Postcards from Page Ranch

October 14, 2012 by Admin

Cedar Elementary School, 3rd Grade, Cedar City, Utah, 1943.

By Aki Iwada

Our Farm and Home, 1941

My parents, Noboru and Kikuyo Iwata, were a farming couple whose farm was located near the beach hamlet of San Onofre in southern California.  The field was on a low mesa with a cliff that overlooked the sandy beach of the Pacific Ocean.  A moist ocean breeze provided an ideal climate throughout the year, allowing us to grow produce like berries, peas, and beans.  Papa wisely took advantage of the longer growing season to give him a competitive edge over other farmers.

On the property, we lived in a small wooden house that was constructed with board-and-batten siding, a tarpaper roof, and a wood/linoleum floor. The wood was left bare, the boards weathered to reveal their natural grain that was painted with nature’s color.

During low tide, we would go out to dig for clams, and on clear nights when the moon was full, grunions would wash ashore to spawn.

It was a dream farm and home that I would always remember  . . . we were about to leave it and never return.

Farm Life and School

As the youngest of four brothers–the oldest was Norio, then Hideo and Shigeru–I felt precarious growing up in the country.  I was reminded of how fragile life is after two of my playmates died:  one from an accidental gunshot wound to the stomach from a .22 caliber rifle; the other burned to death when he was filling the tractor with diesel fuel and the nozzle slipped from his hand..  Shigeru and I always walked barefoot by choice, while many others did so because they were poor.  I was traumatized at the age of four when I stepped on a nail protruding from a board, and it pierced my foot.

A salesman, passing by on a visit, pulled the nail out.  I cried until Mama came home from the field and applied iodine to both sides of the punctured area.  Puss and rust continued to ooze out of the wound for the next four years.  Today, when I see a loose board on the ground, I will stop to check it for nails.

Our life on the farm brought us closer and served as a family endeavor.  Farm work was laborious without the modern technology of today.  For example, the short-handle hoe used in “stoop labor” work for weeding the strawberry field was outlawed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); now plastic ground covering is used and drip irrigation is applied to control weeds and pests.  At an early age I was expected to help, and when I was not doing chores I was left to play unsupervised.

My parents depended on the school to teach me proper hygiene and manners in addition to the school curriculum.  The local elementary school was a one-room building, where Mrs. Rosar taught the first to eighth grades.  When my brothers went off to school–leaving me all alone–I  dreamed of the time when I could join them to meet other children.  Mama bought my first pair of shoes and a pair of bib-and-brace denim overalls for me to wear on the opening day of school.  I cried because I didn’t know how to tie my shoelaces and make my lunch.

Shigeru told me, “Take two slices of Wonder bread, then spread on Planter’s peanut butter and jam.  Wrap the sandwich with wax paper, and put it in a brown paper bag . . . and don’t forget to save the paper bag because you’ll have to use it for the rest of the week.”

On my first day of grammar school, I made my own sandwich and eagerly followed my two older brothers on the dusty dirt road. Picking up other students along the way, we arrived at the wooden stairs to the open door of the large classroom.

The Executive Order 9066:  February 19, 1942

Immediately after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, the FBI came to arrest Papa (who was born in Hawaii and educated in Japan) because our farm was located on the coast.  When they found out he was an American citizen by birth, they gave him six weeks to move out of California.  Before they left, they confiscated our .410 gauge shotgun, .38-caliber pistol, radio, camera, and my flashlight.

Five Japanese farmers in the area found themselves in similar circumstances.  One of the farmers heard that his close friend who farmed on the West Coast was arrested, leaving his wife and three sons to fend for themselves.

Alarmed, the farmer initiated a plan to evacuate by approaching the local A&M seed salesman–a Mormon who was originally from Cedar City, Utah–to see if he knew of any farmland in Utah.  The A&M salesman suggested that his father-in-law’s hunting lodge “Page Ranch” might be available.  The A&M salesman and the Japanese farmer made a quick trip to Utah to look at the ranch, which had a spring-fed reservoir to store water and a network of channels to irrigate the fields nearby.  The Japanese farmer made an emotional decision that the ranch was okay for his purposes; he was reluctant, however, to go it alone.  Papa and two other farmers agreed to join this farmer in the evacuation.

Two freight cars were reserved to ship heavy farm equipment, such as Caterpillar tractors, to Cedar City.  As the deadline to leave California approached, two other families and two bachelors joined the exodus in order to avoid incarceration.

