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Memories of trip to Japan on the exchange ships

The exchange was gonna take place, well, this is something that, of course, we knew was gonna happen. So we obediently packed again, from the room, and I remember we all got off and stayed on the dockside. They gave us a little time, maybe a couple hours on the, on land. They said, Don't go too far away, but they gave us that little freedom.

And then as we were removed, I guess the Gripsholm was getting ready to receive the Americans. And then, then we saw the Americans coming from the Teia maru and they were walking in a file. And the Americans were real happy and you know, waving. There was a weak moment that my hand went up and waving. And then I had to catch myself, thinking, my gosh. I mean, I did catch myself thinking that this is really happening; one-for-one so they're in single file. Then, when they all left the ship, Teiya maru, well, then almost immediately after, we got in line and marched onto Teiya maru. And then as soon as we entered, you sensed that this is no luxury liner. It was a freight or troop ship. And so it was a dingy, drab khaki color.


deportations expatriations MS Gripsholem (ship) ships

Date: August 3 & 4, 2003

Location: Washington, US

Interviewer: Alice Ito

Contributed by: Denshō: The Japanese American Legacy Project.

Interviewee Bio

Nisei female. Born December 30, 1927 in Seattle, Washington. Lived in Japan for fifteen months as a child, before returning to Seattle to attend junior high school. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, father was picked up by the FBI and taken to the Department of Justice camp at Missoula, Montana. Removed to the Puyallup Assembly Center, Washington, before being reunited with father at the Minidoka incarceration camp, Idaho. Family volunteered to leave for Japan in 1943 on the U.S. government's exchange ship, the USS Gripsholm. Attended high school in Japan, and participated in military and air raid drills. During the U.S.'s postwar occupation of Japan, attended Doshisha University and worked for a U.S. army station hospital library. Returned to the U.S. and enrolled at St. Mary's teaching hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. Denied redress because of expatriation to Japan, but succeeded in obtaining redress in 1996 after filing a class-action lawsuit.

*The full interview is available Denshō: The Japanese American Legacy Project.

Henry Shimizu
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Henry Shimizu

Government urged Japanese Canadians to go to Japan

(b. 1928) Doctor. Former Chair of the Japanese Canadian Redress Foundation.

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Jean Hamako Schneider
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Jean Hamako Schneider

My father who returned by prisoner of war exchange ship (Japanese)

(b. 1925) War bride

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