the birth, probably even before that. I'm sure she, she helped and delivered a lot of, lot of little, little kids, within that community.

RP: The Yuba, Yuba City, Marysville...

BF: Yeah, Marysville. And then later on Yuba City, but primarily Marysville.

RP: Did she, did she continue that after she began raising a family? Would she also occasionally do midwife work throughout her life?

BF: No, it... I think... she suffered a stroke in, in the camp and that ended it.

RP: Did you have medical facilities in your community?

BF: In the where?

RP: Did you have medical facilities available in the community that you grew up in?

BF: In the community?

RP: Yeah.

BF: You know I don't remember going to the doctor or, or a hospital.

RP: Maybe doctors would come to you?

BF: Yeah, well... there must have been doctors and hospitals because I was told that one of my brothers was, had an illness and I don't know whether they had to go to Sacramento or where to get, get hospitalized. So I don't know much about health facilities at that time.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

RP: So we're talking about your brother a little bit. Let's talk about the rest of your siblings. We're gonna do... we're gonna have you list your brothers and sisters, if you can recall their, the date of their birth, too, starting with the oldest.

BF: There were eight in the family. I was next to the youngest. The oldest was Takako, or Mary. Then almost every two years or so, there was another child. The second was George, his name was Shoji but they gave him George. Then the third was Bill or Sunao, they gave him William or Bill. Then the fourth was Naoaki or Walter. Then the, the fifth was Dorothy or Nobuko. Then.. no, the fifth was Torao. No, excuse me, the fifth was Nobuko, Dorothy. The sixth was Torao. Then myself and then the last was Kazuko. We were all two to four years apart.

RP: Who did you tend to gravitate to in terms of your siblings? Kids your age, your brothers and sisters?

BF: Did I...

RP: Who did you prefer to hang out with?

BF: You know, in a large family you have to sort of double up on your sleeping arrangements. So, my... I, I slept in the double bed with my brother Torao or Tosh. I guess he would be the closest. But, you know, we sort, lived sort lived independently I guess. As a family we were there, but each of us had our own little thing to take care of. We were all... we helped the family.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

RP: What were your specific responsibilities in terms of chores or work on the farm?

BF: Well I, it probably started with taking lunch out to, to my dad. And then eventually helping him plant and harvest and... and then eventually you have to help in the, in the production and preparation of, of foods. And I helped my dad when we'd go to the grocery store and carry, carry boxes of tomatoes or cucumbers or squash into the grocery store and he in turn would purchase, you know, bread and some other stuff. Almost like a barter system. And then, I know at times we got orders for, say a hundred box of tomatoes or so forth, and my job then became one of putting boxes together. So we rigged up a contraption and you (take) pieces of wood and put it on the sides and hammer in your sides and bottoms. So I guess I became sort of a box builder. And so I... you know, you just tag along with your dad.

RP: So he would, he would provide produce for, for markets in the, Marysville, in the city area?

BF: Yeah.

RP: Any other areas?

BF: No. We had, we had, occasionally we had truckers who'd come in and purchase large quantities of, of produce. I imagine they probably either took it to the stores and distributed that or (it) could be they opened up some produce farms or whatever. So, that, that's basically what happened.

RP: You mentioned the bartering system that your father operated under with his market. Was that also going on between different farmers, too?

BF: You know, I don't know. I imagine it did 'cause, you know, in season we'd get maybe pears or we'd get apples or oranges or things like that, and I'm sure he gave them vegetables in return or jars of stuff that my mom had pickled or... we'd always have canned peaches or canned tomatoes that my mom had canned and I imagine that when people came, they brought stuff and we'd give them things in return.

RP: Was there a certain chore around the farm that really... that you reviled against doing? One of the, sort of the dirty jobs around the farm or was there a particular chore that...

BF: No, I don't think we, we tried to avoid anything. If something had to be done, we just did it. No one said, "Well, I'm not gonna do it. You do it."

RP: How about your older brothers? Were they, what were they doing on the farm?

BF: Well, I think when they were younger they probably did the same kind of thing I did. As they grew older, of course, they had... we had the tractor and they did some plowing and of course my dad always used a horse and a plow, but we did have an old, old tractor that we got when we moved to Yuba City. And they planted peaches and walnuts on the... you know, we plowed a twenty-acre piece in Yuba City. They, they helped around there until they graduated high school, then just before the war broke out, they were leasing their own land.

RP: In the same area?

BF: Yeah. None of them moved away at that time. So my... I'm sure my brothers helped in the pruning of trees and probably got jobs on neighboring farms.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

RP: Tell us how your, your father acquired this twenty-acre farm, actually, it was in 1936 at the height of the Depression which is totally amazing.

BF: That's right.

BF: So somehow or another, he's, on top of raising kids, he was able to set some money aside and then bought this piece of land in, in Yuba City.

RP: How did he circumvent the, the alien land law in that regard?

BF: Well, he, he put that in the name of two oldest brothers who had just, they were, let's see, George had just graduated high school in '36, I think. Bill was what, two years younger. So he probably bought it in the name of George. But that's what was done in those days.

RP: And how successful was he on that farm?

BF: Well, he planted peaches and walnuts. And then while those trees were young, he planted vegetables in between the rows. So, he was continuing to be a, a vegetable farmer, hoping that... you know, it takes about at least five years to get a good, good crop in peaches. In the fourth year, 'course we had some peaches, but the fifth year was supposed to be the start of a good crop and the war came along. Someone else got the fruits of our labor.

RP: Literally and figuratively.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

RP: Tell me about the, the Yuba City area. Give me a rough picture of how Japanese farms were distributed out there. Were you guys alone on your own property? Did you have other Japanese farmers in your area?

BF: The Marysville (and) Yuba City were adjoining towns separated by a river. Marysville was fairly well established community, a jumping off spot for the people working the gold mines of the Sierras. There were, there were farmers in that Marysville/Yuba City area. Some were fairly successful. Others were, were not. And then the, the... there were enough Japanese in the, in that area to, to form a community. Had a little section of town where they built a church, built a Buddhist church and they had some small establishments, grocery stores and restaurants and, you know, tofu manufacturing and things like that. So there's little a community there. I guess in other large communities it might be called Japantowns or something like that.

RP: Nihonmachis.

BF: Yeah. Nihonmachi. And then there were some, some grocery stores that had little trucks that would take food out to, to the, to the farmers and sell, sell the food out there. In Marysville, when, when we lived there, there was a little enclave of maybe a half a dozen Japanese farmers, all leasing land, and so it was sort of a tight-knit little group.

RP: Do you recall what social activities you were involved with? I know there wasn't very much time for socializing when you're --

BF: Well, that's true. [Laughs]

RP: -- a farmer, but when you did have a little time, say on a Saturday night or Sunday, where did you go and was the church, Buddhist church --

BF: Yeah, the church was sort of like the center of, of activities. They used to occasionally have a fundraiser where they would come in with a, with a movie, you know, a Japanese movie. People would come from both communities, Marysville, Yuba City, probably some other little towns. Then there'd be the, the events associated with the Buddhist church, Bon Odori and some other things. And then, as you say, there wasn't much time as, you know, farming, to get away from things. There'd be an annual, what they call a kenjinkai, they were prefectural picnic.

RP: That was held in Marysville?

BF: I don't remember any in Marysville. They probably had 'em, but I was too young at that point. But I do remember in Yuba City, they would, they would go out to someone, someone who had a farm and they'd have an all-day picnic with, you know, games, little foot races, and...

RP: Lots of good food.

BF: Yeah. Lots, lots of good food. We... it was a rare occasion when we would be able to do something else. I remember one trip we had -- and it's the only one I, I remember -- our, our family getting, everyone piling in to a pickup and, and going up to Donner Lake, which is quite some distance. But it was a, it was an all-day experience and my brothers drove, rode the pickup and rest of us sort of sat in the back of the pickup and we had a picnic lunch up on top of the Donner Pass. But, there were, there were other times when I didn't get to go along. But they... there was this ship came in from Japan called Asama Maru. My dad and three of the boys went down to, to meet the ship because the ship's communication officer was a relative of ours. So there were a few occasions like that.

RP: Were there any, any particular things that you did on the farm for fun? You know, swimming holes, going fishing, getting into a little bit of trouble here and there?

