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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)

Kazuomi Takagi
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Kazuomi Takagi

No more close family in Japan (Spanish)

(1925-2014) La Plata Hochi, Journalist

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Luis Yamada
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Luis Yamada

Suffering in World War II (Spanish)

(b. 1929) Nisei Argentinean

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Luis Yamada
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Luis Yamada

Joined Japanese Imperial Army during the WWII (Spanish)

(b. 1929) Nisei Argentinean

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Luis Yamada
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Luis Yamada

Proud to be a Japanese desecendant (Spanish)

(b. 1929) Nisei Argentinean

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Margarida Tomi Watanabe
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Margarida Tomi Watanabe

Relief fund to support Japanese communities (Japanese)

(1900–1996) The mother of Nikkei Brazilian immigration

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Margarida Tomi Watanabe
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Margarida Tomi Watanabe

Role of Assistancia Social dom Jose Gaspar (Japanese)

(1900–1996) The mother of Nikkei Brazilian immigration

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Margarida Tomi Watanabe
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Margarida Tomi Watanabe

Interrogation by police (Japanese)

(1900–1996) The mother of Nikkei Brazilian immigration

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Henry Shimizu
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Henry Shimizu

No immediate impact after Pearl Harbor

(b. 1928) Doctor. Former Chair of the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation.

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Henry Shimizu
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Henry Shimizu

Treatment of Japanese fishermen in Canada during World War II

(b. 1928) Doctor. Former Chair of the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation.

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Henry Shimizu
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Henry Shimizu

Government's permission to publish Japanese newspaper in Canada during World War II

(b. 1928) Doctor. Former Chair of the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation.

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Henry Shimizu
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Henry Shimizu

Japanese newspaper supported by Canadian government during World War II

(b. 1928) Doctor. Former Chair of the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation.

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Henry Shimizu
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Henry Shimizu

Sneaking out of the Hastings Park camp during World War II

(b. 1928) Doctor. Former Chair of the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation.

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Henry Shimizu
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Henry Shimizu

Government urged Japanese Canadians to go to Japan

(b. 1928) Doctor. Former Chair of the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation.

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Venancio Shinki
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Venancio Shinki

Help from fellow Japanese (Spanish)

(b. 1932-2016) Peruvian painter

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Venancio Shinki
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Venancio Shinki

Iron discipline at home (Spanish)

(b. 1932-2016) Peruvian painter

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