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Return to Los Angeles

Here I was in this camp and the news came out that they were reopening the west coast. Anyone that wanted to go back would be allowed to. There was a great deal of reticence on the part of the majority of people who were interned. They were cursed on, cursed at, yanked out of their homes, ripped off of their possessions and thrown into this place with barbed wire. It wasn’t that easy of a decision for them to say OK we’re going back to this place where all that happened.

I was young enough, naive enough to decide “I’m going back.” that’s where Jefferson High School comes back into play because I figured if anything happened and things became unpleasant I’d go run and hide into one of those areas like that. I’d probably still maintained a few high school friends, at least that was my thinking. Came out and settled into a hostel that existed in Boyle heights. I think it was on Evergreen. I have an idea that was where I made phone calls to Disney studios.


California concentration camps Los Angeles Manzanar concentration camp postwar United States World War II World War II camps

Date: August 6, 1998

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Janice Tanaka

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

Interviewee Bio
Iwao Takamoto (April 29, 1925 – January 8, 2007) was a legendary animator for Walt Disney and Hanna Barbera, most famously designing Scooby Doo in the late sixties. Incarcerated at Manzanar after graduating high school, Iwao leveraged his art skills into a job at Disney upon returning to Los Angeles, working on classic animated films like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. He would go on to mentor other Japanese American animators such as Willie Ito, who worked with him on Lady and the Tramp. After leaving Disney for Hanna-Barbera in 1962, Iwao continued animating, as well as producing and directing films like Charlotte's Web (1973) until his retirement. (June 2021)
Kakita,Howard
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Kakita,Howard

Immediately after the bombing

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

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Kakita,Howard
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Kakita,Howard

Other family members not as lucky

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

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Kakita,Howard
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Kakita,Howard

His parents had little hope that he had survived the atomic bomb

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

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Kakita,Howard
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Kakita,Howard

His views on nuclear weapons

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

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Naganuma,Jimmy
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Naganuma,Jimmy

Forcibly deported to the U.S. from Peru

(b. 1936) Japanese Peruvian incarcerated in Crystal City

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Teisher,Monica
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Teisher,Monica

Stories of Grandfather at a concentration camp in Fusagasuga

(b.1974) Japanese Colombian who currently resides in the United States

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Teisher,Monica
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Teisher,Monica

Her grandfather in a concentration camp in Fusagasuga (Spanish)

(b.1974) Japanese Colombian who currently resides in the United States

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Naganuma,Jimmy
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Naganuma,Jimmy

Family welcomed at Crystal City

(b. 1936) Japanese Peruvian incarcerated in Crystal City

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Naganuma,Jimmy
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Naganuma,Jimmy

First meal at Crystal City

(b. 1936) Japanese Peruvian incarcerated in Crystal City

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Naganuma,Kazumu
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Naganuma,Kazumu

His sister Kiyo was like a second mother to him

(b. 1942) Japanese Peruvian incarcerated in Crystal City

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Yamamoto,Mia
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Yamamoto,Mia

Impact of her father

(b. 1943) Japanese American transgender attorney

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