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

Lillian Ogata-Bonner

Lillian and I met serendipitously coming home from the 2018 Manzanar pilgrimage where, on a long, three and a half hour bus ride from the Owens Valley to Los Angeles, the organizing committee welcomed camp survivors to share their story with the group. Lillian was the first one to volunteer her story, and reveal her special connection to Manzanar: She was a baby in the camp orphanage, formally known as the Children’s Village, which was the only one that operated for all ten camps. (Children of Japanese ancestry who had been given up for adoption or orphaned at the ...

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Tessaku

Jack and Grace Fujimoto - Part 2

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It is because now that so much time has passed I think even. The people I speak with are getting more honest about how or they’re taking guesses with how their parents might have felt. I think as people get older they realize you know, ‘I want to say this truth about my past.’

Jack: Yeah. [To Grace] What do you think?

Grace: Being the baby of the family I had way too much fun.

Jack: You have opinions.

Grace: Well my father was probably the hardest person to understand. He’s very strong minded and ...

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Tessaku

Jack and Grace Fujimoto - Part 1

“My mom just about died in camp that first year because it was so damn hot. And I remember I used to have to go to the canteen every day. And they kept saying, ‘Hey get your ass out of here. We’re ain’t going to give you anymore ice.’ But everybody suffered if they weren’t used to the heat. So mom just about perished, died.”

— Jack Fujimoto

When you listen to Jack and Grace Fujimoto talk, you can’t help but know you’re in the presence of an incredibly rare couple. Having been married now for ...

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Tessaku

The Songbird of Manzanar: Mary Nomura - Part 2

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Going back into Manzanar again, was there one person that gave you that nickname “the songbird”? 

I don’t know who gave me that nickname, but I kind of think it could have been the music director of the camp, Louie Frizzell. He took me under his wing and he used to go out into the camp on the days when he didn’t have to teach and bring brand new sheet music for me to learn; new songs of the day, the current songs. You know things like Judy Garland or Doris Day or whoever was ...

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Tessaku

The Songbird of Manzanar: Mary Nomura - Part 1

“I always thought when I was a little girl, ‘I’m going to be a singer on the radio.’ I thought I would not get in the movies because who’s going to see a Japanese girl perform in the movies? So if they hear me singing on a record, they won’t know it’s my Japanese face singing.”

— Mary Nomura

Mary Kageyama Nomura was a teenager when the war broke out between the U.S. and Japan. She and her siblings were living completely on their own in Venice, all orphaned when their parents died within four years ...

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