AND WEB SITE RESPONSES
"Many internees (and their children
and children's children) have noted how the memories of internment
have been locked away and forgotten, never to be brought out
into the light. . . . I was moved to tears by the documentary.
. . . It's time we let the light shine into these shadows and
free the generations from the darkness."
- Gil Asakawa, CO (read
full "Nikkei View" article)
"This video made me ashamed to be
an American. To suspend the American Constitution while the German-Am-erican
Bund is flourishing on the East Coast under Fritz Kuhn explains
to me the origin of all racism in America, our own Federal Government.
I begin to now wonder how much racism was involved in the decision
to drop the Atom Bomb. To treat people like animals; to deny
them proper nutrition; to put them in stockades; to deliberately
cause divisiveness and to deprive people of their property and
their businesses without due process of law and then many years
to apologize by giving the survivors a mere $20,000 is no doubt
one of the major travesties of our republic."
- Irving Bennett, Englewood, CO
Thank you for this web page. I wanted to
find some true history about these camps and the treatment of
American citizens by our government. I am a 33 year old white
male who went through school never truly understanding or researching
American history. I can not believe how blind that I and many
others are to the political and historical misinformation we
were given during our school yreas. I hope that all mankind will
learn from the past 100 years and seek out the truth and learn
empathy for all whom ever they may be!!"."
- Dennis Cunningham, Yakima, WA
"Thank you for telling your story!
It's too bad that most Americans are totally unaware of this
injustice to our fellow Japanese Americans. Dr. George Kawakami,
a dentist from Southern California that we met, answered some
of our questions recently. Since my husband lived in Wyoming
during the war, he told us of how he had been interned at the
Heart Mountain Relocation center. I was educated in America and
over fifty years old and I never heard of such shameful acts
of my Government, until now. Please air this documentary again.
This would make a great movie! This was a story worth telling!
I have a children's radio show nationally heard. I hope sometime
I can incorporate this information and inform children about
your story . . . My husband was a grade schooler in Park County,
Wyoming during this period of time. He frequently rode with his
family, passing the internment camp, on his way to town, Powel,
Wyoming. He tells me that the entire family would pray as they
drove by "Little Tokyo" that the car would not break
down and they all be slaughtered by he Japanese POW's hiding
along the road. They were truly frightened."
- Glenda H. Fisher, Kirbyville, MO
"Congratulations on a terrific documentary.
I particularly liked the fact that you accurately described the
camps as concentration camps and did not censor the strong language
of some of the participants, something PBS (or my local station,
WETA) too often does. I also felt it appropriate for WETA to
air the show on the Memorial Day weekend both to honor the 442nd
and because there are other victims of our wars who must be remembered
besides soldiers. And on a patriotic holiday, it is good for
us to remember that even patriots can lose their liberty as a
result of war hysteria combined with racism."
- Ted Hochstadt, Washington, DC
"You have produced one of the most
biggest pieces of propangandistic crap I have ever seen. You
are all a bunch of liars."
"I recently saw "Children of
the Camps" and was deeply touched. My father spent time
at Tule Lake and I found comfort knowing there are others who
are still suffering the affects of their imprisonment.
I saw the show a few weeks ago on KCET.
I'm pleased that programs like this are made. I feel that this
issue too many times is "sugar-coated" by the U.S.
government. When they teach children history, they barely touch
on the subject. When they do, I don't feel the real truths are
The sad thing about the events of the war
is: things have not really changed a great deat. I have worked
for a major Calirornia company and over the past several years
have made many friends and something happened a few weeks ago
to make be believe we are/were threats. I've been friends with
a woman for 4 years and she recently found out I was half Japanese
and started questioning me about my family's roots. . . . I explained
that I had family in internment and also lost family in Hiroshima.
She then shared with me that her father was one of the American
soldiers who was "in the running" to be in the plane
that dropped the bomb and in her opinion that was "minor"
compared to what they "should have done."
Incidents like this still happen every
day and it makes me ill that our country does little to teach
our children (of all races) the truth. Funny thing....my 13 year
old son is completely aware of the horrors that Hitler inflicted
upon the Jews. When I asked him what he learned about the internment,
he said, "They put the Japanese in prison because they were
dangerous." It was then I insisted that my father and grandfather
tell him what was done to them. When he tried to "share"
what he had learned with his history teacher, she told him the
hostory books tell the truth. She said my family had "exaggerated."
