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

<Begin Segment 1>

RP: This is an oral history for the Manzanar National Historic Site. This afternoon we're talking with Gloria Imagire. And our interview is taking place at the United Methodist Church in Sacramento at 6949 Franklin Street. The date of the interview is October 17, 2008. Our interviewer today is Richard Potashin, and behind the camera is Kirk Peterson. We'll be talking with Gloria about her experiences during World War II as an internee at the Turlock Assembly Center, and later on at the Gila War Relocation Center in Arizona. Our interview will be archived in the National Park's Manzanar Historic Site library. Gloria, do I have your permission to go ahead and continue our interview?

GI: Sure.

RP: Okay. Thank you so much for sharing some time, going back a little ways and looking back into your family history and camp history. We'll start right at the beginning, very first important question, where were you born?

GI: Vacaville, California. It's just a little ways down from Sacramento.

RP: And what year?

GI: 1935.

RP: 1935. Did you also have a Japanese name at birth?

GI: Yes. Actually, my name was Toshiko Gloria Saika. And then after the war, or I don't know when it was, my mom changed it to Gloria Toshiko.

RP: Do you remember what your first and last Japanese names meant?

GI: What they meant? My mom told me Gloria, she named me after Gloria Swanson, you know, the Sunset Boulevard lady? And Toshiko, she named me after her very good childhood friend in Japan. And oh, maybe about four or five years ago, I was able to visit that lady in Japan. I wanted to go see, you know, who this lady was. And she was, by then, in her nineties, I think. And she was waiting for me, she had all this food, and I said, "Did you" -- you know, 'cause I know they do a lot of takeout. I said, "You didn't prepare these foods, did you?" And she says, "Oh, yeah, I did." So it was really emotional to finally get to meet my name person.

RP: And your last name?

GI: It used to be Saika.

RP: Saika?

GI: Uh-huh, that was my maiden name.

RP: Does that have a meaning as well? I think everything does.

GI: Well, you know, my father was -- no, my grandfather was a yoshi, you know in Japan how they used to do that? The oldest son got everything, and so the second son would go to another family.

RP: Take the name.

GI: And he did go to this other family, and Saika, I guess, in this Wakayama... when I went to Japan, I saw that there's a section called Saika. And it's, the Buddhist minister told me, he says, "Oh, that's a famous name in Buddhist history." Because that clan kept something from happening. So, but I always say, "But that's not my, really, real... that's the one my grandfather went into." But, so I guess it's a well-known name in that part of Japan.

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

<Begin Segment 2>

RP: Tell us about your father. First, his name.

GI: My father's first name was Taro. His English name was Fred.

RP: And do you know much about his background, his family background in Japan?

GI: Well, I've gone back to Japan about three times to try to find out more about his family. And in fact, last year, I guess, we made a quick trip to Japan because I finally found his first cousin who was now about eighty-eight. She had taken care of my grandmother, so she wrote and said she was not in good health. So we quickly got plane tickets and we went over to see her.

RP: What was that like?

GI: It was, it was, again, very emotional, because I never thought I would get to see these people. And then out of the blue, I had a picture -- I was a year old and my mom took me to Japan because I was the first grandchild. And it was my grandmother and her, I think two or three sisters. And two young girls, maybe like nine and something, and I later found out -- it's so crazy because I found out this young girl was, she was the relative of my father's cousin who we had know in this country. And all of a sudden, to go back there and find out she's his relative. And then I also found this one woman who was about eighteen in that picture, she's the woman who's eighty-eight now, that I got to meet. So it's, I mean, it's kind of, those throwbacks are like you can't believe it. I mean, they're pictures, and all of a sudden you meet them, you know. So yeah, it was exciting for me to be able to do that.

RP: What was your father's family involved in economically?

GI: My father's family were merchants. And I know one of his aunts who was in that picture, I always heard about this woman who was a midwife who had ridden a horse to Manchuria or whatever, you know. And when I went, they showed me, "Oh, this is where your grandmother had lived, and this is where that lady lived." So it was really, I couldn't believe it.

RP: It really came to life.

GI: Yeah. But they were merchants, and in Japan, I never realized that the merchants are way down on the totem pole, you know. And my mother's family were farmers, but they were, after I was older I realized that in that hierarchy, my mother's family was really higher up than my father's.

RP: And you said they were, your father was from Wakayama?

GI: Wakayama, yeah.

RP: And do you know the village?

GI: Yeah, I know the village. It's from, well, let's see. I just remember this Kada Line. It goes along this Kinokawa River in Wakayama. And that line, it's got all these stops. I think he's from Koya, a place called Koya. And the train station you get off is called Hachiman-mae. To me, that was such a rhythmic name, I loved it. I said, "Oh, I have to go to that Hachiman-mae place, and get off the train, and you're right there. The street's right there. It's such a cute thing, you know. And then when we went to this little store, because I was looking for our relatives, this lady asked me where I was from and I said, "America." And then we got to chatting, and she says, "You know, your mother was here several years ago." And I said, "Oh, do you remember her?' And she said, "Oh, yeah," because she says, "I have relatives from Vacaville." I said, "Oh, yeah, that's where I was born." Isn't that a weird connection? And she says, "Your relative is right up the street," she says, "I'll walk you up there." So she just took me and we went up there and found the place.

RP: Beautiful.

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

<Begin Segment 3>

RP: What brought you father to America?

GI: You know, I don't really know. He was an only child, and his father had come, and I think he died. And so his uncle, you had to have someone call you over, and I think he called my father over. And so that's when my father came.

RP: And where was your uncle?

GI: He was in Vacaville, and I guess he was quite an entrepreneur. He had grocery stores in Oakland and in Vacaville or something. And so...

RP: Pretty well-established.

GI: Yeah, he sounded like he was well-established.

RP: What was his name?

GI: Uramoto. (...) And later, he went on into Nevada, and he owned a cleaner's in Carson City. So during the war, a lot of people -- because people in Nevada didn't have to go to camp -- they went to his place and he taught them the cleaning business.

RP: That's interesting because I think that's what Art's family was involved in.

GI: I know. I said, everybody must have been cleaners, you know. Because his family had a cleaning business, too.

RP: In Carson City.

GI: And, in fact, this uncle that, he was my great-uncle, but he had a cleaner's in Carson City. And his wife's sister, they had a cleaning business in Reno, you know. So it's interesting how they had these little businesses. They were all cleaning.

RP: So your father came over here, and you mentioned that he was involved with a gambling establishment?

GI: [Laughs] My father, they all tell me this story about how, I kind of think he was about sixteen or eighteen when he came here. And he went to work one day in the fields like all the other ones did, and he came back and he said he was never gonna do that again. [Laughs] And so they said he didn't do that. He got into gambling. And he wasn't where he just gambled, he had a gambling establishment.

