I'm Trent, their grandson who will be helping them because of their poor eyesight and lack of computer skills.


We will start answering questions at 2:00 EST

Thanks for all the questions, we all had a lot of fun.

Hey guys, my grandparents are gone now, during these past few hours this post has really picked up in terms of popularity and lots of new questions have been asked. I'll see if I can have my grandparents over again to answer a few more questions.

Comments: 617 • Responses: 15  • Date: 

tearr307 karma

I had no idea canada did this.

YoshandMaryAMA327 karma

Mary: It is in the history books, and that's good cause all the young kids are learning it.

We're in Toronto, in Canada it is part of the curriculum but I doubt it is anywhere else. And honestly, I think having it as Canadian curriculum is enough, the rest of the world has their own WW2 history to learn about.

Webwench105 karma

Did you have any sort of warning, any inkling that this was going to happen before you were picked up and sent off into internment?

Did you lose property in the process, and if so did you get any of it back after you got out of internment? Did that 21,000 payment make up for what you lost?

How angry were you, and how did you get past your anger (assuming you did get past it at some point)?

YoshandMaryAMA156 karma

Yosh: No, they just all of a sudden came and rounded up the Japanese.

They were only kids when they were interned, we were talking about it now and they guessed that their parents might have been notified first.

We answered the property question in an earlier post: "We didn't hardly have anything, but they took it all and just sold it." I don't think the $21 000 was good enough, especially for the business owners who got shut down.

Mary: To be truthful I was too young to be angry, the parent were angry but they all used to say "nothing you can do about it" (in Japanese of course).

eskimogoat53 karma

When you were released from the internment camp, what was the hardest thing about reintegrating with society?

YoshandMaryAMA87 karma

Yosh: There was still lots of prejudice in those days. We sort of stuck together because of that, the Japanese Canadians.

nuttybuddy51 karma

It's just fantastic that you two are willing to talk about your stories like this. The internment was a terrible chapter in Canadian history, but many of the personal stories were lost as the generation before yours just didn't want to talk about it. Of course, we can hardly blame them, considering all they must have gone through.

How did you fare in the post-war? Were you able to stay in BC, or forced to move east of the Rockies? Did you know anyone who was sent off to Japan?

YoshandMaryAMA67 karma

Yosh: I did okay, when it was all over I moved to Toronto and became a bookkeeper.

My grandfather didn't finish high school, but was always good at math. Later on (in his 30s) he went to night school and was top of his class. Right now he is 89 and is still working part time as a bookeeper for a doctors office.

Yosh: All Japanese- Canadians were forced to forced to move at least 100 miles east of the coast, I went to Toronto.

Mary: My father went back to Japan, because he was the eldest child in his family. Since I was a minor me and my sisters had to go with him. I came back to Canada because I didn't want to stay in Japan, i was used to Canada. But the guys who stayed back in Japan all got really good jobs because they could speak english.

TheGodWalrus40 karma

What was the hardest part of leaving your home?

YoshandMaryAMA68 karma

Yosh: When getting sent to the camps, the men (18 and older) were separated from the boys. My father was separated from me. Also, when the government came and took us away they took everything and sold it, not that we has very much anyway.

badbrains78737 karma

Do you think this kind of terrible thing could happen again in America, or are we a fundamentally different country now?

YoshandMaryAMA84 karma

Mary: I don't think it will happen again, not in Canada or the States anyway.

Yosh: Before the war Japanese, Chinese, Indians couldn't vote.

Neither of them think it will every happen again here because of less racism, and the right to vote for everyone.

HypnotikK33 karma

Sorry if this is personal, but are you bitter to Canadians/the government/anyone because of what happened? I have difficulty relating because I'm younger and haven't experienced things that you have. At the same time, I don't feel like anyone in power now would allow this to happen again. Everywhere messed up at some point, just curious as to your feelings towards those seemingly "responsible" these days.

