japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl














japanese girl



IMAGES OF MANZANAR






See USE NOTICE on Home Page.

All Manzanar photographs are from the National Archives Registry unless otherwise noted. Copies of these pictures can be obtained directly from the National Archives.

These images are some of my favorite. There nearly 500 Manzanar internment images in the National Archives files. I encourage you to visit the archives and peruse the many photographs. Once you click on the icon above and are taken to the archives, type in "Manzanar" and then press "Display Results" and the images will be displayed in sets of nine.
You might observe, as I did, that the internees appear rather unnaturally joyous in these pictures. I don't think that having been dislocated from their homes and businesses, forced to live in a harsh desert environment and confined to barracks with no insulation would have made them this happy. But as Jeanne Wakatsuki points out in her book, Farewell to Manzanar, Japanese Americans told each other very quietly to "Shikata ga nai" ("It must be done", or, as my Japanese friend says, "Suck it up [and get on with life]." Perhaps this is what encouraged them to put a smile on their face.

The photographer for the majority of these photographs was Dorthea Lange.

Text excerpts followed by a "JWH" are from Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston & James D. Houston's book "Farewell to Manzanar"

Manzanar under Construction

 The Internment Camp Layout

Manzanar Overview
Overview of the Interment Camp.

Manzanar Layout
Internment Camp layout details.


"Each barracks was divided into six units, sixteen by twenty feet, about the size of a living room, with one bare bulb hanging from the ceiling and an oil stove for heat. We were assigned two of these for the twelve people in our family group; and our official family 'number' was enlarged by three digits - 16 plus the number of this barracks. We were issued steel army cots, two brown army blankets each, and some mattress covers, which my brothers stuffed with straw.

The people who had it hardest during the first few months were young couples, many of whom had married just before the evacuation began, in order not to be separated and sent to different camps. Our two rooms were crowded, but at least it was all in the family. My oldest sister and her husband were shoved into one o those sixteen-by-twenty-foot compartments with six people they had never seen before - two other couples, one recently married like themselves, the other with two teenage boys. Partitioning off a room like that wasn't easy. It was bitter cold when we arrived, and the wind did not abate. All they had to use for room dividers were those army blankets, two of which were barely enough to keep one person warm. They argued over whose blanket should be sacrificed and later argued about noise at night - the parents wanted their boys asleep by 9:00 p.m. - and they continued arguing over matters like that for six months, until my sister and her husband left to harvest sugar beets in Idaho. It was grueling work up there, and wages were pitiful, but when the call came through camp for workers to alleviate the wartime labor shortage, it sounded better than their life at Manzanar. They knew they'd have, if nothing else, a room, perhaps a cabin of their own." (JWH)

Manzanar Entrance
Entrance to Manzanar during construction.

Military Police
Military police at Manzanar.

View South
Looking south down Owens Valley towards Lone Pine.

Barracks Construct
Construction of barracks at Manzanar in Owens Valley in the shadow of the High Sierra.

Military Police
Military police standing guard.

Barracks Construct
Construction of barracks at Manzanar in Owens Valley, flanked by the High Sierra and Mt. Whitney


 "In Spanish, Manzanar means 'apple orchard.' Great stretches of Owens Valley were once green with orchards and alfalfa fields. It has been a desert ever since its water started flowing south into Los Angeles, sometime during the twenties. But a few rows of untended pear and apple trees were still growing there when the camp opened, where a shallow water table had kept them alive. In the spring of 1943 we moved to Block 28, right up next to one of the old pear orchards. That's where we stayed until the end of the war, and those trees stand in my memory for the turning of our life in camp, from the outrageous to the tolerable." (JWH)

Military Police
Army military police on duty at Manzanar.

Main Street
Main street Manzanar.

Manzanar Street
Manzanar street construction.

Barracks Construct
Manzanar barracks under construction.


Manzanar in the late afternoon.

Manzanar
Manzanar in the late afternoon.

Tree Clearing
Clearing the grounds of long dead apple orchard trees from the time when Owens Valley was a rich agricultural area.

Barracks ConstructBarracks Construct
Manzanar barracks under construction.


"It seems so comical, looking back; we were a band of Charlie Chaplins marooned in the California desert. But at the time, it was pure chaos. That's the only way to describe it. The evacuation had been so hurriedly planned, the camps so hastily thrown together, nothing was completed when we got there, and almost nothing worked.

The kitchens were too small and badly ventilated. Food would spoil from being left out too long. That summer [1941], when the heat got fierce, it would spoil faster. The refrigeration kept breaking down. The cooks, in many cases, had never cooked before

The first chef in our block had been a gardener all his life and suddenly found himself preparing three meals a day for 250 people.

