Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Misako Shigekawa Interview
Narrator: Misako Shigekawa
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Santa Ana, California
Date: June 10, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-smisako-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 interview for the Manzanar National Historic Site, and this afternoon we're talking with Misako --

MS: Let me get my ear plug on. I have to kind of... I have three tones on there.

RP: We're talking with Misako Shigekawa, and the interview is taking place at the Town and Country Care Facility on 555 East Memory Lane in Santa Ana, California. The date of our interview is June 10, 2009, and Kirk Peterson is manning the camera and our interviewer is Richard Potashin. And we'll be talking with Misako about her experiences as an internee at the Poston War Relocation Center during World War II. Our interview will be archived in the Park's library at Manzanar, and Misako, do I have permission to go ahead and record our interview?

MS: Yes.

RP: Okay, thank you. Thank you so much. We're really honored to be, have a chance to talk to you today. Tell me where and when you were born.

MS: I was born in Los Angeles. My folks lived in La Habra, but those days we, they had, had to go to hospital, whatever, medical, go into L.A.

RP: Were you born in a hospital or at home?

MS: In a hospital, I'm sure. Or it was a, well, was... yes, I guess so 'cause it, I don't remember exactly, but it was in Little Tokyo there.

RP: And what was your birth date?

MS: 1/2/09.

RP: So almost, just a little after New Year's. Day after New Year's.

MS: Yeah.

RP: And what was your given name at birth?

MS: It, well it's, it's Misako, but in my birth certificate it says "Misao," M-I-S-A-O and in character in Japanese it means the same thing. They call me Misa-chan or some people still call me Misao, but when I do my legal things I have to remember that my name should be Misao. In Japanese, you know, you add K-O as a, like a Haru, they say Haru but they say Haruko, and see, so instead of saying Misaoko they made it Misako. It's hard to say Misaoko, Misaoko, so that's why my name is Misako. It's the same in Japanese, the character.

RP: What does your name mean in Japanese?

MS: Oh, it means, like Mary, you know. I'm good and pure, like going to the Bible. That's, my folks named me that. That means, like they name girls Mary. That meant, that's the reason.

RP: Associated with the Mary of the Bible.

MS: Yeah, and that's all... and then my name, so we lived where there were no, very few Japanese people, so when my father told people my name, Misako, they say, "What?" And so he thought he made a mistake in not giving me an English name, so he named my younger brother George for George Washington. He said everybody knows who George Washington was. And my sister was Mary, from the Bible, and then Alice. And at the time Alice, I mean Roosevelt, he had a daughter Alice, so he named my name my sister, that's Isao's wife, Alice. So that, so everybody wouldn't have to, it was so simple to remember their names. [Laughs]

RP: But not your name.

MS: No, I'm the only one has a Japanese name. And my brother, I have another brother named William. He named William after... somebody. Anyway, he picked out common names, so he wouldn't explain, you know? They say, "Misako? Misako? What?" 'Cause it's all Caucasian people. We were the only Japanese in that area, so it was unusual having Japanese names. And our last name Ishii, so it was, that was easy. And I often get teased after I got married to Shigekawa. Somebody says, "How come you picked up on a long name like that?" [Laughs] Go from Ishii to Shigekawa, it's kinda long. When I say Misako Shigekawa they always tease me. I got such a long name now.

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

<Begin Segment 2>

RP: So who came first in, in your family? Were you the oldest?

MS: I'm the oldest, and I had a brother, George, who passed away, and then --

RP: And how, how much younger was George?

MS: See, he was two and a half, I think. About two, three years, and then Mary was about two years later, too. And Alice came quite a while later, 'cause she and I were fourteen years apart.

RP: Who were you closest to of your siblings?

MS: Well, they were so small that... well, Alice was my sister that I was close to. That's why I miss her a lot. We used to call each other. I couldn't get up there and she can't come out, so we used to talk on the phone at least once or twice a week, so I miss talking to her, with her gone now. And I think of something, "Oh, I should call and tell her," and then I, it dawns on me that she's not here anymore and it's really hard.

RP: What do you remember most about your brother George?

MS: Oh, I don't know. He, he was a, he was a... being a boy, my mother babied him a lot and he was, he was sort of a, I always had to go fight for him. I know he'd get in trouble at school, I had to go fight for him. He was very quiet. But he, we got along. He passed away quite young. To me, young. I think he was around sixty something.

RP: How about Mary? What can you tell us about her?

MS: Well, it was kinda sad. She drowned in an accident, reservoir. We don't know exactly what happened, but it was sad. In the olden days they had huge reservoirs to hold water to irrigate the citrus groves and in those days the fence wasn't well, wasn't well protected like they do now, and they think she stumbled and fell. We don't know.

RP: How old was she?

MS: She was ten, I believe. She died quite -- that's why there's a gap between my, Alice and I, because she was in between.

RP: And what was your maiden name?

MS: Ishii. Ishii.

RP: Can you spell that for us?

MS: I-S-H-I-I.

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

<Begin Segment 3>

RP: How about giving us a little background on your father?

MS: He, well, he graduated from University of Waseda in Japan. He lost his mother when he was five, then his father passed away when he was eighteen or so. But he, he worked for the Japanese government. I don't know just exactly, but he went to the Russian-Japanese War as a, he could speak Chinese so he was sent over there. So he was goin' round the world. Olden days they used to, ship used to go around the world, and he was on some diplomatic service and he was, the boat landed in San Francisco and while he was in China, he had contacted malaria, got malaria, so he, it reoccurred when he was in San Francisco. So they left him in a hospital because they couldn't keep him on the ship, and he, the ship only came round I think once six months a year, so while he was waiting he met someone there and he decided to... so he came in 1898 and he never went back to Japan. He never ever went for a visit because he didn't have any parents. He had nieces and nephews or something, but he felt he didn't remember them, so he never cared to go back to Japan. So he, so he never went back. All his life he lived here.


MS: And then he had friends in Los Angeles, so he came to Los Angeles and he worked for a bank. He had friends, and those days the bank controlled all the property, like, you know the history, so he went out to develop land for the bank. That's why he was living in La Habra. And he, I remember, I was only five or six when we left there, but I remember, I think they told me he had about a hundred acres. He developed it, and then he went down through, they sent him to property in Vista. We went down there and he, I remember we looked out the window, there'd be jackrabbits and coyotes and you know, running around. In those days...

RP: Wild wilderness.

MS: Wild wilderness. And then so, well, we were supposed to go from La Habra to Vista, so my father would send me and, there were three of us then, on the train and he was gonna tow a wagon and carriage for horses and go, so my mother said no, she wouldn't let my dad go by himself, so we all decided to go together. So he took the wagon, made a tent over it and we slept in it. Took us two nights and he, we towed a carriage, carriage, and so we had the two horses and the carriage and another horse. And I remember going down, it took, I think, two nights. It took us --

RP: This journey was from La Habra to Vista?

MS: Yeah, we went from La Habra to Vista.

RP: Basically in a covered wagon.

MS: [Laughs] Yeah, really.

RP: What do you remember about --

MS: 'Cause they didn't have hotels or anything, so my mother said she wasn't gonna let my dad drive the two horses... he had to take the wagon anyway and then tow a carriage, but another carriage, that'd be three, three horses. So I remember we camped on the way. It was just desert. I remember vaguely. I must've been about six, I think. I remember vaguely, and then there'd be coyotes howling around us. I really... and then we stayed in Vista I don't know how many years. Anyway, we ended up in, ended up in Glendora at the end, but I know, have you heard the Zamboni machines, though?

RP: The machines that surface the ice?

MS: Yeah, well I knew them.

RP: There was a family...

MS: Zamboni, his wife and I went to school in Vista and she married Zamboni, and the first ice thing he built in down in they call it Heinz at the time, and it was just on the ground with just a boat around ice skating, and he, we went to visit him. I had my kids, children then. It was after the war, we went to visit them, Zamboni. So we knew the Zamboni family. He passed away, I think, a few years back. He made, started from a lawnmower. He started by making, he took a lawnmower and he made, made that.

RP: Oh, the idea originated with a lawnmower.

MS: There's a picture of him in the paper, Times paper, when he passed away. And then he used to travel with Sonja Henning, he probably, when she used to skate he used to go with her and they, he made the ice and took care of that, so I tell people that. They mention, "Here comes the Zamboni." That's the, the man that did, invented that Zamboni machine.

RP: You know that guy.

MS: And he sells all over the world, like in Japan I hear, and Europe. All over the world. And he made money. I think his son is running it now.

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

<Begin Segment 4>

RP: I wanted to go back to your father in Japan. Was he from a large family? Did he have brothers and sisters?

MS: He had a sister, one sister, but he had step...

RP: Did they own land in Japan?

MS: Oh yeah, they were quite well to do, and he, he lived up, Fukuoka, that's the tip, way tip end of Japan, and it was unusual for him to go to Tokyo to go to university, but they were bankers, I believe, in that land, 'cause I went back to visit and I met his nephew and he had land, but... he inherited it, but he said that he wasn't going back so he gave it to his nephew, so when we went back on a visit, he treated us real well, took us around in chauffeured car, because he inherited that land. And that home where he was born is still there and the railroad goes, goes right through the property.

RP: The home where your father was born?

MS: In Fukuoka. Fukuoka.

RP: And so you said that he was kind of a diplomat after he graduated?

MS: I think so, from what I -- that's why he was goin' around the world. For some reason, I was small and we'd talk a little, but it didn't seem important, so I wish I had...

RP: But he had been to China, though.

