February 13, 2011

Wayne Hosaka 1948-2011

The Tag Project lost another friend. I first "met" Wayne through email: we communicated about The Tag Project, and he had told me that his father, Fred Tomio Hosaka, was incarcerated at Poston. Fred Hosaka compiled a family history up to World War II and published a book and photo collection. His book is entitled "Shortchanged in America".

Wayne and his friend, Kathleen Fabry came to one of the first Tag Project events in San Diego, which was held at the Buddhist Temple. I remember his infectious broad smile, and his enthusiasm for the project.

Wayne Hosaka was pro motorcycle racer until he was severely injured in a crash that left him a quadriplegic. Despite his injury he continued to be very involved in the motorcycle world, and after his accident, he also became a talented artist, taught girls how to play basketball, enjoyed gardening and played the harmonica.

In the early 1990s, Wayne became an early user of the World Wide Web and in 1995 created a website for the motorcycle flat track community called Flattrack.com. The website and forum he created quickly became a must-read for everyone interested and involved in flat track racing. In a recent interview, Hosaka said, "My original mission statement was to provide a place for flat track enthusiasts to share information on racing, equipment, schedules, etc.

In 2004 he became a member of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artists and through the years produced many amazing paintings.

Wayne Hosaka overcame great adversity to become one who lived a full life.

February 9, 2011

Strange side effect

Ok so I am experiencing a mild form of depression now that I am finished with the Tag Project.

After spending nearly two years working with a large corps of volunteers and seeing some favorite people on a regular basis, I am suddenly left with an odd sense of completion and emptiness!!

I remember jumping for joy when the last tag was afixed to the last grouping and then suddenly stopping and thinking - wait. You mean its over? It almost feels like the end of a wild roller coaster ride.

It's not over though. I have thoughts to share as I move forward on the "EO 9066" series. buying a big roll of tar paper and a buncha nails. trolling ebay for artifacts. lining up a schedule.

I am also back at SDSU teaching in the Spring, so that brings some activity and distraction to my newfound depression!

Stay tuned, it ain't over yet.

January 12, 2011


The Tags are all DONE!!!!!!

After just over two years, all 120,000 tags are now all stamped, written, aged and assembled and are in storage until the debut opening at the San Diego State Downtown Gallery in March 2012!! http://downtowngallery.sdsu.edu/ Thanks to all of you who have helped at all levels: helping me with the physical work, helping me to start the project, egging me on to do them all, and just being supportive!

I am about to start the rest of the work for the EO9066 component of the exhibition, which will also be shown in a solo exhibition in Boston at the Society of Arts and Crafts in August 2012.

The Tag Project will then go to Queens College in Charlotte, North Carolina. Venues that we are working on are in Racine WI, and the Fuller Museum in Brockton MA. We are seeking a closing venue, preferably in the Northern California area or Seattle. I am also working with the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego on finding a venue in Japan, preferably Hiroshima.

The response to the project has exceeded my expectations, with very good media coverage, with the most recent being in the Pacific Citizen and San Diego Home and Garden Magazine. American Craft Magazine and the Smithsonian have also given The Tag Project some great visibility as well!!

So many people have helped with this project and this project is "OURS" together.

While I will continue to keep my email messages to a bare minimum, I do want to let you know of exact exhibition dates and will be sending email blasts for each exhibition. If you have not yet received an email from thetagproject@gmail.com account, please let me know and I will add you to the list.

Again, many many thanks for participating in this project and I do hope that most of you will be able to see it at some point, in its entirety!! I also hope to meet many of you who have helped from long distances!!!

All Best,


December 13, 2010

Ingrid Menken

It is with sadness that my friend Ingrid Menken, who volunteered with the Tag Project with such energy and enthusiasm, has succumbed to her battle with cancer in October this year. She was a longtime member of the Haystack Mountain School of Craft "family" and managed the financial business and was one of the many cheerful folks who made everyone feel so welcome. She wrote earlier this year that writing the names on the tags, reciting their names carefully as she wrote was therapeutic for her, as she looked out her window at the winter snow in Maine. She wrote names and stamped numbers for the Heart Mountain camp.

I will miss you, dear Ingrid.

November 23, 2010

Update -

1) The Tag Project just had a wonderful event at Poway High School's AVID program this past Friday!! Both Linda Canada and Lindsey Nitake worked VERY hard with large groups of 70 students with tags for Jerome. Linda showed a powerpoint show documenting the history of THE TAG PROJECT, and Lindsey talked about her involvement as a volunteer, and also spoke to students about college life and the importance of education beyond high school.

Many thanks again to Karen Kawasaki-Williams for her invitation to her class!

2) Xavier Vasquez has been shooting additional footage for the Tag Project video, and preparing to collaborate with Wendy Maruyama with a short documentary video with interviews with former internees, volunteers, students, teachers and children. We have some wonderful shots of Dr. Francis Tanaka talking to yonsei volunteer Lindsey Nitake about the internment, shots of graduate students aging the tags, and former internees and young Japanese Americans working side by side on the tags.

3) We have found a new venue for the debut of The Tag Project, scheduled for March 2012. More information to follow as plans become official. But the Tag Project will debut in SAN DIEGO.


Just when we think we are finished with a camp group, some others seem to sneak in! No worries, we have a system of being able to bring the finished group back and hang the additional tags on it.

However if anyone does have these tags from the following camps, please return them to me ASAP!!! POSTON, MANZANAR, GILA RIVER, ROHWER, MINIDOKA, TULE LAKE, HEART MOUNTAIN.



New Article in the Pacific Citizen!!

Thank you, Christine McFadden!


October 17, 2010

New Assistants helping The Tag Project!!

The Tag Project now has four part time assistants working for us!! I am pleased to introduce Lindsey Nitake, Kaity Sakurai, Jean Saito, and Jon Endralin. All are students at San Diego State University: Lindsey and Kaity are members of the brand new Nikkei Student Group at SDSU. Jon is a member of the SDSU Asian Pacific Student Association. Jean Saito is a first year graduate student from New Orleans.

They will be working very hard to coordinate work assignments for the Tag Project volunteers, as well as working on the tags so that we can finish them by November 31!!

October 9, 2010

Thank you to Tennessee Technological University for hosting The Tag Project!!

The Tag Project traveled to Cookeville, Tennessee at the invitation of Professors Kimberly Winkle and Graham Campbell. Kim teaches Art 1010 Two-Dimensional Design at Tennessee Tech, and Graham teaches Art 2910 Intro to Wood At TTU's satellite campus, the Appalachian Center for Crafts.

The finished writing THE LAST of the tags from Topaz and Rohwer!!! And I mean, the LAST OF THE TAGS, period! Yes, the tags are all written for all ten camps, and we are still needing to stamp some numbers and age them but its a huge milestone for the Tag Project.

The folks in Tennessee were wonderful hosts, and I was fortunate to be there during such beautiful weather near Center Hill Lake!!

Many thanks to Kim and Graham for helping to make this happen!!

September 25, 2010

Gila River is FINISHED, Manzanar is next

We are taking down Gila River when I get back from Tennessee October 6th. If anyone has any GILA RIVER TAGS, please return them ASAP, even if they are unfinished. It's ok if they are not finished, I have plenty of volunteers and assistants here in San Diego to help.

If anyone has tags from Manzanar, please return those asap, we are starting that camp on October 8th.


September 22, 2010

SDSU Furniture Students and Ron Chun's incentive

This Sunday I will be cracking the whip at the woodshop at SDSU - thanks to incentive provided by Ron Chun, from the Bay Area, who donated money for PIZZA!!

We plan to be sloshing the tags in coffee en masse!!

Thanks, Ron!!! Ron and his family (Cindy, Zachary and Catie) worked on tags earlier in the game - Cindy Tomooka's family was interned at Poston.

Many thanks to Ron and his family for their endless support and enthusiasm!!

Yeeee HAWWW, the Tag Project is going to TENNESSEE!!

Yessirreee! I used to teach at Appalachian Center for Crafts in Tennessee from 1980-1985, it was my first job out of grad school, and it was also my first time living in the South. It was very interesting, you might say. I met lots of amazing folks though, and despite some strange unpleasantries (a guy called me a "gook" in front of Tootsie's Lounge in Nashville, and one lady in a grocery store asked if "...I had married one of their boys while they were overseas in 'nam".) I still have connections and fond memories of Tennessee.

