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

Kazuki Hirose - Part 2

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So you’re in camp and there for a couple of years, and then the loyalty questionnaire is put forth to everybody. What do you remember about getting that questionnaire and seeing those two questions, 27 and 28? Can you talk about what you did?

They didn’t tell us about doing away with our citizenship or nothing. But they didn’t warn us. I don’t think there was any warning or nothing. But they had a big cafeteria or gym that we met in, the whole camp. That was all full. The people of draft ...

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Tessaku

Kazuki Hirose - Part 1

“There were six to car, that’s including the driver. But you know, the driver himself could’ve been overpowered. But they trusted us that much that they stopped to feed us lunch. We could have run away but they trusted us that much. ”

— Kazuki Hirose

A first time conversation with Kazuki Hirose has all the familiarity and warmth of talking to an old friend. His fond reflections of growing up in Silicon Valley’s beautiful farm country and the friends he would meet in camp—many of whom are now gone—permeate the stories he tells, revealing the blessing ...

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Tessaku

Aiko Ebihara

“During all of those long years of World War II, I took that Evacuation Day very personally. For me, as an eighteen year old, it was an unreasonable action by the U.S. Government that took ‘my Aiko.’”

— Velora Williams Morris

This story of Aiko Ebihara really begins in the friendship forged between two families living in Salem, Oregon, prior to the start of WWII. Aiko’s parents, Maki and Frank, were restaurant owners and full-time cooks at Tokio Sukiyaki, living above the restaurant in a cramped bedroom with three young children. With Aiko on the way, there was simply ...

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Tessaku

Lillian Ogata-Bonner

Lillian and I met serendipitously coming home from the 2018 Manzanar pilgrimage where, on a long, three and a half hour bus ride from the Owens Valley to Los Angeles, the organizing committee welcomed camp survivors to share their story with the group. Lillian was the first one to volunteer her story, and reveal her special connection to Manzanar: She was a baby in the camp orphanage, formally known as the Children’s Village, which was the only one that operated for all ten camps. (Children of Japanese ancestry who had been given up for adoption or orphaned at the ...

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Tessaku

Jack and Grace Fujimoto - Part 2

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It is because now that so much time has passed I think even. The people I speak with are getting more honest about how or they’re taking guesses with how their parents might have felt. I think as people get older they realize you know, ‘I want to say this truth about my past.’

Jack: Yeah. [To Grace] What do you think?

Grace: Being the baby of the family I had way too much fun.

Jack: You have opinions.

Grace: Well my father was probably the hardest person to understand. He’s very strong minded and ...

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