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Thread: Farewell to Manzanar

  1. #1

    Default Farewell to Manzanar

    I came across an old copy of Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James Houston (1973). It is Jeanne's story about her 3+ year internment as a child in Manzanar Camp in California, due to the Japanese Internment in the U.S. of over 100,000 Japanese after the attack at Pearl Harbor.

    It is well written, a "one sitting read" if you have a couple of hours, and well worth the time to get a first-hand account of what it was like for a family to be sent to a large interment camp (Manzanar had 10,000 people) with little more of personal possessions than could be put into a suitcase.

    My college friend's parents were in an interment camp. I wish I knew then what I know now as an adult, so that I could possibly have broached the topic with them.
    Now run along and play, but donít get into trouble.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Kapalama Heights.

    Default Re: Farewell to Manzanar

    I was asked some time ago what I would make the President read if I could make him read anything (not specifically Barak Obama, but just whoever happens to be in office), and my answer was Farewell to Manzanar. I know most of our leaders are aware of what happened, but I think it's important for them to really get what it was like for people who had to live through it. My two favorite moments were (1) when, on the first day in camp, the prisoners were fed rice with canned peaches on top because the kitchen workers thought it would be a "treat" when what it really shows is the complete lack of national understanding about the culture of this group of American citizens, and (2) the transcript of the U.S. government's interview with Wakatsuki's father. The interviewer asks him which side he hopes will win the war. His response is, "When your parents are fighting, do you hope one of them will win? Or do you just wish they would stop?"

    For further reading, I strongly recommend a young-adult novel by Newbery-Medal-winning Cynthia Kadohata called Weedflower, a fictionalized account of a Japanese family relocated to Arizona desert. It will move you to tears. This is my alternate choice for the President to read, if he has already read Farewell to Manzanar.
    But I'm disturbed! I'm depressed! I'm inadequate! I GOT IT ALL! (George Costanza)

  3. #3

    Default Re: Farewell to Manzanar

    I'll add your recommendation to my library request list, hopefully it is listed.

    I've been googling for photos, there are quite a few "posed" photos during the time, but for another perspective through artwork, check out the University of Calif site.
    The items in this exhibition were created by men, women, and youth during their incarceration in relocation camps. They reflect a mix of emotions, including anger, uncertainty, and hope.
    Now run along and play, but donít get into trouble.


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