Manzanar Guayule Rubber Project Has Enduring Impact – Photos

Dr. Glenn H. Kageyama speaking at the program on the Manzanar Guayule Rubber Project, August 30, 2015, Gardena, California. Kageyama is holding samples of rubber made from the Guayule plant.
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

GARDENA, CA — During World War II, while incarcerated behind barbed wire at Manzanar, a handful of Japanese Americans— Dr. Morganlander Shimpe Nishimura, a nuclear physicist from the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Kenji Nozaki, a chemist at the University of California, Los Angeles, Dr. Masuo Kodani, cytologist from UC Berkeley, Frank Hirasawa, organic chemist, Homer Kimura, a mechanical engineer, along with Frank Kageyama and Tomoichi Hata, worked to develop high-quality rubber from the Guayule plant in support of the United States’ war effort.

As Manzanar Committee member Joyce Okazaki wrote in this space in March 2009, “On five acres of land with 40 incarcerees, and at a cost of about $100.00, the Manzanar Guayule Project produced a higher yield of plant and a higher quality of rubber than the [larger Emergency Rubber Project in Salinas, California] or tree rubber. The tensile strength of the rubber was 5,150 pounds per square inch (PSI), compared to 3,700 PSI for Salinas, and 4,400 PSI for tree rubber.”

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National Park Service Hosts “Open House” Meetings For Manzanar Foundation Document

Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee
(click to view larger image)

The following is a press release from the National Park Service.


INDEPENDENCE, CA — Congress established Manzanar National Historic Site in 1992, the result of decades of efforts by Japanese Americans and others. Since then, the National Park Service (NPS) has worked with scores of stakeholders to preserve and interpret Manzanar and its stories.

In January 2015, Manzanar staff embarked on a Foundation Document development process. A Foundation Document articulates a shared understanding of important resources and values and provides a basis for planning. Along with Manzanar’s 1997 General Management Plan, the Foundation Document will help guide park planning and management.

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Secret Manzanar Guayule Rubber Project To Be Spotlighted In Educational Forum

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LOS ANGELES — The Secret Manzanar Guayule Rubber Project, a program sponsored by the Manzanar Committee about the high-quality, natural rubber from the Guayule (pronounced y-yoo-lee) plant that was researched and developed, in part, by Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated at the Manzanar concentration camp during World War II, will be held on Sunday, August 30, 2015, at 1:00 PM, at the Merit Park recreation room in Gardena, California.

Rubber was in short supply during World War II, and with the United States in need of a new source of rubber, the United States Government invested $37 million to support the Emergency Rubber Project (ERP) in Salinas, California, where more than 1,000 scientists and technicians worked to plant and grow 32,000 acres of Guayule, a plant native to Mexico.

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Unified, Grass-Roots Effort Credited With Gaining Indefinite Hold On Industrial-Scale Solar Projects Threatening Manzanar, Owens Valley

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LOS ANGELES — In a joint statement on August 3, the Manzanar Committee and the Owens Valley Committee (OVC) announced that two industrial-scale solar energy projects that would have had adverse impacts on California’s Owens Valley and the Manzanar National Historic Site have been delayed indefinitely.

On March 12, 2015, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) withdrew their proposed 1,200-acre Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch (SOVSR) from the Interconnection Queue for their Inyo-Rinaldi transmission line, which transports electricity through the Owens Valley, south to Los Angeles.

As reported by Deb Murphy of Sierra Wave Online, a news outlet covering Inyo and Mono Counties, LADWP confirmed that the SOVSR project has been removed from the interconnection queue.

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