Amache – Interment Camp – and the Akimoto family
During the summer of 2018 I had the opportunity of visiting a Japanese Interment Camp named “Amache”.
I was pointed to it by a clerk in the Radio Shack of a town on the south east area of Colorado.
I had stopped in to buy some batteries for my camera and we got to talking about my camera, my trip and what I had seen. She said that there is an interesting site just down the road. She said to look for the sign that had “Amache” on it. She told me it was an old Japanese Interment camp. I left the store and headed east and in a few minutes I reached the sign.
During my visit to the Amache site I was fortunate to meet the members of the archaeology survey team from the University of Denver. They (Bonnie and April) were very gracious to interrupt their work to chat with me and tell me about the work they were doing.
Today (Feb 24, 2019) I found a 2008 video that features both Bonnie and April and gives a good explanation of the work they are doing at the Amache site.
On this blog post I will be documenting what I experienced while at the site, the creation of a family tree for the family held at Amache, and the history of one of those families who were held there during WWII; the Akimoto family.
Elizabeth Begley originally shared this on 21 Feb 2019
Masanori and Miki Akimoto Family – in 1919 – Idaho Falls
from left to right: Ruth, Miki (seated), Margaret (on Miki’s lap), Masanori (standing) and holding Martha, Ned (in front of Martha.
Here is an official web site that gives a description of “Amache”.
Granada Relocation Center, CO
National Historic Landmark
OPEN TO PUBLIC: Yes
The Granada Relocation Center is located near the town of Granada, Colorado. The relocation center, known more commonly as Camp Amache or Amache was one of 10 centers constructed in the United States during World War II for the purpose of interning Japanese Americans and people of Japanese descent.
When I returned home to Clarkston, Michigan from my trip to the far west I had one goal in mind; to document the Japanese Camp so others could learn about it.
I chose to create a family tree for the site and make the branches the family names
that were on the various memorial signs, headstones and monuments.
After I created the tree and filled in all the easy information off of available records about the site, I started looking for information about the individual families. Each branch on the original tree, as I said was a family name. On the profile page of the branch I posted a link to a separate tree for that family.
Viewers of the tree can copy that link and use it to get to the Akimoto family tree.
Each one of the family names had it’s own family tree within the Amache Family tree.
These are the family branches on the tree:
I filled in the tree with as much information I could gather from records that came up as hints, however there was a limit to what I could verify or confirm. There were many records for the various names but in order to say definitively that it was for this particular family I needed to find other records or get word from a family member.
I worked on the tree for a couple of weeks until I could not find any more files/records and so I put the tree to bed; that is I put the Amache folder in my “DONE” folder.
I put the tree away back in August of 2018 and did not think about it until last week (Feb 2019) when I got the following message from Elizabeth Begley:
I’m a newbie on Ancestry and a friend has helped me build my Akimoto tree. I noticed you have a link to Masanori Akimoto (my grandfather) and just wondered how we’re connected? No rush, but would love to better understand how things work 🙂 Thanks!
That message made me look at the Amache Family Tree once again and Elizabeth gave me lots of new information that I could use to fill out the tree and confirm other information that I had already looked at.
The most important thing that Elizabeth sent me in the many messages we exchanged was the link to a book written about the Akimoto brothers:
author is Matthew “Matt” Elms
Elizabeth wrote: “…here is a book that was published by the American Battle Monuments Commission, based on my mother’s three brothers that joined the all Japanese-American 442 Infantry from Amache. Two of them are buried in France and one was in a non-combat role. https://abmceducation.org/sites/default/files/AkimotosBook_508v2.pdf …”
Once I got the link and was able to read the book on line, I started doing some searches for the information contained in the book and searches for any information about the book itself. I found this short video that gives a brief outline of the book:
I hope this short version of the Amache blog post will get you interested in researching the history of the Japanese Interment camps in the USA, the sacrifice of the Japanese people during this WWII period and researching your family if you are related to the Akimoto line.
Jose A Munoz from Clarkston, Michigan, USA