Name and location of repository
Level of description
Oral history interview with Jim Tsugawa
- 2018-07-19 (Creation)
328 megabytes; 1 online resource (1 audio file (1 hr., 5 min., 9 sec.)) WAV
Name of creator
James "Jim" Masao Tsugawa was born in Hillsboro, Oregon, in 1932, the youngest of seven children. His father died the next year. In 1942, the Tsugawa family was among the Japanese-Americans incarcerated by the United States government after President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. The government sent his family to the Minidoka War Relocation Camp in Idaho. His mother became ill while they were incarcerated, and he and his siblings were sponsored by a local reverend for residency in Boise, Idaho. His mother died shortly afterward. The family returned to Oregon after the end of World War II and raised strawberries in Ontario. Tsugawa attended Lewis & Clark College on a sports scholarship, but left school to join the U.S. Army. He was stationed in Zweibrücken, Germany, during the Korean War. After his discharge, he attended Oregon State University, earning his undergraduate degree in 1961. He and Amy M. Goda married in 1959 and later had one child. In 1962, he earned a degree in dentistry from the University of Oregon Dental School, now part of Oregon Health & Science University, and became a dentist in Portland.
Content and structure elements
Scope and content
This oral history interview with Jim Tsugawa was conducted by Sankar Raman and Elizabeth Mehren on July 19, 2018. Amy Tsugawa, Jim Tsugawa's wife, was also present and contributed at the end of the interview. The interview was recorded for The Immigrant Story, an organization that documents and archives the stories of immigrants and refugees in the United States. In this interview, Jim Tsugawa discusses his family background and early life in Portland, Oregon. He describes his experience of being incarcerated by the U.S. government, including his family's detention at the Portland Livestock Pavilion and transfer to the Minidoka War Relocation Camp in Idaho. He also discusses his older brother Henry Tsugawa's military service during World War II. He talks about his family being sponsored by a reverend for residency in Boise, Idaho, and briefly describes his childhood there. He talks about the family renting a strawberry farm in Ontario, Oregon, and his high school experience in Beaverton, Oregon, particularly his interest in sports. He speaks briefly about attending Lewis & Clark College on a sports scholarship, then discusses his experience in the U.S. Army and being stationed in Zweibrücken, Germany, during the Korean War. He talks about studying at Oregon State University after his discharge, and about earning his degree in dentistry from the University of Oregon Dental School, which is now part of Oregon Health & Science University. He then briefly speaks about his marriage to Amy Goda, now Amy Tsugawa, her family background, and her experience of incarceration by the U.S. government during World War II. He discusses the U.S. political climate at the time of the interview in 2018, particularly the Trump administration's immigration policies. Mehren and Tsugawa discuss the large Asian populations in California and Hawaii. Tsugawa describes a recent trip to the Minidoka National Historic Site and revisits the topics of his childhood and playing sports. Amy Tsugawa closes the interview by talking about spending her teenage years in postwar Japan.
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use elements
Conditions governing access
Joint copyright for this interview is held by the Oregon Historical Society and The Immigrant Story. Use is allowed according to the following statement: In Copyright – Educational Use Permitted, http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC-EDU/1.0/.
Conditions governing reproduction
Languages of the material
Scripts of the material
Language and script notes
Acquisition and appraisal elements
Immediate source of acquisition
Gift of The Immigrant Story, July 2020 (Lib. Acc. RL2020-018).
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information
Related materials elements
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related archival materials
An oral history by Jim Tsugawa, ddr-one-7-55, is held by the Densho Digital Archive in Portland, Oregon, and is available online at http://ddr.densho.org/narrators/762/.
An oral history interview by Jim Tsugawa is held by the Cedar Mill & Bethany Community Libraries in Washington County, Oregon and is available online at https://cmclibrary.libsyn.com/oral-history-2009-jim-tsugawa.
An article about Jim Tsugawa, "'Camping' at a U.S. Concentration Camp" by Elizabeth Mehren, was based on this interview and published on The Immigrant Story website at https://theimmigrantstory.org/camping/.
Preferred citation: Oral history interview with Jim Tsugawa, by Sankar Raman and Elizabeth Mehren, SR 11292, Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
Description control element
Rules or conventions
Finding aid based on DACS (Describing Archives: A Content Standard), 2nd Edition.