I should also note that my encounter with Mr. Hideyuki Aizawa, the president of the association in the summer of 2014, crucially impacted me. After his dreadful time of imprisonment in the Soviet Union, he spent the rest of his life making a positive impact for the people of Japan during the post war period as a Congressman, and as Director General of the Economic Planning Agency. After retirement, he became an active lawyer, and he continued his service as a board member and director of multiple philanthropic activities. He never stopped his demanding schedule as the president of the Japan Association of Forced Internees. His passion to keep visiting Russia every September to negotiate with the Russian government in order to solve remaining issues regarding the formerly interned was extraordinary. He continuously paid respects to the deceased in Siberia throughout the rest of his life. After the Soviet Union, an enormous government, disbanded into several smaller governments, the original remaining records regarding the formerly interned Japanese became scattered. He said his negotiations and efforts to get original sources became much more challenging since then. Regardless, his passion was always there. It is to my great regret that he passed away at the age of almost hundred years old in 1999.
Having been able to meet him as a living witness, I was given an opportunity to learn about his beliefs, his ability to take action, and the importance of never losing hope no matter what happens. In “Volga Far Away,” his book I featured on this website, his time during the internment is described. In addition, “Song of Siberia”, in the tab under “music” on this website, is what I composed based on my inspiration right after I met him. My thoughtful musician friends kindly came forward and completed the recording for me. It has been used as music during floral tributes for the deceased in Siberia during the annual Memorial Service held by the Japan Association of Forced Internees.
Lastly, it is my hope that the result of the efforts made for the construction of this website will increase people’s understanding of the history of the Siberian Internment of the Japanese. I also would like to mention that my work is dedicated to Takeo Kuba (Oshima), my late uncle, who was interned in Siberia, and also to Shun Oshima, my late father, who encouraged me to study English since my youth to “become the bridge of the Pacific Ocean.” My deepest appreciation goes to Jonathan, my husband, for his encouragement, understanding, and warm support for this long period of time.
September 15, 2020
Haruko Oshima Sakakibara
Lecturer in the Japanese Program
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
University of California, Davis
• The following grants made this work possible.
Incorporated Foundation: Japan Association of Forced Internees
Salad Cosmo USA, Mr. Masahiro Nakada, president
• Credit also goes to the individuals listed below.
Without the shared passion for this cause and the dedication of each person towards their contribution and their understanding of my busy schedule, this website would not have been possible. Their input made this concept grow and guided the process of the entire work.
At University of California, Davis
Web Design Construction
- Anthony Drown: web design guidance
- David Fahy: web design guidance
- Christopher Graham: web design, English editing, and map design
- Yu Hasegawa: web design and Japanese word processing
- Yohei Kato: web design, Japanese word processing, and map design
- Kevin Roddy: web design and English editing
- Aaron Sikes: web design guidance
- Geoff Stratton: web design guidance
- Dylan Beaudette; map research
- Thomas Deckert: initial web design and scanning
- Preston Hartfield: scanning of drawings
- Ji Young Kum: music score editing
- Mayuko Okano: Japanese word processing
- Rina Onishi: Japanese word processing
- Anna Reznik : Russian translation
- Tymofiy Zelenskyy: Russian translation and maps
Friends and Family
- Rugen Houston: technical assistance for making iDVD
- Hideo Morita: video shooting for Mr. Aizawa
- Jonathan Sakakibara: video shooting, English editing
- Lindsey Yumi Sakakibara: English editing
- Yurie Sadoma: Russian translation
- Igor Veligan: Russian translation