Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Yo Shibuya Interview
Narrator: Yo Shibuya
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Chula Vista, California
Date: June 2, 2010
Densho ID: denshovh-syo-01

<Begin Segment 1>

RP: This is an oral history for the Manzanar National Historic Site. This afternoon we're talking with Yoshindo Shibuya.

YS: Yeah.

RP: And Yo lives at 285 Camino del Cero Grande in the town of Bonita, California. The date of our interview is June 2, 2010. The videographer is Kirk Peterson and the interviewer is Richard Potashin. We'll be talking with Yo about his experiences as a former internee at the Manzanar War Relocation Center with special emphasis on his musical career at Manzanar and afterwards. Our interview will be archived in the Park's library. And, Yo, do I have permission to go ahead and record this interview?

YS: Sure.

RP: Thank you very much for sharing some time with us. I really look forward to hearing some of your stories today. Let's start at the very beginning. Can you give us your full name at birth?

YS: Yoshindo Shibuya. Birthday August 23, 1927.

RP: And where were you born, Yo?

YS: Los Angeles, California.

RP: What part of Los Angeles?

YS: Excuse me, near Fourth, Fourth and San Pedro, yeah.

RP: Downtown.

YS: Downtown, yeah.

RP: Let's talk a little bit about your family background a little bit. First your father, what was his name?

YS: His name was Yokichi.

RP: Can you spell that for us?

YS: Yeah, Y-O-K-I-C-H-I, Shibuya.

RP: And where did your father come from in Japan?

YS: Wakayama. Yeah, prefecture of Wakayama.

RP: Wakayama is...

YS: Near Osaka, yeah.

RP: It's right on the coast.

YS; Yeah.

RP: Do you know anything about his early life in Japan?

YS: No, I really don't know. See, because when he passed away my mother was carrying me. So I never did, I never knew, I never knew my dad.

RP: Do you know, do you know when he came to the United States?

YS: Gee, I don't know. It must be, let's see, I would say sometime between 1915 and 1918, someplace in there. Because my oldest brother was born in 1920. Yeah, that's the only way I can figure it out.

RP: Do you know where your parents settled originally?

YS: Salt Lake City.

RP: Was your, what was your father doing for work there?

YS: I think he was working in the mines. They have a big, you know, in Salt Lake City they have a big mine, refinery there. So I, well, that's what I got from my mother anyway, that's what they told me, she told me, yeah.

RP: And, so your siblings, there was Koichi.

YS: Yeah. Koichi and my sister, next one is Kazue and my brother George and then myself.

RP: And everybody but you were born in Utah?

YS: Yeah, Utah.

RP: Did you ever have an English name at all? An American name?

YS: No. You know, it's funny, my brother George, of course George is also a name in Japan too, you know, George. So, I guess it works both ways, you know, he sort of lucked out.

RP: So your dad passed away when you were being carried by your mother.

YS: Yeah.

RP: Can, if it's not too personal, can you tell us how he passed away?

YS: Either from pneumonia or some.... back then they didn't have any antibiotics, you know. And that's as much as I know.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

RP: And a short time after that your mother took...

YS: My two brothers and sisters back to Japan. And then her mother raised them, my grandmother raised my two brothers, and after they graduated from middle school back there then she brought 'em back.

RP: And so do you remember when she would have taken them to Japan?

YS: Probably after I was born in '27. I really don't know when she took 'em back.

RP: And how long did they spend there?

YS: My oldest brother, he must have been eighteen, at the time he came back after he graduated middle school or high school. And my sister, about the same age. And my brother, my brother George must have been fifteen or so at the time. That's when my mother and I went back to Japan and brought my sister back. And then she was debating whether to let my brother George graduate. He was in the second year in middle school, but she decided just to bring him back. So it's sort of worked out good. Otherwise he would have been probably caught back there during Pearl Harbor.

RP: So you went with your mother when you were how old?

YS: Let's see, twelve. Yeah.

RP: And you spent a little bit of time in Japan.

YS: Just one year, just the one year, yeah.

RP: What was that like?

YS: Well, I went to, I went to the grammar school for, during that time I was over there. And it was out there in the country so we did all the things, you know, what kids would do. Either go hunting for birds or then like in the summertime we would spend all the time down in the river and the creeks... either fishing or spear fishing or, well, that's about it, yeah. Oh yeah, and fishing for eels, you know, river, river eels, yeah.

RP: How did the other kids accept you as a Japanese American?

YS: No, they didn't have any problem, yeah. I didn't have any problems gettin' friends with them.

RP: Did you have any difficulties language wise?

YS: Language wise? Well, no, not too much. Because back then we all, when I was home we'd all speak Japanese in the house. And then of course when we're outside we'd speak English. And, I learned how to talk like them back there, during that period, time in the year that I spent back there. In fact, it got to the point where it was a little bit difficult speaking English. I could understand it but the words wouldn't come out as easily. But, yeah, after coming back you just catch right on again.

RP: So being over there was an adventure? More of an adventure than anything else?

YS: Yeah. But we had a lot to do as kids, yeah. And of course there was hills all around, or like small mountains all around us so you... there's always something to do. And with the river just maybe about fifty yards from the house, so you either spend your time down at the river or, you know, during the summertime, or in the mountains either lookin' for... certain times of the year certain things would sprout out and my grandmother would... we'd go gather it so that she could cook the stuff you know. It would just grow wild. Or either pick berries or whatever, yeah.

RP: That was the first time that you got to see your brothers and sisters for quite a while.

YS: Yeah, that's right. And my grandmother and grandfather.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

RP: You said that you had difficulty when you got back to America speaking English?

YS: Yeah, because when I back there all I did was speak Japanese. I could, the words were just a little hard, harder to come out. But then you just get back in the swing of things after a while.

RP: So, when you got back to America, were you put into junior high --

YS: Yeah.

RP: -- at that point?

YS: Yeah.

RP: And where do you, did you attend junior high school?

YS: Lafayette Junior High School in Los Angeles, and then my mother moved so then I went to Central Junior High School. And that's where I met Ralph, ran into Ralph. 'Cause Ralph was going there.

RP: Where was that located? In downtown Los Angeles?

YS: Yeah, that was on, near the Hall of Justice, if you're familiar with Los Angeles. Temple and Hill.

RP: Now your father had passed away and so that placed a real economic burden on your mother.

YS: Yeah.

RP: How did she support you and later the rest of the kids when they came back from Japan?