RP: He ran a...

GI: He ran a gambling place.

RP: And this was in Vacaville?

GI: No. Well, you know, later, I never knew he had one in Vacaville, but I ran into this older cousin. He said, "Oh, yeah, your dad had a gambling place in Vacaville." I said, "Oh, I never knew that," and I said, "I thought he had a gambling place in Lodi during grape season, and he had one in Monterey during the fishing season." He said, "Oh, he also had one in Vacaville." So he kind of moved, I mean, during this season he went here, and during that season he went, and then he must have had this other one. I never knew about that one.

RP: So he'd kind of follow the seasonal migrations and patterns.

GI: Uh-huh, yeah.

RP: And would he cater to Isseis?

GI: Yeah, they were these bachelor men who followed the harvest, you know, and did things. And I never liked it. I just felt, "Well, how come he can't be like other people and have a regular job?" you know. And one time, I guess my mother told the Buddhist minister's wife, and she came to talk to me and she says, "You know, you shouldn't be embarrassed that your father's a gambler." And I said, "Well, why not?" And she says, "Well, you know all these older bachelor people," she says, "they have to have a place go to in their spare time." And she said, "And if they went to a Chinese place, the money would just go." But she says, "If they come to your father's place, he donates back to the church and the kenjinkais." So she says, "It stays in our neighborhood." So she made it sound like it was okay, you know. [Laughs] But I still didn't think it was right. 'Cause I said, "Everybody else's fathers are gardeners, or they worked in the, on the ranches," and I said, "Why does he have to have a business like that?'

RP: She really put it in a positive light.

GI: Well, she did it. And then I thought, "Well, I guess I should look at it in a different light." Didn't seem so, quite the way I had thought of it.

RP: And how old were you? Was this still going on when you were five or six years old?

GI: Yeah. When, before we went to camp, I know that he did that. And right after we came out of camp, he did that, too. So he always had a gambling business.

RP: And I'm not too educated on gambling laws and that type of thing, but he never ran afoul of the law?

GI: No, I don't know how they did it. I mean, I guess...

RP: Maybe a little payoff.

GI: I don't know that, you know. Well, I don't know if they were even aware of things like that. You know, like in your own community, if you did this thing.

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

<Begin Segment 4>

RP: Let's shift gears over to your mom's side. Her name?

GI: My mom's name was Sueko, which means youngest child, Fukushima. Sueko Dorothy Fukushima.

RP: And she was from the same village in Wakayama?

GI: No, she's from, her father is from Kumamoto.

RP: Kumamoto?

GI: Yeah.

RP: Close by?

GI: No. Well, it's... no. Wakayama is kind of in the middle of Japan, and Kumamoto is further south.

RP: How did your father meet your mom?

GI: Well, it's kind of like bringing up all the -- see, my mother, I don't know if it was incest or what, but my mother, I think, was raped by her brother-in-law, and she had this child. And so then I always used to say the victim became like this person, maligned person, you know. Because I remember my mom said her father said, "Oh, we have to marry this girl," or I guess try to do something respectful with her. But here, it wasn't her fault. But anyway, so he, this child was adopted by her sister and this brother-in-law and raised by them. He later became Pat Morita, who became an actor.

RP: The child who was a product of...

GI: Yeah. And I didn't know it when we were little, I always thought he was my cousin. But later on, when we got older, I found out he was my half-brother. Yeah. So it's... it was like something out of the closet. I just never... but he was good. He was so happy to find out he had a sister, 'cause he never had a sister. So in his later years, we became very close.

RP: Did your father go back?

GI: Oh, so then, what happened then is, they said, "We have to marry her off to someone." And I guess this, her sister, the aunt, knew my father, who was a gambler, but they felt, "Well, maybe that's a good person to marry her off to," so they married her off to him. And actually, he was a very, you know, he never questioned or anything, he just accepted her. And together, they had five children after that.

RP: Can you give us the names of your siblings, oldest to youngest?

GI: Well, let me see. Counting him? He's Pat Noriyuki Morita, and then I'm the oldest, so the brother next to me, his name is Clarence Koichi Saika. And next to him is Teddy Shuji Saika, and then I had another brother, Richard Kenbo Saika, he passed away about fourteen, sixteen years ago, of lymphoma. And I have a younger sister, Peggy Kyoko Saika.

RP: You said that your father was very accepting of what had happened to your mother. Conversely, was...

GI: Yes, she accepted his gambling. [Laughs]

RP: It brought an income in.

GI: Yeah, but I used to tell her after I got older, I said, "You know what? If you were really smart, you should have shagged a little bit." 'Cause she used to tell me, "Oh, he'd bring home all this money and just throw it up in the closet and everything." And then when he had his lean times, I told her, I said, "If I were you, I would have taken a little bit." She said, "Oh, I would never stick my hands in his pocket, or his wallet." But I said, "Well, that's what you should have done."

RP: What do you remember most about your mom and your dad, and maybe also share with us some of their qualities that you see in yourself?

GI: Oh, that I see in myself? My mother was, she, her mother died when she was three, but she was self-taught. And she read, and she could do anything. She could cook, she could sew, she could decorate. She could do anything. And I guess my father liked that. She was very attractive. In her days, they used to always tell me, "Oh, your mom is so talented, so good-looking," so this and that, you know. My father was just this stoic Issei kind of guy. But he later, I didn't used to think much of him, 'cause all I thought of him was his gambling. But later, I thought, "I should have gotten to know him better." I think there was a lot more to him, you know. But he read, and he really, you know, he didn't go to school or anything, but he could speak English pretty well, and he understood. He could carry on a conversation with anybody. So, yeah, I really wish now I had gotten to know him better. As far as what I am, I really, I'm not like either of them. I don't care about style, and I don't like all those kinds of things that women usually do, like cook and sew and do all those things. I'd rather just go out golfing or something. So I don't think I really, on the face of it, I think I'm more like my father, because I'm very unemotional and stuff like that. I'm not unemotional, but I'm not the usual feminine-type person that people think Japanese women are. I'm not like that. [Laughs]

RP: Sense of independence?

GI: Yeah, I'm much more independent, and I'm much more outspoken.


RP: How were your raised, your upbringing? Was it both American and Japanese?

GI: Let's see. My father, because he was away with his gambling business, was not always around. So I think most of the bringing up was by my mother. And she was very lenient, so she allowed me to do whatever I wanted to do. And later on, growing up, my mom did give me this freedom. And so some of my friends would have to lie to their mothers, or I wasn't going to do this, do that, they wouldn't tell their parents. But I told her everything because she let me do whatever I wanted to do as long as I was doing the right thing, I think.

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

<Begin Segment 5>

RP: What are some of your earliest memories about growing up in the Vacaville area?

