tv American Artifacts Japanese American National Museum CSPAN August 12, 2021 8:00am-8:27am EDT
each week american history tvs american artifacts takes viewers behind the scenes at archives museums and historic sites. next a tour of the japanese-american national museum in los angeles's little tokyo our tour guide is docent bill shishima who was born in a little tokyo in 1930 and spent three years at heart mountain
relocation during world war ii. located near downtown los angeles little tokyo is one of three remaining in california. whereas many as 40 japantowns thrived prior to world war ii. los angeles first started way back in 1781 when 11 pablo doris or settlers came from mexico to get land for the king of spain in 1843 the first recorded japanese landed in fairhaven, massachusetts hamannosuke, and he was a shipwreck sailor from off the coast of hawaii and the whaler ship picked up five japanese men and for them were left in hawaii, but hamonosuke was brought to fair haven, massachusetts, so he's probably the first recorded japanese to be here.
and then in 1850 los angeles was incorporated at that time. we had about 1600 people in a square mile of 28 square miles today were about or million population and the square mile is about 469. but california was the site of the immigrants from japan the port of entry with san francisco. and the first colony was up there in northern california at gold hill about 30 miles south of sacramento, and it was the ill-fated guacamatu tea and silk colony. they lasted about two years. so that was the first organized colony from japan. los angeles little tokyo started when we had also a shipwreck sailor from the san diego area. he came up here and then in 1885 he started the first japanese american restaurant here in
little tokyo. common ground the heart of community and this instance were talking about the japanese american community here the united states. the japanese were enticed to go to hawaii the sugar plantation people came to japan to recruit workers. they said gee if you work three years in the sugar plantations of hawaii. it's equivalent to working 10 years in a factory since japan. so close to 1,000 people way back in 1885 went on 103 year labor contract to the sugar plantations of hawaii, but when they got there, they found out differently. they had four minutes or lunas. they had whips they used the leather whoops on the workers. so slave like condition. so many of them got out of their three year labor contract escaped to maybe the coffee plantations or the pineapple plantations and some of them
went back to the cities others were enticed to go to the mainland many of you heard of benjamin franklin. he was a great statesman. however, he wanted to keep america white. it's a way back in 1751 benjamin franklin says, he didn't want the blacks or the asians here in america. and in the 1850s america wanted to visit a transcontinent of railway from new york to california, but they couldn't get enough workers. so what did the america do they went to china to recruit to chinese to come and build the railroad after railroads were built. they didn't want to chinese here. so they had the anti-chinese movement as early as 1879 every dog that's six of a color has his day red gentlemen to yellow german pale face freddy crowd him out as it is me this was 1879 three years later chinese were excluded in 1882.
this is a actual. reptile remnants of world war ii this is one third of original barrack that was in heart mountain wyoming. that was the camp. i was incarcerated in. so we'll go on the inside and see the structure. during world war ii. we had 10 camps. seven western states. they are all similar but not the same the smallest camp was about 7,000 the largest camp around 19,000. i was incarcerated in heart mountain, wyoming about 60 miles from the eastgate of yellowstone national park. i was 11 came came out at 14 years old. so basically three years and three months.
i'll show you some illustration. this is by estelle peck. she was married to a japanese person so she came into the camp. she wrote the book lone heart mountain and this is some illustration of it. here is a hot pot belly stove we had cold fed into it and her california. they fed oil into it and arkansas. they used wood as a few. so those are some of the of the camps. by the way, we use all military terminology. so we lived in barracks and then we ate at the mess hall. so we're fed three meals a day. this is what really broke broke up our family unity. as a family we sometimes eat breakfast together, but by lunch time and dinner time, forget it we're regulated by the dinner
gong anytime. we heard the dinner gone. we ran to the missile lined up eight then went out to play or went to school so we didn't have chance to discuss family matters over the dinner table because we didn't eat together. and the latrines the woman in heart mountain complained so they put partitions but still no doors. so encamp they said tea they have to use strategy just use the bathroom if you go to the end stall that's the least amount of traffic. no it backfired. everyone went to peak to see if someone's in the end stall so i got the most traffic but on the men's side we didn't have any partition so we had to sit next to strangers and do our personal business. this is probably the worst thing of camp life. and then we had the shower room the shower room was about eight feet by 10 feet on one wall. we had four shower heads and other one another four so about
eight shower heads and a room about 8 by 10. so no privacy. you see the seven other people taking a shower there. and the woman then have showers and heart mountain. they had bathtubs so still you could see the seven other woman taking a bath. so no privacy. here is a pile of coal. that was one of my job as make sure we had enough coal to keep us warm throughout the evening. but as you noticed anytime we had any wind. we always had a dust storm because the camp was on raw dirt. they got the bulldozer scraped away that sagebrush and tumble is and plopped on the barracks and that's what we live. so anytime we had any wind. we always had a dust storm. it was a partition here. so this used to be the smallest room 18 feet by 20 feet for family of two or three. this was the largest room. this is where my family was
incarcerated by two parents by two brothers my two sisters myself, so there are seven of us about the size of it two-car garage 20 feet by 24 feet, and we only had one light bulb. we had one pot belly stove to keep us warm, but no water. what do we need water for well, to bathe to cleanse ourself to cook to drink, but we had no water here. so we had to go to the public laundry room or the public trees or go to the missile to get a drink of water or go to the trains to do our business. so initially there was another unit. beyond here for family of four or five and then a duplicate it so total of six units and about or six families about 25 people lived in one barrack, which was 20 feet wide and 120 foot long. initially we didn't have any
insulation so very cold that. we had happened to get one of the coldest winter and wyoming history minus 28 degrees. so we suffered the first winter but by the second winter we had insulation called celotex. the celotex is a small piece up there left up there about a half inch thick installation that we had throughout and most camps did not have a sealing but we did have a feeling so it cut down on heat as well as sound so some people said gee us kids were fortunate that our parents won't their raise their voice because they'll be heard throughout the 120 foot of the barracks. one week's notice right there. you okay on the exclusion order.