YS: Oh, well, she ran it like a hotel. She would lease the hotel and then run the hotel. And whatever profits she made from that, other than the expense and the rent that she paid to the person she leased the hotel from.

RP: Where was the hotel located?

YS: There on Temple and Hill Street, about a half a block from Central Junior High School.

RP: And do you remember who stayed at the motel?

YS: Well it... mixed, well, quite a few Filipino people. And, let's see, a few Hispanics and Caucasians, the whites. You know it was a mix.

RP: Was it a large place?

YS: Well three, it was a three-story hotel. Back then, I don't know what you would call. They had apartments. Each unit had sink, bathroom... I mean, kitchen, bathroom, and a bedroom in each one. Just like a one bedroom apartment is what it... yeah. And there was twenty of them in that three-story building, if I remember. And then we had single, single rooms where bachelors could rent.

RP: So did you have any chores? Did you work for your mom?

YS: Oh, yeah.

RP: What did you do there?

YS: Make the beds. You know, on the weekends when I wasn't going to school, my brother George and I and... take care of the trash. You know, collect the trash for the trash man to come and get it. And then that was our chores. And then of course later on I started delivering papers.

RP: The old bicycle newspaper boy?

YS: Bicycle, yeah, yeah. L.A. Times and the Japanese paper, the Kashu Mainichi. It used to be Rafu Shimpo. I think that's still, I think they, they're still in existence but there was another paper called the Kashu Mainichi that was a, their competitor. And I used to deliver for them.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

RP: Now you weren't too far from, from Little Tokyo were you?

YS: Where I lived?

RP: Yeah.

YS: Yeah, no, yeah, not too far.

RP: Did you spend much time down there at, in Little Tokyo for social activities or events or things?

YS: No, other than to go down there to get, get my delivery papers, 'cause the newspaper company was right there on Second Street between Central and San Pedro. And, pick up the papers and go deliver 'em.

RP: So what did you do with all the money that you earned?

YS: [Laughs] It wasn't that much. But back then things weren't that expensive either. And either buy clothes... oh yeah, then buy some fishing equipment. Help pay for the bike that my mother bought me. And basically that's it.

RP: Where did you, where did you go fish?

YS: I went to, I would fish out of Redondo Beach or I can't remember whether it was Long Beach or San Pedro. Either on a barge, you know, they had the barges back then. And then I went fishing one time in Long Beach or San Pedro, I can't remember whether we went on a barge or just on a sport boat or not.

RP: How did you get down to those places?

YS: Well, there was another guy... oh, no, the once... let's see, Redondo Beach... I went with another family. Their dad drove us down there. And you know, when you talk about how did we get down to San Pedro, I can't, it's hard to remember.

RP: Did you ever ride the Red Cars at all?

YS: Yeah, yeah. In fact, the Red Car, the tunnel there on Temple and Hill ran right next to our hotel.

RP: Did you have to attend Japanese language school at all after you came back from Japan?

YS: Yeah. Yeah, I went to Japanese school until I started to deliver paper. Then of course I just didn't have, I told my mom I'm not gonna go to... I have to deliver paper. So, let's see, I went to the school called Daiichi Gakuen. You probably, I don't know whether you've heard that or not. And that was down there off of I think Jackson... Jackson Street, east of Alameda I believe. I can't remember the cross road where that school was. But a bus would come and pick us up at Central Junior High. We'd get on the bus and then after, after school was over they'd drop us off on Hill and Temple and yeah, I'd go five days a week.

RP: And so what would be a typical, can you describe a typical session? You'd get to the school and...

YS: Yeah, we were either in class or for about a hour or hour and a half we would go, go over like the homeworks that she would give us to read and to write. And then of course she would question us about what we did, about the homework that we did. And then after that then she'd give us new material. Because we had a regular book like a textbook.

RP: Right. How far did you get with the books?

YS: Hmm...

RP: Do you remember?

YS: I can't remember. But it got to the point where, you know, I was learning kanji... let's see, katakana, hiragana, and then kanji, yeah, yeah. But, I still retain some of it but not too much of it.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

RP: Share with us what you remember most about your mother.

YS: About my mom?

RP: Yeah. First of all, tell us her name.

YS: Fumiye, yeah, Fumiye Shibuya. That was also her maiden name because she married either a second or a third cousin. So her maiden name was Shibuya. It was one of those, my dad was already over here and my mother, I guess whether it was prearranged or whatever, she came over here and everything was, I guess the parents had already made arrangements or whatever and she came over and... so whenever, like you fill out a bank application and it says "state your mother's maiden name." Well, you know, I have to tell 'em her maiden name was like her married name.

RP: Tell us what you remember most about your mother.

YS: Well she was a hard worker. Had four kids. She never remarried. And well, she's tough. [Laughs] I remember gettin' many whippings from her. Yeah, she worked like in the restaurants cookin' and waiting, you know, waiting tables or whatever. And then of course running the hotel business, making the beds up... you know I wonder, like one of these things were... you know nowadays you rent an apartment, whoever rents it sleeps and they make their own bed right? But back then whoever was running the hotel would go in there and make their beds up for them or whatever.

RP: Did she cook meals for the guests too?

YS: No, no, she didn't. They cooked, you know, they had their own kitchen and whatnot, yeah. But, 'cause my brother and I like on weekends we would let my mother rest and we would go in and make the beds and whatnot.

RP: How about your older sister and brother? Were they also living at the motel at that time?

YS: Let's see. Let me think back. Right before... you know on the first draft, right before World War II my brother got drafted. It was a lottery, a draft lottery and his number came up the first, first number. And he was in the army before the war broke out.

RP: Where was he stationed?

YS: Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, or... I don't remember the state but, Jefferson Barracks, I remember that. And my sister, no, she just went to, she was going to school.

RP: Did she attend college?

YS: No, she did not attend college. My oldest brother did and then my brother George did. But she did teach during the war years. You know, they had like a language teaching and she went back to Philadelphia either to teach the translators or, I don't know whether for the army or what, but she went back there to teach. And so did my brother George. My brother George went to Stillwater, Oklahoma. I don't know whether University of Oklahoma or Oklahoma State is there, but that's where he went to teach before he went in the army.

RP: Who were you closest to of all your siblings?

YS: I think my brother George. 'Cause he was right next to, you know, yeah...

RP: Now you had, you said you attended Central Junior High School.

YS: Yeah.

RP: And, that was predominately a black...

