Interview with Lillian Yamasaki Hisanaga

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2014
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Nishimoto, Warren
Kodama-Nishimoto, Michi
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Center for Oral History, Social Science Research Institute, University of Hawaii at Manoa
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Lillian Yamasaki Hisanaga, the fourth of five children, was born in 1929 in Wai‘anae, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i to Kenichi and Itsuo Yamasaki. Her father was a nisei, born and educated on O‘ahu. Her mother was an immigrant from Hiroshima-ken, Japan. The Yamasakis owned a store—one of only five in Wai‘anae. Kenichi Yamasaki, a longtime resident of Wai‘anae, was a well-known, active community member. He supported the local Buddhist temple and Japanese-language school. With the outbreak of war, federal authorities removed him from his home and held him at the Sand Island Detention Center on O‘ahu. Months later at Sand Island, Kenichi Yamasaki was told that he was being relocated to the U.S. Mainland. He instructed his wife: “Go close the store. Then we all go. Every one of us go. If not, I don’t want to go.” Itsuo Yamasaki sold what she could and gave away what remained within a two-week period. By early 1943, Kenichi Yamasaki, together with his family, was sent to the Mainland; initially they were at Jerome War Relocation Center in Arkansas, later they were at Amache War Relocation Center in Colorado. Returning to the islands at war’s end, Kenichi Yamasaki did not return to Wai‘anae. He held various jobs, including ones at a jewelry store and a furniture store. Lillian, a seventh-grader at Wai‘anae in 1943 who continued her studies at Jerome and Amache, graduated from McKinley High School in Honolulu in 1947. Married in 1950, she and husband Akira raised three children.
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26 pages
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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
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