Moving Days: The Japanese American Experience in the Santa Clara Valley

Local Japanese Americans Remember World War II: Aki Okuno, Tom Taniguchi, Its Uenaka

Theme: Local Japanese Americans Remember World War II

Moving Days: Japanese American Experience in Silicon Valley sponsored by the Cupertino Library FoundationPanel discussion
Sunday, September 30, 1:30 p.m., Cupertino Community Hall

Panelists will discuss life before WWII in the Valley, life in an internment camp, life as a drafted or enlisted soldier, how these experiences have shaped modern day lives and experiences.

Moderator: Darcy Paul, Cupertino Historical Society and Museum – moved to Cupertino in 2005 married Sharon Lee in July 2010. Their first born Alison, arrived in March 2012. Darcy is a member of the Cupertino Historical Society board and is a commissioner on the Cupertino Parks and Recreation and currently serves on the board for the Cupertino Chamber of commerce. Darcy is a Harvard law school graduate and is an attorney at Law. His professional aim is to re-focus the priorities of the legal community towards communities.

Aki Okuno – born in Gilroy California, where her father farmed. Aki was 15 when her family was sent to Poston internment camp in Arizona for the duration of World War II. After the war she spent time in San Francisco and Richmond before moving to the South Bay.

Tom Taniguchi – grew up in Winters, California where is family did farming. He and his family were sent to an internment camp in Gila River, Arizona. Tom was drafted into the US Army out of camp and eventually ended up in the US Military Intelligence Service (MIS) and was sent to be trained in preparation for the invasion of Japan. With the end of the War he was sent to Japan as part of the US Occupation Forces. He has lived in Cupertino since 1958.

Its Uenaka – grew up in Hayward where his family was in the cut-flower business. When Its was 11, he and his family were imprisoned in camps at Topaz, Utah and later at Tule Lake, California. After the war is family started a nursery business in Cupertino where Its eventually started and ran his own successful business for many years.

Local Japanese Americans Remember World War II: Aki Okuno, Tom Taniguchi, Its Uenaka

Children at the Manzanar camp
Unidentified children interned at the Manzanar camp in California.
Photo: Courtesy of the Japanese American Museum of San Jose.

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