YS: No, it was predominately, back then I think it's Hispanics. A lot of Hispanics lived in that area. Let's see... yeah, mostly Hispanics. And of course Orientals and whites, you know, mixed in. Very few, very few blacks. There was a few in there.

RP: Yo, where did you first get an inkling, a musical, that you had a musical interest? Where did that first start to develop for you?

YS: Well, back in camp used to go to the dances. They played a lot of this big band music. And then I got, I just wanted to learn how to play an instrument, you know, a saxophone. And then, well, then I started pestering my mom that I wanted to try it anyway. And of course I think she had her doubts as to... you know how kids are. They say like they want to learn something, then they find out it's too much like work because you have to practice, right? Yeah. But, you know in camp the way they taught you, they taught you the basics and then they threw you right into a band. There was like a concert band that played overtures. And then there was another band that played marches and stuff. And so it got, it was fun, so when it's fun makes you want to practice more. And then when you're able to play with these guys, so then you get real interested in it. And then of course in high school they had the band so...

RP: So did you, did you listen to big band music when you were growing up too?

YS: Yeah, yeah. Because that's when, right about the time the war broke out it was, Glenn Miller was real popular then. And then some of my friends, my Mexican friends, they played an instrument too. And of course we'd talk about it and whatnot. And how much fun he was having and, yeah, that's how I got interested in it.

RP: Why the saxophone?

YS: Well, I guess I liked the sound of it.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

RP: So do you recall roughly when you were removed from Los Angeles and sent to Manzanar?

YS: May of 1942. That's when I got into... that's when I arrived in Manzanar. I don't know the exact day but the month is May.

RP: Now you, you mentioned that you befriended another Hispanic gentleman while you were at Central Junior High.

YS: Yeah.

RP: And his name was Ralph Lazo, and you left before he did.

YS: Yeah.

RP: Did you even have any kind of idea that he was, he would show up in camp later on?

YS: No, well, when I... he went to Belmont High School like I was in the tenth grade at Belmont. And we used to sit and have lunch together, a bunch of us. And I said, "Ralph, I'm gonna see you. And I'll write to you." And I... after I got to camp I wrote him a letter, you know give him my address and whatnot, keep in touch, whatever. And then that's when I got the letters saying that he's coming up or, "And find a place for me to stay or whatever." Of course, when you get into camp they assign you a place where you're gonna stay. And that's when... of course I wondered how come he's comin' up? That was my first thought, so whatever. And of course he told me the day he was coming up so I went to meet him. And of course they had already assigned a place for him to stay, with some bachelors. [Laughs]

RP: So were you and Ralph buddies in, at Belmont in junior high?

YS: Yeah, we were friends, yeah.

RP: What kind of activities did you share or interests?

YS: Well, he was either a class above me or like back then there was a A-10 and a B-10, they had two graduating classes a year, one in May... oh no, one in, yeah, one in June and then one in late January. And so there was A-10 and B-10. And he was like, he was a half year ahead of me. So he had his own classes and then but we would get together on lunches, on our noon hours and just bat the breeze, whatever. Other than that we didn't have any classes together back at Belmont. Of course in Manzanar we had because they wanted only one graduating class a year so they shoved me up. I went to summer school to pick up that semester, half semester. And of course then we had some classes together. I remember I had a Spanish class with him and I'd pick his brain because...

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

RP: So did you immediately begin taking music lessons when you got to Manzanar?

YS: No, no, not immediately.

RP: 'Cause originally there wasn't, I believe there was a music hall in...

YS: Yeah, music hall.

RP: Right, in...

YS: Block 24, way at the top.

RP: That's when you started taking lessons up there?

YS: Yeah. And I think I started taking 'em probably like in my junior year in high school. Maybe midway though my junior year.

RP: Let's talk a little bit about the music hall. What do you remember about the building, the inside of it? How was it set up?

YS: Well, they had some, like practice rooms and then rooms for the instructor to give you lessons. And then they had one, at one end of the barracks they had, it was just open because that's where the band would practice, the concert band or the marching band would practice.

RP: So there were a number of rooms that were partitioned off?

YS: Yeah, yeah. Other than that, nothin' special about it other than one great big room for when the band got together to practice to rehearse.

RP: How did you obtain your saxophone while you were in camp?

YS: Well, I think they, the people at the music hall were dealing with a company in Los Angeles about music supplies or whatever they needed. And I think I asked them to find out if they had used instrument, a saxophone used instrument, and so they sent a list of 'em up and, and the brand name and the cost or whatever. And it happened to be a tenor saxophone. I wanted to try the tenor sax and if I remember it was, back then it was about a hundred dollars and of course a hundred dollars back then was a lot of money, like in '42, '43. And that's why I think my mother was a little reluctant.

RP: She invested in your musical career?

YS: Yeah, she did. Yeah, and, and of course she didn't have to tell me to practice at all. 'Cause I spent more time up at the music hall. And like I say, you start playing with a, in a group and you find out how much fun it is, and that's an incentive to start to practice more. And of course the more you practice you start to get a little better and whatnot.

RP: So who were your instructors or instructor?

YS: They were, they had two saxophone or, or reed instructors. One was a Nisei fellow, let's see, his name was Konishi, Mr. Konishi. I don't remember what his first name was. And I had, my instructor was Mr. Kodama. I think he was a first generation. He must have learned how to play clarinet, saxophone back in Japan, I think. And then you know, of course I got talkin' with Archie's dad...

RP: Toyo?

YS: Yeah. He played saxophone also. Because he only, he lived in the next block from me and so I'd go to Archie's place at night or whenever and, and somehow you get into a conversation of course with Toyo, his dad, and of course he says, "Yeah, I played saxophone." I bet nobody knew about it either.

RP: Did he play in Manzanar?

YS: No. He, no, he didn't play in... no he didn't play at all in Manzanar. But evidently he must have in his younger days he must have played the horn. 'Cause he told me he did.

RP: So you were practicing and then you got kind of stuck into these bands. What was the first band that you were actually part of?

YS: I think it was a band that played marches and, yeah, they had, let's see, they had the swing band like... they didn't, they had a swing band before this so-called Jive Bombers. And then all the younger kids, actually, formed this one. And, because the instructors didn't play in, with the Jive Bombers. We were all teenagers, whatever, and although I think Mr. Konishi played, played once with us on occasion when we were either short a man or somebody had to do somethin' or whatever. And that was the only thing I remember.

RP: So a bunch of you young guys just decided to organize --

YS: Yeah, yeah.

