Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Fumi Hayashi
Narrator: Fumi Hayashi
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Encinitas, California
Date: May 14, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-hfumi-01

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

RP: This is an oral history for the Manzanar National Historic Site. This morning we're talking with Fumi Hayashi, and Fumi lives at 778 Melba Street in Encinitas, California. The date of our interview is May 14, 2009. Our videographer is Kirk Peterson and the interviewer Richard Potashin, and we'll be talking with Fumi about her experiences as a internee at the Manzanar War Relocation Center and then some of her experiences relocating to Cleveland and returning here, working in the flower industry for a number of years. Our interview will be archived in the Park's library. Fumi, do I have permission to go ahead and record our interview?

FH: Okay.

RP: Thank you very much. And can I refer to you as Fumi?

FH: Sure, of course. Only way. [Laughs]

RP: Tell us your birth date and where you were born.

FH: I was born January 24, 1925.

RP: And where?

FH: Los Angeles, California. I think the hospital's there. The White...

RP: White Memorial Hospital?

FH: White Memorial Hospital, if I'm not mistaken. Is it still there?

RP: I'm not sure.

FH: Oh, I don't know. I'm not sure.

RP: I know a lot of Japanese families, mothers had kids there. What was your given name at birth, Fumi?

FH: Fumiko Nemoto. My last name is Nemoto.

RP: Your maiden name.

FH: Uh-huh.

RP: N-E-M-O-T-O?

FH: Right.

RP: And do you know what your first Japanese name means? Fumiko?

FH: I'd rather not tell you. [Laughs] It's, it, like all children, I mean, parents have desires for their kids, and that's what it is.

RP: How about your last name, Nemoto?

FH: I really don't know. Nemoto is like the root of a tree or so. I think that's what it is, the foundation of a tree. I mean, it must be like Indian, they got, they have a reason for whatever their name is, however they picked it or however it came down the line.

RP: Did you ever take a, an American name?

FH: No.

RP: 'Cause you shortened your first name to Fumi.

FH: Well, yeah, right. Makes it easier.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

RP: Tell us a little bit about your father, first of all. His name?

FH: My dad's name was Yajuro Nemoto.

RP: Can you spell his first name?

FH: Y-A-J-U-R-O.

RP: And do you recall where he came from in Japan?

FH: Fukushima. They call it ken or state or whatever. The state is called ken and it's Fukushima. And he came to America because his dad came to America earlier. And he came to the land where they pick money off the trees so to speak, but when he got here he had to work, and he'd work whatever was available. Like I think a lot of them did some railroad work. Some did seasonal travel from one city to the other to follow the, the agricultural season, and that's what he did. And his family didn't know where he was 'cause he wasn't writing. He should be coming home with all this money, but he didn't come home, so they couldn't find him. So they sent Dad to come to America to find where this guy was. And he was working. He had... trying to pick that money, so that's how he ended up coming to America. Then he went back because my grandfather didn't want to go back, and he went back and brought a bride and they lived here. So that was back in 1922 or something.

RP: That's when your father came back with his, with his wife?

FH: Uh-huh.

RP: Do you have a rough idea of when his father came to America?

FH: No, I have not. He said he was a young lad, so... let's see, if he... 1920, he was born nineteen, 1898. He must've been a teenager.

RP: So did your grandfather ever return back to Japan?

FH: He did, in a box. He passed away quite young considering how we live. I think he was, like, sixty-five, sixty-six, something like that. Because, you know, we all live longer now. Most of us. And he passed on in '30, I think it was '36 when he passed on, so that's quite a ways back.

RP: So he left a family back in Japan and he never saw them again?

FH: They, I think they took his ashes and took it back to Japan. They have the family plot in Japan where they keep putting relatives in the family plot. He's back there, I'm sure.

RP: Was your father the oldest of the, of the siblings in the family?

FH: I think he had a older brother, but I'm not sure. I think he had a older brother.

RP: Your mother's name?

FH: Was R-U-I, Rui.

RP: R-U-I, Rui. And her name...

FH: Her last name was Nemoto, too.

RP: So they married in Japan and came here, and where did they settle when they got here?

FH: I think they were up in the San Francisco area, and they worked themselves down because there was a hotel in Los Angeles where majority of the seasonal workers would come back when there was a lull. And so they came back and then they found job working with the flower industry. They'd been in the, they had been in the flower industry a long time.

RP: Both of your parents?

FH: Uh-huh. They worked for a family named Muto, or in, they were big time growers in -- actually, Mr. Muto was, was a pioneer of the flower market in L.A.

RP: Was his first name Tak, or Tak?

FH: Tak, no. That's his son. And he was here. He lived here in Encinitas, too.

RP: Tak Muto?

FH: Tak was the youngest of four sons. He had a brother named Sam, George and Fred.

RP: Well, they went to Manzanar, too.

FH: They were all in Manzanar, yeah.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

RP: So it was the father that established the flower business.

FH: Yeah. Well, like I said, they were the pioneers and my mom and dad went to work for them. First they were in, which was called Coyote Pass, but I understand it's part of Montebello now. The old people probably remember the name Coyote Pass. But then they bought a piece of property in San Fernando Valley right across the street, where Hansen Dam is, the reservoir is, and they grew flowers there for... oh, they worked for them for about ten years and then they opened a flower shop up in Hollywood area. Then my folks...

RP: Opened that shop.

FH: Uh-huh.

RP: They were, they were selling flowers from this operation at Hansen Dam?

FH: No, it... no, they were on their own and they'd go to the flower market to buy their supply of whatever they need for the flower business. And we were little kids. I was nine. I think I was about nine. Yeah, I was nine. And they had this business, and Mom and Dad didn't know one bit of English other than "yes," "no," and they were answering "yes," "no" to people not even understanding the question. But they did well. They did well. And then I think that was '34 and we went in camp '42. Eight years.

RP: What do you remember about the flower shop?

FH: I had to work in it. [Laughs]

RP: What did you do there?

FH: Well, you know, as a youngster you don't want to do that. You want to do your thing, and "Oh, such-and-such is doing this, why can't I do such-and-such?" But no, we all worked. It was a good experience. Regular experience. But at that time I didn't think so.

RP: Tell us about your father, his personality and how he was.

FH: He was a typical Japanese man. Head of the household, ran the house. He gave out the orders. That's what... I think all men were like that then, but then, of course, I never associated with other men of that sort, so I wouldn't know. But he was a stern father. I think he was disappointed he didn't have sons for his first two kids, because I was eldest and most men want their first to be sons. But I did have two brothers underneath my sister and I. There are four of us.

RP: Yeah, why don't you, why don't you give us their names and...

FH: My sister is Sumi. Sumi, and my brother is Kiyoshi William. They got American name because we lived with the Mutos, and the younger generation gave him, told my mom that they should have American names, so that's why my two brothers had American names. And my youngest brother is Haruo Jim. So we never got the Japanese name. I mean, we only got Japanese names, but they got the English middle name. And my brother Willie is gone. He's been gone about fourteen years. Yeah, he's been gone about fourteen years. And all the rest of us are around. Still doing our thing.

RP: So where did, where was the flower shop located?

FH: On Las Feliz Boulevard, three blocks away from Glendale railroad track.

RP: Is this a shop that your father established, or was it already --

FH: It was already established and he just took over.

RP: Just bought it.

FH: Yeah, my father didn't do too much customer relation kind of thing. My mother was the one that built the business up. She had things figured out, and she just went ahead. They called her Mary, like they, all Caucasian name their friends, you know, easy name. They called her Mary. And we had a very good business there.

RP: What was the name of the...

FH: Flower shop? It was called the Country Floral Shop. Or Country Florist, that's what it was. But there were quite a few florists in that area there. On Las Feliz itself there must have been about five of them. All the way up to Vermont, or Western. Is Western further than Vermont? One of the which. So I don't know if you've heard of Art Ito? He had a flower shop up there, but that was his folks' flower shop. And then there was a couple others that I know up toward Hollywood Way. And then there was one in Glendale.

RP: Did you ever go with your father to the flower market to pick up flowers?

FH: Once or twice a year, maybe. Once or twice a year. It's, you have to get up so early, and just one of those things that when you go to school you can't be getting up that early and then go to school, too, so...

RP: Who did the, who did the arranging or the --

FH: Mom was the main... she learned and there was a Japanese family that had a flower shop down on Glendale Boulevard, which is about three blocks down from where we live. And they had been in the business and they came over and helped Mom, and to this day we're the best of friends. I mean, the daughter and I are.

RP: What, what were their family names?

FH: Takechi.

RP: Takechi. Can you spell that?

FH: T-A-K-E-C-H-I.

RP: So there was a little cooperative spirit there.

FH: Yeah, everybody helped each other out. They didn't know each other, but with time you do things, help each other out.

RP: Did you... how much acreage did you have there? Did you just have a small lot?

FH: No, it was, at the beginning, when we rented that place, we lived behind it, which had only three rooms. And there was just a kitchen and two bedroom and a little bathroom, and we worked out of there, but there was a lot of property in the back. And Mom would say, "Well, if I plant flower back there, that would bring the people's, make 'em see that there's a flower shop and they're fresh cut," so she'd grow flowers back there just to get the customers in. She used to do a lot of that kind of thing.

RP: What kind of flowers did she like to grow back there?

FH: It was just florist shop, so it just, all kinds of flowers. Any kind of flower. Whatever the customer wanted.

RP: Roses, carnations...

FH: Yeah. Not roses, but all sorts. Easy to grow kind of thing. It was interesting, but of course life was simple then.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

RP: You had an interesting play area right down the way there, the Los Angeles River.

FH: Oh, we used to walk down there, the river, all the time. Yeah, we did a lot. My girlfriend that, Takechi, her name is Ruth, and we'd go over to her house and we'd say, "Let's go down to --" well, there used to be the Hyperion Bridge, you know? And from there we'd go down and walk the river and walk all the way up the river to Las Feliz and walk home to my house. Kids don't do that now.

RP: What was it like down there, on the river?

FH: There was not a lot of -- I mean, it's quite wide, but there was a narrower river that went there, going down there, and it had growth in there, greenery. And I remember people used to take their animals down there, like goats and horses and... those two I remember. There may have been others, but I don't know, and we'd say, "Oh, we got to stay away from them. We don't know how wild they are." We used to do that. Walked all the time, all the time.

RP: This is the time before --

FH: War.

RP: -- the channels are put in, too. The concrete.

FH: Yeah, I think it was built up, but then they put the fluorine in. I think it was... I could almost see it right now, but I knew when they had that big flood in La Crescenta, oh, the water went down fast. I mean, it was, a trickle of water with a whole wide ocean of water going down. We had gone to --

RP: You watched it?

FH: Yeah, we watched it, and there were all sorts of things going down there. Everything got washed out.

KP: That was 1948?

