Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

JACL meetings, preparing to leave, arrangements for house and farm – Yae Yoshihara (OH0035)


It was actually right before the executive order was issued by Franklin Roosevelt that there was this talk about we were gonna be removed from the west coast. But we didn’t know prior to that time who would be removed, just the aliens or the citizens, everybody. And then, where would we go? Then when… so there were all these questions. In the meantime, interestingly enough, Tosh and Kay were attending the JACL meetings and they were held, I think on a weekly basis. They were quite faithful in participating in that. I don’t know what all went on, but they did attend those meetings. Actually, we had only about six days of official notice to leave the island.

Those were posted. It’s not like email or telephone or anything. They were actual written notices posted on buildings and telephone poles around the island to say you must leave the island by March 30th. Just several days prior, my dad went to Wenatchee and I believe he must have gone to see if he could possibly move the family to a safer place. But then he came back the following day and nothing became of it. But I think that’s what he had in mind. After the official notice, we didn’t have suitcases because we really hadn’t traveled or anything. But there were people in the community who donated suitcases so that we would have something to put it in our belongings. We didn’t know what to take, what to pack. I mean did we need kitchen utensils? Did we need other things? As it turned out, it was mainly personal items, you know, your clothing and your personal toiletries and those things that we ended up taking… only what we could carry, what each person could carry. Not knowing where we were going was the biggest question in our minds. I mean, we were going somewhere, but where? And they didn’t tell us.

That was the year when the strawberries were early. It was doing beautifully. There were flowers on the bushes. It was gonna be a bumper crop. It was so sad to have to leave that and fortunately my dad was able to get one of his Filipino workers to take over the farm. So Pete Garcia took over the farm and took care of the harvest and managed during our absence. They also needed someone to rent the house. So this lady and her son rented the house and stayed there during the war years.

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."