Internment led to joining the Mormon church

Because Charles and Bessie Inouye were interred together in the inhospitable Heart Mountain camp in Wyoming for Japanese-Americans, they met, fell in love and had a baby boy.

That child joined the Mormon church at 11 and so today, there's a whole bunch of Inouye cousins who are working to give back to their country.

Though it initially seems more than a little ironic, the grandchildren of Charles and Bessie feel gratitude for their many blessings and want to honor their family's story.

"We feel it's a little like Lehi's story," said Melissa Inouye, one of the cousins running a summer arts camp each year in her grandparents' name. "Lehi ends up in the promised land after starting out in desolation. They always talked about this story."

"One thing they always told us was to remember to give back, following the Japanese saying 'Giri to Ninjo' which means reciprocity," MeiLi Inouye said.

"Grandpa at some point had to make a conscious decision not to be bitter, accept your fate," Mika Inouye said.

He easily could have been.

Read the rest of this story at
Comments and feedback can be sent to