Oberlin Nisei List (as of 3/1/13) + updates

Female:  (spouse surnames listed in parentheses)
Mineko “Minnie” Sasahara (Avery), Teruko Akagi,
May Kitazawa (Arbegast), June Kitazawa (Barr), Jean Morisuye (Conklin),
Lily Yuriko Fukuhara, Michiko Matsushima (Fujimoto), Yuriko Ito, Myra Iwagami,
June Kimura, Shizuko Koda (Kitaoka), Margaret Yokota (Matsunaga),
Grace Imamoto Noda, Yoshie Takagi (Ohata), Esther Matsu Kinoshita (Ujifusa),
Itsue “Sue” Hisanaga (Yamaguchi), and Mitsuko Matsuno (Yanagawa).

Male:
Ray Masaki Egashira, Renso Y. Enkoji, Victor Tadaharu Fujiu, Soichi Fukui,
Arthur Shuntetsu Kodama, William “Bill” Makino,
Calvin Ninomiya,  Sammy Junsuke Oi, David Masato Okada,
Kenji Okuda, Sadayoshi Omoto, Paul Kasumi Ushijima,
Eugene S. Uyeki,  and Harry Goichi Yamaguchi,

A while back I was trying to find information about Mr. Eugene Kiyozumi Uyeki, who graduated from Oberlin in 1948, went on to Chicago to get a Ph.D. in ’53 for his thesis entitled “Process and Patterns of Nisei Adjustment to Chicago”, and became a sociology professor at Case Western. I’d seen that his scholarly articles were published by a “Eugene S. Uyeki” and wondered at the discrepancy. I found out from the Alumni Register that the “S.” stands for Shigemi.

Calvin Ninomiya is another Nisei who was briefly at Oberlin and went on to great things- his bio could be found in the Discover Nikkei website:

“Calvin Ninomiya is intermittently retired. An aging lawyer [ex-Seattle; ex-Minidoka], he retired after serving as Chief Counsel, US Treasury (Public Debt). Ninomiya came out of retirement to work part-time on Treasury technical assistance projects, mostly doing overseas legal assignments in developing countries. Otherwise, he labors on Japanese American veteran concerns. He has researched the Occupation of Japan with the National Japanese American Veterans Council and worked on oral histories and scholarships, as well as serving as a board member with the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA).” http://www.discovernikkei.org/en/journal/authors/ninomiya-calvin/
I don’t see any references to Oberlin in any of Calvin’s bios, but I suppose that this might be because he was only here briefly from 1944-1945.

Clyde Owan, who is in charge of this research project, has put me in touch with Paul and Alice Takemoto. Alice was an Oberlin Conservatory student who graduated in 1948. I’m wondering if they will be able to help me determine the fates of some of these Obie alums from so long ago.

New names of Obie Nisei

From combing through the Alumni Directory up to 1960, I seem to find new names of Oberlin Nisei (grads and non-grads) every time.

Today I stumbled upon:

  • Esther Matsu Kinoshita (Mrs. William Ujifusa), college & con, 1943-4, 1947 Nongrad
  • Lily Yuriko Fukuhara, college & con, 1944-5, 1948 Nongrad (information unknown)
  • Mr. Renso Enkoji, college, 1944-6, 1948 Nongrad (California)
  • Michiko Matsushima (Mrs. Thomas T. Fujimoto), 1944-46, 1948 Nongrad (Cleveland)
  • June Kimura, college, ’44-5, 1948 Nongrad  (http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/mercurynews/obituary.aspx?n=june-kimura&pid=106312036#fbLoggedOut)
  • Saburo Kawahara, conservatory, ’46-8, 1950 Nongrad, “Gate Mills, O, Chagrin Valley Hunt Club”
  • Teruko Akagi, conservatory, 1945 Graduate, violinist, Chicago area
  • June Kitazawa, (Mrs. C. E. Barr), college,1946
  • May Kitazawa, (Mrs. David E. Arbegast), college, 1945 (I’d originally found her in the ’45 Oberlin Hi-O-Hi yearbook, and while looking her up in the Alphabetical Index of the Alum Registry was surprised to see her listed under a “June” Kitazawa. They are sisters.)
  • Arthur Shuntetsu Kodama, college, 1941-4, 1945 Nongrad. I first saw “Arthur” as the cryptic “A. Kodama” in a group photo in the ’45 yearbook. However, his photo and full name had not been listed within any of the four classes, unless I missed it. After attending for so long I wonder what prevented him from graduating from Oberlin.
  • Ray Masaaki Egashira, college, conservatory, 1945-6, 1949 Nongrad. I had seen a “Ray Egashira”‘s freshman year picture in the 1946 yearbook and was puzzled when I could find no other traces of him in any of the other books.

You’ll notice that most of these people did not graduate from Oberlin. In most of these cases, students were only temporarily studying at Oberlin after being forcibly “evacuated” (for their “own safety”) from their academic institutions on the West Coast. Oberlin President Wilkins corresponded with many West Coast schools and offered to take in the displaced Nisei. While some graduated from Oberlin, others were able to go back and obtain degrees from their former schools.

After two weeks of being overwhelmed by this task, I’m finally beginning to settle into a routine. My nonsensical spreadsheet is also beginning to really fill-in and shape up. By now I have about 32 names.