Fumie Shimada

Fumi was born near Sparks Nevada. Shortly following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, his father was dismissed from his job with the railroad. As a non-West Coast Japanese-American family, they faced a very different set of exclusions.

Video Timeline

00:00 – Introduction

00:18 – Clip 1
Fumie recalls the day her father returned from work early, with the news that he had been fired from his job with the railroad because Japan was now at war with the United States. Although her dad had been fired from his job, her brother Tom, by claiming to be Chinese, was able to work the night shift at a grocery store. He had to take the back roads home due to 5:00 curfew restrictions.

02:02 – Clip 2
Shares how sister worked evening job, thanks to a taxi driver who transported her after curfew.

03:09 – Clip 3
Starts to explain redress process and her family’s loss of rights under the Enemy Alien Act.

04:47 – Clip 4
Shares the process of applying for Redress, not only for her father for losing his job with the railroad (despite his boss speaking up for him) but for her whole family. Fumie spent 8 1/2 years doing the archival research, writing letters, contacting the Office of Redress Administration (ORA), attending meetings – and speaking out for the right to Redress.

18:01 – Clip 5
Recalls the trip to Washington to present her case to the Office of Redress Administrations, followed by an invitation to a press conference in Los Angeles, which she was reluctant to attend since her grades were due in several days. With the hope that redress would be given not only to the railroad workers but to the family members as well, she did attend the press conference. Fumie had to address the press, with no opportunity to prepare a speech. She thinks back on her journey to redress, with a note of gratitude to the city of Sparks for their fair treatment of Japanese residents and citizens during the war years.

30:29 Clip 6
Describes her “trail to reparations” and how the retelling of her story spread from a local audience (University of Nevada radio show) to a national audience via award-winning Associated Press articles.

32:06 – Clip 7
Recalls family car trip from Sparks, Nevada, to the Tule Lake internment camp to visit her uncle. The family left with a “new” set of tires for their car.

34:17 – Clip 8
Explains that her family requested to be sent to an internment camp, as they were serveley limited in ways to support themselves. They were refused and had to make due in Sparks, NV.

36:08 – Clip 9
Provides more details on reparations, as well as why the Japanese of Nevada were excluded from the internment camps.

39:42 – Clip 10
States the importance of “telling our stories.”

46:40 – Clip 11
Explains FBI intervention was due to the Southern Pacific Railroad being part of a national system of transportation. Acknowledges acceptance of Sparks community again.

49:38 – Clip 12
Attributes her ability to recall in detail the war years due to not yet being in school, and therefore always with her parents.

52:12 – Credits

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