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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Richard Yamashiro - Part 4

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How did you meet your wife?

Well, I was in the army, so I went to a USO dance. That’s where I met her.

So she’s Japanese American?

Yeah. And that’s another story. I wanted to get married, but I was only 20 years old. And so I asked my parents if they would give me permission to get married. She said, no, I was too young. And so, me and my girlfriend hop on a plane, went to Reno and got married in Reno. And I came back and then my mother-in-law says ...

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Richard Yamashiro - Part 3

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So actually, just to backtrack a little bit. When you actually left Manzanar to Tule Lake, how did you get there? Did they put you on a train?

Yeah we got on a train. I guess a lot of people were happy, I wasn’t too happy. Tule Lake is horrible. You ever see Tule Lake? Compared to Manzanar? It was horrible because Tule Lake was a dried out lake bed. No soil in there at all it’s like little gravels. Where on the other hand, Manzanar was in the desert but it was in a ...

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Richard Yamashiro - Part 2

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Can we get your parents names and then your sister’s name?

My mother’s name was Tomiko. And my father’s name was Eiro. My sister’s name was Lillian, Yoshiko. It’s another thing. My mom when she registered me for school it was my Japanese name. My English name wasn’t even included. Yeah so all through my childhood, I was Eiichi Yamashiro. And try to go to school and have the teacher call the roll.

MS (Michael Sera): So when did you pick up Richard?

After camp. Yeah I go, this is too ...

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Richard Yamashiro - Part 1

“My dad had to get rid of his business. I think that was really hard for him ‘cause he worked so hard. I didn’t realize this until I was much older but that was the hardest thing for him. And that made him kind of bitter, too.”

— Richard Yamashiro

Getting to speak with Richard Yamashiro is a remarkable experience. At 91 years young, Richard still works a job and has the energy and spunk of someone twenty years his junior. On the other side of his current work badge, he has inserted a small photo of himself from Tule ...

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Shizuko Yamauchi - Part 2

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Can you talk about meeting your husband? Did you meet him in Cleveland?

Shizuko Yamauchi (SY): No. He was in the service.

Nancy Dodd (ND): He was in the 442.

SY: Well we had a boarding house, so if they had any leave they would come and stay overnight and go back to the—wherever. So that’s how he came to—

So you knew him from San Luis Obispo. Were you corresponding all throughout the war?

SY: Yes, but he was Kibei. So I always guessed that he had somebody write for him but I never ...

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