Life in Yamato Colony

Transcripts available in the following languages:

The lifestyle, the life, kinds of opportunities that I experienced in Livingston, was at the—we were in an area called Yamato Colony. Yamato Colony was about two miles outside the town of Livingston. We had kindergarten, church, social activities, all in this one community, Yamato Colony center.

When I was growing up at age five, around from there, my father woke me up and said, “Yachi!” He would called me, “Yachi,” “Yachio,” “Yachi,” not “Fred” because I wasn’t “Fred” until I was six, when I went to public school. “Yachi! Yachi! Get up and get the horses out!” I didn’t know what happened. He said, “The house, the barn is on fire!” During the middle of the night, somebody came and threw a Molotov cocktail, and the barn was burning. Hay was burning, and horses would burn to death if we didn’t release them. So my job was to release the horses, while father looked for water to put out the fire. Now, that I remember very distinctly.

So, it was not a very nice place to grow up. There was a sign on the highway, coming into town, and going out to town, says, “Japs keep out.” Now that’s not a very friendly welcome either. So this is a kind of social milieu, economic situation that I grew up in. And so when I think of the Issei farmers that stood all this, and yet succeeded, it’s a tremendous achievement.

Date: March 4, 2005
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Florence Ochi, Art Hansen, Yoko Nishimura
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Livingston Yamato Colony (CA)

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