FH: Yeah, it could be, it could've been about then. That big fire in La Crescenta. It was interesting.

RP: You see any other wildlife or frogs or birds, things down there?

FH: I'm sure there were, but we weren't interested in that. We were just worried that the animal didn't come and attack us. That's about it.

RP: You spend time in Griffith Park, too?

FH: A lot of our spare time, summertime we'd go down there. Pack a little lunch and go down there and... you know how little girls do. I don't think that parents now allow that, but in those days we went down and took our blanket or whatever it was and laid it down and ate our lunch and laughed and giggled and did girly, fun things. And we had a lot of fun.

RP: So this Takechi girl was one of your real close friends. Did you have other girlfriends there?

FH: Yeah, we had other girls that joined us, but I can't remember off hand. And there were our girlfriends that we went to school with, we hung around in school with. And we'd meet, go down there. It was a girly thing that we did.

RP: Where did you go to grammar school?

FH: We, when I first went to that area we lived in a lily white area... what, that, at that era. And they said they don't let any other race go to that school. You have to be white. And the name of the school was Glen Feliz. I don't know if you know the... I think the name was Glen Feliz School. So Mom said, "Well, if we can't go there we'll go to Chevy Chase School," and we used to walk about a, maybe it wasn't a mile, but it was... you're little, it felt like mile or better, to Chevy Chase School, which was way up on Chevy Chase, and we'd walk home. And on a rainy day Dad would take us, but otherwise we walked up and walked back, and when my younger brother Willie started getting that age where he had to go to school, Mom said, "My kids aren't gonna walk that far." Their dear son was not gonna walk that far, so she made this big bouquet of flowers and took it to the principal, and talked to the principal with the broken English, and we were accepted to go to that school. That's how we got to go to Glen Feliz School. The lily white school. [Laughs]

RP: You integrated the school.

FH: Yeah, we sure did. But, gosh, that was thirty, must've been about '38. I think it was about '37 or '38. No, it couldn't have been '38. Oh, whatever it was, in the '30s. A lot of 'em, you know how people will talk, or family would talk at the table, discuss news, gossip, you name it, it goes on. So a lot of these kids had a grudge against the Japanese people, so they would say, "Go back to your own," real quietly they're like, "Go back to your own country." This is my country, right? I'm born here. But they don't know. They're, they're thinking what they heard. But they were like that, maybe for a while, but they became the best friends when we came, later on. When we went to junior high school we were good friends, best of friends, so you just have to know the person and be with them to draw your conclusion as what they, other than to pick up from at the dinner table.

RP: Were there other places that you were excluded from? Public places or...

FH: If there was, I don't know about it, and I didn't bide by it, other than when we went to camp we had to go to camp. I don't know. I can't think of any. You know, I can't... my thinking is forget the bad, go on with the next. You know what I mean? So I try to not remember some of the bad adventures, unless they came to a good conclusion, good ending.

RP: So things got better for you in junior high? You said that you learned, you got to know each other.

FH: Yeah, you're human, I'm human. We're going to the same school. We're in the same class. What makes you better than me? Of course, our nationality, I think it's nationality, we'll say, you don't go and make a commotion. You sit back and watch it go by, and if you think you have to make that move, make that move.

RP: Did you, did you challenge some of the things that were said about you?

FH: No, I... no, I was outnumbered. I was outnumbered. But they became good friends of mine. Of course, lot of them are gone. You know, when war broke out they signed up right away. Sixteen or seventeen, they signed up, so I'm sure there's many that didn't survive the war.

RP: Can you reflect a little bit on the relations with African Americans, too, or what the atmosphere was like at that time towards African Americans?

FH: There weren't too many in that area. Very little. I'm sure there were, but... no, I don't think there were that many African Americans in there.

RP: How about other minority groups?

FH: There was a bunch of the Mexican, Hispanic race. Because Chevy Chase was known for the Hispanic area. That's why we went there, because of the... there were a good many up there in that area. That's why we went to that school. And the lily white school was way over here. But I understand that Glen Feliz School is still existing. My high school is still there. It was condemned, but I understand they... it was an old English brick building, and it was condemned, but the neighborhood said they wanted it. So we, they did what they had to do and it's still in session. As a matter of fact, they were one of the highest class that got bunched, that went to different areas and did this debate or whatever. It's right there, Hollywood Hill. John Marshall High. It was a good era. Not complicated like it is now. Life is too complicated.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

KP: What was your junior high school like?

FH: I went to Washington Irving Junior High, and it was called "Little Alcatraz." [Laughs]

RP: Why?

FH: Because it sat on the... it was there, near Eagle Rock on Fletcher Hill Drive or Road or whatever that was, and it stand on a knoll, and it looked like Alcatraz because the building was... it was a, I think they put the boards up and they poured concrete and then they put the boards, took the boards off. It wasn't built. It was poured on, so it had that concrete look.

RP: Like a fortress?

FH: Yeah, and so they called it "Little Alcatraz." I don't know if they do -- if the school is there -- I don't know if they ever... but that's the, where I went to junior high. Three years, I guess. Six -- no, seven, eight, nine.

RP: So what kind of student were you?

FH: Just a student, going to school, doing what I had to do, what I supposed to be doing. I just went to school, be with my friends, I think. And ate lunch.

RP: Did your family have much of a social life outside of work?

FH: No, not very much.

RP: You did mention about trips to Little Tokyo.

FH: That was when I was a little girl.

RP: What do you remember about those trips?

FH: I thought it was pretty neat. It was a neat, Japantown was really neat, and we, you knew when you got in Japantown. There's a streetcar go cling clanging down the street, but in the background they had, I don't know if they had such a thing like... they must've had amplifier. The whole street had Japanese music going on. You felt like you were going into a different country or somethin' and you could hear that music down the street and music up here, and there're all Japanese walkin' around. It was kinda neat. It's not like that anymore, but of course it's America now. America. But as a little girl I remember that. It was a neat little town. And I understand it's... they're wondering if it's gonna exist, because although there are shops and malls and whatever comes up, they're all going close to wherever they live, I guess, that owns the shops. But when you wanted anything Japanese you had to go to Japantown. It was really neat. Like the kids say now, it was cool.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

RP: How about language school? Where did you attend Japanese language school?

FH: It was nearby, right next to Forest Lawn Memorial Park. The wall was here and the school was here, and we went to school every day after school, hour and a half or two hour, whatever. I remember just going. There used to be a bus that picked us up. When I was going to junior high school we would walk up the railroad track to go there, which is a no-no now. And I don't know... you know the fellow, you've heard of Sadao Munemori, his sister and I used to go to school together.

RP: Yaeko?

FH: No, her name was Kikuyo.

RP: Oh, the other sister.

FH: Kikuyo was the younger one. Yaeko was a nurse, was she not? Yeah. And then she had a brother named Bob, older brother named Bob.

RP: What was Japanese school like for you?

FH: We just went to it. No lunch, but we went to it. Then summertime we had to go. Oh, we learned and it was a good thing, 'cause to this day I could read a little bit Japanese. Had I not been there, I guess I wouldn't have. And now I have a grandson that's gonna be... he's graduating San Diego State, and he wants to become a Japanese school teacher. So, you know, things happen.

RP: Interesting circle.

FH: It is. Right, it is really. Well, now it's coming back now. And he's, he's half and half. His mother is Swedish and my son is Japanese, so...

RP: Can you describe the Japanese school to us, the building?

FH: It was just a two room building, a wall between. Collapsible wall, because when we had a, whatever Japanese school had, like whatever socials they had, they opened the folding door so it would be one big hall. And we... basically it was to read and write and to be able to understand. I mean, you and I go to school to learn, read to write and whatever, but I think in that era, most of the parents had the hopes that they were gonna go back to Japan. 'Til the war broke out. So they wanted us to know so we wouldn't be totally ignorant.

RP: Yeah, I was just gonna ask you why you, why you think parents...

FH: Yeah, I think a majority of a, majority of the Issei, the first generation, their plan was to go back to Japan, settle back in Japan, 'til the war broke out, and then it just never happened. And this became their land. And I think they were more faithful to this land than they were their homeland, because I remember my folks going to Japan, says, "Oh I'm so glad to come to America. So crowded over there. So hustle bustle." But I don't know. One person's opinion. I've been to Japan. I didn't... I mean, it was busy, it's smaller, everything, well everything's smaller. The buses are smaller, cars are smaller, roads are narrower. Everything's smaller, but I think you have that open feeling here. Freedom, maybe that's what it is. If you got elbow room, freedom. [Laughs]

RP: Did any of the kids in your family get sent back to Japan?

FH: No.

RP: For schooling?

FH: No. If anyone, I would've been, but I was one year behind. I say one year behind 'cause if I graduated high school I would've been sent to Japan, but I was in the eleventh grade and the war broke out, so I was one year behind, right? I think that's what their plan was.

RP: To send you back?

FH: Well, yeah. That's what they wanted. I can't help but think that that's what majority of the Issei parents were thinking. This was a temporary land for them, but look at how many are still here. But there's no place like home, so that was home 'til this became their home. Then their children got married, then they got grandkids and even if they wanted to go, their roots are here now.

RP: So you were able to converse a little better with your parents as a result of...

FH: Well whatever I know... see, when I went back to Japan, this is back '02, I went back to Japan. I never had the desire to go back, but somehow I wanted to go back and I went back, and when we had this orientation they said, "Don't speak Japanese. Your Japanese is not their kind of Japanese. Your Japanese is what your parents brought to this America, and they had, how many years have passed. So don't speak that." But you know when you see a Japanese person, automatically, whatever you know, speakingly, you... it comes out. And I said, "Oh, I'm not supposed to speak Japanese," and one lady said to me in, I think it was in Osaka, she said to me, "Oh, talk it. I love it. It's my grandmother's language." It was cute. It was really cute. "Talk it. I love it," she says. "It's my grandmother's language." So evidently she had ties with her grandmother where she could pick up... I mean, they could understand my Japanese, but it's a different form of... and then I married a Terminal Islander. And they talk a little rougher than we, and you married to a guy for fifty years, naturally you're gonna pick up some of his lingo.

RP: Wakayama dialect.

FH: Yeah, yeah. And they talk a little rougher than... and the tendency is to be, a lady's got to talk like a lady. But when you're married to a Terminal Islander you kinda talk -- even the girls from Terminal Island talked a little tough.

RP: A lady Yogore.

FH: Yeah, if there is one then that's it.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

RP: Did, was your family religious at all or have an affiliation with the...

FH: I think basically they were Buddhist, but we were not in that vicinity because now you have to go to Japantown to go to a, get that Buddhist church service. I mean, it was all down in that area, and where we lived there was nothing like that, so I became a Christian because there was a Christian church nearby.

RP: In Glendale?

FH: Uh-huh.

RP: Might be the same one that Rokuro went to to study.

