Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation

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IMMIGRANT VOICES

 

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Fong, Soon Ong Lee : Soon Ong Lee Fong's Seventeen Days on Angel Island by Veronica Wong (summary)
Year of Arrival Unknown

 

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Shigenaga, Kakuro and Shigeo : The Shigenaga Brothers’ Detention on Angel Island and the Continent During World War II by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1913

Brothers Kakuro and Shigeo Shigenaga were both detained on Angel Island in 1942, arrested during a time of racial hysteria when many Japanese immigrants were captured by the FBI for fears they would engage in anti-American actions. They took different routes from Hawai`i to the Department of Justice detention camps in Santa Fe, NM, but both stopped at Angel Island for several days during the early days of World War II.

Before and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the FBI had compiled dossiers on many Japanese community leaders. Visit our overview website for more information.

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Wu, Helen Hoh : Helen Hoh Wu's Fulfilling Life in America by Laurene Wu McClain
Year of Arrival 1921

Helen Hoh Wu was born to Harry Sai Hoh and Woo Shee in Canton, China on November 4, 1918. She immigrated through Angel Island with her mother to the United States in 1921 when her father co-owned and managed a Grant Avenue shop selling Chinese products. The family had nine children, all of whom lived above the store in a small two-bedroom apartment. Everyone worked hard to sustain the family even if that meant making individual sacrifices.

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Ide, Nentaro (also Mantaro, Toshitaro) : Nentaro Ide's Detention at the Age of 75 by Grant Din
Year of Arrival 1901

Nentaro Ide was arrested in Concord, CA in 1942 despite being 75 years old and hardly a threat to the United States. One reason for his arrest was his prior involvement in the martial art of kendo, and his membership in a Japanese Association in Concord, California. While detained in New Mexico, he had a stroke and passed away shortly after World War II ended.

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Wu, Sook Han (Jennie) : Jennie Wu's Angel Island Story by Walt Lew
Year of Arrival 1940

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Yoneda, Karl : Ganbaru and Gaman: Karl Yoneda’s Double Incarceration by Aria Thaker
Year of Arrival 1926

“America is my country
That’s what my birth certificate says
But America doesn’t want me here.

Hear different sounds of voices from next rooms
Chinese, Russian, Mexican, Greek and Italian
Voices of sorrow, nostalgia, rage and passion.”

--Kiyohi Hama (Goso/Karl Yoneda)

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Takeshita, Chie : Chie Takeshita: Success and Tragedy by Lawrence Li
Year of Arrival 1936

“It was really a feeling of wow, this is America! It's so beautiful with flowers everywhere. Then the shock of that room...” -Chie Takeshita

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Sonnemann, Kurt and Berta  : Escape through Siberia by Toby Sonneman
Year of Arrival 1940

Author Toby Sonneman recounts the story of her grandparents’ harrowing escape from Nazi-controlled Mannheim, Germany, their eventual arrival on Angel Island, and settlement in Chicago.

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Chong, Yap Tai : World Tours and Section Six: The Story of Yap Tai Chong, Traveler by Aria Thaker
Year of Arrival 1931

 

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Kumagai, Hatsumi Imagawa : Hatsumi Imagawa’s Return to America by Jennifer Chen
Year of Arrival 1931

Jennifer Chen tells the story of Hatsumi Yazaki Kumagai's journey to the United States and life in California in the voice of Mrs. Kumagai.

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Kaltakian, Noyemzar Manoogian Israelian : Escaping the Armenian Genocide and Landing in Angel Island by Phil Tavlian
Year of Arrival 1919

In a 2015 Fresno Bee series marking the centennial of the start of the Armenian genocide, Fresno resident Philip Tavlian described the tragic loss of his grandmother's husband and children, her escape and journey through Russia, and eventual landing in the United States, where she first arrived at Angel Island.

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Chan, Dep and Joy : The Angel Island Stories of Dep and Joy Chan by Rachel Shuen, Austin Li Long and Ivonne Gonzalez
Year of Arrival 1916

Mr. and Mrs. Dep and Joy Chan were both immigrants from China who were detained at Angel Island Immigration Station before being allowed entry to start their lives in the United States. Both Mr. and Mrs. Chan arrived in the United States in search of new lives: Mr. Chan purchased papers as the son of a relative, and Mrs. Chan’s father purchased her papers for an arranged marriage to Mr. Chan. They worked hard and eventually purchased their own ranch in Novato, CA, where they raised their family of four. The stories of Mr. and Mrs. Chan demonstrate their determination and desire to build their lives and establish roots as a family in California.

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Yee, Herbert : Herbert Yee's Story: From Child Angel Island Immigrant to Community Leader by Karun Yee
Year of Arrival 1931

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