Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Art Imagire Interview
Narrator: Art Imagire
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Denver, Colorado
Date: July 4, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-iart-01

<Begin Segment 1>

RP: This is an oral history for the Manzanar National Historic Site. Today we're talking with Art Imagire.

AI: Yes.

RP: And the interview's taking place at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Denver, Colorado, room 701. And the date of our interview is July 4, 2008, Independence Day. And we're gonna be talking with Art about his experiences during the wartime which are a little different than most internees. In fact, that Art's family never went to camp. So, we'll emphasize that and frame the conversation with... we'll be talking about his life before and after relocation as well. Our videographer is Kirk Peterson, interviewer is Richard Potashin, and this interview will be archived in the Parks Library at the Manzanar National Historic Site. Art, do I have official permission from you to record our interview?

AI: Yes, you do.

RP: Thank you very much. That's great. A pleasure to have you here at the conference here, along with everybody else. And, like to start our interview by having you share a little bit of information about yourself as well as your family.

AI: Uh-huh.

RP: And, first of all, can you give me your date of birth and where you were born?

AI: Yeah. My date of birth is August 1, 1933.

RP: And where were you born?

AI: Oakland, California.

RP: Uh-huh. And did you have a Japanese name at birth?

AI: Yes, I did. My Japanese name is Isamu and that's I-S-A-M-U. And that was the only name I had until December 7th. And that's when my brother, right after, right after the war started, went to the city hall and had Christian names attached. My brother named me Arthur -- Arthur meaning courage -- and Isamu also means courage. And my brother's name was Takeshi, and that stands for knowledge. And so Robert's supposed to be knowledge so he's Robert Takeshi. I'm Arthur Isamu. I didn't like that name very much. But they used to, at school, they used to call me Sam.

RP: They have a derivation of that --

AI: And sometimes they used to call me, "Little black Sambo." [Laughs] Remember that story?

RP: Yes.

AI: I guess it's outlawed now. You can't talk about that.

RP: Uh-huh.


RP: Art, we'd like to get a little background on your, your parents.

AI: Oh, yes.

RP: Can you give... let's start first with your father. And can you give me his name?

AI: Yes, I think my father came from Kagoshima, Japan. And I'm not sure whether he came before the, 1900. And I'm not sure exactly when he came. But he, he came, worked, and then went back and got my mother, and came. My father was quite a bit older than my mother actually. My father was born in eighteen-something. 1880, or something like that. And so he was about twenty when he came to the United States and then he was almost thirty when he had me. And, but anyway, my, my mother was also from Kagoshima, Japan. And it was, well, that's, that's, I won't go into that, but anyway, the... they both came over, settled in Alameda, California. And that's where my mother had a, a dress-making school. She was, she was a dress maker and she taught dress making. And, my father did, was in the cleaning business and, and that's... and then in 1925 or '6 or something like that, they moved to Oakland and they had a cleaning and dress-making store in Oakland, and, which is my birthplace. It's on Seventh and Market. Yeah. Which is, right now, it's a freeway. It's, it's gone. But anyway...

RP: What was your father's name, Art?

AI: My father's name was Sunao, S-U-N-A-O, and he picked up an American name of John. My mother's name was Shizu, S-H-I-Z-U. And she latched onto the name of Sue, was given the name Sue.

RP: And what was her maiden name?

AI: Maiden name was Tahara.

RP: Tahara.

AI: T-A-H-A-R-A.

RP: Uh-huh. And you said your father came from Kagoshima area?

AI: Yes, both of 'em, both of 'em came from Kagoshima, yeah.

RP: And, do you, do you know, was there a specific village name, do you recall?

AI: I think the village is Makurazaki, M-A-K-U-R-A-Z-A-K-I. It's a, it's a southern port... it's on the very, it's on the water, and it's famous for its, what they call bonito. It's the dried fish that's caught...

RP: It's a form of tuna?

AI: Yeah. Yeah. So it's famous for that.

RP: So you dried bonito?

AI: Yeah, yeah. You shave it.

RP: Did your father ever share with you some of his stories about growing up in, in Japan, or...

AI: Not really. Not really. In the nineteen... when was that? Oh, about nineteen... it's before I graduated high school and I graduated in '50, so in '48 or something like that, he was on the roof and doing something and he fell off and broke several bones in his body. And while he was recuperating he was ready to come home and at that... right when he was coming home they said, well, we're gonna do one more x-ray. And on his way to x-ray he suffered a massive stroke and was an invalid for the rest of his life. He lived another twenty years after that and my mother took care of him all that time. And my mother was the one that was more or less the brains and the one that controlled the family. It was a very matriarchal situation for us. But, she was more or less the boss and my, and my, my father did whatever she said. [Laughs] So...

RP: And you said that your father went back to Japan?

AI: No, they never did after...

RP: To, to bring your mom back?

AI: Oh, yeah. He, that, he did do that. But I don't recall much of that situation.

RP: Did they... do you know if they married in Japan or...

AI: No, I don't know. I don't know. Fact is, I don't even think we have any wedding pictures of them, as I recall. But there is, this is kind of an interesting side story, but I have a cousin in Japan that, that... his father was my father's brother, and his mother was my mother's sister. So, we're kind of super cousins together because we have the parents of the same lineage on both sides.

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

<Begin Segment 2>

RP: What brought your father to the United States?

AI: I don't know. I don't recall. He never talked about... I never got much of a history out of him, so I don't, I don't recall that much about why he came or anything about that.

RP: Uh-huh. And what was he like as a, as a dad or as a...

AI: Well, he was, when... once we moved, we moved to Reno and he got some of his Japanese friends there, liked to drink. And poor Pop became, unfortunately, became an alcoholic. And I recall we used to have to hide the booze from him and so on. But I think that was the reason why he fell off the roof. He was little bit high and, but he... yeah, I never, we never talked much about their, their past. Even on my on my mother's side. My mother would tell me about, a little bit about what went on. But, I had a, a cousin that's gone now. She was about a hundred and four when she passed away but she told us a lot about, about our, our... on my father's side, how she,she lived with my mother in Japan. And there was, one of my father's brothers was a doctor. And there was another woman that was a, a nurse. They call it kangofu. And she was always watching out for the two sisters and made sure that they married the right, got the right husband, and she manipulated my father for some reason or another and they got together. But, that cousin was her, I think it was her, her mother and my father's... oh, I'm gonna get that mixed up somehow. It's, there's some kind of relationship there that I always get mixed up on how they're related.

RP: Were there any other relatives of your father, members of his family, that came to the United States other than him?

AI: Yeah, there was, there were, there was... oh, now how does this one go? There was, there are my father's brother, his name was Imakire, I-M-A-K-I-R-E. I think it was just a matter of translation when they gave their names coming, coming into the United States. But he spelled his with a "k." And they lived in Palo Alto for a long time. And, and they actually, if you know a place called Hakone in, in California? There's a famous Japanese garden there. They were caretakers of that place for a while, yeah. And it's interestingly enough, my wife's UC classmate, her parents were also caretakers after my, after my aunt and uncle. I remember going there, it was in Saratoga. And I remember going there to this real lush place and they were caretakers there. Yeah.

RP: And what happened to your father's brother? Did, did they eventually return to Japan? Or did they stay here?

AI: My... no he, he died here. He... they had, they had three children, two sons and a daughter. And they still live... oh, one lives in Sacramento. The son, one of the sons lives in Sacramento. And the other, the other two still live in, in the Bay Area. They have a few kids. But the, all my cousins are gone now. My cousins are gone, my aunt and uncle are gone. The one, the one cousin that ended up being a one hundred four years, she's gone. So...

RP: A lot of, a lot of Niseis have gone back to Japan to sort of dig up their, you know, their family roots. Do you have any relatives still left in Kagoshima?

AI: Well, just that one cousin that, the, the super cousin. He lives in... it's in northern Japan. What's the name of it? Morioka. It's, it's almost in the northern tip. I don't know why he moved up there, but he lives, he's up, he lives up there and is a fairly prominent artist. And does, still does artwork. He's ninety-four or something like that, very healthy.

RP: On the bus to Amache yesterday I met a, a family who has roots there as well.

AI: Morioka? Oh yeah. Oh yeah. There's, there's a, the editor of the Nichi Bei Times of, in San Francisco, his name was Asano. And he was, he was very... he was a benefactor for, for the Japanese children after the war and got, provided milk for the children after the war.

RP: Oh, he did?

AI: And he, he also... fact is, he was so famous that they, in the museum, they have a special section on, on his life, honoring him.

RP: Which museum is that? Is that in Japan, or...

AI: It's, the exact... something, something like the, the Museum of Famous People or something like that. It has all the prominent people of, benefactors, of the town of Morioka. And, and they have this huge display of him. And our, his son lives in Sacramento and he says whenever he goes to that town there's a, there's a big band welcoming him and everything. So, it's pretty, pretty famous.

RP: Uh-huh.

AI: Yeah.

RP: How about your mother? Do you know much about her family in Japan?

AI: No. Only after she came to Japan. I, from my cousin I do recall a little bit about how, about she, she was, she went to Christian studies, like a bible school. And she used to have to sneak out because of course, being a Christian wasn't very popular in Japan. But she, she did that and she became a, a Methodist and she finally, well, after my father passed away, she moved to Sacramento. And she was able to live an additional twenty years after he passed away. So that she got, at least, got some relief from... we can't imagine how she was able to take care of him for twenty years. He was an invalid for twenty years. And, but she came after, after he passed away, moved down to (Sacramento), lived in an apartment there and enjoyed the rest of her life. There she attended the Methodist church and she was, she liked it very much there. Yeah.

