NOTE: Sections blacked out in the original are noted by X's, with number of lines where applicable.
RE: WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY -- RIOTS, STRIKES, AND
DISTURBANCES IN JAPANESE RELOCATION CENTERS
This memorandum summarizes information available concerning strikes, riots, and aggravated disturbances which have occurred in Japanese Relocation Centers.
SANTA ANITA ASSEMBLY CENTER, OPERATED BY THE WARTIME CIVIL CONTROL ADMINISTRATION
Prior to the placement of Japanese evacuees from the Pacific Coast in the War Relocation Centers, the evacuees were temporarily kept in Assembly Centers operated by the Wartime Civil Control Administration, an organization under the Civil Affairs Division of the Western Defense Command, United States Army. These Assembly Centers should not be confused with War Relocation Centers, and information regarding disturbances which occurred at the Santa Anita Assembly Center is being set out herein as a matter of background information regarding the difficulties originally encountered with evacuated Japanese.
One of the first disturbances among the evacuated Japanese occurred at the Assembly Center at Santa Anita, California, on June 16, 1942. On this date 1200 American citizens of Japanese ancestry, who were employed in making camouflage nets for the Army, struck for higher wages and better living conditions, including a more liberal supply of food. Disgruntled workers complained that they were being provided with insufficient food and demanded that the rations be doubled. Handbills had been distributed XXXXX, a Japanese Communist, calling for a strike on July 1, 1942, and stating that the workers demanded four hours work a day, $41 per month, discharge of the present foreman, special medical protection, and no women workers. The handbills also stated that there is no democracy for the Japanese in the United States, that their fate is worse than that of prisoners, and that they are required to perform unhygienic work which was refused by prisoners in state institutions, and from which multitudinous diseases and physical ailments will result. This strike was settled peaceably, and on June 17, 1942, all workers had returned and officials of the Center were endeavoring to obtain a wage increase from $8 to $12 per month.
On June 18, 1942, approximately 100 evacuees held an unauthorized meeting for the purpose of making recommendations for the improvement of food conditions in the Center. The rules of the Center were violated by this meeting, inasmuch as no Caucasian observer was present, the proceedings were in the Japanese language, no minutes were kept, and political and other prohibited topics were discussed.
One XXXXX, a Hawaiian born citizen, a graduate of the Waseda University of Tokyo, moved to have an investigation made of the profits of the local canteens. He felt that the Wartime Civil Control authorities were not properly investing the profits, and pointed out that more than $3000 per day is spent in these canteens. XXXXX made a speech moving that the meeting pass a resolution demanding that the status of the evacuees, as to whether they are prisoners of war, be clarified, and that the Spanish Embassy conduct an appropriate investigation.
XXXXX, one of the Communists at the Center, opposed XXXXX motion, and as a result he and his associate, XXXXX, were assaulted in an open fight, during which they were kicked in the face and body and necessarily hospitalized.
Six Japanese aliens who participated in this unauthorized meeting were arrested by the Los Angeles Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on June 22, 1942. The apprehensions were made at the request of the military authorities, and after emergency authorization had been received from the United States Attorney. One of the aliens apprehended, XXXXX, was a parole violator, having been arrested on February 21, 1942, as a dangerous alien enemy and ordered paroled by the Attorney General on May 18, 1942.
Six American citizens of Japanese descent who took part in the meeting were held by the Interior Police at the Center.
On June 24, 1942, five citizens of Japanese descent, including XXXXX and one Japanese alien, were arrested at the Assembly Center by the United States Marshal under a warrant issued upon a complaint charging conspiracy to defraud the Government by interfering with the proper execution of Public Law 503, 77th Congress, in that they held an unauthorized meeting in the Japanese language. The alien and one of the citizens were also charged in a complaint filed by an Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation with conspiracy, in that they were circulating a petition to have a Japanese language newspaper in the Center, after having been refused authority for such a paper by Wartime Civil Control Administration officials.
