Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Manzanar becoming Christian, 7–Ups, riot – Yae Yoshihara (OH0038)


Two of my friends said, “Oh, we’re going to Sunday school.” And you know, we had nothing better to do so the others kind of tagged along. That’s when I started to go to church. At Sunday school I learned a lot. I was like a blotter that absorbed all this because my parents were Buddhist. I knew very little about Christianity, but I really enjoyed it and that’s how I became a Christian even when my parents wanted me to go to the Buddhist church which opened up. I never did turn back

While we were in the seventh grade, that year before Pearl Harbor, all the seventh graders on the island were sent to Lincoln school. Lincoln school was a small enough school that there was only one class per grade. But the seventh grade, they had two seventh grade classes. The other came from Pleasant Beach School. It must have been over crowding or whatever. They decided to have two seventh grade classes. Toshi and Kiyo were from Pleasant Beach School and they were in that other seventh grade and there were the five of us girls that were in the regular, you know, the regular seventh grade. So we knew each other from a young age, but we were not that close of friends until we got to Manzanar. Because we have this time we could spend together, you know, we were same age, same class, that we bonded. So we started doing everything together, eating together, going to church together, fellowship, concerts, classes, playing at the rec hall, just having a good time. Then eventually, people saw, and someone, I don’t remember who, start referring to us as the 7–Ups. And the name stuck.

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."