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

Mitsuki Mikki Tsuchida - Part 3

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Can you tell me about the picture of you and your friend looking at the fire?

My friend and I could see the fire on the opposite side of the camp. It was the auditorium where they used to show movies. We could see the flames and the smoke just billowing in that direction, and of course hear the sirens in the distance. So we were watching and we could see the design of the camp. The man was the from the same block and taking pictures and he said, “Stand just like that.” And we were ...

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Tessaku

Mitsuki Mikki Tsuchida - Part 2

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What about the day you left for the assembly center?

All I remember was waiting at the train station on one side of a line. There were all these ruddy face Caucasians, all just looked red to me. All I remember is that these guys were holding guns. They weren’t pointing them, but what were we going to do? They didn’t even have to carry it. After that I noticed the difference. Why are we standing over here with name tags? They weren’t abusing us but it was still cruel, of course. Herding us ...

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Tessaku

Mitsuki Mikki Tsuchida - Part 1

“Army trucks would pull up and someone would shout down, ‘How many in your family?’ And they would just throw the toilet paper and you had to go pick it up. And that lack of human dignity, it just went on and on.”

— Mitsuki Mikki Tsuchida

When I first started asking my dad about vivid camp memories, my dad would tell me how the alkaline sandstorms used to force the kids to run and hide, or that the piercing stench of the Santa Anita horse stables has never left him. He used to talk about taking a shower under the ...

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Tessaku

The Oka Family - Part 2

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Diana Tsuchida (DT): Did you ever feel any sense of prejudice before the war?

Eva: Well, we lived on a farm with other Japanese people. We were sharecropping. Our whole school, Orchard School on Gish Road, was three-quarters Japanese.

Casey Coe (CC): What did you grow on the farm? 

George: Raspberries, cucumbers. I had to wake up at 2 o’clock in the morning to help my father irrigate the raspberries. I was just in grade school.

CC: So that’s a very dramatic difference from your life before camp versus in camp.

George: One thing about ...

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Tessaku

The Oka Family - Part 1

“All my normal U.S. citizens rights were taken away from me, just for what? Japan went to war with America? We were Americans. That’s what I really resent.”

— Amos Oka

This Oka family roundtable provided a rare opportunity to hear five siblings in their late 80s and early 90s have a candid conversation about their memories from camp and WWII. While some of what the younger siblings remembered was light-hearted play and the older siblings remembered farming and hardship, all of them remember the residual sadness for what their Issei parents must have gone through, despite never speaking ...

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