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The Cast


James Hattori has travelled the world pursuing some of the biggest international stories as a TV news reporter. He has been a correspondent for NBC and CNN and reported from the battlefields of Iraq, Tsunami-devastated South-East Asia, and terrorist attacks in London. He’s also been a fill-in host for National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition, Day to Day and On Point. Hattori began his career at local television stations in San Diego, Seattle and Houston.Hattori is currently a freelance journalist and communications consultant. He also is an instructor at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University.


Norman Hirose was born in 1926 in Oakland, Calif.  He was incarcerated with his family first at Tanforan then at Topaz, Utah, after answering “no, no” on the loyalty questionnaire asking whether he would foreswear allegiance to Japan and serve in the U.S. armed forces. He was one of the youngest prisoners in Santa Fe, where he was sent in 1946 after the war had ended and Topaz closed. His parents returned to Berkeley, Calif., where he now resides.

Bill Nishimura, was born in Compton, Calif., in 1925 and grew up farming in Southern California. He was interned in Santa Fe for being a member of the pro-Japanese Hoshidan group in Tule Lake and for declining to answer the loyalty questionnaire. He was the only surviving internee from Santa Fe to return and speak at the camp site at the dedication of a historic monument there in 2002.

Frank Sumida was born in 1925 in Chicago, Ill., but grew up in Los Angeles, where his father ran a Japanese restaurant in Little Tokyo. First taken to Santa Anita during the evacuations, then Heart Mountain, Sumida renounced his U.S. citizenship to be able to repatriate to Japan with his family. That resulted in his incarceration in Tule Lake and later Santa Fe.  After the war, he served in several lucrative positions within the occupying forces in Japan and had his U.S. citizenship restored in 1948. He later returned to the United States and now lives in Temple City, Calif.

Noboru Taguma was born in 1923 in Broderick, Calif. Incarcerated at Granada (Amache, Colo.), he resisted the military draft and was sentenced to a federal labor camp near Tucson, Ariz. Upon release he returned to live in Colorado so he could sneak into the Amache camp to visit his family. Arrested later by the FBI for renouncing his U.S. citizenship, he was sent to Santa Fe.  He finished the war at Crystal City Family Reunification Camp and then worked in the canneries in Seabrook, N.J., before returning to his family farmland in East Yolo, Calif. He died March 11, 2011 in West Sacramento at the age of 87.

Seichi “Sam” Yamakawa was born in Sanger, Calif., in 1922, but lived for 12 years in Japan. He returned to California in 1937 to help his father farm. He spent most of the war incarcerated in Poston, Ariz., where he graduated high school. He went with his older brother Toyoji to Tule Lake, and he was later sent to Santa Fe for stating in hearings that he would not serve in the U.S. Army and planned to repatriate to Japan to take care of his mother. After the war, he returned to California only to find people from Oklahoma had moved west and taken over his farmland. He died June 21, 2011 in Torrance, Calif., at the age of 89.

Susumu Yenokida was born in 1925. Susumu was a close friend of Noboru Taguma, the two shared many adventures during the war, including being together when the FBI arrested Taguma in Denver. He lives in Galt, Calif.


Richard S. Dockum was the adjutant, or second in command, at the Lordsburg internment camp. He left Lordsburg in 1943 but returned to live as a civilian, ran an oil company with his wife and served on the city council. He died August 28, 2001 in Horizon City, Texas, at the age of 93.

Rev. Yoshiaki Fujitani was born in 1923 the son of Buddhist minister Kodo Fujitania in Pao Villa on the island of Maui. After Pearl Harbor, he volunteered in the 34th Engineers Regiment Auxiliary and later the Military Intelligence School.  His father was incarcerated in Lordsburg and in Santa Fe from 1943 to 1944. After the war, Yoshiaki received advanced degrees in religion from the University of Chicago and Kyoto University in Japan. He returned to Hawaii in 1956 and became bishop of the Buddhist church in 1975.

Akira Otani was born in 1921 in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father, Matsujiro Otani, a fish dealer, was arrested the day of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Akira Otani enlisted with the Hawaii Territorial Guard and later the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He didn’t see his father again until he visited him in the Santa Fe Internment Camp. After the war, Akira returned to Hawaii and later continued his father’s fishing wholesale and auctioning businesses, M. Otani Co., Ltd. and United Fishing Agency, Ltd.

Abner Schrieber was the second in command at the Santa Fe Internment Camp. As an adjutant for the Immigration and Natural Service, Schrieber came to his position from a legal background at the U.S. Border Patrol.

Jerry West was eight years old when the first internees began arriving in Santa Fe. His father, Hal West, originally an artist, served as a guard in the Santa Fe camp and drew numerous sketches of routine camp life from a guard’s perspective. Jerry West still lives in Santa Fe.


U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii is president pro tempore of the United States Senate. A World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, Inouye lost his right arm in service of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He has represented Hawaii in Congress since statehood in 1959 and has championed legislation (S. 64 in the 112th Congress) calling for a complete accounting of how the United States arrested, captured, and imprisoned Japanese Latin Americans during World War II.