One of my former students from San Diego State University, Kimberly Winkle, now teaches at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville and invited me out to speak to her Art Appreciation class specifically about The Tag Project, and how art can speak of personal history and/or address inequities of any kind, whether it be based on race, politics, gender, sexual preferences, etc. It will be interesting to see how and whether information on the Japanese American Internment was taught in Tennessee. Most of the students from Tennessee Tech are local.

I look forward to seeing many of the volunteers from Tennessee who have helped me so much: DiAnne Patrick, Michael J. Floyd, Mary Sue Kern, Kim Winkle, to name a few!!!

For more information about this event, contact me at thetagproject@gmail.com. The actual Tag Project event will take place in Cookeville, TN on October 5th, 2010.


Update: We finished ALL of Rohwer and Topaz in Tennessee!!! here are some pics taken at the event!

September 13, 2010

Tule Lake is done

Does anyone have any Tule Lake tags out? If so please return them ASAP - I am taking it down Thursday and putting up Gila River.


September 4, 2010

It's nice and HOT in San Diego!

This is IDEAL weather for aging and drying tags!! If anyone wants to help, please email me and arrange for me to create a box of tags to be aged for pickup at the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego. Pickups and drop offs can take place on Mondays between 9-3 or Thursdays between 9-noon. Email me first at thetagproject@gmail first before you come in to make sure we have something ready for you, and to make sure we will be there.


August 18, 2010

New Email Address!

Hello, Everyone!

Just a brief update here, its been taking me a week or so to regroup after two weeks at Art Produce with The Tag Project, and then teaching a workshop at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina! I just got back about a week ago and about to pick up where I left off last.

First of all, I am reconsolidating and have created a new email address: this new address is thetagproject@gmail.com. All emails sent to the older address will automatically be forwarded to the gmail account.

You may recall that The Tag Project will be based at the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego, where it will continue to be supported by enthusiastic volunteers. Volunteers may drop off or pick up tags from their office, which is located at 8170 Ronson Road Suite L, San Diego, CA 92111. It is advised that you make prior arrangements with either myself or Linda Canada, who is the President of the JAHSSD, and also a vital partner of The Tag Project. She can be reached at (858) 505-9020 or at JAHSSD@sbcglobal.net.

On that note, the JAHSSD is having an open house on Sunday, August 29th, 2010 from 1-4 PM. The Poston Tags are now complete and is on display at this location!!

Last, and not least, I have a student assistant, Trisha Fujinami, who has been assisting me since July, and will be helping for as long as she can until she goes off to college in September. I will have a new assistant stepping in for her at the end of September.

I look forward to seeing you sometime this Fall and keeping you posted.

July 16, 2010

The Tag Project is at Art Produce Gallery in San Diego from July 7-18!!

I have been SO consumed with the project, that I neglected to post this on the Tag Project blog!!! Thanks to Lynn Susholtz, The Tag Project has been at Art Produce for the last week and a half, and our last day is this coming Sunday.

It all started with an open plea for a high ceiling for assembling tags - and Lynn offered the use of her gallery space for an ongoing event. We have installed "Poston" and now we are nearly finished with "Tule Lake". MAYBE, just maybe, we will be able to start "Gila River" this weekend.

As the result of this event, we have finished ALL the tags for Poston and Tule Lake, (Poston was done but then a new batch of Poston tags showed up late) - Gila River is nearly complete - thanks to Edna Ito, she has been aging the tags FAST and Furiously!! The Manzanar tags are almost all numbered and ready to be aged. Heart Mountain and Minidoka is almost all aged. We are beginning to write tags for Topaz and Rowher. Amache, Jerome are standing by to be aged.

I am starting to see the light at the end of this tunnel!!!

June 24, 2010

The Tag Project has been awarded a CCLPEP grant for 2010!!

The Tag Project has received a $25,000 grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program!! Out of 65 applicants, The Tag Project was one of 25 awardees this year. We are thrilled and honored to be a part of this special program and The Tag Project aims to continue its mission of collaboration, education, and advocacy!

The Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego will also be the Tag Project's home base.

Many thanks to the San Diego Japanese American Citizen's league for its support of The Tag Project.

Special thanks to Linda Canada and Robert Ito for their help with this grant application.

And a big THANK YOU to the CCLPEP for their support and enthusiasm for The Tag Project.

The Tag Project will be at the Tule Lake Pilgrimage!! July 2-5!!

Thanks to one of my earliest volunteers, Yuki Mathias, and the Tule Lake Pilgrimage Committee, the Tag Project will be at Tule Lake!!

We have tags that need stamping, names and numbers. The Tule Lake tags will be assembled for the entire time of the Pilgrimage. Please stop by and say hello, help us complete some tags, and watch the project grow!!

June 1, 2010

The Tag Project at Kiku Gardens June 5 2010

The Tag Project will be at Kiku Gardens Saturday, June 5 from 10 AM - noon. We are now at a point where we need help taking the tags through an aging process (dunking in coffee and krinkling and setting out to dry).

If you would like to help, please bring rubber gloves, old newspapers, and if you have one, a plastic dishpan or some similar plastic container for dunking tags.

Roll up your sleeves, and join the fun!!


Kiku Gardens
1260 Third Ave.
Chula Vista, CA 91911

Time: 10 AM til noon

Thank you!!!

April 28, 2010

The Tag Project

This project was begun as part of my research on Executive Order 9066: it is the first time I made the personal decision to really look at this sorry chapter in history as a Japanese American artist. I plan to focus on this direction in my work for the next few years.

One project, "The Tag Project", was started in New York - I replicated 1011 tags from internees from my hometown (San Diego/Chula Vista). I was inspired by the thousands of folded origami cranes I saw at the Hiroshima Peace memorial and this group of tags was called "Cascade". I was also deeply moved by the photos of Dorothea Lange, one is shown above: it was her photos that initially provided the physical and emotional weight of the internment, and how it so profoundly affected the Japanese American citizens during and for years to come. All Japanese Americans were rounded up in 1942 and each were issued a tag and an ID number designating their destination: one of several internment camps, all in desolate deserted areas of the United States. The most haunting and striking photos were of the families wearing tags at the various assembly centers before being shipped off by train to these remote areas.

I was taken by the weight of these tags when they were completed and hung, despite appearing to be light and airy. This struck me as being very relevant to the way the internment was perceived by the general American Public. To this day it shocks me to still run into fellow Americans who had no clue that this had happened. I am going to commit to making all 120,000 tags, for all the Japanese Americans who were sent to all the camps. I feel that the sheer numbers and the scale of these tags will convey to all who view this that the internment was a massive project that was to affect an entire culture of people and their future generations.

Obviously this is a huge undertaking. I know that this will take a community to make happen, but will provide a way for others to meet each other, work together, and share stories. I have begun to ask friends, artists and family to help - and in turn these friends have asked others to help. Some were internees and have shared their stories. Some know the same friends that my parents know, so this is bringing people back together. I have also reconnected with folks that I have not seen since I was a child, who have volunteered their help.

So I decided that I will begin attending pilgrimages, talking to people, asking people to spread the word that I am working on this collaborative piece and asking for more volunteers. I am keeping track of the names of all the individuals who are helping me with this.

I hope you will join me in this project. I look forward to meeting many more people.


The Tag Project set up shop in the Mess Hall at Manzanar, during the 41st Manzanar Pilgrimage on Saturday, April 24th from 9 AM - 4 PM! We filled out about 1500 tags from the Manzanar database, and in the process, got to know some interesting people!! The Florin JACL and Sacramento CAIR group filled out several pages of the database during their lunch break which was wonderful.

