The internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II was the forced relocation and incarceration in camps in the western interior of the country of people of Japanese ancestry, in which about 62 percent of the internees were United States citizens. The internment is considered to have resulted more from racism than from any security risk posed by Japanese Americans. What was it like in a Japanese Internment Camp? How could this happen, and how can we keep this from ever happening again? I had the privilege of speaking with Richard Sakurai about life in a Japanese internment camp. Richard, who prefers to go by Dick, recalls his experience of being taken away from his home, attending high school in the camp, and being drafted when he turned 18. He is now a young 91 years old, and I am grateful that he was so gracious to spend time talking to me about his life pre and post World War II as a Japanese American. Dick even had to graduate from high school in the camp, where he lived for almost 3 years. I was amazed at his calm and good-natured attitude towards this experience in his life, and am inspired by his kindness, wisdom, and fortitude. I also found it interesting at how his internment experience has shaped his modern day political stance. Listen to the end of our conversation to hear him discuss his philosophy on the culture of America today. He worries that the oppression and racism he experienced during World War II, is happening to other cultures today, like Black Americans and Muslim Americans. I believe in learning and listening to the wisdom of someone like Dick, who has endured so much, and experienced so much of history.
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