Examining the historical link between the past and present Japanese Experience

 

Kristeen Irigoyen- Hernandez aka Lady2Soothe

#PearlHarbor #LetOurVoicesEcho

On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor External, Hawaii Territory, killing more than 2,300 Americans. The U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed and the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized. A total of twelve ships sank or were beached in the attack and nine additional vessels were damaged. More than 160 aircraft were destroyed and more than 150 others damaged.

July 26, 1940, 4 months prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor President Roosevelt, with the intention of continuing to grant licenses froze all Japanese assets and ended trade by prohibiting the exportation of oil products preventing Japan whose dependency on the US for most of their crude oil and refined petroleum were ordered to depart from US harbors without loading or unloading cargo. In a confidential 26 page memo dated December 4, 1941 headlined “Methods of Operation and Points of Attack.” and “Japanese intelligence and propaganda in the United States” FDR chose to dismiss the red flags warning war was imminent. “In anticipation of possible open conflict with this country, Japan is vigorously utilizing every available agency to secure military, naval and commercial information, paying particular attention to the West Coast, the Panama Canal and the Territory of Hawaii”.

Yellow Peril Racism began to envelop the country; where at first the Japanese had been welcomed as cheap labor they now became criminals and terrorists and by Feb. 1942 Americans of Japanese ethnicity suspected of having even one drop of Japanese blood were ordered to Relocation Camps. The little Japanese girl who taught my father to write his name in kindergarten was sent to Manzanar and never seen or heard from again.

Allowed to only take bed linen, a few changes of clothing, a personal set of eating utensils and some toiletry articles, the internees were political prisoners left with little dignity as they were herded into the confines of barbed wire fenced enclosures as armed border agents in elevated towers stood guard. Family dynamics rapidly began to erode as multiple generations were forced into sharing living quarters with strangers in unfinished cold/hot and dusty tarpaper shanties with only straw-filled mattresses, a small stove to heat the room, and a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. Lacking the basic amenities of running water, cooking and bathrooms facilities internees were subjected to communal un-partitioned showers, open toilets, and in Manzanar the constant threat of black widows spiders creeping out from dark crevices and agitated rattlesnakes coiled in corners ready to strike.

The social location of Japanese families gradually evolved into a new structural system of independence and disconnect from established traditions; Husbands felt shamed by their inability to protect and care for their families; with their patriarchy usurped many fell into the abyss of self-medicating with alcohol to relieve stress and feelings of inadequacy. Community dining hall bells announced meal time which served mystery meat and GI rations and rather than the accustomed family meals it became common for teens and children to eat with friends; Social construct flipped whereas before the Issei were in control, however due to a better command of English the Nisei had the ability to secure better jobs and higher wages becoming the dominant force of family politics.

Women no longer sweated their lives away performing domestic duties giving them more time to socialize, learn hobbies and complete their educations. Students were able to excel without having to compete with White students for coveted scholarly positions and were eligible to participate in a number of programs unavailable to them in secular institutions. Young ladies of marrying age found love and weren’t bound by arranged marriages.

Rafu Shimpo appears to represent a whole generation of people from the elderly to the youngest, from full Japanese to mixed racial heritage; whereas prior to internment traditional Issei parents determined Nisei were only allowed to marry within their own ethnic culture.

Pre-internment workers and business owners were primarily physical laborers yet are now highly educated with degrees from prestigious universities and hold prominent positions in major companies, own multi-million dollar corporations and reside in exclusive residential neighborhoods once reserved for “Whites Only.”

Traditional culture is still practiced within many of the communities to uphold long-established and time-honored celebrations and observances.

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Examining the historical link between the past and present, the Japanese experience provides an inside look into the essence of how systems within communities continue to function successfully by integrating cultural traditions into the parameters of a governed dominate society.

Prior to becoming *The New Enemy* and carted off to internment camps the majority of Japanese American families experienced a moderate level of racism typical for minority groups of that era. Pro-discrimination laws were passed in the early 1900’s denied them the right to become citizens, own land, or marry outside their race. The 1907-1908 *Gentleman’s Agreement* consisting of informal letters between American and Japanese leaders virtually halted all Japanese contract labor to America and forbid the Japanese from buying homes in certain areas and barring them from jobs in various industries. By 1913 The California Alien Land Law prohibited Japanese as “aliens ineligible for citizenship” from owning agricultural land or possessing long-term farming leases. But for the most part the Japanese lived a peaceful life akin to other American families; owning or working in small businesses, children attending segregated public schools, men who voluntary joined the military and wives carrying out domestic duties.

