Tessaku

Tessaku was the name of a short-lived magazine published at the Tule Lake concentration camp during World War II. It also means “barbed wire.” This series brings to light stories of the Japanese American internment, illuminating those that haven’t been told with intimate and honest conversation. Tessaku brings the consequences of racial hysteria to the foreground, as we enter into a cultural and political era where lessons of the past must be remembered.

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Masao Tom Inada - Part 2

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

Tom uniform.png

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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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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Art & Betty Shibayama - Part 2

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What city did you grow up in?

Betty Shibayama (BS): It was a town, Hood River. It was about 50 miles east of Portland, along the Columbia River. Beautiful country there. It’s like, what they say, like red neck country. [laughs] Well, they wanted to get rid of the Japanese, right. But our neighbors–I only found this out recently from one of my brothers–when the evacuation notice came out, our neighbor who maybe lived a mile away from us, had told my father, ‘Don’t report for the evacuation.’ Because he was a hunter ...

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Art & Betty Shibayama - Part 1

In my case, they denied my citizenship because I didn’t have legal entry. Now, the government brought us here forcibly, on a U.S. army transport, put us in a justice department camp that was administered by the immigration. So, where’s the place where it says I’m illegal?

-- Art Shibayama 

Art Shibayama’s childhood was idyllic. His summers were spent swimming off the coast of Callao, where his loving grandparents essentially raised him. Back in Lima, his father ran a successful business importing textiles and selling dress shirts for wholesale. His family had domestic workers to help ...

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Larry Nobori - Part 2

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What does the band play specifically?

Mainly swing, Glen Miller type stuff. Then I was asked to direct this youth band in Portland and it was called the Minidoka Swing Band. We went up to Minidoka, presented the band, that’s part of it. Then the band kept on going after this pilgrimage because we wanted to bring young people up to Minidoka to show them what that was, you know, Japanese, Asian youth. So then it kept going and we as a band became more of an adult band and kept performing under the Minidoka Swing ...

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