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Personal Narratives of the Forced Removal and Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II: Veterans History Project (U.S.)

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Series I: Formerly Incarcerated People (continued)
Shigeru Sam Imoto Collection
Collection ID: 65048
Imoto was incarcerated at Poston Relocation Center, Arizona, as a teenager. In 1946 he was drafted into the United States Army and served with Headquarters Company, European Command, in Heidelberg, Germany.
BOX Hi8 Video Interview with Shigeru Sam Imoto, March 29, 2008
49 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: introduction; being drafted, had to go into Army, in an detention center at time of draft; friends and family being drafted, brothers; no career plans; going through training, real war; unit, treated badly at first; assignment in Germany, desk job; weapons, rifle; sergeant rank, taking two years, better pay; committing his time, time in service; life after service, farming, working in Tulare County Probation Department; prejudice towards Japanese; coming back from incarceration, still had a home to go to; life in detention center, older sister living in a different block, brothers drafted; job at headquarters; picked-on because he was Japanese; awards; education in detention center; stories, fights, incidents; knowledge of judo; Army Boxing Team; racial fights, judo was a life saver; German prisoner of war (POW) experience; guarding Russian prisoners; glad to be at headquarters, advice to stay out of infantry; family.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-1879 Photographs, 1948-2008
1 folder
PH01: A black and white print of Imoto standing on a balcony in Paris, France (1948).
PH02: A black and white print of Imoto crouching in uniform, Heidelberg, Germany (1948).
PH03: A color print of Imoto standing outside his house in Lindsay, California (3/29/2008).
Masaji Inoshita Collection
Collection ID: 47655
Digital content available
Inoshita was incarcerated at Tulare Assembly Center, California, and Gila River Relocation Center, Arizona. In 1942, he enlisted in the United States Army and served as a translator and interpreter with the Military Intelligence Services (MIS) in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater.
BOX CDDVD-60 Video Interview with Masaji Inoshita, July 12, 2004
182 minutes
MV01-MV02: Topics covered include: father immigrated in 1900, became a hog farmer, built roads, and surveyed land; older brother died in infancy; mother came to the United States as a "picture bride"; put in care of Apache family until he was six; failed first year of school, only spoke Apache and Japanese; learned English; father started farming again in 1927; grew up in farm country of Santa Maria, California; parents advised him he was a "second class citizen," still better than first class in Japan; told him he would lead family; parents said he could not succeed as a Japanese American due to racism; childhood ambition and accomplishments; always aware of dangers of contact between Japanese male and Caucasian female; isolated to Japanese community; attended Hancock Junior College (Allan Hancock College); father's stroke; left school to run farm with brother; was still not a citizen; had to have someone else "run" the farm; at age 21 inherited farm leases; drafted; classed 1A at Army exam; then as a farmer classified 3A; war was good for business; Japan's military aggression; anti-Japanese feeling in United States; after naval losses in Pearl Harbor, clear that Japanese Americans would be affected; five days after war started, FBI arrested his father; no reason given; other families in the valley raided; more than 4,000 people picked up by Department of Justice (DOJ); questioned in Missoula; father and others sent to Fort Lincoln Internment Camp; travel restrictions, curfew; firearms and radios seized; bank accounts frozen; evacuated with "what you can carry in your two hands"; huge problem for property owners; had to sell their expensive horses cheaply; could not sell crops, gave them to Filipinos to harvest; wiped out the family farm financially; put money in frozen bank account; sold trucks; friend of father's offered his empty barn for storage; told the friend that he would face abuse for helping Japanese Americans; agreed to store belongings in barn; barber offers him a farm in Wichita, Kansas, but he could not accept; broader community afraid to help for fear of being ostracized; taken to train station in Guadalupe, CA; windows of train nailed shut; taken to Tulare Assembly Center; guards with rifles; 10 family members in row 7 stall 