there's 108 of these exclusion orders that general john dewitt issued. moving 120,000 people japanese ancestry from washington, oregon, california and arizona right here. we have a world war. i veteran he's protesting but he was labeled as the enemy alien. so he was protesting but he had to go into the camps even though he thought for america during world war one. little known fact is that we had about 2,200 japanese latinos japanese latinos from these white named countries central america and south america president roosevelt requested of all the countries to send people japanese ancestry here to crystal city, texas brazil had the largest japanese population, but they refused to cooperate with president roosevelt peru
kidnapped around 1800. japanese peruvians went through the panama canal and brought here to crystal city, texas and the central american countries also had about 400 of them. cancarcerate it here in crystal city, texas president roosevelt wanted prisoners of war so during the war sweden mean a neutral country censorship grissom here to long island, new york there. they got 5,000 japanese some japanese latinos and some japanese that wanted to go back to japan from too late camp. or so-called troublemakers so they got 5,000 of them boarded the ship gritsome grits home ship went around africa to india. there. they met a red cross ship with 5,000 americans that were stranded in japan and the exchange prisoners of war there. back from her fourth wartime
journey of mercy the swedish exchange ship grips home arrives in new york harbor aboard our 663 americans home from nazi internment and prison camps. in the camps, they're trying to make it as normal as possible. so when someone passed away they trying to give them a respectful funeral service, but sometimes they could not get first flowers. so sometimes these flowers were made of paper so they had origami flowers, so they're trying to make abnormal situation as normal as possible. for example right here. they chose the high school prom queen. she didn't have a beautiful crown, but at least they went through the procedure of electing the prom queen during world war ii life magazine presented this i sort of snicker at it because it could be either or japanese or chinese or korean
or vietnamese. it could be any of those but i sort of snicker at it because this is say how you could tell the difference between a japanese and a chinese. heart mountain camp was infamous for the protesters right here is the court trial in cheyenne, wyoming 63 members of the heart mountain camp were got draft notices they resisted. they said unless you're free our family, then they will not served the uncle sam in the united states army, but the courts said no regardless of the family situation they have to report to the service they refused so they got federal. penitentiary service two to three years. so a total of 85 protested from heart mountain, wyoming a total about 300 protested from the 10 camps.
when we were incarcerated into the camps, everyone got one of these. they told us to go to the haystack and fill it with. hay so this was our temporary mattress. the military is not prepared to house 120,000 people. so initially we had to make our own mattress. it didn't smell too good and sometimes i poked us but eventually we got standard distribution of mattresses. sometimes you see these tin can lids. nailed to the floors why because they had not holes in them. and the knot holds anytime you had any wind the dirt will come in through the floors. so to prevent that we put the tin can lids to cover the hose? and being from california, we didn't have winter clothing. so in wyoming the snow country. we're issued these world war one navy picots.
so since everyone got a peacoat people had to identify their own. so this happened to be gyms peak code everyone got a peco. so these are all adult sizes. i was a young kid of 11 years old. so when i wore looked like the jacket was walking as i mentioned i was a young kid of 11 years old. so fortunate we had the boy scout movement. in fact heart mountain camp had the largest boy scout movement of all the camps. we had seven boy scout troops who had various cub scouts to girl scout to brownies. so we had thousands of kids in organized sports to keep us active in the camps. this drum happened to go into the camps during world war ii and initially when i went into camp, it had a american flag and a japanese flag, but it wasn't popular to be japanese. so they changed the japanese flag to american flag there.
