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

Kay Ikuma

One of the hardest things was getting immersed back into society, like taking the bus to school some place where there was a mixture of people. We had to put up with a lot of taunting, a lot of ridicule. That was hard, I remember that, being teased a lot.

—Kay Ikuma

In May of 1942, photographer Dorothea Lange shot the below picture of the Mochida family, prepared with their family’s identification tags and marked bags waiting to board a bus that would take them to the Tanforan assembly center.

Though this photo was part of the censored collection ...

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Tessaku

Tadashi Tsufura - Part 2

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Why do you think the parents and most Niseis never spoke about camp?

When the war was going on we were the enemy. After the war, we were still the enemy, so dead silence continued until 1976 when Michi Weglyn published her book “Years of Infamy.” Until then, no one wanted to bring the camp subject up. Also, when we left camp for Seabrook Farms in September of 1944, the war was still going on and we went to a town 5 miles away to shop for clothes and other necessities. There were signs in some store ...

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Tessaku

Tadashi Tsufura - Part 1

In the morning you take off, and you don’t come back or see your parents until you go to bed. You went whenever you wanted to. And you don’t tell anybody what you’re doing during the day. What a painful thing it was, and must have been, for the Issei group.

— Tadashi Tsufura

Growing up in a little farming town in California, Tadashi Tsufura likely never envisioned the influential life he would lead. After they left the internment, his family moved to the other side of the country in Seabrook, New Jersey. He went on to serve ...

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Tessaku

Robert Tanaka - Part 2

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Bob, can I go back? Do you remember your experience going from Watsonville to the assembly center? And then from the assembly center to Tule Lake?

Oh when we first moved we went to Davis. I would spend my junior year over in Davis. And that’s when Executive 9066 came. And so [a friend] Mr. Kearney had a dairy farm there. He says look we got to get you down to the train, so I’ll drive you down in the truck with your luggage. A very nice person, I really liked him.

So when we ...

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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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