BF: We... there was sort of a fishing hole, I guess, or swimming hole. I remember going one time to, with a couple, with my brothers out to, to a little, it was like an irrigation ditch that had been dammed up, I guess, with a tree swing. 'Course, I didn't know how to swim so got one of those little flotation devices and paddled around. We didn't do that very often. But they, they... as a kid you don't, you don't have a lot of time. I remember playing with, with my, with one of my neighbor's kids. There was a Japanese family that was sort of sharecropping, I guess, on a, on a, on the farm near us. They, they had, one, two, three, four boys and two were fairly close to my age. I would spend some time playing over there, usual kid stuff, puttin' the towels around our necks and pretending we're Superman and stuff like that. Yeah it was, it was a simple life. School took up a good part of the activities.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

RP: Where, where did you attend grammar school, Bob?

BF: Well, there was a school about... well, in Marysville, there was a school right, right in that, in that town. In Yuba City, the school was about a mile, mile and a quarter from our home. So this neighbor's boy and I would walk to school. I mean, that's just the way it was in those days. Later on I got a bike and so I was able to bike to school. But it was a... it's a little school. Probably had less than eighty kids, and so the school was, the classes were combined. First/second, third/fourth, fifth/sixth, seven/eight, and later on we got a, a larger number of kids who transferred in then we had almost, what, almost a hundred kids in that school, I guess. Again, it was multi-grade, first/second, third/fourth, fifth/sixth, seventh/eighth.

RP: In the Marysville/Yuba City area, were there other ethnic groups that were also farming with the Japanese and Caucasians?

BF: There were... the one ethnic group that, that sort of stood out a little bit was the Sikh population.

RP: Sikh.

BF: Yeah, from India. S-I-K-H. They, they sort of stood out because they had, wore the turban thing that covers your, their heads. They all seemed to be named Singh, S-I-N-G-H. I think they were the largest Sikh population in California, perhaps the U.S., I don't know. They, they just happened to be living in that Yuba City area. And before we moved from California to Colorado (in 2004), maybe ten, fifteen years before coming here, I took a trip out there to sort of see some old friends, and part of the trip involved a drive by the old home that we had. And there was a Sikh temple they had built right near it, right near our old home. I was surprised, but they... it's the only Sikh temple I've ever seen. But there it was in Yuba City. So they're still there. And they're doing well. They're... I don't know whether they're all farmers but they were, at that time they were, they were farming.

RP: A significant part of the farming community?

BF: Oh yeah. We had a couple of 'em attending school.

RP: So would you say that your school, your school was pretty racially diverse?

BF: Yeah. We did have a lot of minority. There's, say, sixty kids, maybe ten are, are so-called minorities. Yeah, I guess that's sort of diverse, compared to some others.

RP: What was the racial atmosphere like before the war in those two small communities where you grew up?

BF: I... people were pretty accepting in those days, at least in, in Yuba City. I didn't, I didn't really experience any, any problems racially. My... while I walked to school with a Japanese American neighbor kid, at school my playmates were primarily Caucasian. I don't, I don't think there were any, any big problems there. There was a, there was a reunion put together by a, a kid. This is, this is when, you know, I was about, I must have been in the fifties or so, fifty years old or so, I didn't know the kid at all but he evidently remembered his days at Lincoln school and he was now a fairly successful owner of a carpet shop up by Sacramento. So he calls this reunion of former third, fourth, and fifth graders. We thought, what a strange thing to do, but my, my sister and I went to it and there were about fifteen or so from different parts of the country and also from that Yuba City area who showed up. Yeah, they were, we all had a pretty good time together at, at that reunion. I found out that there were some people who lived near us in Sebastopol. Got, got to know this, this man who put that thing together. He was from one of those migrant families that, that had, had come to California from Oklahoma. You know, the so-called Okies type of thing. He, he had become quite successful. Had his boat on the harbor.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

RP: Another question about the, the farm. Did your father hire migrant labor during the season?

BF: No. He didn't hire anyone. I mean, we had enough kids --

RP: You had enough kids. [Laughs]

BF: Yeah. I mean, if anything had to be done it was, you know, family. There were... about the only time we had others helping was near New Year's. They would come to, to pound mochi.

RP: That was quite an event.

BF: The rice cakes. Yeah. I mean, that was, that was the big thing with, with Japanese families. New Years, you always have mochi and someone had to pound it and we happened to have the equipment and, and the mallet's. So people would come.

RP: How would that, how would that work? Would everybody take a turn pounding the mochi?

BF: Oh yeah. Pounding mochi is a, is a fun activity.

RP: Tell us a little bit about it.

BF: Well, they'd... mochi, mochi, there's a special kind of rice that, that is used to make mochi. You, they steam it. And then you put it into a, a pounding bowl. It's a, it can be made out of metal or it could be made out of wood. And, then they have these mallet's and there's a, you take this, this steamed rice and you throw it in the bowl and then they take turns pounding, you know, rhythmically. And there's one person who's sort of flips the pounded rice and so you want to make sure that your, your rhythm is steady so you don't accidentally hit that guy who's got his hand in there flipping the rice. It's still done occasionally, more for demonstration, I guess, than, than actual large amounts of mochi. Because they have mochi machines. Someone invented the mochi-making machine that does all the work.

RP: So were you a flipper or a pounder?

BF: Oh, at that time I was nothing. I mean, they wouldn't trust me with a mallet. I mean, you had to be old enough to, to handle that mallet. But they, they pounded mochi in, in the camps. And then they had... if you go to some communities, I mean, in Sebastopol I know they still do it. Because it's just tradition. I mean, I guess in the villages in Japan that's what they used to do and they do the same thing. But one in Sebastopol is interesting because they, the, they bowl that they use is, is one that they used in Amache. Yeah, they, they did it in Amache and somehow or another they were able to transport when the camp closed. This one family brought it back to Sebastopol. And now they, they do it. I mean, they still do it.

RP: Isn't that amazing though, amazing.

BF: Yeah.

RP: Continuation of a tradition.

BF: When I came here they, they, I hear they still do it on a demonstration basis in Colorado Springs.

RP: What else do you remember about New Year's?

BF: New Year's? Oh, that was a big thing. I mean, it was Christmas and everything else combined, Easter, you know. It... Japan, I guess that's the thing in both Japan and also here. Although we, we all celebrate all of the other holidays. But, somehow or another we were all supposed to get a year older on New Year's. Although, you know, we all don't pay attention to that anymore 'cause, you know, we all celebrate our own birthdays. But I guess in Japan... and the idea was on New Year's you get your year older. So it becomes like a, a four-day event. And people will prepare all kinds of special foods. And so there, several days before, you know, my dad and mom would spend hours and hours preparing all these special foods, like sushi. It's amazing, now you can get sushi every day, but in those days, sushi only appeared on, on New Year's along with a lot of other special foods, like sashimi. So we always looked forward to New Year's. And you'd begin by the little cup of sake, that's to toast the new year. And then--

RP: Did your father make his own sake?

BF: I don't know. I don't think he did. I guess we had enough money to buy our own. There's, there's, there always seemed to be sake makers. We weren't one. And, then there was... they had some kind of, I don't know how they did that, but they, we'd eat at home and then get in the car and go visit bunch of other folks. And then they in turn would come and visit our house. And it went on for at least four days. And there were certain homes that you, you looked forward to because they had some specialty foods that other homes didn't. And, some were better at making teriyaki chicken than others. So it was, it was a big event, and people really looked forward to New Year's. And 'course, you had to wear new clothes. That's the day you got new clothes. And you had to pay off all your debts before the new year. I mean, any debts you, you had, you paid 'em. You made sure your house was clean. And so preparation for New Year's was something.

RP: Probably weeks in advance.

BF: Yeah. But it was, it was a grand occasion.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

RP: Just to go back on to education a little bit, Bob, you... when you started kindergarten in Marysville, you started Japanese school roughly about the same time?

BF: Yeah.

RP: Now, did you, did you speak strictly Japanese before you started in kindergarten or did you have English?

