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Coming back from camp

In fact, coming back from camp, San Bernardino was like…Emerald City. I can, because all my recollections start in camp. I don’t remember before camp at all.

But I can remember taking the train to the station there. They looked, it’s kind of Moorish looking, but it was so exotic to me. I can still remember as a kid, saying wow, this is like, a wonderful place.

There’s that department store called the Harris Company, it’s only three stories high, but they had flags on it, draping stuff on it. I remember looking up, we took a cab from there to our store and looking at that building and saying, wow, you know, this is, this is the big city here.


California imprisonment incarceration postwar San Bernardino United States World War II World War II camps

Date: September 8, 2011

Location: California, US

Interviewer: John Esaki, Kris Kuramitsu

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

Interviewee Bio

Ben Sakoguchi, born in 1938, is a painter and printmaker who has lived in the Los Angeles area his entire life, except for the time when he and his family were incarcerated in Poston Arizona. After studying painting in the 1960s at the University of California, Los Angeles, he developed a distinctive style that is rooted in pairing a narrative painting tradition with a pop culture vocabulary. He is best known for his long running “Orange Crate Label” series, using the classic crate label format to explore diverse subject matter and to combine them in a way that allows for both sharp critique and wry humor. His work is deeply and politically engaged, and he takes a deep delight in the craft and beauty of painting itself. Sakoguchi was a professor at Pasadena City College for nearly 35 years. Visit his website at bensakoguchi.com. (Oct. 2011)

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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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Didn't have rights that whites had

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Californians didn't know about evacuation

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Conditions of assembly centers

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Visit to assembly centers by E. Stanley Jones

(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

Issei are hard-working

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Arrest of father

(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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Yukio Takeshita
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Yukio Takeshita

Involvement in JACL

(b.1935) American born Japanese. Retired businessman.

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Roy H. Matsumoto
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Roy H. Matsumoto

Finding work in the assembly center

(b.1913) Kibei from California who served in the MIS with Merrill’s Marauders during WWII.

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Roy H. Matsumoto
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Roy H. Matsumoto

Train ride to Jerome Relocation Center

(b.1913) Kibei from California who served in the MIS with Merrill’s Marauders during WWII.

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Peggie Nishimura Bain
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Peggie Nishimura Bain

Evacuation

(b.1909) Nisei from Washington. Incarcerated at Tule Lake and Minidoka during WWII. Resettled in Chicago after WWII

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Peggie Nishimura Bain
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Peggie Nishimura Bain

Conditions at Pinedale Assembly Center

(b.1909) Nisei from Washington. Incarcerated at Tule Lake and Minidoka during WWII. Resettled in Chicago after WWII

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Peggie Nishimura Bain
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Peggie Nishimura Bain

Making craft items from shells found at Tule Lake

(b.1909) Nisei from Washington. Incarcerated at Tule Lake and Minidoka during WWII. Resettled in Chicago after WWII

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