|At Poston|
Terry Janzen 3/23/00
[Terry's email is now at tjanzen@agritel.net] Please put "Internment" in the subject of all emails to her.

     with Amanda Carson 4/2/03
     with Annie 8/31/98
     with Alex 11/8/01
     with Clair-Lise Langlais 1/20/99
     with Cynthia Navarro 4/27/98
     with Judy Liu 11/17/98
     with Kristen D. 11/28/99
     with Lorinda N. Dalipe 2/16/00
     with Mabel K. Brown 9/24/00
     with Masayo Ann Iwasaki 12/29/00
     with Mayumi Toki 5/6/98
     with Milena Gambarian 11/12/01
     with Miranda Steed 12/17/98
     with Monica Scott 1/8/01
     with Phil Maria 3/21/99
     with Shannon Web 11/15/01
     with Shantiel Hawkins 11/12/02
     with Shriti Masrani 4/17/00
     with Staci Swanson 3/11/00
     with Tammy Takeishi 5/24/01

Picture: Terry and her brother Bob (who is nearly four years younger) at Poston.

From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: relocation camp memories
Date: Wed, 21 May 1997 19:27:41 -0700

Are you interested in hearing about how it was for a child of mixed parentage (Japanese mother, anglo-saxon father)? Do you have any idea how many like me were in this situation? T.Grimmesey Janzen

From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: intern.center
Date: Wed, 21 May 1997 21:32:36 -0700

No, my father was not with us. I was born in Japan but I do not look Japanese. My brother and sisters do. We were at Poston in Az, by some Indian reservation. My grandparents went to Japan with Edison to bring electricity to Japan and I believe they also had something to do with generators. My father and all his brother and sisters were born there. Since my father spoke fluent Japanese he ended up as one of Gen. MacArther's interpreters ( I am not a typist so forgive all the mistakes).This is just a start so let me know what you want to know.It has taken me a long time before I have been able to share my story...because I was not accepted by the Japanese kids( I was an American to them) then when I got out by the American kids who was happy to have a "Jap" to pick on...I started to feel that the fault must be mine because everybody hated me. Oh well, thank God that is over.

From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: Int.camp
Date: Thu, 22 May 1997 19:06:23 -0700

John, I will think about it, I am afraid that my story is so different that it may not be of real interest. remember that I was a little rich girl who only knew most Japanese as cooks, and servants. There was at that time a class system, wrong now , but accepted at that time. The business people that came to our estate home in Yokhama were all related to the recording business as my father was vice pres. and general manager of Columbia records for Japan and China ( the far east) I did not know the Japanese people that well, even though I spoke Japanese, it was my birth language.We lived in the section of Yokohama know as the English section,went to the International school etc. Terry

From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: info
Date: Fri, 23 May 1997 16:18:14 -0700

Yes, my father was in the war till the end and was one of the men who went in with MacArther to Japan. I remember him saying how he looked up my mothers relatives and took them food to eat.How the young boys were afraid of the uniform. No, I did not attend school at camp . We were one of the first released and sent back to Upland, California. We had a lemon and orange orchard there in the country so were away from people , though we found out some people in town wanted us out. THe Methodist church and the police chief ( who was our neighbor) took us under their wing and helped calm the townspeople.The most interesting thing that happened to me was when we got back home , two FBI men came to see us. I remember having one sit on the sofa on each side of me and tell me that I had to forget how to speak Japanese, that I was not to speak it again or I would be sent back to camp behind the barbed wire. They must of scared me enough that I couldn't remember any Japanese . In the years after that I have tried to relearn the language but my mind will not let me remember a word for more than a few minutes. It refuses to go into long term memory...I know they can't send me back but my mind still won't accept it as safe. I have had no trouble learning German and French.Thats about it for now .keep asking questions..I don't mind answering. On yes I was born in 1930. Terry

From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: more info
Date: Fri, 23 May 1997 20:12:19 -0700

My mother was not able to handle any of the business or other stuff because first, she did not speak English very well ( she was learning fast though because we would not speak Japanese) My Uncles on my fathers side took care of everything pertaining to business while I helped with the farm along with my Grandmothers hired hand. Hadn't thought about that for years so had to think about it. As i mentioned before I don't think we were in there for more then six months. I would be glad to write to others if they are interested, there are not alot of adults now since it has been over fifty years ago, to explain the story. I am the oldest daughter, my sisters are one year younger, two years younger and my brother is three years younger. My mother had a hard time in camp adjusting to life. She was used to being waited upon and she would not go to the mess hall to eat. I had to bring the food to her. I mentioned that we lived at that time on a orange grove ( we had ten acres of fruit, I think) we heard one day that there was going to be an orange for the kids at the mess hall and so excited we rushed and got in line to get one. I nearly cried when we found out thet the fruit was just for kids two and under. You are making me remember alot of things that I had forgotten. thanks. I think my father came and got us to return to Upland. We came to camp after having to meet with alot of Japanese in a meeting place, then we were herded into busses for the ride to Arizona. I am not sure but I think it was at Riverside or San Berdino. Keep asking questions John...you are making me remember. Terry

From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: remembering
Date: Thu, 29 May 1997 18:07:48 -0700

My parents came to California in 1938 and somehow decided it was wise not to return to Japan. They came with my youngest sister and brother. I was in the 2nd grade and my sister was in kindergarden. We stayed at the boarding school..till my parents sent for us. My younger sister and I came on an ocean liner, traveling first class under the watchful eye of the captain,who was always checking up on us. It was a fun time for me and I remember bossing everyone on the crew around, demanding the playroom to be opened to me at even 5am if I could'nt sleep. Lucky for the crew that my sister Barbara was in sickbay most of the time seasick. She also was shy which I wasn't.I seemed to have convinced the captain that we were to be dropped of in San Fransico. (my father had planed on Los Angeles)Daddy was a little mad at me when called that he had two daughters waiting for him in the wrong city. I learned Japanese grammar and reading at school, plus English and French, which were both new languages to me. My sisters and brother do not remember any Japanese,as they did not have any formal teaching of it. You asked if Mother knew any one before camp...no, I don't think so. We met a Japanese family who lived in Upland also, but don't believe mother knew them befoe. The boy in the family was in the same grade at school with me, but not in the same class. His name was Bill Okomoto. I would love to hear from him or his family. Keep asking ....I will try to answer all the questions.

From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: memories ?
Date: Thu, 29 May 1997 21:13:28 -0700

John, you are younger so you don't have to remember as far....my parents spoke Japanese all the time and I am pretty sure that I spoke Japanese to my brother and sisters while in Japan but once we were in California my father wanted us to speak just English. We were to teach Mother English. I remember reading and figuring how to cook dishes then show Mother . Because she always had a cook to cook for her she didn't know how to cook and as oldest I was teaching my mother to follow recipes to make meals. During the war we couldn't get sugar and other food without war stamps so remember trying to exlpain to mother we could't cook everything she wanted because we didn't have enough stamps. Also we had help from my grandmother who would send her hired man to plow the orchard etc. We came to America before my 8th birthday. I was put into the third grade but after a week or so was bumped into the fourth grade. I was pretty sure I was in the end of my 2nd grade (March or April)when we left Japan but we were so far ahead of California schools in the privite school I was in.I believe there were only five kids in my class. I better watch out or this could end up as a book. Terry

From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: kindness
Date: Thu, 29 May 1997 21:32:08 -0700

Got off the subject...Yes, we were the only Japanese family in Upland and that area while the war was still on , then the other families came back and I got to know them at school. Before the war we were friends with all the kids, going to visit other homes etc. very accepted and popular. The first Valentine after we came back I remember getting nasty insulting valentines. I remember being so hurt inside I could't look anyone in their eyes ( this went on for about 20 years and I couldn't go to meetings where there were alot of people present unless I was in charge where addressing ioo or more people didn't bother me. The kindest thing that ever happened to me also took place on that sad Valentine's day' After school a new boy , very homely, very poor looking, what kids now days call a nerd, came to me and handed me a small box of chocolates. I still start to cry when I remember this because it was a gesture of kindness I have never forgotten. It took about only three or four years before we were acceptd by the kids and community. The teacher were the first to be kind and the kids followed their lead. Terry

From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: thinking
Date: Fri, 30 May 1997 20:45:28 -0700

My mother I think was very lonely, with Daddy in the Army. The police Chief's wife tried very hard to make her comfortable and welcome , also the Upland Methodist Church. Yes, I remember doing alot of the cooking,but Mother learned and did some. My Grandmother lived about twenty or so miles away and the Uncle helping the most, lived in Sacramento.We lost all our money ,between the U.S. government and the Japanese Government seizing all Daddys assets. Stocks with Tokyo Electric for instance were sold for pennies just for our parents to have money to pay the bills. I graduated when I was seventeen and got married into a German Mennonite family. You asked what we did to pass the time..at camp I did alot of fighting, I found out that if you can beat a boy , he becomes your friend. I played alot of baseball, went fishing in a stream close to camp, watched movies once a week in a central place in the middle of camp, etc. I did not have any female friends, I didn't know how to make friends with them. Once back in Upland,I attended school.You asked if people saw us differently when the war ended. Yes, I think so. My brother was voted President of the student body at Chaffey High School (nearly two thousand students) that was maybe six years or so later. I think I have answered all your questions this time, John. Now tell me a little bit about yourself.

From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: added interest
Date: Sat, 31 May 1997 08:55:42 -0700

When we decided to get married (1948) we found more states against mixed race marrages. It didn't make any difference if you were just half. this included Native Americans,people of Mexican decent, blacks, etc. Some of the states around with that law included California, Oregon,Nevada, Arizona, Washington......the closest state that allowed us to get married was New Mexico, so was cheated out of a formal church wedding. My sister was able to get married about three or four years later in California. Terry ( I'm still married to the same guy though)

Date: Sat, 31 May 1997 16:29:51 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: more answers

We never had any trouble after we were married because people did not believe me when I told them that I was half Japanese. Three of my six children have blonde hair, blue or green/hazel eyes. The other three have light brown hair . I am five feet, one inch tall. My husband is 6feet two inches tall, My kids are, shortest at around 5ft. 4or 5 inches and the tallest 6ft.3 inches.My brother has children who look more Japanese, even tho he married into German , Norwegen background. My sister married into an Italian family so all her children look dark but not Japanese.I think Mother stayed bound to the house mostly while Daddy was away.It was a bad time for us,she had learned alot of English by now since that was all we spoke and our neighbor and relatives came to see that she was ok.Your history sounds real neat...I feel I can relate to you . You should write your history, your parents sound like wonderful people who has instilled in you feelings and caring for others,as your brother seems to have also shown with what he is doing.You will learn when you have children that what the child achieves in school is not as important as the end results, what kind of parents they are,and what are they doing for others.NO, I have never talked about my experence to large groups, it is mostly to history classes etc. When I am in charge of a situation I am ok, just being in groups of people still spook me.If I can figure out if I can I will try to send you a photo. Terry

Date: Tue, 03 Jun 1997 20:37:54 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: reply to questions

My husband's parents quit speaking German in public , but not among themselves, during the war. They came over to the U.S. around 1925 or so from Russia but they lived in a Mennonite German Community. My husband just told me that his dad told everyone that they were Dutch.I didn't see German or Italian kids being picked on but I will ask when I go down to California ,as my sister married into an Italian family. I will be gone from my computer till about June 18. We will be leaving Thursday around noon. Your family sounds very normal and sane! Terry

Date: Thu, 19 Jun 1997 11:08:16 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: Re: reply to questions

Your lucky parents, what a time they must be having!!It will be nice for you to get together with your brother too. We did not speak too much about the camp...everytime I brought it up the subject seemed to change, though my brother said he remembered my getting into fights and winning!! My sister remembered a Japanese friend from her class who had lived in a building close to ours. You asked about what our living quarters looked like. It had one door, not sure if it had a window, anyway I don't remember one, it had bare walls with the studs showing. It was not finished in any way. Wooden floors, real rough looking. We used the studs to put things on as there were no furniture except for our straw covered cots. Bathrooms were in a separate building, which also had showers and it was not privite at all, in any way. That was hard for me.Each family had one room, separated from the other families. We ate in a mess hall, I believe in shifts and it was food that I did not like at all.My first experence with stewed prunes was there and I still can't look at prunes,ha,ha. I think the size of the room each family had was maybe 20 feet by 20 ft,but I am not sure of the size. All clothing had to be washed in a tub in the bathroom by hand, I think we hung the wet clothing inside our room to dry since there were terrible dust storms nearly everyday and it was real dusty outside with no trees or grass. Yes, I think we were one of the first families to leave, though we heard later that many families were allowed to go to the midwest to help with the war effort. Any more questions? Terry

Date: Fri, 20 Jun 1997 15:39:33 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: Re: reply to questions

