Schools and organizations can request a former incarceree to visit classrooms or events to explain what life was like for them in the desolate WW II camps. Support for Title I schools available for grades 8 and 11. For more information,  please contact the JAMsj Outreach Coordinator at outreach@jamsj.org or call the JAMsj office at (408) 294-3138. 


Gordon Smith

As Head Docent of the museum, Gordon is pleased to make presentations on the Internment history to be found and explained at JAMsj. He gained his knowledge from the experience of giving numerous groups, encompassing hundreds of visitors, tours of the museum which brought its history alive for them. Gordon developed his presentation skills through his career, before volunteering at JAMsj, during which he made presentations to audiences, large and small, on Public Health and Safety topics both to professional and general public audiences.

Alice Hikido

Alice is a retired occupational therapist. She spent her childhood years from 9 to 13 in the Puyalllup Assembly Center and the Minidoka Relocation Center. Alice speaks about her experience as a child and describes how internment impacted the family. Besides talking about her first-person accounts, she also likes to illuminate stories about people outside of the Japanese American community who acknowledged the injustice of the government's action and supported the Japanese-Americans in different ways.

Preferred Groups: Middle School and High School.

Joe Yasutake

Joe is a retired organizational psychologist who has worked for Lockheed, the Electric Power Research Institute and the Air Force. He was incarcerated in Puyallup Assembly Center, Minidoka Relocation Center, and Crystal City Internment Camp. Joe was first incarcerated when he was 9 years old. The topics Joe can highlight for your class or organization are the WWII camp experience, postwar resettlement in the Midwest, and the relevance of the Japanese American experience to current events. 

Preferred age groups: grades 10-12, college and adult.


John Jeng

I’m crazy. About making history relevant and relatable to modern audiences. Like JAMsj's mission to CPS (collect, preserve, & share) the history of the Greater Bay Area community.

I think it’s important to weave the tapestry of stories into a cohesive narrative, hitting the emotive points that remind us how our history and humanity intertwine. After all, knowledge is gold, wisdom the refiner, forged into the stories that empower.

Since early 2016, I’ve been answering visitors’ questions about why our history matters.


Sharon Kamimoto

I’m Sharon Kamimoto and I have the privilege of being one of the docents at JAMsj. The museum is such a treasure to our community and as a docent I share information, facts and stories with the patrons who visit our facility. All the groups who come to the museum are curious and eager to learn about the Japanese immigrants who settled in Santa Clara County and contributed to this area’s unique farming history. Being born and raised in California and actually having grown up on a farm, I can personally relate to their stories.

The JAMsj Museum details the history of the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans into ten Internment camps during World War II. My parents were interned at the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona, as was my husband Hideo and his parents. Hideo and I love to travel and have visited several internment sites, including the Santa Fe Internment Camp run by the Justice Department.

I try to relate my experiences to the families and patrons who are on a tour. I lead many age group tours but most of my groups are student groups, and as a retired teacher, I enjoy their questions and youthful enthusiasm!


Yoshiko Kanazawa

Yoshiko was confined in internment camps for almost three-and-one-half years during World War II. After the war, her family returned to Pasadena, California, where she completed high school before graduating from UCLA. She was silent about the injustice for most of her life, but now feels she must speak up to ensure that the government will never repeat that tragic part of history. She serves as a docent at the Japanese-American Museum of San Jose and enjoys giving talks at area schools.


Shirley Kuramoto

Volunteering at JAMsj has brought out in Shirley a passion for history that she never had before. Being able to work with the public fosters an exchange of information that fuels her intellectual growth every time she is there.


Barbara Uchiyama

My parents were second generation Japanese Americans. My mother was incarcerated at the Heart Mountain Wyoming facility while my father was serving in the U.S. Army. As a former high school teacher born and raised in San Jose, I enjoy volunteering at our museum as a docent and sharing Japanese American history and culture. I am proud that our museum is a unique educational destination for the greater Bay Area.

Vern Hayashida

Steven Doi