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In 1915, the courthouse in Riverside CA. recorded the deed of the house at 3356 Lemon Street in the names of Mine, Sumi, and Yoshizo Harada, the three minor American-born children of Jukichi and Ken Harada, Japanese immigrants living in Riverside. The deed was in the name of the children because the Alien Land Law of 1913 prevented the parents, aliens ineligible from citizenship, from owning property. Jukichi Harada was charged with violating the law. The People of the State of California v. Jukichi Harada became a test case and the state Supreme Court ruled the children could own the house. The Harada House was declared a National Landmark in 1990.

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By 1924 immigration was completely blocked. In the early 1930’s the visiting Captain of a cargo freighter docked in Santa Barbara was given a tour of the city while admiring the hillside scenery he lost his balance falling backward into a bed of cactus. People burst out laughing; not understanding American sense of humor, the Captain felt he was being ridiculed and lost face, he vowed to get revenge on Americans and on Santa Barbara. On Feb. 23, 1942, approximately 6 weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor the freighter Captain, who subsequently joined the Japanese navy as a submarine commander surfaced his submarine near an oil field pier just north of Santa Barbara and shelled the pier. Furthering the fear of *Japs*.

The Dec. 7th bombing of Pearl Harbor was quickly followed on Dec. 8, 1941 when FDR froze US citizen Isai assets and ordered the FBI to follow community leaders by imposing curfews and raiding homes for anything advocating a connection to Japan.

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseExperience_11 #DortheaLange

Dorothea Lange’s censored photographs of the Japanese-American Internment

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#LetOurVoicesEcho Japs 3

#LetOurVoicesEcho Japs 1

Yellow Peril Racism

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Relocation 4

Relocation 1

#LetOurVoicesEcho Japanese Internment Instructions

Relocation 2

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#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseRelocationCampEvacuees #Farm

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseRelocationCampEvacuees #Farmer 1942

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseRelocationCampEvacuees #SanFrancisco 1942_3

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They had about one week to dispose of what they owned, except what could be packed and carried for their departure by bus and were allowed only to take bed linen, a few changes of clothing, a personal set of eating utensils and some toiletry articles, the internees were political prisoners left with little dignity as they were herded into the confines of barbed wire fenced enclosures as armed border agents in elevated towers stood guard.

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseRelocationCampEvacuees

#Toyo Miyatake #JapaneseInternment #Manzanar #LetOurVoicesEcho

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#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseRelocationCampEvacuees #SanFrancisco 1942

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseRelocationCampEvacuees #SanFrancisco 1942_2

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#LetOurVoicesEcho #Japanese #PostonAZRelocationCenter 1945

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseRelocationCampEvacuees #Poston AZ 1942_

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseRelocationCampEvacuees #Seattle 1942_

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May 9, 1942 Centerville CA Farm Families waiting to board the train

#LetOurVoicesEcho J Lady & Baby

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First evacuees arrival at Granada Internment Camp

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Manzanar

The most notorious camp was Manzanar, built at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range 230 miles northeast of Los Angeles. At its peak, over 10,000 people were interned in the 500-acre camp, enclosed by barbed wire, guard towers and armed military police.

Conditions at the camp were unforgiving. Daytime temperatures could reach 110 degrees, while nights could be freezing. Dust and wind were constant, and the crude barracks provided poor shelter. Within these barracks, each family was allotted a 20-by-25-foot cloth partition.

Most of the internees resolved to make the best of their situation, by attempting to create some semblance of normalcy for their indefinite detention. Some built all the facilities and trappings necessary to maintain a community of 10,000.

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#LetOurVoicesEcho Camp

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Relocation 8

Relocation 3

#LetOurVoicesEcho Cattle Truck

Relocation 7

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Japanese waiting for registration at the Santa Anita Reception Center (Photo by Russell Lee)#LetOurVoicesEcho #JanpaneseIntermentCamp_34

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Some letters arriving from Japanese-American Internment Camps during WWll were very specific asking for a certain kind of bath powder, cold cream or cough drops.

