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The House on Lemon Street: Japanese Pioneers and the American Dream

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In 1915, Jukichi and Ken Harada purchased a house on Lemon Street in Riverside, California. Close to their restaurant, church, and children’s school, the house should have been a safe and healthy family home. Before the purchase, white neighbors objected because of the Haradas’ Japanese ancestry, and the California Alien Land Law denied them real-estate ownership because they were not citizens. To bypass the law Mr. Harada bought the house in the names of his three youngest children, who were American-born citizens. Neighbors protested again, and the first Japanese American court test of the California Alien Land Law of 1913—The People of the State of California v. Jukichi Harada—was the result. Bringing this little-known story to light, The House on Lemon Street details the Haradas’ decision to fight for the American dream. Chronicling their experiences from their immigration to the United States through their legal battle over their home, their incarceration during World War II, and their lives after the war, this book tells the story of the family’s participation in the struggle for human and civil rights, social justice, property and legal rights, and fair treatment of immigrants in the United States. The Harada family’s quest for acceptance illuminates the deep underpinnings of anti-Asian animus, which set the stage for Executive Order 9066, and recognizes fundamental elements of our nation’s anti-immigrant history that continue to shape the American story. It will be worthwhile for anyone interested in the Japanese American experience in the twentieth century, immigration history, public history, and law.

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19 Chapters

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One: Here is Your Chance

ePub

Yukihi Harada came to California . . . with one suit of clothes and two hands.

Now he has a restaurant, a wife, three children, a house and a law suit.

“The Japanese Cloud,” Sunset, Holiday Number 1916

Still living in a crowded rooming house with yet another baby on the way, Jukichi and Ken Harada were determined to move into their first real home as soon as they possibly could. The Haradas had moved to Riverside in 1905 and, after ten years of hard work building a business, raising their children, and saving their pennies, by Christmas 1915 they were finally ready to make their move.

Like others in his extended family, Jukichi had been educated to be a schoolteacher back home in Japan. However, independent and restless for change, he only worked a year in his first teaching assignment before his thoughts turned to making his way elsewhere in the world. As soon as he made the acquaintance of Ken Indo, the beautiful fifteen-year-old sister of one of his friends from an old samurai family in Kariya-shi, he began thinking they both might make something more of themselves together in some other place.

 

Two: The Schoolteacher and the Samurai’s Daughter

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When the delicate kakitsubata irises blossomed once again in the shallow marshes of Aichi-ken in spring 1897, new schoolteacher Jukichi Harada caught the eye of fifteen-year-old Ken Indo, and before long the young couple began dreaming of change. Years later, on sunny days in late spring and summer, when temperatures in her prosperous California town at the edge of the great Mojave Desert climbed to 100 degrees or more, this quiet daughter of a samurai, a young woman who would one day be remembered by her children for her bright eyes, beautiful smile, gentle hands, hard work, and forgiving nature, must have thought of the coastal moisture and cool breezes of Aichi-ken. In those quiet moments far from home, she may have also recalled the beauty of the kakitsubata, the rabbit-ear iris, signature flower of her ancestral land.

The fragile purple iris blossoms always returned each spring to the wetlands of Aichi, to Kozutumi-Nishi pond at the northern outskirts of her hometown of Kariya-shi, not far from the old Tokaido Road connecting the ancient cities of Kyoto and Edo. Kariya-shi was a day’s walk south of the bustling city of Nagoya on Honshu Island in central Japan. The deeper shades and lighter centers of the kakitsubata flowers nearly matched the slowly fading colors of the indigo-blue kimonos Ken Indo Harada had once packed so carefully, resting them protectively over a small pasteboard box, its dark interior layered with soft white cotton protecting wrapped packets holding remnants of her children’s umbilical cords. Each packet included a folded paper note. Written in a solid Japanese hand, the notes recorded her children’s births and parentage. By 1920, the kimonos and the packets were hidden from sight, along with other vestiges and receding memories of her Japanese past, beneath lines of laundry drying in the washroom off the kitchen, stored together safely in a big steamer trunk with cracked leather straps curling at their edges like rough tortoise skin baking in the dry desert heat of Southern California. During the forty years of her American journey, she had worked long hours each day with her husband and love of her life to raise their children and realize their dream of owning a home of their own, and the memory of the vibrant kakitsubata iris might have helped the samurai’s daughter maintain her own sense of beauty, balance, and inner strength in this new world of reduced expectations, struggle, and confrontation.