BF: I don't remember. I don't... if I did, it was darn little. When you're the seventh kid in the family, you're... you don't really get to know the language of your parents. I imagine that's true of any immigrant family. The oldest ones, of course, learned the language. And then because they know English, too, having gone to school there, they're, they would, they'd basically do their communicating with us. And so you learn English. And then they, in a home where you have that many kids, you had mother and father sitting at the one end of the table and then you got a bunch of kids down the line there and the youngest of course are, are down here and the parents are up here. And then the, so, you don't learn a lot of Japanese or Russian or German or whatever. Some people were lucky, I think, because they didn't have as many kids. Others were... they had parents and grandparents. In our case, we didn't have other Fuchigamis in the U.S. So they'd, when they talked about grandfather or grandmother or cousins or uncles or aunts or second cousins or whatever, I didn't know what they were talkin' about. If you don't have 'em, you don't, you don't know. [Laughs] And it was only later I figured it out. But when they first started talking about things like that, then... there's Dick and Jane and they're going to see Grandmother and Grandpa, Grandpa and Grandma. I thought, "Who's Grandpa and Grandma?"

RP: How long did you attend Japanese language school?

BF: Well, in Marysville, it was standard, all the kids did this. We always go to regular school and then you'd walk across town and you'd go to the Japanese language school. And I did what everyone else did. You, you start off going to this school. I was a kindergartener in the, in the regular school and I was a kindergartener in Japanese language school. When you're a kid, if everyone does that then you think that's normal. Then in, when we moved to Yuba City, the only time you could go to Japanese language school was on Saturdays. And you soon begin to resent that because you figure, well, you've been going to school all week and Saturday and Sunday is sort of your, it's almost like a vacation, I guess. That's the day when, when you're sort of out of school and, and I guess your choice is working or going to, to language school, and, or playing. My choice was always playing but, but we'd, you'd have to go, go to language school 'cause you sort of resent it. And so when you resent things, you don't learn. So I, I wasn't a very good student. That's putting it mildly, I guess. My other brothers, my brothers, I guess they were, I guess there were higher expectations from my, my father and mother. So they, they learned the language and, and it helped them later on. I know I, I look back on it now and I think I was, I short-changed myself. If I had learned the language I'd have been much better off. I always regret that.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

RP: Let's, let's talk about the, the coming of war between Japan and the United States.

BF: War between the U.S?

RP: Yes. And particularly, do you recall December 7, 1941?

BF: Yeah. I think I was probably the first to, to hear that on the radio. We'd... on Saturday or Sunday -- was it Sunday? We were listening to... I was listening to cartoons, I think, on the radio. And this sort of bulletin came along saying something about the attack on Pearl Harbor or something. I didn't know whether they were talking about... I didn't know where Pearl Harbor was or anything like that. And, but it was, it was important enough to, to tell my, I think, my brother or something that, there was a bombing at Pearl Harbor or something. And he, I think, informed my parents. And that's the first we knew of that. The... and then we, we... there were, there were some things that happened at the, at the school where friends, people who you thought were friends, that they picked it up from their parents I'm sure. Something about "Japs." So, that's when you first became aware of sort of a divide between yourself and, and others. And I don't remember a whole lot between that time and the time we were, we were evacuated. I'm sure my, my brothers and parents probably read the newspapers and could see the handwriting on the wall. But, living out on the farm, you keep, you don't, you don't see a lot of that. There's farms, there's farm things to take care of and you did that. It's only when you started getting out into the larger community that you started running into little incidents.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

RP: Tape two of a continuing interview with Bob Fuchigami. And Bob, we were talking about the period between Pearl Harbor and when you received notice to, that your family would be evacuated. And...

KP: Ask about if there were any particular incidents that he remembers after Pearl Harbor.

RP: Right. You mentioned about incidents in the towns or...

KP: Schools.

RP: ... school that directly affected you or other Japanese Americans in the community. Can you share any of those with us?

BF: I don't, I don't remember a lot of, of the things that were happening at that, that time. I certainly have read about now, but... as a ten-year-old kid, ten, eleven-year-old kid, you, you don't know a lot of what's goin' on. It's, it's in the newspapers and it's on the radio. They didn't have TV in those days. So, I know now that they, that, that there were groups that wanted, wanted our land, 'cause it was highly productive land. So they took advantage of, of the pending evacuation. And there were few voices raised in opposition to, to the movement of Japanese away from the, from the properties. And I don't think they were thinking in terms of constitutional rights. People might say, "I'm sorry you're leaving," or anything like that, but... I think they just bought into that, that notion that, well, if the military is saying you gotta go, you gotta go. And, I think at that time that we sort of did what we were told, I mean, even though it was wrong. And there was, there was a phrase I heard later on about, "It can't be helped." Well, it could have been helped. There could, there could have been more protests, but it was, it was the tenor of the times, I guess.

RP: What are your memories of the, the time before you evacuated? Do you have any vivid memories of the family getting ready to leave? You packing up your clothing or possessions?

BF: Yeah. Well... we only have five days.

RP: That's all?

BF: Yeah. The, the notice came out on what --

RP: I think you said...

BF: -- like May 12th.

RP: Right.

BF: And then on May 13th, I think my, one of my brothers or two, went, went to a meeting and they got more instructions as to what they could, they could take with them.

RP: And you got those tags, didn't you?

BF: Huh?

RP: You got the tags for your luggage and...

BF: Yeah. You get the tags to put on the, on the suitcases.

RP: What was your family number, do you recall?

BF: At one time it was, what was it? It was twelve? I wrote it down. 1207.

RP: Oh, and... you got 20480.

BF: Two zero... yeah, okay. 20480. Yeah, I guess I've repressed that. But it's one you wear to, to help anyone. You say, well, he's from that family. And then that's their luggage.

RP: So you had only five days to, to prepare to leave?

BF: Yeah, it was, well, by time you got that information it was four days and then on the, we got the, the first notice came out on the twelfth, and then we were scheduled to leave on the seventeenth, by train. So it was actually about four days. And what are you gonna do? I mean, you got a farm, you got all your farm equipment, you've got your home that you've spent years and years building, you got all your furniture, you've got... your whole life is sort of centered around this piece of property that you've, you've lived in and lived on. So, it was a very busy and stressful time. And I'm sure it was far worse for, for my parents.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

RP: Bob, can you share with us the story about those rabbits that you had?

BF: Oh. [Laughs] Yeah, I think I was telling you that we... I had some rabbits. We had a dog and, and it didn't really dawn on me that we were, we were actually gonna go somewhere 'til came time to leave, the morning. And at the last second I said, "These rabbits are in this cage. What am I gonna do with them?" And I hadn't thought ahead in terms of what would happen to them so I, I just opened the door and let 'em loose. And I don't know where... and the dog. What are you gonna do with the dog? So it could, it could be that the rabbits became dog food, who knows. But, when you only have four days, you're leaving school, you're... they're saying, well, even though you have two suitcases, one is for the family and one is for yourself. What are you gonna, what are you gonna take with you? You don't know where you're goin', and you don't even know why you're goin'. And you don't know how long you're gonna be there. What, what's happening here? Just a lot of confusion. So you don't even think in terms of pets. You're thinking first of all, I guess, of yourself and what's happening, what's happening. So, it was a very confusing and disturbing time for all. Just sad. Shouldn't have happened.

RP: And the government sent you to the Merced Assembly Center?

BF: Yeah. We, we were put on a train to Merced Assembly Center, Merced... it's, it was a fairgrounds, county fairgrounds. There they had built, very hastily built, some barracks and we were fortunate to live in the barracks. There were some people who ended up in horse stalls that weren't very clean and weren't... they whitewashed some of those buildings, the inside walls, but the stench was still there.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

RP: You had some real vivid memories of your time in Marysville. One of them was seeing the searchlights.

BF: You mean in Merced?

RP: Yes.

BF: Yeah, Merced was like a prison camp, surrounded by barbed wire, guard towers manned by military. I'm sure they had rifles or machine guns or whatever, and they had the jeep patrol come around, around the perimeter of the camp, and they would come fairly often. At night the searchlights were there, and they would crisscross the camp. It's the first time we ever ate at the... there was no toilets in the, no water in the barracks, and they had these buildings where, they called 'em mess halls, where you're fed rations. Communal toilet, latrine areas. And there's dust and dirt all over the place. It was just a fairgrounds that had been converted into a prison camp, and there were about four thousand Japanese Americans put into that particular camp. And there are other, other similar camps up and down the state and also in Oregon and Washington.