GI: You know, there was a creamery in Vacaville, and Vacaville was a little town of about maybe three thousand people when we lived there. And so there was one street that was where the Japanese all lived with their businesses. So it was very comfortable, my mom would tell me to go get some bread, and I'd just go out and I could go to these little stores and buy things. And every day she'd give me a nickel. But there were two Japanese businesses, candy stores, so she'd tell me, "You can't go to one, or you have to take turns. Go to there one day, go to here one day, you know." And it was those days when you'd go there and you'd get a bag, this candy was three for a dollar -- I mean, a penny, that was one was five for a penny, and you'd get a whole bag for a penny. Or if I didn't do that, I'd go down to the creamery. And that creamery used to have a cone that at the very bottom was a little blue piece of paper, waterproof. And if you got that, you got to have another ice cream cone. But my mom would never let me go get another ice cream cone that day. [Laughs] I had to save it for another day. I couldn't have two ice cream cones in one day. And then, what else? There used to be a row of pecan trees right at the end of town. And when they were ripe, we'd go pick 'em and my mom would make pecan brittle. So I had really... I loved Vacaville. So when we went to camp, that's all I ever said, "I want to go to Vacaville." And when we came out after the war and we went to Vacaville, I said, "I wonder why I wanted to come to this place." [Laughs] But it was just this dreamland or something.

RP: Was it, at that time when you were growing up, a farming community?

GI: Yes, it was a farming community. Most of the Japanese lived on different ranches out. But then there were the families that lived in the town, too.

RP: And were you one of those?

GI: Yeah, we lived in, right in the town.

RP: Were you in the Japanese section of town?

GI: All I remember was this one block was the Japanese section. And at the end of that was the Buddhist church, and then at the end of this was this Sam's, his name was Sam Lum, a Chinese restaurant. And then we lived across the street from that. And when the war started, I knew that this Sam Lum had stored some of our things in his place. But I asked my mom what happened to those things, she said, "Oh, when we came back, he said it had all been broken into, so it wasn't there anymore."

RP: You mentioned that there were several Japanese stores in there in that section of town? Do you remember other Japanese businesses, too?

GI: Yeah, there was a hotel, and there was a beauty shop. Because I remember I used to see those ladies all hooked up to those things to get permanents. And there was a fish store, and a grocery store, and then a couple of these soda fountain places.

RP: Who else do you recall in the town? You mentioned a Chinese. Were there other farm worker groups represented by Mexicans or Filipinos?

GI: No, you know, in those years, I don't think there were Mexicans. Because there were some Chinese that lived across the street from where the Japanese lived, I never really paid attention to that. I just stayed on this side of the street. So no, there were no Mexicans. Even in my class in school, there were some Japanese, and a couple of Chinese, and then the rest were all white. There was not, you know, any mixture. It was not diverse.

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

<Begin Segment 6>

RP: You mentioned that you attended Buddhist observances at the church there. Did you also attend Japanese language school?

GI: I did. I did, and I don't know how long I did it. I just learned a few of the simple katakana, you know how there's the different forms. That's the simplest. And I remember even to this day, the few that I learned, I can still, when I see them, I recognize them. But I took hiragana later, when I came out of camp. I could never retain that. I could only remember the few katakana. So I guess when you're a child, it sticks with you.

RP: Well, for some, for some kids, it was an opportunity to socialize with other kids. Was that the case with you, too? You were pretty young to...

GI: Yeah. I was young, and I think it was just expected of you that you went to Japanese school, too, besides going to your regular. But I was only in it... when I went to camp, I was thinking, I was only in about the second grade. So I don't think I went to Japanese school very long.

RP: How about other activities? Kenjinkai picnics, do you recall those?

GI: No, I don't remember kenjinkai picnics, but I remember like on Easter in Vacaville, Vacaville's got these cute little mountains. Have you ever... they're hills, and in the spring they're pretty and green. And I always used to think, "This must have reminded these Japanese people of Japan." 'Cause they're these cute little hills, they're not like those mountains in Manzanar. And they used to have Easter egg hunts there, I remember that. And I remember playing jacks and things with my friends around, but I don't remember any group activities that we did.

RP: Did you take trips outside the area at all?

GI: My aunt was in Weimar, it's a TB sanitarium, as was my cousin, brother, half brother. They were both in there, and my mom used to load us into the car and we'd go visit Weimar, take a lunch, and she'd bring us to Sacramento. And then when she had her children, my younger siblings, she always came to Sacramento to the midwife to have them.

RP: The same with you?

GI: I was born, I was born too quick. I was born in the house. She didn't make it anyplace. [Laughs]

RP: Was your, do you know if your dad was... I mean, a lot of Issei guys used to send money back to their families in Japan.

GI: I think he did send money to his mom, see, because she, her husband came and he died, and her son came. And so she lived there in Japan. And so I know that he did send money to her all those years.

RP: I know you were, what, about eight years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked, but do you have...

GI: I was, 'cause I was thinking about it, I was six. Six, 'cause I was born in '35. When was Pearl Harbor? '40?

RP: '41

GI: '41, yeah, so I was six. Did we go to camp in '42? I think so. Yeah. 'Cause I remember in '42, I was thinking I was six when we left in May, and then I turned seven in June, 'cause that was my birthday. And people tell me I remember a lot of things in Vacaville for having been that young, but I do remember. I remember all these people, and I don't know if it was 'cause my mom always talked about 'em or what, but to this day, I remember them.

RP: Who are some of those people?

GI: Oh, some of those people? Well, oh gosh, there's a whole bunch of those people. They're all gone now, but there was... and in those days, we used to call these people by their first name. So this lady, we'd call her Shige-chan, and Masako-san, or these different people. Even as children, we would call them by their first names, and I always thought that was kind of odd, that we called them by their first names. But that seemed to be the way they did it in that town. [Laughs]

RP: One other holiday that was celebrated in the Japanese community with a lot of gusto was New Year's Day.

GI: New Year's, yeah. I remember that.

RP: Do you recall any, any of your...

GI: I just remember my mom used to make all these things. And now when I think of it, she used to stay up all night cooking, and making sure everything was all done, all decorated well and everything. And my father used to go out on New Year's, Christmas Eve, I guess. No, maybe it was New Year's Eve, and fire a gun when it was the time, you know. So I was thinking, I guess he had a gun. I never knew that. But when my mom says, "Remember he used to do that?" I thought, "Well, I guess he had a gun."

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

<Begin Segment 7>

RP: Do you have any recollections at all of the events on the day Pearl Harbor was bombed or what happened afterward?

