History June 10, 2018
An Interview with Terry Janzen
Terry Janzen, a Japanese-American whose grandparents went to Tokyo in the 1890's with Thomas Edison to bring electricity and generators to Japan, speaks of her early life in Tokyo, and her life in the U.S. during World War II. As a result of growing hostility between Japan and the U.S., Janzen's family moved to the Los Angeles area, and after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Janzen's were forced into Poston War Relocation Center in Arizona, where Janzen spent a period of her childhood.
During her time in Poston, Janzen describes a time when a group of Native Americans came to see the internment camp, and how both sides looked at each other through the barbed wire fence with a look of astonishment and recognition. She says, "here were stereotyped people, two groups..and 'hey, they could be brothers and sisters!'"
After being released from Poston, Janzen recalls being scared into forgetting her Japanese, lest she return to the camp. Janzen speaks of how she dealt with the experience of being in an internment camp, and how she was looked at as a White American by some Japanese-Americans after such an experience, even as she experienced it herself.