Oral History Interview with Chiyo Yogi
Nisei female, born March 25, 1910 on the island of Maui, Hawaii to sugar plantation workers. There are four participants telling this oral history: Chiyo, who tells her story; the interviewer who writes a narrative of the story; Chiyo's husband's diary entries, and Takashi, Chiyo's son who identifies military action taking place on Okinawa from 1944 to 1945. In 1935, when Chiyo was twenty-five her parents took the family to Okinawa to find her a husband. After marrying Tatsusei Yogi, the couple lived in Okinawa until 1948 when Chiyo was thirty-eight. Most of Chiyo's story occurred between October 20, 1944, when the first American air raids began, to June 20, 1945 when the Yogis were saved by American troops. After the first air raids, the family packed documents, clothes and food and left on foot for the countryside. The family consisted of husband, wife, a grandfather and four children from eight years to nine months old. They were among throngs of refugees seeking a port sail to Japan. They hid in caves, each family with a bag of food and clothing, ready to run during bombing or shelling. Potable water was scarce and their diet consisted of sweet potatoes and sugar cane. Rains were incessant during the monsoon and successive days of U.S. bombing slowed travel. During a bombing raid grandfather and eldest child were lost. Grandfather died but the child was found by a Japanese policeman. The diary states for the week of April 30, 1945 to May 10, 1945, 595 warships were sunk, 18,000 Japanese killed in action and Germany was defeated on May 13, 1945. The Yogis reached Nishino beach on June 20, 1945 and saw American troops. Chiyo ran to them yelling "Please save me!" Chiyo explained in English she was an American citizen born in Hawaii and had other refugees with her. The Americans assured her there would be no killing and asked if anyone one needed medical care or food. The children were unable to eat army food rations given them due to effects of prolonged starvation. Chiyo asked for a doctor to see her children. Her eldest son died of tubercular meningitis. Chiyo got a job with the U.S. army as an interpreter and helped with food distribution to Okinawans. Her husband recruited stevedores to handle cargo. Chiyo wanted her children to have an American education and returned to Hawaii in 1948. As Mr. Yogi was not a citizen, he entered the U.S. on a student visa to attend a Seventh Day Adventist school. The Yogis eventually moved to Roseville, California where they enjoyed their last years together.Additional Descriptive Notes: Wartime diary
English transcripts available in the California State University, Sacramento library.
2 Tapes of 2
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