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

<Begin Segment 3>

RP: Let's talk a little bit about their, your time in Oakland. You mentioned first Alameda and then Oakland.

AI: Uh-huh.

RP: And these businesses that both your mother and father had, your father with the cleaning business and your mom had a dress-making business. Did she, did she pick up teaching in Japan?

AI: You know, I don't know, I don't know how she got her skills. All I know is that as soon as she came to the United States, she started that school. The fact is I have, there's a couple of church members at school that, that actually went to her school and received some training under her. So, yeah, I don't, I don't know how she... but I remember, in Oakland, she used to have these shows where they would show the, the works of some of her students. And, she used to have all kinds of clothes dummies and that sort of thing. I don't know what happened to all those, but, we used, we had a bunch of 'em in Reno I recall, but I think they're all gone. They've all since disappeared.

RP: And your father ran a cleaning business.

AI: Yeah, it was... the store in Oakland was combined. It was a cleaning and dress-making place. And I recall they used to have the steam presses and the, and... I don't remember any cleaning thing. I think the cleaning stuff they, they shipped it out somewhere. And they, when they brought it back they would press 'em and that sort of thing, yeah. And then the, the, in back of the shop was the living quarters. And so, that's why I used to tell people I was born behind the piano. But, that, I recall that we, we had that, that old piano in Oakland. And...

RP: Who played it? Your mom?

AI: Pardon?

RP: Who played the piano? Your mother?

AI: You know what? I think my mother did, but I remember when we moved to Reno later on that piano ended up there and I don't know how it got there. 'Cause I don't recall a van or anything and neither does my brother. Brother doesn't remember a thing about that.

RP: Uh-huh.

AI: But I remember the, the shop was in the back. We were about the third or fourth one from the corner of Seventh and Market.

RP: Is this downtown Oakland or...

AI: Yeah. Yeah, right downtown. Seventh and Market, the, the 880 freeway runs down that way now and where it dumps out at Jack London Square, it's somewhere near there. But Seventh and Market, it's all, it's all gone. It's just all freeway now. But, we... right around the corner was a place called the Market Laundry and a lot of Japanese people worked there. And I remember they used to have a big, big neon sign that said, "Market Laundry." And my cousin, the one whose parents were the ones in Palo Alto, she married a guy that used to work at the Market Laundry and she says he knew me when I was a little kid and he said I used to go over there all the time and bust the neon lamps all the time, throw rocks at it. [Laughs] But anyway, yeah, then on the corner was a grocery store.

RP: Japanese grocery store?

AI: I don't even remember what it whether it was Japanese or not. I don't recall. But then, right next door was a, a place called Brother Star and it was one of those evangelist places where they did the, the symbol tapping or the tambourines and whatever --

RP: Holy roller.

AI: Yeah. We, on Sunday morning we'd hear songs bursting out of the door and everything, yeah. I recall that. And I used to... and then a couple of blocks down, or maybe next door on the other side was a union hall. And I, my mother... let's see, how did I, we had a, we had a violin -- oh, my brother was learning violin and we had a violin. And I would go out and play on the violin while the guys were outside waiting for their job at the union hall and I'd pass the hat and I'd get, sneak off and get money and I'd go to the corner store and buy candy and sneak back and, and hold this candy behind my back and then try to sneak into the house, into the shop. And I was never smart enough to bring my hands around front so I'd always get caught with the candy in the back of my hands.

RP: "What do you got behind there?"

AI: Yeah. [Laughs] But anyway...

RP: So you were playing violin at a pretty young age, huh?

AI: No, not, not -- my brother did. I didn't.

RP: Oh, you didn't. But you held the hat out?

AI: Yeah, I'd get a few pennies. So, yeah.

RP: Well, that's a nice portrait that you just sketched of, of the community for us.

AI: Yeah.

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

<Begin Segment 4>

RP: Were there other Japanese stores or, I mean, was there a, what's referred to as a --

AI: Yeah, I don't recall.

RP: -- Japanese section of town?

AI: Yeah, I used to, my mother used to make me go to Japanese school. And it was a school called Wanto Gakuen. And it was a, after regular school we would have to go to that and I would have to, yeah, attend that and we'd have to read these, read and write out of these Japanese books, textbooks.

RP: Most kids your age pretty much, sort of, reviled that, you know...

AI: Yeah. We tried to, tried to do that to our kids and they just quit.

RP: Now you know why.

AI: And now they're, and now they're regretting it though. They, they should learn. And when we, when we went back to Japan, we knew just enough to become dangerous and if we spoke a little... you know, if you spoke, speak just a little bit of Japanese they come back at you even faster and then it's harder to understand. So we have to... it's pretty amusing, though, when we, we, when we first went to Japan, we'd hop in a taxi and, and one... we were in Kyoto and we were gonna go to the Palace Side Hotel so we told the guy, "Palace Side Hotel please." And the guy went, "Wakarimasen, I can't understand." And then I thought a minute and I said, "Parasu saido hoteru." "Ah, wakarimashita," and he took us right to the hotel. So you have to say it in the right accent I guess or else they won't, they won't understand you. And a lot of times when we tried, we tried to talk and we tried to use our pronunciation, they just couldn't understand it. But if you use their phoneticized version, then it was, then they could understand it better.

RP: And this, the Japanese school, was that located nearby your home?

AI: You know, I don't recall exactly where that was. I used to go to the West Tenth Methodist Church and I'm thinking it was somewhere close to that, but I'm not sure. My recollection that it was on a hill because one of the episodes was they had a school bus, and the school bus was parked on the hill. But the, the door was, would open but there was a telephone pole in the way. So you, I could just barely get my head in between the, in between the door and inside looking. And the kids are all in there playing and one of the kids was in the driver's seat and he accidentally released the brakes and the car, the bus started rolling down the hill and squeezed my head and I yelled bloody murder and people had to push the bus back up to get my head. And I had big dents in my head. [Laughs] Yeah, I recall that. That was... but that was at the Japanese school, yeah.

RP: Did the school offer anything other than language lessons? Was there judo or kendo offered there?

AI: No, I, my recollection is that it was part of a church, like they usually were, but part of the Buddhist. I'm not sure of that but... like the Buddhist church in Sacramento has Sakura Gakuen. And that's... they run that.

RP: It's associated with it, yeah. And then you also mentioned a Methodist church that you attended.

AI: Yes, the West Tenth Methodist Church in... a lot of the people that my mother's students went to that church. My, my folks attended that church too, so, yeah.

RP: So it's primarily Japanese --

AI: Yeah. It was primarily Japanese.

RP: -- American parishioners?

AI: But I, it's since then merged with the, I think it's called Parkside in Oakland now. So, yeah, I don't know much more about it than that.

RP: Uh-huh. How strongly religious was your family, Art?

AI: Well, my father not too much. My mother was a fairly religious person and made me go to church. Yeah, well, anyway, that she... like I say, she went to bible study class and became a Christian, so she was fairly, fairly devout. But, yeah. Then when I, when we moved to Reno I joined the Methodist church and became good friends with the pastor's son. So...

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

<Begin Segment 5>

RP: What do you remember growing up in Oakland in terms of your social life? Was it centered mostly on the church or...

AI: Not, not too much. The only thing I remember is I used to have, when I started kindergarten, I had this black girl take me to school and the kids used to tease me about that, having this girl take me to school. And I think maybe that's I got the term, "Little black Sambo," I don't know. But that, you know, that's about all I recall of my childhood. I remember my Christmases, used to get all kinds of nice toys and things I remember. I have some pictures of it and it'd be in, it'd be in the living room in the back of the store. And then we'd have the piano and the Christmas tree, it'd be on top of the piano and the presents would be all lined up around on, on that. Yeah.

RP: Were any traditional Japanese holidays celebrated? Boys Day, Girls Day, or you didn't have any --

AI: Yeah. Boys Day, yeah, my folks had Boys Day dolls and of course they were all burned when December 7th came. We got rid of a lot of, a lot of those artifacts. My brother, my brother was kind of a timid fellow and in order to make my brother more manly, my mother made him take kendo -- if you know what kendo is? It's the sword fighting -- and bought, and bought all that outfit, from the, the headdress and the protective shoulder thing. And that's gone, too, so we got rid of all that. All the Boys Day dolls, they were all gone. The only thing is... and I don't recall how she was able to ever do it, but she, she managed to keep a sword, a Japanese sword. And I later took it to a sword group and the guy valued it for me and said it was forged in the 1600s. He says, "But this is a, they call it a tired blade." And my wife says they had to hone it down so much because my family was so short. But the sword is not very long. So, but anyway, we, that sword showed up and I don't know how she was able to sneak that out.

RP: Oh, interesting.

AI: But you know, we had to give up our cameras.

RP: Right.

AI: Radio. We got 'em, we got 'em back after the war ended. I don't know, about the '50s or something like that and they, when we got the radio back, all the tubes were missing. We did manage to get the old, you know, the old Kodak camera that was the bellows kind. We did get that back and that was still working. Gee, I don't know what happened to that. But that, we had that, I had that for a little while. But anyway...

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

<Begin Segment 6>

RP: Well, tell us about your brother, Robert, a little bit. He was a little older than you, wasn't he?

