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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)
James Noboru Miho collection
Collection ID: 66630
Digital content available
Miho was interned 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 interned 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 internment camps 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 interned 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 interned 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 internment; parents sent to an assembly center in California and then interned 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 interned, parents' reaction; worked in hospital in assembly center; found Nebraskans very accepting; had little contact with family during the war; daily life in the assembly center; 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 interned 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; evacuation; Executive Order 9066; moving from home to assembly center; 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; relocation 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 interned 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 interned 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; interned 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 interned 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 relocation 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 interned 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
MV01: Topics covered include: family, farming, and the depression prior to the war; reactions and verbal abuse from whites prior to war; executive order to move to camps; losing everything and being loaded into trucks and taken to camp; reparation from the government; living conditions in the camps; decision to join the Army; service in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; return to the states and discrimination by locals in spite of being in uniform; wife Ruth's discrimination in the town she grew up in; "No-no" group who refused to state their loyalty to the United States and service in the Army; split in the Japanese American community over the No-nos; and Ruth's war work in Minneapolis. Kennie Namba's wife, Ruth Inukai Namba, was also interviewed along with her husband for the last 30 minutes of the interview. Their joint segment focuses on her experience as a Japanese American internee at Tule Lake, California, and life in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during World War II.
Calvin Ninomiya collection
Collection ID: 71769
Digital content available
Ninomiya was interned at Puyallup Assembly Center (a.k.a. "Camp Harmony"), Washington, and Minidoka Relocation Center, Idaho. After completing high school at Minidoka Relocation center, he attended Oberlin College, in Ohio. In 1946, he was drafted in to the United States Army and trained in military intelligence but was discharged on compassionate grounds after both of his parents died and his brother was killed in action. Following his discharge, he attended the University of Washington followed by law school at the University of Chicago and began a career with the United States Treasury.
BOX miniDV Video Interview with Calvin Ninomiya, September 23, 2009
86 minutes
Topics covered include: born in Seattle, Washington; unknown eldest sibling; lived in Seattle up to age 15; little contact with parents; father from Okayama; parents came separately for economic reasons; grew up in Japantown; 15 when Pearl Harbor was bombed; curfew; no understanding of direct effect of the war; street signs about evacuation; too young to be too concerned; sent to Puyallup Assembly Center (a.k.a. "Camp Harmony"), Washington; fairgrounds converted to barracks; 9,000-10,000 people there, mostly from Seattle; arrived in May 1942; sent to Minidoka Relocation Center in August 1942; Bainbridge Island experience; considerable property losses for Japantown residents; relocation was an example of militarized racism, used to usurp Japanese properties, prejudicial action; bad mark on United States government; amends and compensation not sufficient; brother was in service; was a student leader at Minidoka high school; Caucasian teachers at Minidoka; Minidoka located near Jerome, Idaho; how and why teachers were recruited; teachers lived close to gate of the Center; guidance counselor to help resettle or relocate children at the camp; attended Oberlin College in Ohio; difficult adjustment; brother was killed in action while Ninomiya was at Oberlin; senior roommate took him to congregational minister for counsel; received draft notice; went to Cleveland for physical examination; after first semester, went back to Minidoka ahead of draft (early 1946); worked at camp newspaper and for minister until called into service in June; inducted at Fort Douglas, Utah, with other Japanese Americans; sent to Camp Fannin, in Texas; integrated with white inductees (not black); notified that father had died while at Camp Fannin; parents had left Minidoka by 1946; father killed in hit-and-run, no ID at the time; mother left alone; compassionate leave for funeral; became member of different company on return; provision for sole surviving sons; transferred to Military Intelligence Service Language School at Fort Snelling; mother hospitalized; difficulty speaking to mother in Japanese; mother died before he could be discharged; discharged at Camp McCoy despite parents' death; had attended Japanese language after-school in Seattle; entered service around end of European War; brother served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, in Bruyeres; brother had poor eyesight; brother sent to Fort Sheridan, Illinois to do medical work; then directed to Camp Shelby to join 442nd Regimental Combat Team; letter from fellow service member; wife and Ninomiya visited Bruyeres; wrote article for Seattle Times; meeting other Japanese veterans through the article; brother's body sent to Seattle cemetery; wound up being the beneficiary of brother's GI insurance; after discharge, returned to Seattle; sister and brother-in-law operated a hotel; moved into a room in the hotel; attended University of Washington; graduated early; attended University of Chicago law school; decided to go into government work; got a job with the United States Treasury in Chicago; transferred to Washington DC; career with the Treasury.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-2020/1 Clippings, May 30, 1999
1 folder
MS01: Clipping pulled from "Seattle Times" about Ninomiya visiting the place where his brother died in World War II; also includes several images provided by Ninomiya's family that include: his brother, Ban's burial site at Epinal, France after his death in battle; Ninomiya's family standing at the monument of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in the woods outside Bruyeres, France; Ninomiya and Ban before drafted in the Army; Ninomiya and wife stopping at a road sign "Rue du 442eme Regiment Americain d'Infanterie" in Bruyeres, France.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-2020/2 Digital Prints, 1945-2009
1 folder
PH01: Service portrait of Ninomiya [06/1945 - 02/1946].
