Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Visiting mother in Minidoka – Taketo Omoto (OH0026)


Interviewer: Now, was your younger brother, end up in the service, too?

Taketo Omoto: Yeah, my… the other brother too, Mas. He, he served in the 442, overseas. My younger brother, Sada, he, I don’t know when he got drafted, maybe ’45. He went to MIS, and then he went to occupation in Japan and Korea.

Interviewer: So, there were… were there four of you in the war?

Taketo Omoto: Yes, there was four of us in the army.

Interviewer: Now, while you were in the army, what was happening with your mother then?

Taketo Omoto: Well, I didn’t know where they went, when I went to Minnesota. So I contacted Red Cross and they told me there, they looked it up. You know, at that time they’re… I guess they were in, on a train to Manzanar, or at Manzanar, or somethin’. They finally got to me, back to me, and told me where my mother was, mother and two brothers. I was kinda worried where they were. But seemed…

Interviewer: So, did, did your mother stay in camp when all four of you were in the army then?

Taketo Omoto: Yes, my mother stayed all that time. She didn’t, she transferred to Minidoka when they’re… you know, people wanted to go

Interviewer: How were you able to get into camp to visit your mother, then?

Taketo Omoto: Well, later on, when it opened up… you know, I was in station hospital in Camp Trotter, and they had… people who wanted to visit a certain area, we signed up and if there was a patient to be discharged we kinda took ’em along, I mean, watched him over and discharge him. One went to Grandview, Washington, and I took one to Walla Walla because he had tuberculosis, I think. And from there I took a short leave to Minidoka to visit.

Interviewer: So, so what did you, what did you think when you got to Minidoka and went into Minidoka? Did you have any thoughts or feelings about finding your mother there?

Taketo Omoto: No, you know, I had only a short stay there en route, so, we just see my mother. I was happy. I didn’t get to do much there, but, I noticed the condition there. I think it wasn’t type of the… part of the day that was miserable, but it was a pretty clear day. And I just enjoyed my visit and then went back. I went there twice, I believe. Different times escorted a prison–, I mean, a patient home.

Video Interview — October, 2006

To see this interview in its entirety, go to the Densho website archives. You will have to register to be allowed access to their archives. Once in the archive, visit the Visual History Collections: Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community Collection.

Taketo Omoto

Taketo Omoto was 24 years old when the Bainbridge Island Japanese were evacuated. He is the second oldest of four brothers. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, he and his older brother were both in the army and away from home. Their father had already passed away. Eventually all four Omoto brothers would be in the army while their mother was still in camp.