MS: Yeah, he, during the war that China, when they, they fought over Manchuria or something, something, wasn't it?

RP: Might've been an early war.

MS: And he knew, spoke Chinese, so they sent him over there.

RP: Did he know other languages as well?

MS: Well, he spoke some English, at, that's why he came. He was in the service, so... 'cause he always, I know he used to go to the library and read all the time about different things. He was quite a reader.

RP: How about your mother? What can you tell us about...

MS: My brother, he was a, he graduated, he was an engineer and he started a, what do you call, some sort of engineering company. He made parts for the aircraft business, and his son still runs it in L.A. I think there's some intricate things for planes that they have to do by hand. I don't know just what it us, but he had his own business, engineering company. And his son runs it now.

RP: Did your, did your father go back to Japan?

MS: He never went back. He didn't care to, 'cause he said that he lost his father and mother and there were half... I guess he, I know he had one sister, real sister, but he, he didn't care to go back.

RP: How about your mother? How did she get...

MS: Well, he was supposed to, they were engaged when he came here, and when he went back to Japan he was, they were supposed to get married, but he didn't go back so she came over here later. They got married in 1906 or something. She came over here. So she, she never went back either. Well, they couldn't afford it. And she finally went back when she was seventy-five, I believe. For the first time.

RP: Did you go with her?

MS: No, she went, but I, I've been to Japan about, let's see, how many times? Four times? Every four, five years we'd go. After we got married, I went before I was married once, but we'd take a trip 'cause we looked up some cousins on my mother's side. They're all, first cousins are gone, but the second cousins, now they're... so lately I still kind of correspond with them, but it's getting so I can't write very often, so...

RP: Do you know what bank your father worked for?

MS: I don't know. It was, I remember we used to go down to Little Tokyo and I hated it because there were saloons back on every corner in those days, just like the movies. I actually saw somebody being thrown out like they show it in the movies. That's why I remember as a child I hated drinking, so I never have, I was always, hated anybody that drinks. I remember those things, that every corner there was a -- I remember vaguely, like the olden days, you could hear 'em as you walked by. One day I did actually remember somebody being thrown out, like they have it in the movies. That really happens. I remember that.

RP: So your father's bank was located in Little Tokyo?

MS: Yeah, Little Tokyo, but I don't know the name or what, what it was. But I know he had a friend that had come here, 'cause I think Japanese Town started, what year? It's been, late 1800, huh? I think late, several people were here and they had hotels and I think they had a hospital, too. Hospital and doctors. There were few here at the time when I was growing up, I know. I think they came in early 1900, late 1800, I think they started coming into this area. I don't really remember too much 'cause I was still young then.

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

<Begin Segment 5>

RP: You said that your, after you spent time in Vista, that you --

MS: Then we came, for a while I think we went to Whittier. My father, he was a foreman of the orange growers, always with citrus industry, so we ended up in Glendora because a man, he was a A.K. Borne, who was, he had something with Singer sewing machine company and he wanted to invest his money, so he bought hundred acres of orange grove in Glendora, so my father was a foreman and he ran that ranch for him. So he ran that until he passed away, so I grew up in Glendora, went to grammar school and graduated high school there.

RP: Did you live, did you have a house on the land where the orange grove was?

MS: Yes, uh-huh, they provided us with a house. That's when they had this big irrigation, where they had, that's when we lost my sister.

RP: So that, that reservoir was part of the irrigation for the ranch?

MS: Yeah, it was right, that's how they preserved the water to irrigate the plants.

RP: What are your memories of that ranch and growing up there?

MS: Oh, I don't know. My brother is raising pigeons and we had, we raised our own vegetables and fruit, so my mother was always canning, raised chickens. In between the space between the orange... we used to raise our own vegetables and my mother learned how to can those days, so I'm still doing it. Lot of people this generation don't do that. I make jam; I learned from my mother. Whenever I get extra I'd can tomatoes and people'd give me a bunch of tomatoes. People don't do that anymore. It's difficult to get canning jars, too. Not too many people do that anymore. So we had our own chicken and my brother had rabbits, 'cause we had plenty of room there, I remember. It was...

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

<Begin Segment 6>

RP: What are some of the values that your mother and father stressed when you were growing up?

MS: Well, my father, material things didn't mean anything to him. Like... he made a living, but money didn't mean anything. He wanted us to grow up -- in fact, when we were small, he wouldn't let us use chopsticks, so I think I got to use, like I go to Oriental food even now, Japanese food, I use both 'cause I learned to use a fork before I really learned to use, you go to a restaurant, everybody else is using chopsticks. Here, I'm still using fork part time 'cause he said... and then he'd always make us talk in English. Of course the family, we'd talk in Japanese. We knew some. One day I came home from school, he says, "What did you do today?" So I tried explaining in Japanese what I knew. He says, "Oh, your teacher knows Japanese?" He wanted me to talk, tell him in English, and I start explaining to him in Japanese. He says, "Oh, your teacher speaks Japanese?" [Laughs] So he, he trained us to be Americanized, but there's a lot of discrimination those days. Lot of things happened that, like even high school, I wasn't always welcome into their clubs and things like that. It was difficult. I had, always had to fight. And my, they'd call us Japs, you know what I mean? And my brother would, he wouldn't take it, so I knew I had to go fight when they picked on him. I was a toughie. [Laughs] But I graduated my high school and I was able to go to SC.

RP: Were there, talking about discrimination at school, were there other areas of Glendora that you were not allowed to be in, being Japanese American?

MS: Like, we couldn't go in any public swimming pools. Even, I went with a church group to, they had a picnic and they had a swimming pool, and I still remember, I went up to pay to get in and they said, girl kept looking at me, she says, she's tellin' me, she says, "I don't think you better go in today." I couldn't go swimming with the group. And same with my husband, too. We went through that. Mexicans and Orientals weren't allowed in the swimming pools. Lot of, for a long, long time. And like when I went SC, it was still bad. They wouldn't, you couldn't join fraternities and sororities, so we formed, formed our own. Japanese students had their own, they called Japanese group, like we had our own socials and everything. Of course they couldn't keep you out if you were honorary. They had to accept you into like Phi Beta Kappa or something. They couldn't turn you down. But we were never invited to join any sorority. So our sponsor was the wife of a secretary of the Japanese consulate in L.A. And so she was our sponsor, so they, they classified me as 4-H because I knew somebody in the Japanese consul. I was "enemy alien." Yeah, that was in the report. You know when my father sued the Western Defense that all came out, and he was, after the war he was, just before war broke out he was working in Terminal Island in a fishing boat and he was four, he was 4-F because he was transporting oil to the Japanese. I guess the Japanese battleships were out someplace, weren't they? That's why... isn't that dumb? And then you've heard the expression purse seine? That means the type of the boat, so the FBI was goin' up and down the coast lookin' for a ship, boat called the "Purse Seine." And so the ACLU put the money out to have my husband then sue the Western Defense Command, and DeWitt was head at the time, but he didn't know what to do so he turned it over and it was the third man that they finally got down and went to trial. And all this report, so the lawyer, our lawyer got all the report that they had on, on me and my husband, my family, so not only that, they went to the neighbor in Anaheim to investigate my husband 'cause he grew up in Anaheim, and the report, it says they asked these people if my husband drank. So this lady says, "Don't you drink sometimes?" She told us about it later. That's how stupid these FBI people were. So ignorant. But that all came out. The lawyer insisted, they want the full report and they did, we saw the copy of the whole investigation. They did all little, all the dumb things came out. That because I knew the consulate's wife I was enemy alien.

RP: Did this, did this suit begin at Poston?

MS: It was in, while in camp.

RP: When you were in camp.

MS: So he, they brought him to L.A. for the trial, and they brought him with enemy escort. He couldn't travel alone. The man is... and he took my husband to visit people he knew, so one day he told me, he said, "I'd like to get away." He was bored just escorting my husband all over, so he wanted to get out and have a good time. My husband's telling him, "No, the government sent you with me. You can't leave me." [Laughs] He told him that, and then he went to visit an old friend that I had known since I was a child, and so she communicated with me so he went to call on her, and afterwards she wrote to me that all the neighbors were peeking out the window, wanted to know who that was. You know, the army car is parked there. My husband went to visit my friend, girl that I had known, we grew up together. After we both finished college we went to work together and all and she kept in touch with me when I was in camp, so my husband went to call on her when he was here for the, in L.A. for the trial. Things are pretty... so you get used to, but it was hard, because I was one of the older ones of the Niseis, you know what I mean? I had to fight for everything. There were a few that were older than me, I think, but I'm one of the older ones that, the Isseis, I mean the Niseis.

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

<Begin Segment 7>

RP: I think you told me earlier that your, did you have another aspiration or career goal?

MS: Oh, going to, designing, 'cause I was good, at high school I did a lot of sewing and I loved it, and I had a teacher who had studied in France, Paris. She really saw that I had potential to go into the custom designing, but my folks didn't want to me, they wanted me to go to medical, 'cause my great grandfather was a doctor, my grandfather was a doctor, I had two uncles that were doctors and two dentists and my cousin married a doctor, and so our whole family's in the medical field, so my mother was, took nursing, but she really didn't work too much. But she went to nursing school so she wanted me to go into something medical field, so she talked me out of it. And of course I liked math and chemistry and all that, so I could go on, otherwise, you can't go into pharmacy without being interested in chem, so luckily I enjoyed it. And then I made pretty good money in it, 'cause there were, pharmacists were kind of scarce then, so I was able to get work. I never looked for a job. I was, people were looking for me.

