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Personal Narratives of Evacuation and Relocation of Japanese Americans During World War II, 1924-2018

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Series I: Internees (continued)
Walter Takeo Tsukamoto Collection
Collection ID: 10657
Digital content available
Tsukamoto was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, United States Army Reserve in 1926. At the outbreak of World War II, he requested a transfer to active duty, but was repeatedly denied. He and his family were interned at Sacramento Assembly Center (a.k.a. Walerga Assembly Center), California, and Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, until February 1943. In March 1943, Tsukamoto received orders to report for active duty. He served with the United States Army Judge Advocate General Corps at Camp Savage, Minnesota, and following the end of World War II, served in Japan, San Francisco, California, Korea, and Heidelberg, Germany. He served until his death in 1961. His daughter and son-in-law were interviewed on his behalf.
BOX miniDV Video Interview with Dorie Tsukamoto and Charles Kobayashi, October 20, 2003
60 minutes
MV01-MV02: Topics covered include: working as a civil rights advocate before the war; Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) at the University of California, Berkeley; receiving appointment as Judge Advocate General (JAG) in the United States Army, first Japanese American to be employed as such; anti-Japanese sentiment in America; rejected for military after Pearl Harbor; evacuation and internment of Japanese Americans; released from Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, to go onto active duty; assigned to Germany; recognized as one of the nine best JAGs in the Army and promoted to full colonel.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-482/1 Biography, undated
MS01: Topics covered include: Childhood; ROTC at the University of California, Berkeley; first Japanese American to receive commission from Berkeley; working for the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL); offered appointment as Judge Advocate General in United States Army; attempt to apply for active service in the Army was denied; curfew imposed on Japanese Americans; family placed in internment camp; abuse in the camps; left internment camp to serve in the Army; Camp Savage, Minnesota; presiding over cases during the Korean War; promoted to colonel.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-482/2 Transcript, undated
MS02: Transcript of MV01-MV02.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-482/3 Photograph, 1904-1962
PH01: Tsukamoto's parents posing with mayor of family's hometown (1904).
PH02: Tsukamoto as a teenager (1922).
PH03: Tsukamoto upon receiving commission as a Second Lieutenant, United States Army Reserve (1926).
PH04: Tsukamoto during a visit with family while on furlough (1944).
PH05: Tsukamoto at Camp Savage, Minnesota (1943).
PH07: Tsukamoto with wife and children, Sacramento, California (1939).
PH08: Group photo of Judge Advocate General's Corps officers, Tsukamoto is second from left.
PH09: Plaque in remembrance of Tsukamoto at entrance to the Presidio in San Francisco (1962).
Mack F. Tsujimoto Collection
Collection ID: 71923
Digital content available
Tsujimoto was interned at Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, where he worked as a surgical assistant in the camp hospital. After being cleared by the FBI, he was released from Tule Lake and went to work at Women's Medical College Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1944, he was drafted into the Army and trained with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team Replacement Unit. But due to flat feet, he was transferred to the Army Air Forces, and served in Colorado, the Philippines, and Japan. He was released from active duty in 1946, and served in the Air Force Reserve until 1954.
BOX CDDVD-184 Video Interview with Mack F. Tsujimoto, May 26, 2010
48 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: early years on farm; high school; three brothers and one sister; in State Guard when war started; unit sent to San Francisco, California, but he was sick that day, and didn't join them, later told by his commander that he was safer where he was; sent to Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, with family; worked as surgical assistant at hospital; FBI cleared him to work outside the camp; job at Women's Medical College Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; drafted in 1944; sent from Colorado to Florida; trained in 442nd Regimental Combat Team Replacement Unit; flat feet, rejected; sent to Army Air Corps in Texas; overseas to South Pacific with Medical Group; stationed in the Philippines (6/1945); assigned to air base near Tokyo, Japan (10/1945); still heavy fighting, lost supply ship to submarine attack; family was ok, did not write; brother in 442nd Regimental Combat Team; end of war, Japanese soldier stole their food; translating for commander; sent to Colorado with commander; discharged; served in reserve until 1954; joined parents as tenant farmers; bought pear ranch; inspector with California Department of Agriculture; married in 1948; joined American Legion and served as commander.
Warren Michio Tsuneishi Collection
Collection ID: 2153
Digital content available
Tsuneishi was interned at Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming, before enlisting in the United States Army in 1943. He served as a translator with 306th Headquarters Intelligence Detachment, XXIV Corps, in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
BOX VHS-24 Video Interview with Warren Michio Tsuneishi, July 2, 2002
82 minutes
MV01-MV02: raw footage of interview with Tsuneishi. MV01 is the camera view of the interviewers.