That answer about camp officials I can answer because they were so nice to me I spent alot of time with them. The camp was broken into sections, and each section had Japanese men who were in charge of any trouble and of taking care of any problems within their area. Each section was called a block and each block had one womens bathhouse and one mens. Blocks were counted together for the mess hall. The block wardens had a office like room with a long counter inside and lots of chairs. Oh,there was also a doctor and dentist but that was clear on the other side of camp, maybe a mile away. I think one building was a health building. I got a bad infection on my leg and had to see the doctor so that is how I learned about it. They had to cut into the infection and I have a scar to this day from that. How did people spend their time? I don't know about the women ( they were probably too tired from all that hand washing etc.) but alot of the men would visit with the block wardens.To be quite honest, I don't know if they had any social groups...my mother just stayed in our room and wouldn't even go out for food so I would bring it to her. There was no shade trees, it was very hot and the road or space around the houses were deep in dust. The wind blew alot and we had lots of dust devils that would be so big it would lift the roof off the barracks. Oh yes, some of the barracks had double roofs, I guess to try to make it cooler. Hope that this answers todays questions. Terry

Date: Fri, 20 Jun 1997 16:16:37 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: housing

Looking back just now about what I wrote about housing, I see that I did a very poor job of explaining. The housing were army size barracks which were divided into four family living units of around fifteen or twenty feet. If one knew the standard size of a barrack and divided it by four you would have the right size. As i mentioned before I dont remember windows. Each living unit (room) had one door and no lock. Rooms were bare of any furniture except for cots for each person. There was not even any nails to hang up anything on. I am sure that through the years it must of gotten better but we were there for less then six months. Hope this explains things a little better. Terry

Date: Mon, 23 Jun 1997 15:02:10 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: Re: housing

I think that the representatives for each block were living in that in the block they represented. I know that my father and his brothers with legal help got us out. I have a copy of the letter that was sent but will have to find it. I will rewrite it since I don't have a fax or scanner and send it. (give me a couple of days to find it)I think my father or one of my uncles came to pick us up but that part of going back is a blank to me. Going there I can see and still feel it, but not going back. Strange. Keep on asking questions and if some of my answers are unclear ask me to clearify it.OK? Terry

Date: Tue, 24 Jun 1997 17:10:21 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: Re: housing

Thats a hard one to answer...my parents knew something was up but I think they were thinking that Mother might be shipped back to Japan and so Mother was showing me how to iron clothes,right way to clean house etc. so as to be able to take care of the family without a mother. I don't remember being told about leaving, if it happened I don't remember the moment. I do remember having to go to Riverside? to get on the bus with the Japanese to go to Poston. It was mostly because my mother was so upset and my father not being able to go with us. Daddy took care of the everything till he was drafted but I think we were back before he he had to go but again I am not sure. It has been a long time and some things are not as clear while other moments seems seared into my mind.I hope you have a nice vacation. Terry

Date: Wed, 25 Jun 1997 19:36:57 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: Re: housing

Yes, my mother had a sister, but they were orphans, I think the parents were killed in a big earthquake and fire . I remember mother speaking of standing in a river or lake as a girl watching everything burn around them. She said there were dead people around them. About the trip on the bus i just remembered being scared and wondering what was going on and trying to keep my brother calm. I remember getting off the bus and stepping down into about six inches of dust, then being handed the bag to fill with straw for our mattress. Any more questions? Terry

Date: Sun, 29 Jun 1997 18:54:50 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: trying to remember.

I don't know too much about how my mother and her sister were raised ...I believe they were adopted out to two different families. When my father went to Japan with General McArther, I remembered that he told us about looking her up and taking them food. Her husband was in the Japanese air-force. I think he died soon after the war and she started a construction company and became quite wealthy.By the time I got to the age where one can talk with adult parents I had moved to Washington state and they lived in Southern California so alot of questions went unanswered. My father then died in 1955 and because of having young children and not much money, it was years,five or more, between times that we could make it down to California. It has just been in the last five years that we have been able to make it down every year with a fifth wheel. I plan to retire next year so that will free us for further travel. Terry

Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 10:25:04 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: Satoye Grimmesey, my mother

These are from writings made by my mother, Satoye Grimmesey in 1980.She took a writing course and this was an assignment she chose to write about. She passed away last month, July 11th, 1997, She was born July 14th, 1910

It was a lovely Sunday morning on December 7,1941. After breakfast we gathered the children outdoors to take pictures to send to my family in Japan. (grandmother and sister) Suddenly the phone rang. It was my husbands mother in Covina. Her tense, high-pitched voice said, "Have you heard the news? Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and Clark Field in the Philippine Islands."

It was sudden and shocking news. Suddenly a dark shadow fell into our lives. The two countries that we loved were at war! We were frozen at that moment, and our happiness and peace shattered with shame and grief and the fear of the unknown, concerning our future. My husband looked grave, and trying to comfort me said, "Cheer up Honey; but see the bright side of life. After all, you are marriedto me and live in my country. You are not responsible for what Japan has done to America. You see now why our money was frozen" Now it became all clear to us. The unknown movement in the past few years in Japan prior to our leaving became clear.

we had no idea that Japan would declare war on America. In Japan military secrets were tightly guarded, and the public had no way of knowing what the plans were. "It was a war they had been deliberatly planning."

My husband, a brave man, never expressed his emotions. He faced a grave situation to protect his helpless Japanese wife and his four children between the ages of six to ten.

The feelings of tension mounted, the following year of 1942. There was public speculation about the millions of Japanese who lived in the United States. After much consideration, high-ranking government officials came to the decision to put all Japanese in concentration camps, both Issei(first generation) and Nisei(American born)alike for the duration of the war, to both detain them and to protect them from public anger. (to be Continued) Terry

Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 18:02:54 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: Satoye Grimmesey

(continue..page 2)
Meanwhile my husband was in the midst of turmoil, trying to save his innocent young children from internment in a Japanese camp.

"What harm could they do if they were kept home with their father? They were such young ages!" He also did not wish his young son to be among the Japanese, which would further complicate his emotional instability which he already felt'

His telegrams went back and forth to his uncle in New York, who was a lawyer, to get his advice and to save his children and keep them at home. His sister's husband, being the Chief of Police in Arcadia, gave him advice from the FBI.

In spite of all the family's efforts, in the early part of June, 1942, we were packed in a bus at the Riverside Bus Depot ready to depart for Poston, Arizona, leaving my husband behind.My son Robert was very close to his father. He felt sorry to leave his father alone, not knowing exactly what the situation we were heading for. My husband, helpless, stood outside the bus. His eyes were filled with tears. How sorry I felt for him, for the once proud American who had served in the First World War when he was eighteen,was educated in this country, who was now unable to save his young children from an unknown fate.

My heart was breaking as I watched him standing alone as the bus carried us into the distance toward Poston, Arizona. ( to be continued) Terry Janzen

Date: Tue, 19 Aug 1997 16:46:28 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: Satoye Grimmesey

(continued page 3)
After the bus left Riverside, it was a long,weary journey to the Relocation Center. When I left my husband at the Riverside Bus Depot, how little I realized that we were in exile to be confined for a interminite time.

The busload of passengers wore gloomy expressions; no one smiled or spoke to another. Even though I had confidence in my husband's country, when I looked at my innocent children, I couldn't help but wonder about their future. Again, I pleaded to myself, "What young ages our children are! What harm could it have done to keep them at home with their father? I know I must be punished as a Japanese, but not my children. They are American, not Japanese. It 's not fair to dump them into Poston , Arizona, solely with Jananese people."

When we arrived at Poston, Arizona, near mid afternoon and were inside the high, barbed wire campground, I began to feel the tremendous heat. The sun appeared like a large ball of fire in the distant sky.

We were led to the office to register our names and were given a barrack number and five sacks of ticking, which we were told to stuff with straw. The officer pointed in the direction where mounted straw piles lay about 200 feet away from the office. This was to be our matresses for our cots. I almost wanted to cry after the exhausting, long bus ride through the desert heat. Never had I expected to have to make our own mattresses to sleep on.

(to be continued) Terry Janzen

Date: Tue, 19 Aug 1997 20:57:14 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: [Fwd: Satoye Grimmesey continued]

(continued page 4)
My children noticed my weary and gloomy mood. They cheerfully volunteered to make their own mattresses. Encouraged by their willingness, I walked toward Barrack 16. When we entered the room, it was another disappointment. The room was in semi-darkness, with light coming through both sides of a small dirty window. The roof sloped down to a height of about twelve feet. The room was nothing but a large size matchbox. The room, made of a sigle thickness of lumber was covered on the outside with tar paper. There were no shelves, closet, or table to put away any of our belongings on. Only five metal cots had been placed in the center of the room. The entrance seened to be half the size of a swinging door.

We hurriedly went out to fill our mattresses before the sun went down. My children had never before shown such strength as they did in filling their matteress. After our work was done we looked around.

The Relocation Center was made up of thirty- six blocks. Each block had two sections and each section was made up of twelve barracks. It was served by one mess hall and a central H shaped sanitation building. The barracks were a standard twenty feet wide and one hundred feet long, partitioned into six rooms.

The crowded concentration camp was under armed guards. We waited in the mess hall in a long outdoor line, and I felt like like a prisoner, deprived of privacy and dignity. The worst place of all was was the section of latrines. It was a long line of toilet seats with no dividers for privicy. My pride and dignity crumbled with shame.

The drinking water from the faucet was a semi- mud color, coming straight from the Colorado River,and there was often an inadequate food supply of children's milk and other foods at the mess hall, which gave me concern for my growing children.

June ended and July's summer heat turned the barracks into baked ovens. There was no cooling system available, except to sprinkle water from the faucet( there was no running water in the barracks) outside on our wooden floors and to wet the blankets. In order to keep cool we would lie on the floor. (to be continued) terry Janzen

Date: Wed, 20 Aug 1997 20:25:54 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@ritzville.org
Subject: Satoye Grimmesey continued

(continued Page 5)
Our new straw mattresses had become quite comfortable to sleep on. The people were becoming active with hammer and nails and the lumber that had been discarded when the camp was built. They began to build closets, tables, and shelves in their living quarters for their families. Unfortunately, I had no man in my family, but a kind man came to our rescue and built shelves, a closet, and a table for us. I was deeply greatful to be able to put our belongings in order.

Our children, young and curious, spent most of the day outdoors, watching the other Japanese children play. They brought news to me that there were desert snakes and poisonous scorpions roaming around the campgrounds, which frightened me to death.(Mother had a deadly fear of snakes) The women as they gathered, began to whisper that we might be kept prisoners for our lifetimes. I refused to accept the story. but I wondered what would become of my children and their future.

My communication with my husband eroded for awhile, for there was no privite telephones available. However, he was allowed to visit, he wanted to know how we were getting along, all we could tell him was our grievances and to dispal the dreadful rumors going around the camp.

In late August he visited us with a cheerful smile and took our snapshots to file with the government. According to his news, the Americans who had married Japanese had petitioned the government to release their families and their request was finally granted. We were so happy to hear the good news he had brought to us and to be able to return home the early part of September, which would give us enough time for our children to start school in the fall.

Even though it was an unusual summer vacation away from home, Relocation Camp taught us strength and self-reliance, which otherwise, our children might never have had the opportunity to learn in their lives.

Saroye Kay Grimmesey 1980
This is the end of my Mother's account of what happpened . Terry Janzen

Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 22:47:14 -0800
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net
Subject: Re: Question

Did find out something that surprised me, started to watch a movies about the internment, got so upset, I started crying and couldn't watch. I was shocked at my reaction John. I don't know what set it off band I don't get upset that easy. After talking it over with my husband I figured it was seeing the name tags and being put on the busses. That must of bothered me when I was little the most. Going off into the unknown, being with people I didn't know and my Father couldn't come with us. I guess I must of been really upset and the feeling must of been locked away . What do they call it now? post traumatic stress? I call it feelings that needed to come out sooner or later. Funny how the mind remembers, good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.

The movie, Snow on the Cedars, came but I didn't go. Read the book and decided I didn't want to watch the Japanese rounded up and shipped off to internment camps. You see, I'm getting smarter!

Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 19:06:17 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

XZoTiKPnAy wrote:

Hi, if you're still willing to answer questions here are a few... How did you feel when you and your family first heard you had to evacuate from your home?
We didn't know what was going on, as kids no one bothered to explain what was going on. I do know that my mother was worried that she would be sent back to Japan without her family and Mother and Dad had me trained to cook, clean,shop, wash etc, everything about taking care of the house( I was in the fourth grade)
How was your life in Poston?
It was rough, remember that in Japan, where we had lived till a year before, we were very rich and the only Japanese we , as kids, knew , were servents. Plus being the only one, out of about twenty thousand peaple, who didn't look Japanese, I found it hard to find friends, I couldn't take the people stareing at me, and to this day I still try to avoid crowds.
Knowing that your ordeal was painful for and the memories of your democratic country tarnished, how is your story different from/similar to the other "prisoners"?
It was painful but I hold no bitternes, I feel that it made me a more understanding person to the feelings of my students, everyone has hurts that come along as one grows up. It is important that you look at the positive side, you can take any situation and grow with it, put yourself into the other persons shoes ( including governments) help hate and missunderstanding leave.

Remember that the Japanese trusted the government so much that they were willing to go whereverthey were told to, to me that shows so much trust, would you go, with just ONE suitcase, not knowing where you were going and for how long??? I don't think any other group, these days, trusts our government that much. To me that is the amazing thing about the whole affair.
Hope this answers your questions.
Terry Janzen, or as my students call me, Mrs.J

Thanks so much for responding. I read what you wrote to John Yu and because I was so touched by your story, I kind of used your responses to get the point of my paper on a more personal touch (its called "When a Jap is an American"). I hope you didn't mind...Thanks for you, your memories, and your patience.