12; no space for the cots; inadequate facilities; septic tank overflowing, told to use bathroom and shower less; disastrous food supply, lack of food; protested, wrote letters to politicians over conditions; had to include family number (like in prison); no one answered mail; got extra food once due to council visit; August 21,1942, 500 put on train to Los Angeles; heard they were going to Arizona; rumors of being killed in Arizona; relief on arriving in Casa Grande (Gila River Relocation Center); civilians ran camps; farming near Gila River; asked to raise seeds; Seed Farm Road; supplied produce to other camps; veteran first served as a cook, then picked cotton; Army's need for Japanese translators; 4C classification for Japanese, could only "volunteer"; 29 at Gila River volunteered, including Inoshita; sent to Camp Savage, Minnesota; resentment over volunteers in Japanese community; brother was socially isolated, became mentally ill; Army wanted to draft Japanese Americans; sent loyalty questionnaires; questions 27 and 28; implications of questions; bring "Yes-No" and "No-No" to Tule Lake; people expatriated to Japan (Gripsholm); Gordon Hirabayashi and others sent to camp on Mount Lemmon, near Tucson, including 10 Hopi people; most people wound up serving in 442nd Regimental Combat Team; Mark Clark in Italy; Sgt. Kazuo Masuda's bravery; Masuda's cremated remains; Ronald Reagan, redress, and Civil Liberties Act; medals of honor for 442nd Regimental Combat Team; story of the Lost Battalion; President Harry Truman's honor for 442nd Regimental Combat Team; 442nd Regimental Combat Team's impact on American attitudes towards Japanese; Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952; presidential apology; Military Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS); graduated language school in 1943 but couldn't leave until 1944 due to Liberty ship delays; roundabout route around Australia; discussion of war tactics abroad; Burma campaign; Joseph Stillwell and General Haydon Boatner; Inoshita served under a British Unit; interrogation work; was selected to go to headquarters in Delhi; assigned to Queensway barrack; given American uniforms; trying to learn Hindi; wound up on front line in Burma; bodies of Japanese soldiers who committed suicide; interrogated survivor; gave him anti-malarial pill, Lucky Strike cigarette; received commendation for his work with the survivor; working as translator with fourth grade reading level, asks prisoner for help; questioning Japanese prisoner; asking prisoner to read documents to help with translation; British need for interrogators after end of the war; flown with partner to Chabua, India; unit transferred to China; flown over “Himalayan Hump” in C-46 airplane; very dangerous for pilots; job was to find landing places for troops in China to attack Japan; not successful; playing bridge at night while sailing; attacked by Chinese pirates; fired only shot in overseas duty at pirate ship; threatened with charge for discharging firearms without orders; saved ship from pirates; charge dropped; took part in surrender ceremonies; wound up in Okinawa; sent to Hiroshima to assess atomic bomb damage in 1945; examining the beach in Hiroshima; locals not prepared for invasion; report on beaches was buried; opinion that atomic bombs were not necessary; requested to go home; discharged in early January of 1946; worked as migrant farm laborer across Arizona for two and a half years; bought own farm; married wife Betty, raised three children; retirement at 72; community education work about experiences with incarceration, in Arizona and beyond; work honoring veterans; work with Japanese American Citizens League of Arizona; awards, medals, and certificates awarded to Inoshita; working with Native American (Gila River Indian) communities to memorialize former detention centers; non-Japanese people who wound up in detention centers; discrimination against Mexican woman who wound up in a camp with her husband; baseball games at the Gila River Relocation Center (Nisei Leagues); helped establish Buddhist church at the detention center; getting searched by other enlisted man (non-Japanese) entering and exiting camp; asked to translate surrender from Japanese to English; wound up being delivered in English; speaking to Chinese people in Japanese; goal of convincing people that incarceration should never be repeated in the future.
Frank Kageta Collection
Collection ID: 68430
Digital content available
Kageta was incarcerated at Tule Lake Relocation Center, California. In 1944, he enlisted in the United States Army and served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in France and Italy.
