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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)
Casey Kunimura collection (continued)
Video Interview with Casey Kunimura, April 1, 2015 (continued)
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
Collection ID: 71663
Digital content available
Matsui was a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, before being incarcerated at Santa Anita Assembly Center (Santa Anita Racetrack), California, and Rohwer Relocation Center, Arkansas. In 1945, he was drafted into the United States Army and served with the Counter Intelligence Corps in Japan. After an honorable discharge in July 1952, he joined the American diplomatic service, serving in Cambodia, Egypt, Pakistan, Madagascar, Ivory Coast, and Zaire until his retirement in 1985.
BOX miniDV Video Interview with Victor Masao Matsui, August 21, 2009
122 minutes
MV01-MV02: Topics include: Matsui’s parents, Tomi Tamura Matsui and Masanaka Matsui, born in Kochi, Japan; parents’ journey to the United States; one of six siblings (three boys, three girls); in his youth he attended Moneta Gakuen, Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute (GVJCI) Japanese Language School; father taught him the importance of loyalty to America despite anti-Japanese environment after WWII; father was taken by FBI agents to Santa Fe, New Mexico, released and joined family during their transfer from Santa Anita Assembly Center to Rohwer Relocation Center, Arkansas; making camouflage nets for soldiers while at detention center; difficulties selling crops due to WWII; many of those housed at the detention center including Matsui’s mother and father traveled to Seabrook, New Jersey, for employment with frozen food company Seabrook Farms after the war ended; communicating the lessons learned from parents to his own children (two boys, two girls); children's education and careers; listening to the radio and studying when Pearl Harbor occurred; not believing America was justified in incarceration of Japanese Americans; agricultural community in California disseminating anti-Japanese sentiment; various frustrations with questions 27 and 28 of the loyalty questionnaire; training at Camp Blanding in Starke, Florida; attending Military Intelligence Training Unit (MITU) at Camp Ritchie, Maryland, to study Pacific Island(s) military tactics; going to Fort Holabird, Maryland, to train in the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) upon the end of the war in the Pacific; not liking the cold weather in Camp Zama, Japan; being offered a commission as a Chief Warrant Officer (CW01) in 1946; the duties as a CIC Officer to advise/inform military members on the complexities of the Japanese environment post-WWII in order to mitigate future riots; Japanese student movements and labor unions joining together for demonstrations; sabotage of the Japanese National Railways (JNR); social rhetoric of American involvement in the disappearance and death of Sadanori Shimoyama (president of JNR); speaking to Japanese media about the Shimoyama incident; Japanese prisoners of war (POWs) (mostly field grade officers) being held by Russia and made into agents released back to Japan; Japanese Communist Party’s (JCP) involvement in socialist movements; half of a million students not able to attend universities due to extremely high academic standards; conservative mindset of Japanese during American occupation; thoughts on what could have been done differently in re-building Japan and Germany; changes in Japan could be considered “superficial”; rice farming; Kenji Osano (owner of Kokusai Kogyo Corp); how Japanese Americans could be considered a bridge between the cultures of America and Japan after WWII; importance of Nisei; Charles Willoughby (Chief of Staff for Intelligence (G2) during Japan occupation); special operations missions conducted during Korean conflict; establishing maritime routes for transporting narcotics; rumor of plague in North Korea during Korean War; receiving Legion of Merit from General Charles Willoughby for role in Korean conflict despite not having set foot in Korea physically; stationed in Cambodia, Egypt, Pakistan, Madagascar, Zaire (Congo).
James Noboru Miho collection
Collection ID: 66630
Digital content available
Miho was incarcerated at Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, as a teenager. In 1950, he was drafted into the United States Army and served with C Company, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division in Korea. Following his discharge in 1952, he attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and went on to a career in advertising and graphic arts.