'The Manzanar runs' became a condition of life, and you only hoped that when you rushed to the latrine, one would be in working order." (JWH)

Barracks Construct
Manzanar barracks under construction.

Barracks Construct
Manzanar barracks under construction.

Land Clearing
More land being cleared on the southern side of the internment facility at Manzanar .

Manzanar
A view of Manzanar three months after it was opened to the first internees.

Manzanar Entrance
Entrance to Manzanar with the not so uncommon wind and dust.

Manzanar
Manzanar with completed streets and blocks.

 Auditorium
Auditorium at Manzanar.


"Inside it [the latrine] was like all the other latrines. Each block was built to the same design, just as each of the ten camps, from California to Arkansas, was built to a common master plan. It was an open room, over a concrete slab. The sink was a long metal trough against one wall, with a row of spigots for hot and cold water. Down the center of the room twelve toilet bowls were arranged in six pairs, back to back, with no partitions. My mother was a very modest person, and this was going to be agony for her, sitting down in public, among strangers.

Like so many of the women there, Mama never did get used to the latrines. It was a humiliation she just learned to endure: shikata ga nai, this cannot b helped. She would quickly subordinate her own desires to those of the family or the community, because she knew cooperation was the only way to survive. At the same time she placed a high premium on personal privacy, respected it in others and insisted upon it for herself. Almost everyone at Manzanar had inherited this pair of traits from the generations before them who had learned to live in a small, crowded country like Japan. Because of the first they were able to take a desolate stretch of wasteland and gradually make it livable. But the entire situation there, especially in the beginning - the packed sleeping quarters, the communal mess halls, the open toilets - all this was an open insult to that other, private self, a slap in the face you were powerless to challenge" (JWH)



 Japanese Americans Arriving at Manzanar

Leaving Los Angeles
Japanese Americans leaving Los Angeles for Manzanar.

Leaving Los Angeles
Last call to pick up suits and gowns before this "Little Tokyo" shop is closed.

Disembarking
Soon-to-be Japanese American internees disembarking at Lone Pine.


"The name Manzanar meant nothing to us when we left Boyle Heights. We didn't know where it was or what it was. We went because the government ordered us to. And, in the case of my older brothers and sisters, we went with a certain amount of relief. They had all heard stories of Japanese homes being attached, of beatings in the streets of California towns. They were as frightened of the Caucasians as Caucasians were of us. Moving, under what appeared to be government protection, to an area less directly threatened by the war seemed not such a bad idea at all. For some it actually sounded like a fine adventure." (JWH)

On the train
Japanese Americans on the train to Manzanar just north of Lone Pine.

Arriving by bus
Japanese Americans arriving by bus in Lone Pine for transportation to Manzanar.

Disembarking
Disembarking at Lone Pine.

 On the train
Japanese Americans on the train to Manzanar just north of Lone Pine.

 On the train
Japanese Americans on the train to Manzanar just north of Lone Pine.

 Disembarking
Japanese Americans disembarking at Lone Pine.


 "I had never been outside Los Angeles County, never traveled more than ten miles from the coast, had never even ridden on a bus. I was full of excitement, the way any kid would be, and wanted to look out the window. But for the first few hours the shades were drawn. Around me other people played cards, read magazines, dozed, waiting. I settled back, waiting too, and finally fell asleep. The bus felt very secure to me. Almost half its passengers were immediate relatives. Mama and my older brothers had succeeded in keeping most of us together, on the same bus, headed for the same camp. I didn't realize until much later what a job that was. The strategy had been, first,to have everyone living in the same district when the evacuation began, and then to get all of us included under the same family number, even though names had been changed by marriage. Many families weren't as luck as ours ad suffered months of anguish while trying to arrange transfers from one camp to another." (JWH)

Disembarking
Disembarking at Lone Pine and boarding the bus for Manzanar.

Disembarking
Disembarking at Lone Pine and boarding the bus for Manzanar.

Registration
Registration being explained to Japanese American men by Lt. Eugene Bogard .

  Arriving by train
Young Japanese American women arriving by train at Lone Pine for bus transportation to Manzanar.


 "We woke up early, shivering and coated with dust that had blown up through the knotholes and in through the slits around the doorway. During the night Mama had unpacked all our clothes and heaped them on our beds for warmth. Now our cubicle looked as if a great laundry bag had exploded and then been sprayed with fine dust. A skin of sand covered the floor. " (JWH)

bar

Ligaya Wada of San Diego, California writes.