everyone 17 or older had to fill out a loyalty questionnaire. or were you born or would you educated what newspaper do you subscribe to but the controversial question was questioned 27 and 28. basically it says will you give up the loyalty to the emperor of japan? people did not know how to answer that. 17 years old probably never been to japan never had loyalty to the emperor in japan, but they didn't know how to answer that. how could they give up their loyalty to the emperor japan if they never had it? so, but they could only answer yes or no. so people were confused on that and then the real other one was that are you willing to fight for the military wherever called for and again, there's 17 years old. does that mean? yes you're willing to fight for america and go today or would they wait until you finish your
high school and get your high school diploma and go fight for america at a later day. so those are the two controversial question number 27 and 28. this is about the cytofamily cytofamily had four boys three of them says they're gonna go fight for america the father protested. he says why should you fight for america? we were incarcerated behind barbed wire fence and armed guards no charges against us. no due process of law. but just because we look like the enemy we're incarcerated. so why should you fight for america? well these three boys insisted they're gonna fight for america to prove their loyalty to america so they went overseas one of them got killed so the brother wrote to the father feel proud that your son gave the the supreme sacrifice for his country. so he was really sad about that, but then two months later, he got killed. so now the father is really
concerned. so he asked the department of army to return the third son from combat area. he was refused on the ground that he had one more son at home, but fortunately he did get home. okay, initially the 104 for the second regimental combat team were issued that circular patch there this arm and the sword would dripping blood they said that's not us. so they give him permission to draw up their own patch. so they do the red white and blue background with a liberty torch. so that represents a hunter for president for 40 second regimental combat team. this is one of the models of one of the ten camps. this is bands in our camp, which is located about 200 miles north of los angeles. and this was the only camp that had an orphanage right here. we have three barracks here. there's about 101 orphans. they were recruited from san diego all the way up to alaska
and orphans. you think they're a threat to the military but 101 of them were incarcerated here in men's and our camp. manzan art camp had a population about 10,000 people here. and way in the back over here you see this. statute or hublisk so that was in the cemetery. so angeli. they go to pilgrimage so manzanar camp. you see the picture up here. so their young people third fourth generation now go up to men's and our camp annually about april or may of the year and remember what happened to them during world war ii? i feel america is the greatest country in the world because president reagan way back in 1988 signed the civil liberty bill of 1988. he gave us an official apology from the white house everyone
that was incarcerated in camp during world war ii are official apology from the white house. but this is not president reagan's signature. oh, that's president. george bush even though president reagan signed it in 1988. it was not implemented until 1990. so we got this official apology and we got a reparation of 20,000 dollars. that sounds like a lots of money. but are you willing to give up three years of your life for 20,000? i wish my parents got it. he lost his hotel and grocery business and he had to start all over again at 50 years old. so i wish he got it, but he was long gone by 1988 it was a great feeling. i got twenty thousand dollars for the government. but i still felt my parents should have got it because he had to suffer all those years after he was 50 years old. he had to raise us five children, but for me, it was
gravy. so i put it into this museum to build i put in my 20,000 plus to tell our story that this never happens to anyone again anywhere because just because we look like the enemy we were incarcerated even though we were young american citizens. after world war ii. i just had to finish up my education. i graduated from the local high school belmont high school and went on to los angeles city college eventually graduated from the university of southern california as a teacher. so i put in about 25 years in teaching and hope that we learn from our mistakes and what happened to us in doing world war ii, but still i feel american didn't learn this lesson because after 9/11 what happened to the american arabs american muslim american people looked down upon them because
they look like the terrorists. so that's what happened to us there in world war ii. we looked like the enemy during world war ii and then after terrorist attack the twin towers and the pentagon they look down upon the american heroes american muslim just because they look like the terrorists so they would have to learn from our world war ii lessons that should not happen again. this is the national center for world war ii monuments. and we have about 850 names here people of japanese ancestry that fought for america during world war ii and you see the letter m o h behind some of the names that signified the medal of honor. there was only one person that fought during world war ii that got me of honor sadao muna mori but in 1999, they asked
president clinton to review review the records of world war ii and after reviewing it president clinton upgraded 20 more people japanese ancestry to receive the congressional medal of honor. so now we have 21% of japanese ancestry that we see the medal of of honor during world war ii. and shall we say the biggest name that got it was in knowing daniel in norway. he lost his arm fighting for america and he is now the senator from hawaii senator dan in norway. so also we have a catch-all memorial over here from the spanish-american war to vietnam iraq, everything right here catch all we have about a hundred names here that gave their life during the vietnam war. and then we have about 250 names
here that gave their life for in the korean conflict. this is the go full broke monument the 10442nd regimental combat team during world war ii. the 442nd regimental combat team was the most decorated unit in military history for its size and length of service. they got over 9,000 purple hearts seven distinguished presidential citations and there's over 16,000 names here. they're randomly placed come by computer. so you cannot find someone's name, but we have a index over there by the computer to locate anyone that fought during world war ii. so there's the units they fought with in the various ones throughout world war ii. here's the list of metal honor winners during world war ii was 21 names and the various