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Making craft items from shells found at Tule Lake

Then it was up to whoever was gonna make the flowers or little birds or pins or earrings or whatever they're gonna make, it was up to the person to use their talent in making different things. But mostly, what was selling was the corsages. They were roughly made at first. I don't know what other people used, because I wasn't really interested in what other people was doing. I got interested in finding ways to make the shell flowers myself, and I didn't want just clumsy-looking corsages. I wanted them to look real neat, and I wanted to be sure the stems were wrapped real fine. And I had experience wrapping fishing poles, so I knew how to wrap the wires. And, of course, the wires was the screens that my dad took apart, and they were kind of crinkly and he tried to straighten 'em, but you couldn't straighten 'em very well.

But it worked out pretty good, and then people found out about my corsages, so I kept getting orders from the, mainly from the Caucasian personnel that worked in the hospital in the administration department. So I was really busy; I got so involved that I'd wake up in the middle of the night and draw a sketch and then make it the next day. And I sold a lot of 'em and had orders when I got transferred to Idaho.


corsages crafts imprisonment incarceration World War II

Date: September 15-17, 2004

Location: Washington, US

Interviewer: Alice Ito

Contributed by: Denshō: The Japanese American Legacy Project.

Interviewee Bio

Peggie Nishimura Bain was born on March 31, 1909 in Vashon, Washington. Her family was originally from Kumamoto, Japan. She was the second of six children. Married at seventeen, she had two children - a son and a daughter.

At the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, she was helping her parents with the three farm properties they owned under her brother's name. She was sent to the Pinedale Assembly Center, before going to Tule Lake, and then eventually Minidoka.

After leaving Minidoka, she relocated with her daughter to Chicago, where she lived for many years working as a full-time colorist in a photography studio, a skill she learned while in camp. She eventually returned to Washington to be near her parents. (September 17, 2004)

 

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George Ariyoshi

Prom during the war

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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi
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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi

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Kazuo Funai

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James Hirabayashi
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James Hirabayashi

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Barbara Kawakami

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Mas Kodani
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Mas Kodani

Fun at concentration camp

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Father as prisoner of war in hospital

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Yuri Kochiyama

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Postcards to Nisei soldiers

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Yuri Kochiyama

Hiding what happened in camp

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Yuri Kochiyama

Issei are hard-working

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Yuri Kochiyama
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Yuri Kochiyama

Camp as a positive thing

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