Racism is alive and well....it's up to
us to tell our children the truth. I feel extremely passionate
about this subject and share the truth with just about anyone
who will listen. It gives me hope to know that I am not alone."
"I had expected a documentary of the
relocation and life in the camps. I found the tape to be much
different than the other tapes that have been done. In short,
while it is a documentary of life in the camps, it is also an
emotional experience that has not been revealed before.
. . . I was very surprised by the impact
that race and the camp experience have had on the way I view
the world and respond. . . . As I watched the tape, I could smile
(even laugh), empathize and cry.
A person does not have to be a child of
the camps to appreciate this tape. It not only captures the emotional
impact of the camp experience, it also captures the minority
While the interchange between the two males
was hostile at times, it was also painful to see the anger being
released-anger that had been there for five decades. Probably
the most difficult for me was the orchardist who, with the help
of the therapist, was finally able to let his emotions out and
acknowledge the self-hate, the self-doubt and the distorted self-image
that he had acquired.
Congratulations on a marvelous project
that preserves the experiences of a few people that many of us
can share and we can share with others. Thanks."
- Michael Hosokawa, Columbia, MO
Assistant Dean and Professor of Family and Community Medicine
"I simply wanted to say that as a
third generation Japanese-American who is just beginning to learn
about the history of my father, I truly appreciate what you have
compiled here on this Web site. It gives me no pleasure to see
how my fellow "Americans" were treated in the 40's.
But I realize that it is necessary to learn this very poignant
piece of American History in order for me to truly understand
what it was to be in their situation. Once again, I thank you
for all of your hard work on this site. I will surely be looking
forward to doing more research on your site and seeing the video.
- Kenneth D. Ida, Cooper City, FL
"I felt the program brought out some
of the hidden effects of the Camps that I had not seen or heard.
Another important segment to be explored in this fashion, are
the postwar children born about three to four years after the
war. These were, I believe, years of extreme stress to those
who were incarcerated as young adults and had children late in
life. The uncertainties faced by those parents undoubtedly shaped
that generation both positively and negatively as well.
All in all, it was a very good program
that brought out much that had been largely unsaid up to this
point . . .
Even though I was three or four at the
time, I remember some of the conversations and uncertainties
my parents expressed about the future about five years after
being released from the camps. I know the camps through my parents,
have had a profound influence on the direction I have taken,
and the choices I have made."
- Tom Inouye, Sacramento, CA
"This was war! What the hell were
we supposed to do. You bleeding heart liberals know damned well
that these people were treated as humanely as possible. Any Americans
who were unfortunate enough to be interned by the Japs were treated
horribly. Get a life. These people were merciless and started
the atrocious war. Who in the hell had time to sort things out.
We were fighting for our lives. No one lost their life in one
of these camps and who knows how many Jap collaborators were
prevented from doing their dirty work because of this internment."
"I have not seen the film, however
I read all that was on the website. I recently read a book that
was based on a Japanese woman who had come to American to go
to school and was "caught in the middle" during the
war. She and the family she lived with were interned in the camps.
Although the book was a work of fiction, it was the first time
I had ever heard of Japanese-American Internment Camps. I find
it very ironic that during history classes throughout school,
nothing was ever said about this terrible atrocity that the American
Government inflicted upon other Americans, however we were taught
about what Hitler and the German Government did to the Jewish
people during the war, how awful it was and how human beings
do not have the right to inflict that kind of pain, be it emotional
or physical on another human being. Did not America essentially
do the same thing? It makes me ashamed to be a American.
I just wanted to express my thanks for
all of the eye-opening information."
- Christine Krieger, Edwardsburg, MI
"The film was excellent. I was ashamed
before I saw the film about the Japanese internment camps, but
now I know I didn't know the half of it. How horrible! I didn't
know about the stockades, the withdrawal of citizenship, the
forced "draft" of Japanese boys into the army. Do you
know, my next -door neighbor in the 40's, when I was a little
girl, was a Nazi sympathizer!
This country has so much shame in its history--what
was done and is still continuing to be done to Native Americans,
to Blacks, to the Japanese...It's scary, because the average
American is totally indifferent and ignorant and it could happen
again under the right circumstances--to the Jews, for example,
or to the same groups as before. Some kind of law should be written
specifically to prevent such obscene cruelty and injustice. My
thanks to all the producers of this long, overdue program.
Please, air it again!"