GI: I don't remember that day at all. 'Cause a lot of older people that I know, they know exactly what they were doing. I don't remember anything like that, I just remember immediately afterwards, the, we must have had air raids or something because the kids, we were all huddled together. But my mom used to put up, I don't know if it was a red bulb or a blue bulb that wouldn't show on the outside or something. And I'd hear the sirens going on, and then I remember in school marching around singing, "Buy a bond today." We used to march around every, I don't know, Tuesday or Wednesday or something. And we'd take a dime or something, I don't know how much it cost, but we'd buy a bond to fill our little book. And sometime later, years ago, I found one of those stamps and I thought, "I'm going to take really good care of this thing." And over the years, something's happened to it. I could never find it again. But I do remember that part of it, 'cause I thought it was so ironic because here we were, marching around, singing and buying these bonds, and then a little bit later, we were going someplace.

RP: You were in camp.

GI: Oh, and years later, I've gone back to Vacaville, and I see this place. And it was the Boy Scout center or something, and that's where we all lined up to get our shots before we went to camp.

RP: Oh, you got shots before you went to camp?

GI: Yeah, yeah.

RP: Are there any other... you said you returned to Vacaville in, after the, after camp.

GI: You know, I, it's really dumb, but I told my husband, I said, "You know, I was born in Vacaville. I kind of feel like buying a house in Vacaville and die here." [Laughs] But you know, it's just a little town over there, and it's now gotten to be a bedroom community for San Francisco. There's probably like, about a hundred thousand people now. But, or I don't know, maybe fifty thousand. But there's still a part of me that thinks... because there's a cemetery there, and every Memorial Day we do go there. It's kind of in the old part, but it's where all the Japanese are buried. And so my great uncle and different people are buried there. But I think you have to be a resident of Vacaville to be able to go into that cemetery. At first, I used to say, "Well, I think we should come live here." But then, since then, I've bought a niche here in Sacramento, so that's where I'll end up.

RP: Your family went to the Turlock Assembly Center?

GI: Assembly center, yeah.

RP: And that's near Stockton?

GI: No, it's near Livingston.

RP: Near Turlock.

GI: It's, you know, I remember when 99 used to go around, it was in the county fairgrounds, I think. And I remember standing there on the road and watching the cars and thinking, "I wish I could go out there." But I don't think we stayed there very long, it must have been just so many months.

RP: So many months.

GI: Yeah. The thing I remember about that place is that we used to, the floor was made out of tar or something, and the cots were on it. And in the summer it was so hot, and it would sink into that tar and all these crickets would be all around us. And so we would all be on that cot, we were afraid to step down, 'cause we'd squish 'em. But we must have gone in May, and I bet we were just there through the summer and then we must have gone to Arizona.

RP: Another cool place.

GI: Yeah, another cool place, yeah.

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

<Begin Segment 8>

RP: You said that your, your father stored some of your family possessions with a Chinese gentleman. Did you own your own house in Vacaville?

GI: No. I think we rented that house. And, but it's weird because we rented that house, but we must have rented it for a long time. In the back, we had a Japanese bath. You know how families have 'em? And before we went, I remember the FBI was coming. I saw these men, strangers, and my father again must have been off on his gambling places, you know, because my grandfather and my mother, every night would be burning things in that fire. All our Girl's Day dolls and Boy's Day dolls and all those things, and any kind of books and things, or anything that referred to the emperor, they'd burn 'em all in that fire.

RP: That stoked the ofuro?

GI: Yeah, every night they burned in there.

RP: You watched them do that?

GI: I saw them do that.

RP: You saw your dolls go up in flames?

GI: Yeah, I did see that, yeah. I don't remember that so vividly or anything, but I knew that they burned it. And I think my mother used to say that my grandfather's family, they were farmers, but they were such wealthy farmers that they even got a sword. And I think they buried that someplace, too, before they went. My grandfather was very involved in sumo, the wrestling. And you know, he had things and they burned all those things, too. Any kinds of signs or whatever, writings, they burned those.

RP: This is your grandfather on your...

GI: My mother's side.

RP: Your mother's side. And they also settled in Vacaville?

GI: He, my uncle lived along the delta, in Isleton, in Walnut Grove. But I think my grandfather used to go take turns living here and living there. 'Cause sometimes he was with us and sometimes he was with them. So when the war started, he must have been with us, because I remember that he was helping her burn those things.

RP: You mentioned the FBI. Was your home or your grandfather's home visited by the FBI?

GI: Well, all I know that they'd say -- and I don't know if I imagined it or something, you know, but I remember seeing some strangers, but I don't know. Sometimes I think it's just something I imagined, I don't know.

RP: Shadowy character?

GI: Yeah, yeah.

RP: Which camp in Gila were you at? Were you at Canal or Butte?

GI: Canal, canal. The smaller of the two.

RP: So you were roughly second grade when you left Vacaville?

GI: Yeah, I think so. See, my mother sent me to kindergarten when I was four. I said, "Why did you do that?" And she says, "I don't know, I just thought it was time for you to go to school." So I was always a year ahead of my... the kids were all one year older than me. So I must have been in the second grade when I went.

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

<Begin Segment 9>

RP: What are your clearest memories of life at Gila?

GI: The most vivid thing for me was the dust storms. 'Cause when we first went there, we never knew about the dust storms. But I remember that it was so thick that it would hit you and it would hurt you, because they were great big things. But then you wouldn't even be able to find your barrack because it was so swirly. But about a year after, we never had them anymore because they all planted gardens and things. They had those oleanders and castor bean trees, and they all planted lawns and things, and we didn't have dust storms anymore. And then I remember when we first went, they would give us salt tablets because it's so hot. We had to take those things every day.

RP: Do you remember your block in Gila?

GI: Uh-huh, five. I think I lived at 512, 512-D.

RP: And what did your parents do? Did they work?

GI: My mom didn't work, 'cause she had four kids. And then my sister was born in camp so she had five kids. But my father was a fireman, a fireman, and he did gambling there, too, in the fire house. [Laughs] Yeah, he had an addiction.

RP: Do you know what type of games he...

GI: I don't know that. I kind of think they played those Chinese games, those pai gow and things like that, but I don't even know how to play it. It's just a word I heard, but I don't know what they played.

RP: And that was, another activity always associated with gambling is drinking.

GI: My father, did he drink much? Yeah, he could drink, I remember, but he never got drunk or anything. He could hold it, I guess. My uncle used to make sake in camp.

RP: Is that the...

GI: It's my uncle that I never knew was the father of, you know, my half brother. But I loved him. He was really... and now, when I think of it, I think he felt guilty, that he was so kind to all of us. He was really good to my siblings and me. And he was a cook in camp, and he had access to stuff, I guess, so he made sake out of... I remember that thing he made. He was very clever. It was some kind of a wooden thing, and you could kind of squeeze it or do something.

RP: In the mess hall?

GI: Well, I mean, he did it... well, no, he made it at home, I think, but it was for personal drinking, I think. I never saw any of them drinking it, but I knew he made it. It's kind of like a moonshine, I guess.

RP: So you had your mom and kids, your dad, you had your grandfather, too?

