Tessaku is creating Japanese American oral histories
45

patrons

$547
per month
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 incarceration 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 and I at Tule Lake
Tiers
Community Member
$1 or more per month
Thank you for preserving the last of this first-person history! I will send you a Tessaku enamel pin and a thank you note! You'll also have access to patron-only posts, be the first to know about new interviews, and have your name included on the Patreon page on Tessaku. 
Advocate
$5 or more per month

You will receive everything in the $1 tier - pin, note, access to all my Patrons-only posts - plus all issues of the Tessaku magazine. Your name will also be included on the dedication page! 

Story Preserver
$10 or more per month
THANK you - you're amazing. You'll receive all $1-$5 perks (thank you note, Tessaku pin), plus an opportunity to help shape upcoming interviews and podcasts by submitting one question per month that you'd like to ask my next storyteller. 


Champion
$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 a gift certificate to the closest Japanese sweet shop in your city! If you have no Japanese sweet shop where you live or prefer something else, we'll figure out another alternative together.
Sponsor
$50 or more per month
All the above (thank YOU), plus a public acknowledgment on my Tessaku podcast! You're a sponsor of the podcast, 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. 
Publisher
$100 or more per month
You are a generous soul, and I will never thank you enough. You'll receive all the previous tiers, as well as your name printed in all the forthcoming Tessaku zines, which you are helping publish. 
Goals
$547 of $1,000 per month
I'm shooting for the moon with this one, but here it goes! At $1,000 a month, I can:
  • The magazine is sustainable (hooray!) and I can afford to keep shipping free and work with more artists, creators and writers
  • Publish the Tessaku podcast on a bi-weekly basis. With the backing of more patrons, I can afford to focus on producing higher quality Tessaku podcasts and do the editing needed for compelling stories
  • Travel to 5-10 different cities outside of California every year to capture more diverse stories from other perspectives. I can also expand the interviews to non-Nikkei folks who were friends and allies of Japanese Americans during WWII
  • I can start to produce Tessaku events, specifically focused on the magazine and pursuing museum and art gallery collaborations
5 of 5
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 incarceration 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 and I at Tule Lake

Recent posts by Tessaku

Tiers
Community Member
$1 or more per month
Thank you for preserving the last of this first-person history! I will send you a Tessaku enamel pin and a thank you note! You'll also have access to patron-only posts, be the first to know about new interviews, and have your name included on the Patreon page on Tessaku. 
Advocate
$5 or more per month

You will receive everything in the $1 tier - pin, note, access to all my Patrons-only posts - plus all issues of the Tessaku magazine. Your name will also be included on the dedication page! 

Story Preserver
$10 or more per month
THANK you - you're amazing. You'll receive all $1-$5 perks (thank you note, Tessaku pin), plus an opportunity to help shape upcoming interviews and podcasts by submitting one question per month that you'd like to ask my next storyteller. 


Champion
$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 a gift certificate to the closest Japanese sweet shop in your city! If you have no Japanese sweet shop where you live or prefer something else, we'll figure out another alternative together.
Sponsor
$50 or more per month
All the above (thank YOU), plus a public acknowledgment on my Tessaku podcast! You're a sponsor of the podcast, 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. 
Publisher
$100 or more per month
You are a generous soul, and I will never thank you enough. You'll receive all the previous tiers, as well as your name printed in all the forthcoming Tessaku zines, which you are helping publish.