tv American Artifacts Japanese American National Museum CSPAN August 12, 2021 8:00pm-8:28pm EDT
and domestic. just -- >> that i will bear truth, allegiance to the same. >> that i take this obligation freely. that i take this obligation freely. without any metal reservation, for the purpose of invasion. >> without reservation, or purpose of invasion. >> and that i will well and faithfully discharge. >> the duties of the office in which i'm about to enter. >> the duties of the office in which i'm about to enter. >> so help me. god >> so help me. god [applause] >> follow us on social media for c-span history for more on this day in history and posts. >> american history tv
continues now, watch more online, anytime at c-span.org slash history. american artifacts>> each week,n history tv american artifacts, takes years behind the scenes at archives, museums, and historic sites. >> next, a tour of the japanese american national museum in los angeles is a little tokyo. -- >> we located near downtown los angeles, little turkey is one of three remaining in california where as many as 40 japan towns thrive prior to world war ii. >> los angeles first started in 1781 when 11 settlers came from mexico to get lamb for the king of spain in 1843.
the first recorded japanese landed in fair haven, massachusetts. hamanosuke. >> he was a ship work sailor off of the coast of hawaii. and the whaler ship picked up five japanese men, and four of them were left in hawaii but hamanosuke 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, for 28 square mile. today, for about 4 million in the population and the square mileage is about 469. but california was the site of the immigrants from japan. the first colony was in
northern california, about 30 miles north of sacramento. and it was an ill fated -- colony. they lasted about two years, so that was the first organized colony of japan. little tokyo started when we had a ship wrecked sailor from san diego. he came up here, and then in 1885 he started the first japanese american restaurants in a little tokyo. >> common ground, the heart of community. and this is what we are talking about with japanese american community here in the united states. the japanese were enticed to go to hawaii. a sugar plantation people came to japan to recruit workers. they said, gee, if you worked in the sugar plantations of hawaii is equivalent to working ten years in a factory in
japan. so, close to 1000 people, way back in 1885 went on a three-year labor contract to a sugar plantation in hawaii. but when they got there, they found out differently. they had a foreman's who had whips. they used leather whips on the workers. so, it was slave like conditions. so, many of them got out of their three year labor contract, escape to the other plantations, or pineapple plantations. and some of them went back to the cities, others were enticed to go to the mainland. many of you have heard of benjamin franklin. he was a great statesman. however, he wanted to keep america white. so, way back in 1751, benjamin franklin says, he did not want the blacks or haitians here in america. and in the 18 fifties, america wanted to visit the transcontinental whale way of new york to california, but they could not get enough
workers, so what did america do? they want to china to recruit the chinese to come and build the railroad. once the railroads were built, they did not want the chinese here. so, they had anti chinese movements as early as 1879. every dog of dissented color has his day. this was 1879. three years later, chinese were excluded in the 1882 exclusion act. this is an actual remnant of world war ii. this is one third of an original barracks that was in heart mountain wyoming. that was the camp i was incarcerated in. so, we will go on the inside, and see the structure.
during world war ii, we had ten camps and seven western states. they were all similar, but not the same. the smallest camp was about 7000. the largest camp around 19,000. i was incarcerated in mountain wyoming, about 60 miles to the east gate of yellowstone national park. i was 11. i came out at 14 years old. so, basically, three years and three months. i will show you some illustrations. this is my picture. she was married to japanese person, she wrote the book, a lone heart mountain. and this is an illustration. here is -- a hot pot that we stole. we had covid into it. and in california, they fed --
in arkansas, the used would as a flu -- fuel. those were the differences of the camps. by the way, we use all military terminology, so we lived in barracks. and then, we ate at the mess hall. we were fed three meals a day. this is really would broke up our family unity. as a family, sometime we have breakfast together. but by lunchtime and dinnertime, forget it. we were regulated by the dinner gong. anytime we heard the dinner gong we ran to the mess hall, go to eat, then want to play, or went to school. we did not have chance to discuss family members -- matters over the dinner table because we don't need together. then, the latrines. the woman in heart mountain complained, so they put partitions as steel doors. in the camp they said, wow, they have to use strategy just to use the bathroom. so, if you go to the end of
stall, it's the least amount of traffic, no. it backfired. everybody went to p, seeing if somebody was in the end stall. they got the most traffic. on the men side, we did not have any partition. so, we had to sit next to strangers and you are personal business. this was probably the worst thing of camp life. and then, we had the shower room. the shower room was about eight feet by ten feet on one wall. we had four shower heads. and another for another wall. each shower head in a room of that eight by. ten so no privacy. you see the seven other people taking a shower there. and, the women didn't have showers in hard mountain, they had bathtubs. so, still, you could see the seven other women taking a bath. so, no privacy. here is a pile of coal. that is one of my jobs was to make sure that we had enough coal to keep us warmer throughout the evening. but as you notice, anytime that
