California, United States



Burt Takeuchi Lauds Heroes With “Valor With Honor”


Their families were in concentration camps. They were designated enemy aliens. Their rights as American citizens were denied. “The government did us a big wrong and we had to prove how wrong they were,” said Frank Shimada. “The only way to prove it was by going to war and laying ...

Carol Misumi: Piecing Together Sustained Support for JANM


When Carol Misumi laughs, she sounds more like 19 than 91, but this California native was indeed born in 1919. The retired home economics teacher uses her talents in design and sewing to continue her long-time support of the Japanese American National Museum (JANM). Working from her home in Santa ...

Japanese American National Museum Store Online

Virgil Westdale: Farm Boy, Pilot, Soldier, Inventor, Author, and Gentleman


Virgil Westdale’s exceptional life story might never have been published had he not attended a Halloween dance. Unsure of what to wear, the World War II veteran donned his Army uniform of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, nearly sixty years after issue and still a perfect fit. On the ...

Interview with John Christgau, author of Enemies: World War II Alien Internment


John Christgau had just finished his first book, a novel called Spoon, when he began to search for a good story idea for his next project.  The resulting work of non-fiction, Enemies: World War II Alien Internment, was more than a good story, and the issues Christgau raised therein still ...

Food Tours of Little Tokyo with Six Taste - An interview with Jeff Okita


Want to get the inside scoop on Little Tokyo? With a Six Taste tour, it’s likely to be mochi flavored gelato, but you’ll also enjoy tasty tidbits of history, culture and samples of Japanese cuisine along seven stops in a 3-1/2 hour walking adventure. The tours place ...

Yoshitaro Amano, Canal Zone Resident and Prisoner #203 - Part 7


Part 6 >>Amano and the others stepped off the train at Pennsylvania Station on June 16. Guards escorted the group across the street to the Pennsylvania Hotel, onto a freight elevator and up to the fourth floor. They joined “about thirty other people quartered in rooms close to us. Most ...

Yoshitaro Amano, Canal Zone Resident and Prisoner #203 - Part 6


Part 5 >>Few prisoners spoke directly to the enemy in protest but some were willing to speak up when ordered to do so. According to Amano, the military conducted a court martial of the soldier accused of shooting Kanesaburo Oshima, calling ten Japanese as witnesses. One courageous witness, Shindo Tamezo ...

Yoshitaro Amano, Canal Zone Resident and Prisoner #203 - Part 5


Part 4 >>Spirits spiked and plummeted throughout the next several months that included the anxiety-ridden voyage aboard the Florida from Panama to New Orleans followed by long hours on a train through desolate territory to an unknown destination. A high point for the prisoners occurred on the train.  An American ...

Yoshitaro Amano, Canal Zone Resident and Prisoner #203 - Part 4


Part 3 >>On the evening of December 7, 1941, Amano recalled ordering his two Panamanian maids to bring whiskey and three glasses.  He poured for the three of them and offered a toast to Japan’s victory and a toast to his love of Panama.  On impulse, he grabbed the ...

Yoshitaro Amano, Canal Zone Resident and Prisoner #203 - Part 3


Part 2 >>Amano confirmed that military personnel did more than mistreat prisoners for entertainment; they gathered intelligence in concert with the FBI.  Amano revealed in his statements that his highly suspect activities and defiant attitude made him a target.  While captive, the Americans identified Amano only by the number on ...

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Esther Newman recently moved back to her hometown of Encinitas, California. After a career in marketing and media production for Ohio’s Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, she completed an M.A. in twentieth century American history. She plans to continue independent research on her family’s history and topics affecting the Japanese Diaspora including internment, migration and assimilation.


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