RP: -- your own band.

YS: That's right, yeah. And so we played for a few dances back there in the camp.

RP: Dances and did you play for specific clubs or would somebody come up and say, "Hey, our club wants to have a dance. Could you guys play for us?"

YS: Yeah, I can't remember how, who booked the band or what, or whether they just came up to the music hall and asked.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.


<Begin Segment 8>

RP: So let's talk about some of the folks who made up the Jive Bombers. Start with the trumpet section.

YS: Bruce Kaji and Trucko... you know, it's funny. I never, can't remember what his last name was. And Bill Wakamatsu, played lead trumpet and he was one hell of a singer too. And trombone, we had had only one trombone player at the time and that, his name was Roy... I can't remember his last name though. Then, then later on we got another fellow that played small baritone horn, the upright baritone horn. And he played the, I don't know whether he got a bell trombone, because it was the same fingering, I can't remember. But, I don't know whether his picture's in that Jive Bomber picture or not. And Gordon Sato and Yoshitaro Murakami, and Rabbit or Katayama, Rabbit Shoji's his name, and then myself. It was four saxophones. And then Kiyo Nishi on piano and Joe Sakai on bass and I can't remember the drummer's name.

RP: Joe was already a professional musician.

YS: Yeah. Yeah, he was. He was quite a bass man. Yeah, he was a good bass man.

RP: So here you all get, you kind of get thrown together into this camp in the desert and you end up coming together as a band.

YS: Yeah, yeah.

RP: How did you guys come up with the name Jive Bombers, do you remember?

YS: I don't remember. I really don't remember.

RP: Who was your leader? Did you have a leader, a bandleader?

YS: Oh, you mean that ran the rehearsals and whatnot?

RP: Right.

YS: It might have been Bill Wakamatsu. But we'd all put our two cents in, though, you know.

RP: So you'd have your rehearsals up at the music, music hall?

YS: Yeah, music hall.

RP: And I know you were, all of you were into the big band sound.

YS: Yeah.

RP: Are there any particular artists that you, that you played a lot of?

YS: Well, you know, of course, they had a lot of dances in camp. And of course they played mainly the old records, you know, through a P.A. system. And you would dance to that and of course you'd try to get the ones that were, everyone liked and we'd, like we were dealing this one music store in Los Angeles, we'd try to get the arrangements, the musical arrangements from 'em. You wouldn't believe it but you know the arrangements back there that were written for all these parts, like four saxes, or five saxes, three trumpets, three bones, and a full rhythm section, they were seventy-five cents apiece. We called 'em stocks. I don't know whether... they were stocks is what we called 'em, and everybody in the country were using 'em. You know when I went back to Iowa when I was playing then I was reading stocks, you know, all the bands. And that's what we were, we tried to get the same type of music or we would... well, of course, you couldn't get the original arrangement like you hear on the record because this guy that was arranging these, he wrote it the way he wanted to write it. This guy named Jack Mason was a terrible arranger I thought. [Laughs] But when he's the only guy that's writing that particular chart, well, you gotta use it, right? [Laughs]

RP: So who influenced your playing while you were at Manzanar?

YS: Well, you hear these saxophone solos, you think, god, I'd like to play like him, or whoever. All these, on the different, well, they're all different guys on different recordings. But I liked the sound of the tenor when they made their, took their solos and whatnot. That's why I started out on the tenor saxophone.

RP: So did you play any other saxophone or other instrument?

YS: Oh ,yeah, yeah. But then you get to a point where in order to get jobs you gotta play 'em all. Or you gotta own all the horns, you know. So when I was playing alto, tenor, and also I had a baritone. When they needed a baritone I'd play baritone.

RP: How about soprano?

YS: Yeah, I had, yeah, in fact, within in the last year I bought a soprano but they're an instrument, they're a breed in themselves, I tell you. Their sound is altogether different. In fact, I was monkeying around with it 'cause I'm trying to get a mouthpiece for it. I picked up a soprano and, but then I got thinking yesterday, man, I think I ought to get rid of it.

RP: So there, at the time you were, you were playing with the Jive Bombers there was no auditorium in the camp.

YS: Yeah.

RP: Were you...

YS: Playing in the mess halls. You know they take all the benches out of there and the tables out of there. See, we used to stack 'em outside or, yeah. Yeah, we'd stack 'em outside and then of course, you know, because the dining room was two barracks put together with the middle knocked, the middle part just knocked out of it. And yeah, that's where... and then later on of course that auditorium that's up there now? That didn't come in 'til I graduated out of that building. I don't know whether I was the first group, class of '44 was the first year that graduated out of that building or not. Because they built that later on, you know. And I played in there a couple times. That was about it because the building came, was so late.

RP: What was it like playing in a mess hall with a band like yours?

YS: It was all right, yeah, yeah.

RP: How about...

YS: It might have been loud, you know what I mean? [Laughs]

RP: Not, not really suited for acoustics but...

YS: No, no, no.

RP: Do you remember any special parties or dances that you performed for? You know, something special?

YS: Hmm... no, not really.

RP: How often would you be playing? Every weekend? Or...

YS: Well, it seemed like there was a, some club or some group in the camp usually had a dance not necessarily with a band or just with record and a P.A. system and... just about every week, or every other week they would have a, these dances. These clubs would put 'em on. And I don't know, I can't remember when we actually went and played every week, or every other week or somethin' like that. Hard to remember.

RP: But the band, not only did you play music, did you develop a camaraderie with certain members of the band that you hung out with when you weren't playing music?

YS: Yeah, yeah.

RP: Who were your guys in the band that you liked to hang with?

YS: Well, Gordon was one of 'em. 'Course, we were in the same class together and then Rabbit was also in our class. And Bruce, yeah, Bruce and even Trucko. Kiyo was a year behind us and Yoshitaro was, he was already, I think he was a year ahead of us. So, yeah, well, we'd get together. Because some of 'em, some of us were also in the band in the high school band.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

RP: Tell us about the high school band. Who, who had that band?

YS: Lou Frizzell. Lou Frizzell. You've heard of him? Yeah.

RP: Yeah for many, for many Nisei kids he was a very special person.

YS: Yeah, yeah.

RP: How about you? What did you...

YS: Yeah, yeah.

RP: How did he impact your life?

YS: Well, he was a good, 'cause he was the head of the music department in, in high school. And, well, we learned a lot to play it right. And then, well, if we didn't play it right he would tell us so. Good discipline or whatever. So, well anyway, we got good habits anyway from him. But he passed at such a young age, you know, it was a shame. Real talented man.

