Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: Yoneko Hara Interview
Narrator: Yoneko Hara
Interviewer: Margaret Barton Ross
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: July 18, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-hyoneko-01-0009

<Begin Segment 9>

MR: So going back now to the war, Pearl Harbor, where were you when you found out about Pearl Harbor?

YH: Must have been... we were at that little shop on Eighty-Second, we heard it on the radio. And we asked our dad, "Where's Pearl Harbor?" And he thought a minute, and he said, "I think it's in Singapore." And that night, they came and they took him. Before that, we'd get calls from, I think it was the U.S. somebody, we don't know who, but they asked for the consul general, and my oldest sister would answer and say, "You've got the wrong number." And they kept calling and saying different things, but I think they were checking up on my dad. And I didn't mention this earlier, but when the naval ships of Japan would come in before the war, they would come in as a goodwill or something, my dad's always involved. We have all these pictures of him with the admirals and everything, lined up, and he's there in his little white, sort of gray suit, right in the middle, a short little guy. And I think they had records of all this, and they had his whole history. And he was very active, and he belonged to this kendo thing, which was, they called it the Black Dragon, but actually it was a... I don't know if it is or what. But he wanted my brother to take kendo, and so he'd go there and do that. But he was very active in the community, but he was picked up that night. And the only way we were aware of it was one of the ladies called and said her husband had just been picked up, "So you'd better be aware."

And they came about midnight, I think, to our house. They knocked on the front door, and they said, "We have an agent at the back door. Would you let him in?" And our dog's sleeping in the kitchen, he's just oblivious to the whole thing. And they were very nice to us. I've heard other reports that they weren't as nice to some people. But maybe because we're girls, they were... you know. And they went through everything. They went through all the kimonos that were in our drawer, they went through just the whole house. And then they said they had to take him. And so my oldest sister said, "What about market?" the flowers. They he says, "Oh, I'll be back by then, don't worry." And he never came back until the war was over.

But they went to see him when he was at Missoula, Montana, because he was having a trial. We didn't know where he was, I guess, until we heard later. My two older sisters went with our family friend from Hood River because we didn't have a car that could go that far. And so he came and picked them up and they went to Missoula. My oldest sister sat in on the trial.

MR: And when was that?

YH: That was... I don't know when it was in relation to the war. Before we were evacuated, before we were evacuated. We could travel at that time, and the restrictions hadn't been put on us.

MR: And what sort of trial, do you know, was it?

YH: I don't... well, it was, I guess, I don't know if they had an interpreter or what, but he was found guilty and they kept in. All those men were there. I mean, the whole community, most of them, George's father wasn't taken, and he thinks maybe 'cause he said at one time, "You shouldn't send something to Japan," that might have been the key, because he was active in the association also. But every one of them, even the doctor, he's a close family friend, they were all taken.

MR: I guess I wasn't clear. What was the charge?

YH: They just said they were guilty. That's why they picked them up, guilty. Guilty of spy, what, they had no proof, they had nothing. They were really, we didn't realize this, but they were saying we had shortwave radios in our greenhouse, we had this, we had that. One man came, George Azumano's father's came to see us after my father was taken, and he brought us some groceries. He was picked up the next day, so we knew they were watching our house. It's just something, you think back about it, some of this fits in. But it was just really a very frightening time for us.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.