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Undergraduate studies interrupted following Pearl Harbor

It was the most devastating feeling that I ever had. I was at the University of Oregon dorm and called at the dorm called Sherry Ross Dormitory. All my friends or, you know, classmates just didn’t know what to say to me. It was just dead silence. When I walked in downstairs, you see, and listened to the radio – of course that’s all we had, we didn’t have television in those days. It was a terrible experience but two of my friends, you know, or so…came up and hugged me and said, “Sam, we know that you’re not the enemy or anything like that.” And broke the silence.

So comes 1942, talking about the University of Oregon. I was one more active person saying that, you know, we didn’t want to…we wanted to finish our Spring term. Spring term. We were on a spring basis. Not semester. And went to the president and asked him to ask…that was General DeWitt that was in charge – to allow us to finish our Spring term. And that president…which I never…that’s why I don’t support the University of Oregon anymore. The president says, “No. That would be a very unpatriotic thing to do.” So that was really devastating. So we didn’t finish our Spring term.


colleges discrimination interpersonal relations University Of Oregon World War II

Date: December 8, 2005

Location: Oregon, US

Interviewer: Akemi Kikumura Yano

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

Interviewee Bio

Sam Naito (b. 1921) is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Naito Corporation in Portland, Oregon. In 1975 he established Made In Oregon, a store based at the Portland International Airport dedicated to merchandising "products made, caught or grown in Oregon." Made In Oregon has since grown to 10 store locations in Portland, Salem, Eugene and Newport. Sam's father came to the United States (by way of England) around 1917 from a small town near Kobe, Japan. The family opened an importing business in Portland in 1921, but with the outbreak of World War II, the family faced discriminatory city ordinances and other forms of racial prejudice. In 1942, the president of the University of Oregon denied Sam's request to finish his spring term, stating that it would be "unpatriotic" to allow him to do so. The family decided to move to Salt Lake City, Utah, to join other family relatives. Sam worked and attended University of Utah where he met his future wife. He eventually graduated from Columbia University in New York in 1945 and, after the war, started a wholesale ceramics business that became Norcrest China Co., an importer of fine china and dinnerware both from England and "Occupied Japan." (December 8, 2005)

George Ariyoshi
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George Ariyoshi

Prom during the war

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

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George Katsumi Yuzawa
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George Katsumi Yuzawa

Neighbors' sympathy after Pearl Harbor

(1915 - 2011) Nisei florist who resettled in New York City after WW II. Active in Japanese American civil rights movement

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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi
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Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi

Day Pearl Harbor was bombed

Former First Lady of Hawai'i

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Kazuo Funai
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Kazuo Funai

Japan vs. the United States (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman

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Masako Iino
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Masako Iino

Interest in Japanese migration studies (Japanese)

Tsuda College President, researcher of Nikkei history

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Henry Shimizu
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Henry Shimizu

Japanese Canadians get the right to vote in 1949

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

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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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Venancio Shinki
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Venancio Shinki

Memories of my infancy: Japanese 1, Japanese 2… (Spanish)

(b. 1932-2016) Peruvian painter

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Venancio Shinki
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Venancio Shinki

Mistreating the Japanese community (Spanish)

(b. 1932-2016) Peruvian painter

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Venancio Shinki
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Venancio Shinki

Prejudice in Japanese school (Spanish)

(b. 1932-2016) Peruvian painter

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Robert Katayama
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Robert Katayama

Being ordered to keep a diary that was later confiscated, ostensibly by the FBI

Hawaiian Nisei who served in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Bombing of Pearl Harbor

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Helping soldiers

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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Mas Kodani
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Mas Kodani

Fun at concentration camp

Senshin Buddhist Temple minister and co-founder of Kinnara Taiko.

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Barbara Kawakami
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Barbara Kawakami

Okinawan discrimination

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

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