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

Mary Iwami - Part 2

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When Pearl Harbor happened, do you remember that day?

What happened to me, I don’t recall that day at all. I think it was because we were on a farm, we didn’t even know it was being bombed, probably. But my father knew about it because the menfolk talked. But we didn’t talk about it and to me, it didn’t register anything. I didn’t know what war was or anything.

What do you recall about the government officials who came to talk to your father?

I remember they had badges and they ...

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Tessaku

Mary Iwami - Part 1

“It was a struggle because once we got to the point where we could live in that little house that they built, everything was happy. And then this war happens, and they’re taken from their comfort.”

— Mary Iwami

Mary (Idemoto) Iwami remembers the day her parents’ life changed permanently and seemingly in an instant, disrupting their life as farmers in the agricultural sprawl of Salinas, California. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, FBI agents came to their home to warn Mary’s father to get rid of anything that could link them back to Japan or reveal their sympathies ...

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Tessaku

Yosh Uchida - Part 2

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So can you describe leaving for Arkansas? That’s where you did your basic training?

Right, right. Oh yeah. There were lots of Japanese, Japanese Americans that went to Camp Robinson in Little Rock, Arkansas. And we went by train across the country. And it took us about two or three days to get there. And it was very nerve-wracking. We pulled shades down and went across the country.

Really, they told you to do that?

Uh huh.

Oh my goodness. It was like the same thing as all the other Japanese who were sent–

Well the ...

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Tessaku

Yosh Uchida - Part 1

“I like to have my grandchildren know about it, where they’re from and what happened to their grandparents. And how hard they had to work so that they have equal rights with everybody else.”

On April 1, 2020, Yosh Uchida became a centenarian, carrying with him a legacy and reputation that reflects his long life. Born to a farming family in what is now Disneyland, Yosh remembers the difficult years of growing up during the Depression, and the concern of the community’s Issei parents that Japanese language and culture were being forgotten by their American-born children. “They thought ...

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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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