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Collecting Nisei Stories

Collecting Nisei StoriesThe Collecting Nisei Stories project and website encourages former camp prisoners to tell their own stories of wartime incarceration and post-war resettlement. This collection—published here online for the first time—offers memories and reflections about the immediate and long term impact of imprisonment on the second-generation Nisei and their family members. The project authors developed their stories through intergenerational writing workshops facilitated by Brian Komei Dempster that were held in Berkeley, California, and San Jose, California, between 2011-2013, and for which he used his edited anthologies From Our Side of the Fence (Kearny Street Workshop, 2001) and Making Home from War (Heyday 2011) as pedagogical tools.

Visit the Collecting Nisei Stories website



“Interesting, inspirational, educational, well-organized. Brian’s knowledge, openness, and enthusiasm helped to open up stories in myself that I have been shy about telling.”
Reiko Fujii
Participant in November 2011 and February 2012 workshops, Berkeley Methodist United Church

“Excellent and interesting and informative workshop.”
Mary Ann Furuichi
Participant in November 2011 and February 2012 workshops, Berkeley Methodist United Church

“Brian, I want to thank you for all the incredible effort you have put into editing my story, and the valuable suggestions . . . I would not have continued without your support and encouragement.”
Aki Iwata
Participant in March and June 2012 workshops, Japanese American Museum of San Jose

“. . . I appreciate the suggestions Brian gave to each person and how he used the books to illustrate some of his points:  using concrete objects to bring in larger ideas, using all five senses, using muscular verbs, pursuing emotions, emphasizing transformations, etc.”
Kazue Nakahara
Participant in November 2011, February and November 2012, March 2013 workshops, Berkeley Methodist United Church



Grateful acknowledgement is made to the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program and the Berkeley Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League for their support of these workshops.


Making Home from War:  Stories of Japanese American Exile and Resettlement and Collecting Nisei Stories