(as I said, not a fellow Japanese but a fighter for the cause) =)

Date: Sun, 03 May 1998 20:41:38 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

Mayumi Toli wrote:

Hello again. I am Mayumi Toki,an exchange student from Japan. Thank you very much for your letter. When I received E-mail back from you and read that you could answer my question, I was so excited. I wanted to write to you soon, but I was so busy and I couldn't.
Anyway I heard about you little bit. I know you were eleven years old, you were born in Tokyo,Japan, and your mother was Japanese and your father was American.
I have so many things I want to ask you.
Here are the list of question:
1) What was the scary thing during you were in the camp?
The scary thing about camp was about not knowing what was going on, what was going to happen next and feeling very scared about everything.
2) How was to staying in the camp? What does the inside of the camp look like? Did you have to share the room with other families?
It was something that was different from anything I had run into before. We were housed in army style tarpaper barracks which was cut into four sections to house one family each. All we had was one cot for each person in the family and we had mattresses filled with straw to sleep on. There was no shelves to put anything on, we did not even have nails to hang anything on. There were no bathrooms, they were in another building, one for men and one for women. There was one room for showers with no privacy and a couple of washtubs that each family took turns using to wash their clothes. Each group of barracks were located in blocks and there was a central mess hall were we ate that served a couple or more blocks. The food was not very good and we did not have any fresh fruit or milk to drink. I am sure that the cooks did the best they could but they did not have much to work with. Even the Americans had ration stamps ( people not living in camps)
3)When did you come to the United States?
We came to the United States in 1938.
4)Which camp did you stay?
The camp that we were held was in Arizona, on a Indian Reservation and was called Poston.
5)I heard your father remained free, and you and your mother interned at that time.
Yes, my father was not put into the camp with us as he had no Japanese blood, even though he was also born in Japan.
Did you miss your father? Did he try to get you and your mother? Is that possible?

Date: Wed, 06 May 1998 18:03:04 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

I will try to answer all your questions below.

Mayumi Toli wrote:

Hello again. I am Mayumi Toki.
I just got mail from John and he wrote that he want to add our question and answer list on internet (if I understood that right). I don't know anything about internet, so I wrote to him that I didn't understand what he is writing, but if I understand right it is good idea.
Thank you very much for answering my questions. It reeeeeally helps me. Do you know someone who was actually involved in the camp like you? If so, please tell their E-mail address. It is getting more and more interesting to research about this. I had some questions after I got your answer, so I will be happy if you could answer my question.

Here are other questions:

1)You wrote the scary thing was about not knowing what was going on. Did you have news papers or something which gives you information what was going on?

I don't think so, I think allot of the information was kept quiet since so few people knew about what was happening but you will have to check with copies of newspapers at the time. I do know that there was allot of blockage of the news in the interest of National Security.
2)You wrote that you were housed in army style tarpaper barracks. What is tarpaper barracks? Is it black thing? If so, did it get hot inside? Which season or months did you intern in the camp? How was staying in the camp? Hot? Cold?
It was covered with tarpaper and yes, it got very hot. We were there doing the summer months. There were very strong winds neaarly every day and it got so dusty that it was hard to see the next barrack. Some roofs were blown off.
3)Specifically, what were you eating in the camp? Who makes dish? How do you eat those? I mean, did you eat with many other peoples like kind of school lunch?
You are right, it was like a school lunch. We stood in line to get the food and we had to take whatever they were serving. I don't think anyone was comfortable with the food but they could only serve what food was shipped to them. I missed most fruit and vegetables. It was cooked by the Japanese, How they were picked for the job I do not know, or if they were paid for doing it .Maybe someone who was there and did that job would be able to explain. I would love to hear from them.
4)In the camp, was it safe? Did somebody get wound?
As you know, the Japanese are very law abiding . I did not remember any fights or unsafe conditions except for lack of better bathing conditions. They did have a medical building for the whole camp of thousands of people where their were doctors and nurses on duty.
5)In the camp,is it clean? or many people get sick or injured? and if so, could they get enough a medical treatment?
The Japanese kept it very clean. I do not recall any outbreaks of illness except for insect bites, scorpions, and snake bites. What it was like that winter I do not know because I had left by then.
6)Do you remember about the day the Japanese bombed the Pearl Harbor? How was people around you?
I remember my Grandmother phoned to let my father know about it and he got very worried, afraid that if a war was declared , Mother would be sent back to Japan because she was the only one who was not a citizen.
7)I don't if I can ask this question. If you don't want to answer, you don't have to, but I do want to ask this question. How did you feel about Japanese while you were in the camp? How about the United States? For you, was Japan enemy? Actually I don't think eleven years old girl thinks about it a lot. But you have American father and Japanese mother, you were born in Japan, and you were living in the United States. So you are kind of really in the middle between two countries. So if you don't mind, I would like you to answer this question.
I was very mixed up because I felt I was Japanese and that I was American . I found it hard to be called an enemy by both the Japanese children and by the American children.
That's it for right now. I will probably have more question by the next time. To research this is really interesting.

Thank you for helping me.
I am looking forward to hearing from you again.

Take care,

Sincerely yours,

Mayumi Toki

I hope these are the answers you were looking for, If you need clarification, please let me know.Terry Janzen

Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1998 15:06:53 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

Phil Maria wrote:

Many thanks for your reply. Firstly, I would like to know a little of yourself at present, for example where you now live, what you do etc.As for internment years, I am totally confused. The more I read the worse it gets. But I would like to know what a typical day was like in the camps. Some authors like to lead us to believe that you were only relocated and you lived lives as close to normality as possible although there are many readings to the contrary. From what you remember, what is your opinion?Also, In later years did you ever learn or become aware of thes MAGIC messages and do you know if they were ever publicly proven? Phil
I live in the eastern part of Washington state in Ritzville. It is the small town of fifteen hundred people, the county seat of Adams county and where the I-90 and 395 highways merge. I have just retired, three weeks ago, from working in the Ritzville school system running the Learning Assistance Program in the Junior High with mostly math and pre-algebra.

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 50th year of marriage. Your question asking if relocation was normal and could we live normal lives is, "NO". Normal is freedom to go where we wanted to go, from town to town, shopping, going to school, living in a house with more then one room per family, having a bathroom of your own among other things. It does not mean enclosed with barbed wire with armed solders doing duty outside carrying guns to make sure you stay where you are put. Having cots stuffed with straw to sleep on, a community bathroom with no privacy. What was a typical day like? One got up and waited in line to use the bathroom, in line to use the sink to brush your teeth, then to another building to get in line to eat breakfast witch did not include milk, fresh eggs or fresh fruit. They had some powered stuff, cooked prunes (first time I ever saw or tasted them, also never again} oatmeal, I think. It was pretty bad. Lunch and dinner was also bad.

There were no places for the kids to play, it was summer in Arizona , in the desert, it was hot and no way to cool down. Nothing to do, nowhere to go except to the barbed wire to watch the guards walking back and forth. Phil, it was not normal!

I do not understand your reference to MAGIC, you need to clarify. Hope this answers some of your questions. Feel free to ask me anything.
Terry Janzen

Date: Sun, 28 Jun 1998 09:33:17 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

Phil Maria wrote:

Terry, By MAGIC messages I mean those messages for which America broke the secret code and which supposedly named persons who were loyal to the Imperial government. Do you now feel that the internment of the Japanese was nothing other than racism? What is your personal opinion of America's actions at that time? What do you think of the fact that the Japanese received compensation while Europeans held in similar conditions have not? Phil
I am not knowledgeable about MAGIC, as I was too young to be aware about grown-up goings on. Sorry.

On the next question about racism, no. I don't think this had anything to do with racism, it had to do with a war. Everyone was scared of what MIGHT happen. Japanese were well known for their loyalty, and the government worried that that loyalty would be with their mother country. The Japanese felt guilty about the war and they wanted to prove their loyalty and trust to America. So with blind absolute trust they did as America asked them to do, leave everything they held dear, including their freedom and went where the government took them.

Question on my personal opinion? If this action was taking place today, it would never work. Like our Native Americans who fought going into reservations, so would today's Japanese. There would be uprisings within the internment camps and we may see a mini war. I feel that perhaps it was done with too much secrecy and that too few people had the power to do what they did. I don't think it went through channels but then in war everything is done in the name of "national defense".

On your last question, I think in the 80's, as America looked back, perhaps they felt it had become racism, to pick one whole race of people because their country was at war and that nothing was ever proven against them. On the other hand with the Europeans who were picked up, most had a record or America was able on most part prove something against them. Not so the Japanese, even kids who were in orphan homes were taken out and moved, even babies. This has been documented in several books, including one called, "America's Concentration Camps".

Terry Janzen

Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 16:09:11 -0800
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

Phil Maria wrote:

Dear Terry Well it has been so long since I have been in contact with you that you have probably forgotten. This is Phil again, from N. Ireland and if you remember I was reading a lot about internment as I wished to do my dissertation on this subject. I'm still reading and must confess to being a lot more knowledgeable now. But the more I read the more angry I become at the treatment given however I am rather passionate in any case when it comes to the white race opposing another.One would think I wasn't white! I married a foreigner and have four mixed race children so I guess thats where it stems from.I have printed your e-mails from last time but I think I'm missing some. At least I think I recall you telling me about being released and the authorities telling you not to speak in Japanese which you then found you couldn't even had you wished. Or did I read and account of someone else? I'd be eternally grateful if you could give me an account of this again. Also I'd like to know how you were informed of removal and exactly what it was like on the day, what you did with you posessions, what it felt like to be tagged and generally the events of the round up.I'm only now in the middle of my dissertation, it has to be completed by the end of April and I'm only allowed 7,000 words which certainly won't allow me to say all I would like to. I could write a book!!Thank you so much for your help which is most certainly appreciated With kind regardsPhil
Dear Phil,

You must remember that I was just a child when we were moved. I just know that each of us had one suitcase, it could not be any bigger then what we could carry. Thinking back I do not know what we did for blankets, pillows and towels. Since it was very hot in the Arizona desert, I just remember the heat, the dust, the bareness of everything. I found a book that my mother had that was all about the internment. It is called, NISEI, the Quiet Americans by Bill Hosokawa, published by William Morrow and Co. Inc. 1969 It is full of information. I have just had it in my possession since the last four months and have not gone all the way through it, but what I read, what I remembered was very much akin to what happened to others and at other camps.

The difference in my case was that we did not lose our home because since my father was "white" just mother and we four children were taken away. As to the time limit, I believe in most cases, everyone had ten days to get everything in order, packed, and at the area assigned for us to gather.

Again Phil, I must remind you that all this came because of fear and not understanding. This was the first time that America was challenged by another nation. What a difference time has done to even the concept of war. Now with nations across the oceans having atomic warheads, the population doesn't seem worried, even though the means to attack each other is greater then ever before.

Many things have happened in the past that was very wrong from slavery, treatment of Indians, the internment, the atom bomb. If one can pass on the wrongs as a warning to our future generations then, all that happened, the pain, fright, shame, will be worthwhile to each that went through a wrong.

I have started reading more about the history of Japan, and like all countries, treatment of each other, the bettering of one class above another, has been going on from the start of recorded history. As " white" Americans soon will become the minority in the larger cities of the United States, one wonders what the future will be like. Again, I am lucky living in a very small town and our life style is more it was in the 60's.

Sorry, I was not quite sure what info you wanted. Please be specific.

Terry Janzen ( I would love to have a copy of your study when you are done.)

Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 15:42:07 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

Rudy wrote:

Dear Terry, I would like to interview you on your memories,maybe not on the phone(but that would be really neat!),but on the internet.I read your website and enjoyed it .You may not have time to answer any questions,but I would really like to maybe have a copy of our conversation next to my tri-board saying that I interviewed you!One of my questions is-What is your most vivid memory of the camp?I appreciate your time, Annie-Rudy's daughter,I'm the social science student
You must remember that I was just a kid in elementary school who did not know what was going on or where we were going or why. I remember getting off the bus to a hot dry desert with not a tree in sight. I stepped down into about six inches of dust ( anyway allot of fine dusty soil) that I remembered covered my shoes. Next I remember being led to army type barracks and into a room with five cots with no mattresses on them.( we were given bags to fill with straw in a field which became our mattress.) It was just one room, no bathroom, no water, no chairs, tables , not even a hook to hang things on. It did not have interior walls so there were studs that we set things on. There was one bathroom per block of barracks, one for women and one for men. It was an open type room with no privacy between toilets, and the showers were in one room with rows of shower heads. We had to wait our turn to use everything. Food was in a mess hall that we lined up for every meal, every day for food. I remember hating the food, it was terrible and we didn't have any fresh fruit or vegetables. I was scared and everything was new and strange. I felt very lost. That's about it. Any more questions?
Terry Janzen

Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 11:24:38 -0800
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

I will try to answer all your questions ( under each question)

JuDy19LiU@aol.com wrote:


Well, I just finished with midterms so thats the reason for the delay in replying back to you. I have quite a few questions to ask you, but you don't have to any whichever one u may not feel comfortble with. From the information that I read from the web page, it disscussed a lot about how the camps were and how you survived through it, but I was also looking for some biography infomation about your life before the camp and after the camp, so I was wondering you can also give me a brief narrative story about your life after the camps.

