“My Last Day at Home”: A Student Writes of Japanese Internment

A Japanese American student writes of being removed to a concentration camp during World War II.

Chieko Hirata
Period II, English I

My Last Day at Home

The month of May when I was attending school, all the residents of Hood River county, as well as the people of the whole western coast was surprised to receive such an unexpected order of evacuation.

Promptly after hearing about the order I with my folks went to register and then for a brief physical examination. Then I helped my folks pack and prepared to leave my dear home on May 13, 1942.

On May 8, 1942 I withdrew from Parkdale Grade School, where all my friends and teachers bid me farewell with sorrowful face and tears. Our packing never seem to cease, we kept on packing then finally we were finished. Then came May 13th, my most dreaded day which I shall never forget the rest of my life. On the afternoon of the 13th, I board the train headed for Pinedale, California.

On the night of the 15th we arrived. The weather was pretty hot. In Pinedale I lived in the D-section which had forty barracks, which had vie apartments to a barrack.

I stayed at the Pinedale Assembly Center about two months. Then around July 15, 1942 we received our order to evacuate for Tule Lake. Then on July 18th we evacuated for Tule Lake and spent a night on the train. I arrived in Tule Lake. At present I am living in Block 58. The residents of this block is most Tacoma folks which I am not very much acquainted with as yet. Being that my cousin lives in Block 57 I am always visiting them.

I am always hoping that this war will end, so that I will be able to go back to Parkdale, my home town and see all my old friends, and live to my dying days in my old home in Parkdale, Oregon.

Herbert Yoshikawa
Japanese and the Post War Period

When we came to this camp it was still a period of confusion and uncertainty. Now, after settling down, one of the questions uppermost in our minds is that of finding jobs after the war.

Source: “My Last Day at Home,” by Herbert Yoshikawa, n.d. [National Archives]