 

Three: Here to Stay

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Now it is two generations walking down the street—the Japanese subject and his offspring. It is face to face with you. It is as much a part of the community as the well-tilled fields. No longer is the brown man content to be a field hand. He wants his home, his family—his wife and babies waiting on the doorstep.

C. Charles Hodges, “Honorable Gentlemen’s Agreement; And What the Japanese Ladies Are Doing about It—The Record of a Decade,” Sunset, June 1917

Faith in the possibility of upward social mobility rests at the heart of the American immigrant experience. The wish to provide one’s family with a new house on a nice street among good neighbors is still a cherished American tradition. Like others who came to live in the United States, immigrants from Japan adapted to their new American home by applying and modifying the cultural traditions and behavioral habits of their native land. Their early dedication to moving up the social and economic ladder also shaped the cultural experiences of their American-born citizen children. The compatibility of key aspects of Japanese cultural tradition and American middle-class values played a significant role in the successful adaptation and acculturation of Japanese immigrants. Modest habits on the part of most Nikkei also supported acceptance by a small number of Americans who came to know individual Japanese people as warm acquaintances and loyal friends. However, in the American West during the first half of the twentieth century, long-established anti-Asian racist ideologies often impeded Japanese participation in American middle-class experiences. Members of the growing Nikkei community encountered, both individually and collectively, serious challenges from an American social and legal system that questioned their very right to be here.1

 

Four: In the Shadow of the Mission Inn

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We wish to form a colony of intelligent, industrious and enterprising people, so that each one’s industry will help to promote his neighbor’s interest as well as his own.

John Wesley North, “A Colony for California,” March 17, 1870

California has always been a land of possibilities. Its borders have never prevented dreamers from crossing, challenging, and forever changing the way of life here, and many a dream has been realized, or at least imagined, in this free land of the sunset at the edge of the Pacific. The origins of Riverside were no exception. In the spring of 1870, entrepreneur John Wesley North, an abolitionist who had already developed new communities in the Minnesota and Nevada territories, proclaimed from Knoxville, Tennessee, new plans for “A Colony for California.” With his friend Dr. James P. Greves, another anti-slavery advocate, North was promoting the settlement of a community in Southern California near the lines of the newly constructed Southern Pacific Railroad. After considering a variety of potential new townsites scattered throughout the state, North and his colonists finally settled in the south, just across the Rio Santa Ana from the crumbling adobes of the old Louis Robidoux Ranch. They founded their new community on nearly vacant livestock grazing lands in what was then San Bernardino County, not far from San Salvador, the earlier frontier river-bottom settlements of La Placita and Agua Mansa. San Salvador occupied part of the old Jurupa Rancho at the northwestern boundary of an arid region inhabited for many generations by the small family lineages and clans of the First People later called the Cahuilla Indians.1

 

Five: Pilgrim’s Progress

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Despite Frank Miller’s promotion of world peace, international goodwill, and cultural understanding, and despite Riverside’s relative tolerance and refinement, most of the Mission Inn’s beds and banquet tables catered to the pleasures and comforts of white folks. Although men and women of varied ethnic origins worked together day and night at Miller’s welcoming hotel as chambermaids, waiters, cooks, liverymen, and gardeners, the greatest number of the community’s people of color lived some distance from the famous Mission Inn. Some of Riverside’s wealthier neighborhoods were clearly reserved for the families of upstanding, fairly well-to-do, and mostly white citizens. Other less affluent areas nearby were home to people with strong hands and weary faces of darker colors whose descendants would come to believe that they also could share in the American Dream.

Four miles north were the smoky, wood-fired hearths of the whitewashed adobes of the old settlement of La Placita de los Trujillos, founded in the 1840s along the busy pioneer trade route between Santa Fe and Los Angeles. Romantically called Spanish Town by the white residents of the much newer community of Riverside, this area was home to dozens of self-reliant Spanish-speaking families, whose cultural history was linked to frontier New Mexico and other strains of a rich Latino past. Just to the south lay the sturdy brick walls of Tequesquite Arroyo’s Chinatown, where lonely single men remembered the hard days of their childhoods along the Pearl River’s banks in Guangdong’s provincial village of Gom-Benn. These two settlements existed on the city’s dusty margins.

