From the Inside: Articles relating to Violence from the Internment Camp Newsletters

Table of Contents

Definition of Terms
Violence in General
Fights in the Camps
Fights outside the Camps
Shootings in the Camps
Shootings outside the Camps
General Articles
Appendix A: Wartime Exile: The Exclusion of the Japanese Americans from the West Coast
Appendix B: The Relocation Program


Starting in 1941 Japanese Americans were rounded up by the U.S. Government, operating through the FBI and other organizations. At first the numbers taken were relatively few, but this changed when the President ordered a sealing off of part of the west coast to persons of Japanese ancestry.

These people were given a short time, often two weeks or less, to leave their jobs, gather their belongings, store what belongings they could and sell others. They were then sent to Assembly Centers where they were held for a while, sometimes living in used horse stables. Then they were sent to a series of ten internment camps. These camps were generally surrounded by barbed wire, had guard towers and guards with guns.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of this was without any charges being filed against the Issei (first generation immigrants), or Nisei (second generation, composing 2/3rds of the Japanese American population and fully U.S. citizens). These people were not given any chance to defend themselves in court. They became, in effect, instant prisoners with their rights taken away.

Why this was done is still debated. Some feel it was a military necessity. These people felt that an invasion of the U.S. West Coast (which was horribly poorly defended) was imminent, and they did not know whether the Japanese living in the U.S. would support the invaders or the U.S.

Others feel that his was just another extension of the anti-Japanese feeling on the West Coast which had been going on for decades, as evidenced by the Native Sons of the Golden West and the Japanese American Exclusion League.

Whatever the reason actually was, the simple fact is that over 110,000 people were rounded up and put into the internment camp. Each camp ended up having its own publication. Some were almost issued daily, others weekly or every few days. Sometimes they would appear in regular newspaper format, although most of the time they were mimeographed publications.

The vast majority of material in the newsletters centered on camp procedures, rules and regulations, and special camp events. Much later they began to carry news of the efforts of the 100th Battalion in Europe and later of Nisei activity in the Pacific Theater.

I went through these newsletters and focused on certain topics that I found crept up fairly consistently. These included matters dealing with crime (often gambling), legal matters (cases that tested the right of the government to force all these people out of their homes), Maps (a feature of early issues), protests and strikes, repatriation (those seeking to leave the U.S. and return to Japan), prejudice and rumors (the major topic), and violence.

The different newsletters gave different emphasis to those topics. What they also gave was the insider's viewpoint on what was happening, (or, at least as much as would be allowed by the various camp administrations which kept watch ofter the newsletter contents).

This particular book will deal with the topic of violence, featuring articles taken directly from the newsletters and comments I will make on those articles. The types of violence will include regular fights, riots, stabbings, shootings, fires and explosives. The forms of violence are also divided into two time groups; those acts occurring in the camps, and those that occurred when the evacuees left the camps and tried to settle in other areas or return to their original homes. This involved a number of incidents where bullets were fired at a house or even the burning down of a house.

I have spent several years researching the internment camps and the history of prejudice against the Japanese in this country, a history which went back basically to the start of the century. I would like to that Densho for allowing me to work with their collection of newsletters so I could learn about what things were like at the time, and how hate, prejudice and propaganda played a major role in the life of the persons of Japanese ancestry that were in this country at the start of WWII.

Definition of Terms

One of the things I remember from Sociology class in college was about the importance of the definition of terms in any discussion. So, here are some terms used in the various articles.

Issei are people born in Japan who moved to the U.S. and settled here. Nisei are the children born to the Issei would were automatically American citizens by being born here. Sansei is the third generation. Kibei are people of Japanese ancestry who were in the U.S. but returned to Japan to get their education, then came back to this country.

The JACL is the Japanese American Citizens League, a major, although controversial, national organization for Japanese Americans.

An Assembly Center is where people were initially held during the relocation process, and the internment camps are where they ended up. There were ten of these camps, although a couple of them actually consisted of two or three sub-camps. These were generally surrounded by barbed wire with guard towers and armed guards. Caucasians ran the camps and lived in a separate area within the camp. The rest of the camp consisted of barracks and facilities.

Violence in General

It is not at all surprising that there were some incidents of violence at the camp and at places related to the camps. What is surprising is that there was not more violence. These people were gathered up, put into internment camps in inhospitable environments, placed behind barbed wire and forced to life their lives as if they had been sentenced to a prison.

The most noted form of trouble involved the 'no-no's, those people who answered 'no' to questions #27 and #28 on the infamous survey and thus were considered 'disloyal' to the United States and were transferred to the Tule Lake camp where all the disloyals were segregated together.

The violence that was noted in the newsletters varied. There were plain fights, of course. There were also riots. There were stabbings and shootings. The shootings changed nature as some of the evacuees attempted to return to the areas they had been kicked out of. Those shootings ended up being cases where gunshots were fired into houses of Japanese Americans, or someone attempted to blow up a house, things like that.

As with other topics, the camps differed in the level of attention they gave to such reports. Jerome, Minidoka, Poston, Rohwer and Tule Lake all had ten or fewer articles dealing with the subject. Heart Mountain had 13 articles. Camps with 20 to 30 articles included Gila river and Manzanar. Camps with thirty or more articles included Granada and Topaz.

As you can see, there's a wide variation on the number of articles relating to this topic. Perhaps different newsletter staffs had differing personal views on the importance of violence; perhaps some felt that they should downplay the violence and try to present the best face to the reading public, and perhaps some felt that to emphasize the topic could bring them into conflict with the camp administration.

What I will do with the articles is note the general topic they deal with (e.g. riots; shootings); the source the article came from, the date the article was run, and, from time to time, I will be making some comments along with the article.

Also, some of the articles will be reproduced directly from the newsletters. Longer ones, though, I will have to transcribe since they would not display well on the kindle. Also, if articles from more than one camp refer to the same exact event, and the articles are nearly duplicates of each other, I will transcribe just one of them and mention the others.

Finally, articles within each category will be divided by those dealing with events inside the camps, and those dealing with events outside the camps.

One other thing to keep in mind. There are many good books that have been written about the internment camps, and I could add numerous quotes from them to this book, but that's not the purpose of his work. The purpose of this work is to see what the people in the camps saw and look at things from their viewpoint.

Remember, this was before instant news, television sound-bites and massive numbers of tabloids and other magazines glorifying the more sordid aspects of life. The newsletters and word-of-mouth was about the only way the internees could get information, other than from the camp administrators, and this gave them a narrower view of what was going on than one would get today.

One sort of scary thought on all of this. It almost seems like the violence outside of the camps was a test-run for the persecution of blacks in the South. Shootings? Both had them. Bombings? Both had them (or at least a projected bombing of the Japanese). Setting fires? Both had them. The thugs doing this disappearing into the night? Both. Some of the thugs allowed to walk free when finally caught? Both, again.

There is no room in this world for behavior of this type against anyone, period. Such violence is the act of ultra-narrow-minded thugs/terrorists. The human race will never be really civilized until this type of hatred ends.

[A couple of things to keep in mind. First, there are some of the articles that did not seem to print out right originally and so are very difficult to read. This may lead to some errors in the actual spelling of names. Second, the newsletters were not published on a daily basis. The Poston Chronicle did the best job of keeping up publication, but other papers usually printed every few days or maybe twice a week. Later, as the camps came closer to closing, their publication sometime became weekly, if that. Finally, the information in this is from the newsletters. I am not bringing in information from regular books, and there are many good ones on the subject of the internment camps, since I want to present the information as the evacuees themselves saw it.

Remember that sources of information at the time were rather limited. There was radio, and the internees were not allowed to have those. There was word-of-mouth, and finally there were the newsletters. In a few instances regular newspapers were allowed into the camps, but still the primary source of information about what was going on in one's own camp and in the other camps was through the newsletters. ]


For some strange reason some people like to make threats against others. Usually such a person is basically a thug, although sometimes someone not quite that bad will make a threat when they are soused. It's interesting that every one of the articles dealing with threats made within the internment camps come from Tule Lake.

I. Threats within the camps.

Tule Lake was a segregation camp where the people who the government had determined were disloyal were grouped together. Threats were made against those who didn't agree with them and who still at the camp. The kind of people making the threats were those who basically supported Japan during the war. Some gave up their American citizenship, and some sought to return to Japan during the war.

The first example of this type of threatening action comes from the Gila News Courier, December 2, 1943.

JOIN CROWD OR DIE-NISEI TOLD. Japanese American internees at the Tule Lake center were threatened with death unless they joined the Nov. 1 demonstration, reported the Nov. 30 Los Angeles Times.

Dr. John Mason, former senior medical officer at the center, told a Dies sub-committee that between 6,000 and 10,000 inyernees were warned to join the crowd or die.

The next comes again from the Gila News Courier, May 30, 1944.

TULE REPORTS INTIMIDATION. Five men were being held last Thursday night in the isolation area of the Tule Lake Center on charges of intimidating several families who refused to send their children to Japanese language schools in the camp, the Associated Press reported a WRA announcement.

Another AP report on Saturday carried an announcement that Kaoru Nagatami, 50, of Tule Lake was beaten seriously in his home Friday night, and that Tatsuo Yokoyama, 33, had been sentenced to 90 days in jail for the assault.

Nagatami, native of Hawaii, gained U.S. citizenship for having served in World War I, the report said.

The group in Tule was very pro-Japan, and trying to force kids to attend the Japanese language schools was normal for them. They even held marches from time to time. Such actions do not go unnoticed, though, as the following article from the Manzanar Free Press, volume 8 #45, June 3, 1944, shows.

NINE HELD IN TULE ON COERCION CHARGE. War relocation authority announced this week that nine Japanese men were being held in the isolation area of Tule Lake Segregation Center on charges of intimidating several Japanese families who refused to send their children to Japanese language schools in the camp, the Sacramento Union declared.

The paper disclosed that at least two families had been told to move from a block in which they were living because their children were attending the center's schools instead of the Japanese language schools.

Project Director Ray R. Best declared that he will not tolerate any interference with the rights of resident parents to send their children to any school they desire.

Only a month later there was yet more trouble, this article from the Topaz Times, July 8, 1944.

THREATENED TULEANS GIVEN PROTECTION. A group of Japanese at the Tule Lake camp were removed from the general residential center Thursday to protect them against threatened injury.

War relocation authority officials, investigating the knifing of Yaozo Hitomi last Sunday, disclosed that a number of residents had received threatening messages.

The protective measures were taken as Yoshio Miyagawa, a Japanese alien, was sentenced on a charge of selling hand-made knifes to camp residents.

Four days later yet another article appeared, this one in the Manzanar Free Press, July 12, 1944.

CO-OP BOARD RESIGNS AS OTHERS THREATENED. As a result of the recent slaying of Yaozo Hitomi, 44-year-old general manager of the Tule Lake Cooperative enterprises, 17 members of the Cooperative board of directors have resolved to tender their resignations collectively, reported the Newell Star.

Hitomi was discovered lying against his neighbor's porch by his niece with a fatal stab wound through his throat, apparently administered with a long-bladed knife.

Prior to evacuation the victim had lived in Sacramento where he was employed as an agent for Sunlife Insurance Company.

Sacramento Union, in an Associated Press dispatch from Tule Lake, reported that a group of Japanese at the segregation center were removed from the general residential center to protect them against threatened injury.

It was also disclosed that war relocation authority officials, investigating the knifing, revealed that a number of residents had received threatened injury.

II. Threats outside of the camps.

When the evacuees began to return to their homes, or to find new places to live, they usually met a tolerant reception, but sometimes the ugly head of racial hatred reared itself.

The first report of a threat is from the Granada Pioneer of April 12, 1944.

HINTS OF VIOLENCE FORCE NISEI WIFE TO MOVE. June Arrii Terry, 22, nisei wife of an American, Horton Terry, upon her return to her home in Martinez, Calif., was forced to move out after neighbors indicated protests and even hints of violence, according to the Jan. 23 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Mrs. Terry rejoined her husband and 2-year-old son after Lieut. Gen. Deles C.Emmons, commanding officer of the Western Defense Command, had adjuged her and 15 other nisei wives of Americans loyal and granted their release from War Relocation centers.

The fact that Mrs. terry was born and raised in Martinez did not stop the neighbors from getting signatures on a letter to Emmons insisting that they want 'no more Japs in Martinez.'

The American Civil Liberties Union taking interest in the case pointed out the rights of the Terrys under the OPA rental regulations and promised help if they were molested.

The Granada Pioneer of March 3, 1945, has a report of a telephoned threat.

DEATH THREAT OVER PHONE. City policemen were called last week to investigate a telephone death threat to Nakuichi Sadamuno and his wife, Clara, who recently returned from Poston (Ariz.) relocation center.

Sadamuno, former Oakland grocer, informed authorities that when his wife answered the phone a man's voice said: 'You and your husband are to get out of town, or I'll cut your throat.'

The Sadamunos have three sons serving in the United states Army.

Now, here's more who have returned from the internment camps. They have three sons in the Army at the same time, and yet they are threatened with death. Sometimes one wonders how low people can go.

Sometimes things even got so bad and stupid that people would threaten violence if any Nisei were hired to do a certain job. This next report is from the Granada Pioneer of March 24, 1965.

HIRING OF NISEI BRINGS THREATS. Los Angeles-A threatening missive which the FBI connected with his hiring of a nisei gardener last week was received by Dr. Linus Pauling of Altadona, research expert in explosives chemistry at California Institute of Technology. He had been recently announced as the co-developer of (?) blood plasma substitute.

Contents of the note received by mail, the second warning to Dr. Pauling in four days, were not disclosed. previously a painting of a Japanese rising sun flag inscribed 'Americans die but we love Japs' was found on garage doors at his home.

The painting was believed to be in protest to his employment of George Ninaki of Sierra Madre, a native of Gardena who recently returned from a relocation center. Dr. Pauling charged the vandalism was an 'un-American act.' The act, he said, was apparently inspired and carried out by 'misguided people who believe American citizens should be persecuted in the same way that Nazis have persecuted the Jewish citizens of Germany.'

(The (?) means I couldn't make out those words.)

The next threat was made against a rancher who was not a Nisei. This is from the Granada Pioneer of May 19, 1945.

RANCHER IS THREATENED. A report has reached the office of Sheriff McCoy that Harvey Whitsen, Wheatland rancher, has been threatened for hiring nisei farm workers.

He told the sheriff two youths in uniform stopped him in Wheatland recently and told him to get rid of the Japanese workers.

Approximately 15 Nisei, four of them World War II veterans, are working for Whitton, who is planning to hire more Japanese workers.

The next one is about some really brave guys that decided to threaten a young girl. The article is from the Gila News-Courier, May 19, 1945.

GIRL DISCLOSES THREATS DURING CALIFORNIA VISIT. Miss Mary Masuda, of 49-11-D, who was threatened and told to get out of Santa Ana by several Orange Country farmers during her short term visit there last week, returned to Rivers Thursday.

Miss Maruda has four brothers with army service records, one of whom was killed in action, another wounded.

On the night of May 11, several men came to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Trudeau, where Mary was staying. One of the man named Geisley called Trudeau names for letting the Nisei girl into his house. Trudeau, she learned, was one of the leaders of the group to keep Japanese out.

Miss Masuda explained she tried to reason with the men that her brothers were fighting as well as their men. Another man Toad Patterson. then told her that as long as she had come in a taxi, he would get her a taxi to get back to Los Angeles in, but that maybe she wouldn't get there alive.

Sheriff Jesse L. Elliot, who at first stated that there was nothing he could do about it, was reported on May 16 as saying he will send a deputy to contact the men named in Miss Masuda's statement.

The WRA office in Santa Anas aid it would wait now for the sheriff to act to stop the alleged threats.

Miss Masuda stated that after reports concerning her appeared in the papers, she received many sympathetic telephone calls from Caucasians. She was appreciative of the aid given her by WRA officials there, who not only urged her to give a full report of the incident but also ask all other returnees to report such occurrences immediately.

A couple points about the article. I'm not positive on the first names of the men since the print of the article was very light and hard to see. Secondly, why would she be staying at a house of a man who wanted to keep the Japanese out? Something rather odd was going on there.

This comes from the Manzanar Free Press, July 28, 1945.

WALNUT GROVE LADY SENTENCED TO JAIL. Mrs. Wilma Insigne, alias 'Kitty Ferguson' was sentenced July 17 to 90 days in jail at Walnut Grove, California, for 'willfully and unlawfully disturbing the peace' and for 'using vulgar and profane and indecent language' when she threatened a Japanese American family, the Los Angeles Times disclosed. Sixty of the 90 days were suspended on condition that she leave Walnut Grove.

Pvt. Yoshio Matsuoka, a war veteran who just returned to the United States after spending ten months in a German prison camp, charged the woman threatened to have his father's home burned down if the family remained in Walnut Grove.

This was the 35th incident against persons of Japanese ancestry since the lifting of the exclusion order.

Can you imagine how that guy must have felt? His family was threatened. He was a loyal American who had fought for his country and been held in a German POW camp, and those places were most definitely not nice places to be. He comes back and this is the reception he gets.

Then, again, I can't fathom how the Nisei soldiers must have felt when they had furloughs and returned to the internment camps to find their families still living behind barbed wire, their rights ignored, and the government trying to disburse them throughout the entire country.

There were similar reports in the Gila News-Courier of July 21, 1945, and the Topaz Times of July 27, 1945.

Fights within the camps

Yes, good old fisticuffs. Man-on-man battle. Knock the other guy out. Show how big a man you truly are. Yes, there were fights, both in and outside of the camps. About half of the reports come from inside the camps, and the other half from outside the camps.

Fights are not surprising, of course. You put 110,000 people into barbed-wire surrounded camps, take away their livelihoods and treat them like prisoners and there's going to be tension. A lot of it. That alone would lead to fights. Add in some alcohol and times and fights are inevitable.

The first report comes from the Manzanar Free Press and actually involves people from the paper. It ran on August 26, 1942.

PRESS MEMBERS ATTACKED SUNDAY: Assaulted by Toshinori Akashi over the printing of a police report involving Akashi in the Free Press. Joseph Blamcy and James Oda were taken to the hospital late Sunday night for treatment of minor injuries.

Akashi allegedly appeared at Blamey's apartment, demanding retraction of the article which appeared in an issue of the Free Press. he left once, seemingly pacified, only to return to strike Blamey, it was reported.

Fifteen persons who were in the room witness the beating. Akashi left the room once more to be further incited by the crowd of approximately 30 boys who urged him back. Blamey, who is crippled by an attack of infantile paralysis, did not raise his hands to reciprocate, announced the onlookers.

James Oda, a reporter on the Japanese section of the Free Press, intervened and was also beaten. It was reported that Oda did not strike Akashi at first and only began to fight back when the crowd yelled to the assailant to drag Oda outside. Pummelling Akashi, who finally hoisted the white flag, Oda was further threatened by Bob Matsuda, who assertedly carried a club.

Akashi and Matsuda were taken to the police station and held on charges of battery. A full deposition was taken from the victims by Henry Tsurutani, of the legal aid department, and the case is recommended to be tried by the Manzanar Judiciary Committee. A search was being conducted for the gang which allegedly accompanied the assailant.

The next example is from the Tule Lake Tulean Dispatch of September 6, 1942, referring to an attack in that amp.

LAW AND ORDER: Not very long ago one of the editors of The Dispatch was attacked by a gang of five persons on a misunderstanding arising from regulations concerning the night kitchen.

The conflict was settled when the Community Council found them guilty and recommended the administration to expel them from the Colony to some other relocation centers separately and individually: the sentence to be suspended for 60 days on their good behavior. The administration is believed to have accepted the recommendation of the Council.

We hoped that the action of the Council would have the deterrent effect on rising gangsterism here; but it apparently did not, for on the night of Sept. 4, a 20-year-old boy was purported to have been attacked by another gang of rowdy boys at dining hall 25 when Popularity Queen campaign dance was being held. The facts of the case are being investigated by the police force here today.

If law and order is to be maintained in this Colony a strong action must be taken against these boys this time to prevent recurrence of such an unfortunate incident.

It is devoutly hoped that the administration will concur with this opinion which seems to be the opinion of the Colony as a whole.

Unfortunately, Tule Lake was not to have a peaceful time and became the camp having the most and the worst trouble of the various camps.

One other point; note that the article uses the word 'colony' to describe the camp. One other newsletter referred to its camp as a 'city.' This again goes back to the issue of just what to call the camps. Internment camps, concentration camps, relocation centers, cities and colonies were all names used. The name used sometimes said a lot about the views of the person using the term. The general term most accepted, though, is the internment camp term.

The next report again comes from Manzanar. This from the Manzanar Free Press of Sept. 24, 1942:

PATROLMAN HURT QUELLING FIGHT: Set upon by a gang of hoodlums when he attempted to stop a fight arising out of a baseball argument in the field in front of the canteen Sunday, Patrolman Ben Suzuki was severely beaten and injured.

Taken home and later to the hospital, examinations disclosed his condition as painful but not serious. He is resting for a week before resuming duties.

Identification of the assailants were made impossible by the crowd which milled around at the time of the fight, declared police, although a check-up is being made.

Patrolman Suzuki was commended by the department for faithfully performing his duty in face of overwhelming odds.

