Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: Natsuko Hashitani Interview
Narrator: Natsuko Hashitani
Interviewer: Alton Chung
Location: Ontario, Oregon
Date: December 5, 2004
Densho ID: denshovh-hnatsuko-01-0007

<Begin Segment 7>

AC: So what did you... when you were out here in eastern Oregon, executive order came down, you had to relocate, and all of a sudden you knew your parents were in that area, what did you think, what did you feel?

NH: Well, it was sad because... it was sad for me when I got married and left the family, 'cause I lived with the family for so long, you know, so attached to them. And this meant that I may not be able to visit them, because I didn't know how long this hostility was going to last, you know. So when I first learned that those that... there was Japanese that had families over here or had someplace committed to go to, were able to come, well, then I was quite relieved then, because I knew that I'd be able to join my family again. I was very close to my family, being at home for so long, so it affected me a lot when I found out that I may not be able to see them again. So I probably was the only one that was happy for the evacuation, I guess, because they came over the following March, after the war broke out. They loaded everything up in two large trucks, all their personal things they had to have, household things, and farming tools that they needed, they were able to bring them over on their trucks and relocate over here.

AC: You said that some neighbors said they would take care of --

NH: Yes, had a neighbor there that they said they would continue to farm the place, and were very, very loyal as true American friends. And then after that, they would even make trips to come over here to see how my family was getting along.

AC: You had mentioned that you had to move to new soil because the strawberry property exhausted the soil. Then they bought the property in Banks. What did they have to do different to continue to raise strawberries there?

NH: Well, they started to do some rotating, so that's how they managed to continue on. But they eventually sold the place because when they evacuated, living here and trying this farming over here, they decided they'd like to just remain here, so they sold the farm to the neighbor that took care of the place over there. So it worked out to our advantage for them and us, too.


AC: So it must have been a real shock, a change, from growing strawberries to onions and potatoes, totally different crop. How did your family make that transition?

NH: Well, my husband was the one who made the choice of the crop, because that's the way he was raised. It was onions and potatoes and crops like that, and strawberries was not being grown on a large scale here at all, just very little. So you had to have a market for them to really raise in, whereas on the coast, they had all those canneries, strawberry canneries, that processed the strawberries, whereas they did not here. Well, my husband wasn't a strawberry grower, anyway. [Laughs]

AC: Now, you had to have a place to move to.

NH: My family?

AC: Yes.

NH: Yes. They had to have a commitment, and designated place to go to, otherwise they were not allowed to move out of the West Coast there.

AC: So where did they live? I mean, did they move in with you?

NH: Yes, uh-huh. We had another building on the place, so they made up living quarters in a hurry in order to accommodate all of them.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2004 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.