At about 8:30 A.M. on August 4, 1942, the Interior Police at the Assembly Center commenced a search of the housed occupied by the Japanese for articles which they were not permitted to possess under the rules of the Center. The search continued until about 2:30 P.M., and resulted in the discovery of two truckloads of prohibited articles, including sugar, whisky, and Government property consisting of silverware and towels. Much of this material was buried beneath the floors of the houses or otherwise secreted. About 2:30 P.M. a gathering of about 150 Japanese women and children protested to the Chief of the Interior Police that the searches were being made without warrants, and that electrical devices such as hot plates were being seized. They were advised that the electrical devices were being seized because they had resulted in the overloading of the electric lines. While the women and children were engaging the attention of the Chief of Police, rioting broke out and continued in various parts of the Center. A group of about 3000 Japanese rioted at one of the mess halls. Another group of approximately 4000 engaged in a riot in the vicinity of one of the gates. Approximately 4000 Japanese converged upon the Police Headquarters, within which there were several police officers and two Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who had in their custody two of four conspirators who had planned to bring whisky into the Center regularly, and were apprehended bringing in the first two cases. Another riot occurred at the Self-Government House, where the rioters severely beat one XXXXX whom they accused of being "a stool pigeon". Twelve chairs were broken over XXXXX head. He was taken to the hospital, where he was found to be severely beaten but still alive.
Shortly after the assault upon XXXXX, the camp officials requested assistance from the troops camped across the street. A contingent of about 200 soldiers with armored units was moved into the camp, and succeeded in restoring order. It was necessary for the soldiers to advance with bayonets fixed to force the rioters back to their homes. Order was restored by about 6 P.M. Later an additional contingent of 200 soldiers moved into the Center, which was placed under martial law.
It should be noted that the above disturbances occurred at the Santa Anita Assembly Center, from which the Japanese evacuees were gradually removed and placed in War Relocation Camps. All individuals were removed from the Wartime Civil Control Administration Assembly Centers as of November 3, 1942, and had been placed in War Relocation Centers.
There are ten Centers administered by the War Relocation Authority, an independent agency created by Executive Order 9102 and attached to the Executive Office of the President. Information concerning each of these Camps, including data regarding strikes, riots, and disturbances therein, is hereinafter set out.
MANZANAR RELOCATION CENTER
This Center is located at Manzanar, California, and is directed by Mr. Ralph P. Merritt.
During the evening of August 8, 1942, a meeting in the Japanese language was held in one of the kitchens at the Manzanar Relocation Center. XXXXX obtained permission for the meeting from camp officials, and XXXXX acted as chairman. The worst agitator at the meeting was XXXXX, and American citizen of Hawaiian birth, who served in the United States Army during the last war. When interviewed in October, 1942, XXXXX freely stated that he was bitter toward the United States and one hundred per cent loyal to Japan. His reasons for this viewpoint are that he proved his loyalty to the United States in the last war and did not believe it was necessary that he be evacuated. It was his opinion that Japan has already won the war, and he had no desire to be removed from the camp and was surprised that he was not taken into custody at the conclusion of the interview. XXXXX has openly boasted that he will continue interfering with anything that aids the United States until he is apprehended by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Army. At the meeting on August 8, 1942, XXXXX made a speech in which he is quoted as saying, "I have never been in Japan but in my veins flows Japanese blood, the blood of Yamato Damashii (the Japanese national spirit). We citizens have been denied our rights. We have no United States citizenship. We are one hundred per cent Japanese. If the FBI or Army take me into custody, I will remain Japanese. I do not get scared. Look at those Japanese in Japan who are making great sacrifices. Let's follow suit." These remarks reportedly brought forth thunderous applause. The following Japanese also made speeches at the meeting, which were also inflammatory in a greater or lesser degree. XXX-2 lines-XXX
XXXXX was booed by the crowd when he attempted to say that in spite of their segregation and hardships the Japanese must still participate in the war effort of this country, and he was heckled so loudly that it was impossible to hear what he said, though he tried to say it for about five minutes.
One of the speakers, XXXXX, was greeted with shouts of "General Araki", because of his long mustache similar to that of the Japanese general. He stated, "I came to American four years ago, thinking America to be a country of the free and in general an ideal place, but now I find myself thrown in this dump like pigs. I am surprised to see that the Japanese here are not united spiritually like in Japan."
The last speaker, XXXXX, announced that he would like to have all Kibei working on the camouflage project quit work immediately, and to ask the parents of the Nisei workers to use their influence in getting their children to quit the project as soon as possible.