BOX CDDVD-162 Video Interview with Frank Kageta, August 6, 2009
64 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: introduction; early years, growing up in Northern California; discrimination in Sacramento, California; moved to Loomis, California, large Japanese American community; after war, incarceration at Tule Lake Relocation Center in California; loyalty questionnaire, father said "Don't sign"; after signing, was reclassified from 1-A to 4-C; Omaha, worked on large ranch; boot camp; Fort Lansing, Florida, "Happy to be wanted"; all Japanese American boot camp; boot camp cut short, needed for Replacement Unit; overseas to Marseille, France; 442nd Regimental Combat Team; R & R; Champaign Campaign; Gothic Line of defense in Italy, 5th Army; "Ike didn't want Japanese Americans"; first combat at Gothic Line; gas mask story; left machine gun, had to get German POWs; Italian family took into house, cellar; bombed out homes and cities; mentions book on 442nd Regimental Combat Team; no communication with parents; brother wounded, passed each other; autograph of movie star; duties: processed prisoners of war (POWs), guarded supply depot; German stole trucks; shipped back to New York; discharged; GI loans, bought farm with brother; worked for County Water Agency; joined American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW); should have draft today, for discipline; would do all over again; devastation of Italy was terrible; Italian people were good to them.
Norman Noboru Kamada collection
Collection ID: 83256
Digital content available
Kamada was incarcerated at Poston Relocation Center, Arizona. In 1944 he was drafted into the United States Army and served with the 2nd Squad, 2nd Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, 5th Army Division, in France and Italy.
BOX CDDVD-265 Video Interview with Norman Noboru Kamada, January 30, 2012
27 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: childhood in Dinuba, California, on a farm; family was sent to Poston Relocation Center, Arizona; drafted into Army at Fort Douglas; basic training in Florida; sent to Italy as a replacement; chased Germans in the Apennines; most terrifying experience involved the "screaming meemies"; hit with shrapnel but still dug fox hole; discussion of medals; deloused German prisoners of war (POWs); one day of rest in France; got Jinx Falkenburg's autograph on Italian lira; had good relationships with fellow G.I.'s and officers; re-enlisted into the Army; sent to Fort Lewis, Washington; used G.I. Bill to attend trade school; became a big rig driver for 30 years; good friends with men from unit; joined veterans organization; marriage and children; retired to "take it easy"; "positive" service experience; earned Congressional gold medal in 2011.
Kiyo Jean Kariya Collection
Collection ID: 27142
Digital content available
Kiyo Jean Kariya, née Ito, was incarcerated at Tanforan Assembly Center (Tanforan Racetrack), California, Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. “Topaz”), and at Crystal City Internment Camp, Texas, as a teenager. Following World War II, her parents elected to move the family to Japan, and she worked as a civilian employee of the 720th Military Police Battalion, United States Army, in Sendai, Japan. She later worked for IBM, and returned to the United States.
BOX miniDV Video Interview with Kiyo Jean Kariya, February 16, 2004
98 minutes
MV01-MV02: Topics covered include: father arrived in the United States in the early 1900s; wanted an education; mother came to the United States in the early 1920s and worked for the Japanese Consul General in San Francisco; settled in Oakland, California; spoke Japanese at home; petrified after attack on Pearl Harbor; father's home and office ransacked by the FBI; description of forced removal; Tanforan Assembly Center (Tanforan Racetrack), California; conditions at Tanforan; schooling at Tanforan; father arrested and taken to jail, eventually sent to Bismarck, North Dakota; moved from Tanforan to Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. "Topaz"); life at Topaz; people could leave the camp for education or jobs; spent three years at Topaz and Crystal City Internment Camp, Texas; joined father in Texas; life in Crystal City; graduated from high school while at Topaz; parents elected to repatriate to Japan 12/25/1945; landed at Uraga Bay, near Tokyo; worked for United States Army in Sendai; job with 720th Military Police Battalion; treated well by military personnel, but not by civil service workers; took a job with IBM as a secretary, interpreter/translator; bought house in Yokohama for parents; taught English to prominent family; General Douglas MacArthur's accomplishments; Japanese view of MacArthur; transferred to IBM New York; joined Japanese American Citizens League (JACL); married.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-888/1 Memoirs, undated
1 folder
MS01: Autobiography covering Kariya's early life and her return to the United States after World War II.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-888/2 Other Manuscript Material, 1998-2001
1 folder
MS02: Text of two Speeches: Speech on Prejudice given on 09/30/2001; Living in Occupied Japan (Dec. 1945--June 1951) given to the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) on 03/14/1998.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-888/2 Transcript, undated
1 folder
MS03: Non-verbatim transcript of MV01-MV02.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-2959/1 Transcript, February 16, 2004
1 folder
MS04: Transcript of MV01-MV02.
