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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)
Rikio Sato Collection (continued)
Video Interview with Rikio Sato, September 10, 2007 (continued)
MV01: Topics covered include: family life before the war; renting a farm from the local Indian tribe; difference between Nisei and Issei; family being friendly with the neighbors until Pearl Harbor; not expecting to be evacuated; family getting orders to leave and only having two weeks to get ready; ending up in the Portland Assembly Center, terrible conditions; "I still don't understand why as an American citizen, you should be going anywhere if you don't want to"; just going along with the situation; a lot of people volunteering for the service to prove their loyalty to the government; conditions at the "apartments" in the Heart Mountain Camp; having traditional Japanese activities in the camp; guards at the camp; jobs; working with German prisoners; registering for the draft when he turned 18; Japanese Americans who were drafted and refusing to serve; being trained in Military Intelligence; possibility of being used for the invasion of Japan; parents' feelings about him being drafted; the government not extending any extra incentives or benefits to his family when he entered the military; Japanese American women entering the service; meeting a lot of different people and making friends while in the service; not experiencing any prejudice while in the service; thoughts on the war ending; experiencing prejudice by a local barber upon returning to his hometown; dealing with prejudice; feeling dissatisfied with the amount of compensation received; how his perceptions of prejudice and racism in America have changed over the years; thoughts on the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; thoughts on Tokyo Rose and the lack of Japanese American sabotage; family members who have also served in the military.
Susumu Satow Collection
Collection ID: 42986
Digital content available
Satow was incarcerated at Granada Relocation Center, Colorado (a.k.a. "Amache"). In July 1943, he enlisted in the United States Army, and served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Italy and France.
BOX miniDV Video Interview with Susumu Satow, January 31, 2006
55 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: military service, locations of assignments; high school baseball, outfielder, family of 11; enlisting in Army; Japanese American experience; news and media; assignments, camps; incarceration at Granada Relocation Center, Colorado (a.k.a. "Amache"); working on local farm until volunteered for military; training at Camp Shelby; 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Italy; part of a 81 millimeter mortar squad, Europe, Rome, regimental combat team; wounded in France with shrapnel; Bronze Star, radio lineman, assisting wounded staff sergeant at forward outpost and called in artillery; coming home by ship; working as an apprentice at McClellan, radar electronics; coming home, to Chicago; news report; hobbies, golf, gardening.
Helen Terada Shintaku Collection
Collection ID: 439
Digital content available
Shintaku was incarcerated at Poston Relocation Center, Arizona. Prior to the war she was training as a nurse at Perez Valley Hospital in San Diego, California. While incarcerated, she worked as a nurse's aide in the camp. She was released from the camp to continue her training at Episcopal Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
BOX AC-12 Audio Interview with Helen Terada Shintaku, May 2, 2002
18 minutes
SR01: Topics covered include: Early life and family; Pearl Harbor; nursing training at Perez Valley Hospital; family's reaction to incarceration; Poston Relocation Center, Arizona; mother suffered a stroke; working as a nurse in camp, lack of medicine; strike in camp; formerly incarcerated people and workers suffering heat stroke; writing to hospitals that needed nurses; meeting husband; leaving camp for Episcopal Hospital, Philadelphia; leaving nurse's training to get married; getting her parents out of the camp; depression while in camp.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-39/1 Transcript, May 2, 2002
33 pages
MS01: Transcript of SR01.
BOX FD-2 Electronic file of manuscript, May 2, 2002
1 floppy disc
CF01: Transcript (MS01) in TXT format.
Curt Shinichi Sugiyama Collection
Collection ID: 91060
Digital content available
Sugiyama was incarcerated at Gila River Relocation Center, Arizona, as a child. In 1946, he and his family were released from the camp and moved to Michigan. In 1958, he enlisted in the United States Army and served with the Medical Service Corps at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Following his discharge in 1962, he pursued a career as a social worker.