- Barbara Lubin, Springfield, NJ
"Sincere thanks to the producers,
sponsors and participants. This was a truly positive presentation
of the injustice, prejudice, heartbreak that make up our common
It seems we communicate most deeply in
our brokeness, regardless of the cause. I empathize especially
with the lady who said she felt she would cry forever if she
allowed herself to begin. I was never in a concentration camp,
never in a war zone, never the victim of a heinous crime. Alienation
has a myriad of causes but results in the same pain.
When we treat one another with the gentleness
and honesty illustrated in the documentary; we find truth, brotherhood,
and a common humanity that trivializes our differences . . .
Thank you for the opening the door for
me again on all the thoughts, feelings, and memories that make
- Maureen Lundy, San Francisco, CA
"I saw your program . . . and it answers
a lot of questions that I have about my parents, aunts, uncles,
and grandparents. I am a Sansei and I realize that the anger,
that the Nisei have suppressed or denied over being imprisoned
during WWII, came out from time to time when I was growing up.
Sometimes I see behavior today in the Nisei which can be explained
by the "camp" experience and the damage it did to all
Nikkei families. Thank you."
- Gene Mayeda, Chicago, IL
"I found this story to be an interesting
insight to the children. However, the story completely ignored
our attitudes about Japanese people as a result of the sneak
attack on Pearl Harbor and the thousands of Americans killed
in horrid ways. The story did not mention that most Japanese
were safer in camp than to be subjected to the potential persecution
by angry white Americans. The story did not mention the inhuman
conditions that American prisoners faced as they were imprisoned
in the Philipines and other Pacific locations. The story did
not mention that all Japanese were perceived to hold allegiance
to an Emperor who descended from the sun god. The story did not
mention that white American attitudes were colored by all the
attrocities that were committed on white Americans by Japanese
that looked just like them. I'm sorry for the children's experience.
I'm more sorry for the people killed by the Japanese."
"I was talking to my mother about
the film . . . and was startled to hear her interpretations of
events about which she had long been silent. (though when she
saw Life is Beautiful, she said she had a flashback of being
herded into trains) In my psychology class we'd learned about
the Stockholm Syndrome, where hostages begin to idealize their
captors. As my mom began to rationalize the actions of the US.
government, I realized that almost every Japanese American person
I know had a parent or grandparent who went though a concentration
camp experience. The enormity and lingering effects--from generation
to generation-- of relocation really hit me."
- Anonymous, Seattle, WA
"My God, I had no idea. I consider
myself a well-educated person. I've been to war; been in combat.
I've read as much about WWII as possible and have always thought
of "camps" as German or in Japan -- but to think of
one in this Great Land of freedom is almost too much to believe.
Immediately, I felt at fault & I was
only a child at the time.
I am terribly sorry for what those children
-- children in America -- must have gone through.
Please, let us learn."
- John R. Myers, Victoria, TX
"I saw it last week and would love
to see it again. It was very informative, sensitively done, ...a
very intimate portrait of the struggle to come to terms with
this impactful trauma in the lives of so many. So, uncommonly
personal in the glimpses of people's feelings about how WW II
affected them...so rare for me to see a public airing of these
feelings. Indeed, it is a valuable service and educational opportunity
you are giving to everyone. Thank you."
- Una Nakamura, San Jose, CA
"I just finished watching "Children
of the Camps". I was deeply touched by the high level of
personal growth which was experienced by the participants. Dr.
Ina does an excellent job of facilitating the group. The level
of healing that was attained in only three days is amazing to
me. What a wonderful gift for those individuals that attended
the workshop and for us viewers. Thank you for the opportunity
to partake in a spiritually moving and self empowering event."
". . . Thank you for producing such
a piece, easily one of the most important works I have ever seen.
It is beautifully done. Although I am still digesting it, it
has an impact on my life already. I am so proud of the participants
and the producers of the "film" and, for the first
time, proud to be part of the community that survived the camps.
Your work will be improving the quality
of my life. I need to discover as much as humanly possible about
the feelings of the people who endured the camps. I was born
in Topaz and as a young infant with no language yet, absorbed
what was going on and today remember things in a "procedural"
way. Hearing the descriptions and feelings of other ex-prisoners,
even after so many years, is critical in my unraveling this mystery
which is adversely affecting every aspect of my life. For instance,
it was beneficial for me to hear what a day-by-day frightening
and uncertain atmosphere it was for people in the camps, if only
from seeing the barbed wire and guards with guns. I know now
that that fear was a major part of my most formative first two
years and was conveyed to me in a non-verbal but intense way."