Richard Melzer is a professor of history at the University of New Mexico and the author of several books about the region’s rich past, including: Buried Treasures: Famous and Unusual Gravesites in New Mexico History; Breakdown: How the Secret of the Atomic Bomb was Stolen; and Ernie Pyle in the American Southwest.

Gail Okawa is an associate professor of English at Youngstown State University in Ohio. Her grandfather, Tamasaku Watanabe, was incarcerated in Lordsburg and in Santa Fe. She has researched, lectured and published about the experience of Hawaiians during World War II and is working on a book about the journey of Hawaiians in New Mexico.

Grace Shimizu is the coordinator of the Campaign for Justice, Redress Now for Japanese Latin Americans. Her father was arrested in Peru during World War II and incarcerated at the United States military camp in the Panama Canal Zone and later Crystal City, Texas.

Duncan Williams is the director of the School of Religion at the University of Southern California. He is the author of several books and translations, including Camp Dharma: Japanese-American Buddhism and the World War Two Incarceration. He previously served as director of the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.


Rev. Hiroshi Abiko of Los Angeles is the Rimbam at the Nishi Hongwanji Los Angeles Betsuin.  His father, Rev. Giko Abiko, was a Buddhist minister in Orange County when the war broke out. Incarcerated in Santa Fe, Rev. Giko Abiko continued to lead services and Buddhist congregants throughout the war. In 1944, Giko Abiko rejoined the rest of his family at Tule Lake. It was the first time Hiroshi met his father. The family returned to Japan after the war as Giko was assigned to rebuild the Hiroshima Betsuin. They returned to the United States in 1952 when Giko was assigned to the Alameda, Calif., Buddhist Temple.

Ada Jane Akini s the granddaughter of Konkoyo Church minister Asatar Yamada of San Jose, who was incarcerated in Santa Fe at the beginning of World War II. She spent most of the war at Heart Mountain and now lives in Albuquerque, N.M.

Ruth Hashimoto’s father, Asatar Yamada, fled Hiroshima at age 16, started a plumbing and electric business and then became a minister at the Konkoyo Church in San Jose. He was 64 years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and police came to his home, handcuffed and arrested him. He was interned in Lordsburg and Santa Fe.  In 1944, he joined the rest of the family at Heart Mountain, where Ruth was a block manager.  After the war, her father returned to his vandalized church in San Jose. Ruth volunteered to teach Japanese to U.S. officers sent to occupy Japan and later moved to New Mexico. She died January 4, 2010 at the age of 96.

Shigeko Hirano and Misao Inaba were incarcerated in Amache, Colo. Their father was arrested in Delano, Calif., held in the Bakersfield jail, and then incarcerated in Santa Fe where he suffered a stroke. In 1945, he was reunited with his family in Amache.

Esther Hokama was born in 1931. Her father, Shigeichi Sumida, was active in the Buddhist church and the Sacramento chapter of the Hiroshima Kenjin Kai. He was incarcerated in Tule Lake and Santa Fe. After the war, the family returned to Sacramento where they operated the Lucky Hotel.

Takashi “Tash” Kushi’s father, Masako Kushi, was born in 1922 in Filmore, Calif., but then spent most of his childhood in Japan, returning to the United States in 1940. Declaring “no, no” on the loyalty questions, Masako was sent to Tule Lake. There he led a Hoshidan group, which resulted in him being sent to Santa Fe. After the war, he went to Japan and worked as a civilian for the U.S. Air Force base before resettling in the United States in 1958.

Brian Minami of Gardena, Calif., is the creator of, an online exhibition of Japanese internment in New Mexico. His interest in the Santa Fe camp grew from a family vacation in New Mexico where he learned that his great grandfather, Frank Toshinori Yamauchi, was incarcerated in Santa Fe.

Augustus “Gus” Tanaka’s father, Benjamin Tanaka, was among the first Japanese-American doctors licensed to practice medicine in Oregon.  Arrested the night of the Pearl Harbor attack, Benjamin Tanaka was sent to Fort Missoula, Mont., and then conducted physical examinations of internees being incarcerated at Fort Sill, Okla., before being incarcerated himself in Santa Fe, where he served as the head doctor of the internment camp until the end of the war. After the war, still barred from practicing medicine in Portland, he set up his own medical practice in Ontario, Ore., where he raised the U.S. flag every morning until he retired.

Masako Tomono was born in 1925. Her father, Mosaku Hirata, was a farmer and part-time local newspaper reporter for the Japanese newspapers in the United States. He was also active in the Japanese community in Lomita, Calif., before the war. He was incarcerated in Santa Fe and released in 1943 to join his family in Jerome, Ark. After the war, the family relocated to Fresno where relatives had property.

Susan Yamakawa is the daughter of Seichi Yamakawa, a former farmer and prisoner in the Santa Fe camp.  She lives in Torrance, Calif.

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