 On the train
Japanese Americans on the train to Manzanar just north of Lone Pine.
(Richard Osamu Wada, child; Kimiyo Wada, grandmother)

wall
Stone wall work built at Manzanar in 1942 by Ligaya Wada's grandfather.

wall
Stone wall work built at Manzanar in 1942 by Ligaya Wada's grandfather.

Dear Ray,

I just wanted to thank you for sharing your website to everyone. The two pictures [just to the right of the NARA photo, above] were taken by my father's [the young boy in the picture above] good friend when he visited Manzanar last summer (2001). I forwarded the pictures to my Uncle (my father's older brother) and he stated that my grandfather was a foreman of a garden crew which made the stoneware pictured. My Uncle was never aware of this stoneware until about 20 or so years ago when there was an article in the Oakland Tribune about Manzanar. I was so touched to know that MY grandfather left his name behind with history.

My father's (the young boy in the above picture) name is Richard Osamu Wada. My grandmother's (pictured above) name is Kimiyo Wada. Her maiden name was Uyenoyama (which means mountain). She was married to Bunyomon Wada at the time of the internment.

That's when I started surfing the internet to learn more about Manzanar. If it wasn't for your website, I would have never found the picture of my father (when he was two years old) and my grandmother [pictured above left]. Thanks to your information I was able to order a handful of the pictures and give them as gifts to my mother, uncle,sister and brother.
ligaya
I received the pictures the other day (Sept. 2002) and I was in tears when I was looking at them. I wish my father and grandmother were still alive to see the beautiful picture of them. My father came from a poor family, so they didn't have a camera while he was growing up. So it's been especially touching, since I know now what my father looked like as a toddler.

I hope I'm not the only one you have touched so deeply. Thank you so much again for sharing your beautiful website. If it wasn't for your website, I don't think I would have ever known this picture existed. May God bless your soul. I will forever be grateful.

Ligaya Wada
 

Ligaya Wada

Wada Family (1975)
Wada Family
L to R: Richard Wada (Ligaya's father), Florence Lida, George Wada,
Grandma, Roy Wada, and Mary Yoshioka.

[photos courtesy of Ligaya and George Wada]

Ligaya Wada


bar

Education at Manzanar

3rd grade
3rd grad Japanese American children in class at Manzanar.

In class
Japanese American children in class at Manzanar.

In class
Japanese American children in class at Manzanar.

 
 "My days spent in classrooms are largely a blur now, as one merges into another. What I see clearly is the face of my fourth-grade teacher - a pleasant face, but completely invulnerable, it seemed to me at the time, with sharp, commanding eyes. She came from Kentucky. She wore wedgies, loose slacks, and sweaters that were too short in the sleeves. A tall, heavyset spinster, about forty years old, she always wore a scarf on her head, tied beneath the chin, even during class, and she spoke with a slow, careful Appalachian accent. She was probably the best teacher I've ever had - strict, fair-minded, dedicated to her job. Because of her, when we finally returned to the outside world I was, academically at least, more than prepared to keep up with my peers" (JWH)

Preschool kids
Pre-school children on their way to class at Manzanar.

Elementary kids
Elementary school children at Manzanar.

Issei and Kibei
Issei and Kibei evacuees studying the American Citizenship and the English language.

Penmanship class
A class in penmanship with Miss Doris Nakagawa, 25, as instructor.

Youngsters at play
Youngsters playing in the field of a nursery school.

bar

Daily Life at Manzanar

Impounded cars
Impounded cars of Japanese Americans. Internees were not permitted to use any of their cars during the internment at Manzanar.

Barracks
Rear: Eva (left) and Emiko Yamashita. Front: Mici Yamashita (left), and Taka Sakai unpacking in their barracks

Bert Miura
Bert Miura working at the garment cutting factory in Manzanar.

Young Japanese
Young Japanese American internee.

Nisei girls
Nisei girls Toshiko Mikami and Kazuko Sakai on the banks of Shepards Creek.

Geta shoes
Yaeko Yamashita (in doorway)
watches Fugiko Koba trying a new pair of geta (sandals).

Lucy YonemitshuLucy Yonemitshu
Lucy Yonemitshu in her barracks at Manzanar.

Mary Nagao
Mary Nagao, from Los Angeles, CA., at one of seamstresses barracks.

 
"A young woman came in, a friend of Chizu's, who lived across the way. She had studied in Japan for several years. About the time I went to bed she and Papa began to sing songs in Japanese, warming their hands on either side of the stove, facing each other in its glow. After a while Papa sang the first line of the Japanese national anthem, Kimi ga yo. Woody, Chizu, and Mama knew the tune, so they hummed along while Papa and the other woman sang the words. It can be a hearty or a plaintive tune, depending on your mood. From Papa, that night, it was a deep-throated lament. Almost invisible in the stove's small glow, tears began running down his face.
It is not a martial song, or a victory song, the way many national anthems are. It is really a poem, whose words go back to the ninth century:

Kimi ga you wa chiyoni
yachiyoni sa-za-re i-shi no i-wa-o to
na-ri-te ko-ke no musu made.