FH: Yeah, right. Right, that's right. He had... Rokuro. There was... six of 'em?

RP: There was Goro, Rokuro, Fusao...

FH: Shiro, Saburo...

RP: Shiro, Saburo...

FH: Fusao and Kenichi.

RP: Kenichi, yeah.

FH: I know 'em all.

RP: You knew them all?

FH: They lived next door to my mom in Seabroook when my folks were in Seabrook after they left camp. No, besides, I went to school with them. They were tough guys. Oh, they were tough guys when they were, like...

RP: Like a gang?

FH: No, they weren't a gang. It just all boys. They were tough. They call --

KP: The Glendale Yogores.

FH: Yeah, could've been.

RP: They kind of threw their weight around a little bit.

FH: Well, it's just being kids. What kids... I'm sure they mellowed and they're wonderful guys now. But in their day they would throw their weight around and that.

RP: So did you, did you decide on your own that you wanted to be affiliated with the Christian faith, or was that something that your parents --

FH: No, it was kind of a social thing, I think, in the beginning. To be with different people and lot of those people that went there went to Japanese school or whatever.

RP: So that was your social hub, the church.

FH: It kinda was, yeah. And maybe that was a way to feel like you belong. I don't know, maybe that's what it was. At that time I don't think that was in your mind, but I think, basically, it was that. We want to be, belong. But I have good memories of that. We, whatever we did.

RP: Do you remember what you did?

FH: We used to have beach parties and we used to have picnic up at Griffith Park and, you know, little, little incidental things like that, which was fun to be with your friends and share little things with them. It was a good era.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

RP: How about high school? What was that like for you?

FH: I was there only two years. It was fun. More fun... it was good, good era. Met a lot of new people. Did a lot of different things that I guess you never thought that you'd be doing, but had to make decisions, like what class do you have to take and what were you gonna become and what you thought you wanted to become. But...

RP: Did you have any thoughts about that?

FH: No, I don't... I thought of being a nurse at one time, and then I thought, "No, I don't want to be messin' around with dirty stuff." You know how you think the negative things of things, and I thought, "Oh, maybe I should be a secretary," and so I took bookkeeping. I took shorthand, whatever there is to do. I think we all went to, I think I went to school to be involved in something. And maybe that's why I'm still working, 'cause I want to be involved. I don't know. I liked school. To this day I think I still dream of, dream about school, trying to get my locker open and get it, get my books and get to my next class, and where was my class? But, no, I really liked school.

RP: Were you involved in any clubs or sports?

FH: You couldn't 'cause you had to go to Japanese school.

RP: Oh, that's right.

FH: Everything involved was after school, and we had to go to Japanese school, so we couldn't. Some did. I guess there were some that didn't go to Japanese school. I don't know. But I knew I had to go to Japanese school, so we couldn't get involved.

RP: Did your, did your parents have ideas of what they wanted you to do?

FH: Go to Japan.

RP: That was the only thing.

FH: I think yeah. I think their thought was go to Japan, probably marry a Japanese citizen over there. But then, now, I don't know if you read the newspaper or you've heard anyone talk about it, but according to Horse Yoshinaga that writes in the Rafu Shimpo?

RP: Oh, George.

FH: You've heard "Horse's Mouth"?

RP: Yeah, "Horse's Mouth."

FH: Yeah, he always says when he went back he was treated like second grade citizen because he was not a Japanese, he was American-born, so maybe I would've been treated that way, but after a while things start melting away and those things are not in the picture any longer.

RP: Did you have any awareness of what was going on in the world beyond your life? Japan invading China and that?

FH: Oh, you hear about it, but you don't take it seriously. I mean, at least I didn't. I know my mother had a brother that was going to China, and she had long hair. Long black hair, and they all wore it in a bum, bun rather, and she cut it all off because they said that makes a wonderful vest and the bullets will pass that slick hair. They make vests with that, so she cut it and sent her hair all the way back to Japan so her brother could have, have that hair and a vest made. So I heard that, but how much hair can, one person's hair make a vest to save that person? But I don't know. I mean, the thought, good thought was there.

RP: Did your parents send money back to Japan, too, to family?

FH: I'm sure they did. I'm sure they did.

RP: 'Cause some folks also sent aluminum foil and other things --

FH: Oh, I remember that. We used to walk down the street, pick up cigarette papers and take the foil off the paper, and we'd bring it home, made balls they used... I don't know where we sent it. I know we did it. I just know we did it. We'd walk home from Japanese school at times and we'd pick, see a cigarette box, pull the lining out and pull that foil. I mean, it's a teaching that your parents teach you, I guess. I don't know if you have any goal in your mind what it's gonna do, but you're doing what they said do it. You know, you do it.

RP: Obedience.

FH: Well, it used to be that kind of a world at one time, I think. Now they tell you to fight for what you think is right and what you think. But in those days, parents told you to do it, you did it.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

RP: December 7, 1941, what are your recollections of that day?

FH: I was in the floral shop cleaning flowers, getting ready. And we heard this on the radio. We had the radio on. It's almost unbelievable. My, my question was, "Why?" But then my thinking was... I mean, as a teenager, how much do you think of that kind of thing? Unless you're into that, really into it. And how many kids were into that? I couldn't believe it. And we had a Chinese restaurant next door, and he was in the reserve. Actually, he was a San Diego boy. And he had this Chinese restaurant, and he said, "I'm joining up tomorrow," which would be Monday. Or signing up, whatever. And he did, but he called me not too long ago to tell me, you know, he's still around and how are you, blah, blah, blah. It was kinda nice. But at that time it was, I've never been in a war, so I don't, didn't know what to expect. 'Til I went to school Monday.

RP: What was that like?

FH: They made everybody in school go to this, the football bleacher and listen to Roosevelt declare war on Japan. It was the most embarrassing, horrifying thing. I mean, there's a bunch of us and we're all sticking, all the Japanese kids are sitting together, and everybody's out there rahing, hooing, cheering on. And we don't know what to think. We're American citizens, and yet who they claim our country is bombarded, because actually that's the only way they see us. That's why we went into camp, because we're Asians. I mean, Japanese. That was the worst part of it, but other than that it wasn't bad. I mean, the one that understood understood. That one that didn't... they were going to war and they signed up. And there's one kid that I remember, he used to eat -- his name was Albert Otto -- and he ate lunch with us, and he came back one day and he said to me, "I signed up at the Navy, San Diego. What a beautiful country." I said, "Oh, gee, I wonder what San Diego is like," and here I live in San Diego most of my life. So there was a lot of, lot of guys that, in my class, that signed up to go to war, and I hated to see, hear that. But that's what war does, I guess. Sad as it may be. And how many more have gone on since then?

KP: Can I just, do you know of any of the, your Japanese American friends who wanted to sign up and couldn't? Did you hear anything about that?

FH: No. No, I don't know. And if I do I can't remember. Or if I did, I just can't remember. No, I can't remember. There weren't a lot of Japanese guys that I knew that... I think they were kinda embarrassed that their friends were against them when war broke out. Maybe they felt that their true color came out, but there was a lot of us that stuck by, our friends that stuck by us, too.

RP: Caucasian friends?

FH: Caucasian friends that said, "We know what it's like." I mean, not, they don't know what it's like, but they sympathized that we were, like, how would you put it? We were feeling like prisoners without bars.

RP: So did that, did that feeling exist beyond school into the community?

FH: You mean just, is that the feeling...

RP: That feeling of being looked at differently.

FH: That I was an alien or a enemy or whatever, however they...

RP: You were the enemy.

FH: Yeah. And actually I wasn't. I think we were more truer than most, most people. I don't know. That's how I feel. But no, it turned out alright. I can't, I can't blame them for feeling the way they did now. Now, because we've been through different things and they're entitled to their thinking. But if they learned the truth or more of it, I'm sure their feeling is... then they could draw their own conclusion, right? Whether they're for it or against it. Or for me or for, against me.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

RP: Do you recall the signing of Executive Order 9066?

FH: Kinda. Yeah, very faintly. Faintly.

RP: And then what happened afterward?

FH: Well, we were supposed to go to Heart Mountain like I told you, but the borderline was right on Las Feliz and Dad said, "Let's go sign up. They're not gonna complain. They want us out of here, we're gonna sign up." So we went with all our Glendale, Burbank, San Fernando, that whole area that ended up in Manzanar. Otherwise we, I would've never been with them. I'd be going to the Heart Mountain reunion. [Laughs] Yeah, I'd be going to the Heart Mountain reunion.

RP: What happened to, to the floral shop?

FH: The floral shop? A fellow name of Walt, no, Waters, Waters took over. And they came in just before we left, and Mom and Dad showed him the... I don't know if they had been in, maybe they had been, but not my concern. And I was in school, so... they came every day and Mom and Dad taught him bits and... basically, to open a flower shop, you just have to know the name of the flower and how to make your arrangements and you know, but the rest is up to you, whether you want your customers to like you or whatever, whatever.

RP: So they just took over the business for your parents?

FH: Yeah, so when we left they were already in, running the place.

RP: You remember packing up to go to Manzanar?

FH: Vaguely. Very vaguely. We thought, "Oh, we're going camping. We get boots." 'Cause they told us scorpions and snakes and dust and cactus and all this stuff, that you got to have boots and jeans and, oh, we got whole new wardrobe because we're going camping, right? Never been camping. We're going camping. Wasn't the same, but turned out fine. Made a lot of new friends.

RP: Did, do you remember your family number?

FH: No, I don't.

RP: Do you remember wearing those tags?

FH: Yeah, I remember wearing the tag, but I don't remember the number.

RP: Where did you assemble to go to Manzanar?

FH: I think it was the Glendale train station, way up north near La Crescenta. Is there, is there a train station up there?

RP: I'll defer to my La Crescenta expert.

KP: I don't think up by La Crescenta, no.

FH: It was somewhere up north. It wasn't over there where we lived. There's a gas, a train station there, on Las Feliz, right off of Las Feliz. I know they took, made a lot of movies there. We used to run down there to see 'em taking movie. It wasn't there. It was maybe at Burbank. It might've been a Burbank train station.

KP: Did you go by train, to Manzanar?

FH: By bus. Bus came and I think there were several big trucks that hauled our suitcases up. But it was like a fun thing for us. I don't know the parents didn't think that, but it was fun for us riding the bus. We never get to ride buses. Then we got there and it was blowing, it was cold, and people were lined up like, like, you know, whole long line in the cold, trying to get in the mess hall to eat. And that's what we had to do. It was a, it wasn't like the camping that I thought I was gonna go to, but it turned out alright.

RP: How about the trip up, do you remember could you see out the windows of the bus?

FH: Yeah. Uh-huh.

RP: The blinds weren't shut.

FH: No. I heard that the trains were. Trains had the blinds down, but I don't remember us having the blinds down.

