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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)

Shizuko Kadoguchi
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Shizuko Kadoguchi

Choice to move east or go to Japan

(b.1920) Japanese Canadian Nisei. Established the Ikenobo Ikebana Society of Toronto

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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

Feeling imprisoned at camp

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

Institutionalization as a bad aspect of camp

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig
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Aiko Yoshinaga Herzig

State Department records show concern for treatment of Japanese American internees

(1924-2018) Researcher, Activist

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Vince Ota
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Vince Ota

Different tension between East Coast and Los Angeles

Japanese American Creative designer living in Japan

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Francis Y. Sogi
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Francis Y. Sogi

Remembering December 7, 1941

(1923-2011) Lawyer, MIS veteran, founder of Francis and Sarah Sogi Foundation

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Francis Y. Sogi
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Francis Y. Sogi

Meeting Japanese Americans from the mainland in MIS

(1923-2011) Lawyer, MIS veteran, founder of Francis and Sarah Sogi Foundation

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Francis Y. Sogi
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Francis Y. Sogi

Awareness of concentration camps as a Japanese American

(1923-2011) Lawyer, MIS veteran, founder of Francis and Sarah Sogi Foundation

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Paul Terasaki
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Paul Terasaki

His experiences in Chicago after WWII

(b.1929) Pioneer medical researcher in tissue transfer and organ transplantation.

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Fred Korematsu
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Fred Korematsu

Manhunt

(1919 - 2005) Challenged the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066.

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Fred Korematsu
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Fred Korematsu

The Final Verdict

(1919 - 2005) Challenged the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066.

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Toshio Inahara
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Toshio Inahara

Classified 4C - enemy alien

(b. 1921) Vascular surgeon

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Bert A. Kobayashi
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Bert A. Kobayashi

Less information about Hawai‘i in mainland

(b.1944) Founder of Kobayashi Group, LLC

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Gene Akutsu
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Gene Akutsu

A teenager's memories of how a local newspaper misrepresented Japanese Americans

(b. 1925) Draft resister

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Gene Akutsu
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Gene Akutsu

The role of the media in influencing people's opinions

(b. 1925) Draft resister

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