BOX miniDV Video interview with James Noboru Miho, July 23, 2009
79 minutes
MV01-MV02: Topics covered include: Introduction; grew up in a small town in California and had an isolated childhood; was incarcerated for four years during World War II; learned that it was possible to lose everything overnight, but as a kid those things do not matter; Japanese classes in the detention centers because they thought they would be sent back; students studied martial arts and Japanese language; his father was a member of Buddhist clubs and was taken away for about a year; his father said the war was over because Germany and Japan should just give up; after World War II things got tough, poverty; his father’s Italian partner tried to get him out, the family wanted to stick it out together; being Japanese was not always pleasant; sent to Los Angeles, California, when released, Buddhist temple helped them find a home; went to high school in Pasadena, California; brother's service in Japan, was wounded; when they were going into the military their father said do not get captured; he was drafted; thought boot camp was fascinating; experienced segregation between African-Americans and Caucasians; training was fierce, took it seriously because he knew he would go to Korea; was a crack shot with a rifle; he met a diverse group of people; went to Asia because of knowledge of Japanese; troop ship was filthy and there was a lot of sea sickness; went to Iwo Jima, observed what it would have been like to fight; everything happened at night; volunteers put in safer positions; nothing happened for weeks, got used to it; moved off the front to a frequently mortared hill; started working in communication; had an assistant who believed he could smell death coming; let his assistant do the wiring, could hear the enemy's line tapping; the captain was afraid of being attacked from the side; as soon as you relaxed you would get scared again; this could go on for months; men were scared but ready to fight; lost fear of fighting, way of life; captain put guard on him, as Miho was suspected of being a spy for the Japanese Imperial Army; Russians supplying communists with supplies; Douglas MacArthur was fired by President Harry Truman for wanting to use the atomic bomb; seven months in the military he had Joseph Cotton’s brother as a driver, but got rid of him because Miho thought he was too nervous and it worried him; was given the rank of sergeant; the captain had a problem with the Turkish soldiers, they would go out with knives at night and bring back noses and ears of Koreans, the captain wanted them trained; Miho trained Turkish soldiers by bribing them with cigarettes; given time off and sent to Japan; on a plane going to Tokyo, Japan, and the engine caught fire; shocked by the site of Tokyo, the city was in rubble; was there in winter, very cold; Japanese veteran was begging, the Japanese around him were insulted by Miho giving him money because they believed the veteran should be dead, “die for the emperor”; Karo, Japan to Yashima, Japan; black-market in Tokyo; there was an agreement not to bomb Karo because of its spiritual value, it looked like the 18th century; had a taxi driver that was a monk who drove him around the city; shocked by the beauty of the place, decided not to go to Virginia Military Institute (VMI) or West Point; Tokyo had a lot of problems like gangs; went back to Korea, told Captain he wanted to get out of there as soon as possible; trained in infantry then communications; when he got back to Camp Roberts, California, he was trained in tanks; he spent 10-11 months in Korea; such as beautiful site to see the San Francisco Bridge; he heard Kate Smith sing the Star-Spangled Banner; really felt like he was back at home; back to Fort Roberts then back to school; did not want any of the medals, his brother got one (Purple Heart) and died; parents did not think it was normal; received Bronze Star for not losing a battle; should be given to those who volunteered; the effects of problems with race were shown in obtuse ways; could not understand why captured communist soldiers had given up; prisoners gave names, rank, and serial numbers because of Geneva Convention laws; thought they gave up because they wanted a warm meal; Miho did not want to interrogate the prisoners; that was the closest he ever got to the enemy; he told his men that if you could see their faces you were too close; weapons and the black market, having trouble getting supplies because of it; stole supplies from black market vendors because of fear of Japanese; seeing injured child; he and his assistant stole a division headquarters jeep; batteries were used to power GI radio; the casualties were bloody, did not want to talk about it; after the battles the sides would not fire on each other when picking up the dead, saw the softer side of war; a man shot right next to him in a tent because of a dispute over the murderer's sister; under-manned at the front; military tribunal; did not write really write letters home because it was dangerous and because he did not want to remember it; Korean history; dream about sleep because of fear and cold; even at Camp Roberts they wanted him to go to West Point; want to be a designer or architecture; went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; amazed by Civil War battles, comparison to Korea; saw assistant's name on Vietnam Memorial Wall; taught to move on because he did not die in the war; had Russian pistol, Korean bayonet and flag of North Korea and traded them for books; received medals and uniforms at Camp Roberts, threw it all out because he wanted to forget.
