This film poses the question 'What does it mean to be an American in a time of uncertainty and fear?' The subject area is the fragile nature of civil rights, and it explores the Japanese-American internment through the lens of 9/11.
As a child, Dr. Frank Kitamoto and his family lived on Bainbridge Island, WA, where the U.S. government first ordered Japanese-Americans to register, and leave their homes, and then interned them in detention camps - a panic-stricken reaction to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. For decades, the Japanese-American community rarely spoke of the disturbing experience of their exclusion and incarceration.
In AFTER SILENCE the past comes alive as Frank - who spent 3 -1/2 years of his childhood in a United States internment camp during WWII - and five students from his island community develop archival photographic prints in the high school darkroom. Together, Frank and the students discuss the need to safeguard the constitutional rights of those living in the United States...especially in times of crisis.
'The objective of the video is to offer, in this critical season of the Patriot Act--when public dissent is discouraged--the view of one citizen, Frank Kitamoto, who was denied his rights and identity as an American 60 years ago. It was during a similar time of fear and emergency following Pearl Harbor, when President Roosevelt was given sweeping powers much as our President has now. This video is intended to promote discussion on civil rights, citizenship, discrimination, and the dangers of setting aside the Constitution in times of crisis--when it would seem that we need it the most.' Conscientious Projector Film Festival program notes
'I was captivated by the simple conversations in a photo darkroom between a group of high school students and Frank Kitamoto...The comments from the students were thoughtful and articulate. And most importantly their questions and comments provide a start to a more in-depth discussion of what happened to Japanese Americans during WWII and how it relates to current events like 9/11 and the harassment and detention of Arab Americans.' Tom Ikeda, Executive Director, Densho
'Lois Shelton does a nice job of supplementing Kitamoto's recollections with archival photos, film footage, and letters written by the Japanese-Americans during their detention. As this film deals with the constitutional rights of Americans during times of crisis, it is appropriate viewing for those living in post 9/11 United States. It should serve well as a tool to promote discussion of civil rights, citizenship, discrimination, the dehumanizing effects of war, and the challenge of maintaining constitutional rights in times of crisis. AFTER SILENCE is recommended for viewers from Junior High through adult and to the libraries that serve them.' Paul Moeller, University of Colorado at Boulder for Educational Media Reviews Online
''Don't trade civil rights for security' is the main lesson that emerges from this excellent classroom discussion prompter.' Jeff Dick, Booklist
'Exquisitely filmed...makes excellent use of extensive archival footage and stills and could prove very useful in provoking classroom discussion. Recommended for school and academic libraries.' Susan M. Clark, MLS, Library Journal
'Poignant, well-produced...' Teacher Librarian
'Dr. Kitimoto exudes the essence of a great teacher; he's a gentle presence who spurns hatred and vengence, yet insists on the importance of memory...Never preachy or pompous, this video is particularly timely, given the fact that the Manzanar Prison camp has just been named as a historic site, not to mention the continuing dubious incarceration of various 'suspects' in our current war efforts. Highly Recommended' Video Librarian
Kitamoto, Frank (interviewee)
Shelton, Lois (film director)
Shelton, Lois (screenwriter)
Shelton, Lois (editor of moving image work)
Shelton, Lois (film producer)
Piper, Joan (film producer)
Thomas, Susan Buster (film director)
Camera, Chrisopher Mosio; music, David Johanns, Yo-Hands Productions.
Distributor subjectsAmerican Democracy; American Studies; Asian Studies; Citizenship; Civil Rights; Government; History; Human Rights; Humanities; Japan; Law; National Security; Race and Racism; Social Justice; Sociology; War and Peace
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This is a picture of me
when I was about two.
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When we were sent to concentration
camp, the order that was posted,
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the Exclusion Order No. 1 said we
could only take what we could carry.
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I chose to take my rubber John
Deere tractor. It had a tag
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because everybody had to have a tag, and a
number. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor,
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the Japanese Americans, because they looked
just like the enemy, were rounded up.
