Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Reactions back at school – Yae Yoshihara (OH0033)


You know, the weather was just like this, that day. It was a Sunday and I had arranged with my friend Sally to go bike riding that afternoon and to go to Toshi Yukawa’s house, which was further, what, a couple of miles further. So I met Sally at this particular corner and as we met and we were gonna go on to Toshi’s place, these people that lived right there says, “Oh, the neighbors are at war.” And I thought, “Neighbors?” Our neighbors were Mikamis and we didn’t have any problem.

So we let it go at that and we went on and went to Toshi’s, rode the bike. Then eventually came home. I came home and I told my sisters and brother that, “This is what those people said.” So they put on the radio and hear this news about the Pearl Harbor. So all afternoon and evening, that’s all we heard, the news and how Japan was advancing. It had gone into Thailand and all that. We didn’t know what all that meant. The next day was Monday.

We had to go back to school. Well, you know, we felt different. No one had said anything to us, but simply because of who we were, we were very nervous. The teacher explained to the class that we were Americans. We didn’t have anything to do with the war. But, nevertheless, we felt a little uneasy. But as time went on, the students and the teachers were more accepting and we on our usual activities.

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."