RP: Now, as a member of the high school band, what did you perform for? Public events?

YS: For what?

RP: What type of events did you perform for?

YS: Oh, he had a musical that he wrote and, and composed all the music and he arranged all of it for the band. And then of course the choir or, he would arrange all of that. And many times, sometimes we would, we would, in the play that he wrote, the musical play that he wrote, of course we accompanied the program with the whatever, with what was going on.

RP: Yeah, how did you feel about Lou's arrangements?

YS: Whose arrangements?

RP: Lou's arrangements?

YS: All right, all right.

RP: Better than the other guy?

YS: Yeah. [Laughs] You know it's funny, I still, we still play some of his charts though, that Mason, Jack Mason. Yeah, you can't get rid of it.

RP: So the high school band, did you have a similar makeup as to the Jive Bombers? It was a larger band or how did it differ from the Jive Bombers?

YS: I don't know whether we had some strings in it. I think there's a picture in the album. 'Cause I can't remember. I can't remember. See high school band, I don't think Yoshitaro was, was playing with us. I think it was Rabbit, Gordon, and myself, just the three of us. Then Bruce Kaji, Trucko... and there was another player, George Nishi was his name. I used to call him Ziggy, Ziggy Nishi, you know that Ziggy album? Ziggy. And, and there was another kid, I can't remember his name, he always was a trumpet player but he was much younger, younger fellow. And then of course Roy on trombone. I think he'd already graduated high school when he was in camp. And I don't think he didn't play with us I don't believe. But I think the other fellow, remember I said played baritone, I think he played.

RP: Did you, did you perform for free or did you charge for your...

YS: Well in camp you mean?

RP: Yes.

YS: For free I think. 'Cause I don't ever remember gettin' paid.

RP: Volunteering your services.

YS: Yeah.

RP: Did you ever play for a Terminal Island...

YS: For, you mean for their group?

RP: Yes.

YS: Probably did, you know because they would throw dances, whatever club they had from that Terminal Island group. Let's see, I was trying to figure out the names of the clubs. They had the called the, I think the San Pedro Yogores. And then they had another one, it was with the younger, younger fellows... I can't remember.

RP: Those guys had a, well, whether it was deserved or not, a reputation in camp as a tough bunch.

YS: Yeah, yeah.

RP: How did you see them?

YS: Yeah, they were a... well yogore is a Japanese name that means "dirty." Yogore means scroungy or whatever. [Laughs] And, no, yeah, I guess I mostly just stayed away from 'em or didn't, I really didn't have too much to do with them, you know. 'Cause they were a little older than me. Yeah, they were just a little bit older. And they had a baseball team and they were in the age group was the next one above us. So, but they would, they would get into trouble, though. They would cause a lot of trouble. Fights and whatever.

RP: So, did you, well, for want of a better term, did you have any groupies that followed your band around?

YS: No, no.

RP: No girls that kind of hung out and...

YS: No, no, no.

RP: Did being in a band... I just kind of wanted to see what, how you were, what was your personality like before you joined a band and did it change? Did you become more social as a result of the band?

YS: No, no, not really, it didn't. Well, it didn't change me at all. But I don't think so. I didn't notice any of the other fellows changing.

RP: So how important was playing music in a place like Manzanar for you?

YS: Well, it was just fun. It was fun playing. And, of course it was, you know, it felt good that we accomplished something. That we formed a band in camp. And that's about it really. And I was sort of glad that I was able to do that 'cause I would listen to all this stuff, the music, and I felt good that at least I could do something like it.

RP: So I imagine early on you were learning how to sight read?

YS: Yeah. Yeah, that's one thing, I would say I'm a good sight reader. 'Cause when I was back there, of course, I joined a union back there, and when a band would come through, through town and they'd needed a man, they go to the union and they say so and so or... they'd call you and you'd go play the gig and you sit right in. And you had, you sight read the whole gig is what you did. And to me it was fun. It was a, it was a challenge really. I want to get this thing right, you know, in the back of your mind. In fact, I like to sight read, personally myself. Of course, you have your screw-ups, but... but I say you get it ninety percent of the time you get it right.

RP: How about your, do you recall, you can tell us a little bit about what, what your brother and sister did in camp, as well as your mother? And what was camp...

YS: Well, yeah, my mother didn't work in camp. And, let's see, my brother... while in camp you really didn't have to work if you didn't want to or if there wasn't a job available, you did what you wanted to do or whatever. Whatever job I get, you went to the mess hall and ate. Well, let's see, my sister did pick up the mandolin. She started that and I don't know whether my, oh yeah, my brother played... there was, there was a group called the shakuhachi, you know that, it's a bamboo Japanese instrument that you blow into it and, yeah, he joined that group and he was learning how to play that.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

RP: This is a continuing interview with Yo Shibuya. This is tape two. And, Yo, we were just talking about some of the other musical inclinations of your family. Your sister played --

YS: Took up the mandolin.

RP: -- played mandolin and your brother was --

YS: Shakuhachi.

RP: -- practicing shakuhachi.

YS: Yeah.

RP: You said there was a mandolin band at Manzanar?

YS: Yeah, I think at the music 'cause that's where she learned, you know, the fingering. And now I don't know where my brother... there must have been a group of maybe Issei guys, Isseis that played the shakuhachi and yeah... I don't ever remember them holding like little concerts or anything like that.

RP: Do you remember people taking up koto or shamisen or anything like...

YS: Shamisen or koto? No, I'm just trying to think... but you know, when they did have like some event when they had a stage where they would have a program, yeah, koto and the shamisen, yeah. I don't know whether they actually had a teaching class, you know, they had classes for those who wanted to learn. Of course I don't know if, where they would get that instrument if somebody really wanted to... where they would even buy it or order it or...

RP: A lot of your focus obviously was around music during the time that you were in Manzanar. But what about school in general there? What were your impressions or observations of your, of school there? Keeping in, keep in mind what school was like for you at Belmont or...

YS: Yeah well, yeah, we had the regular classes you know. Yeah, the foreign language was Spanish. I don't know whether they taught German or French but then they had like chemistry, physics, and American history, English, and all that, and a journalism class. They had, they had all the classes just like you would on the, on the outside, the public school.

RP: Do you feel like you learned while you were there?

