Isamu Saito oral history interview, part 3 of 6, June 28, 2005


Dublin Core


Isamu "Sam" Saito discusses his friends' and parents' reactions after Pearl Harbor. One evening after the attack, Sam's parents burned items connected with Japan.

When Executive Order 9066 (EO9066) was announced, Sam's family prepared for evacuation and packed two duffel bags. Sam packs some clothes and toys. Sam's parents tried to sell their belongings but left a lot of possessions behind.

Sam and his family went to Puyallup Assembly Center and lived in a horse stall for three months before going to Minidoka. During the three months, Sam and his peers played games and baseball. Moreover, various jobs around the Assembly Center became available.

Sam was sent to Minidoka, ID, as part of the advance crew to help with the setup of Minidoka. Before arriving at Minidoka, there was a guard tower and barracks built. Sam and the advance crew placed the barbed wire around the camp. The barracks had no insulation, and the room got cold in the winter. In addition, the barracks have limited privacy.

Minidoka was set up by block, and each block had a mess hall, laundry room, and communal shower rooms for the internees. The lifestyle at camp changed the family dynamic. Sam discusses the shift in authority his father had over the family.

Many Issei tried to have churches come to camp to unify the family. After a year, churches were able to come. Sam recalls Reverend Anderson and his devotion to the Japanese Americans at Minidoka. Reverend Anderson and his family move to Twin Falls to be near Minidoka.



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Date of Birth

1925 Apr 27

Location of Birth

War or Conflict

Branch of Service

Entrance into Service



Saito, Isamu: narrator, Hawkins, Richard: interviewer, and Go For Broke National Education Center: publisher, “Isamu Saito oral history interview, part 3 of 6, June 28, 2005,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed July 19, 2024,