Mrs. D'Ille, head of the Social Welfare Department of the Center, who lived in Japan for many years and spoke Japanese, was requested to attend the meeting but did not arrive until it had broken up, and there was therefore no Caucasian in attendance who understood the Japanese language. Camp officials finally arrived at the meeting and requested the chairman to adjourn. It was necessary for the Internal Police at the Center to take XXXXX home in a car, and as he approached the car 20 to 30 persons surrounded him, as well as the police car, and one stated, "He is a dog, hit him." The meeting broke up amid the clamor that "We may never be able to hold a meeting like this again", and "Japanese soldiers will be here soon to liberate all of us."
Prosecution of this case under Public Law 503, which would punish violations of a proclamation issued in the Western Defense Command against holding meetings in the Japanese language, was declined by Assistant United States Attorney Attilio Di Giralamo of Los Angeles on August 15, 1942. The Department of Justice stated on November 10, 1942, that although persons confined to Relocation Camps can be technically charged with a violation of the Sedition statutes, it was the opinion of the Criminal Division that the facts disclosed in this case do not warrant prosecution.
On December 5, 1942, at 9 P.M., Fred Tayama was beaten by five or six masked men. Tayama had been outspokenly anti-Axis, and had headed the Anti-Axis Committee of the Japanese-American Citizens League in Los Angeles prior to the war. He was beaten about the head, but was not seriously injured. XXXXX was immediately arrested by the Internal Police as a suspect, and taken to the county jail. The camp authorities, on the following day, also sought XXXXX for questioning in connection with this assault. It should be noted that XXXXX is the same individual who dominated the meeting held in August, 1942, at this camp, concerning which information is set out above. The authorities found XXXXX running a meeting attended by a crowd of several hundred people. Thereafter XXXXX acted as spokesman for a committee of five Japanese, representing a mob of some 1000 to 2000 evacuees, which had gathered at the camp headquarters demanding the release of Uyeno. Besides Kurihara this committee consisted of XXX-1 line-XXX. Mr. Ralph Merritt, the Project Director, told the mob that if they would disperse he would bring XXXXX back, and it was purportedly so agreed. It is reported, however, that XXXXX merely spoke to the mob in Japanese, telling them that they had won a victory and to disperse and reassemble at 6 P.M., and at that time they would force Merritt to release XXXXX from the camp jail.
XXXXX was thereupon returned to the camp jail from the county jail. At the appointed time a crowd gathered by the jail, proceeding to break in and release XXXXX. The mob then decided to compel Mr. Merritt to release XXXXX. The Military Police were thereupon called to assist, and after unsuccessful attempts to disperse the mob with tear gas, fired on the mob, killing one person and wounding ten.
On December 6, 1942, at about the same time the crowd gathered by the Police Headquarters, it was learned that another meeting was in progress at one of the mess halls in the camp, and that the individuals participating in this meeting had decided to go to the hospital and get XXXXX and kill him. They proceeded to the hospital and searched for XXXXX but were unable to find him as he was hiding under a bed. Shortly thereafter XXXXX was brought to the Military Police headquarters for safety.
As of December 9, 1942, the following Japanese were in military custody in jail at Lone Pine, California, as a result of the disturbances. All the Japanese implicated in the riot were held in military custody.
After December 6, 1942, none of the work projects in the Manzanar Relocation Center operated. Misdemeanors in the Center had been handled by a Judicial Committee consisting of four Japanese and three Caucasians. However, this Committee has not functioned since December 6, 1942. In view of the situation which existed at Manzanar during the period of these riots, the camp was placed under complete military control at the time of the riots, and this continued for a period of days thereafter until peace had been restored.
COLORADO RIVER RELOCATION CENTER
The Colorado River Relocation Center is located at Poston, Arizona. The Project Director is Mr. Wade Head.
The Center is the largest project in the United States, and houses approximately 17,000 Japanese. The camp is split into three units, Unit No. 1 housing approximately 10,000 persons, with the other two units equally sharing the balance. In connection with the strike, the details of which will be set out later, it should be noted that it was confined to Unit No. 1.
There have been numerous acts of violence at the Colorado River Center, which are set out chronologically.