AI: He's quite a bit older. He's eleven years older than I, so yeah. He was, he was more like an uncle to me than, than a brother. It's just recently that we've become a little bit closer. But he used to wheel me around in the, in the baby carriage. Yeah. So, my brother grew up and then he was, he was just out of high school, yeah, he'd be twenty. He was born in '22 so he was, he was out of high school hoping to go to college and then war kind of interrupted things for him.

RP: Was he working in your father's business at all?

AI: I, you know, I don't recall. I don't recall what he was doing. Well, he would have, he would have been well out of high school at that time. He'd be twenty. But all I recall is once we moved to Reno he was looking around for a job. Like I told you he tried to enlist in the service and they wouldn't take him in. And when they finally did he went in, took the physical and ended up being 4-F. So, but he...

RP: Was that just after the war?

AI: Pardon?

RP: Was that just after the war began, or just after you --

AI: No. That was after, that was after we had moved to Reno. And he was, tried to get into college, remember I told you, he tried to get into college and the university wouldn't accept him because he was Japanese descent.

RP: This was --

AI: And then when he tried to join the army they wouldn't let him because Japanese descent. And then they finally, when they did allow him to join, he was 4-F. So, yeah, I don't know much about my, what my brother did before the... I guess I was just too young to realize what he was up to, doing.

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

<Begin Segment 7>

RP: What else did you recall doing for fun just as a kid growing up in Oakland there?

AI: Oh, other than breaking neon signs? [Laughs]

RP: Yeah, breaking neon signs and collecting pennies for your brother.

AI: Yeah, you know I don't recall... I had a few friends, upstairs from the shop there were living spaces there and apartments. And I had a couple of friends there but I can't recall their names, and I used to play with them. And one of the things I do remember, though, was that when we were, when we were burning our artifacts, one of the, one of my friends says, you know, "We saw you, you and your parents burning things." And said, "We could report you and you'd be in a lot of trouble." I said, "Oh yeah?" So I don't... nothing ever happened after that, but we did, we did have to get rid of a lot of stuff. My, we had... one of our friends was a photographer and he, we had reels and reels of motion pictures. You know, in that time that was pretty expensive to do, and they burned all those, got rid of 'em. So we won't have, don't have anything left of that.

RP: Yeah. A lot of your family history went with it.

AI: Yeah.

RP: And you actually watched these items being burned?

AI: Yeah, yeah. I remember it was just big old drum out in the back. It was burning all that stuff.

RP: Throwing things in?

AI: Yeah.

RP: Can you give us a little bit of a picture of the, the community that you grew up in, in terms of its racial...

AI: In Reno?

RP: Actually in Oakland, if you can recall.

AI: Oh, in Oakland? You know, yeah, I don't, I don't recall too much after the war started. I recall that when we... down the street was a movie theater and I had just come home from the movies and my folks had this long look on their face and they said, "Oh, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor," and all that sort of thing. And, you know, after that, I don't recall too much that happened other than the burning of the things. I don't remember having curfew or anything at that point, but in some of the books I've read about, about families... like there's this family in Sacramento that they had a travel limit. They couldn't be beyond three miles of their home. But, well, and then we experienced a little bit of that when we moved to Reno, but...

RP: Right. I was getting more at the ethnic composition of the, of the Oakland community that you grew up in?

AI: Other than the, the Japanese school, we'd have programs where we'd do, show our wares on how well we could speak Japanese and that sort of thing and they'd have variety show and that sort of thing. But I don't recall too much other than that.

RP: You said that, that this black girl took you to school.

AI: Uh-huh.

RP: Were there a number of blacks living in the area that, that you lived...

AI: Yeah, my recollection is there was, that there was. Where we were, Seventh and Market, is pretty close to where the Alameda tube was, it goes under the, under the bay to get to Alameda. So it was in a location that was predominately black. I would think that's why the Japanese usually settled, 'cause it was easier for them to get in there than into other communities.

RP: Than white.

AI: Yeah. And, it was... well, actually, the town of Reno, they always had the signs up in the restaurants saying, "Reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." And I was very naive about it, in thinking about that. But, it was discrimination and that, that went on for quite a while after we got to Reno.

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

<Begin Segment 8>

RP: So you, you say that you were coming back from the movies when you...

AI: Yeah, oh yeah. When I --

RP: -- you were talking about Pearl Harbor.

AI: -- when I came and they had the long face. And that's about all that I recall is they said.. and I remember going down to City Hall and getting our Christian names. But that's about all I recall, other than the burning. And the next thing I know, we're going to Reno. And I even asked my brother what prompted that decision and he doesn't recall what happened. And I was just talking to a couple at the opening ceremonies just a little while ago. They're residents of Colorado, and they lived in Los Angeles when the war started. And they said they moved to Colorado, to Denver, because they had a aunt who lived here. So they probably met the same prerequisites that was required of us and, and were able to move here.

RP: Right. And you told me that you, the decision probably was made in a very short time to leave.

AI: Yeah, that's how my brother recalls it and, and that's how I recall it. The decision was maybe within weeks because the window (of opportunity) wasn't very large.

RP: It was about a month.

AI: Yeah. Pardon?

RP: Less, less than a month.

AI: Yeah, yeah.

RP: From March 1st to March 27th, and that was it. One, if you were frozen in place after, after March 27th. So sometime during that time, your parents made that decision to go. And tell us, if you can recall, Art, what, how did you prepare in terms of you had two businesses. Or actually one building.

AI: Yeah, one building.

RP: And, do you recall what happened to, to the businesses and...

AI: Yeah, yeah. I've asked my brother about that. I didn't know. But the only thing I thought I had heard was they paid someone some money to close down their business. And my brother says they gave it to that Brother Star business next door and they took care of sending all the clothes back to the people and closing down the shop and that sort of thing. Fortunately all the, all the equipment and things was leased so I guess my folks just paid off the lease and just left it in place.

RP: And the building was leased, too?

AI: Yeah, I think so. I think so, yeah.

RP: Uh-huh. Did you have personal possessions that you had to store with somebody? Or...

AI: No, I think my...

RP: You just took everything.

AI: We just about took just about... even the piano got up there somehow. And I don't know how that got up there. But...

RP: And what did you have for vehicles to haul yourselves and your...

AI: Yeah. We had an old 1938 Pontiac, well, at that time it was four years old, that we piled everything into and moved up to Reno, that far. Yeah.

RP: Now do you, do you recall any other Japanese American families from your community who did the same thing as your family? Did you...

AI: I don't recall of any directly, that I could, that I could remember. Most of the people that were there already lived there. There was the, the Ishii family, that Fumi Shimada, that -- her maiden name is Ishii -- they lived there in Sparks. There's a Nishiguchi family that lived in Reno, and Mr. Nishiguchi was also a rail worker, but he worked up in the city of Gerlach, Nevada, which was also a railroad town. And he was displaced.

RP: So Reno was sort of a gathering point for not only the displaced from California but from all...

AI: Yeah, but they were there before. It's a strange coincidence, but there's a family in Carson City that ran a cleaners called Mercury Cleaners. And the owners of that were cousin to my wife's father. And that's even before I knew her. So, it, we found, we found out that they, that we had, we had a connection that way, that we never, didn't realize existed.

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

<Begin Segment 9>

RP: A couple more questions about this very sort of pivotal move to Reno. One was you shared with me the fact that in order to voluntarily relocate that you had to have a job and a sponsor?

AI: Yeah, a sponsor and a place to stay.

RP: A sponsor, okay.

AI: Three prerequisites.

RP: So, I guess the key question that I want to ask you is why Reno rather than anywhere else?

AI: Yeah, it just so happened that my mother had a customer, Mrs. Norton was her name, that moved to Reno and heard about her plight. And I don't know whether my mother contacted her or, or she contacted my mother. But she found a business for my mother, a dress-making shop, and also the person that spoke up for her. And then we went up and found a place to stay. It was interesting trying to find a place to stay. My brother, I think it was my brother, went up to Reno and, or at least made phone calls to Reno and to find... looked in the want ads and looked at the places. And they, and they say, "Oh sure, come up and look. What's your name?" And we say, "Imagire." And they write Imagire down. And then my brother would go and knock on the door and he'd say, "Hi, I'm Robert Imagire." They, as soon as they saw he was Japanese, they put, closed the door in your face. So, he spent quite a bit of time finding a place, but we finally found one, it was owned by an Italian person, his name was Freddy SanguinettI think. And he rented us a place and it was on the northeast side of Reno, which is also now a freeway. Seemed to get displaced by --

RP: Do you know what, remember what street it was on?

AI: It was called Spokane Street. S-P-O-K-A-N-E street, in Reno, in about the seven hundred block.

RP: Art, do you, do you recall anything about the trip to Reno? Leaving Oakland --

AI: The only thing I remember is what I told you about coming over the Donner Bridge. As we're coming down -- Donner Bridge is on the Nevada side of the Sierras -- and as we were coming onto the bridge we saw armed soldiers with fixed bayonets. And I remember father telling us to get down on the floor and we slowly crept past them and fortunately went by without incident. But that was, that was one, I guess, sort of disconcerting experience that... I think that was about the only thing that happened on that trip.

RP: 'Cause there were stories from other folks who voluntarily relocated to other states and people wouldn't sell 'em gas or wouldn't allow them to stay in a motel or, again, because of their, of the look of the enemy sort of thing. And so that was really the only incident that... it wasn't really an incident, but...

