Marie Masumoto

Marie Masumoto is an independent researcher of Japanese American history and volunteers for the Hirasaki National Resource Center in the Japanese American National Museum. Marie also volunteers for the Manzanar National Historic Site and excavated eight archeological gardens built during WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans and volunteers for the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage conducting tours of the gardens. She has contributed three articles about detention centers to the online Densho Encyclopedia. 

Updated February 2014

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Nanka Nikkei Voices

Starting a New Life

My mother, Kinuko Saito, was holding me in her arms as we left Japan. I was six months old when we embarked on a military ship headed for Los Angeles via Seattle. Without knowing any English, my mother left her family and friends to start a new life in the United States. We had arrangements to stay with my father’s relatives whom she had never met before.

We patiently stayed and waited for my father to arrive; he was a G.I., a Nisei soldier serving in the United States Army. Before he joined the Army, he and his ...

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Digging Into the Past: A volunteer's experience at Manzanar

On my birthday, May 6, 2007, I got an e-mail from my friend Park Ranger Carrie Andresen-Strawn at the Manzanar National Historic Site Interpretive Center. She wanted to know if I would like to volunteer on an excavation of two gardens at Blocks 9 and 10. These two blocks housed most of the Terminal Islanders who were forced to leave their homes, businesses and give up their livelihood and their successful occupations as fishermen.

A majority of the population were sent to Manzanar, their only crime was looking like the enemy and living near a military facility. Many of the ...

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