Enduring Communities

Enduring Communities: The Japanese American Experience in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah is an ambitious three-year project dedicated to re-examining an often-neglected chapter in U.S. history and connecting it with current issues of today. These articles stem from that project and detail the Japanese American experiences from different perspectives. 

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Reclaiming California’s Japantowns

Preserving California’s Japantowns (PCJ) is the first statewide effort to identify, research, and document historic resources located in Japantowns throughout California. Sponsored by the California Japanese American Community Leadership Council (CJACLC), PCJ grew out of the energy from community forces rallied around the California Senate Bill 307 (SB307) campaign that focused on protecting the cultural heritage of the well-known Japantowns in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose. One of the ways the CJACLC convinced the state legislature to pass SB307 was their reasoning that, of dozens of Japantowns, or Nihonmachi, scattered throughout California before WWII, only three remained …

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The Assembly Centers: An Introduction

On March 30, 1942, 257 Nikkei residents of Bainbridge Island, Washington, walked onto a cross-sound ferry to Seattle under military guard and boarded a train bound for the Manzanar Reception Center in California’s Owens Valley, 200 miles east of Los Angeles. This transport began the forced exile of 92,000 Japanese Americans directly from their homes in Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona into so-called “assembly centers.” There they remained for approximately 100 days until their transfer to permanent “relocation centers” located in remote regions of the country.

Over the past forty years many books have been published on the relocation centers, …

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Resisting Incarceration in Concentration Camps

On May 8, 1942, I moved from South Palo Alto in Santa Clara County, California, to East Palo Alto in San Mateo County to be with my grandmother, who was then ill.

Between May 9 and September 1943, I was detained at the Tanforan Assembly Center in San Bruno, California, just south of San Francisco. I was angry about being incarcerated on May 9 because that was the day before the high school track and field finals, and here I was about to lose my freedom. When I was at Tanforan, I made many new friends and learned a lot …

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Leupp, Arizona: A Shared Historic Space for the Navajo Nation and Japanese Americans

On April 27, 1943, at 7:00 a.m., Harry Yoshio Ueno and five other Japanese American men arrived at Old Leupp, located on Navajo land in northeastern Arizona, after a thirteen-hour ride from Moab, Utah, in a box in the back of a pick-up truck. The cramped box had but a two-by-two-foot opening for entry and exit. Ueno lamented that it was “Hot! Humid! We really had a hard ride.”1 The Leupp Isolation Center, administered by the War Relocation Authority (WRA), was encased by a high barbed wire fence and 150 military police patrolled the unit. The guards outnumbered the …

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Dysentery, Dust, and Determination: Health Care in the World War II Japanese American Detention Camps

On February 19, 1942, less than 74 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which set in motion the subsequent exclusion and detention of all Americans of Japanese ancestry, whether aliens ineligible for US citizenship (Issei) or their U.S.-born citizen children (Nisei) and grandchildren (Sansei), living on the West Coast. The military began rounding up Japanese Americans as early as February 27, giving some as little as 48 hours to pack up. Within four months, more than 110,000 people had been removed from their homes and transplanted to makeshift detention areas—called assembly …

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assembly center Bismarck concentration camps health care hospitals No-no org:janm santa fe Tanforan Topaz tule lake World War II