Tessaku is creating oral histories about the Japanese American incarceration
18

patrons

Tessaku means iron fence in Japanese. Tetsu 鉄 is iron, and saku 柵 is fence. It was the title for a short-lived magazine published by the Japanese Americans in Tule Lake, one of the ten government-run internment camps during WWII.  

My goal in starting this was to simply preserve my family history, by conducting interviews with my dad. During the war, my grandparents and father (who was 5 at the time), were held at Santa Anita racetrack, Topaz and then Tule Lake, where my grandfather was eventually targeted as a "troublemaker" for speaking out against the injustice. He was in turn separated from the family and shuffled to various FBI interrogation camps, getting out nearly two years after everyone else in 1947. In his later years he started to write a memoir about his experience but he never published it. Nor did I ever get the chance to speak with him about it - he passed when I was eight. 

This project has blossomed into a much larger-than-expected preservation mission, where I travel extensively and work quickly to capture, transcribe and publish as many of the stories from survivors who are still alive today. This strong, stoic generation of our parents and grandparents is dwindling, and nothing has brought me more happiness than helping other families get their histories recorded. 

As a patron, you will help shed light on a group of people who survived incredible hardship but are leaving us every year. Because there is no time to lose, this project will truly powered by the community of people here. Saving these stories will absolutely be because of your generosity. Thank you.  


My dad at the Manzanar pilgrimage
Tiers
$1 patron
$1 or more per month
Thank you for being part of this community to preserve history. You'll have access to patron-only posts, be the first to know about new interviews, and have your name featured on a thank you page on tessaku.com. 
$5 patron
$5 or more per month
$5 goes a long way, so thank you! I will share audio and photo previews of stories that I'm working on, plus one feel-good story about the Japanese Americans during the WWII era. These interviews can get pretty heavy, so it's nice to have something uplifting to balance it all out. 
$10 patron
$10 or more per month
THANK you - you're amazing. You'll receive all $1-$5 perks, plus an opportunity to help shape my upcoming interviews by submitting one question that you'd like me to ask my next storyteller. I will also add your name as a collaborator to the interview post! (Of course, you can choose to be anonymous).



$20 patron
$20 or more per month
I'm incredibly grateful for your patronage, thank you so much for believing in this work. You'll get all my $1-10 perks, plus be part of a Google hangout that I'll host every other month! We can chat about Japanese American history, share family stories, or chat about the state of our country and its racial trajectory. Think of this as cathartic discussion!
$50 patron
$50 or more per month
All the above (thank YOU), plus a public acknowledgment on my Tessaku podcast! You're a producer, and I would like to name you as such. Or, if you prefer to have your donation made in memory/honor of someone, I can name them instead. 
Producer
$100 or more per month
You are, in a real sense, my producer! With this I will publish a limited amount of books featuring interviews, photos, and Tessaku highlights. I'd appreciate if you could contribute as a $100 patron for at least three months, simply to make the printing and shipping costs worthwhile. I can promise you that the book will be worth it. 
Publisher and Producer
$500 or more per month
You will bring Tessaku into the real world, and back into the hands of the incredible people who shared their stories with me. This tier will help me publish booklets of each Tessaku interview, which I can then give back to the families of the storytellers, while also making copies available to anyone. You will receive a copy of each book printed and be publicly thanked in the acknowledgments.
Goals
57% complete
I can offset the cost of travel (plane tickets, train passes or car rentals) to conduct interviews outside of the Bay Area, where I'm currently located. This would include Japanese American enclaves in Seattle, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, Seabrook and Chicago. This might even help me travel to areas that do not have huge communities but where people resettled after the war, like Nebraska, Oregon and Arkansas.
5 of 6
Tessaku means iron fence in Japanese. Tetsu 鉄 is iron, and saku 柵 is fence. It was the title for a short-lived magazine published by the Japanese Americans in Tule Lake, one of the ten government-run internment camps during WWII.  

My goal in starting this was to simply preserve my family history, by conducting interviews with my dad. During the war, my grandparents and father (who was 5 at the time), were held at Santa Anita racetrack, Topaz and then Tule Lake, where my grandfather was eventually targeted as a "troublemaker" for speaking out against the injustice. He was in turn separated from the family and shuffled to various FBI interrogation camps, getting out nearly two years after everyone else in 1947. In his later years he started to write a memoir about his experience but he never published it. Nor did I ever get the chance to speak with him about it - he passed when I was eight. 

This project has blossomed into a much larger-than-expected preservation mission, where I travel extensively and work quickly to capture, transcribe and publish as many of the stories from survivors who are still alive today. This strong, stoic generation of our parents and grandparents is dwindling, and nothing has brought me more happiness than helping other families get their histories recorded. 

As a patron, you will help shed light on a group of people who survived incredible hardship but are leaving us every year. Because there is no time to lose, this project will truly powered by the community of people here. Saving these stories will absolutely be because of your generosity. Thank you.  


My dad at the Manzanar pilgrimage

Recent posts by Tessaku

Tiers
$1 patron
$1 or more per month
Thank you for being part of this community to preserve history. You'll have access to patron-only posts, be the first to know about new interviews, and have your name featured on a thank you page on tessaku.com. 
$5 patron
$5 or more per month
$5 goes a long way, so thank you! I will share audio and photo previews of stories that I'm working on, plus one feel-good story about the Japanese Americans during the WWII era. These interviews can get pretty heavy, so it's nice to have something uplifting to balance it all out. 
$10 patron
$10 or more per month
THANK you - you're amazing. You'll receive all $1-$5 perks, plus an opportunity to help shape my upcoming interviews by submitting one question that you'd like me to ask my next storyteller. I will also add your name as a collaborator to the interview post! (Of course, you can choose to be anonymous).



$20 patron
$20 or more per month
I'm incredibly grateful for your patronage, thank you so much for believing in this work. You'll get all my $1-10 perks, plus be part of a Google hangout that I'll host every other month! We can chat about Japanese American history, share family stories, or chat about the state of our country and its racial trajectory. Think of this as cathartic discussion!
$50 patron
$50 or more per month
All the above (thank YOU), plus a public acknowledgment on my Tessaku podcast! You're a producer, and I would like to name you as such. Or, if you prefer to have your donation made in memory/honor of someone, I can name them instead. 
Producer
$100 or more per month
You are, in a real sense, my producer! With this I will publish a limited amount of books featuring interviews, photos, and Tessaku highlights. I'd appreciate if you could contribute as a $100 patron for at least three months, simply to make the printing and shipping costs worthwhile. I can promise you that the book will be worth it. 
Publisher and Producer
$500 or more per month
You will bring Tessaku into the real world, and back into the hands of the incredible people who shared their stories with me. This tier will help me publish booklets of each Tessaku interview, which I can then give back to the families of the storytellers, while also making copies available to anyone. You will receive a copy of each book printed and be publicly thanked in the acknowledgments.