Special thanks go to Joe Virata, and his group, UCRiverside Asian Pacific Student Programs, and to Claudia Cardenas's group from the Franklin High School Magnet in Los Angeles!! The enthusiasm and energy shown by these young people actually give me a tremendous amount of hope in that the remembrance of this terrible chapter in American History will continue and hopefully continue to educate. It is difficult though, considering the recent passage of the immigration law in Arizona this month, and the fact that Texas plans to "whitewash" their history books, altering the interpretation of Executive Order 9066 - "as the regulation of some foreign nationals". http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124861233

The weather was very beautiful, and it did get pretty hot - I was sweating like a pig in the mess hall, which gave me a preettttyyy good idea of what it must have been like to live there. I just can't imagine how the internees did that for 4 years, and in the cold winter too???? Those walls were awfully thin.

I am grateful to Kerry Cababa and the Manzanar Committee for the invitation to participate this year, and to Park Superintendent Les Inafuku for helping me set up in the Mess Hall!

April 13, 2010

Art of Gaman

Some folks wondered how The Tag Project got involved in the Renwick/Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. - it was a "companion" project to coincide with Delphine Hirasune's beautiful exhibition of objects made by interned Japanese Americans during their four years of incarceration in the various ten camps.

This show can be seen at this site: http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/online/gaman/index.cfm

March 26, 2010

The Tag Project will be at the 41st Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage!!

The Tag Project will be at the 41st Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage! Please go to http://blog.manzanarcommittee.org/2010/03/25/41st-annual-manzanar-pilgrimage-scheduled-for-april-24-2010/ for more information! It will be a wonderful event: I went last year
and it was terrific!!

The Tag Project at Pioneer Ocean View United Church!

The Pioneer Ocean View United Church in San Diego is hosting their SECOND Tag Project event on April 11th, 2010! There will be another Teriyaki Bowl lunch, available at a very reasonable price, and after lunch the Tag Project will proceed!!
Many thanks to my Mom and Dad and their wonderful church friends!!!

2550 Fairfield Street
San Diego, CA 92110

For more information, please contact me at tagproject@me.com

March 22, 2010

Upcoming Event at the Smithsonian/Renwick Gallery in Washington D.C.

The Tag Project will be at the Smithsonian/Renwick Gallery in Washington D.C. on April 11 2010 at 2 PM! This event is a companion workshop in conjunction with the exhibition, "The Art of Gaman" by Delphine Hirasune. This is an exhibition of artworks and crafts made by the Japanese Americans while they were incarcerated in the ten various internment camps in 1942-1946.

Mira Nakashima and Wendy Maruyama will be giving lectures about their works on Saturday, April 10, and on April 11, their lectures will focus on the Japanese American Internment. The Tag Project event will follow the lecture.

For more information, go to www.jra.org/Get Involved/Maruyama.html.

Hope to see you there!

March 1, 2010

The Tag Project visits the Ventura County JACL

I was invited to give a presentation to Ventura County's JACL, during their yearly installation luncheon! They were an enthusiastic, supportive and fabulous group of dedicated individuals!! They also made a donation to the Project, for which I am extremely grateful. Many thanks to Shig Yabu, who made the suggestion for the Tag Project to come visit this group. I was able to see the plans for a new Interpretive Center for Heart Mountain, and I look forward to seeing the Heart Mountain Tags being installed there someday.

January 21, 2010

Poston is now complete!!!

See the video at this link:


Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped write, stamp, number, age and assemble these tags!!!

And a special thanks to Xavier Vasquez, who shot the quick video! We will be seeing you at Manzanar this Spring!!

December 21, 2009


My list of volunteers is growing, its wonderful. I am going to start listing them all here! If I have missed your name, please let me know ASAP and I will add this.

Valerie Abe
Verna Abe
Jenn Anderson and Chris Flores + Joseph
Carrie Andreson - Manzanar Historical Site
Hayami Arakawa
Roy and Alice Asaki
Bryan Baldwin
Jerome Baldwin
Lill Barton
Margo Bebinger
Judith Bender
Sharon Black
Beverly Buehner
Lyle Boatman and Alberto Cortes
Jon Bonser
Kristen Bonser
Bif Brigman
Barbara Broadwell
Dale Broholm
Terri Bryson
Buddhist Temple San Diego
Olaitan Callendar-Scott
Linda Canada
Miriam Carpenter
Leslie Casey
Jorge Chang
Monica Chau
Ron Chun and Family
Tim Clark
Kathy Clenney
Joyce Corpuz
Gabby Kubo Dannemiller
Glen Date
MaryJean Date
Marc D'Estout
Jessica Dombrowski
Mary Donald
Steffanie Dotson and Alec Holcman
Henry Drewal and Sarah Kahn
Fran Ellis
Vicki Endow
Allison Endow
Al Endow
Christine Enos
Carol Estes
Jeremy Estil
Chris and Diane Feddersohn
Arline Fisch
LaBelle Fischl
Dennis FitzGerald
J. Michael Floyd
Logan Five
Terri Fong
Nancy Ford
Amy Forsythe
Franklin High School, Los Angeles
Doreen Fujii
Jasmine Kiyomura Fujii
Staci Kiyomura Fujii
Jonathan Fujimura
Coreen Fujinami
Trisha Fujinami
Bruce Fujinami
Leann Fujinami
Rachel Fuld
Dave and Kate Furukawa
David and Natchi Furukawa
Laura Furukawa
Marian Furukawa
Nicki Furukawa
Tooru and Mieko Furukawa
Duncan Gowdy and Elizabeth Siler
Jo and Juan Green
Michiko Grosvenor
Judy Gust
Larry and LaBelle Haeger
Jun Hanamoto
Bonnie Harkins
Julie Harris
Kristin Hashimoto
Susan Hasegawa
Grace Hauseur
Krystal Hauseur
Joanne Hayakawa
Lee Hayashi
Matthew Hebert and Lara Braff
Laura Henschen
Heidi Hester and Chris Ono
Jenny Higashi
Grace Honda
Wayne Hosaka and Kathleen Fabry
Erin Hutton
Chiz Imoto
Robert Ito
Miki Iwasaki
Therese James
The James Renwick Alliance, and the Renwick Gallery/Smithsonian Institute
Japanese American Historical Society San Diego
Japanese American National Museum Volunteer/Docents - Lee Hayashi
Gary Jio
Tami Joplin
Kirby Jones
Will Kaku
Trace and Mildred Kawasaki
Jerry Kamei
Sumi Kastelic
Martin Katz
Sakie Takahara Kawakawa
Mitsuko Kawamoto
Yuki Kawamoto
Umeko Kawamoto
Bree Keaveney
Mary Sue Kern
Cindy Kitade
Dot Kimura
Jim Kimura
Rebecca Kinder
Dianne Kiyomoto
Edward Kobayashi
Yuri Kobayashi
Fred Kochi
Debra Kodama
Garrett Kodama
Mari Koudi
AJ Koudi
Keiko Kubo
Doris Kuwada Kunimura
Sharon Kunugi
Kelsey Lamberto
Martha Lathrop
Annette Lau
Bob Leathers
Chris Lee
Rachelle Lim
Mary Little
Linda Muroi
Adam Manley and Amertah Perlman
Karen Maruyama
Laurie Maruyama
John and Reiko Maruyama
Heath Matysek-Snyder
Yuki Mathias (Tule Lake Pilgrimage)
Gail Schneider Matlin
Lori Matoba-Wun
Mary Matsunaga
Mary Oda Matsuoka
Heather McCalla
Ingrid Menken
Terry Mirashiro-Sonoda
Ken and Judy Miyamoto
Tosh Miyashita
Tara K. Mochizuki
Molly Momii
Gwen Momita
Alan Momohara
Emily Momohara
Kiku Mori
Susan Moribe
Beverly Morisako
Noel Myers
Chizu Nagano
Sam and Pauline Nakamura
Susan Nakamura
Patty Nakamura
Reiko Nakamura
Wendy Nakamura
Chizu Nagao
Anne Nakahiro
Terry Nakahiro
Andrea Nakano
Mira Nakashima
David Nesmith
Cheryl Nickle
Sachi Nishida
Yoshio Nishimoto
June Noda
Jill Oda
Amy Okamura
Malia Okamura
Melvin Okamura
Yas and Jim Okazaki
Karen Okuhara
Roy Okuhara
Shirly Omori
Gary Ono
Momii Palapaz
Chulyeon Park
Todd Partridge
DiAnne Patrick
William Peters and Guy Stiles
Amerta Perman and Adam Manley
Pioneer Ocean View United Church of Christ, San Diego
Poway High School - AVID Program
Jami Primmer
Dean Pulver
Richard Rachel
Lani Reifenrath
Karl Renz
David Richardson
Tedi Romero
Bird Ross
Gwynne Rukenbrod
San Diego High School
San Diego JACL
San Diego Japanese Christian Church
Ami Sanders
Lean Sanders
Jared Sanders
Shelly Sanders
Betty Santohigashi
Shun Santohigashi
Lill Sasaki
Steve Sato
Reid Schoonover
Bill Schairer
Cathy Schairer
Michelle Session
Roy and Sachi Shibata
Janice Shigehara
Jane Shigeta
Fusa Shimizu
Jamie Shimizu
Roger Shimomura (Minidoka Pilgrimage)
Jeannette Shin
Kimberly Shintaku
Amy Shinzaki
Dylan Shinzaki
Karen Shinzaki
Helen Shirk
Jane Shirk
Noah Shirk
Yone Shiwotsuka
Bob Sims
Libby Sinclair
Joshua Smith
Susan Smithey
Thomasina Stancil
Deborah and Bill Stern
Chris Steussy and Norma Pizarro
Connie (Hatsuko) Yahiro Stricklen
Roy Sumino
Masao Suzuki
Naoko Suzuki
Marie Switkes
Tom and Mitsy (Kiyomura)Takeoka
Janet Takahashi
Amy Takahashi
Steven Takahashi
Amy Takahashi
Edith Takeshita
Ruth Takeshita
Ramona Tamiyasu
Karen Tani
Joyce Teague
Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN
Rachel Saelid
Cassidy Duckett
Jordan Frye
Daniel Hassler
Billy George
Jordan Kear
Ryan Pate
Ellen Kleckner
Carey Harding
Daniel Bell
Miles Koester
Mike Linsten
Mirrah Johnson
Sydney Ray
Andrew Thompson
Tyler Reagan
Katie Svendson
Chris Mayville
Christian Gibbs
Robert Bruce
Jodie Masterson
Lucas Barker
Bree Beliles
Kelsea Gilliland
Timber Powell
Michael Floyd
Rachel Clark
Judith Sullivan
Kathryn Forbes
Chris Bogle
Kimberly Winkle
Graham Campbell
Sam Terasaki
Judy Teshima
Susan Thompson
Leslie Tiano
James Tiffany
Mits Tomita
Aki Tomiyama
Ginger Tuholski
Noreen Tuholski
Andrew Tuholski
Mariah Tuttle
UCLA Nikkei Student Union (Beth Uno, Edward Kobayashi and Miki Koga)
UC Riverside Asian Pacific Student Programs
Georgiana Uda
Taeko and Tom Udo
Yas Umeda
Massie (Horiuchi) Uyeda
Xavier Vasquez
Marcela Villasenor
Ruth U. Voorhies
Carol Van Heerden
Betty Walker
Beth Wallace
Lori Walton
Hanako Wakatsuki
Alicia Watanabe
Doug Watters
Charleen Weidell
Tracy Wells
Judy Wilkinson
Kim Winkle and Graham Campbell
Shuyi Wong
D Wood
Efton Woodford
Ben Wooten
Alisa Wright
Chris Wright
Karie Wright
Nick Wu
Shigeru Yabu
Jane Yagade
Fumie Yahiro
Martin Yahiro and crew in Maryland!
Janet Yahiro
Jennifer Yahiro
Liz and Joe Yamada
Keith Yamaguchi
June Yamamoto
Peter Yamamoto
Yuki Yamashita
Stella Yee
Vernone Yoshioka
Christine Yoshioka
Judy Zinn Dedek
Ollie Zinn

