Leslie Yamaguchi

Leslie Yamaguchi is a High School English teacher in Southern California. She is a volunteer for the Japanese American National Museum where she writes articles for the Museum Store Online and helps out with book sales at public programs.

Updated November 2007

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Japanese American National Museum Store Online

Beverly Patt interview “Best Friends Forever: A World War II Scrapbook”

In her book, Best Friends Forever: A World War II Scrapbook, writer Beverly Patt uses a unique format—a scrapbook—to tell the story of the friendship between two young girls separated during World War II. After her Japanese American friend, Dottie Masuoka, and her family have been sent to “Camp Harmony” following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, fourteen-year-old Louise Krueger dedicates herself to keeping a journal that she will be able to share with her best friend when she returns. The items in the scrapbook—from newspaper clippings, to hair ribbons, to letters from Dottie—are beautifully illustrated within ...

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Japanese American National Museum Store Online

Reclaiming Untold Stories from the Camps: Karen Ishizuka’s “Lost & Found”

In addition to her credits as an award-winning producer and writer, Karen L. Ishizuka is respected for her work as the curator of the Japanese American National Museum’s critically acclaimed 1994 exhibition, America’s Concentration Camps: Remembering the Japanese American Experience.

In an interview with the Japanese American National Museum for this article, Ishizuka recalled her work with the National Museum. “When I was asked to curate America’s Concentration Camps, I had already done a lot of work on the camps, and I thought I knew a lot. Yet despite all my past years of research and writing ...

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Japanese American National Museum Store Online

Furusato: The Lost Village of Terminal Island

When asked about their memories of Terminal Island, many Japanese Americans who spent their childhood there think “furusato,” home sweet home. In the early 1900s, many Japanese immigrants from Wakayama Prefecture settled there, making a living as fishermen. The community thrived and grew into a place where families knew one another, a place with little or no crime, a place of no worries. Having cherished childhood memories may not seem unusual, but given the devastating history of this area, now known as San Pedro, the fond memories held by Japanese Americans who grew up on Terminal Island is nothing short ...

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Japanese American National Museum Store Online

Nisei Voices: The Journey

In the 1930s Paul T. Hirohata gathered copies of speeches given by forty-nine Nisei valedictorians and published them in a collection called Orations and Essays. Seventy years later, his granddaughter, Joyce Hirohata reviewed the book, this time from an adult perspective, and it “took over her imagination.”

By her calculations, Ms. Hirohata realized that many of the students would have been part of the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and many, although elderly, would still be alive. She began to wonder what had become of them, and thus, her journey to create Nisei Voices: Japanese American Students ...

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Margaret Kasahara

Kokeshi dolls, believed to have originated in the Tohoku region of Japan, are viewed as one of the country’s most treasured folk arts. The dolls are simple in construction—wooden, cylindrical bodies with round heads—yet the Japanese American National Museum’s exhibition, Kokeshi: From Folk Art to Art Toy, showcases the true artistry and creativity embodied in these dolls. The exhibition consists of three sections that showcase the history and tradition of the kokeshi doll, as well as its influence on contemporary artists and their work. Margaret Kasahara is one of the contemporary artists whose work is exhibited ...

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