Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Laurie Sasaki Interview
Narrator: Laurie Sasaki
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Richmond, California
Date: April 16, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-slaurie-01-0022

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RP: Did, after camp, Japanese American families typically wouldn't talk very much about their camp experience. You visited an exhibit of Dorothea Lange photos.

LS: Oh, yes.

RP: And what was that like?

LS: That was, it was when I first realized what my mother would have gone through because I think we were probably about the same age. I mean, like when she had to leave Imperial Valley and, and then I thought, oh my God. I saw this exhibit at UC Berkeley and it was Executive Order 9077 and Dorothea Lange had taken all these pictures of us leaving. And I sit front of the pictures and I started to sob. I just uncontrollably started to sob. Because I thought if I had to give up everything today, what I had... I mean, I couldn't, I don't think that I could do that. I mean, it would just be terrible. And it suddenly hit me what my mother had gone through. And that was the first time I realized the terrible experience. Because all this time... I had a good time, I met friends, and everything seemed fine for me. But to have to go through all of that, leave everything you had, my god, I mean, that would be devastating. So, anyway, I stood there and cried and cried and cried. And my husband just walked away from me. He said, "Oh my god, what's going on? We gotta get out of here." [Laughs] He was so embarrassed. But it took me days to get over that. And I told you I was working for a documentary team right now. They're doing a film. [Inaudible] Her granddaughter is one of the filmmakers that we have. She's a photographer.

RP: Following in her footsteps.

LS: Yes, yes.

RP: That's ironic. So you're working on this documentary.

LS: Yes. I mean, I just to do the books and pay the bills. I'm not there shooting like they're out there. But...

RP: Helping them.

LS: Yeah.

RP: Wow, interesting. So have you shared your experiences with your children?

LS: Oh, I don't have any but I have these two nephews who think I'm an idiot anyway but it's okay. I try... they, one is very interested. In fact, one was gonna come along with me today because he said I needed a bodyguard to come to this area, right. So, yeah, one is very interested, the other is probably would, is interested but doesn't want to show that. You know, is very... but, yeah.

RP: So it seems for everybody who went through this, there comes a time when you have to, you confront what you were a part of.

LS: Yes.

RP: You had that moment when...

LS: Right, when I looked at the films and...

RP: Images.

LS: Right, yeah.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.