One of the things that will be noted is how often a gang is involved, either in the fight itself, as in this case, or in supporting the fight, as in the August 26th report, also from Manzanar. Being in a gang tends to give the person a sense of autonomy, that he won't be picked out of a group and held accountable for his actions.

The next incident is also from Manzanar and is even more serious, as death is involved. The report is from the Manzanar Free Press of September 26, 1942, only two days after the above incident.

BLOCK 35 TRAGEDY. SUICIDE PACT HINTED AS POLICE SEEK CLEW IN NOTES WRITTEN BY HUSBAND: As Manzanar slumbered peacefully in the early morning hours of September 25, tragedy stalked the village leaving murder and suicide in its wake.

Dead were Fred Tetsuzo, 41, from self inducted strangulation and his wife, Frances Sakae, 28, from a blow in the head, inflicted by her husband while she slept at 35-13-1, investigation disclosed. The cryptic key to the slaying and suicide lay in the three letters left by the husband which are now being translated by the police. The Okasaki's were from Terminal Island.

Innocent victims of the tragedy were the two small daughters of the couple, four-year old Shizuko and six-year old Himeko, who slept through the entire affair. They are now in the care of Reverend Junichi Fujimori.

The double death was discovered by a kitchen worker who became alarmed when the wife failed to report for work, sent another worker to the apartment resulting in the discovering of the bodies.

Inquest was waived by Coroner Cris Carrasee of Inyo County in the face of the evidence which obviously pointed to murder and suicide, police reported. Police are conducting a thorough investigation, with the full cooperation of all law enforcement agencies in the county. Assisting Police Chief Schmidt are John McMurry, Deputy District Attorney and Sam Spear, sheriff.

It was hinted by neighbors that the tragedy climaxed family difficulties which had been brewing for some time. Reports of friends indicated that Fred Okasaki had quit his job as cook and had been despondent, displaying neurotic tendencies.'

The rest of the article related to medical details of the deaths.

It sounds like this was something that had been building for a long time in the family.

The next fight is reported by the Minidoka Irrigator in its February 13, 1943 issue, and refers to an attack at the Poston center.

KIDO VICTIM OF ATTACK AT POSTON CENTER: Breaking into the barrack apartment of Saburo Kido, national president of the Japanese American Citizens League, a gang of eight evacuees attacked him early Sunday morning, Jan. 31.

Kido received bruises about the head, shoulder and arms, while Mrs. Kido, who came to the assistance of her husband, was not injured.

The eight members of the gang ranging in age from 18 to 37, have been arrested and were extradited to Yuma county law enforcement officials for trial in the Superior Court of the state of Arizona.

What gets really interesting that, in this case, the attackers were actually sentenced. Of course, this was Arizona, not California, and the attack took place within the camp, not outside, so maybe that had something to do with the fact that the guilty were dealt with for once.

The article comes from the Poston Chronicle of February 19, 1943.

KIDO ATTACKERS SENTENCED. FIVE TO SERVE IN STATE PENITENTIARY: Five of the eight evacuees of Poston II who were charged with a felonious attack on Soburo Kido on Jan. 31, were sentenced to a term of from one to four years in the Arizona State penitentiary Tuesday by Judge Kelly of the Superior Court in Yuma. Miyoshi Matsuda, James Tanake and James Toya were sentenced to a period of not less than 3 years and not more than 4 years, while Tetsuo Inokuchi and Mitsuto Kurimoto will be required to serve a term of not less than one year and not to exceed 18 months.

Kataru Urabe, on a motion by the prosecuting attorney Peter Byrnes, was released, the case being dismissed on the grounds of insufficient evidence. Judge Kelly continued the cases of Tadao Hasegawa and George Inouye to Wed, Mar. 3, at 10 a.m. at which time a decision will be pronounced.

Thomase Masuda, attorney in the Postion I legal department, was the counsel for the defendants. Masuda was accompanied to Yuma by K. Tamura, also a member of the Unit I legal staff, Project Director Ted Hass and Moxley Featherston, present acting project attorney in the absence of Hass who left for Washington, D,C.

An article in the February 2, 1943 issue of the Topaz Times noted that Kido was doing well, recovering from the beating. An article in the Poston Chronicle of March 7, 1943, noted that the last two men charged were released on 'good behavior' and returned to their respected homes. They were basically on parole; if they did anything else wrong, then they would be dealt with. The judge based his decision on the 'youthfulness' of the two (18 and 21 years old), and that they were not as involved in the attack as the others.

Yet another camp had a problem with gang behavior. This one was the Jerome Center, as noted in an article in the Heart Mountain Sentinel of March 20, 1943.

2 ATTACKED IN JEROME CENTER: Attacks by gangs of unidentified men against two prominent residents of the Jerome relocation center, Denson, Arkansas, took place on Saturday, March 6, according to word received here this week.

Beaten were Dr. T.T. Yatabe, past national JACL president, who is now chairman of the Fair Employment committee at the center, and the Rev. J.M. Yamazaki, former pastor of the Los Angeles Japanese Episcopal church.

The two men were not seriously injured.

Not that in the last two cases two of the victims were directly involved in the JACL. It's quite possible that both attacks were related to bad feelings against the organization on the part of some.

Two articles deal with an assault on a World War I vet who was beaten at Tule Lake. One article is from the Manzanar Free Press of June 10, 1944. The article I will quote is from the Granada Pioneer of June 3, 1944.

NISEI WORLD WAR I VET BEATEN AT TULE LAKE: An American veteran of the first World War of Japanese ancestry, now interned at the Tule Lake segregation center, was in the center hospital with 'several fractured bones,' and his alleged assailant was convicted by camp

authorities and sent to jail less than twelve hours after an altercation between the two, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Kaoru Nagatime, 50, a native of Hawaii, who gained American citizenship through his service in the last war, was the victim, but authorities said his condition was not critical. In the Klamath Falls jail for 90 days was Tatsuo Yokoyama, 33, who was convicted yesterday after a hearing before Ray R. Best, project director.

Best denied that the altercation had anything to do with the fatal shooting earlier in the week of Shiochi James Okamoto, American-born internee, by a military sentry at the camp gates.

A public funeral for Okamoto will be held at the camp early this week, Best reported. Any possible action against the sentry, who was cleared by a coroner's jury, rests with army authorities, who have not reported on an investigation of the shooting.

The next fight is from the Gila News-Courier of July 6, 1944. It also concerns someone from Tule Lake, a Shigeo (?) Okamoto.

TULEAN JAILED FOR ASSAULT: Shigeo (?) Okamoto, 39 year old alien Japanese of Tule Lake, was held in jail at Newell last week following an attack with a hammer on two other Issei at the segregation center, the S.F. Examiner reported.

The WRA said one of his victims, Sononuki Suzuki, 51, was in critical condition with a fractured skull, the Examiner reported. The condition of the other, Shunzi Tanaka, 51, was not serious.

Still, when you consider than fewer than 10 such cases arose in the span of around the four-year length of the camps, then the actual record is not that bad. In most cases the guilty were dealt with quickly and fairly. To me, it's surprising that there weren't actually more fights, given the stress brought on by being uprooted and put into the camps, and camp life itself.

Fights Outside the Camps

There were, of course, fights outside the camp. These are basically what you'd expect; attacks on Japanese American evacuees. The vast majority of them are from Western states, which again would be what one would expect.

The first report is from the Granada Pioneer of December 12, 1942.

ARMY PROBES DENVER FRACAS. Army officials continue to investigate a fight which took place at the Union station here when four evacuee sugar been workers and military police clashed this week. one of the evacuees suffered head injuries.

Captain Paul Roche in charge of the MP forces, said his men told him the fight started when one of his men accidentally brushed the leg of one of the Japanese.

The Japanese asserted the fight resulted when one of the MP's made insulting remarks.

The article names the evacuees, and said they were from the Poston Internment Camp.

This is a difficult type of case to figure out since its one side's opinion of what happened vs. the other side's. I'd like to know if there were any neutral witnesses to what happened, and what the ultimate result was.

The next article concerns a Nisei girl who was beaten. Takes a really, really brave man to beat up an innocent young girl, doesn't it. The case comes from the Minidoka Irrigator of February 13, 1943.

NISEI GIRL BEATEN IN MID-WEST TOWN: Des Moines, Iowa: Police are looking for a 'shabbily-dressed' man who invaded a Des Moines home and beat a 19-year-old Japanese girl domestic into unconsciousness last Saturday night.

Fumi Mae Miyuki told police that when she answered the doorbell, the man asked her if she were Japanese. Upon answering in the affirmative, she was forced into the kitchen where he beat her.

In today's world his would be referred to as a 'home invasion.' It probably wasn't the wisest thing for the girl to admit to being Japanese; indeed, she probably shouldn't have opened the door to the stranger.

Remember, though, that the world was quite different in those times. Today we have all these home security systems, mounted video cameras, lots and lots of guns, and a media that absolutely thrives on convincing people that everything and everyone is potentially a dangerous entity and that we must be ever aware against everything.

I recently finished a book on life in the fifties, and I concluded that that time in America was really a time of basic innocence. Today, it's a time of fear. The girl lived in a time of greater incidence in today and maybe she just didn't even expect anything like that to happen. Today, we expect the worse, all the time, and live in constant fear, all pushed by the news media and the companies that make a profit off the ads run during the fear programs.

Anyhow, the next article is about an event in Chicago. The article appeared in the Heart Mountain Supplement #99 of July 15, 1943.

FOUR EVACUEES INVOLVED IN CHICAGO STREET FIGHT: A special teletype message from Elmer L. Shirrell, Chicago relocation supervisor, was received here today in regard to a street fight which occurred in that city last night, involving four evacuees from different centers and ten Filipinos dressed in U.S. Navy uniforms. According to the dispatch, two of the attacked evacuees are now in the hospital, one in a critical condition. Further investigations, Shirrell said, are being made in cooperation with the U.S. Naval authorities and the Chicago police department.

Another article covering the event appeared in the Granada Pioneer of July 17, 1943, and provides more details.

TEN FILIPINOS ATTACK FOUR NISEI IN CHICAGO: Four Hawaiian-born Japanese, all American citizens and former sailors in the US Merchant Marine, recently were pounced upon by about 10 Filipinos dressed in US Navy uniforms in Chicago. Had it not been for the intervention of two detectives who were nearby, more serious consequences would have resulted, according to the release of Elmer L. Shirrell, relocation supervisor for the Chicago area.

Two of the four nisei-Jimmie Ishibashi from Rohwer, and Frank Okamura, from Gila River center-are in the Bridewell hospital, the former with a wound in the abdomen. The other two attack victims are Masami Koga, from Minidoka, and Heiya Horibata, from Rohwer.

According to their statement, the only previous contact which the nisei have had with any sailors occurred the evening before in a neighborhood tavern, when Ishibashi was called an insulting name by a Filipino in a sailor's uniform. he told the Filipino that he would not argue or fight with him because he respected the sailor's uniform. When the Filipino discovered that Ishibshii was an American citizen, he apologized, they shook hands, and the argument was discontinued.

Said Shirrell, 'Further investigation will be made in cooperation with the US Naval authorities and the Chicago police department.

The Gila News-Courier of July 15, 1943 ran a similar article on the attack.

Fortunately it was nearly a year before the next beating. The Manzanar Free Press of July 8, 1944, carried the following article:

IDAHO SEASONAL WORKERS BEATEN BY BUHL YOUTHS AT TWIN FALLS: Beatings of evacuees at Twin Falls, Idaho, by five youths from Buhl, a nearby town, has been blamed as a cause for some 100 workers of Japanese ancestry to leave War Food Administration labor camps in Twin Falls and Rupert to return to relocation centers reported E.E. Scannell, manager of the Twin Falls camp, according to the recent issue of the Pacific Citizen.

It was disclosed that 69 Japanese Americans at the Twin Falls camp and 40 at Rupert will return to the Poston and Manzanar centers respectively as soon as transportation can be arranged.

About 130 evacuees at the camp, who had planned to return en masse to Poston to protest against the beating of their members by the Buhl gang in Twin Falls, decided to stay after a meeting with Chief of Police Howard Gillette, Mr. Scannell, Harry A. Elcock of the Amalgamated Sugar Company and E. Palmer, WRA representative, it was revealed.

Five white youths from Buhl were arrested after they had attacked the evacuee workers. John A. Brown, juvenile officer, in whose custody four of the youths are held, said that the attack on the Japanese Americans was entirely 'without provocation.'

Chief Gillette stressed that Twin Falls police will give eery protection to farm workers of Japanese ancestry in this area if they conduct themselves properly.

Condemning the action of the youths, Chief Gillette asserted:

'An assault of this type is in no way patriotic and can do unlimited amount of damage to local farmers, who need evacuee labor to cultivate and harvest their crops.'

Lucy Adams, assistant project director in charge of community management, stated that she has asked for a full report on the incident and the report is expected soon.'

There was no doubt at all that evacuee help was needed on farms. Companies like sugar beet companies and other farming concerns often asked for evacuee help in harvesting their crops.

So, onward to yet another state that saw this type of violence. This time it's the state of Wyoming. The article is from the Granada Pioneer of Aug. 9, 1944, and this time it's students that get beaten up.

LARAMIE TEEN-AGERS BEAT UP TWO NISEI STUDENTS: Two Americans of Japanese descent, both students at the University of Wyoming, were beaten by a 'sizable group of teen-agers (late teen-age)' at Larame recently, according to the school paper, The Branding Iron.

Answering a request for more information concerning the incident, J.A. till, executive dean of the university, wired the Heart Mountain Sentinel that 'I know nothing about any assault upon Japanese American students.' Till answered the request in the absence of the university's President Morril.

The students were Shig Hiratsuka and Ichiro Watanable, both from Amache relocation center, according to information received. The youths were not seriously injured.

In an editorial in The Branding Iron, the editor of which is Patty Tobin, the incident severely criticized and the question was asked 'In the Great American melting pot to boil over and leave only insoluble, unmixable dregs of society?”

The editorial stated, in part, 'We're about to get up in arms again. And no, it isn't the administration..

'It's the over-zealous type of attitude that last week prompted a sizable group of teen-agers (late teen-age) who really should be able to reason these things out, to set upon two students of Japanese descent and waylaying them from an alley, beat them bloody.'

This is the first incident of its kind to occur at Laramie, where the acceptance of Americans of Japanese descent has been above average.'

It doesn't surprise me at all that the school spokesman claimed no knowledge of any such beating. There seems little doubt that the school was trying to cover up what had happened, just as public schools today cover up just how bad the behavior of students really is. Parents have no idea what is really going on in the schools these days; much less of an idea than parents back then, actually.

It's all called 'covering your own rear end', making things sound fine when they really aren't. Still, again, don't politicians do the same kind of thing? Truth is not something to expect form a politician of any kind, including educational 'authorities' who run things.

The next case involves a rather poor excuse for assaulting someone. It's from the Granada Pioneer of November 11, 1944.

US MARSHAL STRIKES NISEI: A blow resulting from a mistake brought a fine of $100 and court costs last week at a special session before Justice of the peace Charles Lundeen of Fort Lupton, Colo.

Deputy US Marshal George T. Smith Jr. of Cheyenne, Wyo., pleaded guilty to striking Mike Shigetomi, 16-year-old Fort Lupton Nisei youth, but stated that it was a mistake on his part and realized he had been in the wrong.

Shigetomi testified he was struck by Smith, receiving a broken nose and tooth. He said he was playing in the street with several other boys, and shouted across the street to his companions. Smith, who was passing in his car, got out and struck him, he stated.

Smith apparently though Shigetomi's remark referred to him according to Town Marshal Al Posernew. Smith was surrounded by Shigetomi's schoolmates, who refused to allow him to re-enter his car until Posernew arrived.

Shigetomi has a brother, Jack, serving with the US Army in the European theater.

So, let's see. Your an MP with all the training that goes with it. You're driving in a car, hear someone yell something and automatically assume it's about you. So you get out and beat the kid up. Road rage? Massive ego problem? A failure to communicate? Whatever, it's a really bad example for someone in the position of MP to set.

The next article refers to three Nisei boys who were reporting for duty, willing to fight and die for their country if necessary. How do you treat such youths? Why, you beat them up, of course! Minidoka Irrigator, January 27, 1945. The event takes place in Idaho.

TRIO LEAVING FOR ACTIVE DUTY BEATEN AT CALDWELL. Three Nisei youths reporting to Ft Douglas for active duty in the Army from Caldwell were subjected to maltreatment and beating by a Caucasian servicemen at 1:10 a.m. on Jan. 6 according to word received here by a relative of one of the boys involved.

Approximately 10 Japanese residents at Caldwell and the vicinity were present to see the boys off. One of the crowd, I. Hasuki, a 70-year-old man, was pushed from the station platform.

The soldier who started the incident is a native Caldwell man according to the information received here. He has a past criminal record.

(The article then names the boys) The War Department has taken over the matter.

The Manzanar Free Press of February 7, 1945, had a similar article.

As if this beating wasn't bad enough, Caldwell had another beating within a few days. From the Topaz Times of February 3, 1945, comes this article:

2 MEN BEAT NISEI YOUTH IN CALDWELL: Two Caucasian men of Caldwell, Idaho, both age 25, pleaded guilty to charges of having beaten a 15-year-old high school boy and were fined $5 each and costs, it was reported this week to the Salt Lake WRA by Grant Greer, Caldwell WRA officer.

The incident occurred January 12 when the son of William Y. Kyono, an employee of the Caldwell FSA camp, was beaten by the two men after a basketball game in which the boy participated on the Middleton high school team.

So, let's see, Two grown men beat up on a boy ten years younger than they are, and they get off with a $5 fine each?


What more basic way is there of committing an act of violence but by throwing a rock at something? This probably goes back all the way to the earliest caveman. Ook Ook get mad at Ogg, Ook Ook throw rock at Ogg. Ogg then launched his S.R.B.R. (Short Range Ballistic Rock), and the first rock war got underway. Unfortunately, later, the process got upgraded to a form of punishment with the stoning of people for one thing or another.

During the Salem witchcraft trials, for example, one guy died because they piled stone after stone on top of his body. The rest of those found 'guilty' were hung.

Anyhow, there was only one article in all the newsletters that dealt with rock throwing specifically. It's from the Granada Pioneer issue of May 16, 1945. It happened in San Francisco.

ROCK HURLED THROUGH DOOR. William Y. Mahahara was an unhappy recipient of a big rock thrown through the front door of his home last week. He recently returned to this city.

The incident was the first act of violence against returnees in this area.


A stage up from rocks are knives. There were only a few reports of stabbings, all of them from within the camps.

The first report is from the Denson Tribune (Jerome's newsletter), of December 5, 1942.

KNIFE-WIELDER GETS 30-DAY SENTENCE. Pleading guilty to a charge of the 'possession and exhibition of dangerous weapons,' Noberu roy Hashimoto, 16-10-B, was sentenced to 30 days in the Jerome County jail with five days off for good behavior, by Judge William G. Comstock, Thursday.

The 21-year-old youth was arrested on Thanksgiving day for creating a disturbance in D.H. 16, brandishing two butcher knives and threatening the cooks.

D.H. stands for Dining Hall. Fortunately it seems that no one was actually hurt in the incident.

This report is from the Poston Chronicle, August 10, 1943.

BACHELOR STABBED AT BLOCK FOUR. A bachelor, residing at the bachelors' quarter in block 4 was severely slashed on the right buttock by another member of the quarter early Sunday morning according to E.R. Miller, Chief Internal Security Office.

The attack took place at 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning while the victim was asleep,who was cut about the buttock where an artery was severed. The victim is confided to the Poston General Hospital and it was stated that he is not in serious danger.

The cause of the stabbing was not determined but a thorough investigation is being made by the local authorities.

The next story concerns a stabbing of two girls. The story was carried in the Heart Mountain sentinel of March 11, 1944.

ISSEI BACHELOR WHO SLASHED TWO GIRLS HELD IN CODY JAIL. Yoshimasa Igarachi, 42-year-old Issei bachelor, who early last Saturday morning slashed and bludgeoned two sisters as they slept in their apartments, was arraigned in Cody this week by Justice of the peace W.S.Owens. He is being held in the Cody jail in lieu of $3000 bail. Igarashi will be tried in the district court for assault with felonious intent under Wyoming statutes,

Marcus Campbell, chief of internal security, said Igarashi has signed a complete confession of his gilt.

Ruth Imatzumi, 22, and her sister, Lily, 20, fled from their apartment screaming for help after their attacker slashed them with a razor.

Igarashi is said to have entered the girls' apartment at 29-2-F Friday night while the girls were in the washroom and hid under a bed until they returned.

Shortly after midnight he attacked Ruth with a razor, inflicting deep cuts about the face and neck, police said. When he realized he had attacked the wrong girl, he started slashing at Lily with the razor and battered her with a 10-inch wrench, according to police.

As the girls ran from their apartment, Igarashi fled into block 25. Officer Tokuju Uyehara, who was on duty at the police sub-station with Bumji Miyazaki, ran after the attacker and single handedly overpowered and disarmed him.

Lily, who is block mother at mess hall 25-27, where Igarashi is a mess worker, was living with her sister. Their father is confined at a hospital in Billings.

Both girls are reported as recovering satisfactorily at the hospital. Ruth is suffering from lacerations on the neck and chin as well as contusion and lacerations on the scalp. Lily received lacerations on the extremity of the left eye and cuts and contusion of the scalp.