Haruo Kato Collection
Collection ID: 113634
Kato was incarcerated at Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. “Topaz”), as a child. Following their release, his family returned to Hayward, California. Kato eventually attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he pursued a degree in social welfare, and trained with the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps. After failing his flight physical due to allergies, he was drafted into the United States Navy in 1955, and served for 22 years, retiring as a Lieutenant Commander.
BOX CDDVD-564 Video Interview with Haruo Kato, January 2, 2018
100 minutes
MV01: Topics include: Father was a landscaper; mother was a homemaker; one of eight siblings (two girls, six boys); lived in a home that father built; living next to the Western Pacific Railroad and witnessing an accident; attended San Lorenzo Elementary and Hayward High School; Kato was eight years old when Japanese Americans were transported to detention centers; Kato and family went to Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. "Topaz"), Utah, for two and a half years; older and younger brother were drafted into Army; Kato played football all four years of high school; didn’t get a scholarship despite having high grades; attended University of California, Berkeley, to pursue Social Welfare degree; cadet in Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC); goal of becoming a pilot; going to Camp Parks (Parks Air Force Base) for flight physical and failing exam due to allergies; drafted in December 1955 into the United States Navy due to an under-manning of 50,000 personnel; another draftee suffering from a seizure, administered aid; served as Company Chief throughout recruit training; Commander organized for Kato to be picked up by a Douglas A-1 Skyraider aircraft in order to go to Los Alamitos Airfield to have pilot physical examination; failed examination a second time for not meeting the height requirement by a quarter of an inch but the doctor helped him pass the next morning; worked as an aircraft mechanic during college; immediately became Battalion Adjutant at Officers Training School; attending Navigation School in Orlando, Florida; transferred to Naval Air Station Barbers Point in Oahu, Hawaii as an Ensign; served with Navy Weather Reconnaissance Squadron (VW) 12; spending time in Waikiki; sent to Hickam Air Force Base to attend Air Force navigation training because there were no aircrafts to utilize for training; Tachikawa Airfield in Tokyo, Japan and New Delhi, India for flight training; traveled to Burbank, California to pick up newly constructed L-1049 Super Constellation aircrafts for the squadron; met up with brother in Los Angeles, California; became Department Head for Navigation; extended military service for two more years; transferred to Naval Air Transport Wing Pacific at Moffett Field, California; received immediate orders to transfer to Antarctic Development Squadron Six (VXE-6); flew the P-2 (P2V) Neptune; grid navigation; Monterey, California for Science post-graduate certification; became Officer in Charge of Defense Mapping Agency located in Atsugi, Japan; job offer to manage engineering contracts from friend immediately upon retiring; kept in touch with old friends living in Missouri and Kentucky; 200 lb. bomb dropping down a weapons elevator on the USS Ticonderoga and being thrown into the Yellow Sea; Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and Branson Veterans Task Force; future generations should work hard and pursue their dreams.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-3006/1 Biography, undated
1 folder
MS01: Brief summary of Kato's life.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-3006/2 Military papers, June 30, 1977
1 folder
MS02: Discharge form.
John Junji Katsu Collection
Collection ID: 89308
Digital content available
Katsu was incarcerated at Tanforan Assembly Center (Tanforan Racetrack), California, and Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. “Topaz”), before being released to attend high school in Kansas City. In 1945, he was drafted into the United States Army and served at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and with the United States Zone Constabulary and Military Government Office in Germany.
