Interned and shunned during war: Japanese Americans recall their resistance

By Ted Bell

Sacramento Bee Staff Writer



They were cast out by the outcasts.

They are the Japanese-American men who refused to fight in World War II after the U.S. government interned them and their families in camps.

Stigmatized by U.S. society that imprisoned them and called them disloyal Americans for resisting the draft, they were also pariahs to other interned Japanese-Americans – the families that sent husbands and brothers to the Army’s renowned 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

The resisters remained outcasts for years, condemned by the Japanese-American Citizens League. Still, men from the Amache Relocation Camp near Grenada, Colo., who resisted and served their prison time in Tucson, Ariz., have met quietly for reunions in Sacramento for years.

On Saturday, joined by some of the men from the Heart Mountain, Wyo., camp, a group of 25 went to the Sacramento History Museum to examine the exhibit on Japanese-Americans, including a special display on the war years.

Noboru Taguma peered at a photograph of himself taken more than 50 years ago. Terry Uyemoto turned away from the others to be inconspicuous as he wiped the tears from his eyes and his memories. Continue reading

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Letter to Dad, Sacramento History Museum exhibit on the Japanese American experience, 1992

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50 years later, memories of internment remain painful

By Jeannie Wong

Sacramento Bee Staff Writer




Their diaries are brittle and stained now, their memories misty and fleeting. But for many Japanese-Americans, it is all they have left of a time that was snatched away from them.

The nightmare began Feb. 19, 1942.

As World War II engulfed and enraged this nation, that was the date 50 years ago this week that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which mandated the uprooting and internment of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry along the West Coast – U.S. citizens and their immigrant parents alike.

The act was to send a collective shudder through subsequent generations. Homes, livelihoods and pride were irretrievably lost. So great was the cost that half a century later, families still mark their lives as the time before camp, and the time after it. Continue reading

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