There's another stabbing, this time at Poston and reported in the Poston Chronicle on October 3, 1944.

GIRL IN BLOCK 15 IS STABBING VICTIM. May Tsuboichi, 24, of Block 15, succumbed Saturday night at 9:30 p.m. after she was taken to the Poston General Hospital in a critical condition last Thursday afternoon. She had been found in her room with her body slashed severely with a butcher knife.

She was operated upon immediately but doctors had offered little hope for her life. Examination revealed that 31 separate wounds had been inflicted on her body. The inquest was held at 1:00 yesterday afternoon.

The assaulter, Isamu Takahashi, 35, also of Block 15, fled after committing the crime. He was last seen going toward Parker about 5:00 p.m. on Thursday.

Broadcasts and teletypes have been sent out to the surrounding vicinity for his capture and the internal security office is working on the case.

The tragedy, believed to have been caused by jealousy, occurred about 2:30 at the home of the victim.

Miss Tsuboichi came to Poston in May, 1942 from Imperial Calif. She resided at Block 54 previous to her transfer to block 15. She ws the only daughter of Ryosaku Tsuboichi, a widower who was formerly a hog and dairy rancher in Imperial Valley.

Takahashi is from Bakersfield, Calif. Both were employed at the Block 15 mess hall.

The next report is more serious, as this person was murdered. This is from the Minidoka Irrigator, , July 8, 1944.

TULE LAKE CO-OP HEAD MURDERED. Yaogo (?) Hitomi, 44 years old, former Sacramento insurance man, was mysteriously stabbed to death last Monday night, according to reports.

His throat cut, apparently by a long knife, the victim was found by his niece, Fumiko Hitomi, lying against the porch of a neighbor. The office of the district attorney of Modoc county was notified and is conducting an investigation.

>No indication was given by the WRA officials as to what motives may be behind the killing, and whether Hitomi's position with the Co-op merchandising enterprises have anything to do with it.

Just where Hitomi had been before an assassin slipped up on him in the dark was not immediately ascertained. A center carnival attracted thousands in the last day or two and, it is reported, there had been considerable drinking of sake among some of the Japanese men.

As general manager of the Tule Lake Cooperative stores, Hitomi was one of the most prominent men in the center.

There's an interesting use of a word here: 'assassin.' Rather than say a killer had slipped up on him, the writer used the assassin term which implies something more than a simple murder, that Hitomi may have been picked because of his prominent position.

The (?) means that I was not able to make out the first name clearly.

One of the really stupid things to do in life is to try to assault a Military Policeman. Not a smart move at all. Some people, if they've had enough to drink, will try anything, though. From the Gila Courier of Sept. 28, 1944, comes the following report:

TULEAN ASSAULTS MP WITH KNIFE. Harry Hiroshi Kawai, 25, was arrested Thursday in the Tule Lake relocation center when he assaulted an MP with a meat cleaver according to the Arizona Daily Star. the soldier was slightly injured.

Sheriff John C. Sharp said that Kawai told him he was drunk on home made sake and the MP was assaulted merely because he was the nearest person at the time.

Kawai was taken to the Murdock county jail at Alturas, and charged with assault with a deadly weapon.

The next report is from the Manzanar Free Press of October 11, 1944. This one, also, involves a murder.

SEEK ARIZONA EVACUEE ON MANSLAUGHTER CHARGE. Arizona police were on a lookout for Isamu Takahashi, 35, for the slaying of May Tsuboichi, 24 of Poston Relocation Center, stated the Poston Chronicle.

May Tsubochi was found in her room on Thursday afternoon, September 26, in a critical condition with butcher knife wounds throughout her body.

Succumbs Saturday. She was immediately taken to the Poston General Hospital and was operated upon shortly thereafter but succumbed on Saturday night.

Examination revealed that 31 separate wounds have been inflicted on her body.

The Chronicle disclosed that the tragedy was believed to have been caused by jealousy.

Takahashi flees. Takahashi fled after committing the crime and was last seen going toward Parker on Thursday night.

The paper added that broadcasts and teletypes have been sent out to the surrounding vicinity for his capture and the internal security office is also working on the case.

Miss Tsuboichi arrived in Poston on May, 1942, from Imperial, Calif., and was the only daughter of Ryosaku Tsuboichi, a widower who was formerly a hog and dairy rancher in Imperial Valley.

There was one other stabbing, this one reported in the Poston Chronicle of December 12, 1944. This was a hatchet assault.

UNIT III MAN IS VICTIM OF HATCHET ASSAULT. Hiroshi Shima of 307 suffered lacerations of the scalp and contusions about the face and neck last Wednesday night after he was assaulted with a hatchet according to James Leberthon internal security chief.

Atsunobu Sate 57 of 367 7-a suspected of having committed the assault tried to kill himself by cutting his throat with a razor Sunday night at Unit III police station where he was beng held prior to being taken to Yuma for trial. He is now at the hospital.

Shima said that he had been threatened three days previous to the attack. He and Sato have known each other for 35 years.

The motive is believed to have been jealousy.

Shootings Inside the Camps

The good news is that there weren't a lot of shootings within the camps. The bad news is that there were any at all. There is still a controversy over whether or not the shootings were justified. No final decision can ever be made on that, though.

Not every single one of these shootings took place within the physical camp, though. There was some of this type of violence in the areas near to the camps were evacuees were working. Such is the very first case, taken from the Granada Pioneer of October 21, 1942.

GRANADA WORKER SHOT: Frank Nakamoto, 38, of Granada was today recovering from a superficial gunshot wound in the chest. He was treated at the Greeley hospital Sunday after being accidentally shot, while working in a beet field, by a boy who was target shooting in the area.

Accidents do happen, of course, and at least this one was accidental.

The next set of articles deal with a shooting at Topaz. The first one is from the Topaz Times of April 12, 1943.

RESIDENT KILLED: While attempting to crawl through the west fence between sentry posts Nos. 8 and 9 at 7:30 PM Sunday, James Hatsuki Wakasa, aged 63, residing at 36-7-D, was warned back four times by the sentries on duty.

When he failed to heed the warnings, one of the sentries fired and Wakana was instantly killed.

Lerne Belle, acting project director in the absence of Charles F. Ernst, project director, now in Washington, D.C. and James F. Hughes, assistant project director, who was in Salt Lake City, were notified of the death by Internal Security which had been informed by the military police and immediately summoned members of the administrative staff, the community council and other representative residents.

The occurrence was explained to them, Mr. Ernst was called on the long distance telephone in Washington, and Mr. Hughes was called in salt Lake City, and informed of the details.

James Hatsuki Wakasa was born in Japan and came to the United states in 1903. Prior to evacuation he resided at 142 Taylor Street, San Francisco.

He was chef by trade and during World War I served as a civilian instructor of cooking at Camp Dodge, Iowa. He was unmarried.

A graduate of Koio (?) College in Tokyo in 1900, he studied at Hyde Park high school in Chicago for three years, and completed a two-year post graduate course at the University of Minnesota in 1916.

He had no known relatives.

Another article in the Granada Pioneer of April 13, 1943 was a shortened version of the above article. An article in the Tule Lake newsletter Tulean Dispatch of April 28, 1943, also covered the event, adding that the shooting was under investigating and a military hearing would be held.

The controversy over the shooting revolved around a couple of issues; why was Wakasa near the fence, and why didn't he respond to the sentry's warnings? On theory was that Wakasa was chasing a dog. He might not have actually heard the sentry if his own hearing was poor and the wind was blowing. In that the shooting would be a very unfortunate series of events that ended up coming up wrong.

Another theory that has been put forth is that Wakasa, 63, was tired of living, of being alone, of being in the camp, etc, and chose his own way of being killed.

All those theories, of course, are pure speculation (although, in today's non-news news shows they would probably be presented as facts and debated endlessly on program after program.)

There were two articles relating to the funeral, the first from the Topaz Times of April 15,1943.

PUBLIC RITES SLATED FOR JAMES H. WAKASA: A public funeral for the late James Hatsuaki Wakasa, 36-7-D, who was shot to death by a sentry Sunday night, will be held Monday, April 19, at 2:30 PM, it was decided at a meeting of the 66 block representatives Wednesday night at 1-10-C. Residents of Block 26 are making arrangements for the funeral, it was added.

The block representatives also decided that a full discussion of the Wakasa case will be held when the representative of the Spanish Embassy arrives here this Saturday afternoon. Other problems and requests will also be laid before the Spanish Embassy representative.

Representations to have the fence around the City removed completely will be made by the residents through the national WRA office or the Spanish Embassy, it was brought out.

On the 20th of April the Topaz Times ran another article, this one describing the funeral, who spoke, who was there, etc.

So, we have a shooting and a funeral. The next thing is to see what happened to the MP who shot Wakasa. First, from the Topaz Times of April 13, 1943.

M.P. SENTRY ARRESTED; TO BE COURT-MARTIALED: The sentry who shot to death James Hatsuki Wakasa, 63, a resident, on Sunday night, has been arrested and will be court-martialed at Fort Douglas as the result of a military hearing held at Salt Lake City.

Col. Wing, head of the military police in the 9th district, presided over the military hearing at Salt Lake City.

A representative of the Spanish embassy in Washington and the Spanish consul in San Francisco will come to Topaz this week and investigate the killing of James Hatsuki Wakasa, it was announced Tuesday night. A member of the State Department is also coming here, it was added.

At a meeting of councilmen and resident representatives from each block held Monday night at 1-10-C, the following committee of 10 representatives was elected to draw up recommendations for action to be taken by the residents of the affair (then the names are listed.)

The administration previously informed the resident investigation groups that Project Director Ernst had wired from Washington a statement that the War Department has assured a complete investigation. He expressed his deep regret over the incident and stated that everything possible will be done to the end that such an incident shall never recur.

As the result of a conference between administration and the military police Tuesday, the alert was called off and the sentries ordered not to carry extra sidearms, which is a part of their regular equipment. It was emphasized that orders had been issued by the military police that no waving of weapons in front of the residents would be allowed.

Another article in the Topaz Times, of April 21, 1943, made a brief reference to the court-martial. The Gila News-Courier on April 27, 1943 ran an article called ACTON SEEN ON TOPAZ KILLING, and the Heart Mountain Sentinel of May 1, 1943, ran a similar article.

There was a direct effect of the shooting, though, that ended up bringing at least a little good out of the tragedy. The Topaz Times ran an Extra on April 20, 1943.

DAY GUARDS ABOLISHED-WASHINGTON ORDERS WITHDRAWAL OF SENTIRES DURING DAY HOURS FROM POSTS ALONG CITY LIMITS. An order effective April 21 was received by the Project administration from Washington that all Military Police sentries except one will be withdrawn from the gates and observation points adjacent to the city boundaries daily between the hours of 7 AM and 7 PM.

During the day hours only one soldier will be on duty by the City. He will be stationed at the main gate by the administration area and will limit his function to routine checking of incoming baggage and parties.

There will be guards at checking stations which have been established at the boundaries of the Project area along the main roads to Delta. The military will continue to patrol the outer boundaries of the Project area.

All Military Police personnel have been ordered by Lt. H.H.Miller, commanding officer of the local Military Police, to refrain from molesting or injuring the Topaz residents.

The Project administration called the attention of the residents to the impending necessity that all persons be certain to carry authorized passes whenever they leave or re-enter the Project area.

The next shooting was probably accidental, although the actual cause was not determined. The article is from the Poston Chronicle of November 3, 1943.

STRAY BULLET HITS RESIDENT. Shingo Yoshida, known throughout Poston as the Japanese cowboy, received superficial injuries to his right side when he was struck by a stray bullet while working on the ranch of Henry Leyvus later Monday afternoon.

Yoshida, 18 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Hanjiro Yoshida, block 12-7-A, was working along in the corn field at the time of the accident, Mr. Leyvus having gone to Blythe that day. He made his way to the ranch house, mounted a horse there and rode home.

He was immediately taken to the hospital where Dr. George Wada treated his wound and permitted him to return home.

While there is no reason to suspect anything other than that the wound was caused by a stray bullet from a hunter's gun, project officials and Yuma county authorities are making a thorough investigation.

The next shooting was at Gila. The Gila News-Courier ran the following article on December 2, 1943.

TRAGEDY FOLLOWS GILAN'S ATTEMPT TO GAIN FREEDOM: Satoshi Elmer Kira, age 22 of block 32, was shot and wounded 5:20 yesterday evening by a military police when he walked past a sentry post at the Chandler entrance despite orders to halt and two warning shots.

The wound is not serious and he is resting easily this morning, stated Hugo Wolter, community management head.

According to information received here, Kia, when ordered to stop, stated, 'I do not have to stop. I am President.' He continued to walk past the sentry. The sentry fired two warning shots which did not stop Kira.

The sentry then shot him in the left side, the bullet grazing his ribs and lodging in a muscle. The bullet has been removed. Medically, the wound was described as a clean, superficial one.

Relatives attributed Kira's failure to halt when ordered to an intense desire for freedom. They said that Kira, who is a third generation American, had felt the evacuation keenly, and resented bitterly the fact of his detention in rivers. Because in his resentment he had answered loyalty questions negatively, he had not been able to resettle despite many attempts to do so lately, they continued.

For several days prior to the shooting, Kira had been extremely nervous, requiring considerable attention, they said. Hospital attendants stated that Kira's statements have been incoherent after hospitalization.

Kira's leave clearance is on the approved list on the project. Final clearance from Washington is being awaited.

It seems to me that the guy had some mental problems. Sure, most of the people in the camps probably resented what had been done to them, but they did not try to just get up and walk out the gate, especially with an armed guard who fires warning shots. Still, there was no way for the sentry to know that the guy had some mental problems, and he had to do his job. Stop people from trying to escape.

Similar articles were run in the Minidoka Irrigator of December 11, 1943 and the Topaz Times of December 9, 1943.

So far we've had shootings at Granada (accidental), Topaz and Gila. The next camp to be hit by a shooting was Tule Lake. We'll start the reports with the Gila News-Courier of May 25, 1944.

EVACUEE SHOT AT TULE LAKE: A military police sentry at the Tule Lake segregation center yesterday shot and wounded Shiochi James Okamoto, 30 years old, American citizen of Japanese ancestry, the War Relocation Authority announced, according to A.P.

The sentry was on duty at the old main gate of the segregation center, the report stated.

Circumstances of the shooting and Okamoto's condition were not disclosed in the WRA announcement, the A.P. report said.

The Heart Mountain Supplement of May 25, 1944 had more details on the shooting. the first article, FORMER RESIDENT FATALLY WOUNDED IN TULE LAKE, notes that Okamoto had died. It also adds that the soldier who fired the shot was under military arrest. Then the second article appears.

MORE DETAILS OF TULE LAKE SHOOTING ANNOUNCED: Additional details concerning the fatal wounding of Shiochi James Okamoto, 30, former Heart Mountain resident, by a member of the military police at the Tule Lake segregation center last Wednesday was revealed here yesterday by a teletype sent from Dillon S. Myer, national WRA director.

According to the wire, Okamoto was driving a truck returning from the project farm to the center when he was stopped by the sentry outside the gate. As he approached the sentry first struck him with the butt of a gun and then shot him at close range. Okomoto was taken to the center hospital Wednesday afternoon and died there Wednesday night.

The reason for the shooting was not clear as yet, Myer said. Army authorities at the center have arrested the sentry and are conducting an investigation.

The Topaz Times of May 27, 1944, added yet more details.

TULE NISEI DIES FROM MP'S SHOT: Shoichi Okamoto, who was shot by an MP sentry, died May 25, it was reported. Four blood transfusions were given to the wounded man after Japanese and Caucasian surgeons had operated in hope of saving Okamoto's life.

The WRA released an eye-witness account by an unidentified Caucasian employee who said he ws in a truck following another farm truck which stopped and blocked the gateway.

'The guard was talking to this Jap,' his account said. 'They were arguing. I couldn't tell what it was about. The guard said 'Don't get out of that truck.' Anyhow the Jap got out of the driver's side and I am sure the guard said ,'Don't come any closer, you...' About that time he drew up his rifle, butt end. He was going to hit him on the head. The Jap moved, the guard backed up about three feet and shot. That is as near as I can picture it.'

The same day an article ran in the Gila News-Courier that added yet more details to the incident.

There were 17 eye-witnesses to the shooting. One Caucasian witness repeated the part about Okamoto driving a truck, then adds 'he stopped at the gate and the soldier demanded to see his blue identification pass. The Japanese made sarcastic remarks. When he returned, the soldier again asked to see his pass. Again the Japanese was sarcastic.'

' that moment, another truck drove up to the gate. The soldier motioned Okamoto backward. Okamoto merely lit his pipe. The sentry pushed him back with his gun. Okamoto raised his arm, as one would in ju-jitzu.

The sentry stepped back two paces and fired.'

A few days later the Gila News-Courier ran an article saying SHOOTING CAUSE NOT YET CLEAR. The Manzanar Free Press ran an article on May 31, 1944, covering the shooting.

(In case you're wondering why the articles are not all run on the same day, it's rather simple. The camp newsletters were not daily publications. Some of them were nearly daily, more of them were issued every few days, and some would have a break of a week or so before the next issue came out.)

The Topaz Times of May 31, 1944, reports t he Coroner's Jury findings.

CORONER'S JURY SAYS ACTED 'IN LINE OF DUTY' IN SHOOTING: The unidentified soldier, who fatally wounded Shoichi Jakes Okamoto, American Japanese at the Tule Lake center, acted 'in line of duty' a coroner's jury reported last Friday.

The verdict from 6 men and 2 women came after testimony from 18 witnesses, including 17 internees and one WRA foreman, from which it appeared that Okomoto had refused to show proper passes at the gate, and was shot 'after he suddenly made a move as if to grab the soldier's rifle.'

An Army board of investigation was inquiring into the case in the wake of the coroner's investigation, a news report indicted.'

(Notice that I am quoting the articles. In this instance there is a difference in the way the man's last name was written. Some articles referred to him as Okomoto, the others as Okamoto.)

The Granada News-Courier of May 31, 1944, ran an article on the shooting, and the Manzanar Free Press of June 3, 1944, ran an article saying TULE LAKE SENTRY CLEARED OF CHARGES. The same day the Heart Mountain Sentinel ran an article about the same thing.

Shootings Outside the Camps

The shootings inside the camps, as we have seen, have either been accidental, or have been done purposely by the M.P.s at the camps. Although personal prejudice may have played a part in one or two of the shootings, it was not the primary part.

The shootings outside the camps, though, were a different matter entirely. These were almost always act of racial prejudice, acts carried out in the style of the KKK and similar thuggish groups that relied on violence as a way to try and impose their will upon everyone else.

Also, there are rather a lot of these shootings. They go all the way from the middle of 1943 on through to August of 1945. The majority of them happened after the evacuees were allowed to return to the West Coast, and generally the shootings were somewhere in California, which is not at all surprising since California had been the leader in the anti-Japanese movement in this country.

The first report is from the Provo FSA labor camp in Utah. It comes from the Granada Pioneer of October 6, 1943.

LABOR CAMP INCIDENT PROVOKED BY TRANSIENTS. A teletype received yesterday by Project Director Lindley from Ottis Peterson, acting relocation supervisor, reports an incident which occurred at Provo WFA labor camp, Utah, Saturday night.

With 200 evacuee residents housed in the Provo labor camp, the camp director reported that persons had fired shots into the camp. As a result of this, a girl received a scratch from a shot gun pellet, but no medical treatment was required.

Following up this case, it was reported that the incident was largely instigated by transients stopping at Provo, and 5 arrests have been made. the arrested ringleaders are facing federal charges, and Provo city officials, headed by Mayor Maurice Harding promised the camp residents full prosecution to those involved.

After a conference with WRA relocation officers, most of the evacuees expressed their intention to remain as long as their services were needed in saving Utah counties' crops.

Another article on this was run in the Topaz Times of October 6, 1943, and updated what had happened.

THREE INJURED IN PROVO RAID; ATTACKERS CAUGHT. As a result of quick action on the part of FBI and WRA officials, 5 persons guilty of an attack on the Provo FSA camp Saturday night were taken into custody, James F. Hughes, deputy director, announced yesterday.

The incident occurred when a carload of youths approach the camp and hurled insults at the occupants. This was followed by 4 of 5 shot gun charges directed at random towards the tent. Although the tens were perforated in many places, only 3 persons were injured, Hughes said.

One girl was struck on the leg, causing a painful but not serious injury. Two other men were also lightly struck by small shot.

The affair left most of the camp residents extremely frightened, especially since they were offered little protection or refuge by the tents.

Prompt investigations followed as Ottis Peterson, Rex lee and Henry Harris of the Salt Lake City relocation staff and FBI authorities interceded. They assured the camp residents that nothing would be left undone to apprehend the guilty parties, and to obtain assurances for future safety and considerations from city authorities.

With information of the license number of the car from camp residents, and a report from a Japanese farmer in Orem, the FBI arrested a youth who admitted his participation in the shooting. Upon further questioning by the FBI, he named his companions.

After the arrest of the suspicious persons, it was learned that the driver of the car was an alleged army deserter with a stolen car from Idaho. Another youth was a civilian impersonating a soldier, and the rest were young hoodlums.

The mayor of Provo attended the camp meeting Sunday night to apologize to the residents for the shameful incident, it was reported. He expressed the city's appreciation for the seasonal workers' aid on the Provo farms. A meeting of the city council, civic and business leaders was called by the mayor to discuss and eliminate disturbances created by discrimination and unfair treatment.

