Les Ouchida was born in Florin, California, in July of 1937. His father, Harold Ouchida, had a strawberry distribution business and by 1929, at the age of 23, Mr. Ouchida owned 20 trucks – a very successful businessman. When the family was evacuated by order of 9066, his father lost his business. The were taken first to the Fresno Assembly; then the attended Florin Grammar School and graduated from Elk Grove High School in 1955. Les went on to graduate from UC Berkeley, where he and the late Congressman Bob Matsui were roommates. He majored in Business and went on to work as an administrator for the California State Department of Finance.
Note: To listen to a specific clip, move the slider on the video to the designated clip time listed below.
00:00 – Introduction
00:18 – Clip 1
Camp in Arkansas to camp in Arizona; boredom of camp life.
03:19 – Clip 2
How his father was affected by the camps.
06:22 – Clip 3
School life upon returning from camps.
07:20 – Clip 4
Florin area after Japanese returned from camps.
08:35 – Clip 5
Japanese community after returning from camps. Description of uncle who fought in the 442nd.
10:46 – Clip 6
Reflections on career as impacted by life in camps.
12:15 – Clip 7
Importance of museums and learning about camps.
13:11 – Clip 8
Continuing racism towards Japanese-American soldiers.
Video production provided by the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium – http://www.secctv.org
Primary source images to accompany Lester Ouchida’s story. Images provided by Lester Ouchida – Elk Grove Unified School District.