Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Yoshimitsu Suyematsu Interview
Narrator: Yoshimitsu Suyematsu
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Ontario, Oregon
Date: April 22, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-syoshimitsu-01-0017

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: But then pretty soon after that, you were going to school for a while, but then most of the people from Bainbridge Island then moved from Manzanar to Minidoka. So how did that happen? Why did all the families move?

YS: Well, they said that we couldn't get along, so that's what they... you know, just like I read in the book, Nisei book and stuff, they say that's what happened. Because the northern people couldn't get along with the fishermen. Well, they didn't really. But then there's a few island people who stayed, you know, in Manzanar.

TI: But just a few. Most of them went to Minidoka.

YS: Yeah, most of the whole block, about three or four families, I think, stayed.

TI: Now was that something that the Bainbridge Island families, did they request to leave?

YS: Yeah, I guess so. I didn't hear about what they did. They said they weren't getting along, so they wanted to leave.

TI: How about your parents? Do you know if they wanted to leave?

YS: No, I guess they just went with the flow, I guess.

TI: Because I'm just wondering because here they had so many boys, and with all the fighting and stuff, I'm wondering if they were concerned about you and your brothers, if they ever said anything.

YS: Yeah, but most of them came to Minidoka.

TI: So when you'd go to Minidoka, how was Minidoka different than Manzanar?

YS: Oh, it was... Manzanar was a lot nicer, you know, square, and then people there gave you a ride and stuff if you needed it. But Minidoka, they wouldn't do that.

TI: So explain that more. So at Manzanar people were more friendly?

YS: Well, I guess they figured it's not their rig, not their gas, so they took us to where we wanted to go sometimes. But see, then, Minidoka, we were 44, see, so we were a long ways from school. School was in 23.

TI: So it was a long walk.

YS: Yeah, long walk. And we thought that we'd...

TI: Hitch a ride or something?

YS: Ride, heck, they'd just blow on by.

TI: Because, so was it a case where at Minidoka, the people followed the rules more closely?

YS: Yeah, I guess.

TI: In Manzanar they were looser and they would do different things?

YS: Because they liked to say, "That's not our rig, this is not our gas, heck, we'll take you there."

TI: Interesting.

YS: Yeah. But Minidoka, they wouldn't give you a ride like they did down there, that part was...

TI: So that was disappointing.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2014 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.