The governors of neighboring mountain states–concerned by the possible large number of Japanese migrating from California–considered sealing their borders; the narrow window of time to move out of California was rapidly closing, placing more pressure on our family to prepare for the move.

Leaving California

Papa’s farm property was leased from the Rancho Santa Margarita–a Spanish Land Grant.  Our farm was profitable and the spring planting was already in place, attracting modern day “carpetbaggers” who offered to take over the farm, which was practically “free” for taking.  Papa made an agreement with the supervisor who worked for the Poinsettia flower grower on the adjacent property to take care of the farm until we returned.

I was dismayed by the disruption of our once peaceful life.  On Monday morning, the day after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, other children did not join us on our usual walk to school.  That afternoon I walked home alone.  I was introduced to a new vocabulary that contained these words:  blackout, magnesium incendiary bomb, curfew, and rationing.  There was one word in particular I had never heard before and I soon learned of its offensive connotation:  Jap.   It made me realize that I was different and Japanese.  When I was called a Jap, I became sad and hurt.  It was cruel.   No human had the right to do this to me–an innocent child.

We loaded our 1936 ten-wheeler Dodge truck with light farming equipment and house furniture, leaving behind supposedly “nonessential” items like bicycles, the horse and mule team, our 1918 White truck, 1928 Essex sedan, and my close-to-the-heart security blanket:  a leather stuffed dog.  Papa walked down the hill with his cage of canaries, giving them to the Haven family.

Papa hammered together a plywood cover over the rear bed of our brand new 1941 GMC truck.  He placed a mattress inside then loaded the remaining space with household items, Mama was eight months pregnant, so Papa left sufficient space for her to lie on the mattress during the two-day trek to Page Ranch (twenty miles west of Cedar City).

When we received the permit from the WRA (War Relocation Authority) to leave California, the posted notice required that we had to cross the state border in 24 hours.  Norio (only16 years old) drove the Dodge truck with Hideo riding as a passenger.  With no power steering or brakes, Norio found driving the fully loaded truck to be a great challenge.   Thankfully, he was used to driving on dirt roads, so he found the smooth asphalt easy to handle, but the engine’s vibrations limited his truck’s speed to 40 miles per hour.   Near the town of Barstow, California, Norio noticed that the brake pedal was touching the floorboard, and he realized that the truck was losing hydraulic brake fluid and the ability to brake.  Driving down a grade, he used the engine to help slow the truck by “double-clutching,” thus enabling him to shift into a lower gear.  He yelled at Hideo, “Apply the hand brake!” as they approached the one stop sign in Barstow.  Slowly, they drove to the one gas station in town where a kind mechanic repaired the hydraulic brake line.  With little time to spare, they crossed the state border right before the deadline.  Despite this good fortune, the truck proceeded to blow a piston in St. George, Utah, and had to be towed for the remainder of the trip.

I was eight years old and remember the endless ride on a two-lane asphalt road through Nevada–chasing mirages, reading Burma Shave signs, and watching the tall columns of dust devils.  Papa drove the GMC truck, and he would grind the transmission as he shifted gears.  He never learned how to “double-clutch,” and, of course back then, no one had a driver’s license.

Page Ranch, Cedar City, Utah, March 22, 1942

On our second day of travel, we arrived in Cedar City, then headed west on a dusty gravel road– once the major southern route to California for covered wagons leaving Santa Fe and known as the Old Spanish Trail.   As we approached Page Ranch, an unforgettable view of the two-story brick mansion appeared.  The building was built by Daniel Page in 1900 and is an architectural example of the “double cross-wing.”  In its grander days, it featured a main dining room with a carbide-gas-lit chandelier, and a white balcony above the entrance.

The mansion had been vacant for a number of years and, as a result, the interior was never renovated.  There was no running water and no electricity.  The frozen creek became our temporary source for drinking water that had to be boiled to make it drinkable.  With no electricity for the refrigerator, the families had to rely on canned and dried food.  The Coleman lantern, with its intense glowing cesium mantle, and the Coleman gas stove became ubiquitous parts of our life.  We were not allowed to have a radio, but that didn’t really matter because we had no electricity.

This new arrangement at first seemed like a step backwards, but, as a child, I was not fully aware of the inconvenience.  All of a sudden I found myself living in a brick mansion with Japanese playmates and surrounded by nature.  We children embraced this adventure and excitedly hiked up the nearby hill to touch a patch of snow. I love berries, and discovered a new variety–wild Gooseberries.  Wild turkeys, ducks, and geese roamed around the reservoir.  Across the creek, I saw a large barn, a stack of hay, and a corral with farm animals.  Mama would send me out there each day to collect fresh geese eggs.  She scolded me if they were old, and I quickly learn how to find them and determine if they were fresh.