September 10, 1942
XXXXX of the Japanese-American Citizens League, was attacked by five assailants while en route to his home in Unit No. 2. He partially identified one of his assailants as XXXXX, a former Watsonville, California, high school athlete. XXXXX had been a member of the Poston Fire Department, and when questioned assumed full responsibility for beating up XXXXX and said that he had suggested the attack to four other Nisei.
September 12, 1942
?ay Nishimura was attacked by an unknown group of six or seven men. Several of Nishimura's friends were near the scene of the attack, which occurred at night, and intervened, and he escaped serious injury. XXXXX formerly worked closely with the El Centro, California, Police Department, the Imperial County, California, Sheriff's Office, the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service as an Interpreter, and for other Federal agencies.
October 17, 1942
XXXXX was attacked by three men at 11:45 P.M. while walking to his barracks. XXXXX had incurred the ill will of a number of persons at Poston by virtue of his known desire to enlist in the United States Army and serve in the Japanese Language School at Fort Savage, Minnesota. XXXXX was warned through his parents that if he persisted in his desire to enlist, he should expect to be beaten up as it was coming to him.
The United States Army has been interested in recruiting Japanese for the Japanese Language School at Fort Savage, Minnesota, and a number of rumors have persisted that all Japanese to enlist in the Army have been threatened with beatings.
October 18, 1942
At about midnight on this date a group of men broke into the room of Francis Gieta? and proceeded to beat him up. Gieta? was hospitalized for five days. Reportedly Gieta? had taken some kind of correspondence work in criminology and had made numerous remarks that he was working for the Government. Gieta? was later released from the camp, and is now residing in Glendale, Arizona.
November 1, 1942
XXXXX together with his wife and son, was attacked by five men who came to their barracks at night. XXXXX is a member of the American Legion and served in the United States Army during the last war. He was hit over the head by what was believed to have been a lead pipe, and was hospitalized for several days. XXXXX had been very active in the Department of Agriculture of the camp, was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Poston Community Enterprises, and had been exceedingly active in efforts to promote and carry out various work policies of the administration.
November 14, 1942
A group of men described by various witnesses as numbering from five to fifteen persons entered the barracks occupied by ?ay Nishimura and attacked him with pieces of pipe. It should be noted that this individual is the same person mentioned above as having been assaulted on September 12, 1942. The nature of the second assault was such that it was apparent that there was an attempt to kill Nishimura. He suffered a brain concussion and numerous stitches were necessary on various parts of his body. XXXXX later stated that he recognized one of his attackers as having appeared in various Judo tournaments in Los Angeles, and he believed that this assailant was a ranking jiu jitsu artist. As a result of this assault the Camp Police arrested George Fujii and Isamu XXXXX and lodged them in the jail at Unit No. 1. Uchida is an instructor in the Judo school at Colorado River, and is considered by the Japanese as ranking very highly as a jiu jitsu artist. XXXXX was taken into custody by virtue of the fact that he was a former brother-in-law of XXXXX. Both Fujii and Uchida are Kibei.
"Members of the police department carving clubs." (Poston, 5/25/1942)
November 18, 1942
As a result of the arrests of Fujii and Uchida mentioned above, a petition was presented to the Project Director by certain Japanese at the Center requesting that Uchida and Fujii be immediately released and the charges against them be dropped. Two other similar petitions were later presented to the Project Director. When it becomes apparent that the prisoners would not be released, a general strike occurred about noon of November 18, 1942. This resulted in all Japanese quitting their work with the exception of a few Japanese boys and girls working in the Caucasian mess hall, and a very limited number of others on individual jobs. Some of the Japanese quitting work stated that they were quitting through fear, as they had been indirectly threatened. It is reported that the Japanese took possession of the food warehouses and 26 Government-owned trucks and motor vehicles which had been used on the various work projects in the camp. At the same time a mob reported to number as high as 1000 persons gathered in front of the camp jail, where they played Japanese martial music on the public address system. Spokesman for this mob stated that they would not permit the removal of the two prisoners from the camp, and during the afternoon, in conference with Mr. Evans, the Acting Project Director, the release of the prisoners was requested with the assurance that charges would not later be brought against them. During the later afternoon on November 18, 1942, Mr. Townsend, an official of the camp in charge of transportation, was threatened by the mob with personal violence, and he was verbally abused. The gasoline tanks of several white employees' automobiles were drained. By night the Japanese has complete control of the camp except for the small portion where white citizens resided. It is reported that his mob stayed around the jail continuously, day and night, until the prisoners were released on November 24, 1942.
