Stars and Stripes stripes.com 31 Dec, 2020 23:00 am

As she turns 100, Japanese-American woman remembers how 'horrible rumors' of internment camps became reality

As she turns 100, Japanese-American woman remembers how 'horrible rumors' of internment camps became reality
As the most tumultuous year of many of our lives comes to an end and she reflects on her life at the eve of her 100th birthday, Jean Mitoma spoke about her time at the Japanese Internment camps during World War II.

(Tribune News Service) It was Mother's day on May 10, 1942 when Jean Mitoma finally packed the last of her belongings into a cotton bag she'd sewn in school and stepped onto a Greyhound bus outside the YMCA in San Francisco.The dry-cleaning shop her parents owned in San Francisco was forced to close.1, 1921, Mitoma came to America as a toddler and settled just a block away from the Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco.At Polytechnic High School in San Francisco, Mitoma was the only Japanese student because "it wasn't a very mixed neighborhood," she said.

Aside from the pressure of competition at her Japanese school, which she would attend for a few hours after Polytechnic, "I had a good life in San Francisco," Mitoma said.The day she left the camp to look for an apartment for her parents in San Francisco, her future husband Chozo Mitoma departed for Berkeley to finish his degree at the same time.

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