December 13, 2009

UCSF Honorary Degree Ceremony Remarks by Patrick Hayashi

Thank you to my cousin Jerry Kamei for sharing this. Please read this.

Honorary Degree Ceremony
Robertson Auditorium
University of California , San Francisco
December 4, 2009

Remarks by
Patrick Hayashi
Former Associate President, University of California System

What a wonderful, beautiful day!

I have the honor of speaking to the UC community on behalf of the Japanese American community.

I also have the honor of speaking to the Nisei who are being honored today on behalf of their children and grandchildren.


Today, when UC honors these Nisei students, the Japanese American community would like to honor UC.

Today is a wonderful day, but it is not surprising. During our darkest days, UC stood by us. When others treated us harshly, you treated us with kindness. When others persecuted us, you protected us. When others scorned us, you embraced us as family.

Few people know about how UC leaders fought to protect the Constitutional rights, the personal welfare, and, most important, the human dignity of Japanese Americans.

After Pearl Harbor , racial hysteria swept the nation. President Robert Gordon Sproul, Vice President Monroe Deutsch and several other UC leaders helped establish the Committee on American Principles and Fair Play to defend the rights of Japanese Americans.

When it became clear that Japanese Americans on the west coast would soon be put into concentration camps, many UC faculty tried their hardest to place their students in colleges in the mid-west.

Then, when we were imprisoned in temporary assembly centers, like Tanforan, a race track in South San Francisco , UC faculty came to visit. They wrote letters, sent books, passed final exams through the fence. They brought art supplies so that we could start art classes for the children.

At Berkeley , Harvey Itano earned the University Medal as the outstanding graduate of the Class of 1942. President Sproul could have easily given the medal to the next student in line. Instead, at the commencement ceremony, President Sproul said, " Harvey cannot be here today because his country has taken him elsewhere." And he arranged to have the medal presented to Harvey behind barbed wire.

Here at UCSF, Dean of Pharmacy Troy Daniels along with other faculty members displayed uncommon compassion, integrity and courage. Dean Daniels went to the Presidio to speak with the head of the western military command, General John DeWitt. He asked that his eight Nisei students be temporarily exempted from the order to evacuate and be allowed to complete their pharmacy degrees.

He also said that he and his wife would adopt Harry Iwamoto, his first graduate student, if that would allow Harry to stay. But, General DeWitt had publicly stated, “All Japanese, including those born in the United States, are members of an enemy race,” He told Dean Daniels that all Nisei students would have to clear out of San Francisco.

But the students and faculty had other ideas.

The students stayed and they studied. The faculty helped them finish their coursework in record time. And then they helped them prepare for their state boards. When the students made their way home after curfew, they had to dodge the soldiers patrolling the city. Dean Daniels arranged for them to take their state boards early.

One of these students, Masao Yamamoto, told me that he was overcome with relief and gratitude when he learned that he had passed because he now had the foundation upon which he could build his life. After the Nisei students passed their exams, Dean Daniels helped them get safe passage out of San Francisco . He personally contacted law enforcement agencies and told them that UCSF students would be traveling to rejoin their families.

How UCSF helped these Nisei students finish their studies is a wonderful, important story.

But, UCSF gave something much more valuable to the Japanese American community. You protected us from the bitterness, rage and despair that could have easily poisoned our hearts. At the worst of times, Dean Daniels and the UCSF faculty allowed us to see the very best in humankind.

Today, UCSF completes the honorable work President Sproul, Dean Daniels and many, many others began 67 years ago.

What UC does for our community today is kind and generous, decent and just.

On behalf of the Japanese American community, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you, we thank you very much.

Kokoro kara, arigaatoo, arigaato gozaimasu.

And now, I would like to speak to the Nisei - those who are here today, and those who are with us in spirit.

I speak on behalf of your children, grand children and great-grandchildren.

You never talked much about the camps because you wanted to protect us.

Immediately after Pearl Harbor , community leaders were picked up by the FBI. My mother’s cousin was arrested because he taught kendo. A week later, the FBI told his wife where she could claim his body. No word was heard about many others who had been arrested -- sometimes for weeks, months and even years.

This was a terrifying time.

You were given just seven days to prepare to go into the camps. You sold your family’s possessions for just pennies on the dollar. You desperately tried to find homes for your pets. Many of your parents were already quite old. My grandfather was 75 at the time. So much of the burden fell to you.

You were told that you could take only what you could carry.

In your hearts, you understood that all you could really carry were your aging parents and your little sisters and brothers.

You carried us with strength and grace and shielded us from pain.

You told us about the good parts of life in the camps – the dances, the baseball games, the festivals, the weddings.

