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Return to Heart Mountain

Japanese-Americans interned during World War II tell their stories

Kiyoshi Samuel Mihara, 78

— Photo by Kevin Miyazaki

Kiyoshi Samuel Mihara, 78

How old were you when you arrived at the camp?
I was 9 years old upon arrival. I came with my parents and brother.

How long were you there?
I stayed there 3 years.

What is your strongest memory from the camp? 
The most hurtful were the rejections from the local people, like the "No Japs" signs all over stores. Local undertakers would not take Grandfather's remains.

What did you do after you were released from the camp?
Upon departure, we transitioned to Salt Lake City, then eventually made our home in San Francisco. I married and now have 2 daughters and 2 grandchildren. I have a graduate degree in engineering and retired as an executive at the Boeing Company.

How do you feel about Heart Mountain and that time in your life?
Many people believe it was wrong to subject so many U.S. citizens to injustice. A few believe it was justified in time of war. Those of us who were interned suffered physically and emotionally. But I am gratified that I can pass on the story to others with the message that it should never happen again to anyone.

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