Manzanar Committee Mourns the Passing of Rose Ochi

LOS ANGELES — The Manzanar Committee mourns the passing of former Manzanar Committee member Takayo Rose Matsui Ochi on December 13, just two days before she would have turned 82 years old.

Ochi, a native of East Los Angeles, was three years old when she, along with her parents and three siblings, were among over 120,000 West Coast Japanese/Japanese Americans, who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II. The Matsui family was incarcerated at the temporary detention center at the Santa Anita race track in Arcadia, California, before being shipped east to the American concentration camp at Rohwer, Arkansas.

After the war, Ochi returned to Los Angeles, and went on to become a teacher, an attorney, a civil rights activist, and a political insider at local, state, and federal levels. She worked on various causes, including the Japanese American community’s fight for redress and reparations, and with efforts to preserve and protect Manzanar.

Ochi worked with Sue Kunitomi Embrey, one of the founders of the Manzanar Committee, for many years.

“We had a quixotic journey together,” Ochi said during the 38th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, on April 28, 2007. “I provided legislative advice and political support for Sue to realize her mission—the establishment of the Manzanar National Historic Site.”

“In so many ways, Rose Ochi and my mother were kindred spirits,” Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey said in April 2007. “Both overcame the sexism of their time to become teachers, civil rights advocates, and fierce proponents of redress and reparations.”

Bruce Embrey also noted Ochi’s role in the struggle to create the Manzanar National Historic Site.

“In later years, Rose played a key role in working with key elected officials in the Owens Valley to support the Manzanar National Historic Site,” he said following Ochi’s passing. “When Rose followed my mother as Chair of the congressional Manzanar Advisory Commission, she helped navigate the federal bureaucracy as the site was being built, using many of her political connections to expedite things. After the opening of the Manzanar National Historic Site, Rose continued to work with both our Committee and with the newly-created Friends of Manzanar.”

“Rose will be deeply missed. On behalf of the Manzanar Committee, I’d like to extend our deepest sympathies and best wishes to her husband, Tom, and to all of her family, friends and former colleagues.”


The Manzanar Committee is dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the incarceration and violation of civil rights of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II and to the continuing struggle of all peoples when Constitutional rights are in danger. A non-profit organization that has sponsored the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, along with other educational programs, the Manzanar Committee has also played a key role in the establishment and continued development of the Manzanar National Historic Site. For more information, check out our web site at https://manzanarcommittee.org, call us at (323) 662-5102, and e-mail us at info@manzanarcommittee.org. You can also follow the Manzanar Committee on Facebook, on Twitter at @manzanarcomm, on Instagram at @manzanarcommittee, on Pinterest and on YouTube.

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LEAD PHOTO: Rose Ochi, shown here addressing the crowd during the 43rd Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, April 28, 2012, at the Manzanar National Historic Site. Photo by Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee.


Creative Commons License The Manzanar Committee’s Official web site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. You may copy, distribute and/or transmit any story or audio content published on this site under the terms of this license, but only if proper attribution is indicated. The full name of the author and a link back to the original article on this site are required. Photographs, graphic images, and other content not specified are subject to additional restrictions. Additional information is available at: Manzanar Committee Official web site – Licensing and Copyright Information.

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