Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Coming home from school – Tomi Egashira (OH0060)


Tomi Egashira: I didn’t know there was gonna be a roundup or anything. I came, oh I know, came home one day from school and there was no kids outside, usually there’s kids outside, you know, my brothers or my cousins running around, outside playing, but there was nobody around or if I get closer to the house, then somebody usually pops out of the door, you know, but no one came to the door, and when I opened the door, there was a man there and he said “Oh, who are you?” and I didn’t know what to say.

Then my [pause] mother said, “Well, she’s just coming home from school.” So, soon as I stepped into the house, I could feel this tension in the air [pause], and all the kids, and my mother and my aunt Fumi were all in the dining room sitting and the kids were all huddled around.

Interviewer: Did the FBI people take your father and your uncles? What did they do?

Tomi Egashira: Well, let me see, yeah, they came after my father but I really don’t know if it was that same day or few days after, but I remember that they came and got him. And oh, my mother took me to see him one day at the Immigration Office and I remember it was, seemed to me it was kinda dreary day. I know I had to get fingerprinted. I didn’t know what the reason that was for, why they were putting ink on my fingers and making me make prints on a piece of paper. And I know we had to hurry up and get home I think before it got dark. That was it. I don’t remember talking to him or anything like that.

Video Interview — March 2007

Tomi Egashira

Tomiko Hayashida Egashira was 7 years old, in the 2nd grade, when she was evacuated. She is the oldest of five children. Her father was taken by the FBI and kept in the immigration offices in downtown Seattle before evacuation. He was later interned in a US Department of Justice Camp in Missoula, Montana. He rejoined his family months later in Manzanar.