Saturday, October 23, 2010

News: Sun Times Newspaper

Yesterday the Sunnyvale Sun (and it's partner newspaper, the Cupertino Courier) wrote a great article about my project to photograph Japanese-Americans who were incarcerated during World War II. You can read the article without photographs, or you can see the entire article with photographs (in PDF format). The full article came out very well. Photographer Jacqueline Ramseyer published six photographs of myself working with Fran Ellis. Fran is a member of the Tule Lake Pilgrimage Committee, as well as the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee in San Jose, CA.

I will add Fran's photographs to the main website very soon.

I'd also like to thank reporter Tiffany Carney for the great article.

Portrait: Aiko Jio

About two years ago I photographed a wonderful lady named Aiko Jio at the San Jose Day of Remembrance ceremony. At the time I did not know who she was, but I knew that I wanted to photograph a portrait of her for the Kioku project. One and one-half years later I was attending a volunteer picnic for the Nihonmachi Outreach Committee. While I was talking with a few people, I was surprised to learn that this lady was the mom of my friend Gary Jio. I told Gary that I would like to do his mom's portrait, and he immediately help set up our meeting.

(Photo by Andy Frazer)

Aiko Jio was born and raised in San Jose, CA. After the outbreak of WWII, she was incarcerated at Heart Mountain with her parents, her three sisters and five brothers. Before proceding to the internment camp, Aiko worked with the Japanese-American Citizens' League to help process other internees at the San Jose State University gymnasium located at the corner of 4th and San Carlos St.

(Photo by Andy Frazer)

Her family was first incarcerated at the Santa Anita Assembly Center before taking the long train ride through Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Colorado before arriving at Heart Mountain in Wyoming.

(Andy Frazer and Aiko Jio, photo by Gary Jio)

Aiko's future husband was already serving the U.S. Army when WWII broke out. They were married in Heart Mountain while he was serving. After he joined the Military Intelligence Service (M.I.S.), the family was reunited at Fort Snelling in Minneapolis, MN.

Aiko's father, Torahiko Kawakami, was one of the Issei pioneers in San Jose. He ran the hostel for Japanese-Americans who returned to San Jose after the war.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Portrait: Aggie Idemoto

Aggie (Kadotani) Idemoto was only ten months old when her family was ordered to leave their home in Watsonville, CA and move to the Salinas Assembly Center. Her family was then sent to the Poston (AZ) concentration camp, where her dad got a job as Block Manager in Camp I. Poston was the largest of the ten WRA camps, with 20,000 incarcerees. Being in desert country, it was also the hottest, with some summer days reaching a sweltering 120 degrees.When the camp closed at the end of the war, Aggie's family had to wait for the last train to leave Poston because her mother was expecting a baby. When the last train eventually left, her mom had to carry a two-week old baby all the way back to Watsonville.

(Photo by Andy Frazer)

Her family temporarily lived at the Watsonville Buddhist Church, which was serving as a hostel. They eventually settled in Pajaro, and moved about within the Watsonville community as her father followed the crops. Aggie eventually became a school teacher and administrator in Oak Grove School District in South San Jose.

Aggie has provided leadership as a coordinator and interviewer for the REgenerations Oral History project, as well as for the Densho Project. She is the President, the Education Director, and the Human Resources Director of the Japanese American Museum of San Jose (JAMsj).