BOX VHS-24 Video Interview with Warren Michio Tsuneishi, July 2, 2002
82 minutes
MV03: Topics covered include: born in California to Japanese parents; internment in 1942 at Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming; businessmen lost everything, economic disaster; comparison to Dachau; University of California; War Relocation Authority; working on farms in Idaho; Heart Mountain Relocation Center; correspondence with outside; elementary school; sister was teacher; father had carried books, donated to school; bachelors in dormitories; loss of liberty was depressing; last $15 lost in poker game; orderly in hospital in Wyoming; brother Arthur worked as draftsman in Chicago; Syracuse University; feeling American at heart; Boy Scout duty; resisted learning Japanese; dual citizenship but one national loyalty; renounced Japanese citizenship; volunteered for Army service in 1943; Military Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS); Hawaii, National Guard; volunteers for Japanese language specialists; brother at Camp Savage; six month total immersion course to learn Japanese; classified as translator; infantry basic training; visited parents at Heart Mountain; guards at gate wearing same uniform; Japanese mother’s mixed feelings about outcome of war; International Red Cross to check on well-being; father’s haikus; views as Japanese American unchanged; job as translator, translating documents; Camotes Islands under fire; Okinawa friendly fire; assigned bodyguards to protect from own forces; non-commissioned officer (NCO); brother in field artillery; government two-headed policy; parents released from internment; best years of my life; message: “never give up hope”; never lost sight of promise of equality in Gettysburg address, in Constitution, Franklin Roosevelt’s promise; America is nation in process of living up to its dreams; Ceremony of Reconciliation; draft resisters contested relocation; draft resisters vilified and ostracized; wounds festered; essay contest for DAR; USS Maine inscription of nine Japanese casualties.
BOX audio cassette Audio Interview with Warren Michio Tsuneishi, September 30, 2003
103 minutes
SR01-SR02: Topics covered include: born in California to Japanese parents; father a farmer, then became Christian missionary in the United States, born in Japan, immigrated to the United States in 1907; mother was a school teacher in Japan; Tsuneishi was one of ten children (nine survived: six boys and three girls); internment in 1942 at Heart Mountain, Wyoming; businessmen lost everything, economic disaster; “Take only what you can carry” policy; comparison to concentration camp; comparison to how Muslim-Americans are treated in the United States today; University of California; War Relocation Authority; working on farms in Idaho; Heart Mountain Relocation Center; correspondence with people outside the camp; elementary school; sister was teacher; father had carried books, donated to school; bachelors in dormitories; loss of liberty depressing; last $15 lost in poker game; orderly in hospital in Wyoming; brother Arthur worked as draftsman in Chicago; Syracuse University; feeling American at heart; Boy Scout duty; resisted learning Japanese; dual citizenship but one national loyalty; renounced Japanese citizenship (philosophy of Japan that all are Japanese no matter where you are born compared to United States policy of birthright citizenship); did not have official Japanese citizenship but felt obligated to renounce; to further education, volunteered for Army service, 1943; Military Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS); Hawaii, National Guard; volunteered for Japanese language specialists; older brother drafted in November 1941; sent to old Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Camp Savage; six month total immersion course to learn Japanese; classified as translator; Infantry basic training; visited parents at Heart Mountain; guards at gate wearing same uniform; Japanese mother’s mixed feelings about outcome of war; International Red Cross to check on well-being; father’s haikus; views as Japanese American unchanged; details job as translator, translating Japanese classified military documents; Camotes Islands under fire; Okinawa friendly fire; took some Japanese prisoners of war (POWs); facing Japanese soldiers; experience details how he felt.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-179/1 Biographical information, June 30, 2002
1 folder
MS01: Tsuneishi's Curriculum Vitae.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-179/2 Military papers, January 24, 1946
1 folder
MS02: Discharge form and certificate.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-179/3 Printed Matter, 1995-2003
1 folder
MS03: Excerpt from "MIS in the War Against Japan: Personal Experiences Related at the 1993 MIS Capital Reunion, 'The Nisei Veteran: An American Patriot'," edited by Stanley L. Falk and Warren M. Tsuneishi (1995); "Nisei Soldiers in the War Against Japan," by Stanley L. Falk, printed in 2003 by the Japanese American Veterans Association.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-2580/1 Transcript, July 2, 2002
1 folder
Transcript of MV03
BOX-FOLDER MSS-2580/2 Transcript, September 30, 2003
1 folder
Transcript of SR01-SR02
BOX-FOLDER MSS-179/4 Photographs, 1942-1943
1 folder
PH01: Tsuneishi (left) and a buddy from the Philippines, seated with tents and palm trees in background, Philippines, 1944.