RP: You shared a story about looking out the fence and seeing some grapes.

BF: Oh, yeah, we were there about, well, we moved there in May, and of course, by June, the grapes were ripening. And we happened to be, the camp happened to be next to a vineyard. And when the grapes get ripe, there's a distinct smell, and I thought, "Gosh, it wouldn't take much to cross that little road beyond the fence to get the grapes." I mean, you could see them, you could smell them. I know several times that I thought about crawling under the fence and just getting some grapes. But you're sort of trying to time the lights because, but they weren't, they weren't set into a standard pattern, so you couldn't judge where that light was gonna show the next, next point. And I tried, I figured, well, the lights were shining over there and they would be swinging over here and so forth, but they, I could never figure them out. And we were told, "You go beyond that fence, you're gonna get shot." So I guess I just didn't have enough courage to do that, and never tried to get those grapes. And that stayed in my mind for a long time, because later on when, in the years, when we were out of the camps and finally were able to get grapes, it was the time of the Cesar Chavez and his boycott of grapes. And I really honored that; I thought highly of that movement, the Farm Workers Movement, and boycotting grapes. So I was unable to purchase grapes, I mean, I just didn't do it. And I remember talking to some Mexican American friends of mine about that, and one of those guys that, "Oh, I don't, I don't," he says, "I buy grapes." I said, "How do you do that? How can you go in your good conscience, buy grapes?" He said, "Well, I buy non-union grapes." And I thought, "Well, that's still not right. You're undermining the movement." So I didn't until the strike was over, and then I could indulge myself. But that's, that was a very strong memory of grapes.

RP: Wanting the grapes and not quite being able to get them?

BF: I, I relish, I still enjoy buying Thompson seedless.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

RP: What other recollections do you have of Merced Assembly Center?

BF: That, that went over rather... that period of time. We were there about three months. That period of time went over quickly, for me. I didn't attend the schools that they set up. They did set up some schools, well, classes, such as they were. The teachers were all internees. And I guess they were just trying to finish out the school year or whatever. But there was only about a month of that, I think, and then they may have had some summer schools. That, that period of time, it's been written up in the, in the book called In the Home Place, I think. But I, what I remember about Merced was they started some recreational kinds of things, baseball for example. And they had some pretty good teams. There were teams from Sebastopol and Livingston and Yuba City, Yuba City, Colusa and before the war they used to have Nisei baseball leagues. And some of these teams entered Merced intact. Because all the players from that particular area would, would go into the camp. So we had some very good teams and they played some pretty good baseball.

RP: And those teams actually ended, also ended up getting transplanted to --

BF: To Amache, yes. Yes. Because when it came time to, to move from Merced to Amache, all that entire Merced camp and that population ended up in, in Amache. And that was different from the other group. Cause half were from Amache and the other half by and large were from Santa Anita. And Santa Anita, of course, was that famous horse track down there, they had... what, they came about 18,000 people, I think, from the L.A. area, L.A. and surrounding area. When it came time for those folks to move, they got sorted out. They didn't, they didn't come as a group. And they're... we got maybe 3,500 of those folks. And they didn't come with their own baseball team or... so when they eventually formed teams in, in Amache, here were their established teams and of course they did quite well. And, that, but that's one thing I remember. They also had talent shows or variety shows with talent. I remember, I think that's when I first heard Pat Suzuki. Pat, Pat became very famous later on as a singer. RCA at one time had her ranked right up there with Perry Como and Harry Belafonte, and others. And it was, what, Bing Crosby and someone found her singing in a little nightclub in Seattle and said, "Hey, here's a, here's a budding superstar."

RP: So she got her start in Merced?

BF: Well, she, she had, she had been performing and... not as a star or anything but just started singing in the, in their little town of Cressey.

RP: Cressey, right. The Japanese American farming area?

BF: Community, yeah. Farm community. And when she got into camp of course she, she performed a little bit. But she was, she was twelve years old.

RP: Oh, your age.

BF: In the camp, we were, we were classmates. She, she wouldn't remember me but I remember her, simply because she was performer.

RP: Bit of a celebrity.

BF: But she didn't see herself as that. She, she's... I think she saw herself as sort of a shy little kid that had a voice. And was asked to, asked to sing. We had others who were older. We, we had some gal, Kawamura, she was a, she was... her body build was more like Kate Smith, and she sang like Kate Smith. And I think her, her song was "God Bless America." And, so they said, "Well, she's the Kate Smith of Merced." I don't know what happened to her, but she was, she was very good. People, people liked to hear her sing. And then, 'course, they had other, others who, who performed. So we had like, they called 'em talent shows.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

RP: Then were you notified that you would be going to Amache?

BF: It appeared in the newspaper. The Merced had a newspaper called the Mercedian and in, I think in July, rumors started about a move to a more permanent location, somewhere in Colorado. And, and in August, of course, it appeared in the newspaper, that's where you're going or that's where Mercedians are going to go. And the, but Amache was still under construction and it was very late August that the first couple hundred people left Merced.

RP: And one of the, one of those people was your brother, wasn't it?

BF: Yes.

RP: He was a volunteer?

BF: He was a... I don't think he volunteered. I think he just, somehow, selected them for whatever talents they might have had. The brother did go, Walter, was a, a sports writer for the Mercedian. Why he was selected, I have no idea. But... he was, he was one of, what, 212 or so in that first group. And some were, I guess some were nurses or whatever. Others were in the recreation field and, and, but they were asked to help build the camp because it was still under construction. As people arrived they'd look around and there were barracks still to be built, mess halls still to be built, latrines to be built. Basic services were still being developed. People had to use outdoor potties, privies.

RP: Latrines were still being built?

BF: That's, Lindley in his report said he, he wished that the, the WRA Authorities had waited. If they had just waited two months the camp would have been ready. But it wasn't.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

RP: Can you describe the first few days that you were in camp in Amache? Maybe your impressions of the landscape, physically, what you saw there. How did, how did you react to it?

BF: Well, it was a four-day trip from, from Merced to, to Amache. The first impressions were pretty appalling because at least we had some barracks to go into. But as you entered the, the barrack, they call 'em apartments, they were barracks had been cut up into little, six sections. They're built like CCC barracks. They had been cut up. There was a single layer, brick, under which you lift the brick and there's sand. One light bulb just hanging down. One corner of the room there's a -- and these rooms are like 20 x 20 -- had a little pot bellied stove in one corner and a little box to put in coal. And there were some, there were canvas cots that you had to put together. And there was a thin cotton mattress and two army, woolen army blankets, thin ones that they had issued that you carried in there. And that was it. There were no partitions in there. There were partitions between the apartments, but the partitions only went up so high and then because they were, the roofs were at an angle, there's a space in between so you could... there's no real privacy between these, these so-called apartments. And it must have been really terrible for my, for my mother and father to, to see that and then, of course, we had three girls and they were in with my mother and father. And then the five boys were in this apartment next to them. So we had 7G-9C and 7G-9D and there was a little entryway and you go in the entryway and then it splits into the two rooms. Of course, the first thing, you say well, what do you do? Are you gonna hang one of the blankets up somehow? There's nothing to hang it from. So there's no really privacy there. They... next morning, of course, they, they, I'm sure my brothers went out scrounging and because the camp was still under construction, they had piles of, of woods that had not, had been cut up and, and so you'd, you grab whatever you can and then they did, I guess they had some hammer and saws and at the, so you... we didn't bring it with us but we somehow got those and constructed a partition inside to provide some privacy for my mom and dad and --

RP: Girls.

BF: -- and the girls. And then of course, and then in our barrack, in our apartment they, they made a... my older brothers made a table. It's like the, about the size of a card table, out of wood and made some crude benches, something to sit on. And then later on they, they built a sort of a partition inside one, at least one partition, anyway. And that's, that's about all we had inside. There was no running water, no light except for that one bare light bulb. So there's no water so you don't have toilets or anything like that. They did build a, a mess hall a communal mess hall where we all ate. And then the communal latrine, laundry area.

RP: How did your, your barrack rooms change over time? Did they, were you able to get additional furnishings? Did you order things from Sears and Roebuck?

