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“Is today the day they’re going to shoot us?”

February 27, 2012, 4:44 pm

Anita Creamer’s article in the Sacramento Bee on Executive Order 9066 and the effect of internment on Japanese Americans.

Today Japanese American educators and researchers say that the community’s third generation – the Sansei, most of them born after the war to parents who had been imprisoned – has inherited a complicated generational legacy that has played out in the Japanese American culture ever since the days of camp.

“A lot of what people experience in adulthood can be traced back to the trauma their parents passed on intergenerationally,” said Satsuki Ina, 67, a psychotherapist and retired Sacramento State professor who was born to Nisei (or second) generation parents at the Tule Lake camp in Northern California.

Through her research, which culminated in an Emmy-winning PBS documentary, “Children of the Camps,” she discovered that post-traumatic stress scarred the lives of Nisei and their Sansei children in the years after they were released from camp.

In her own case, she said: “I think of what it was to be a baby carried in the arms of a mother who wrote in her diary, ‘Is today the day they’re going to shoot us?’ “

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