The Cultural Effects of World War II on Three Generations of Japanese Americans

left: Marion Konishi and her brother in Los Angeles before the war; middle: families of Japanese ancestry boarding buses for an assembly center and aerial view of Granada Relocation Center, Amache, Colorado (both photos courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration); right: Ken Takehara of the 442nd during World War II

Marion Konishi was a happy 16-year-old living a comfortable life with her parents and younger brother in Los Angeles in 1941. They’d go to the movies every Saturday night and they’d attend baseball games whenever they could. Her father, who immigrated to California from Japan in high school, had a produce company, and her Japanese mother, who had been brought to America as an infant, was a homemaker.

But life as they knew it changed drastically when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor that December. “I can still remember how I felt when we heard the news,” says Marion, who is now…


Japanese American’s Words Inspire Optimism

Marion Konishi, 1943

In 1943, Marion Konishi Takehara graduated as the valedictorian of Amache Senior High School, in Colorado, while interned at a camp for Japanese Americans. Despite being forced to relocate from her Los Angeles home after the attack on Pearl Harbor and Executive Order 9066, the incarcerated teenager’s graduation speech epitomizes faith in the human spirit.

She is often asked how she was not angry at the time and why she does not feel resentful today. Takehara, who is now 96, refers to the Japanese term gaman — enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity. “My parents taught us that…


In 1943, Marion Konishi Takehara graduated as the valedictorian of Amache Senior High School, in Colorado. Amache was an internment camp for Japanese Americans that were forced to relocate from their Pacific Coast homes following the attack on Pearl Harbor and Executive Order 9066.

Last month, at 91 years old, she returned to Amache for the first time since she was a teenager. As a part of the annual Amache Pilgrimage, Marion gave her commencement speech for a second time.

Written while living as an incarcerated teenager, Marion’s words epitomize faith in the human spirit. Faith such as this drowns…

Meredith Montgomery

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