AI: Yeah, we didn't, we went... at that time, Reno was probably a good sized trip 'cause it was only two-lane road. I think it took four hours to get there by car. But it was, it was... apparently uneventful.

RP: Right. So Mrs. Norton kind of acted as a sponsor for...

AI: Uh-huh. She spoke up for us, yeah. She remained my mother's customer when, after she moved up to Reno.

RP: Uh-huh.

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

<Begin Segment 10>

RP: And can you describe a little bit, you mentioned about your brother, a very poignant story, trying to find housing at an unfortunate time. And you finally located that. How about your father? Did he have difficulty finding work as well?

AI: You know, I don't, I honestly don't recall much about, he...

RP: What did he do?

AI: Once he, once he got to Reno he found a job working in the cleaners. And I think it was a, a relative of my wife's relatives. They had a, they had a cleaners in Reno and my father worked there for a while. Then after that, before he got his stroke, he was an elevator operator for the building that my mother was in. And the shop was called the Clay Peters building and if you, if you're familiar with the town of Reno, there's a, there's a gambling casino there called the Virginian and it's between the Truckee River and Harrah's Club. And that's where the, the Clay Peters building used to exist. It was a four-story building, and she had a place right at the front so that you could look down onto Virginia Street. And I remember many times watching Fourth of July parade or Thanksgiving Day parade or that sort of thing, watching it out that window. So that was... she had a, she had a prime spot.

RP: And how did, how did she adjust to Reno?

AI: Well, apparently fairly well. She accumulated a fairly good business. She had customers that were the wives of the gambling hall owners and that's a very prominent people. So she did quite well. She did that until she... she, she kept that shop going while she was taking care of my father. So my father was, when he finally, when he got his stroke he was paralyzed on the right side. But he could get up and take care of himself, so he would, Mother would fix him a little breakfast and then he'd get up by himself and brush his teeth, and he would go outside and water the lawn. He could take care of himself for quite a while. But then, one time she, she collapsed and hit her head in the hallway somehow and ended up in the hospital a bit. So we had to take care of my father for about six weeks and when we did that we said, "Wow. We don't know how she's doing that." Because he, he takes such a, so much effort of taking care of a person. So then I... oh, I lost my train of thought. Anyway, she, we just couldn't understand it because at, by that time, and I don't know, maybe it was about ten years that he'd been an invalid, he was always wetting the bed. He'd get up in the morning and have to have a rubber sheet and change the sheets. And my wife, when we'd just had our first child and was just takin' care of the first child and she had to make a decision of whether take care of the baby first or my father first. So, it was rough, and we're saying, "God, how is she able to do that?" But she was able to do that and did it for twenty years. I was really amazed at that, that she could do that.

RP: Now, she was actually designing dresses and...

AI: Yes, she did some designing on her own, yeah. And, but she did mostly alterations, after Reno she did alterations.

RP: And you mentioned to me that there was generally most people... your business did well but there was one incident with a tenant in that building who did...

AI: Oh, yeah. That's, that was the only discrimination I think that my mother had, was there was, there was a tenant that had an office on the upper floor that was violently opposed to her being in that place. Well, not violently, but she, she demonstrated that she did not care for my mother. If she would come down the elevator she would, and my mother would get in, she would get out and walk down. Or if they went in together, she would turn around and walk up the stairs. Finally, one day... my mother was always trying to be very friendly to her. She'd say, "Hello," and everything, greet her. She was, that lady was coming down and stopped at the third floor, my mother started to get in, that lady rushed out in a huff and started walking down the stairs, tripped and fell and broke her arm. So, and Japanese call it bachi. And bachi is something like, "You get what's coming to you."

RP: Kind of like karma?

AI: Yeah. Something like that.

RP: Japanese karma.

AI: Yeah. So, anyway. That, that was the only... everyone else was very nice. The kids that I associated with -- and the only reason I think that I wasn't bothered with it was if the, if the kids didn't like I was Japanese, just didn't associate with me.

RP: They never subjected you to any verbal harassment, or --

AI: No, I didn't come up against any discrimination. No, none at all. I was fairly lucky.

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

<Begin Segment 11>

RP: Now, let's talk about your situation, you're, what, almost ten years old, you're in a new town, a different school and I imagine that you might have been the only Japanese American in your class?

AI: Yeah, well, there were, other than... let me think a minute. There were, there were, there was, there were a couple of the families that happened to live there. One, there was one girl, Mimi, she was two or three years younger than I. There was Fumi's sister, Toshi, we went to different high schools, but I recall I took her out on the senior prom. And I think it was her senior prom, or either mine, I can't remember. But that was about it for my social life. It was...

RP: Did you have other Asian groups, like Chinese represented at all?

AI: That was all... there were a few Chinese but there weren't as many. There were probably as many Chinese as there were Japanese. There was one gal that was in my class -- and the fact is, when we had our fiftieth reunion, I met her at the reunion -- and, but that, she was the only one in my class. And there was a couple others. But I don't know what happened to 'em or anything. I didn't associate with them. So, and as far as... I never, I never dated any people outside my race. Fact is, one time when I was in college, I asked this one girl out and she accepted and then later on she said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I can't go." And I kinda think it was her parents or something that said she couldn't go out. So, but then, after, when I moved from Reno after I graduated to San Francisco, I felt almost -- even though I was Japanese -- I was conspicuous. I felt conspicuous amongst all these Japanese 'cause I wasn't used to seeing so many. So, yeah.

RP: Did you feel that way in school, in Reno? You know, that, feel so different between...

AI: Yeah, a little bit. Everyone was really nice to me. Fact is, when I was in junior high school, I ran for senior class president. I was the only... I ran unopposed. So I won that. And I got, I was in a couple of school... I was school officer for, in high school, too, but I never did do anything big. [Laughs] But everyone... and when I go back to the reunions, everyone, they're all... but I always feel like I kinda missed out on something because you hear all these of how they all used to go out and raise a ruckus and that sort of thing. Go to the drive-in and hang out. But I never did participate too much in that other than the little class activities that I had.

RP: How about your... when you said your brother tried to get into college?

AI: Oh, my brother?


AI: Oh, I don't recall much about that other than the fact that he tried and he couldn't get in.

RP: So what did he end up doing in Reno?

AI: Well, he said he... oh, I told you the story about how he worked in a rooming house and how he had, because of the curfew, how he had to stay at the, at the place because of the curfew. And he would just come home on weekends. And when I approached my brother about that he says, "You know what, I don't recall anything about that." So, I don't know if there's any truth to that or not.

RP: Like the question of what kind of restrictions you were...

AI: Yeah, well, we did have curfew. You had to be in at eight o'clock at night.

RP: And that was just specifically targeted for Japanese Americans.

AI: For Japanese, if you were Japanese, yeah. And all I remember used to have blackouts. I remember used to have the blackouts. Used to have to turn all the lights off and all that. So I remember that. But that was everybody --

RP: Everybody.

AI: -- had to participate in that.

RP: Uh-huh. That was the only other restriction that you can recall is the eight o'clock a.m. to eight p.m. curfew?

AI: Uh, no, I don't even think there was a travel limitation.

RP: Right.

AI: Yeah.

RP: How about a restriction on gatherings? Some folks in Colorado who we interviewed about a month ago said there were restrictions on... there could only be two cars in the yard or a certain number of people to gather at one time.

AI: I don't, I don't recall. We used, we used to have parties with other what few, what few friends there were, Japanese. And we used to, they used to get -- I remember my mother used to have parties for 'em and they'd all come over and they'd do singing and drinking and all that sort of thing. But I don't recall of any restrictions on gathering.

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

<Begin Segment 12>

RP: So, what families did, did you socialize with?

AI: Well, like I told you, the Nishiguchis, that's the railroad family. There was a old gentleman by the name of Oshima, he owned a laundry also. And there was the Fukuis. And, oh gosh, I can't remember all the names.

RP: You mentioned a Mr. Yama...

AI: Oh, Yamagishi. Oh, he, Mr. Yamagishi was... my mother hired him as my tutor. She wanted to continue my Japanese education so he was my tutor. And like I told you, Mr. Yamagishi owned a bingo hall in partners with Bill Harrah. And I don't know the complete truth about this, but he was partners with Bill Harrah and they had, they had a bingo place, parlor that was in between Harrah's... oh, the old Harold's Club and the Nevada Club. It was a little, little dinky bingo hall. It was called Harold's Bingo at that time I think. And, the story goes is that he was in partners with Bill Harrah and when the war started, Mr. Yamagishi kind of turned over the, the part, his part of the business to Bill Harrah and Bill Harrah slipped out from under him and took everything. I don't know the true story. And when I was in Los Angeles a little while ago I was gonna talk to Tommy Ikkanda who happens to be a son-in-law, and I was gonna ask him if they know if that, if that situation was true. But I never did contact him. But Tommy is a fairly prominent leader in the, in the west Los Angeles area. I recall, I recall he and his wife were there in Reno and I don't know how, whether they relocated up there or what. But they were there for a short while and then, and moved away.

RP: You're actually, you're correct, they did relocate from Manzanar. They came from, they came from Manzanar.

AI: Oh, they did. Oh, okay.

RP: They left pretty early. I think they were up there at the end of '42 or... his wife -- and he told me this -- he said his wife had family in Reno.

AI: Yeah. Oh yeah.

RP: And so that's who it was. It was Yamagishi. Yeah.

