Panel on Life in Heart Mountain on Sunday

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Bacon Sakatani and Shig Yabu

Join Bacon Sakatani and Shig Yabu on Sunday, June 28, at 11:30 a.m. PDT to hear stories and ask questions about their time incarcerated at Heart Mountain. Moderated by Julie Abo.

The talk can be viewed by going to this link: https://youtu.be/hl8oCUAWgk8

Shigeru “Shig” Yabu was born in San Francisco, was sent as a child to the Pomona Assembly Center and then to Heart Mountain, where he enjoyed having a variety of pets. His favorite was a magpie bird that he named Maggie, who was able to say many words, whistle and imitate laughter. His family was on the next-to-last train leaving Heart Mountain in November 1945, just days after Maggie the magpie died.

When Shig attended Galileo High School, he participated in the basketball and swim teams. In 1951, he joined the Navy and after recruitment training, attended the Hospital Corps School. He was stationed at the U.S. Naval Hospital in San Diego and later transferred to the 11th Naval District Headquarters in San Diego. After being honorably discharged, he graduated from San Diego College.

Afterwards, he was involved with the San Diego Boys Club, the Santa Monica Boys, and became the executive director of the Boys Club of Camarillo. He joined the Heart Mountain Board of Directors around 1997. He is the author of the children’s book “Hello, Maggie!,” illustrated by legendary animator Willie Ito.

Harumi “Bacon” Sakatani turned 13 years old while on the train to Heart Mountain, where he was incarcerated for the next three years. He has since devoted much of his adult life to making sure the injustices the government inflicted on Japanese Americans will not be forgotten.

Known to many as “Mr. Heart Mountain,” Sakatani was an early and active member of the Heart Mountain Class of ’47, the Heart Mountain Reunion Committee, and the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation. The passionate and tireless Sakatani helped to move two barracks from Wyoming to the Japanese American National Museum, rescued the artist Estelle Ishigo and her work, and was the first to convince the state of Wyoming to acknowledge the wrongs perpetrated against the incarcerees at Heart Mountain.

Sakatani resides in West Covina, but continues to make frequent trips to Wyoming to educate about the camp.

For more information, visit JAMPilgrimages or Heart Mountain Interpretive Center on Facebook.

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