Legacy Project – October 13, 2019 Posted July 28, 2019 by Tuna Canyon Detention Station Coaliation


On April 15, 1942, in a letter to her Issei husband detained at Tuna Canyon, Chica Sugino wrote this:  

“Someday there must be an awakening to the awful truth that warring never settled anything.  

“And I suppose this will be after most of the world is gone, maimed, diseased and morally and spiritually crushed.  And to think that a handful of men could have prevented this.  

“Believe me, when this is all over, the women will take over the helm of government and there will be no wars.   Men make a mess of things and women do the cleaning. At least that is what I seem to be doing along with the wives of a good many happy-go-lucky men.

Love, Chica

“P.S.  Hope you are saving these letters for the perusal of our grandchildren.”

Grateful Crane Ensemble Presents


The Sugino Family Story

With much frustration and foresight, Chica Sugino had a lot to share about what was happening to her family after her husband, Kenzo, was rounded up and detained at Tuna Canyon, leaving her and her children with the massive task of closing down the family business, and packing up to be “evacuated” to a camp unknown. 

And she wanted her yet to be born grandchildren to know all about. 

In the letter listed above, she actually said so, and in a remarkable series of letters from her and her three children to her husband at Tuna Canyon, they laid bare the stress, upheaval, anxiety, fears and hopes of what their family was going through after Kenzo’s arrest.  And in often blunt and brutally honest terms, Chica wrote her letters to her husband, but revealed that she had her future grandchildren and a much larger audience in mind when she wrote them. 

In “Letters for Our Grandchildren:  The Sugino Family Story,” Grateful Crane is proposing to present these actual Sugino family letters and share what Chica wanted the world to hear–out loud and in public—so that her grandchildren and this much larger audience can experience and understand the drama and duress her family suffered at the hands of the U.S. Government’s forced family separation after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. 

During this show, audience members will hear and see the back and forth correspondences of a husband and wife, and their three children from their pre-evacuation days of Spring, 1942 through the family’s arrival at the Poston concentration camp in Arizona during the blazing hot Summer of ’42.  

With live music accompanying our actors, our presentation will stay true to the actual words of the Sugino family letters, but will present them in a dramatic and theatrical way, similar to what we did a couple years ago in “Only the Oaks Remain.” 

“Letters for Our Grandchildren,” promises to tell a compelling family story and will put the audience right in the middle of one family’s drama and upheaval as if it was happening all over again. 

Sadly, what happened then is indeed happening all over again today, and our drama will illustrate—in emotional, sometimes humorous and powerful ways—how one family was able to survive it all through faith, their love of each other and by sticking together through the good and the bad—for themselves, and for the sake of their grandchildren.