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https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/562/

The only Japanese family in Ocean Park

My father was always a loner. He never lived within, like, the Japanese community. We were the only Japanese family at Ocean Park. So he was a loner in that respect so I don’t know if he experienced racism, although I’m sure he did because you know how terrible the laws were. But somehow, it didn’t…it wasn’t an issue until after he came back from Bismarck and after Manzanar and you know, he began drinking and, oh, it was like total change. And he never spoke to a Caucasian after that. He was quite bitter. Quite bitter.


discrimination interpersonal relations racism World War II

Date: December 27, 2005

Location: California, US

Interviewer: John Esaki

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

Interviewee Bio

Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, co-author of the acclaimed Farewell to Manzanar, was born in 1934 in Inglewood, California. The youngest of ten children, she spent her early childhood in Southern California until 1942 when she and her family were incarcerated at the World War II concentration camp at Manzanar, California.

In 1945, the family returned to Southern California where they lived until 1952 when they moved to San Jose, California. Houston was the first in her family to earn a college degree. She met James D. Houston while attending San Jose State University. They married in 1957 and have three children.

In 1971, a nephew who had been born at Manzanar asked Houston to tell him about what the camp had been like because his parents refused to talk about it. She broke down as she began to tell him, so she decided instead to write about the experience for him and their family. Together with her husband, Houston wrote Farewell to Manzanar. Published in 1972, the book is based on what her family went through before, during, and after the war. It has become a part of many school curricula to teach students about the Japanese American experience during WWII. It was made into a made-for-television movie in 1976 that won a Humanitas Prize and was nominated for an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Writing in a Drama.

Since Farewell to Manzanar, Houston has continued to write both with her husband and on her own. In 2003, her first novel, The Legend of Fire Horse Woman was published. She also provides lectures in both university and community settings. In 2006, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston received the Award of Excellence for her contributions to society from the Japanese American National Museum. (November 25, 2006)

Susumu “Sus” Ito
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Susumu “Sus” Ito

Feeling prejudice while looking for jobs

(1919 - 2015) Nisei who served in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team

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Susumu “Sus” Ito
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Susumu “Sus” Ito

Generosity of the Italians

(1919 - 2015) Nisei who served in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team

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Susumu “Sus” Ito
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Susumu “Sus” Ito

Invited to teach at Harvard by his boss

(1919 - 2015) Nisei who served in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team

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Terumi Hisamatsu Calloway
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Terumi Hisamatsu Calloway

Discrimination faced in San Francisco (Japanese)

(b. 1937) A war bride from Yokohama

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Jimmy Ko Fukuhara
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Jimmy Ko Fukuhara

The riot in Manzanar

(b. 1921) Nisei veteran who served in the occupation of Japan

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Willie Ito
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Willie Ito

The Dopey bank that survived the war

(b. 1934) Award-winning Disney animation artist who was incarcerated at Topaz during WWII

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Paulo Issamu Hirano
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Paulo Issamu Hirano

Accepted by Japanese society as I learned more Japanese (Japanese)

(b. 1979) Sansei Nikkei Brazilian who lives in Oizumi-machi in Gunma prefecture. He runs his own design studio.

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Sawako Ashizawa Uchimura
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Sawako Ashizawa Uchimura

Evacuated to the Jungle

(b. 1938) Philipines-born hikiagesha who later migrated to the United States.

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Sawako Ashizawa Uchimura
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Sawako Ashizawa Uchimura

Captured by Guerillas after bombing of Pearl Harbor

(b. 1938) Philipines-born hikiagesha who later migrated to the United States.

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Robert T. Fujioka
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Robert T. Fujioka

Grandfather picked up by US Army

(b. 1952) Former banking executive, born in Hawaii

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Tom Yuki
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Tom Yuki

Father's business partner operated their farming business during WWII

(b. 1935) Sansei businessman.

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Tom Yuki
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Tom Yuki

Father was convinced the constitution would protect him

(b. 1935) Sansei businessman.

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Tom Yuki
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Tom Yuki

Japanese were not welcomed back to Salinas

(b. 1935) Sansei businessman.

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Fumiko Hachiya Wasserman
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Fumiko Hachiya Wasserman

The lack of discussion about family’s incarceration in Amache

Sansei judge for the Superior Court of Los Angeles County in California

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Kay Sekimachi
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Kay Sekimachi

Family that saved her belongings during World War II

(b. 1926) Artist

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