May thy peaceful reign last long.
May it last for thousands of years,
Until this tiny stone will grow
Into a massive rock, and the moss
Will cover it deep and thick"
(JWH)

Japanese girl
Young Japanese American removing articles from the local paper relating to the relocation at Manzanar.

Takeshi Shindo
Takeshi Shindo, Manzanar Free Press Reporter.

Jack Toyo
Jack Toyo putting the finishing touches on fireman caps.

Geta
Geta (stilt-like) sandals.

Arrival
New Japanese American arrivals moving into their quarters at Manzanar.

Arrival
New Japanese American arrivals moving into their quarters at Manzanar.

  
"For all the pain it caused, the loyalty oath finally did speed up the relocation program. One result was a gradual easing of the congestion in the barracks.

In Block 28 we doubled our living space - four rooms for the twelve of us. Ray and Woody walled them with sheetrock. We had ceilings this time, and linoleum floors of solid maroon. You had three colors to choose from - maroon, black, and forest green - and there was plenty of it around by this time. Some families would vie with on another for the most elegant floor designs, obtaining a roll of each color from the supply shed, cutting it into diamonds, squares, or triangles, shining it with heating oil, then leaving their doors open so that passers-by could admire the handiwork." (JWH)

Barracks
Manzanar Home.
A bare barracks furnished only with an Army cot and mattress. This is a far cry from the homes and businesses they were forced to leave behind.

Clerk
Clerk obtaining personal information from internees.

Japanese American
Unknown Japanese American at Manzanar.

Nisei girls
Nisei girls Toshiko Mikami and Kazuko Sakai on the banks of Shepards Creek.

Karl Yoneda
Karl Yoneda, Block Leader at Manzanar.

Afternoon walk
Afternoon walk at Manzanar.


JoAnne Keiko Masuoka Serran of Union City, California writes.

Ray,

My parents were interned at Manzanar. Edward Fumio Masuoka and Ruth Fujiko Murata Masuoka. They met in San Francisco after being released from camp. Both are deceased now. Unfortunately, they spoke very little about their life at Manzanar. After reading an excerpt of "Farewell to Manzanar" it perked my interest and now I wish I knew more about their life in camp. What little they did tell me was not the same as what I read in the excerpt. I realize that I read a small portion of the story; however, I will read as many stories as I can about camp life.

JoAnne Keiko Masuoka Serran (Sansei) - October 2002.

Japanese
Grandfather and grandson.

Henry
Henry Ishizuka, UCLA graduate, superintendent of the camouflage project.

H.M. Kumano
H. M. Kumano, artist, teacher of painting in the art project at Manzanar.

     
"[Papa] painted watercolors. Until this time I had not known he could paint. He loved to sketch the mountains. If anything made that country habitable it was the mountains themselves, purple when the sun dropped and so sharply etched in the morning light the granite dazzled almost more than the bright snow lacing it. The nearest peaks rose ten thousand feet higher than the valley floor, with Whitney, the highest, just off to the south. They were important for all of us, but especially for the Issei. Whitney reminded Papa of Fujiyama, that is, it gave him the same kind of spiritual sustenance. The tremendous beauty of those peaks was inspirational, as so many natural forms are to the Japanese (the rocks outside our doorway could be those mountains in miniature). They also represented those forces in nature, those powerful and inevitable forces that cannot be resisted, reminding a man that sometimes he must simply endure that which cannot be changed." (JWH)

Frank Hirosawa
Frank Hirosawa, scientist from Seattle, Washington worked on the guayule rubber experiment project as research rubber chemist.

Togo Tanaka
Togo Tanaka.

Chico Sakaguchi
Chico Sakaguchi, born in Los Angeles
in 1918, and in one in a family of six children, all of whom are college graduates. UCLA graduate in 1940 with a major in English.

Caouflage
Making camouflage nets for the War Department.

Swimming
Swimming in the creek which flows by internment facility at Manzanar.

Swimming
Swimming in the creek which flows by internment facility at Manzanar.

Singing
Young Japanese American girls practicing school songs.

Camouflage
Making camouflage nets for the War Department.

Barracks
Barracks life at Manzanar.

