Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Father wants to prove loyalty – Yae Yoshihara (OH0034)


In the beginning of January when this news commentator on the radio start talking about moving the Japanese from the west coast because they were a threat and all this and that started this talk about evacuation. That was the very preliminary. The other people, business people, all joined in. So that was the growing sentiment. But you know, it was only a matter of weeks… early part of January, when the FBI came to the house and the property to inspect, to search for any contrabands, which was short wave radio, any weapons, dynamite, flashlights, cameras, other items which they felt that the Japanese might use to aid the enemy. I still remember them going through the barn and through the house and all over. I don’t know or can’t remember if they confiscated anything or not, ’cause we didn’t have shortwave radio or anything like that.

It was in February that the FBI came back again to interrogate my dad. I could still see him sitting there in the living room and they’re questioning him about his activities and all. And he says, “As long as I’m in America, I’m loyal to America.” I can still hear him say that. Well, they took him anyway. That added to our fear. We didn’t know what was gonna go on. An hour later we heard somebody knockin’ on the front door and we were frightened and here my dad had come back. They did not detain him, so we were quite relieved. He wanted to prove his loyalty. At that time, we had dual citizenship, but he took care of that. He cancelled the Japanese citizenship and also he bought war bonds for each child. In other ways he wanted us to cooperate with whatever that was asked of us to do.

Video Interview — December 2006

Yae Yoshihara

Yaeko Sakai Yoshihara was 12 years old and in the 7th grade when she was evacuated. She was the youngest of six children. Her family had a strawberry farm before the war. When Yae was in camp she was part of a group of young seventh grade girls who played together nick–named the "7-Ups."