Harumi Ogawa and Tadashi Fujihara

Harumi Ogawa and Tadashi Fujihara as told by Wendy Fujihara Anderson. Both my parents died in 1997 so my impressions of their life before, during, and after are from what they told me or my memory of it. I’m still learning and putting pieces together my father was Vacaville California, and my mother was born in long beach California. My father was one of the artists who carved and created the Manzanar sign. Many years ago Sue Embry found out and interviewed my father for the Manzanar museum. My mother attended Manzanar High school and was home coming queen the year the camp closed and there’s a beautiful photo of her in the year book. My mother was from Terminal Island, and Terminal Island was considered a bit rough so she dated, she didn’t wanted boys knowing she was from those barracks, and she would meet dates at her friend’s barracks. My mother said she thought the world hated them, and the only ones who cared about them were Christians who brought presents at Christmas I think she was referring to the American friends who created a facility in Pasadena to help the Japanese Americans. Prior to camp my dad attended Van Nuys High school and from my recollection Van Nuys High school was not sure what would happen after the war so they issued my father a High school diploma early so he could have one. Manzanar and the lack of opportunity for an 18 year old when she was released affected my mother deeply it was until the late 80’s that she finally would release and open her heart to her experiences in camp. My mother and dad’s families both moved to Pasadena after camp. This was where my mother and dad met. My dad had become good friends with Kaz James Ogawa. My mother was Kaz’s sister. My parents married in 1947 Takeo Miyatake was their photographer and my mother wore Chiomi’s famous wedding dress. I have twin brothers Ron and Deni, after the release from the internment camps its always ironic that then he becomes a soldier in the united states army military intelligence you can see from his army papers on the back lists his employment which says painter at Manzanar relocation center. My father was an artist and hired by a firm after camp but because he was of Japanese descent he could not work in the front room with the other artists and had to sit in the back room and they would not let him sign his pieces ceramics, pottery plates etcetera so he quit. His friend Kaz Ogawa helped him secure a job in ITT Canon electric I was born McCharnic general hospital in Pasadena California in 1948 an army hospital which now houses the court of appeals.

 

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