RP: Which year did you go into USC?

MS: I went in, see, I graduated 1930.

RP: 1926 or...

MS: Yeah.

RP: Did you have a scholarship or any other financial help, or did your parents...

MS: No, I stayed with a family, helped them wash dishes, helped with dinner, got free board, then I worked at a pharmacy after school 'cause lot of time we got through, usually classes lasted early part of afternoon, so I worked to get my practice.

RP: Where, which pharmacy did you work at?

MS: It was called, it's in, it was a Little Tokyo pharmacy, and I worked in a Rexo, Rexo Pharmacy for a while. You know the old Rexo Pharmacy group?

RP: Was the pharmacy field open to Japanese Americans during the time that you were going to school? Did you feel like you had any type of future in that field?

MS: Well, it was hard. Lot of people couldn't find work, but I lucked out.

RP: What happened?

MS: And not only that, they didn't girl pharmacists were not very well-known then, so it's hard for women to get a job, but so they wouldn't let me work out in the front. I did all the prescriptions in the back.

RP: This was your first pharmacy job out of USC?

MS: Yeah, I had to, they didn't sell anything. I did some, but they always made me work in the back, filling prescriptions. In those days we had to measure liquids. It's not like pulling pills off the shelf those days. We had to mix lot of things, like powders and liquids. And so I liked to do that and so I didn't mind working in the back. My first job, I got seventy-five dollars a month, and when I retired in '70, let's see, '73, I was getting seventy-five dollars a day. And now you know how much pharmacists get? Girls are making eighty to a hundred thousand a year. That's why, I understand, I read someplace in the medical field about a good, almost half are women going into medical field. Dental students, same thing, and in the pharmacy they said half the students are women now. Like you go to the hospitals, there are a lot of women doctors, 'cause it's a big field for the women now, and it's good money if you can make it.

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

<Begin Segment 8>

RP: Did you want to go to college or was it your parents' desire?

MS: I was intending to, I always want, been planning to go. I worked on, and I got, made a scholarship when I finished high school, so I didn't have any trouble being accepted. I could've gone to UCLA or Cal, but it costs so much to travel, so at... the thing was SC, the tuition was high. The state university was cheaper to go, but UCLA didn't have pharmacy at time. I'd have to go to Berkeley, so I decided to go to SC. It was difficult, that's why I had to work to make money to go. See, state, those I think it's only fifty dollars a semester or something to go to state college. But then I had to pay, I think I had to pay, I don't know, about two, three... anyway, it was quite a bit. Well, I think the whole thing was about a couple thousand, for four years. Now it's, you can't even make one year on that, go to school.

RP: How many Japanese Americans were attending Southern California University at the time you were?

MS: Well, in pharmacy I know there were about a hundred fifty in the class and there were only eight girls. And, and funny part, eight of us graduate, but a lot of the boys quit. They couldn't take it. [Laughs] And they used to kid us. Us girls, we all graduated, but so by the time we graduated I think it was about a little over a hundred. They couldn't take, they thought pharmacy's a cinch. I think a lot of the fellows thought that, but a lot of them dropped out, I know. They couldn't make it, but us girls worked hard and we all graduated. None of the girls dropped out.

RP: So you had not only to deal with the fact of your Japanese, your Japanese ethnicity, you also had to deal with the fact you were a woman, too.

MS: Yeah, we had to fight.

RP: And did, were there other Japanese American girls in your pharmacy class?

MS: Yes. There were two, three. I think there were a couple and, and lot, I think there must've been four or five in the whole school of pharmacy, Japanese girls. They all graduated. And then I, after I got married, I know, I did relief work. Someone heard, my doctor heard about me, a family doctor, and he told someone that, they want someone for relief, like they want to take a day off or a vacation, I did relief work in Anaheim for a couple doctors and they offered, after the kids grew up I did that part time. And I got a call from the Santa Ana Community Hospital that they need a pharmacist and I had a neighbor, a nurse that was working there. She said, "You should go there." Says they need a pharmacist. I said I don't know whether I want to go work or not, then I got two calls. She said, "Well, at least go over and interview them." So I... my kids are still, they were junior high and all, and I didn't feel like I wanted to go to work. But finally I did and I worked there almost fifteen years until I retired from Santa Ana Community Hospital.

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

<Begin Segment 9>

RP: So you get out of college, you said you graduated in 1930, the Depression had just begun.

MS: Yeah, right. That's why it was difficult. Everybody was having a rough time and I, what money I made, I helped my family.

RP: And what do you recall about the Depression in terms of how it affected your --

MS: Well, like I told in that paper that everybody is the same, so I didn't... they talk so much about it now, but I didn't feel that -- of course, I was younger, too -- I didn't feel as bad as people talk about it now. They think, oh, that Depression, they think it was terrible, but everybody went without things, so it didn't seem that bad to me. I don't remember. You know, it was bad. We couldn't always have everything, but I didn't feel it was that bad. We weren't depressed or anything, that I can remember. We had enough to eat, I know. I wouldn't starve. And clothes, I know I could've had more, but we managed.

RP: When and how did you meet your husband?

MS: He was, the store was in Terminal Island, where I worked for a while, and that's, he was fishing there, and that's how I met him.

RP: And what was the name of the pharmacy?

MS: East San Pedro.

RP: East San Pedro.

MS: East San Pedro Pharmacy.

RP: And who, who owned the pharmacy?

MS: Well, a lady had, a man, he owned it and he passed away. He was a pharmacist, so she wanted someone to, she didn't want to sell, so she was looking for someone. That's why, they found me and they thought it would be nice, her being a widow, so I was told to go out there and interview her. So I stayed, lived with them and I ran pharmacy for several years for her, and then finally she got old, she wanted to go back to Japan, so my folks bought the pharmacy and I ran it for about, close to nine years before war broke out. So I lost most of it. I tried to sell something to the other pharmacy, but I just didn't have time because we had... June 7th, that was this other day we would've been married, let's see, sixty-eight years, and so I was telling everybody, June 7th, we got married and then December 7th war broke out, so I said if we'd known that we probably not, wouldn't have got even married. So we had just gotten married six months before the war, so we, our house, we just got it fixed up and everything, so I had to take care of the house, to pack everything and sell everything, so I couldn't be bothered by the store. So I lost practically... I tried to, I sold a few things to other pharmacies. They came in, but at the end I didn't want to be bothered. And I left a few things there. I was gonna go back, we had to get out of there in forty-eight hours and we got a truck and we drove out there. We moved it and we went back the next day to pick up a few things. You know what? Meanwhile someone had broken in and stole everything. The public felt they had, entitled because we were enemies, entitled to everything. They came into Terminal Island and they wanted to buy refrigerators and different things. They'd offer ten dollars for a refrigerator, and like pianos, they'd offer fifty dollars. At first they thought, 'cause, "They didn't care about money. They're afraid for their lives. They don't know where to go," because that was... and in fact, they didn't have enough trucks, movers to move us out of there.


RP: Misako, can you give me your father's and mother's names?

MS: My mother's name, N-U-I Ishii, and then my father, Rinsaburo.

RP: Can you spell Rinsaburo?

MS: R-I-N-S-A-B... Rinsaburo. R-I-N-S-A-B-U-R, Rinsaburo. We called him Rin, R-I-N. [Laughs]

RP: What was your mother's maiden name?

MS: Kusama. K-U-S-A-M-A. She came... anyway...

RP: I just wanted to return to the, during the Depression, having experienced the Depression, did you learn any important lessons that you carried on later on?

MS: No, I really don't remember that much.

RP: Anything that you did differently during that time?

MS: I don't think so. I mean, I think we just led a normal life. I just don't remember any special...

RP: How about conserving?

MS: Yeah, everybody had, you know. But I don't know, they talk so much about it, but I don't really remember being that bad. They talk about the big Depression.

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

<Begin Segment 10>

RP: So you met your husband in Terminal Island.

MS: Terminal Island, uh-huh.

RP: And he was involved with the fishing industry?

MS: Uh-huh. He had brother, let's see, he had three brothers, sister in college, so he went to two years of community college and he wanted to go to college, but he, at twenty-one he quit to support his family. 'Cause fishing was very lucrative those days, so he was able to get on a fishing boat and he supported his family. So he never got his degree, but he studied as engineer, so he was well informed, so he worked for Fuller Corporation and then he finally worked for, he ended up by working with Honeywell in marine system division. And what was the other one? Azuma that, they have air base up in Sacramento. Mac, Mac... not, Aero Jet, is it?

RP: Aero Jet.

MS: Uh-huh. So he worked for them, too, but I didn't know 'til later. A friend of his keeps corresponding, would talk about things they did and they did, they worked on the second phase of the, when they went to the moon, 'cause we were, we were all saying, "Oh, they're not gonna make it." But he said, "We're gonna make it. We're gonna make it," because, I didn't know that, all this come out now, but this friend, Ichimura, he wrote to me now. He said, "You know, we worked on it," and my husband never talked about it, but they had something to do with that second phase of the astronaut, the flight to the moon, and he kept saying, "Oh, they'll get it." He was, they were confident, but we wouldn't believe it, it could happen. So he worked as engineer. He wanted to finish school, but luckily we had a neighbor whose husband was, he was one of the CEOs or whatever of the Fuller Corporation, and he got in there as an engineer and he, that's why he was fishing until he could find a job, but after the war he couldn't find a job. They, they wouldn't hire Japanese. In fact, we couldn't even rent a house. So finally his schoolmate, he was a Caucasian man that he went to school with, and he had a home and he said, well his tenants, it was only forty dollars a month, but his tenants were behind, and he said he'd evict them, and so then we finally found a house to live in. Then finally, we worked and I saved every penny while he's working as a engineer and all that, and we finally found a home. Took us nine years to save enough money. We saved, I think we saved five thousand dollars in nine years in those days, and that was enough for a down payment. I got all my furniture in that house in Anaheim which we lived in for fifty-five years. It's still there.

