Monday, June 14, 2010

Portrait: Betty Shibayama

I met Betty Shibayama last February at the San Jose Day of Remembrance ceremony at the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin. We were talking about the photograph I took of her husband Arturo Shibayama the previous year. Betty was so pleasant and out-going that I immediately asked her if I could photograph her for the Kioku project.

(Photo by Andy Frazer)

Betty's family was living in Hood River, Oregon when they were told to leave their home and board the train for the assembly center. Her family was sent eight hundred miles away to the assembly center in Pinedale (Fresno), CA. After three months they were sent back north to the Tule Lake War Relocation Center in northern California. After the "loyalty oath", Tule Lake became a segregation center, and her family was then sent to Minidoka, Idaho.

Betty told me that the dust storms in Minidoka was terrible. People had to wear towels over their faces whenever they went outside. The dust was so bad that Betty's mother developed asthma while in the camp. After the war ended, Betty's family moved to Chicago and her mother's asthma cleared up immediately.

Betty was the first lady, to be part of my project.

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