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https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/955/

Challenges of finding a summer job

I want you to know, first of all, being outside was not easy. As long as I was on the campus, things were fine. When summer vacation came, it was time for me to get out and do some work and earn some money.

So Tom and I went up to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and I could not get jobs. Incidentally, I want to back up and tell you that at Dakota Wesleyan, in the evening, when I was in Mitchell, South Dakota, I attended a course on welding at some school, and I learned how to weld. And the reason I learned arc welding is that, in my spring vacation, I wanted to go out and get a job as a welder, which brings me up to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I went up there, Tom and I, and there’s a company up there by the name of Harnischfeger. It’s still there. They were building tanks and so forth—military equipment. They gave me a test for welding, and I passed because I had trained in that. But when they heard that I was a Japanese, when the personnel manager found that out, they refused to hire me.


discrimination interpersonal relations racism

Date: August 27, 1998

Location: Pennsylvania, US

Interviewer: Darcie Iki, Mitchell Maki

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

Interviewee Bio

The Honorable William Marutani was born in Kent, Washington. With the enforcement of Executive Order 9066, Marutani was forced to leave his classes at the University of Washington and sent to Fresno Assembly Center in 1942, and later Tule Lake concentration camp. He was released to attend Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, SD in the fall of 1942 as a pre-law student.

After being rejected by the U.S. Navy for being classified as a 4-C enemy alien, Marutani was finally able to serve by joining the Army where he was assigned to the Military Intelligence Service. Following his service, Marutani attended law school at the University of Chicago and moved to Pennsylvania for a six-month clerkship, where he stayed until 1975, when he was appointed to the bench of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Marutani became active in the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) and served in many different positions. Marutani was appointed to serve on the nine-member Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) that was created by President Jimmy Carter to investigate matters concerning the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans. Marutani was the only Japanese American to serve on the commission. (April 11, 2008)

Sakaye Shigekawa
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Sakaye Shigekawa

Traumatic experiences before camp

(1913-2013) Doctor specializing in obstetrics in Southern California

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Sakaye Shigekawa
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Sakaye Shigekawa

“Everybody went in like sheep”

(1913-2013) Doctor specializing in obstetrics in Southern California

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Frances Midori Tashiro Kaji
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Frances Midori Tashiro Kaji

Discrimination for Nisei doctors

(1928–2016) Daughter of an Issei doctor 

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Sumiko Kozawa
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Sumiko Kozawa

Experiencing prejudice after the war

(1916-2016) Florist

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A. Wallace Tashima
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A. Wallace Tashima

Being Denied as a Japanese American Lawyer

(b. 1934) The First Japanese American Appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals. 

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George Takei
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George Takei

Asian Stereotypes

(b. 1937) Actor, Activist

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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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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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Tom Yuki
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Tom Yuki

Japanese were not welcomed back to Salinas

(b. 1935) Sansei businessman.

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Takayo Fischer
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Takayo Fischer

Being Confused about Racial Identity in Postwar United States

(b. 1932) Nisei American stage, film, and TV actress

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Mia Yamamoto
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Mia Yamamoto

Understanding anti black racism in high school

(b. 1943) Japanese American transgender attorney

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Mia Yamamoto
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Mia Yamamoto

Racial discrimination prepared her in becoming the first transgender trial lawyer

(b. 1943) Japanese American transgender attorney

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