- Child of the Camps, New York, NY
"I remember when my Japanese classmates
in elementary school were not longer there and the difficulty
I had understanding what was going on. When a German born US
citizen friend starting loudly saying that it was good that the
Japs were all sent to camps, I recall my father telling him that
he better be careful the same thing could happen to him. During
the last year I talked to my father about this and we both agreed
that the German man was scared that it WOULD happen to him and
he was being a super patriot. But my dad also told me something
I had not known before. My father had continued to tell people
that it was wrong to send American citizens to camps and he told
me that the county attorney had warned him to stop that kind
of talk or he would charge him with sedition. I think it bothered
my dad that he backed off, when he told me he also told me that
he had because he was just a farm laborer with 3 kids and there
was no money to support us if he was sent to jail. But he also
kind of shrugged and said that he felt that if the Japanese had
successfully invaded California that most of the Japanese he
knew would probably had joined the invaders. When I asked if
believing that, did he still think it was wrong to intern the
Japanese. He said well of course it was wrong they hadn't done
P.S. My dad died this year at age 97."
- Anonymous, Port Townsend, WA
"It was very moving and meaningful.
Stimulated discussion with family members as their father shared
his painful experience of discrimination as the war started.
Thought we recognized his father marching. I too was a child.and
the return home and adjustment experience was fertile ground
for fear and shame to take hold. . . . Appreciate the courage
and generosity of leader and participants to make the experience
public. Thank you."
- Taye Tashiro, Watsonville, CA
"I was a child outside the camps.
My parents owned a cleaning shop in Glendale, California. I remember
a "Japanese" lady who brought a large number of hangers
into the shop and told my mother "We won't need these where
we're going." I remember the busses taking them away. I
was too young to understand then.
I remember my mother's terror, then her
hatred of the Japanese. She forgot about the lady with the hangers,
I guess. Anybody who "looked" Japanese became the enemy,
and she was terrified of them.
I remember the barrage baloons in Long
Beach, and the blackouts. Spam, as a luxury. Macaroni and cheese--Velveeta.
The planes overhead. The movies.
I remember my first trip to Manzanar, 1956.
The names scratched in concrete. The brass plaque, vandalized
with an axe. The blind hatred hadn't ended.
I wanted to be friends with M--o. His family
had signed over their land to a . . . friend; he signed it back
after the war. M--o was bitter. He would not be my friend. He
couldn't. This is a side of the persistent division that isn't
much discussed. In a kind of twisted justice, like a lover's
quarrel, the wounded one won't let the representative of the
wounder in. It's understandable, it's human, but sad.
As Kenneth Boulding once said, "We
really have only two choices. We can have an 'I beat you down,
you beat me down, I beat you down society,' or an 'I lift you
up, you lift me up, I lift you up society.'"
I can't feel your pain, Richard, Ruth,
Howard, Bessie, Toru, Marion, but I can feel mine. Yours intensifies
mine, while it adds a certain quality to it.
I hope that someday, maybe after we all
are gone, that the great beauty of physical, cultural, spiritual
diversity of all kinds of people will be celebrated rather than
feared or envied, but probably it won't. I have no cultural identity;
I am mixed culturally and racially, but I pass for "white,"
whatever the hell that is.
But we can take chances on being hurt.
We don't have to accept the legacy of letting the beating, figuratively
or literally, go on. We are, despite the "slings and arrows
of outrageous fortune," for the moment, still here."
- Wayne Tyson, San Diego, CA
"This film was very moving for me.
I would like to know how these people are doing today. I was
not taught about this time in our country when I attended school.
It wasn't until the 1970's that I saw a TV movie about this subject.
When I asked a friend if this was a "true story", he
looked at me dumbfounded. I thought didn't I pay attention in
history class. But after many phone calls to former schoolmates,
I realized it was just shoved under the rug like it never happened,
I was furious. Since that time in 70's I have been very interested
in this subject.
Thank you for an excellent job well done."
- Norma Vian, San Francisco, CA
"I can't tell you people how this
make me feel...I'm a sansei Brazilian student of Journalism and
History, and I've never had heard about those war relocation
camps. And now, to know about these children and the conditions
of these people...it's just revolting...there's no explanation
Books about this subject here in Brazil
are very difficult to find, so I tried the internet...and the
site is really very clear, full of information and data...I'm
part of a group called Japoeste, from University of Sao Paulo,
and we study the Japanese immigration.
Congratulations for your work, I think
that's very important, because it preserves the memory of those
injustices and let's us know that things like that should never
Thanks for the information . . . "
- Erika Yamauti, Brazil