AI: Yeah. I recalled they, they lived there for a while. But I don't know what the situation was with them, so...

RP: So you had a private tutor for your Japanese lessons.

AI: Yeah, it was --

RP: How did that work out?

AI: He got the old, I got the same old textbooks that I had in, in Oakland. And he would make me read through that and it was so boring. And I finally talked my mother into letting me quit. He would just sit there and make me read the stuff and write and write, keep writing over again.

RP: Did your mom let you quit?

AI: Yes. She finally let me quit. I think she gave up because I pestered her so much, I don't know.

RP: She relented.

AI: Yeah. But then, like my kids, I regret that I did quit that because I, my Japanese comprehension is next to zero. I know a few words, but like I say, I know enough to be dangerous.

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

<Begin Segment 13>

RP: Art, we were talking about how your family adjusted to a new life in Reno. What about, about a church? Did you, did you find a Methodist church in that community?

AI: Yeah in, in Reno we found, we went, I went to the First Methodist Church there in Reno. The pastor had two sons. His name was Busher, I don't know what happened to him. But the son was Fred and -- there's a Fred and a Frederick and I can't remember... Fred was the younger one. We used to, we used to bum around together and go to choir camp and all that sort of thing. And at that time, Harold's Club gave free scholarships to the, to the choir, to the choir camps. And my mother thought that was awful, refusing, I mean accepting money from a gambling place to do churchy kind of things. She thought that was almost sacrilegious. But, the Harold's brothers were quite generous. Every year they gave $4,000 scholarship to every high school in the state of Nevada. Which wasn't many, but was about... there's seventeen, there was seventeen, I think there was seventeen counties and I think there were about eighteen or twenty high schools. And he, you know, back then, $4,000 was a lot of money. I had a, I had a college classmate that was a Harold's Club scholar from the town of Carlin, Nevada. And in, I think... they must have given them the whole $4,000 right in one whack. And he gambled that whole $4,000 away in one year. Oh, I couldn't believe that. But I remember he was struggling to finish college. [Laughs] He gambled it all away.

RP: Art, you mentioned this gentleman, Mr. Ishii? A gentleman who owned a cleaning store in Reno?

AI: Ishii? No, that's, that would be... well, Oshima, Mr. Oshima owned a laundry.

RP: Oh, Mr. Oshima, I'm sorry.

AI: Ishii is the railroad guy.

RP: Okay, Mr. Oshima.

AI: Yeah he... but he had been in Reno for a long time. And, fact is, he was one of my father's drinking buddies. And I don't know whether my father worked at that, his shop or not. But Mr. Oshima eventually sold it to one of my wife's relatives in Carson City's cousin. And he ran it for a while. His name was Fukui and he was a relative of the Carson City family. And he ran that, I think it was a cleaning and a laundry combined. But, oh, there was a family there name of Takeuchi that lived, that lived there originally and had a fish market, the American Fish Market. And he had that for a long time until he finally retired and moved to Reno -- no, moved to the Bay Area somewhere.

RP: Where was the market located in Reno, do you recall?

AI: Market was... I'm thinking around somewhere... I can't recall exactly. Oh, wait a minute. Gosh, was that Sierra Street? About Second and Sierra or something like that? I'm not fully sure of that. It might have been Lake Street which is a couple streets down. But I'm not sure.

RP: So most of the Japanese families in the Reno area were primarily working-class people?

AI: Pretty much, had businesses. There was a, a guy by the name of Fred Aoyama. He was younger than Mr. Oshima. But he had a automotive repair place for a long time. And then his family all moved down to the Bay Area and he eventually followed them there. But he was, he was an old time Reno person. And Mr. Oshima's son became the County... I don't know what exact position, County Engineer or something like that. The City Engineer for long time until he finally passed away. George Oshima. And his wife was Eunice and her maiden name was Nozu, N-O-Z-U, and they... he was an old farmer and he died quite early, right shortly after we arrived, I think. And he was, I think he was a farmer and he had a couple of daughters and a couple of sons and I don't recall what happened to them. But they were one of the existing families in Reno, old Reno family.

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

<Begin Segment 14>

RP: Now how long did you live in this... was it an apartment did you say?

AI: Oh, no, it was a house. The one that was on Spokane Street?

RP: Right. Did you eventually...

AI: Yeah, we lived there a couple years then we found another place. Where was that? That was a little, a little closer to town. It was called Aitken Street. Oh, it's by the Washoe County Hospital, right there. And we lived there for... oh gosh, when did we buy that house? In the '50s I guess. So we lived there for maybe three or four years and then, and then finally bought a house out on Capitol Hill and that place is still standing. That was out on the southeast part of town, close to Wells Avenue. Wells Avenue is kind of a main north/south drag, just before it connects to South Virginia Street. At the time, when we bought the house it was, it was literally country. Because down the street a little bit there was a horse pasture. Then when my mother moved, they finally, she sold it and used the proceeds from the sale of the house to provide her income for the rest of her life. So...

RP: There were no issues related to discrimination and, and trying to get, buying a house?

AI: No. I don't think, I don't think we had any problems.

RP: You talked about during the war, businesses in Reno would have signs up. They refused service. Were there any that were specifically targeting Japanese?

AI: Oh, no, not that I recall. I don't... fact is, I worked for JC Penney's for a while as a stock clerk. And my boss was a black gentleman. Oh, I've forgotten his name now. But anyway, he would tell me, he says, "You know, Art," he says, "You're a lot better off than I am." He says, "You could go places that I can't." And I said, "Really?" I didn't, I didn't realize that at the time there was still discrimination against blacks. And that was, what, early '50s and that sort of thing. Well, fact is, after I graduated from college and came back, worked for the naval shipyards for a while and then, and then went in the service and then came out and went to work for a company called Aerojet in Sacramento, it's an aerospace company. And they used to send me back to Tennessee where there was a large Air Force testing facility where we'd test our product. And I remember going there in the early '60s and encountering... had to go to the restroom, there's black, or "colored," and "white." And so I had to make a decision which one to go into. Well, when I peeked into the "colored" one it was dingy, always dingy and dirty andso I'd always opt for the... but apparently the southerners recognized Asian people as, more as foreigners than people of different color. So they were more, more readily accepted.

I recall I had an extended stay at, in Tennessee, so I had to get a haircut. And I was getting a haircut and this young kid kept staring at me and staring at me. And we both finished our haircuts together and were walking out the door. And the kid's running up to the car where his mother was gonna pick him up. And he said, "Mommy, mommy, look at that strange man." So, I realized that probably there weren't too many Japanese or Asians there at that time, but since that time, since I've gone there, because of that facility there, they'd hired a lot of Asians, Indian, that sort. So there was a large non-white contingent of people there. And those... probably wasn't until about '65 or so that they fully integrated.

And where I was was near the town of Pulaski, Tennessee. And, you know, Pulaski is the home of the KKK. And so when I would, we would be testing late at night and we'd be sitting around BS'ing while we're waiting for test preparations to finish. And we would talk about what we were gonna do for the weekend. And we were always warned by the guys that whatever you do, stay on the main roads. Don't go off the main roads because people will shoot first and ask questions later. Because a lot of moonshining going on there still. Tennessee was a dry state. Well, it was dry by the county. And, there were, yeah, there were just a lot of moonshining going on. My friend was always... the fellow worker was always good at finding where, where the hooch was to go buy. So, that was, that was quite an experience. And we actually drove through Pulaski and it was just a regular community, but gave you a creepy feeling. [Laughs]

RP: KKK headquarters.

AI: Home of the KKK. They, they don't pull any punches there but...

RP: Just to backtrack a little bit on the story that you shared about this black manager when you had a stock job. He made this comment that you mentioned about that you're lucky, 'cause I can't go to certain places? So, so is that... can we take that as a reference to Reno? That there were certain places he couldn't go in Reno?

AI: Oh, yeah. They couldn't go into the clubs. Fact is, in the late... before I left, which was '55, they'd built a special club for the black people, and it was on Lake Street. I recall that it's not there anymore but it...

RP: Even gambling was segregated?

AI: Yeah, so...

RP: But you didn't, you or your parents didn't... well, your mom didn't want to go into casinos anyway, but if you, if you were of age and wanted to...

AI: Yeah she, the only time she would go is to take friends. 'Cause the friends there would always want to go to the clubs. But, or they came to visit or whatever.

RP: There were no other facilities that, that prohibited you from coming into them? Like swimming pools or theaters?

AI: You know, I don't think I encountered that. Because there was a place called Moana Hot Springs which, just south of town, and I recall going there and swimming. I was not excluded. So I didn't, I didn't encounter anywhere, that I recall, that I was barred from entering. Yeah, I don't... yeah, I don't recall any at all.

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

<Begin Segment 15>

RP: So, Art, where did you attend grammar school in Reno?

AI: Well, excuse me, the first grammar school I attended was called Orvis Ring and it was... I was in the third grade and I almost flunked the, that grade because California was behind in arithmetic. And I forget what... I think it was fractions or something like that I, that I almost, that I almost flunked out because of that. I finished third grade there and then, because of where I lived, I went to a place, a school called Southside School. Neither one of those exist anymore. Then I went to Billinghurst Junior High and that's where I was, I think I was senior class president or something like that. And then from Billinghurst I went to Reno High School. And actually, none of those schools are left. They're all they're all gone now. We just, we just had our fiftieth reunion in 2001. And that, our class is fairly progressive but the alumni association is pretty active and they were able to build an alumni house right adjacent to the school. They have all the, all the artifacts from all the different classes and things and I think that's kind of unusual for a high school.