On April 15, 1942, two weeks from the time we arrived at Page Ranch, Mama gave birth to another boy; she named him appropriately “Yutaka”–after the State of Utah.

Settling Down

Wasting no time, the men prepared the potato fields for spring planting.  The women and we children were assigned the duty of slicing potatoes for seedlings, taking notice that each slice had to contain the eye where the new plant would sprout.

Only two months remained in the Cedar City school year, which was barely sufficient time for us to enroll and get acquainted with the huge school that served the entire Iron County.  The administrator assigned me to a second grade classroom, and I was readily accepted by the children who showed no prejudice at our young age.  Japanese people were not unfamiliar to Utahans.  Earlier, the Japanese had replaced the Chinese railroad and mine workers and established a community in Salt Lake City.

Arnold

At Page Ranch, I remember the first local person I met–I will call him Arnold–who raised livestock across the creek on the premise of the large barn.  Arnold was a big man who wore oversize bib-and-brace denim overalls, and folklore says was he was part Native American.  Once, Arnold and a group of men rounded up some wild mustangs to sell to the families for horseback riding.  Another time he approached the families to buy one of his pigs.  The families agreed only if he would slaughter and dress the pig so that the meat could be shared among the family members.  All of the families came out to watch this unfamiliar event.  I was terrified when Arnold entered the pigpen with a long-handle axe and a knife.  I closed my eyes when the pig squealed.  Even then I knew a pig senses when it is about to be slaughtered.  I waited and waited for the loud squeal to subside in my ear and visualized a little piglet “crying for its mommy.”  It was the saddest experience in my childhood.

I learned about animal anatomy that day when Arnold cut open the carcass.  He handed me an organ with a tube sticking out and told me, “Blow it up.”  I blew it up like a balloon.  With a chuckle, Arnold explained, “Native Americans use the ball to play games.”

I asked Shigeru: “What is a bladder?”  He snickered and I assumed he didn’t know.

That night we children did not touch our dinner.

A stranger showed up at the ranch one day while the men were out in the potato field working, except for Mr. Somen who was the only non-farmer.  I heard some commotion in the backyard outside of the kitchen and went to investigate.  The women and children had gathered in a crowd to witness Arnold arguing with the stranger.  He yelled, “You promised it to me!” and, with a right fist to the stranger’s head, sent him to the ground, blood streaming from his left ear.  In an instant, short and thin Mr. Somen stepped in between the two big men to stop the fight.  Mrs. Somen and Mama took the stranger into the kitchen to dress his wound.  I was puzzled about why Mr. Somen would risk his life and what the fight was about.

This was the last time we ever saw Arnold.

Leaving Page Ranch and Hamilton Fort, October, 1942

By the end of summer, we realized that there was insufficient water for us to grow enough potatoes to support four farming families; and living in this remote area made it difficult for all of us to maintain normal family lives.  In less than one year, all the Page Ranch families moved on to other parts of Utah, Colorado, and Idaho.

Our family moved to Hamilton Fort, Utah, a small settlement six miles outside of Cedar City to join the Somen family.  The community lifeline was a ditch that carried water from the mountains, irrigating the alfalfa that was used to make hay for feeding livestock in the winter.

Four permanent families lived here with three vacant brick houses available to us.  Mr. Somen restored one of the vacant houses and occupied it with his wife and daughter, and we moved across the highway into one of the other vacant houses with a large attic and a cellar.  We helped Papa replaced the shingles then renovated the inside of the house, bearing all the expense–this would be our home for the next four years.

Mrs. Somen visited her neighbor to get lessons on how to knit, make soap, bottle food, and separate the cream from the milk to make butter.  She then relayed this information to Mama. We bought raw milk from this neighbor and, when I drank it, I could tell by the taste what the cow had for her meal . . . or if she had gotten loose from her pen and grazed on sagebrush.

Hamilton Fort Bus Stop

At the school bus stop, we assembled in the morning–no matter the weather–to board the bus for the six-mile ride into town.

This is where Gary and I got to know each other.  Gary was in my same age and grade, and we always rode together on the bus, saving a seat for each other.  Growing up in the country, we depended on our siblings and friends to teach us how to survive.  Gary and I, whose brothers were four or five years older, welcomed each other’s company and were grateful to find someone our own age.