Here are some questions that I came up with:

1) When and where were you born?

I was born July 15, 1930 in Tokyo, Japan
2)Why did your family decided to move to the US?
My father , mother, youngest sister and brother came over first on vacation to see relatives . My younger sister and I stayed at a boarding school. I was in the second grade and she was in kindergarten. My father must of felt things were getting bad because he decided to stay in the states and sent for my sister and myself in the spring of 1938.
3)How did you feel when you found out that you were going to moved to the US?
To be quite honest I don't remember, so that must mean it was ok. No trauma about it.
4)Was there any pressure of having to be American when you when in Japan since you had an mixed ethnic backgroup and how did u feel being a mixed child?
No, because I was American. We were rich and did not mix with Japanese children. All my friends were English mostly. We went to a privite international school. The only Japanese I saw were servents.
5)Any interesting/special memories or events that you would like to share during your childhood in Japan?
Just that I did not think that it was any different. It was later as an adult that I realized what a special time it was. A way of living that would never be captured again.
6)At the camps, did you feel like you had to assimilate to become 100% American?
Again I knew I was American, that was part of the trouble, since everyone else felt they were Japanese.
7)Since you were at the camps when you were a young kid, did you guys have any playgrounds or how did the kids entertain themselves?
No, the camps were put up fast and there was nothing for kids to do, except, they did show movies once in a while to the whole camp.
9)Were you accepted by the kids and adult at the camps since you had a mixed ethnic background?
The adult men were more understanding then the women. I felt that the women did not approve and were in judgment.. I only had trouble with the kids because I did not look Japanese.
10) I heard that some Japanese kids refuse to claim their own nationality when asked by other what nat. they were at the camps. They would reply by saying they were Chinese instead, is this true?
In the camps they all knew they were Japanese, it was when they were out that they clamed to be Chinese. Also remember that the Japanese who were living in the middle states were not put into the camps , so perhaps they claimed they were not Japanese. You could not blame them.
11)How many years did you stay in the camps?
We were one of the first to be let out . We were there less then six months.
12)Did you go to school at the camps?
No, we were not there long enough.
13)Any last thought about the camps that you would like to share?
It was something that should not have happened but when faced with a war, there is panic to protect ones country. Now because of what happened in the past, there is more freedom for others. This will never happen again.
14)When did you leave the camp and how old were you?
I'm not sure of that, around 12 years old. We went back to California.
15)What were your thoughts when you realized that you and family were being released?
Again, I do not remember our feelings. I just knew we would be together as a family finally.
16)Where did your family moved to after the camp? Did you feel any discrimmination from the whites against you guys?
We moved back to Upland, California. We lived out in the country so we did not have to face people every day. We were called names, faces made to us, ( slanted eyes etc.) and there was a movement to kick us out of town. Though the Methodist church and the befriending of the Chief of Police and his family, we were slowly accepted into the town.
17) Can you tell me more about your teenager and early adult life ( eg. how was it like?
I was a loner for quite a while
did you have lots of friends?
A few kids who moved into the community whho didn't have friends. I was allways the first to welcome them since I knew how they felt.
did you associated with other ethnic groups?
your husband?
I met my husband while visiting a different church. We went together while he was in Jr., college and I was in high school and got married after I graduated.
did you go back to school or work?, etc.)
I did work after I got out by saying I was older then I was, at a citrus packing plant, since my father was in the army we needed the extra income.
18) There are much legislations and Acts that were written to impose against asians in the US; did any of them effected you or your family in any ways?
Not that I knew. Remember I was still young enough not to be aware of some things. The only trouble I had was when I wanted to get married. There were laws against mixed marriages and I couldn't get married in California, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and a few more states between. The closest state was New Mexico, so that is where we went.
19) Can you also tell me more about your present life (eg. hobbies?, residing location? childrens? grandchildrens? are they more japanese or american? etc.
I have been living in the state of Washington, in the town of Ritzville for the last forty five years. We have (had) six children. ( We lost our oldest son to cancer, due we think from fallout from Hanford)Of my six children, three are blondes with blue, and hazel eyes , and three has brown (not black hair) and brown eyes.
20) Do you still know how to speak Japanese
No, the FBI scared that out of me.
21) Were you ever force to attend Chinese school by your family and did they want you to learn more about the Japanese culture or did they want you to become more americanize?
No, nothing like that happened.
22) Ever return to Japan for visit and do you keep in touch with any of your relatives in Japan?
Well...those are my questions. I'm very grateful that you are taking your time to help me out on this. Since I have lots of infomation on your life during the camp, what i really need now is more infomation on your present life, so please tell me as much as possible. By the way, I just recieved your mail telling me that you will be out of town next week while typing up these questions. Hopefully, you can reply soon before you leave so I can try to get some follow up questions for you.

THANKS again..

Judy Liu

Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 18:22:17 -0800
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

steed wrote:

I am doing a report for school on Japanese-American Internment camps. We have to choose a character and write about them. I chose a little girl (about eight years old) and I was wondering if you could tell me some of the sorts of things that would be going on in her head during the World War II internment. I made her mother a teacher that got sent to another camp and she is an only child with her father. If you would write me, I would be very grateful. Thank you.


I will try to help you . I was a couple of years older then your story girl but I think I can explain some of what she was feeling. You must remember in those days children were not part of any policy making of the family. The adults made all the discussions and children did as they were told. Because of this the children did not know what was going on. They were just told that they would be moving out of their homes to a holding place because the government of the United States insisted on it . "We need to do what the government wants us to do. We must prove we are good Americans and do as we as we are asked". The children would have known about Pearl Harbor and have heard from their friends at school that they were now the enemy and been treated to name calling and unkind acts. She would be trying real hard to try to show that she and her family are good Americans. She would start to be scared as the adults in her community also start talking cruelly to her parents and to her. Her mother, if she is a teacher, may be asked by some of her students parents to move their child out of her class into another. The girl would feel the upset and unrest the parents are feeling.

I do I do not think you can separate the parents into different camps as people from one area were sent to the same camp. Living in southern California I was sent to Arizona. People in Northern California were sent someplace else. Perhaps you can have them start in the same camp and her father joins the army, as many men did.

Do you want to know about how the girl starts to feel in her new surroundings? Is this the sort of thing you wanted to know?

Terry Janzen

Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 09:59:07 -0800
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

claire-lise langlais wrote:

Dear Terry
I am doing a research paper on the relocation and internment of Japanese, Italian and German Americans during WWII. Your own experience would therefore be very useful to me. I would particular like to know why internment mainly concerned your people and why they rapidly released the others. Was it pure racism or was there any other reasons other that alleged military ones?
Thank you in advance for your answer. I can have access to internet and read my e-mail messages twice a week on wednesdays and Thursdays . I am looking forward to hearing from you. I ll tell more about me next time. Claire-Lise
Dear Claire,
If I understand your question, you wanted to know why internment was mainly with the Japanese Because of the Pearl Harbor attack and America's decoration of war against Japan, the country was in a panic. Japanese were known to be very loyal people and American leaders were afraid that the Japanese loyalty would be against America and for their mother country. Because of this, as a National Security measure, all Japanese on the east coast was interned. This was done very quickly. As the Japanese proved to be loyal Americans, who trusted America, many families were allowed to move to the middle of America, where they were a help in the war effort. They did have to have proof of relatives living there.

I believe everything was motivated by the war and American reaction to it. I hope this answers some of your first questions. Feel free to ask more questions and I will try my best to answer them.
Terry Janzen

Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 14:07:17 -0800
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

claire-lise langlais wrote:

dear Terry
It is really nice to have answered my message. I am aware of the fear everyone must have felt after Pearl Harbor. But it does explain nor excuse the infamy of what was done to a whole community who wanted so much to prove its loyalty towards the US. Do you know that some of them anticipated the order of relocation and left the area before they had to?
I have never read anything that suggested that. I believe that most did not think anything bad or unfair was going to happen to them. I think the " camps " were a shock to them. How crude and unfinished, the barbed wire and armed solders.
I have read there were some resistance in the camps and also that as early as 1943 some people sued the government for these anticonstitutional internments. Did you feel at the time there was any resistance at all or were you too young?
I hung around the building that was used by men appointed as representatives for the block we were in. They were very tolerant of me, they seemed to realize I was having trouble fitting in with kids because of a lack of Asian features. They talked allot around me and all I remember is their worry about the winds that tore roofs off the buildings, scorpions and their showing me water from the brook that had white worms in it. They may have had some resentment but they never showed it around me.
I hope you do not mind all my questioning . I am only just starting to study on this period.
A book I would like to recommend is: NISEI, The Quiet Americans by Bill Hosokawa and America's Concentration Camps (sorry, don't know the writer )
Thanks . Claire.
I hope that this answers your first questions.Terry Janzen

Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 18:23:23 -0800
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

Dear Kristen,
I will try my best to answer your questions but remember that I was a pre-teen so this is all from what I remember from then and also from what I have learned since then.

My answers are right after your interesting questions.

KMD5757@aol.com wrote:

Hi Terry. My name is Kristen and I am writing a paper on the Japanese Internment camps for my graduate class at Arizona State University. I have read all of your previous e-mail correspondence with others interested in this subject, and I know you must be a bit weary of answering all of these questions. I would be extremely grateful if you could answer a few more...I have had no success with the sources I have tried to contact already. My angle for this paper is really trying to understand the mentality of Americans at that time which allowed the internment to proceed. Some readings have suggested that this was a racially motivated action, while others claim it to be an issue of nationality. Your case is interesting in that your father was American, yet you were still interned. I also read several statements you made to others in which you describe feeling that the internment was something that came out of fear from the war, not racial prejudice. Thus my questions are as follows:

1. How is it that Japanese show loyalty? Do you feel that the cultural difference in showing loyalty played a role in the military's decision to intern?

I feel very strongly that the Japanese showed their loyalty by doing whatever the United States asked of them, without asking about their rights ( as today that will be the first thing, I'm sure) As to cultural differences, it was thought that all Japanese were loyal to their mother country not realizing that they felt that America was their country. ( and how loyal they were to it!)
2. How did your father feel about this situation...besides being upset that his family was taken, did he think on some levels think this was justified, or was he sure that it was a violation of rights?
I believe that they found that it was a violation of our rights and by going through lawmakers in Sacramento they were able to get us released after three or more months. I know that he wrote many letters and had his brothers, sister, cousins and friends also sending letters and phoning Washington in our behalf.
3. Did your family see any of the compensation given to internees by the Federal Government? Do you feel this was enough?
Yes, we were given twenty thousand dollars but not everyone took it. My sister refused hers. It was a surprise to get it but what I wanted so very much was a personal letter from the President of the US saying they were sorry about the wrong. That was the most important thing but as my husband said, this is the only way that America knows how to apologize. What we got was a letter (the same) (form letter) that did not mean a thing to me as it was so impersonal. What I would give to get a personal letter of apology from even the current government. That is a dream of mine so that I have some thing to pass on to my children, grand children and great grand children. It would of been worthwhile.
4. There have been several different ways of referring to the camps. Some feel they qualified as "concentration camps," and others prefer the term "internment camps" or "relocation centers"....what's your take on this?
What would you call it? It had barbed wire all around it and solders with guns walking around it. I'm sure it was to keep us in and not to keep others into coming in. I think concentration / internment camps would be the right word.
5. Have you been able to relate to others experiences in the camps...were they similar or different because of your background?
I have not been able to find others who were in the same place as I live now in Washington State and most there were sent to Idaho. Also not many are around anymore. I have never run into anyone else who were "half " like myself.
6. Did you feel mistreated by the Americans working at the camps?
I must of been a likable kid because nearly everyone treated me with respect. I was full of questions and wanted answers to everything!
7. Do you believe this type of situation could happen again in a time of war?
No, people protest, they would fight for their rights and bloodshed would happen.
8. Which nationality do you most closely identify with now? American or Japanese?
I have never thought of my self as Japanese because I don't look Japanese. That was why it hurt so when everything happened.

I hope this has answered some of your questions. Please feel free to ask more if things still needs clarification.
Terry Janzen

Thank you so much for helping me with this paper. You have a wealth of knowledge and it has been extremely generous of you to share it with everyone who has asked. It allows so many to learn from your life.
Kristen D.

Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 22:52:07 -0800
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

That is something I hadn't even thought about because there were no such help available. Yes, I do think it would of helped to have had someone to have talked to. I do know how ashamed I felt, how I truly felt that what happened to me, the hate I felt from the Japanese kids in the camp and the American kids when we got out, was my fault. It took me about twenty years to be able to make eye contact, to be not afraid to shake hands. I used to cross the street as to not meet anyone walking toward me as a teen. At school I felt I had to do better then anyone, that was the only way I felt I was worthwhile.