GI: No, my grandfather was with my uncle in Tule Lake. So he must have, you know, in his going back and forth, he must have gone with them.

RP: That's where they were sent.

GI: Yeah.

RP: So it was just your family there at...

GI: We were in Gila, and my aunt and uncle, they were in Butte, that's Camp 2 of Gila. But they must have been the ones that wanted to go back to Japan, 'cause they moved from -- I didn't know about those things at that time, but they moved to Tule Lake.

RP: They might have requested repatriation.

GI: I think so, yeah.

RP: Answered that questionnaire that...

GI: Yeah, I never even knew about those things.

RP: Any other vivid memories? How about friends, kids, making new acquaintances?

GI: You know, it's so funny, the people that lived in our Block 5, most of them were from Vacaville. So we knew the same people that we knew. And we met new ones, too, but it was interesting that, you know...

RP: Yeah, you had an instant community right there.

GI: Yeah, yeah.

RP: Yeah, and because some folks say, well, when they grew up with mostly Caucasians, it was such a shock to see thousands of Japanese.

GI: Oh, really? Well, see, like ours, we lived, you know, it was all the Japanese in Vacaville, we were kind of together in this little community. And then we went over there, and a lot of them were from Vacaville. So we just had the same friends.

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

<Begin Segment 10>

RP: Do you recall how you and your friends would cope with the hot days? Was there any relief in terms of swimming holes?

GI: You know I don't remember. Some of the older kids used to go swimming in this, I thought it was the Gila River, but I think it was a canal. It was just this, because my grandfather used to go... no, he didn't go fishing there, he went fishing up in the Sacramento River, yeah. But they, some of them, I don't remember being very hot, but I know it was hot. But we, the thing I hated was we never got ice cream in camp. And you know, here I had grown up with the Vacaville Creamery, and I just wanted ice cream, I loved ice cream and we never got it. And then the last year before we got out of camp, some truck used to come in, and we'd all stand in line for hours and then we'd get to buy some ice cream. By then, it was just dripping, it was just a melting mess. [Laughs] But you were happy to get ice cream.

RP: Yeah, it melted. How about church? Was that something your family observed?

GI: You know, my folks were Buddhists, and in camp, I think I went to the little Buddhist church. 'Cause I remember singing some of those songs that I've seen. Ever since I was married, I've gone to the Methodist church because my mother-in-law was a devout Methodist who had been... what do you call it? She became...

RP: Converted?

GI: Converted, or whatever. That happened to her in Japan when she was a child. She was a very gung-ho Methodist. So when we got married, I said, "I think we should go to the same place," so I went to the Methodist church.

RP: How about your mother and father in terms of, did they have time in camp to kind of express themselves creatively?

GI: Well, my father was gambling all the time, but my mother, she did get to do the little kinds of crafts things that they did. She used to do this one where they got crepe paper and they made, glued them onto things to make pictures, you know. They'd make flowers and different things out of it. But I don't know what... when we got out of camp, we wanted to just get rid of everything that reminded us of camp, and I think we just got rid of everything. 'Cause some people have little pins, bird pins or things made out of shells, that was like in Tule Lake, but I do have a few things made out of ironwood, though.

RP: That your father made?

GI: No, it was my father's cousin made one of 'em, it's a big old thing that he shined up and then he wrote Japanese characters on it. And I have this other little, little ironwood vase with a little stand that I think my father's friend made. My mom took in a portable Singer sewing machine to camp, it was only about this big, and on the back of it, it has our camp number, whatever, and that's like my thing that I still have. I don't sew or anything, but I think, "Well, I have to keep this thing." It's like my memento of camp.

RP: Did she make your clothes?

GI: Yeah, my mom used to sew our clothes and things. Or they used to send things from the, I don't know, Sears or Montgomery Ward catalogue. I think she sewed our girls' (things).

RP: You were the oldest of the siblings, so did you get assigned for babysitting duty?

GI: Oh, yeah, yeah. I remember helping my mom a lot, because I used to feel so sorry for her. Because I thought, "She's got all these kids to take care of, you know." So I did, I did help her a lot. She always used to say, "You really helped me a lot," so yeah.

RP: And so it sounds like, similar to the time before camp when your father was not there a lot...

GI: Yeah. Well, I think that's the thing I remember about that creamery. My father would be gone, and my mom, she'd put my three brothers to bed early. 'Cause, you know, she probably wanted to get some rest. Then it was her and me, and she'd send me over to the creamery, and then I'd go get the ice cream cones. And I remember the two of us sitting on the porch eating our ice cream cone. [Laughs] So I think that's why I have this, I don't know, I just love ice cream. 'Cause it has this thing that reminds me...

RP: A sentimental, nostalgic value.

GI: Yeah, yeah.

RP: So you didn't see your dad very much in camp? I mean, between being a fireman and gambling?

GI: No, I... he was home every day and everything, I saw him. But then now when I realize, I think, "Well, he must have been doing those things on the side. But he, I did used to see him, because he used to, he had a little heating stove, one of those little hot plates, and he would buy things from the Indians, I guess, that came to the... I don't know where he went to get 'em. But he would go get rice from the mess hall, and he'd cook different things at home. So we didn't have to eat all that slop kind of stuff that they cooked, yeah.

RP: That's another name for what they cook, slop.

GI: Yeah, yeah.

RP: You mentioned your younger brother was a mascot for the football team there?

GI: Oh, yeah, yeah. And you know, I didn't think of it, but later, when I heard about how families didn't eat together because they... and I thought, I guess that happened because that one younger brother that was a mascot, he was always with them. And so I don't think he ate with us that much, but I didn't think of it at the time.

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

<Begin Segment 11>

RP: Was there a particular person or event in camp that stands out in your mind that you knew of, whether it might have been a teacher or...

GI: Well, there was a Miss Peterson, I remember her. And she used to let, oh, I don't know how many of us kids, a handful of us kids, go to her apartment, which was kind of close to where the administration building and where the sentry and everything. But she'd let us go after school to her place and she'd teach us little crafts. And then pretty soon she was gone, and someone said, "Oh, she got into trouble 'cause she wasn't supposed to do those things." And I always wondered what happened to her. And I remember they used to have these Ouija boards, and I remember one time all of us just sitting in this room all just craning to look into this, 'cause two people were doing this Ouija board, 'cause somebody had disappeared and they couldn't find that person. And they would say, "Well, is she here?' 'Is she there?" kind of thing. I used to think that was so exciting, this Ouija board thing. And I was thinking, "Gosh, I guess some people used to disappear," and I don't know if they were taking off with their boyfriend or going different places. But I guess that was the extent of our excitement, doing those kind of things. But we used to have movies, and it was an outdoor theater, and we would sit on the ground with our blankets. And we'd take these little jars of water for when we got thirsty. And we'd see those cowboy and Indian movies, and we'd say, "The Indians are going to come get us out of here." [Laughs] And you know, that was a big deal. We'd say, "Oh, those Indians are going to come and help us, get us out of here." And years later, when I saw how powerless they were, I thought, "That was so dumb." [Laughs] 'Cause later, when I went to camp, and I went to look at our camp, and I saw these barracks and I thought it was our camp. But the Indians had hauled them away and they were living in them. You know, I mean, this is so many years after. And then the next time we went there, they weren't there anymore. And I asked this person what happened and they said, "There was a flash flood, all those washed away." And I thought, "Those poor people." Here they were living in our leftovers, you know.

