Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Gloria Toshiko Imagire Interview
Narrator: Gloria Toshiko Imagire
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Sacramento, California
Date: October 17, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-igloria-01-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

RP: But were any of your children on any of these visits back to the camp?

GI: Yes, they came with me, yeah. My kids, I don't know what it is. They don't seem as interested as some of these, some people are really interested in it. And mine, it's maybe in passing, but I don't feel they're that interested. [Laughs] I don't know if I should encourage them to be more interested or what, but they don't... do you know what I'm talking about? Some people are really interested, and they're very lukewarm about it all. They don't really seem that interested. So maybe I'll brainwash my grandkids, and maybe they'll get more interested. [Laughs]

RP: Well, what was it like for you to go back there emotionally?

GI: Emotionally, I guess I sat there, and it's just desert now. And I couldn't believe that we'd all been playing and going to school and doing this and that. And here it was just this, kind of like a ghost town kind of a thing. So it gave me an eerie feeling. But it's just something way far away, it's like it was a dream or something.

RP: And you went there with your parents, too, the first time?

GI: The first time my parents went with us. And the last, and then another time my kids came with us. And then the last time was that dedication of that plaque, it was just my husband and I. By then my father was gone, and my mother didn't come with us.

RP: Did, after camp, in the years after camp, did your parents talk much about your camp experience?

GI: No, not really. No, they never, they didn't. Except when we went to that, when we went to camp, my father said, "Oh, that's where this was, that's where that was," that part. But in between, they didn't really talk about it. None of us talked about it, I guess. It was almost like we wanted to erase that part of it, or something. Because I regret now that I didn't want anything to be, any part of being Japanese. 'Cause I remember when we came back, my parents, I think, they'd want me to go to Japanese school. I didn't go. I didn't want anything. And then as an adult, I thought, "Why did I do that?" But by then, you know, I had done that.

RP: Was there, in your mind, a sense of shame or something attached to that experience?

GI: Yeah. I think it was, I wanted to be the kind that blended into the thing and didn't stand out as...

RP: Different?

GI: 'Cause I remember when we first came out of camp, I thought, "Oh, gosh, they're going to call us 'Dirty Japs' or something." But we went out of camp to Ogden, Utah, and they were Mormons, and they were really kind to us. They never made any reference to the war or to anything like that. So it was...

RP: Did you leave camp towards the end?

GI: I think so. Because what, the war ended in August?

RP: '45.

GI: I think we must have left about August or September. 'Cause everybody was, we were saying, "Wow, how sad, everybody's going."

RP: Yeah, the community that you had there is dispersing.

GI: Yeah, like a ghost town, everybody was going.

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