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

Paul and Alice Takemoto - Part 1

“I grew up thinking women were stronger than men in terms of the absence of anger and self-pity. Absence of bitterness.”

– Paul Takemoto

If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Alice and Paul Takemoto, you will be in the presence of an endearing mother and son relationship. Sitting with them felt like a reunion with old friends, full of unexplainable but palpable comfort. Alice has a voice so sweet, she could deliver bad news and you’d receive it warmly. And when Paul cracks a joke (which is frequently), Alice’s laugh is infectious.

As star subjects in the ...

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Tessaku

James Tanaka - Part 2

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Did you get the sense that for whatever reason, Minidoka’s security felt more relaxed than the other camps?

In my diggings I found the April 7th meeting of DeWitt, Eisenhower, and the ten Western governors in Salt Lake City. And on page four it says ‘distinction between internment and evacuation.’ It spelled out clearly the difference between the two. And then, poor Mr. Eisenhower had a problem with sleeping because knowing American citizens were locked up behind barbed wire and armed guards, he couldn’t sleep at night. So in June, he turned the duties over ...

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Tessaku

James Tanaka - Part 1

"The guard tower had a heavy duty machine gun. Of course no one was standing directly behind it but it looked in. Later as an adult I learned another reason they locked us up was for our protection. If somebody's going to hurt us, shouldn't it be pointing out?"

- James Tanaka

As a longtime docent at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, James Tanaka is a wealth of knowledge. He knows government documents, dates and WWII particulars by heart, and he carries a binder full of sheet protectors filled with his family’s documents and obscure ...

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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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