Riverside Metropolitan Museum

Reading the Walls Online Exhibit - Room #2 : Case 4

Days of Infamy

<p>The
Press Enterprise, December 8, 1941.</p>
<p>Photograph courtesy of the The Press Enterprise</p>

<p>The news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor spread quickly. Harold Harada 
who heard the radio broadcast while working at the Washington Restaurant later 
recalled, "I was shocked. I didn’t know what the consequences would be. I know 
that some of us thought that maybe . . . Japanese bombers might be coming over, 
but that was sort of a highly speculative guess, but then it wasn’t too 
speculative; it was almost fact." Rawtisch, Mark H., 
Interviews with Members of the Harada Family, Mark Rawitsch, 2003. p. 149.</p>
<p>Ken Harada's Alien Registration Card, February 8, 1942. Riverside Metropolitan
Museum, Harada Family Collection.</p>

<p>By mid-February 1942 all Japanese and Japanese Americans 14 years and older were 
required to carry an identification certificate complete with photograph and 
thumbprint. Also, a curfew was implemented from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am, which 
restricted resident Japanese to a five mile perimeter around their homes to 
prevent them from signaling the enemy.</p>
<p>Earthquake pin and box included in items confiscated by the FBI. Riverside
Metropolitan Museum, Harada Family Collection.</p>

<p>The FBI searched the Harada home and confiscated a camera, a hunting knife, a 
Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (R.O.T.C.) ceremonial sword used by the Harada 
sons while at Riverside Polytechnic High School and the small pin Jukichi had 
received for a donation to the relief effort following the 1923 Tokyo 
earthquake. Harold recalled later that: ". . . the FBI came during the day while 
my sister and I were at the restaurant and Mother and Dad were alone in the 
house . . . They searched every room . . . every dresser drawer was emptied on 
the beds . . . When I got home, Mother looked shocked. She was pale, mortified, 
practically. Dad was . . . upset. To me, it was a disgrace to have the FBI come 
in and -- search our household, but war is war. We’ve overcome that, and we hope 
that it doesn’t happen to another ethnic group whatever the reason might be." 
[Rawtisch, Mark H., Interviews with Members of the Harada 
Family, Mark Rawitsch, 2003. pp. 149-150]</p>
<p>Jukichi Harada and Reverend Mayoshi Ohmura of the Japanese Union Church in front
of Washington Restaurant, ca. 1938. Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Harada Family 
Collection.</p>

<p>Reverend Ohmura, who was a close friend of the Haradas was among those Issei 
arrested following the bombing of Pearl Harbor.</p>
Mouse over and click items for additional details.Click here to return to Room 2

The Harada family members had achieved the American Dream, but their Japanese ancestry was a significant impediment following the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan. They, like everyone, listened to the radio announcement by President Roosevelt on December 8, 1941. The bombing of Pearl Harbor stunned all of America. This attack transformed California’s long history of anti-Asian legislation into federal policy, eliminating the civil liberties of all west coast residents of Japanese descent. The media and the American public were reacting to "war hysteria." Many California anti-Asian organizations fully believed that these individuals were a significant threat. The Haradas were among the 120,000 citizens and non-citizens of Japanese descent, who suddenly found themselves considered national security risks in the country they called home. They were accused of unsubstantiated acts of sabotage which resulted in alien identification certificates, curfews, and searches and confiscation of "contraband" -- items perceived as potentially threatening, such as radios, cameras, and weapons. Local Issei community leaders were arrested as potential threats. Though considered a leader in the community, Jukichi, probably due to his advanced age and diminished health, was not arrested.

Miné Harada’s husband, Saburo Kido, President of the JACL immediately sent a telegram to President Roosevelt proclaiming the patriotism of all Japanese Americans. Kido was concerned about how the United States government would now treat its resident Japanese population. President Roosevelt ignored Kido’s plea and the advice of some of his own advisors that the Japanese in the United States were not a threat.

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