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This photo, is a photo of me as I\'m walking
down the dock. I\'m this kid with the
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uh… hood on and my sister Yuriko
was hanging onto my hand.
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Starting with Bainbridge Island,
they were taken to interment camps,
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which is kind of a euphemism used by
the government, they were actually
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more like concentration camps. I heard
that they locked up 100-10,000 Japanese-
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Americans. And I heard that
two-thirds of them were citizens.
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They weren\'t treated like Americans,
even the ones who were born in the US.
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They were treated like they were spies or something.
This obviously was a violation of Civil Rights,
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but because it was wartime, the President
was able to issue an Executive Order.
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This is the Taylor Avenue
site, this is where
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on March 30th of 1942, we were brought here
by army trucks, marched down this long road,
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down to the ferry dock
here, it\'s not here now,
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and it\'s a very important sight to
us because this is the actual place
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we left Bainbridge Island, never to see the
island again for at least three and a half years.
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As we marched down that
road, we were all in shock.
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We didn\'t know where we were going, we
didn\'t know how long we would be gone
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and we didn\'t know if we\'d ever come back.
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You know, you learn in psychology class that the first,
you know, three or four years of a person\'s life
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are really formative years, so I
wonder how that affected people
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who… who spent those first four years
of their life in a concentration camp.
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Well, he never got to know what his home
was like. In fact, the concentration camp
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became sort of his home. We
spent over 50 years of our life
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trying to forget the events,
trying to forget this sight,
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not wanting these painful
memories to come back to us.
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It seemed kind of strange to me, I guess. The fact that,
you know, people could be removed from their home,
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people who had worked so hard to
come to America, to live here,
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you know, merely because of their ethnic origin. If you can\'t accept the fact
that someone may treat you differently just because of the way you look,
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which doesn\'t seem possible
because this is America,
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then you really get the feeling
that uh… you\'re inadequate.
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I would imagine an unbelievable pain
in the families after being told that
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they were spies and un-American,
and being taken from their homes,
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and being told over and over that they are these horrible people, especially
for the children. I would be afraid that they would start to believe that.
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Because it\'s so painful, it\'s stuff
that they\'ve never talked about before,
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or talked about with their kids. They kept it inside
themselves and were silent about it for 50 years.
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I\'m sure that that has a lot
to do with the silence.
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This shame regarding their experience, that there must have
been a reason that my government would take away my rights
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and maybe I really am un-American. When these
rights are infringed upon, it is very dangerous
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for the entire society. I think that that
is probably the most damaging legacy
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of the entire interment experience
in America. This picture over here
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is the picture of the family, Nishinaka family,
and my mother is over here in the corner.
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This is the house that my grandfather
purchased in 1917 on Bainbridge Island.
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He actually moved to the island in
about 1912 and went into logging
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and consequently lost most of his logs and had to quit
that. Some of the people had stores and greenhouses,
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but most of the people had farms. And most of
the crops before the war were strawberries.
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In those days, unless you were a citizen of the United States,
you couldn\'t own property, it was kind of like a Catch-22,
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you couldn\'t become a citizen if you
were Asian and you couldn\'t own land
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and you were chastised if you weren\'t a citizen.
So in the case of buying our family property,
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my grandfather actually had it on contract with
Captain Olsen until my mother got old enough of age
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to own property, because she
was born in Seattle in 1906.
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This is a picture of me when I was about two. Life for the Japanese
Americans, or people of Japanese descent, on Bainbridge Island
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before the war was one of where everyone
felt like they were a community.
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Not only were they getting along with their neighbors,
but also were able to help each other and work together
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not only in work but also in play, and
they were able to celebrate things
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and they had a good combination of the culture that they
were in now, plus the cultures they brought with them
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when they came from Japan. Work was hard.
Sometimes you worked past daylight to get ahead,
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and as the Depression was ending they
were finally able to make a profit,
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and that\'s when Pearl Harbor
happened and World War II happened.
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December 7, 1941,
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a date which will live in infamy.
