A clear statement on the
effects of internment on Sansei is found in the work of Nobu
Miyoshi, M.S.W., who has retired from her position as
Director of Family Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine, where she was instrumental in developing
the Residency Training Program for psychiatric, nursing, and
other medical students. A pioneer in the field of family
therapy that began in Philadelphia in the 1950s, Ms. Miyoshi
has worked intensively with Ivan Nagy, M.D., in assessing
the long-term impact of internment on Japanese American
internees and their descendants. Among the ideas Ms. Miyoshi
"All of us who were torn from our physical and cultural base have been damaged. Restoration of the self worth of Japanese Americans is critical at this time."
pain suffered by the Issei and the Nisei has been passed
down to the succeeding generation through modes that were
culturally influenced, that is, through non-verbal cues. The
Nisei may not be acutely aware of their own pain as much as
the Sansei who are bearing it for
Each year for a decade, Ms. Miyoshi attended the Holocaust Conference for Scholars. While fully recognizing the patent differences between the Holocaust and the Japanese American internment, she began considering the possible effects, within the Japanese American population, paralleling those experienced by Holocaust Survivors.
In 1978, Ms. Miyoshi wrote "The Identity Crisis of the Sansei and the Concentration Camp." In 1981, she testified before the Commission on Wartime Relocation and the Internment of Civilians with a statement entitled, "Restoration of Self Worth of the Japanese Americans." Within these two documents she puts forth her major ideas and hypotheses.
In association with the
Sansei Legacy Project, Ms. Miyoshi has had the opportunity
to advance her research and thinking on the long-term
effects of the camps. Since 1992, she has met with 24
families, each of whom included at least one parent who was
interned. This in-depth research holds much promise for the
Japanese American as well as other communities.