Saturday, February 11, 2017

"Instructions to All Persons": Day of Remembrance 2017 on the 75th year anniversary

   On February 19, 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt authorized Executive Order 9066 which mandated the removal and incarceration of Americans of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast.  The majority of the 120,000 Americans confined in "relocation centers" scattered throughout the United States were U.S.-born citizens.  

   Those classified as "non-citizen alien" were confined at detention stations, and Department of Justice and Immigration and Naturalization Service prison camps; the Issei (first generation) had not been allowed to apply for citizenship.  Many---like Charles Furuta, of the Furuta farm at Historic Wintersburg---had been in the United States for over four decades, many since the 1880s. 

LEFT: An excerpt from The Spoilage describing the conditions at the Colorado River Relocation Center (Poston) in May 1942 as people from Orange County, California arrived. (Source: The Spoilage: Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement; Dorothy Swaine Thomas, Richard S. Nishimoto;University of California Press, 1946)

LEFT: New arrivals at the Colorado River Relocation Center (Poston) filling cloth sacks with hay, to make bedding. Barracks were constructed of green lumber, which dried quickly in the Arizona heat causing openings for wind and dust. There was no furniture or screens between families in the barracks, no medical services, and water and sanitation systems were not complete. The temperature was reported to be over 100 degrees in May, 1942, as people arrived.  (Photograph, National Archives and Records Administration, May 21, 1942)

   Everyone associated with Historic Wintersburg---the Furuta family, the clergy (Reverend Sohei Kowta and his family), the congregation---were forcibly removed from California and confined.  The FBI interrogations of Charles Furuta and Reverend Kowta occurred on the Historic Wintersburg property.  By May 1942, all Japanese Americans in Orange County were gone.

RIGHT: The Furuta family at the Colorado River Relocation Center (Poston) in Arizona. Front row, left to right: Kazuko Furuta, Grace Furuta, Yukiko Yajima Furuta (holding her grandson, Ken Furuta, who was born in Poston), and Charles Furuta. Back row, left to right: Dan Fukushima (husband of Etsuko Furuta and well known basketball coach in San Jose, California), Etsuko Furuta Fukushima, Martha and Raymond Furuta (son of Charles and Yukiko Furuta).  Dan Fukushima originally had been sent to Manzanar, but was allowed to join Etsuko at Poston, where they were married in one of the camp barracks by Reverend Sohei Kowta of the Wintersburg Japanese Church.  All the Furuta children had attended Huntington Beach High School.  Photographs from inside the camps were rare, as cameras at first were not allowed. This photograph was taken circa 1945, prior the Furuta family and others being released to return home.  (Photograph, Furuta family collection, 1945). ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ©

   In 1988, the federal government issued a formal apology, redress and reparation for the violation of civil liberties, as President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.  At the signing, he talked about meeting the Masuda family---congregants of the Wintersburg Japanese Church---in 1945 as an Army captain accompanying General Joe Stillwell.  Read more of this history at and

   Join Historic Wintersburg and stop by our information table at the Day of Remembrance 2017, 2 p.m., Saturday, February 18, at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. More information at

All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Masuda family and Historic Wintersburg among those honored by Nikkei Heritage Museum

   The Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum will host the traveling exhibit, "What if heroes were not welcome home?", January 15 to February 12.

   During the exhibit, the Museum honors individuals and organizations who have supported the history and legacy of Japanese Americans, including those associated with Historic Wintersburg.

   On Sunday, January 15, the Museum honors, among others, Kazuo Masuda and the Masuda family.  One of the family descendents, Dennis Masuda, serves on the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force.  Read about the Masuda family via this 2012 Historic Wintersburg blog post, 

LEFT: Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum at the Fullerton Arboretum on the grounds of California State University-Fullerton. (Photo, M. Urashima, 2013) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

    On Sunday, January 22, Historic Wintersburg author and chair Mary Urashima will receive a commendation from the Museum for her almost nine-year effort to identify, research and save the Furuta farm and Wintersburg Japanese Mission property.  She will provide a presentation in the Museum, with seldom-seen photographs of the Japanese American pioneers of Orange County.  

   In 2014, Historic Wintersburg was named one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places and, in 2015, Historic Wintersburg was named a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.   The historic property contains six extant structures relating to the Furuta farm and Wintersburg Japanese Mission, the majority over 100 years old.  