RP: You said you had difficulty renting a home. Was that because --

MS: To buy a home, we had trouble buying a home, too, so we looked around in Anaheim and some of 'em wouldn't sell to Orientals. So finally we found a house and we looked at it and the people that built it, that, they built in a section, it was a man that he knew from before, way back, so he built it but he had salesmen, so finally we looked at it and they said it was three thousand dollar down -- that was big money those days, and so they were anxious to sell it. So finally my husband says, "You gonna sell the house to us?" And he looked puzzled. The salesman didn't know. So he said, "Well, we have trouble finding a house because they won't sell to us." So he came back couple days later. He said there's no problem. There was a phrase in, there was a phrase in there not to sell to Mexicans or Orientals in that thing, whatever they have, but then he said he went around the neighbors that were already there. We were the only Japanese looking for a house, and he said none of 'em objected. In fact, the man across the street was a major in the service and he says, he says, "They're better than other people," so we finally were able to buy, but we, we got turned down. It's in the, whatever the sales, whatever it is, but we finally found that house, and so...

RP: I wanted to go back to Terminal Island just for a little bit. Your, your husband actually, what did he do on the fishing boats? He was, he actually...

MS: Well, he sort of navigated and he fished, did the fishing, too.

RP: And what type of boat did he work on?

MS: It's a, they caught, baited tuna. They fished for the Van de Kamp fishery and the Starkist. They were fishing for them.

RP: Oh, he would go out for, for...

MS: They'd go out for days at a time. First they would, they caught it locally, but you know fish towns, so they went south and he'd be gone for maybe two, three weeks sometimes. They'd take all the food and everything. Now, now you can't get any fish in this area. They go clear down to, what is it? Sao Paolo? That's in South America, is it? And Australia, to get the tuna now. We have a friend that has a big tuna clipper, fishing down there, and they fish, all the Van de Kamp, all that, it's packed down there. It's not packed locally anymore. You ever look where it's made? It's, it's a good business, if you can get...

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

<Begin Segment 11>

RP: What do you remember about Terminal Island in the time that you lived there? The community...

MS: It was quite a few Japanese people there. I imagine there must've been a couple thousand living there, that were working in the canneries. Women packed the fish, and fisherman that lived there. So to get that many people out in forty-eight hours, that was a job. Couldn't get enough trucking people to come in to move them.

RP: Did you, did you see Caucasians who came in to help, like the Quakers or any other churches?

MS: Oh, the Quakers, you know Reverend Nicholson? He, did you know him? Well, he was very, he was very close to us. In fact, he wrote a book and he has, our names are in there, Ishii family, Shigekawa family. He died not, some time ago.

RP: Did he personally help you out?

MS: Yeah, he came right in to help people moving and all. He came to camp often. And the Quakers were very good, more than the other Christian group, and he was sort of personal friend of ours. In fact, he lived in Pasadena for a while and my folks lived there, so we went to call on Reverend Nicholson 'cause he was living there, and we met his son who was a young teenager. So I think it was a couple years ago, my son and his wife were in Pennsylvania, they have a Quaker museum, I believe, and they were in there and this man came out, he must've been, they said around eighty, old man, and he start, being Japanese, he start talking to them and he asked what camp they were in. And they found out that was that boy, Reverend Nicholson's son, way in Pennsylvania. Here my kids from here went on a vacation, so he, he wanted to talk all about, he says he came to Poston with this father and he said he knew, remembered me and my husband. Isn't that a coincidence? So my sister's working, my daughter's working on trying to get information, so she called him and she's talked to him on the phone and he calls once in a while and talks to her, and he said, he talked and talked and he follows 'em out to the door. He just was so happy to see someone that knew about his parents. And they're very wonderful people, the Quakers. They really, he came right into camp and when they were relocating he came, really helped, and he, I think he went to Washington, protested, I believe. He was one of 'em, I think.

RP: So he visited you in Poston, too?

MS: Yes. And it's so funny, his son said he remembered me. He was young, he must've been ten or, I don't know, young boy, and he happened to bring up, asked my son which camp and he told me he was born in Poston and it came to a head that, he says, "I know your parents." Isn't that a small world? And then not only that, like my son went to New York on a visit, and he went to make a reservation at a nice restaurant, and he went in and this maitre d says, "Mr. and Mrs. Shigekawa," he made the reservation. And usually they ask you how to spell it and said to them, he said, "I know a Shigekawa." That was in New York. And then he said, "I know a Shigekawa." My son says, "Where you from?" He says, "Texas," this boy, that maitre d at that restaurant, real fancy restaurant in New York City, and he said, so my son said, "Oh, that's my cousin that lives in Texas." He's a schoolteacher, and this maitre d says, "He was my schoolteacher." [Laughs] Isn't that something? And not only that, the schoolteacher's wife is, is married to a, what was it, a pitcher for Angels, Nolan?

RP: Nolan Ryan?

MS: Well, my one in Texas is married to Nolan Ryan's wife's sister, I think. So I tell everybody, Nolan Ryan's my relative. People look at me, says, "What?" I say, "Well, my nephew married Nolan Ryan's..." And here, just, and here, 'cause I told my kid, I said, "No matter where you go, you better be a good, behave yourself. You don't know who, where, who you run into." And then my daughter was at Jackson Hole and she ran into my nephew's daughter from Sacramento that married a man that had something with the Park Service at Jackson Hole, running, running a boat, you know how the river, what do you call, raft and all that? So I guess she used the name Shigekawa, her being a screenwriter, that's her, she uses her maiden name. So he recognized the voice, he says, "My wife is a Shigekawa." I said, "Well who?" It was her cousin's daughter. Her cousin's daughter from Sacramento was in Jackson Hole, and so we tell my kid, I said, "Behave, no matter where you go. You don't know who you're gonna run into." 'Cause there were six brothers, my husband's Shigekawa family, and then there were two brothers that each one had seven kids and my husband's family had six, so they're all over and they're all, they're all related some way. It's not a common name. So now there are about three, four generations so they're all over. So every one of 'em, if there is one, I don't... if there is one, it's not, they're not related, but no matter where you go, if they're Shigekawa, some place we're related, some way. Thirteen kids, they're all over, all over United States.

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

<Begin Segment 12>

RP: You, you told me that you, you'd gotten married, I think, was it June 7, 1941?

MS: Yeah, forty, yeah, '41.

RP: And then...

MS: June of, June 7, '41.

RP: And did you say that you were building a house or...

MS: No, we rented a house there.

RP: You rented a house? What, how, what effect did the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th...

MS: Oh, what happened Pearl Harbor, my cousin, distant, second cousin was getting married and she was having a shower at a place in Hollywood, and she was gonna marry, he became a major, but Aiso, he was one of the first Japanese came out a major in the service -- he graduated Occidental College -- so she was marrying him, so we, they were giving a shower for her wedding. So I started out from Terminal Island, I was all dressed up, this hat and purse and glove and everything, and see, it was day of December 7th, the shower was that... so I started off and I got stopped, and they were so excited, these MPs were all over the place and I guess they were startin' to pick up any suspicious characters, so they were picking everybody up, throwing in a lumber yard, always has a big fence around it; you know how lumber yards are. Well, they were using that and they threw us all in there. And I was so mad, you know here I looked and all these dirty Mexicans and all these people were in there, and MP with the guns were around. So finally MP came and he, he was checking out and he said, "Where you from?" And he looked at me and I, he said, "You don't belong here. Get out of here," and he let me out right away, but I, I was so mad. I was gonna, those days you traveled by streetcars, I was going across to catch a streetcar to go out to Hollywood to the shower, and then I thought here is Arnie that he turned to be a major, came out of the service, here.

RP: That was John Aiso, became a judge.

MS: Yeah, he married my second, it's my, it's kind of a distant, but we're distantly related to his wife. You know who he was? So he was --

RP: So where, where were you stopped?

MS: In Terminal Island, just outside of...

RP: Just as you were leaving?

MS: In San Pedro. I was in San Pedro, actually. You know how lumber yards always have those big, so there was already, there were MPs. They didn't know; they were just throwing anybody walking looked suspicious, whether it was Mexicans or Orientals, they were throwing everybody in there. And I was in there all dressed up and I had my nice, I remember I had a nice fur coat, collar, and I was all, had hat and gloves and I was, and I couldn't phone. Then he finally came in and he looked at me and asked me why I was... he says, "Oh, get out of here." He said, "You don't belong here." [Laughs]

RP: Did he tell you about the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

MS: Well, I knew, so... I think I knew it happened, because it, I just, but I didn't think it'd affect us here, so that party, shower was set up so I thought I'd go.

RP: Did you get there?

MS: No. In fact, they didn't have the wedding. They just had a quiet wedding. She had her wedding gown and everything set up, but she, they couldn't even have the wedding 'cause see, he was in the reserves, so he got called in right away, so they canceled the whole wedding because they, so they just had a private wedding before he went, was called.

RP: Was, was he a major in the reserves at that time?

MS: No. Well, he came out a major, but he went in as a private. I mean, he was just the reserve, I think, but he came, became... John Aiso.