So, here's this group of thugs that want to call the hard-working Japanese Americans names, yet they themselves include an army deserter, a stolen car, and a person impersonating a soldier. Pretty disgusting, actually.

Of course, in today's world we have so many politicians and others railing against people who are homosexual or lesbian, yet it turns out their hands were in the cookie jar all along. I hate hypocrisy.

There were other articles in other camps. The Gila News-Courier ran an article on this event as did the Rohwer Outpost.

The next shooting incident was, fortunately, an accident. The report comes from the Heart Mountain Supplement of July 11, 1944.

VICTIM OF SHOOTING ACCIDENT IMPROVING. The condition of George Yamasaki, seasonal worker employed near Cowley, who was accidentally shot Thursday, is steadily improving at the center hospital, according to Dr. Charles Irwin, chief medial officer.

A .22 caliber bullet fired by Julian frost, well known Big Horn county farmer, while hunting blackbirds, entered Yamasaki's left side puncturing the cardiac and of the stomach and part of the pancreas and was located near the left side of the third lumber vertebrae.

At least this was a complete accident. Obviously the farmer needed some gun safety rules, though, or strong glasses if he couldn't see that there was a human nearby.

Now we move on to the state of Nevada, this time for something that was done on purpose. The report comes from the Topaz Times of January 24, 1945.

THREE NISEI WOUNDED SAT. IN WELLS, NEVADA. A.S. Baliff, WRA official in Salt Lake City, today confirmed a Twin Falls, Idaho, news report that three nisei were wounded Saturday night in Wells, Nev, and said hospital attaches believe the man will recover.

Bailiff quoted Sheriff C. Smith of Elko as saying that the nisei had identified James R. Monroe, 41, Minodka, railroad brakeman, as the man who shot them without warning in the Wells hotel cafe when they declined to cash his check because the manager, Carlo Nakamura, as not in. Monroe is being held on an open charge.

The sheriff identified the wounded men as Harry Gomi, Kyotora Fujinami and Kenneth Kikomoto, 25. He said there was no community feeling against the Japanese Americans, who had operated the restaurant for seven months.

The Minidoka Irrigator of January 27, 1945, also ran an article on the shooting. It noted that Monroe claimed he had not been drinking, and that his mind was a blank when he did the shooting.

The Topaz Times of January 27, 1945, also covered the event. It noted that Monroe claimed he had been the victim of amnesia on former occasions, and that 'I don't remember shooting any Japs.' He claimed he had no feeling against the Japanese, though. In fact, he claims he didn't even remember coming in the town or registering at the Allen hotel.

Two of the shooting victims were still in the hospital, the third, who was only slightly wounded, was still in Wells.

The Manzanar Free Press of the 31st of January said Monroe was going to fact charges of assault with intent to kill. It adds minor details to the shooting, that one man was shot in the leg and stomach, another in the chest, and the third in the thumb. The wounds of the first two were considered serious.

The Heart Mountain Sentinel of February 3 adds more details. Monroe was known as a troublemaker. The check he wanted cashed was for $20. Monroe had been drinking (opposite to what he had claimed earlier.) He left and came back several hours later, stood in the entrance of the kitchen and fired 8 shots at the workers.

There were two other articles from other camps on the same shooting.

Then things got even uglier. The next case concerns shots fired into the home of a Japanese American. It's from the Granada News-Courier of February 21, 1945.

SHOTS FIRED INTO HOME: An unidentified person fired three shots at the home of Frank Osaki, 26, who recently returned to the Fowler district from Gila River (Ariz.) relocation center, it was reported. Sheriff George J. Overholt announced his office is investigating the case.

According to Deputy Sheriff Eugene Hunter, one of the shots was fired at the front door, another at a window and third through the screen porch adjoining the kitchen.

None of the shots struck Osaki, who was asleep in a bedroom on the opposite side of the house from where the shooting occurred. The incident took place on Saturday morning, Feb.10, ad about 1 o'clock, while Osaki was alone in the house.

Since his return, Osaki told Hunter, only once did he feel any resentment shown of his presence. It occurred in a Fowler store, where a Filipino stared at him constantly but said nothing.

Osaki and his brother, Moro, who was recently discharged from the Army, returned to the ranch about 6 months ago. Moro is not in Arizona making arrangements to bring west their parents.

Hunter said his investigation failed to show any animosity in the neighborhood, of in Fowler, where Osaki transacts most of his business. Osaki is convinced his neighbors had nothing to do with the attack, asserting that they all have been friendly and aided him in reestablishing himself on his ranch.

It turned out, though, that this was only part of a wave of violence against the Nisei in the Fresno area. The next article is from the Manzanar Free Press of February 21, 1945.

THREE NISEI FAMILIES IN FRESNO ATTACKED: Unidentified assailants fired shots into the homes of two Japanese Americans here and set fire and burned the home of a third Japanese American family recently, the San Francisco Chronicle revealed.

Six shotgun blasts were fired at the S.J. Kakutani family while they sat at dinner in their home near Parlier. No one was hurt.

Three shots were fired into the house of Frank Okasaki in the Fowler district while the home of Bob Nirishige, former Selma garbage man was set afire and destroyed. Soltin fire officials declared the fire was apparently of an incendiary origin.

An article in the Heart Mountain Sentinel of February 24, 1945, adds that the shots at the Kakutani home were fired from about 100 yards away.

The next shooting incident is covered in the Topaz Times of March 3, 1945, and various other papers. It deals with more shootings in California.

SHOOTING THREATS ON EVACUEES IN VISALIA, LANCASTER REPORTED. Two shooting incidents involving evacuees who returned to their former farms in Visalia and Lancaster, California, were reported this week, according to news reports.

In Visalia, three shots from a high-powered rifle were fired in the house occupied by Sam Uyeno and 10 other Japanese on February 27, Sheriff S. Sherman disclosed. Investigating the shooting, the sheriff discovered a small unoccupied building near Yueno's place had been burned by trespassers later the following night. The building was owned by Frank Sakaguchi, who is at the Poston, Arizona camp.

Two bullets entered the living room and one in the bedroom of the Uyeno home. Although bullets passed near some of the 11 occupants, none were injured.

Uyeno relocated from the Poston relocation center and returned with 10 of his family and relatives, including his elderly parents and several children.

John Shiokeri, 22, who recently returned to his alfalfa ranch near Lancaster, reported shots were fired into his home and pump house on February 23. Six rifle shells, purportedly bearing Army markings, were found near his house.

Shoikari was evacuated to the Poston relocation camp and returned to his ranch on February 15.

Similar articles were run in other newsletters. The Granada Pioneer of March 3, 1945, ran an article on the Shikari shooting; the Gila News-Courier had an article on the third about both shootings, and the Granada Pioneer ran another article on the tenth abut the shootings.

Less than two weeks later there was yet another shooting, but of even crueler nature. The article comes from the Granada Pioneer of March 14, 1945.

RETURNEES ATTACKED WITH FIRE AND BULLETS. San Jose-Early last week a Japanese family of nine were attacked with fire and bullets by a group of unidentified men who set fire to the ranch home on the San Jose-Alviso road to which they had returned recently from a relocation center.

This was the first case of violence against the returning evacuees to be reported to Santa Clara county authorities.

Gasoline was splashed on the wooded six-room house and a match applied. And as the family wakened and rushed out to fight the flames, shots were fired at them from a slowly moving sedan which subsequently disappeared in the darkness.

Joe Takeda. nisei and acting head of the household, said: 'We expected something unpleasant but we didn't anticipate this. We have no bitterness. We realize we are the victims of circumstances. We have always wanted to help the war effort and have sent word to the farmers of the valley we would be glad to help...where needed, especially those farms where sons are in the service.'

Three deputies who were at the scene shortly after being called fund two empty jugs still carrying the odor of gasoline. They also discovered that the telephone wires had been cut, the attackers obviously unaware the telephone had been previously removed and had not been restored.

Sheriff William J. Emig, in announcing the attack, expressed belief the men were drunk, since several liquor bottles were found near the building.

This sounds like something you might read about some report from the war. Soldiers fire on enemy-occupied building after setting fire to it, shoot at the enemy as they run. It's totally and utterly disgusting. The men had their 'liquid courage,' but that shouldn't excuse them from what they did.

The next attack is from April. Again, it's in California. The report is from the Granada News-Pioneer of April 4, 1945.

NISEI HOME FIRED UPON: To determine whether the bullet dug from the wall of the home of Mineru Ohashi on the Ripperdan road was fired by a rifle or revolver, Deputy Sheriff Ray Andress sent the bullet to the state bureau of identification in Sacrament for examination.

The slug was one of five fired into the Ohashi home early last week. In the building were Ohashi, an honorable discharged veteran; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. R. Ohashi, his brother-in-law, Col. Y.A. Kawamote, and S. Dobashi, a friend. Nobody was hurt.

Andress said the state attorney general's office called from Sacramento for a complete report of the shooting, but did not indicate that action, if any, would be taken.

Meanwhile a thorough investigation was launched by District Attorney Everett Coffee in collaboration with the sheriff's office.

The bullet that entered the house went through an inch thick outside wall, shattered a mirror in an upstairs bedroom and then drove into the inside wall panel.

Ohashi, 26, returned to his home March 11, bringing his family with him, after he was given a medical discharge from the Army. He has a brother in the service on the western front.

He told the officers he has heard no threats and that his relations with his neighbors have been friendly.

Notice the pattern developing here. The people whose homes are shot up and/or set on fire are patriotic people who have served their country. They get along with the neighbors. The attackers are the outsiders.

The Manzanar Free Press of April 11, 1945, ran a short article on the attack.

Then there's a space of a couple of weeks before something else happens. Again the attack is in California. (The next book in this series, Before the Camps: Prejudice Against the Japanese As Seen in Books of the Time, will cover the prejudice in California in particular that set the stage for not only the evacuation of the Japanese Americans but for the violence that met them on their return to California.)

This article is from the Granada Pioneer of April 21, 1945.

REVEALS THIRD SHOOTING: Merced, Calif. The third shooting episode involving a returnee family at Livingston was disclosed by the sheriff's office recently.

Deputy Arthur Hoffman said two shots were fired into the ranch home of A. Andew by an unidentified person. The shots, from a .22 caliber rifle, ripped through the uprights on the porch in front of the Andew house.

Andew's only comment was, 'I am sorry people don't like me out here.'

Livingston was the scene of still another shooting less than two weeks later. The Topaz Times of May 1, 1945, ran this article:

ANOTHER LIVINGSTON INCIDENT IS REPORTED; S.F. PAPER WANTS ACTION. Twenty minutes after four shots were fired into the Kishi home in Livingston, a second shooting occurred at the home of Bob Morimoto, honorably discharged soldier, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. One bullet passed through Morimoto's home.

Sheriff Lucius Cornell of Merced said ,'It's kind of difficult to find a suspect. We did find the bullet in one of the places though. Now all we've got to do is to find the suspect with the same kind of gun.' He added 'If this keeps up I guess it will be a matter of putting someone out there. but you can't stay out there all the time. I don't know exactly what we're going to do.'

In its editorial section, the Chronicle criticizes sheriff Cornell for his attitude and states that 'a sheriff would have to be unconscious not to know the backroom resorts where this element gathers.' It insists that if federal intervention is necessary, 'California will be known as the state that was unable to prevent outrages on the homes of American soldiers.'

The Topaz Times of May 1, 1945, adds more details to the shooting. Kishi was home along with his wife, two daughters, and two other persons. They have two sons in the U.S. Army, both stationed at Ft. Snelling, Minnesota. The Granada News-Courier of May 3 noted that the bullets from both shootings were believed to have come from the same Springfield army rifle. It added that there had been seven shootings in Merceed county since evacuees began to return.

The matter did not stop there, though. As noted in the Heart Mountain Sentinel of April 28, 1945, the two brothers in the army wrote to the Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes for protection for their parents and sisters.

They said 'Vandals have been terrorizing our parents and sisters returned to our family farm. Request necessary steps be taken to protect their lives and properties.'

Both brothers were in training in the intelligence department for interpretation and translation duty in the Pacific theater.

There was sort of a follow-up article in the Granada Pioneer of May 18, about Ickes' statement on law enforcement, or, rather, lack of it.

SAYS VIGOROUS LAW ENFORCEMENT ABSENT. Declaring that 15 shooting attacks against the evacuee returnees had brought no suspects to trial, Interior Secretary Harold L. Ickes denounced the 'planned terrorism by hoodlums' in rural California.

Ickes charged the 'hoodlums grow more desperate in their lawlessness' as evacuees return to their farms and homes.

In addition to the shooting attempts, the interior secretary disclosed one attempted dynamiting, three arson cases and five 'threatening visits.'

'In the absence of vigorous law enforcement, a pattern of planned terrorism by hoodlums had developed,' Ickes declared.

'It is a matter of national concern because this lawless minority seems determined to employ its Nazi storm trooper tactics against loyal Japanese Americans and law abiding Japanese aliens in spite of the state laws and constitutional safeguards designed to protect the lives and property of all of the people of this country.

'Many of the evacuees' nisei sons are fighting the Japanese enemy in the Philippines, at Okinawa, and in other Pacific combat areas.

'They are far more in the American tradition than the race-baiters fighting a private war safely at home.'

Shots have been fired into the homes of families with American service flags stars in the windows, stated Ickes.

The secretary's statement was based on a WRA report covering incidents of the last four months. The report covers only violence cases and does not include 'economic boycotts and advertising campaigns conducted in Oregon, Washington, and California, or vandalism and theft of their property.'

Now we jump all the way from California to Illinois for the next shooting. This report is from the Topaz times of May 11, 1945, and concerns a shooting in Chicago.

JAPANESE IN CHICAGO SHOT BY NEGRO YOUTH; WOUNDS ARE REPORTED SLIGHT. The Chicago WRA office reported Wednesday that Keigo Miura, Stevens hotel employee, was wounded slightly by a bullet fired by a negro youth on May 4, but has already returned to work.

Miura said he and several negro boys and girls aged 16 to 17 were standing on the safety island at 61st and State streets at 10 PM when one of the boys suddenly produced a small pistol and shot him.

He was not robbed and there is no apparent motivation for the shooting, the WRA report said.

That one is hard to figure out. Another article was run on the same shooting in the Gila News-Courier of May 16.

Anyhow, just four days later we're back in California for another round of what must have seemed like open season on returnees. This report comes from the Topaz Times of May 15, 1945.

SHOTS FIRED ON RETURNEE'S HOME. Fresno, May 9-Two shots were fired here late last night at the home of Setsugo Sakamoto, 61-year-old Japanese resident and father-in-law of two servicemen.

Sakamoto, a court interpreter for many years prior to evacuation, reported to the police that he heard a car pass at approximately 10:30 PM when the shots were fired.

Police, upon a routine investigation, discovered that two .39 caliber bullets embedded in the house,but were unable to determine who fired them.

They said that Sakamoto had been active in civic affairs for many years and had returned to his Fresno home from internment camp about a month ago. His daughters are married to servicemen—one, a Caucasian.

Articles about the shooting were also run in the Granada Pioneer of May 16 and the Gila News-Courier of the same date.

Less than two weeks later there's yet another shooting in California. This is from the Topaz Times of May 25, 1945.

ANOTHER SHOOTING REPORTED IN FRESNO. Deputy sheriffs are seeking persons who fired four rifle bullets into the wall of a bedroom occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Masaru Miyamoto, recently returned Japanese evacuees, and their two small children, in their home on a 75-acre vineyard east of Selma.

Deputy Sheriff Hubert Nevins said two of the bullets narrowly missed Mrs. Miyamoto and the others passed through a wall about seven feet above the floor. he said they fired from a passing automobile.

The Miyamotos returned to the Selma district from the Gila River relocation center last month.

Similar articles ran in the Gila News-Courier of May 26 and the Granada Pioneer of the same day.

Finally, however, someone was caught and arrested. The article is from the Gila News-Courier of May 30, 1945.

ICKES REPORTS ARREST OF GUN SUSPECT. Secretary of Interior Ickes reported last Saturday the first arrest for attempted shooting of Japanese Americans on the West coast.

Ickes said he had been informed by the WRA that Earnest Multanen of Parlier, Calif., was arrested on May 25. He said Multanen had admitted firing a shotgun at the house of Charles K. Iwasaki at Reedly, Calif., on May 20.

>Meanwhile, in Seattle, Wash., Associated Press reported, that 22-year-old Harold S. Burton of Vashon Island, who admitted burning four homes of evacuated Japanese, pleaded guilty to second degree arson and was fined $1000 last Wednesday by Superior Judge James T. Lawler.

Burton, the father of two children, said he thought burning the homes would present return of the Japanese to the Puget Sound.

A similar article was run in the May 30 issue of the Granada Pioneer. It noted there had been some twenty attempted shootings.

Remember from earlier on how, once a suspect was tried, they generally walked pretty much free? Well, its deja vu all over again. The June 6, 1945 issue of the Granada Pioneer noted that Multanen was given a six month probationary term and that's it. Bultanen claimed he did the shooting over the grief of the supposed death of his nephew in the South Pacific.

A Gila News-Courier article of June 6 added that the judge had warned him against 'further illegal acts.'

My, such a strong and effective ruling. With such wonderful court rulings, all violence was immediately stopped in its tracks.


Topaz Times, June 8, 1945.

VANDALS FIRE SHOTS INTO MIMURA HOME. Sheriff S.B. Sherman of Kings county revealed last week that someone had fired two rifle shots into the home of Kaudy Mimura, 32, of Orosi, California. No one was injured by the shots.

The shooters had to prove that they were equal-opportunity haters, though, so this time they took on a Caucasian WRA agent. This from the Gila News-Courier of July 4, 1945.

SHOT FIRED AT WRA AGENTS HOME. James Edmiston, WRA officer of San Jose, reported that a bullet had been fired through a breakfast room window of his home two miles from San Jose, on June 2, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Informed of the incident, H.B. Cozzons, assistant director of WRA in San Francisco, immediately requested a thorough investigation by the FBI, contending that 'here was a deliberate attempt to intimidate a government agent during the performance of his duty.

A similar article was in the Manzanar Free Press of July 7. Another article was in the Granada Pioneer of July 4. That article noted that 'Edminston has aided a total of 711 evacuees to become resettled in their old homes in the Santa Clara valley. He has been particularly active in investigating acts of terrorism against returnees.'

Since regular methods of finding these thugs didn't seem to be paying off, the ACLU offered a $1000 reward for 'the arrest and felony conviction of any person attacking a Japanese in California' according to the Topaz Times of July 13, 1945.

Now so far what we've been dealing with have been shootings either by known men, or probably by men. This time, though, we have a shooting done by a woman. The report is from the Topaz Times of July 20, 1945, and the shooting happens in Minneapolis.

SHOTS FIRED INTO HOME OF NISEI G.I. A fifty-year old Minneapolis woman fired a shotgun shell into the home of a Nisei soldier, Technical Sergeant Kay Tagami, 25, 4153-38 Avenue South, Minneapolis, the Chicago WRA office reported today. Neither Kay, his wife or their year-old son Gerold, was injured.

The Minneapolis Morning Tribute reported that the woman is being held for observation at the General hospital and that neighbors said the woman had been acting queerly.

The Gila News-Courier ran a similar article the next day, noting that the sergeant had been at Rivers Internment Camp in the Canal camp section.

The final shooting report comes from the Gila News-Courier of August 8. The Manzanar Free Press ran a similar article on August 11, 1945.

From the Gila article:

SHOT FIRED AT EVACUEE GARAGE. sometime during the night on Juily 31, a shot was fired into the commercial garage at 1402 Kern Street, Fresno, Calif., owned by a 45 year old Japanese-American, Tom Inouye, who returned recently from an Arkansas camp with his wife and son, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Police investigation admitted they had only the spent bullet for a clue, but said the shot was apparently fired from an automobile on the street, as indicated by the flight of the bullet. The bullet fired from a .22 caliber pistol, was a 'short' which entered a front window of the garage, struck the cash register, and shattered into three pieces.

Burning Down the House

There were a few instances of people trying to burn down the homes of Japanese American people after they had gotten back from the internment camps. This is, of course, an act of cowardice, but people who are into this type of thing don't really think rationally. One of the darkest examples of burning things was done by the KKK who loved to burn crosses on the lawns of those they hated. Hating a lot of different kinds of people, they ended up burning a lot of crosses.

A science-fiction show called Alien Nation, about aliens that had landed on earth and were trying to fit into earth society, had an episode where the Purists, those people who wanted the aliens are gone (they couldn't go anywhere, actually; they were stuck here), burned a circle on the lawn of one of the main characters who was an alien. Hate takes many forms.

All articles refer to attacks carried on outside of the camps themselves.

From the Gila News-Courier of February 21, 1945, comes this article about Fresno County.

HOODLUMS BURN, SHOOT: Unidentified persons in Fresno county last week set one evacuee's house on fire and blasted two other evacuees' houses with shotgun barrages.

The home of Bob Merishige, who before the war operated Selma's largest garage, was set afire and destroyed Friday, Feb. 1, along with the owner's and several other evacuees furniture and household effects stored there, reported the L.A. Times. The loss was estimated at $7000.

The blaze was pronounced as 'plainly of incendiary origin' by the Selma fire chief.

