Alum Paul Kitagaki Jr. Gives Identity to Nameless Victims of WWII Internment

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Black and white photo of Paul Kitagaki resting his right arm on a large camera
Courtesy of Paul Kitagaki

NIKKEI WEST (SAN JOSE) -- Paul Kitagaki Jr. is pursuing a project that is filling in a blank piece of history, finding out the identities of Japanese American incarceration victims during World War II, who up until now have been merely faces in old fading photos, unknown, forgotten.

“I’m giving them a voice so they can tell their stories,” Kitagaki said. “It’s a personal and emotional project.”

Kitagaki has been studying photos taken of Japanese Americans in prison camps during World War II and asking the question, who are these (unknown) people? He has also been interviewing internment camp survivors to get their remembrances.

Paul Kitagaki went to high school in South San Francisco and attended San Francisco State University where he studied Music.

“My instrument was the drums,” he said. “I was interested in jazz.”