What’s New At Manzanar NHS: Construction On Historic Women’s Latrine Has Begun

Initial work on constructing an historic replica of the Block 14 women’s
latrine at Manzanar National Historic Site has begun. In this photo,
the historic concrete slab foundation is being reinforced with rebar
to meet current seismic standards.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

INDEPENDENCE, CA — With the 25th Anniversary of Manzanar becoming a National Historic Site coming up on March 3, 2017, and with the much more significant anniversary happening just a few weeks prior—the 75th Anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066, the Manzanar National Historic Site is working to bring two new exhibits online.

As reported on September 22, work is in progress on a classroom exhibit, which will be housed in the Block 14 barracks. But also in the works is the construction of an historic replica of the Block 14 women’s latrine, with some exhibit material coming after construction is completed on the structure.

Read more of this post

Flood Damage At Manzanar NHS Could Have Been Much Worse

UPDATED with new photos of flood damage released on July 27, 2013. Manzanar’s auto tour road re-opened on July 29.

Flood waters from heavy thunderstorms in the Eastern Sierra mountains
to the west of Manzanar National Historic Site during the overnight
hours of July 22-23, 2013, reached Old Highway 395, which now serves
as a frontage road for Manzanar NHS.
NPS Photo/Jeff Burton

LOS ANGELES — After news spread of flood damage at Manzanar National Historic Site, the result of heavy thunderstorms on the night of July 22-23, 2013, there was concern, generated by photos posted on Facebook later that day, that the damage was much more extensive than the National Park Service had initially believed.

However, while the damage is significant, those fears have proven to be unfounded.

“The real fortunate thing is that it wasn’t a huge torrent that would’ve swept a person standing there away, where lives would’ve been lost, or pick up trucks would’ve been moved,” said Les Inafuku, Superintendent, Manzanar National Historic Site. “That did happen down south, in Olancha. Some people in a four-wheel drive [vehicle] were taken for a ride, two days prior [to the flooding at Manzanar].”

Read more of this post

“Speaking Of Camp” Event – Photos, Video

This article was originally published on December 16, 2012. It has been updated to include video from the event.

Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated in American concentration camps during World War II are shown here telling their
stories at Speaking Of Camp, an event held at the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Center in Los Angeles’ Little Toyko, on December 1, 2012.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Alan Broch

LOS ANGELES — On December 1, 2012, the Friends of Manzanar sponsored Speaking Of Camp…, an event held at St. Francis Xavier Japanese Catholic Center (formerly Maryknoll/Japanese Catholic Center) in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo.

Co-sponsored by the Manzanar Committee, the event was part of an ongoing effort to capture the significance of individual stories of those who came through the World War II camp experience.

Videographers also recorded incarceree stories and memories of their days behind the barbed wire.

Read more of this post

Family, Friends, Community Come Together To Remember and Honor Tak Yamamoto – VIDEO

On January 26, 2013, long-time Manzanar Committee, San Fernando Valley Japanese American Citizens League, and LGBT leader Tak Yamamoto was honored and remembered by friends, family, colleagues and fellow activists at an informal memorial service, held at the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center in Pacoima, California.

The following is a tribute to Yamamoto by Alisa Lynch, Chief of Interpretation, Manzanar National Historic Site, a portion of which was read as part of the program.

Video of the event, and a handful of photographs from the event can be viewed below.

Long-time Manzanar Committee leader Tak Yamamoto (second from left), shown here receiving the Sue Kunitomi Embrey Legacy Award at the 40th Annual
Manzanar Pilgrimage, April 25, 2009, died on November 9, 2012.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

According to a War Relocation Authority roster, on May 17, 1942, a boy tagged with family number 24119 arrived in the searing hot desert of Arizona. Just two days before his fourth birthday, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had signed Executive Order 9066, ultimately allowing the U.S. Army to round up and confine 120,313 Japanese Americans based solely on their ancestry. The boy was like two-thirds of all of the people in the camps: a child and an American Citizen.

His family’s “pre-evacuation city” was listed as Westminster, California. His parents, Tokuichi and Kotoyo Yamamoto Read more of this post