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

Robert Tanaka - Part 1

When I got married and had a family, that’s when it sort of hit me, what my parents went through. And they never let on that they were panicking because of what was happening to the Japanese people. They were very stoic, strong people.

— Robert Tanaka

Robert has the kind of serene, light-hearted personality that draws you in. With a touch of dry humor, he’s able to tap into deep emotions that periodically surface through tears and a shaky voice. When he recalls the silent strength of his parents, or the kind music teacher in camp who altered ...

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Tessaku

Tomiko Tommy Miyahara - Part 2

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Did Tommy have to work in camp?

So Tommy had been working ever since she arrived and she harvested sugar beets. There was a sugar beet shortage which sounds ridiculous but it was really important because the men were all responding to the draft so the farm labor was down, and farmers in that region were in a crisis. So I think the idea was kind of like a prison labor camp, where they have these willing and captive people that can be the supply of labor. So Tommy signed up and she was doing what she ...

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Tessaku

Tomiko Tommy Miyahara - Part 1

“Her life experience was very American. She worked the land, she was always dirty, she’d been working since she was eight. It was that blue-collar kind of work ethic. I felt she was very American.”

—Tomiko Tommy Miyahara

I met Tommy’s granddaughter, Carly Perera, in San Francisco. It was our first time meeting in person yet our lives overlapped in coincidental ways. We both were raised in San Jose and were both working on projects to reclaim an unspoken past, piecing together fragments of stories from photos of grandparents who never spoke of their experience in camp. Lucky ...

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Tessaku

Masao Tom Inada - Part 2

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Okay, I see. So then you landed in the Philippines.

Yeah. When we were in the Philippines, maybe about two or three weeks later, the war with Japan ended. So the very next day, myself and another desk sergeant who I knew, both of us were flown to Tokyo to the Major Willoughby’s headquarters, to translate newspapers.

And that’s another part that, when I got to Tokyo and was stationed at the Dai-Ichi building, I noticed there was a police station nearby and I knew my sister was quite famous as a singer, and she ...

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identity en

Tessaku

Masao Tom Inada - Part 1

That’s the reason I’ve always just got to think to myself, I don’t know what it is but everything happens to me by chance or coincidence. And I get spared.

-- Masao Tom Inada

Tom Inada believes that someone’s been looking out for him. Despite a myriad of blight situations he might have found himself in–jobless, a replacement in the highest casualty battalion in WWII or not meeting the right kind of woman who would become his wife–Tom seemed to luck out. And you can’t help but feel like he’s most deserving of ...

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