RP: Aiso, yeah, later on went on to become the head of the MIS school in Minnesota.

MS: Then, yeah. Yeah, he was quite...

RP: And then he became a judge.

MS: A judge, uh-huh.

RP: Right. Right. Well, tell us about...

MS: That was, I felt, I was so mad that day. I thought, gee, I was a citizen and they treat me like that. I was real upset. But so the FBI man came, he knew I didn't belong there. He let me out.

RP: Were there other Japanese Americans in that --

MS: There were, anybody that...

RP: Who looked different?

MS: Yeah, little bit different, looked kinda dirty was, they threw in there if you looked suspicious.

RP: They might've thrown me in there if I was walking up.

MS: [Laughs]

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

<Begin Segment 13>

RP: This is tape two of a continuing interview with Misako Shigekawa, and Misako, you were just about to share a story with us about after the war, after Pearl Harbor.

MS: We were, oh, about, we were, another couple and I, it was after war broke out and everything was kinda quiet, so we went to a movie. Coming back, why, we got accosted a Filipino man. You know when Japan invaded Philippine? So he came after us with a knife on the way home from the movie, so we, so the fellows took us home. The two went out to look for him, but they never found him. I mean, what did we have to do with the war? He came after with a knife, so we ran and he told us girls, get in the house and stay there, so they, my husband was big, so they were gonna catch the fellow, but they never found him. He got scared, I think. But yeah, that was awful. People thought... what do we have to do with the war? But I tell you another funny story, we were near a naval station -- that's the reason we had to leave there, that naval station -- so one night, it was after war broke out, I still had the store 'cause we didn't get, leave there 'til a few months later, so one night there were about four sailors out there. And then my husband went out and he says, "What's going on?" He says... there are Japanese people living there and it was dark, it was at night and it was dark to go back to their station, so they were scared, they were afraid they'd get beat up, so my husband escorted them, and he told 'em, "You guys," said, "You think you can go fight a war and you can't face the dark?" [Laughs] He teased them. They were scared that Japanese -- they wouldn't dream of hurting those people 'cause we were scared for our lives 'cause we didn't feel we had anything to do with the war, even the Issei people.

RP: Right.

MS: We were all scared to death to see what happened to us. Our lives were at stake, but they were saying didn't mean anything. People took their money out of the bank and put it, they hid it, and a lot of people never recovered some of that. They didn't have time. They left piano, they left refrigerators and all the furniture and somebody, after we left, got 'em all.

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

<Begin Segment 14>

RP: What did, did the FBI come to visit your husband after the war broke out?

MS: Yeah. Let me see...

RP: They were rounding up all these other Issei fisherman and community leaders.

MS: Yeah, and of course, he was out at sea that night. When he came back on the morning, the 7th, he came back in and, let's see... that night, the 7th, and he said that was funny because everything was dark. They hardly got into the harbor because the, even the lights in the harbor, so they thought somethin' was, they didn't know. And then when they came home, then of course, my folks there, so I left my home. I was scared, so I was with my folks. He went to the house and he couldn't find me and he got desperate, he didn't know where I was, but I was with my, he knew, so he came back and then they realized, they didn't know 'cause they shut everything off. They couldn't contact anybody to find out. But then they were out at sea that night and they came in late that night on the 7th, and the, I was staying with my folks because I didn't want to stay home alone.

RP: So did, do you remember an FBI visit?

MS: Well, actually, I don't, I talked to some newspaper men and they, you know, so I never trusted newspaper people. I say don't believe half the stories in the newspaper because they talked to me, but nothing what I said came out like I said it. They twisted it the way they wanted to put it in the paper. That's, so I say don't ever trust what the newspaper...

RP: They came to visit you after the war broke out?

MS: Yeah, and I tried to tell 'em, but they never wrote it in the paper like I had said. They twisted it the way they wanted it to come out. That's why I tell everybody, don't ever trust newspaper people. You don't know what they're gonna write.

RP: What did you tell them?

MS: What?

RP: What did they want to know and what did you tell them?

MS: Well, they wanted to know what happened, about the war, what I thought about it or, I don't know. I don't remember, but anyway, it didn't come out like I thought I said.

RP: Did you tell them that you'd been illegally detained?

MS: Yeah. Yeah, that was, oh, I'm telling you... the FBI couldn't understand it. He was, first thing he says, "Get out of here. You don't belong here," he told me.

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

<Begin Segment 15>

RP: So what was life like after the war broke out 'til the time that you were forced off the island by the navy? That was about...

MS: We went, so we went to Anaheim, so we were okay. Course at the time, people treated us okay then, because they were friends. 'Cause my husband's family, he was, they were born and raised in Anaheim, so he had friends so they didn't... and then we left from there on a train, freight train station, Anaheim. And I know that, I think that church, Presbyterian church people came, served -- we left about five o'clock in the morning, so they came, served coffee and donuts and I heard the town, some of the people in Anaheim criticized the church people for doing that. And then, oh, it's terrible, people that were friends of my husband's parents, knew all these people 'cause they lived in Anaheim for years, and after the war, came back and some of 'em wouldn't even talk to them.

RP: Where did you meet? You said the train station?

MS: Yeah, we gathered at, they had the train all lined up and they, we were only allowed one big suitcase per person and we, they loaded us up, and all the curtains were drawn all the way to... they take those side tracks, I don't know how they get to Poston. I don't know. And then when we got there, we got out and the bus was there to take us. It was about twenty miles south of Parker. We got off at Parker, and they told us that there're schools there and hospitals. Baloney. It was all army barracks. They didn't have anything. And later on they had schools and things, but they said there were schools there, but it was all dirt. When they have, we have sandstorms, we'd have to, you know, and then those barracks, so thin and the cracks, so all that came into the barracks and we'd put wet towels on our faces to keep from inhaling all that dust. I remember that. And we didn't have air conditioning, so we'd pour buckets of water, and then crack, big wide cracks in the floor that the water just ran through, so we'd just dump water to keep cool. And the, one time, I think it... hundred and thirty-five degrees. I wouldn't go outside. We had to go to the mess, what they call mess hall, to eat -- I had to walk, we had to walk about half, every, they had groups in mess hall. We'd have to walk down there to eat, and sometimes I didn't go. My husband would bring me the food, 'cause I was pregnant with my son at the time.

RP: So go back to the time that you were at the train station, you're waiting to leave to go to Poston. Did you know you were going to Poston?

MS: Oh, yeah, we knew we were goin' to Arizona.

RP: What were, what kind of emotions were you experiencing at that particular time?

MS: Well, we didn't know where we were going, and they told us that they'd have schools and hospital -- baloney. It was just army barracks, but that's what they told us when they, when they applied to go. They gave us numbers. We had to register, they gave us -- so like prisoners, we had a family number.

RP: Do you remember what it was?

MS: Oh, I can't remember. It was a five number and that was our family number. Everything referred to that number.

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

<Begin Segment 16>

RP: Now, your, the rest of your family was still in Glendora, right?

MS: No, they were in Terminal Island, 'cause we, we had the drugstore there.

RP: Your parents moved into Terminal Island?

MS: Yeah, so he bought the drugstore, so they moved to L.A. from Terminal Island for a while and so they had to go to Manzanar, so we, my husband and I came to Anaheim because his folks were here, so we went to, on the ranch. Luckily, luckily we had the house there, so when we left camp we had a place to come back to. Of course the house was a mess after almost four years. It was all nailed up and sat. Oh, it was terrible. All the rats had gotten in and... at least we had a place to sleep when we came back. A lot of people in camp didn't have places to go and so those, maybe they made arrangements, like L.A., like army camps and churches, they took them in for people that didn't have homes to come back to. I know a lot of 'em, in fact, my husband was a policeman and he had a lot of problems because they came to him for help, but he couldn't do anything. I know one man in our block hung himself, 'cause he had no place to go. Oh, you should, it was like a small town, they had murders and often they had this family problems, you had to get... and people don't know about it, like they had the army there, camp, that, 'cause all the time they guards in each, they had towers, and they watched all the time so they had an army camp there. And so they would come in looking for girls, you know what I mean. So he had to take care of that and then people wanted to drink, why, the army fellow was trying to sneak it in and sell it to the... so he, policeman, he had to police all that, so he, he was busy. Lot of times he was out most of the night, chasin' around. And then of course, there were fights that he had to settle.

RP: And how did your, your husband become the police chief? Was he appointed?

MS: They, when they first got there, of course the cooks, it wasn't, they didn't have that many officers' jobs. It was just mainly to feed us and take care of us, but they had a listing of jobs that was available, so my husband volunteered for policeman. And they had fireman and a different, you know how Japanese are ambitious. They aren't gonna sit there, so those that wanted to cook took over cooking and like teaching, they all... so by the end it was our own people running the camp. At first the outsider -- still, I think some Caucasian stayed there to teach, I think, that wanted to stay there. And then finally they got a canteen where you could buy things, but you know who made money was Sears-Roebuck and Montgomery. They got catalogs in and I think all the Japanese people ordered everything, from furniture to fix up their barracks.

RP: Did you order any items?

MS: We ordered different things, and we had a friend that had a store in Anaheim, so we got, had them send us things. Like we wanted, electricity wasn't a problem because of the Colorado River, so, like, we sent for electric fans. Our friends would send us that. So at the end it was pretty, people got kind of used to it, so it was hard because then some of 'em didn't have any place to go back to, so it was very difficult for those families.

RP: So you... you, your husband and your husband's parents...

MS: Yeah, we stayed, so we came --

RP: Who was else was in the, in your barrack room with you?