RP: So when was your first visit back?

GI: Oh, gosh. When was the first visit back? I think we went on a motor home, my mother and my father. Must have been about forty-five years ago or something, forty years ago, and we went looking for our camp. And we got to Phoenix, and I'm calling up archives and everything and saying, "Can you tell me where this is?" And one lady says, "Well, what do you want to know all that stuff for? That's all ancient history." I said, "Well, I lived there. I kind of want to go see it," you know. So we finally -- oh, I remembered I knew this Chinese girl in Sacramento who was from Casa Grande. And that's where we got off the train, and she says, "It's on the Sacaton Indian Reservation." So we looked up on the map, and I said, "Here's the Sacaton Indian reservation." So we went over there, and I got all excited, I said, "Oh, I see our camp," 'cause I saw a barrack. And it was their, the tribe's whatever, their center, whatever. And we found a Indian security person, and I said, "Do you know where this camp is?" And he says, "Oh, yeah, you go on that blacktop, you go there, it's over there." So we went and we found it. And we went up that butte, and I had thought I was imagining things, and there was that water tower, you know, the concrete of the water tower, and there was a war memorial thing. And I said, "Oh, my god, I thought I imagined all this," but it was all there. My father said, "Oh, that's where the hospital was, and that's where this was," and then we went down and we saw lots of little shards and things, you know, the little remnants of things. And so we kind of walked around. And then my husband said, "Oh, they're gonna have a flash flood, so we better get out of here." So we quickly drove out of there. The next time we went, my husband was working in Phoenix, so we went with him. And I couldn't remember where the place was, so I knocked on this one lady's house, I said, "Do you know where this camp was?" She said, "Oh, you must mean Jap Camp." And I said, "Yeah, I think that's the camp." [Laughs] So then she says, "Well, you go this way and that way," and then we found it again. And then the next time I went was when they had a dedication of a plaque. That time, they roped things off like you do with the yellow markers, and they showed -- so then, it was nice, I got to walk around five. And I knew that there was a pond. And when I went there I found it, and it said, "Harada," and that was the name of the man that had done it.

RP: Built the pond?

GI: Yeah, yeah. But now, someone told me, in Denver, that the Native Americans have taken that back or done something. Do you know about Gila? I mean, what's happened to that place?

RP: Well, I know it's part of the reservation, and you have to be, you have to go through some hoops to be able to go visit out there.

GI: Yeah, 'cause this one woman told me she was the governor, this Native American woman, she gave me her card. She said, "If you ever want to come, you call me, and then I'll let you in." So I don't know what's happening.

RP: They've been talking about establishing a cultural center out there. I mean, they already have one right along the highway.

GI: Oh, they do?

RP: With an exhibit about the camp.

GI: Oh, okay.

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

<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.

<Begin Segment 13>

RP: Gloria, we were just chatting a little bit about different camps, and the environments that they represent. Coming from Vacaville, which is close to the coast, and you end up in this camp in the middle of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. How did the environment of the camp affect you? Were you drawn in by it, were you repulsed by it?

GI: You know, since I was a child, I didn't, I didn't pay any attention to it. And I didn't think it was such a bad place to be, actually, 'cause my friends were there, we played. We played with mud pies, and I remember we'd get water from the mess hall and make little rice things. And she had a little sibling and I had mine, we'd load them into a little baby buggy and we'd walk over to, walk all the way across the canal, I guess, to where they were farming and everything. We'd sit there and we'd have our little picnic. And I had a little pet tortoise and things, and I thought it was okay. [Laughs] And then the older ones, they'd say, during the time when they were trying to get reparations and everything, I'd think, "Gosh, I don't know what's wrong with me. I didn't think it was so bad. But I was a child, so what can I say?

RP: So you did actually go out of camp?

GI: One time, I got a pass, and I went with these two girls who were like fourteen. I don't know how old I was, nine or ten or something. And we went to Phoenix, and we went on the bus, and we went through all these little towns, now they're all suburbs of Phoenix, you know. Mesa and Tempe and all this kind of stuff. But anyway, Phoenix at the time I remember it had all these palm trees, it was a lazy little town. And we got out, and people would say, "Oh, could you buy us a belt, could you buy this, could you buy that?" And we went over there and we went a little bit and we realized we didn't know where we were. We spent hours just trying to get back to that bus station. I think we wasted our whole day, practically. But I think we had an ice cream soda or something, and then we picked up things people wanted. That was the one time I went out of camp. And I don't know why I went with these two girls and not with my parents. I always thought that was odd, but I didn't have anybody to ask about why it was that way.

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

<Begin Segment 14>

RP: Just to step back a little bit, or forward, you were talking about your family's relocation to Ogden, Utah, and what arrangements that they made.

GI: I don't know how it -- I think my father had a friend that was in Ogden, and so we moved there. And I remember the snow, so we must have moved, like, around September or whatever. And we went through that winter. And then, soon after, I think a relative, my father's cousin, came to get us in a big truck, and we moved back to California.

RP: Was it a farming situation?

GI: When we were in...

RP: When you were in Ogden?

GI: You know, I don't know what my father did. I kind of think he cooked, or maybe he was trying to start a gambling place. That's what I don't know. I don't know how he existed or anything. I never asked anybody.

RP: There was a Japanese community.

GI: There was a Japanese community, yeah. So maybe he was trying to, I don't know what he was doing.

RP: There was also a group of Japanese railroad workers.

GI: Over there?

RP: Working on the Union Pacific.

GI: Yeah, I know there was a big train station there, yeah.

RP: Well, that's a pretty good speculation.

GI: And when we, it's so funny when we moved to Ogden, we lived about a block away from this Farr's Creamery, and we'd go there all the time. And I visited Ogden, and I went, and that Farr's Creamery is still there. I think there are several throughout Ogden.

RP: Do you have any, any vivid memories about that short time in Ogden?

GI: I just always remember how kind everybody was. 'Cause here I thought, "Oh, they're going to just be calling us," but none of that ever happened. And I remember the first movie I saw, it's at the Orpheum or some fancy theater in Ogden, and I saw Meet Me in St. Louis. I always remember that movie because that's the first movie I saw after going out of camp in this beautiful theater. With pretty drapes and things, curtains, I guess. So I had good memories of Ogden, but we didn't live there that long. I think maybe about six months or so.