Sometimes, very rarely, you spoke about the hard parts -- about the beatings by a few hateful guards, about the suicides, about the arguments over the demands of patriotism and the demands of democracy, bitter arguments that turned friend against friend, brother against brother.

You told us about old Mr. Wakasa who had adopted a stray dog. One day his dog got caught in the barbed wire. When he went to free him, the guard in the watchtower ordered him back away from the fence. But, Mr. Wakasa was deaf and he continued to help his little dog. So, the guard shot and killed him.

When you spoke of the harshness of the camps, you made sure we knew that there was always kindness.

My mom and dad told me that when I was born, the Quakers sent a bassinet.

Teachers from back home wrote letters and sent books.

At Gila River , 15-year-old Ruth Mix lied about her age, so she could help out in the camp hospital. There, she and other workers smuggled in medical supplies, sanitary napkins, clothing, shoes - anything to help.

You told us about their acts of kindness and courage. But you never talked about your own.

But, now your stories are being told.

One UC grad, Lillian Matsumoto, worked at an orphanage for Japanese American children. When the evacuation order was given, Lillian could have gone to the camp with her family. Instead, she, along with all the other orphanage workers, chose to stay with their orphans. Together, they all went to Manzanar and started the Children’s Village, a place where these children who had nobody else could grow up protected and loved.

At Mazanar, California; Topaz, Utah; Heart Mountain, Wyoming; Poston, Arizona; Jerome, Arkansas -- at all the camps, you immediately volunteered to teach classes in makeshift schools.

You cared for the sick in hospitals. You buried the dead. You helped deliver the next generation of children.

You never talked about your courage.

In 1943, the government gave you a questionnaire and asked “Are you willing to go into combat and fight for America ?”

Some, like my uncle and father, had the courage to say, “No. Hell no! We will not fight until our constitutional rights are restored!”

Many of you were sent to Tule Lake , an especially harsh, high security concentration camp.

Others had the courage to say, “Yes. Hell yes! Many, like Yori Wada, former chair of the UC Regents, joined the MIS and served as scouts, code-breakers and translators in the Pacific.

Many others joined the 100th/442nd, the Japanese American Regimental Combat Team, and fought in Europe and became the most decorated regimental combat team in history.

And today, we pay special tribute to those who never returned -- to those who fought and fell at Anzio , Salerno , Monte Cassino.

We remember the hundreds of men who were killed or wounded while saving the Texas Lost Battalion.

Today, we remember the Nisei broke through the Gothic Line. Two attempts to break through had already failed. The 100th/442nd decided to try. One night, for eight hours, they climbed up a 4,000 foot cliff face to get behind the Germans and break the Gothic Line. They climbed quietly. They could only hear each other breathing.

But every once in a while they felt a gust of wind. And they knew that one of their friends had lost his grip and was falling. The men who fell knew that if they cried out everyone would be slaughtered, so they fell to their deaths silently.


After the war, you came home to start your lives again.

America was characterized then, as now, by violence and prejudice, decency and generosity.

One of the Nisei we are honoring today, Grace Amemiya, pursued her nursing career and served in an Army hospital in Iowa caring for wounded GIs. The hospital director worried about her safety, because former POWs would be returning from the Pacific campaign for treatment at the hospital. The director told Grace that she should never walk alone and that he would provide her with escorts.

But, the GIs she cared for, those who could walk, said, “No, we will escort Grace wherever she wishes to go.”

With incredible forbearance and fortitude you rebuilt our homes and our communities.

Throughout your lives, you guided yourselves by one simple precept, “Kodomo no tame ni.” ”For the sake of the children.”

For our sake.

You taught us, by example, the importance of hard work, sacrifice and service. You helped us build our lives upon your lives.

Everything we have accomplished all the happiness we have felt was made possible by your sacrifices by your strength and resolve.

For all that you have given us, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts

Kokoro kara. Arigaato, Arigaato Gozaimasu.


And, most of all, on this wonderful day, we all congratulate you.

Let’s have a quick Japanese lesson.

In Japanese, congratulations is

“Omedeto Gozaimasu”

Now, everyone – on three

One - two - three.


October 11, 2009

The Process of "The Tag Project"

As daunting as this seems, I am heartened by the support I have received from so many people already.

I have created a rubber stamp that replicates the text on the original tags - each of these tags are stamped, then names are written on each tag - I have seen two different examples of tags from archival materials - some were typewritten and others were handwritten. I feel that the handwritten tags gave the sense of the human connection, and the process of writing the names brings a sense of connection to the person whose name you are writing.

I have ordered a big box of red ink pads and numbering stamps and am ready to have volunteers help stamp each individual number on these tags.

Poston is almost completely done!! Minidoka, Amache, Tule Lake names have been completed and are ready for numbers. Currently we are working on Heart Mountain, Jerome, and Manzanar.

If you are interested in helping me with this project, all you need to do is email me, and send me your name, address, and email. My email address is tagproject@me.com.

Finally the tags go through an aging process that requires them to be dunked in coffee or tea and then strung together with red thread.

I am sending everyone the tags along with a self addressed label for their return. If you are also willing to donate the return postage of the tags, that would be awesome - just let me know. It would really help. It costs between $8-$12 to send these by USPS one way.

I hope to exhibit this piece, along with the works that I am working on now in a couple of years. There are several museum options that I have, as well as gallery opportunities. "The Tag Project" will likely be donated to a museum or to the Interpretive Learning Centers at one of the internment camps.

October 9, 2009

Interview with Wendy Maruyama about The Tag Project

This interview was conducted just recently and answers some frequently asked questions about The Tag Project!

For more information, go to: http://www.americancraftmag.org/blog-post.php?id=9019

August 26, 2009

Stories from Volunteers

Margo Bebinger
Thank you for the honor of helping with your Tag Project. I want you to know that as I stamped each name, I said it outloud, along with their age - as a sign of respect for each person and the inhumanity that they suffered.

Marie Switkes
Sitting and stamping tags methodically, being careful to get the right numbers connected to the right people aroused many thoughts. Each name represents a human being. There were large families (up to ten!) sent off to Poston together and lonely individuals too. I tried pronouncing the names as I did each one, and there were names of people I know, like "Takeshi", "Keiko", "Kenji", and so many men named "Minoru"!
I am not of Japanese American descent: my Italian father and French mother came to the US on a boat as fascism took over their countries. So I am first-born French/Italian American. I hardly remember any mention at all of the Japanese American camps in my middle and high school historuy classes at a private school in New York. I didn't really know much of anything about them until I moved to California some thirty years ago.

Tracy Wells
I first learned about the internment camps in my early teens--not as part of a history class (because we weren't taught about it in school), but on a family vacation. We were driving through the desert in California, and my uncle stopped the car near what looked like a guard post. He told me this was Manzanar, and he told me the story behind this desolate place. I was shocked--I'd had no idea--and then my aunt recommended that I read Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston's "Farewell to Manzanar" to learn more. I just couldn't believe that Americans could have done this to other Americans.

Susan Smithey

In August I went to Manzanar after hiking with a group of
women friends at Bristlecone Pines. I was seriously shocked at what I
learned while at Manzanar. I was also incredibly humbled. I'd like to
help with the Tag Project in any way I can. I may also be able to
enlist the help of my hiking buddies.

Mary Sue Kern

(Mary Sue has been helping with the aging process of the Tags which requires dipping and scrunching them in coffee)
My studio smells like coffee, as the tags dry out. But it's certainly not a bad aroma. I must say, it's become rather emotional already, seeing the hand written names of all these people as I scrunch them up. But, I guess that's nothing compared to the emotions and fears they experienced. So there is no need to ask myself why I'm doing this. It's going to be a powerful piece of work, Wendy. I am proud to be helping.

Yoshio Nishimoto
My brother and I returned....from the Tule Lake biennial pilgrimage. I was surprised and delighted to see your "Tag Project" in progress.

During the war, my family was first sent to Poston, and later transferred to Tule Lake because of my father's "No-No" answer to the Loyalty Oath. As you may know, Tule Lake became known as the "Segregation Center" with armed guards, stockades, and jails due to over-reaction by the US Military. Since I left camp at the age of 12, it was interesting to listen to the older internees (at the pilgrimage) describe the events and atmosphere of those tumultuous times.