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When the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor, most people in the Japanese
community were very shocked, they couldn\'t believe that,
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as one guy said, that Japan could be so stupid
to attack us. I don\'t think they really realized
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what the impact of that really was, they thought
of themselves as being American, not Japanese,
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but it was… it was frightening. Well, for
example, like with the World Trade Center,
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when the planes hit that, uh… I\'m sure you probably
were pretty frightened when that happened.
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Well, I was kind of numb at the time.
I did remember the sense of,
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\"Oh my God, it can happen here.\" Yeah.
I think that when you are
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afraid of something you shut it out,
you don\'t want to think about it.
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It is very easy to out-lash at either
a minority or some other scapegoat.
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The media like play the humongous
role in that, showing us
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I guess as the Good Guys and then the
people we were fighting as the Bad Guys.
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First, let\'s examine a
typical Japanese soldier.
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His average height is 5\'3\", his
average weight a 117 pounds.
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He and his brother
soldiers are as much alike
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as photographic prints
off the same negative.
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In early February, the FBI did swoop down
on the island and started arresting people.
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Could your neighbors and friends really be
spies, could they be trying to sabotage
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things with their cameras or lining their
strawberry fields to point to Navy bases?
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I just can\'t believe that people could let
their fear take control of them so completely.
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My father uh… was one of the ones that were
arrested. The official reason is because they found
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a .22 rifle and dynamite in his barn, which is, you
know, something all farmers had in those days.
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But my mother said the reason why she though he was
rounded up was because he commuted to Seattle everyday
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and when he did that he brought along things
for the greenhouses along Rich Passage
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where all the Navy ships pass through. They had
a good excuse for picking us. For one thing,
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Bainbridge Island was home to the Navy\'s top-secret
radio communications station to the Pacific.
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And we were a definite geographic area
that they could just isolate off.
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I guess fears define the boundaries of our
societies, our cultures, our ideas and thoughts.
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But they can sometimes lead
us to irrational behavior,
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lead us to things that we normally
wouldn\'t do. Notices were posted:
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All persons of Japanese descent
were required to register.
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This photo is a picture of the soldiers from New Jersey as they are posting
the notice on March 24th. This is when we were removed from the island.
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Neither the Army nor the War Relocation
Authority relish the idea of taking men,
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women, and children from their
homes, their shops and their farms.
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So the military and civilian agencies alike
determine to do the job, as a democracy should,
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with real consideration for the people involved.
We had six days. It was posted on March 24th
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and we were removed on March 30th, they said, we had
to register. We could only take what we could carry.
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And we were the test case, we were the first… They wouldn\'t
call us a \"test case,\" but we were the first group.
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I think the Army was real curious about what was going to
happen, so they came with their fixed bayonets and so forth,
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and really clamped down on us.
They put us on curfew.
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If the Japanese community had protested sooner when the curfews were
first being imposed, do you think it might have been different?
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I personally don\'t think it would have been any
different at all. Culturally that just didn\'t fit in.
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If you\'re a person of Japanese descent, you would
really respect your first generation or Issei,
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in a lot of ways it was very belittling if you challenged
authority. And that would be the same thing for our government.
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They felt that cooperating was one of the ways
they could show that they were good Americans.
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And the Japanese themselves cheerfully handled the
enormous paperwork involved in the migration.
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It made a lot of mixed feelings for people. People
who felt that they shouldn\'t have to do this
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and were having to, uh… people who
thought sometimes things happen
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and you just can\'t help it. What do you guys
think, would you have protested in that situation?
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I don\'t know. Yeah. What do you think?
Would you have fought for your rights
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and said this is all wrong? Well, part of me is
inclined to feel that it\'s for national security,
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but it also makes me nervous because if for
some reason I was in a group that was targeted,
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who would stand up for me if
nobody stood up for others?
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Walt Woodward, who was the editor of the paper, asked some
of the younger men who were Nisseis to meet with him,
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and said to him, you know, you
guys could be in trouble.
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You know, that not everyone is completely gung-ho
about the interment, but yet there is only
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really one good example of… of Walt Woodward,
of someone who would speak out against it.
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Not only did he stand up for us and
say that this is wrong, for us
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as American citizens to be sent
away without any Due Process,
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but he took a big risk on his part in that he\'d
only owned The Review for maybe about a year.
