Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: Mary Haruka Nakamura Interview
Narrator: Mary Haruka Nakamura
Interviewer: Linda Tamura
Location: Ontario, Oregon
Date: April 22, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-nmary_2-01-0008

<Begin Segment 8>

LT: But on December 7, 1941, you were seventeen years old, and Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Can you tell us where you were and what you remember?

MN: Just remember that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, and we just heard on the news. It didn't affect us that way, I didn't think.

LT: Did you have any thoughts about it?

MN: No, because people in Kent were very friendly, there wasn't any prejudice. So we didn't have any problems.

LT: The FBI did come to your home.

MN: Yeah, they interviewed my dad because he was a community leader, too. We thought they would take 'em, but they left and he didn't have to go.

LT: Many of the Issei congregated at your store. Can you talk about the Japanese Americans getting together at your store and what you saw and what they discussed?

MN: Well, the Isseis had a room of their own, and they played Hana, they call it, Japanese.

LT: The card game?

MN: Card game. And then the younger people would come into our living room and, I don't know, just friendly, and maybe we'd play cards, too, pinochle, I think it was. But eight o'clock curfew came and everybody went home and we closed up.

LT: So did you see any change in the way people talked or any concerns that they had after December 7th?

MN: Well, not 'til we heard about evacuation.

LT: And how did you hear that, and what happened after that?

MN: Well, they told us we'd all have to go. And our group had to go to Pinedale, and we were on the volunteer group. My two stepsisters and a stepbrother and my brother and I, five of us volunteered to go on the first train.

LT: And before we move to that, your high school, you were a senior. Your high school also had made a concession for you before you left by train.

MN: Uh-huh, this was in March, all the Japanese that graduated went on the stage and we got our diploma.

LT: What do you remember about that early graduation ceremony?

MN: We thought it was nice of them to do that for us.

LT: Do you remember what you wore or what they said or what you received?

MN: No, I don't remember anything.

LT: Okay. But it was a regular assembly at school?

MN: Uh-huh.

LT: So you and your family left early. Before we move on to that, you had a store, you had a house. What arrangements were made for your family property?

MN: Well, there was a good friend that was living in cabins, we had cabins beside that. And they just took care of everything for us.

LT: Okay.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2014 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.