YS: Yeah. Of course, I studied what I wanted to study. You have your inclinations, your... certain things I didn't care for I just passed, that basically is what it is, yeah.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

RP: Did you have any plans to attend college, to leave camp and attend college? Is that something that kind of grew while you were at Manzanar?

YS: Well, yeah, my mom's, my mother said, "After you get out, go to college." And then, that's how I wound up back in Iowa. I went to Morningside in Sioux City, Sioux City, Iowa, Morningside College. Then I graduated from there. Then I finished up here at SC went on, went through my dental.

RP: Why did you choose to go to Morningside?

YS: Well actually... let's see. The World Student Organization, or something like that, were giving out like a, like a scholarship or a financial aid for those who wanted to go, and why I picked Morningside in Sioux City, I don't, I can't remember or... whether they offered, this group, the World Student whatever it was, that if I wanted to go there that I'd have financial aid. And then like Gordon, he went to Central College in Pella, Iowa. And would you believe, one day I was going down Sioux City riding a streetcar, I was going into town, and Gordon saw me on the streetcar. He had hitchhiked from Pella, Iowa, which I'm sure is a couple hundred miles away, and then he yells at me. He's on the street and he yells at me. And he's running towards the streetcar. I mean, you do these crazy things while you're young, right? [Laughs]

RP: So, also, weren't there other... did Bruce Kaji also go?

YS: Yeah, Bruce went. Bruce came in the second semester of the freshman year. I think it was February of 1945. He came, he came and another friend of ours in the same class was Sam Ono. He also attended Morningside from February to June. When the semester ended I think both of them got drafted, they went into the army, see.

RP: Let's talk about a little bit, about your music, musical pursuits while you were at Morningside College.

YS: Uh-huh.

RP: You were involved in a few local bands?

YS: Yes.

RP: Tell us about that.

YS: Well Don Oliver was one band. Let's see, it was four saxes, three trumpets, a trombone, and a... eleven piece band. And we played like gigs about every week. Like, either Friday-Saturday, or a Saturday gig. Yeah, he was a pretty well established band back there. And, and then I played with them for quite a while and of course uh... Another, another band I played with was Ed Osborn. I don't know whether I told you about that? Ed Osborn... another band was Brownie Walters... but they would call you, you know. If they were short a man they would just call you. Since I was in the union and if they were short a man they would either go to the union and find out who, they'd get a list of the names and then they're on the phone and then of course if you're available you'd go.

RP: And it wasn't like Manzanar where you didn't get paid. These were paying gigs, right?

YS: Oh yeah, it was a paying gig, yeah.

RP: So were you able to finance some of your school expenses?

YS: Yeah. Yeah, if I didn't have, if I wasn't playing I'd starve, I would have starved. I'll put it that way.

RP: So, were there...

YS: You know, I'll tell you, when you're making fifty cents an hour back then, washing dishes and you get, and you're in the union making three bucks an hour, that's a lot of difference. It's only three bucks an hour back then but when you can go have a cup of coffee and a doughnut for ten cents and you could have a hamburger steak dinner eat it for twenty-five cents or forty cents, three bucks goes a long ways you know. And so that was a, that was a lot of money back then. And, and the union paid a four hour gig, you got twelve bucks. And I was going to school and I was renting a room in a private, you know, a resident. And you're paying two dollars a week or two and a half a week, so twelve bucks meant a lot. It was a lot of money back then.

RP: So how were you treated in Sioux City as a Japanese American?

YS: No, I was treated fine, yeah. The first... well, when you go to play a gig in the Midwest they've never seen an Oriental. You go in some of these farm towns and you play in a gig there, all the kids would come over and look at you and say who is this guy, you know. They wonder... yeah. And same way that they... let's see, in nineteen-forty, '49 I went on a road band and we were playing one night in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and of course during the break they'd come up and ask you, "What are you?" So we'd tell 'em, "Oh, I'm Guamese," or some ridiculous...

RP: You shared one story about touring with that band, I think it was at intermission, you went to go have a beer.

YS: Yeah, yeah. This was in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. And I said, "I'll have a beer." 'Cause everybody else, all the guys in the band... "I'll have a beer." And the lady, and the waitress says, "Sorry, can't serve you." I said, "How come?" She says, "We don't serve Indians beer." This is South Dakota. No alcohol for Indians in South Dakota. So all the guys in the band razzed me. [Laughs]

RP: And so initially what was your course of studies at Morningside?

YS: What did I...

RP: What did you study originally when you went to college there?

YS: Well, I was a math major, math and a chem major. Then I had the, well, I had the requirements for dental school and that's... then I applied. That's how I got, wound up goin' to SC.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

RP: So what was the, what was it like going from playing in Manzanar for a band like the Jive Bombers to playing with these, these I guess --

YS: For money?

RP: -- more professional bands. Other than the money, was it a step up for you musically as well?

YS: Yeah, at first, well it was, some of the arrangements I never did see. So at first it was a real challenge. And, and the tempos were altogether different. They were playing faster and boy you had to read it faster, you had to read the music fast. But then after a while you got used to it and then of course you get used to reading this type of music. But you learn.

RP: So let's talk a little bit more about this band that you toured with. Herbie Hunt?

YS: Yeah, Herbie Hunt.

RP: And, it was a basic swing band?

YS: Yeah, swing band.

RP: But you... tell us about traveling from one town to another. How did you get around?

YS: Yeah, it was a bus, it was a travelin' bus, you know, where they had bunks in it and then you had a place to store all your instrument. And like you did one-nighters. You went from one town to the next. And soon as you got through with the gig... well we had a guy that would book us. So in other words we, we didn't get paid right after the gig 'cause the agent had already arranged for the money and all that. So what we'd do, we'd load the, load the, load the bus up and take off to the next gig. And we'd, we'd get to the next gig and we'd always, we'd find a swimming pool in the, in that town so we can go swim and take our baths. [Laughs] Yeah, that was, that was it. And then of course we had a change of clothes with us on the bus. And then of course, yeah, we wore, wore tuxes. We had a paper dickey. Do you remember those things? They'd get dirty on one side, we'd flip 'em over and wore them the other way and then throw 'em away.

RP: So how long did you tour with this band, Yo?

YS: Oh, about a year.

RP: So did it kind of get to be a grind after a little while?

YS: After a while it does, yeah. Yeah it does get, yeah, it gets to be a grind.

RP: You did a little bus driving too didn't you?

