The Camps: Tule Lake, Minidoka


These are among 13 stones at the Japanese American Historical Plaza in Portland, Ore.


Messhall crew of Building 68

Courtesy of Tameno Family Archives


It's Paul, Diana, and George Hata. Someone took it in camp, right in front of the door to our place, Block 37-9-C&D. George Hata was on convalescent leave from the 442nd RCT in Italy. I don't know who took it. It might have been a Hata family member. We did not have a camera in camp.







The day before the Moritas had to leave home

From Betty Shibayama, Feb. 4, 2001:

That picture was not taken on the day we left Hood River. It must have been the day prior. Why? Because I did not wear that outfit on the train ride out of Hood River. I wore slacks. The reason I remember is because that was the first time I wore slacks and it was a new pair of blue ones amd I was excited about being able to wear slacks and go on a train ride for the first time in my life.

Ruth made those dresses for Flora and me. Mine was yellow with brown rickrack around the collar and I think Flora's was blue. Ruth used to make alot of Flora and my clothes. A blue and white striped pinafore that I wore in a group grammar school picture was also made by Ruth. I wonder if the blouse that I wore in a first grade school picture with Miss Peterson was also made by you Ruth?

Thanks Ruth for making all those clothes for us. You made me and I am sure Flora happy, too.

From Claude Morita, Feb. 8, 2001:

You guys hit on a good Japanese custom of aisatsu (greetings, courtesy calls, farewell calls, new employment announcements, et al) that Pop and Mom paid attention to. I remember having to get into our Sunday best because we were going to see the Dethmans before we departed for camp. Pop and Mom wanted to formally announce our departure and to say Thank You to them for assisting us in numerous ways. It was respect, all the way around. For them and for ourselves.

We sure could not go in coveralls and dirty shoes. It would be extremely discourteous. We were smiling a lot because we were in good company. The Dethmans were really good people, probably treating everybody alike. I used to think of Mr. Dethman and John Wayne as similar, but Mr. Dethman was probably friendlier and full of fun. Even Tim says how nice they were and he wasn't an immediate neighbor to the Dethmans.

Sort of gives class to the proceedings, doesn't it?

From Claude Morita, Feb. 11, 2001:

What I have a difficult time making clear is the Japanese emphasis on form and passages in life, I'd guess you'd say. The Japanese pay special heed to the rituals, making clear distinctions (last year, this year; work and family; immediate family and other relatives, etc) and feelings connected with events in a year, in one's life, in an employees position with others, with their teachers, their seniors, and those with whom one feels a special relationship. Al Dethman was like a teacher of life in America for Mom and Pop. We were making a passage and Pop and Mom wanted to report to him that we were going to do so.

Mom and Pop did not put on a friendly face for them. They were telling themselves, "Yes, we're going into a new phase of life." And, in their hearts, they said, "Mr. Dethman, we're going into this new life prepared. We thank you for helping us make our stay in Pine Grove so full of accomplishments." We did the best we could and we are proud.

I hope to do as well as they in such a traumatic passage. We have so much to learn from the Issei.

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