BOX CDDVD-310 Video Interview with John Junji Katsu, January 25, 2013
124 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: Childhood in California; parents coming over from Japan; San Francisco, California fires; moving to Tanforan Assembly Center (Tanforan Racetrack), California; living in horse stalls; life at camp; culture; organization; what helped them get through camp; taking the train to Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. “Topaz”); life at the new camp; schools and hospitals at the camps; effects on family dynamics; effect of not knowing their fate; options available for work and college; reunions of incarcerated Japanese Americans; moving to Kansas City to attend high school; very warm reception by student body; moving with his sister to Washington, DC; adjusting to the feeling of freedom; impressions of Washington, DC; how playing sports helped Katsu with people; being drafted into the Army; Fort Bragg, North Carolina for field artillery training; shipping off to Germany; boxing aboard ship; having German prisoner of war (POWs) aboard the ship for transport back to Europe; landing in Belgium; memory of an incident with a roommate in Germany; meeting a Japanese American from Hawaii who made Katsu a Japanese meal; being reassigned to Schweinfurt, Germany; radio operator for an armored car; having to perform in front of a commanding general for his first assignment; guarding the border between Czechoslovakia and Germany; seeing a football player he knew from Washington, DC; transferring to the Military Government Office; being part of the civil court; impressions of German people; helping to organize activities for German youth; teaching German youth about democracy; coming back home; helping his parents get back on their feet after being in the detention center; college at the University of Maryland; going to Oakland, California for commercial art; work and interests; art; gardening; family; how service helped in life.
Joe Kawakami Collection
Collection ID: 30789
Digital content available
Kawakami was incarcerated at Tanforan Assembly Center (Tanforan Racetrack), California, and Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. “Topaz”), as a child. He went on to serve in the United States Navy during the Korean War, followed by a civilian career as an engineer.
BOX CD/DVD-25 Audio Interview with Joe Kawakami, March 28, 2005
163 minutes
SR01-SR03: Topics covered include: the attack on Pearl Harbor, reactions, going to school; order to go to detention center, father sold business, packing; school in the camps; losing contact with people; living conditions; relocating, father's artwork, a pictorial history of their life in the camps; being children in the camps; victory gardens; feelings parents kept to themselves, Germans and Italians; food at the camps; shipped to Topaz from Tanforan; new school, airplane crashing; brothers volunteering for military service, soldiers from the camp who died; housing; a dog in the camp; throwing water on his dad; the water tower; sneaking out of the camp; Military Police relaxing, gave passes to go outside camp; Kawakami's brother; a painting commissioned; 1992 reunion for formerly incarcerated people, visiting camp; farms; atomic bomb being dropped; future wife lived in Japan during World War II; relocating to Chicago; joined the Navy during Korean War, work as an engineer for Standard Oil; started own engineering firm.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-987 Creative works, 1942-1945
1 folder
MS01: A copy of five paintings of scenes of the Tanforan and Topaz Internment Camps, and one painting of Kawakami's father, Chukaji Nanpo Kawakami. All the painting are watercolors by Chukaji Nanpo Kawakami.
Hayato Kihara collection
Collection ID: 25555
Digital content available
Kihara was a student at the University of California, Berkeley, before being incarcerated at Tanforan Assembly Center (Tanforan Racetrack), California, and Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. “Topaz”). In 1944, he enlisted in the United States Army and served with the Military Intelligence Service in Japan, Korea and the United States until his discharge in 1947. Following his service he continued his education at the University of Texas and the University of Wisconsin, and went on to a career as a research biochemist at the Lanterman Biochemistry Laboratory in Pomona, California.
