Camarillo Archives - StoryCorps

The ‘Heart’ of Heart Mountain: Japanese American Internment Through The Eyes Of A Child And His Unlikely Friend

On February 19, 1942, ten weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which resulted in the forced relocation and incarceration of more than 100,000 people of Japanese descent on the West Coast. Families were taken from their homes and placed in internment camps, where they spent the remainder of the war as prisoners.

Shigeru “Shig” Yabu was just ten years old when he and his family were evacuated from their San Francisco home and sent to Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Cody, Wyoming.

At 87, Shig came to StoryCorps with his grandson Evan to remember the thing that came to define his experience as an internee — adopting and caring for a bird named Maggie.

In 2007, Shig wrote a children’s book, titled Hello Maggie, about his experiences as an internee. To hear more of Shig’s story, check out the StoryCorps podcast.

Top Photo: Evan Yabu and Shigeru Yabu at their StoryCorps interview in Camarillo, CA in September 2019. Photo by Rochelle Hoi-Yiu Kwan for StoryCorps. 
Middle Photo: A mid 1940s snapshot from the barracks at Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Cody, Wyoming. Public Domain, Department of the Interior. War Relocation Authority.
Bottom Photo: Cover illustration from ‘Hello Maggie.’ Courtesy of Shigeru Yabu.

Originally aired February 21, 2020 on NPR’s Morning Edition.