Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Receives draft notice in camp – Isao Yamashita (OH0029)


Isao Yamashita: Drafted. Yeah. Hideaki Nakamura is one of ’em and, he was from Bainbridge Island, and me… while we were in camp. We says, “Golly. Here we get put in camp and here we got a draft card.” It’s kinda, unique. It’s… you probably never think you’ll get one, especially in camp. ‘Cause a lotta people kinda wasn’t too happy about it. ‘Cause, because of the fence and the sentry… you couldn’t do anything but they want you and lot ’em didn’t agree with it. I guess some did turn down, but us too, we said, “Well, how else are we gonna get out?” After we found out after we got the card, it was almost for sure that we gonna be in service.

They said with that card we can go out the gate. Outside the gate you have the military compound there and they have PX. And they said we can go visit there. So that wasn’t too bad. All this commotion they had about “yes” and “nos”… we figured we gonna… I don’t know. I like the service I was thinking about the service when I was a kid anyway. I thought well, here’s an opportunity. We’ll agree and sign it.

Video Interview — April, 2007

Isao Yamashita

Isao Yamashita was 17 years old and in the 10th grade on March 30, 1942; the day the Bainbridge Island Japanese were evacuated. He is the youngest of four children, three brothers and one sister. Isao received his draft notice while he was imprisoned in Minidoka. He joined the Army and served in WWII, and the Korean and Viet Nam wars. He retired from the service in 1971.