BOX Hi8 Video interview with Hayato Kihara, September 20, 2004
50 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: family background; father's boardinghouse; 1906 San Francisco earthquake; born in Oakland, California, in 1922; childhood experiences in the Great Depression; Japanese Americans expelled from West Coast; initially sent to Tanforan Assembly Center (Tanforan Racetrack), California; poor living conditions at Tanforan; coping strategies; attempt to teach; became recreation director for children; forced forced reomoval Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. “Topaz”); crowded housing; deprivation; soil testing for arable land; horrible food; black market for food; rationing; grew produce near camp; joined the military; show of patriotism despite mistreatment; attended Japanese language school as a child; wanted to join the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; recruitment of Japanese Americans; sent to Military Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS) in Camp Savage, Minnesota; accelerated class; basic training in Alabama; costs of previous college in Texas; gained weight; SOS military food; earned five stripes, Zebra Platoon; ill-fitting uniforms; brother was instructor at MISLS; en route furlough to San Francisco; visited parents at Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. “Topaz”); train to Salt Lake City; first assignment to Japan mistakenly redirected to the Philippines; Liberty ship; typhoon en route to Okinawa; sent to Korea; plane to Seoul; directed to Pusan (Busan); family moved back to Monterey; moved MISLS location; family's jobs; sent back to Japan; considered re-enlisting; hired as a chemist for medical research lab in Tokyo; contracted dysentery and hepatitis; sent back to American Army hospital; used GI Bill for graduate school in biochemistry at University of Wisconsin; married in 1950.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-831/1 Military papers, January 11, 1947
1 folder
MS01: Kihara's enlisted record and report of separation with his discharge certificate.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-831/2 Photograph, September 20, 2004
1 folder
PH01: Digital print, contemporary image of Kihara sitting in a chair, Claremont, CA.
BOX CDDVD-18 Computer Files, undated
1 optical disc
CF01: CD-R containing military papers (MS01) in PDF and photograph (PH01) in JPEG format.
Sylvia Kobayashi Collection
Collection ID: 10675
Digital content available
Kobayashi was incarcerated at Minidoka Relocation Center, Idaho. She was active in pursuing the rights of Japanese Americans during that war, and has published several works on the contribution of Japanese Americans and native Alaskans to the war effort.
BOX VHS-138 Video Interview with Sylvia Kobayashi, 1990-1997
116 minutes
MV01: A collection of interviews Kobayashi did in the early 2000s, some of them on public television. Topics covered include: size of Asian population in Alaska; description of Minidoka Relocation Center, Idaho; Aleutian villagers placed under house arrest in Japan so as not to divulge information to Americans; husband's home in California burnt down by anti-Japanese; success of 442nd Regimental Combat Team raised morale among Japanese Americans back home; brief description of husband's military career; German soldiers perplexed about why Japanese would be fighting for the Americans.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-483/1 Printed Matter, undated
1 folder
MS01: Papers written by Kobayashi on topics relating to the experiences of Japanese Americans and Aleutians during World War II. Items include: "Alaska at War," detailing the racism that led to the incarceration of Japanese American civilians, with graphic details of the hardships and cruelty inflicted on elderly and young Japanese; "The Silent Warriors," about Japanese American who served while their families were still in detention centers; "Jewels in the Snow," about Japanese immigration into Alaska; "East Meets West," details the imprisonment of Aleutian civilians in World War II by the Japanese; "Mark Hiratsuka," the story of an Eskimo man who joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; "Japan Trip with Nicholas Golodoff," documenting Kobayashi’s travel to Japan with an Aleutian man who had been a civilian prisoner of the Japanese in Hokkaido when he was a child; "Forced to Leave," about the forced detention of Japanese Americans and Aleuts by the United States; "Aleuts in Japan," about Aleutians detainees in Japan during World War II.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-483/2 Photographs, 1924
1 folder
PH01-PH02: Kobayashi at a reception at Anchorage Airport.
PH03-PH04: Kobayashi's mother and father (1924).
Robert Hiroshi Kono Collection
Collection ID: 8063
Digital content available
Kono was incarcerated at Tulare Assembly Center, California; Gila River Relocation Center, Arizona; Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming; and Crystal City Internment Camp, Texas, as a child.
