Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Art Okuno Interview
Narrator: Art Okuno
Interviewer: Kirk Peterson
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: September 1, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-oart-01-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

KP: So how long were you in Pomona?

AO: Until August. Then, then again we didn't know where we were going, from Pomona to wherever.

KP: So you said your mother got sick from being in the horse stall. Did she go to the hospital or did she just...

AO: No, she eventually got well. But no, she didn't have to go to, as far as I know, she didn't have to go to dispensary. Yeah.

KP: So in August, what happened?

AO: Well, we were told, "Pack your baggage, we're moving." We didn't know where, but eventually rumors get around that we're going to Wyoming.

KP: What did you think about going to, what did you think about Wyoming at that time?

AO: Well, all I knew, there's Yellowstone National Park, part of it, anyway, and it was like a cowboy country.

KP: So you, how did you leave Poston, or I mean how did you leave Pomona?

AO: The same way came to Pomona. We had to pack, get on a train, but this time we traveled for like three days to get to Heart Mountain.

KP: What was that like?

AO: Well, we survived. It was a long trip, because the military trains had the right of way and every time they came we had to go on the side tracks, stop for a while. So it was very slow movement.

KP: Was it hot in the train?

AO: Oh, yeah. There was no air conditioning. And when we went through urban areas we had to pull our window shades down.

KP: Who told you to do that?

AO: The guards.

KP: How would they, how would they do that?

AO: They'd come around and, "Lower your shades."

KP: How did you eat on the train? What was...

AO: We had boxed lunches.

KP: For three days?

AO: Yeah. And then, then the train would, in isolated areas they would stop so we could get off and do our duty, you know.

KP: So were you assigned a train car or a seat?

AO: We all had seats, yeah.

KP: But did you get a, were you allowed to move around the train?

AO: Well, no, we didn't move around. We sort of, I guess we were assigned, because it, they took head count every time. Oh yeah.

KP: Three days to Heart Mountain.

AO: Three full days.

KP: Anything else you remember about that trip?

AO: Let's see, we didn't have much water, I don't think.

KP: How would you get water? I mean, today I think about a bottle of water, but...

AO: I think they had, like, tanks of water that they came around and, I don't, I don't know the details.

KP: You just know you did not have enough.

AO: Yeah, right.

Off camera: Art, when they took breaks on the train, you said you'd get off the train to do your duty, did they separate, like men on one side, women on the other?

AO: I imagine they did. I don't remember. I just ran into the bushes.

Off camera: And that was the only place to go?

AO: Yeah.

KP: There were no toilets on the train?

AO: Oh no, no. Oh, yeah, they had, I think, one for each coach, but it wasn't adequate.

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