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The idea that he was threatened with the loss of
his livelihood and his job is really shocking
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when in hindsight we think of him as a hero.
In fact he was the only newspaper editor
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in the whole United States who consistently made
that stand. You know, a lot of this was not
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only because we looked like the enemy,
but a lot of it was economic too.
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In California the Japanese farmers owned 10% of
the land but were producing 90% of the products.
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Obviously somebody wanted them out of there. Bainbridge
was a little different. Mostly because we were
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a small community and really tight knit, so, you
know, kids went together to school and so forth.
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Could you tell us about this one? Yeah, Calvin, this is
a photo of the ferry Kehloken. It was a Monday morning,
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about 11 o\'clock when the ferry came
in, that was a kind of a gray day.
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If I had six days to leave and I
could only take what I could carry,
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I don\'t know… I guess
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clothing would be the first thing. I\'d want
to carry things that would help me remember,
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carry things that would help me to record.
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I definitely would want to bring a journal.
Address books, so I could keep in touch.
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I would take my Bible, it would
help me to be able to forgive.
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What I\'d really want to take would be the people
that I knew, and of course I couldn\'t have that.
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I would hope that I could
bring a dog or a cat with me
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because I\'m really close to my pets, but
I\'m pretty sure that wouldn\'t be allowed.
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This is the Mojis here being taken by the
soldiers. They were the family that had a dog
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that couldn\'t go with them, that wanted to go
with them, and who died about a month later
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because it refused to eat because the Mojis weren\'t there any
longer. You could say things happen because of being afraid
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or because of suspicions, but at the same time you
wonder when someone is going to take that step to say,
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\"Hey, maybe this isn\'t right.\" I think
that fear closes us off from each other.
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And that\'s definitely what happened,
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because I think that the
only way you can allow
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a hundred-thousand people to be taken from their homes
with… with no real evidence or substantial reasons
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to do so, you must be indifferent. There are
even papers in the National Archives that said,
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people of Japanese decent were not a
problem and they shouldn\'t be rounded up
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and that was ignored by the military. Then again,
after the war, not a single Asian-American
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was convicted of reason or spying.
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Well, you three are seniors, what would you
think if you weren\'t allowed to graduate?
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I\'d be outraged if I couldn\'t graduate with my Senior
Class because like, a situation that I couldn\'t control,
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like the government taking me away.
The kids who were teens,
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uh… it was really heartbreaking for them, they couldn\'t go through High
School graduation. There were people that came down to see us off,
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their classmates and I think there was a
big risk on their part to come down there.
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Would you have taken that risk to skip school and say goodbye to your
friends? I don\'t think I could have lived with myself if I hadn\'t.
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I agree. Weren\'t there a lot of examples of
this sort of compassion that you see there?
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Yes. Since they were being
ordered to do it. Yes.
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Out of the 45 families on the Island about 13 of them didn\'t
have heads of the family with them because they were arrested.
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The soldiers that were umm…
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escorting us, umm… a lot
of them were carrying kids
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at the beginning and carrying suitcases
for mothers because in some cases
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the fathers weren\'t there, like my
father wasn\'t there. And the adults say
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uh… a lot of the soldiers were crying
when they loaded us up on the train
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to accompany us down to California, that they
had tears in their eyes and were crying.
00:15:45.000 --> 00:15:49.999
And they said that the soldiers from
New Jersey were just marvelous,
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they did everything they could to make
us as comfortable as we could be,
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they actually led the people
in songs as we rolled
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the train down to California. We had to pull the
blinds down if we were going through a city.
00:16:05.000 --> 00:16:09.999
Uh… It took us two days to get down there.
I do remember
00:16:10.000 --> 00:16:14.999
uh… the clickety-clickety
clicking noise and then seeing
00:16:15.000 --> 00:16:19.999
telephone polls going swoop-swoop past the window, just passing
the window like that, and I remember getting up on the buses
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and going to uh… into the desert,
where it got hotter and hotter.