Everything changed when I took the experience and turned around my thinking of it. I told myself that what happened to me was a one in a lifetime thing. It didn't happen to most people, that made me a special person. If I could survive all that, I was strong, I could do anything. I had felt all the hate, now I could share love. I found sharing with others, people who were hurting and told them why I understood them, how things will always get better. Forget the hurting part of one's lives and find the wonderful times, make new happy memories and go on from there. You can live in the black past or go on, it's up to each person. They felt I understood, what a wonderful bond that makes.

I have heard from children whose parents were interned, who would never speak of it. I have never heard my mother speak of it in conversation. My younger brother and sisters say they do not remember and they don't wish to. I think counseling , a chance to talk it out would of helped. I was lucky.

I hope this helps.

Terry Janzen

KMD5757@aol.com wrote:

Thank you very much for responding. Your answers really helped. I have one more question to ask: How did this experience effect you and your family after the fact? Do you have any suggestions as to things a Counselor would have to consider if they were attempting to counsel a person who had experienced the camps? (I am a Social Work major and part of the paper is supposed to touch on the Social work implications of the camps and how someone should approach counseling a population with these issues.)
Again, I appreciate your response. :)

Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 19:47:52 -0800
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

I have answered by your questions below as to what I believed was going on. Remember that I was in the 6th grade and adults did not always tell kids what was going on even if it involved them

LDlip43@aol.com wrote:


I am a high school student from Hawaii and this year my US his. and govt. class is participating in the National History Day. This year's theme is "Turning Points in History" and my group and I are focusing on the Japanese Internment camps, more specifically on the Executive Order 9066 and its impact on US history. I have read your story and your replies to various emails, and I was just wondering if you could answer just a few more questions for me. I would just like to know how you felt when the order was issued

I was too young to realize what it meant. The first time that I realized something was happening was when we were put on busses and shipped to Arizona. Even then I did not realize what was really happening. A child trusts grownups and goes along with what they say.
and what you thought about it. Many people believe the order was unconstitutional, what were your thoughts about it and the government back then?
Nobody argued with the government. It was for our own good, we were told. The Japanese trusted the government and they were very ashamed about Pearl Harbor. They were willing to do anything that was asked of them. Nobody , I don't think, thought about constitutional rights in those days. Nobody questioned what the government did.
If you could answer these questions, please reply to this letter. I would GREATLY appreciate it. =) Mahalo (thank you)

-Lorinda N. Dalipe
Waipahu High School

If you have more questions, I will be glad to answer them.Good luck on your project, so far everyone tells me that they got an "A".when they picked this subject. Let me know how you did.
Terry Janzen

Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 08:02:12 -0800
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

You ask wonderful, thoughtful questions and I will try my best to honestly answer them. If you have more, please feel free to ask. Remember these are my impressions and do not represent how others might have felt, I also agree that it is our job to let young people know how history impacts every day people.

LDlip43@aol.com wrote:

Hi again,

I just want to thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, you helped a lot! I was just wondering.. again =).... When you said that "a child trusts grownups and goes along with what they say," what DID the grownups tell you?

To be quite truthful, I don't remember my father telling me anything. If he had, I must of not realized what everything meant till everything started happening.
Did they make up stories or did they give you the truth?
At the camp there were rumors about how long we were going to be kept in the relocation center, what was happening on the outside. The government had taken all our radios, cameras and this was way before TV. ( boy, could we have used a computer , e-mail and chat rooms. ha, ha)
I know it IS hard to understand certain things at a young age, but if you knew what was happening then, would you have questioned the government's decisions?
No, in those days one did not question what adults, (any adult) said for you to do. We were taught in school that the government was for the people, that government was good.
You also stated that "they" told you not to question the government. (school) By "they" who did you mean? Was it your parents or elders at the camp, or camp officials? Did people in the internment camps understand their rights?
Each "block" had it's own, I guess you would call it, problem solving leaders. This is one thing I did know about because I used to go visiting them and they were very kind to a kid that had allot of questions. They never talked politics to me so I don't know how they felt about their rights as US citizens. I remember their showing me a bottle with creek water and it had some white, small, snakelike, worms in it and warned me not to drink from the creek.
Do you think it was right for people of Japanese ancestry to be interned even if they were already citizens?
The government, I was led to believe, did it out of fear that the Japanese would be loyal to Japan and might do something to help them. The government also said that it was for our "protection".
Do you think they allowed themselves to be interned because of what had happened at Pearl Harbor?
Yes, I truly believe that, they felt very ashamed about it and wanted to prove they were good citizens who loved America. The terrible thing is that the shame was felt even years later, even now, as if it was their own fault that they were interned, ( much like as if they had served a jail sentence)
Also, how did the whole Executive Order 9066 and internment life affect you? Do you believe it was necessary?
I don't know if it was necessary, but as an adult looking back, I feel very strongly that it was wrong.The government has no right to take a group of people, because they looked different, and put them behind barbed wire, war or not without proving they were going to hurt the country. You must remember this was first done with the Native Americans, so it was not a new idea.
If you could answer these questions, I would again GREATLY appreciate it. If you don't feel or you refuse to answer any of the questions, then that is perfectly fine with me because you have already helped me a lot. I understand that for most people that were sent to the camps, talking about it is hard. I honestly believe that by sharing your story, you are opening our eyes and teaching us, and I think that it takes a lot of strength to reminisce about such hard times. So, thank you again! MUCH MAHALO (A LOT OF THANKS!!!!)

Lorinda N. Dalipe

Hope this helps. Terry Janzen

Date: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 12:58:34 -0800
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

Here are the answers. If you need more, feel free to ask. By the way, what grade are you in and where do you live?

Here are the questions I have come up with. If there are certain questions you don't want to answer, please don't feel you have to.

1) Do you want you name included in the interview when I hand it in? If so, what is your full name?

Terry Theodora Grimmesey Janzen
2) How old are you now?
I am 69
3) How old were you when you entered the camps?
Around twelve years old
4) How old were you when you left the camps?
About six months later
5) Which camp did you stay in?
Poston in Arizona
6) How many times did you change camps?
Only place we were placed.
7) Who was interned with you?
My mother, brother and two sisters
8) What is you favorite memory of the camp?
Do not have any. It was a painful time for me.
9) What was the hardest thing to face in the camps?
The fact that I did not look Japanese.
10) What was a normal day like?
That is a hard one to answer as nothing was "normal" Food was eaten in a mess hall that was quite a distance to walk to. Bathrooms were a separate building.
11) Which part of the internment sticks in your mind most?
The fear of not knowing what was going on and why it had all happened.
12) Which part of the war sticks in your mind most?
The fact that my father was in the army and we were faced with hate from many people.
13) What was your feeling toward the Americans during the war?
I am an American! I liked myself!
14) How did you cope from one day to the next? Was there something in particular that allowed you to remain sane and in control?
My faith in Christ.
15) Can you describe the barracks you lived in?
A bare room with no shelves even nails to hang clothes on. Each family was assigned to one room which contained just cots. One per member and our mattress was a bag stuffed with straw.
16) What were meal times like?
I was not used to the food, I hated it.
17) Did you have any sort of entertainment in the camp? If so, what?
We had old movies that we walked over a mile to the center of the camp to see. It was outdoors and we sat on the ground and watched it .
18) Was there any forced labor on the camp? If so, what?
Not that I knew about.
19) What was your reaction when you first heard that you would be living in an internment camp?
Didn't know about it till we ended up in one.
20) What was your reaction when you first heard that you were free?
Glad to be back with my father and back home to our home.
21) Did anything good come from the camps? IF so, what?
It has taken years but it has taught me to be able to walk in other kids shoes that feel scared, mad, frightened. That I can take the worst thing that ever happened to me and use it for good as per this report .
22) Did anything happen within your family? (Brothers sent to war, parents dying etc?)
Just that as soon as we got out my father was drafted and he served as an interpreter for General Mc Arthur.
23) Do you feel that the internment of the Japanese was purely racial, or was it a matter of loyalty?
It was the hysteria of war. Our leaders were scared and this was something they could do to show the country that they were being protected.
24) Since you were only permitted to take what you could carry to the camps, what did you take?
Just clothes. That's all the room we had.
25) Did you give up anything that was particularly special to you? IF so, what?
My freedom!!
I believe those are all the questions I have. If there is any other information or any more memories you wish to share, please do so. Thank you for taking the time to do this, it is truly appreciated.

Staci Swanson

Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 21:52:00 -0700
From: Terry Janzen tjanzen@mail.agritel.net

I will answer as best I can under each question.

To Terry Janzen,

My name is Shriti Masrani. I go to school at Pembroke Hill, which is in Kansas City, Missouri. I have to do an oral history project about the Japanese internment camps during World War II. Since I liked your responses on The Japanese American Internment website, I thought that you would be a good person to interview. If you have time, please respond to the following questions. Please reply at kinisash@aol.com by Wednesday, April 19th so that I can turn the project in on time. Thank you very much for spending your time. Here are the questions: (please respond as detailed as possible)
1) Can you describe your family's background and why and how they came to the United States? (where did they settle, ages of family members, type of work, etc.)

My fathers parents went to Japan in the 1890's with Thomas Edison to sell generators and later to bring electricity to Japan. My father and all his brothers and sisters were born there. They had a large estate in Yokohama, where we lived later on in the 1930's.. My father became vice president and general manager for Columbia Record Company in charge of the Far East. His office was in Tokyo.
2) How were you and your family treated before the incident at Pearl Harbor?
Very well as we were very well off.
3) How were you and your family treated after Pearl Harbor and the ensuing Executive Order of 9066? If there was increased hostility, at what point did it take effect?
Remember that I was a child so did not know what was going on till we were moved.
4) Which factors, do you believe, accounted for the hostility towards Japanese-Americans?
There was allot of very strong propaganda going on which stirred up allot of hate. Also just the fact that we were at war caused fear.
5) Did you attempt to deny any ties to Japan?
I never considered myself as Japanese even though my mother was Japanese.
6) In your opinion, how "Americanized" were the Japanese immigrants around this time period?
Again, I must speak as a child. The Japanese kids seemed to get along with their playmates.
7) Were you and your family sent to internment camps or relocation centers? Please describe the evacuation experience and your reaction. ( Did others take advantage of the situation?)
Internment and relocation centers are names for the same place. The bus ride was very scarery for me as we had no idea where we were going and my father was not allowed to go with us. As the oldest child I was expected to take care of everyone and I was just so scared.
8) How would you describe the extent of your loss due to the evacuation?
For me the principle loss was to my confidence. I found it very hard to be hated by the Japanese kids and when back out to be hated by the American kids who considered me Japanese and the enemy.
9) Please describe your and your family's experiences at the assembly center, relocation center, or camp.
Again all the same thing / different names. I was not used to being with Japanese children or Japanese people as all the Japanese people I knew were our domestic help. ( cooks, servants , chauffeur)
10) Did you comply passively or try to resist? Did the others resist?
I did not see anything like that . Everyone was trying to show the government that they were good citizens and trusted the US government.
11) How did you maintain Japanese community life? (schools, newspapers, etc.)
Since we were one of the first released, we did not see any school started. It was also summer vacation time under normal times. Each "block" had men appointed to take care of problems within the block.
12) How was your family treated after they left the camp? How would you compare this treatment to the treatment received before World War II?
It too time to be accepted into the town but the police chief and his family took us under his protection ( by this time my father was in the Army overseas in the Pacific ) The Methodist church also came to our rescue and the teachers in the schools were kind and watch out for us.
13) Do you believe you received adequate compensation for your losses?
Not mentally.
14) How do you feel today about the US government's actions during WWII regarding Japanese-Americans?
What happened , happened. It can't be changed. Because of it happening, America has been more careful about the civil rights of it's citizens. Any time a lesson to the good is learned, perhaps it was worth it.

I hope that I have answered your questions. Feel free to ask for clarification on any point.
Terry Janzen

Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2000 16:28:29 -0700
From: Terry Grimmesey Janzen tjanzen@agritel.net

Bubbrowns@aol.com wrote:

Dear Terry,
I am currently studying to become a social studies teacher at Rivier College in Nashua, NH. I am writing regarding a lesson plan I am putting together and I would like to get your input. Currently I am looking for primary sources that reflect the experiences of women during different periods in American History. I have tried to represent all American women, and I am looking for a source on Japanese American women during the incampment. Also, any input you may have on your experiences will be greatly apreciated (I have been reading your letters and think they are a wonderful source of information). Please let me know any sources that would get the message of what life was like best. This lesson is being prepared for 10th and 11th graders.
Thank You so much for your time.
Mabel K. Brown
What would you like to know? Please remember that I was not even in my teens. I think it may be an idea of perhaps having the kids write a diary of how they would of felt to leave all their friends, school, and go from perhaps a popular student to one who has to leave town, in shame, hated by everyone, with just the clothes and all they hold dear in one suitcase. Remember no camera, radios etc. The government has taken it weeks ago. They would have no idea where they are going and how long they will be gone. They will face these conditions when interned.
1. Family lives in just one room. Three other families live in same barracks in their one room.
2. Bathroom in center of block of barracks. One for men, one women's.
3. Food served in mess hall. No choice of food. No fresh fruit, milk, etc.
4. No school for six months.
5. Nothing to do, can't go anywhere as there are armed guards outside a tall fence.
6. Clothes have to be washed in bath house by hand.