PH02: Tsuneishi's mother and a friend holding service flags, each with four stars representing four sons in service, Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming [1942-1943].
PH03: A soldier standing outside a United Service Organizations (USO) building at Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming (1942-1943).
PH04: Two of Tsuneishi's colleagues at the Army Military Intelligence Service Language School, Camp Savage, Minnesota.
BOX CD/DVD-2 Computer file, 2004
1 optical disc
CF01: Electronic files of photographs PH01-PH04.
George Minoru Wakiji Collection
Collection ID: 27117
Digital content available
Wakiji was interned at Santa Anita Assembly Center (Santa Anita Racetrack), California, and Gila River Relocation Center, Arizona, as a teenager. His family was released in July 1945. In 1950, he was drafted into the United States Army and served with H Company, 180th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, at Fort Ord, California, and Chorwon, Korea. Following his service, he studied journalism, and later served in the Peace Corps in the Kingdom of Tonga.
BOX miniDV Video Interview with George Minoru Wakiji, May 13, 2004
102 minutes
MV01-MV02: Topics covered include: parents from Wakayama Prefecture; father came to United States for economic reasons; worked on railroad construction and nursery in Pasadena; started his own nursery business; mother came to United States in 1910; grew up in predominantly white neighborhood; attended Japanese language school; shocked by attack on Pearl Harbor; looked at evacuation/relocation as adventure at age 13; evacuated with family to Santa Anita Assembly Center (Santa Anita Racetrack), California; slept in temporary barracks; father lost nursery; catching up on education due to poor schools in camp; family left internment camp in July 1945; brother drafted and sent to Fort Snelling; drafted for Korea; basic training at Fort Ord, California; treated equally; leadership school; managed the football team; shipped to Japan and then Korea; assigned to 1st Cavalry Division; deployed near the DMZ; he looked like the enemy; recreation in Korea; went to Japan in 1952 for R&R; visited grandmother and relatives in Wakayama Prefecture; desegregation; two or three soldiers in his unit were illiterate; combat experiences; used GI Bill for education; returned to Pasadena; joined the Peace Corps after college; director for the Kingdom of Tonga; went to journalism school; 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service (MIS) proved the loyalty of Japanese Americans; executive director of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation; Civil Liberties Act of 1988; President Gerald Ford's rescinding Executive Order 9066.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-887/1 Memoirs, undated
1 folder
MS01: Four-page memoir entitled, "Biography of George M. Wakiji."
BOX-FOLDER MSS-887/2 Military papers, September 16, 1952
1 folder
MS02: DD-214; Discharge Certificate
BOX-FOLDER MSS2674/1 Transcript, May 13, 2004
1 folder
MS03: Transcript of interview (MV01-MV02).
Jack Shuzo Yamabe collection
Collection ID: 30310
Digital content available
Yamabe was interned at Santa Anita Assembly Center (Santa Anita Racetrack), California, and Rohwer Relocation Center, Arkansas, as a young man. In 1944, he was drafted into the United States Army, and served as a translator in Japan.
BOX miniDV Video Interview with Jack Shuzo Yamabe, July 18, 2005
18 minutes
MV01: Topics include: born in Hollywood, California; growing up in poor family; 21 years old during his stay in internment camp; family didn’t lose land and/or business like a lot of Japanese; father was a WWI veteran; drafted in the Army in 1944 while he was living in Chicago, Illinois; interned at Santa Anita Assembly Center (Santa Anita Racetrack), California, facility prior to being sent to Rohwer Relocation Center, Arkansas; working as a truck driver prior to moving into the internment camp; dealing with racism; acceptance of Jewish community; viewing time stationed in Japan as a vacation since there were better translators residing there than veteran; helping with the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) in Japan; soldiers playing pranks on each other; getting the measles right before the Battle of the Bulge campaign; seeing General Douglas MacArthur frequently in Japan; working on taxis in Chicago, Illinois after the war; marrying his wife Sumi before military service; daughter and two grandchildren; becoming a teacher; regret of not having combat experience.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-973 Photograph, 2005
1 folder
PH01: Contemporary photo of Yamabe.