00:16:25.000 --> 00:16:29.999
Uh… Kay Sakai at that time,
00:16:30.000 --> 00:16:34.999
Nakao now, said she saw these
buildings out in the distance,
00:16:35.000 --> 00:16:39.999
these black-looking buildings and she could
see the heat waves coming off the roofs
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and how dusty it was there, and she said to herself, \"Boy
I\'m glad that we\'re not going to a place like that,\"
00:16:45.000 --> 00:16:49.999
and the buses turned right into
there and that\'s where we went.
00:16:50.000 --> 00:16:54.999
Where is that? That\'s… I think
that\'s Manzanar. Let me take a look.
00:16:55.000 --> 00:16:59.999
That the camp that you were at? Yes, the
first one we went to. Yep, that\'s Manzanar.
00:17:00.000 --> 00:17:04.999
It\'s on the Owens Valley at the foot
of Death Valley. Uh… So dusty there
00:17:05.000 --> 00:17:09.999
if you didn\'t keep your lips together your mouth
would fill up with sand. The buildings were
00:17:10.000 --> 00:17:14.999
shacks actually, with tarpaper on the roofs and the
walls with no insulation and in the wintertime
00:17:15.000 --> 00:17:19.999
it would get to zero degrees and in the summertime it would
get to be one hundred. I remember waking up in the morning
00:17:20.000 --> 00:17:24.999
and seeing the imprint of my body on the mattress
because everything else was covered with sand.
00:17:25.000 --> 00:17:29.999
The Army provided housing, and plenty
of healthful, nourishing food for all.
00:17:30.000 --> 00:17:34.999
People were so sick that the lines for the
bathrooms, which were a separate building also,
00:17:35.000 --> 00:17:39.999
uh… were longer than the
lines for the mess hall.
00:17:40.000 --> 00:17:44.999
My mother said one of the elderly Issei,
or first-generation women said to her,
00:17:45.000 --> 00:17:49.999
uh… \"You know, they are poisoning us, they\'re going
to kill us off and we\'re all going to die one-by-one
00:17:50.000 --> 00:17:54.999
and we\'re never going to leave this place.\" Well, do you
think internment camps, in a tiny way, might have protected
00:17:55.000 --> 00:17:59.999
Japanese-Americans from backlash? No.
You know, and it\'s saying that like,
00:18:00.000 --> 00:18:04.999
\"No matter what, you\'re always different
from us, no matter what you do,
00:18:05.000 --> 00:18:09.999
and we cannot trust you.\" Are these the soldiers of the
camp? All the camps had barbed-wire all the way around
00:18:10.000 --> 00:18:14.999
and soldiers with machineguns on the
guard towers with searchlights.
00:18:15.000 --> 00:18:19.999
Umm… The searchlights and the machine guns were pointed
in at us, they weren\'t pointed out to protect us.
00:18:20.000 --> 00:18:24.999
00:18:25.000 --> 00:18:29.999
The conjured up images of
the Holocaust, I guess,
00:18:30.000 --> 00:18:34.999
and the fact that the Jews
were interred by the Germans
00:18:35.000 --> 00:18:39.999
due to a kind of a racial fear,
a hatred imbued into the people
00:18:40.000 --> 00:18:44.999
which obviously led to greater consequences.
But nonetheless, in a minor way,
00:18:45.000 --> 00:18:49.999
I guess you could say, the Japanese
interment kind of was almost like
00:18:50.000 --> 00:18:54.999
a very small reflection of
what went on in Europe.
00:18:55.000 --> 00:18:59.999
You also have to find a scapegoat.
00:19:00.000 --> 00:19:04.999
If the people were angry or afraid,
00:19:05.000 --> 00:19:09.999
and… and why didn\'t their government know that this was going
to happen and so maybe they had to redirect that fear somehow.
00:19:10.000 --> 00:19:14.999
I know there was one10 year old boy who chased after a baseball,
and tried to crawl under the fence to get the baseball
00:19:15.000 --> 00:19:19.999
and was shot at. There was
another man who was collecting
00:19:20.000 --> 00:19:24.999
uh… scrap lumber and he was shot. And I
think the biggest incident in Manzanar
00:19:25.000 --> 00:19:29.999
was because they got the wrong person in
jail, so all these men were protesting.