I can come up with lots more conditions if you are interested.

I would be glad to expand my ideas as I have always wanted to have kids do something like you are planning. Trouble was I was teaching math and was in a jr. high school.

Terry Janzen

Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2000 17:41:26 -0700
From: Terry Grimmesey Janzen tjanzen@agritel.net

Bubbrowns@aol.com wrote:

Thank You so much for responding so quickly. Through this lesson, I want my students to know what it was like, what you have given me so far is wonderful! !! Part of the New Hampshire state standards is to have students learn about the past, and see it for what it was, not how they would interpret it in the present. I also want to put as much emphasis on positive accomplishments as possible. I realize you were young, but if you could give my students a sense of over-coming the hardships to become who you are now that would be great. It is important for my students to know and understand history as it happened, however, I don't want my students to see Asian-Americans as a "pity-case." I want them to be able to understand how you were able to move on from the interment camp, though not forget, and become the person you are today.
Thank You so much for your time on this, I really apreciate it. Thanks,
It took me allot of time to get over the shame. I didn't know why I felt so scared of life and facing new things, now days we have counselors to help students but then it was an unheard thing. What I did was to be an over achiever at school. If an assignment called for a thousand words, I would double it, add hand drawn pictures , even make costumes to help illustrate my assignment. Then I felt good. I see it all now that I can look back on my life.

When I started working with kids, I found I could understand there hurts and they seemed to know that I did. My work was with mostly kids who were having trouble with certain classes. Mostly English, reading and spelling first and the last ten years or so with math and pre algebra. The kids worked so hard for me but I don't think they would have if I hadn't gone through what I did. We ( our family) was only held there for under six months, perhaps we had been there longer it I wouldn't have had to face so much hate from our town. I think it was all the hate directed at us that bothered me the most but the kindness of the ones who cared so made me realize that one person can get rid of allot of bad feelings for a child . That is what had guided me my whole life. Look for the good in every one you meet, it's there. Don't let the outer trimming fool you. The kids with the wildest, far out looks are not as tough as they try to look like. They are hurting the most. That is their defense but they are looking for your acceptance, your trust, the look in your eyes that says, I'm so glad to see you, I'm glad your in my class. You are special!

Please ask questions, I don't know what you need that I can answer.

Date: Sun, 24 Sep 2000 17:41:26 -0700
From: Terry Grimmesey Janzen tjanzen@agritel.net

Bubbrowns@aol.com wrote:

Hi Terry,
In my lesson, students are looking through their history text books under certain themes, such as Native Americans, Early colonial women, Women during the World Wars, etc. They are required to find five women from their assigned theme, and find out what the women they chosed contributions were. Also, I want the students to research the general roles of women within the theme they researched. If you had to summarize the Asian American Women's role during the internment camp, what would it be? I love the information you are providing so far. I found a poem by Mitsuye Yamada (http://voices.cla.umn.edu/authors/MitsuyeYamada.html) which talks about the humiliation you also wrote about. Are their any other sources like this for me to share with my class? Also, what would be the most important thing that you would want people to know about that time?
I can't speak for everyone but I would like to have stressed how the Japanese trusted America and it's government. Ask your kids if they would trust the government so much that they would give up their freedom to show that they are true Americans? In no way can this happen in this time and age where we have felons in prison protesting against their rights. Bad food, overcrowding etc.

What happened was bad but a lesson was learned. Remember we still have Native Americans living on reservations, what can the kids do for their rights? Are their rights being honored ? Have them think about our " sue, everyone " society. Is this good or it it money madness? What are our real rights? What is our role in up holding our Constitution?

Remember that all this started through fear. America was afraid and so were it's people. Fear, and the other side is trust!!!!

Better get of my soapbox.

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2000 18:20:56 -0800
From: Terry Grimmesey Janzen tjanzen@agritel.net

Ann wrote:

Hello Mrs. Janzen,
I just came from your website where you were telling about your time in camp. I was wondering if you might be able to help me out if you can. I hope you can point me in the right direction anyways.

My father was also held prisoner at Poston. He never hardly talked about camp. He was an Issei. All he ever told me was that he was a cook in camp. And that he almost died from the heat. People had to put him in a tub of ice. So, that's all he told me about his time in camp. But he also said that because he was a cook, he tried to give more food to the ladies that were pregnant.

What I wanted to ask was, do you know of any places where I could find out anything about my father. He never talked about his side of the family, so I don't know if I have or had any family on his side. All I know is that he was born in Kumamoto, Japan in 1900 or 1901. I don't even know who to write to, to ask about any papers that they had on him in camp. About what block or what number he was assigned to. I thought maybe there would be something about where he was born in any of the papers.

I read one of your emails to someone about the Japanese living in the middle states not having to go to the camps. Well, the governor of the State of Colorado back then said that the Japanese that were living in Colorado were to far from the coast to be a threat to the military, so the Japanese from Colorado didn't have to go to the camps.

There is a statue of the governer that is in a little section of a corner park in Sakura Square. A city block that houses the Denver Buddhist Church, a Japaneses Market that has all kinds of diffrent oriential food, a Japanese beauty salon, two or three Japanese shops, a Japanese bookstore, and a low income apartment complex for mostly Japanese Americans.
There is also a statue of Minoru Yasui too.

I'm sorry for such along email to you, but I hope you can point me in the right direction to where I can try to find out anything about my fathers side of the family.

Oh, before I go, a Mr. Ken Furuta has told me that there will be a reunion for the Poston 111 people in San Diego on June 1, 2, and 3.

Waiting to hear from you, and thanking you in advance.

Peace and Love,
Masayo Ann Iwasaki

I think allot of the people were ashamed of being in camp. It was like being in jail because of the wire fence and the guards with guns to keep us in. I think the best place to get the information is to the museum in Japanese town in Los Angeles where they have a memorial about it. Another place will be to write to the FBI and under the Freedom of Information Act ask about what they have in their files on your father. I have always wanted to do this but so far haven't.

How old was your father when he was in Poston? It's so terrible that so few Japanese are still alive who went through all this . Those who were babies or children under eight or so don't seem to remember any of it like my younger brother and sisters, perhaps they have just blotted out the memory of it.

I would like to help in any way that I can. Please feel free to keep in touch.

Terry Janzen

Date: Mon, 08 Jan 2001 08:21:56 -0800
From: Terry Grimmesey Janzen tjanzen@agritel.net

QueenFMo@aol.com wrote:

My name is Monica and I'm a high school student in Birmingham, Alabama. In our debate team at school, we're studying the Korematsu decision and contemplating if the decision should be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. I was wondering if you thought that the U.S. should overturn the racist precedent set by the decision (if you are familiar with the decision) and I was wondering if you could describe the absolute worst conditions you faced at the internment camps if you remember any. Also, I was wondering if you even think that the precedent set by the Korematsu decision was racist. Thanks for reading this, if you are not familiar with the decision, that's okay, but I was just wondering if you could help me in any way you see fit. Thank you for your time, your other emails have greatly helped me, I am very appreciative of your website. Thank you!
Monica Scott
That is real interesting as I don't think the Japanese felt that it was racial but that it was a necessary of the results of war. I feel that they were rather ashamed of what happened at Pearl Harbor. I also believe that they believed the US Government that they were being protected and that they could prove that they were good citizens by doing everything that the Government asked of them.

It was interesting that the Supreme Court felt that there were racial overtones over the matter but you must notice that it did not come up till 1944, way after everyone was already in the camps. You must also notice that the military was given preference over what should be done .

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask more questions, I will answer if I can.

Terry Janzen

Date: Sun, 20 May 2001 14:40:33 -0700
From: Terry Grimmesey Janzen tjanzen@agritel.net
To: Tammy Takaishi beetlebugg1984@yahoo.com
Subject: Re: My Finished Term Paper

That was very well done and I feel honored that you were able to use my experience to help explain things.

America has learned allot from her past mistakes and grown in strength. Mistakes must be made in order to learn and grow. This happens with a country as well as with children. Remember strength, not hate. Accept and rise.


Tammy Takaishi wrote:

Hello again Ms. Janzen,
This is Tammy Takaishi. You may remember me from a few months ago, I interviewed you via e-mails for my term paper. Well my term paper is finished and handed in neatly, so here is the copy that I had promised you. I hope you don't mind but I quoted you a few times. Thank you again for all your help and support. Feel free to contact me if you have any comments.
Thanks again, Tammy Takaishi

Term Paper: Japanese Internment
By Tammy Takaishi
I am half-Japanese, and half-American. I am proud of my heritage. I have always looked up to America and Japan with great pride and respect. Since I am a bit of both races, I never felt partial to one or the other. Except for during World War 2, when America imprisoned the Japanese. I feel angry that America a land “where all men are created equal” would do such a horrible act to innocent people. I feel that the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of Japanese was un-necessary, and very immoral.


Immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt issued the Executive Order 9066. That order “Permitted the military to circumvent the constitutional safeguards of American citizens in the name of national defense”(pg. 1 Internment History, pbs.org).

That order set up the process for evacuation and the mass incarnation of at least 120,000 Japanese people, including many who happened to be U.S citizens, or permanent legal residents of the U.S. The official explanation for the internment of Japanese people is it was for the protection of America, however, the evidence indicates that America was scared and racist.


After Japan bombed Pearl Harbor; many Americans believed that Japanese should be removed because they would be disloyal to America. Many people became scared of Japan’s power after Pearl Harbor. Quite a number of Americans feared that Japanese-Americans would leak out military information to their homeland, try to create utter chaos in the States, or something else along those lines. They figured the only answer to that was to lock up all people of Japanese ancestry. Although today the act of internment is considered immoral, in those times it was the “norm” so to speak. Internment in those times was considered for “National protection” etc. very few thought of internment as a debauched act.

Although Japanese, who live in America, would feel some loyalty to Japan, they would also feel loyalty to America. They would not be less loyal then any other American, after all they left their homeland for America. As Francis Biddle, Attorney General, points out in a postwar memoir:

“American citizens of Japanese origin were not even handled like aliens of the other enemy nationalities–Germans and Italians—on a selective basis, but as untouchables, a group who could not be trusted and had to be shut up only because they were of Japanese descent…” (Pg. 3 reocities.com /politics).

However Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt had a different opinion:

“…An American citizen, after all, is an American citizen. And while they all may not be loyal, I think we can weed the disloyal out of the loyal and lock them up if necessary.” (Pg. 4 geocites.com / politics).

General DeWitt assumes that he can go through and handpick the loyal citizens from the disloyal ones, quite impossible. Japanese-American citizens are just as loyal to the U.S. as any other citizen. It is unfair to accuse Japanese-Americans of being unfaithful to America with out accusing all the rest of the citizens of the U.S. The Japanese-Americans came to the United States for freedom, liberty, and opportunity. Things they may not be able to have in their homelands. Why then would they be disloyal to the nation that gave them so much?

The issuance of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin put into motion the internment of Japanese people. The Executive Order 9066 at the time was justified by the American Government as: “As a `military necessity’ to protect against domestic espionage and sabotage.” (Pg. 1 pbs.org.)

The Executive Order 9066 states:

“The successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises and national defense utilities as defined in…” (Pg 1, historical documents, pbs.org.)

While that seems very comforting that the United States would be so well protected; what the Government meant by “protection” was to lock up any Japanese-American into internment camps whether they were a citizen or not. It was because the Government didn’t trust the Japanese, which was, at the time understandable. That still does not justify why the American Government had to intern only Japanese-American citizens, and not any other people such as German-Americans or Italian-Americans.

A small percentage of America believed that Internment of Japanese was immoral. That was considered the revisionist point of view. (The view I take.) Many American’s at that time believed that the Government was handling the situation of Japanese internment in a respectable manner. That internment was for the best. Many newspapers at the time also expressed similar thoughts. The San Francisco News was one such paper. Follows in an excerpt from an Editorial on April 10, 1942.

“When preliminary plans first were announced by Lieut. Gen. DeWitt for evacuation of Japanese from the combat zone we felt confident the task would be performed with greatest consideration for the evacuees, and we gave assurance to that effect in these columns” (sfmuseum.org).

The same newspaper also published an Editorial on March 6, 1942 about the best way Japanese-American evacuees can show loyalty is through cooperation with the Government and going to the concentration camps. The revisionists at that time believed that the Internment was immoral and saw no good in the act. The revisionists and their point of view were constantly being shoved aside because the mainstream point of view was shown in most all papers.

“…There was just the radio and papers and they thought nothing of printing rumors. There were not the rules governing how new was given out. America was rural. Everyone was scared.” (Terry Janzen)

The Government was determined to show America that internment of Japanese-Americans was for a good cause, and many people believed that. People who took the Revisionists point of view back then and now still cannot find any justification from the American Government for the act of internment. The Government themselves have admitted the act was cruel and offered reparations, therefore verifying that there was no and will never be justification for the internment.

