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

Fusae Yoshida - Part 1

“When he came back to Tule Lake where we were, he got off the bus, and he was an old man. To this day I cry when I think about it. He had aged so much, it was so noticeable. But I was too young to question him about what happened in those camps.”

-- Fusae Yoshida

I connected with Fusae Yoshida through the Oakland Buddhist Church’s senior citizen group (Momiji kai). This church holds a lot of history for our family, having been the same church my grandmother attended for over 50 years and the one that hosted her ...

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Tessaku

Digger Sasaki - Part 2

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[To Digger] I think it’d be interesting to talk about your first impression of Tule Lake and arriving. 

Digger Sasaki (DS): Being in Pinedale for three months, it gave me a little awareness of barracks and stuff. But Pinedale was so small in comparison. And the reason they sent us to Pinedale is Tule Lake wasn’t finished as far as building all the barracks. To tell you the truth, I couldn’t remember how we got to Tule Lake from Pinedale. I haven’t even thought about that, because that’s a long distance.

I ...

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Tessaku

Digger Sasaki - Part 1

“They had soldiers and jeeps with machine guns, you know, patrolling the camps. It was kind of exciting in a way.” 

-- Digger Sasaki

Digger Sasaki has a peculiar moniker, one that has fully replaced his given name and dates back to high school. “In high school, I played football. And you know when you practice, you have to push a sled to strengthen your legs. When people push, everybody says, “dig, dig, dig,” you know. And then one day the coach said to everybody, “Dick here is the smallest fella on the team but I think he’s the best ...

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Tessaku

Howard Yamamoto - Part 2

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Do you remember if there was any convincing that Mr. Wada needed to do with your family? 

No, that I have no idea. I just imagine what happened was he says, “Take me, too.”

To get back to the history, they were allowed to voluntarily leave California. And I think there something like 10,000 permits given out. Out of that 10,000 only few made it. Not many. Some of what I read is that they were turned away at the border. Some others put in for a permit with the intention of leaving but changed ...

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Tessaku

Howard Yamamoto - Part 1

“It was hard, it was hard on the parents. Was it hard on me? I don’t know, I don’t remember that much, the hardship. But the parents, my god. Could I do it? No. I couldn’t do it. I can’t imagine myself doing it.”

—Howard Yamamoto

Out of the 110,000 Japanese Americans who were thrown in the internment camps, 130 escaped the stark reality of mess hall food, barbed wire, and guard towers. Four-year-old Howard Yamamoto was one of them. And though he was lucky to stay out of camp, the experience of fleeing internment ...

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