 

Six: Little Lamb Gone to Jesus

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All in all, life in this California town had been hard but good for the Haradas. Standing at the great front window of his Washington Restaurant on some slow afternoons, Jukichi could watch the steady progress of his adopted hometown. After hearing stories of less civilized places from his Issei friends and other acquaintances—stories that suggested the United States still had a long way to go to realize its ideals of freedom and equality for all—the growing city of Riverside was a good place to live and raise a family.

When Jukichi, Ken, and Masa Atsu had come to town, the rough gravel of Eighth Street had been paved with concrete asphalt for only a couple of years. Its palm-lined route through the heart of the city, remembered by old-timers as muddy in winter and dusty in summer, was still most often occupied by horse traffic. However, with each passing day it seemed that automobiles, or “horseless carriages” as some of Jukichi’s older customers called them, were slowly outnumbering those passing by on horseback, in fancy painted rigs, or in worn-out farm wagons pulled by tired draft horses. Forward-thinking Frank Miller had added his own small fleet of ten Stearns automobiles to a new garage at the Mission Inn in 1906, hiring younger brother Edward and his sons to drive hotel guests out to the orange groves and all over Riverside. Now, less than a decade later, some people watching the noisy machines rattle by wondered how their restless horses would ever get used to the smoky and unreliable contraptions that were taking over every major downtown street, at times making walking a hazard.1

 

Seven: The People of California Versus Harada

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Jacob and Clara Van de Grift’s big Victorian house on Orange Street stood in marked contrast to the little six-room cottage for sale around the corner on Lemon. Reflecting the wealth and social status of its prominent owners, the much more expensive and elegant Van de Grift home featured “a spacious entrance hall with leaded glass windows and a beautiful staircase. The parlor and large dining room had almost floor-to-ceiling windows with curved tops and fine woodwork. In the front yard a round fountain had two cupids holding up the water spout.” Just inside their big front door, the approach to the Van de Grifts’ sweeping front staircase looked remarkably like the entrance hall to the Cameron family’s colonnaded southern mansion in D. W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation.1

Mr. Van de Grift’s family had lived in America since the seventeenth century. Some of his paternal ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War with General Washington. Others helped develop early settlements in Pennsylvania. Compared to some long-established American families, many of whom had little or no acknowledged contact with people of color, some in the extended Van de Grift clan seemed quite comfortable living happily among them. Although Jake had become a successful but rather straitlaced businessman and real estate investor in Riverside, others in his immediate family had been known for their unconventional habits and associations. As a young man, Jake’s lumberman father once defended a group of pacifist Quakers in a Philadelphia fistfight. Jake’s sister described their father as a having “hasty temper but a generous heart, and while his hand was always open to the poor and unhappy, it was a closed fist ready to strike straight from the shoulder to resent an insult or defend the oppressed.”

 

Eight: World War and a Basket of Apples

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Word of the coming court test of California’s Alien Land Law soon spread throughout the state. On the East Coast, details of the case were published in a brief front-page article in the New York Times on Friday, October 6. Other similar reports of the lawsuit were appearing in hometown papers across the country. In the nation’s capital The Washington Post also published an article about the anti-Japanese litigation pending against the Harada family in California. Surrounded by nosy reporters seeking information about his character and background by speaking with his new neighbors and others in town who knew little about him and photographers taking pictures of his new house and his citizen children, Jukichi Harada was bothered that most of the newspaper stories and even some official court documents frequently misspelled his name. Before long the prideful former schoolteacher telephoned attorney Estudillo to set the record straight. “By the way, Harada called me up,” Estudillo told Deputy Attorney General Clarke, “he claims that we have not spelled his name right, and wants it corrected.”1

 

Nine: Face-to-Face

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Sitting inside his farmhouse on Chase Road at the northeastern outskirts of Riverside, writing in Japanese in a small notebook as he did nearly every day, Issei immigrant farmer Toranosuke Fujimoto added a brief note to his personal diary. Translated in English, it said: “Harada closed his business today. I went to the court.” Fujimoto had purchased his own land in Riverside shortly before the Alien Land Law was passed in 1913. Joining several of his Issei friends heading downtown to the courthouse to await the outcome of the state’s lawsuit against Jukichi Harada, like many other young Japanese fathers in California at the time, Fujimoto-san was now deeply concerned about his own future as a landowner and farmer in the Golden State.1