 
"As the months at Manzanar turned to years, it became a world unto itself, with its own logic and familiar ways. In time, staying there seemed far simpler than moving once again to another, unknown place. It was as if the war were forgotten, our reason for being there forgotten.

The fact that America had accused us, or excluded us, or imprisoned us, or whatever it might be called, did not change the kind of world we wanted. Most of us were born in this country; we had no other models. Those parks and gardens lent it an oriental character, but in most ways it was a totally equipped American small town, complete with schools, churches, Boy Scouts, beauty parlors, neighborhood gossip, fire and police departments, glee clubs, softball leagues, Abbott and Costello movies, tennis courts, and traveling shows. (I still remember an Indian who turned up one Saturday billing himself as a Sioux chief, wearing bear claws and head feathers. In the firebreak he sang songs and danced his tribal dances while hundreds of us watched.)" (JWH)

Flowers
Making artificial flowers.

Grave
The first grave at the Manzanar Center's cemetery. Matsunosuke Murakami who died at age 62.

Mrs. Matsumoto
Mrs. Harry Matsumoto, a University of California graduate, and her husband were superintendents of the Children's Village where 65 orphans were housed and cared for.

Chiyeko Nakashima
Chiyeko Nakashima, high school student, playing table tennis in the girl's recreation hall.

Oko Murata
Oko Murata (left), and Esther Naito, in their barrack apartment.

 

Esther Naito
Esther Naito, in her barrack apartment.

Ice cream
Left to right, foreground: Florence Yamaguchi, Nancy Kawashimi, Floyd Fujiu at the community store.

Memorial Day
Memorial Day services at Manzanar.

Manzanar
Left to right, Mrs. T. Kakehashi; Mitsoshi Shijo, 5 months old, and Mrs. M. Shijo, seated on a rustic bench under a twig umbrella built by George S. Takemura.

 
"My sister Lillian was in high school and singing with a hillbilly band called 'The Sierra Stars' - jeans, cowboy hats, two guitars, and a tub bass. And my oldest brother, Bill, led a dance band called 'The Jive Bombers' - brass and rhythm, with cardboard fold-out music stands lettered J.B. Dances were held every weekend in one of the recreational halls. Bill played trumpet and took vocals on Glenn Miller arrangements of such tunes as In the Mood, String of Pearls, and Don't Fence Me In. He didn't sing Don't Fence Me In out of protest, as if trying quietly to mock the authorities. It just happened to be a hit song one year, and they all wanted to be an up-to-date American swing band. They would blast it out into recreation barracks full of bobby-soxed, jitter-bugging couples:

Oh, give me land, lots of land
Under starry skies above,
Don't fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide
Open country that I love
....

Pictures of the band, in their bow ties and jackets, appeared in the high school yearbook for 1943-1944, along with pictures of just about everything else in camp that year. It was called Our World." (JWH)

Florence Yamaguchi
Florence Yamaguchi (left), and Kinu Hirashima, both from Los Angeles, are pictured as they stand under an apple tree at Manzanar.

Nancy Kawashima
Nancy Kawashima (left), and Emiko Hino, both from Los Angeles, arrange paper flowers for one of many art exhibits at Manzanar.

Block leaders
A group of Block Leaders who are drawing up the Constitution for this War Relocation Authority center. They are: front row, (L to R) Karl Yoneda, H. Inouye: Back row, (L to R) Bill Kito, Ted Akahoshi, Tom Yamazaki, and Harry Nakamura..

Japanese
Young Japanese Americans at Manzanar.

Japanese
Young Japanese Americans at Manzanar.

Japanese
Young Japanese girl at Manzanar.

  Dance
Dance given by the Girls' Relocation Committee.

bar

Sports at Manzanar

6th grade girls
6th grade girls playing volleyball

6th grade boys
6th grade boys playing baseball.

Basketball
Women's basketball.

 
"In addition to the regular school sessions and the recreation program, classes of every kind were being offered all over camp: singing, acting, trumpet playing, tap-dancing, plus traditional Japanese arts like needlework, judo, and kendo. The first class I attended was in baton twirling, taught by a chubby girl about fourteen named Nancy. In the beginning I used a sawed-off broomstick with an old tennis ball stuck on one end. When it looked like I was going to keep at this, Mama ordered me one like Nancy's from the Sear, Roebuck catalog. Nancy was a very good twirler and taught us younger kids all her tricks. For months I practiced, joined the baton club at school, and even entered contests. Since then I have often wondered what drew me to it at that age. I wonder, because of all the activities I tried out in camp, this was the one I stayed with, in fact returned to almost obsessively when I entered high school in southern California a few years later. By that time I was desperate to be 'accepted,' and baton twirling was one trick I could perform that was thoroughly, unmistakably American - putting on the boots and a dress crisscrossed with braid, spinning the silver stick and tossing it high to the tune of a John Philip Sousa march." (JWH)

Basketball
Women's basketball.