#LetOurVoicesEcho #AnselAdams #ManzanarInternmentCamp

Family dynamics rapidly began to erode as multiple generations were forced into sharing living quarters with strangers in unfinished cold/hot and dusty tarpaper shanties with only straw-filled mattresses, a small stove to heat the room, and a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling.

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#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseRelocationCampEvacuees #Vaccination

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Amache Japanese Internment Camp

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Looking back on Ansel Adams photographs of Japanese Interment Camp

#LetOurVoicesEcho Internment 5

#LetOurVoicesEcho #Manzanar #OrphanedChildren

Orphaned infants incarcerated at the Manzanar Children’s Village, some with as little as 1/8th Japanese ancestry were ripped from orphanages.

Lacking the basic amenities of running water, cooking and bathrooms facilities internees were subjected to communal un-partitioned showers, open toilets, and in Manzanar the constant threat of black widows spiders creeping out from dark crevices and agitated rattlesnakes coiled in corners ready to strike.

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseInternment_24

The social location of Japanese families gradually evolved into a new structural system of independence and disconnect from established traditions; Husbands felt shamed by their inability to protect and care for their families; with their patriarchy usurped many fell into the abyss of self-medicating with alcohol to relieve stress and feelings of inadequacy.

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseInternment_6

Community dining hall bells announced meal time which served mystery meat and GI rations, and rather than the accustomed family meals it became common for teens and children to eat with friends.

Relocation 6

Relocation 5

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseRelocationCamp #Manzanar

Manzanar teen getting ready to have breakfast

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A life Beyond Limits

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseRelocationCamp #TuleLake1942 Children

#LetOurVoicesEcho #SacramentoCA #TuleLake 1942

#LetOurVoicesEcho #ManzanarJapaneseStudents

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseRelocationCampMazanar #Graduation

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Potato Field shows people working against the vast backdrop of the High Sierra’s

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#LetOurVoicesEcho #ManzanarJapanese_5

#LetOurVoicesEcho #TuleLake #Japanese 1945

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#LetOurVoicesEcho Interment 3

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Social construct flipped whereas before the Issei were in control, however due to a better command of English the Nisei had the ability to secure better jobs and higher wages thus becoming the dominant force of family politics.

#LetOurVoicesEcho #ManzanarJapanese

The first grave at Manzanar Center Cemetery

#LetOurVoicesEcho #Japanese #LamarCO #TopazRelocationCenter 1942 Funeral

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Mr. Watanabe’s signature carved into a low bordering wall

Japanese School MenHigh schooler’s attend a science lecture

Women no longer sweated their lives away performing domestic duties giving them more time to socialize, learn hobbies and complete their educations. Students were able to excel without having to compete with White students for coveted scholarly positions and were eligible to participate in a number of programs unavailable to them in secular institutions. Young ladies of marrying age found love and weren’t bound by arranged marriages.

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseExperience_6

Dorthea Lange

#LetOurVoicesEcho #DortheaLange #Manzanar 1944

Japanese American internees making camouflage netting at Manzanar. Photo Dorthea Lange July 1, 1944

#LetOurVoicesEcho #ManzanarJapaneseRelocationCamp #Dressmaking

Mrs. Dennis Shimizu.

Mrs. Dennis Shimizu

Japanese SchoolKiyo Yoshida, Lillian Wakatsuki and Yoshiko Yamasaki attend a high school biology class.

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseSumo #SantaAnitaCA

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The Manzanar Fishing Club.

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Minidota MN Family

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#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseInternment_21May 11, 1942 A 23 yr old soldier and his mother in a strawberry field near Florin CA – The soldier had volunteered for the Army on July 10, 1941, and was stationed at Camp Leonard Wood, Missouri. He was furloughed to help his mother and family prepare for their evacuation. He is the youngest of six children, two of them volunteers in United States Army. The mother, age 53, came from Japan 37 years before. Her husband had passed away 21 years prior leaving her to raise six children. She worked in a strawberry basket factory until 1945(?) when her children leased three acres of strawberries “so she wouldn’t have to work for somebody else. 