By the time Mr. Fujimoto reached Main Street on Tuesday morning, May 28, 1918, now more than two years after Jukichi Harada bought his new house not far from the center of town, the trial of The People of the State of California v. Jukichi Harada was finally getting under way at the Riverside County Courthouse. As the witnesses for the plaintiff and defendant ascended the wide steps beneath the soaring columns of the town’s impressive Beaux Arts Classical-style courthouse, such a stately contrast to Riverside’s more parochial Mission Revival civic monuments, the two sides assembled there for a showdown beneath the stained-glass dome of Judge Hugh H. Craig’s imposing courtroom. Arranging his papers on the heavy wooden table before Judge Craig, California deputy attorney general Joseph Lewinsohn prepared to question Jukichi Harada, the first to testify. Although some were anticipating a jury to quickly rule against Harada, the jury box sat empty on Tuesday morning. In an earlier action, Judge Craig had denied the state’s last-minute request for a jury trial. Craig based his decision on the fact the plaintiff did not request a jury when the trial date was set a few months earlier. With this action Judge Craig shifted the verdict to only one voice, giving himself the final say in the outcome of the case.

 

Ten: Keep California White

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International developments and pressure from Washington contributed to Attorney General Webb’s handling of the Harada case and to a marked decrease in anti-Japanese agitation in California during the Great War. Even though it was already obvious to some California officials that the 1913 Alien Land Law was ineffective in limiting Japanese landownership and that new legislation would be required to check further acquisition of land by the Japanese, widespread anti-Japanese sentiment in California did not resurface until after the armistice between the Allies and the Germans was signed on November 11, 1918. Seeking reelection in 1920, Senator James Duval Phelan, by now California’s perennial foe of the West Coast Nikkei, took advantage of growing anti-Japanese hostility fostered during the war primarily by “the Hearst press and the German propaganda machine within the United States.” Anxious for votes, Senator Phelan jumped at the chance to rekindle the old Japanese Question, launching a strident anti-Japanese campaign. Its slogan, “Keep California White,” quickly spread across the state in support of Phelan’s efforts to retain his seat in the US Senate.1

 

Eleven: The Only Time I See the Sun

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Perhaps Jukichi was thinking of his own father, Takanori Harada, who had been adopted by another family in Japan more than half a century before, when he unexpectedly adopted a Japanese American boy who had recently lost both parents. When he brought the boy home to Lemon Street, he was responding to a family tragedy in the Southern California Nikkei community in the summer of 1928. On August 11, busy residents of the City of Angels read details of the sensational story on page three of their Saturday morning paper:

Japanese Kills Wife and Self

Obsessed by an insane fury, Yoshitaro Hashimura, Japanese gardener of Torrance, yesterday morning shot and killed his wife Itoyo, and when his 11-year-old daughter Kiyoko refused to execute him with the shotgun that killed her mother the Nipponese turned the weapon upon himself and ended his own life, according to reports at the Sheriff’s office.

Within days, the only boy in the devastated family, orphan Roy Yoshiharu Hashimura, born in Long Beach in 1919 and just nine years old, was taken from Los Angeles to Riverside to live at the Harada house as the last permanent addition to the Harada family. Even though the little boy was accepted warmly into the family as another son, behind the scenes Ken Harada was surprised and even somewhat upset that her husband had not consulted her about this important decision. Her son Harold recalled,

 

Twelve: Farewell to Riverside

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By mid-morning on this winter Sunday, December 7, 1941, Saburo Kido had already left his family’s home at 1804 Stuart Street in the East Bay community of Berkeley, where he had been living for the last four years with his wife, Mine, and their three young children, daughter Rosalind and sons Laurence and Wally. Shuttling over to meet friends across the bay in San Francisco, once again Saburo was away from his family while taking care of community business on the weekend. In a few minutes, perhaps riding on a ferry or hitching a ride in a friend’s car, Saburo, representing the Japanese American Citizens League as its president, crossed the chilly waters of San Francisco Bay to attend a morning unity meeting of Nikkei community leaders. The meeting had no sooner begun when, arriving a little late, Dr. George Baba made the surprising claim that he had just heard brief radio reports of Japanese planes bombing American military targets at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. “That’s too fantastic to believe,” Kido said. “The report must be wrong, probably just another rumor.”1

 