Wayne Hosaka
I am a San Diego native Sansei, my grandfather on my father's side coming to San Diego from Japan at the turn-of-the-century. My mothers father immigrated to Seattle.
My father, Fred Tomio Hosaka, was very bitter over his internship (imprisonment) and it affected his life tremendously. He was an artist, painter, sculptor, and spent his leisure time whittling while in Poston. When he retired he started using the chainsaw and Dremmel rotary grinder to sculpt driftwood he would collect on the Oregon coast.
When he was in his 70s, he compiled a family history up to World War II and published a book and photo collection. His book is entitled "Shortchanged in America"

Jamie Primmer
I only found out about the camps in a class while I was at SF State in'97 or '98. The class was led by Ruth Asawa. She told of her own internment. It was heart wrenching. And for a girl in her early twenties, an eye opening experience. I have held her story close to my heart all these years. Her art and her life have always inspired me. Same goes for you Wendy! You hold the importance of this story in common and I would absolutely love to help!! Ruth Asawa's website is http://www.ruthasawa.com/

Stan Umeda
I was 7 years old when my family was sent from Sacramento to Fresno Assembly Center, then to Jerome, Arkansas and then to Gila River, Arizona. My family number was 22004 and this journey lasted 2 years and 9 months, about a 1,000 days. For me, the camps are symbolized by guard towers, barracks, barbed wire and “the tags”.

Rowland Kumamoto
I am very aware of my parents camp experiences and share it with who ever will listen. Mom and most of the people from Pasadena ended up in Gila Indian Reservation. She was in Butte camp. I lost an Uncle there. Dad's story was even more difficult. His family were finally relocated in Amache (Four Corners), however, his Dad was arrested shortly after Dec 7 by the FBI and interned in Crystal City, Texas (Dept of Justice camp), with Italians and Germans. This is where all the arrested community leaders such as Pastors, Priests, Professors, and business leaders were placed with the members of the American Facist and Nazi Parties. Most people were placed by the WRA in WPA camps. Did you know there were INS camps in Idaho and Montana, that were essentially labor camps building logging roads and highways for no pay?

Hayami Arakawa
My mother (Rumiko) and her brothers Toshihiko, Masihiko and Raymond were sent to Poston, Arizona, camp 3 - 309. So were my mother's parents Masako and Shoshu (20th generation Buddhist minister) Sakow. My mothers second oldest brother Fumihiko was sent back to Japan just before the war, just in case.

My Father Hunter Hayao Arakawa, parents Helen and Kelly where sent to Jerome and Rowher, Arkansas. My Grandfather Kelly enlisted and served for the US Army after his 3rd year in the camps. He served in Little Rock, AR and never saw military action.

Annette Lau
I am Chinese but I heard about Ex Order 9066 from my parents who were attending college at the time. They were so concerned about the possibility of Chinese getting rounded up, after all we all look alike, that they did not want us to learn to speak or understand Chinese.

I think that non Japanese would benefit from participating in your project as well. As you have stated, most Americans have no knowledge of this discrimination.

Marian Furukawa
I am eagerly anticipating being involved with your project, which I heard about from Karen Sodini (nee Ozaki). Karen sent me your web site and link, which she had received from her son! Karen was born in Fresno Center and relocated to Jerome, where my husband's family was incarcerated. It certainly is a small world! I recently finished reading Mary Tsukamoto's book, "We The People", which was very inspiring and informational since all I remember from "camp" is the "kid's eye-view" and not the emotional reactions to what was happening. My husband's family was at Jerome and also Rohwer until they were reunited with his father who had gone to Cleveland, Ohio for employment.

June Noda
I was in three camps during that short period of time. My family started out at Walerga Assembly Center, then on to Tule Lake. Staying there required that we had to declare our allegiance to Japan, so my dad decided it was best we moved on. We were sent to Jerome, Arkansas for a short time, and then on to Heart Mountain, Wyoming until the end of the war. (As a child), my recollection of that period of time in my life was not as offensive as how most young adults felt: they were up-rooted and sent out to internment camps during a period when their lives were denied of higher education and promising careers. My parents did a great job in protecting us from the uncertainty and frightening experience. I had my grandparents, uncles and aunties close by so it was comforting. I had friends close by, so as a child, I can honestly say, I survived without the bitterness that many felt.

Joe Yamada
My dad's good friend Joe Yamada told this story over dinner one evening. (There were about 13 of us seated around a large table in a Chinese restaurant.) Before the Yamada family was sent to camp from San Francisco, Joe had a pet dog that he couldn't take with him, so he and his father drove the dog to a non-Japanese friend's house. The friend's house was all the way across town, quite a distance. Then the Yamada family left for camp, and abandoned their home. Somehow, the dog got away, and managed to find his way back to his original home, only to find that the family was no longer there. He crawled under the house and refused to leave. Despite all attempts to retrieve him he would not budge and he soon died there, possibly from starvation. My sister Karen, who is an avid dog lover, bawled her eyes out after hearing this.

Shig Yabu
I am on the Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation and the Ventura County JACL board of directors. The Heart Mountain Reunions in the past has done Oral History with former internees, but so many of the past internees refused to talk or be filmed. This past December, Kevin Walker was making a documentary of all 10 Relocation Centers, and I had contacted many in Orange, Los Angeles, and Ventura County with very little enthusiasm for the project.

I was in Block 14-1-C at Heart Mountain Relocation Center, and I went under two different names: Shigeru Yabu and Shigeru Okada. My real name is Shigeru Yabu, but socially I went as Shigeru Okada which is my stepfather's name.

Willie Ito, Bacon Sakatani, and I had volunteered our service at Manzanar during the Presidential weekend, and this has been the second time. In my speeches, I mention that over 120,000 Japanese Americans were sent to 10 different Relocation Centers, and many of us all had pets. I happened to have 4 pets: Goldfish, turtle, canary, and a dog named which I had to leave with a friend. I am asked if I ever saw my pets again after returning back to San Francisco. No, I was not able to find Russell again.

The internees were not allowed to bring in pets and we ended up finding other pets while at the camp. I found a wild baby magpie bird and tamed her. This bird grew up with the internees of Heart Mountain, and enjoyed having visitors. I honestly did not know whether this bird was a male or female, but I named this bird Maggie. Each and every time I had walked near Maggie's cage, I would say, "Hello Maggie." One day Maggie replied, ""Hello Maggie." It did not take long before all of my friends had visited Maggie, and as the word got out we had visitors from other blocks. Maggie got so much attention that she picked up many words, whistled and her favorite was the wolf call, imitated those that laughed, and roamed between our barracks socializing with all the neighbors.

At first my mother wanted this bird returned back where we had found Maggie. My mother often would say to Maggie, "What cha doing." I did not realize how attached she was with Maggie. My mother would talk in front of Maggie's cage for hours. When my mother received a letter from her brother had joined the 442nd from the Minidoka Relocation Center: it must have been the tone of her voice because that was the only time when Maggie was silent and listened.

It was August 14, 1945, we had six boys playing basketball outside in the wind, and the sirens went off for the very first time. Without knowing what the sirens was about, we had assumed that the war with Japan was over. The camp officials urged all the internees to leave camp as soon as possible, and we would go down to the railroad tracks, and say goodbye to all those going to various destinations. Heart Mountain Relocation Center became a ghost town, and mess halls consolidated, and now for the very first time we had complete privacy in the bathroom. All of my friends had left, schools were closed, and Maggie was the only friend I had as a companion. We had talked about the future, and we thought that she would be ideal to donate to the San Francisco zoo, so that I could come and visit her often: plus she would be a big hit with the visitors.

Maggie had her own plans, she did not want to leave Wyoming nor Heart Mountain Relocation Center: this was her home, and she had served her purpose by keeping the Japanese Americans happy. It was middle of October when I saw Maggie on the bottom of her cage, I could see her breathing and eyes flickering. I carried her with my arms against my chest, and I could hear my mother crying behind me. Maggie slept under my bed, but it was the saddest thing when I woke up, she was gone and I gave Maggie a decent burial. Several weeks later, we were on the train heading back to California. My parents talked about Maggie until they had passed away. In fact, according to my brother, my mother would call out for Maggie in her sleep.