   The people associated with the Historic Wintersburg property either served in the U.S. military---including Congressional Gold Medal recipients---or were confined, due to their Japanese ancestry, during World War II.  This history will be part of the national Day of Remembrance on February 19, marking the 75th anniversary of the authorization of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin Roosevelt.

   Currently, the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force is working with the property owner, Republic Services, and the City of Huntington Beach on a process to save the civil liberties "site of conscience" as a preserved heritage site for future generations.

RIGHT: Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force member Dennis Masuda---shown here with a Historic Wintersburg exhibit for a Smithsonian Institute program at Heritage Museum of Orange County---is part of the grassroots community effort to save the Historic Wintersburg property as a heritage site. The Masuda family is part of the history of Japanese American pioneers in Orange County. (Photo, M. Urashima, October 25, 2014) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED   

LEARN MORE about the "What if Heroes Were Not Welcome Home?" exhibit and speaker series in this Los Angeles Times feature by Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil,

All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima. 

   The Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum is located on the beautiful grounds of the Fullerton Arboretum at California State University-Fullerton, 1900 Associated Road, Fullerton, California, 92831.   

   More information about the exhibit and event days at

All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December 2016 highlights; looking ahead to 2017

ABOVE: Setting up the Tashima Market on the front lawn of the Newland House Museum for the third annual Holidays in Huntington Beach.  The R.G. Tashima Co. market was near Lyndon Lane and Warner Avenue (once Wintersburg Road) in Wintersburg Village. (Photo, M. Urashima, Dec. 1, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

   We share a few highlights of our activities in December 2016, along with some dates for you to mark on your calendar in 2017.

LEFT: As people gathered to watch, Nancy Hayata of Classical Japanese Dance,  enchanted with a performance of the Furin Kazan, or Fūrinkazan. The chilly and windy night added extra drama to the dance which featured glowing candlelight and golden fans. The dance is an artistic representation of the Sun Tzu banner phrase, "as swift as wind, as silent as the forest, as fierce as fire, as unshakable as mountain."  More information about Classical Japanese Dance, (Photo, M. Urashima, Dec. 2, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

RIGHT: Sensei Art Ishii and a few of his students from Matsubayashi Shorin-ryu Dojo of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles joined Historic Wintersburg at Holidays in Huntington Beach 1916. Martial arts training is part of the early 1900s history. Classes were taught in the chili pepper warehouses that once occupied the land where this event was held, at the Newland Shopping Center.  Read more about Art Ishii in this 2014 Discover Nikkei feature,  (Photo, M. Urashima, Dec. 2, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

LEFT: Inside the Tashima Market, a wall of historic photographs that share the history of Wintersburg Village and Huntington Beach Japanese American pioneers.  A backdrop is a photographic image of the original R.G. Tashima Co. market in Wintersburg Village. (Photo, M. Urashima, Dec. 2, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

RIGHT: We were invited to the Consulate General of Japan residence in Los Angeles for the annual reception in honor of the Emperor's birthday. Officials and invited guests from around Southern California were treated to Japanese cuisine and artwork, such as the representations of a princess and a samurai.  The Emperor's birthday celebration is part of Orange County pioneer history.  In 1913, journalist Neeta Marquis wrote that "half the countryside" in Orange County was invited to join in the event organized by the Japanese Association in Wintersburg Village. (Photo, M. Urashima, Dec. 6, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

LEFT:  A proclamation from the City of Los Angeles is presented to Consul General Akira Chiba (center) at the residence of the Consulate General of Japan. Consul Chiba was inaugurated to the Consulate of Japan in Los Angeles in July 2016. The Southern California region includes the largest population of Japanese nationals outside of Japan, with 2,500 business enterprises that originate in Japan and generate approximately 79,500 jobs.  (Photo, M. Urashima, Dec. 6, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

RIGHT:  Consul Shigeru Kikuma and his wife, Kana, at the December 6 reception at the Consulate General of Japan residence. They also joined Historic Wintersburg at the Holidays in Huntington Beach 1916 event, with their daughter Rin (who got to meet Santa Claus!). (Photo, M. Urashima, Dec. 6, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

LEFT: Residents of the Oak View neighborhood in Huntington Beach, home to Historic Wintersburg, invited us to help them celebrate a long-standing cultural tradition of the Virgen de Guadalupe. Chinelos--a name from the Nahuatl word zineloquie meaning "disguised"--are dancers with a origins dating back to the Spanish conquest of Mexico. Chinelos and Aztec dancers are among the many in a  procession that makes its way through the streets of Oak View. (Photo, M. Urashima, Dec. 11, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