Softball
Members of the Chick-a-dee softball team. The squad leaders, with hands on bat, are: Ritsuko Masuda (left), and Marion Fuji.

Maye Noma
Maye Noma behind the plate and Tomi Nagao at bat in a practice game between members of the Chick-a-dee soft ball team.

bar

Journalism at Manzanar


"In the months to come they [my family] would draw together even more closely, just as I would hold to them - my moment of separateness a foreshadowing, but not yet a reality. Our family had begun to dwindle, along with the entire camp population. By the end of 1944 about 6,000 people remained, and those, for the most part, where the aging and the young. Whoever had prospects on the outside, and the energy to go, was leaving, relocating, or entering military service. No one could blame them. To most of the Nisei, anything looked better than remaining in camp. For many of their parents, just the opposite was true." (JWH)
 

 Shizuco Setoguchi
Shizuco Setoguchi assistant in the Manzanar Free Press.

 Joe Blamey
Joe Blamey, editor of the Manzanar Free Press.

 Takeshi Shindo
Takeshi Shindo, Reporter for the Manzanar Free Press, and his girlfriend Toshiko Mikami.

Manzanar FPManzanar Free Press in operation.

War poster
War posters such as this did little to help the Japanese Americans after the internment camps closed.

 Manzanar FP
Manzanar Free Press in operation.

 
War Poster"...it was announced that all the camps would be closed within the coming twelve months and that internees now had the right to return to their former homes.

In our family the response to this news was hardly joyful. For one thing we had no home to return to. Worse, the very thought of going back to the west coast filled us with dread. What will they think of us, those who sent us here? How will they look at us? Three years of wartime propaganda - racist headlines, atrocity movies, hate slogans, and fright-mask posters - had turned the Japanese face into something despicable and grotesque. Mama and Papa knew this. They had been reading the papers. Even I knew this, although it was not until many years later that I realized how bad things actually were.

In addition to the traditionally racist organizations like The American Legion and The Native Sons of The Golden War PosterWest, who had been agitating against the west-coast Japanese for decades, new groups had sprung up during the war, with the specific purpose of preventing anyone of Japanese descent from returning to the coast - groups like No Japs Incorporated in San Diego, The Home Front Commandos in Sacramento, and The Pacific Coast Japanese Problem League in Los Angeles. Also, some growers' associations, threatened by the return of interned farmers, had been using the war as a way to foment hostile feelings in the major farming areas.

What's more, our years of isolation at Manzanar had widened the already spacious gap between the races, and it is not hard to understand why so many preferred to stay where they were. Before the war one of the standard charges made against the Japanese was their clannishness, their standoffishness, their refusal to assimilate. The camps had made this a reality in the extreme. After three years in our desert ghetto, at least we knew where we stood with our neighbors, could live more or less at ease with them.

Yet now the government was saying we not only were free to go; like the move out of Terminal Island, and the move to Owens Valley, we had to go. Definite dates were being fixed for the closing of the camp." (JWH)
 

bar

Agriculture at Manzanar

Garden
Plots 10 x 50 foot "hobby gardens" between blocks of barracks.

Garden
Plots 10 x 50 foot "hobby gardens" between blocks of barracks.

Garden
Plots 10 x 50 foot "hobby gardens" between blocks of barracks.

 
"In June the schools were closed for good. After a final commencement exercise the teachers were dismissed. The high school produced a second yearbook, Valediction 1945, summing up its years in camp. The introduction shows a page-wide photo of a forearm and hand squeezing pliers around a length of taut barbed wire strung beneath one of the towers. Across the page runs the caption,
'From Our World . . . through these portals . . . to new horizons.'" (JWH)
 

Guayule rubber
Guayule rubber experiment project lath house.

Ogura Shuichi
Ogura Shuichi, plant statistician for the guayule rubber experiment project.

Frank Hirosawa
Frank Hirosawa, research rubber chemist (seated) trying to access the guayule rubber production.

 
"Then the word went out that the entire camp would close without fail by December 1 [1945]. Those who did not choose to leave voluntarily would be scheduled for resettlement in weekly quotas. Once you were scheduled, you could choose a place - a state, a city, a town - and the government would pay your way there. If you didn't choose, they'd send you back to the community you lived in before you were evacuated.