The Japanese people did not comprehend why they were being put into internment camps. Imagine if you were to live back in those times, you would probably be wondering why you would have to go to the camps and why German-Americans, Italian-Americans and citizens of other enemy nations did not have to go as well. That is possibly what many Japanese-American felt when being shipped off to the camps. The only explanation one can give is that America feared Japan more then the other enemy nations at the time because of Pearl Harbor. That in turn led to other reasons such as Japanese be loyal to their homeland etc. It is unconceivable to realize why anyone would be interned in the first place. Many evacuees had to leave behind their homes, jobs, and families to go to a concentration camp just because they happened to be Japanese. It makes no sense, many evacuees were loyal to the U.S.A. and wouldn’t dream of ever being disloyal. It would be hard to comprehend how one moment you are considered an ally and the next moment an enemy, and you hadn’t done anything.

Many children were issued into the camps, and many were mistreated. Even if they weren’t abused their childhoods were still scarred by the events. The concentration camps were filthy. People crammed into little houses, 120 x 20 foot barracks divided into six one-room apartments. There were watch -towers and barbed wire fences. Names were replaced with numbers. It seemed more like a prison then a “camp”.

“`He came home with twenty tags, all numbered 10710, tags to be attached to each piece of baggage, and one to hang from our coat lapels. From then on, we were known as family #10710.’” States an evacuee. Another women say: “I lost my identity”. (Pg. 4 Manzanar).

Terry Janzen, a survivor who was put into internment as a child recalls:

“It was not like anything that could even be called civilized. One room with iron beds for each person, nothing else…no privacy, even in the bathrooms. Remember that we were allowed just one bag each that you had to be able to carry to take with you. Would you know what to take if you were told to pack just one bag not even knowing where you were going and for how long?’” (Terry Janzen)

Many people were emotionally affected as well as physically. Terry Janzen on the psychological affects the camps had on her.

“It took me a long time to get over it. I thought it had to be my fault that nobody liked me. I was afraid of everyone and everything. It wasn’t until I decided that I would be the ‘best’ in everything, I became an overachiever…it was twenty years or more before I could look people in the eye or shake hands. (I was afraid of touching anyone.) (Terry Janzen)

Years later the American Government gave cash reparations to the families of the interned. The American Government admitted that the acts of internment towards people of Japanese decent were immoral and very malicious. The Government basically said that there was no justification for the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War 2, in the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, also known as the Japanese American Redress bill. The bill “Acknowledged that ‘a grave injustice was done’” (Pg. 2 pbs.org/children of the camps.)

There is no doubt that the American Government has no justification whatsoever for the internment of Japanese people during WW2. In truth America interned innocent Japanese-Americans because America was scared and racist, not because of “National protection.” As seen throughout this essay, money alone could not ever be enough to repay the victims of the horrible act of internment. The Government assumes that just because they gave the victims money that the wrongs would be right again. Money can never replace the loved ones lost, the years wasted, and psychological effects of the camps.

Date: Sun, 04 Nov 2001 19:58:30 -0800
From: Terry Grimmesey Janzen tjanzen@agritel.net
To: Acervantes4@aol.com

I will do my best to answer below each of your questions. Hope this is what you were looking for. Keep asking questions and don't be afraid to ask for clarification

By the way, a book by Phil Hoose written for young people just came out a couple of months ago called, "We Were There, Too". Young people in American history. You will find my story in there also, that may answer some questions.

Terry Grimmesey Janzen

Acervantes4@aol.com wrote:

Hi, Thank you very much for letting me ask you some questions. This is my first little batch. Im sure you have been asked some of these before, so please be patient! These mostly have to do with life before Pearl Harbor.

1. When were you born? And where?

I was born July 15, 1930 in Tokyo, Japan
2. Who were your parents? What kind of work did they do?
My fathers name was Orris R. Grimmesey and he was vice president and general manager for Columbia Records for the Far East. My mother was Japanese and she was a housewife managing the home and the servants.
3. What kind of personality did you have when you were young? ( happy, optimistic?)
I was a very spoiled rich girl. I was happy and always on the go and very active. I liked being a leader.
4. Before everything happened, what did you love about life in general? What kind of music did you like to listen to? What were your hobbies? etc..
We always had music going in our house ( Columbia , naturally) it was mostly classical. My interests were varied. I was interested in art and reading as my parents had their own library. I wanted to know what the names of everything . Names of plants, history of people and places, if I ran into a new word, I had to know what it meant. I guess I have been that way my whole life, come to think of it.

I got my first computer when windows first came out. The one I have is my 6th. Now I'm having fun with digital photography.

5. Where did you live? I knew you were young, but what things stood out about your community and your surroundings? Were you involved in anything?
In Japan we lived in what was the English section of Yokohama on our estate. When we moved to California, before and when the was started, we had an orange/lemon grove in Upland, California. ( Upland is up the road from Ontario.) As a child in Japan, I remember piano, golf and ice skating lessons.
6. When I was very young, things like my race or family background never really mattered to me. Was it the same for you? Did you consider yourself "different" from others?
In a way, In Japan we did not mix with the Japanese children even though my mother language was Japanese. At school I learned English, French and Japanese grammar. I went to private international schools. By the way, the chauffeur drove me to school. I was called the American girl by my friends. One was an English girl, another a French girl and a couple of the boys were British and Australian. It never occurred to me as being Japanese, so when I was interned as Japanese, it was a shock to me.
I will have some more soon, hopefully! Thank you again very much. Bye!
Date: Thu, 08 Nov 2001 22:10:06 -0800
From: Terry Grimmesey Janzen tjanzen@agritel.net
To: Acervantes4@aol.com

Say Alex,. how about telling me more about yourself. I assume you are female but having a "boys" name myself I know it can cause confusion.

I'll try my best to answer you on the newest questions.

Acervantes4@aol.com wrote:

Sorry for the wait. Sometimes when the school week starts, I can get really busy. Thank you for the answers on my last questions and thanks for the book suggestion. Here's my next little batch.

1. What do you remenber about Pearl Harbor? How about the little things about that day, like the weather or if there were clouds in the sky?

You must remember this was way back in the days that all news came from the radio or paper. We found out about Pearl Harbor when Grandmother Grimmesey phoned and told Daddy. Must of been sunny as southern California is mostly quite arid. I really don't remember.
2. How were your parents reacting when they found out, and in the days that followed? How about you?
My parents were quite upset as Daddy was worried that the government would send Mother back to Japan. I was American, was upset with what happened but I figured that I was one of the good guys!
3. Being young, did you grasp the whole seriousness of the situation?
No, again it was just watching Daddy and Mother upset and both started teaching me how to take over as a mother to my younger sisters and brother. I was a good cook but I was taught how to wash clothes, iron clothes and do more housekeeping.
4. Did you and your family face any discrimination? If you were too young, how did your family feel about their homeland? Did you still have relatives or close friends in Japan?
We lived out in the country and not in town proper so we were away from most people. I know Mother and Daddy were upset and very worried. My mother had a sister in Japan and we had a house and most of our money in the bank there. My friends, I had heard earlier had gone to England, France and other countries where their parents were from.
5. You said that you lived in Upland, California. Some of the strongest support for the internment came from California newspapers and politicians. Do you remenber coming across any of that?
I heard that when we were realized. that the town tried to pass a petition to make us leave. The Chief of Police and his family lived in the next farm over and take took us under their wing. At school the teachers tried to make sure we were not picked on and the Methodist Church also protected us with friendship.
6. Wha happened when you and your family first learned of the internment? Since you were still young, did you know of anyone who protested it in any way? What happened to your father and his job?
We didn't learn of the internment till we were interned. I want you to think of what I am about to write next because I think it is the most important thing about the internment. Remember that tens of thousands of Japanese were interned. They were given a very, very short amount of time to do something with their business and homes and just pack on suitcase that they could carry for every member of their family and go to a staging area. Alex, think of that, look around your room, you can have only one suitcase. Your radios and cameras were taken away from you days before. What will you take? you have no idea where you are going and no idea for how long. Could you leave your home, friends?

Yet the Japanese all did. Can you see such trust in the US government that they knew what they were doing, that the Japanese were willing to do as asked to prove they were loyal Americans? To me this is awesome. Such blind faith of the government. They were so ashamed at what Japan did, they felt that they were Americans and if the government wanted to move them, they were willing to go. This will never happen again because nobody trusts the government that way any more.

About my father, he was drafted into the Army soon as we were released and because he spoke fluent Japanese, he became one of General McArthur's interpreters.

Thank you again. If there is anything you feel like saying that you think would benefit me, please say it! I will probably have another batch soon, if its ok. Take care!

Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 20:03:07 -0800
From: Terry Grimmesey Janzen tjanzen@agritel.net
To: Acervantes4@aol.com

Hope this all helps . Let me know if I need to clarify any of my answers. Sorry about thinking that you were female, you are very articulate. I'm impressed.

Acervantes4@aol.com wrote:

Sorry for the wait again. Thank you also for your last responses; you gave me a lot to think about. You asked to tell a little about myself. First, I am a boy. Im a high school student in Bakersfield, California and im a junior. Im not too sure what else to write about myself! If you want to know anything specific, just let me know. This will probably be my second to last batch of questions, so thank you for your patience!

1. You said the Methodist Church provided you with friendship. Before the internment, were you and your family very religious? How about after?

We attended the Methodist Church, I had a personal relationship with Jesus that I carried while in camp and still to this day.
2. This may be a little broad, but can you please descibe living conditions inside of the camps? What did you live in? What did you eat, etc....
Each family was assigned to one room of an barrack that was cut in four sections. There was five of us so we had just one room which contained five cots and nothing else. Larger families had two rooms, I believe. We ate all our meals in the mess hall that was quite a ways from us and served more then one block. The food was not very good as we had nothing fresh from eggs that were powdered, no fresh fruit or vegetables. Each block had one bathhouse/bathrooms for men and one for women. We washed clothes in the bath house by hand in tubs that were there for that purpose.
3. How did you adapt to you new conditions? What things did you miss the most (Besides freedom of course - unless freedom was the only thing)?
I was not used to the crowded conditions as we had lived on a estate in Japan and on a orange grove in California away from town. I missed so much the fresh fruits, school and friends. I missed reading as we had our own library that we brought over from Japan.
4. What experiences are the strongest in your mind today about life inside the internment camps that you would like to share?
I think the lack of privacy. The feeling that one never know what the next day would be like. Feeling that I was stuck here a prisoner behind barbed wire with guards guarding us for the rest of my life. Nothing to read.
5. What is your personal opinion on the govenments actions? How do you feel today about some of those who were responsible for the internment?
When I was little I used to think there was something wrong with me because I was hated by the Japanese children and when I got out, to be hated by the American children. I started thinking it had to be me and felt very ashamed. Now I can look back and see it as a learning experience, I know that I came through that so I can get through anything that life can throw at me. It has molded me into a better person, able to see both sides of any problem or person. Seeing children on the outside of a group, I felt their hurt and was able to help them though their rough times within the school system. When I told kids I understood what they were feeling, some how without my having to tell anything of my background, they felt my understanding, they trusted me.

I hold no bitterness but I am in awe of the Japanese Americans who were so trusting of our Government to do what they did. Such faith ! I made me sad to see them when they came out that they were so ashamed. Even to this day, that they were interned ,that they will not speak to their grandchildren about it. So sad.

I am writing a book about the internment and I hope to bring out about the faith of the Japanese Americans, their trust of government. The feeling of children as they leave all they love behind and go face a future they have no idea where, when , how long.

6. When were you released from the camp? How did you feel the day and days after you were released? Did your family get back everything they lost, or was it like a whole new beginning for you?
It was back to the same school and town but we were only in for six months so that the hatred for the Japanese were quite strong and hard to take. Also soon after Daddy was drafted into the Army . That's when a few good, kind people took us under their wings.

I hope these are the answers you were looking for. By the way ,the last parson who entered the contest you are in using my info won the contest about two years ago.

Let me ask you one thing Alex, look around your room at all you hold dear, Now you are told that you may just take one suitcase that you can carry, to take with you to a place where you have no idea where, no idea how long. What clothes will you pack ? Remember, no radios etc. Car won't fit. Which of all your important treasures will you take? What will you do with your other things? This is what a boy your age would have had to face. This is what the internment meant at your level.

I hope this puts things clearer. I wanted your heart and head to feel the internment. Awesome isn't it?

My next set of questions will probably be the last. Thank you for answering them all so far, and if there is anything you would like to add, please write!

Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001 16:03:24 -0800
From: Terry Grimmesey Janzen tjanzen@agritel.net
To: Milena Gambarian milenag55@hotmail.com
Subject: Re: Japanese Internment relating to Sept. 11th attacks.

Dear Milena.

America was a different when Pearl Harbor happened. First was the way that news traveled. Newspapers and radio's were not under strict rules and that was the only way that news was received all over America. America was also a much trusting place where a handshake sealed many deals from buying cars to houses. Warfare was looked down on and people were willing to work at any job to put food on the table. Anything but to be on warfare.

When Pearl Harbor happened the news everyone received was that it was a terrible sneaky thing that Japan did and the Japanese in America were very ashamed. Also this was the first time that a nation had declared war on America and America was scared, (think of the feelings you had on Sept. 11) That was what brought all this into happening, the idea of internment camps to make sure all the Japanese in the coast would not be able to cause any mischief. A place to keep an eye on them.

