Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Help from Friends of Alliance Church – Michi Noritake (OH0007)


We were very good friends with Alliance church minister and his wife and the son and son–in–law. Got to know them through youth group, and so they were very kind to us. They took over the nice things that we had in the house, they took it over, and we told them to go ahead and use it. Mom was just, finally had her beautiful china dinner set, and I think maybe we used it once, yes, for Thanksgiving. And then we had to evacuate, so we told them, “No, go ahead and use it, everything,” and they said they were so glad to store everything for us, so nicer things we took it over to the minister’s home. And then we left everything ’cause the Filipino was going to take care of the place, so were just fine.

Oh, it was sad, very sad. We had two dogs, two kitties that we had to leave behind. That was, we didn’t, none of us had ever left the island, so it was, you know, maybe into Seattle and that was it. So we didn’t know what it would be like to ride down on the train or… it was, and we’ve never been to other states, so it was really hard. We didn’t know what we were gonna get into, and we only had certain things to take, and that was the hardest part, and leaving our friends. We had two neighbors that were very nice to us, one was a blacksmith who took care of the, shoeing the horses, cutting their hoof and all, and then the next neighbor was working for the shipyard, they were a German family. And then the one that had the horse thing were Norwegians, and they were very good to us. And then they are the ones that couldn’t remember our names, so my oldest sister had a name already, Elsie, and Kay, her name was Kazuko and they couldn’t pronounce it so they named, gave her a name “Helen.” And my name was Michiko and they couldn’t say “Michiko” so they named me “Rose.” So that’s how we lived by when we were growing up.

Video Interview — February 2006

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Michi Noritake

Michiko Amatatsu Noritake was 22 years old at the time of evacuation. She is the second youngest of four sisters. Michi was fired from her job right after Pearl Harbor. Before evacuation, the FBI took her father and he was eventually sent to a Department of Justice Internment Camp. At the end of the war, as the Amatatsus were preparing to return home, Michi was in Twin Falls and she ran into her father who had been released from internment camp and was coming to re–unite with his family. Michi sometimes refers to her father as "grandpa." She also calls New Mexico, "Mexico."