BF: Yeah. People are, of course they didn't know how long they would be there. All they knew was it looked pretty permanent to them. So they did have catalog stores, where, catalogs I guess, and you just ordered stuff through Sears, I guess it was Sears, Montgomery Wards, Penny's, or whatever anyway. And some people who were more talented, of course, they made their, their living conditions more hospitable. In our, in our particular room, 'course we were all boys so we didn't, we didn't do that. But, others where, where they had some of the older girls, would buy stuff for curtains.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

RP: Many of the camps that were located in these very isolated areas experienced severe dust storms, and I think Amache was no exception.

BF: Oh, yeah. Well, outside, Amache was on a hillside and was, they had cactus and what they call Russian thistle, I guess. They had, they had scraped it pretty clean with bulldozers, there's sagebrush, but they missed parts of it. So it was a land of rattlesnakes and turtles and lizards and jackrabbits, I guess. Pretty barren land. There was some better land alongside the Arkansas River, and that was used later on for farming by the evacuees. Amache had about 10,000 acres in total, but the housing area where we lived was about a mile square. And built on the hillside, low-lying hill, and it had, it hadn't been used. I mean, even now, if you go out there, there was a lease to allow cattle to roam, but cactuses come back, sagebrush, it was not too different from what it was when we got there. Yeah, it wasn't, it was strange land for us.

RP: So was the climate, too.

BF: Oh, yeah. The climate was the extremes. We have a pretty, in California, it was pretty even climate, although it got really hot in the summertime. I mean, you can get up to a hundred degrees in California, parts of it, anyway. But we certainly didn't experience anything like snow or freezing temperatures like they have here in Colorado. If you had a freeze in California, at least in our area, I didn't see any real freeze, although I guess there were times when it got pretty, pretty cold, near freezing, and Dad would cover the vegetables, crops with little plastic, or not plastic, but paper type of covers to protect them, but he didn't have to deal with snow and zero, zero temperatures. So it was quite a shock, and we had to, dust was always a problem. Amache was fairly close to that dustbowl area, and it was on the, right on the fringe. But at that time and that period of years, the dust storms were still there. There were times when we had dust storms where you couldn't see from here to the refrigerator, and yet people had to get out to go to the mess hall for, to eat three times a day, type of thing. You had to get out to go to the latrine, and it created real hardships for people. I mean, the dust storms were such that if you didn't know your way, you could get lost in a real hurry just from the barracks to the latrine. It didn't happen every day, but there were enough days when things were like that. They only had... I can only remember one time when they had a tornado.

RP: Tornado?

BF: Yeah.

RP: Went right through the camp?

BF: Well, it went through a part of the camp, and then destroyed some of the warehouse area. And they had a, they did have some, couple of rainstorms that created havoc.

RP: Flooding?

BF: Yeah, there's a couple of photos that show the damage from the rainstorms. But Granada is in an area, or Amache is in an area where they didn't get a lot of rain. They've experienced a lot of drought conditions, and they do, they did get some extremes in heat and cold, I mean, there were times when the temperatures went below zero, stayed below zero, and then there are other times when the temperatures went over a hundred. We didn't have much protection from the elements. So climate conditions were something you had to cope with and adjust to.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

RP: Bob, your family arrived at Amache, was it in August, did you say, of '42?

BF: We, we got there in September, early September.

RP: Was, were you able to enroll in school that first semester? Or...

BF: In Amache?

RP: Yes.

BF: Yeah. They, they... I don't remember school right away. But they, they did open up a school probably in late September or maybe even early October. The school was in the barracks.

RP: Right, can you share with us a little, a little bit of what you remember of junior high school, as it was in Amache.

BF: Yeah. I was, I was a twelve year. The, the barracks, they didn't have the partitions in there. They might have had a couple, couple of partitions. But we, we sat on wooden benches.

RP: Benches.

BF: No, no books to begin with. Later on we got, we got some discarded, outdated books. But there was a teacher with a chalkboard in front and they would put the information, some of the information on the chalkboard and we'd just copy it. So we, we had tablets and copied the information from the textbook. Then, lecture and that, that was the educational process for several months. The... we had, there was a high turnover of teachers because these, these were teachers -- we had some good teachers, but -- I'd have to say that by and large, the quality of, of teachers was, was not very good at first. There's a high turnover. Because they didn't know the conditions that they would be living under. Although they lived in Lamar and came by bus to Amache. But they weren't prepared to, to deal with the population. First of all, they must have looked at us like, how come... these are all Japanese Americans. They had never seen that kind of population. We hadn't, I hadn't seen such a population except for the language school. And so there was a high turnover. Some had, some of the teachers had come from Indian reservations some had come from... teachers who had just finished college. 'Course, I'm sure they expected that we would have books and desks and things like that. We didn't. I can give you an example of... music. They were gonna start a little orchestra or a band, I guess. I remember went to, went to the music room and the only thing they had left was an oboe. Never seen an oboe in my life. And didn't know how difficult it would be to play such a, such a thing. I remember going home with an oboe. Never did master that. And, it was, it was discarded stuff. I don't think... well, I guess they eventually had some kind of, of a band or an orchestra. I certainly wasn't a part of that. Although later on, they, they somehow someone got some instruments and formed a band, an orchestra.

RP: An orchestra for dances and...

BF: Yeah, for dances. There's a fellow out of Santa Anita named Brush Arai and he had the Brush Arai and his (Kanaka Boys Band) or something like that.

RP: So, the conditions under which education developed in Amache didn't sound very stimulating academically.

BF: Well, at that, at that... yeah.

RP: Did it change?

BF: It did change over time. I remember, well, another thing that happened was it was P.E. classes. And they didn't have the equipment so when it, when the weather's... you got snow and stuff outside, they have to hold P.E. classes inside one of the barracks and the equipment they had was a, was a mattress that they rolled up. And we spent the hour jumping around that and diving over the, over the mattress. I mean, what kind of P.E. class is that? And the, so the conditions were not ideal, by any means.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

RP: One of the... there was a great big effort to sort of normalize this situation and create a sense of normalcy in the camps, for, to keep people occupied and not, not cause any problems in the camp. And one of the things that you got established in was the Boy Scouts.

BF: Oh, sure. They, they... in time, they did try to make the, the camp Amache as, as so-called normal as possible. And so they did start things like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and Y, YMCA clubs and, and they did form intramural teams. And one of the things I joined was Boy Scouts, because my brother, my oldest brother was an assistant scoutmaster and another brother was a senior patrol leader and, so we had a troop composed of boys from, basically from Southern Colusa Counties. Other communities had their scout troops and we had maybe three or four scout troops. And the one from L.A. had a drum and bugle corps, and so they were sort of the pride of Boy Scout groups. And ours, of course, didn't have much. We were... some of the guys were able to get uniforms. I had a neckerchief and that's about it. And our... because of the conditions, we didn't do much in terms of meeting the scout requirements. So we spent a lot of time marching. You'd march up and down and back and forth and I learned how to, how to do a right face and a left face and about face and to the rear march and, a lot of that. It wasn't a, if you had to compare it to some other things, you might say, "Well gee, why stay in the Boy Scouts when that's all you do?" But, later on we, we were able to work out somewhat things for, for... one of the requirements you had to go on a ten-mile hike. So we'd, couple of us got passes, went out to the Arkansas River and back and that was about five miles each way, that meant ten miles. We met the requirement. There were other things where you could get a merit badge in bookbinding or bugling. Yeah, they... it wasn't quite normal but we made do.

RP: You also mentioned the scout laws and the rules set a course for you and it kind of tied into what was emphasized at home. Can you expound on that a little?

BF: Yeah, in Boy Scouts they have the scout oath and things, scout, set of scout laws. And you learned, memorized those and just, you learned to make the knots for the... and I, I guess I would... it set a, the scout oath and laws served as a, as a guideline for me in terms of how one should conduct oneself. And they, they fit in quite well with, with what we were told to do growing up: to be responsible, to respect others. So, so I learned, learned that the laws were, were the, were things to honor and, and obey. So I, I still remember those. If you say scout laws, it just rolls off the... trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent. And it's, it's still there. You don't forget it, it's like pledging allegiance. And, they... I don't have to go to church, 'cause those scout laws are the things that they... it gives you the equivalent of anything they might teach you at church. And, and... I'd say, "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and country and obey scout laws. To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight."