Merishige formerly resided in Canal and was the black manager of block 10.

At about the same time that the fire occurred, a shotgun squad blasted a barrage of pelletts into the house of S.K. Kakutani at Smith and Adam Avenue, on the outskirts of Fresno. Kakutani, his wife and three children, and another couple, Ty and Ray Arifuku, who were in the house were unhurt.

Earlier in the week, three shotgun blasts were fired at the home of Frank Osuki, who had returned to California from Rivers three weeks ago.'

So, in this one article alone, we have one case of arson, and two cases of shootings.

The next report comes from the Gila Courier of March 10, 1945. It combines a burning and a shooting together.

SAN JOSE RETURNEE HOME SET AFIRE, FIRED UPON: A ranch home two miles from San Jose occupied by a family of nine former Gilans, was set afire and fired upon early Tuesday morning, March 6. No one was injured.

Sheriff William J. Emig reported that marauders had poured gasoline on the home of Joe Takeda, set fire to his house after cutting telephone connections, and then fired several shots.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Takeda discovered the fire at 12: 55 a.m. They were awakened by the small of gasoline, and Joe saw flames creeping up in front of the house.

'We had just succeeded in putting out the fire,' said Joe, 'when a dark sedan moved slowly in front of the house. A shot was fired. The car kept on but presented it was back, headed for San Jose.

'Two more shots rang out. One shot went over the head of my sister Beverly. Another narrowly missed Edward. One bullet was imbedded in the front wall.'

Deputies who investigated found two jugs with gasoline odor, and also some empty liquor bottles apparently dropped from the sedan.

The Takeds were in Rivers for eight months before relocating to Parowon, Utah.

To keep and eye on the situation, the WRA will establish an office at San Hose under James Ed. Edmisten.

So this one involved both forms of attack on innocent people. It is not at all surprising, either, that empty liquor bottles were found. Apparently it must have given the thugs liquid courage, so to speak.

The Topaz Times had an article in its March 13, 1945 issue, dealing with a house burning.

ATTACK REPORTED ON HOME OF NISEI FAMILY. Santa Clara County authorities hunted for a group of hoodlums who tried to burn the home of a Japanese American family on the San Jose-Alviso highway and then opened fire on the men, women and children with guns when they fled from the burning building last week, it was reported in the Oakland Tribune.

It was the first case of attempted violence against Japanese Americans who have returned to the Santa Clara valley, and drew immediate censure of law officers and private citizens.

The article then went on to list the names of the people. So, the thugs not only tried to burn them out, but even shot at them when they fled. Micro-minds at work.

Takeda was not going to be driven out by the thugs, though, as the following article, again from the Gila News-Courier, of April 4, 1945, demonstrates.

NISEI UNDAUNTED BY INTIMIDATION: Joe Takeda, whose San Jose home was fired upon and set afire, writes to the San Jose WRA officer that 'it would take much more than the incident reported to convince us that we are not wanted in this community.'

'We are satisfied the attack was perpetuated by a few individual thugs and that it does not in any way reflect the feelings of the people of Santa Clara county and San Jose against our family or any other returning evacuees.

'The report that we had left, or were about to leave our home is entirely without foundation.'

A brave man indeed.

Another article is from the Granada Pioneer, June 6, 1945. Someone had gotten caught.

FINED $1000 ON ARSON CHARGE. Harold S. Burton, Vashon-island farm worker who admitted burning four homes of evacuated Japanese, pleaded guilty to second degree arson and was find $1000 by superior Jude James T. Lawler.

Burton said he through burning the homes would prevent return of the Japanese to the Puget Sound island.

The final article is from the Manzanar Free press of June 20, 1945. This was an attempt to burn down three garages.

VANDALS ATTEMPT TO BURN GARAGES OF TWO JAPANESE. Hahanford-Vandals attempted to burn three garages owned by Americans of Japanese ancestry in this valley, the Lost Angeles Times reports.

A highly inflammable oil had been spattered over the floor of one garage where the fire started. This garage was not in use for several years, and is owned by George Omata.

The other two garages are owned by Harry Tetsukawa.

Fires were extinguished with a loss of $250.

Sum total is five houses torched and three garages torched.


Riots are particularly ugly events since the real dark side of human behavior comes out. The main riots we remember are the race riots of the Sixties. It seems anymore that there are lots of riots at sporting events ( a much less noble cause). Shootings have become so numerous that hardly anyone seems to keep score anymore. Whenever there's any kind of disaster it seems the looters and rioters come out like vultures to pick the bones of the innocent.

It's not surprising that there were a couple of riots in the camps. What did surprise me, though, were the riots outside of the camps at the time.

There's one thing I want to make clear here. I could add a lot of material from books written after the camps were closed but I'm not going to. What I am interested in doing is looking at things from the viewpoint of what the people inside the camp had access to. There are many fine books on the subject of the internment camps, but almost none of the ones I have looked at have even mentioned the newsletters much less gone into describing them and their view.

I. The Poston Riot

The first article on this is from the Manzanar Sentinel of Nov. 26, 1942.

HINTED 'DISTURBANCE' IN POSTON REVEALED. 'A defiant group of pro-Axis Japanese evacuees who overthrew their community government five days ago and terrorized workers to bring about a complete shutdown of operations in the largest of three units at the Poston Relocation Center were quelled today,' cries the lead on an AP story on the recent 'disturbance' hinted in last week's paper.

The Lost Angeles Times used the story of the Poston trouble as its lead story with an eight-column banner on the front page last Tuesday morning.

Aid of the military police was enlisted in restoring order at Unit No 1, it was reported, where the agitators had barricaded themselves before the jail in protest against the jailing of two men who 'participated in gang fights between aliens and American-born evacuees. They were charged with beating another resident of the camp.'

Private sources alleged that several prominent JACL members were attacked. It is reported that the group entrenched themselves before the jail doors to obstruct the normal machinery of justice.

Project Director W. Wade Head, in announcing the end of the disturbance, did not reveal the method used in quieting the center. According to Wade, banners with Japanese characters and Japanese martial music featured the demonstration Sunday night. The trouble was traced to a 'small but well-organized pro-Axis group.'

The trouble was localized in Unit I which has a normal population of 8600; and it was announced that 6500 workers, most of them youths and women, were forced into quitting their jobs by a reign of organized terror.

'Taking advantage of the excitement thus created the recalcitrants seized the so-called city council, or local government normally made up of American-born citizens' continues the dispatch.

Head explained that 'The strategy of the pro-Axis group apparently was to deliberately attempt the destruction of the Americanism of the American-born Japanese.' In this they have failed because the other two Poston units, which have a population of 4,000 and 5,000 respectively have had the situation under their control at all times, and have cooperated loyally with the administration.

Praising the loyal nisei, Head stated 'hundreds of fine, loyal American-born Japanese have worked as a team in defeating all pro-Axis groups without bloodshed or loss of property.'

Although it was denied that the military police had entered the center itself, it was revealed that additions have been made and all roads to the area are heavily patrolled.'

The next article dealing with this situation comes from the Minidoka Irrigator of Dec. 5, 1942.

NISEI COOPERATION AT POSTON LAUDED-HELPED IN QUELLING RIOT OF PRO-AXIS. The 'hundreds of fine American-born Japanese' who cooperated with the officials of the Army, federal agencies and members of the administration in ending the five-day disturbance at the Poston relocation center were commended by W. Wade Head, project director, in a statement released last week to the press and the radio.

Head commended the nisei for their part in working 'as a team in defeating' the pro-Axis group 'without bloodshed or loss of property' when that group seized control of the largest of three Poston units and created a general strike.

>Head's statement explained 'The work walkout affected some 6500 evacuees and the strategy of the pro-Axis group apparently was to deliberately attempt to destroy the administration of the American-born Japanese. In this they failed because the other two Poston units had the situation under their control at all times and loyally cooperated with the administration.

Sometimes it seems that justice moves rather slowly, because the next article dealing with this is months later. The article is from the Gila News-Courier of February 1, 1943.

FBI MEN ROUND-UP TOJO SYMPATHIZERS. Seven Japanese were arrested by FBI agents at Poston WRA center in connection with the uprising of the evacuees last November.

The round-up men were 'on emergency authorization of Frank E. Flynn, U.S. district attorney,' according to H.R. Duffey, agent in charge of FBI in Arizona.

The suspected Tojo sympathizers were lodged overnight in the Phoenix city jail and transferred to an internment camp to await hearing before an enemy alien internment board in El Paso, Texas, Flynn stated.

I find it somewhat odd that it was 'an emergency authorization' a little over two months after the actual event. Then, again, the ways of the government are sometimes hard to fathom.

II. The Manzanar Riot

This occurred December 5 and 6 of 1942. The first camp article related to this is from the Denson Tribune of December 11, 1942.

LOYAL NISEI STOP PRO-AXIS RIOT: The Dec. 7th riot in the Manzanar WRA center, which placed the oldest of these relocation centers under martial law, was caused by pro-Axis Japane3-born, Japanese-educated elements, according to an Associated Press story in the Arkansas Gazette.

Director Ralph Merritt,who had just taken over the job two weeks ago, said military police were forced to fire into the crowd of rioters, killing one and wounding nine, only after tear gas proved ineffective.

The riot began when loyal Japanese Americans attempted to stop a pro-Axis anniversary celebration of the Pearl Harbor attack.

One Japanese American, Fred Tayama, was beaten so severely that he had to be hospitalized, and another, Ted Uyeno, was removed for safety to the large county jail.

Fourteen heroic Japanese American Boy Scouts defied the mob of pro-axis sympathizers attempting to seize the American flag flying on the administration building flagpole.

'One of the pro-Axis sympathizers,' said Director Merritt, 'started for the flagpole to haul down the flag. The Boy Scouts surrounded the base of the flagpole. They had armed themselves with stones the size of baseballs. They defied the agitators or the whole mob to touch the flag. And the flag was not hauled down.'

Japanese loyal to America, Merritt added, are not only in the majority but have cooperated fully in efforts to control the pro-Axis group.

Merritt also indicated that through the cooperation of these loyal Japanese Americans, the situation was under control.

This, and riot at Tule, were two things that helped lead to the segregation of the 'disloyal' Japanese from the loyal Japanese later.

The Gila News-Courier was the next newsletter to run an article, doing that in their December 18, 1942 issue. This one gives a fuller description of what happened.

MISGUIDED MOB VIOLENCE CAUSES DEATH, INJURIES: An official statement issued jointly by the War Department and the War Relocation Authority, regarding the recent disturbance in Manzanar is released to the press as follows:

The first incident occurred on Saturday night, December 5, when a group of six men entered the apartment of Fred Tayama, an evacuee resident, and gave him a beating. Three of these men were taken into custody at the center, and one of them was subsequently transferred to the jail at nearby Independence.

Sunday morning, a committee demanded the return of the evacuee who had been transferred to the outside jail. It was agreed that the man would be returned to the center provided that [1] there would be no more gatherings; [2] order wold be maintained until the proper hearing could be held, and [3] the group would deliver to the authorities the men who had beaten Tayama.

Despite the agreement, however, two large groups gathered about darkness at the hospital, demanding that Tayama be turned over to them, and another at Internal Security headquarters. Meanwhile, Tayama was taken from the hospital through a bank entrance to the military barracks. After determining that Tayama was not in the hospital, the group gathered there then joined the group at police headquarters and demanded the release of the man held there.

Upon the Project Director's refusal to meet the demand for release of the prisoner, some members of the crowd threatened that they would go to the hospital and kill the evacuee who had been beaten up, as well as all other 'informers.' Along with these threats, members of the crowd began to throw stones at the evacuee Internal Security police.

At this point, the Project Director requested the captain of the Military Police to enter the center proper, assume charge of the area and restore order. The Military Police, who then were stationed on the external boundary of the relocation area, entered the Center in accordance with this request late in the afternoon of December 6.

When the Military Police took their position to safeguard the prisoner and to protect the Center Internal Security police, Japanese evacuees who were active in the demonstration demanded of the captain that the prisoner be released to them. When this demand was refused, the members of the crowd attacked the military personnel with stones.

The captain of the Military Police then ordered the assembly t0 disperse. When the crowd failed to heed the captain and began to advance on the police position, tear gas was first used in an effort to stop and disperse the members; when this failed due to the prevailing high wind, the order was given to halt or fire would be opened. When the crowd again ignored these instructions, the order to fire was given. one volley was fired, following which the mob dispersed. One man was killed, another critically wounded, and nine others suffered injuries of varying degrees.

Both the War Department and the War Relocation Authority have announced that they are of the opinion that this disturbance was caused by a relatively small group of evacuees and that the great majority of residents of Manzanar and other relocation centers are loyal to the United States and completely in favor of orderly processing of government.

This was probably the worst situation that could happen. The United States was in a war with Japan. Some 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry had been taken from their homes and put into the camps, largely because of prejudice on the part of people of the West Coast. The vast, vast majority of the Japanese had gone along with the evacuation without offering any actual resistance. Then, suddenly, you have the worst public-relations nightmare happen.

A riot, guns fired, one dead and others wounded.

Oddly enough, there's sort of a similarity in behavior to the banzai charges used by the Japanese late in the war. Both featured groups of men going up against superior firepower (in this case, the mob had no firepower), and, despite that fact, insisting on attacking. Both in this case and in the case of the banzai charges the Japanese were driven back. In some of the banzai charges, in fact, the slaughter of the Japanese was enormous. Maybe this was part of the 'samurai ethic' kind of behavior on the part of the rioters. The Japanese schools of the time had done an excellent job of propaganda and instilling in the young the idea of total loyalty to the Emperor and the state.

There was a similar article, entitled WRA RELEASES STATEMENT ON MANZANAR RIOT in the Topaz Times of December 18,1942.

An article in the Heart Mountain sentinel of February 6, 1943 told what happened to the instigators of the riot.

SEGREGATION OF MANZANAR RIOTERS TOLD. Suspected instigators of the Manzanar riot of Dec. 5 and 6 have been segregated and placed in a former CCC camp near Moab in southeastern Utah, the Manzanar Free Press disclosed last week.

Ralph P. Merritt, Manzanar project director, revealed that 18 men had been moved to the Moab camp to await hearing by an impartial board from Washington D.C.

Explaining that some of the evacuees were removed for their own protection while others were known to be habitual trouble makers, Merritt declared that many found out had no connection with the incident.

Those who were found to be innocent at the preliminary review have been returned to the center or sent to other relocation areas, Merritt said.

III. The Tule Lake Riot

There was more than one riot at Tule Lake. The report of the first one is from the Heart Mountain Sentinel of March 13, 1943.

25 ARRESTED IN TULE LAKE RIOT. In the second uprising over registration for job clearance and military service, the beatings of two evacuees and the arrest of 25 others at the Tule Lake Relocation Project in Newell, Calif. were reported by Director Harvey M. Coerly, according to a recent Associated Press dispatch.

Thirteen of the agitators who opposed the registration, including three responsible for the beatings of two loyal evacuees who were out-spoken in favor of registration, were arrested and jailed at Altuna, Calif. one of the beaten men had to be hospitalized.

Twelve others, accused of intimidating other evacuees against registration, were arrested and placed in the county jail at Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Another problem cropped up at Tule in October of 1943. This next article is from the Granada Pioneer of October 40, 1943.

15,000 DISLOYALS STAGE STRIKE AT TULE LAKE. Claiming they are 'prisoners of war', 15,000 disloyal Japanese in Tule Lake, calif. went on a strike--'a passive resistance' policy against harvesting crops for center consumption, according to Robert B. Cozzens, Assistant WRA director.

The strikers are under strong army guard and the center is enclosed by a double barbed wire fence.

No violence thus far has been observed and none is anticipated.

Between 300 and 350 loyal Japanese from the other centers volunteered to harvest the hundreds of acres of root crops, including potatoes, cabbage, carrots, beets and turnips. they are being moved to Tule Lake, and will be sent to other centers for use of the loyal Japanese.

Officials of the Tule Lake center asserted the strike is 'the work of experts,' but that no apparent leader or spokesman has appeared. The strikers refuse to talk to the camp officials.

Agitation began at the center, a WRA spokesman said, soon after the disloyal Japanese arrived, and a truck accident in which one Japanese farm laborer was killed and several injured was seized upon as an excuse for the strike.

The main riot, the one most remembered, is the one at Tule Lake. The first article, and the longest, is from the Heart Mountain Sentinel of November 6, 1943.

20 CASUALTIES AT TULE LAKE AS MILITARY TAKES ACTION. FOUR-DAY DEMONSTRATION AGAINST ADMINISTRATION BRINGS DRASTIC RESULTS. Twenty persons were wounded when military authorities opened fire on a mob of internees at the Tule Lake segregation center who were attempting to gain control of an ammunition dump, according to information reaching here late Friday.

Official sources did not report whether or not the 20 persons were fatally wounded.

The action came as a climax to a four-day demonstration against the administration of the center by Japanese internees whose sworn loyalty to Japan brought about their segregation from the nine other relocation centers.

At the same time, Heart Mountain officials quieted the feelings of local residents who expressed concern over the safety of 104 volunteers who left here Tuesday to harvest the crops which Tule Lake internees refused to save from the threat of winter.

HEART MOUNTAIN WORKERS SAFE. Douglas M. Todd, acting project director, said there was absolutely no need for any concern over the safety of Heart Mountain workers because they will be located six miles from the center where the disturbance had been taking place.

There was no doubt in Todd's mind but what any future disturbances would be confined to the center itself.

So confident were officials here that no harm could come to loyal Japanese Americans from heart Mountain that recruiting was continued for 50 more men to help with the harvest.

Included in the 104 Heart Mountain men recruited to save the crops are eight block managers.

War Relocation Authority Regional Director Robert Cozzens disclosed according to the United Press:

1. A watchman on a construction job at the center was 'roughed up' by internees Wednesday night. The watchman has not returned to work. Extend of his injuries are not known.

Minor Property Damage

2. Automobiles were scratched and their radio aerials torn down; air was let out of a 'number' of automobile tires; and a railing was knocked down in the camp hospital during the Monday demonstration when WRA National Director Dillon Myer and 25 other white persons were held virtual prisoners in the administration building by a milling crowd of Japanese. Cozzens said he had 'heard' that sand was poured into gasoline tanks, and that a 'bunch of kids' sat on the steep top of a government car and caved it in.

Cozzens, who took a grave view of disturbances at the center, said the WRA 'feels at the present moment that it is better that the Caucasian staff of the camp hospital does not return to the hospital.'

Physical Suffers Injuries.

Dr. Reece Pedicord suffered bruises and a black eye Monday in a fight with 10 or 12 young Japanese. During the fist fight, Cozzens said, Pedicord took off his glasses and 'started swinging' at the assailants.

'There will be no more gatherings in the administrative area at Tule Lake' Cozzens said. 'There are approximately seven or eight Japanese doctors and nurses who can take charge of the hospital. They always claimed they could run it.

Agencies Investigating.

Amplifying the story of Monday night's outbreak, which will be investigated by several federal and state agencies, Cozzens said the trouble began when the committee of 17 presented demands on the camp administrators.

'About 12:30 p.m. we noticed internees moving toward the administration building. There was a crowd of about 3,500 or 4,000. When we asked them where they were going, they said it had been announced at lunch time that Myer was going to speak.

'This was a hoax. No such announcement had been made.'

Committee Makes Demand

'The committee of 17 called on us while the crowd waited outside. They presented five demands and the Buddhist priest, named Kai, said:

'You realize these people came up here expecting an answer. You know we can't take responsibility for what might happen.'

Cozzens said it was not true the internees expected an answer.

It was at this point, Cozzens said, that the so called 'siege' of the administration building, lasting four hours, began. There were about 75 persons, including Myer, inside.

'Did you consider yourself a prisoner in the building?” Cozzens was asked.

'I didn't consider myself a prisoner, but I don't think anyone could have walked out through the crowd.'

Led by Buddhist Priest

While the committee still was meeting with the administrators, Cozzens said, they were informed by telephone that Dr. Pedicord had been beaten up. The Japanese committeemen seemed 'greatly frustrated' by this news. Cozzens said. he felt that the committee wanted to avoid an incident.

Cozzens said he didn't see any knives or clubs in the crowd, but he noticed about 150 to 200 young Japanese telling white occupants of the building to 'stay inside.'

The Buddhist priest, talking to the crowd, told them:

'You must give your all for Japan. Remove your hats, bow yours heads, and go home.'

Cozzens believed this gesture was intended for the emperor of Japan. Most of the Japanese took off their hats, but not all of them bowed.

The WRA, Cozzens said, 'does not propose to have any mobs control Tule.'

The next article on the riot is from the Gila News-Courier of November 6, 1943.

Disturbances at Tule Lake, incited by agitators who made capital of an accident which was fatal to one and injured a number of others three weeks ago, came to an end yesterday when the army was ordered to quiet it.

Dillon S. Myer, Director of the WRA, said yesterday in an interview in Seattle that the ringleaders of the mass demonstration were making a bid to be sent back to Japan first. He said that the leaders have told residents that they will have no post-war opportunities in this country and that 'the emperor will have a black mark against them if they cooperate in any way with the United States government.'

Myer declared that here are hundreds at the center who are 'seemingly loyal to Japan merely because they are loyal to their families and don't want to split them.'