RP: Were there any other people, Caucasians predominantly, that came forward and offered support or... you know, "Sorry this is happening to you," but any support from anybody else?

FH: I think our, the owner of our flower shop was, and he stored a lot of our things that we couldn't take.

RP: You had a vehicle? Did you have a car at that time?

FH: Yeah, but we -- no, we had a, the only thing we had was a panel truck to deliver the flowers in, and the people that took over the flower shop took over that. And I can't even remember how I got to the station to get on that bus. I was so happy I was going on a camping trip. [Laughs]

RP: So there was the four kids and the two --

FH: Mom and Dad.

RP: And that was your, pretty much your whole family at that time? No extended aunts or uncles?

FH: No, it was just, just four of us. And then our family friend, the whole Takechi family was on the same bus with us. And they were all friends from that neighborhood, so we all knew each other and it was like a fun thing going up to the camp.

RP: So was it a feeling that you weren't alone, that you were sharing this with... this...

FH: I guess so, but when you're seventeen and -- well, nowadays it may be different, but then it was like new adventure. On with a new adventure.

RP: How about the fact that your education was disrupted? I mean, you were already two years into your high school. You were gonna graduate in another year.

FH: I did. I did.

RP: Some kids your age expressed a lot of regret that they weren't around for their graduation.

FH: Well, see, I think I was in, I was supposed to graduate in that time of the year, time. There was a winter graduate and a summer graduate, and I would've been a winter graduate, but I didn't. A lot of 'em went to school and caught up so they'd be up to date, but I didn't so I graduated in the summer, which I could have... but still the same year. I graduated alright, and I had friends. Made new friends. So it worked out.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

RP: What struck you about the camp in the first days you were there? What made a lasting impression on you?

FH: It was horrible.

RP: Just the whole atmosphere.

FH: Thing was horrible. We didn't get adjusted to the food. We had these horrible things that, they were a pan like this. There was a handle that went over like this and the handle came out like this and you had to lock it in some way, hold it, and if you didn't do that the food fell down. It was aluminum. It's a GI thing, okay. It's a GI thing. And the cups were that awful oval looking shape with a handle that came down like this and you had to go like this and hook it up and hang onto it because you couldn't take anything hot, otherwise the aluminum thing was so hot. And if you didn't put that on right that thing fell like this and the whole thing fell. Until you got used to it. The food was not the kind of food that we thought camp would have. You know, camping, barbeque hotdogs and hamburgers. No, a can of spinach and yucks.

RP: Vienna sausage.

FH: And then they had, yeah, and they had tongue. They didn't know how to cook tongue. Tongue was horrible. Tough. Shoe leather. And the bathrooms were no privacy at all. I'm sure you heard that. No privacy at all. It was embarrassing. But we managed. We, you do what you have to do. And we all managed. It's a thing you talk about now, I guess. I don't think I want to do it again, though. But it, with time everything got better. Everybody pitched in and we, everybody did their thing and we got the place looking like it was livable. And we lived there. I lived there three years.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

RP: This is a continuation of an oral history with Fumi Hayashi. This is tape two. Fumi, we were just talking about some of your overall impressions of camp early on and that things started to change a little for the better as time went on. Where were you originally living in the camp? What block?

FH: Block 17. That's the whole, I was there the whole time in camp. Block 17-12-4.

RP: And early on families, sometimes there were two families that would be put into one small --

FH: No, we only had one room. We had one room. The windows rattled. The dust came in, came under from boards about half an inch wide flooring. You probably heard it. And Dad would go to the -- I think all, everybody did -- go to the mess hall and pick up the can lids and cover the knotholes and whatever, and eventually... I think it was the Terminal Island bunch that came, and they put plaster boards up so the rooms weren't real thin walled, and they laid linoleum so we weren't getting that dust. I think it was the summer, we went in April and that summer, I think, they did that, if I'm not mistaken. I may be, but it's so long ago it's hard to remember, but...

RP: Do you recall who your neighbors were in your barrack?

FH: Yeah, Mr. and Mrs. -- Mr. Takechi was taken in earlier by the, the... what is it? The undesirable... remember?


FH: Yeah, FBIs.

RP: He was taken --

FH: Taken, he went to, I think he went to Crystal City in New Mexico.

RP: Santa Fe, probably.

FH: Was it, yeah. I think they called it Crystal City, though?

KP: In Texas?

RP: Texas, yeah.

FH: Is it Texas?

RP: Crystal City, Texas and Santa Fe, New Mexico, also had an internment camp.

FH: Oh, I don't know.

RP: So he'd been taken --

FH: He was taken out, so the father, I mean, father was gone so the mother and the three children came along. And the uncle, which is the father's brother, came along. And they had another family living with them, but we only had my family living in...

KP: Why do you think Mr. Takechi was taken?

FH: 'Cause he was on the board of the Japanese school. He was, I think he was on the board of the Japanese school, and anybody that was that close was taken in. If they had an inkling that you had some kinda dealing with the government they thought, they, without doubt they took you.

RP: Was your, do you remember the FBI visiting your business or talking to your dad at all?

FH: No. No, so my dad didn't go.

RP: So Mr. Takechi showed up a little later on?

FH: Yeah, and they... I don't know how much the Catholic, they claimed the Catholic people had a lot to get his release, and I'm not sure. I'm sure they had somethin' but I don't know if they had that much influence. But he came out and they all became Catholics. The whole family became Catholic. So I'm sure they had something to do with it, but I don't know if they had all that much to do with it, but they were impressed.

RP: Were there other folks from Glendale, Burbank and that area in Block Seventeen, or, or were they scattered out amongst other places?

FH: We were all, lot of us were scattered. Because there were some San Fernando, there was Santa Monica, Venice -- there's a lot of Venice people in our block -- quite a few San Fernando... I don't think there was a whole lot of Glendale people. Maybe eight families, but it wasn't, it was a mixture of cities.

RP: Different communities.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

RP: Now you went to, in the summer you started working at the camouflage net factory.

FH: That was fun.

RP: What was that like?

FH: It was fun. They, first they came around, they said, "You want to earn three dollars?" Seems odd, but, "You wanna earn three dollars? We'll give you three dollars if you come down to the camouflage and learn how to do it, and then you can get on the payroll, it'd be sixteen dollars a month." And that sounds good. We had never worked other than in your parents' business, so we went down there, my girlfriend and I went down there and we signed up and we learned how to do it. It was fun, but I was starting to break out with the dyes of the camouflage burlap, and anyhow, eventually I became a forelady and I taught, I had one section and I taught the girls how to do it and watched to make sure that they did it right. Hey, what's a seventeen-year-old gonna look for? [Laughs] I mean, not any perfection. But anyhow, we did it and it was fun, and then I think when school started it disbanded, because it was basically the kids on the school, going to school that weren't busy working there. There might've been a few others, housewives that didn't much to do or... well, you didn't have a house to take care of.

RP: Did they test you for allergies to the dyes?

FH: No, I broke out, so they made me go get patch and they put patches on my back, but, well, within time it was gone anyhow. I mean, the camouflage thing was gone, so...

RP: Also, there were some issues about breathing the --

FH: Yeah, we had, we all wore masks. I don't even know if they helped. There were a few pieces of gauze that went over your mouth, nose. Yeah, I remember that. That was fun.

RP: Do you remember also weaving to music in the...

FH: Yeah. I don't know. Who did you say it was? Henry Ushijima?

RP: Oh, Henry Ushijima.

FH: Yeah, I think the guys that used to be, were called the "Strip Boys" -- when we needed a strip of burlap they'd go get it for us -- they became the ones that ran that session for Henry.

RP: Oh, they... the music?

FH: Yeah, they eventually left doing "strip boy" things to do the high tech stuff. [Laughs] So we would, we would weave to music. You know, the... those days music. Then in the night time we probably went to a dance and danced to that music, with the same guy. I mean, the same guy that put it up. I think he's the only one that had the amplifier for it.

RP: And you were kind of like a, you'd say a floor lady or sort of a supervisor, kind of watching over the... how many would be in the crews that wove the nets? Would there be...

FH: We had two sides. One would be on one... I think there was about four on each side, three or four on each side. I must've had about four of those, so there would be eight, eight nets being woven.

RP: And there would be a net that had the pattern, like, sort of like the sample net.

FH: Yeah, there would... I think, if I'm not mistaken it hung in the middle and you copied it, tried to copy it, yeah.

RP: But you didn't weave.

FH: I did weave in the beginning. I did weave in the beginning.

RP: How long did it take a group to, to weave a net?

FH: I don't know. I can't remember. Depends on how agile you are. The one that are... they move faster, whereas the one that keep making mistake, I probably take it off and have to redo it.

RP: Do you remember a lady -- there were quite a few kids, like you said, who worked in the net factory -- one woman really took to weaving nets. Her name was Momo Nagano.

FH: She graduated with me. Went to, we were in the same class then. Yeah, I think you're the one that told me about that.

RP: She went on to...

FH: Become a...

RP: Become a weaver, and she made these huge tapestries, or art. These big weavings based on her experiences.

FH: Is she still doing it?

RP: I think, well, she's pretty up there in years. I don't think she has the manual, or the hand skills anymore. So it was a great place, great place to meet young people.

FH: In camp, yeah.

RP: In camp. These are the first months of camp.

FH: Well, for one reason, we had a different bunch of people in our camp from different part of Southern California. We met them beside the different things that we went to. It was our... I think we all decided, I think majority of us decided this is the life that, as long as there was war, this is the life. And the ones that were either more intellectual or more adventuresome or however you want to put it left camp as soon as possible. But I was there three years, and I think the camp was open almost four. Three and a half.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

RP: You also worked as a dietician, or a dietician's aide for Mrs. Wakamatsu.

FH: Wakatsuki.

RP: Oh, Wakatsuki.

FH: Yeah, Wakatsuki.

RP: Tell us what you did for her.

FH: What I did for her? I just had this little place... see, the adults ate food three times a meal, three times a day, three meals, and the infants had two times, which was ten o'clock and two o'clock. And you fixed meal for them, beside I made a formula for them for if they weren't nursing them. And that is what I did. It was, it was a job.

RP: That was... so you worked specifically in Block 17, or did you work in other blocks?

FH: Uh-huh. And later on I went down to, I don't know if it was at 20 or 21, somewhere down there, and then I left camp and went cannery working. They were recruiting cannery workers for tomato cannery, so I signed up for that, went there, and I think I was there six or eight weeks or something like that. In Utah.

RP: Was there enough, was there ever shortages of formula?

FH: No, never.

RP: You always had enough.

FH: No, never. There might have been that time when we had that storm and the trucks couldn't get in, but I think we were, we had ample supply.

RP: Did you get to know any of the other Wakatsukis?

FH: Lillian was in my acapella choir class. She was a singer.

RP: How about Bill? He was also a singer.