Thirteen: Leaving Lemon Street Behind

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The Washington Restaurant was the first to go. Because the family did not own the Eighth Street building in which their small business was housed, a real estate listing and sale were unnecessary. Letting only a few know the restaurant was for sale, they quickly sold its contents and fixtures. However, like most Nikkei families at the time, they were forced to make hasty decisions and lost money on the deal. Harold recalled: “We sold it for $150 and, . . . as I recall, it was to a Latino couple . . . The restaurant had a large . . . stove, . . . two large grills, . . . perhaps eight or ten burners, two ovens . . . It was a well-built stove. We had . . . silverware, chinaware, . . . and pots and pans, and refrigerator. It was just the business . . . inventory of our restaurant. And that was it.”1

Without a livelihood after selling their restaurant, its few remaining American flags and patriots’ faces left hanging on the walls, Sumi and Harold next turned their attention to saving the family home on Lemon Street. Worrying about their possessions and the safety of the house if left empty or unattended for some unknown time, they really had no idea how to keep the old place. They considered renting it to strangers with everything inside, boarding it up, or just locking the doors and hoping for the best. In preparation for departure, many Japanese American families in communities along the coast were quickly selling long-held family properties, homes, businesses, and farms, all at a substantial monetary loss. Others were hurriedly throwing books, papers, and family photographs into fireplaces and farmyard burn piles. Nikkei memories went up in smoke. To Sumi and Harold, a quick sale and further personal and financial losses seemed out of the question, as they searched desperately for another alternative.

 

Fourteen: Camp

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Still fond of California road trips to places he had never been before, early one morning in Riverside, Jess Stebler no doubt double-checked the level of the gas tank in his 1927 Cadillac coupe before heading out alone across the desert. The old blacksmith’s white hakujin face was about the last one anyone expected to see at the main gate of the Poston Relocation Center. Little is known about his strange desert journey to Poston, but it must have come within a week or two after the Haradas and Hashimuras spent their first afternoon standing in the Arizona dust, pushing dry yellow straw into the long white cloth bags that would become their bedding. At age sixty-six the former citrus machine blacksmith with the strong jaw, rumpled clothing, moustache, and hearing aid, probably comfortable with his independence and status as a loner, was likely still seen as a black sheep within Riverside’s prominent Stebler family. Perhaps the cause of some embarrassment to his more well-to-do relatives in town, he was living in and caring for the home of a Japanese American family, folks whom most white people viewed as a sinister threat to national security.

 

Fifteen: Blue Bandanas and an Ironwood Club

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Throughout the fall of 1942 the losses and humiliation of the forced removal set in for the thousands of incarcerees at all ten concentration camps. For many, life inside the camps became more difficult with each passing day. At Topaz, Mine Okubo remembered: “A feeling of uncertainty hung over the camp; we were worried about the future. Plans were made and remade, as we tried to decide what to do. Some were ready to risk anything to get away. Others feared to leave the protection of the camp.” Fretting over the uncertainties at Poston and distressed by her parents’ absence and failing health, Sumi Harada worried every day about how long it would take to finally obtain permission from the government to rejoin her ailing parents at Topaz. With nearly everything else gone and her parents hospitalized in a camp far away in Utah, the family reunion meant more to her than ever before.1

Conflict arose early among some of the younger citizen Nisei and the non-citizen Issei forced into the temporary holding facilities at places like the Tanforan and Santa Anita Racetracks, and it did not take long for other community factions to express discontent. Packed mess halls symbolized the dramatic changes forced on the Nikkei community as communal dining in shifts of hundreds eating mass-produced and sometimes unfamiliar food eliminated the once routine intimacy of the family dinner table, one of the last places members of busy Nikkei families could make regular contact with one another before the war. Mine Okubo observed of Tanforan: “Table manners were forgotten. Guzzle, guzzle, guzzle; hurry, hurry, hurry. Family life was lacking. Everyone ate wherever he or she pleased. Mothers lost all control over their children.” Later at Topaz, Okubo added further details about the food, mentioning bread twice. “Each mess hall fed from two hundred and fifty to three hundred persons. Food was rationed, as it was for the civilian population on the outside . . . Often a meal consisted of rice, bread, and macaroni, or beans, bread, and spaghetti. At one time we were served liver for several weeks, until we went on strike.”

