Internment – Time of Remembrance – Susumu Yenokida
First-Hand Accounts of the Japanese American Internment Experience
It is our hope that these stories will build on the work and legacy of the late Mary Tsukamoto, who devoted her life to promoting social justice for all, regardless of race, creed, or ethnicity.
Susumu Yenokida Interview
00:00 – Introduction
00:18 – Clip 1: Susumu’s parents immigrate to North America and he discovers he has a brother in Japan that he never knew about.
01:04 – Clip 2: Susumu at age 14 to 15 recalls hearing about Pearl Harbor and preparing for evacuation.
04:14 – Clip 3 – Susumu’s family takes the train to Colorado. Armed guards and MP’s ensured that the drapes were drawn at all times.
05:50 – Clip 4: Susumu discusses living in the poorly built barracks as well as enduring sand storms. His mother, an asthmatic, struggles with her heatlh. Susumu carries her on his back to the hospital many times.
09:09 – Clip 5: Susumu recalls attending school in camp. However, he did not complete high school in camp as the induction notice arrived with questions #27 and #28.
10:28 – Clip 6: The loyalty questionaire proves to be controversial in camp. Initially Susumu answers, “Yes, yes.” However, when the draft notice arrives, he objects to serving the country who has taken everything away from him. He is then imprisoned for his choice.
14:06 – Clip 7: A “trial” finds Susumu guilty and he is sentenced to one year in prison. He recalls the road camp and other prisoners, such as conscientious objectors and Native Americans.
16:35 – Clip 8: Susumu shares the difference in sentences. Depending on their plea, some received as little as six months and some as much as five years.
19:27 – Clip 9: Susumu is released from prison and tries to return to camp to see his mother. He is denied entry and is forced to sneak into the internment camp at night. He runs into an old friend who joins him in work and travel.
22:44 – Clip 10: Susumu and his brother are separated for five days. They find employment in Laramie, Wyoming, where they find the cold intolerable while working. The war ends and Susumu still experiences prejudice.
25:58 – Clip 11: Susumu remembers an episode at a restaurant where they were threatened with a shotgun.
27:02 – Clip 12: After the war ended, Susumu’s mother finds shelter in a hostile. Susumu and his brothers set out to bring her home. Unexpectedly, they encounter a very cruel man. Susumu expresses anger and frustration during this tumultous time.
32:07 – Credits
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