BOX CDDVD-23 Computer File, July 18, 2005
1 optical disc
CF01: Contains photograph (PH01) in JPEG format.
Frank Takaji Yamamoto Collection
Collection ID: 85536
Digital content available
Yamamoto was interned at Manzanar Relocation Center, California, before being released and relocated to inland California in June 1943. He was drafted into the United States Army in May 1944, and after training at Fort McClellan, Alabama, attended the Military Intelligence Service Language School and served as a Japanese language instructor at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. While serving with the Military Intelligence Service in Tokyo, Japan, and Manila, Philippines, his duties included serving as an interpreter and translator during war crimes trials. He served in the Army Reserve from 1947-1968, and worked in civil service positions with Legal Section, Supreme Commander for Allied Powers, 500th Military Intelligence Group, United States Civil Service Administration of Ryukyu Islands, NISO Japan, and NISO Treasure Island, 12th Naval District.
BOX Hi-8 Video Interview with Frank Takaji Yamamoto, July 8, 2012
62 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: family members that served in the military; knowledge of activities leading up to United States involvement in World War II; evacuation to the Manzanar Relocation Center, California; living conditions at Manzanar; sentiments about being interned; how he coped with time in the internment camp; release from camp and relocation to inland California in June 1943; education prior to service; work experience prior to military; family's reaction to being drafted; basic training at Fort McClellan, Alabama; duties and instruction received during basic training; treatment as a Japanese American soldier during basic training; how he coped during basic training; most difficult thing about basic training; living conditions and food while in basic training; sent to Military Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS) for training at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, in 1944; treatment as Japanese American soldier at Fort Snelling; classes other than language taken at Fort Snelling; assigned as Japanese language instructor at Fort Snelling in 1945; felt he was respected while an instructor; living conditions; most difficult thing about being an instructor; morale; opinions of fellow soldiers and superiors while at Fort Snelling; felt the language and military intelligence training was very good; sent to Tokyo, Japan, in April 1946; military specialty as a linguist; feelings and preparedness for assignment in the Pacific; no apprehension as a Japanese American serving in the Pacific; assigned to Manila, Philippines in May 1946; mission of military intelligence in Manila; feelings upon arrival in Philippines; duties in Manila as an interpreter and interrogator during the war crimes trials; methods used to interrogate Japanese Prisoners of War (POW); surprised reaction of prisoners of war (POWs) at his being a Japanese American soldier; duty to witness punishment and execution of Japanese prisoners of war (POWs); living conditions in Manila; felt he should have received additional training to live through the monsoons and bad weather conditions in Manila; poor morale while assigned in Manila due to bad weather; difficulties while assigned in Manila; next assigned to the Interpretive Services Headquarters in Tokyo in 1947; Team Captain in the Interpretive Services; Congressional Gold Medal; discharged from service on November 11, 1947 in Japan; feelings upon discharge from military; enlisted in the Army Reserve from 1947-1968; rationale for joining the Army Reserve; training and duties while in the Reserves; served in Reserves during the Korean and Vietnam Wars; never called to active duty; release from Army Reserves on April 2, 1968; education and degrees received after active duty service; post military career in civil service position with Legal Section, Supreme Commander for Allied Powers, 500th Military Intelligence Group, United States Civil Service Administration of Ryukyu Islands, NISO Japan, and NISO Treasure Island, 12th Naval District; most interesting aspects of post military career; views on toughest part of service; scariest moment in service and World War II; thoughts on whether sacrifice during World War II was justified; how military training and service impacted outlook on life; most memorable experience while serving on active duty; advice for future generations.
Ann Yamasaki Collection
Collection ID: 92981
Yamasaki was interned at Marysville Assembly Center (a.k.a. Arboga Assembly Center), California, Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, and Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming.
BOX VHS-579 Video Interview with Ann Yamasaki, July 10, 1990
48 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: early life; father worked in agriculture; parents were born in Japan; learning of the attack on Pearl Harbor; brother had been drafted in 1940; ordered to assembly center, age 23; changes in attitudes towards Japanese Americans; travel to Marysville Assembly Center (a.k.a. Arboga Assembly Center), California; poor conditions in assembly center; move to Tule Lake Relocation Center, California; loyalty questionnaire; brother's service, was not allowed to visit family in camp; mother injured in a landslide; mail censored; moved to Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming; worked in mess hall; found work in Chicago; differences between Tule Lake and Heart Mountain; redress movement; father's employer stored all of the family's belongings; parents' attitudes towards Japan; family's religion and cultural traditions; interactions with guards in internment camps; conditions in camps; daily life, recreation activities and work in camps; floods in Heart Mountain; visiting Japan in 1986; family in Japan; thoughts on atomic bombing; tradition of arranged marriage; meeting her husband; parents' marriage; family.