MS: Well, let's see, my, I don't remember. Anyway, my parents lived, his parents were next, next room.

RP: Did you have your own room?

MS: Yeah, we had separate rooms fortunately. Some of 'em, about three couples had, in one room. That was bad.

RP: What do you remember when you first walked into that room? What did you see in there?

MS: It was just before dark, I think it must've been, and I was so thirsty. I asked for a glass of water; I swear, I was drinking Colorado River mud. Since the dam went in, see that's, went in after, so the water... Lake Havasu, beautiful now. It's like a lake, if you've ever been there. And we went there not too long ago, and I thought, my gosh, that river was, is muddy, and we were drinking that water. Of course, they tried to, some way to clean that up before we drank it, but still, it took a while before we got used to that, so we used to drink hot tea to kind of mask it some way. And food, sometimes we would have spaghetti and potatoes, and one day something happened, we were eating neck bones for days, just boiled neck bones. And they fed us a lot of spaghetti, so 'til my mother died, she never would eat spaghetti. We had so much. Cheapest thing they could feed us. And then one day they got, shipped milk in to the pregnant mothers and children, and one day the freight train, some people held it up on the way, you know, black market, they took, they stole the milk, so they didn't have milk there for a while, 'til they were able to ship us some more. 'Cause it was rationed out outside those days, so somebody stole the train or something happened and they didn't have milk. But at the end, like tofu, you're familiar with tofu? Well, people that wanted to, they could send for the equipment and they made tofu there for us. Of course, at first only children, they gave it to old people first, but they, they really, everything, like somebody decided the mesquite bushes were valuable, they made furniture, and all kinds of things. And then they were walking around, they found rocks, good gems out there and they made, they had the equipment sent in, the jewelers, and they made beautiful earrings and necklaces. And I did have --

RP: Did you take up any art?

MS: What?

RP: Did you take up a hobby or an art?

MS: No, 'cause I, then after I had my son I had, I had two children there, so I was raising my kids, so I didn't, I didn't work at all, help any. I just stayed in while I was in camp. I didn't do anything.

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

<Begin Segment 17>

RP: What was your, did, how was the being pregnant there and delivering two children there? What was that like, the medical care?

MS: Well, by the time, see, I was six months pregnant, so by that time it's a lot better. They finally set up, looked like a hospital. But the first baby that was born, she had it in a barrack, and so everybody was peekin' in the windows watching the delivery. [Laughs] I heard about that. I said oh, no. But luckily one of the doctors had volunteered, I knew him when he was in medical school, so he was there, volunteered, so he, and he happened to be a gynecologist, luckily, so he took care of me. He came to the barrack, he gave me special attention, so I was fortunate. But by that time they had a, like a sort of hospital, better than it was at first, but it, everything was very primitive that first few months. But at the end things were pretty good. Some people liked it there 'cause they adjusted themselves, and so it was very difficult for them to leave because they didn't have anywhere to go. A lot of 'em went back East, if they had friends or something, but they all wanted to come back to California. Most of 'em didn't have places to come back to. Some of 'em, I know, bought back, they sold the property and bought it back, but I know a relative bought it back and he had to pay more than, had to pay a lot of money to buy the property back from people, but if you could afford to do that that was okay. But it was very difficult for some of the families. It was hard to get work, too.

RP: You lived in Block 21?

MS: I think, no, I was in Block 5, I think. Block 21 was, I was in Block 5. 21, I think that's where most of the volunteer people were. We were next group to go in, so by that time, I think we were Block 5, I think. Seemed like. I can't remember.

RP: You were in Poston I.

MS: I've got it written down someplace. It's over in my house. I have all my pictures and all, most of it over at the house.

RP: Did your husband's parents work in the camp that you can recall?

MS: No, they were old, so they were... well, they were in their sixties, I think, but they never, neither one of 'em worked.

RP: Do you know if your husband was allowed to pick the people that he wanted to work on the police force?

MS: He what?

RP: Do you know if your husband was allowed to choose the men that --

MS: No, they all volunteered.

RP: They all volunteered.

MS: Yeah. Yeah, so I imagine he had thirty or forty people working.

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

<Begin Segment 18>

RP: Now, there was a, some people call it a disturbance or an incident that occurred around November of 1942 in Poston. A gentleman was breaking out --

MS: I think they had something at Manzanar, didn't they? That riot, something riot. Someone sort of, I think... how do you say, thought about something, what's the word? Agreed with 'em, what they were doing, and they did have something, I think, some of the people down in Poston kind of thought that, that they had right to fight about it.

RP: A man was beaten up by --

MS: You, you heard about, didn't you, the story? It was, they got, someone got shot in the back.

RP: Right.

MS: This mother's, I heard, my mother knew her and said she had the shirt that they shot him from the back, the whole, you know... what was the riot about? They picked up somebody, didn't they, suspicious?

RP: Right. They picked up somebody and --

MS: Uh-huh, and the people objected to that and they all went to object, and the army just shot them down when they were... and I think two or three were killed.

RP: Two, two people died.

MS: Two or three died, didn't they, at the time? I heard about that, and so I sympathize with some of the people, but I don't think they, they talked about it, but I don't think they really, I don't remember too much about that.

RP: You mentioned that your father had to deal with situations like drinking and murders in Poston?

MS: Yeah. Well, doesn't really talk about it, but it happened. You know, they fight, fight and he always got called in on that, but he never talked too much about it. I know it happened. But, and like, one time I think three men got out some way. They never found them. They don't know whether they drowned trying to cross the desert, they died out in the desert. They never ever found 'em. The, he and the police went to look for 'em, but they never found them. Whether the coyotes ate 'em up or whether they drowned trying to cross the river or... nothing ever... all the, like a small town, all little things, family fights and somebody complain, someone was able to get their pets sent in and the other people complain, so he had to go had to go fight. He'd come back and he'd just, he'd, so he really had it, he said.

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

<Begin Segment 19>

RP: How long was he a police chief there? A year?

MS: No, most of the time. I think it was just a few months that he worked with the, Dr. Layton. He finally gave it up. It was too much. [Laughs]

RP: How did he, was, did Dr. Layton approach him to work with him?

MS: He must have, because I think he, being chief of police, the problems, Dr. Layton was involved or something. He knew Dr. Layton, I think, became friends, 'cause he was there. He lived there, right in camp.

RP: Layton did?

MS: Uh-huh. He was sent up by the Indian, is it Indian reservation from Washington? Isn't that the organization they have? 'Cause that was Indian property there, 'cause when the camp closed the government returned that to the Indian, what's the name? Something, Indian something.

RP: Indian Service.

MS: Services. I think that's how, I think that's, or the government sent. I don't know why, but they had the dollar a year man, that's what he was. You hear about the, something about, he wasn't there to make money. He was there studying, anthropologist studying the people's behavior. That's why he wrote that book. Did you, you ever seen that book? And it mentions about Ishii family and our family in that book, I think, that little paragraph or something in there, 'cause he was, my husband worked with him.

RP: And do you know what your husband did for him? Did he, did he go around interviewing people about their...

MS: I don't know just what he did. He used to go to work in the office and worked there during the day, so I don't know just what he was doing. Talking about, maybe answering questions when he was writing his book, probably, with his knowledge. He was interested in history. That's why we traveled all over the world. Only place we didn't get to was Far East. I didn't care to go there. We've been all over Europe and went to Japan several times and covered all of Orient. We went to Bangkok, Singapore, Malaysia, all there, then we went clear up to Europe, covered how many countries, then we went up to St Petersburg, Russia. We went up to Finland and Scandinavian countries. We went to Alaska, not only ship, but we got off the land, went clear up to Anchorage and way up there. We did a lot of traveling and we even, I think most interesting one, that Mediterranean cruise. We went to Spain and got a ship, went down the Mediterranean, past the, went to Gibraltar, and went to Africa and Tanzania, and we went to that underground Casbah, and then we went to Canary Islands, and we went to Cape, Caribbean, you don't say Caribbean. It's Caribbean. [Laughs] And at the time was right after the storm, so we covered St. Thomas and two of the islands, we couldn't go there 'cause there no electricity, the storm, so they took us to Venezuela, Caracas. So that was interesting. Usually they don't, then we went through the canal, Panama Canal and flew home from, where is it? Acapulco. Then the ship, the ship went back again from Acapulco. We went through the canal.

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

<Begin Segment 20>

RP: I wanted to go back to camp for a second. When you were pregnant, you said that you went to take a shower, and tell us --

MS: [Laughs] Yeah, and it's just a big room, just like the all boys, remember when you were kids? Weren't they, they never, they didn't have any booths, so there were just heads sticking out and all the women and gals would look at me and I was so embarrassed, so I wouldn't go take a shower, so I'd go real late at night after everybody got through, about eleven or twelve o'clock. And my husband wouldn't let anybody in. He stood at the door. I remember that. I was so embarrassed, being my, I was still late twenties, embarrassed, my first child. I was so embarrassed with everybody looking at me, especially the kids. So I always tell everybody that, that I had, I had my husband guarding...

RP: Protection.

MS: Yeah. He wouldn't let anybody in. Well of course, most of 'em were through by that time anyway.

RP: I asked you earlier about this, this trouble that occurred at Poston. There was a strike and this person got beat up. Was your father ever, not your father, but your husband, was he ever referred to as an inu because he was a police chief and he had connections with camp administration? 'Cause, were there people who thought he might be a collaborator?

