This collection includes interviews discussing the experiences of Chinese and Japanese immigrants in the American West. The interviews were conducted in 1998 by the Mansfield Center for Pacific Affairs. Interviewees discuss personal stories, family histories, and historical events regarding cultural assimilation, racial discrimination, family businesses, and the history of Montana spanning from the mid-19th century to the late 20th century. Topics discussed include the Great Northern Railroad Company, mining, Japanese Internment Camps, and World War Two service. The original interviews are held as Oral History collection OH 436 at Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula.
This collection includes 11 interviews.
Ben Harada describes growing up in Havre, Montana, as a Japanese American. He discusses his service during World War Two and the treatment of Japanese Americans in Montana. Harada also recounts his relationship to Japanese culture and language, including songs and a card game called ... Read More
Bob Swartout describes how he arrived at Carroll College in Helena, Montana and the history of Chinese immigration in the American West. He details how the Montana Gold Rush of the 1860s drew Chinese immigrants to Montana and the immigrants’ vital role in the mining ... Read More
Crystal Shors discusses growing up in a Chinese American family in Helena, Montana. She describes how her grandfather emigrated from China around the turn of the 20ieth century and worked as a janitor at the Union Bank. Shors recalls her father’s views on being an ... Read More
Ding Kee Tam
Ding Kee Tam (Daniel P. Wong) discusses his family’s history in Butte, Montana. He describes how the Tam family established themselves as merchants in the Butte community, owning the Pekin Restaurant and Lounge, a Chinese laundry, and the Chinese Keno. Tam also discusses the history ... Read More
Henry Muneta, the son of Japanese immigrants, describes growing up in Harlowton, Montana and how his father supported the family by working on railroad construction for the Great Northern Railroad Company. He recalls how Mike Mansfield gave the commencement speech at his high school graduation ... Read More
Jim Kurokawa describes growing up as a Japanese American in Wolf Point, Montana. He discusses his father’s work as a cook for the Great Northern Railroad Company and the establishment of the family café. He recollects how the community rallied around his father when the ... Read More
Joyce Chinn discusses her childhood as the descendant of Chinese nationalists in Butte, Montana. Chinn gives a detailed account of her family’s path from China to Montana, her father’s prominent role within Butte’s Chinese American community, and her grandfather’s involvement in the building of the ... Read More
Linda Tamura describes how her grandparents, first generation immigrants, came to the United States. Tamura discusses the challenges and lives of first-generation immigrants, including being placed in internment camps, cultural adjustments and assimilation, and the relationships between first- and second-generation immigrants. Tamura details her grandmother’s ... Read More
Liping Zhu describes the experiences of Chinese immigrants in the American West in the last 19th and early 20th centuries. He describes the employment open to Chinese immigrants, including mining and railroad construction, the reasons for their high mortality rates, and cultural exchanges. Zhu discusses ... Read More
Rick Harada describes growing up in Havre, Montana as a Japanese American. He discusses how his grandfather came to Montana to work for the Great Northern Railroad Company, being an only child, and his attempts to preserve and pass on Japanese tradition and culture to ... Read More
Robert Koyama discusses growing up in Hardin, Montana as the child of Japanese American farmers. He describes the family’s decision to move to Montana, as well as his parents’ placement in the Gala River War Relocation Center, an internment camp in Gila Bend, Arizona. Koyama ... Read More