00:19:30.000 --> 00:19:34.999
Two men were killed and I think there were
nine or eleven men that were wounded.
00:19:35.000 --> 00:19:39.999
And it turned out that the soldier who was
manning the machinegun just panicked.
00:19:40.000 --> 00:19:44.999
You know, they were getting more and more frightened as
the crowd became more unruly and… and the commanding
00:19:45.000 --> 00:19:49.999
uh… officer was running around
telling his men to be brave,
00:19:50.000 --> 00:19:54.999
you know, \"Stand in there! Remember
Pearl Harbor\" is what he was saying.
00:19:55.000 --> 00:19:59.999
After being in concentration camp for a couple
of weeks, my sister Lilly said to my mother,
00:20:00.000 --> 00:20:04.999
you know, \"How come we\'re here, how come we have to be here?\" And my
mother said, you know, she really puzzled about what to tell her,
00:20:05.000 --> 00:20:09.999
because she didn\'t really know how to explain it to
her, so she just told Lilly that we were on vacation.
00:20:10.000 --> 00:20:14.999
Kay talks about one of the young
girls saying to her mother,
00:20:15.000 --> 00:20:19.999
\"Mommy when are we going to be going back home,
when are we going to be going back to America?\"
00:20:20.000 --> 00:20:24.999
00:20:25.000 --> 00:20:29.999
I think, when a majority fears a minority,
00:20:30.000 --> 00:20:34.999
you… you need to rely on the Bill of Rights. And
if… if you can\'t rely on it when you need it most,
00:20:35.000 --> 00:20:39.999
then I don\'t know what it\'s there for.
00:20:40.000 --> 00:20:48.000
00:21:10.000 --> 00:21:14.999
Dear Gene and Roy, this morning of Monday, and I went to the post
office before 8 o\'clock and I had to wait in line for three full hours
00:21:15.000 --> 00:21:19.999
before I got our mail. Boy was I glad,
it was worth it. I brought home
00:21:20.000 --> 00:21:24.999
28 letters from the post office. Well,
on Sunday we played softball-baseball
00:21:25.000 --> 00:21:29.999
against Los Angeles and we lost 5-4. Dear
Gene, Hi\'ya kid from good old California.
00:21:30.000 --> 00:21:34.999
Bet you didn\'t expect me to write did ya? I hear
I am missing some sweet stuff in Algebra now.
00:21:35.000 --> 00:21:39.999
I was surprised by how normal everything seemed
for the kids who were in concentration camp.
00:21:40.000 --> 00:21:44.999
Umm… They talked about playing baseball
and… and playing with their friends,
00:21:45.000 --> 00:21:49.999
but they never really talked about, you
know, being taken away from their homes.
00:21:50.000 --> 00:21:54.999
Are the Japanese Americans bitter about
this? Yes, maybe some people are,
00:21:55.000 --> 00:21:59.999
but in those days bitterness was not one of those things
that was acceptable, so we internalized the pain.
00:22:00.000 --> 00:22:04.999
I think that the time in
concentration camp did a lot
00:22:05.000 --> 00:22:09.999
to break up the traditional way we see
families in the Japanese community.
00:22:10.000 --> 00:22:14.999
My father, I think interment really did
affect him. He was a self-made person
00:22:15.000 --> 00:22:19.999
who was kind of a free-spirit.
To all of a sudden be cut-off
00:22:20.000 --> 00:22:24.999
and accused of something that
he felt like he didn\'t do,
00:22:25.000 --> 00:22:29.999
and to be taken away from
his family, and… and to be
00:22:30.000 --> 00:22:34.999
uh… in a lot of ways thought of as a criminal,
or a bad person, by being imprisoned
00:22:35.000 --> 00:22:39.999
and being taken away by the FBI,
I think that really did a lot.