John Mitsumori Collection
Collection ID: 7195
Digital content available
Mitsumori was incarcerated at Tulare Assembly Center, California, and Gila River Relocation Center, Arizona. He was released to attend the University of Nebraska, before joining the United States Army. He served in Texas, Florida, and Alaska.
Audio Interview with John Mitsumori, March 12, 2003
60 minutes
SR01: Topics covered include: ranks and war; "buzz bombs"; Elgin Field, Florida air show; reaction to Pearl Harbor attack; relocated to Tulare Assembly Center, California, and then Gila River Relocation Center; released to attend University of Nebraska; living conditions in camps; brother in France, father in Japan; Mitsumori is in Alaska testing; aircrafts and cars; leisure time; friendships from Alaska; testing in Elgin Field P-80 airplane; bombing site; races in the war; training with Japanese/American combat teams; gas; live fire; mortars marches; feelings at the end of the war; what went on in Alaska; traveling home; had to stay in Canada; experience back home; after the war; father still in Japan; finding work; work experiences.
Photographs, circa 1944
1 folder
PH01: Photocopy of a photograph of Mitsumori at the University of Nebraska in Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) uniform.
Tom S. Miya collection
Collection ID: 51626
Digital content available
Miya was a student at the University of California, Berkeley, at the outbreak of World War II. He was incarcerated at Fresno Assembly Center (Fresno Fairgrounds), California, before being released to attend the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. In 1945, he was drafted into the United States Army and after basic training at Camp Robinson, Arkansas, he served with the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) at Camp Ritchie, Maryland and Fort Meade, Maryland. Following his discharge, he continued his education, and went onto a career in pharmacology and toxicology.
BOX CDDVD-73 Video Interview with Tom S. Miya, January 4, 2007
29 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: Japanese incarceration; parents sent to an temporary incarceration camp in California and then incarcerated at Jerome Relocation Center, Arkansas; student at UC Berkeley; went to Fresno Assembly Center (Fresno Fairgrounds), California, released to attend the University of Nebraska, Lincoln; drafted; basic training at Camp Robinson; selected for Officer Candidate School (OCS) but orders changed, sent to Camp Ritchie, counterintelligence training center; Provost Marshal General's office, Fort Meade; carried top secret papers to the Pentagon; discharged early because he agreed to remain in the Army Reserve; returned to Nebraska, continued his education; reaction to being incarcerated, parents' reaction; worked in hospital in temporary incarceration camp; found Nebraskans very accepting; had little contact with family during the war; daily life in the temporary incarceration camp; duties in counter intelligence; did not experience racism or prejudice as an individual; counterintelligence training; first trip to the Pentagon.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-1456 Photograph, undated
1 folder
PH01: Group of soldiers standing in front of the Counter Intelligence Corps Center.
Edward Miyakawa Collection
Collection ID: 5771
Digital content available
Miyakawa was incarcerated at Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, as a child. After completing a loyalty questionnaire, his father was permitted to move the family to Colorado, where he attempted to reestablish his produce business before eventually returning the family to California. Miyakawa served in the United States Navy from 1952 to 1956. He is the author of the novel, "Tule Lake".
BOX VHS-81 Video Interview with Edward Miyakawa, April 29, 2003
93 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: Growing up in Japanese community in Sacramento, California; father highly educated, worked in produce business; attack on Pearl Harbor; prejudice against Japanese Americans; racism; forced remocal; Executive Order 9066; moving from home to temporary incarceration camp; on train to Tule Lake Relocation Center, Quaker woman and daughter passing out sandwiches, symbolic of people who didn't agree with what the government was doing; living conditions, shared latrines, laundry, mess hall; didn't like food, stopped eating and began losing weight; had a miserable time in camp, felt friends turned against him; loyalty questionnaire; forced reomoval from Tule Lake to Colorado; first Japanese American family in Boulder, Colorado; moving back to California; reasons for joining the military; joined the Navy for GI Bill; surveyor with Seabees; serving in Japan.
Yukio W. Miyamoto Collection
Collection ID: 19359
Digital content available
Miyamoto was incarcerated at Poston Relocation Center, Arizona, until 1943, when he was released to move to Chicago. In 1944, he was drafted into the United States Army and served in Italy with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. after the 442nd was disbanded, he was transferred to the 5th Army Headquarters, and susequently served with the 206th Army Ground Forces (AGF) Band; 117th Army Ground Forces (AGF) Band; and 74th Army Ground Forces (AGF) Band.
