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Adios to Tears

The Memoirs of a Japanese-Peruvian Internee in U.S. Concentration Camps

by Seiichi Higashide

Publication Year: 2000

Seiichi Higashide (1909-97) was a leader in the effort to obtain redress from the American government for the violation of the human rights of the Peruvian Japanese internees during World War II. His moving memoir tells the story of a bizarre and little-known episode in the history of World War II when he and other Latin American Japanese were seized by police and forcibly deported to the U.S.

Published by: University of Washington Press

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pp. vii-ix

The distinguished members of the U.S. Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, one side of the triangle, represented the American government's effort to resolve one of its major World War II aberrations: the treatment dealt the Japanese American internees. In its coast-to-coast investigations, the...

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Preface to the Year 2000 Edition

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pp. 3-6

More than five years have passed since my husband and I first published Adios to Tears. Love and perhaps a feeling of filial piety were what plunged me into the unknown waters of self-publishing. In 1993, with my father's health deteriorating, my one big dream was to present to him an English version of his memoirs. There were...

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Preface to the Original Edition

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pp. 7-8

At long last, in the midst of the Great Depression, I was able to escape to Tokyo. As fate would have it, my life there likewise became too small and confining for me. Earlier I had dreamed of escaping from Hokkaido; again I dreamed of a more open society and my dreams extended outward beyond the seas. I dreamed of going to the outside...

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1. The Fall of the Higashide Family

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pp. 9-26

Higashide is the family into which I was born. It was, I have been told, a family long situated in what is presently Torikoshi Village in the Ishikawa District of Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. There, for successive generations, members of our family had been village leaders. Documents that would authenticate this, however, were...

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2. Pursuing a Dream of Success Overseas

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pp. 27-43

To make matters worse, she had entered a complex household, which included her husband's father and younger sister. Her husband, Sotojiro Sakaguchi, owned a lumber supply business in the Honjo district of Tokyo, so she also had to oversee the needs of their live-in employees and receive customers as well...

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3. My New World, Peru

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pp. 44-67

Our passage by ship from Japan to Peru was extremely pleasant. Uchimura and I were aboard the Heiyo Maru, a newly built ship. Ours was her maiden voyage across the Pacific. It was a good time of year for sea travel, and the waves on the Pacific were smooth and gentle. Both of us were able to enjoy the voyage in high spirits. Our crossing...

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4. Moving Toward Financial Independence

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pp. 68-87

In 1932, during my second year in Peru, I was unexpectedly recommended to a position at the Japanese elementary school in Canete. Choichi Otani, then the chairman of the Canete Japanese Education Committee, approached me with the offer. I hesitated briefly, as I had never thought of becoming a teacher...

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5. Approaching Storm Clouds

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pp. 88-112

The surrounding farmlands were very different from the areas around Canete. Here, there were only two or three large haeiendas which employed great numbers of people. Most of the families were relatively prosperous, small and middle scale independent farmers. Because of this, I had to operate our shop somewhat differently from...

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6. Fierce Winds of Oppression

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pp. 113-132

During the year preceding the riots in Lima, problems frequently arose among the Japanese themselves. As in the case involving the Lima barbers' association, these problems were usually caused by business competition. Over a period of years the Central Japanese Association had come to view this as a major problem and with...

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7. The Pitiful "Japanese People's Army of Peru"

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pp. 133-154

Although we had survived the "arrest incident" in February 1943, I still faced a grave situation. Circumstances had reached a stage where my only alternative was to go completely into hiding. When I considered places where I could hide myself, however, I needed to keep in mind my family and shops. Because of them, I did not want...

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8. The Ordeal of "Utopia"

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pp. 155-175

From the time I sent my family that telegram I began to feel that Panama would be just a temporary stopping place. For one thing, the camp wasn't large enough and did not have facilities for us to live there with our families. For another, there were no signs of others from Peru who had been interned earlier; it was rumored that they all...

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9. From a Barbed-wire "Town" to a Chain-link Town

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pp. 176-192

The forced detention of Japanese Americans who lived on the West Coast was based on Executive Order No. 9066, issued by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on Feb. 19, 1942. The exclusion program was carried out by the military's Western Defense Command. The administration of the internment program in the...

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10. A Concrete Frontier

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pp. 193-212

As we entered our third year at Seabrook, our lives had become fully settled and we could, to a certain degree, gain some perspective of our future there. If we stayed, our family would not be faced with basic problems of survival. In the future, we might leave the company's living quarters, rent an apartment in Bridgeton, buy a car, and enjoy...

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11. Becoming Americanized

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pp. 213-232

Of course a clear authority relationship existed between workers and their employers in the United States as elsewhere, but the value of work in itself was not deemed "honorable" or "base" on the basis of employer-employee status. As I began to work in America, I often witnessed workers and employers speaking to each other...

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12. Hawaii - A Paradise of Sea and Sun

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pp. 233-244

By the late 1960s, our life in Chicago had become financially secure. My wife, no longer tied to the care of our children, still went out whenever she found an opportunity to work, but it was no longer an absolute necessity that she did so. I had stopped working at outside jobs, for it had become financially feasible that I concentrate only on...

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pp. 245-246

I am now 84 years old. Our oldest daughter and son are both blessed with grandchildren. The children are now mature enough, spiritually and materially, to want to read an English account of their father's book and to make it available to friends and acquaintances who have requested it. They began working on the English...


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pp. 247

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pp. 249-253

Just as certain individuals championed the Japanese Americans' right to gain an apology and compensation from the U.S. government for violations they endured during World War II, Seiichi Higashide pioneered in calling for similar redress for the Japanese Latin Americans, many of whom lived side-by-side with Japanese...


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pp. 254-259

E-ISBN-13: 9780295800585
E-ISBN-10: 0295800585
Print-ISBN-13: 9780295979144
Print-ISBN-10: 0295979143

Publication Year: 2000

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.
  • World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, American.
  • Higashide, Seiichi, 1909-.
  • Japanese Americans -- Biography.
  • Japanese -- Peru -- Biography.
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