BOX audio cassette Audio Interview with Curt Shinichi Sugiyama, July 4, 2013
56 minutes
SR01: Topics covered include: incarceration camp; parents had been American citizens for years; no bitterness on his parents or his part; they moved to Michigan after release from camp; in 1958, applied for a commission but was inducted into the Army before the commission came; started boot camp at Fort Ord in California; only there a few weeks when commission finally came through; boot camp was of drill instructors teaching "Boots" to obey orders; life experiences; went to Fort Jackson, South Carolina; assigned to a medical service unit; caring for both Army personnel and family members; worked with medical team of psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists; worked in mental health clinic with new recruits who were having difficulty adjusting to military life; worked with military families; crisis intervention; dealing with patients alcoholism; functional alcoholics able to do their jobs because of military structure (SOPs-standard operating procedures) but not able to handle life outside military; service very helpful for reinforcing skills he had learned in graduate school; University of Michigan; served there three years; about to be discharged but all was frozen; sent to Fort Ord for six months until discharge; good memories of his service life; happy to be in his chosen profession; crisis intervention and working with families; spent rest of his career as a social worker; believes military is necessary but war is not necessary; Japanese saying "If you can't help it, just deal with it.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-02435/1 Printed matter, 2013
1 folder
MS01: A part of a newspaper article and narrative that includes Sugiyama and other formerly incarcerated people's experiences.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-02435/2 Photographs, 1959-2013
7 photographs
PH01: B/W print, Sugiyama and wife Jean on wedding day, San Francisco, California (1959).
PH02: Color print, Sugiyama at the time of the interview, Atlantic Beach, Florida (07/04/2013).
PH03-PH04: B/W print, Japanese detention center, Gila River Relocation Center, Arizona (1944).
PH05-PH07: B/W print, Eleanor Roosevelt, accompanied by Dillon Myer, National Director of the War Relocation Authority, visiting the Gila River Relocation Center, Arizona.
Harry Tanabe Collection
Collection ID: 13251
Digital content available
Tanabe was incarcerated at Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. “Topaz”). He enlisted in the United States Army and served with the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) on Okinawa.
BOX audio cassette Audio interview with Harry Tanabe, May 27, 2004
8 minutes
SR01: This interview was conducted by Veterans History Project volunteers on the National Mall in Washington, DC during the National World War II Reunion: Tribute to a Generation, May 27-30, 2004. Topics covered include: served in the Pacific; Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC); 3rd Marines; interrogate and interpret radio messages; Okinawa veteran; lost his sense of smell; experienced discrimination as a Japanese American soldier; attended Officer Candidate School (OCS), but didn't get 2nd Lieutenant bars; wounded on Okinawa; debriefed Japanese officer prisoners of war (POWs); stench of death; volunteered to join the Army to get out of Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. "Topaz”).
Carolyn Hisako Tanaka Collection
Collection ID: 7154
Digital content available
Tanaka was incarcerated at Poston Relocation Center, Arizona, as a child. Following the war, her family moved to Fresno, California, and she eventually attended the Fresno General Hospital School of Nursing and became an emergency nurse. In 1966, she enlisted in the United States Army Nurse Corps and served with the 24th Evacuation Hospital, Long Binh, Vietnam.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-655 Memoirs, August 2001
105 pages
MS01: An unpublished manuscript by the veteran about her 18 months in Vietnam as a United States Army Nurse and later civilian career in public service. Topics covered include: Life in Guadalupe; incarceration at Poston Relocation Center, Arizona; Edison High School and nursing school; Army Nurse Corps; service in Vietnam; life after Vietnam; nursing administration; Vietnam Women's Memorial; volunteerism.
Carolyn Hisako Tanaka Collection
Collection ID: 45225
Digital content available
Tanaka was incarcerated at Poston Relocation Center, Arizona, as a child. Following the war, her family moved to Fresno, California, and she eventually attended the Fresno General Hospital School of Nursing and became an emergency nurse. In 1966, she enlisted in the United States Army Nurse Corps and served with the 24th Evacuation Hospital, Long Binh, Vietnam.