With his invitation, I explored Gary’s territory.  We ran through his land of high desert plateaus covered with sagebrush and surrounded by big mountains and hills, filled with treasured wildlife and plants.  Here I developed a spiritual connection with this land; it became my church.  In his sand box we played.  Too young to understand politics and religion, we created our own world.  We never played jokes on or bullied each other.

Gary provided me a window into the lives of pioneering Mormon ranching families.  I exposed him to Japanese culture, and the large sacks of rice and chopsticks our family ate with were two foreign oddities Gary still recalls as an adult.

Potato Farming and Gardening into Winter

Papa decided to venture into farming again, planting potatoes on the landlord’s property, and using his share of the communal water from the ditch.   A problem arose when the potato plants required water, and it was not Papa’s turn on the water schedule.  He was not able to harvest a crop.

Discouraged, he decided to give up farming and turn to his early occupation as a migrant farm worker.  With the young men off to war, he found ample work available.

­Meanwhile, Papa satisfied his interest in growing plants with a vegetable garden.  He planted daikon radish and napa cabbage for Mama to make tsukemono pickles.  He grew gobo, Japanese eggplant, and other vegetables as well.  Papa’s garden became a curiosity to the neighbors who had never seen such plants before.  Sheep ranchers were not particularly pleased about gobo at first, mistaking it for the wild variety (burdock) with burrs that raised havoc in sheep wool.  Wild Morning Glory vine spread uncontrollably with the abundance of nutrition from the garden.  It bloomed brilliant flowers that had psychedelic names. The neighbors called the vine “loco weed,” because it caused sheep to go crazy when they grazed on it.  We were unfamiliar with these vines and soon removed them from the garden.

During winter, Papa had no work.  The weather was cold and dry, causing our lips and hands to crack.  We spent hours in front of the cast iron stove, burning coal to keep warm and eating pinion nuts that we had collected in the fall, using our teeth to crack open the hard shells.   We had no radio for listening to news or programs.  Papa tried home schooling Shigeru and I in Japanese, but no Japanese teaching material was available, and I felt learning Japanese was unpatriotic with America and Japan at war.   Papa soon gave up . . . and Shigeru and I remain ignorant in Japanese.

The End of World War II

After the war ended on August 15, 1945, Papa and Norio made plans to move back to California.   They traveled the following spring back to San Onofre–only to find that the beach hamlet and our old farm where we lived now gone.  The vast coastline property of Rancho Santa Margarita was purchased by the War Department to become a US Marine base:  Camp Pendleton.  They soon returned home after searching for an available farm property and realizing that all the choice land was taken.

I was saddened with the thought of leaving Utah where I had experienced so many memorable moments.  Meantime, Gary was encountering insults from older bullies because I, his friend, was Japanese.  They were always looking for an easy target . . . younger and smaller . . . to prey upon.  I envision that once I was gone, the bullies would move on to other children and Gary, coming from a family of big men, would deal with them later.

Saving Face

While I was waiting for the bus one day near the end of the school year, an older boy started pushing me around for no apparent reason other than to pick a fight.  I always tried to avoided physical confrontation–it was my nature.  His shoving became more aggressive, and, when I did not resist, he interpreted my inaction as a sign of submission.  The students waiting for their bus formed a large circle around us for this feature event:  a fight between a White and a “Jap.”  I knew that I was capable of putting up a good fight, but I told myself, This is a no win situation.  At this point the big aggressor could have chosen to walk away, but he started to swagger about from the attention he was receiving– flattery that bullies thrive on.  He angrily threw me to the ground, and I just curled up into a ball like a pill buga backyard bug that rolls into a ball when disturbed –until he got tired of hitting and kicking me.

On the bus ride home, I cried from the pain of my humiliation, for being Japanese.  I am a disgrace to my parents and family, I thought upon arriving home.  I did not receive any word of compassion or solace from my brothers . . . expressing our feelings was absent from our family values and instead replaced with silence.  The word “love” was never used, and I was too young to know if the word even existed in Japanese.  We always lived in isolation from the Japanese community, and I had no one to explain to me the difference between Japanese and American values.  I harbored a lot of anger as a result of what happened that day at the bus stop; unknowingly, it was a pivotal period in my life.  I was no longer a child and had to face the challenge of working on my values in order to move forward and find my place in the broader American society.

