Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Tamiko Honda Interview
Narrator: Tamiko Honda
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Redwood City, California
Date: April 15, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-htamiko-01-0013

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RP: Where were you, where were you sent first? Or actually, before we ask that question, tell me where did you have to assemble to go to the assembly center?

TH: Our assembly center was Tanforan racetrack, which is located fifteen miles away from home. And, of course, the racetrack was still in business when the war broke out, but they hastily made that into our assembly center, because it has a railroad siding so that they could whisk us out again later.

RP: Do you remember the day that you left to go to Tanforan?

TH: We left to go to Tanforan on May 9, 1942.

RP: And where did you gather?

TH: We gathered at the Horgan Ranch where the Japanese flower growers had their properties. And so we gathered at a place where it was not really public, so we didn't have people gawking at us or saying anything. And it was a very quiet trip to Tanforan. All of us were still in a state of shock. So there wasn't much conversation going on.

RP: Did you travel there by bus?

TH: Yes, bus.

RP: And do you recall any of the emotions or feelings that you had on that trip over there or during that day?

TH: Yes. Of course, when we entered the gate we knew it was pretty vile, I could say. When you entered the gates, and the soldier, armed soldiers standing guard and there's barbed wire fences all around, we thought, "Well, this is it." And again, I felt sorry for my mother and father. And while we're at our first mess after we were, men were separated from the women, we went through very perfunctory health checks, we had our meal, our first meal, and it was sad to see my mother holding out a plate. Because she always thought that holding a plate in your hand and asking for food was begging. She had seen newsreels of the, at that time, before that, during the Great Depression, how people had to line up with a plate in hand and beg for food, and so for her it was humiliating, it was just degrading. That look on her face said it all. But we had two pieces of sausage, this canned sausage, Vienna sausage, two pieces of canned Vienna sausage, one boiled potato, and some canned spinach that was yellow green, and a piece of bread.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.