Walter Yoshiharu Sakawye sat on the shoulders of his paternal grandfather, Torazo Sakawye, at the Manzanar Relocation Center in Owens Valley, California. Torazo Sakawye would die at 67 in the incarceration camp; an uncle of Walter Sakawye was killed in World War II.
Find more images from Paul Kitagaki Jr.'s then-and-now project around Japanese Americans interned during World War II in the October 2018 National Geographic story "Scenes from the Japanese Internment Resonate Today."
Why One Photographer Spent Years Recording the Lives of Interned Japanese Americans
With a deep personal connection, Paul Kitagaki, Jr., set out to document the people interned during World War II.
His mother said no when he asked to interview her. His father and aunt shared memories but wouldn't get personal. Paul Kitagaki, Jr., a photographer determined to document the lives of Japanese Americans interned during World War II, didn’t have an easy start with the epic then-and-now photo project he’d planned.
"It's been this labor of love for me," says Kitagaki, a 64-year-old photojournalist for the Sacramento Bee. "I just want to create a body of work that will stand the test of time. It's a really important part of American history."
For 13 years, Kitagaki has tracked down, photographed, and interviewed people whose images were captured by Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and others after Executive Order 9066 was issued