Discover Nikkei

Returning to the Philippines

It was like dream come true, because I – what I remembered from my childhood, like age three, a lot of things I thought it may not be my own memory, but it was just like confirmation of my own memories, but one thing I didn’t – that was shocking, was that there was no trees that was in the jungle. The jungle was gone because the trees were cut down to build the buildings in Japan.

childhood forests jungles Philippines

Date: July 12, 2017

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Mitsue Watanabe, Yoko Nishimura, Leighton Okada

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

Interviewee Bio

Sawako Ashizawa Uchimura was born in Davao, Mindanao, Philippines on March 25, 1938 as the first daughter of Katsujiro and Ura “Mie” Ashizawa. She was 7 years old in 1945 when her family had to leave the Philippines after Japan’s defeat in World War II. Her family lived in Shizuoka for the next 10 years. ​Later the family received r​​esidency status in the United States ​and arrived in Los Angeles ​in March 1956. Sawako went to Alhambra High School and later studied at Pasadena City College. She eventually found a generous mentor who helped support her through her education at San Jose State University and became a​​n occupational therapist. Currently she is volunteering at the Sakura Garden (Formerly Keiro Retirement Home). (March 2018)


Memories of childhood in Peru

(b. 1936) Japanese Peruvian incarcerated in Crystal City


Enjoying undokai and sports in Crystal City

(b. 1936) Japanese Peruvian incarcerated in Crystal City