we had any wind, we always had a dust storm because a camp was on raw dirt. they had a bulldozer, and scraped away the tumbleweeds and plopped that down on the barracks and that is what we did. so, anytime we had any wind we always had a dust storm. if and there was a petition here, this used to be the smallest room, 18 feet by 20 feet with a family of two or three. this was the largest room and this was where my family was incarcerated, my two parents, my two brothers, my two sisters, myself. there were seven of us about the size of a two guard grudge with 20 feet, by 24 feet. and we only had one lightbulb. we had one hot spot that we stove to keep us warm. but no water. what did we need water for? well, to bathe, to cleanse ourselves, to cook, to drink. but we had no water here, so we have to go through public
laundry rooms, public latrines, or go to the mess hall to get a jug of water. and go to the latrines to do our business. so, initially, there was another unit beyond here for families a four or five and then it all duplicated so a total of six units, or six families about 25 people lived in one derek, which was 20 feet wide and 120 foot long. initially, we didn't have any insulation, so the coal that we happen to get in the coldest winters in wyoming history, that was minus 28 degrees. so, we suffered the first winter, and by the second winter we had insulation called sell a tech's, and that was a small piece that is left up there, about a half inch of insulation that that we had. and most camps did not have a ceiling. but we did have a ceiling. so it cut down on heat as well
as sound. so, some people said, wow, as kids, we were fortunate that our parents would raise their voice because they would be heard throughout the hundred 20 feet of the barracks. one weeks notice right there. okay, on the exclusion orders there 180 of these exclusion orders that general john d witman issued moving 120,000 people, japanese ancestors, with washington, oregon, arizona. right here, we have a world war i veteran, he is protesting when he was labeled as an enemy alien. so, he was protesting, but he had to go into the camps and fought for america during world war i.
a little known fact is that we had about 2200 japanese latinos, latinos from these central american countries, and south american countries. president roosevelt requested all the countries to send people of japanese interest tree here to christus city, texas. brazil have the largest japanese population of, but they refused to cooperate with president roosevelt. peru kidnapped around 1800 japanese peruvian's that went through the panama canal and brought them here to christus city texas. central american countries also had about 400 of them incarcerated here in crystal city texas. president roosevelt wanted prisoners of war. so, during the war, sweden being a neutral country sent the ship to here to long island new york. and there they got 5000
japanese. some japanese latinos and some japanese that wanted to go back to japan from the camp. or so-called troublemakers. so, they got the ship -- from africa to india name to the gripsholm. they exchanged prisoners of war there. >> back from her fourth wartime journey, this swedish exchange hit ship gripsholm arrives in new york harbor. aboard 163 americans born from -- prison camps. >> in the camps, they try to make it as normal as possible, so, when someone who passed away, they try to give him a respectful funeral service. but sometimes they could not get fresh flowers, sometimes, flowers were made from paper.
so, they had origami flowers. so, they tried to make abnormal situations as normal as possible. for example, right here, they chose the high school prom queen. she did not have a beautiful crowned, but at least they went through the procedure of electing her 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, vietnamese -- it could be any of those. but i sort of snuck around it because this just says how you can tell the difference between the japanese and chinese. >> heart mountain camp was infamous for the protesters. right here is a court trial in cheyenne and wyoming. 63 members of the heart mountain camp were -- got draft notices. they resisted and said, unless
you free our family, then they will not serve uncle sam in the united states army. what the court said, no, regardless of family situation, they have to report to the service. they refused, so they got federal penitentiary servitude, two to three years. so, a total of eight 85 in heart mountain wyoming. a total of about 300 protested from the tent camps. and when we were incarcerated in camps, everyone got one of these. they told us to go to the haystack and fill it with harry. so, this was our temporary mattress. the military was not prepared to house 120,000 people. so initially, we have to make our own mattress, it did not smell too good, and sometimes it -- but eventually we got the standard distribution of mattresses. sometimes, you see these tin
can leads nail to the floors. why? because they had not holes in them. and the knot holes, anytime you had any wind, the dirt would come in through the floors, so to prevent that we would put it retain candidates to cover the holes. and being from california, we did not have winter clothing, so in wyoming, the snow country, we were issued these world war i navy p coats. thisince everybody got a piece coat, people had to identify their own so this happened to be gyms pea coat. everyone got a pea coat. so, these were all deft sizes. i was a young kid of 11 years old, so when i wore it looked like a jacket walking. as i mentioned, i was a young native 11 years, also unfortunately we had a boy scout movement in a mountain camp, and have the largest voice get movement of all the
camps. we had seven boy scout troops, and various comes scouts. brownies as well. we had thousands of kids in organized sports to keep us active in the camps. with this drum happen to go into the camps during world war ii. and, initially, when it went into the camp, and an american flag and a japanese flag. but it was not popular to be japanese, so they changed the japanese flying to an american flag then. everyone, 17 or older had to fill out the question of loyalty. where were you born? where were you educated? the controversial question was questioned 27 and 28, basically it says, would 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 japan, but
they did not know how to answer that. how could give up their loyalty to the improve japan if they never had it? so, where 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 whatever called for? again, at 17 years old, does that mean yes you're willing to fight for america and go today? but would they wait until you finished your high school diploma and go fight for america at a later date? so, those were the two controversial questions of the questions 27, and 28. this is about the societal family, they had four boys. and their father protested and saying, why should you fight for america? we are incarcerated, behind barbed wire fence, with armed guards, no charges against us,