RP: You got it.

BF: Yeah.

RP: Bob, can you share with us some of the things that your brothers and sisters and parents did as far as work in camp?

BF: As, as far as?

RP: Of jobs that your parents had in camp and your siblings?

BF: Sure. Well, my oldest sister Mary was elected to the town council. the community council, It was sort of the governing group. They didn't have a whole lot of power, but they served as a, as a sounding board for the, for the community.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

RP: Bob, we were just talking a little bit about what your brothers and sisters occupied their time in camp with. And you mentioned... you started with your sister Mary.

BF: Yeah. Before she became a councilperson she was a Sunday school teacher with the, with the Buddhist church, type of thing. And...

RP: Was she the only woman on the council?

BF: No. There were about three, I think, who were elected. She represented the 7-G. They had the election. But they were, I think, men before that, men after that. But it, it was rather rare for, for a Japanese woman or Japanese American woman to be on the council. And then after -- before the camp closed she worked for the, for the newspaper, Pioneer.

RP: So she was pretty sharp. Smart lady.

BF: Yeah. Then she, she switched from Buddhism to Seventh Day Adventist, or something like that.

RP: While in the camp?

BF: Yeah.

RP: Did she ever go to college?

BF: No. They, they... well, I guess parents just didn't think in terms of women go to college. Then my oldest brother left camp soon after he came into camp. He joined the, the military.


BF: Yeah.

RP: And that was, was that Walter?

BF: No, that was George.

RP: George.

BF: Yeah. And it was, it was a difficult decision because as the oldest brother he's, traditionally, you're supposed to take care of the family and stick around and, and he had to, he had to break tradition. And it created some problems, I'm sure, between him and his dad and, and I'm sure my dad took some criticism from other members of the...

RP: Community.

BF: the, in the camp because he let my brother do that. They said, "Why are you allowing him to do that when they're treating us like this?" But he did. He went to Savage, Camp Savage. And...

RP: Was he, he volunteered for MIS?

BF: Yeah.

RP: 'Cause they did send around a recruiting team...

BF: They may have sent out a recruiting team, I don't know. But since he knew Japanese, he was a prime candidate and...

RP: You had another brother who left camp to continue his education.

BF: Yeah. The, the third brother, Walter, left camp to, to continue his education. He had, he had been in the, started junior college, community college in Yuba City. And then he had the chance to leave the camp and continue his education, so he did it. The Barnes Commerce School, or Business School in, in Denver.

RP: He came to Denver?

BF: Yeah. And then he left that and I know he went to, to school at LSU briefly and then he ended up at a community college in Duluth, Minnesota.

RP: All during the war?

BF: Yeah. He was doing his darnedest to stay out of the military, I think.

RP: Yes, he was doing a good job. Did he have any, did he have any help from the Student Relocation Council and...

BF: I don't think so.

RP: It was something he had to organize and plan for himself.

BF: Yeah. Walt eventually ended up in the MIS.

RP: Walt did, too?

BF: Yeah. He, I think he got drafted and then ended up at MIS and, I think Snelling, and then at the language school in Monterey. Went in with the occupation forces. He had got a commission and so... my brother George unfortunately contracted TB and got discharged after --

RP: After his...

BF: -- after he got treated. Then... it was North Dakota or somewhere.

RP: Oh, during his training he contracted it?

BF: Yeah. So he never finished MIS. But his, his group, I think, ended up in the South Pacific.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

RP: This is tape three of a continuing interview with Bob Fuchigami. And, Bob, we were talking about the departures from camp of some of your older brothers. And it sounds like the family began going off in a lot of different directions, and sort of disintegrated.

BF: Yeah. It... that's what happened. Some, some of the families were able to stay together. Ours were at an age, I guess, when people started moving in, in other directions. Whether that would have happened anyway, I doubt it, but that's, that's what happened to our family in the camp. I was telling about the one brother who, George, who was MIS and then Walter went out to college but he eventually ended up MIS and Bill, went off to do some farming in Keensburg. Before that he had tried on a short-team leave to pick peaches in Grand Junction. And, but he was eventually drafted and sent to, sent to MIS. And by the time he got through, the war had ended and so he ended up with the occupation forces in, in Tokyo, worked out of MacArthur's headquarters. And then I had a fourth brother who, who eventually got drafted and ended up with the Counterintelligence Corps, CIC, and ended up in Japan. So they, they all, they all served in the military.

RP: Felt that strong sense of...

BF: Duty, honor.

RP: Duty, honor bound type of...

BF: Yeah. No one, at least in, in our group ended up being draft resisters. But then again, there were others...

RP: There were.

BF: ...that we found out about that, that became draft resisters and they, they all had good reasons for doin' it.

RP: And, you know the image that's always painted of Amache is, quote, "a very patriotic camp," because so many young, young Niseis did go from camp into the armed forces.

BF: Yeah, I think there were... well, on the honor roll that they had in front of the co-op, they had over nine hundred names, men and women --

RP: Men and women, right.

BF: -- who served. And thirty-one were killed overseas. And, of course there were a lot more who were wounded. There were, like our, our family had four who ended up in the military. There were others that had five and six in the military. I remember reading about one family, they weren't in Amache, but they were in another camp, they had nine in the military.

RP: Nine?

BF: Yeah.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

RP: You mentioned your brother Bill went out to pick peaches for a while. And then he settled in a place you called Keensburg, Colorado?

BF: Yeah.

RP: Where is that located?

BF: Keensburg is out there in Weld County.

RP: Is that in the Fort Lupton area at all, or Platteville?

BF: Well, these are further out. I think more towards Fort Morgan. And he leased some land and he was growing onions. And that's a very hand-intensive type of work, so he asked my other brother Tosh and I to come out there and help. And I guess I remember living in the little shack by the railroad track. And the track, when the train came by, the whole little shack would bounce up and down. They didn't have any electricity at that time, it was still down the road. So we had these, like a Coleman lantern for light and we didn't have any running water so we had these, these hand pumps where you pumped it to get water. And we had a washtub to, to bathe in. It was pretty primitive.

RP: It sounds like it. You were out for a whole summer?

BF: Not quite. But I remember Saturday we would go get a, get a bath at the neighboring farm. There was a neighboring farm, they had a, they had a bath.

RP: Like an ofuro?

BF: Yeah, furo. And so I remember walking over there and we would take a bath. I remember one time the lady of the house came out and jumped in the tub with me. And I was really embarrassed, 'cause by that time I was, you know, a teenager. Now what am I supposed to do? So I stayed in the bath 'til she got out. But, that was my, my first communal bathing.

RP: How did it feel to be out of camp?

BF: Out of camp? Oh, great, because hey, you're out there, you're not surrounded by barbed wire. And you got... although the conditions were primitive, you ate when, when you wanted.

RP: Had a little control over your life.

BF: Yeah. And you... one of the things about being behind barbed wires is you value freedom. And I can understand why criminals don't like to be behind barbed wires, or behind, or in the confined places. Freedom guides, guides your, your life from then on in terms of decision-making. You say, "What gives me the most choice? What gives me the most freedom?" So that's, that's what guided me for the rest of my life.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

RP: Bob, you... this farm neighbor where you worked with your brother on the farm, you said that he was also from Yuba City, originally?

BF: You mean my brother?

RP: I'm sorry, the other, the neighbor you farmed by.

BF: Oh, yeah. They were a family named Hoshiko. And we knew them before, before camp. They lived in Yuba City, had a son and three daughters, I believe. So, we, we were lucky to have them nearby where we could go, go bathe on Saturday.

RP: Did they, they left Amache before you went out on your leave there?

BF: Yeah. There was a, a process whereby one could leave, leave the camp. It was a lengthy process and so people left for a variety of reasons. You could leave for school, you could leave for the military, you could leave for jobs, menial types of things. Girls would go out and become housekeepers or stuff. And there were two different kinds of leaves, short term and long term or indefinite. Short term leaves you could, you could leave the camp for, for... like people would go out to help harvest sugar beets or harvest peaches or something like that. I remember one time my brother left the camp to, to work at the Broadmoor Hotel.

