Audio recording of interview with Emery Andrews - abridged

Dublin Core


Audio recording of interview with Emery Andrews - abridged


Bainbridge Island (Wash.)--History
Japanese Americans--Washington (State)
Yama Project


Recording at end of record under Files.

Emery Andrews was minister at the Seattle Japanese Baptist Church in Seattle from 1929 to 1955. During World War II, he and his family moved to Idaho to be near the Japanese Americans from the congregation who were incarcerated.

The interview concerns World War II Japanese American incarceration and the experiences of Emery Andrews who moved to Idaho to serve his congregation who were incarcerated. The interview includes discussion of post war resettlement of Japanese Americans.

Recording Quality: The first 14 minutes include different speakers, as well as kids playing and other people speaking in the background. This segment of the interview is difficult to hear. For the last 19 minutes, Reverend Andrews and the interviewers move to his office. It is quiet and the quality of recording is good. The interview may have been conducted in the Seattle Japanese Baptist Church following a church service.


Tanaka, Stefan


Digitized to a master raw uncompressed WAV file with the resolution of 96,000 hz at 24 bits. Access copy MP4 file of 44,100 hz at 16 bits with reasonable enhancements made for intelligibility.


Olympic College Libraries


Vernon & Associates Court Reporters, LLC, transcription
Hartse, Caroline, edits & revisions
Krattiger, Angela, edits & revisions
Crabbe, Jocelyn, digital editing


Olympic College Libraries. Rights Reserved.






Oral History



Oral History Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Audio cassette tape. On bottom of case Side 1 handwritten Mrs. Takemoto. Handwritten on bottom of case by Side 2 Mr. Takemoto & E. Andrews. On side 1 (white side of cassette) has handwritten Mrs. Takemoto. Side 2 has handwritten Mrs. Takemoto & E. Andrews (black side of cassette). ). Cassette is AV Educator Premium 60 made in Mexico.



Bit Rate/Frequency

44,100 hz at 16 bits


Title: Reverend Emery Andrews Interview

Interviewee: Emery Andrews (EA)
Interviewer 1: Kathy Roberts (KR)
Interviewer 2: Female (I2)
Other speakers present:
L. Kitayama (LK)
Ralph Kono (RK)
Sono (So)
Female Speaker (FS)
Interview Transcribed by: Missy Glauser, Vernon & Associates, LLC
Revision and further editing by Caroline Hartse and Angela Krattiger, 2021
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: No date given