YoshandMaryAMA109 karma

They sort of answered this in another post. They believe that something like this will never again happen in Canada, but they still have some left over feelings toward political parties. They always vote NDP federally, even though they lean to the right and vote conservative for provincial elections. They vote this way because:

"During the internment the only party that fought for us to be free was the CCF (now the NDP), that's why we always vote for the NDP. The conservatives were the worst, they said "a jap is always a jap, send them all back to Japan"."

They still have some lasting feelings toward the federal conservative party.

daughterofhades1330 karma

What do you believe is your greatest accomplishment?

YoshandMaryAMA114 karma

Mary: Getting married and getting settled and having three good kids and six good grandchildren. All our kids are professionals, make sure your write that down.

Go_Ice_Go25 karma

Where did you live prior to WWII and where were you interred? Was any of your property returned to you after the war or was it all auctioned off?

Great AMA by the way! I visited an internment camp in New Denver several years ago. It was really moving.

(Might want to edit out the address on the second document, FYI).

YoshandMaryAMA36 karma

Yosh: I lived on Vancouver Island, Fanny Bay, BC. I was in a place called New Denver. We didn't hardly have anything, but they took it all and just sold it.

Mary: Originaly in Fraser Mills, then we moved to Haney. Tashme, near Hope, BC.

And they moved from that address a long time ago

Spinalzz23 karma

What is your favorite thing about Canada?

YoshandMaryAMA73 karma

Yosh: I'll tell you one thing, I don't like Toronto too much: the rat race, the traffic, and the weather gets too cold, also some people aren't so nice.

Mary: I'm free to do whatever I like. In Japan, even today, women are sort of second class. Once I started to work for the doctors I really liked it. Doctor Secauskis (the doctor she used to work for) said I'm the best secretary he's ever had, "she does the work of two people" he said.

Trent: I really like Toronto, mostly...

mawmy23 karma

How long did it take to get your lives back to some semblance of 'normal'? Was it ever the same again? And how did this change your views on the government?

YoshandMaryAMA49 karma

Yosh: In 1951 we moved back east and got settled, it was mostly back to normal by then. But lots of Japanese who moved to Toronto found work, but then when the boss found out they were Japanese they got fired. The law was that you couldn't hire Japanese.

Yosh: In those days they were racist, now i don't think they're like that. During the internment the only party that fought for us to be free was the CCF (now the NDP), that's why we always vote for the NDP. The conservatives were the worst, they said "a jap is always a jap, send them all back to Japan".

tanksforpeace17 karma

How were treat you treated during your internment?

YoshandMaryAMA30 karma

Mary: You know, during the internment we sort of had fun. I'm sure my parents weren't so well off. But for kids it wasn't so bad. Missionaries came for the kids in school, that's how Michi (her sister) learned short hand. I went to sewing school.

KnightDarkThe17 karma

Firstly, thank you for this fantastic opportunity. It is much appreciated. If I may ask, how was life after you left the internment camps? Did you return to your original homes? Did you ever feel any social pressures? Thanks in advance for your response.

YoshandMaryAMA17 karma

We sort of answered this in previous posts. My grandpa moved to Toronto and became a bookeeper and my grandma moved back to Japan shortly before coming back to Toronto where she worked odd jobs like in laundromats until she found her long lasting job as a secretary in a doctors office. They weren't allowed to return to their previous homes as the law was they they had to move at least 100 miles inland, or go back to Japan.

NekoQT17 karma

Got any story/stories that stick out??

YoshandMaryAMA35 karma

Mary: When the war broke out I was 15 and we were living out in a place called Haney, now called Maple Ridge. We didn't have to leave til August 1942. We got shipped to Vancouver to Hastings Park and they put us in a livestock barn, men and women seperate and kids, regardless of boy or girl, were put with mother. We slept in bunks, for privacy we used blankets around the bed.

Yosh: There were lots of dances, and the older guys organized a baseball team.

ttjclark16 karma

In your proof, you may want to black out the personal address on that letter if Mr. Yoshio Murai is still living there.

YoshandMaryAMA17 karma

He moved a while ago