The Minoru “Min” Tsubota Family
Min Tsubota served in the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and served in Italy, France and Germany. His mother, who was uprooted from their family home in Kent and incarcerated in Tule Lake concentration camp in California, sent Tsubota a letter and this senninbari before he was deployed overseas to the Italian front with his unit. Tsubota says he wore what he calls this “sash of good luck” through all the battles he was in.
Senninbari translates to “thousand persons stitches” and is a strip of cloth with 1000 red knots that are each stitched by a different woman. Red was a color that was said to ward off evil and bad luck. It was given to soldiers as good luck to keep them safe in battle and ensure their safe return home.
Tsubota says that he always pictured his mother standing at various locations at Tule Lake asking each woman she met to add one stitch to his senninbari. In 1995 Tsubota wrote, “I have often reflected on how and why I managed to survive the war. I would like to believe that it was due somehow to my senninbari, WHICH TRULY REFLECTED MY MOTHER’S LOVE.”