BOX miniDV Video Interview with Carolyn H. Tanaka, January 12, 2005
37 minutes
MV01: Topics include: Growing up for first six years in Guadalupe, California; father born in Guadalupe, mother born and raised in Fresno, California; father was a farmer, rented land with grandfather while living in Guadalupe; met mother in California and brought her back to Guadalupe; Japanese sent to detention centers after Pearl Harbor attack; moving to Dinuba, California, in order to be sent to the same detention centers as family; did not forget the impact of being detained at Poston Relocation Center, Arizona, for three years; the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; America made a big mistake in Japanese detention centers; younger brothers enlisted in the Army; older brother a veteran of the Korean War; felt a sense of duty to join the military; joined the Army Nurse Corps because it was the only guarantee that she would be stationed in Vietnam; attached to the 24th EVAC Hospital in Long Binh, Vietnam; becoming Head Nurse; ten years older than most of the nurses; difficulty of learning how to take care of the wounded in war, comparison to caring for wounded in the civilian sector; saw areas of improvement in the hospital and took notes in black book, utilized those notes upon becoming Head Nurse; most memorable moment was taking care of Rory Bailey, a soldier who suffered severe face wounds from a rocket explosion; didn’t make too many friends due to being busy in the emergency room; spoke with Rory Bailey on the phone and talking a lot about sports; wrote to People Magazine about paying for Rory Bailey’s trip to Washington D.C. for Vietnam Memorial event on Veteran’s Day in 1993; fundraising for Vietnam Women’s Memorial Project; writing the book “Road Runner.”
Taketora Tanaka Collection
Collection ID: 10120
Digital content available
Tanaka was incarcerated at Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, and Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. “Topaz”), as a teenager. In June 1944, he was drafted into the United States Army, and served with Company A, 100th Battalion, 442nd Regiment Combat Team in Italy, France, and Germany.
BOX miniDV Video Interview with Taketora Tanaka, July 10, 2003
41 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: drafted out of Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. “Topaz”); loyalty questionnaire; early days in service; experiencing racism from white troops; travel on freight trains; rifleman and BAR ammo bearer; casualties within unit; medals; keeping touch with family; food and supplies; unit made up of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland; recreation; pranks pulled on soldiers on guard duty; really liked his commanding officers; memories of day war ended; guarding prisoners of war (POWs); return to the United States; education; working to support family; educating students about incarceration of Japanese Americans.
Taketora Tanaka Collection
Collection ID: 43935
Digital content available
Tanaka was incarcerated at Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, and Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. “Topaz”), as a teenager. In June 1944, he was drafted into the United States Army, and served with Company A, 100th Battalion, 442nd Regiment Combat Team in Italy, France, and Germany.
BOX VHS-454 Video Interview with Taketora Tanaka, March 13, 2005
35 minutes
MV01: Topics include: drafted into Army while at the Central Utah Relocation Center (a.k.a. “Topaz”); love of country despite being housed in detention center; the concept of “haji” (shame) among Japanese families and its impact on Nisei soldiers, doing their best in military; scared when arriving in France; serving as a rifleman during the Gothic Line (German defensive line) breach; promotion process; staying in contact with family members via mail; the use of mules during war; one chocolate piece from rations equaled one full meal; touring France and Italy while on leave; visiting Switzerland after the war; story of a soldier who had to bury a German soldier; pictures of his time at the detention center; no privacy at the detention center; FBI agents would take leaders of Japanese communities to interrogate/question them; Medal of Honor recipients in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; discharge from the Army at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, not wanting to re-enlist; visiting girlfriend in Detroit, Michigan immediately upon discharge; wanting to go to college after the war but had to go to a trade school in order to help the family financially; closeness of soldiers stemming from being in combat together; being part of the Nisei Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization; the horrors of war; having to deal with Anti-Japanese sentiment after the war; businesses having forced remocal sales.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-1253/1 Biographical information, undated
2 pages
MS01: A brief summary of Tanaka's life experiences and accomplishments.