RIGHT:  One of the many altars to the Virgen de Guadalupe in Oak View. The procession--with live musicians and dancers, joined by celebrants--stop at each of the altars to present a performance. Along the way, food is offered to celebrants as a gesture of hospitality and community. (Photo, M. Urashima, Dec. 11, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

LEFT: On December 13, Historic Wintersburg joined thousands around the country in a one-night-only screening of George Takei's screening of Allegiance, the Broadway production on film. Allegiance is a moving musical inspired by the true life events of George Takei and other Americans of Japanese descent who were deprived of civil liberties and incarcerated during World War II.  This photograph was taken about 30 minutes before the screening, with only a few seats left.  The Century Huntington Beach theater's first screening was sold out and they added a second screening. (Photo, M. Urashima, Dec. 13, 2016) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


   A few dates to put on your calendar for 2017, for which there will be events with Historic Wintersburg (or we will be participating).  More events will be added, as we near the important 75-year anniversary of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 2017, and toward Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

January 8, 2017
Oshogatsu Family Festival at the Japanese American National Museum welcomes in the New Year, the Year of the Rooster!  The rooster, or tori 酉, is considered a lucky for business.  Get your lucky soba noodles, watch a mochi-tsuki demonstration and explore the activities and displays at JANM,

January 11 - February 12, 2017
"What if heroes were not welcome home" exhibit at the Orange County Agricultural & Nikkei Heritage Museum at California State University Fullerton Arboretum,  The exhibit highlights the American citizens of Japanese descent who served heroically with the United States Armed Forces in the South Pacific and in Europe, while their families were "unjustly incarcerated in concentration camps on American soil".  Historic Wintersburg chair Mary Urashima speaks at the exhibit on Sunday, January 22 at 1 pm.
February 18 and 19, 2017
This February 19 marks the 75-year anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  

On this date in 1942, those associated with Historic Wintersburg--the Furuta family, the clergy and congregation of the Wintersburg Japanese Mission, the Japanese American residents of Orange County--learned they would be removed from California and incarcerated for the duration of World War II, due to their Japanese ancestry.  It would be later documented that none of the approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans confined in camps around the United States had committed any act against the United States.  The formal federal government apology and reparation resulted in the signing of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 by President Ronald Reagan at which congregants of the Wintersburg Japanese Mission were present.

On Saturday, February 18, the Day of Remembrance events will be held at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, Wintersburg will have a table at the Day of Remembrance.

ABOVE RIGHT: A news article from the Santa Ana Register describes the final service to be held at the Wintersburg Japanese Church prior to the clergy and congregation--along with all Japanese Americans in Orange County--leaving for confinement during the remainder of World War II.  The article mentions the daughter of Charles and Yukiko Furuta, Toshiko, played piano at the services which many congregants could not attend due to the "five-mile limit on travel of Japanese from their homes". (Image, Santa Ana Register, May 5, 1942)

March 19, 2017
The annual Huntington Beach Cherry Blossom Festival   will be held Sunday, March 19, in Central Park, behind the Central Library.   This event--planned to coincide with the blossoming sakura, the cherry trees in Central park--is organized by the Huntington Beach Sister City Association to support the friendship and exchange with Sister City Anjo, Japan.  Historic Wintersburg will have a booth at the Cherry Blossom Festival.

April 29, 2017
The annual Manzanar Pilgrimage will be held on Saturday, April 29, at the Manzanar National Historic Site in California's Owens Valley.  

LEFT: One of the stone gardens restored by the National Park Service at Manzanar.  The first of the confinement centers to open in 1942, approximately 10,000 Japanese Americans were confined in one square mile in California's Owens Valley, between Independence and Lone Pine at the foot of the Sierras. (Photo, M. Urashima, July 2015) © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The program for the Manzanar Pilgrimage is held in the northwest corner of the camp, near the Soul Consoling obelisk in the cemetery.  This will be the third year that Historic Wintersburg task force members have participated in the Pilgrimage, organized by the Manzanar Committee,

May 2017 
This month is national Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.  Events for this month to be announced. 

All rights reserved.  No part of the Historic Wintersburg blog may be reproduced or duplicated without prior written permission from the author and publisher, M. Adams Urashima.