Papa gave himself up to the schedule. The government had put him here, he reasoned, the government could arrange his departure. What could he lose by waiting? Outside he had no job to go back to. A California law passed in 1943 made it illegal now for Issei to hold commercial fishing licenses. And his boats and nets were gone, he knew - confiscated or stolen. Here in camp he had shelter. The women and children still with him had enough to eat. He decided to sit it out as long as he could." (JWH)
 

Johnny Fukazawa
Johnny Fukazawa, foreman of fields Numbers 3, 4, 5, and 6, heading a 20-man field crew on the farm project.

George Yokomizo
George J. Yokomizo, hybridizer for the guayule rubber experiment project.

Garden spades
Spades for garden work at Manzanar.

 
"Papa read the papers and studied the changeless peaks, while all around us other families were moving out, forcing our name ever higher on the list. Every day bus loads left from the main gate, heading south with their quotas, filled with Mamas and Papas and Grannies who had postponed movement as long as possible, and soldiers' wives like Chizu, and children like Kiyo and May and me, too young yet to be out on our own. Some of the older folks resisted leaving right up to the end and had to have their bags packed for them and be physically lifted and shoved onto the busses. When our day finally arrived, in early October, there were maybe 2,000 people still living out there, waiting their turn and hoping it wouldn't come." (JWH)
 

H. Kawase
H. Kawase, 20 (left), and M. Sakai, 22, operate tractor preparing ground for sowing onion seeds.

 War Poster
War posters such as this did little to help the Japanese Americans after the internment camps closed.

 Johnny Fukazawa
Johnny Fukazawa's farm crew.

bar

Services at Manzanar

 Fire department
Manzanar fire department.

Post office
Manzanar post office.

Post office
Manzanar post office.


"Before the war he [Papa] had always preferred off-beat, unpredictable cars that no one else of his acquaintance would be likely to own. For a couple of years he drove a long, six-cylinder Chrysler that got about nine miles to the gallon. In the early thirties he drove a Terraplane. Late that afternoon he came back from Lone Pine in a midnight blue Nash sedan, fondling the short, stubby gearshift that projected from its dashboard. The gearshift was what attracted him, and it was one of the few parts of that car to reach southern California unscathed. To get all nine of us, plus our clothes and the odds and ends of furniture we'd accumulated, from Owens Valley 225 miles south to Long Beach, Papa had to make the trip three times. He pushed the car so hard it broke down about every hundred miles or so. In all it took four days.

...[Papa's] mood began to match what mine had been since we drove out the main gate, as if what we had all been dreading so long was finally to appear, at any moment, without warning - a burst of machine-gun fire, or a row of Burma-Shave signs saying Japs Go Back Where You Came From.

Due to wartime priorities, very little new housing had been developed. Now, 60,000 Japanese Americans were returning to their former communities on the west coast and being put into trailer camps, Quonset huts, back rooms of private homes, church social halls, anywhere they could fit." (JWH)
 

Mess hall
One of the many Manzanar mess halls.

gif
In the mess hall at Manzanar.

Mess hall
Meal time at Manzanar.

Mess hall
Lining up outside of the mess hall.

New arrivals
New arrivals at Manzanar waiting to be vaccinated.

Trudes Osajima
Trudes Osajima at the Manzanar Administration switchboard.


"Mama picked up the kitchenware and some silver she had stored with neighbors in Boyle Heights. But the warehouse where she'd stored the rest had been unaccountable 'robbed' - of furniture, appliances, and most of those silvery anniversary gifts. Papa already knew the car he'd put money on before Pearl Harbor had been repossessed. And, as he suspected, no record of his fishing boats remained. This put him right back where he'd been in 1904, arriving in a new land and starting over from economic zero.

Papa would never accept anything like a cannery job. And if he did, Mama's shame would be even greater than his: this would be a sure sign that we had hit rock bottom. So she went to work with as much pride as she could muster. Early each morning she would make up her face. She would fix her hair, cover it with a flimsy net, put on a clean white cannery worker's dress, and stick a brightly colored handkerchief in the lapel pocket. The car pool horn would honk, and she would rush out to join four other Japanese women who had fixed their hair that morning, applied the vanishing cream, and sported freshly ironed hankies." (JWH)
 

Mary Uyesato
Mary Uyesato, trained laboratory assistant at work in the medical center.

James Goto
James Goto examining a patient.

Hospital latrines
Hospital latrines, for patients, between the barracks.

Medical clinic
Waiting to be called by the nurse at the medical clinic.

James Goto
Doctor James Goto, Medical Director
in charge of all medical work at Manzanar.

Library
Barracks library.

