“I often see family photos at thrift stores and antique shops, and wonder about the people in the photos, and why their families didn’t care enough to preserve the photos,” Judi Palumbo of Cannon Beach posted on her Facebook page. “Sometimes there is something poignant about a particular photo, and I wonder what the backstory is.”
Especially when she recently found a photo of a newlywed Japanese couple, dated Aug. 24, 1940, in Kauai, Hawaii, taken about 16 months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. It is shown, courtesy of Takasawa Studio/Judi Palumbo.
“On the off-chance they were interned and their household goods confiscated, I would love to try and get this photo back to the family,” she wrote, encouraging people to share her post.
It worked. The Honolulu Civil Beat ran a story Nov. 22, reporting that a Kauai woman, Tammy Puu, saw the Facebook post and identified the pair as her grandparents, the late Sueno (left) and Yoshio Miyazaki (https://tinyurl.com/judipix). She had no idea how the photo wound up in Oregon, since she has no relatives here.
The news story doesn’t elaborate, but the Miyazakis were possibly not interned. Although there were several internment sites in Hawaii, an NBC News report says only the leaders of the Japanese, German and Italian-American communities were confined (https://tinyurl.com/17Hawaii).
Growing up, Puu was close to her grandparents, who divorced for a few years. “If a man leaves you and decides he wants to come back, make sure he buys you a bigger house and a bigger diamond,” her grandmother advised her.
To reconcile, Yoshio did just that. “He built a new house for them in Lawai,” Puu recalled, “with a mango tree and a lychee tree, and my grandmother got a bigger diamond.” This time they stayed together.
“Getting this photograph back in our hands,” Puu told Civil Beat, “means more than anything.”