In connection with this case, facts concerning XXXXX were reviewed by the United States Attorney at Phoenix, Arizona, on December 19, 1942. The United States Attorney declined prosecution because of the unsettled conditions at the camp, the impossibility of conducting logical investigation at the time, and because of insufficient evidence. As noted above, XXXXX were released on November 24, 1942, at which time the strike was called off.
GILA RIVER RELOCATION CENTER
The Gila River Relocation Center is located at Sacaton, Arizona, and has a capacity of 15,000.
On September 17, 1942, an attack was made by XXXXX. A knife was used in the attack, and XXXXX suffered several deep cuts. This attack was the result of differences which had arisen as a result of gambling, and was not connected with any pro-Japanese element in the camp. It should be noted, however, that no effort was made to prosecute XXXXX for the assault.
During the month of December, 1942, there was one disturbance at the camp consisting of a fight between two individuals, which apparently originated as a dispute over their clothing allowance. A number of Japanese used this disturbance as an excuse to complain concerning the handling of the clothing situation. However, the group was apparently satisfied by the answer given by the administration.
On December 7, 1942, a Japanese flag was discovered flying on a butte overlooking part of the camp. The flag was apparently put up by a boy of seven, who was reportedly told to place it there by his father. The flag was removed soon after it was discovered, and no violence resulted. On January 1, 1943, another homemade Japanese flag discovered on another butte near the camp. This flag was also taken down without any violence.
In February, 1943, representatives of the War Department went to Gila River to conduct the registration of eligible Japanese for military service in the United States Army. On February 15, 1943, Army authorities reported that certain of the Japanese, both citizens and aliens, were interfering with the recruiting being conducted. These persons had allegedly threatened and intimidated those persons who had indicated a willingness to volunteer for military service.
United States Attorney Frank E. Flynn at Phoenix, Arizona, has stated that those individuals who had so interfered with the recruiting program would not be prosecuted for a Sedition violation. This view was taken by Mr. Flynn because of the almost complete impossibility of requesting and obtaining Japanese to testify in open court as to what the Japanese had said and done to retard the enlistment program. Consequently, no action was taken with regard to any citizens who had interfered with the registration. However, a number of Japanese aliens were apprehended as alien enemies, and their cases presented to Alien Enemy Hearing Boards.
TULE LAKE RELOCATION CENTER
Tule Lake is situated in Newell, California, near the California-Oregon boundary. It has a capacity of sixteen thousand and is under the directorship of Harry Coverlay.
General allegations of a derogatory nature have been received regarding affairs in this camp. It was reported in January, 1943, that the Japanese agricultural workers had struck on several occasions, and that the administration treats these strikes as "conferences." A general feeling of unrest among the evacuees was caused chiefly because of improper administration, lack of clothing and salary payments. These allegations apparently had some basis in fact as a strike did occur among the agricultural workers in August, 1942. This trouble was concerned with certain grievances held by the workers. One of the leading factors was that there was no mess hall at the farm, although the War Relocation Authority had promised that one would be immediately built. Consequently, the workers were required to eat meals in the open without any protection from dust, insects, dirt, etc. The strike reportedly lasted for two or three days. The general opinion regarding this strike was that it was entirely a general labor dispute, although it was possible that there had been some agitation purely for the sake of embarrassing the camp. The main cause for the strike apparently was grievances held by the workers.
U. S. Army Registration of Japanese Evacuees for Military Service
It should be noted in the section set out above concerning the Gila River Relocation Center that some difficulty was encountered by the Army in registering Japanese in Relocation Centers for military service. At the Gila River Relocation Center investigation to determine whether Sedition Statutes had been violated was not conducted inasmuch as some of the persons involved were apprehended as alien enemies. At the Tule Lake Relocation Center, however, a number of Japanese were apprehended by camp officials and a representative of the War Relocation Authority conducted an extensive investigation to determine whether or not there had been a violation of the Sedition Statutes.