During the course of disturbances, several thousand evacuees isolated 75 members of the appointed staff for four hours, it was reported. The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Reece N. Pedicord, was beaten by 15 young residents.

What happened eventually was that the 'disloyals' were given the chance to repatriate to Japan, and a good number did.

The next article comes from the Gila News-Courier, also from November 6, 1943.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: The disturbances at Tule Lake brought to fore again the disturbing thought that the evacuees are between two fires.

The ringleaders at the Tule Lake have no love for the evacuees who have declared themselves loyal to this nation. When they incited the riots, they were aware that the effect would be detrimental to the relocation program. They have declared that they refuse to produce food for evacuees in the nine relocation centers. Some of them have been identified as agitators who constantly stirred up trouble of one nature or another in the relocation centers before they were rounded up by agents of the FBI for transfer to the Leupp segregation center. Now they have created a situation at Tule Lake which will necessitate tougher management, perhaps, eventual army supervision.

All of this will play right into the hands of California racists who will make no discrimination and condemn all evacuees. And which brings us to the second fire. The racists have consistently ignored the records of loyal nisei as soldiers, of loyal evacuees who are working in American factories and fields to be a part of the nation's huge war effort.

Both fires have been deliberate attempts to hurt the evacuees. Of the two, potentially and actually, this second fire is more dangerous to evacuees, and certainly more dangerous—with their line of propaganda calculated to create racial unrest-to the cause of a united United Nations.

Evacuees can play their own game best—and fight two fires at the same time-by resettlement. They can then make enough unwavering friends in a friendlier America east of the West Coast, who will discredit all the vile mouthings and proposals form the Coast.

This is a good article in that it shows what type of pressure the 'loyal' Japanese were under at Tule Lake. When the camp was set aside for segregants, some of the 'loyal' Japanese stayed their to be with their family. They were pretty much at the mercy of the thugs who were trying to stir up trouble.

The riots didn't look good for the U.S., either, as far as propaganda goes. It's also true that it gave the West Coast racists more ammunition for their hatred of the Japanese and their desire to rid the U.S. of all Japanese forever.

An article in the Granada Pioneer of November 6 noted that there was a chance the strike was held in order to make sure certain people got to return to Japan first. It also says a Japanese committee demanded better food, more of it, and a change in administration personnel.

A follow-up article in the Pioneer of November 10, 1943, said that there were 'mass resignations by the civilian personnel for fear of bodily harm or even death at Tule Lake.' The fire chief at the camp resigned and noted acts of sabotage. The Caucasian hospital staff was being withdrawn, and the Japanese post-office refused to handle mail. A different article in the same paper on the same day said 'heavily armed troops, some of them veterans of Pacific battle fronts, kept watchful eyes on 16,000 Japanese internees' at the camp. The Army maintained full control, the article continued. A series of investigations into what had happened had begun.

More details came out in an article in the Rohwer Outpost of November 13. it noted that '300 to 300 young Japanese men armed with sticks and clubs' moved into the administration building. There were reports in other newsletters, but all of them pretty much repeated what had already been printed.

There was a follow-up editorial in the Poston Chronicle of December 28, 1943.

THOSE ARE THE SCUM: News stories have been accurate and, for the most part, specific. Yet there are some who are confused about what is going on in the Japanese American segregation camp at Tule Lake, California.

It is important to remember that the internees at Tule Lake are not run-of-the-mill Japanese Americans. They are a select group. Every man there was chosen because he was not a representative Japanese American because unlike the vast majority of Americans of Japanese blood, he was disloyal to the United States, unreceptive to democracy, treacherous, untrustworthy, unfit to mingle with decent human beings.

There are, at Tule Lake, some few to whom these epithets do not apply. They are women and children who, under the rigid family system of the Japanese race, went along with their pro-Japanese husbands and fathers.

But these few are important only as individual victims of a situation. The important thing is that we Americans should distinguish clearly between the Tule Lake segregation of traitors who now are rioting and plotting and the almost 100,000 good loyal American citizens who, by the accident of birth, have 'Japanese blood' in their veins.

It would be no more just to hold the Tule Lake agitators against other Japanese Americans then to hold the Lord Haw Haws against all Anglo Saxons.

Just for the record, it is worth remembering that these Tule Lake Japanese who are not entitled to be dubbed 'Americans' were permitted for some 18 months to mingle freely with loyal Japanese Americans against whom they directed subversive propaganda ranging from wheedling through argument to threats before public demand forced their segregation at Tule Lake.

But not that wrong has been righted. every known bad Japanese, which means at least 99.44 per cent of all, is now at Tule Lake.

The Japanese Americans not at Tule Lake have every right to be considered and treated as plain Americans, without discrimination because of skin tone or cast of features.

That is important to them it is equally important to us who have no Japanese blood and who hate everything for which Nippon stands.

Why? Because that is of the concentrated essence of democracy. And if we are not fighting to make democracy work, why are we shedding good American blood and dissipating our material wealth?

(Editorial from the daily Post-Tribune and Peru Event Press, La Salle, Illinois.

III. Other Riots

As far as riots elsewhere, there was a race riot in Detroit that ran for three days, starting on June 20, of 1943. There was also a 'Disturbance by Negro Troops' noted in the Sept. 23, 1944 in the Granada News-Courier. Neither of these had anything to do with the Japanese Americans, though.

There was, however, one riot that did. As noted in the Manzanar Free press of Oct. 7, 1944:

MOB NISEI WORKERS. Ingersoll, Canada-Over 200 Canadian residents participated in a mob violence and stormed the quarters of 19 Japanese Canadians who are working in a factor in Ingersol, reports the Newell Star.

It adds that, at the riot, the police were forced to use their batons and fire one shot to break up the mob.

This is one aspect of the interment camps that a couple of books have covered, but is generally not very well know. The Canadians treated their persons of Japanese ancestry just as bad as they were treated in the U.S., and even worse. They seemed to have just as much hatred of the Japanese as the Californians had, but without a similar historical background of farmer prejudice.


Fortunately, there were only two incidences of actual bombs or planned bombs being used. The main case, the Doi case, is the predominant event of the times.

The other case referred to a bomb in Camp McCoy in Wisconsin.

BOMB EXPLODES PRISON CAMP: A Japanese prisoner of war was killed and five others were injured in the explosion of a rocket bomb which they smuggled into their barracks at the military training camp here the night of Oct. 16, authorities announced recently.

The bomb apparently was picked up by a work detail, col. George M. MacMullia, post commandant, said, but he did not explain the probably purpose of smuggling the explosive into the barracks.

Everything else concerns the 'Auburn incident'.

The first article I'll quote is from the Topaz Times of January 24, 1945.

ATTEMPTED VIOLENCE ON AUBURN NISEI REPORTED: The first 'incident' involving persons of Japanese descent who have returned to the West Coast occurred at Auburn, Calif. last week.

The facts concerning the California incident, as reported by the WRA San Francisco office, are:

Sumio Doi, 28-year-old nisei holding an agricultural draft deferment, returned to his farm from the Granada relocation center at Lamar, Colo. on Jan. 5, accompanied by his father and mother. Their return was without incident until the night of Jan. 17 when Doi heard a noise in an outbuilding. Doi and his father investigated and found someone had started a small fire. They extinguished the blaze and reported it to the sheriff's office.

The following night buckshot was fired toward the house from a shotgun in the hands of an unknown person. The sheriff was summoned. His investigation showed several sticks of dynamite planted in a packing shed. Governor Warren and State Attorney General Kenny immediately requested full protection for the family and followed up with a conference with the Placer country superior court judge, sheriff and district attorney who assured protection.

WRA officials also report that Doi's immediate neighbors are friendly and Auburn merchants co-operative.'

A news report from Newcastle, Calif., said state highway patrolmen set up a three- way roadblock around the Doi ranch and quoted Sheriff Charles Silva as declaring armed patrols would maintain vigilance over Japanese-owned property in the area. The district attorney's office said anyone discovered molesting property of Japanese Americans would be 'vigorously prosecuted.' State Att. Gen. Kenny warned grimly that 'there is no open season on Japanese in California.'

As we shall see, the 'vigorously prosecuted' part the article proved to be a major misnomer.

Governor Warren, who later became Chief Justice of the United States, added his two cents worth in an article noted in the Gila News-Courier of January 24, 1945.

GOV. WARREN SCORES AUBURN ARSON ATTEMPT: Governor Warren of California Saturday called the attempted burning and dynamiting of a Japanese home at Auburn 'atrocious' and said a repetition of such incidents might cause enemy retaliation.

'I can't conceive of people who claim to be good Americans trying to further the war effort doing a thing of that kind, ' the Governor said at a news conference.

'Every officer and every citizen not only should resent such conduct but do everything to prevent it.

'Such incidents not only give California a bad reputation throughout the world, but might cause our boys and civilians in enemy countries to suffer additional injury.'

Which was, of course, of major importance. Such things basically helped Japanese propagandists in Japan who were painting Americans as blood-thirsty rapists and killers. The Japanese people believed this so much that many women left the cities and went into the rural areas to prepare for a projected American invasion of Japanese soil, figuring the U.S. soldiers would act like demons.

The same issue of the Gila News-Courier had an article entitled FACTS ON DOI CASE that summarized what had happened. The incident was also covered in the Minidoka Irrigator paper of January 27, 1945, in an article entitled DYNAMITE PLACED UNDER EVACUEE HOME IN CALIF.

On February 7 of 1945, two camp papers ran articles on the arrest of four people in the case. the Granada Pioneer ran this article:

ARREST 4 IN DOI CASE: Two brothers, both AWOL from the U.S. Army, and two other brothers are held in custody of local civil authorities and have been charged with felony counts of arson and attempting to dynamite a building at the Doi ranch.

Those in custody are Pvt. Simer R. Johnson, 20, picked up by military police, and his brother Alvin E. Johnson, 18, both of Redding Calif., James Edward Watson, 38, a bartender at the Cozy Spot, between Auburn and Newcastle, and his brother, Press, 35. They are held in lieu of $5000 bail or bond of $10,000.

Alvin Johnson was supposed to be at Fort Riley, Kan. on army duty,but officers found him in civilian clothes and AWOL since Jan. 5. Elmer Johnson has been AWOL for about four weeks from Camp Knight, Calif, where he worked in the post office.

Ray McCarthy and J.A. Hulvey (?), both of the State Justice Department, implicated Elmer Johnson in both night raids and stated his confession indicated he was responsible for his acts. It was learned that Fred Adge, local patrolman was a leader in solving the case.

For young women, with whom the men are said to have been on a drinking party, are considered material witnesses, although released on their own recognizance.

Arrests were made after intensive investigation and cooperation of the State Department of Justice, military police, sheriff's office and the district attorney. Thus substantially proving that State and county law enforcement bodies and officials are on the job, as requested by Governor Warren and State Attorney General Kenny.

In the meantime, Sumio Doi, and his parents have had nightly protection since Jan. 18 from the State Highway Patrol and special deputy sheriff. There have been no further incidents.

Cross section survey of Auburn district showed that most people are fail, tolerant and non-discriminatory, only the adverse minority is taking pains to express opposing, according to R.B. Cozzens, assistant WRA director in San Francisco.

(The (?) means I couldn't quite make out the name).

A very similar article was run in the Gila News-Courier on the same day, in the Manzanar Free Press on February 10, 1945, and in the Topaz Times of February 10,1945.

You can imagine how this must have made the evacuees feel. Not only were they now facing verbal threats and gunshots, they were facing dynamite.

The February 28, 1945 issue of the Gila News-Courier ran an article entitled ARSONISTS WILL FACE TRIAL, noting the four suspects would face a Superior Court at a later date. The two brothers who were AWOL were still in jail since they couldn't make their bonds.

The trial date was set as is noted in the Gila News-Courier issue of March 31, 1945, which said the trial date would be on April 17 on charges of arson and attempting to dynamite a building. The two soldiers were still in jail, still unable to make bond.

Then it all falls apart. All the promises of a 'vigorously prosecuted' case were nothing but hot air on the part of politicians.

From the Granada Pioneer of April 28, 1945.

THREE TERROR DEFENDANTS FREED. Two soldier brothers, Alvin and Elmer Johnson, both listed as a.w.o.l., and James E. Watson, bartender, were freed of charges of arson by a jury in the superior court at Auburn, Calif., after six days in trial, in connection with attempted firing and dynamiting of a fruit shed on the Sumio Doi ranch.

Fourth member of the group, Claude P. Watson, is scheduled to appear for a separate trial as he is only charged with attempted dynamiting.

The Army authorities took the soldiers into custody for court-martial on charges of being absent without leave.

According to a report, a counsel for the defense asserted in asking for an acquittal, 'This is a white man's country.' Furthermore, the counsel stated that the Johnsons' Army training was responsible for their display of hatred and made much of the Bataan march of death and atrocities committed by the Japanese enemy.

District Attorney C.E. Tindall, who prosecuted the case, pointed out that two of the Doi boys were in the Army and were not 'absent without leave.'

The jury of five men and seven women, who heard the case in the court presided by Judge Lowell L. sparks, were chosen from a venue of 200 jurors, the largest in the county's history.

The Gila News-Courier of April 28,1945, ran a similar article. This did not go over well, to say the list. The arrogance and racial bigotry of the defense prosecutor should alone have cost him the trial, but it didn't.

Articles against the decision began appearing in the camp newsletters. The Gila News-Courier of May 2, 1945, ran the following:

ARSON: MORE JUSTICE NEEDED: The acquittal of the three Auburn suspects, charged with attempted dynamiting and burning of the Sumio Doi home, will go down in the records as another California type justice handed down. Doi had his counsel, the case was heard in court, the Bataan March was brought in, the supremacy of the white race was pointed out, the jury of 12 conferred and turned in a verdict of 'not guilty' for the arson suspects. The defendant did not even deny setting fire to the house. Doi had a fair California trial.

Needless to say the decision was a discouraging one, not only to the Japanese and Japanese Americans who have been shot out, terrorized and had their homes set afire. It was also discourage to others of Japanese descent and to all Americans who believe in democracy, fair treatment of loyal citizens, and just punishment of criminals. Most of the culprits have never even been caught; they still roam free.

California has not been able to protect its Japanese American citizens. Some persons are still going around shooting and burning, and law enforcement officials are still promising protection, but are unable to find the criminals.

Perhaps the move made by the Kishi brothers, Americans at Fort Snelling, who reportedly wrote directly to Secretary Harold Ickes for protection of their Merced home and their parents and sisters there, will bring better results. We look to the Kishi case with hope for a better justice and with faith in a democratic United States if not in a democratic Calif.

The Gila News-Courier of May 9, 1945, reprinted a letter that had appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on May 1, 1945.

WHOSE COUNTRY? 'In he case of the three white men tried for dynamiting the Japanese American home, Defense Attorney Floyd Bowers said that this is a 'white man's country and white supremacy should be affirmed.' Did he ever stop to think that we are all in this great country of ours fighting for the same thing. Not only the white man is fighting, but the black man, the red man, the brown man and the yellow man. We are all fighting for the same thing. If this is only a white man's country, it makes the black, red, brown, and yellow people wonder in their hearts why should we go and fight for it? Why can't the white man fight for his country?'

Which is, of course, a good point. Of course, racism was still definitely active in the war itself. Blacks were pretty much confined to service positions. The Tuskegee Airmen had a terrible time getting into the war in an active role and, when they did, proved themselves every single bit as good as the white pilots. Medically, blood from blacks was kept segregated from blood from whites. From books I have read on the planned invasion of the main Japanese islands, at least one, if not more, of the main leaders made it clear he didn't want any black troops involved.

Keep in mind also that the Nisei, although they were finally allowed to fight, were kept in segregated groups. I don't know how Native Americans were treated, other than the Codetalkers, but racism was alive and well even in the war effort itself.

The Gila News-Courier of July 28, 1945, noted that federal charges were being brought against the Watson brothers, covering 'conspiracy to possess dynamite and the illegal possession of dynamite.' If found guilty, they could end up with several years in a Federal penitentiary and around $15,000 in fines. The two soldiers who were acquitted were facing a court-marshal on their a.w.o.l. charge. A similar article was run in the Topaz Times of August 3, 1945.

The Topaz Times of August 17, 1945, ran an article saying the Watson brothers had been indicted by a federal grand jury. A similar article was run in the Gila News-Courier of Sept. 5,1945.

The case was eventually tried, and the jury took only 48 minutes to return a 'not guilty' plea. Yet again the California non-justice system prevailed.

General Articles about Violence

There are a few articles which deal with violence in general. These articles of the editorial sort and reveal a lot of the feeling behind what was going on.

The first one is a long article from the Gila Pioneer of December 9, 1942. This one deals with what was going on in the camps since this was well before the evacuees ended up being released.

POSTON, MANZANAR-AND GILA, TOO. WE ARE BEING SOLD DOWN THE RIVER BY A FEW. Perhaps this won't do any good. For those who not only take things into their own hands and commit assault and battery, but do in in a cowardly way are not inclined to heed words of censor or caution. No, their innards are such that mere words fall on them like rain on a duck's back. But for the rest of us, for we are a part of it, let's think it over.

IT HAPPENED HERE. It happened at Poston. It happened at Manzanar. And we can't be separated from this group for it also happened here. Fortunately for us, our's did not develop into blood and thunder. Let's look at this thing square in the face, for we are now people that must consider problems realistically and honestly. Those riots of disorder have involved a large number of persons, yet examination of the facts reveal that only a handful of persons were the instigators of them. They have started with a ganging and a slugging. The guilty few have whipped the less thinking, the gutless among us to fall in line with their devilish thought and disorderliness.

IT IS, THAT WE LOSE. Yes, it is appreciated that we lead an abnormal life in these centers. That on the 'outside' we had opportunities to expend our energies on many things-on studies, on work, on play, but in these camps many of us now have little to absorb our full energies. The world 'outside' is on fire, and though we are isolated from it, we cannot keep out altogether its flames. our frustrations, our pent-up emotions, and yes, what rancor we have tried to keep under cover cries out for relief...for action, and when an 'incident' gives us the opportunity to shoot the works, some of us find our limbs surging with hot blood at the expense of the blood in the hand and we are led to join the shouting and the tumult. But is this reason excusable? What is gained? Nothing!

If it were a case of nothing gained, it would not be so important. It is important because a great deal is lost. Sure...we're in camps, and we don't like it. Many of us think, and unfortunately, many of us think bitterly, that we got a raw deal from Uncle Sam. It's hard to take, particularly for those of us who were sold 100 percent on 'Uncle' to the point of being more idealistic than realistic about him. But it's doe, and here we our.

OUR FUTURE IN AMERICA: Sure, some of us have turned cynical. Some of us are pessimistic about our future in this country. There is talk of taking away our birthright-our citizenship. There is talk of deporting all of us, citizens and aliens alike, after the war. Sure...that kind of talk doesn't make our future seem too right in this country. But, honestly, regardless of how we may have been hurt by evacuation, if we were seriously threatened to be sent from these shores never to return to this country again, wouldn't we oppose and fight like the dickens to stay in this country—our country? Sure we would! Realistically, come what may, we know that our future is with this country, that it is the soil that bred us and that our love of country is as deep as its heart...and here we wish to play..and to raise our children.

Therefore, if we be practical, shouldn't we do everything possible to make our acceptance into the normal American life by the American people a good one. Granted, there is little that we can do in these camps to create an understanding and friendly American public. About the only thing we can do, and for that reason it becomes all important, is to conduct ourselves as law-abiding citizens in these camps. We must never forget that the American people will judge us by the way we conduct ourselves in these camps.

PUBLIC SENTIMENT: We won favorable public reaction with our splendid cooperation in the process of evacuation and relocation. Are we to sacrifice, or permit a few to sacrifice all this by conducting ourselves in such an unfavorable way that it becomes juicy reading in the leading newspapers of this country? Is this sort of news conducive to making the American people sympathetic towards us; towards accepting us as fellow citizens and residents of this country? And what about those forces which are striving to send us down the river and out of this country? They're waiting for breaks like this. It's a lot to think about.

DOWN THE RIVER? What about it? you, the type of guys who cause these disorders, would you have history record you as the handful who sold the rest of us down the river?

I think this is a really good article. There are a couple of things I want to point out. There was a movement in places to strip the Japanese Americans of their citizenship. There were places that wanted to ban them settling into after they would be released from camps, and there were some people who wanted them all deported back to Japan. That was real and was known to the internees.

What was going on was also a major publicity thing. The Japanese Americans wanted to prove that they were loyal American citizens. Once they became eligible again to serve in the Armed Forces, many of them volunteered because they felt that fighting for the U.S. was one way to prove their loyalty. Public perception was extremely important.

From this point on, the articles dealt with things going on outside the camps.

The second article is from the Gila News-Courier of January 27, 1945.

NIGHT RIDERS: Night riding tactics like the attacks like the attacks on the Japanese-American farmer who returned to his Placor County home come pretty close to an invitation to the FBI to take up an interest in the matter.

Such instances are not quite on a par with disturbances which, although they deal with constitutional rights, are held clearly and exclusively the responsibility of local authorities.

American citizens of Japanese antecedents who were removed from their homes and held under military guard have been Government wards. No amount of legal sophistry can alter that practical aspect. If local peace officers cannot protect these persons in rights which were disturbed in the first instance by the Federal Government, it seems to be up to the Government to find a way to do it. (From the San Francisco Chronicle).

