Japanese American Internees – Then and Now Photographs

Second generation Japanese Americans Helene Nakamoto Mihara,7, and Mary Ann Yahiro,7, reciting the Pledge of Alligence the Raphael Weill School in San Francisco, California before they were sent to the Topaz Internment Camp during WWII. photographed by Dorothea Lange April 1942.

Photographer Paul Kitagaki Jr. has been tracking down Japanese American internees who were photographed in pictures like the one above by Dorothea Lange. He has constructed an exhibit called Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit, which features pictures from the internment era paired with pictures of those subjects today. You can see what the two girls in the front look like now, in the picture taken by Kitagaki shown below.

Gambatte!  Legacy of an Enduring Spirit can be seen at the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center through January 17, 2016.   Kitagaki is still looking for more people in those old photographs.   He says in this interview:

“I’m in a race against time as many of the subjects are in their 80s and 90s and passing away. I hope their stories are not lost forever”

Helene Nakamoto Mihara, 72, left, and Mary Ann Yahiro,72, and photographed on January 20, 2007, stood on the play ground of the Raphael Weill School in 1942 photographed by Dorothea Lange reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in San Francisco, California. Helene, " we saluted the flag every morning, I thing that was routine and then everybody went to class." Her father owned the America Fish Market in the Japantown section of San Francisco. He was arrested by the FBI but reunited with his family in the Topaz Internment Camp. Mary's parents were split up, her mother, a teacher who taught Japanese was arrested and sent to a separate camp. She never saw her mom again. "I don't have bitterness like a lot of people might." She and her family spent the war in theTopaz War Relocation Center. Paul Kitagaki Jr. "Gambatte! Legacy of an Enduring Spirit" Project Copyright@2012 Paul Kitagaki Jr.

(photo credit: [email protected] Paul Kitagaki Jr.)

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About Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.
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