Riverside Metropolitan Museum

Reading the Walls Online Exhibit - Room #2 : Case 6

Incarceration

<p>Photograph, Ken Harada funeral, March 13,1943. Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Harada Family Collection.</p>

<p>Harold Harada recalled, ". . . upon our meeting, mother recognized me 
immediately. She wrapped her arms around me, and tears flowed, and she was so 
happy to see. . . her baby . . . I know that she was just . . . overwhelmed with 
joy to see me after an absence of ten months . . . We left the hospital . . . 
and within an hour . . . when we returned . . . she had suffered her third 
stroke . . . she remained in a coma until the next morning when she passed away 
. . . It was an auspicious . . . thing for me . . . And I think it really . . . 
hurt all of us . . . when she died under those circumstances." [Quotation 
reference: Rawitsch, Mark H., Interviews with Members of the Harada Family, Mark 
Rawitsch, 2003, p. 164]</p>

<p>The Haradas received numerous letters and telegrams of condolences, including 
a letter from Jess Stebler: "I received the sad news of your mother passing away 
and you don’t know how sorry I am and she was a great and good mother to you all 
. . . the apricot tree is in bloom and the flowers are all in bloom you were 
lucky to see your mother once more before she passed away . . ." March 19, 1943</p>
<p>Poem, "My Mother, March 17, 1943". Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Harada Family
Collection.</p>

<p>Sumi Harada wrote this poem following her mother’s death.</p>

<p>Sumi’s Poem, "My Mother" March 17, 1943</p>

<table width='100%' border='0'>
<tr>
		<td align='center'>
		Today, more than ever I am<br />
thinking of her.<br />
 <br />
Her sharp bright eyes, full<br />
of memories of the past that<br />
would light up when you<br />
caught her attention. Her wavy<br />
hair brushes back to produce a <br />
clean cut face. Her hands soft<br />
and gentle. I remember them <br />
so often, when in sickness and <br />
in pain.<br />
O, thy loving hands.<br />
The memories are so hard to bear.<br />
Your loving gracious presence,<br />
To me will never be forgotten.<br />
O, thou were so willing to forgive<br />
Which made thee more gracious<br />
In my sight.<br />
I can only ask forgiveness<br />
When it is too late.<br />
O kindly spirit who<br />
Guided me,<br />
Your goodness shall never<br />
Leave my mind.<br />
I see you everywhere. I<br />
can see you at the old Eight Street restaurant. I can re-<br />
member you at Ninth Street. I<br />
can remember at Eight Street, and there at the Lemon<br />
Street house. The rides on Sunday<br />
you were so alive.
		</td>
	</tr>
</table>
<br />

<p>Photograph, Jukichi Harada Funeral, Topaz, Utah, January, 1944. Riverside
Metropolitan Museum, Harada Family Collection.  </p>
					<p class='text311'>
<p>Harold recalled losing his father : ". . . It was less than a year after my 
mother passed away that Dad passed away . . . He was crushed. He was broken. He 
had encouraged . . . all of us to serve the United States of America and he . . 
. also told us . . . to be brave and courageous . . . he had nothing but faith 
in this country . . . I really can’t say what his absolute feelings were about . 
. . being put into this kind of situation, but I don’t . . . think he had any 
misgivings . . . And I think that he understood well what the situation was and 
how necessary it was for us to . . . cooperate with the . . . United States 
government, by all means, right or wrong. And . . . I’m sure that. . . he must 
have felt that we would return and justice would be done, such as it was."  
[Rawitsch, Mark H., Interviews with Members of the Harada 
Family, Mark Rawitsch, 2003, p. 164]</p>

					<p>Beginning in October 1943, the WRA allowed applications for residency outside 
the American concentration camps. On December 17, 1944 the War Defense Command 
revoked Executive Order 9066 for persons of Japanese ancestry. By 1944, Sumi, 
Harold, Roy, and Masa Atsu and his family, had moved to Chicago, Illinois. Roy 
joined Saburo and Mine in Salt Lake City. Yoshizo and his wife were stationed 
for military training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.  </p>
<p>Postcard, Jess Stebler to Sumi Harada, May 23, 1943. Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Harada Family Collection.</p> <p>Jess Stebler sent this postcard a year to the day that the Haradas had left
Riverside.</p>

<p>"Just to remind you one year to day you all left Riverside not knowing the 
future and don’t know yet and we all have to make the best of things as they 
come sumer [sic] is just around the corner here and som days are prety [sic] 
warm now and the town is always full of solders [sic] and was good to lern [sic] 
that you were well and healthy as I am well and healthy sincerely [sic] yours 
Jess Stebler" May 23, 1943</p>
<p>Jess Stebler letters, crate and tea Set. Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Harada
Family Collection.</p>

<p>Jess Stebler, from 1942 to 1944, sent essential items to Sumi for the 
family’s "apartment". These items included a card table, camp stools, screen 
wire, atomizer, saw, coffee percolator, ironing board, golf balls, badminton 
sets, pajamas, frying pans and wool trousers. Sumi requested a Japanese tea set 
which he then sent to her. Stebler also supplemented the limited variety of food 
in camp with multiple shipments of canned fruit, noodles, salad oil, and boxes 
of Riverside navel oranges. </p>

<p>". . . don’t let your home place get away from you as I think when the war is 
over they will send you all back here . . . as you have more friends here than 
you think the Apricots will not be ripe for a long time yet Riverside is pretty 
busie [sic] . . . your morning glories are in bloom and they look very pretty am 
writing in your kitchen and can see them out the door . . ." May 28, 1943</p>
<p>Inurance Notice, Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Harada Family Collection. Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Harada Family Collection.</p> <p>Stebler included the notice from the insurance company in one of his letters to
Sumi.</p>