RP: And then you entered UNR?

AI: Yeah, University of Nevada. Yeah. At that time there was only one campus, like I told you, so it was only called University of Nevada. And I attended the school of electrical engineering. There was only (thirteen) in our class. By the time we graduated there was only six in the class. It started out like about sixteen or so and then we withered down to six. There was about two hundred and fifty total in the class. So it was a fairly small campus and I was up there recently and my gosh, it's grown. It's so huge. And I think it's got ten, twenty thousand population of students. It's really grown.

RP: One of the draws about being in Reno is, is the fact that, you know, you're not too far from the great outdoors.

AI: Yeah.

RP: Did you, did your family take any trips? Did you discover any parts of Nevada, fishing or hiking or...

AI: No, actually, my folks used to like to go out on picnics and things like that but after they moved to Reno they didn't do too much traveling. I guess mainly... one of the problems was being, my father's being an invalid and didn't travel too much. So we didn't. And I had a, I had a friend that was a hunter and a fisherman and he tried to teach me how to fish and hunt and I just never... I was impatient with fishing and I was a terrible shot. So, I didn't, I didn't do much on that.

RP: Did you have a sense growing up in Reno that your parents would rather have remained back in Oakland if circumstances allowed them to?

AI: I don't know that... my mother never related anything like that to me. She never had any regrets or anything. And taking care of my father, she never, never complained about that.

RP: Uh-huh. And you said that you actually went through the ROTC program at University of Reno?

AI: Oh yeah. At... when I was going to college, the Korean War was going on and in order to avoid that, ROTC was required for the first two years, 'cause it was a Land Grant college, and then I opted to take the following, the two years, and receive a commission. And that gave me a deferment until I graduated. And so I... when I graduated I received the commission and was told that I would... you had to serve two years active duty to do that. But they said, "Oh, we'll give you an option now. You serve six months and then for three or four years you serve in the active reserve." I said, "Oh, I'll do that." So when I got my orders, I looked, I looked on my orders and it said start at this date, and the end of the tour of duty was two years away. And I said, "Hey, wait a minute. I opted for this six months deal." And they said, "Oh, I'm sorry. We dropped that program." So I ended up staying there, in the army, for two years.

RP: So you completely avoided the Korean War then?

AI: Yes, I did. By the time... 'cause 1955, Korean War was over. So I felt pretty fortunate, although I felt unpatriotic doing that. But I wanted to finish college before I went.

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

<Begin Segment 16>

RP: One other question about the, the war time. There's some people who kind of feel like they missed out in not going to camp, or they feel...

AI: Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's what I tell them. I tell people because that's, that's a main topic of conversation, "What camp did you go to?"

RP: Yeah. And it's such a part of Japanese American history.

AI: Yeah.

RP: And in this country it's almost like a badge that you carry.

AI: Yeah.

RP: And so you didn't and how do you... is there a little, is there a gap when you get together with other people that were in camp? Do you feel left out, or how does it... what is it like?

AI: Well, they... a lot of times when they talk about that and, and they ask me. And they say, "Where did you go to camp?" And I say, "Oh, I escaped." I say, "We, we moved to Reno." And they say, "You escaped?" And a lotta people don't realize that you could do that, actually move. So, when I think in retrospect, I think that was a pretty brave move on the part of my family to do that. To drop everything and move. My mother was a stickler for education, wanted my brother to continue his education, go to college. And that's why he was starting to get into college. But he finally went to Chicago and got his degree in commercial art or something like that, was able to graduate. But, yeah, anyway, he was a, he... this might be another aside and you may want to dump it. But, when he came to Reno and Mrs. Norton happened to be what's called the Baha'i religion. You ever hear of that?

RP: Baha'i?

AI: Yeah, Baha'i religion. It's, I think of it as the United Nations of religions. It embraces all religions and it believes that all, all nine, that all nine major religions... and recognizes those nine. Fact is, nine is their symbol. They don't have any churches and in order to have an assembly they have nine people. And (my brother)... Mrs. Norton was that and he attended that and he was the kind of a guy that was always searching for the "right answer." And he finally landed on this Baha'i religion and he took that up and he became fairly prominent in it. I was surprised that one time that when I googled it, him, he showed up quite a bit as a pioneer for the Baha'i. And that's what he did. He would, he would go to Japan and pioneer. And when he went to Italy, he would start assemblies. He went to Guam, finally ended up in the Cook Islands and he did some work there. He lived there for ten years and now is living in Hawaii. So he was... fact is, he converted my mother to, to Bahai'ism. But then after a while she went back to, to the Methodist church. I don't know why, but she did.

KP: Can I ask a question? About your brother. He was definitely of military age and I guess he tried... did he try to enlist and they...

AI: Yeah. He tried to enlist. Yeah. He tried to enlist a couple of times and then wasn't... yeah. Although he doesn't remember it that way. That's our recall and I don't, I don't know who's, who's right on that.

RP: Right. He tried to enlist in Reno.

AI: Well, he said he finally enlisted, tried to enlist and was 4-F. He didn't tell be about the previous trials, so I don't -- attempts -- but I don't know whether he, he didn't recall that or what. I don't...

RP: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

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

<Begin Segment 17>

RP: And, what made you get into electrical engineering?

AI: Gee, I don't know, really. I always liked to do tinkering with electrical stuff and I guess... I recall when I was going to school I almost blew up the lab because I hooked up things wrong. [Laughs] We had this huge, huge panel that they used big cables to transfer power out here and there. And the professor said, "Now, boys, remember," I remember he had a bald head, hair around the side and it -- said, "Remember boys," he says, "always hook up the source last." And I didn't remember that and I hooked it up first and blew... and had the other end dangling and they touched, and he came in and the top of his head was all red. And he said, "Who did this." I caught hell for a while. But that, I don't... my mother wanted one of us to go into medicine. But we never did do that. She wanted to always say, "My son, the doctor."

RP: So that's not just a typical Jewish trait.

AI: No.

RP: 'Cause I got, I got that so much growin' up.

AI: Yeah, yeah.

RP: "You got two choices, Richard, either doctor or lawyer." So I ended up a ranger. So how much time did you actually spend in Reno? When did you...

AI: Well, gosh, through college. So we got there in '42 and I left in '55. Yeah, so... that was what, thirteen years or so. All the way up through University of Nevada and graduated.

RP: So did you see any significant changes in the community during that period?

AI: With respect to the Japanese community?

RP: Japanese community... were there other Japanese coming to, to Reno?

AI: Well, I think the, I think when the war ended, a lot of -- well, I don't want to say a lot -- but a few of the families left, went back to wherever they came from. And I don't... like maybe the Ikkandas. There's one other family there called Hirose and I'm not sure whether they... I think they came up there and left. And fact is they're living, or the daughter is living in Sacramento now. So, but I don't, I don't know what their situation of how they, how they ended up, whether they voluntarily left or what. But, anyway.

RP: Was there ever any discussion you can recall about that very same thing in your family? About moving back to Oakland?

AI: No.

RP: You were pretty well settled there?

AI: I don't think that... I don't ever recall my mother saying anything about going back. I think she considered Reno her home.

RP: She sounded like she would, again, she had a good, a good business going?

AI: Yeah.

RP: Accepted...

AI: Yeah, I don't, yeah, I don't... and I think mainly one of the major things was because of the condition of my father. She was afraid of moving back or whatever. But, I... gee, I just, I can't imagine... I have to really say something for my mother for having taken care of my father for so long. A lot of people would have, would have just left. She was quite a strong lady.

RP: And what else, what else did you get from her in terms of values or lessons or anything else that comes to mind?

AI: Gosh, I don't know. You know, we're talking about our mothers wanting us to become certain professions. We, one day we, talking to one of my daughters and I said, "What made you decide to go to college?" And she says, "We thought we had to." So I guess we were, we kind of said not "if" you go to college but "when." And they all, all three of 'em graduated college. So, maybe that's one thing. I don't know.

RP: You talked about working at Aerojet. Was it Aerojet General?

AI: Was it what?

RP: Aerojet General in Sacramento?

AI: Yes, uh-huh. It's, yeah, it's... now it's called Aerojet, (an aerospace company), and it's a wholly owned subsidiary of GenCorp. And it used to be General Tire. And they since sold the tire business and became a conglomerate company. And it's, when at the time I was hired there was a, it had about 20,000 employees. And by the time I retired thirty-seven years later it was down to about 2,000. And a major portion of that happened as I, while I, the first few years that I was hired. 'Cause it reached its peak, I hired in '59 and it reached its peak about '60 or '62. There were people going out the door as I was coming in. So... and I was lucky all that time. I was... I call 'em a "work order prostitute" where you, you jump where the money is. And that's what I was. I was always good at finding what the active programs were and jumping into that program and getting on. So I was able to survive. 'Cause there were, there were a lotta people that, in Sacramento, that worked at Aerojet that then following that worked for the state or something like that.

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

<Begin Segment 18>

RP: After you graduated the University of Nevada, you ended up going to San Francisco and working for the Navy or...

AI: Yeah, the Navy shipyards. I was on interior communications there, working on refitting ships to, to fix up their communication system and whatnot. So, and I guess shipyards is gone now. It doesn't exist anymore. They got rid of a lot of facilities.

RP: Which... do you know which shipyard it was?

AI: San Francisco Naval Shipyard.

