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My Journey to Discover the Legacy of my Grandma, Yuri Kochiyama


Grandma with the Kids in Camp Jerome, Arkansas

After her family was sent from their home in San Pedro to the Santa Anita Assembly Center and then to Camp Jerome in Arkansas, Yuri took jobs as a nurse's aid and Sunday School teacher.  

My dad told me that Yuri would write multiple letters to her love, Grandpa Bill, fighting overseas.  But Grandpa Bill felt bad that he was getting all these letters, while other soldiers didn't get any.  So that gave Grandma the idea to start the Crusaders, originally a group of five young girls from her Sunday School class that turned into hundreds of members, who wrote letters to Japanese American soldiers fighting overseas.  It was surreal getting a chance to read the original letters from some of these amazing soldiers.  I could tell that the Crusaders' letter really boosted their morale and spirits and their appreciation was apparent.

Based on this original

Grandma with the Kids in Camp Jerome, Arkansas
uploaded by mkochiyama
Japanese American National Museum Collections Gift of Yuri Kochiyama (96.42.6) Denson, Arkansas.  1 b&w photo of Yuri Kochiyama (nee Mary Nakahara (sitting on dirt mound w/9 children to her left … More »

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