Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Family prepares to leave – Vic Takemoto (OH0014)


My parents didn’t say much. They were… as I said before, they weren’t citizens so they pretty much had to do what the government asked them to do. They were sort of surprised that the citizens had to go, too, but in our case, we were all teenagers and younger, so I could see where they might go with their parents. But some of the older Niseis went with their parents, too, so all of them had to go to camp. Except a few families that went to Moses Lake. There was one group of three or four families who went to Moses Lake and were there — like we were in camp — they were in Moses Lake for three years, or three and a half years. And it was… I think that there was a few of our leaders went over to Moses Lake to look over Moses Lake. But, you know, for a family to pick up and move, you have to be pretty wealthy, too, in order to be able to find a home and probably rent a piece of property to farm on. And that was a problem for most families. They just didn’t have the reserve to take on a venture like that.

My dad had to sell the crop that we were expecting that summer, and he managed to sell it to a neighbor. As far as packing, you can only take a few, few things, you know, clothes. There wasn’t anything else you can bring anyway, so we did leave it in the house. When we returned, some were not there anymore, but most things were still in the house. Even our tools were still there. So, after they returned, after three years, they were able to start the farm again.

We didn’t ask anyone to care for the house, so you know, there’s always some burglarizing and that did happen, although we didn’t lose that much, really. I think we had an old car, like a Model–T, that didn’t run anymore, that was gone when we got back. But, we didn’t lose much there.

Video Interview — October, 2007

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Vic Takemoto

Victor Takemoto was 15 years old and in the ninth grade when he and his family were evacuated. He is the oldest of six siblings, five boys and one girl. The Takemoto family stayed in Manzanar during the entire war and was the first family to return to Bainbridge Island after the war.