The Next Day

The next morning my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Dover, sat next to me at my desk and embraced me for a long time.  As she held me, I felt shy and afraid to look up because the entire class was staring at us.  Mrs. Dover remained silent, but I knew she understood who we were, and where we came from (though she had never heard what had happened to us).  Mrs. Dover was a wonderful teacher who read books in class like Little Lord Fauntleroy, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Sacagawea, and Huckleberry Finn.  The school was an extension of the Mormon Church, and its curriculum included art and music lessons.  The school provided me with the insight and education into American society that my parents could not provide because they were schooled in Japan.

I dropped out of school the last days of school, never to return to say goodbye.  Years later, I met Mrs. Dover’s daughter Joan (a classmate) at a Cedar City High School Reunion.  Joan told me her mother used to say: “I wonder what ever happened to Akiyoshi? ”  I always had a premonition that Mrs. Dover did not want me to leave Utah with any ill feelings towards its residents, and it reminded me that one finds good people in the most unexpected places.

Leaving Utah and the Swallow of Capistrano

On an early Sunday morning in June 1946, we loaded the last remaining items onto our vehicles.  My brothers and I searched one more time for our cat that had suddenly disappeared overnight as if she knew we were leaving.  Two neighboring families on their way to church stopped to bid us goodbye and said, “We wish you could have stayed a little longer.”

Earlier, I said goodbye to my dear friend, Gary.  We shook with our pinkies and promised each other we would remain friends.  I left him my young hawk that I had raised from the time it was a chick.  Gary said, “I will take good care of him and release him when he is an adult.”

We moved to one of the oldest Spanish settlements in California, the Spanish mission town of San Juan Capistrano located on the southern border of Orange County.  The town is known for its colorful romantic history and became famous when Leon Rene composed his popular song “When the Swallows come back to Capistrano.”

Every spring on St. Joseph Day, March 13, the swallows return to Capistrano from their winter migration to Argentina.  Unlike the swallows, the former Japanese American residents never returned (after their incarceration and internment).

We were the only Japanese family to return, which was made possible by one fact:  we had kept possession of our farm equipment.

The Farm

We moved to an isolated, abandoned farm on a hillside in the canyon of the Trabuco Creek (near the base of Mt. Santiago, which is also known as Saddleback) owned by Rancho Mission Viejo. There was an electric pump in the creek bed with ample water. The property sat on a hillside that sloped southward, allowing maximum sun exposure and minimum exposure to winter frost.  The soil was the heavy adobe that dirt farmers try to avoid but good for making brick; with proper grooming, Papa knew that the soil could be fertile.

On the property was a large corrugated tin-covered packing shed; half of the shed could be converted into a living area.  The first time I stepped into the shed all the rattlesnakes came slithering out from their den under the wood floor.  The shed would soon become our new home, and I would be too embarrassed to show my classmates where I lived because we appeared to be squatters.

The U.S. Postmaster

Mama would prepare CARE (Cooperative for Assistance & Relief Everywhere) packages containing can food, coffee, tobacco, and work shoes to send to her relatives in Iwakuni, Japan, which is forty kilometers east of Hiroshima–the city devastated by the atomic bomb.  I would help by carefully placing the items into a cardboard box then using a grocery paper bag–turning it inside out–to wrap the box.  The Postmaster in town seem to still be fighting World War II, and I interpreted his behavior as a patriotic attempt to prevent any aid to the former enemy by rejection of my packages.   According to him, the wrapping did not meet postal regulations.  He had already rejected my package because the address had to be written on a printed (store bought) address label.  I had returned home to rewrap the package, but the Postmaster hadn’t told me what else had to be corrected on my first trip, so I ended up going home again.

One thing really bugged the Postmaster from the beginning, and he didn’t know quite how to handle it.  Mama would write the address on the side of the package in Japanese characters (also used in Chinese).  He asked me what the script meant, and I answered: “I don’t know.”  He nodded his head and peered at me suspiciously over the top of his “half-lens” reading glasses–a gesture that made him appear unconvinced of my innocence and a little bit leery of my motives, implying that I was a “Jap” and knew how to read Japanese.

On June 25, 1950, the Korean War started, and Hideo was one of the first to be called when the U.S. Army reactivated the draft.  Japan became an important US ally; I was now older and my relation with the Postmaster was less hostile.  Mama’s CARE packages were becoming less frequent.  One day I came to the Post Office to mail Mama’s package.  The Postmaster was in an unusually jovial mood.  He took a long look at the package then placed some stamps on the package and asked: “What does the (Japanese) writing say?”

