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11

An Untold Story of a Japanese-American in Manzanar

Yukio Iwamasa was only about five or six years old when authorities barged into their home and told them they needed to evacuate. They had to sell all their things and live not knowing what would happen to them.

This was midway through World War II and he described how difficult it was to have your home and possessions stripped from you suddenly without prior notice and be subsequently brought into cramped barracks with two other families.

This is a story of remembrance, of losing one's place in the world, and of trying to rebuild that in the aftermath.

(Image credit: Dorothea Lange/Wikimedia Commons)


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And his story is just one of 120,000. Under Executive order 9066, everyone of Japanese ancestry was excluded from an area 100 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. Most were American citizens, born and raised in the United States. The rest were long term residents forbidden citizenship because they were Asians. Japanese legal resident aliens did not have the right to become naturalized U.S. citizens until the passage of the McCarren–Walter Act in 1952. They were rounded up and interned in fairgrounds, horse racing tracks and stables until the camps were ready. Then they were sent to some of the most arid and inhospitable areas in the US: Topaz Internment Camp, Central Utah. Colorado River (Poston) Internment Camp, Arizona. Gila River Internment Camp, Phoenix, Arizona. Granada (Amache) Internment Camp, Colorado. Heart Mountain Internment Camp, Wyoming. Jerome Internment Camp, Arkansas. Manzanar Internment Camp, California.
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