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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)

Miyoko Amano
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Miyoko Amano

Yoshitaro Amano, Forced to Return to Japan by Prisoner of War Exchange Ship (Japanese)

(b. 1929) President of Amano Museum

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Virgil Westdale
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Virgil Westdale

Dachau prisoners

(1918-2022) Hapa World War II veteran, pilot

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Reiko T. Sakata
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Reiko T. Sakata

Backstory of Parents

(b. 1939) a businesswoman whose family volunterily moved to Salt Lake City in Utah during the war.

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Hiroshi Sakane
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Hiroshi Sakane

Returning to Japan on a prisoner-of-war exchange boat (Japanese)

(b. 1948) Executive Director of Amano Museum

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Harunori Oda
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Harunori Oda

Next phase

(1927-2016) Shin-Issei businessman

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Masato Ninomiya
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Masato Ninomiya

Japanese language education for children

Professor of Law, University of Sao Paulo, Lawyer, Translator (b. 1948)

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Hikaru “Carl” Iwasaki
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Hikaru “Carl” Iwasaki

Joining WRA Photographic Section

(1923 - 2016) WRA photographer

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Susumu “Sus” Ito
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Susumu “Sus” Ito

Coming home to his mother after the war

(1919 - 2015) Nisei who served in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team

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Fred Y. Hoshiyama
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Fred Y. Hoshiyama

Celebrating his birthday on December 7, 1941

(1914–2015) Nisei YMCA and Japanese American community leader

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Fred Y. Hoshiyama
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Fred Y. Hoshiyama

Starting a YMCA program in camp

(1914–2015) Nisei YMCA and Japanese American community leader

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Fred Y. Hoshiyama
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Fred Y. Hoshiyama

Marriage and Family

(1914–2015) Nisei YMCA and Japanese American community leader

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Howard Kakita
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Howard Kakita

His family Traveled to Japan in 1940

(b. 1938) Japanese American. Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor

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Masato Ninomiya
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Masato Ninomiya

Winners and losers

Professor of Law, University of Sao Paulo, Lawyer, Translator (b. 1948)

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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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Frank Yamasaki
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Frank Yamasaki

Loss of happy-go-lucky adolescence in Puyallup Assembly Center

(b. 1923) Nisei from Washington. Resisted draft during WWII.

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