RP: San Francisco Naval Shipyard.

AI: Yeah.

RP: Okay.

AI: It's the one as you're going across the Bay Bridge, off to the left you could see a giant bridge crane and that was the Navy shipyards at that point.

RP: What type of ships did you work on?

AI: Oh, gosh. Destroyers, aircraft carriers, cruisers, missile ships, even a ship that was used to collect samples from nuclear explosions and stuff like that. But I only worked there, what, a year and a half and then I went into the service.

RP: You said you ended up, you were a twenty-one year old in the service ordering twenty year old veterans around?

AI: Yeah, yeah. I was probably, probably older than twenty-one because by the time I graduated it was '55, I was, what, thirty-three... oh, I was twenty-two. I guess, huh. Yeah. But, yeah, I, when I became a second lieutenant I was assigned a position as a, a commanding officer of the housekeeping outfit that, and housekeeping outfit I worked at... I was at White Sands missile range. And there they had... it was a tri-service facility, army, navy, marines, and the army was responsible for doing the recovery of the drones and the, and the missiles in the area. And they were stationed at Holloman Air Force -- White Sands was down at the bottom of the range, a rectangular range, 40 by 100 miles, and Holloman Air Force base was up on the eastern side, up about the middle. And there they had a, what they called a detachment of recovery people. And there were, there were radar stations that were manned by the army and a few other things. And so I was responsible for that, those kind of people. And so, I had, I had to sign up for the property. And when I'd do inventory. One of the keys was you had to have a good supply sergeant that was able to cover your butt in case you end up with shortages and things like that. And fortunately I had a staff sergeant that was a good supply sergeant. And the master sergeant was, the non-commissioned officer in charge was a real, real good veteran army person that took real good care of me. So I was fortunate. I didn't, didn't try to lord over my power on him or anything. So, it was, it was quite an experience. Part of that job was to... at the time, the army paid everybody in cash. And so I used to tap, each month I have to travel down to White Sands to the, to the bank down there, whatever, to finance... pick-up thirty, forty thousand dollars worth of cash and, and drive it back up to White Sands. And, needless to say, that was a little bit unnerving, but we, I had a pistol and I brought the sergeant with me and he had a rifle and a carbine. So we felt... that was about a 40 mile trip so you're pretty vulnerable for that period of time. But, that was, that was it for my experience in the army. Yeah.

RP: So what did you test at Aerojet?

AI: Oh, Aerojet?

RP: You said you were in Tennessee testing.

AI: Yeah, well, Aerojet was responsible for the Titan, the first and second stage of the Titan missile. Oh, and gosh they, just here recently they finally closed out the Titan contract. It was a fifty-year contract. And one of the last jobs I had for Aerojet was because of the, some of the products that we used was toxic... like we had, we had a what's called the skirt and that's the, that's the thing that directs the flame of the, of the rocket. And that was made out of asbestos. And so of course that was a no-no so they had to change all that to a different, a different material and our job in Tennessee was to test that. And in order to test rockets, by the time, by the time the second stage gets up, it's up at 100,000 feet, the atmosphere is rarified. Well, in Tennessee they have a facility that's capable of attaining that altitude of 100,000 feet. And what they do because they're right next to the Tennessee Valley Authority, they use, they're able to use all the power that's available to them to drive these huge fans to suck this big chamber down, down to about a half a pound per square inch. That was their normal, 14.7 (PSU), bring it down to half a pound. And then they use these big steam ejectors that come out and suck it down the rest of the way. Now, once the engine fires, the engine fires and it creates its own vacuum so they don't need all that stuff anymore. But it was a huge... it was 250 feet deep, it was about 50, 75 feet in diameter, chamber that this engine stood in. And we conducted a duration test, it was 400 seconds or something like that. Setting some kind of a world record for altitude testing. Yeah that, that was one... Aerojet made what's called the Peacekeeper Missile. It was a ten-warhead nuclear missile and everybody thinks that was awful that I... to this day I truly think that that's what helped stop the Cold War. 'Cause we just went out and broke the Russians. They went, they went broke before we did. So, my kids admonish me for being a war mongerer but I say, "Look, it saved us from a nuclear holocaust." So, anyway, that's pretty much... oh they, they made a lot of other tactical missiles and all that other sort of thing, nuclear missiles, they even went into nuclear for a while. But, that was a pretty exciting career.

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

<Begin Segment 19>

RP: So you settled... when did you settle in -- well, you went to work for Aerojet and you settled in the Sacramento area.

AI: Yeah. The main reason was that's where my wife lived. So I looked for jobs right around Sacramento and there were a government facility... McLellan Air Force Base was there, Mather, Sacramento Army Depot was there. But I opted for Aerojet and fortunately it turned out okay for me.

RP: Yeah let's... we can talk about your wife a little bit. Her name?

AI: Gloria.

RP: And what was her maiden name?

AI: Maiden name is Saika, S-A-I-K-A.

RP: And did she have a camp experience?

AI: Yes, she went to Gila. She was about six when all this happened. And she tells me what a traumatic experience it was because she had to get rid of all her toys. She could only bring one. But she tells me... of course, being her age, she said it was actually fun in camp 'cause she did, didn't have any responsibilities as a kid and...

RP: She didn't have answer the "loyalty question" or anything?

AI: Yeah, yeah, didn't have to go through all that. It was, it was rough for the parents. The parents never talked about it at all. But, she went to Gila and she had her own pet turtle that she found and they used to go hide underneath the barracks. They would dig a hole where it was cool there. And they would play cards and that sort of thing. And she said there was a family there... I don't recall what family it was, but they had smuggled a case of Spam into camp. And they used to invite her over to watch her eat the Spam because she enjoyed it so much. They enjoyed watching her enjoy the Spam. And to this day she loves Spam. I still like Spam. A lot of people go, "Yuck. I don't want the Spam." But I guess, I guess it's obtained some popularity with the Hawaiians using it, call it Spam musubi, making the rice cakes out of 'em. But she, she... that was, that was mainly her experience. She had five siblings and one of them was born in camp. Yeah.

RP: Did she, did her situation include her parents losing a farm or a business or anything like that?

AI: You know, I don't think they had a... my wife likes to brag that her father was a gambler. He was, and he was pretty big time. She said after the war they would have a card room in the back of their fountain. The fountain was kind of a front and they would have a, he would have a card, card room and he would have a fancy car every year and smoked cigars and that sort of thing. But eventually it caught up with him and he ended up losing almost everything. And the mother took care of most of the family situation. And Gloria went through college and she actually went to UC nursing school where they had a scholarship program where she could go for... it was all free, lodging, tuition, and everything. And so she was able to get her degree from the University of San Francisco. And they just recently celebrated their fiftieth anniversary. And it so happened to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of the school and they had a big get-together and that sort of thing. But she never used her skills as you would expect as a, as a nurse. She did a little bit of that but then her final career was she was, worked for an insurance company as a, well, I call 'em, a glorified adjuster where they would, where they would negotiate the, the lawsuits that were against the... they had, what do they call it? The insurance, liability insurance. So they, they covered that. That's about all I know about her experience. She's probably all gonna come back and say, "Oh, Art, you said that all wrong."

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

<Begin Segment 20>

RP: Couple questions about the Japanese American community in Sacramento.

AI: Uh-huh.

RP: What was the core of the community and did you get actively involved in organizations like the JACL or church there?

AI: Yeah, not, yeah... the church mainly, the Japanese Methodist church, Sacramento. And it was a combination of the Florin church and the Pioneer church in Sacramento. We help a lot there. And then back in the early '70s, Gloria was on this committee to try and establish a nursing home for, that particularly catered to Asians. And they had applied for a grant from the U.S. government but at that time, Nixon killed the program and so that died for a while. But then, there was a benefactor in, in Sacramento, a fellow by the name of Angelo Tsakapousos who was a immigrant that became very wealthy and in appreciation for that, he returned a lot to the community. And he donated three and a half acres to our group. It's called the Asian Community Center, I think, at that time. And then that started the impetus where we were able to raise, I think it was close to 5 million dollars and built a ninety-nine bed nursing home there. And it particularly caters to, to Asian people. They have Asian, Asian cuisine, Asian workers... some, and a lot of 'em bilingual. And it's... I don't know what the population is there now but Gloria's mother is in there now. She's ninety-four, I think, and has, has dementia. But she, that's something that we're really proud of that we did. We operated a bingo session. We ran two sessions a week of a group of five and we took two sessions out of nine during the week and we were able to raise a million and a half dollars toward that. And for the... just until recently we were able to raise, it was slowly going down but close to 100,000 a year, which is good income. But we had, we elected to quit because there was some opposition over the types of gaming things we were using and... but anyway, that nursing home is really the crown jewel for Sacramento Asian community. And it was one that wasn't necessarily Japanese but it was truly Asian. It was Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Southeast Asian, all kinds. So that's what we're, one thing we're really proud of.

RP: How about, can you share with us a little bit about this Japanese summer school that helps --

AI: Oh, Japanese summer school?

RP: -- introduce young kids to Japanese culture?

AI: Yeah. We started that back in the '70s I think it's close to thirty years in operation. We were part of the core group that started it. And it was a summer school program that lasted about three weeks and they learned speaking Japanese, Japanese songs, the simple writing, foods, learning how to... I don't know if they learned how to make tofu or they make mochi, the rice cake. And they learn about martial arts and all that sort of thing. And it's been, it's been going on all these... we've since fallen out. We were active in it for about four or five years while our kids were going through it but then we kind of backed out of that. But it's still going and going strong. And it has a waiting list to get in. So it...