 

Sixteen: From Issei to Nisei

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“The only time I see the sun is through the kitchen window,” Ken Harada used to say when she was hard at work from dawn to dark at the Washington Restaurant. Looking west across Utah’s empty high-desert flatlands, beyond snow-capped mountains toward their lost homes on the Pacific coast, those now living in winter’s sticky alkaline mud below the tall guard towers at Topaz sometimes saw a beautiful sunset. On this Wednesday evening, March 10, 1943, high clouds skated across the vast horizon. The temperature dropped from a daytime high of 50 to a nighttime low of only 26 degrees. Standing water in buckets, rain barrels, and little puddles around the barracks began to freeze. From her Topaz hospital bed waiting for sleep, Mrs. Harada might have caught just a glimpse of the beauty of the western sky above the freezing earth.

As Ken Harada rested in her bed at Topaz City Hospital, painter Chiura Obata was busy completing his latest watercolor landscape, capturing the bright colors of the sweeping orange sunset high above the dark redwood water tanks at the camp’s eastern border. Obata’s painted brushstrokes looked very much like thousands of struggling koi, strong orange fish swimming upriver against the current in the windy sky. Wednesday night, as darkness overtook the camp, after months of waiting and worry, Sumi, Shig, and the three Hashimuras were finally on their way, en route by train from Poston to points north. Their transfer request had been approved by Poston project director Wade Head only days before. Now, carrying a few bags and their group travel permit and joined by four members of the Watanabe family and War Relocation Authority chaperone Mrs. Barrett, Sumi, Shig, Roy, Toshiye, and Sumiko proceeded by rail on their journey north through two restricted military zones.1

 

Seventeen: Questions of Loyalty

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Ever since her brothers had entrusted her parents’ urns to her at Topaz, Sumi had made certain they were always close by. In lonesome moments in her cold and dimly lit barracks apartment in what some might have regarded as unlucky Block 13, having them near had provided Sumi with a strange sense of comfort. Now, in the middle of May 1944, she was finally carrying them away from Topaz, traveling by train from Delta to Chicago. Sumi still worried about what lay ahead but she was also curiously optimistic about leaving the desolation and sadness of her family’s recent past far behind. Unexpected feelings of freedom began to surface as the train rattled along the railroad tracks snaking out of Utah east toward Chicago.

Thinking of more practical matters for the moment, Sumi wondered how she would establish herself in Chicago with what remained of the $65.82 in resettlement expenses provided by the War Relocation Authority. She had just spent more than half that amount on train fare. Starting over would not be easy. In her application for assistance, filed with the WRA at Topaz on May 6, Sumi reported that she had had no earnings during the previous six months. She said she was starting this next episode of her life with a grand total of $5 of her own money, the only savings she had after twenty-four months in camp.1

 

Eighteen: It’s Up to You, Medic

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As Clark Harada wrestled with his worries and plans for the future, believing strongly in his fervent convictions of how loyalty and patriotism should be expressed, word had come to brother Shig that he had passed his military physical examination. Shig’s brief civilian job at Dr. Israel Davidsohn’s medical laboratory at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Chicago came to an abrupt and unceremonious end:

The director of the hospital said that due to my unstable future since I passed the examination, he would have to relieve me of my duties, and he fired me on the spot . . . So I went to work in an assembly plant assembling . . . air coolers for the army hospitals . . . I’d never wielded any tools to speak of before, but I quickly learned how to assemble these sheet metal air coolers for the good of the cause. And from there . . . I was sent to Camp Blanding and took my basic training, in infantry, . . . and passed as a rifleman.1

After basic training in Florida in fall 1944, Shig was sent overseas in January with some 1,200 new Nisei soldiers. Many of the young recruits had been drafted from the incarceration camps and transported across the Atlantic to reinforce the seasoned Hawaiian veterans in the 100th Battalion. Just as the D-day invasion by the Allies in Normandy began turning the tide in the liberation of the European mainland in June 1944, the men of the 100th were added to the more recently arrived volunteers of the larger 442nd Regimental Combat Team. For the first time at full force, the new regiment suffered high battle casualties, joining other Allied troops fighting against the Germans at Cassino south of Rome, liberating Bruyères in eastern France, and rescuing the 200 American soldiers of the “Lost Battalion,” trapped by the Germans in the Vosges Mountains in October. By the end of 1944, the weary Japanese Americans had lost more than half their brothers through death or injury in combat. Troops of the 100th/442nd were now stationed in the south of France, awaiting stateside reinforcements to bring the regiment back to its full strength before its next major deployment back to Italy.

 

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