Center for Oral History Seeks Interviewees-Experiences of Hawaii Nisei incarcerated in WWII to be recorded

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    The Center for Oral History (COH) seeks to interview Hawaii-born Japanese Americans who were removed from their places of study, training, or employment on the West Coast and incarcerated in various assembly centers and relocation camps during World War II.

    There were over 3,000 Japanese American students enrolled in institutions of higher learning in California, Washington, and Oregon at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941. Among these students were some from Hawaii, including men and women seeking not only bachelor’s degrees but advanced degrees for which training was not available in the islands.


    In addition to college students, there were Hawaii-born Japanese Americans who were living with relatives, completing their high school education, entering vocational schools, or working on the West Coast.

    In 1942, these Hawaii-born Nisei along with other persons of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast were incarcerated in various camps by Executive Order 9066.

    Hawaii-born Nisei, present on the West Coast and incarcerated in 1942, are being sought to participate in a COH project entitled “Captive on the US Mainland: Oral Histories of Hawaii-born Nisei.” The project is funded by a grant from the National Park Service.

    The interviews will focus on the Hawaii-born Nisei’s childhood and youth in Hawaii, pre-WWII experiences on the West Coast, incarceration and release, as well as their postwar experiences.

    The goal of the project is to inform the public that World War II confinement and its impact were not limited to the older, more established Hawaii Japanese and their families. Hawaii Nisei — striving to realize the American Dream on the West Coast — were also subject to confinement and its impact.

    ‘Anyone with knowledge of persons able and willing to participate in this interviewing project may call Center for Oral History Director Warren Nishimoto at 808-956-6260 or email at’