Midori Yenari

Midori Yenari is the granddaughter of issei Daisuke Yenari, and the daughter of niseis Hajime Yenari and Katsu Oikawa. She is a neurologist and neuroscientist at the University of California, San Francisco, where she is a professor of neurology. She is married to neurologist David Tong, and has a son who is attending a Japanese bilingual and bicultural elementary school program in San Francisco.

Updated April 2012 

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The Cajun Nikkei - Part 5 of 5

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Stahl Family:

The Stahl family was one of the few families in the community that was of mixed race. Mr. Stahl, Earl, was a native of northern Louisiana, from rural areas around Shreveport. He was relatively typical for the region, the grandson of European farming immigrants-in his case from Germany-who had come to the US at the turn of the century in search of better opportunities.

The unusual thing about Earl Stahl was that, as a young architecture student at Tulane University, he became part of a growing interest that certain American architects like Frank Lloyd Wright ...

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The Cajun Nikkei - Part 4 of 5

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Tamai family:

Until the 1990s, there was only one Japanese market in the Greater New Orleans area, and that was Oriental Merchandise. It served as an informal social gathering place for the Nikkei of New Orleans. Frank Tamai and George Hirabayashi ran the import/wholesale business originally called Oriental Trading.

While the main business was selling Asian goods to retailers, as well as Mardi Gras throws to krewe members, off to one side was a barely noticeable door that lead to a spanking clean, one room shop. In that room was the only place in the New ...

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The Cajun Nikkei - Part 3 of 5

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Izumi family:

Like the Yenaris, the Izumis were interned in Rohwer and were one of the last families to leave camp. Mr. Izumi was in the newspaper business and could not find work after the war had ended. With few options, he moved his family to New Orleans. Eventually, Mr. Izumi met a man named C. D. Hoi, a Chinese businessman who hired him to sell shrimp.1 Although neither spoke the other's language, they communicated by writing everything in Chinese characters.

The Izumi's daughter, Setsuko, was a teenager at the time and recalls her ...

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The Cajun Nikkei - Part 2 of 5

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In the oral history tradition, here are some stories from some of the Nikkei’s families in Louisiana:

Imahara family:

A native of Watsonville, California, Nisei James Imahara was a successful Nikkei farmer who raised strawberries and fruit trees in Sacramento. He married Haruka Sunada, a Kibei Nisei and had nine children. Along with other Japanese Americans, the Imaharas were interned in Arkansas, and Mr. Imahara lost his entire life's efforts.

After the War, the Imaharas moved to New Orleans. Although the treatment of Japanese and Japanese Americans could not be compared to that on the ...

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The Cajun Nikkei - Part 1 of 5

Japanese and Japanese Americans are certainly a minority in Louisiana, but are nevertheless a viable and tight-knit community. Numbering in the hundreds, families generally lived peacefully next to their non-Japanese neighbors, and joined together during special occasions such as New Year's or Children's Day. Even during difficult times, families would help one another both financially and emotionally. In contrast to the Nikkei of the West Coast, they rarely encountered discrimination even during the post-War years when they tried to piece their lives back together.

Before the Second World War, a handful of especially adventurous families had moved eastward ...

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