Series II: War Relocation Authority Civilian Employees & Military Support
Edna M. Becker Collection
Collection ID: 9653
Digital content available
Becker worked as a secretary for the federal government in several locations, including Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming.
BOX AC-206 Audio Interview with Edna M. Becker, February 25, 2003
21 minutes
SR01: Topics covered include: Education; Pearl Harbor; job at Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming; Casper with sister; marriage; D-Day celebration; after war; keeping in contact with relatives in the service; her husband's experience in war.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-00453 Photograph, February 25, 2003
1 folder
PH01: Contemporary photograph of Becker, Powell, Wyoming (2/25/2003).
Lewis J. Furlong Collection
Collection ID: 91002
Furlong was drafted into the Army in 1943, and served with I Company, 3rd Battalion, 275th Infantry Regiment, 70th Infantry Division as a M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) man. His service included guarding the Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, in 1944, before volunteering for the infantry and shipping out to the European Theater.
BOX CD/DVD-323 Video Interview with Lewis J. Furlong, May 4, 2013
59 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: Early life and family; moving to Tipp City, Ohio; school; playing baseball; inducted in 1943; being assigned to guard Tule Lake Relocation Center, California; thoughts on reparations paid to Japanese Americans; interactions with Japanese Americans; volunteering for the infantry; transferring to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri for more training; M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) man; leaving Boston, Massachusetts aboard a troop ship; nine days of travel; landing at Marseille, France, in mid-December 1944; staying overnight in a warehouse; leaving Marseille by train for eastern France; ambushed by Germans on first day; cold weather; going to a French warehouse but have to leave because of German fire; trapped on a hill for seven days without supplies; finally leaving the hills; treated for frost bite; slowly taking town by town; getting to the Siegfried line; war ending; sent to Frankfort, Germany to guard the train station; return to United States in March 1946 on the USS William and Mary; taking a passenger train from Pennsylvania to Dayton, Ohio; truck driver for a stone quarry; work for Tipp Lumber Company; handling feed for a feed company; marriage and family; working for A. O. Smith Corporation from 1952-1985 in the factory and in the office.
Alice A. Gapp Collection
Collection ID: 5887
Digital content available
Gapp worked as a librarian for the War Relocation Authority at Rohwer Relocation Center, Arkansas, from 1943-1944.
BOX AC-145 Audio Interview with Alice A. Gapp, October 14, 2002
24 minutes
SR01: Topics covered include: decided to be a librarian; bachelor's degree from Drexel Institute of Library Science in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; rural library WPA (Works Progress Administration) job in Lincoln, Nebraska; felt sad for Japanese Americans; wanted to make life better at a relocation center; sent to Rohwer Relocation Center in McGehee, Arkansas; substitute science teacher; Japanese American staff; community librarian; living conditions at the Center; tar paper shacks; work friend; Suroto Hatanaka's wedding at Buddhist church; sang song in Japanese; Nisei spoke English; interviewed people to return to Japan via Gripsholm; typical day of work; books supplied by United States government; story hours; books in Japanese for Issei; twelve staff members; Nisei occupations, animator for Walt Disney; people were upset; family; Japanese language school for children; cultural life in camp; gift of painting; Noh drama; biweekly newspaper in English and Japanese; Earnest Teens of YWCA trip to Little Rock, Arkansas; allowed outside camp with Caucasian escort; went to Jerome, Arkansas, in dump truck with sumo wrestling group; living arrangements; food and gardening at the camp; separate mess hall for staff; no military except for guards; Protestant church; piano concerts; Buddhist services; Gapp could leave the base anytime; many Japanese Americans relocated to Chicago, Illinois; one year at the Center; left to get married to Frank, who she met while in Nebraska; kept in touch with friends; Japanese who went to Italy; reflections on time; party and gifts at the Center for her wedding.
Velma Berryman Kessel Collection
Collection ID: 9640
Digital content available
Kessel worked as a registered nurse at Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming, 1942-1945.
BOX AC-205 Audio Interview with Velma Berryman Kessel, June 19, 2002
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