 
"At its peak, in the summer of '42, Manzanar was the biggest city between Reno and Los Angeles, a special kind of western boom town that sprang from the sand, flourished, had its day, and now has all but disappeared. The barracks are gone, torn down right after the war. The guard towers are gone, and the mess halls and shower rooms, the hospital, the tea gardens, and the white buildings outside the compound. Thirty years earlier, army bulldozers had scraped everything clean to start construction." (JWH)
 

Dental clinic
Dental clinic at Manzanar.

bar

  
Epilogue
(excerpts from Farewell to Manzanar)


"As I came to understand what Manzanar had meant, it gradually filled me with shame for being a person guilty of something enormous enough to deserve that kind of treatment. In order to please my accusers, I tried, for the first few years after our release, to become someone acceptable. I both succeeded and failed. By the age of seventeen I knew that making it, in the terms I had tried to adopt, was not only unlikely, but false and empty, no more authentic for me than trying to emulate my Great-aunt Toyo. I needed some grounding of my own, such as Woody had found when he went to commune with her and with our ancestors in Ka-ke. It took me another twenty years to accumulate the confidence to deal with what the equivalent experience would have to be for me.

It's outside the scope of this book to recount all that happened in the interim. Suffice to say, I was the first to marry out of my race. As my husband and I began to raise our family, and as I sought for ways to live agreeably in Anglo-American society, my memories of Manzanar, for many years, lived far below the surface. When we finally started to talk about making a trip to visit the ruins of the camp, something would inevitably get in the way of our plans. Mainly my own doubts, my fears. I half-suspected that the place did not exist. So few people I met in those years had even heard of it, and those who had knew so little about it, sometimes I imagined I had made the whole thing up, dreamed it. Even among my brothers and sisters, we seldom discussed the internment. If we spoke of it all all, we joked.

When I think of how that secret lived in all our lives, I remember the way Kiyo and I responded to a little incident soon after we got out of camp. We were sitting on a bus-stop bench in Long Beach, when an old, embittered woman stopped and said, 'Why don't all you dirty Japs go back to Japan!' She spit at us and passed on. We said nothing at the time. After she stalked off down the sidewalk we did not look at each other. We sat there for maybe fifteen minutes with downcast eyes and finally got up and walked home. We couldn't bear to mention it to anyone in the family. And over the years we never spoke of this insult. It stayed alive in our separate memories, but it was too painful to call out into the open.

..............................................
We were alone out there [Jeanne & her family finally made it to Manzanar.], too far from the road to hear anything but wind. I thought of Mama, now seven years gone. For a long time I stood gazing at the monument [The Japanese 'Memorial to the Dead']. I couldn't step inside the fence. I believe in ghosts and spirits. I knew I was in the presence of those who had died at Manzanar. I also felt the spiritual presence that always lingers near awesome wonders like Mount Whitney. Then, as if rising from the ground around us on the valley floor, I began to hear the first whispers, nearly inaudible, from all those thousands who once had lived out here, a wide, windy sound of the ghost of that life. As we began to walk, it grew to a murmur, a thin steady hum.

................................................
My husband started walking them [her children] back to the car. I stayed behind a moment longer, first watching our eleven-year-old stride ahead, leading her brother and sister. She has long dark hair like mine and was then the same age I had been when the camp closed. It was so simple, watching her, to see why everything that had happened to me since we left camp referred back to it, in one way or another. At that age your body is changing, your imagination is galloping, your mind is in that zone between a child's vision and an adult's. Papa's life ended at Manzanar, though he lived for twelve more years after getting out. Until this trip I had not been able to admit that my own life really began there. The times I thought I had dreamed it were one way of getting rid of it, part of wanting to lose it, part of what you might call a whole Manzanar mentality I had lived with for twenty-five years. Much more than a remembered place, it had become a state of mind. Now, having seen it, I no longer wanted to lose it or to have those years erased. Having found it, I could say what you can only say when you've truly come to know a place: Farewell." (JWH)

bar

Bones Found Near Mt. Williamson May Be Those of Giichi Matsumura

bar

arrow
Vintage Sierra Nevada Panoramas  

arrow
Ghosts of the Past - Owens Valley Aqueduct & Cottonwood Sawmil  

arrow
20-Mule-Team History

 

Manzanar High School

arrow
 

Manzanar Journal - Berry Tamura

arrow
 

Manzanar Town, Owens Valley

arrow

sign
Free Guestbook
Sign Guestbook

View Old Guest Book Entries
Oct 1999 - Feb 2015 (MS Word)

Sunhorn
CONTACT the Pigmy Packer  

view
Free Guestbook
View Guestbook

View Old Guest Book Entries
Oct 1999 - Feb 2015 (PDF)

This page was last updated on 24 October 2019