Sam Terasaki
Heard about your project from your Uncle Roy and Auntie Sachi. I have coffee with them 3 times a week after we work out at the Rec Center. I met you once some years ago when you were in Aspen, Colo.*

My interest in this stems not only from my heritage as a Nisei who served in Europe with the 100th Bn. but also the fact that my Son is a professor of Photographic Fine Arts at Glendale Comm. College in Glendale,AZ.

About half of the group that I was inducted with came from the camp in Amache. I became acquainted with one of them during induction and basic training at Camp
Shelby, MISS. We went overseas together and served first in France then back to Italy where he was killed in action.

Shig Yabu

I was first sent to Pomona Assembly Center, and then to Heart Mountain Relocation Center until one week before the camp officially closed. I was just 13 1/2 when I had left Heart Mountain, and then moved to San Mateo, Burlingame, Pinole, Hillsborough, and back to San Francisco. When I joined the Navy in 1951, I attended San Diego State College, I worked and lived in San Diego until 1967.

I wrote the book called, "Hello Maggie." Maggie was a baby magpie bird, and this book had been illustrated by Willie Ito that had been interned at Topaz Relocation Center. Willie Ito was an animator at Disney, Warner Bros. and Hanna Barbera.

Gary Ono
I asked my family in San Francisco if anyone there wanted to work with me on this. I got a response from a niece, daughter of my sister Sandi Matoba, who was born in the Merced Assembly Center.

Our family, parents and eventually four children were in and out of the WRA's Granada Project or later named Amache. Shortly after, being placed in Amache, my father was hired to do translation and radio broadcasting to Japan from Denver. The family had 3 kids then, and we joined him in Denver 3 months later. While in Denver my mother was adnitted to a TB Sanitorium in Boulder, one-month after our brother Victor was born. We children were accompanied back to Amache and taken care of by grandparents and an aunt.

I did produce a video documentary about my father's war job after getting a Calif. Civil Liberties Public Education Program grant back in 2002, titled "Calling Tokyo."

I also ended up becoming a bit of a family historian and wrote articles about my grandfather's involvement with the Japanese American Fortune Cookie. Google that if you have time to read it.

I also wrote some short articles about Amache, which are also on the JANM Discover Nikkei website.

Miyuki Hirano

WOW! One of my favorite images by Dorothea Lange is one taken of the Mochida family as they were being processed before being shipped to the camps. I received an email today from Kathy Chang: it turns out that her mother, now Miyuki Hirano, of Reno Nevada, is the young girl in the photo!!! One of the most rewarding experiences that I am having with this project is hearing stories such as these, and reconnecting to that past through extended families.

When I work on my projects, I think constantly about what has become of all of these people, and where they are now. I used the same image in one of my pieces on my website. This image reminds me of my own mother who was just a little older than the young girl in this photo: my mother's family were evacuated from Terminal Island/San Pedro in 1942.

Thank you, Kathy, for sharing this story.

Poston Camp 3
One of the first volunteers were roped into this project by my friend Lori Walton. Her mother, Mary (Oda) Matsuoka, enlisted herself and two friends from childhood, Sakie (Takahara) Kawahara, and Doris (Kuwada) Kunihara. Mary was at Poston for her freshman and sophomore years.

Donors and Grants

****NEWS FLASH*******

Author Jamie Ford just donated 12 signed copies of his book, "The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" to benefit The Tag Project!! If you are interested in purchasing this book, you may do so through the Paypal link below, or email me at tagproject@me.com for alternate methods. The hardcover books are $24 + USPS media mail charges.

For more information about the author and his books, go to http://www.jamieford.com/novels/

Thank you Jamie!!!!


The Tag Project will gratefully accept donations to defray the costs of the tags, the stamping materials, postage, printing costs, supplies (pens, rubber bands, tape, etc). Many thanks to the volunteers who not only donated their time but also helped with postage. Every little bit helps!!!

I am also applying for (and have received) grants to support this cause.

I want to extend a heartfelt and very special thanks to the donors thus far:


Verna Abe
Buddhist Church of San Diego
Peggy Chung
Jamie Ford
Dave and Natchi Furukawa
Kenneth and Mieko Furukawa
Judy Gust
Bob and Tsuru Hirai
Tom and Yo Honda
Kazi Ishii and Dale Kusumoto
Cindy Kitade
Guy and Toshi Kiyoi
Jerry May
Mark Lyman and Anne Meszko
Gwen Momita
Sachi Nishida
Amy Okamura
Pioneer Ocean View United Church of Christ, San Diego
Cathy Schairer
Mary Schairer
Janice Shigehara
Marie Switkes
Janet and Rick Takehashi
Edith Takeshita
Ruth Takeshita
Taeko and Tom Udo
Ventura County JACL
Ruth U. Voorhies

San Diego State University Arts Council Grant

If you would like to contribute to this Project, please contact me. Also if you have suggestions for funding opportunities I would love to hear about them.

August 25, 2009

The Tag Project at UCLA November 17, 2009


More than 60 people met at UCLA to help with The Tag Project!! The group completed 1500 names, and tied and stamped another 1000 tags!!! Many thanks to Beth Uno and Miki Koga for organizing such an enthusiastic group, and additional thanks to Linda Canada and Bill Schairer for assisting and coordinating!!!


The Tag Project will be at UCLA November 17th!!! I am thrilled to pieces!!

Beth Uno's committee, Cultural Awareness and Community Service (CACS), is hosting one of the Nikkei Student Union's weekly general meetings on Tuesday, November 17th at 6 p.m. They thought that that meeting may be a really good opportunity for The Tag Project come and present your project to our staff and general membership. Beth has told many of their staff and board members about the project and everyone is excited to help!!!

For more information on this event, please contact Beth Uno at bethuno89@gmail.com.

August 24, 2009

The Tag Project at San Diego High's School of International Studies

The Tag Project is coming to San Diego High School's School of International Studies on November 2!! Chris Steussy has invited me to speak to his history students about the Japanese American Internment camp and then they will be volunteering for an hour during their class with The Tag Project! Each student will be given a database sheet of names from Manzanar or Tule Lake and we will be tying, stamping and writing names on the tags!! If anyone would like to join Chris and I with this, please let me know!

For more information on the School of International Studies at SDHS - go to http://is.sdhs.sandi.net/default.htm

August 23, 2009

Poway High School's AVID program is helping The Tag Project!!


The AVID program at Poway High School did a fabulous job of helping with The Tag Project on Friday, October 9, 2009!!! They finished writing 1400 names from the Manzanar database, plus stamped and tied about 2600 tags in preparation for the kits!!! That is a LOT of tags for a short time period!!

Many thanks to those who helped, and extra thanks to the teachers, Karen, Sherry and Megan, and of course a big hand for Linda Canada and Gwen Momita for leading the group!!

The Tag Project thanks you all!!!!

YOWZA! Poway High School's AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program has stepped up to the plate, thanks to Karen Kawasaki and her colleagues Sherry Lockie and Megan Ellsworth. On October 9th, three separate classes will be hearing lectures by Linda Canada, from the San Diego Japanese American Historical Society and will be working with the students on The Tag Project!

For more information on the AVID program, go to http://phsavid.webs.com/

The Tag Project is moving ahead and will be at the San Diego Japanese Christian Church on August 30, 2009!!


Oh my gosh, another successful event!! this well exceeded our expectations: when Sharon Kunugi said, "oh we might expect about 30 people" - well I would say it was more like about 75-90 people. We finished at least 2,500 names from Amache, and all total prepared 4,000 tags!!! I am especially grateful because many people sacrificed the opportunity of watching the Little League team from Chula Vista win the championship, and many were from Chula Vista!!!

In addition to members of SDJCC, there were repeat volunteers from POVUCC and BTSD, as well as friends and family. There is quite a following of volunteers who have come to every event, and it is becoming more and more like a party. We also had some wonderful kids working to help with tags. Many thanks to Sharon and Jenny for inviting The Tag Project to SDJCC!!