MS: No, I don't, he had a lot of friends and they always came to him all the time, like middle of the night, they'd wake him up and there'd be problems, he'd have to leave. He never talked too much about it, 'cause it's confrontation, more or less, I guess, but I know it's just like a big city, there was always same problem, robbery, anything you could think of, it happened there.

RP: How about gambling?

MS: Oh, they were gambling too. They did. Course, you couldn't do anything about that. Of course, there'd be fights.

RP: Did the policemen have uniforms?

MS: No, they didn't have uniforms. I don't think so.

RP: Did they wear a band or something that identified them as policemen?

MS: I don't remember that. I don't believe so. They knew him by face. They knew who were firemen, who were policemen. They knew, 'cause they had firemen also, for protection, just in case. They sat around, they had office, like an army barrack, like police station, all that, and they just, they were just in case. But they had every profession, doctors and dentists and nurses and, and in the end, like I said, it was our own people that took over, managed everything.

RP: Did you, did you keep in touch with your, your family who went to Manzanar?

MS: Uh-huh. We, uh-huh, yes, we did. And then finally my, my brother and sister were living with them. They went to Chicago after they, after they were able to get out for jobs, so they were alone, so we, about six months before camp closed, the army, we asked, inquired to have them moved to Poston, so they came to live with us. So we had my husband's parents and my parents living, that we had to take care of, look after them, because they felt, they didn't want to leave them alone in Manzanar, so they finally, they had escort and they moved, were brought to, we requested, they allowed us to do that.

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

<Begin Segment 21>

RP: You had a chance to visit your parents at Manzanar.

MS: Uh-huh, but that was right, oh, the first year or something, we went to visit them.

RP: You said that originally your, they denied you the opportunity to go to Manzanar, but your father --

MS: We requested that, my parents there and my father wasn't feeling well, so we requested, so the army permitted, but they sent us with army escort.

RP: Military policemen?

MS: No. No, army, army men. Well, I guess, I don't whether they were called MPs or not.

RP: Did they have a uniform on?

MS: No, no, I don't think he had any, I don't remember that.

RP: Like a camp escort, maybe.

MS: Yeah. Yeah, they had to have some, I think maybe they did have a uniform, to take us there. And of course the different people, we were there for a month, but different people brought us back. I think we were, I know we went by train the first time, when we went, but coming back, somebody was there that was coming to, so we came back by car, but I think we went by train.

RP: What were your impressions of the month that you spent at Manzanar?

MS: It was the same, same thing all over, but we had a lot of friends there, so it was nice. We visited them. But that place in the wintertime, I heard it was just freezing cold. Like it got cold in the desert, but it was a different kind of, not like snow, it didn't snow in Poston. We had the heat more than... course, Manzanar got so cold. I think it still does. Isn't it cold in that Bishop area in the wintertime? Yeah, I, that Bishop, we took our kids camping one year, went fishing. June Lake, we stayed there and we toured a lot in that area. Portola up north, we went there, took the kids. We traveled a lot. My husband liked to travel, so every year we'd take a big vacation.

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

<Begin Segment 22>

RP: I wanted to talk a little bit more about this, this suit that your husband filed.

MS: Yeah, I wish... you know what? My daughter's coming down this weekend. Maybe she could bring some of that down with her, then you could, you gonna be in this area?

RP: Probably not. Probably be back at Manzanar.

MS: Oh, when are you going back?

RP: Tonight.

MS: Huh?

RP: Tonight.

MS: Oh, you are?

RP: But I can --

MS: She has slides of, she made, my son made slides of the pictures and she, it's too bad because she has a whole suitcase of material from all over. I collected a lot of it and some of it a lot of people don't have. The one, there's picture of him on the front page of the L.A. Times and the Examiner.

RP: Of your husband's --

MS: Trial, his trial, his picture and our article.

RP: So were there other men that were involved in this trial?

MS: Well originally, I think there were ten that got together, were gonna sue the Western Defense, because they were, we were interned without due process of law. That's why the ACLU came, wanted it carried through. They were the ones that paid for all that. And so, and anyway, so I don't know, I guess the government paid, so the government, I guess the government financed the other end of it, but anyway, he sued them, and at the end everybody got scared. They backed out, but three were left. A dentist and a lawyer and my husband, three that finally ended up suing.

RP: And from what I've also read about that is that they were excluded from coming back to the West Coast.

MS: Yeah. So the last man that, I guess he was a major, whoever was in, he was in San Francisco, I guess. Toru was in L.A., but they were stationed in San Francisco, I believe, those, army officer. He was the head man, I guess. Anyway, he told 'em, well, he says he, I guess they didn't know what to do because they lost the, to back 'em up. It's not in the Constitution; they had nothing, so finally said, he said, "Well, you guys should've been fighting for" his side. They didn't have any choice. They were made for 'em. It wasn't their choice, but he says, "You guys go back home and we'll see what we could do." And that, I think it ended in, two or three months later they decide all of a sudden that California was open. See, there was nothing they could do. So that's why we came back in '45. We were the first ones that came back to Anaheim, soon as we could, 'cause we had a place we could come to. So we, my husband came to California before that, he bought a car, we didn't have a car, so we drove a car back and we had a truck, all, few of the possessions from camp, and then a friend of ours had a truck and we brought what we could back to Anaheim. So we were lucky we had a place to come back. Some of the people were still hostile about different things, so it was kinda hard at first. And like lot of, I think there were two, three families in Anaheim and the doctors won't even take care of them, but we had this German, he was German, he's a doctor that I had known before the war, so when I had my third child I went to him and I said, "You gonna take care of me?" He says, "What do you mean?" 'Cause I knew some doctors wouldn't take the Japanese people, but he was real good and to this day his sons and my son are close friends and we're, we've been close friends ever since, more than a family doctor. We got real close to them. But that's when they couldn't get doctors to treat them. They didn't want to bother, so a lot of people had a rough time, I think.

And then like groceries, too, this old Alpha Beta store, one of the stores where I shopped, the manager went to school with my husband, so he, he was very nice to us, and after the war, when we came back, they were still rationing food. We had to get in line to buy meat, different things, but he treated us just like the rest of them and he didn't pick any bones about it. He, they went through grammar school and high school together, the manager, so he didn't care and he helped, he helped us, so I didn't have any trouble, but food was rationed. You probably don't know those days, but you had to wait in line to certain... that didn't last too long, though, rationing, but when we first came back you had to, like meat, we had to get in line and buy meat. I'd go and stand in line. Yeah. But we've been, we had a lot of old Caucasian friends that really stood by us. We were fortunate about that, too. Yeah, so it's been a long time.

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

<Begin Segment 23>

RP: So did the, did your parents come back from Poston with you?

MS: Yeah, they, they went to a -- see, my brother was back East, so they went to a, they had a school or someplace they turned into a place in L.A. They stayed there for a while, then my brother's wife had a home in Santa Barbara, so my brother came out and moved my parents to Santa Barbara to live with his wife's family, so they had a place to go to. They lived there for a long time, then they moved to, finally they moved, my son, my brother came back from back East and bought a place in Pasadena, so my folks lived in Pasadena for, until they passed away. My brother came back to live here after the war, 'cause he was a, he was in the thirties, so they didn't call him into the service, but my younger brother got called. He was in the Air Force, trained in Texas. Well, my husband's two brothers were in service and my, Isao was in the service and my other sister's husband was in, I think, how many? And here, the same family, my husband and I were "enemy aliens." Isn't that crazy? I think, here our own family was fighting and we were "enemy aliens." That doesn't make sense, does it? That's how stupid these people are. Don't you really, when you think about it, isn't that stupid? And my brother worked making guns. You know my brother?

RP: George?

MS: Guns, and then my brother in law worked for DuPont and they're making chemicals for chemical warfare in the service, but we're "enemy aliens." Does that -- and then my husband's other brother went to, into, in the Camp Savage, is it, that trained interpreters? He was in that.

RP: He was in there?

MS: He didn't go overseas, but that's what he did. He interpreted the prisoners or something. And all that was going on, but we were in camp. We're "enemy aliens." Isn't that stupid? It's hard to figure it out, isn't it? Nowadays fun to talk about; wasn't fun those days. But I often think about, oh, what's the matter? When you think about it, it doesn't make sense, does it? Your brother, I had two brothers and my husband had, and a brother in law, too, that were over there, and like, let's see, my husband's sister's husband's in the South Pacific, and he got bald, he says he got scared one night, that's how, he tell his kids that's how he lost his hair. [Laughs] He says he got so scared. But Isao'd tell you about, he was, he was the 442nd, he'd, then he'd climb up this mountain and he went up both, and he met a German face to face. They both got scared and they ran away or something. Did he tell you about that? He said he went back to Europe. He says there's nothing he could remember. It's all cleaned up and changed, where he was stationed, 442nd. Of course, my other brother was in 442nd, too, my younger, my husband's youngest brother.

RP: Was he overseas?

MS: Yeah, he went overseas. He was in the 442nd also.

RP: You mentioned earlier that when you were in camp, that was, that was an Indian reservation.

MS: Yeah, that's, it's Indian reservation.

RP: Do you, do you remember seeing any...

MS: Well, some of 'em kinda worked there. I know they were around there and then the, I don't know whether, some of 'em worked there, I think, like at first, like puttin' up telephone wire, all that. They worked there. We'd see them, but then before, after a few left they brought some in to live in the barrack, but they want to live in teepees. They won't work. That's why all that farm land that the Japanese people developed. They're raising everything, chickens and had poultry and vegetables. They were independent. They thought maybe Indian people carried on. Heck no. They don't want to, they want government to support them, and they wouldn't live in the barracks. They want to live in teepees and be cared for, we found out. That's ideal, see, I think the government, according to the politicians, my husband was saying that they hope the Indians would come in there and be able to live there, but that's why it all went to pot. They don't want to be, get out and work.