FH: He was a beautiful, he had a beautiful voice. Tenor. No, I didn't know him, but we did go hear him sing wherever he sang, if he sang, and if I'm not mistaken he went back East somewhere and I want to say it was in Cleveland, but, no, I think that was Hank Nagano, or Nakano. It was another tenor singer. Do you... right? Okay, it might've been him. You know quite a bit of the camp.

RP: Did you meet Jeannie?

FH: Beg your pardon?

RP: Did you ever meet Jeannie, one of the daughters?

FH: No, I never... no. I understand she just lost her husband. I think she's much younger than I am. I say much younger. When you get older they're not that much younger, but when you're a teenager twelve years is pretty much younger. I don't know how old she is.

RP: You probably don't envision her writing a novel about her experiences and becoming one of the most important books about the camp experience. How was Jeannie's mom, Mrs. Wakatsuki?

FH: Very jovial. Very nice woman. Easy to work with... she was a good woman. And I think she was Nisei. Yeah, I think she was Nisei, so it was easy to converse English with her, and... she was a little round lady and she'd carry her little book and walk down the street. You could see, I could vision her walking down, down, between blocks. Nice lady, very nice lady. I don't think they came any better. Very good lady. I'm... I can't say, but I think I worked for 'em about a year, about a year.

RP: You get any feeling from the mothers who bring their babies in, in terms of how the experience was, or how difficult is was for them to be raising kids in, in that camp?

FH: I don't know of any.

RP: Any complaints or grumblings, things weren't quite right?

FH: No. I can't remember.

RP: Did you ever have to use the medical facilities at, in the camp?

FH: Other than my allergy, no, I don't think so.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

RP: The, how did you get on with this tomato canning job? Did somebody come to recruit you, or...

FH: I don't remember, but word got around that they're hiring so I thought, well, one way to get out of camp. I was so eager to come in, now I'm eager to go out. It was an experience, and a bunch of us girls that we hung around said, "Let's go," so we went. And it was an experience. It was an experience. Utah is a totally different place. Raindrops are like sometimes kids droppin' on your head, they conk on your head, big drops. That was another interesting job.

RP: Tell us about it. What do you remember about it?

FH: It was messy. It was messy.

RP: Where was this cannery?

FH: Roy, Utah.

RP: Near Ogden?

FH: Yeah, very close to Ogden, 'cause they used to haul us into Ogden in a truck, and when it rained they put canvas over us. And we used to moo all the way into camp, into Ogden, 'cause they treat us like cows we're gonna sound like cows. [Laughs] We did a lot of... oh, you know, teenagers. What do you expect? We're trying to make the most of it.

RP: Were there, were there also kids from other camps that were recruited there? Or was it...

FH: There were other, other canneries there that had...

RP: Japanese Americans.

FH: Uh-huh, and we stayed in a camp, it was camp where all the canneries I guess paid into it, and they housed us in the, the showering, bathroom facility and leisure place and...

RP: What were the conditions, your housing conditions relative to Manzanar?

FH: There? They were similar only it was one big barrack like the army camp and it only had bunk beds in it. We all -- I mean, it was all the way down, it was bunk beds and all the way down this way, bunk bed. And one section would be in this end, the next section'd be... whatever cannery that you worked at you mostly stayed in one section. It was like a dormitory, I guess. All girls. There were no guys I don't remember, and if there were they were housed somewhere else.

RP: You went to a common bathroom, too, or did you...

FH: Yeah, it was just like camp. Just like... only you just slept in big barrack instead of family rooms. It was kinda interesting. Met more different people from different camps. I think there was some from Topaz. I'm sure there were others, but I remember Topaz. I became friends with some girls that came from Topaz, which was not too far. It was a job. We did it. We had fun doing whatever we had to do in the leisure time.

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

FH: How did it feel to be out of camp? Well, for one thing, you see a lot of things, but you don't realize, at least I didn't realize, that the outside world was going through... you know, some of the supplies weren't all there. Like when we were not in camp, before the camp days, and maybe at that time I just noticed it, but then really appreciate the fact that they weren't getting treated with more luxury stuff than we were. We'd go into stores and there was a lot of things that weren't there that we used to see before the war, and of course you're in a different area, too.

RP: Did you go to movies or take advantage of --

FH: Oh, we just shopped, we... movies, we ate in restaurants. We did everything we could possibly think. We did the most we could with a limited amount of money. Of course, you know, in those days a quarter went a long ways.

RP: Probably you liked to maybe order foods that you couldn't get in camp.

FH: Well, I think you could have bought a hamburger sandwich, blue plate dinner for fifty cents, but what is it now? You can't buy a sandwich for fifty cents. So comparable to the money value then.

RP: So it opened your eyes to the, what was going on in the rest of the world.

FH: Yeah, I think it takes something like that to make you realize that... I mean, we got the freedom now, but in general...

RP: Everybody's making sacrifices.

FH: Yeah, yeah. Sugar wasn't there like it used to be. All the other things in general. And then when I relocated I saw a lot of that. Of course we had a lot of ration stamps that we had to use.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

RP: So you met your husband in camp.

FH: Yeah.

RP: Can you give us his name?

FH: His name is... he's got a lot of names. [Laughs] He was, his birth certificate says Yoshizo Hayashi. I think his mother wanted him to be Yoshimatsu Hayashi, but somewhere along the line the midwife recorded it wrong, but to the time that I remember everyone called him Yoshimatsu. But I met him as Jazzy, and he was always Jazzy to me. At first I wasn't too sure of him. He had, he had a good life so I wasn't too sure of him, but he turned out to be a good guy.

RP: You talked about nicknames, and the Terminal Island group had...

FH: Yeah, they all have nickname, every one of them. There was Snake, there was Horse, there was... well, Lefty. I had, my husband has a cousin named Tokyo. I don't know where he got his name. Elmer, he got a name Elmer. Let's see, Bunky, which my brother-in-law, Bunky. Everybody knew Bunky. I can't remember all.

RP: And then also Bunky's brother... Katsuo.

FH: His name was Katsuo, but he was Katz. Some people signed it K-A-T-Z, I mean, would write his name K-A-T-Z. I don't know, there was a bunch of 'em, but I can't remember all their names.

RP: Did the girls also use nicknames?

FH: No, not that I know of. Maybe they did, but I don't know of any. They more or less... but they were tough girls.

RP: The Terminal Island girls.

FH: Uh-huh. They were tough girls. But the Bainbridge girls were tougher. When I went, when we went into camp they said watch out for those Bainbridge girls. They were tough girls.

RP: So you stayed away from them?

FH: No, I mean, it's just a label they put on. Maybe they want to be known as tough and then, then... I mean, we became friends, good friends.

RP: Tell us about your husband's family. Originally they settled in Terminal --

FH: I think his mom and dad came to Terminal Island there... they must be one of the pioneers of the island. I don't know to what degree, what year or whatever they were, but I'm quite sure they were proud of Terminal Island, being pioneers of the island. And I'm sure there's a lot of them. Must've been a bunch of 'em. They were fishermen, they said, "Let's go to Terminal Island." I have no idea how they approached it, settled there and did what they did, but they, you had to be employed with a cannery or something on the island that was stationary there in order to live there, and if you didn't you had to leave the island. That was, I don't know if that was a cannery ruling or what kind of ruling it was, but that was the ruling.

RP: So was your soon-to-be husband a, was he a fisherman originally, on Terminal Island?

FH: Yeah. He had been a fisherman. I think he, they fished pretty young. I think he did sardine fishing in the beginning and later on tuna fishing. I think he went up to Monterey to become a tuna fisherman, and he was up in Monterey at the time the war broke out. So I don't know how he got back because they, you weren't able to travel from any parts of -- unless you were going back East. So I don't know how he got back, but he got back to Terminal Island and that's where they went to Manzanar.

RP: They were...

FH: Evacuated twice.

RP: They were evacuated twice, forty-eight hours.

FH: They had a little more hardship than we did. Lot more, I guess, because their time was limited as to dispose of their belongings and things. I know when I was at Marshall High, and our, I thought our school color was blue and blue, navy blue and light blue, and these guys are coming around with black and it had SP -- black and yellow -- and it had SP on it. I couldn't figure out what it was, 'til I found out that they had some relatives that they left their island to move in with their relative and they were coming to our school. And that was San Pedro High. Now at that time I didn't know 'til later on. I found out that was San Pedro High people. So I'm sure they had it rough.

RP: How did you meet your husband in camp?

FH: That's when I was working as a dietician. I was doing the dietician work and he was the driver for the trucks that unloaded the groceries, and that's how I met. That was right after I graduated high school. Yeah, right after I graduated high school.

KP: Do you remember how often the trucks came to unload groceries in the block?

FH: I don't remember, but we would have the meat, meat stuff truck and the... I don't know if the same truck did it, the same... but they had meat and vegetable. And we grew a lot of vegetable on our property -- I mean, up there in the back country or side country or wherever -- and I'm sure there were other trucks that hauled things in. I have no clue, but I don't even know if they were different crews or it was the same crew that went back and reloaded and came back. But there were thirty-one blocks, right?

RP: Thirty-six.

FH: Oh, thirty-six, yeah. Thirty-six blocks, and one block was hospital and one block was school, right?

RP: Right.

FH: Then we had the hospital that they had to furnish, deliver to, so I really don't know how many. I don't think there was a whole lot. They must've gone back and reloaded and... or maybe certain days were the days that they loaded whatever items that was supposed to be delivered.

RP: Your parents grew up in the, many Issei grew up in the era of these arranged marriages where there was a go-between and... did you have to seek permission from your parents? Or did you just meet and... was there any go-between involved?

FH: No. Yeah, we were just off and on dating, nothing... maybe he was serious, but I wasn't, and I don't think he was serious. No, I don't think he was. But anyhow, we had been going around for a while, and I think it was coming to the part where we were, he was gonna... see, I went to Chicago, and he went to Cleveland. He went to Cleveland first part of '45 and I went to Chicago, I think first part of March in '45. And it was coming to that point and he asked me to marry him, and I said, "I don't want to marry you. I don't even know you," I told him. I told him, "I don't even know you. I don't love you and I'm too young to get married. I just want to have some fun yet." So he left and I figured I'd never see him again, unless he writes to me or... you know. But he's way in Cleveland, I'm going to Chicago, which maybe now is just a matter of short distance, but then Chicago and Cleveland were miles apart. So I went to Chicago and my girlfriend that called me to come to Chicago, she said, "You know, we're staying here for a little while and," whenever it was, she said, "we're moving in an apartment house." I said, "Oh, great." There were nine, ten apartments and she said, "Our family's getting one, two, three, four, four apartments," because her family was big. Her mother and the brother and the sister that was married and blah, blah, blah, and I was gonna go there. Well, it so happened that my husband's --- husband, well, my boyfriend's -- sister lived in the same apartment house, so that's where it started, restarted. He came and... he came to visit his sister and his brother that was there, that happened to come by. So that's where it started. But there was never a arrangement thing, but he did go through the... because, I think, I turned him down the first time, he went to one of his friends and asked him to go to my parents for my hand. He did go through that because, I think because I turned him down the first time. I wasn't ready to go into that part of life yet. [Laughs]

RP: And where did you get married?

