Japanese American Internment-Incarceration Camps
January 8, 2024 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
What would you do if you had less than a week to pack one bag and leave your home, not knowing if you would ever return? John Nakada was an 11-year-old boy when the US entered WWII – he was torn away from his life even though he was a US citizen. John’s daughter, Yukiko Flennaugh (maiden name Laura Nakada), will share what Japanese Americans experienced and show short videos of her father telling stories. He discusses friends refusing to talk to him, living in a fairground horse stable, the train ride to Heart Mountain, Wyoming, sneaking out of camp into a watermelon patch, and what life was like after camp.
A brief history of Japanese Americans during WWII: All people of Japanese descent living on the West Coast were incarcerated in internment camps just months after America entered WWII. Over two thirds of the 120,000 Japanese American men, women and children were US citizens who were imprisoned, even though no crimes had been committed. The United States government has since apologized, and “The Civil Liberties Act” was signed in 1988, a bill to acknowledge the fundamental injustice of the evacuation, relocation and internment of United States citizens.
Yukiko is honored to be sharing her father’s story. John Nakada is 92, living in a memory care facility in Portland. He is unable to give his talk about camp any longer, but he was downhill skiing, playing tennis, and bowling until he was 88. In the 70’s and 80’s, John and Sue Nakada raised their four kids, Chet, Laura-Yukiko, Mitch, and Nori, in Bend, right next to Mt. Bachelor so John could ski every weekend. Yukiko lives in Portland, is a girl’s high school basketball coach, volunteers at the Japanese American Museum of Oregon as a docent and leads the Racial Justice Ministry at Sunset Church. She is married to Damon and has adult children, Nicole and Trejan Flennaugh.