Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Help from Reverend Andrews – Vic Takemoto (OH0017)


The reason my folks came back early, as soon as they could come back — they were able to come back that first or second week of April — was that strawberry farmers put in their next year’s crop in April. Otherwise you’d lose a whole year where you wouldn’t have any income. So that was the reason for coming back at that time. It was right after they opened up the, the coast and they were able to come back first or second week in April.

Most cases we were welcomed back. The neighbors that had taken care of our, the car we had at the time, it was a pickup truck, and he was using it and so it was in running order when we came back. After I got back I met some people who I knew before we left and they had welcomed me back. I did not have anything bad said to us on Bainbridge. I did have a problem one time while I was going to the university, I was walking to… walking home, and I was staying at, with a family. And then one fellow opened a door and he yelled at me. But that was the only instance that I had any problem with anyone saying anything to me.

I did read some articles where some people were not too happy that we came back, but that was in reading the newspaper. But never really was told, you know, that we weren’t welcome back. I know that when my parents were starting to farm again, they were really busy cleaning all the weeds and everything. We did have Reverend Andrews, he was back in Seattle at that time. And he had gotten a few people together that came over and helped my folks clean up the farm so they can plant new strawberries. I don’t know how many people there were, but I know my parents told me that they came to help, help with planting.

Video Interview — October, 2007

To see this interview in its entirety, go to the Densho website archives. You will have to register to be allowed access to their archives. Once in the archive, visit the Visual History Collections: Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community Collection.

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.