Topaz Visit as a Child

Backstory of Parents Parent’s Marriage Adoption Story Reiko's Name Moving to Torrance Voluntarily Moving to Salt Lake City, Utah Parents in Utah Topaz Visit as a Child Coming back to Los Angeles after the war Finding out about adoption Kent State Shooting, Ohio

Transcripts available in the following languages:

  • en

Yeah, I didn’t know what camp it was that my folks must have had friends there. So we went to visit. And it was a very in the things that I remember about that was how dismal the place was. And then I got lost and separated from my parents and all the barracks looked alike. And I was looking for them all over and starting to get a little hysterical. Went into this one barracks and it was empty in the inside, just totally empty.

And they had big holes in the walls from the inside. And that scared me to see all the holes in the walls. And so I don’t know how I finally was reunited with my parents but it was certainly a big relief. But that was my only experience of being in camp.

Nobody really interacted with me. There were none of the kids, et cetera. But I think that that was enough to make me feel that I didn’t have a positive thought about any of the concentration camps.

In fact, like Manzanar, when I was living and I had friends in Gardena and Torrance, and once a year they would have this pilgrimage to Manzanar. I could never bring myself to go. I just could not go. And then even there were a couple of times when I was on that road that goes by Manzanar and we were on a field trip somewhere else with some other organization and I would, I wouldn’t even look, I couldn’t even look at it and to this day I have no desire to go there. I just, I just don’t, can't bring myself to go.


Date: May 13, 2022
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Evan Kodani
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

concentration camp Manzanar Topaz

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