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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)
Haruo Kato Collection (continued)
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
1 folder
MS02: A one page article from the Congressional Record about Konoshima's brother, Joji Konoshima's activities with the 40th Congressional Staff Delegation to China and Hong Kong and the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA) (9/17/1998); a two page pamphlet for a tribute to Joji Konoshima by the US-Asia Institute, includes a biography of Joji Konoshima (9/26/2003).
BOX-FOLDER MSS-887/2 Correspondence, April 26, 2005
1 folder
MS03: A letter to Konoshima about his brother, Joji Konoshima, from Hwa-Wei Lee of the Asian Division of the Library of Congress.
Casey Kunimura collection
Collection ID: 101341
Kunimura was incarcerated at Salinas Assembly Center, California, and at Poston Relocation Center, Arizona, as a teenager. In 1943, he was released to take a job in Chicago, Illinois. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1944, and served as a machine gunner with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in France and Italy. He went on to serve in Korea and Vietnam, and worked as a civilian Air Force employee.
BOX CDDVD-434 Video Interview with Casey Kunimura, April 1, 2015
56 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: President Franklin Roosevelt signed executive order to remove all Japanese from three western states; boarded a train to detention center in Arizona (Poston Relocation Center); draft classification was 4C but also classified enemy alien; joined 442nd Regimental Combat Team; draft status; 442nd Regimental Combat Team rescued; lost battalion in France; Germany surrendered; 442nd Regimental Combat Team was most decorated unit in World War II; returned to United States and family still in detention center; family moved back to Gilroy, California; not allowed citizenship or to buy property; re-enlisted in Army; sent to Japan for five years and extended service time; participated with 8th Army; finished tour and returned to the United States; entered San Jose College on probation status; finished college in three years; accepted position at Hill AFB in Utah; Air Force Reserve for 22 years; served four years in Vietnam; no animosity during bad times; never bitter; feels good about his country.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-2703/1 Printed Matter, April 1, 2015
1 folder
MS01: Front cover of interview disc that includes image of Kunimura at the time of the interview, Lehi, Utah.
Rosie F. Kuramoto Collection
Collection ID: 15371
Digital content available
Kuramoto was incarcerated at Sacramento Assembly Center (a.k.a. Walerga Assembly Center), California; Tule Lake Relocation Center, California; and Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming, as a teenager.
BOX VHS-182 Video Interview with Rosie F. Kuramoto, November 28, 2003
73 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: taking an Americanized name; parents; father getting sent back to Japan; brothers and sisters; childhood; Pearl Harbor attacks; curfew; changes after Pearl Harbor; fears; Executive Order 9066; preparing to move to forced reomoval detention center; traveling to Walerga Assembly Center; describing the center; Tule Lake Relocation Center; brother drafted into the Army, loyalty questions; Heart Mountain; teachers at Heart Mountain; camp social life; allowance; school days and activities; food at camp; news of the outside world; contact with old friends; camp guards; resistance; way out of Sacramento; going to Chicago; first apartment in Chicago; first job; night school; becoming a house wife, buying first home; meeting husband; incarceration with family; public speaking on incarceration; citizenship of mother; mother post-camp life; visiting camp site.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-620/1 Transcript, November 28, 2003
1 folder
MS01: Transcript of video recording MV01.
Andrew Yoshinobu Kuroda Collection
Collection ID: 27126
Digital content available
Kuroda and his wife Julia were incarcerated at Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, before being released to move to Colorado. He went on the serve with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Calcutta, India. Julia Kuroda was interviewed on behalf of Andrew Kuroda.
BOX miniDV Video Interview with Julia Kuroda, December 15, 2003
86 minutes
MV01-MV02: Topics covered include: Julia's family moved to Livingston, California, with 30-40 Japanese families; Yamamoto Colony; father grew sugar beets; parents from Shizuoka Prefecture; not pushed to study Japanese; Andrew believed Japan was on path to war in 1930s; thought he would be drafted; came to United States to study theology; served pastorates in Washington and Oregon; Julia graduated from University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in education; married Andrew; shocked by attack on Pearl Harbor; FBI agents visited their home and confiscated the cameras; Andrew was a photography enthusiast; forced removal; took what they could carry; train guarded by soldiers with weapons; sent to Tule Lake Relocation Center; description of camp; Andrew spoke up at resident's meeting and was beaten up; family moved to Granada, Colorado; Andrew applied to teach Japanese at University of Michigan Ann Arbor; Julia and the children stayed in Colorado; Julia had two brothers in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; Andrew joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS); trained in New York and sent to Calcutta, India; prepared propaganda leaflets that were dropped over Japanese troop centers in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater; family moved to Washington, DC, after the war; Andrew served on the United States Survey team that traveled to Nagasaki and Hiroshima; specialized in the psychological aspects of bomb victims; Andrew worked for the Library of Congress, Orientalia Department (now the Asian Division); became Unitarian minister; appointed head of Japan section; served at Library of Congress for 30 years; son served in the Air Force during Vietnam as a bomber pilot; Julia had polio at age four; Andrew became a United States citizen in 1954; family.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-2881/1 Transcript, December 15, 2003
1 folder
MS01: Transcript of MV01-MV02.
Katsuko Fujikado Lee Collection
Collection ID: 28183
Digital content available
Lee was incarcerated at Minidoka Relocation Center, Idaho, until she moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, to live with a sponsor family and attend college. Prior to her incarceration, she was a student at the University of Washington. In the post-war period, she worked in a United States civil service position as a secretary in Japan.
BOX audio cassette Audio Interview with Katsuko Fujikado Lee, March 6, 2005
20 minutes
SR01: Topics covered include: being sent to detention center, Minidoka Relocation Center, Idaho; environment and living conditions in camp; three brothers being drafted into the United States Army; going to life with "sponsor" family in Salt Lake City, Utah; life with family while her parents remained in camp; corresponding in Japanese with mother; returning to Seattle after the war to help parents, once they were released; working to pay off damage to house during their absence; learning about civil service openings for secretaries in Japan; travel to Japan; meeting husband in Japan.
Mike Masaru Masaoka Collection
Collection ID: 7426
Digital content available
Masaoka was active in the leadership of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) before and during World War II. In 1943 he entered the United States Army and served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Italy. Following his discharge, he returned to work for the JACL and became a lobbyist and consultant. Masaoka's widow, Etsu Mineta Masaoka, was interviewed on his behalf. Mrs. Masaoka was incarcerated at Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming. She is the sister of American politician Norman Mineta.
BOX miniDV Video Interview with Etsu Mineta Masaoka, June 30, 2003
91 minutes
MV01-MV02: Topics covered include: first meeting her husband; Etsu Masaoka's childhood in San Jose, California; attended Japanese school; traveled to Japan in 1924; attack on Pearl Harbor; neighbor took care of the family's house while they were incarcerated; incarcerated at Heart Mountain, Wyoming; family moved to Chicago; Mike Masaoka volunteered for the United States Army; Mike's involvement in Japanese American Citizens League (JACL); lobbying for Japanese interests in Washington, DC; papers at the University of Utah; started consulting firm Masaoka Associates; family moved to Utah; brother, Norman Mineta.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-391 Transcript, June 30, 2003
1 folder
MS01: Transcript of MV01-MV02.
Victor Masao Matsui collection
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