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Relating to Hispanic immigrant families at detention center in Laredo, TX

But this Laredo trip was the closest I felt that I could feel what my mom, my sisters went through. Just hearing their voices in Spanish, there was an interpreter there. They were saying, oh my god, their story is nothing compared to ours. We were, they were detained for six months to a year, we were there for three and a half years, they don't think there's any comparison.

But for them to tell their story in Spanish, I could see my sister in particular, Kiyo is the second oldest now, my oldest sister married right out of camp, so she went to Los Angeles. So my older sister was kind of in charge, and she did a lot. And she only spoke Spanish and Japanese, so her English was this heavy accent, Spanish accent. We always had fun with her because of that. But when I heard the ladies speaking, one lady from Guatemala talked about her four kids, and the oldest was eighteen and her daughter was eighteen, and they took her away. This is now happening today, and she couldn't figure out why, and later they told her, "Well, she's eighteen so she can take care of herself." There's no law that does that. Everything's, they're breaking the law regularly, no different than what they did with us. And when they were telling their story they were breaking down and crying, the interpreter was crying, and it was a moment that I could feel a little bit of what my parents and my sister went through.

I was really torn. That's when I said, oh god, that speaking, hearing the Spanish, you just, right away, I could sense what my sister or my mom went through, because that's all they spoke, or Japanese.


collective behavior crowds demonstrations (political) immigrants immigration Japanese Peruvians Latin Americans migration people protests public meetings Spaniards World War II

Date: September 20, 2019

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Tom Ikeda and Yoko Nishimura

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum and Denshō: The Japanese American Legacy Project.

Interviewee Bio

Kazumu Julio Cesar Naganuma was born in Lima, Peru to his Issei parents on July 28, 1942. Before World War II, his parents ran a laundry business and father was a prominent community leader. When the war started, the FBI arrested his father and sent the entire family to the Department of Justice camp at Crystal City, Texas. They remained there even after the war had ended, without a place to go, becuase the family was not allowed to return to Peru. They were able to leave the camp with a sponsporship of Seabrook Farm in New Jersey, and later with the help and sponsorship of a Shinto church reverend in San Francisco, California, where they were able to find jobs and housing. Kazumu established successful design firm. (June 2020)

George Ariyoshi
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George Ariyoshi

Prom during the war

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi
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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi

Day Pearl Harbor was bombed

Former First Lady of Hawai'i

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Kazuo Funai
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Kazuo Funai

Japan vs. the United States (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman

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James Hirabayashi
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James Hirabayashi

Life in camp as teenager

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

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Robert Katayama
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Robert Katayama

Being ordered to keep a diary that was later confiscated, ostensibly by the FBI

Hawaiian Nisei who served in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Bombing of Pearl Harbor

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Helping soldiers

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Mas Kodani
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Mas Kodani

Fun at concentration camp

Senshin Buddhist Temple minister and co-founder of Kinnara Taiko.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Father as prisoner of war in hospital

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Patriotism versus loyalty

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Postcards to Nisei soldiers

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Hiding what happened in camp

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Camp as a positive thing

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Rounding up Issei and Nikkei

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
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Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston

Impact of Pearl Harbor on her family

(b. 1934) Writer

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