by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Manzanar

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Manzanar Manzanar National Historic Site California National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior We could only carry what we could carry, and my suitcase was full of diapers and children’s clothes. Fumiko Hayashida (right) We were judged, not on our own character . . . but simply because of our ethnicity. Aiko Herzig-Yoshinaga ONE CAMP • 10,000 LIVES ONE CAMP • 10,000 STORIES is like th h toys it ar’s w n a d laye Manz Kids p ight) in ve), the (r k n a o small t ge (ab ps. n’s Villa 10 cam Childre anage in all he t efore rph hans b only o p r e o h t e r we ult of Many s a res ned thers a ll were confi war, o A . n . io t y ra estr incarce eir anc e of th ECTION; NPS / MANZ LL becaus CO MOTO MATSU LILLIAN In spring 1942, the US Army turned the abandoned townsite of Manzanar, California, into a camp that would confine over 10,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese immigrants. Margaret Ichino Stanicci later said, “I was put into a camp as an American citizen, which is against the Constitution because I had no due process. . . . It was only because of my ancestry.” For decades before World War II, politicians, newspapers, and labor leaders fueled anti-Asian sentiment in the western United States. Laws prevented immigrants from becoming citizens or owning land. Immigrants’ children were born US citizens, yet they too faced prejudice. Japan’s December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor intensified hostilities toward people of Japanese ancestry. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, authorizing the military to remove “any or all persons” from the West Coast. Under the direction of Lt. General John L. DeWitt, the Army applied the order to everyone of Japanese ancestry, including over 70,000 US citizens. DeWitt said, “You just can’t tell one Jap from another. . . . They all look the same. . . . A Jap’s a Jap.” They were from cities and farms, young and old, rich and poor. They had only days or weeks to prepare. Businesses closed, classrooms emptied, families and friends separated. Ultimately, the government deprived over 120,000 people of their freedom. Half were children and young adults. Ten thousand were incarcerated at Manzanar. From this one camp came 10,000 stories. TWO FAMILIES • TWO STORIES PIECES FROM THE PAST The photos above evoke life at Manzanar. Left to right: Jerry Fujikawa volunteered for the US Army while confined in Manzanar. • The Takemoto family was among the first to arrive. • Manzanar’s stark landscape inspired artists and poets. • Men, women, and children endured the same living conditions. • Playing with marbles was a popular children’s pastime. • Every person wore a numbered tag to camp. • Fumiko Hayashida carried her daughter Natalie during their forced removal to Manzanar. • Both Japanese and American sports, like judo and baseball, were popular at Manzanar. Before the war, the Miyatake and Maruki families lived near each other in Los Angeles. In Manzanar, they lived in neighboring blocks, yet their experiences were far apart. The Miyatakes’ eldest son Archie met and fell in love with Takeko Maeda. They later married and spent over 70 years together. The Marukis’ eldest daughter Ruby came to Manzanar married and pregnant. She died in the camp hospital on August 15, 1942, along with the twin girls she was delivering. Decades later, Ruby’s youngest sister Rosie said, “My mother never got over it. It just broke her heart.” COURTESY HIKOJI TAKEUCHI; MUSEUM OF HISTORY AND IN- Hundreds attended the Buddhist funeral of Ruby Maruki Watanabe and her twin girls, Diane and Sachiko. DUSTRY, SEATTLE; NPS / MANZ; NATIONAL ARCHIVES / FRANCIS NPS / MANZ, MARUKI FAMILY COLLECTION COURTESY FUJIKAWA FAMILY; NATIONAL ARCHIVES / DOROTHEA LANGE; NPS / MANZ; NATIONAL ARCHIVES / DOROTHEA LANGE; NATIONAL ARCHIVES / FRANCIS STEWART; NPS / MANZ; STEWART; TOYO MIYATAKE / COURTESY ALAN MIYATAKE Among the hardships of Manzanar, the wind and dust storms were some of the most unforgiving and unforgettable. Artist Kango Takamura captured this windy street scene in March 1943. NPS / MANZ, TANAKA FAMILY COLLECTION CONFLICT REMEMBRANCE APOLOGY Why didn’t the government give us the chance to prove our loyalty instead of herding us into camps? Joseph Kurihara It was shocking to your soul, to your spirit, and it took many years for people to talk about it. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston America is strong as it makes amends for the wrongs it has committed . . . we will always remember Manzanar because of that. Sue Kunitomi Embrey People’s diverse reactions to incarceration and conditions in Manzanar often led to conflict, erupting on December 6, 1942. A large crowd gathered to protest the jailing of Harry Ueno. The confrontation escalated and military police fired into the crowd, killing two men and injuring nine others. Soon the consequences of what came to be known as the Manzanar ”riot” reverberated through all ten camps. Government officials issued a controversial questionnaire to identify and segregate those they deemed “disloyal.” Koo Sakamoto and her husband gave conflicting answers. She was 19 and pregnant with their second child when her husband was sent to Tule Lake Segregation Center. They never saw each other again. Japanese Americans boarded trains for a 500-mile journey to the high-security Tule Lake Segregation Center in northern California. TOYO MIYATAKE / COURTESY ALAN MIYATAKE The Manzanar camp closed on November 21, 1945, three months after the war ended. Despite having regained their freedom, some people found life equally difficult after the war. Most spent decades rebuilding their lives, but few spoke openly about their wartime experiences. Buddhist and Christian ministers returned to the cemetery each year to remember the dead. In 1969, a group of activists came on their own pilgrimage of healing and remembrance. With the formation of the Manzanar Committee, this pilgrimage grew into an annual event attended by over one thousand. Efforts to remember and preserve the camp led to the creation of Manzanar National Historic Site in 1992. The annual pilgrimage is open to the public. It includes a procession of banners, which ends at Manzanar’s iconic cemetery monument. GANN MATSUDA / MANZANAR COMMITTEE In the 1980s, a congressionally authorized commission concluded “race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership” led to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. It recommended a presidential apology and individual payments of $20,000. After receiving her apology letter from President George H. W. Bush, Miho Sumi Shiroishi “felt as though the shame of all these years had been lifted and I was able to talk about the experience with much more ease. This letter of apology has meant a great deal to me, more than anyone can imagine.” The US government issued over 82,000 apology letters and redress payments to Japanese Americans in order of age, oldest to youngest, between 1990 and 1999. DENSHO; NPS / MANZ Reading the Manzanar Landscape After the war, the government removed most of the structures, and buried gardens and basements. As time passed, Manzanar was further buried, both in sand and in memory. Today, when visitors see Manzanar, they may think there’s nothing out there. Yet for those who learn to read the landscape, the place comes to life. A pipe sticking out of the ground becomes a water faucet where children splashed their faces in the summer heat. A foundation reveals the shoe prints of a child who crossed the wet cement. Ten iron rings embedded in a concrete slab evoke the humiliation of ten women forced to sit exposed next to strangers, enduring private moments on public toilets. Whether driving the 3-mile self-guiding tour or exploring Manzanar on foot, visitors can see a number of Japanese gardens and ponds. People built gardens to beautify the dusty ground outside their barracks. Others built larger gardens near mess halls where people waited in line for meals three times a day. The most elaborate garden was Merritt Park, which Tak Muto, Kuichiro Nishi, and their crew built as Manzanar’s community park. In 2008, the Nishi family helped park staff remove decades of soil to reveal the park. LEFT—NPS / MANZ; BELOW—LIBRARY OF CONGRESS / ANSEL ADAMS There is not much there anymore in the way of structures . . . but a lot of memories remain. Miho Sumi Shiroishi The National Park Service continues to uncover and preserve historic features, including elements of the early 1900s farming town of Manzanar. This land is home to the Owens Valley Paiute, whose own stories have been passed down through millennia and are an important part of the history of Manzanar. TO READ MANZANAR’S LANDSCAPE, LOOK FOR: • • • • • Rocks arranged to personalize barracks “yards” or create gardens Sidewalks that led to doorways Water pipes that stood at corners of barracks Concrete foundations of latrines, laundry rooms, and ironing rooms Concrete blocks that supported barracks Many pieces from Manzanar’s past lie scattered on the ground. It is against federal law to disturb or collect these items. Above: Artist Kitaro Uetsuzi depicted Merritt Park in 1943 