00:22:40.000 --> 00:22:44.999
I think a lot of Japanese men in
that situation would have been…
00:22:45.000 --> 00:22:49.999
uh… would have become very quiet and very meek, but
that wasn\'t his make up. It just made him mad.
00:22:50.000 --> 00:22:54.999
The Americanism of the great majority of America\'s
Japanese finds its highest expression in the thousands
00:22:55.000 --> 00:22:59.999
who are in the United States Army.
It seems kind of unusual that
00:23:00.000 --> 00:23:04.999
they lock you up with your family
and then draft you into an army
00:23:05.000 --> 00:23:09.999
that put you there in the first place, you know. Yes, in
fact it\'s still something that they are struggling with
00:23:10.000 --> 00:23:14.999
to this day, you know, 62 years after.
00:23:15.000 --> 00:23:19.999
This is in Minidoka, in Southeast Idaho.
00:23:20.000 --> 00:23:24.999
Umm… This is my uniform. I must have
been big into uniforms in those days.
00:23:25.000 --> 00:23:29.999
But we got a lot of stuff from Sears Roebuck, you know, you
couldn\'t walk out of the camp and go shopping in department stores.
00:23:30.000 --> 00:23:34.999
The people from Bainbridge Island petitioned to be sent
to Minadoka where the Seattle people were being sent.
00:23:35.000 --> 00:23:39.999
The conditions were not much better there. I think the
parents tried to make it as normal as they could,
00:23:40.000 --> 00:23:44.999
they had canteens, the
teenagers had dances,
00:23:45.000 --> 00:23:49.999
they did the best they could to make things
better. Nissei hear President Truman\'s tribute.
00:23:50.000 --> 00:23:54.999
You fought not only the enemy,
but you fought prejudice.
00:23:55.000 --> 00:23:59.999
When they closed the camps they said,
\"Here\'s $25, find your own way home.\"
00:24:00.000 --> 00:24:04.999
And my dad decided to come back to Bainbridge Island to check out the
climate, it wasn\'t the weather, it was to see if it was safe to come home.
00:24:05.000 --> 00:24:09.999
When he came back to the Island, he was on
the ferry with people he had commuted with,
00:24:10.000 --> 00:24:14.999
and he said some of the people would say, \"Hi Frank, it\'s good to see you back,\"
and he said there were other people who would just turn their back on him
00:24:15.000 --> 00:24:19.999
and refuse to talk to him. Uh… He said Mrs.
Williams, who was a neighbor of ours,
00:24:20.000 --> 00:24:24.999
tagged along with him to keep him out of
trouble and make sure no one harassed him.
00:24:25.000 --> 00:24:29.999
My father, I used to not feel very close to.
He was gone while I was in my formative years.
00:24:30.000 --> 00:24:34.999
Whenever I\'d see an adult who
knew me in concentration camp,
00:24:35.000 --> 00:24:39.999
the first thing they\'d say to me was, \"You were that
little kid who was always hanging on your mother\'s dress
00:24:40.000 --> 00:24:44.999
and was crying all the time.\" And
that\'s the way they remember me,
00:24:45.000 --> 00:24:49.999
and that might have been because my father was gone,
I don\'t have the slightest idea. But he died in 67,
00:24:50.000 --> 00:24:54.999
which is a lot sooner than I got interested
in… in Japanese-American History.
00:24:55.000 --> 00:24:59.999
He was gruff and had a bad temper, but
I know, when I think back on him now,
00:25:00.000 --> 00:25:04.999
that I wish I had spent more time with him
and knew him better. And I kind of hope
00:25:05.000 --> 00:25:09.999
uh… when he died that he knew
00:25:10.000 --> 00:25:14.999
uh… how important I thought he was to me. How many
of the people came back? About half of us came back.
00:25:15.000 --> 00:25:19.999
I imagine it was very emotionally charged.
Trying to come back here with people
00:25:20.000 --> 00:25:24.999
who had shown a lot of distrust towards them. I
don\'t think that the problem would be resolved
00:25:25.000 --> 00:25:29.999
with… with that much anger in the
society and I think that\'s why
00:25:30.000 --> 00:25:34.999
the whole internment issue was pushed
under the carpet for… for decades.
