Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Minidoka playtime – Hisa Matsudaira (OH0050)


My memories of Minidoka are many. But most of it are children’s memories. I remember stepping out the door and you see a whole bunch of people, little kids to play with. All these island kids that we never really got to play with on the island because we lived so far apart. So you step out the door here and here they all are. I played a lot. We played Japanese things, Jintori, all these Japanese games. We played cops and robbers. We played marbles, jacks, jump-rope… all kinds of things. There probably isn’t anything I didn’t play. We played anti–over and chased around and ran and ran and ran.

Then… but I also liked to play by myself at times. I would look around and find these little anthills and get a jar and put the ants in and watch them busily building their things. Then I put the dirt in the jar and then I’d take it home and watch the ants make their homes. There were irrigation ditches around so when the time came you’d get these little jars and fill them with water and I’d catch tadpoles and I’d put the tadpoles in the jars and watch them lose their legs and their tails and turn into little frogs. Then there were these beautiful Monarch butterflies that would be fluttering around between the barracks. I’d run around chasin’ and try to catch them.

I’d watch them go over to the other side of the barrack. I’d run around. I’d, I’d think to myself, “Let me catch this one. Let me catch this one.” When I caught it I’d be so happy and they’re so beautiful, I’d take a pin and I’d stick it up on the wall. Isn’t that horrible? Anyway, that was, that was some of the things that I did.

Video Interview — April, 2007

Hisa Matsudaira

Hisa Hayashida Matsudaira was six years old, in kindergarten, when her family was evacuated. She is the second oldest of five children. Her father was interned in a US Department of Justice camp in Missoula, Montana when they evacuated.