YS: Yeah I drove it. Yeah, because they would either pay you a nickel a mile or whatever it was. So, it was extra money. Yeah, we'd go, we'd go from maybe one town to then maybe a couple hundred miles or whatever. And the guys would say, "Who, who wants to drive?" And it was up to you. If you didn't feel like driving, some other guy would drive it.

RP: Were these mostly dance concerts?

YS: Yeah, they were regular dances.

RP: And some of these, I imagine, some of these towns were really starved for some type of music or culture and...

YS: Yeah, yeah. Boy, I tell you, some of those places you get, try to tune up to the piano, the piano's half a step off. So we can't, we can't get tuned to the piano. So the piano man would have to play in another key, you know, take it up another key up in order to play with us. And so... it wasn't like you had your own keyboard. Nowadays you're always in tune, right? Or pretty close to it anyway. 'Cause you... but back then when you went into a hall you were using their piano. And you don't know when the last time that thing was tuned.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

RP: So did you graduate from Morningside --

YS: Yeah.

RP: -- before you started on this...

YS: Yeah, I did this while I was waiting to get into dental school. See, I applied like in 48, I was applying in '48 to get into SC. And they were taking classes for '51. They had a backlog of that many students. So I said, "Okay, just leave my application in." And then I went to, I went to graduate school for a while and then, and then I hit then I hit the road and then... but...

RP: And when did you finally get into USC?

YS: I got in '51, I got in. '51, yeah.

RP: And after you graduated from USC you, where did you settle?

YS: I went in the navy for a couple of years. So I was a dentist in the navy, dental officer in the navy. I was stationed at Port Hueneme, Oxnard, for the two years. Then after I got out of there I came down here to Chula Vista and I started my practice in November of 1957.

RP: And you're still at it?

YS: Yeah... my license is still is in effect. I can go down to the office if I wanted to and practice but I'm not gonna do it. [Laughs] But my daughter, you know, my daughter got out of SC and she's down there part of the time and her husband is also from, went to SC and he's down there part of the time. And the fellow that was in, was working with me when I was practicing, he's still down there.

RP: Why did you choose the dental profession?

YS: Well... I don't know. I like to do things with my hands for one thing. And I thought, well, I think I'd like it. I started off... when I started I wasn't... I started off as an engineer. That's why I took so much math and whatnot. But then back then, like about 1946, '47, this was after the war years, they were laying off engineers dime a dozen. They were firing all their engineers in the defense plants and whatnot. So I thought, god, this the wrong thing to go into. And then I thought well, if I go into dentistry I'd like to do things I'll be, I'll be pretty much my own boss, set my own hours and that's another thing that I thought well, I think I'll go into that field or try it anyway.

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

<Begin Segment 14>

RP: So you left, you left playing music for quite some time.

YS: Yeah, I... when I moved down here from L.A. after -- 'cause I was playing when I was up there in L.A. -- I didn't know anybody here. I didn't have any connections, so for about twenty-five, thirty years I didn't even touch my horn.

RP: And so what brought you back to it?

YS: Gordon. Gordon, see, Gordon, he was here at the UC San Diego on, as a research professor of cancer research. And he called me and made a... 'cause he was living in La Jolla. He moved. And so I was taking care of his family and then but Gordon says, "Hey, Yo, you want to get back to playin'?" He says a guy... because being in cancer research he was dealing with the medical school and there was a lot of the medical professors are, they were ex-musicians and they wanted to start playing. And he said, "Yo, you want to start... you want to start playing?" I said, "Okay. I still have my horns." 'Cause my nephew was using my horns up there. And I said, "Okay." And that's how I got back into it. I didn't think I'd ever get back into it, you know, but I just kept my horns. And that's how I got back. But I sure forgot a lot of things, though. During that period of time... so certain things I just totally lost. But my reading didn't go away. I could still read. [Laughs]

RP: So you played for a while with this, with this band here.

YS: Do I...

RP: You played for a while with this band that, mostly the medical folks?

YS: Yeah, oh yeah, I played with them a while and then you get to know other musicians that played with other bands and you know how your name gets around. Then they'll call you, "Hey, we need a, we need a third alto or second alto or baritone." They'll call you. And I say, "Okay, yeah. Let me know where to show up or what rehearsal." And that's where I got back into it again.

RP: And so you're currently involved with...

YS: Right now currently I'm involved with five bands. I go, I make about five rehearsals a week.

RP: Well, can you just give us kind of a brief summary of these different bands? Who are they?

YS: Well, they're all big bands. The smallest band that... let's see, five, three, three, and three. So that's fourteen piece. You know like three trumpets, three trombones, five saxes, and three rhythm, bass piano and drums. And the other, the other bands have usually a full rhythm section and there's four trumpets, four trombones, and five saxes. And a vocalist, you know, some bands have a vocal. Let's see, two of the bands, two of the bands... oh, and then I'm with a with an adult education band up here at Mesa College. They're all us old guys but we all love to play so, you know. And that's a big band also, either four or five trumpets, four bones, and full rhythm section, and five, five saxes and the smallest group I play with is four saxes, four brass, and three, three rhythms, so that's seven, eleven piece. Now that band is written for, the charts are written that arrangement and it's got an altogether different sound. And that band is fun to play with sort of, 'cause it's, the charts are tough, yeah. And this guy used... the guy that writes for, a lot of his arrangements are guys that I think he's written for I think a lot of these big... for Kenton for one thing. You know, he's written for Kenton and maybe for Dorsey and some of the other, the bigger, well-known bands, big bands. But anyway, I'm having fun.

RP: You sure are. Speaking of Stan Kenton, you got a chance to see him while he was touring through the Midwest?

YS: Oh, yeah, when I was back in Iowa whenever he'd come through, if we'd, if we weren't playing we'd be right there, right in front of the bandstand listening to it for hours.

RP: He was a pretty young guy himself at that time.

YS: Oh yeah. I saw him, first time I saw him was in 1944. I don't know if you're familiar with the tenor man Stan Getz? Stan Getz? He was about nineteen years old or eighteen years old at that time when I first saw him, but what a band. But you know the most exciting band that I ever watched was a Woody Herman band. He had the different, first herd, second herd, third herd? Wow, what a band they had, you know.

RP: Well that's great. I must have known that sort of psychically. I brought you that CD of Woody Herman.

YS: Oh, yeah.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

RP: Just to backtrack to Manzanar for a few more questions and then we'll complete our interview. You joined a very, sort of -- I put quotations around the word -- "prestigious" club at Manzanar called the Manza-Knights.