FH: Cleveland.

RP: In Cleveland.

FH: Cleveland. In '46.

RP: Did you date any other men in camp before Jazz?

FH: Oh, nothing serious. You know, dates, out to a movie or...

RP: The outdoor theater?

FH: I don't know. There weren't any out there.

RP: Oh, did you go to the... there was an outdoor theater at Manzanar?

FH: No, I don't think in Chicago there were any.

RP: Oh, not in Chicago? I was mentioning Manzanar.

FH: No, I think it, it... Manzanar, yeah. I had gone to outdoor theater with the guy I married, but no, it was all theaters back in Chicago.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

RP: I just wanted to talk a little bit about your high school experience you had.

FH: In camp?

RP: In camp.

FH: Just a year.

RP: Just a year? And how did it...

FH: I had some wonderful teachers.

RP: Yeah, let's talk about Mrs. --

FH: Louie Frizzell was my choir teacher. There was a Goldberg. What was her first name? Do you remember?

RP: Janet.

FH: I don't remember that.

RP: Remember Janet?

FH: Might've been Janet, yeah. She was an outstanding woman. Wasn't there a Miss White, Mrs. White? Cooking teacher, or economics teacher. Who was another one? There's another older woman. There was a... she was my English teacher. Do you remember, I can't remember her name. I could picture her, but I can't remember her name. And then there was a Nakamura that was the gym teacher, right? Those are the things I remember. I don't remember too much. I took a art class and I can't even remember the art teacher's name.

RP: What was it about Louis Frizzell that...

FH: He had charisma. He had charisma. Actually, he was maybe four or five years older than us. I don't think he was too much older than us. And then when he came back to our class reunion he, he was some guy. He was a nice guy. I mean, I looked up to him as a teacher, but he was a, alright.

RP: And he directed the choir that you sang in?

FH: Uh-huh. We did a thing that Paul Robeson sang. Do you remember? Something about the country.

RP: About America?

FH: Uh-huh, uh-huh. And he went to Russia, didn't he? He moved and...

RP: Paul Robeson?

FH: Uh-huh. He went to Russia. Mary Kageyama was in the class. Lillian Wakatsuki was in the class. There was a lot of good guys that was in the class that turned out to be... there's some Manza-Knight guys that were in our class. Do you know of Atsuko Takahashi? Have you heard that name?

RP: No.

FH: She was a singer. She sang lot of the little whatever that went on. She was in our class. It was a neat little class that we had.

RP: You performed for other events, assemblies?

FH: Yeah, we did. That's when Paul Robeson sang and, oh, Louis Frizzell was so happy. It turned out so good. He was just beaming. I could see his face beaming over. He was a good guy.

RP: He also wrote a few operettas, plays and things that...

FH: That's what I understand, yeah. And was in some movies a lot of TV I understand. Yeah, I had seen him in TV, like Westerns. I think they were doing Westerns.

RP: How about academically, did you feel challenged in, by some of these teachers that you...

FH: No, I think I just went to school. Like I said, I went to school to be, be in school. I don't think I was... I wish now that I had been challenged to that, but that's the way life was then.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

RP: Wanted to talk a little bit about the "Manzanar riot," or incident that kind of evolved into your experience.

FH: That was a weird thing.

RP: You had some very strong memories, recollections of...

FH: We had a senior outing. It was our senior year. We had a senior outing; we went way out past, I think it was past George's Creek. Is it Saint, is it George's Creek or Saint George?

RP: George's.

FH: George's Creek, okay. It was way out there and we had a great time out there.

RP: What did you do out there?

FH: Oh, we played, ate, played baseball and God knows, I don't know. I remember playing baseball. We just had a fun time away from the confines of a camp, concentration camp like thing, and I think Miss Goldberg's the one that got the permit to get us out there. And we came back. I can't remember, I thought we went in a truck, but I think it was within walking space. And I think I walked back and we walk into camp, camp was so dead quiet. It was dead still and I couldn't understand what was wrong, and when we went for dinner, when we lined up for... everybody's buzz, buzz, buzz, buzzing and they said, "Yeah, there was a, a riot down at the police station, and there were some people that got shot." And then they're having a big get-together or something at Block 21. See, we, our houses were, were heated with oil, and we had this big oil tank on... I don't know whether it was on... I think four blocks had one oil tank that they took the oil out to service the, service the rooms or the bungalows or the barracks. And they said there's a meeting right at the Block 21 oil tank. I think it was 21, maybe it was 20, but anyhow, down from... "So come on down if you wanna hear." And we heard that Fred Tayama got beat up, and I knew who Fred Tayama was, but didn't know him personally. I just knew of him. And he was, they said he was in the hospital. And to find out that my husband saved him.

RP: Tell us about that.

FH: He was in the hospital and he got, the night before he got beat up, and I guess he got beat up quite badly, so he was in the hospital -- well, keep him out of harm's way, too -- and the next morning they had the riot down by the, not the big riot, but the other riot about... I think that was all about, how it came to be was... if Japan invaded United States, who would you take sides with? I don't know what the number of that, whatever it was. And the Kibei people protested that. "How come you want us to stick up for United States after you put us in camp?" Which is logic, too, right? Majority of us, I think, said we would stick up for the United States. And so I think they kinda started it. It just takes a handful to get a bunch going, you know. And so they had that little riot down at the police station, and so they said... I guess they said they thought Fred Tayama was the one that started all this to get this in black and white. So, "Let's go get Fred Tayama." He's up at the hospital. Well, my husband was going around with a girl that was -- this was way before my time because I'm just in high school yet -- and was going around with this girl that worked in the hospital, and he went up there and they got a call saying the riot was going up there. They're coming after Fred Tayama, so the girl says, "You better get him out of where he is," so they told him where he was and then he went in there. He said nobody was in there. It was a empty ward that they kept the beds in, the spare beds. And so he went in there, and he said he went over there. He said somebody was -- no, then they said something about somebody was coming up, injured, so, "Get the bed ready." So he went in there and he couldn't move the bed. He said, "Gee, this is funny," so he looked around to see if it had brakes on it. Fred Tayama was under the bed. He said, "Don't touch me, don't touch me. I don't mean any harm. I..." He says, "You're okay." He said, "I won't do anything to you," because he knew him. He said, "Get under the cover. I'll cover you up and I'll wheel you into the maternity room." So he wheeled him into the maternity room and the, one of the... what is it? Rooms where you, before you deliver... anyhow, they took him in there, and he put him in there and he says, "They're gonna come and get me." He says, "No, they won't come and get you because you're in the... just be quiet and stay in here because it's a maternity room and nobody, they guys won't come in." So as he was walking down the hallway he said these guys came tearing in. He said, "You guys better not go past that. There's a lady in labor, in labor room. A woman in labor, so you better not go past that." So they didn't and they got him out of there before they got a hold of him. So he saved his life. Otherwise they were... but anyhow, the riot was scary. That night -- we lived on the end barrack, room barrack, of the barrack -- and you could see the people. It was a apple orchard and the hospital was on the other side of that apple orchard. And you could see the people just running across. Just people running, going up that way to the hospital, and that might've been when they were going after Fred Tayama. I don't know. I remember that. That was scary. But when you're young you forget right away. Next morning we went, my girlfriend Terry and I, or Ruth and I, we went to Block 18. That's where the whole Tayama clan lived. There, it was all gone. They, overnight, they took 'em all out. Early in the morning. They didn't want them harmed. And I don't know where they... I think Fred Tayama's daughter, who lives right here -- used to live, she passed on -- said they went to Barstow.

RP: If I'm not mistaken, I think they took 'em to Death Valley for a while.

FH: Is it Death Valley? She thought it was Barstow, but she was, like, eleven, so she was quite young.

RP: Yeah, the, all the JACL, JACL people and the people that were considered, you know, inu --

FH: Yeah, that were family wise or whatever... yeah, so when we went up Block 18, we lived in 17, and walked up to 18, it was all vacant. Their slippers and whatever was all there, like, they were there, but it was just dead quiet. Then we went to Block 24 where Slocum lived, do you remember?

RP: Tokie Slocum?

FH: Yeah, and his place was wide open, wide open. The doors were open and everything, like they just left, and we went by there and looked at it. We walked around and looked around; there's quite a few of them that was in that area that was, had gone. What's the other one, Masaoka lived across 23. They were gone.

RP: Togo Tanaka, did you know?

FH: Yeah, but I, we don't know where he was. But the area, in our area, we walked around and they were gone. It was empty. That was scary. Imagine how scary they thought it was, the one that thought they were gonna get, you know... that was...

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

RP: You were talking about pledging loyalty to Japan or... I think that was the "loyalty questionnaire."

FH: Yeah, that was the "loyalty question."

RP: It came a little later after the riot.

FH: Did it come after the riot?

RP: Yes. It was in February of '43.

FH: Oh, I don't know. See now, being young, maybe those things passed... it, I can't remember what had happened exactly, but...

RP: You remember having to answer that questionnaire?

FH: Yeah, I do.

RP: And do you remember whether, whether... was there discussions or...

FH: I don't know if there was discussion. You mean...

RP: In your family, about...

FH: Yeah, in our family.

RP: Did your parents express -- well, what did they express? Did they have any feelings one way or the other about, about the questions and...

FH: Gosh, I don't, I don't remember, but I had my mind made up. I said why would I pledge for another country which I don't, I don't even know? That was my feeling. And I thought, this is my country. This... and if they do me in, I guess they do me in, but I didn't know what would be over there. But of course, maybe my thinking was very shallow. I don't know. Maybe I should have given it more thought. No, I... no, what I did was right, in my... now I feel.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

RP: There was one other job that you mentioned you worked at in Manzanar, and you, that was the electrician shop?

FH: Oh, yeah, I worked in the electrician shop. I came back from the cannery, working the tomato cannery, and I worked at the electrician's shop. That was the end of '45. That was, I wasn't working... no, '44, so I didn't work there very long because I left in '45, early part of '45, so I must've worked there at least six months, five months, something like that.

RP: That was down in the warehouse area.

FH: Uh-huh.

RP: What did you do there?

FH: Just issued out light bulbs, I guess. You had to return the light bulb to get a new light bulb. Good... that was the way it was. You had to have a... we had no telephone in the office, so I wasn't answering telephones. And if anybody came in and asked to send a, a... the refrigeration crew was in with us, so there was a, somebody'd come by in a car or truck or whatever and say the refrigeration's out, can we send a crew, you know. But other than that, kept the books, whatever had to be done, and passed out light bulbs. Good job. [Laughs] Sixteen dollar a month, you can't go wrong.

