Sharing the Story: An Oral History Project

The Oral History project was started to find a way to capture and share the stories of our Japanese American legends.

The Japanese American legends were those who came and settled in the Bay Area against all odds and during times when racial prejudices were widespread. Their perseverance and determination made it easier for all of the follow-on generations to settle down in the Bay Area. For that we honor the Japanese American legends for clearing the way for future generations.

Click on each portrait to read their stories.


Share Your Story

We are calling upon members of the Japanese American community to share their memories and recollections about World War II.

For many Japanese Americans in the community, the wartime experience is a difficult, painful subject to recall, yet it is vital to remember and cherish the firsthand memories we still have with us today. We are calling upon the community to help expand our archive of oral histories, to ask your relatives, friends, neighbors or parents to bring their stories to JAMsj. Your family's story could be the one to bridge gaps and touch the heart of an upcoming generation.

This is how it works. The storyteller--we like to call them narrators--will come into the museum and sit down with our interviewers, usually two members of the oral history team. We will audio record the story and sometime also video record them as well. While we always encourage narrators to elaborate and share their own unique perspectives, some of the questions we lead with are: Can you share your memories right before Pearl Harbor? Did you return to your hometown and what was it like? What trait do you have that reminds you of your parents? What stories do you remember hearing from your parents? These are just the tip of the iceberg, and we always draw upon what is shared in the story, allowing the narrator to take us on a journey of their life.

Now, more than ever, it is crucial that we talk to the relatives, friends and community members who still recall vital stories of wartime on the West Coast and being uprooted from their homes.

Our task is simple: To archive and share oral histories while we still have those firsthand accounts from Japanese Americans. We seek to collect these stories in this timely cultural moment, and also wish to preserve the rich histories of people who are still living and represent a very crucial link to Japanese American history.

Our collective memory is valuable, and we are making it our mission to archive and project those stories from our family members and friends. If you know someone whose story should be told and shared, please contact us at oralhistory@jamsj.org.


Thanks to Diana Emiko Tsuchida at Tessaku.com.  Check out her website for more interviews and stories.

We are still calling for stories.

If you are interested in sharing your internment experience, please email us at oralhistory@jamsj.org.