In connection with the Registration Program, it should be noted that the program started in February, 1943, at which time the Army, in conjunction with the War Relocation Authority, undertook to register Japanese-Americans residing in the Relocation Centers for military service. As a matter of background, prior to the time the registration was actually begun, representatives of the Army, War Relocation Authority and Selective Service System met in Washington, D. C. where it was agreed that the registration was to be under the Selective Service regulations in order that any Japanese failing to register would thereby violate the Selective Service Act. After this meeting, the Director of the War Relocation Authority left Washington and another group of Army representatives studied this matter. This group decided that the registration should be voluntary and so notified the Selective Service officials but failed to advise the first group of Army officials or the War Relocation Authority of this change in plans. Consequently, there was a question as to whether those individuals refusing to register would be violating the Selective Service Act in so doing. The Department of Justice later advised that failure to register under the program would not constitute a violation of the Selective Service Act, inasmuch as the registration was entirely voluntarily. However, the Department of Justice stated that some of the individuals who attempted to retard the Registration Program might be prosecuted under the Sedition Statutes for delaying an enlistment program of the U. S. Army.
At the Tule Lake Relocation Center the facts surrounding this registration are typical of those which were found to exist in other Relocation Centers. There was considerable opposition to the registration at Tule Lake and reportedly some Japanese had been told not to register. Out of three thousand eligible males, only two hundred had registered at Tule Lake as of February 17, 1943. Reportedly the Japanese aliens and Japanese educated American citizens were the ones carrying on most of the opposition. It was reported that the Kibei had formed small groups to intimidate individuals who were desirous of registering. On February 19, 1943, a petition addressed to the Selective Service Board and signed by thirty-five United States citizens of Japanese ancestry was handed to the Assistant Chief of Internal Security of Tule Lake. The petition stated "We the undersigned do not wish to sign to Selective Service but to repatriate will sign at any time, so until then there won't be any business." These petitioners were apprehended by the Relocation Camp authorities and placed in the Modoc County Jail, Alturas, California, and Klamath Falls, Oregon, where they were held in custody by the War Relocation Authority. The petitioners, upon interview, all admitted signing the petition, all admitted opposition to the Registration Program based on discrimination against United States citizens of Japanese ancestry and all stated they would not register under any circumstances.
The majority of the petitioners were found to have discussed the advisability of preparing the petition before hand and on February 17, 1943, had attended a public meeting at the camp, at which each person expressed his oppositions to registration. A few denied having attended the meeting or assisting in the preparation of the petition. The petitioners stated that every action taken or words spoken by them in connection with the entire Registration Program was based on individual convictions and they denied having been influenced by other persons.
The facts concerning this matter were reviewed by the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice and that Division was of the opinion that no prosecutive action should be taken with regard to these persons under the Sedition Statutes.
JEROME RELOCATION CENTER
This Camp, with a capacity of ten thousand, is located at Jerome, Arkansas, and the Project Director is Mr. Paul A. Taylor.
On January 3, 1943, an article written by Eugene Rutland, Staff Correspondent, appeared in the Memphis, Tennessee Commercial Appeal. This article dealt with the Jerome Relocation Center and was entitled, "Relocation Center for Japanese Torn by Waste and Turmoil." It was alleged in the article that Japanese evacuees at Jerome had turned the camp into a "nest of sabotage and unrest" and further that there had been a careless waste of food and slow-down strikes, so as to result in a nightmare of confusion. This article was discovered to be largely untrue as there was not known to be any undue unrest or food wastage. There was no information indicating that the camp was a nest of sabotage. It should be noted that the writer of this articles was alleged to have written a scathing article regarding the Farm Security Administration after the author had been dismissed from a position with the Administration. Rutland is also said to have been rejected for employment at the Jerome Relocation Center where he had applied for the position of News Director previous to the time the article had been written.