THE TAG PROJECT is happy to announce that the San Diego Japanese Christian Church has invited us to have an event on Sunday, August 30th!! If you've missed the event at the Buddhist Temple, here is another chance to participate! The event will take place after the Church Services at 11.

A photographic exhibit will be on view, courtesy of the Japanese American Historical Society, San Diego, about WWII evacuation and internment after the bombing of Pearl Harbor as it affected San Diegans of Japanese ancestry.

I will give a visual presentation about my inspiration for the Tag Project. Then the various tasks involved in recreating the 120,000 tags worn by the West Coast evacuees will be described, you'll select your task, and YOU ARE OFF TO THE RACES!

Our goal is to create 5K+ tags in the time allotted.

1) For those of you who have been helping with this collaborative art project and want to keep helping, this will be a great opportunity to do a group event! All Tag Project Volunteers are welcome!!

2) For those of you who have wanted to help but have been waiting for tags, they will all be waiting for you here!!

3) For those who have no clue as to what this is, please check my website http://eo9066.blogspot.com - it explains what this is and what it means to me.

4) For those of you who have helped at previous events and had so much FUN that you want to keep helping, you are welcome to come back!!

It is my experience that doing this project in a group setting is a LOT more fun, you get to talk to friends and meet new ones!

Many thanks to Sharon Hayashi Kunugi and Jenny Higashi and the congregation at SDJCC for their enthusiasm and support!

See you there!!!

Date: Sunday, August 30, 2009
Time: 12:00pm - 3:00pm
Location: San Diego Japanese Christian Church
Street: 1920 E Street
City/Town: San Diego, CA

Phone: (619) 234-2697
Email: shaku42@gmail.com

August 3, 2009

Tag Project Event at the Buddhist Temple San Diego - August 22, 2009


The Tag Project was a SMASHING success!!! 10,000 tags were completed, with about 4,000 tags sent home in kits!!

This could not have happened with the help of VERY organized folks like Linda Canada, Joyce Teague, Gwen Momita, and Valerie Abe, and so many others who helped as guides, runners, tyers, stampers!!

I just hauled in the last of the boxes from the car and will be sorting through everything and will give a final report!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all that came to help!!!

Poston is almost done, and we are now working on AMACHE. If anyone wants to help with other camps, please let me know.

I am in dire need of folks to help stamp ID numbers. This requires a bit of concentration and takes a little longer, but it allows you to view names, family groups and where they came from.
In collaboration with the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego, and the Board of the Buddhist Temple in San Diego, The Tag Project will take place at the Buddhist Church's Annex Hall on Saturday August 22, 2009. It will be a potluck event, starting at 11:30 AM. The address for the Buddhist Temple is 2929 Market Street, San Diego, CA. Please RSVP to Joyce Teague at zenbu@cox.net or call 619/527-7855.
Looking forward to seeing everyone there!!

Rev. Yushi Mukojima, Resident Minister
2929 Market St. (Fwy 94 at 30th St.)
San Diego, CA 92102

July 31, 2009

The Tag Project at Pioneer Ocean View United Church August 2, 2009


We had a wonderful tag event on Sunday at the Pioneer Ocean View United Church of Christ. The volunteers there completed 5,000 tags!!!!! this included tying the ends of the tags, stamping the text, writing the names- with a few important volunteers organizing and categorizing the tags. The goal of 5,000 tags were reached!!
AND the chicken teriyaki bowls were really great!! Many thanks to the membership of POVUCC for hosting us and to the Fujinami family for planning and organizing the logistics there!


The Tag Project volunteer event will take place at the Pioneer Ocean View United Church of Christ on Sunday, August 2, 2009. There will be a delicious chicken teriyaki bowl lunch ($6.00) beginning right after worship at approx. 11:15am (Everyone is invited to attend the worship service at 10:00am). The Tag Project will begin after everyone finishes eating at approx. 12pm.

The POVUCC address is - 2550 Fairfield St., San Diego, CA 92110. Just off Hwy 15 - exit at Clairemont Dr, go east. R on Fairfield St and it dead-ends into the church parking lot.

Please RSVP to Coreen Fujinami (858) 414-2269 or povucc@sbcglobal.net for any questions and/or to let us know they're coming; especially to reserve a chicken teriyaki bowl (headcount is very important for the ladies cooking!) I am grateful for Coreen's enthusiasm and help and my mother, Reiko, and my aunt, Tae will be on hand! Be sure to stop by and say hello!!!

Thank you!!!

July 7, 2009

The Tag Project goes to the Tule Lake Pilgrimage


4000 TAGS FROM TULE LAKE WERE COMPLETED AT THE PILGRIMAGE! Many thanks to Yuki Mathias for rounding all these materials up and taking them to the pilgrimage and bringing them back and shipping to me despite such a busy schedule!! I appreciate it.


Yuki Mathias has stepped up to the plate and offered to help bring The Tag Project to the Tule Lake Pilgrimage, July 3-5, 2009. She and Keiko Kubo manned a table there with fliers, tags, stamps and a Tule Lake database, with the help of Jun Hanamoto and Peter Yamamoto. Thank you to all who participated and I look forward to working further with your group!!

June 29, 2009

"Tag Project" at Minidoka Pilgrimage 2009

The Tag Project was at the Minidoka Pilgrimage, June 26-28 2009, thanks to Roger Shimomura, who had the daunting task of hauling my tags to the pilgrimage from Kansas, printing and delegating names to volunteers, stamping tags...

"...I got 4 hours of sleep each night of the pilgrimage working on this but still attended all the mandatory sessions. 3 of us sacrificed the social event to stamp, stamp, stamp. Everyone....was extremely supportive of your project and hoped that they would be informed of its eventual future...."

Thank you, Roger for overseeing this, and thank you to all at Minidoka who helped!! Roger was going to send me names of the new volunteers, and I will be posting this to this website as soon as possible!!

Happy Fourth of July everyone!!

Roger Shimomura's work has inspired me for a long time. He is one of few contemporary Japanese American artists who have embraced the pain of internment. I am deeply honored to have Roger's help in this project.

June 28, 2009

Volunteer Groups Wanted!

If you and your local organization would like to host an event to support The Tag Project, please do not hesitate to contact me. I can create a kit that would include up to 4000 tags, stamps, inkpads, posters, and databases. I am willing to ship kits like these anywhere in the continental US and Hawaii. I have sent these to Pilgrimages and Camp Reunions.

I am also willing to travel to the Los Angeles Area to participate in these events. The event will also include a presentation of how I came to this project as an artist, and how other artists have inspired me. In San Diego we are planning four events in the next two months, to take place at the Ocean View Pioneer United Church, Buddhist Temple of San Diego, The Japanese Friendship Garden/Craft Group, and San Diego State University's Asian Pacific Student Alliance.

I am also interested in involving other college Nikkei Groups and Asian American Student Organizations.

April 21, 2009

The Tag Project - Progress

August 21, 2009 - In one summer I now have about 10,000 tags in various stages of completion - there are about 5,000 finished tags are now shown in this photo. It is also getting REAL heavy and I wonder what an additional 8,000 tags added to this one will look like, in order to complete this grouping, which will eventually include all internees at the Poston camp.

April 15, 2009 I realized that I was going to have to implement a grassroots campaign for volunteers! between teaching and working on studio work The Tag Project was crawling along.

January 3, 2009 - I had completed this while in NY with a handful of volunteers.

About the Artist

I am an artist and educator from San Diego, California and have been making furniture and sculpture since 1970. My various bodies of work are often inspired by extended residencies and visits to various countries such as France, England, Japan, Korea and China.

For the past 15 years my work has taken on stylistic influences from Asia. Born in La Junta, Colorado, to second-generation Japanese American parents, I've made several pilgrimages to the land of her heritage, Japan. At times reverent of Japan’s craft history and advanced technology, and appalled by Japan’s self-indulgent, materialistic and almost faceless and patriarchal society, Maruyama vacillates between creating works that both emulate and satirize contemporary Japan.

My newest work, "Executive Order 9066" is hitting closer to home - the work is influenced by personal and family history and addresses the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans in 1942. This event dramatically changed the Japanese American psyche and is to this day is still a vague segment of history to most Americans.

Most of my work can be seen at http://www.wendymaruyama.com