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#LetOurVoicesEcho #JanpaneseIntermentCampGardenA Japanese Pleasure Garden built by Internees

#LetOurVoicesEcho #FrancesStewart #Manzanar Dec. 31, 1942

Dec. 31, 1942 photo by Frances Stewart#LetOurVoicesEcho #Racism #DortheaLange

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Nakamura with her two daughters “Joyce Yuki” and “Louise Tami” walking under a Japanese Style Pavillion. Manzanar Relocation Camp, Owens Valley California
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Manzanar, Calif.–Grandfather and grandson of Japanese ancestry at this War Relocation

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Joe Blamey Editor Manzanar Free Press #LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseInternment_20Ben Kuroki, the son of Japanese immigrants who was raised on a Hershey NB farm, is seen in this updated Army Corps file photo. The only known Japanese-American known to have flown over Japan during WWll

#LetOurVoicesEcho #Japanese #LamarCO #GranadaRelocationCenter 1942

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#LetOurVoicesEcho Relocation Explaination

The Rafu Shimpo Newspaper appears to represent a whole generation of people from the elderly to the youngest, from full Japanese to mixed racial heritage; whereas prior to internment traditional Issei parents determined Nisei were only allowed to marry within their own ethnic culture.

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseExperience_12

#LetOurVoicesEcho J man

Mary “Mollie” Oyama Mittwer as *Deirde*  (1907–1994) was a Nisei journalist whose writing reflected many of the issues her generation faced during World War II. A leading writer of her generation, *Deirde* dispensed wisdom and controversy through various advice columns and articles, giving Nisei women and men a chance to voice opinions and receive feedback regarding the do’s and don’t’s of delicate topics such as dating and marriage, racism and integration and fielding questions mainly centering on the private lives of people concerned with arranged marriage vs  voluntarily marrying for love,  interracial and interethnic dating, fashion advice, incorporating Japanese traditions into modern day society while continuing to maintain the cultural standards their parents and grandparents expected.

The internment of Japanese Americans in the United States during World War II was the forced relocation and incarceration in camps in the interior of the country of between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry who had lived on the Pacific coast. Sixty-two percent of the internees were United States citizens.

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Ansel Adams took this picture of fellow photographer Toyo Miyatake, who was interned at Manzanar. Ansel Adams/Courtesy Photographic Traveling Exhibitions

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The majority of photographs on this page were taken by Mr. Miyatake.

Before World War II, Miyatake had a photo studio in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. When he learned he would be interned at Manzanar, he asked a carpenter to build him a wooden box with a hole carved out at one end to accommodate a lens. He turned this box into a makeshift camera that he snuck around the camp, as his grandson Alan Miyatake explains in the video below, which is featured in the exhibit.

#LetOurVoicesEcho #ToyoMiyatake #Manzanar

Fearful of being discovered, Miyatake at first only took pictures at dusk or dawn, usually without people in them. Camp director Merritt eventually caught Miyatake, but instead of punishing him, allowed him to take pictures openly. Miyatake later became the camp’s official photographer, however, he could only set up the camera, and set up the shot, but a White person had to snap the shutter.

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His photos convey an intimacy with camp life absent in the pictures that Adams and Lange took. He captured laughter at a picnic and men delivering vegetables to the mess hall.

His photos also had moments of silent protest. In one picture three boys peer through the camp’s barbed wire fence to the outside world. And in another, Miyatake’s son, Archie, holds a pair of clippers against the fence, “to show,” that at some point, the barbed wire has to come down.”

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Toyo Miyatake as Grand Marshal

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Toyo Miyatake 1977#LetOurVoicesEcho #ManzanarJapanese_6

1977 Two Views of Manzanar – Co-Curator Patrick Nagatani ~ Photography by Graham Howe

Fred KOREMATSU

Fred Korematsu decided to test the government relocation action in the courts. He found little sympathy there. In KOREMATSU VS. THE UNITED STATES, the Supreme Court justified the executive order as a wartime necessity. When the order was repealed, many found they could not return to their hometowns. Hostility against Japanese Americans remained high across the West Coast into the postwar years as many villages displayed signs demanding that the evacuees never return. As a result, the interns scattered across the country.

In 1988, Congress attempted to apologize for the action by awarding each surviving intern $20,000. While the American concentration camps never reached the levels of Nazi death camps as far as atrocities are concerned, they remain a dark mark on the nation’s record of respecting civil liberties and cultural differences.

