The annual joint luncheon of the Seven Oaks Club of Bridgeton and the Research Club was recently held at the Finish Line Pub in Millville. This year’s event was hosted by the Seven Oaks; President Kathy Peterson greeted guests and introduced newly elected officers—Vice President Ruth Griner; Treasurer Diane Carney; Recording Secretary Ann Garrison; and Corresponding Secretary Louise Ogata—as well as Research Club President Jeanne Doremus.
Darlene Mitsui Mukoda, pictured above, was program speaker. She presented information on the unjust incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans at the 10 internment camps during World War II. This was mandated by President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066. Mukoda spoke of her experience and the hardship on her family. Given just days to leave their home with only what they could carry, the Mitsui family reported to one of the assembly centers, some being horse racetracks. Her family lived in a horse stall until transferred to three internment camps, Tule Lake, Amache, and Rohwer.
After the camps closed, the Mitsuis relocated to Seabrook, NJ. Her father James Mitsui, like others involved in the diaspora of those being released from the internment camps, found employment at Seabrook Farms.
Darlene Mitsui Mukoda is a former nurse at the Upper Deerfield Township School System. She is one of 25 former internees still residing in the Cumberland County area of the original 2,500 Japanese and Japanese Americans who relocated to Seabrook.