RP: Are you, do you participate in the program? Do you...

AI: No. There's a Jan Ken Po Association or something like that and it's a group of former, former parents and every once in a while they'll put on a cultural program. Like one they had our former minister come down and talk about the meaning of the Japanese words on and giri and all... you've heard of those. He'd give lectures like that. There's a fellow by the name of John Marshall, who is a protege of Mary Tsukemoto. And when she was teaching in Florin, she was, he was, she was John's teacher. And John became very interested in Japanese art. And he went, and he actually went to Japan and learned how to do a lot of this Japanese, I guess it's tie-dying, it's how you dye fabrics using natural materials and water in a stream. Yeah. And he learned how to do it. And fact is, he made a wall hanging for us with our, our animal zodiacs on 'em and our name. And it was celebrating our twenty-fifth anniversary. And he dyed all the fabrics using natural materials. It's very nice. Yeah. So, John is, I think he's in, somewhere not in the Bay Area but somewhere south of that and he's quite prominent. He makes cloths and wall hangings and all that sort of thing. And then I failed to mention that Mary was our director for Jan Ken Po for two or three years.

RP: Two or three years.

AI: Yeah. She was, she did, she composed a lot of the songs that the kids are still now learning about how they greet each other in the morning and say goodbye when the session closes and all that sort of... she wrote those songs, composed them.

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

<Begin Segment 21>

RP: Mary was also a focal point for efforts to begin preserving histories and interviews and...

AI: Oh, yeah. Yes, she was. And she... I don't know whether she was instrumental in Sacramento State College has quite a huge archive. I think she helped there. She was a very active proponent of reparations. Yeah, testifying in Congress and all that sort of thing.

RP: Right. You weren't in camp, but were you involved in that effort at all?

AI: No, not really. We didn't, didn't get into that fully. But...

RP: But your wife got an apology and a check?

AI: Yeah. We both one. And my brother. And the thing I was concerned about, I said, "Oh, my gosh." I said, "How are we gonna prove we did that?" When... that we left. And they said, they said, "Well, anybody went under the order of 9066, you're eligible." And so I called the ORA, that was in charge of that. And I gave, I said, "Now, I don't know how I'm gonna... how am I supposed to prove this?" And they said, "What's your name?" And I said, "Imagire." And they said, "Oh, that's okay, you're gonna get a check." So, somehow they knew. I don't know whether my folks had to apply, an application, or what. And I don't know... I looked for, through all their records and everything and I don't, I don't see any evidence of that.

RP: Boy, I just learned something really, really important. I always thought it was just people who had gone to camp. It was also folks who --

AI: Yeah. We, we got--

RP: -- left, voluntarily relocated?

AI: Yeah, left voluntarily. And they knew, yeah. Another interesting thing you might not know is... and I forget when this is. Maybe this was about the same time they were allowed to become citizens, about '58 or something like that. Is that when it was?

RP: A little earlier. '52.

AI: '52. The government allowed the Japanese people to sue them. And my folks applied and hired a lawyer and they, and they got a check I remember for $750 or something like that for that. So we kind of got a double payment. [Laughs] But you know, $750 wasn't very much.

KP: Was that the thing that was set up to, if you lost property...

AI: Yeah. Lost property, yeah. There's so many incidences, you probably heard incidences of people lost their business and everything.

RP: Right.

AI: I don't know whether you've heard of this story or not but there's a family in Richmond, California, the big rose nursery called... it's the Ninomiya family. And when the war started they, they turned their property over to their competitor that was across the street, Mr. Abey. And when they, when they came back, he gave 'em a check for all the profit they had made and they got their thing entirely back. And they, just now they're closing it down because the father's died, the son's died, and there's only three girls left. They finally closed the nursery. They had a huge nursery. Several hundred hothouses and it was sad for them because they leased it out for a while and then... to an outfit called Color Spot. I don't know whether you heard of them, but whenever you go to a store there's Color Spot. And they leased it out to them and then when they closed the contract, they put the place up for sale. And they didn't realize it, but they were getting robbed. They would come in and pull all the copper wires out of the hothouses and copper is expensive so they'd save it for the metal. And they stripped most all of the hothouses and they didn't realize it until the one remaining hothouse that they had, they were using for their own personal use. They lost all the power, all the wiring out of that and they had to get it all rewired. So they had to hire security to watch the place until they sold it, until they got rid of it. But that was, to me, an amazing story of how a Japanese family was able to regain what they had lost, 'cause so many people lost their property and never got it back. Yeah.

RP: So what, what do you share with your daughters relative to your experience and your wife's experience?

AI: You know, I was just thinking about that. And I don't, even, we're thinking about the grandchildren... how we see all these young kids coming and, and taking in all this... the kids that went out to the Amache trip and everything. We have never thought to include them in that, but we're thinking, I'm thinking, gosh, we should. To continue this, to this... keep the story going, I guess. I don't... when I talk to my daughter I say, "Oh yeah, I went to Amache." She said, "Amache, I never heard of Amache." I says, oh well. We'll teach you when you get, when we get back. So I guess we weren't very good at that.

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

<Begin Segment 22>

RP: What brought you and Gloria to the, to this conference?

AI: Oh, we... the main thing I think that attracted us to it was the trip to Amache. Because with our visit to Amache meant that we completed a visit to all ten camps. We've been to every, all ten. We've gone on motor home trips and... Tule Lake was our first one.

RP: And when did that start?

AI: Oh gosh, thirty years ago maybe... twenty years, yeah. We went... Tule Lake was the first. And they had a little museum there. And they had sort of a museum curator, and one of the things he mentioned is he says, "Oh yeah, you see all those nine pane windows you see out in the, a lot of the homes out here?" I said, "Yeah." He said, "Well we call those Jap windows, we got them from the camp." So they, when Tule Lake closed they took 'em. When we visited Gila, that was the second one. We visited that in, oh gosh, seventy-something. We went, we went to... looked all over in Phoenix because it was near Phoenix, right, National Archives and, and some of the people even said, "Well, what do you want to go there for? That's all passed." She said, "Oh, I just want to go look." And she recalled that a friend of hers said that she remembers the camp being on an Indian reservation. It was called the Sacaton Indian Reservation. So we drove down there to, to the camp, or to the, to the reservation and we... Gloria says, "Oh look. That's one of the barracks. This must be the place." And so we asked the reservation cop. We said, "Do you know where the camps are?" And he says, "Oh, yeah, you're talking about Jap camp, that's over that way." And so, and we asked him about that structure. It was the hospital and we said, "Isn't that one of the barracks?" He says, "Yeah. When you folks left, we brought those here and used them on our, for our building, for our own use." And a lot of 'em, I think a lot of 'em they cut and made, made structures out of... individual houses out of 'em. And when we went back a second time they were all gone and they said a flash flood came and wiped everything out. And so they had the concrete block type buildings there. But then we went, when we went... yeah, when we went there about, Gloria remembers her camp was the Canal Camp. And the Canal Camp had what they called the buttes. There was two flat mountains on it and one of 'em had an amphitheater and the other one had a water tower. Water tower, of course, was gone but the piers were still there. And you can stand up there and look down and, and recognize the outline of the hospital and all that. We took my, my in-laws there also. And they recalled that. And we saw places where the barracks were and we saw where they had tried to make a little garden, a pond of their own. And we saw wagons, rusty old wagons in the, in the sewer drains and that sort of thing. But then, yeah, we, so we were able to visit all the camps and Manzanar was the next to the last, right. That's when we came to this...

RP: Oh, so that was your first visit to Manzanar?

AI: Yeah. That was, that was our next to the last.

RP: So, where did you go after Gila? What was the next camp?

AI: Oh, Gila then... Gila, oh we went on a trip to Yellowstone and got Minidoka. Then we went on a motor home trip to Branson and we went through Denver, went to Branson, and then we hit Rohwer and Jerome. And then coming back, we went up to Delta and saw Delta. And then we were gonna go to Amache and we were caravanning together with another motor home and he said, "Isn't that gonna be kinda high?" and there were a lotta hills. We said, "Yeah, probably but your..." his motor home didn't have a enough power so it really struggled going up the hill. So anyway, we bypassed Amache because, because it was so high. So then that was the last there.


AI: Was that it? I think so.

RP: I think we got 'em all. Yeah.

AI: Minidoka.

RP: Minidoka... now, you know what you have to do? You have to start visiting all the assembly centers.

AI: Yeah. And the DOJs.

RP: And the DOJ camps.

AI: That's what I was thinking. 'Cause Gloria mentioned we, we drove past Turlock. That's where they were. They went there.

RP: Yeah. You've got eighteen of those sites in California.

AI: Yeah.

RP: And DOJ camps and after that the US Army facilities.

AI: We have a, we have a friend in Los Angeles and at the time they were starting all this thing about the camps... they were concentrating on the ten camps. And he went to Crystal City and he'd confront these people and he'd say, "Why are you just saying the ten camps? There was more than that." And I guess finally they realized. He's gonna be happy. Excuse me. I've got somebody keeps calling me. Can I...

RP: Sure. Yeah, Art, we just want to personally and professionally thank you on behalf of the Park Service...

AI: Oh, thank you.

RP: ...Kirk, and myself, thank you for sharing.

AI: I appreciate you doing that.

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