BOX-FOLDER OVZ-115/1 Maps, undated
1 page
MS02: Copy of United States map of all camps (Assembly vs. Relocation vs. incarceration)
BOX-FOLDER MSS-1253/2 Printed matter, undated
2 pages
MS03: Copy of loyalty questionnaire; Medals/Citations received for the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-1253/3 Photocopy of photographic print, undated
1 page
PH01: United States Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.
George Mazumi Taoka Collection
Collection ID: 35055
Digital content available
Taoka was incarcerated at Santa Anita Assemby Center (Santa Anita Racetrack), California, and Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Wyoming. In May 1944, he enlisted in the United States Army, and served in the Pacific Theater with the Allied Translator and Interpreter Service (ATIS). Following World War II, he continued to serve in the Army Reserve, retiring in 1976, with the rank of Major.
BOX audio cassette Audio Interview with George Mazumi Taoka, January 5, 2006
50 minutes
SR01: Topics covered include: returning to Japan; Stanford University; 1941 research in Japan; interview with Japanese secret police in Japan; interview with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in United States 5/1941; Pearl Harbor attack; hysteria toward Japanese in the United States; forced reomoval of Japanese from West Coast; marriage; forced reomoval to Santa Anita Assemby Center (Santa Anita Racetrack), California; shipped to detention center 9/1942, Heart Mountain Relocation Center; release from camp; University of Toledo; draft number, enlistment 5/1944; racial issues, Aniston, Alabama, Fort McClellan; Philippines, Manila, Japanese resentment; Japan, post-war occupation duty; visit family in Hiroshima; discharge; post-war, graduate school, Columbia.
Jack Taoashi Tashiro Collection
Collection ID: 27114
Digital content available
Tashiro was incarcerated at Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, as a teenager, before being drafted into the United States Army in 1944. He served at the Military Intelligence Service Language School (MISLS) and with the Allied Translator and Interpreter Service (ATIS), at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and in Tokyo, Japan. He was interviewed jointly with his wife, Marie Tashiro, who was incarcerated at Poston Relocation Center, Arizona.
BOX miniDV Video Interview with Jack Taoashi Tashiro and Marie Tashiro, February 22, 2004
70 minutes
MV01-MV02: Topics covered include: father came to the United States in 1898; returned to Japan to get married; settled in Portland, Oregon; father died in 1937; mother took Tashiro back to Japan for school; returned to Portland in 1939; was playing baseball when Pearl Harbor was attacked; attended Japanese school; participated in kendo; sent to Tule Lake Relocation Center; worked on farms in eastern Oregon during the summers; mother sent to Minidoka Relocation Center, Idaho; drafted in November 1944; trained at Camp Blanding; sent to Fort Snelling, Minnesota, Military Intelligence Language School (MISLS); sent to Tokyo on August 3, 1946; took part in War Crimes trials; assigned to Fukuoka for one year; discharged in January 1947; attended University of Oregon; met wife in Minneapolis in 1946; job offer from the CIA; job with Office of Technical Services; secret writing and clandestine photography; assigned to Japan for four years; worked in Vietnam learning how to identify Viet Cong; Deputy Director of Office of Technical Services; retired in 1979 and opened his own security firm; occupation of Japan vs. Iraq War.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-2744 Transcript, February 22, 2004
1 folder
MS01: Transcript of MV01-MV02.
Yasu Teramura collection
Collection ID: 96325
Digital content available
Teramura was incarcerated at the Portland Assembly Center, but was released to work for the Farm Security Administration in Eastern Oregon, while his family was moved to Minidoka Relocation Center, Idaho. In 1944, he was drafted into the United States Army, and served as a cook with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in France and Italy. After his discharge, he returned to Oregon and a career as a farmer.
