Jiro Oishi

Joanne remembered that her father was a senior at USC.
Jiro Oishi wrote: On December 8, 1941 the FBI came to our house looking for Goro Oishi, an older Issei man who had served in the Russo-Japanese War. Dad consulted one of his fellow Rotary members, a lawyer who suggested that my folks send me to the FBI office to show that I was not Goro Oishi. On December 9, 1941, on my way to USC, I stopped in at the FBI office and waited for over two hours. Finally two men in and took me to the Los Angeles Country Central Jail where they were incarcerating male Japanese classified as potentially dangerous enemy by the Justice Department. There were Japanese Community Leaders, Buddhist Priests, Veterans of Russo-Japanese War, Owners of Businesses, Presidents of Large Companies or people who made monetary contributions to Japan. I was kept in jail incommunicado, unable to contact anyone. A young Caucasian friend who worked for Wynns Market was placed in the next unit to me for speeding. God works in many ways, so I was able to talk to him. He let my family and friends know that I was fine and would be moved soon. In a week I talked to many Issei that were brought in. We talked of many things current events, their backgrounds, as all were interesting people and leaders of the community. Two Chinese men were being put into our cell protesting in Chinese that they were not Japanese. An Issei Minister explained they were Chinese and they were released. On December 15, 1941, we were loaded into old, old passenger trains that were taken out of storage, with shades drawn, went up the coast picking up prisoners at Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. They placed a Border Patrol man on each end of the coach. On my train a very distraught man worried about his family and tried to commit suicideā€¦
On December 19, 1941 we arrived at Missoula Montana a Prisoner of War Camp.

On December 26, 1941, I was finally able to write while lying in a warm bed. The soft white snow is gently floating down from the beautiful Montana sky. The whiteness of the snow covered earth makes me feel clean inside, God I guess is trying to make it possible for me to think of better things of life by covering all the mistakes man makes trying to change the way God meant things to be. He lets us start all over again in the Spring by creating new life in the trees, plants and animals and gives to me a new joyful start by the enjoyment of telling the new soil refreshed by winter snow. These thoughts are just my interpretation of the way I think my creator encourages me along towards living a better life.

About the Contributor

Joanne Kumamoto