RP: Where's that located?

BF: In Colorado Springs. It's a very...

RP: Upscale?

BF: Upscale -- it still is -- hotel.

RP: Which brother?

BF: I had two brothers, George went there to work and Torao left for work there. My brother George worked as, on the grounds, like groundskeeper. My brother Tosh left to work in the kitchen and when he came back he said, he said, "You know, my job was to make peanut butter sandwiches." Among other things, I guess. But he said he made these peanut butter sandwiches and he said they were charging what he thought was, was a terrible price to, to the patrons. They didn't, they didn't work long there, at the Broadmoor. And those were called short term leaves. The indefinite leave, leaves were those where they said, "Okay, I'm going and I'm not coming back."

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

RP: I wanted to, to go back into camp a little bit. Specifically, do you remember the amount of interaction that you had with the neighboring communities, such as Granada or Lamar? Were there instances where you were allowed to go into these communities and shop or attend an event or a movie of some kind?

BF: Well, at first, there's, there's... the mail, the mail truck was, was one that came from Lamar. And then distributed in, in Amache. Amache eventually had a little, little post office. They handled a lot of mail, I mean, we had over 7,000 residents there so there was a lot of mail. But there was a mail truck there, went back and forth. And one could get a ride on the mail truck to go shopping in, in Lamar. And, but there weren't many people who could get on that truck so people would give them shopping lists and people could go in and some of, some of the businesses would cater to them and others would say, "No." And, of course there were the usual kinds of signs that said, "We don't serve Japs." Or a barber shop that says, "Jap hunting license."

RP: This is in Lamar?

BF: Oh, sure. And that's one of the things that Jane Lindley mentioned when I talked to her. This is the project director's daughter who, when they first arrived, they were living, living in Lamar. She said, "I was really embarrassed to see those kinds of signs." But, that's, that was true of towns surrounding all of the communities, whether it was Heart Mountain or wherever. And then some of the businesses would limit what, what one could buy. And some of the... their other patrons would say, "Well, if you sell hammers and nails and saws and all that kind of thing to these Japs, we won't have enough for ourselves," type of thing. There were things like that. Restaurants, of course, wouldn't serve. And, so they... and I'm sure some of the, some of the establishments would raise their prices and things like that. Or they would just keep certain items aside for, for the townspeople and not, not for the people in Amache. Some of the, some of the establishments made a lot of money. They, they did very well.

RP: And one of those would be the, the Newman Drugstore.

BF: Oh, Newman drug in, in Granada? Oh yeah.

RP: Do you have any experiences there?

BF: They were absolutely delighted to have that, have that camp nearby.

RP: Did you go in there?

BF: Oh, I remember going in there, not very often, but I finally got a job. When I was fifteen I got a job, summer job, on a, like a... they were still bringing in wood, lumber, in freight cars. And my job was to go inside that freight car and push the wood out, the lumber out. Which was pretty hot, especially you get hundred degree heat and you're really sweatin'. So, you, you jump on that truck afterwards to, to drive it to Amache and it'd stop at Newman Drug, 'cause the guys wanted to, to get a cherry coke or whatever. Well, if you had a milkshake or, or cherry coke or something like that, it's like 45 cents. And I was earning eight bucks a month doing this. So I was getting 40 cents a day. So if you, if you buy a, a milkshake, for example, and they charge you 45 cents, actually you're making, you're paying more than your day's wages. Which happened to me a couple of times before I wised up and I thought, "This is, this ridiculous. I'm not gonna blow my day's wages on a..." was it 40 cents? In eight, what, five, four... it was two bucks, two bucks a week, is what I made. So I, I started buying little candy drops that you could, like Horehound candies, little bags of that for 10 cents, which was, it lasted longer. But I didn't think it was a good time for us to stop at Newman Drug. [Laughs] They didn't make a lot of money off of me, I know. They made it off of others.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

RP: You shared a story last night with me about, regarding the, the fact that Amache had no gymnasium facilities for basketball games and that on occasion you --

BF: Oh, when... there were things that were happening when camp first opened. The... later on they had the high school with the gym and all that. But when they first started they didn't, they didn't have a gym. But the Granada schools made their gym, high school gym, available for, for the Granada high, for the Amache high school team to play or some of the other intramural teams. So, in order to, to utilize that, that offer, the team and the, and the spectators would have to walk down there, it was over a mile, to Granada. And then they would play the game, and then the team and the spectators would have to walk back to Amache. And Amache was, was a mile square, so if some of the members of the team lived up in the upper end, they'd have to walk two miles or more. Which was... people didn't think about that at that time, but they, because that was the only way they could, they could watch a basketball game. And sometimes they would play Granada high school team, for example. And there were some other teams that, that they were able to play in neighboring towns, like Holly. And later on when they, when they were able to build the high school, they could play other teams in, not only in basketball, but they could play football and baseball and I remember where there was one community nearby, they were down the road at Las Alamos -- or Las Animas, and they had enough Japanese who were not in Amache to form a team. So there was... it was a Japanese American team from Amache and a Japanese American team from Las Animas that played baseball, I know.

RP: They competed against each other?

BF: Yeah.

RP: How ironic.

BF: Yeah. And...

RP: How far was Las Animas from the camp?

BF: Oh gosh. There was couple a towns down the road, La Junta and Las Animas, they weren't that far apart, but... they were maybe twenty-five, thirty miles? The other thing that I remember about Las Animas was that Amache's buried there. Amache for whom that camp was named. She was an Indian princess who married a fellow named John Prowers. And John Prowers became a, a wealthy cattleman. He wasn't before, I mean, he just had this little ranch. And Amache's folks, her, her father was massacred at Sand Creek and the survivors of that massacre were given like 160 acres or whatever as compensation. And, it, a lot of that land was just sagebrush and cactus and stuff like... but there were some good bottom land. And Amache, because she was married to, to John Prowers, was able to get a good piece of land along the Arkansas river and her mother also got land. And John Prowers was smart enough to not only get her, her land and her mother's land, but I think there was some other choice pieces and pretty soon he owned all that bottom land between Las Animas and, and that whole lower Arkansas region. So... and he ran cattle and became a very wealthy man and became so prominent that when they split Bent County, which is a large county, into two, they, they named that new section of the land Prowers, for John Prowers. And that's how come you have Prowers County and then when it came time to name the camp, Amache's, one of his daughters, I think, was still living in Lamar at that time and so they named the camp for Amache. And Amache eventually died and she's buried in Las Animas.

RP: Great connection.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

RP: Let's, let's go in to talk a little bit about the project director, Mr. Lindley.

BF: About what?

RP: The project director at Amache, Mr. Lindley?

BF: Oh, Lindley.

RP: Who was extremely popular with the internees. And maybe you could share some stories about him. Specifically a story that you shared with me about the fact that at one point he was... there was going to be a fence erected between the administration area?

BF: Yeah, when, when these camps were, were planned, they were gonna separate the administration area from the intern or the internee area, and separate them by a fence. Somehow he was able to get that removed from the, from the plan. They did have a military police unit in the camp, so they fenced that section off. But they, they never did build that fence between the administration area and the internee housing area. And he was, he was instrumental in, in that. He was a, some kind of a chemical or metallurgical engineer for some mining outfit out of Arizona. And then worked for the Agricultural Department, U.S. Agriculture. And he was selected to be the project director at, at Amache. And he was the only one. I mean, he was the only project director that Amache had throughout their, throughout its, its existence. And he lived, he and his family, lived in, in Lamar. And then he, he enrolled his daughter in Amache schools. So she was, she was sort of a classmate of ours. She was a year younger than me. I didn't know her in, in camp. But there were, oh, half a dozen of the camp officials who sent their children to, to Amache. There was one that I just, we just had lunch together a week ago. She was the daughter of the superintendent of schools in Amache. Superintendent of schools, they had two, two. One was Terry and he left for the Navy, and then a fellow named Garrison. And Garrison's daughter is still living and lives up in Fort Collins. Married to a guy named Stutheit. I met her at a, at a gathering in, in Granada so we've sort of interacted a couple of times. I was hoping that she would identify some of the people from the photos I have and she said they're all, it's been too long. And she said she had attended for one semester in, in Amache. She would ride with her father into Amache and, in the back seat, and, but her... she had made friends with some others, in, in Lamar and persuaded her father to let her continue in Lamar schools. So, so her experience as a, as a schoolchild in Amache was limited. Now Lindley's daughter, on the other hand, continued on.