YS: Yeah, I was with them, you know.

RP: How did you get involved with them?

YS: Well a lot of the guys that I knew... well, see like Block 19, 20, and 21... 21 was mostly the guys that, that was like the core of the Manza-Knights. And of course we all hung around together. And when they joined the club we were automatically in, you know, that's, yeah.

RP: And, you guys put on a few parties of your own didn't you?

YS: That's right. I think we used to, at one time we used to put on a Thanksgiving dinner, dinner-dance in camp. And then they even used to do that after they got out in, in L.A. when they relocated back. But of course I was back in Iowa then so I didn't, I didn't participate in any of those, you know, but I think they used to call it the Turkey Trot or something, yeah. But, yeah, they used to do that like every year and they started that in camp.

RP: You had a... Ralph was part of that club.

YS: Yeah, Ralph was.

RP: Do you remember Shy Nomura?

YS: Oh yeah, Shy Nomura, yeah, yeah, Shy. Mary, his wife...

RP: The Songbird.

YS: Yeah, she sang... Mary Kageyama?

RP: Uh-huh.

YS: Is that right? Yeah? Sho passed away, right? Yeah, he had Alzheimer's. He had... 'cause he was also the caretaker at the museum at Independence before he came down with Alzheimer's.

RP: So did Mary ever sing with your band?

YS: I think so. I know she was on those musical programs...

RP: She might have sang for some of Louie's...

YS: Yeah, that's what I was thinking. You know when he wrote that play, I don't know whether she was, she was the main person that, the female singer. And I can't remember who the male singer was. I don't know whether it was Bill, Bill Wakatsuki or... hmm, I can't remember.

RP: Another gentleman I wanted to mention to you who was a Manza-Knight, went on to become a world class animator, Iwao Takamoto?

YS: Oh Iwao, yeah, yeah. He worked for Disney, yeah. When he passed away I, you know... he was the one that started one of the cartoon characters, wasn't he?

RP: Scooby Doo?

YS: Yeah, was it? Yeah. Was it Scooby Doo? Yeah, I know Iwao 'cause he would, at a meeting, Manza-Knight meeting or whatever, he would sit down and just start drawin'. You couldn't believe the way he would draw cartoons. Each movement was... there was a meaning why, why he did that. Yeah, I tell you, quite an artist, that guy. But I think, yeah, somebody, yeah, he went to work shortly after he relocated, got back into Disney, right? And then I don't know, he must have been with Disney until the time he passed away.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

RP: So you went back to Manzanar after you had relocated to Iowa to take your mom?

YS: Yeah, yeah.

RP: So did you travel with her to Philadelphia?

YS: I dropped her off in Chicago and I sent her, put her on the train and I let my sister know. 'Cause she was back there, remember I told you she was teaching back there? That, that mom's coming in on a certain, such and such a train and the arrival time is approximately this and, yeah. But you know I'm thinking back, I can't remember when I took her out of the, out of camp to take her back. I don't know whether it was in the summer of '45, 1945, or whether it was in the... when did the camp finally shut down?

RP: Oh, about middle of November of '45.

YS: Oh, okay, so it must have been '45 I had to take her out. 'Cause I couldn't quite, quite figure it out.

RP: And she, your mother and I guess your sister also were hosted by a Quaker family?

YS: That I don't, yeah, I don't know, I don't know. You mean back there in Philadelphia? See, I never did go back there after... the next time I went to see my mother was when she, they moved from Philadelphia back to Minnesota, Minneapolis. Because my brother was, Koichi was teaching at the military language at Fort Snelling. He was, he was... being a Kibei, you know, he was fluent in English and Japanese so he was teaching the army translators. And my mother came back to Minnesota to stay with him. And I did go up to see her but I can't remember what year. It must, it had to be forty, '46 at least.

RP: So you had your brother teaching at the MIS school.

YS: Yeah.

RP: And then you had your other brother, George, was teaching...

YS: At the, yeah, at...

RP: Oklahoma?

YS: Oklahoma. And, but then after his contract or whatever, he, he went into the, he went into the army. 'Cause he wound up either teaching or as a student at MIS because he, 'cause he was, being a Kibei, coming back from Japan, so during the war trial he both, both of my brothers were back in Japan.

RP: During the war trials?

YS: Yeah, the war trials. But you know, I can't... all these things, events take place, it's hard to figure out what year... so Manzanar closed up in November of '45. You know, it's funny because I think I came back... 'cause there's the one time I drove back from Iowa because there was a family friend in Manzanar wanted a car. So my brother picked up a car in Chicago, picked me up in Sioux City, and we drove the car back to Manzanar. And then from there we picked him up and then we drove down to Los Angeles and my mother went with us. And then for that reason I thought all of this couldn't have happened all in one summer. That's the reason I say when did it, when did it close up? I thought it was like, it might have been in '46, I thought I went back two different summers, but it's hard to keep track of time.

RP: So Yo, how do you reflect on your Manzanar experience from...

YS: Well, you know, I learned... I don't know what you call it, another trade or... if it wasn't for Manzanar I'd a probably never learned my music, you know. And for that I'm thankful. 'Cause it sure did help me out financially, it got me through going through college and whatnot. In other words, I've benefited a lot from it. And, well as a kid, you know, you just sort of rolled with the punches. I wasn't bitter about it or... the only thing that you really did not like about camp? The only thing that didn't, I didn't like, like I told my... to get drafted out of camp. That was the only thing. Yeah we wondered, after they put you in the center then they wanted to put you back in the army. See that was the only thing that really ticked me off. And I had buddies in Heart Mountain, Iowa... I mean, Wyoming, that, the kids that I went to school in L.A. relocated to Heart Mountain, that refused to go. They wound up going to prison. The guys that I went to grammar school and junior high school with in Lafayette. But other than that, the experience to me wasn't bad. A lot of guys say it was bad but I didn't, I didn't think it was that bad. The dust storms and of course they were terrible when we first got there. 'Cause you know, you didn't have lawns or vegetation to keep it down a little bit and I thought wow, yeah. Then of course all the floor, the woods are, and all that dust would come flying through and you wouldn't have any drywall on... and of course, other than that... but you know, for me it wasn't bad. Yeah, maybe other guys are bitter about it.

RP: Yo, thank you on behalf of Kirk and myself and the National Park Service, thank you for your, sharing your stories and your history.

YS: Oh, yeah, well, I'm glad to do it.

RP: Thank you.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2010 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.