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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