Digital History>eXplorations>Japanese American Internment>The Internment Experience>Isao Fujimoto

Right after Pearl Harbor, the FBI came to our home, and my father just disappeared. I remember the last words he was saying was, “Oh, let me put my pants on.” That was it. He was put in the Yakima County [Washington] jail. Then he was sent to a Detention Center in Missoula, Montana…. I didn’t see him until about a year-and-a-half later. My mother asked me to write a letter to President Roosevelt. I wrote him about our situation. All of us were still farming, and though my father disappeared in December, come Spring we put in the crops. The question is what do we do next? So I wrote to Roosevelt saying that it would be very good if my father came back because we really needed help here. My mother was only twenty-five years old at the time, and there were five kids. We were farming using horses. It was very hard if you’re small, and you can’t really hook up a plow. So I told the President that it would help a lot if my father could return to his family. Of course, I never got a reply…. I was eight years old at the time.

Isao Fujimoto, quoted in Werner, Through the Eyes of Innocents, p. 79, p. 81


Once we got to Heart Mountain, I remember how traumatic it was because we got separated again. My youngest sister Keiko had measles, so she was quarantined. My mother had to be with her. When we got taken to the barracks, I didn’t know where my mother was. I wandered all over the camp looking for her. I found her. I don’t know how…. I discovered her in an empty barrack sitting all day by herself with my sister.

Isao Fujimoto, quoted in Werner, Through the Eyes of Innocents, p. 84

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