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Reuniting with parents in America

Probably around January of 1948, they told us that we had to return to United States to go back to our parents, whom we don’t remember, and leave our grandmother who raised us and saved us from total annihilation. Basically we raised holy hell. I mean we didn’t want to come back to United States. We wanted to stay with grandma. Okay, that was our mentality.

However, with lots of yelling and crying, and so forth, they put us on a ship from Yokohama in March of 1948, destined for the United States. Took us two weeks with a stopover in Hawaii to finally get here. So, two of us, my brother at 11 and a half and myself at 10, we were on the ship all by ourselves.


families grandmothers grandparents Japan parents postwar World War II

Date: September 3, 2019

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Masako Miki

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

Interviewee Bio

Howard Kakita was born in 1938 in East Los Angeles, California. His family took him to Japan in 1940. His parents and younger brother came back to the United States in 1940, to take care of the family business, but Howard and an older brother, Kenny, stayed in Japan.

When the war broke out, his family in the U.S. were incarcerated in Poston, AZ. On August 6, 1945, the Atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima. Howard was 0.8 miles from the hypocenter and survived. He and Kenny came back to the U.S. and reunited with their family in 1948.

Howard pursued a career in computer engineering. After his retirement, he joined American Society Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors (ASA) and has been actively sharing his A-bomb experience. (September 2019)

Masako Iino
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Masako Iino

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Tsuda College President, researcher of Nikkei history

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Mónica Kogiso
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Mónica Kogiso

Easier to be a foreigner in Japan (Spanish)

(b. 1969) Former president of Centro Nikkei Argentino.

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Vince Ota
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Vince Ota

Japan as my home

Japanese American Creative designer living in Japan

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Francis Y. Sogi
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Francis Y. Sogi

Investigating labor movements in Japan

(1923-2011) Lawyer, MIS veteran, founder of Francis and Sarah Sogi Foundation

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Francis Y. Sogi
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Francis Y. Sogi

Feeling closer to Japan as a Japanese American

(1923-2011) Lawyer, MIS veteran, founder of Francis and Sarah Sogi Foundation

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Terry Janzen
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Terry Janzen

Growing Up in Japan

(b. 1930) Half Japanese and grew up in both Japan and the United States.

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Terry Janzen
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Terry Janzen

Postwar school-life

(b. 1930) Half Japanese and grew up in both Japan and the United States.

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Harunori Oda
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Harunori Oda

Deciding to come to America

(1927-2016) Shin-Issei businessman

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Jean Hamako Schneider
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Jean Hamako Schneider

On international marriages (Japanese)

(b. 1925) War bride

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Jimmy Ko Fukuhara
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Jimmy Ko Fukuhara

After being discharged and returning to the nursery business

(b. 1921) Nisei veteran who served in the occupation of Japan

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Tom Yuki
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Tom Yuki

Japanese were not welcomed back to Salinas

(b. 1935) Sansei businessman.

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Tom Yuki
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Tom Yuki

Able to settle easily in Los Gatos with foresight and luck

(b. 1935) Sansei businessman.

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Kishi Bashi
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Kishi Bashi

His Shin-Issei parents

(b. 1975) Musician, composer, and songwriter

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Michelle Yamashiro
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Michelle Yamashiro

Parents identification as Peruvian Okinawan

Okinawan American whose parents are from Peru.

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Michelle Yamashiro
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Michelle Yamashiro

Working together in Okinawa using three languages

Okinawan American whose parents are from Peru.

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