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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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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Larry Nobori - Part 1

If you ever wanted to get a sense of what life actually felt like in camp, look no further than this contraband film from the Nobori family, shot inside Jerome, Arkansas. This 8 mm “day in the life” was filmed by the father, George and leaves a time capsule so perfectly preserved for those of us who want to go beyond still pictures. The family’s candid footage reveals lightheartedness in a sober situation. It shows people making the best of their days amid dust, mess halls and rattlesnakes. Watch the film below:

George Nobori Sr. also took brilliant candid ...

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Nancy Yamamoto - Part 2

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So those were hard times. Once I was home for a girls’ meeting and I was intending to take the train back to San Francisco on Monday morning. They wouldn’t allow me to get on the train, they wouldn’t sell me a ticket.

I think I can still picture him. I said, ‘Why not?’ He said, ‘Your country started a war against us.'” And I said that’s not my country. I said I’m an American born, Japanese American. He said, “Doesn’t make any difference, can’t sell you a ticket. If you ...

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Nancy Yamamoto - Part 1

Once I was home for a girls’ meeting and I was intending to take the train back to San Francisco on Monday morning. They wouldn’t allow me to get on the train, they wouldn’t sell me a ticket. I think I can still picture him. I said, “Why not?” He said, “Your country started a war against us.”

-- Nancy Yamamoto

A longtime member of the Oakland Buddhist Church’s Momijikai, a young Nancy Yamamoto had aspirations to become a fashion designer and learn from the best in Chicago or New York. Her love of style is obvious by ...

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Fusae Yoshida - Part 2

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[To Fusae] Do you remember a conversation that your parents had with you over moving to the camps?

They went with the flow, evidently. They packed up. They closed their laundry business. And we waited for evacuation because we knew it was coming.

Did you ever experience anything negative from school?

Our school wasn’t that bad, I didn’t feel it. I was in junior high school. In fact, the school gave a special farewell assembly. The Mayor of Tacoma was one of the very few people who opposed the evacuation. He later became a U ...

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