At the Jerome Relocation Center the Army authorities also encountered some opposition to the Registration Program. On February 12, 1943, it was reported to XXXXX who was assisting the Army, that threats of violence were being made against him. On March 6, 1943, a committee of six evacuees protested to the Project Director and refused to register stating that they were loyal to Japan. Approximately one hundred evacuees were waiting outside the Project Director's Office at the time the committee was making the protest. Subsequently the entire group held a meeting in one of the mess halls and protested the registration, announcing that they preferred to be repatriated. Simultaneously with this incident, two groups of unidentified Japanese attacked and assaulted Dr. XXXXX and Reverend XXXXX at the camp hospital and the latter person's residence. Both victims are said to have been active participants in the Japanese-American Citizens League which had aroused the enmity of pro-Japanese elements because of its anti-Axis activities. The victims were not seriously hurt but both were confined to the hospital under military protection.
As a result of the Registration and Enlistment Program conducted at the Jerome Relocation Camp, approximately seven hundred eighty-one evacuees declared themselves desirous of being repatriated. Thirty-three evacuees, out of a possible 1,296 eligible persons, voluntarily enlisted in the Army. As a further result of the Registration Program, the evacuees at the Jerome Relocation Center were divided in two groups, those favoring and those opposing registration.
The War Relocation officials and certain evacuees in the Jerome Relocation Center are of the opinion that efforts were made by an organized group to retard and discourage the registration and voluntarily enlistment program. The Department of Justice has not yet rendered an opinion as to whether prosecution will be instituted under the Sedition Statutes.
ROHWER RELOCATION CENTER
The Rohwer Relocation Center is located at Rohwer, Arkansas, and the Project Director is Mr. Ray Johnston.
There have been no reports of flagrant disturbances at this Center, however, on April 14, 1943, two Hawaiian born Japanese, XXXXX and XXXXX, entered one of the mess halls in the camp in a slightly drunkened condition and objected to the type of meat served them on that particular date. The kitchen steward took issue with these statements and an altercation between the steward, XXXXX, ensued. The Block Manager of the camp intervened and XXXXX were thereupon joined by nine other Hawaiian born Japanese. Six other residents also joined in the fight, which resulted in slight wounds to five Japanese. It was said that the eleven Hawaiian born Japanese participating in the fight had been the source of minor difficulties at the Rohwer Relocation Center on previous occasions. As a result of the fight, assault and battery charges were filed against the Japanese and all of them were apprehended and placed in the county jail at Arkansas City by War Relocation officials. This incident, however, did not appear to have any subversive implications and all of the individuals have been dismissed from custody and given leave clearance from the Rohwer Relocation Center to accept employment with the Santa Fe Railroad Company at Kansas City, Kansas.
HEART MOUNTAIN RELOCATION CENTER
This Center is located at Cody, Wyoming, and has a capacity of ten thousand. The Project Director is Mr. Guy Robertson.
On November 27, 1942, a disturbance took place at this Center, which involved four Japanese individuals who had returned from Cozad, Nebraska, arriving at the Relocation Center at approximately 11:00 p.m. These individuals had returned from leave which had been granted them and upon arriving at the Center went to the mess hall which is kept open all night for the convenience of the night employees and demanded something to eat. The attendant in charge of the kitchen informed them he could not feed them without securing authority from the Superintendent and thereafter these four Japanese started throwing cups and saucers at the cooks in the kitchen. One of them also picked up a bowl of cake icing and threw it at the chef. When notified of the trouble, the warden of the camp immediately proceeded to the kitchen to help quell the disturbance, at which time one of the Japanese tackled him from behind and there was a slight scuffle. No one was seriously injured and warrants have been sworn out against two of the Japanese who were mainly responsible.
On April 27, 1943, one XXXXX, a Japanese engaged in driving a tractor, called the Caucasian foreman, XXXXX, several vile names, when the tractor in which XXXXX was using ran out of gasoline. XXXXX is in charge of servicing the tractors and was not present when Kiyomura made the statements. XXXXX later challenged XXXXX for making the statements whereupon a fight ensued, lasting about fifteen to twenty minutes. Neither party was seriously injured. In the room where the altercation occurred there were three other Caucasian employees and it was reported that other Japanese at the camp believed that these employees did not stop the fight at first because XXXXX was getting the best of it and the fight was ultimately stopped only when XXXXX began to win. Thereupon, the employees in the motor pool threatened to strike unless XXXXX of the Transportation and Supply Division, was discharged, inasmuch as they felt that XXXXX was responsible for permitting the fight to continue to the disadvantage of XXXXX. The Project Director, Mr. Guy Robertson, refused to discharge XXXXX and as of May 5, 1943, all individuals involved had returned to their work.
