Two Japanese-American WW2 Experiences

A while back, I heard a story on NPR about StoryCorps, a group dedicated to preserving the stories of Americans of many different backgrounds. The past year was focused on the stories of veterans and their families, which made me think of my great-uncle Mas and great-aunt Lily. We didn’t do the official StoryCorps interviews, but I did informally chat with them when I got a chance to see them at our extended family’s New Years Day gathering.

In World War 2, the US government forced over 100,000 Japanese-Americans and Japanese nationals from their homes into one of several internment camps throughout the US. My great-uncle was one of those relocated. Ironically, this did not stop the government from drafting him or his brothers to fight in the war. But to him, there was no question of not serving because he had been drafted and he was an American, despite what the government had done to him and his family.

My great-aunt’s story was quite different. She happened to be visiting Japan with her sisters when the war broke out. After that, she was unable to return to the US until it was over. So, because of timing, she spent several years trapped away from the rest of her family.

Anyways, if you’d like to hear me chatting with my relatives, you can hear them here.

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