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“We couldn’t do anything about the orders from the U.S. government. I just lived from day to day without any purpose. I felt empty.… I frittered away every day. I don’t remember anything much.… I just felt vacant.” Osuke Takizawa, Tanforan Assembly Center, San Bruno
“As a result of the interview, my family name was reduced to No. 13660. I was given several tags bearing the family number, and was then dismissed…. Baggage was piled on the sidewalk the full length of the block. Greyhound buses were lined alongside the curb.” — Mine Okubo, Tanforan Assembly Center, San Bruno
“We were herded onto the train just like cattle and swine. I do not recall much conversation between the Japanese.… I cannot speak for others, but I myself felt resigned to do whatever we were told. I think the Japanese left in a very quiet mood, for we were powerless. We had to do what the government ordered.” — Misuyo Nakamura, Santa Anita Assembly Center, Los Angeles, & Jerome Relocation Center, Arkansas
“We went to the stable, Tanforan Assembly Center. It was terrible. The Government moved the horses out and put us in. The stable stunk awfully. I felt miserable but I couldn’t do anything. It was like a prison, guards on duty all the time, and there was barbed wire all around us. We really worried about our future. I just gave up.” — Osuke Takizawa, Tanforan Assembly Center, San Bruno
“We walked in and dropped our things inside the entrance. The place was in semidarkness; light barely came through the dirty window on the other side of the entrance.… The rear room had housed the horse and the front room the fodder. Both rooms showed signs of a hurried whitewashing. Spider webs, horse hair, and hay had been whitewashed with the walls. Huge spikes and nails stuck out all over the walls. A two-inch layer of dust covered the floor.… We heard someone crying in the next stall.” — Mine Okubo, Tanforan Assembly Center, San Bruno
“It was a terribly hot place to live. It was so hot that when we put our hands on the beadstead, the paint would come off! To relieve the pressure of the heat, some people soaked sheets in water and hung them overhead.” — Hatsumi Nishimoto, Pinedale Assembly Center, Fresno
“Meanest dust storms… and not a blade of grass. And the springs are so cruel; when those people arrived there they couldn’t keep the tarpaper on the shacks.” — Dorothea Lange, at Manzanar
“Without any hearings, without due process of law…, without any charges filed against us, without any evidence of wrongdoing on our part, one hundred and ten thousand innocent people were kicked out of their homes, literally uprooted from where they have lived for the greater part of their lives, and herded like dangerous criminals into concentration camps with barb wire fencing and military police guarding it.” — A statement by The Fair Play Committee, organized by Kiyoshi Okamoto at Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming, after Secretary of War Stimson announced on January 20, 1944 that nisei, formerly classed as “aliens not acceptable to the armed forces,” would be subject to the draft
“The Japanese race is an enemy race and while many second and third generation Japanese born on American soil, possessed of American citizenship, have be come ‘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 very fact that no sabotage has taken place to date is a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken.” — General John L. DeWitt, head of the U.S. Army’s Western Defense Command
Niihau Incident 7-13 Dec 1941
ww2dbaseDuring the Pearl Harbor attack planning, Japanese naval leadership designated the Hawaiian island of Niihau as the designated location to land damaged aircraft that could not fly back to their carriers. A submarine was to be dispatched to pick up any downed pilots on that island. It was thought that the island was uninhabited when in fact it had a small population of 136. ww2dbase
On 7 Dec 1941, Japanese Navy pilot Airman 1st Class Shigenori Nishikaichi from carrier Hiryu, who had taken part in the second wave of the Pearl Harbor attack, crash-landed his damaged A6M2 Zero fighter on Niihau. When he came down, he was merely 20 feet from resident Hawila Kaleohano who was completely unaware of neither international politics between Japan and United States nor the Pearl Harbor attack that had just taken place. He took Nishikaichi's pistol and documents, and then helped him out of the damaged aircraft. Nishikaichi was treated with a party in the late afternoon, as he was a rare guest on this remote island. Meanwhile, the islanders sent for first-generation Japanese-American Ishimatsu Shintani to act as translator; Shintani was aware of the attack, and only exchanged a few words with Nishikaichi before leaving. The islands then sent for Yoshio Harada and his wife Irene, both second-generation Japanese-Americans. The Haradas were not aware of the attack beforehand, and Nishikaichi shared the news; the Haradas decided not to translate that portion to the islanders to prevent panic or anger. Nishikaichi asked Kaleohano to return the documents that Kaleohano had taken from him previously, but Kaleohano refused. ww2dbase
Later in the evening of 7 Dec, the islanders learned of the attack via radio, and only at this time Harada shared what Nishikaichi had told him earlier regarding the attack. The islanders decided that on the next day, when the island's owner Aylmer Robinson would have arrived for his weekly visit, Robinson would escort Nishikaichi to the proper authorities. On the next day, Robinson failed to arrive to the surprise of the islanders, nor did he visit in the following few days; unbeknownst to them, a ban on boat traffic had been implemented due to the state of war. Nishikaichi had stayed with the Haradas during those days (with guards outside the residence). ww2dbase