<p>The notice stated that the company was "definitely not accepting Japanese 
risks". His letter to Sumi simply stated ". . . we had to change Insurance 
policy on the house at a small difference in premium . . . " September 1, 1943. 
He worked to secure them new insurance.</p>
<p>Welcome to Topaz, Central Utah Relocation Project, Topaz, Utah, September, 1943.
Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Harada Family Collection.</p>

<p>In the Welcome to Topaz: Guidebook of the Center, September, 1943, Project Director of Topaz, Charles F. Ernst, reminded internees: “It is true of good citizens and good neighbors everywhere that their life is more satisfactory and enjoyable as they are given opportunities to participate in the life of the community and to serve others . . . It is the purpose of the War Relocation Authority to depopulate the relocation centers quickly as opportunities for relocation can be found for residents . . .we will be glad to have your suggestions and help in making Topaz the best possible place in which to live for that period before relocation.” 

This guidebook also included a “user-friendly” map to assist internees as they attempted to find their way. This guidebook included a list of Do’s and Don’ts that addressed security, health and safety of internees:
Do carry your identification cards at all time, keep your city clean, drink a lot of water...
Don’t crawl through the fence, forget the roll call every Monday night, touch live or dead game animals... 
<b></b>
Topaz was located in Millard County, Utah, 140 miles south of Salt Lake City 
and opened on September 11, 1942. Located in the Utah desert, temperature 
extremes ranged from 106⁰F to minus 30⁰ F, and high winds and dust storms were 
frequent occurrences.</p>
<p><p class='text311'>Image Cover of Trek
Magazine, Trek, June 1943, Project Reports Division, Central Utah Relocation Center. Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Harada Family Collection.</p>

<p>Trek was published by the "internees" at Topaz Utah. Miné Okubo as the Art Editor created this cover art.  The magazine included articles relating to the experiences of relocation such as "Relocation . . . Through the Gates of Topaz", the surrounding area "Trilobite Fossils of Antelope Springs", as well as poetry. 

</p>
<p><p class='text311'>Map in Trek
Magazine, Trek, June 1943, Project Reports Division, Central Utah Relocation Center. Riverside Metropolitan Museum, Harada Family Collection.</p>

<p>Included in this issue of Trek was a “City of Topaz” map drawn by Miné Okubo.  This map includes locations of the high school, manicurist shop, barber shop, library,  and schools all of which is surrounded by barbed wire.
</p>
<p>Photograph, Manzanar Relocation Center, Courtesy Alan Miyatake, The Toyo Miyatake Manzanar Collection,ToyoMiyatake.</p>

<p>Sumi Harada, "Prison can’t confine the human spirit. You know, it could 
happen again. They might just pick you up because you have blue eyes and blond 
hair. They never gave us a trial, never found us guilty of anything. They just 
told us to go. We were Americans, but they just told us to go." Source: "Prison Can’t Confine the Human Spirit," Press-Enterprise, November 7, 1992.  


</p>

<p>Conrat, Maisie and Richard, Executive Order 9066 The Internment of 
110, 000 Japanese Americans, California Historical Society, 1972</p>
<p>Harada FamilyCollection.</p>

<p>Sumi recalled later, "A lot of people think that camp was a tea party, but it 
really wasn’t. The camp was fenced in and armed guards always stood around the 
entrance . . . The quarters . . . as one big room. Inside each room, plank 
boards on the floor served as beds. During the winter, the wooden boards would 
shrink, causing dust to fly from the outside. They had a make-shift closet, but 
they had no furniture. People had thought the camps would be temporary, but they 
weren’t." </p>
Mouse over and click items for additional details.Click here to return to Room 2

Initially, many "evacuees" were incarcerated in assembly centers for processing. These centers were hastily converted fairgrounds, racetracks, or labor camps. They were then transported by either train or bus with the windows covered, searched upon arrival, and given a cot, mattress cover, and blankets. These camps were located in remote areas of California, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, and Arkansas. By August 1942, the War Relocation Authority (WRA) had completed the forced removal of 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans. These camps with their barbed wire fences and guard towers had been hastily built. The un-insulated barracks were constructed of pine planks covered with tarpaper and sheetrock. The WRA proclaimed these camps "were intended to provide humane and constructive living and working conditions." Families now lived in one room without any partitions. Meals were taken in mess halls. Bath and toilet facilities were communal and without partitions. Jess Stebler wrote Sumi from 1942 until her return to Riverside in 1945. His genuine affection for the family is evident in a postcard mailed on May 23, 1943, a year to the day after they left Riverside. He managed all their affairs—maintained their house on Lemon Street, served as property manager for their rental properties, paid taxes, and secured house insurance after they were dropped by their company. Those incarcerated struggled to create a sense of normalcy and community by organizing schools, gardens, sports teams, adult education classes, churches, and publishing camp magazines/newsletters such as Trek. Those who had left careers received limited employment with minimal pay. Harold earned $16/month as a hospital orderly, Sumi $12/month as a camp kitchen helper, and Masa Atsu as a surgeon earned $19/month.

Sumi, Harold, and Roy petitioned for a transfer to join their ill and elderly parents. Ten months later, in March 1943, they were reunited at the Topaz camp where Jukichi, Ken and Masa Atsu had been transferred. Within hours of their arrival, Ken Harada suffered a stroke and died. Her funeral was held on March 13, 1943. Sumi commemorated her mother in the poem, "My Mother." Jukichi, who had been too ill to attend his wife’s funeral, died nine months later in January 1944.

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