Emiko Tsuchida

Emiko Tsuchida is freelance writer and digital marketer living in San Francisco. She has written on the representations of mixed race Asian American women and conducted interviews with some of the top Asian American women chefs. Her work has appeared in the Village Voice, the Center for Asian American Media, and the forthcoming Beiging of America series. She is the creator of Tessaku, a project that collects stories from Japanese Americans who experienced the concentration camps.

Updated December 2016

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Tessaku

Shin Mune — Part 2

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Did your parents ever have any conversations with you or your siblings about what was happening?

Well, see, my mother and father spoke Japanese at home. But when my mother spoke to us, maybe before the war or camp, she might have spoken to us in Japanese because Papa insisted on us speaking Japanese. But once we were in camp, it was the Japanese way. “Nihogno hanishitaku nakata.” (Didn’t want to speak Japanese). Pound your fist on the top of the table “No, no.” My father had a loud voice, so I remember coming out of …

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Tessaku

Shin Mune — Part 1

“Finally, the day we received news of President Reagan signing the apology letter they had a function at the Issei Memorial building. And Papa was the only Issei there. I was so proud of him.”

— Shin Mune

Shin Mune is one of those rare living treasures in San Jose who come from the heritage of farming the very land upon which sprawling suburbias now sit. In fact, the 20-acre Mune farm that the family owned after the war was just a five minute walk away from the middle school that I attended, Morrill Middle on the border of Milpitas. …

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Tessaku

Setsuko Asano - Part 3

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So how did your father get this job right after camp?

He was a journalist like I said, and very good in writing Chinese characters. He was befriended by a Chinese man who was in the shrimp business. And he told him, “Come here to New Orleans.” So we went, he really befriended us. I say this really with a sense of — he was so nice to us that even when I left there because my father passed, he found out why I was going back to Los Angeles, he said, ‘I have property here. …

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Tessaku

Setsuko Asano - Part 2

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And so when you got to Rohwer, what do you remember about it?

The humidity, and the mosquitoes. There were a lot of forests, really in the forest. I mean, you could you see trees all over.

What did you end up doing for fun? Did you make friends there? 

We were all in blocks, so we were with our age group. I was active in the Girl Scouts. That's what they had for us at my age group.  

What were some of the things you did as a Girl Scout?

I can't recall [laughs]. It was …

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Tessaku

Setsuko Asano - Part 1

“My family, my parents became pro-America immediately. Their whole psyche was completely turned around.”

— Setsuko Asano

Setsuko (Izumi) Asano was born on the auspicious day of March 3rd, 1932 or hinamatsuri, the annual celebration of Girls Day in Japan. Perhaps it was fitting that Setsuko’s birth would fall on such a day, as she was last born in a line up of five daughters in her family, with no sons.

Sets was born to two Issei parents; her mother was a skilled midwife and nurse, and her father was a journalist, writing, and editing for a Japanese language …

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