Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Irene Najima Interview
Narrator: Irene Najima
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: August 4, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-nirene-01-0027

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MA: So one thing I wanted to ask you was about the, I know you went on the Amache pilgrimage a few years ago. And can you talk a little bit about that experience?

IN: That was really my son Scott's idea. And Scott wanted to take his nephew, or my grandson, back. So, he did a lot of investigation and we communicated with this gentleman who was trying to start a program there, of making it, a what do you call it? A, when you have something to represent a group or an idea.

SN: National monument.

MA: Oh, the national monument, right.

IN: National monument. And that's the work he was doing. So we communicated with him and we met him, and he took us to the grounds. And it was barren, all the buildings were gone. In fact, I had heard the community of Granada or the town next to it had taken a lot of the construction material. But I remember 6-H because it was the nearest to the hospital, and I could see the markings of the hospital. So I went back and of course there were all tumbleweeds. There was one memorial to the soldiers that had fought in the war. And I think some of them perished on the, it's in Sicily, Italy. And some of them died in the invasion of Normandy. So that is there, the memorial is there, but very little else. But I remember 6-H was right next to the hospital, so I looked for sort of the foundation marks of the hospital, and I found exactly the cement markings of where our barrack was and where our particular room was. It felt very strange. And my grandson was with me. He's very aware of the evacuation. He's, by the way, he's half, he's not full Japanese, but he's very tuned in to the plight of the Japanese.

MA: That's great he was able to go to the pilgrimage then.

IN: Especially Scott wanted to take him. My son Scott is very much proud of his heritage. [Laughs]

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