Discover Nikkei

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/284/

Issei are hard-working

Gee, when I stayed in camp and saw how hard the Issei’s worked and the young Nisei women who just had babies. Oh my gosh! I mean, I was so amazed that then I didn’t think much of caucasians—after that I thought, “Wow Japanese people are really industrious and they really take things well no matter how hard it is.”


imprisonment incarceration

Date: June 16, 2003

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Karen Ishizuka, Akira Boch

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

Interviewee Bio

Yuri Kochiyama (nee Mary Nakahara) was born in the southern California community of San Pedro in 1922. She was “provincial, religious, and apolitical” until Japan’s December 7, 1941, bombing of the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawai`i led to the government’s mass incarceration of virtually all Japanese Americans. Her wartime detainment in two concentration camps in the segregated American South prompted her to see the parallels between the treatment of the Nikkei and African Americans.

After the war she married Bill Kochiyama, a veteran of a segregated Japanese American battalion, and lived in New York City. In 1960, the Kochiyamas moved their family into low-cost housing in the African American district of Harlem. Her political involvement there changed her life, especially after her 1963 meeting with Black Nationalist revolutionary Malcolm X, who was assassinated two years later. She has since had a long history of activism: for black liberation and Japanese American redress and against the Vietnam War, imperialism everywhere, and the imprisonment of people for combating injustice.  

She passed away on June 1, 2014, at age 93.  (June 2014)

Hirabayashi,James
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Hirabayashi,James

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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Takeshita,Yukio
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Takeshita,Yukio

Involvement in JACL

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

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Uyehara,Grayce Ritsu Kaneda
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Uyehara,Grayce Ritsu Kaneda

Importance of education in achieving redress for incarceration

(1919-2014) Activist for civil rights and redress for World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans.

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Matsumoto,Roy H.
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Matsumoto,Roy H.

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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Matsumoto,Roy H.
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Matsumoto,Roy H.

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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Bain,Peggie Nishimura
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Bain,Peggie Nishimura

Evacuation

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

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Bain,Peggie Nishimura
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Bain,Peggie Nishimura

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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Bain,Peggie Nishimura
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Bain,Peggie Nishimura

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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Bain,Peggie Nishimura
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Bain,Peggie Nishimura

Response to loyalty questionnaire

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

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Bain,Peggie Nishimura
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Bain,Peggie Nishimura

Move from Tule Lake to Minidoka

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

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Bain,Peggie Nishimura
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Bain,Peggie Nishimura

Apprehension about leaving camp

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

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Kosaki,Richard
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Kosaki,Richard

442 soldiers visiting U.S. concentration camps

(b. 1924) Political scientist, educator, and administrator from Hawai`i

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Shimomura,Roger
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Shimomura,Roger

Receiving a negative reaction from father upon asking about World War II experience

(b. 1939) Japanese American painter, printmaker & professor

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Yamasaki,Frank
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Yamasaki,Frank

Loss of happy-go-lucky adolescence in Puyallup Assembly Center

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

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Yamasaki,Frank
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Yamasaki,Frank

Memories of dusty conditions at Minidoka incarceration camp

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

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