The next article ran in the Topaz Times on May 18,1945, but was actually a reprint of an editorial from the Washington Post of May 7, 1945.

WEST COAST TERROR: In California, since the beginning of this year, there have been 16 shooting incidents directed at American citizens of Japanese ancestry. The Americans who were made the target of this terror had returned to their homes with the expressed permission of the United States Army. Their loyalty had been carefully scrutinized and certified by army authorities. Some of them had been honorably discharged from the army itself. Some had been released from the camps of the War Relocation authority after the Supreme Court of the United States had declared the detention of loyal citizens on grounds of race to be unconstitutional. These Americans are being persecuted because of their racial background-in the same way and for just the same reasons that prompted the Nazi persecution of racial minorities. When we gape at German atrocities, we might case a backward glance at those atrocities of our own.

A California jury has acquitted three men who were charged with having planted a dynamite bomb on the farm of Sumio Doi, recently released from a relocation camp. We do not know the details of the evidence against these men. But we do know that the presiding judge permitted the introduction of questions respecting the validity of Doi's purchase of his ranch under the California Alien Land act and that the defense attorney was allowed to tell the jury, 'this is a white man's country. let's keep it so.' We had supposed that 'trials' of this character had ended with the collapse of Hitler's fortress.

These atrocities have been happening not far from San Francisco, where the representatives of 48 nations -comprising people of every race and color- are striving to create a new organization to keep the peace. They besmirch our principles and our pretensions. They are perpetrated, to be sure, by no more than a few bigoted hoodlums. Nevertheless, they do injury to us all-not only to our good name but also to the institutions upon which our own secure and orderly way of life is founded. If California authorities do not uphold the law and protect the citizens of their own state, they should call for help from the federal government. Terrorism is no less ugly at home then abroad.

This is a very, very strongly worded editorial, comparing what was done with the 'evacuation of the Japanese Americans with what Hitler did to minorities. This brings up an interesting point. What type of camps were these people held in?

The camps were actually known by rather a few names. They were relocation centers. They were internment camps. They were concentration camps. What they are called by a particular person tends to show their point of view on the subject. Several authors I have read have used the term 'concentration camps' to describe the camps. If you want to be a total stickler for English, then they were 'concentration' camps since they 'concentrated' the persons of Japanese ancestry into one place.

They were not 'concentration' camps in the German sense, though. Although both types of camps were set up to concentrate a certain type of people together, the German camps were set up to kill those inside, the American camps set up to isolate those inside.

I prefer the term 'internment camp' since these people were 'interned' in the camps for years, in some cases. They were denied their rights. They were restricted in their movements. Yet they were allowed to have camp governments (overseen, of course, by the white administration of the camps). They were given fairly decent food. Their physical living conditions were not the best, but they weren't set up to kill them off. They had a wide variety of recreational activities. They were allowed to publish their own camp newsletters. So, the term 'internment camp' I think is the best one to use.

What startled me most about the article is how the defense attorney was allowed to get away with such a racial approach. Then, again, this was in California, and California had a long history of prejudice against people of Japanese (or Chinese) ancestry.

The Gila News-Courier of May 19, 1945, had this article about the Secretary of the Interior's views on what was going on:

ICKES BLAMES OFFICIALS FOR CALIF. TERRORISM: Secretary of Interior Harold L. Ickes this week blamed California officials for not prosecuting hoodlums who are carrying on a program of planned terrorism against Japanese Americans who have to California.

'In the absence of vigorous local law enforcement, a pattern of planned terrorism by hoodlums has developed,' he said. 'It is a matter of national concern because this lawless minority seems determined to employ its Nazi storm trooper tactics against loyal Japanese Americans and law abiding Japanese aliens in spite of state laws and constitutional safeguards.'

'Many of the evacuees' Nisei sons are fighting the Japanese enemy in the Philippines, at Okinawa and in other Pacific combat areas. they are far more in the American tradition than the race-baiters fighting a private war safely at home.

'The shameful spectacle of these incidents taking place at the back door of the San Francisco conference, now in session to develop means by which men of all races can live together in peace, must be ended once and for all.'

The next article is again from the Topaz Times, this time May 25, 1945. It's an editorial taken from the Milwaukee Journal.

TERRORISM: Even the stinging phrases of Curmudgeon Ickes are inadequate to a proper condemnation of the lawless attacks on the property and persons of Americans of Japanese descent who have returned to homes and farms on the west coast. It is shocking and scandalous that these Americans should not be subject to abuse and terrorism when they attempt to resume their pre-war occupations in their home communities. Their kin have been among the bravest to wear their country's uniform. They themselves have been subject to dislocation and loss because of war conditions and war prejudices entirely beyond their control.

Secretary Ickes berates local authorities for failing to give proper protection to these Americans, but he neglects to add that the authorities would certainly act more vigorously and effectively if there were a general popular desire for such action.

The hoodlums who perpetrate such 'planned terrorism' are a lawless minority, as Secretary Ickes says. It is probably true that such actions are condemned by 'the decent citizens who make up the overwhelming majority.' But the fact seems to be that, while the method would hardly be condoned by these decent citizens, racial prejudice is so strong and so general that there is little inclination to expose and punish those who resort to violence in an effort to expel these nisei.

In other words, the west coast hoodlums are from the same mold as the lynching mobs that whipped and burned and terrified southern Negroes, and that present lawlessness goes largely unpunished for the same reason.

The roots of the Pacific coast outbreaks go deep into the economic life of the richly productive orchards, vineyards and truck gardens of the far west. To a lesser degree, there are also social aspects to the problem. But basically, the nisei is unwanted because his features and his color, and sometimes his accent, identify him as one of a race , some members of which have undersold and outproduced white American neighbors.

Secretary Ickes' blast is good enough as a method focusing attention of the rest of the country on the rank racial discrimination of some of those western communities. It is much to be hoped that the western states and local governments, to uphold their own good name, will put an end to such persecution of a racial minority. Further, the situation should serve to emphasize the extent to which racial discrimination still operates in fair America and the extremes to which it leads.

As Americans of every racial background, side by side, lay down their lives for democracy on the battlefields of the world, as Americans pray that democracy shall be extended to the benighted and the oppressed nations of all the world, let us give thought to bring the full blessings and full justice of democracy to all Americans, to all America.

This is another very powerful essay. It goes into one of the causes of the problem, that being that Japanese farmers were able to take land that white farmers couldn't get to work for them and, by hard work and certain methods, they were able to make the land produce good crops. The white farmers were jealous and wanted the Japanese off the farms, which helped lead to the interment of persons of Japanese ancestry.

The jealousy was stupid in a couple of aspects. The white farmers couldn't get the land to produce in the first place so there's no reason to assume that just because they got the Japanese off the land that the whites would be able to make it work.

The second really dumb thing was that there was a war on, and American needed food. At one fell swoop a large number of really good farmers were taken away from their farms and put into the camps, so they could no longer produce the food which was needed for the war. Fortunately, the camps eventually allowed internees to go out of the camps for seasonal work such as working on someone else's farm. I've read where they're even credited with saving the sugar beet crop at the time.

I think this is all similar to the prejudice against Jews throughout history. By hard work and study the Jewish people were able, in the main, to make a success of themselves. Those people who don't believe in working as hard or learning as much then became jealous of the Jewish people, and anti-Jewish prejudice grew over time, leading eventually to the holocaust.

There is one interesting thing about the article, though, and that is it is sort of hypocritical. The article talks about discrimination being bad, yet, at the same time, the country as a whole, but particularly the South, was discriminating against the blacks with the white/colored fountains, ride in the back of the bus pressure, and a whole host of other ways that blacks were discriminated against.

Discrimination of any kind against anyone is wrong. It is not what the person looks like on the outside; it's how they act towards others that counts. I think Jesus said 'By their fruits shall ye know them.'

The next editorial is from the Granada Pioneer of May26, 1945. It's an editorial taken from The Modesto Bee of May 16, 1945.

VIOLENCE IS WRONG WAY. Many Californians honestly believe the Japanese, whether aliens or American born, should not be permitted to return to the West Coast from the relocation centers for the duration of the war.

Sound reasons were advanced to support this attitude, among them the fear that if they did come back during the heat of war there would be acts of violence against them.

But the Supreme Court of the United States has spoken on the subject. The Japanese were released from the relocation centers. They did come back. And terrorism, if not violence, has occurred.

However, fulfillment of a prediction in no manner validates an act.

Regardless of the background of the current situation, there is absolutely no justification for hoodlumism, terrorism or violence against the Japanese who are returning to their West Coast homes after legitimate processing as to their loyalty.

That is not the American way.

Their constitutional rights should be respected.

If anyone has reason to suspect the loyalty of any Japanese American, he has no right or business to take the law into his hands, but should report the facts to the proper authorities.

Law abiding Californians will not tolerate lawlessness.

It's interesting to compare this concept with the later work of Martin Luther King, Jr. King was also working hard to stop discrimination. He worked hard to end the laws that were enacted solely to target blacks and to demean them. His approach was peaceful. Some, of course, choose violence, but Dr. King and his true followers knew the best way to get change was to do so in a firm but respectful manner. Ghandi, another great leader, used a non-violent approach to end the British domination of India.

The non-violent approach may take a lot of hard work and a lot of time, but, ultimately, it's the best way.

The director of the WRA, Dillion Myer, spoke out about violence in the Granada Pioneer article of May 26, 1945.

VIOLENCE NOT TO HALT PLAN. WRA National Director Dillon S. Myer emphatically stated last weak that evacuees will be released from relocation centers as planned regardless of West Coast's anti-Japanese violence.

'The number of displaced Japanese returning to the West Coast area will be increased very greatly in the next few weeks when school is out,' added Myer.

A WRA spokesman said he knew of few terrorists incidents occurring elsewhere than the Pacific coast. The most recent of the few exceptions, he said, occurred in Chicago when a young Negro accompanied by three others shot and wounded Japanese youth who stood on a street car island.

The American Civil Liberties Union took a different approach to stopping the violence by offering a reward for information.

CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION OFFERS $1000 REWARD FOR NISEI ATTACKERS. Since the state law does not permit the payment of rewards from public funds, the American Civil Liberties Union will pay a reward of $1000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person attacking a Japanese in California, Attorney General Robert W. Kenny announced, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Kenny stated that the identity of the person earning a reward would not be revealed.

One of the problems that arose, not surprisingly, was that the men doing these types of things, the shootings, the fires, the attempted bombings, basically got off totally free when they their cases got into the courts. The prejudice or incompetency (or both) of the courts did not serve its supposed role of deterrent to the type of mini-brained men behind the terrorism.

The Gila News-Courier of June 2, 1945, for example, had this reprint of an article from the San Francisco Chronicle.

MILD SENTENCE; The San Francisco Chronicle, which has maintained a staunch policy of fair play for all loyal citizens, last Friday reprimanded Superior Judge Lawler of Seattle for a half-hearted sentence in the case of arsonist Harold Burton, who was fined $1000.

The Chronicle editorial states:

'California is all too familiar with halfheartedness or worse on the part of peace officers regarding outrages against the persons or property of Americans of Japanese descent. Now the State of Washington furnishes an example at the judicial level.

SEVERITY JUSTIFIED: 'For the crime of burning four homes belonging to evacuated Japanese, Superior Judge James I. Lawler, of Seattle, has accepted a please of second-degree arson from Harold S. Burton, and fined Burton $1000.

'Burton was allowed to plead in second degree because the houses were unoccupied when he fired them. This deal it itself, in view of the necessity to set up an example of West Coast hoodlums, was questionable enough. But, in addition, Jude Lawler meted something like the minimum possible punishment, even under the second-degree plea. He was empowered to impose a $5000 fine and sentence up to 10 years in prison, or both.

MILDNESS URGES OUTLAWRY: 'Concurrently, fresh outrages are reported from Fresno and vicinity, with the familiar accompaniment of 'puzzled' law-enforcement officers.

'In the Seattle affair, it is not disclosed whether the owners included citizens; that is American-born Japanese. If not, the chances are strong that at least one of the four houses was the home of a son or sons in American military service. It would make no difference anyway; the hoodlums probably would not have been stopped by a service star in the window-they haven't been in previous cases, and even if there were no American-born Japanese involved, decent persons cannot condone the foul and sneaking crime of arson against whomever directed.

Together with his complacently 'puzzled' colleagues at the police level, Judge Lawler shares a heavy responsibility. He has praised this kind of outlawry with faint damns.'

Another article in the same issue pretty much directly compares the California hoodlums with Nazi youth.

CALIFORNIA: CLEAN UP BACK YARD. How to re-educate and de-Nazify youth in Germany is a tough problem, a $64 question, but California might make a start toward discovering the right answer by looking at a similar problem right in their own back yard. And that problem is one of law enforcement and law observance, of preventing terrorism against minority groups in California.

This is the gist of an editorial in the Santa Barbara News Press of May 18. So says the News Press:

'We cannot, as Californians, do much about changing the minds and hearts of German youth of Nazi cruelty, arrogance, intolerance and sadism. But we can, if we really desire, exert an influence on the youths, and the adults of California against hoodlumism, arrogance, intolerance and cruelty.

'If in this state which stands high in education, culture and enlightenment, we cannot cannot cure our own ills of bigotry, hatred, greed and 'know-nothing' mob-spirit, then heaven help us in trying to set up a world organization for peace and justice.

'The $64 question is aimed at California, as well as at Germany.'

Of course today, over 60 years later, we still have problems with bigots; perhaps even more of a problem now than they did at that time. It sometimes seems that no matter what happens in history, things still basically stay the same.

A few days later, June 6, 1945, the Gila News-Courier ran this article of the views of an easterner.

WEST HOODLUMS CALLED YELLOW: Americans who attack loyal Japanese American homes in the West Coast are 'Yellow bellied megalomaniacs,' according to an indignant easterner, Victor Vellmar.

'Vellmar's statement, which appeared in a New York paper, is as follows:

Manhattan: Terror attacks out West on Americans of Japanese ancestry are old stuff. Attacks against these people have been going on for years. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why we are at war with Japan today. if these yellow-bellied American megalomaniacs really want to fight Nips, why the hell don't they join MacArthur? Oops, I forgot, though-in that case they might get hurt.'

The July 9 edition of the Gila News-Courier had this article, taken from the Arizona Daily Star of June 3, 1945.

LAW ABDICATED: 'In the town of Parlier, Calif,. the law abdicated in favor of community opinion, in the case of the farmer who fired a shotgun into the home of Charles Iwasaki, a Japanese American. The guilty an was given a six-month sentence—suspended.

'L.B. Crosby, the justice of peace, defended his leniency with the plea that feeling in the community was such that he did not feel that public opinion would support any other sentence. The community decided that if he was lenient with the guilty man, there would be no more shootings. In other words, the law abdicated in favor of a localized public opinion, which in this instance is merely polite terminology for mob rule.

'It will be our national shame, and not merely a matter of one state, if this situation is not corrected. These Nisei were removed from their homes and business due to an army order under the stress of military necessity. Most of them have behaved in a manner which displayed exceptional poise and dignity under extreme stress. Now, the government which ordered them removed, has issued orders for their return. It is up to the government to see that they are permitted to return to their homes and businesses without being met with gun fire and arson at the hands of some super-patriots. It is equally a task for the government which moved them to see to it that they have the protection, under the law to which they are entitled. They obeyed the law when they were moved. the law should insure them safety as they return.

Any other action, such as the one taken at Parlier, is an abdication of law in the face of mob rule, regardless of what pretty words are used by the justice of peace to explain his leniency. It takes little imagination to figure out what would have happened in Parlier had the shotgun been fired into the other man's home by Iwasaki.'

Which is, of course, a good point. There is often a double-standard in law. For a long time the law was not at all equal for blacks and whites; it still isn't totally, but some progress has been made, at least. In this case there is one law for the whites, one for the Japanese Americans. There has also been a double stand in the law between men and women.

This article was followed by by another, this time from the San Francisco Chronicle of June 14, 1945, and reprinted in the June 23, 1945 issue of the Gila News-Courier. What makes this article rather different than the others is that it's from one of the victims-Iwasaki.

ATTACK VICTIM ASKS WHY: Whenever I look at the holes left by the buckshot which ripped through my home I begin to wonder whether peace officers really mean it when they say the equal protection of the law will be given to all.

WHY LENIENCE? For shooting through my home with a gun, Levi Multanen received a six months suspended sentence upon his plea of guilty. This is the first arrest in 21 shooting incidents against returned evacuees of Japanese ancestry in California since January 2, 1945. There have been four attacks in my area within a week.

But in my own case and others, there are some things I can't understand. For instance:

Why aren't Multanen's shotgun and high-powered rifle confiscated? Why isn't Multanen arrested for felony? He could have killed someone in my house. Why does Justice Crosby have to consult the voters before giving out a decision?

IT BREEDS LAWLESSNESS: Why does the Attorney General of California, Robert Kenny, say 'one of the first jobs of a police chief or law enforcement officer is to keep his job?' The first job of a peace officer is to enforce the law. that's why he was elected. Is that why Attorney General Kenney and Governor Warren do nothing but hold their jobs?

As an American citizen, voter and taxpayer, I'd like the answers. It seems to me if we can't master lawlessness, than lawlessness is going to master us, beginning with Fresno.

He, of course, has a good point. 21 shooting incidents and only one single arrest.

Appendix A: Wartime Exile: The Exclusion of the Japanese Americans from the West Coast

U.S. Dept. of Interior, War Relocation Authority, Jan. 1, 1946

This is another of the government publications relating to the internment of the Japanese Americans during World War II. As I usually do, I will only comment on what I feel are significant portions of the document.

The Japanese live near airfields, etc.

One of the arguments used by DeWitt and others in calling for evacuating the Japanese was that they owned land surrounding various important military plants and airfields, making the assumption that they had developed some kind of very long-term program to buy land in those spots on purpose so they could eventually, decades later, go to war with the U.S. and use those spots for spying.

Although it was a ridiculous argument it was believed by many to be true. This report tears that argument apart by saying:

In the light of cold fact, the charges made in wartime mood by certain West Coast militarists, politicians and professional racists, impugning the motives of the Japanese immigrants in settling where they did, lost substance and credibility. The most intent and extensive examination of historic fact reveals that nothing more sinister than economic necessity determined the pattern of geographic distribution of the Japanese immigrants upon the West Coast of the United States, and that that pattern had been set in such commonplace fashion for more than 30 years when the country of their ancestry and the country of their adoption went to war.

In other words, the Japanese had bought land where they could economically afford it and where it would be useful, usually for farms. There was no long-term or even short-term plan to spy on the U.S.

Attacks on American shipping

There had been some Japanese attacks on American shipping which I didn't find covered in other books, except for one case. In late December of 1941 an American tanker was fired on off Cypress Point but got away on its own power. A second tanker was sunk. On the 22nd a freighter was fired on but was missed. On the 23rd, a tanker was shelled by escaped. After Christmas day an Army bomber sank one single sub off the California coast and suddenly all the attacks on shipping ended. In other words, all of those attacks were done by one submarine, even though rumors were that there was a whole line of subs off the California coast.

Attacks on Japanese in America

According to the report, on Dec. 23,1941, a Nisei who 'had been honorably discharged form the United States Army Medical Corp' earlier in the year was stabbed to death on a Los Angeles street. On Christmas day a Japanese was killed in Stockton, and in the next ten days there were attacks on Japanese in San Jose, Gilroy and Sacramento.

This was also related to one of the arguments used to justify evacuation, and that it was to 'protect' the Japanese Issei and Nisei from racial attacks.

Terminal Island

Other sources I've consulted have talked about how all the fishermen from Terminal Island were evacuated since they were of Japanese ancestry, but the report goes into some information on just how chaotic and disorganized this process was.

On Tuesday, February 10, 1942, posters were put up on Terminal Island by Department of Justice order, warning all Japanese aliens that the deadline for their departure was the following Monday,February 16. However, on February 11, without warning, a Presidential order transferred Terminal Island to the jurisdiction of the Navy, and Secretary Knox instructed Rear Admiral R.S. Holmes, Commandant of the 11th Naval District in San Diego to notify all residents of Terminal Island that their dwellings would be condemned and that they would be evicted within 30 days. This arrangement automatically canceled the orders of the Department of Justice...Before a week had passed, the residents of Terminal Island were ordered to be out within 48 hours of notification.

The report goes on to tell how the residents were lead to believe they would get certain aid from the government, then they weren't able to since they didn't get any notices about where they could get any aid before they had to be out of their homes.

Official Prejudice

The Mayor of Los Angeles was not exactly friendly to the Japanese Americans. In a radio address he said the following, according to the report:

'If Lincoln were alive today, what would he do to defend the nation against the Japanese horde, the people born on American soil who have secret loyalty to the Japanese Emperor? ... The removal of all those of Japanese parentage must be effected before it is too late. Those little men who prate of civil liberties against the interest of the nation and the safety of the people will be forgotten in the pages of history, while an executive in Washington who will save the nation against invasion and destruction will be entitled to a secure place beside Lincoln.'

The Power of the Press

Walter Lippmann was a nationally known columnist who ended up writing about the Japanese American situation, and in relation to the fact that there had been no sabotage on the Pacific Coast since the start of the war, he said 'It is a sign that the blow is well organized and that it is held back until it can be struck with maximum effect.' In other words, since there had been no sabotage it was proof that there would be sabotage. This is exactly the same argument that DeWitt noted when he was pushing for the removal of the Japanese Americans from the West Coast.

