Lives Changed Forever: CHAP Conference on Manzanar Presented | Pictures


It was a 1942 decision that sent 110,000 Japanese American citizens and Japanese Americans to internment camps after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

But at the time, it was deemed necessary for the security of the United States, which had just entered World War II.

From December 1942 to 1945, the United States government ordered more than 110,000 men, women, and children from their homes and detained them in military-style outpost camps. Manzanar War Relocation Center was the first of ten internment camps where Japanese American citizens and Japanese foreign residents were incarcerated during World War II. 11,070 people were detained at Manzanar, ranging from newborn babies to an 86-year-old widower.

Manzanar was the only camp that had an orphanage.

Jim Entz, an art professor at Porterville College and coordinator of the Culture and Historical Awareness Program (CHAP) on Tuesday, March 22, hosted the Zoom talk with guest speaker Alisa Lynch and Rosie Maruki Kakuuchi, 96, who lived in Manzanar with her. family, adolescence.

Today’s event was a slideshow, with questions and answers, recognizing the 20th anniversary of Manzanar’s first PC presentation with Richard Osborne, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology.

Lynch spoke at length about the Manzanar National Historic Site, inviting people to visit it. She said, “Visiting Manzanar can change your life.

She said more than 100 PC students visited Manzanar and many worked to help repair the site and work on the archaeological site.

“A lot of people think Manzanar is an American-Japanese story,” Lynch said, “but the anti-Asian sentiment started long before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It started when the Chinese, Japanese, and other Asians came to work in the West during and before the Gold Rush.

Lynch said most people of Japanese ancestry lived on the west coast and were forced to leave their homes and businesses, take buses and trains, and be taken to relocation camps.

Slides showed lines of Japanese-American families, with their children, and older generations queuing with suitcases in hand waiting to board buses or trains.

Lynch said it was a huge change for most of these people; their lives as prosperous farmers, businessmen, people of prestige in their cities, we are totally overwhelmed.

The Maruki and Miyatake families lived in Manzanar, and each family had four teenage children. Lynch spoke of the parallels in each family’s life in Manzanar. She said people may have common experiences, but they are not the same for everyone. Ruby, Grace and Rosie Maruki were daughters of the same family. Ruby got married, got pregnant and died in childbirth, along with her twins. While in the same hospital, same day, with the same doctor, Fumi Hayashida had a healthy baby boy.

Lynch says she is in weekly contact with Rosie Maruki Kakuuchi and has a wonderful friendship with her. Rosie has spent a lot of time helping and teaching students and visitors, and is open to talking about Manzanar and her experiences during and after the war. Rosie and Grace helped teach students and visitors to Manzanar. Grace passed away at the age of 99 a few years ago.

Lynch used the oral histories to set up the “One Camp, 10,000 Lives; One camp, 10,000 stories.

There were also local Indigenous communities living in the Owens Valley during the war, and she says what happened there is a microcosm of the “old west.” The Paiute people of Bishop still live on the land and enjoy pears from historic orchards near Manzanar.

The Paiute and Shoshone donated historical artifacts to the Manzanar Visitor Center. Lynch said there was a strong bond between Native Americans and Japanese Americans. She said, “We have more in common than our differences.”

Someone asked Lynch and Rosie about cultural and social activities in Manzanar.

Lynch said there were traditional Japanese activities like gardening, but Rosie enthused that older people liked baseball and younger people played typical American sports, baseball and soccer. And all the families tried to keep all the social activities that were normal at the time: school, graduations and balls and dances during the week. There were all kinds of clubs, parties and dinners.

Another question was the difficulty in acclimatizing to life outside the camp after the war? Lynch said life was difficult for many families because they lost their homes, businesses, land and had to start all over again. There were also many terrible things that happened to people because of hatred and racism after the war.

In the audience, Porfivio Carranza asked Rosie if people were nice to her after the war? He said he was surprised when she said she had shown a lot of kindness in her life after the war. Carranza found the presentation informative and said it was good to have information about all the bad things that happened so that we never let them happen again and people can live a better life there. ‘coming.

Rosie’s wise words to the audience were, “Education is the most important thing. Thank you all and stay safe.

Another student in the audience, Angel Nieves, said Manzanar’s presentation was really well prepared and taught him more about the war and what happened here in America.


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