First, second, third, fourth and fifth generation of immigrants
Issei (一世 born in Japan immigrated to North America.
Nisei (二世 (second generation) children born in North America whose parents were immigrants from Japan.
Sansei (三世 (third generation) grandchildren of the Issei
Yonsei (四世 fourth generation
Gosei (五省 fifth generation
Obāsan お婆さん aunt or older woman generally referring to the grandmother of a Sansei
Ojiisan おじいさん general term for older men but generally referring to the grandfather of a Sansei
Nikkei (日系) was coined by a multinational group of sociologists and encompasses all of the world’s Japanese immigrants across generations. The collective memory of the Issei and older Nisei was an image of Meiji Japan from 1870 through 1911, which contrasted sharply with the Japan that newer immigrants had more recently left. These differing attitudes, social values and associations with Japan were often incompatible with each other. In this context, the significant differences in post-war experiences and opportunities did nothing to mitigate the gaps which separated generational perspectives.

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseExperience_9

1943 Manzanar Relocation Center taken by Ansel Adams –  L to R – Mrs. Kay Kageyama, Toyo Miyatake (photographer), Miss Tetsuko Murakam, Mori Nakashima, Joyce Yuki Nakamura (eldest daughter), Corporal Jimmy Shohara, Aiko Hamaguchi (Nurse), Yoshio Muramoto, (electrician).

#LetOurVoicesEcho #Japanese #LamarCO #GranadaRelocationCenter 1945 #Last

#LetOurVoicesEcho #FredKorematsu #ManzanarInternment
In 1942 Fred Korematsu refused to follow orders to be incarcerated along with 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry living on the West coast of the United States. In 1944, his case reached the Supreme Court. Justice Roberts, in dissent of the opinion of the court, wrote:

“The indisputable facts exhibit a clear violation of constitutional rights… It is a case of convicting a citizen as punishment for not submitting to imprisonment in a concentration camp, based on his ancestry, and solely because of his ancestry, without evidence or inquiry concerning his loyalty and good disposition toward the United States.”

In 1983, when U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel vacated Korematsu’s conviction, she said the case is a “caution that in times of distress the shield of military necessity and national security must not be used to protect governmental actions from close scrutiny and accountability.”

Fred Korematsu himself feared, “As long as my record stands in federal court, any American citizen can be held in prison or concentration camps without a trial or a hearing.”



ADDITIONAL READING
Life after Manzanar
Life after Manzanar
https://heydaybooks.com/book/life-after-manzanar/#

It Can Happen Here: The 75th Anniversary Of The Japanese Internment (Part I)
by Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law, The University of Chicago
Tracing the history of one of the most unconscionable tragedies in American history.

FAMILY STRUGGLES TO SAVE PIECE OF JAPANESE AMERICAN HISTORY
Four Japanese-American sisters are weeks away from losing a home that’s been in their family for nearly a century. The Yuge family has lived in the gardener’s cottage on the former Scripps estate in Altadena since the 1920s, when the late patriarch Takeo Yuge became a caretaker for the property. Although the Yuge family was sent away to a Japanese Internment Camp during WWII, all of their belongings were kept safe in the main house. CONTINUE READING
https://www.pasadenastarnews.com/2015/05/10/family-struggles-to-save-piece-of-japanese-american-history/

#LetOurVoicesEcho #JapaneseFarms #WWll
Wintersburg Village — as the property was originally known — once contained churches, residential homes, farmland, and goldfish ponds used to grow fish that were sold to drugstore pet departments. It was also one of few sites owned by Japanese Americans before the California Alien Land Law of 1913, which prohibited people of Japanese descent from owning property. Today, six buildings still stand intact.
CONTINUE READING https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/activists-seek-preserve-historic-japanese-american-site-involved-possible-sale-n858676

Citations:
5 Attacks on U.S. Soil During World War
http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/5-attacks-on-u-s-soil-during-world-war-ii
Second Generation Japanese Americans (Nisei) before WWII
http://picturethis.museumca.org/timeline/depression-era-1930s/second-generation-japanese-americans-nisei-wwii/info
When the Japanese Attacked Santa Barbara (1940s)
http://picturethis.museumca.org/timeline/depression-era-1930s/second-generation-japanese-americans-nisei-wwii/info
Remembering The Manzanar Riot
https://densho.org/remembering-manzanar-riot/

researcher-blk-wht

Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez
Researcher/Chronological Archivist/Writer and member in good standing with the Constitution First Amendment Press Association
(CFAPA.org)

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