Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Sadako Nimura Kashiwagi Interview
Narrator: Sadako Nimura Kashiwagi
Interviewer: Kristen Luetkemeier
Location: San Francisco, California
Date: July 11, 2015
Densho ID: denshovh-ksadako-01-0018

<Begin Segment 18>

KL: Well, how then did you become involved with the Tule Lake pilgrimages and with the site again?

SK: Well, because as Hiroshi explains, that the young people came and asked him to talk about it, and the connection.

KL: If someone watches this in fifty years and they've never been to Tule Lake, would you describe what the pilgrimages are like?

SK: They're much better now, I think. At first it was people getting, feeling each other out, and it was like talking to the choir. But there's been a lot of healing going on at the same time, because people who didn't want to talk about it before are now, feel comfortable talking about it, so that's a good thing. And another good thing I think is that there's more non-Nikkei who are attending. A lot of educators, a lot of young people. Before, it was all the former internees, so as I say, it was like talking to the choir. So I think those are good things.

KL: Yeah, I know in both the interview that Alisa did with Bill Nishimura, and The Cats of Mirikitani movie, both of those guys talked about the healing they experienced, and the opening, Bill especially talked about.

SK: Uh-huh, yeah. I mean, Bill says after Tule Lake, he says, I'm not angry anymore." And then Mirikitani, I was talking to...

KL: I knew you were going to say that. I can't come up with the name, the filmmaker of The Cats of Mirikitani.

SK: She said that that was --

KL: Linda.

SK: That was a very, feeling for him, and he no longer put himself in these pictures.

KL: Oh, interesting. Are there people that stick out in your memory associated with those pilgrimages? Are there individuals that you can tell us?

SK: With the committee, of course.

KL: Yeah, who were the significant players in the Tule Lake pilgrimage and Tule Lake Committee?

SK: Yeah, Molly Kitajima, she was a real trouper, we'll really miss her. Fortunately, this...

KL: What do you miss about Molly? Tell us about her.

SK: She had such energy, such energy. And she was the one who decided that we were going to have mochitsuki, and do you know how much work that is? Do you have any idea how much hard work that is? She'd bring everything, and I used to help her. She'd bring the usu, and that's a big, heavy... and the steamer and the goodies that go with it. Oh my goodness, she provided everything. Amazing woman, just amazing. And then, of course, she did the taiko, you know, yeah, she was just amazing.

KL: I was out in the, kind of the lobby when she left the pilgrimage that I attended, and I remember the whole area, that whole lobby area was like, "Bye, Molly." So the mochitsuki was her thing.

SK: Oh, yeah.

KL: You were starting to mention somebody else, too, before I asked you to say more about Molly.

SK: Well, of course, Jimi and Eiko, they're really involved. And Hiroshi Shimizu.

KL: Did they have anything that was kind of their thing, like the mochi was for Molly? Or what stands out about Jimi and Eiko?

SK: Well, Jimi, of course, the thing is the stockade. He was really involved in all the building and things like that, so he knows a lot about that. Hiroshi Shimizu, he's a real nice man. Do you know Hiroshi Shimizu?

KL: I know who he is, but I don't know him well at all.

SK: Yeah, he's a real nice man. And he works really hard. He and my Hiroshi are really good friends. In fact, they went to the ballgame together just this past Wednesday. Another very generous person, very generous person.

KL: And he does taiko, too, right?

SK: No, he doesn't do taiko. Who else? Couple other people. Oh, of course, Barbara Takei. You know, she really knows about all the legal and all the background about Tule Lake, she's... wow, encyclopedia. And then there's Satsuki Ina and her perspective as a psychologist is very important. We have a good committee and we have a good committee, and we have a good pilgrimage. Last time it sold out in two weeks, we barely made it.

KL: Yeah, I was amazed by it. I thought it was remarkably organized and very effective.

SK: Uh-huh.

KL: And you know Satsuki Ina was the keynote speaker at this year's Manzanar pilgrimage, and I know a lot of people were really eager to see her and appreciated what she had to say.

SK: How did that go?

KL: It was great. One person who visited Manzanar more recently told me that he was... and he was a very young child there if I'm remember right. He told me it was the first time he had really heard someone voicing what she was saying, and he appreciated hearing that.

SK: Yeah.

KL: What's it like to do that with your husband?

SK: [Laughs] It has its points. This past one, every other year, so next one is the sixteenth?

KL: Yeah.

SK: Well, the fourteenth, my niece from Tacoma was there, and she was a professor of English. Anyway, she was the moderator within our separate group, you know how we break off, and she did a very good job. And so those sessions are very, very important. And, let's see, both of us, yeah, we were what they called resource people, having been there. And so we had several educators in the group. Do you know the Mary Matsumoto, Ray Matsumoto's story? If you get a chance to see her movie, see it.

KL: What's it called? I can ask around. It's about Ray Matsumoto?

SK: Ray Matsumoto, yeah. Interesting family. Yeah, Bainbridge Island. Well, that's where she is now, but the father lived to be a hundred, and he died recently.

KL: That was Ray?

SK: Uh-huh. And the mother... oh, I know what I wanted to mention. Her father didn't talk... like Nisei, didn't talk much about camp, right? And so she took this class, and the instructor handed her a book called The Raiders Marauders, do you know that book? Says, "There's someone named Ray Matsumoto in this book. Do you know anything about it?" Turned out it was her father. And he was part of the MIS, and of course, the MIS were not allowed to talk about what they did for years, you know. It was only within the last ten years that they have been allowed to talk, maybe even less than that. And the story that he tells is amazing. It's amazing.

Talks about his father or grandfather having been a photographer and taking these panoramic pictures of his time in the U.S. and his time in Japan. And they had ultimately moved back to Japan and he set up a shop, a photography shop in Hiroshima. But when the war broke out, he couldn't continue because all that became military necessity items, and he didn't have the equipment, the supplies to continue. So toward the end of, as the war progressed, he moved the whole family with his photos out of Hiroshima. And so when Hiroshima was bombed, he was okay. Thing of it is, Ray Matsumoto was in the U.S. Army as an MIS, and his two brothers happened to be over there, and so they were in the Japanese army, and they eventually meet up. And he finds out through a friend that his family in Hiroshima are okay. But to get back to those photos, the daughter, Mary, wants to do a film about her father, so she needs pictures. Well, so, you know, research and finds out that there are ten thousand pictures her grandfather had taken.

KL: Oh, wow.

SK: And they all survived because her grandfather had left Hiroshima. Meanwhile, those photos have been donated to the Peace Museum in Hiroshima, and they're digitizing them. But can you imagine that many? I mean, these are panoramic photos of life here in the United States and in Japan.

KL: Wow.

SK: Yeah, those discoveries are incredible. You should...

KL: Yeah, I'll look into that. That MIS story is really a pretty incredible one, I think.

SK: Uh-huh, and that's an untold story. And we've heard a lot about the 442nd, but the MIS, there's a lot there, too.

KL: Do you remember at all, during the redress movement, the public hearings when people testified?

SK: Uh-huh, I remember Hiroshi going. And I was working and taking care of the family, so I didn't go to that. I'm kind of sorry I missed it, but I remember the controversy about it, what a shame, they were too ashamed to ask for it and that kind of stuff. And then that went back and forth.

KL: What did you think about it, the movement?

SK: At that point, as I say, I was so involved of taking care... and then our son was at home and dealing with his day-to-day. I mean, I can't even begin to describe the kinds of things that went on.

KL: Didn't have the space to think about it.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2015 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.