Oral History Interview with Chizu Iiyama and Ernest Satoshi Iiyama
Issei male, born in 1912 and brought to America when he was six months old. His father was a boiler maker and chief machinist for the Santa Fe Rail Road Company. Kenneth was educated in Bakersfield public schools through junior college. He hoped to be a pharmacist but as an Issei was unable to qualify for a license. He farmed with his brother, a Nisei, who purchased land in his own name. Two years after his marriage to a Nisei, he was arrested by the FBI on March 26, 1942 and sent to Santa Fe, New Mexico. When asked by an FBI agent why he wasnâ€™t naturalized, Kenneth explained that Asian immigrants were ineligible for citizenship. The agent was unaware of this. Kennethâ€™s father and cousin were also arrested. His stepmother, sister, wife and two infant sons were evacuated to Poston, Arizona in May 1942. After interrogation by a lawyer in Santa Fe, Kenneth and his father were released to their families in Poston in July. After the war Kenneth took his family to Arkansas and worked as a sharecropper but returned to Bakersfield after a year to work as a gardener. His three sons became dentists.
Transcript available at Sacramento State University, Sacramento University Library
5 Tapes of 5
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