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

<Begin Segment 15>

RP: And then you returned back to...

GI: California.

RP: California. Where, specifically?

GI: You know, when we first moved back, we moved back to a labor camp kind of a thing. It's in the delta near Walnut Grove, my uncle, my uncle again, you know, was there, and my aunt, and we all lived there for a bit. And then we moved to Fairfield, near Vacaville, and they farmed. I mean, they worked on the ranches. But my father was in Sacramento. I think he was trying to start another gambling place. [Laughs] So we'd live there and he'd come home on weekends. But he lived in Sacramento, and then he finally called us over there, and we moved to Sacramento. But by then, he had started his gambling place in Lodi, because I remember he used to go there during Lodi season. And my mom said, "You know, in his time, he really made a lot of money. 'Cause he always bought a brand new car, and my cousin, years later, he said, "Boy, I used to think your dad was it." He said, "He always had those three-piece suits and smoked a cigar, and bought a brand-new car every year. He says, "Compared to all those other guys that were gardening or doing all this," and I says, "Well, I guess so." I hadn't thought of it in that way. [Laughs] So that's how we got to Sacramento.

RP: What about your other uncle and grandfather at Tule Lake?

GI: They were, they went to, you know Seabrook Farms in New Jersey, they relocated there out of Tule Lake. And then they eventually drove all the way across to California. Then he was farming along the delta doing pears and whatever. And eventually he was growing radishes, he was always farming, that uncle. And he was growing radishes in west Sacramento, and he eventually got a grocery store. Then he went into gardening. But my folks, my father had that gambling place, and then he eventually started in the old Japanese part of town, he had a little, it was a soda fountain. But in the back, he had the card room. [Laughs] And so, you know, I always used to say, "It's like a front. He's doing his card games back here, and we're doing the fountain."

RP: Oh, you were running the...

GI: Well, I mean, we worked in the soda fountain, and then they got redevelopment. So he got kicked out of there, and then he ran a little hotel for a while. Then they moved to Carson City because my great uncle and great aunt had the cleaners. And so they helped them there for a few years. By then I was married, so my one brother and sister lived with us, and then my folks went there. Then they eventually came back to California and retired.

RP: This soda fountain business was located in Sacramento?

GI: Uh-huh, right...

RP: Japanese...

GI: Yeah, in section, Fourth and between N and O.

RP: What was left of that Japanese town when you returned or were working there?

GI: Oh, when we first came back, they had quite a Japanese town. But after redevelopment, that thing got rid of all of them. So all the, some of the business went down to this Tenth Street downtown. But, and then it scattered. We don't have a Japanese town in Sacramento anymore.

RP: Did you, when you lived in Vacaville, did you visit Japanese town on occasion?

GI: The one in Sacramento?

RP: Uh-huh.

GI: Yeah, I think we did. But I don't really remember too much about that.

RP: Right. It sounds like Japanese towns all over California, similar thing, redevelopment.

GI: Yeah. Well, San Jose is still going strong, and San Francisco has one, but it, all these other new groups, you know, who are... you know how Japanese Americans are dying out, we're all, all out-marrying. There aren't very many of them, but the Koreans and the Filipinos and immigrants, Chinese, they're all strong. So I think they're gradually taking over. I think that's what's happening to the Japantown in L.A., and that's what's happening to the -- 'cause we always say, "Well, they're just, those restaurants are all Korean and whatever," we think we're purist and we want to go to a real Japanese restaurant. But it's, but I think that's the fate of all of them. I think maybe San Jose is about the only one that's really doing pretty well.

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

<Begin Segment 16>

RP: Let's pick up the thread of your life a little bit when you returned to Sacramento, you're working in your dad's soda fountain/card business. And you entered junior high school at that time?

GI: Yeah, I was in junior high, and then I went to Sacramento High. And then I worked... I think we started that fountain when I graduated Sacramento High. Until then, my mom was working in the cannery and my father was doing his gambling business in Lodi. And then when I graduated high school, he started that fountain. So that's, that was our livelihood.

RP: Was that your first job working in the fountain?

GI: Oh, I guess so, yeah. My mother used to always say, "You know, there might be a depression again, so you have to do any job that comes along. So that if anything happens, you won't starve." So I did all kinds of cleaning and babysitting. One time my girlfriend's father, Mexican guy, was a farm labor contractor. And she says, "Do you want to go pick tomatoes and try to earn some money in the summer?" I said, "Okay." So we went out there, and we we're looking at these tomatoes and then putting in the box. And then lunchtime came, we got so many cents a box. Those Mexican laborers, they had piles and piles, and we didn't even have one box. I said, "Oh my god," I said, "I don't want to do this anymore." [Laughs] So we quit doing that. That was the end of my tomato picking career.

RP: And you said you spent some time in the cannery?

GI: No, my mom worked in the cannery. I never did the cannery, but I worked in the city library when I was going through college. I went to junior college for a couple years here, and then I went to San Francisco to nursing school. And that's where I met Art.

RP: So like in most Japanese families, education was really a key factor?

GI: You know what was funny? My father and mother never really stressed education. I don't know why on earth I thought I should get educated. Because they didn't ever... in fact, my father wanted me, when I graduated high school, he wanted me to be a state worker like everybody else, and help support the family. And I didn't want to do that, I wanted to go to school. So I went. And when I graduated, he was proud I graduated, but until then, here he wanted me to... and so my three brothers were kind of influenced more by him. They didn't want to go to school or do anything. But my sister... and so people asked me, "Your sister and you are so different from your brothers." And I tell 'em, "I think it's 'cause we had my mother's influence." And I said, "And we were the only two that were breastfed." In between, she wasn't able to breastfeed the three brothers. [Laughs] And I said I think that's why there's some sort of a linkage, that's why we are different that way. But my brothers turned out all okay. They never went to prison or anything, they all were decent, hardworking guys. They just didn't, they didn't, they weren't interested in going to school. But that's why I always think, "Wow." And when I read later in Japanese families they really stressed education. I thought, "That wasn't the case in our family."

RP: What was stressed?

GI: What was stressed? I think not... my mom used to say, "Do everything well." Like if you cleaned the house, she'd say, "Sumi kara sumi," which means, "corner to corner." You clean from corner to corner. You know, you didn't do this haphazard kind of a job. So whatever you did, do well. I think they taught us to be honest, and they taught us to care about other people, I think. And my brothers even, to this day, they're like that. Where we always say, we never go to someone's house empty-handed. You know how some people come and they just... we always think, "Oh, they're just sponging off of you," or something. But all of us have this mentality that if we go someplace, we have to take something with us before we go to that place. I think those are the kinds of things they stressed to us. And my mom loved animals and children, and I think all of us do that, too. So something must have rubbed off on us.

