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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)
Frank Yamasaki
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Frank Yamasaki

Memories of dusty conditions at Minidoka incarceration camp

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

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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto
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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto

Ransacking of family home by FBI following the bombing of Pearl Harbor

(b. 1927) Japanese American Nisei. Family voluntarily returned to Japan during WWII.

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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto
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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto

Witnessing father's arrest through a child's eyes

(b. 1927) Japanese American Nisei. Family voluntarily returned to Japan during WWII.

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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto
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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto

Participating in military drills in school in Japan during the war

(b. 1927) Japanese American Nisei. Family voluntarily returned to Japan during WWII.

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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto
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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto

Hearing anti-American war propaganda from a teacher

(b. 1927) Japanese American Nisei. Family voluntarily returned to Japan during WWII.

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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto
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Marion Tsutakawa Kanemoto

The hardships of life in Japan during World War II

(b. 1927) Japanese American Nisei. Family voluntarily returned to Japan during WWII.

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Fujima Kansuma
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Fujima Kansuma

Neighbor took care of hotel business during the World War II

(1918-2023) Nisei Japanese kabuki dancer

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Fred Sasaki
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Fred Sasaki

Anti-Japanese sentiment at the time of World War II

(b. 1918) Issei businessman in Canada

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Ryoichi Kodama
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Ryoichi Kodama

Affect of the World War II (Japanese)

Kasato-maru immigrants

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Pat Adachi
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Pat Adachi

Family life in a Japanese Canadian internment camp in Slocan

(b. 1920) Incarcerated during World War II. Active member of the Japanese Canadian community

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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

Lack of political power led to camps

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

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Shizuko Kadoguchi
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Shizuko Kadoguchi

Choice to move east or go to Japan

(b.1920) Japanese Canadian Nisei. Established the Ikenobo Ikebana Society of Toronto

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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

Feeling imprisoned at camp

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

Institutionalization as a bad aspect of camp

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

State Department records show concern for treatment of Japanese American internees

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

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