Vi Hatano

Vi Hatano was raised in rural Salinas. Vi’s father was a successful produce farmer. Farming was hard work and left little time for recreation. Vi remembers the excitement of seeing friends or family off on vacation to Japan, on these occasions, dinner out in San Francisco was something to celebrate. Vi was in the fifth grade when her family was sent to Poston II internment camp. Vi worried about the quality of education in the internment camp. In fact, when she finally returned to Salinas and her high school, she realized she was not at the same level as her classmates.

Vi also remembers her high school principal insisting that she adopt an American name. She has no idea why, but out of the blue she selected Violet. Vi’s father was a good natured and friendly man and the connections he made before the war helped him rebuild his produce farm. Vi was a dedicated elementary school teacher for many years in Sacramento. She is married to Mas Hatano and they have three grown sons. Vi and Mas are dedicated volunteers for a variety of organizations.

Video Timeline

Note: To listen to a specific clip, move the slider on the video to the designated clip time listed below.

00:00 – Introduction

00:18 – Clip 1
Vi talks about getting an award at school in Salinas. Worry of eating out. Special events only.

03:56 – Clip 2
Vi changed her name to an English name upon returning from camp.

04:43 – Clip 3
School was harder with all Japanese classmates.

06:53 – Clip 4
Vi describes her parents’ adjustment to post camp life. She also discusses life in Sacramento compared to Salinas.

Video production provided by the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium –


Primary source images to accompany Vi Hatano’s story. Images provided by Vi Hatano – Elk Grove Unified School District.

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