What was Japanese Internment Really Like for Japanese Americans?


Humor is the only thing that mellows life, shows life as the circus it is. After being uprooted, everything seemed ridiculous, insane, and stupid. There we were in an unfinished camp, with snow and cold. The evacuees helped sheetrock the walls for warmth and built the barbed wire fence to fence themselves in. We had to sing ‘God Bless America’ many times with a flag. Guards all around us with shot guns, you’re not going to walk out. I mean… what could you do? So many crazy things happened in the camp. So the joke and humor I saw in the camp was not in a joyful sense, but ridiculous and insane. It was dealing with people and situations.… I tried to make the best of it, just adapt and adjust.
— Mine Okubo, Tanforan Assembly Center

What we didn't know until we knew it. And what we still do not know until we find out for ourselves.

The link was sent to me by a friend who is a US Air Force Veteran. She is of Polynesian and Chinese descent. She grew up in Hawaii. She is about 90 now.

Surely she grew up with more questions than I did, since she was there when Pearl Harbor happened. She was one of the female pilots who airlifted supplies to the battlefields overseas. Her sharings have made clearer the realities of what a world in disarray is like and what it is to be on the lines when it erupts into conflict.

There is no arguing with her about what an American is.

Eyes opened, once again.

Susan Holland — sharing this on June 20 2017

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