SEDAI: The Japanese Canadian Legacy Project

Sharing the unique history and experiences of Canadians of Japanese ancestry

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Transcript

SEDAI: So how long were you there?

Mitsuyoshi: You mean...

SEDAI: On the sugar beet farm.

Mitsuyoshi: Five years. And the war ended, and the Canadian government said, "You can't go back to Mission or B.C. You'll either go to, east to Ontario, or we'll give you a free boat ride back to Japan. So my father wanted to go back to Japan to see the son that was living in Japan, 'cause he hadn't been back for a long time. So he took the offer of going back to Japan. And there were quite a few other people that took the offer to go back to Japan.

SEDAI: And did you go, too?

Mitsuyoshi: And we all went.

SEDAI: You all went?

Mitsuyoshi: Yeah. That way we could all stick together, so we all went back. That was in 1946.

SEDAI: So that was right after the war.

Mitsuyoshi: Yes.

SEDAI: What was it like? What as Japan like at that time?

Mitsuyoshi: Well, when we went to Shiga-ken where my parents came from, well, when we got off the boat, we got on the train. The train was packed with people returning from overseas and prisoner of war coming back, and we got off at Maibara, and my father's brother came to meet us. And as we were walking back to his farm, he said, "Why did you come back to this place? Because it's awful, there's nothing to eat."

SEDAI: Did you find that the case? Was there, was it difficult, to find food?

Mitsuyoshi: Well, the farmers were all right, because they grew their own rice and vegetables. But people that lived in the city, I think they really had a hard time.

SEDAI: What were the stores like in the city?

Mitsuyoshi: Well, they, there wasn't too much food, because we used to see people going on the train to buy vines and things that, you know, potato vines, and they were eating anything they could find.

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