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

Kazuo Yamaguchi

Luckily for us growing up in New York City, there was very little discrimination. And my dad became friends with the top godfather of the Italian mafia. I must’ve thought I was part Italian.

— Kazuo Yamaguchi

To hear Kaz Yamaguchi speak is to hear the voice of a born and bred New Yorker, complete with the “go to hell” attitude. At 92 years old and still living on the East Coast, Kaz calls himself an oddity, one of the very few Niseis drafted from New York into the Military Intelligence Service during WWII.

And how did his family get ...

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Tessaku

Isamu Noguchi - Part 3

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Did he choose Poston due to it being on an American Indian reservation? 

I think it happened to be under Collier’s jurisdiction and I think he had been through Arizona previously. I don’t think he had too much say.

If he couldn’t get out, why was that? 

Because I think once you’re entered into the system, your file becomes part of the pile and it’s just the bureaucracy of the whole situation. And also, you’re immediately a suspicious element within the camp.

So during his time there he’s contacted by ...

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Tessaku

Isamu Noguchi - Part 2

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Do you also feel that something about Isamu Noguchi’s mixed-race identity shapes his sociopolitical worldview? 

I think the time that he spent in Indiana was really formative. This heartland experience, and he’s in the presence of this industrialist who has various farming equipment manufactured, he runs a newspaper so he sees this guy essentially as the personification of the American businessman.

And also he’s learning about the founding fathers and he’s definitely aware of the farming cycle. And he’s getting a mix of agrarian culture but he goes to New York and ...

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Tessaku

Isamu Noguchi - Part 1

“I begin to see the peculiar tragedy of the Nisei as that of a generation of transition accepted neither by the Japanese nor by America. A middle people with no middle ground. His future looms uncertain. Where can he go? How will he live? Where will he be accepted?”

— Isamu Noguchi from “I Become a Nisei” (1942)

Sculptor Isamu Noguchi was as fluid a creator as he was in his racial identity. Born to Leonie Gilmour, a white American mother and Yonejiro Noguchi, a Japanese poet, he was by all accounts, an artist’s artist. Mentored by great European sculptors ...

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Tessaku

Alice Kanagaki

“The Japanese people are not the kind of people to sit back and feel bitter and feel sorry for themselves. They are creative, resourceful and they make the best of a bad situation. Shikata ga nai.

— Alice Kanagaki

Teenage fun, good friends, and happy memories of high school is how Alice remembers her time in Gila River. Skim through her high school yearbook and it reads like an average collection of young friends in any other school bonded by dances, sports, and an impending separation of graduation. Several of her handwritten messages begin with “Dear Rugged.” I asked Alice how ...

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