PH02: Ninomiya at the time of interview [2009].
BOX-FOLDER MSS-2020/3 Photocopy of photographic prints, 1945-1946
1 folder
PH03: Photocopy of a photograph of an unidentified man. PH04: Photocopy of a photograph of an unidentified woman. PH05: Photocopy of a photograph of Ninomiya and buddy. PH06: Photocopy of a photograph of an open field.
Alfred T. Nitta Collection
Collection ID: 70270
Digital content available
Nitta was interned at Minidoka Relocation Center, Idaho, before enlisting in the United States Army. He served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Italy.
BOX CD/DVD-177 Video Interview with Alfred T. Nitta, February 17, 2010
39 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: Early life and family; boyhood working on farm with siblings; enlisted while interned at Minidoka Relocation Center, Idaho; service due to father's accident; basic training in Florida; emergency furlough; basic training again; after V-E Day; Camp Ritchie, Maryland; Japanese soldiers with weapons for troops on way to Pacific Theater; after V-J Day to Italy; Naples to Pisa; guard duty; public profile; members of 442nd Regimental Combat Team; treated well by Italians; lots of passes and no KP; German prisoners of war (POW) worked for United States Army; from Pisa with integrated unit; traveled all over Italy; citations; the usual but no combat; after 13 months in Italy spent 13 months in the United States; Camp Beale, California for discharge in 1946; not much communication; retired to farm; GI Bill; bought ranch from father with loan; own family with five children; military today does a good job; would do service again if asked; glad to be in 442nd Regimental Combat Team and honored everyone; gave money to National World War II Museum; name is on museum's wall; being asked by Army to play enemy soldier which was the worst experience in service.
George Okamoto Collection
Collection ID: AFC2001/001/85765
Digital content available
Okamoto was interned at Poston Relocation Center, Arizona, with his family as a teenager, but was released when he secured a job as an illustrator in Chicago, Illinois. In 1944, he decided to join the military. After being rejected by the Marine Corps and the Navy, he enlisted in the United States Army and served with Company I, 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Italy. He was severely wounded during combat operations in Northern Italy. Following his recovery, he was discharged and returned to Chicago to work as an artist and illustrator.
BOX AC-657 Audio Interview with George Okamoto, January 10, 2007
SR01: Topics covered include: Life in Poston Relocation Center, Arizona; brother drafted; enlisting to be with brother; Japanese Americans only allowed in Army and not other branches; digging fox hole; getting shot by Germans; one year in hospital; V-mail sent to parents.
BOX CDDVD-288 Without Due Process: Japanese Americans and World War II, 1992
44 minutes
MV01: Documentary about Japanese internment camps in the United States including interviews with the Okamoto, family members and others.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-02316/1 Military papers, July 26, 1946
1 folder
MV01: Okamoto's discharge paperwork (07/26/1946).
BOX-FOLDER MSS-02316/2 Printed Matter, 2001
1 folder
MS02: Cover submitted with documentary film MV01 (2001).
Toshikazu Okamoto collection
Collection ID: 106737
Digital content available
Okamoto was interned at Pinedale Assembly Center, California and Tule Lake Relocation Center, California. He was also briefly transferred to Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming. He was drafted into the United States Army in 1944, and served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Italy. Following his discharge, he worked as a mechanic in the motor pool for the Seattle Fire Department.
BOX CDDVD-494 Video Interview with Toshikazu Okamoto, August 31, 2016
20 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: biographical information; detention relocation centers; drafted into Army; heavy duty mechanic, tanks, DUKW; unit forms, training in California; put with other Japanese soldiers, go to Italy; replacements for 442nd Regimental Combat Team; attached to the 88th Infantry Division 08/1944 to 09/1945; after war, visiting veterans; language problem, barrier at hospital; founding of Keiro nursing home; end of career, retirement; legacy, children.
William Hisao Omoto Collection
Collection ID: 65384
Digital content available
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