Hawaiʻi-born internees sought for oral history

January 21st, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Research News

female Japanese American internees

Female Japanese American internees. Credit: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Ansel Adams, photographer, reproduction number, LC-A35-5-M-24

The Center for Oral History at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is looking for Hawaiʻi-born Japanese Americans who were removed from their places of study, training or employment on the West Coast and incarcerated in assembly centers and relocation camps during World War II.

Participants will be interviewed about their childhood and youth in Hawaiʻi, pre-World War II experiences on the West Coast, incarceration, release and postwar experiences.

More than 3,000 Japanese American students were enrolled in institutions of higher learning in California, Washington and Oregon at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941. Among them were some from Hawaiʻi, including men and women seeking bachelor’s degrees and advanced degrees not available in the islands.

Other Hawaiʻi-born Japanese Americans were living with relatives, completing their high school education, entering vocational schools or working on the West Coast.

In 1942 they were among the persons of Japanese ancestry incarcerated in various camps by Executive Order 9066.

Captive on the US Mainland: Oral Histories of Hawaiʻi-born Nisei, a project funded by a grant from the National Park Service, will tell their story.

The goal, says Center for Oral History Director Warren Nishimoto, is to inform the public that World War II confinement and its impact affected Hawaiʻi nisei striving to realize the American Dream on the West Coast as well as older, more established Hawaiʻi Japanese and their families.

To participate in interviewing project, email Nishimoto or call (808) 956-6260.

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