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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)

Sumiko Kozawa
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Sumiko Kozawa

Wind in camp

(1916-2016) Florist

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Archie Miyatake
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Archie Miyatake

His father didn't spend too much time with the family

(1924-2016) Photographer and businessman.

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Sakaye Shigekawa
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Sakaye Shigekawa

Unable to work when the war broke out

(1913-2013) Doctor specializing in obstetrics in Southern California

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Sumiko Kozawa
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Sumiko Kozawa

Her grandfather and Dr. Thompson

(1916-2016) Florist

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Sumiko Kozawa
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Sumiko Kozawa

Her grandmother comes to Manzanar

(1916-2016) Florist

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Doris Moromisato
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Doris Moromisato

Looking Inside (Spanish)

(b. 1962) Peruvian Poet, Okinawan descendant

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Doris Moromisato
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Doris Moromisato

Necessary apologies (Spanish)

(b. 1962) Peruvian Poet, Okinawan descendant

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Henry Suto
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Henry Suto

Speaking about his wife

(1928 - 2008) Drafted into both the Japanese Imperial Army and the U.S. Army.

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Cedrick Shimo
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Cedrick Shimo

Growing up with both Japanese and American influences

(1919-2020) Member of the 1800th Engineering Battalion. Promoted Japan-U.S. trade while working for Honda's export division.

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Cedrick Shimo
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Cedrick Shimo

Angry about the mistranslations of his father’s testimonies

(1919-2020) Member of the 1800th Engineering Battalion. Promoted Japan-U.S. trade while working for Honda's export division.

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Cedrick Shimo
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Cedrick Shimo

Not able to go to Manzanar on a furlough

(1919-2020) Member of the 1800th Engineering Battalion. Promoted Japan-U.S. trade while working for Honda's export division.

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Cedrick Shimo
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Cedrick Shimo

“All I have dear to me is in the camp”

(1919-2020) Member of the 1800th Engineering Battalion. Promoted Japan-U.S. trade while working for Honda's export division.

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Paulo Issamu Hirano
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Paulo Issamu Hirano

My daughter’s identity (Japanese)

(b. 1979) Sansei Nikkei Brazilian who lives in Oizumi-machi in Gunma prefecture. He runs his own design studio.

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Henry Suto
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Henry Suto

Feelings upon listening to the imperial rescript (Japanese)

(1928 - 2008) Drafted into both the Japanese Imperial Army and the U.S. Army.

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Henry Suto
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Henry Suto

What I wanted to pass down to my children (Japanese)

(1928 - 2008) Drafted into both the Japanese Imperial Army and the U.S. Army.

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