BOX VHS-100 Video Interview with Robert Hiroshi Kono, June 17, 2003
82 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: Early life in Los Angeles, California; child of the Great Depression; during that time, moving around a great deal, trying to get jobs, a place to live; life as an only child; fondest childhood memories of five-acre farm near Torrance; having pets; two mile hike to elementary school; father was a fisherman with a leased boat and sold scrap metal that he collected, often to the Japanese government; Pearl Harbor; FBI agents came to take away his father; his father was Issei and spoke little English; mother was second generation and spoke more English; did not see his father for two and a half years; like all fishermen, his father was suspect; Kono and his mother were in dire financial straits; May 1942 forced removal; recollections of his mother being terribly distraught; Kono thought it was all a huge misunderstanding; a train to central California; Tulare Assembly Center, where they lived in barracks; warned to stay six feet away from barbed wire fence; a communal life totally devoid of privacy; felt bewildered, uncertain, and angry; sent to Gila River Relocation Center, Arizona; his mother decides they should join relatives at Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming; Boy Scouts; baseball tournaments; schooling; ice skating on frozen ponds; $3.50 clothing allowance from the Sears-Roebuck “Wish Book;” his mother worked hard at the canteen and in the sugar beet field; they saved enough to buy war bonds; loyalty questionnaire; loyal and disloyal segregated; call for volunteers for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; near end of war, went to Crystal City Internment Camp, Texas, detention center, where he was reunited with his father; housed a handful of Germans and Italians, and Peruvian Japanese; Issei/Nisei schism; against his family’s wishes, father wanted to be repatriated to Japan; feelings about returning to Japan; going to a school represented by 30 different nationalities; returning to the United States in 1959 to finish college, get married; bringing his parents back to the United States in 1979.
Akio Konoshima Collection
Collection ID: 27140
Digital content available
Konoshima was born in Tokyo and grew up in California. He was incarcerated at Santa Anita Assembly Center (Santa Anita Racetrack), California, and Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming, until 1943, when he was released to attend North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. He went on to study journalism at the University of Wisconsin, and worked as a journalist. In 1948, he joined the United States Army and served at G-2 Headquarters, Tokyo, and with the 8th Army Team in Seoul, Korea. Following his discharge in 1948, he attended Columbia University. During his civilian career he worked for Jiji Press in Japan, United Press International in Tokyo and London, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and served as press secretary for Hiram Fong.
BOX miniDV Video Interview with Akio Konoshima, March 22, 2004
100 minutes
MV01-MV02: Topics covered include: parents from Japan; father taught school; came to United States at age six with mother; grew up in California; graduated high school in 1941; attack on Pearl Harbor was a turning point in his life; Executive Order 9066; sent to Santa Anita Assembly Center (Santa Anita Racetrack), California; incarcerated at Heart Mountain; left camp in 1943 for Naperville, Illinois to attend North Central College; attended University of Wisconsin's Journalism School; won a boxing scholarship; graduated in 1947; Ypsilanti Daily Press; 6/1950 on a troop ship to Japan; assigned to General Headquarters in Tokyo; assistant mimeograph operator; visited relatives while in Japan; assessment of occupation, eliminated class structure; democratization of Japan; Niseis served as a bridge between Japanese and American officials; volunteered for psychological warfare department; transferred to Korea one week later; assigned to 8th Army; spent 2 months in subzero weather near Chuncheon; discharged at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey; GI Bill; went to Columbia University East Asian Institute after the war; obtained United States citizenship; worked for Jiji Press in Japan; worked for United Press International (UPI) in Tokyo and London; press secretary for Hiram Fong; worked for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); redress movement; President's apology; token compensation.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-887/3 Memoirs, undated
1 folder
MS01: Topics covered include: returning to the United States after years working in Tokyo and London; work for UPI; discussing World War II with veterans; going to work for Senator Hiram Fong; work with the Department of Justice and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); attack on Pearl Harbor; incarceration at Santa Anita and Heart Mountain; agricultural work; leaving camp for Napierville, Illinois, to attend college; transfer to the University of Wisconsin, Madison to study journalism; joining the boxing team; enlisting in the Army; language school; thoughts on the occupation; transfer to Korea; Columbia University East Asian Institute; early life and family.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-887/1 Clippings, 1998-2003
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