All Manzanar photographs
from the Ansel Adams Library of Congress Archives unless otherwise
Text excerpts from "Manzanar"
by John Armor and Peter Wright"
with the children
Desk of Roy
Roy Takeno -
Editor of the Manzanar "Free Press"
The numbers alone tell an important part of the internment story.
Only 1,875 Nisei from Hawaii, each individually identified
as a possible threat to the security of the United States, were
interned. The rest of the 120,000 prisoners were from the mainland.
Manzanar was the first of ten camps to open. The following list
identifies all the camps, their first and last days of operation,
and the maximum number of prisoners held at any time in each
- and offers a stark picture of the Nisei's fate:
Heart Mountain, Wyoming
Tule Lake, California
'42 - Nov. '45
Sept. '42 - Oct. '45
Sept. '42 - Nov. '45
Nov. '42 - June '44
June '41 - Nov. '45
Sept. '42 - Oct. '45
June '42 - Nov. '45
Oct. '42 - Nov. '45
Oct. '42 - Oct. '45
June'42 - Mar. '46
Bert K. Namura
Kay Fukuda U.S.
was a fisherman living on Terminal Island in Los Angeles. Like
many Nisei fisherman, he was arrested and jailed, not
merely interned. He lost three purse-sein nets valued at $22,000.
His pregnant wife and four children had only forty-eight hours
to prepare to go to Manzanar. "She couldn't carry anything
except clothing... We had a three-bedroom house with a kitchen.
My wife had to abandon everything...the furniture and all of
our other furnishings, including a 1940 Plymouth...no one ever
knew what happened to my property."
Yoshio Ekimoto was a Nisei, born in 1914. His family owned
a forty-acre farming northern Los Angeles County. His parents
had bought this farm in 1912, the year before California passed
a law making it illegal for Japanese aliens to own land in the
Ekimoto was interned at Poston, Arizona, in May 1942. He was
one of the few who was able to keep accurate records of his losses.
When he returned home in 1945, his farm had been completely mortgaged.
He was forced to sell it to pay the mortgage. He had listed all
the personal property he lost while he was interned, down to
cameras, boxes of shotgun shells, and the attorney's fees he
incurred (five dollars) in trying to avoid what inevitably happened
to him and his family.
His total losses came to $23,824 in 1942 dollar, which represents
nothing of the additional personal harm suffered by him and his
family, including his wife's miscarriage as a result of the internment.
He was paid a total of only $692 in compensation under the 1948
Evacuation Claims Act.
Tollefson from Westminster, CA. Writes
I just visited your site and have a report for you.
The two barracks buildings from the Lone Pine airport are on
the site at Manzanar. I am sure they represent only a dot of
all the buildings that were once on that sloping land; however,
they created a strong impact on me. I was born in 1942 and did
not really know the FEAR of Japan as my elders did. I was influenced
by the beautiful colors and designs of the Japanese artist and
craftsmen, so much so that I continue to reproduce that idea
in my own artwork on a regular basis.
On the first Sunday of May, I went with a group of artists to
Manzanar. The group was originally formed by a man named Henry
Fukahara who lives in Santa Monica and is now 95 years old. He
was assigned to Manzanar as a young man and has gone back many
times to paint the area. He is a watercolorist of great renown
although he is now blinded by Macular Degeneration, such a sad
thing. His friends and family want to continue this annual expedition
as a tribute to Henry and all the people who once lived there.
I visited the Visitors Center and thought it was very well done.
The Rangers on duty recognized the pin I wore on my shirt as
an "original" Takahashi bird pin, which it is, and I bought
it from the artist herself many years ago.
I looked up some names on the computer. Names of people that
I know that were assigned to those barracks. It is an emotional
thing to find their little names in the great big books.
When I finally settled down to paint.those two barracks, the
buildings kept "talking' to me. I knew that they were not
finished and the looked askew and out of place where they were.
I tried and tried to paint other things, trees and hills and
snow peaks and rocks, but I finally took a few moments and slapped
some paint on a page. Now, two weeks later, I find that that
small sketch is the one I really wanted to do. Imagine that,
four families of about four each lived in one of those barracks.
How did they manage. The humiliation of the latrines and those
lines. The crowded laundry rooms, and those lines; the towers
and shame. I think those
families endured as champions. I am a descendant of Norwegians
and Germans and I wonder how THEY would have gotten along in
the same situation? Probably not so well.
I am going to try to send you a copy of my sketch..and encourage
you to write more about this place and the people who were there.
They are dying out and should be remembered as 110% Americans.
Diane Tollefson - 2008
Jackson from San Diego, CA. Writes
I was a young boy, in about 1944, I remember that one of my mother's
sisters lived in a place called Lone Pine. I knew that my uncle
was in the army, but had no idea of what he did. When I was older,
I learned that, owing to insufficient qualifications for combat
duty, he was assigned as a guard at Manzanar. Ironically, my
mother's best school chum in Reedley, CA, was later interned
there, along with her family.
I remember, from my elementary school days, the former Japanese
truck farms in Tulare County - always meticulously tended and
weeded - which were suddenly in the hands of whites. Somewhere
in my mother's effects is a round camp badge, similar in size
to an old political button, green and white, with Japanese characters
scratched on the reverse side. If I can locate it, I would like
for it to become part of a historic display or returned to the
family of the internee whose serial number is on the front.
Adamson from Bishop, CA. Writes
to the Bishop from Ireland with my Mother when I was 6 months
old. My mother was a war bride. My granddad, David S Bromley
worked in Manzanar. Some of my earliest memories were of going
to Manzanar with my Granddad. There didn't seem to be a lot of
people left, but I always remember visiting with those who were
there. One of my most vivid memories (and 1st memories) is of
a very kind Japanese lady giving me a sugar cube. I thought this
was the greatest thing in the world and still hold that memory
close to my heart. I don't get to Bishop very often, but would
love to visit Manzanar. I remember, so vividly, my Granddad speaking
so highly of the people in the camp. I always felt, that he felt
it was wrong. I think his emotions came out in his poetry. It's
quite a legacy that I've been left with and I would love to learn
as much as possible about this time in my Granddad's life. I
know it affected him forever.
Elizabeth Bromley Adamson
Rock Creek, Mammoth, Tom's Place