BOX VHS-250 Video Interview with Yukio W. Miyamoto, April 24, 2004
54 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: early life; thoughts on being drafted; training; first experiences in battle; use of weapons; casualties; enemy prisoners of war (POW); transferred to the 5th Army Headquarters; changes in attitudes towards Japanese Americans; work post war; memorable experiences.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-701/1 Biographical information, undated
1 folder
MS01: Unattributed biographical sketch of Miyamoto entitled, "Moving With Music"; Unattributed biographical sketch of Miyamoto entitled, "Proving Their Loyalty."
BOX-FOLDER MSS-701/2 Military papers, 1946
1 folder
MS02: Separation form; Honorable Discharge certificate; Honorable Discharge form; Presidential Commendation certificate signed by President Harry S. Truman.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-701/3 Photographs, circa 1944-1946
1 folder
PH01: Photocopy of photograph of Miyamoto wearing false "bugged-out" eyes unfolding a pin-up picture, Italy.
PH02: Photocopy of photograph of an unidentified soldier, Italy.
PH03: Photocopy of photograph of Miyamoto playing a string bass, Italy (12/1946).
Takanori Mizuta Collection
Collection ID: 98950
Digital content available
Mizuta was incarcerated at Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming. In 1944, he was drafted into the United States Army and completed basic training at Camp Blanding, Florida, before serving with the Quartermaster Corps, 3rd Army, in France and Germany.
BOX CD/DVD-408 Video Interview with Takanori Mizuta, January 29, 2010
30 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: reaction to being drafted; incarcerated at Heart Mountain War Relocation Center, Wyoming; basic training; experiencing racial segregation for the first time; arrived in Europe after the end of the war; attending college classes while in Europe; giving candy a child and finding her again many years later; occupation duty; rarely wrote to his family; brother's service; difficulty remembering everyday things; photography; sightseeing trips; travel to Europe; friendships; Japanese Americans in the service; feelings about having served; adjusting to civilian life.
Arthur Takashi Morimitsu Collection
Collection ID: 93003
Digital content available
Morimitsu was incarcerated at Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, before enlisting in the United States Army. He trained at Camp Savage, Minnesota and served with the Mars Task Force, Military Intelligence Service in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater, and with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Japan.
BOX VHS-579 Video Interview with Arthur Takashi Morimitsu, July 15, 1985
60 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: early life and attitudes towards Japanese Americans; Japanese Americans' role in agriculture; special interest groups that turned people against Japanese Americans; sent to Assembly Center; life in forced reomoval camp in California, Tule Lake; Army needed to recruit translators and interpreters; reactions to his decision to enlist; entry into the Army; sent to language school at Camp Savage; sent to North Burma in a commando unit as a muleskinner and interpreter for Japanese prisoners of war; arrival in Burma; commanding officer's instructions in the event of capture; duties as a muleskinner; Burma road mission; translating documents and learning Japanese order of battle; interrogating Japanese prisoners.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-2479/1 Civilian Papers, September 1998
1 folder
MS01: Copy of Morimitsu's death certificate.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-2479/2 Clippings, 1998
1 folder
MS02: "NJAMF announces agenda for upcoming board meeting," Pacific Citizen, 10/16/1998 - 11/05/1998. Includes notice regarding Morimitsu's memorial service.
Kennie Namba Collection
Collection ID: 8094
Digital content available
Namba was incarcerated at the Portland Assembly Center, Oregon, and Minidoka Relocation Center, Idaho. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1944 and served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in France and Italy. He was wounded by a German hand grenade while in combat in Italy, and spent 40 days in the hospital. Following his service he attended the University of Portland and worked at Pacific Power and Light for 30 years. In 1947, Namba and his father, Etsuo Namba, helped file a lawsuit, Kenji Namba v. McCourt, successfully challenging the constitutionality of Oregon's Alien Land Law that had prevented people of Japanese ancestry from owning land in the state.
BOX VHS-147 Video Interview with Kennie Namba, July 10, 2003
122 minutes
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