BOX CDDVD-373 Video Interview with Yasu Teramura, February 20, 2014
55 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: served in Army from September 1944 until discharged in December 1946; born in Portland, Oregon, in 1922; Japanese Ambassador Nomura trip on December 5, 1941; Teramura lived across from the editor of The Oregon Journal; Mrs. Jackson called him to meet the ambassador; remembers discussion with Nomura; days later, heard about Pearl Harbor; attended trade school in Portland for diesel-electric engineering; graduated February 1942; professor worked at Kaiser Shipyards; professor initially invited Teramura to work at Kaiser, but because he was Japanese he was not allowed to work there; returned home and helped father on farm until family was evacuated on May 10, 1942; went to Portland Assembly Center for six or seven days; restricted areas in Oregon based on Cascades; went to Eastern Oregon on May 15, 1942 to work for farmers through ASC (Amalgamated Sugar Company) with two other families; worked with Kino Saito (?); worked in beet fields; then worked at a company based in Wilder with a farm in Brogan; returned to Camp until December 31, 1942; on January 1, 1943 went to work for Mark Zameda (?) for a year; January 1, 1944 moved to farm labor camp in Caldwell; another job until drafted in July 1944; physical examination in Boise, Idaho; September 1, 1944 inducted in Army; sent to Fort Douglas, Utah; transferred to Camp Blanding, Florida for basic training; stationed at Fort Mead, Maryland; shipped overseas in March 1945; all-Japanese company at Camp Blanding, roughly 150 people; learned to fire 57-millimeter anti-tank gun; physical shape; visited parents in Minidoka between Camp Blanding and Fort Mead; went to holding place in New York; 39 ship convoy to Le Havre, France; trip description; disembarked at nighttime; took the train to Marseille where the 442nd Regimental Combat Team had recently fought in the Battle of the Bulge; attached to the 88th Black Battalion, 34th Division, 92nd Division; sent to Leghorn (Livorno), Italy in October; PFC at that time; description of tents; rations; spent most of his time abroad in Leghorn; discussion of photographs; physical fitness; towards end of war, assignment processing Germans, confiscating guns, delousing with DDT; was part of F Company, 442nd Regimental Combat Team; 442nd Regimental Combat Team disbanded in June 1946; signed up for 232nd Engineers; became company head cook in July 1945; friend who was discharged told him to take over cooking; witnessed someone being shot in Leghorn kitchen; kept 45 in pocket; had to dispose of body; refused to be sergeant rather than T5; no one asked for MOS for him to be a cook; daily schedule and cooking tasks; learned to bake from German prisoner; five prisoners did kitchen work; type of food they served; 232nd was not Japanese-only; head chlorinator of water then guard duty then motor pool; trained "colored" companies; perceptions of those troops; discharged in October of 1946; on ship from Leghorn to New York; then to Fort Mead to wait for discharge; train to Fort Lewis, Washington; $300 to travel home; went to sister in Portland; train to Ontario, Oregon; March 1947 goes to work for brother's farm in Ontario; 1948 rented piece of ground to farm sugar beets, onions, lettuce, celery; married in 1951; five children, one killed, one son and three daughters; did not use GI Bill; in 1975 borrowed $10,000 when hail hurt farm; picture of friend and fellow veteran at 442nd Regimental Combat Team memorial in Los Angeles; photo album; little contact with 442nd Regimental Combat Team friends; one friend in Honolulu; gained experience in the Army; truck license; wanted to go to France; regrets not going to Germany to see liberation; "blood on the sand is all red" (Reagan); dislike of prejudice.