RP: Throughout the operation of the camp?

BF: I think so.

RP: Did Lindleys ever move in to Amache and live in the camp?

BF: I don't think so. They did develop some housing for WRA officials and teachers. So some did move into Amache, but into a separate housing area. When they first started, some of the teachers did spend some time in the barracks. There is a gal named Stegner, Catherine Stegner was one. And she's a very good teacher. People still remember her as one of the better teachers at Amache. And we did have, we did have a few others that, that ended up in school administration, higher education and, and Garrison became like a graduate dean, I believe, at Denver University or something like that? So we, we did have some fine teachers. And we did, in 1943, they completed a, a new high school and it became... the high school was probably one of the best facilities in southeastern Colorado. And when the camp closed, they, they took the school and moved it to La Junta.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

RP: Bob, you were about ready to share a story about the controversy over the Amache high school.

BF: Yeah, they... oh, the Congressman Johnson and some of the others, or Senator Johnson and some others were saying, "Why do they need a high school? Why educate them? It's a waste of taxpayer's money to educate these so-called Japs." And it became so controversial, I guess they, they even discussed in, in Congress about the amount of money it was going to take to build a high school and elementary school for these kids. And so they were able to, to create so much controversy that they dropped the, the amount for the elementary school and so they, they just built the high school. And the elementary school kids ended up remaining in the barracks for their schooling. The high school was, I don't know whether it was state of the art at that time, but it was, it was certainly spacious and they had, they had their classrooms and a library area. They built a gym and, and...

RP: You would have started going there your last year at Amache?

BF: Yeah, I, I spent my eighth, seventh... I guess eighth, eighth grade there. 'Cause my seventh grade was in, was in the barracks. Eighth grade... maybe it was, maybe it was the seventh and eighth in the barracks and ninth grade in the, in the new high school. Unfortunate thing about, about that elementary school, the company that was going to build it had excavated the grounds. But when the funding didn't come through for building the, the elementary school, they didn't bother to safeguard the, the grounds and because it was on a sandy area, kids got in there and there was a cave-in and one boy was killed. And there are still people who were in the camp who, who blamed the government for, for not safe guarding that. They knew this, this young man. I didn't, but Min, Min Tonai said he still blames the, the government for that. He has never forgotten that. And certainly the, at a reunion I met the, the brother of one the, the kids. He was one of those trapped. They, they, I think, there're three boys in there and they dug out two of the boys and wasn't able to save the, the third. But that, that brother who had, who was one of those dug out, is still, is still alive and still bitter about the fact that he'd lost his brother. And rightly so. He, that was the only, only death... there were a bunch of other people who died, but this was one where --

RP: It could have been avoided.

BF: -- it was governmental negligence. And in some other camps people got shot.

RP: Right. That was a tragedy that reverberated throughout, throughout the camp and continues to reverberate with, with folks.

BF: Yeah, there, there... I've heard stories of, of people who had been warned by guards to stay away from the camps, guards, when they got near the fence, essentially saying, "Get away from the fence," type of thing.

RP: At Amache?

BF: Yeah. And, and the military, the soldiers were not top of the line. They were, some of them were...

RP: Scraping the barrel?

BF: Yeah. They were, they were either misfits or rejects or...

RP: "Limited service" I think is what the army called them.

BF: Yeah.

RP: They, they might have had a, some small handicap that prevented them from serving in the war.

BF: Yeah, I ... yeah. I don't know enough about that, about the makeup of that personnel group. But they, they weren't, they weren't trusted by, by the people in the camps. When they said something, you, you didn't --

RP: Question them.

BF: -- you didn't object.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

RP: One other, I wouldn't call it a controversy, but it was something that sort of changed the fabric of Amache for a while was this "loyalty questionnaire" and the repercussions of that questionnaire which led to segregation. And you had this huge transfer of people, both a group of "loyal" people going to Tule Lake and this larger group of "loyal" people coming to Amache. Can you share your...

BF: That was, that was a fiasco. I mean, I wasn't old enough to be involved in that, but they, they were trying to do a... they were using like a paper questionnaire where they would essentially say, well, a whole list of questions which were fairly innocuous at first but there were questions twenty-seven and twenty-eight that were very controversial. Essentially saying, "Where are your loyalties?" and, "What's your allegiance?" type of thing. And one was where they, they asked -- and these were directed at men, women, children, Isseis, Niseis -- and if, if an Issei said, "No," he would essentially be a person without a country. Because he wasn't allowed to become a citizen and yet they were saying, "Where are your loyalties?" and, "What's your allegiance?" So, that created a real problem for them. And then the Niseis, on another questions, it's like, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" type of thing. Well, if he says, "Yes, I've stopped beating my wife," then it implies that you were beating your wife. It's, it's a catch-22 type of question. And, but people in Amache essentially went along with saying "yes" on both to keep the family together, and so they, when it came time to transfer the people who said, "yes-yes" or "no-no," transferred the "no-nos" out of Amache, there were a hundred and some odd that they sent to Tule Lake and then in turn brought about nine hundred from Tule Lake to Amache. People... and so we, we were reunited with some people that we thought we'd never see again, because they, when they split the people up in the Marysville/Yuba City area, the people living in Yuba City, by and large, ended up in Merced and Amache, and the people in Marysville were sent to Arboga, to a camp, and then on to Tule Lake. So in, in once sense it was nice to see some of the Marysville people in, in Amache, some old friends.

RP: Do you remember specific families?

BF: Yeah, specific families that, like the Hatamiyas and, and others that we just had, didn't think we'd ever see again.

RP: How did the, the group from Tule Lake affect the chemistry in the camp? They were loyal folks, but...

BF: Yeah... camps differed, whether it was Manzanar or Tule Lake or Topaz or whatever. Although the conditions were similar in terms of barracks and so forth. Some had more, more Issei and Kibei who, who resented the treatment more than -- and voiced it and acted upon that -- than others. In Amache, over half -- we had about 4,000 from Merced and about 3,500 from Santa Anita -- that, that group from Amache, from Merced, were, by and large, people from farming communities and not as well-organized, perhaps, and not, and not as vocal in terms of, of the treatment that, that we had been receiving. And part of it was because of Lindley and his more compassionate approach, and his administration. I mean, there were other people within the Lindley administration who were, who were more receptive and compassionate. And, so, so that was perhaps behind it, the, the imbalance in ratio between those who went to Tule Lake and those who came. There were, there were... I know one particular person, personally, who was going to be a draft resister and then he changed his mind and decided to, to go ahead with the, with the army. And he, but when they went for a physical, he was rejected anyway. But, he's a man that eventually married, and his son ended up in West Point.

RP: What changed his mind about...

BF: At first he, he was resisting going in because he was the eldest son and the father had died. So he was faced with, with having to look after his mother and a younger brother. And family came before army. I mean, if he went and got killed, who would, what would happen to his family? Then for whatever reason he changed his mind and, and proceeded to go for his physical. And people who, who said, who either became draft resisters or even the people who said, "no-no" had very varied reasons for, for their responses and for their actions. And it, it's easy to just sort of lump people together, but Japanese Americans are no different than members of any other racial group. I mean, they're, they have their reasons for doing what they're doing and they're not all the same. There's a saying that S.I. Hayakawa used to use. He said, "Cow number one is not the same as cow number two is not the same as cow number three, etcetera, etcetera." And while we always look at cows and sort of, sort of say, "Well, they're all Holsteins or Guernseys or whatever," and lump 'em all together, they're not the same. That's the same with dogs or cats or people. We look at 'em, but that's what they did with Japanese Americans. They just said, as a group. They just treated all Japanese Americans the same, or all Isseis the same, or all Kibeis the same, or whatever. And I just look at my family and I just think, my God, look at the differences just within our family. And what happened to, to us and our interests and our... and I'm sure it's the same with, with your family or anyone else's family. You look back and you say, "We were all raised in the same family, we all had the same family name. But look at how different we really are."

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 2008 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.