Building 640 at the Presidio in San Francisco

Building 640 at the Presidio in San Francisco
Information Source for the Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Students Share Their Experience at NJAHS: Reiko’s Story

Reiko remembers how camp life was in Jerome, Arkansas. As a native Hawaiian, she and her family had to relocated to the interned camp. Her father was a Buddhist Minister and Community leader. As Community leader, many of the people who were illiterate, asked helped to for help. Her father helped Japanese Farmers with registering of newborn babies in the Japanese Counsel. She believes that her father was targeted due to his Community leadership and close connections to the Japanese Council. In realty, he was only a serving the Japanese Community. Her family, along with her dad, was sent to Jerome, Arkansas. They are later relocated to the more segregated camp, Tule Lake.

While in Jerome, Reiko tells us of about the kind human kindness of some of the white Anglo-Saxon teachers, whom willing wanted to educate the Nisei children. She tells us of the professors willing to help with English and Math, despite the fact the internees were Japanese-Americans. During this time, there was a lot of discrimination and racism because of the war. After the war, some students and teachers have made long lasting friendships.

She remembers an eye opener of un-equality when she was talking to young U.S Army Soldier Guard. She was surprise that there was in illiterate soldier in U.S. Army. She remembers that in a 3 to 4 day period, she attempted to help him how to read. In Hawaii everyone knew how to read and write, and she felt compelled to help him how to read.

When Reiko was asked how do they (farmers) deal with so much boredom, she states, ” They take the circumstance under which they live and they make the best of it.” She sums up as the “Art of Gaman”. They had to leave their farms and the only way to release an energy disillusion and frustration, events they had nothing to do with, was by planting a small flower gardens. Her story has a special meaning of courage. You your best under the circumstance your put in, as it was for all Japanese-American people that were interned in the relocation camps.

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