CENTRAL UTAH RELOCATION CENTER
The Central Utah Relocation Center is located at Delta, Utah, and has a capacity of ten thousand. The Project Director is Mr. Charles F. Ernst. [PHOTO: "Charles P. Ernst, Project Director, is shown with photographs of his two sons, who are now in the armed services." (Topaz, 03/15/1943)
As of December 10, 1942, the chief disturbance at this camp involved one Japanese who had been beaten by seven others. This incident arose when one Japanese came into the quarters late at night and turned on the electric light. An argument arose and the Japanese who had turned on the light was beaten. Several days later this Japanese returned with six of his friends and severely beat up the Japanese who had struck him sending him to the hospital. In so far as could be determined, this was entirely a local incident and there was no clash between pro-Axis and pro-American Japanese and nothing was involved that would indicate that subversive elements were present.
On April 11, 1943, James Hatsuaki Wakasa, a Japanese alien residing in the Central Utah Relocation Center, was shot and killed by a member of the Military Police Guard while attempting to leave the center without a pass. Wakasa had reportedly made two previous attempts to leave the center and had been warned by the guards on each occasion. He was shot while making his third attempt to cross the barbed wire enclosure between sentry stations. [PHOTO: "James Wakasa funeral scene. (The man shot by military sentry)." (Topaz, 04/19/1943)]
The Center Utah Relocation Center was also the scene of some disturbance with regard to the Army's registration program. This program met with strenuous opposition by a number of Japanese in speeches made at mass meetings. On February 4, 1943, a general meeting was held to discuss the registration in general. Other meetings followed and on February 11, 1943, a meeting was held by and for the Kibeis, at which time pro-Japanese and anti-American feeling "blazed in incandescent fervor", to quote the Topaz Times, a local publication. Statements were made at that meeting that citizens should not volunteer or do anything to help the United States, that Japan was their real country, and that no Japanese should swear allegiance to the United States as required on the registration forms. On the following night of February 12, 1943, a meeting was held, ostensibly for the Nisei, but this meeting was taken over by the Kibei and more speeches in opposition to the registration were made. On February 13, 1943, meetings were held among the evacuees to determine whether or not they were in favor of registration first and then fighting for civil rights, or fighting for civil rights before consenting to register. The majority voted to fight before registering. At the close of the registration period only about sixty had volunteered. During subsequent weeks, however, seventy additional volunteers were secured.
Twenty Japanese individuals admitted speaking in opposition to the registration program. Most of the speakers were said to have been pro-Japanese in their sentiments and are reported to have begun and finished their speech by proclaiming "Long live the Emperor". Reportedly, the speakers became very emotional and whipped up the pro-Japanese sentiments of the audience. After each pro-Japanese speech there was wild applause from the crowd but little applause after a pro-American speech. Among other things, the speakers are reported as having stated "We shouldn't do anything to hurt Japan", "No one should go outside the center, stay in here, eat the American's food as much as you can so there will be a food shortage."
The Department of Justice, after reviewing the facts concerning the events surrounding the registration conducted by the Army at Central Utah Relocation Center, has declined prosecution of the Japanese involved under the Sedition Statutes.
GRANADA RELOCATION CENTER
This Center is located two miles southwest of Granada, Colorado, and houses approximately seventy-two hundred evacuees. There have been no large scale disturbances reported in this center. However, there was at one time in existence in this center certain gangs of boys and young men. These gangs were in the habit of entering the mess halls in groups and they were imbued with a spirit of rowdyism. On one occasion it was necessary to make some arrests in one of the mess halls following which time the disturbing element was placed in the county jail. There is at the present time little difficulty encountered with these gangs and it is felt by relocation officials that the problem no longer exists. [PHOTO: "J. G. Lindley, Project Director, Granada Relocation Center." (08/1943)]
MINIDOKA RELOCATION CENTER
Minidoka is located at Eden, Idaho, and has a capacity of ten thousand.
There have been no reports of riots, strikes, or flagrant disturbances at this center.
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