Discover Nikkei Logo

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1352/

Losing his sister in camp

She got leukemia, a form of leukemia that uh she had to be hospitalized. And it took her a long time for her to die.

The hospital was outside of the camp proper, and uh where you had to go through a fence and guards to get... go to camp. So you couldn't visit. My mother was always there as I recall.  And my father was there quite often.  So we were left alone, most of the time. And it affected not me more than my younger sister because she never had a mother, you know. So, she blamed it on her sister for...being as a kid that is thinking terms of the jealousy factor, as competition.

But anyways she was um in hospital for a while. There's two things that they reckoned with prolonged her death was that uh she had a blood transfusion there. Just about everybody in that block gave blood, you know. And then the church was praying for her. That was the story I got. So the...my father told them, and mother said, I don't think...I think she's suffering too much so don't pray.

Well my mother never recovered. I'm sure she didn't. My father was um he was a real tough guy. In the sense that he knew what situation he was in. He never really showed this, saw this. He retained his dignity and his strength to not fall apart. And he kept saying now we must go on and all this kind of... You know, it was ganbatte. You know, he was really not um sort of you know in a state that he couldn't reorganize, keep the family together.  He kept it together.  I know it, I know I, he...he was quite upset...quite angry but it never showed  He had to go along with the Japanese tradition. He had to be Nihonjin and not go into... you know fall apart.

So that was what... and then when my sister and broth..died... my..my sister died she was cremated.  And then I understand a lot of them were buried too, right. But this is uh..my sister told me this the other day they were buried in a junkyard. You know?  And uh in unmarked graves, you know, which they used to do in Germany, you know, with... with the victims, you know.


California concentration camps families Tule Lake concentration camp United States World War II World War II camps

Date: June 29, 2012

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Chris Komai, John Esaki

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Jimmy Murakami (1933 – 2014) was inspired as a child to become a film animator by watching the Disney cartoons that were shown to Japanese Americans confined at the Tule Lake concentration camp during WWII. After attending Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, he worked as an animator for UPA. He later founded Murakami Wolf—a company that produced many well-known commercials in the 1960s and 70s—and became a feature film director of When the Wind Blows and The Snowman. After establishing residence in Ireland in recent years, he passed away in February of 2014 at age 80.  (June 2014)

George Ariyoshi
en
ja
es
pt
George Ariyoshi

Spending time with children

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

en
ja
es
pt
Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi
en
ja
es
pt
Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi

Getting married

Former First Lady of Hawai'i

en
ja
es
pt
Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi
en
ja
es
pt
Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi

Possibility of being adopted by aunt

Former First Lady of Hawai'i

en
ja
es
pt
Kazuo Funai
en
ja
es
pt
Kazuo Funai

First work in America (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman

en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi

Little interaction with parents

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi

Gordon's parents' experience in prison

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami
en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami

Going back to Hawaii

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami
en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami

Clothes of plantation workers

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami
en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami

Surviving after father's death

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami
en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami

Washing for Filipino bachelors

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami
en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami

Brother leaves for war, survival

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami
en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami

Doing chores

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

en
ja
es
pt
Robert (Bob) Kiyoshi Okasaki
en
ja
es
pt
Robert (Bob) Kiyoshi Okasaki

Wife's family in Japan

(b.1942) Japanese American ceramist, who has lived in Japan for over 30 years.

en
ja
es
pt
Grayce Ritsu Kaneda Uyehara
en
ja
es
pt
Grayce Ritsu Kaneda Uyehara

Importance of education in achieving redress for incarceration

(1919-2014) Activist for civil rights and redress for World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans.

en
ja
es
pt
Jane Aiko Yamano
en
ja
es
pt
Jane Aiko Yamano

New Year's food

(b.1964) California-born business woman in Japan. A successor of her late grandmother, who started a beauty business in Japan.

en
ja
es
pt

Discover Nikkei Updates

NIKKEI CHRONICLES #13
Nikkei Names 2: Grace, Graça, Graciela, Megumi?
What’s in a name? Share the story of your name with our community. Submissions now open!
NIMA VOICES
Episode 16
June 25 (US) | June 26 (Japan)
Featured Nima:
Stan Kirk
Guest Host:
Masumi Izumi
PROJECT UPDATES
NEW SITE DESIGN
See exciting new changes to Discover Nikkei. Find out what’s new and what’s coming soon!