The primary aspect of the Omoide project is the development and sharing of stories through presentations and children’s books. These are comprised of childhood recollections of the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans and the effects of that time on generations following. In addition to the books, core team members visit schools, teacher workshops, cultural events, and a variety of other venues to tell their stories in person. These presentations contribute to Social Studies, history and cultural educational goals. They are done exclusively on a volunteer basis and cost nothing to schedule. This is due in part to grants obtained via the Kip Tokuda Memorial Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program, administered by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and 4Culture of King County.
To date, the Omoide team has introduced the project to several thousand students, 200 teachers, and 400 members of the general public over the past 12 years. These personal accounts have encouraged open dialog and discussions of constitutional rights, personal history, cultural development, immigrant experiences in the US, family values, multi-cultural issues and much more.
Omoide is developed under an umbrella of projects supported in part by the Nikkei Heritage Association of Washington and the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center of Washington. This project could not have existed without the support and assistance of these organizations and the many volunteers, donors and supporters of them.
|Omoide Revisited: I, II, III||$15.95|
Meet the Omoide Team:
Incarcerated with her family from 1942-1945 at Portland Assembly Center, Oregon; Minidoka War Relocation Authority, Idaho and Tule Lake War Relocation Authority, California.
Janet spent her early childhood years, beginning at age two, at Puyallup Assembly Center, then to Minidoka and Tule Lake Camps. She recollects very few memories, of which one is of a dusty barrack floor. She is a Sansei (third generation), born to Pacific Northwest parents, educated at an early age in Japan, before returning to Seattle.
Following her imprisonment, Janet returned to Seattle to attend inter-city schools, graduating from Garfield High School. She attended University of Washington and gained a master’s in education and went on to teach in elementary students for Seattle Public Schools for 26 years. In retirement, Janet joined the Omoide writing team gathering first person stories and presenting stories to schools and community. She is currently spending time with grandchildren and is president of Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Women’s Association.
Dee’s family was one of the 100 dairy farmers in Kent, supplying half of Seattle’s milk supply around 1920. They were run out of the business and started over in row crop farming in the 1930s, moving 500 miles east to Eastern Oregon/Idaho where Dee was born in 1939. She was not sent to camp, because she was outside the 400 mile restricted zone, although Japanese Americans outside of camps had their own issues.
Atsushi “Ats” Kiuchi
Born January 9, 1930, Sacramento, CA.
Ats and his family were incarcerated May 1942 to May 1945 at the Puyallup, WA Assembly Center and Minidoka, ID War Relocation Authority Center. In 1945 he and his family resettled to Emmett, ID. In 1988 Ats went to Olympia-Tacoma area schools to study adult group presentations. He joined the Omoide Team in 2008.
Cho was born and raised on a farm in Fife, WA (known as Firwood) where he lived until he was incarcerated at the Puyallup Fairgrounds and Minidoka, Idaho. He and his family went to the Renton Highlands until returning to farming in 1947 in Fife. Cho spent his school days from the 4th grade at Fife, then entered the University of Washington where he obtained a degree in mechanical engineering. While working at Boeing, he later earned a second degree in electrical engineering.
During his retirement, he has been active with his Church, community services, Nikkei organizations and recently released his book Cho’s Story and became active on the incarceration of Japanese Americans.