as an oasis where people could escape the monotony of barracks living. Top right: That same year, Ansel Adams photographed the park at the invitation of Project Director Ralph P. Merritt. Top left: In his 90s, Henry Nishi, son of park designer Kuichiro Nishi, helped excavate and restore his father’s inspired landscape. NPS / MANZ, NISHI FAMILY COLLECTION Buddhist Reverend Shinjo Nagatomi conducts a service at the cemetery. Property Clerk Mildred Causey and her daughter Ann pose at the traffic circle, next to the administration building. TOYO MIYATAKE / COURTESY ALAN MIYATAKE Cemetery Monument Catholic stone mason Ryozo Kado built this obelisk in 1943 with help from residents of Block 9 and the Young Buddhist Association. On the east face, Buddhist Reverend Shinjo Nagatomi inscribed kanji characters that mean “soul consoling tower.” People attended religious services here during the war. Today the monument is a focal point of the annual pilgrimage, serving as a symbol of solace and hope. FRED CAUSEY / COURTESY ARTHUR L. WILLIAMS Oil Tank Recreation Hall Mess Hall Ironing Room Barracks 14 Barracks 7 Administration Area Barracks 6 Over 200 War Relocation Authority (WRA) staff—and often their families—lived and worked here, trying to reconcile directives from Washington, DC, with the realities of managing an incarcerated community. Erica Harth recalled, “The administrative section where we lived was literally white. Its white painted bungalows stared across at the rows of brown tarpaper barracks.” Scores of Japanese Americans also worked in WRA offices. Barracks 5 Laundry Room Womenʼs Latrine Barracks 2 Barracks 1 Barracks 12 Barracks 11 Barracks 4 Barracks 3 Barracks 13 Menʼs Latrine Block 14 Barracks 10 Barracks 9 Barracks 8 City of Barracks Manzanar was arranged into 36 blocks. In most blocks, up to 300 people crowded into 14 barracks. Initially, each barracks had four rooms with eight people per room. Everyone ate in a mess hall, washed clothes in a public laundry room, and shared latrines and showers with little privacy. The ironing room and recreation hall offered spaces for classes, shops, and churches. Over time, people personalized their barracks and the blocks evolved into distinct communities. Let It Not Happen Again I have come to a conclusion after many, many years that we must learn from our history and we must learn that history can teach us how to care for one another. Rose Hanawa Tanaka MORE INFORMATION The Manzanar Visitor Center features exhibits about the camp and area history, plus a film and bookstore. Block 14 includes exhibits about the challenges of daily life. The grounds are open daily, sunrise to sunset. Check the park website for visitor center hours, programs, events, and special exhibits. The story of Manzanar has not ended—Japanese Americans and others keep it alive. At age 95, Fumiko Hayashida testified before Congress to support the Nidoto Nai Yoni (“Let it not happen again”) memorial on Bainbridge Island, Washington. She was photographed at that site in 1942, holding her daughter—an image that became an icon of the World War II Japanese American experience. At age 100, Fumiko and her daughter Natalie returned to Manzanar for the first time since World War II (left). Today, thousands of people who visit Manzanar and other sites of conscience feel connected to these places and their stories (right). At Manzanar, some see their own struggles reflected in the injustices that over 10,000 Japanese Americans faced here. Safety and Regulations It is against federal law to disturb or collect artifacts. • Drive only on the designated tour road. • Wear sturdy footwear, a hat, and sunscreen. • Drink lots of water. • Pets are allowed outside if leashed. • Firearms are prohibited in federal buildings. Emergencies dial 911 Follow us on Facebook. The National Park Service cares for other Japanese American World War II sites: Tule Lake (CA), Minidoka (ID), Honouliuli (HI), and a memorial on Bainbridge Island (WA). Manzanar National Historic Site is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about your national parks, visit www.nps.gov. ✩GPO:20xx—xxx-xxx/xxxxx New in 20xx Printed on recycled paper. Accessibility We strive to make facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information go to the visitor center, ask a ranger, call, or check our website. COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS, CALIFORNIA CHAPTER © MARIO GERSHOM REYES Manzanar National Historic Site 5001 Hwy 395, PO Box 426 Independence, CA 93526 760-878-2194 www.nps.gov/manz Join the park community. www.nationalparks.org

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