This is shown in a February 14, 1942 memo that DeWitt wrote to the Secretary of War about the 'Evacuation of Japanese and other Subversive Persons from the Pacific Coast.; He said The very fact that no sabotage has taken place to date is a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken.

In other words, Lippman's argument, almost word-for word. In addition, the report noted things like The Japanese race is an enemy race and while many second and third generation Japanese born on United States soil, possessed of United States citizenship, have become ‘Americanized', the racial strains are undiluted. ...It therefore follows that along the vital Pacific Coast over 112,000 potential enemies, of Japanese extraction, are at large today. There are indications that these are organized and ready for concerted action at a favorable opportunity.


The report had the following comment on the JACL:

The Japanese American Citizens League provided about the only leadership that emerged from the minority at this time.... The league was not actually representative of the Japanese minority, but its officials at this time appeared as the only spokesmen.

The Santa Barbara submarine attack

Directly from the report:

At approximately 7:10 p.m. on February 23, 1942, an attack was made on the Santa Barbara area by an unidentified vessel off the coast of California. Included in the area shelled was an oil refinery. The blackout in this area went into effect about one hour after the shelling had occurred and although there were reports of lights and flares in the vicinity, investigations were made with negative results. ...There was no evidence of shore-to-ship signaling and no evidence of a landing in the area.

(Continuing) The effect of this incident was immediate and pronounced. Representative Alfred Elliott, of Tulare, California, shouted next day from the floor of the House: ‘We've got to move all the Japs in California into concentration camps, somewhere, some place, and do it damn quick.

The Battle of Los Angeles

Some books have made reference to the rumors of a plane attack on Los Angeles which turned out to be a wayward weather balloon, although damage was done to some cars by falling spent shells.

The report goes into the attack, and Tokyo's response, in considerable detail and it's really quite interesting.

In the small hours of February 25, Los Angeles had a blackout with antiaircraft guns brought into use. Five deaths resulted from traffic accidents or heart attack and were laid to what the newspapers called the ‘raid.' The War Department stated officially that the alarm as real; the Navy Department stated officially that it was a case of ‘jittery nerves.' Whether the ‘Battle of Los Angeles' was or was not a genuine raid, was still unsettled in the fall of 1945. An Associated Press Story reported from San Francisco under dateline of October 28, 1945:

As many as five unidentified airplanes, either Japanese, , civilian or commercial, were over southern California the night of February 24-25, 1942, during the ‘Battle of Los Angeles,' Fourth AAF headquarters disclosed today.

The blackout and antiaircraft firing in the Los Angeles area on the morning of February 25, 1942, were caused by the presence of one to five unidentified airplanes' reported Lieut. Gen. John L. DeWitt, then commanding general of the Fourth Army and the Western Defense Command. He added it was his belief that three planes appeared over Beverly Hills. ...the officer said ‘My belief is that those three planes could have been launched from submarines somewhere close into shore under our detectors.'"

On November 1, 1945, comment on that statement came from Tokyo in the form of an Associated Press story, which appeared in the Washington Evening Star under the caption: ‘Jap ‘Air Raid' of Los Angeles in ‘42 was Myth' and continued:"

The battle of Los Angeles was a myth. The Japanese did not send planes over that city the night of February 24-25, 1942, a Japanese Navy spokesmen told the Associated Press today. ... Captain Omae of the Japanese navy said, however, that a plane was launched from a submarine and sent over the Southern Oregon Coast on February 9, 1942, ‘ to attack military installations, but the lone plane was unable to discover any.

Even though it was later claimed to be a weather balloon, at the time the rumor mills and the anti-Japanese racists played the event up and it, too, contributed to the political pressure to remove the Japanese Americans from the West Coast.

Red Cross limits involvement of evacuees

Some of the evacuees were put to work making camouflage nets with some degree of difficulty and some degree of success. The Red Cross allowed the evacuees to donate money, but steadfastly refused to allow the center residents to roll bandages or knit for the armed forces, even going so far as to deny members of the Junior Red Cross units at centers their right to fill game kits for the soldiers, and not allowing center Red Cross organizations to be called ‘chapters'–they were called ‘units' to differentiate between Japanese American branches of the organization and others.

The Relocation Program

U.S. Dept. of the Interior/War Relocation Authority. Jan 1, 1946.

This is another of the official government publications relating to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. As usual, I will only bring up what I think are the most important points.

Anti-Japanese Prejudice and Voluntary Evacuation

The first attempts at evacuation were voluntary, where Japanese could relocate towards the East of their own free will. This program did not last very long, though, and soon all the Japanese Americans were evacuated from the West Coast.

Reasons sited include military necessity and fear of anti-Japanese violence by other citizens. This report talks about that violence:

By late March it had become apparent that the resentment of the interior States toward continued voluntary evacuation was based upon a complete misunderstanding of the status of the evacuees as well as upon war-bred fears and prejudices. Sheriffs from these States frequently reported that ‘California Japanese were escaping" from the military areas. Officials and residents of the interior regions were not aware that the military authorities were urging the evacuees to leave the West Coast States and establish themselves in inland areas. There was also widespread opinion that California, Washington and Oregon were ‘dumping undesirables.

It was obvious that voluntary evacuation could not continue without widespread disorders and possible risk of physical violence being directed against the Japanese. The War Relocation Authority's first general act was to recommend to General DeWitt that he prohibit further uncontrolled evacuation. The result was Public Proclamation No. 4, issued March 27, 1942, requiring all Japanese to remain within Military Area No. 1 without change of residence after midnight of March 29.

Governor's Conference and Anti-Japanese-American feeling

Again, directly from the report:

Because of the general misunderstanding of evacuation and the status of the evacuees in Western States, and in order to explore more fully the possibilities of a widespread resettlement program, a meeting was called at Salt Lake City on April 7, 1942, to explain the situation to the officials of the States in which the Authority might be operating. The conference was attended by governors or their representatives, attorneys general or their representatives, State extension service directors, State agricultural war board chairman, and State Farm Security Administration directors from 10 of the Western States....

Most of the governors and attorneys general, however, were not sympathetic to the program as outlined. Some expressed complete and bitter animosities toward settlement or purchase of land by any Japanese in their States. Some indicated definite suspicion or conviction that California was using interior States as dumping grounds for an old problem. Some refused to recognize that Japanese, even though United States citizens, had any rights. Some indicated that the temper of the people in their States could not be controlled unless Japanese who had already entered the States were brought under guard. Some opposed Japanese entering private business. Some demanded that the Federal Government guarantee to remove any and all Japanese remaining at the end of the war.... The official conception by State officers of the type of program best suited to the situation was one of concentration camps with workers being farmed out to work under armed guards. Some representatives advocated out and out detention camps for all Japanese.

This is another of the instances in which an official government publication uses the term 'concentration camps' to describe the internment centers. From a third to a half of the books I reviewed also used the term 'concentration camp' with the others using 'internment camp' or 'prison camp' to describe the camps.

Let's Put Them to Work

Keep in mind that the evacuation program was not voluntary. People were taken from their homes with minimal warning. They had to sell business and personal items and often lost quite a bit of money doing so. They were shipped to assembly centers and then again to internment camps, almost always behind barbed wire and armed guards. So it's not surprising that the attitude of many of the people would not be overly nice towards the government that put them there. In addition, the agricultural interests of the areas, the 'big business' of their day, saw that they had a potential slave labor force to work with, so they began crying to the government to get evacuees released (temporarily) from the centers to go out to the farms and work on them, then get sent back to the camps. In other words, once they were not longer useful to the big business of the day, they were to be discarded as quickly as possible.

The hiring of the evacuee workers was not an act of kindness or understanding on the part of the agricultural lobby; it was basically an act of selfishness and greed.

Nevertheless, many evacuees eventually did opt to work out on various farms and are credited with saving many crops that would have been lost otherwise due to lack of available man-power.

The program did not get off to a great start, as is to be expected, and the publication notes:

The Authority recognized that its position would be untenable with a large reserve of workers idle in relocation centers. Executive Order No. 9102 had provided for establish a work corps. This work corps plan provided that workers volunteer for the duration of the war and would be placed in private or public employment under the direct supervision of the War Relocation Authority. It had been expected that evacuees would greet the work corps with favor and the most able-bodied young people would wish to join it. The first official attempt to gain recruits for the work corps was in the Portland Assembly Center around mid-May. Workers joining there were to be sent to beet fields in eastern Oregon to help in meeting a severe spring labor shortage. Four men were sent from the San Francisco regional office to the Portland Assembly Center to star the enlistment. They found the evacuees wary of the work corps idea an full of questions for which no answers were ready. The enlistment form impressed the evacuees as bearing too much resemblance to a blank check presented for their signature. No workers were recruited at Portland and upon the recommendation of the recruitment team the work corps plan for recruiting seasonal workers was abandoned.

The demand for season workers in the Inter-Mountain States continued to grow. The very governors who had been opposed to the presence of any evacuees in their areas except under armed guard were now in the position of demanding that the War Department release evacuees from assembly centers to assist their farmers in the spring work.

It seems that once a person volunteered for the Work Corps program they would be stuck doing that until the end of the war, and if that's the case it's not surprising almost no one wanted to do that. Instead, later, evacuees were released for seasonal labor work and that ended up being quite successful.

The paper notes that an Oregon county made an attempt when the Amalgamated Sugar Company went into the Portland and Puyallup Assembly Centers to get workers. At first response was negligible, but a small party of a dozen workers did volunteer and they checked out the living and working conditions and found them to be okay. Once they reported back to the other evacuees that things would be okay for them then getting volunteers no longer was a major problem. There ended up being more demand that there were actual workers available.

By the middle of October of that year some 10,000 evacuees were scattered through the Western States helping in harvest work and in saving agricultural crops in 1942.

Requirements for Relocating

There were four basic requirements before a person was allowed to relocate outside of the camp. The paper says The first of the four requirements for leave was to reassure communities in which evacuees might be going that they would not become public charges and had reasonable assurance of self support. The second was to reassure the receiving community of the newcomers loyalty. The third requirement was made in order to give reasonable assurance to the evacuee regarding the reception which he might expect in the new community. It was also intended to give the WRA time to prepare the community for his reception. The need for such preparation was clearly evidenced by the unfortunate experience of voluntary evacuees going into communities which did not understand their situation. Once an unfortunate incident occurred, it was extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get that community to accept other evacuees. The fourth requirement in regard to notice of address change was to enable the War Relocation Authority to serve the evacuee.

Within the centers, during the first few months of their operation, facilities were not well developed for assisting the evacuee in his plans to relocate. Staff was frequently inadequate in numbers and inexperienced in its new job.

There were more requests than there were available workers and that led to problems. Again, from the report:

Many employers had counted definitely on securing the help which they had requested and some of them had gone to considerable lengths to prepare for the advent of Japanese workers. Failing in most cases to get the requested help, employers' attitudes ranged from simple disappointment to unreasonable anger and in some cases, particularly in rural sections, to a condemnation of the Japanese group for its failure to leave what was regarded by some as a life of ease in the relocation centers and to accept wartime employment.

The situation among employers actually got worse in 1943. The report notes During this season there was increased competition between communities for evacuee services, and it was necessary to retain the county travel restrictions simply to keep peace between communities which were trying to steal each others workers.

Nisei and combat

At the start of the war most of the Nisei in the armed forces were either dismissed from the service or downgraded to stateside, unarmed jobs. Then later, as the needs of the War Department grew, the government decided that having the Nisei in the armed forces wasn't such a bad idea after all. There was a nice captive group of them in the internment camps so the government decided it would try to get them to sign up. So the decision was made to make them all eligible for the draft but try and get volunteers at the same time.

It was believed that residents would welcome news of the formation of a Nisei combat team as an initial step toward the restoration of citizenship rights. It was consequently expected that registration would proceed smoothly. However, the initial reaction of many Nisei in every center was one of resentment because the proposed combat team was to be a segregated unit. They saw in the Army's program another instance of discrimination rather than one of restoration of rights.

In each center the registration program produced high emotional tension, and in some centers a crisis situation. ... In addition to the objection of many Nisei to the segregated nature of the proposed military service, many felt that they were being forced to volunteer for military service whereas other Americans normally were waiting to be drafted. This belief that they were being forced to volunteer for military service was at least partially due to a misunderstanding of the wording of one of the questions on the registration form which required male Nisei of military age to state whether or not they were willing to serve in the armed forces... There is no question but what many of the negative answers and qualified answers to this question were the result of failure to understand it.

That, of course, was the infamous loyalty questionnaire where questions 27 and 28 led to major problems for the Nisei and the camps. The report goes on to describe one of the problems the Nisei were facing:

Prospective volunteers were concerned about what might happen to their Issei parents if they were killed in battle. They knew that their parents could not inherit real estate under the laws of the Sates in the evacuated area. They wondered if their enemy alien parents would be eligible for GI allotments.

Issei were not allowed to buy or own land under the laws, so if their son died in combat, he couldn't leave any land he owned to them legally.

Question 28 was about renouncing any loyalty to the Emperor, and this question also caused concern. For many Nisei they had no loyalty to the Emperor at all; they were very Americanized and regarded the U.S. as their home, so how could they renounce something they didn't have? For the Issei, who were not legally allowed to become U.S. citizens at the time, then if they formally renounced any loyalty to Japan and the Emperor then would, in effect, be giving up their Japanese citizenship so they would be left without formal citizenship in any country at all.

Reluctance to leave the centers

As the war years progressed more and more people permanently left the centers to relocate elsewhere. Students were the first to go but gradually, as people could find jobs in other areas, they too were allowed to leave (to go East, of course, not West.) Those left in the centers became more and more reluctant to leave, though, and the report addresses that problem.

The job, however, in the relocation centers was becoming more and more difficult, since for the most part the adventuresome, unattached young people and the more confident and self reliant families were gone. Many with large families were fearful as to their ability to support their dependents on the outside as well as they were being supported by the Government in the centers. No amount of successful relocation by families with similar problems seemed to convince them that they should do likewise. Center living was being accepted as a normal way of life by many people, and complacency in regard to it was common, Apathy marked the attitude of an increasing number, and it was apparent that continued center living was not only demoralizing, but was tending to disintegrate the fiber of a people who had, previous to evacuation, been unusually self-reliant, sturdy, and independent.

It finally came to the point where the government decided that it would close down all the centers and that anyone still there would have to leave, period. On December 17, 1944, the Western Defense Command revoked the west coast general exclusion order for persons of Japanese ancestry which had been in effect since March, 1942. The order was effective as of January 2, 1945, clearing the way for the Japanese Americans to return to the west coast. (Theoretically, of course, as the attitudes of many people there were still virulently anti-Japanese and some of those who tried to return ran into discrimination and even outright violence.)

The WRA thus decided to liquidate itself, and the Director announced the reasons for the policy:

1. Center living was bad for the evacuees. It did not provide an atmosphere in which children could develop in the normal American pattern. It was generally destructive of good work habits, of the sense of responsibility on the part of family heads, and did not provide normal family living conditions. For their own welfare, the evacuees needed to get back into the life of the usual American community. This could be accomplished only by closing the centers.

2. The country, still at war, needed the skills and the manpower represented by the center population.

3. The Congress would undoubtedly question the necessity of appropriating funds to continue centers.

4. As long as this segment of the population remained concentrated in the centers, they were more vulnerable to campaigns directed against them by their enemies. The very fact that they were set apart tended to heighten the impression that their loyalty was in question.

5. If centers were to be liquidated, it should be done during the wartime period of high employment when relocation opportunities were favorable.

When you read these it's almost impossible to avoid laughing out loud. The fact that the center life would be bad for the people there should have been evident from the very beginning. The country needed workers, but before their internment these people were already workers (albeit in different jobs than the government wanted them to be in, probably). They were taken from these jobs against their will, locked up behind barbed wire and now, all of a sudden, the country needed them to be workers.

Reason 4 is the most absurd of all. They were placed in the centers because (for one reason) their loyalty was in question (by the government, anyhow). Their 'enemies' were going to attack them whether they were still in the centers or not. The hatred being directed against them didn't depend on where they were; it only depended on their existence.

The situation continued into 1945. The report notes that even as late as April of 1945 'most evacuees still residing in the centers were in no hurry to return to the evacuated area.'

The report admits that there was still discrimination and that there were more 'rapidly anti-Japanese within the evacuated area' (the West Coast), but they felt that they could convince the communities to accept the evacuees and the evacuees to accept the community. (Now, if you are going to relocate somewhere, would you want to go where you knew that people like you were hated by people in the area you were going to be living in?)

Nevertheless, the government kept moving to clear people out. In February an all-enter evacuee conference was held to discuss the liquidation policy, although Manzanar and Tule Lake did not send any representatives. The conference lasted a week, being divided into three general groups of people. First, there were those who wanted to get various public and private agencies to help with various forms of Government assistance during the relocation. A second group wanted full restitution for financial losses suffered (from having to sell their businesses, homes, property, etc), before they would leave. A third group favored the resettlement, but saw some very major roadblocks to the process.

Out of all this came a 'Statement of Facts' from the evacuee representatives along with 21 recommendations. Their facts are interesting to compare to the government's 5 'facts' listed earlier. The facts the conference came up with were:

1. Mental suffering has been caused by the forced mass evacuation.

2. There has been an almost complete destruction of financial foundations built during a half century.

3. Especially for the duration, the war has created fears of prejudices, persecution, etc, also fears of physical violence and fears of damage to property.

4. Many Issei (average age is between 60 and 65) were depending upon their sons for assistance and support, but these sons are serving in the United States armed forces. Now these Issei are reluctant to consider relocation.

5. Residents feel insecure and apprehensive towards the many changes and modifications of WRA policies.

6. The residents have prepared to remain for the duration because of many statements made by the WRA that relocation centers will be maintained for the duration of the war.

7. Many residents were forced to dispose of their personal and real properties, business and agricultural equipment , etc, at a mere trifle of their cost; also they drew leases for the ‘duration,' hence having nothing to return to.

8. Practically every Buddhist priest is now excluded from the west coast. Buddhism has a substantial following, and the members obviously prefer to remain where the religion centers.

9. There is an acute shortage of housing, which is obviously a basic need in resettlement. The residents fear that adequate housing is not available.

10. Many persons of Japanese ancestry have difficulty in obtaining insurance coverage on life, against fire, on automobiles, on property, etc.

Public Attitudes on the West Coast

The report even had a specific section on the attitudes of the people on the West Coast in relation to relocation of the evacuees:

A foretaste of opposition to the forthcoming return occurred dramatically in November 1944 at Hood River, Oregon, where the local chapter of the American Legion caused the names of 16 Nisei to be erased from the memorial bearing the names of all servicemen from the community... For 3 months, columnists, editorial writers, and radio speakers across the country condemned the Hood River Legion post. In the glare of this national spotlight, and after considerable pushing by national Legion headquarters, the Hood River post restored the names.

The names were back on the memorial, but Hood River remained as determined as ever that the evacuees would not return. Societies were organized for that express purpose. Full page anti-evacuee advertisements signed by Hood River citizens were run in local papers.

This was not the only place, of course, where such sentiments arose. The report goes on to say: Beginning shortly after revocation, a wave of terroristic incidents broke out in California. They were concentrated in the agricultural valleys, but extended to coastal communities. About 30 serious incidents involving arson, shooting attempts, and threatening visits had occurred by June 30, 1945, with numerous minor demonstrations such as rock throwing, threats, or intimidations.

In another section, it says On the west coast, however, shots were fired, economic boycotts organized, homes burned, churches storing evacuee property vandalized, and in one case a cemetery was desecrated.

Race prejudice, instigated by greed, emerges from any serious study of west coast social, economic and political history as the dominant factor behind hostile attitudes towards the Japanese...Occupational discrimination kept many members of the younger generation from finding work in the professional fields for which they had trained; qualified doctors, lawyers, clergymen, scientists and teachers were generally limited to service within the Little Tokyos, with the alternative of abandoning their professions. Young Nisei trained in American schools and taught the theories of democracy, frequently found the ranks of teachers, scientists and engineers closed to applicants with Japanese names and faces.

Prejudice against persons of Japanese ancestry was nurtured and abetted by several powerful organizations such as the Native Songs of the Golden West and by newspapers such as those owned by Hearst and McClatchy. When the exclusion orders were finally lifted in December 1944, these groups, having failed in their effort to force the Government to keep the evacuees from returning, intensified their efforts to intimidate the evacuees themselves, hoping by so doing to make them afraid to return.

Spin doctors strike again

Leave it to the spin doctors of the forties to put a positive spin on the internment program:

'While the evacuation caused some evacuees great financial loss and mental suffering, it was not without compensation for some evacuees. In the process of resettlement, certain advantages accrued to the group specially to the Nisei in other sections of the country and even on the west coast. They found a wider variety of occupations open to them then had been available prior to evacuation. Most of them escaped from segregation in housing and were otherwise able to merge into the general social life of new communities to a greater degree than they had previously been able to do. In general the anti-Japanese groups on the west coast were discredited and had lost the support of the public.


The first book in this series was on maps, illustrations and photos from the newsletters. This work is the second book in the series. The final book in the series will deal with the role of prejudice played in the lives of Japanese Americans as seen through the camp newsletters, and as seen through various books of the early 1900's.