RP: Never quite made that nineteen dollar a month.

FH: No, I wasn't a professional. I wasn't... I hadn't gone to college yet.

KP: Did your father work in camp?

FH: Beg your pardon?

KP: Did your father work in camp?

FH: Yeah, he worked in the tofu factory. There's a picture of him holding a tofu paddle in one of those pictures that was up in that museum in Independence. There was a picture, there's a little picture. He, in the back, he's got this tofu paddle.

RP: So that was a new undertaking for him, learn how to make tofu.

FH: Yeah, I don't know if he ever learned how to make actual tofu, but he would make it at, as a, the group down there. We had a tofu factory. Did you know that there was a tofu factory?

RP: Did you go down and watch them make it?

FH: No, we had other better things to do. [Laughs]

RP: How about your mom, did she work at all?

FH: Yeah, she worked in the mess hall.

RP: As a...

FH: As a dishwasher. I guess that's what you... there was no electrical dishwasher, so they had to do it by manual, and he, she worked in there. I think she worked in Block 16. I think she worked in Block 16. She worked with a lot of Terminal Island women, because I think Block 9 was directly across the firebreak there and a lot of them came over and worked with her, so she met a lot of Terminal Island people. And incidentally, we were told when we, when we first went into camp they told my parents, "Don't let your daughter outta sight in, in... Terminal Island guy, they're tough guys." When their daughter married a Terminal Island guy. [Laughs] That was the first thing they said was, "Don't let your daughter out of sight. Those Terminal Island guys will come and get 'em." I don't know how tough they were, but they were alright. I, there were, they were a great bunch of guys; they were just rough. You know how it is, that's how they were. They're, they weren't that bad. Believe me.

RP: Right. In an era of labels and things they were also labeled, too.

FH: Yeah, I guess because they were a little rougher than... and, you know, being a fisherman I guess you have to be a little rough, if you're a seagoing man.

RP: You were saying earlier when you, when you live with people and you begin to understand them a little and get to know 'em, you realize why that's, why they are that way. That was interesting.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

KP: So you said that your mother took up art in camp?

FH: She was always very artistic in her way. I think that's why she started a flower business and caught on right away. And she did a lot of embroidering in camp, sewing. She sewed a lot. Incidentally, she had this sewing machine that we had put away, wherever it was, sent up and she had it with her and my daughter has it now. It's a old treadle that... you know. And she did a lot of sewing and she was very creative, did a lot of embroidery. She, very good at crocheting, knitting, and she lived to be four days shy of a hundred and three, and her last award she was ninety-six and took the... San, it's called the San Diego fair. It used to be called the Del Mar fair, but the needlework prize there, the first prize, top prize, and they wanted her to send it to Sacramento to the state fair, but you had to take it up there and you have to keep an eye on it and then go up and get it or whatever, so we never put it into the San Diego fair, I mean state fair. Just the Del Mar fair.

RP: Do you still have a piece here in...

FH: I have a piece here that Mom did in... I think it was '70, no, '43 or '44, and she gave it to me -- no, she gave, she did it '42 or '43. Yeah. And she gave it to me on my wedding, which is '46. It's a panda bear embroidery work. She loved to do that.

RP: Did she, she took a class at Manzanar?

FH: Yes. I don't know who the teacher's name, what the teacher's name and where she went to do it, but she did do a lot of that. She did a lot of embroidery. Handkerchiefs, scarves, whatever. Things were limited there, so whatever material you could get she did it.

RP: Did your dad have a creative outlet at all, too, in camp?

FH: He liked to sing. He used -- I don't know if you've ever heard of the Shigin Club?

RP: Oh yeah.

FH: He belonged to the Shigin Club.

RP: In Manzanar?

FH: Uh-huh, and he used to go to it very religiously. And as a little kid, I remember he played the shakuhachi. Do you know what that is? Played that. He would play it for us when we were little kids.

RP: He didn't play in camp? Did he have it in camp?

FH: No, I don't think so. I don't think he took that up with us. He might've stored it. I don't think he took it up, because we could only take the bare necessities and that was not a necessity I guess. A matter of how you thought, how necessary it was.

RP: Can you talk a little about your other siblings in camp, a little bit, too?

FH: Yeah, I have a sister, that lives in Chula Vista.

RP: And she's how much younger than you?

FH: She's two years younger than I am.

RP: Okay. What did she do in camp? I mean, she went to school...

FH: She's talented like my mother. She does, she's a hairdresser. Right now she's doing a lot of crazy quilt. She likes that, and she's been doing that for years now. She's put 'em in the fairs, she's won first, a lot of first prizes and she does beautiful work. She had a nursery in Chula Vista, or... Chula Vista? Imperial Beach. And she opened a flower shop there. She lost her husband when she was quite young. I don't remember. It must be about, I think he passed away in '84, so it's been a while. And then I have a brother. My older of the two brothers, younger brother, lived in Fresno. He has passed on. He had two children. And his wife passed on before he did. And then I have a brother right here in Encinitas. He's my one and only brother, very dear to me.

RP: That's Jim?

FH: Jim. He has three daughters. And he's got one more grandson, grandchildren than I do. I have five grandsons only, and he's got six grandchildren, boys and girls. Mostly girls, but...

RP: Let's just talk a little bit about your, you got married in Cleveland, and did you come back to California shortly thereafter?

FH: We lived in Cleveland. We got married and lived in Cleveland three years, came to San Diego. He wanted to go back to fishing, came back to San Diego end of '48. I think it was Christmas, I mean New Years' Eve of '48, we came to San Diego. Stayed with Katz and his family and lived in San Diego ten years, and he fished. Fishing industry went down the tubes, too many imports coming in, so we came up here and we grew flowers up here for about twenty years and retired.

RP: Did you grow for another grower? Did you have your own...

FH: No, we grew and we sent it to an agent who shipped it out, and we did that for about twenty years, close to twenty years.

RP: And you grew mostly carnations?

FH: Mostly carnations, yeah. Oh, there were other little byproducts to help us make expense, but... sending kids to college you need to do something. [Laughs]


<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

RP: This is tape three of a continuing interview with Fumi Hayashi, and Fumi, we were just bringing up the topic of Fred Tayama, and Fred actually ended up working in the flower business, or running a business in the same area.

FH: In the orchid and cymbidium... is it cymbidium? Yeah, he was working in L.A. and he came down here, I think, because this was at one time the flower capital. That's what it was called. And he bought land and he grew orchids here, and my husband and he had renewed friendship, but he, I think he lived in L.A. most of the time. He just worked out of here and, and for that reason his daughter, Tammy, decided that she and her husband could do this, so they came down and they ran the business here. And Tammy has passed on, it must be three, four years ago, maybe longer. But her husband Joe is running it, and at one time my husband did work for Tammy. Tammy asked my husband if she would, he would help with the growing because Tammy's husband Joe's father and mother lived there, and my husband helped them with the roses and... but they have been gone for a while and they're not doing any roses. And I think Tammy's son-in-aw is now running the place.

RP: So your husband later on had a relationship with Fred Tayama?

FH: That was after Fred passed away.

RP: Oh, so after Fred passed away.

FH: Yeah, Fred had passed on and Tammy... Tammy was in control of the business, well, she and her husband, Joe. And that's when my husband, he hired... when my husband retired we sold, we sold our ranch and we retired, and said, "Why don't you come and work for me? We could use a man like you." So she went, he went to work for... actually, I went to work. That's why he went to work. 'Cause I got bored being retired.

RP: So did you, did you ever meet Fred Tayama and have any conversations with him?

FH: My husband did, but I didn't. And then I got to know his wife, Chiyo, after he passed on. She used to have, she used to come over quite often.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

RP: Did the topic of camp ever come up?

FH: No. And for Memorial Day I used to make the... one of the growers that grew for whoever I worked for, Robert Hall, grew miniatures. And I asked him, George Tara, if there was the discards of the miniature heads, miniature carnation head that, if he was gonna throw away, I would like it. So on Memorial Day I made these little leis and put it on the graves. And Chiyo would come by and see me making them, and she would say, "What are you doing?" And I'd say, "Oh, I'm making these little leis, not a big lei, but a little lei to put on the stone, to put on the graves," and she said, "When I die will you put it on my grave?" I said, "Oh, Chiyo, you're not gonna die for a while. Why are you worried about that?" "No, when I die, I want you to put leis on my grave," so I, she's gone. I don't make a lei; I do visit her grave, both her and, Fred and Chiyo's grave. Beside Joe's mother and father, they're up together, buried together in Eternal Young Oceanside, and I do, but she'd always say, "I want one of those on my grave when I pass on." It was so sweet of her. But see, now flowers are hard to get hold of, so that's... and time is essence. Takes a lot of time to make those little leis.

RP: And then your, since you left camp, have you returned to Manzanar?

FH: Several times. Several times. I've taken my grandsons, my two older grandsons, up to Bridgeport like I told you, and on the way back in that guardhouse, I signed my name in Japanese, Hayashi, and I also wrote Fergashi on there, and that's... my daughter is married to Ferguson, so we took Fergie and Hayashi and made Fergashi, and we put Fergashi in there, so if you go inside and you see Fergashi, that's what we put in there. That was our mark. Our graffiti, so to speak. [Laughs] And we, I was there, the last time I was there was that, when we had the opening event. How long ago was that?

RP: 2004.

FH: Oh, 2004. Gosh, five years ago. But anyhow, I was there and that's the last time I was there. But every, every year we went camping up, up to that High Sierra area and we stop by. One year we stopped by at the Independence, and it wasn't too much longer that they moved a lot of the stuff back into this Manzanar area, didn't they? Is that still there?

RP: The museum in Independence is still there.

FH: Is still there.

RP: But we never actually moved stuff from that museum into...

FH: Oh, that was when Shiro Nomura put up.

RP: Shiro, exactly. That's Shiro's exhibit. It stays there.

FH: There, okay. I was under the impression that maybe you had brought something down.

RP: Did you share your story with your kids when they were growing up, or is it difficult for you to do that?

FH: You know what, I've shared my story with so many kids here, that went to school here. Like, their assignment is something important in World War II, and they come to me and ask me... I don't know how many I've done. I've done several, and they always come back saying, "I made A-plus on it." It, one on one kind of a story, I guess that makes a world of difference, instead of something that Grandpa had said, but Grandpa's gone and, you know, whatever... or Grandma said, or -- yes?

KP: So I wanted to kind of bring this back together, when you first went to Manzanar as a teenager you thought you were going camping.

FH: Yeah, uh-huh.

KP: So then you went on to actually really go camping in the Sierra afterwards.

FH: Yeah.

KP: Do you think that was trying to...