KR: … Now, I was thinking, you know, when you went to camp and -- and you started your little congregation at camp, it seems that there were more people from the island that came into -- I mean this is where you got a lot of people to come into -- to the Baptist Church at that time. Is that correct, or --?
EA: Oh, I -- I didn’t organize the church there. It was interdenominational church at camp. They didn’t -- well, Catholics were a different (Inaudible). But -- but I didn’t have any -- anything much to do with organizing the church. I know I -- for four and a half years we were there I think I only preached about three or four times. So it was mostly the Nisei themselves that started it.
KR: Oh, I see.
EA: But we couldn’t have any denominational groups; it had to be --
I2: Interdenominational?
EA: Interdenominational. And I -- while, I had a chance once in a while to preach, I would have a sermon or have a wedding or a Baptismal service. The Baptismal services went into Baptist church in Twin Falls, and one or two wedding we had there, too. I had one or two weddings. [recording stops for a few seconds & then resumes] And because I was in and out of camp so much, I didn’t have any regular duties in -- in the camp. But I -- when I was there I took part in the services. As I say, I preached once in a while.
I2: Because, you know, when I was a child, it seems that I always saw you and you were always there to -- to help everyone there. And I don’t know how you spread yourself so thin, because, you know, you would be, say, block 44 or throughout the whole camp.
EA: Yeah, well, it was because I was going back and forth so much that I did not take any on hand, any regular duty. I got severely criticized for it, and when Dr. Thomas was out there one time from New York or Washington, D.C., he was up above us, above the missionaries, so a supervisor, I guess. And he came out to help several times. No, it’s Philadelphia he came from. And so one time I told him I was getting criticized for coming back to Seattle and not taking more work inside the barbed wire. He said, well, don’t worry about it. You’re preaching a better sermon by coming back and forth. And this (Inaudible), this (Inaudible) really were critical of it, the fact that I was -- I wasn’t preaching every day or doing something in the camp.
I2: Well, I think you were doing so much more, you know, doing things for the people that they really appreciated; just going up to pick up things, and --
EA: I think so, too. I was in a position that I could go back and forth to Seattle to pick up things, take odd cars.
I2: Also bring news back and forth, which is really important.
EA: Yeah. So every time I came back, I had to come back by bus or train. That was through Portland, you know, to here; that’d make it about 850 miles. Then depending on how much gas I could get, going back, the shortest distance was through Pasco, and by Portland was 850 miles. If I went around by Spokane, by then it would be 950 miles. So it was -- every time it was 1,600 or 1,700, 1,800 miles for the round trip. But we -- as I said a while ago, we made our home a hostel.
EA: Well, when I got over the first time, I drove a car from Seattle to the gates, and there was Kim Watanabe inside trying to get out. And her boyfriend was a soldier trying to get in. But they couldn’t -- for some reason they couldn’t get their passes. So when I got inside, I went to the director’s office and made a date with him that Kim could go out. And we went out to Twin Falls, and that was before I had a house over there, and had a marriage service in a hotel room. But the fellow that -- the fellow that -- no, there was -- before my family got moved over in the last part of October I -- I had to get down town to get my meals and sleep down in the hotel. And I went into this little restaurant once, and I notice it had a No Japs sign in the window. And I must have said something about it, because he wouldn’t serve anybody. When I got to the door, he gave me a shove. I went across the sidewalk. But lots of times I had -- see, lots of times I had a little blue box, remember that?
I2: Yes, very well.
EA: Well, oftentimes we’d pick up a group of Issei, we took them to town for shopping, in town on Sunday for church and things like that.
KR: Oh, that was the best thing.
EA: So one of the -- the last of that, after I got the house, well he -- he knew we lived in that particular house, the manager there. And so he -- he bought the house just in order to kick us out. So we had to look for another house diagonally across the same street. And after this incident happened in his restaurant, he had a couple FBI men from Portland up there to interview me. He was dead set on getting me out of there -- us, I mean. How old were you (Inaudible)?
I2: Well, I -- when I first was relocated, I was in Kindergarten so I must have been about five, six.
EA: Then you went to California?
I2: Yeah. And then --
EA: See, the Bainbridge ones are the first to be evacuated. They weren’t given very much time to get rid of their stuff.
I2: Something like two days.
EA: Yeah.
I2: But we were very fortunate because we -- we had some Filipinos living that -- that were working for us, and then they stayed at the house. And they didn’t take anything or damage anything. They kept things pretty well the way they were, not like some of the other families that had everything taken and just pilfered.
EA: Well, it was rather hard to get the stuff because I came back to a certain person’s house and they either sold the thing or (Inaudible) or something.