I grew a bit anxious and knew my usual answer wasn’t going to satisfy him.  I stared down at the Japanese writing and, when I regained my vision, my eyes focused on one of the labels. Without looking up, I read the label out loud.

I blurted out:  “God bless America.”

The Postmaster chuckled and realized the charade was over.  He never bothered me again.

Standing Up, 1952

A teacher who was the first principal of San Juan Capistrano High School and a revered community leader was my senior civic instructor.  He was an imposing man who had played college football as a lineman when players wore leather helmets and practically no shoulder padding.  Even at his older age, he was someone you don’t want to “reckon with.”  Looking at old school albums, I found pictures of him–taken before the war–surrounded by Japanese students.  One day in class this instructor started to castigate Paul Robeson (the opera singer) about his unpatriotic sentiment and being a Communist.

I raised my hand to question him:  “How can you say these awful things about him when in the South the Negros are segregated and the entrances to the toilet are labeled White or Black?”

“I want to speak to you after class,” he replied and ignored me for the remainder of the period.

After class he told me, “We don’t talk about it,” (with “it” referring to segregation) and ordered me to report back to his room after school.  My parents had taught me a sensei (teacher in Japanese) is someone to be revered, and so I obediently followed his instructions.

I sat at my desk in the room alone while this teacher worked at his desk, taking occasional break for himself.  We never exchange any words . . . I quietly sat at my desk meditating as I often did while I worked those monotonous hours on the farm.  After about an hour he said, “You are excused to leave.”   I was disheartened that he of all persons–who understood what had happened to the Nisei–had made derogatory comments about Paul Robeson.  I felt deep down this teacher was not a bad individual–who at his older age seemed unaware that he was teaching in a period of controversial social change–but as a public educator had served way beyond his tenure.

Disappearing Small Family Farms and Leaving Home

We worked hard seven days a week cultivating the fields; while the local people viewed us as a profitable farming family and were envious of our success, the work was a matter of survival for us.  Our farm was having a difficult time competing against the big farm organizations that grew and harvested large acreages of fruit and vegetables more efficiently and cheaper than us and could sell their harvests to established market channels.  We found ourselves following the fate of the small family farms in this country that eventually disappeared.

Being the next to youngest brother and admittedly the laziest, I saw the future and possibility of gaining any independence as bleak.  Soon after graduating from high school, I was drafted into the Army, and I left my beloved town of San Juan Capistrano for the last time.  From that very first day of school in San Onofre when I had learned the “A, B, C’s”, I had embraced education . . . now I would use the G.I. Bill to complete my college degree in a quest to broaden my views.

Of the five Iwata brothers, only Norio remains on the land, and he no longer tills the soil.  His land is leased to growers for large farming organizations.

Yet we brothers have been so blessed.  I was born during the Great Depression of 1933, and I am thankful to my parents who worked diligently and devoted their life to provide shelter, food, and clothing to us brothers.  I am grateful for having been born and lived in this country.  All of these experiences in Utah and living on a farm have enriched my life, given me inner strength, and shaped my desire to be a better person.

Author’s Note:  Initially, some people do not believe me when I tell them we did not go to camp.  They are surprised to learn that after Executive Order 9066 was signed that the “evacuation” was, at first, “voluntary.”  But after one month, when the War Relocation Authority (WRA) realized that only a few Japanese American took the initiative to move out on their own, the WRA decided to implement forced removal. Various sources validate this information–in particular, Bill Hosokawa’s NISEI:  The Quiet Americans (Chapter 19, “The Exodus,” p. 306, 319, revised 1969 edition, 1992, The University Press of Colorado).  Hosokawa–a recognized authority in the field and former editor of The Denver Post–offers one of the most comprehensive sources on the subject of Executive Order 9066.  There are also numerous websites on the subject, including the following: http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/japanese_internment/1942.htm

In addition, some of the information and quoted material in paragraph one of the section, “Page Ranch, Cedar City, Utah, March 22, 1942,” are drawn from a photograph I took of the historical marker in front of the building.

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In the aftermath of World War II, more than 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry – roughly two-thirds of whom were American citizens – were released from forced imprisonment in U.S. concentration camps. But released to return where, after being taken from their homes along the West Coast? When they were finally allowed to leave the internment camps, they faced a new challenge: How do you resume a life so interrupted.
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