FH: Yeah, I sort, I feel like I still have that tie there. I mean, it's a total different tie, but it's still a tie there. And you know, a lot of us have, are doing that yet. And like my grandkids, I've taken my grandkids -- they're married and they have the children -- they say, "We want to go back up there and do that again," but I'm gettin' up in my age, so... but my mind's saying I want to go, but maybe my body won't say. I don't know.

KP: I have one other question about back in camp. It sounds like you got around and knew where a lot of different people lived. I was wondering if you remember a hakujin woman who lived with her papa, daughter and their family? The name, family name was Miyamoto, and the woman's name was Adelaide.

FH: No. No, I don't remember.

RP: One other location in camp that was a very, sort of a magnet for drawing people was the big park, community park called Pleasure Park.

FH: What was that?

RP: It was right across from the hospital. It would've been, from Block 18 it would've been north of... it was a large garden with ponds, flowing streams...

FH: I don't remember that. I kinda remember in a picture, but I don't visualize it as being there. I might have been, but it didn't stay with, it hadn't stayed with me. But you know, a lot of people fixed their front yard or the area between the two barracks to look like a park. It was amazing what... you know, what you can do in your free time. And they, they'd go up to the -- well, later on you could get out, and they'd get these twigs that look like twigs and they would fix it up and make it look so beautiful.

RP: Did you have that around your barrack, too?

FH: No, we just had a lawn between our barrack, and I don't think there was anybody that was really interested in doing so. I can't... Block 17, I don't remember seeing anything like that, but some other blocks I had seen.

RP: There was a Mr. Kato.

FH: Yeah, he lived in my block. He lived in my block. He went to school with me.

RP: I was wondering if you remember a garden around his barrack.

FH: There might have been, but I can't remember. No, I can't remember.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

KP: The other question I have is when did your parents leave camp and where did they go?

FH: They left camp in June of '45, and I was in Chicago and they were coming through, and somehow or the other they left me know they were coming through and they stopped in Chicago. So I didn't go to work that day, and I went to see them. They got off the train. There was a lay-off time, and I hailed two cabs. There was another family with them, and I remember I hailed two cabs for them and took them to the highlights of different parts of Chicago, the parks, ballparks, the... whatever, the merchandise mart and all that. They went. I don't know what kind of impression they got, but I did that and we ended up, I think at Stermack, where the Chinese restaurant were. And I treated 'em to Chinese dinner. You know, you could treat them... I didn't have much money, didn't make much money, but I treated them to dinner and brought them back to the station, put 'em on the train and sent 'em to New Jersey. They went to New Jersey.

RP: Went to Seabrook?

FH: Yeah, they went to Seabrook.

RP: Did you visit them there?

FH: Yeah, I went three or four times. Yeah, I went three or four times. One time, my girlfriend Ruth was in, living in New York and she came to visit and we had to meet together. We ended up going to New York and seeing New York and then came back and...

RP: What were your impressions of Seabrook?

FH: Another camp. [Laughs] Another camp. They lived in one room, shared a bathroom, and it was... that type of living, it was, it's just another type of camp, only they had the freedom to go to town or... you know, they weren't confined.

RP: So, sort of what Kirk mentioned earlier about you went into Manzanar thinking about it being a camping trip, an adventure, but you experience some very difficult events, like the "riot" and the "loyalty questionnaire," and how did you see that experience when you left, or how did you see the camp when you left?

FH: I left camp earlier -- I say "earlier" -- I went to Pasadena. I, my parents, when the war broke out, I don't know where, how, when, but they got the word that if you had a bank account and you were an alien they were gonna freeze your money and you couldn't, you wouldn't be able to touch it. So they had changed my name, their bank account into my name, because I was a citizen. I was a minor, but I was a citizen. When I was leaving camp, planning to leave camp, Mom said, "You know, that's our family saving that is in your name. You can't take it with you, so you have to go have it changed." So I got on the bus, one of those bus that go to L.A., Bishop -- no, Reno to L.A. I think that's the bus, Reno to L.A. And I got one, on one of those bus and stayed at the hostel in Pasadena. And I think a bunch of us went, five or six of us went. Anyhow, not for the same reason, but I had gone because I went to Glendale, near Glendale -- it was at Waterbank -- changed my name to my -- I didn't have to have my birth certificate, no license, no ID, no nothing. I want my name changed to this name. That's what they did. You didn't have to have any kind of identification... and changed the name and the bank would change to my sister's name because she was gonna be with them. And I took it and went back to Manzanar and gave it to my mother. And then, oh, that was in the fall of '44, I guess. It was either the fall of '44 or winter of '44, sometime in there. And then I came back and then I left in March of '45, and that's when I left camp. Does that answer your question?

KP: And did your parents stay on the East Coast, or did they come back to California?

FH: Oh, they came back when I came to San Diego... okay, now this goes back. It's going around in circles again. So when I came to San Diego, this fellow Muto got a hold of me. Not the father, but the son, George, got hold of me. He says, "I'm working for Robert Hall," here in Encinitas, or he was part of a three, three man corporation thing, and he was, he was a know-it-all guy that ran the carnation field. And he said, "I've got nothing but 'wetbacks' working here for me. I want somebody that knows the, the rope, so do you think your mom and dad would be interested to come over here and work for me and teach these people the real thing, because I can't be on hand with 'em all the time." So I called, or I wrote to my mom -- calling was not the thing then -- so I wrote to them and then they wanted to come. So in '50 my mother-in-law passed away on the tenth of July and they came four days later, three days later, and they came to Encinitas to work for Robert Hall and George Muto. So that's going around in circles again.

RP: Started with the Mutos.

FH: Yeah, and so he worked for Hall with Muto, and he worked, they worked for him for, oh, several years, and then they decided... oh, and then the partnership, the three thing, broke up. There was a T.B. Young, Hall, and Muto were the threesome, and they broke up. Hall went on his own. T.B. Young said he's out of it. He's not going into business. So George Muto went into San Diego and went into wholesale business. So then my mother and father started their own business in Locadia, at growing. And then later on they bought the piece of property off of Lake Drive over here for less than five thousand dollars. Two and a half acres, which is now probably, that size piece of property'd be a million dollars or better.

RP: They were growing flowers there?

FH: And they grew flowers on their own and they grew flowers for George Muto. Yeah, so he was the, in the wholesale business.

RP: So they returned to their roots, the flower business. They stayed at it 'til they retired.

FH: Yeah. And they quit in '73, '72, and I quit in '73. And I came up and grew flowers down, right down here, where it's just right adjacent to I-5. And I had four, four acres there. We sold it and we retired, but two years later I went to work again.

RP: What do you do now?

FH: I work for the school district, Encinitas high school district as a aide with special needs children. Adults, I mean, teenagers. Young adults. And some of 'em are college age. And I love it. I love it. It's very rewarding. And incidentally, I did work for Hall, too, so it's been going around and around. I did shipping. I worked fourteen years for Robert Hall and Fred Westin in the flower shipping business. And we shipped all over United States and Canada. I've had a lot of, lot of fun doing lot of good things.

RP: What was it about being around flowers for you?

FH: I guess it's a happy thing. Makes people happy, right? Says a lot of things without saying it. When you give flowers, I think the occasion, whatever the occasion is, it says a lot without words. I guess it's a good thing. Flowers are a good thing, and I've always been around flowers, except that one time I was, it was fishes. [Laughs]

KP: They're not interchangeable? Fish and flowers, if you give somebody a fish it's not the same as...

FH: Well, you could eat one, but you can't eat the other. [Laughs]

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

RP: Did Manzanar, did your experience in Manzanar shape your life in any way after?

FH: I'm sure it has. I'm quite sure it has. In which way I couldn't say. I do know that... I don't know if there is a lot of people that still hold a grudge against the fact that we did go into camp. I think it was a good experience, and I think it's a plus. It's a positive thing that we went into camp, 'cause we, there was things that we didn't know about that we learned. Different things. Life, being together, being with the same kind of people together, because 've always been around... of course, my children now are married to Caucasians. I've been around Caucasians because I lived in the white area, right? So when you're with the same kind of nationality, I think you learn more. Maybe you learn your roots more. Is that good? Is that bad? It's got to be good. And I learned that you can't keep a grudge on your shoulder because someone or something or some country or whatever has done you bad. You got to go on with the next thing of life. There's more there out there than... why carry that burden on yourself? Go out and be happy. Be positive. Like they say, it's half full, not half empty, right?

RP: One last question, what are you... you recall your feelings of, about the attack in 2001, the 9/11 attack in New York?

FH: That was shocking. That was shocking. I was on the bus, picking up kids, doing my job, and this one child that we went to pick up, they, he's usually right there on the driveway, ready to get on. And he's in a wheelchair. And they didn't come out. I said, "What's wrong?" Bus driver and I are saying, "What's going on?" We couldn't figure out. And they were so wrapped up with that. It was about six o'clock in the morning. I don't know what time, New York time it was, but it was about six o'clock in the morning for us, somewhere between six and six thirty. And when he came back they were white-faced, you know. And I couldn't believe that anything like that could happen, but when you stop to think it, there's a lot of thinking that what they did, that was... they did a lot of thinking on that to get that going like that. And you think about Pearl Harbor, maybe that was Pearl Harbor in another way. It was, wasn't it? It was scary. And it, when I saw it on the TV and I saw that plane hit that building, and here, yet I saw that flame and all those particles flying everywhere. I expected the airplane to come out on the other end, go through the building. But it didn't. And it was kind of a shock. Because I think there's so much fantasy going on TV and movies, maybe I saw it in that view. But you stop to think about it... and then three weeks later I went to Nova Scotia. When we got into Newark -- we landed in Newark the first night -- and I asked one of the guys, I said, "Which way is New York?" He says, "Right that way," but it was hazy. You couldn't see anything. And then we got to the airport to go to Nova Scotia and there was all this military police all around, just trying to... whatever they were there for, they were there. We left, we came back one week later, and they had guns under their arm. It was scary. Because we had declared war by the time... it was scary. All these guns. I mean, they had, they had their finger on the trigger and they were walkin' around, 'cause if they had to they're, I guess they're gonna flip it right up. But that was hard to believe that it happened.

RP: Did anything come up for you in regards to the treatment of Muslims or Arab Americans after 9/11?

FH: Oh, "I hope they don't do that, what they did to us." Although, I guess the whole thing of the story is, what we didn't like was the barbed wire because, to me, I think even the so-called free outside world was under restrictions. Rations, there were all that. Maybe we were protected in a way. I don't know. Were we? There were some maniacs out there. But that didn't happen with the Muslims.

RP: Thank you very much, Fumi, for...

FH: Well, I don't know if I really helped you in anything or... but that's my, my version.

RP: Thank you so much for your time and your stories.

FH: Well I'm glad to have met you dear people. I hope you'll be at the, will you be there, Kurt?

RP: We'll be at the reunion.

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.