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

<Begin Segment 17>

RP: So you graduated from nursing school and worked here in...

GI: I worked at UC Hospital for a while. Then my mom was going to have a hysterectomy, so I quit that job and I moved to Sacramento to take care of her until she recuperated. And then I worked for the Youth Authority, they had a little dispensary. I worked there for about, gosh, I can't remember, for about three years, and then I got married. And then I worked for the health department for about three years, then we started our family and then I didn't work anymore.

RP: So you met Art at school in San Francisco?

GI: Yeah. He said his friend said, "Oh, let's go up to UC Hospital and go meet some nursing, nurses." [Laughs] So I knew a friend who introduced me. So we met that way.

RP: Did you ever get the opportunity to go visit your father's gambling establishment in Lodi?

GI: No, no. They were just, you know, I didn't know what it was like or anything.

RP: It was this kind of secretive world that you never looked in on.

GI: I guess so. Yeah, it was not that it was secretive, but it was like, I guess 'cause I'm a child or something. You know, this is an adult thing.

RP: Later on in life.

GI: Yeah. And now, I wish I had delved into it, because I would have, I'm almost positive that his place in Monterey was on Cannery Row, 'cause that's where all the Chinese things were. And I'm sure it was all... 'cause it would have been where the fishermen came in. So I thought, "Wow, that would have been so interesting to research that and find out some stuff."

RP: And that's a trait that didn't get passed on in the family, it sounds like.

GI: Oh, no. My brothers loved to gamble. My brothers loved to gamble. But I went the other way. I'm so afraid of, you know... I like to play, too, but I never do it like that. I don't want to lose anything.

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

<Begin Segment 18>

RP: You mentioned that you have visited all ten camps.

GI: Yes.

RP: And when did this start, and did it become sort of like, I wouldn't call it an obsession, but an impulse to want to go to all the camps.

GI: Go to all of 'em? Yeah. I guess the first one was Gila, and then... oh, and then Poston was so close in Arizona, so we visited that. And then I, we were going to Branson one year, and so we stopped by and saw Jerome and Rohwer. And then one time we were going up to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, so we went to Heart Mountain and Minidoka. And then I had seen Tule Lake quite a few times, 'cause you know, that's going up and down. So Manzanar was one of the few I hadn't seen because we kept saying, well, that's in California, we'll save that. So then we went with Jessica. And then we had to go see Amache 'cause that was the last one. So now they're saying, "Well, you have to go see the Justice camps."


GI: So I said, "Oh my gosh, how many are those?" [Laughs] But years ago, I did go to Santa Fe, New Mexico, because I wanted to know because my father's cousin had been there. And I wanted to, and I couldn't find it. And years later, when I was reading one of the Japanese papers, and I, you know, read about how they were... I sent money to that one. And now they do have some sort of a plaque or something, don't they? It's across the street from some park or someplace. So I might go see that someday.

RP: Quite a battle to get that, too.

GI: I think so.

RP: It sounds so much like what we just heard from Joanne about, "Well, we're going up for a vacation, let's stop in over here."

GI: Yeah. And along the way, I did buy Joanne's book. 'Cause they did a book about the ten camps. And it helped me, I think... well, like when we were up in Wyoming or by Minidoka. It was funny 'cause we were going along in a motor home, and this car passes up. And then they backtracked, they came back, and they said, "Are you looking for the camp?" We said, "Yeah, we are." [Laughs] And she said, "I'll take you there." And she took us there, and she said her parents had homesteaded up there after. And so she felt warmth towards... you know.

RP: Nice to feel that from, have that conveyed.

GI: Yeah. But of all the camps we've gone to, I think I was mostly inspired by Amache.

RP: What way?

GI: You know that.... what's his name? John...

RP: Hopper.

GI: Hopper. What he's been able to do with those kids and everything, I said, "Wow." It was really... so you know, it's not like that in all of them.

RP: Of the ten camps, which one just environmentally has struck you the strongest?

GI: I thought the most desolate was Topaz. It's just this windswept place, you know. And then the, their little marker has been vandalized and all that.

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

<Begin Segment 19>

RP: Just a couple more questions. In 1988, President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act by issuing an apology and a repayment, I should say reparations, to all surviving members of the camp experience. How did you relate to that development?

GI: I was kind of... in a way, I felt like it was kind of like "blood money" or something, or a payoff or something. But then in a way, I was proud of this country that, you know, they recognize it and did something about it. But then I also was sad that people like my mother-in-law and my grandfather, they weren't around to get it. I thought, "Well, why should I get it? I was just a kid," but they should have gotten it.

RP: Are you involved in the Japanese American community in Sacramento here, the JACL or other...

GI: I am involved with this Asian Community Center. It was like in 1972, and at that time, the JACL wasn't taking a stand on anything, and they were kind of like a social club. So we started the Asian Community Center. It was called the Japanese Community Center, and later it was changed to the Asian Community Center. And you know, we used to picket when they were doing... well, there was this one miniature golf place that had, all those kinds of... see, in those days, JACL wasn't taking a stand. They later became very involved with reparations and everything. But I never joined JACL because I thought, "Well, why should I join it now?" I came this far with this group.

RP: So they were a little more aggressive in their positions on ethnically sensitive issues?

GI: Yeah. They took a stand and they did things, you know.

RP: Do you remember other instances of prejudice in the community that you kind of responded to?

GI: Well, personally, there used to be, what was it, Morton Downey Junior or something, he had a talk show, and one time he was saying some really off the wall things, and I remember calling in and correcting him, and I've written letters to the Bee and things, for the editorial, whenever they... but you know, as a group, it's just my involvement with the Asian Community Center. And I kind of sit there aside and watch the things that the JACL was doing. I totally support them, but I... I mean, I gave them money when I got reparations and everything. I haven't gotten involved, though.

RP: Is this group still around?

GI: Asian Community Center? Oh, yeah.

RP: And you're still involved?

GI: Yeah, yeah.

RP: Well, thank you so much, Gloria, on behalf of both of us and the Park Service for sharing another one of the 120,000 stories.

GI: I guess there are a lot of stories.

RP: Is there anything else you'd like to add to our conversation?

GI: I admire the work you guys are doing, I think it's great. It's even more so because I think you're not even Japanese, and you're so interested. [Laughs] So I think that's great. Thank you.

RP: One last thing. A number of folks, Nikkei in the Sacramento community, are spending a lot of time educating people about the experience. I think it's helping the California Science Center?

GI: Oh, yeah, that museum, yeah. I did help when they had it in Florin, but after the first couple of years, they didn't call me anymore and I thought, "Well, it's great. They must have plenty of people." And we all do our own things, and so if they could draw more people into doing those things, that's great. So I haven't touched that part of it since then.

RP: Thank you.

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