A podcast from APM Reports and the Smithsonian. Coming Feb. 19.
In the spring of 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order that forced roughly 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry from their homes and into "relocation centers" in the U.S. Some two-thirds of those incarcerated were American citizens.
As the United States observes the 75th anniversary of the order, APM Reports is producing an eight-episode podcast telling the stories of Japanese Americans who lived through it. Hosted by Sab Shimono and Pat Suzuki.
Submitted by: Alisa Lynch
Date: Nov. 22, 2017
In the Manzanar National Historic Site museum collection, we preserve a simple wicker basket with two yellowed paper tags attached. It measures 27.5 cm high by 40 cm long by 24 cm wide. It’s a tangible object that can be seen, held, opened, and smelled. No doubt it’s like thousands of other baskets of similar size and function.
The basket's stories are what matter most. A young woman named Eiko Yamada carried it from Tokyo, Japan in the 1920s. She journeyed with her baby Lily to join her husband Tamizo who was running a nursey in West Los Angeles. Her heirloom wedding kimono was in the basket. Two decades later, in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, Eiko feared that her kimono would be confiscated if the FBI came to search the Yamada’s house. She cut the kimono up and lined the basket with its strips of silk. When she and her family were forced into Manzanar, she took the basket with her, attaching paper tags with her assigned family number, 2811. She kept it for the rest of her life.
Submitted by: Rachael Brown
Date: Nov. 16, 2017
My grandfather, Robert Hosokawa, was interned with his family at Camp Harmony. He had recently graduated from Whitman College, where he worked on the school newspaper, and went on to become a journalist. While in camp, he published an entertaining newspaper called the Camp Harmony Hooey, with content ranging from news and satirical articles to illustrations and cut-out advertisements. We have three remaining copies of the mock-ups for these newspapers. They are a fascinating glimpse into camp life, including the anger, boredom, and humor experienced by the citizens there.
To me, these newspapers remind me of the humor and tenacity of my grandfather, who died in 2014, but they are also important to our family as one of the first examples of his work as a life-long journalist. He was later released from camp under a rule that allowed men who could find jobs away from the American coasts to leave. One of his college professors had sent our inquiries on his behalf and found him a job on a small weekly newspaper in Independence, Missouri. So he and my grandmother, Yoshi Hosokawa, moved from incarceration to Independence, and went on to become a top editor at the Minneapolis Tribune and a journalism professor at the University of Missouri and University of Central Florida. His brother, William Hosokawa, who was also interned at Camp Harmony, became the editor of the Rocky Mountain News. I remember reading the newspaper with my grandfather as a child, and his pointing out examples of good writing or photo choices. Seeing his camp newspapers as an adult, after becoming a journalist myself, remind me of his lessons about the importance of information and communication, and of his ability to turn injustice into an act of creation.
Submitted by: Dennis Kato
Date: Nov. 11, 2017
My mother when incarcerated at Amache, embroidered her family's and friends' signatures on a blouse.
I think this is very typical of many Japanese Americans - trying to make the best of a bad situation. By embroidering the signatures, she had a permanent record of those who shared her experience at Amache. She kept it as a treasured keepsake and passed it on to me (her son).
Submitted by: Alan Oiye
Date: Nov. 9, 2017
A watercolor painting that my father (Shigenori Oiye) painted while incarcerated in Tule Lake and has poetry written by other incarcerees (at least this is what I am told the writing is because I cannot read Japanese).
This is one of six paintings that I have that my father painted. He passed away in 1987 and did not otherwise talk about his experience in Tule Lake.
Submitted by: Garrett Nagaishi
Date: Nov. 8, 2017
A photo of my grandparents' wedding day in Manzanar.
They were married in January 1943, not a year after arriving in the camp. While the photo testifies of the resiliency of those incarcerated during WWII, we must not forget their very real struggles and the long-lasting effects incarceration had on these individuals and their families and friends. I am a direct byproduct of those who were sent to the camps, and I am constantly learning more about my identity.
Submitted by: Ron Mori
Date: Nov. 1, 2017
My mom gave me an iron wood carving from Poston 2 Camp. She and her step father went to an arts and craft camp show and her step father bought it for her.
The wood sculpture was in my grandmother's bedroom in Ca., when we would visit as kids I would sleep under it. It would scare my older brother, but I always liked it for some reason. Later I learned it's a mythical figure for a good harvest. How appropriate as my mother’s family were farmers in Costa Mesa, Irvine and Huntington Beach.
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