Janis Hirohama

Janis Hirohama is a Sansei, born in Japan and raised in the L.A. area, with roots in Hawai’i and Southern California. She is passionate about genealogy, family history, and Japanese American history. Other hobbies include food, travel, reading, playing the ukulele, and dancing at Obon festivals. She is active at her Buddhist temple, where she serves as a ministers’ assistant. A retired attorney who believes in the power of civic engagement and social change, she is a past president of the League of Women Voters of California and serves on the California Access to Justice Commission.

Updated January 2023

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Reflections on a Pilgrimage: The Dust of Poston

My mother’s memories of Poston are thick with dust. When I ask my 93-year-old mother about Poston, she starts with the dust storms. She tells me that when a big storm would sweep in, they would run inside their barrack and huddle there, with towels over their heads to keep the dust out of their eyes and mouths even though they were indoors. Afterwards, “we had to take everything outside – blankets, mattresses, clothes – and shake out all the dust.” Even when there wasn’t a storm, dust would seep into her family’s single-room barrack apartment throug…

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