Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Yuri Kochiyama Interview
Narrator: Yuri Kochiyama
Interviewer: Megan Asaka
Location: Oakland, California
Date: July 21, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-kyuri-01-0007

YK: And that's when, in Sunday school, these kids who were, I don't know, thirteen, fourteen years old, they said, "Why don't we write to our Nisei soldiers?" I had at first only five or six kids. But coincidentally, each one had a brother in service and I had a brother in service. And so they said, "Okay, let's let the people of Santa Anita know that we are going to start writing to all our Nisei soldiers that we are behind them, 'we know it must be tough right now to be in the position you are, but we are going to support you through the war, and we would like to correspond with you.'" And when other kids heard about it, the Sunday school grew quickly. First, thirty, forty kids, fifty, 'til we had about sixty kids. More, not because of the Sunday school, but they all wanted to do something, too. And so they joined just so they could... first we only had a few names, but all the Sunday school kids went out and asked their neighbors, "Do you have a son or a brother or someone, uncle in service?" Got their address, and these kids started to write to them. And so in that seven months, we had, I think, before we left Santa Anita, we had maybe a couple hundred names of, you know, Nisei soldiers. Because a lot of 'em were in training, and it was just '42, so they weren't yet overseas yet, but they were in training. And the kids were getting letters back, and the soldiers were so happy that they're, like these would be their younger sisters, thought of them. And parents got interested in our program. My mother got really into it herself, because she was lonely, she had just lost her husband, and she said, "Oh, I'll write, too." And she would write to the soldiers like they were her sons, you know.

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