00:25:35.000 --> 00:25:39.999
Did you ever talk about the experience when you came
back with… with your neighbors who stayed behind?
00:25:40.000 --> 00:25:44.999
No, I think everybody tried
really hard to gloss over it
00:25:45.000 --> 00:25:49.999
and hide from it and not talk about
it at all. There are still families
00:25:50.000 --> 00:25:54.999
whose uh… kids have not heard about this at all. When
you get something done to you that\'s so painful,
00:25:55.000 --> 00:25:59.999
you\'re… you\'re really frightened about
bringing it up again. One of the things
00:26:00.000 --> 00:26:04.999
that I remember distinctly about going to school here on the island is that,
it was never talked about as far as the role that the Japanese played
00:26:05.000 --> 00:26:09.999
in the development of the island. In fact, almost all
the land had been cleared by Japanese American farmers
00:26:10.000 --> 00:26:14.999
because I know that we\'ve, you know, been on the
island since 1883. I remember back in the 60s,
00:26:15.000 --> 00:26:19.999
uh… the Strawberry Festival
00:26:20.000 --> 00:26:24.999
uh… Committee approached us about having
a Japanese American Float in the parade
00:26:25.000 --> 00:26:29.999
and it really hit me when she said, \"Well,
of course we\'ll have our own float too
00:26:30.000 --> 00:26:34.999
and we\'ll call our float The Pioneers, but yours will be the
Japanese-American Community float.\" My immediate thought was then,
00:26:35.000 --> 00:26:39.999
\"What does a Pioneer\' mean? Does it mean
you have to be White to be a Pioneer\'?\"
00:26:40.000 --> 00:26:44.999
Over a ten-year period of time we finally got to a point
where times have changed and people were more comfortable
00:26:45.000 --> 00:26:49.999
talking about this, although we still have people
in the community who refused to talk about it
00:26:50.000 --> 00:26:54.999
and refused to be interviewed. So do you think that
silence was harmful in the long run? I think it\'s harmful
00:26:55.000 --> 00:26:59.999
not only to ourselves, but it\'s also
harmful for the community at large
00:27:00.000 --> 00:27:04.999
because it\'s real easy to forget
that something like this happened.
00:27:05.000 --> 00:27:09.999
So why is this memorial so important,
will it bring healing to some of us? Yes.
00:27:10.000 --> 00:27:14.999
Is it to embarrass our government or to make
people feel guilty or ashamed? Of course not,
00:27:15.000 --> 00:27:19.999
that doesn\'t make sense. The reason we went to concentration
camp is because we were though of as a collective,
00:27:20.000 --> 00:27:24.999
we looked like the enemy. And why
should that happen to anybody?
00:27:25.000 --> 00:27:29.999
Why should we do that to the Government or to
anybody else? We resolve to right history\'s wrongs
00:27:30.000 --> 00:27:34.999
by shining a light on the
injustices of the past.
00:27:35.000 --> 00:27:39.999
When a citizen is faced with an injustice, any kind of injustice,
not necessarily the internment of an entire race of people,
00:27:40.000 --> 00:27:44.999
but even the small things, it has to start
somewhere. We need people to think,
00:27:45.000 --> 00:27:49.999
we need people to doubt, to question.
If we trade
00:27:50.000 --> 00:27:54.999
our individual civil rights for
security, our own government
00:27:55.000 --> 00:27:59.999
becomes more of a threat to us. The Woodward
lesson, and the lesson of this memorial,
00:28:00.000 --> 00:28:04.999
is that it\'s most patriotic to dissent and
question what your Federal Government is doing,
00:28:05.000 --> 00:28:09.999
that is the healthiest thing you can do.
Sometimes the one voice that may be different
00:28:10.000 --> 00:28:14.999
allows someone else to say something. It\'s been said, \"The
opposite of love is hate.\" Really, the opposite of love
00:28:15.000 --> 00:28:19.999
is not hate but it\'s fear. It takes a
very special person to take that risk.
00:28:20.000 --> 00:28:25.000