no due process of law. just because we look like the enemy, we are incarcerated. why should you fight for america? well these three saito boys insisted that they should fight for america to prove their loyalty to america. so, they went overseas, one of them was killed. the brother wrote to the father, the proud that your son gave this great sacrifice for his country. so, he was really sad about that, but then two months later he got killed, so now the fraud are was really concerned, so he asked them to return the third son to the combat area. he was refused on the grounds that he had one more sun at home. but fortunately, he did get home. >> initially, there were 104 42nd in the combat -- they were issued a circular patch there. the arm on the sword with dripping blood. they said, that is not us. so, they were given permission to draw up their own patch, so
they drew the red white and blue liberty torch. that represents the 442nd regiment. this is one of the mottos of the camps. this is as you know camp 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 that were recruited from san diego all the way up to alaska. orphans? you think that they are a threat to the military? but 101 of them were incarcerated here in our camp. in our camp, there is a population of about 10,000 people, and weigh in the back where you see this -- the statue there. that obelisk. that was in the cemetery, so they go to a pilgrimage or two
men's in our camp and you see the picture up here. so, young people fourth generation, third generation, now they go up to manzanar camp on the third available every year, and go up to see what happened to their ancestors from the second world war. i feel like america's one of the greatest countries in the world because president reagan signed this civil liberty bill of 1988. and he was the one to write an official apology from the white house. everyone was incarcerated in camp, during world war ii, an official apology from the white house. but, this is not president reagan's signature. oh, that is 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 our reparation of 20,000 dollars. that sounds like lots of money, but are you willing to give up three years of your life for
20,000 dollars? 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. i wish he had got it, but he is long gone by 1988. it was a great thing, 20,000 dollars from the government, but i still felt my parents should have gotten it, because he had to suffer all of those years after he was 50 years old, and then to raise us, five children. but for me, it was gravy. so i put it into this museum. and i put my 20,000 dollars plus to tell our story in hopes that this never happens to anyone again. anywhere. because just because we look like them, the enemy, we were incarcerated even though we were young american citizens. after world war ii, i just had to finish up my education, and i graduated from the local high school. and i went on to los angeles
city college, eventually graduating from the university of southern california as a teacher. so i put in about 25 years of teaching, and i hope that we learn from our mistakes in what happened to us during the second world war. but still, i feel america did not learn its lesson, because after 9/11, would happen to the american arabs, muslims? american people look down upon them because they look like the terrorists. so, that is what happened to us during world war ii. we look like the enemy during world war ii, and then after the terrorist attack the twin towers, and the pentagon they looked down upon the american arabs, american muslims just because they look like the terrorists. so, they would have to learn about world war ii lessons that this should not happen again.
>> this is the national center for world war ii monument. and we have about 850 names here, people of japanese ancestry that fought for america during world war ii. and you see the letter moh behind some of the names. that signify the medal of honor. there is only one person that fought during world war ii they got a medal of honor. but in 1999, they asked president clinton to review the records of world war ii, and after reviewing it, president clinton upgraded 20 more people of japanese ancestry to receive the congressional medal of honor. so, now, we have 21 people of japanese ancestry that have received at the medal of honor during world war ii. and, shall we say, the biggest name that got it was in norway.
daniel inowe. he lost his arm fight again for america, and he is now a senator of hawaii. senator dan inowe. so, we also have a catchall memorial over here from the spanish american war to vietnam, iraq, everything right here it is a catchall. we have about 100 names here that gave their lives during the vietnam war. and then we have about 250 names here that gave their life during the korean conflict. this was the gulf monument, 442nd monument during world war ii. the 440 -- 442nd regimental combat team was the most decorated for size and length of service. they had over 9000 purple hearts, seven distinguished presidential citations, and
there's over 16,000 names here that are randomly placed by computer so that you cannot find someone's name. but we have an index over there by the computer to locate anyone that fought during world war ii. so, there is the units that they fought with and the various ones throughout world war ii. here is a list of medals of honor, and their winners, during the second world war. 21 names, and the various decorations that they received. >> you can learn more about little tokyo, and the history of the japanese in the united states at the japanese american national museum website.
declared a national historic landmark district in 1995 >> declared a national historic landmark in 1995 little tokyo near downtown los angeles has been the center of japanese culture in southern california since the early 1900s. american history tv toward little tokyo with bill she mo, shishima, a docent at the national museum mr. shishima was born in the little tokyo in 1930. and spent three yeat
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