Jun Dairiki Interview Segment 1

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0:05:28 — Segment 1 of 18

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June 22, 2012

Naoko Wake Collection of Oral Histories of US Survivors of the Atomic Bombs


Courtesy of Naoko Wake, Densho


Jun Dairiki

Jun Dairiki Interview

1:35:30 — 18 segments


San Francisco, California

Jun Dairiki was born in San Francisco in 1934 and was seven years old when the Japanese army attacked Pearl Harbor. Her family was sent to a detention center in Tanforan, then to the camp in Topaz, Utah. Dairiki remembers how her mother told her that, now that she was in camp, she was free of household duties such as cooking, washing, and paying bills. Dairiki also recalls meeting a lot of new people, making friends, and learning arts and crafts. After leaving the camp in 1945, her family went to Idaho relying on their friends, where her parents, in their fifties by then, learned how to farm. After graduating from high school, Dairiki went to Chicago where her sisters had been working. She attended a secretarial school at Northwestern University. After finishing the school, she worked for an insurance company in Indianapolis, then for a federal government office with a hope to be assigned to a branch in Europe. Her thought was that a stay in Europe would help her further her love of music, singing in particular. She was assigned to a Japanese office instead. After returning to San Francisco in 1957, she found a position in the Standard Oil Company, where she worked for forty-two years until her retirement. In 1963 she met her husband, Jack Dairiki, who is a US survivor of Hiroshima. Although they did not discuss the bomb in great details, they decided not to have children because of their concern about radiation effect. Dairiki also expressed her ambivalence toward the US decision to use the bomb, as she feels that Japanese Americans were sent to the concentration camp because of Japanese decision to attack the United States. Nonetheless, Jun supports Jack's work for US survivors' organization in San Francisco. Jun as a Nisei feels "happy" about how Sanseis in the 1970s and 1980s spoke up against the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans, while she also recognizes that she "might not have said much" about the camp even if she "might have felt that this was all wrong."

Naoko Wake, interviewer


Courtesy of Naoko Wake, Densho