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

<Begin Segment 24>

RP: Have you been back to Poston since you left?

MS: No, I haven't, but my daughter has been there. I think she, yeah, I think she's the only one in the family's been back there. She said there's a, she took a picture of this plaque of my husband there, and the plaque, it said Poston monument or something. I don't know why he, they got him on... she took a picture of it. She showed, brought it back with her. She wrote this book about, so she gave book reading in Arizona at some of the grammer schools. Somebody heard about her. She went to several schools and told 'em, to talk about Poston and the book she wrote, and so she visited Poston 'cause it wasn't too far from, she was in Phoenix area, so that's when she saw that plaque. And before there was, but I heard there's the highway that goes practically by the place to go into Blythe or Phoenix. I think there's a new highway. And I've talked to a couple people that have been by, but I've never, my husband didn't care to go back and we never did go back to Poston. They have reunions and all that, but we haven't been. We were asked to serve on the Poston Committee. They have that committee, you know Mary Higashi? She's not, we know each other and she, they wanted us to work with that committee, but we just didn't want to be bothered. We were too old, too busy. It takes a lot of time, going to all the meetings and all, and we felt we didn't want to get involved. Mary Higashi, I've known, I knew her husband when he was a little boy, so I've known, she, we correspond to each other. She writes to me and... she's the one in that last tape, DVD, I have it here. Do you have that one?

RP: Passing Poston?

MS: Uh-huh, she's the one that narrates in that. Is that Mary? I'm sure it is. And so...

RP: How did your daughter get interested in --

MS: Huh?

RP: How did your daughter get interested in the camp story?

MS: Well she, Marlene was only two years old when we left, so she doesn't know anything about Poston. That's why she wants to, she's researching and trying to write up different things, 'cause she was two years -- my son was almost five, so he remembers vaguely.

RP: Does he have an interest at all?

MS: Yeah, well, like I, he taught science in high school for a while and he knew a history teacher and there's nothing in the history books -- and this was several years ago -- so he was asked to lecture at the high school, Anaheim High, so he gathered all this material, like he had the clippings of the trial and all, so he gave a, the history teacher asked him to talk to his class. So he taught high school for several years and then he got a job teaching at the Cleveland Chiropractic College in L.A., but that's why he got interested, he was interested in athletic injuries and all that, and that chiropractor helps a lot, so that's why he went into it. And he went pre med, but he got waylaid 'cause he was interested in athletics and he taught, he was the assistant coach at, towards El Segundo High and he, Anaheim High School. The principal knew him and he asked my son to help coach football, so that's what he did, then he taught sciences at the same time, so that's why, he taught for about ten years, I think, in high school, then he decided to go into chiropractic after he taught, college. So that's why he got involved in that.

RP: Did either of your --

MS: He did, he did okay. He had a lot of, he knew a lot of coaches in his area, so they would send their kids over for treatment, 'cause they would hurt their arm or whatever, so he had a very good practice. He did quite well.

RP: Did your parents or your husband's parents ever become citizens when the laws changed?

MS: My, my husband's parents both got their citizenship in, was it early '50s or something? Yeah, they, they got... but my father, he was so Americanized and he read English. He read, he took the Times paper and he went to the library and read a lot and all that, and so he was well acquainted and he read a lot, and he said when he could use the citizenship -- he didn't have it, he was about eighty -- he said, "I don't want it now," he said. He said when he wanted it, couldn't use it, so he used my name 'cause I was citizen, for some things that had to be, you know, but he never could, so he was real up, kinda something back of the mind. He said, "I don't want my citizenship now." He said when he wanted it he couldn't have it, so he said, he was too old to anything with it anyway, but his parents, my husband's parents both got their citizenship, naturalized.

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

<Begin Segment 25>

RP: Were they around for the, in 1988 when the apology letter and the check for twenty thousand dollars was issued...

MS: Yeah, I got it, but I'm, I don't think they did. No, I think they were gone. So each one of us got twenty, all my kids, 'cause they were, like I was surprised. I thought, 'cause my daughter was only two years old, but I told her to look into it and she got it 'cause she was born in Poston. But then, twenty thousand, I couldn't even buy a drug store any, being, losing all that business those years and all that, that twenty thousand dollars didn't mean anything when we got it. But it was a nice apology. You've seen the apology? We each got a copy of that, so it can't ever happen again. But they did restrain Germans during the war, didn't they, World War I? And back, they brought 'em over, back East they had a concentration camp and they brought some German people. I remember vaguely about that. So it can't ever happen again. But after all, the war was how many thousand miles away? What could we do? And then never actually had any sabotage or any kind of spying they could pin down, have they ever? They thought we... you think people living here would do that, the Japanese people? They lived here and they more or less, you know how Hispanic people, you know they, to this day, most of 'em can't even speak English, but the Japanese people ambitious. They all sent their kids to school and they tried to be Americanized as much they could, so you think any of 'em would be a spy? They didn't understand the Japanese people. They were scared to death. We didn't have anything to do with it, but we were blamed for it, right? We had nothing to do with it, but it was different story during the war, the, everybody got hysterical. They didn't know what they were thinking.

RP: Were you ever angry or bitter at what, how the government had treated you and your, your family?

MS: Oh, in a way. It was, it was hard, like going to camp. It was very difficult, took everything away and all that, but after a bit we met friends and we made the best of it. Things got better.

RP: Was there any, do you remember a very humorous event or experience at Poston, something that was humorous?

MS: I don't know, I was just at home all the time raising the kids, so I didn't get too involved in very many things. Yeah, 'cause a lot of the women, older ones, didn't work. The younger ones went, nurses and all, they worked in the hospital there and teachers taught and everybody who'd had a profession did something. They could, we had cooks and dishwashers and whatever their, they made use of what they could do, so they kept busy. But some of us women had children never worked. It was...

RP: But you'd been to college and you said you read a lot, did you long for intellectual stimulation in the camp?

MS: Oh, college...

RP: Did you look, were you, did you... I'll just change the question.

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

<Begin Segment 26>

KP: Can I ask a question? This is way out in left field, but there was a gentleman there by the name of Kawamoto who was in camp and he --

MS: Yamamoto?

KP: Kawamoto. Kawamoto, K-A-W. Kawamoto, and he had a Hispanic wife. Do you remember anything about that all? There was a problem and I think...

MS: Yeah, I don't remember that name. I don't recall. Yeah, there was a problem that had Caucasian wives that they couldn't get, take 'em in there and there was a problem. I remember vaguely, but I don't know anybody personally. I can't remember.

KP: It was something about, your husband might have dealt with it.

MS: Yeah, he might've known the name, but I don't remember. I really didn't get out too much because I stayed in my room and was raising the two kids 'cause my son was five, almost five and my daughter's two, so I had the two kids, so I really didn't get too involved in different things. I just kept busy. We'd sit around and talk with other mothers, comparing notes about kids. [Laughs] But it's really, you could talk about it now, but it was real hard at the time. My husband felt real bitter, though, I think, way we were treated. In a way, he had to go, he never really, he couldn't forget it. He was always bitter about different things that happened. More than I.

RP: Did you, did you go to the trial?

MS: No, I, I didn't go. Well, we weren't allowed to go, 'cause they had to go by army escort. They, yeah, we weren't allowed to go.

RP: It was in, it was in the Los Angeles papers.

MS: Uh-huh.

RP: L.A. Times.

MS: I have a, I think my son made some slides with papers getting so old and brown, it's been so long, but my daughter still has it and I don't want to let go of it, so if she could bring it down, if... but you're going back, so...

RP: Well, I can give her a call, see if we can...

MS: She'll be here Saturday. She's gonna stay here for, visit me, bring my granddaughter. She has a granddaughter that... coming down for sort of a reunion on Saturday, so if you're here she could bring it down. I've often wished I had it here, but she was writing all this, so I thought, well, she might as well take the whole thing, so I gave her the whole, the whole big suitcase full of all kinds of material. And that's still in that suitcase.

RP: Do you have any, based on the experience that you went through in going to camp and being, like you, in your words, classified as an enemy alien, do you have any advice for young people, in terms of your experience?

MS: Oh, I really don't. It's... well, it was difficult. We couldn't understand it in the first place, like why they did that to us, 'cause we, we felt we didn't have anything to do with the war and we were citizens. It was very hard to accept that we were put in camp. I was real, but what could you do? So I think Roosevelt decided he made a mistake by not really thinking about it, don't you think? Spur of the moment, he signed it and then, and he didn't have any authority to do it. He didn't have any backing, actually, when he came -- Reagan started that, Reagan started that... then I think the son is the one that signed it. Or what's the, the first president signed that apology? I think it was, wasn't it? The father.

RP: It was the father that sent the checks out.

MS: I have that, father signed, and then for my birthday my friend sent in my, to get a birthday card from Laura, they always sign everything just Bush, but Laura Bush signed it. Have you seen one of those? So I got one of those, so I said I'm, second one came and you got two, two Bushes. [Laughs] I'm a Republican, so I'm real proud of it. I got two Bush signatures.

RP: You have any other questions, Kirk?

KP: No, I think we're good.

RP: Misako, thank you so much for your stories and...

MS: Oh, I'm not a very good talker, so --

RP: You did fine. Yeah.

MS: I'm, when you get old, my memory's bad.

RP: A hundred years old.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2009 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.