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).

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