The DocumentaryThe ProjectHistoryBroadcastResourcesFeedback



"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."
- Anonymous

"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 told.

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."
- Anonymous

"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 experience.

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. Thank you."
- 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."
- Anonymous

"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 humanity.

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 us human."
- 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."
- Anonymous

"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."
- Anonymous

". . . 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 anything!

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 for this...

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 happen again...
Thanks for the information . . . "

- Erika Yamauti, Brazil

Home | Documentary | History | Project | Broadcast
Resources | Feedback | Site Credits

Copyright Satsuki Ina 1999. All Rights Reserved.