Discover Nikkei Logo

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1683/

FBI agents came to the house while parents were gone

And so on that Sunday, he had met – he was meeting his Senryu kai at a...Maneki I think, restaurant in Little Tokyo, and so when the FBI agents came, I think it was very early in the morning – was Pearl Harbor, right? – and they – it was only a few hours after, they came to – there were three agents – and they came to ask my dad, and we said, “He’s not here. He’s in Little Tokyo.”

And so two agents came into the house and one of the agents, I remember, had...says, “Okay, you guys.” And he had this gun in his hand. “You sit over there,” and my brother – two my brother – Tosh and Joe and I had all gone to the door to see who was there. And my mother was still at church, so it was the three of us just there, and my older brother, Mike, was – was ill. And he had contracted tuberculosis in Japan when he went a year prior to that. So he was in bed upstairs, and so they said, “Is there anybody else in the house?” and we said, “Yes,” you know, “We – my brother is upstairs.” And they said, “Well, go and get him,” and so it was – Joe was nine, jumped up, and he was gonna go up the stairs, and he said, “No, sit there. Call him.” And so we called Mike, and he came down in his bathrobe, and joined us, and so the four of us were kind of scrunched up together on the – on the couch.

And the – one of the agent sat on this ottoman in front of us with his gun – I don’t know what he thought we were going to do.


California federal agents Little Tokyo Los Angeles searches and seizures United States World War II

Date: August 7, 2018

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Sharon Yamato

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Mitsuye Yamada was born in 1923 while her mother was visiting family in Japan. She grew up in Seattle, Washington until World War II when they were sent to Minidoka, Idaho. A Quaker volunteer helped her to leave camp by finding her a job in Cincinnati, Ohio. Yamada attended the University of Cincinnati and earned a BA from New York University and an MA from the University of Chicago.

She was able to become a naturalized U.S. citizen following passage of the McCarran-Walter Immigration Act and received her citizenship in 1955.

She was a constant writer from the time she was young, and her first book of poetry taken from her writings in Minidoka, Camp Notes and Other Poems, was published in 1976. She started teaching and published more books after a health scare when she was 39 years old.

She helped to start a human rights group in Irvine, California that eventually led to her becoming elected to the Amnesty International Board of Directors in the 1980s and has been active in many human rights causes, especially known for her activism for woman's rights. (August 2018)

Virgil Westdale
en
ja
es
pt
Virgil Westdale

522nd and Dachau

(1918-2022) Hapa World War II veteran, pilot

en
ja
es
pt
Virgil Westdale
en
ja
es
pt
Virgil Westdale

Fellow Hapa 442 Hana

(1918-2022) Hapa World War II veteran, pilot

en
ja
es
pt
Francesca Yukari Biller
en
ja
es
pt
Francesca Yukari Biller

Writing a novel on the 442nd

Jewish Japanese American journalist

en
ja
es
pt
Harry Schneider
en
ja
es
pt
Harry Schneider

Meeting Hamako in Japan

(1916 - 2013) Member of the U.S. Military Intelligence Service

en
ja
es
pt
Harry Schneider
en
ja
es
pt
Harry Schneider

Meeting Mr. Amano

(1916 - 2013) Member of the U.S. Military Intelligence Service

en
ja
es
pt
Harry Schneider
en
ja
es
pt
Harry Schneider

Marriage and Returning to US

(1916 - 2013) Member of the U.S. Military Intelligence Service

en
ja
es
pt
Susumu “Sus” Ito
en
ja
es
pt
Susumu “Sus” Ito

Feeling prejudice while looking for jobs

(1919 - 2015) Nisei who served in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team

en
ja
es
pt
Susumu “Sus” Ito
en
ja
es
pt
Susumu “Sus” Ito

Generosity of the Italians

(1919 - 2015) Nisei who served in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team

en
ja
es
pt
Susumu “Sus” Ito
en
ja
es
pt
Susumu “Sus” Ito

Invited to teach at Harvard by his boss

(1919 - 2015) Nisei who served in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team

en
ja
es
pt
Jimmy Ko Fukuhara
en
ja
es
pt
Jimmy Ko Fukuhara

The riot in Manzanar

(b. 1921) Nisei veteran who served in the occupation of Japan

en
ja
es
pt
Willie Ito
en
ja
es
pt
Willie Ito

The Dopey bank that survived the war

(b. 1934) Award-winning Disney animation artist who was incarcerated at Topaz during WWII

en
ja
es
pt
Sawako Ashizawa Uchimura
en
ja
es
pt
Sawako Ashizawa Uchimura

Evacuated to the Jungle

(b. 1938) Philipines-born hikiagesha who later migrated to the United States.

en
ja
es
pt
Sawako Ashizawa Uchimura
en
ja
es
pt
Sawako Ashizawa Uchimura

Captured by Guerillas after bombing of Pearl Harbor

(b. 1938) Philipines-born hikiagesha who later migrated to the United States.

en
ja
es
pt
Robert T. Fujioka
en
ja
es
pt
Robert T. Fujioka

Grandfather picked up by US Army

(b. 1952) Former banking executive, born in Hawaii

en
ja
es
pt
Tom Yuki
en
ja
es
pt
Tom Yuki

Father's business partner operated their farming business during WWII

(b. 1935) Sansei businessman.

en
ja
es
pt

Discover Nikkei Updates

NIKKEI CHRONICLES #13
Nikkei Names 2: Grace, Graça, Graciela, Megumi?
What’s in a name? Share the story of your name with our community. Submissions now open!
VIRTUAL PROGRAM
Nikkei Uncovered IV: a poetry reading
Join us virtually and enjoy poetry by Matthew Mejia, Christine Kitano, and Mia Ayumi Malholtra.
PROJECT UPDATES
NEW SITE DESIGN
See exciting new changes to Discover Nikkei. Find out what’s new and what’s coming soon!