Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Seventy years ago

Fountain Valley resident Masuo "Mas" Masuda holds a photo of his brother, Kazuo "Kaz" Masuda.  Kaz Masuda was a member of the "Go For Broke" 442nd, killed in Italy during WWII.  Both Mas and Kaz attended Huntington Beach High School--both on the football team--and the Masuda family were congregants of the Wintersburg Mission.  Both were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.  The Masuda family was first confined in Rohwer, Arkansas, then later at Gila River in Arizona. (Photo courtesy of Orange County Register)

      This week marks the 70th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which forcibly removed Japanese-Americans from the West Coast into confinement at ten major camps---Tule Lake, Minadoka, Heart Mountain, Grenada, Topaz, Rohwer, Jerome, Gila River, Poston, Manzanar---and a numerous small detention centers, military and immigration centers.  The majority---although not all---of the residents of Wintersburg Village, Huntington Beach, and Orange County were sent to the Colorado River Relocation Center at Poston, Arizona.

   Of Poston, Wintersburg-born Yoshiyuki Tashima recalls in his 1974 oral history interview with Pat Tashima for CSU Fullerton, "Well, if you like dust, it's a great place. If you like hot weather, it's a great place. If you like rattlesnakes, it's a great place."

   Tashima had attended Ocean View Grammer School and was a student at Huntington Beach High School when his family was forced to leave California for incarceration at Poston

   "...I wrote to the principal of Huntington Beach High School to inquire about my graduating with the class, and he wrote back saying all I had to do was complete one course, and that was civics, and they asked me to write a paper on the relocation camp," remembers Tashima.  "So I wrote that and turned it in and they gave me a passing grade. So I was able to get my diploma with my graduating class."  

   Tashima later served in the U.S. Army, "Well, I thought it was my duty; after all, I was born in this country and ninety percent of the other Japanese American kids felt the same way."

  On this Day of Remembrance anniversary of Executive Order 9066, we remember some of the alumni from Huntington Beach High School, all U.S.-born citizens, incarcerated during World War II due to their ancestry.

"Former (Wintersburg) resident, Takayuki Tashima, volunteered from the Poston Relocation Center and is topping beets in the fields near Milliken, Colorado." (UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library)

"Kiyoko Tatsukawa, former high school student from Huntington Beach, California, and a graduate of the spring 1943 class in Nurse's Aid at the Poston Hospital. Pretty Kiyoko is shown demonstrating her most charming bed-side manner, before administering medicine to the fortunate patient." (UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library)

"Harley Asari, left, relocatee from the Poston, Arizona Relocation Center, and Kenneth Jimbo, a voluntary evacuee from Huntington, California, shown at their work at the U.S. Foundry at Denver. They are among approximately 25 Japanese-Americans employed at the foundry, which applies strategic materials to war plants which are producing large quantities of materials for the armed forces. Asari is a former resident of Huntington Beach, California, where he ran a gold fish hatchery before evacuation. He was evacuated directly from Huntington Beach to Poston." (UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library)

The full interview with Yoshiyuki Tashima, conducted by Pat Tashima for California State University - Fullerton, can be viewed at;NAAN=13030&

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The Historic Wintersburg blog focuses on an overlooked history in Huntington Beach, Orange County, California, in the interest of saving a historic property from demolition. The author and publisher reserves the right not to publish comments. Please no promotional or political commentary. Zero tolerance for hate rhetoric. Comments with embedded commercial / advertising links or promoting other projects, books, or publications may not be published. If you have an interesting anecdote, question or comment about one of our features, it will be published.