Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hiro Heidi Inahara Interview
Narrator: Hiro Heidi Inahara
Interviewer: Betty Jean Harry
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: July 2, 2014
Densho ID: denshovh-ihiro-01-0005

<Begin Segment 5>

BH: What did you think when you ended up at the assembly center in North Portland? It used to be the Pacific International Livestock Exposition. What was your first impression?

HI: It was terrible. I couldn't believe that the living conditions were just partitioned off. Of course, the plywood (was) eight feet high, and canvas doors for six people in a room, and it was stifling hot. That was the year that one of the hottest weather they had, I think it was a hundred and five or a hundred and seven.

BH: Wow. What kinds of things were you subjected to? I remember you told us about having to have typhoid shots?

HI: Oh, yes, we all had to have typhoid shots, three of them, in fact. So I don't know (why but) I just went by myself (...). Those shots really hurt. And when I came back through the hallway, I fainted. And when I woke up, I was still on the floor. And so I got myself up and went back to the room.

BH: Oh, my. Were you able to continue school at the assembly center?

HI: I don't think so because it was summer.

BH: I think it was pretty close to summer.

HI: It was summer so we didn't have school.

BH: Okay. And you were there for a few months. How did the kids in your family and how did your parents pass the time?

HI: I don't know what they did. I think my mother worked in kitchen. My dad played softball.

BH: And after a few months there you were moved to a more permanent camp in Minidoka. How did you get there?

HI: Well, they put us on a train, it was at night, or afternoon. We rode at night most of the time. When we passed a city, the train would kind of slow down and sometimes stop, and the soldiers would come around and say -- I think the lights were very dim -- (...) "Don't look out the window, keep the shades down," and that was the orders that they gave us. We fudged a little bit.

BH: So you didn't really know where you were going. What did you see when you peeked out?

HI: Kind of like a train station. There weren't too many people around.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2014 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.