-- Technical Sergeant Abraham Ohama, Company "F"
442nd Regimental Combat Team, Killed in Action 10/20/1944
Since beginning work on my novel, Broken Dolls, (see synopsis), I have learned many new things, not only about the history of the internment of Japanese Americans, but also about the history of my own family. I always knew my mother and her family had been forced to sell their belongings before being relocated to Tule Lake Relocation Center. When Tule Lake became a high security segregation camp for those Japanese Americans deemed to be "disloyal," they were moved to Topaz Relocation Camp in Utah.
|My mother and her mother|
442nd Regimental Combat Team Website
Even more amazing to me was something I learned just last week from my cousin, Uncle Yoshio's son: his dad, my uncle, my mother's brother, received the Bronze Star.
"Our record on the battlefield will determine when you will return and how you will be treated."
This history is not something my mother or her family spoke about much. Perhaps many Japanese Americans are unnecessarily ashamed of this history, or it is too painful a period in their lives to re-live. Perhaps it is the philosophy of gaman - patience, endurance. Or, maybe it is the attitude of shikata ga nai - resigned acceptance.
I am Sansei, third generation. The more I have learned since beginning work on Broken Dolls, the more I realize this is history we should all remember. Most of all, I respect the honor and dignity of those who experienced it.