July 4, Saturday:
The second and last day of the pilgrimage was spent on the campus for intergenerational discussion groups, shared remembrances at the OIT auditorium, workshops, and at the Klamath Falls theater for the farewell program.
Our intergenerational group had eleven participants with one moderator, Paul, who provided us with guidelines for our group which included the whole group followed by smaller groups. Our group had two people who were prisoners at Tule Lake, myself and another gentleman from the Los Angeles area. Both of us shared our experiences which were quite different because of our ages. His resentment about his imprisonment was the opposite from mine; he was angry, disappointed, and discouraged, whereas I saw it as an opportunity to play with many friends. It also explains the difference how age impacts our perception of our life experiences. Children are better able to accept and acclimate into our environment much easier, because we have very little responsibility to our families, and children readily accept how we live no matter how good or how bad our living conditions are.
We had one participant in our group from Southern California who was born in camp, married a Chinese woman, and had two children, a boy and a girl. Their daughter, a junior in high school, was in our small discussion group, and she told us about her perceptions about this pilgrimage.
She told us she learned a great deal about their father's background that was new to her, but since her father was but an infant in camp, that's not surprising. She also shared with us that she really didn't have any plans for college or a career path, so we suggested that she talk to her counselor at school to begin looking at her interests and career fields.
After lunch, we gathered in the OIT auditorium for Shared Remembrances. There were many interesting stories shared, but one especially from a 90-year old man who was sent to Japan after the war. He told us about the many hardships he suffered in Japan, because even his so-called family didn't want him to live with them. He ended up working at the US Army hospital for seven years, and became friends with the commander who in turn got him introduced to the the US Council General to get him repatriated back to the US because he was a US citizen. Through those contacts, he met many VIPs, and eventually was returned to the USA.
Another story was shared by a woman who was molested by a Japanese man when she was ten years old. After the war, she went for an interview as a telephone solicitor for a company, and at the interview was asked to demonstrate her ability to speak on the telephone to potential customers. After she ended with her name, I'm Marion Masada, the interviewer told her to use the name “Graves.” She just picked up her purse and walked out. She got the biggest ovation, because her potential employer was telling her to dismiss who she was as a Japanese, and she refused!
My wife and I attended the workshop titled “Concentration Camps vs. Relocation Centers, Internees vs. Prisoners.” The session was headed by James Hirabayashi, Emeritus Professor, SFSU; Don Hatta, Emeritus Professor at CSU Dominguez Hills; and George Nakano, former California State Assemblyman from Los Angeles.
What most of us have known during and after the war was the inaccurate terms used by the US government to minimize and distort what really happened to US citizens.
Some background on why the Japanese were imprisoned.
United States Executive Order 9066 was a presidential executive order issued during World War II by U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on February 19, 1942 to send Japanese Americans to internment camps.
This order authorized the Secretary of War and U.S. armed forces commanders to declare areas of the United States as military areas "from which any or all persons may be excluded," although it did not name any nationality or ethnic group. It was eventually applied to one-third of the land area of the U.S. (mostly in the West) and was used against those with "Foreign Enemy Ancestry" " Japanese, Italians, and Germans.
The order led to the Japanese American internment in which some 120,000 ethnic Japanese people were held in internment camps for the duration of the war. Of the Japanese interned, 62 percent were Nisei (American-born, second-generation Japanese American) or Sansei (third-generation Japanese American) and the rest were Issei (Japanese immigrants and resident aliens, first-generation Japanese American).
In addition, 11,000 people of German ancestry were also interned as were 3,000 people of Italian ancestry, along with some Jewish refugees. The Jewish refugees who were interned came out of Germany and the U.S. Government didn't differentiate between ethnic Jew and ethnic German. Some of these internees of European descent were interned for a brief time and others were interned for several years beyond the War's end. Like the Japanese internees, these smaller groups had American born Citizens in their numbers, especially children. It is also reported that a few members of ethnicities of minor Axis countries were interned, but documentation is limited on that aspect.
According to Stephen Fox's Uncivil Liberties, Executive Order 9066 also forced uncounted thousand of Italian permanent residents and American Citizens to have to leave their homes through relocation.
Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson was to assist those residents of such an area who were excluded with transport, food, shelter, and other accommodations.
Americans of Japanese ancestry were by far the most widely-affected, as all persons with Japanese ancestry were removed from the West Coast and southern Arizona, including orphan infants. In Hawaii, however, where there were 140,000 Japanese nationals (constituting 37 percent of the population), only selected individuals of heightened perceived risk were interned. Even though such actions would have appeared even more congruent with strategic concerns, the political and economic implications of such a move would have been overwhelming. The Japanese were only vulnerable on the mainland. Americans of Italian and German ancestry were also targeted by these restrictions, including internment. As then California Attorney General Earl Warren put it, "When we are dealing with the Caucasian race we have methods that will test the loyalty of them. But when we deal with the Japanese, we are on an entirely different field."
: Even those with 1/16th Japanese blood were considered enemy aliens. Also, I have become more aware of how articles such as this one in Wiki use the term “internment” rather than “concentration.” This is also perpetrated by many Japanese Americans who have become accustomed to using “internment” or “relocation” rather than the true term “concentration camp.” The German camps for Jews were really “death camps,” and not “concentration camps.” Some Jews, even today, tell us that our use of “concentration camp” is wrong. One of the speakers had a discussion recently with a Jew, and was told our use of the word was wrong, but he retorted, are you going to let Hitler determine the use of that word? He got no response. The term "concentration camp" was first used to describe the situation during the Boer War in Africa.
Concentration Camps during the South African / Boer War, 1899-1902
I think the English used this term.
“Relocation” seems to imply that the government assisted Japanese Americans to move freely to the camps.
later became our state governor, and an advocate for the Japanese Americans when he became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. As a matter of record, the Japanese Americans during WWII served in the US military with honor, winning more presidential citations and medals of valor. Only recently did our government recognize the Japanese American Medal of Honor winners although one was given posthumously to Pfc Sadao Munemori during the war, and one was given recently to Daniel Inouye, the congressman from Hawaii who served on the 442nd Infantry in Italy and France. They were also the unit that freed the prisoners at Dachau. The Jewish community in and around the San Francisco Bay Area have welcomed the members of the 442nd to thank them in the past.
Our family and many families at Tule Lake stayed for the duration the camp was open for 3.5 years. It seemed longer to me as a child, but it also seemed much larger. Even the latrine we visited seemed so small today compared to when we lived there.