Gary T. Ono

Gary T. Ono, is a Sansei transplant from San Francisco, California who now resides in the Little Tokyo area of Los Angeles. He is a volunteer photographer for the nearby Japanese American National Museum. In 2001, he was awarded a California Civil Liberties Public Education Program grant to produce a video documentary, "Calling Tokyo: Japanese American Radio Broadcasters of World War II.” This story about what his father did during the war sparked his interest in his Japanese American and family history, which richly fills his senior moments.

Updated May 2013

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More “Made in Camp” Samurai Swords Discovered

The Samurai Spirit

In my 2015 Discover Nikkei essay, “Samurai Spirit in WWII Camps,” I put forth my belief that gaman—a Japanese term of Zen Buddhist origin that means "enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity"—surely must have burned especially bright in the hearts and minds of the Issei. Gaman was also characteristic of the temperament of the samurai, whose spirit I believe led to the making of swords in camp. My earlier essay discussed two handcrafted swords. Now, more swords are being discovered.

In facing American racism, gaman was necessary for self-preservation. The Issei were denied ...

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Samurai Spirit In WWII Camps

As a volunteer at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM), recent developments there revealed that hidden Samurai spirits nestled in the minds and bodies of some of those imprisoned in the US concentration camps that held America’s Japanese prisoners for the duration of World War II. As you will shortly see, that speaks for Tokuichi Muro, a concentration camp inmate shown with his wife, Koito (Funai) Muro, interned in Amache, the War Relocation Authority Center (camp) near Granada, Colorado.

I think, like the Samurai described in Stephen Turnbull’s, The Book of the Samurai: The Warrior Class of Japan ...

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Nikkei Chronicles #3 — Nikkei Names: Taro, John, Juan, João?

You Can Call Me Ben

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” (Shakespeare; Romeo and Juliet) William pretty much sums it up for me as far as names go, but it is interesting to learn about how names are determined by different times and cultures.

In Japan, middle names were not used, but in the turn-of-the-century America, Japanese pioneer immigrants, Issei, in most cases gave their Nisei children, second generation Japanese in America, Japanese middle names as well as American names. American names were given in order to ease assimilation into the American ...

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Story Behind the Name – Amache

It’s been mentioned before: the Granada War Relocation Authority Center in Colorado, one of ten such WWII American concentrations camps scattered throughout the U.S.A., was given a name change to Amache. The name change was to avoid the confusion of having two U.S. Post Offices within a mile-and-a-half of each other with the same name. One was the nearby town of Granada; the other was the Granada WRA camp. It was a practical decision, but it turned out to provide a bit of irony that our camp was given the name of a Native American, Amache ...

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Jack Muro’s Garden

I know, I know, I’ve written about Jack Muro before!—Jack as the “Underground Photographer of Amache,” “Jack Muro’s Photo Album,” and Jack being “Patriotic After All,” but Jack keeps inspiring me to write yet another essay for the JANM Discover Nikkei website.

I was getting ready to leave his and his wife Kate’s home following a successful telephone conference call interview of Jack, conducted by Denver George Washington High School students: Maureen McNamara, Haelee Chin, and Alex Barone-Camp. These same highly motivated high school sophomores contacted and interviewed me the week before. Their National History Day ...

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