KUZUHARA, CHIAKI
I was the eldest child in my family. I was born in Kashiwagi, Tokyo, where my father, Sadaichi Kuzuhara (the first Bishop of the Holiness Church of North America), was teaching at the Tokyo Biblical Seminary. When my father was assigned pastor of the Los Angeles Holiness Church, we moved to Los Angeles. Soon after the war broke out, the American government ordered Japanese-Americans to move from the West Coast to the Eastern States. Initially, my father planned to take advantage of the free evacuation period to settle in Utah.

However, it was soon too late to do so, for the free evacuation period was very short (only twenty-seven days). My father then decided to leave everything up to the decision of the American government, and I was sent, with my whole family, to the Santa Anita Assembly Center. There, no privacy could be secured. We had to live in a confining barrack, twenty by fifteen feet in size, with ten family members. There was no privacy, no security, nothing. I felt so sorry for the sick people who were being forced to move to such an inhumane place as the stalls where race horses once stayed. Rich people were forced to surrender most of their belongings due to the unknown future. They arrived at the assembly center with only a handful of baggage. No one was allowed to bring more. A federated church was organized at the Santa Anita Assembly Center, and some three thousand people were members of this group. Yet both the Holiness Church members and the Free Methodist Church members created their own separate groups, with a membership of five hundred people in total.

Eventually, I was sent to the Amache Relocation Camp where I enjoyed a secure life and freedom from the persecution and segregation which had hounded us for years. The Church Federation was also established in that camp. I was in charge of the religious education department for three hundred English-speaking members. Although the Holiness group had been prejudiced against other Christian groups before that time, we eventually became friendly enough that we could enjoy true Christian fellowship with one another. By the end of our time in the relocation camp, the other groups came to respect the Holiness group more than ever before. We not only enjoyed fellowship among Christians, but we got along well with the Buddhist group as well. In the camp, we did not need to worry about our daily bread, nor about protection from dangerous people. The ladies were able to spend much of their leisure time on such hobbies as drawing, knitting, poetry, and so on. I myself thanked God for having been placed in the camp. It was a tremendous chance to evangelize people.

My father left the camp after two years and headed for Chicago, where Dr. Yoshida, a dentist, and dozens of people awaited his coming. There, Japanese people were welcomed and able to enjoy a secure life and friendly attitudes. One day my father visited Moody Church, where Dr. Ironside, a well known pastor was ministering, believing the church would help his ministry by renting a portion of their facilities to him. However, some members feared public retaliation if they rented their facilities to the Japanese. At that time, my father happened to receive a letter from the European front lines where our brother, Ken, was fighting. The letter was from the commanding officer of Ken’s combat team, who wrote that Ken was doing a wonderful job and that he appreciated our sending such a fine man. With the letter in hand, my father returned to the Moody Church. This time, no one disagreed with the use of the facilities by my father’s group.

Year of Birth: 1910
Place of Birth: Tokyo, Japan
Major Occupation: Minister
Relocation Camp: Amache, Colorado
Date of Interview: July 14, 1991

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