Walter Takeo Tsukamoto Collection
Collection ID: 10657
Digital content available
Tsukamoto was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, United States Army Reserve in 1926. At the outbreak of World War II, he requested a transfer to active duty, but was repeatedly denied. He and his family were incarcerated at Sacramento Assembly Center (a.k.a. Walerga Assembly Center), California, and Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, until February 1943. In March 1943, Tsukamoto received orders to report for active duty. He served with the United States Army Judge Advocate General Corps at Camp Savage, Minnesota, and following the end of World War II, served in Japan, San Francisco, California, Korea, and Heidelberg, Germany. He served until his death in 1961. His daughter and son-in-law were interviewed on his behalf.
BOX miniDV Video Interview with Dorie Tsukamoto and Charles Kobayashi, October 20, 2003
60 minutes
MV01-MV02: Topics covered include: working as a civil rights advocate before the war; Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) at the University of California, Berkeley; receiving appointment as Judge Advocate General (JAG) in the United States Army, first Japanese American to be employed as such; anti-Japanese sentiment in America; rejected for military after Pearl Harbor; forced remocal and incarceration of Japanese Americans; released from Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, to go onto active duty; assigned to Germany; recognized as one of the nine best JAGs in the Army and promoted to full colonel.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-482/1 Biography, undated
MS01: Topics covered include: Childhood; ROTC at the University of California, Berkeley; first Japanese American to receive commission from Berkeley; working for the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL); offered appointment as Judge Advocate General in United States Army; attempt to apply for active service in the Army was denied; curfew imposed on Japanese Americans; family placed in detention center; abuse in the camps; left detention center to serve in the Army; Camp Savage, Minnesota; presiding over cases during the Korean War; promoted to colonel.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-482/2 Transcript, undated
MS02: Transcript of MV01-MV02.
BOX-FOLDER MSS-482/3 Photograph, 1904-1962
PH01: Tsukamoto's parents posing with mayor of family's hometown (1904).
PH02: Tsukamoto as a teenager (1922).
PH03: Tsukamoto upon receiving commission as a Second Lieutenant, United States Army Reserve (1926).
PH04: Tsukamoto during a visit with family while on furlough (1944).
PH05: Tsukamoto at Camp Savage, Minnesota (1943).
PH07: Tsukamoto with wife and children, Sacramento, California (1939).
PH08: Group photo of Judge Advocate General's Corps officers, Tsukamoto is second from left.
PH09: Plaque in remembrance of Tsukamoto at entrance to the Presidio in San Francisco (1962).
Mack F. Tsujimoto Collection
Collection ID: 71923
Digital content available
Tsujimoto was incarcerated at Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, where he worked as a surgical assistant in the camp hospital. After being cleared by the FBI, he was released from Tule Lake and went to work at Women's Medical College Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1944, he was drafted into the Army and trained with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team Replacement Unit. But due to flat feet, he was transferred to the Army Air Forces, and served in Colorado, the Philippines, and Japan. He was released from active duty in 1946, and served in the Air Force Reserve until 1954.
BOX CDDVD-184 Video Interview with Mack F. Tsujimoto, May 26, 2010
48 minutes
MV01: Topics covered include: early years on farm; high school; three brothers and one sister; in State Guard when war started; unit sent to San Francisco, California, but he was sick that day, and didn't join them, later told by his commander that he was safer where he was; sent to Tule Lake Relocation Center, California, with family; worked as surgical assistant at hospital; FBI cleared him to work outside the camp; job at Women's Medical College Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; drafted in 1944; sent from Colorado to Florida; trained in 442nd Regimental Combat Team Replacement Unit; flat feet, rejected; sent to Army Air Corps in Texas; overseas to South Pacific with Medical Group; stationed in the Philippines (6/1945); assigned to air base near Tokyo, Japan (10/1945); still heavy fighting, lost supply ship to submarine attack; family was ok, did not write; brother in 442nd Regimental Combat Team; end of war, Japanese soldier stole their food; translating for commander; sent to Colorado with commander; discharged; served in reserve until 1954; joined parents as tenant farmers; bought pear ranch; inspector with California Department of Agriculture; married in 1948; joined American Legion and served as commander.
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