Tessaku was the name of a short-lived magazine published at the Tule Lake concentration camp during World War II. It also means “barbed wire.” This series brings to light stories of the Japanese American internment, illuminating those that haven’t been told with intimate and honest conversation. Tessaku brings the consequences of racial hysteria to the foreground, as we enter into a cultural and political era where lessons of the past must be remembered.

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Sandy Kaya - Part 2

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So you spent two and a half years in Hawaii, then moved back to Berkeley. Why Berkeley? 

In 1948 we moved to Berkeley because my sister Toshie, the oldest sister, her father-in-law passed away and she was all by herself with her two boys. So my mother decided she didn’t want to stay in Hawaii, let’s go back. So my father did come to Hawaii while we were there and he stayed for two weeks. He kind of grew up with them, grew up with my mother’s parents, because my mother’s parents brought my father’s father …

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Sandy Kaya - Part 1

“When we got to camp it was really nice because there were all these kids, same age. From what I can remember, it was fun. It was fun.”

-- Sandy Kaya

Sandy Kaya is one of my father’s oldest friends from elementary school. Soft-spoken, generous, and committed to keeping his Berkeley community of Japanese American friends and classmates in touch, Sandy is the anchor that sustains the relationships of the past. Each year he coordinates a reunion, maintains the master email list and is the group’s news anchor, telling others about the well-being of everyone else.

My father, an only child, …

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Madeleine Sugimoto - Part 2

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He produced an incredible amount of work in the camps. There were two different paintings that I wanted to ask you about. The first is called Final Decision. It looks like a Japanese American soldier looking at a picture of his parents with an American flag on the wall. Can you describe what that’s about?

Well the fact is that during, being in camp, many of the young fellows wanted to join the army which is ironic when you think they’re in the camp. And so I think in that, my father tried to capture the sense …

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Madeleine Sugimoto - Part 1

“I think that as a child, I feel that I was protected because my parents and their friends and my grandparents never really spoke about anything in regard to what was happening. So later on as I grew older, and I talked with them, then I found out how fearful they were.”

-- Madeleine Sugimoto

As the only daughter of renowned artist and painter Henry Sugimoto, Madeleine Sugimoto has the immense responsibility of caring for the legacy of hundreds of pieces he created. “Whatever work my father had here in the city [New York], I donated all of the …

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