EA: First time, Bainbridge moved and then the east side, I think Mother’s Day 1942, (Inaudible), trust me; everyone will tell you, they were gone. I mean the whole city, you know, it was the whole city, the last Japanese person had gone, because I remember I -- that first Sunday after -- well, that would be Mother’s Day 1942 -- I came to the church and sat in the pulpit chair and visualize all the people that should have been there that day. You see, the jail was filled full of stored goods. Each family had a ten foot square with a 24 inch high wall in between. And every time it came back it seemed like, he liked the person who had something here. It seemed like the stuff is cleared out a lot. And I have to tell you, some of the piles almost went to the ceiling. Invariably it seemed like they wanted the things on the bottom instead of the thing on the top.
I2: That was probably the first thing that was most precious (Inaudible) to make sure it would be safe.
EA: And I go to some place out of Bellevue or South Park getting some stuff, and -- well, I think the one who had taken care of the house and the car thought it was a joke, I think. There’s lots of times I couldn’t get what I was sent for because it was either broken in or smashed up or sold it even
KR: And so did you have a caretaker then for this building in the war?
EA: I don’t remember anybody being employed as a caretaker. I guess we trusted it would be there.
I2: It was just a matter of the building was here but no one was using it.
EA: Yeah, that’s right. The government was supposed to have storage space for everybody, but they didn’t have it when we needed it; (Inaudible) later.
I2: Initially people only had three days to move. They just had to (Inaudible).
EA: I think the other churches, other Japanese church; they had stuff stored in their church. But we were very disappointed when we came back and found out we couldn’t open our church, because the young people needed someplace to go. Well, the older people, too.
I2: So how -- I’m sorry, I couldn’t remember -- how long did you say your church was closed?
EA: Well, the -- from Mother’s Day 1942 to 1945. People began -- well, the war was not over yet. People were allowed to come back. Some of them came back and first week in January. They’d go out to the farm; the grass would be way up high like this. So a lot of the farmers didn’t have their farm looked after. It just grew weeds; that was it. But I know in Seattle here we, Floyd Schmoe and I, organized teams of university students, and when we hear about somebody coming back to the house, we go out there and paint out the no Jap signs and clean up the yard and so forth, clean up the house.
KR: Nice kind of homecoming. It was a welcome thing that you guys did.
EA: You know, the neighbors, sometimes the neighbors didn’t like us for being around.
KR: So when people started coming back to Bainbridge, I wonder if they started coming back individually or if they kind of waited until there were more people to come back so they wouldn’t be all alone.
EA: No, I don’t think so. I -- I think they came back when it was convenient.
KR: I see. Because I know my parents went back in -- I believe it was September (Inaudible).
EA: I think Bainbridge had better neighbors in their place than Seattle. I remember we went out to Carnation once for five days and haled hay. There was a dairy. I don’t remember who took care of the dairy, but by that time the family was back. And Floyd and I took a couple teams out there for five days, all day. Of course you’ve got to break it and carry it in. They had a good sized dairy. [Brief pause] And oftentimes I’d take the (Inaudible) going back; got to the boundary, like if I went to Spokane and somebody was there and wanted to go to camp to see their friends or relatives and see what camp was like. So lots of times I had a passenger coming back after I got outside the zone, unless (Inaudible). But we ran into all kinds of things. I know one time I stopped near Twin Falls to pick up some gas. It was a big truck I was taking, and I drove up to the pump and I noticed that the attendant came out very slowly. And so I got out of the truck and met him halfway. I told him I wanted some gas, you know, I had two Issei men with me from Spokane, and he wouldn’t give me any gas. He said to me, are those Japs? And I said yes, they’re Japanese. And they have sons in Europe right now fighting for you. And it didn’t make any difference. (Inaudible) Spokane once (Inaudible) and we stopped for a meal on the way back. And a girl came and took our order, but we waited and waited and waited, and then finally the manager came and said asked are you Japanese, and I said yes. Japanese American. And she said, well, we can’t serve you. And I said, well, this girl has a brother in Japan -- I mean Europe in a United States uniform, and he’s fighting for you and for me, but she wouldn’t take our order. That was a manager, not -- so we went out to -- down the corner and across the street and came back on the other side and there was a little restaurant there. And we went in and we realized it wasn’t a white place; it was a Jap or Chinese. And he was the most gracious fellow I ever met. He welcomed us inside, so we got something to eat. Then after that, we went down the street a ways. We asked, stopped at a gasoline station, and one fellow, I think went out of his way to be good to us and to -- we wanted to know the best of the way to go and he was really gracious. Maybe that first restaurant was the only place in town that was prejudiced, but we didn’t know that. There were a lot places that were prejudiced.
KR: So you even had your experiences you met some real -- you met wonderful people and others who were prejudiced.
EA: Yeah, I should write a book.
I2: Well, you certainly could with all your experiences. I am sure.


Tanaka, Stefan


Andrew, Emery


Tanaka, Stefan, “Audio recording of interview with Emery Andrews - abridged,” Olympic College Libraries Digital Archives, accessed June 24, 2024,