I want you to think of one thing. The Japanese were willing to be sent to the internment camps because the US Government asked them to go. They wanted to prove that they were "good" Americans and if their part in the War effort was to be placed in camps, they were willing to go. They wanted to prove that they were loyal and that they trusted the government to know what was best for them. They were told it was also for their safety but I question that as we had bared wire and guards with guns patrolling out side it all the time to keep us in! We were not allowed out .

No, it can never happen again. Perhaps because it happened before with us, and America learned a lesson. I think the real reason it can never happen again is that the trust of Government is gone! We even question how the war is being fought. America can never grow into a strong "ONE" nation till we start to trust and lean on each other. We have to stop trying to one up on each other and find the values that made America great.

I don't think you will ever find loyalty like the Japanese for America. Yet to this day many Japanese will not speak of the internment because they still were ashamed to have been interned and treated as criminals, their trust destroyed.

Please feel free to ask me more questions and I will do my best to answer them.

Terry Janzen

Milena Gambarian wrote:

Dear Mrs. Janzen, As I was doing some research for my paper on the Japanese Internment I came across your stories, and they interested me very much. I am currently a student at Fordham University in Bronx, New York about 20 minutes away from the September 11th attacks. According to your stories and being that you lived through the internment I have a couple of questions for you. I would appreciate it greatly if you can take your time in answering some of my questions. It is evident that the anti-Japanese feeling during the 1940s brought about the internment. After the September 11th attacks there has been a lot of anti-Arab or Muslim feelings.I just wanted to know what your thoughts are on the recent events that our country has been through; relating to your experiences. I know that there are a lot of concerns among tha Arab- American communities that the results of the bombing might bring about a similar action such as the internment towards them. If the American Constitution provides that all Citizens be given freedom and equality, how can Japanese-Americans been placed in camps in their own "back yards"? Do you think that history would repaeat itself,? Or that this country has come a long way? Maybe, legal orders wouldn't be carried out by the government, but the prejudice and anti-Arab feelings will remain as it once did against the Japanese Americans after tha bombing of Pearl Harbor. How do you think this mentality can be changed ? In addition, how can we stick to the fundamental believes that this country is what it is because of Japanese-Americans, Italian-Americans,Arab-Americans,e.t.c. That's the whole point,that we are all Americans, and that's what makes our country so great! Sincerely,Milena Gambarian P.SOnce again I want to thank you for taking your time in reading this e-mail. It means a lot to me. If you have any questions you may contact me anytime. milenag55@hotmail.com. Thank You!

Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 18:41:23 -0800
From: Terry Grimmesey Janzen tjanzen@agritel.net
To: Shannon Webb shannon_webb@hotmail.com

OK, I will answer below your questions.

Shannon Webb wrote:

Hello, This is Shannon Webb again. I tried to look for the book in my school, but they didn't have it. I don't have access to a public library for a few days. I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions for my report. 1) What's your full name? How old are you?
Terry Grimmesey Janzen I am now seventy- one years old
2) Where were you born? When did your family come to the U.S?
I was born in Tokyo, Japan and we came over in 1938
3) How did you feel when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor? What was your families reactions?
My family heard from Grandmother Grimmesey about the attack and my parents were very worried because Mother was not a citizen and they were afraid she might be sent back to Japan.
4) How do you remember the camp? Does anything stand out in your mind? What were the living conditions like?
We had straw that was put into large sacks that were our mattress to sleep on on top of cots. Each family had one room to live in which contained just the cots and nothing else, Not even nails to hang clothes from, no tables, no chairs. I hated most the lack of privacy and the fact that we had to walk such a long ways to a bathroom and further to a mess hall where we were fed. The food was terrible and we had no fresh vegetables or fruit. We had to wash our clothes in tubs by hand in the bath house.
5) What did your family do with all of your things before you moved to the internment camp?
We still had the house because Daddy did not have to go as he was not Japanese.
6) What did your family do when you guys were able to leave? Where did you go to live?
We went back to the town and house that we left.
7) In your personal opinion do you think internment camps can be repeated in the future? Why or Why not?
No because it took the trust of the Japanese Americans to trust the US Government that they knew what they were doing and they wanted to prove that they were good citizens. Now days, no one trusts the government. Let me ask you, do you trust the government? If they asked you to turn in your cameras and radios ( now days its computers , digital cameras and video recorders) would you and your parents do it? I think not, you'll be yelling about your rights as a citizen, right. The Japanese did and they too were citizens.

Thank You so much! Sincerely,Shannon Webb

Date: Tue, November 12, 2002 7:27 pm
From: Terry Grimmesey Janzen tjanzen@agritel.net
To: Shantiel Hawkins shantielh@hotmail.com

Shantiel Hawkins wrote:

Ms. Janzen,

I have emailed you a couple times before regarding your experience in the concentration camps. I was wondering if you would please answer a few more questions that my teacher asked me to ask you!

Thank you very much,
Shantiel Hawkins

1. What were your experiences in the concentration camp?

For me it was to find out how not Japanese I was. I found it strange to be with all Japanese people and kids because even when I lived in Japan, the only Japanese I knew were our servants, cook and chauffeur. I had no Japanese friends as most of my friends were English children.
2. Do you have any advice for educators of immigrant children?
Don't treat them differently. Don't think they can't do anything because they will rise up to your exceptions.
3. How were other Japanese Americans were treated in the camp?
I'm not sure as I saw things from a child's view. I had the feeling that they found comfort in the closeness of a group even though behind barbed wire.
4. Could you please describe a typical day?
It was always in line. To go to the bathroom, to take a shower, even to use the toilet. Food was in a mess hall, again in line to be served to eat. Nothing else to do but walk around in the dust of the camp. No newspapers, magazines, radios, nothing! Nothing to write with, draw or anything
5. What do you think about the way Japanese have been portrayed in the media over time?
During the war, it was terrible. Even the cartoons made fun of the Japanese and made them look like monkeys. Thank goodness it has changed.

I hope this helps answer your questions. Feel free to ask more if I can help in any way.

Terry Grimmesey Janzen

Date: Wed, April 2, 2003 7:01 pm
To: Mutzbud@aol.com
From: Terry Grimmesey Janzen tjanzen@agritel.net

What I would like to have kids do, think what you can take if only you had one suitcases you could carry. Sit on your bed and look at all the things you have around you. Remember that the suitcase in those days were mostly made of cloth covered over wood . Heavy and limited in what you could pack. ( no give) In those days there were no portable radios, no CDs, everything ran off a vacuum tube so it was bulky. ( the first computers made in the late 50's took a whole room and had as much or less memory then a calculator that you can buy now for under ten dollars) Everything was big and bulky including clothes. No nylon. No plastic. Shoes were made of leather or canvas for sports. You have no idea where you are going so you don't know if it will be hot or cold, you have no idea for how long you will be gone. What will you pack? What will you have to leave behind? What will you do with what you can't take? One family had the church store some of their things but people when they found out about it , took it all. Nothing was left when they came back. What will you do with your pet cat or dog? What is going to happen to your pictures on the walls? books? House? your parents jobs or farm? You will be leaving all your friends, mostly now they also hate you because you are now the enemy Japanese. Will you ever see your house again. ( most didn't) If you think about these things, you will understand the true horror to a child, parents and families. There was so much hate directed at the Japanese because of Pearl Harbor. Not because they were Japanese but that they were the enemy. America had never been attacked before and Americans were scared.

I hope this will help put you in the frame of mind what the Japanese faced.

Pleased feel free to ask more questions .

Terry Grimmesey Janzen

Mutzbud@aol.com wrote:

Dear Ms. Janzen,
Thank you so much for replying to my letter. It will be of great help. It was really kind of you, and it means a lot to me and the team. I sent you a copy of the play to read. Thanks again!

Title: When rights were wronged; the Japanese American Internment Experience

Aya - Amanda Carson
Kimmy - Catherine Reich
Grandmother - Kristin Gales
Mother - Natalie Giampietro

(Grandmother is rocking in the chair looking over her journal. Kimmy comes home from school)

G: Hello Kimmy!
K: Hi, Grandmother. (Frowning)
G: Kimmy, why such the long face? Did you have a bad day at school?
K: Well, it was an okay day for me, but not for Mohammed. Ever since the terrorist attacks on September 11, the kids at school are against him. It's like they blame him for what happened. They don't understand that he's harmless. He would never do such things.
G: I certainly hope you didn't tease him.
K: Oh no Mohamed is my friend.
G: Then I hope you stood up for your friend.
K: (Uneasily) Well, I am sorry, Grandmother.
G: Kimmy, being sorry is no excuse. When you don't help your friends in these situations, you are just as wrong as the others.
K: I understand Grandmother, but why are you so upset with this.
G: Believe it or not, if you lived during World War II, you would have been in the same situation. I was, and I understand how Mohammed feels. It was a sad time when we, Japanese-Americans, were deprived of our rights. During World War II, Japanese-Americans were put into internment camps.
K: What were internment camps and why were Japanese-Americans put in these camps?

G: Perhaps if I read my journal to you, you would understand. (Starts to read journal)

September 14, 1941

Dear Journal,
Today mother gave me this journal. She told me it would be good to write down my feelings. I find this kind of awkward but I will try to write. To start out, my name is Aya and I am 11 years old. I live in Little Tokyo, Sacramento with other Japanese-Americans.
(Aya starts reading after this sentence. Grandmother slowly fades out. Kimmy and Grandmother freeze. On other set Aya is sitting at a desk writing and reading out loud to herself.)
A: I don't understand why Americans think we're different. We have all the rights that everyone else has. Mother says the government should be taking the responsibility to protect us against discrimination. It really upsets me that they dislike us. We are Americans because we were born here; it says so in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. I leaned in school that all Americans are entitled to equal protection under the law. Mother has talked about a Japanese Exclusion League. She said that it is a group that is trying to ban the Japanese, even us Japanese-Americans.
(Mother is sitting knitting off to side)

M: Ay, come, tell me about your day.
A: It was horrible.
M: I am sorry; did the kids pick on you?
A: Yes! I just don't understand why they pick on me!
M: Honey, I wish I had the answer to that, but unfortunately I don't.
(The two both sit there in a somber mood and eventually freeze. Grandmother and Aya unfreeze)

K: Wow, Grandmother I didn't know things were so harsh!
G: Sweetie, if you think that was bad wait till you hear the rest of my journal!
(Grandmother flips through the book and starts reading)

December 7, 1941

Dear Journal,
Today Pearl Harbor was bombed. Pearl Harbor is in Hawaii, and lots of military planes and ships are kept there. Many were injured and killed, which disturbs me. However, the worst part is that Japan is responsible for this tragic event. Now, everyone likes us even less! People are afraid that we are enemies of the United States. I love America, and would never do anything to hurt it or it's people. Today the F.B.I came and took Father away for no apparent reason. We don't know where he is, or even if he's still in California! I hope we'll see him soon.

(Grandmother looks at Kimmy. Kimmy sits there thinking over what her Grandmother just read.)

K: That's how the kids in my class feel about Mohammed. This is just like what is happening now!
G: Yes, Kimmy it is.

(Grandmother begins reading again)

February 19, 1942

Dear Journal,

Today the unthinkable happened. President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. This order authorized the military to take control of Japanese-Americans.
(Aya takes over reading now and Grandmother and Kimmy freeze)
A: Mother told me that internment camps in the desert are being built, and that we may be taken away like Father was! This really scares me. The media has been making the Japanese look worse! I feel as if all my rights are being stripped away and I am not American anymore. The 5th Amendment of the Constitution says all Americans can't be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. If they take us away without a cause or a chance to speak, the Constitution means nothing!

(Aya gets up and walks to mother who is sitting in a chair knitting)

M: Aya, look what I have! A letter from your father. "Dear Family, Hope all is well. I am in a Justice Department camp in Montana. I am in good health. Please do not worry. Be prepared for what will happen. Please send me some warm clothes. I miss you."
A: Why is the paper all cut up?
M: It must have been censored. The Army must have thought those parts of the letter would give us information that they think would help the enemy!

(Back to present)

K: Grandmother, did your father do anything wrong? Did the FBI really have a reason to take him away?
G. No, Kimmy him being taken away was an example of our rights being taken away. They didn't care that my father was innocent, or American, they only cared that my father was of Japanese descent!
K: That is horrible!
G: I know honey, it is. Let me read more.

April 1, 1942

Dear Journal,

Today Mother and I saw a poster at the grocer's. It was the Fourth Army Wartime Civil Control Administration poster from the Western Defense Command.

(Aya takes over and Grandmother and Kimmy freeze)
A: Next Tuesday, April 7, 1942, we are to be evacuated from the city. It also confirmed that we would not be permitted to leave the place they take us. Mother explained that we have to report to a Civil Control for further instructions. The Civil Control Station is equipped to assist the Japanese population affected by the evacuation. While at the grocer's we heard a little boy ask his mother why we will have to leave. The mother replied, "Well, probably because we look Japanese." Then the boy responded, "But mother, we're Americans, not Japanese." That quote, is so true! We aren't Japanese, we are full-fledged Americans.

(Back to present day)
K: Grandmother, I now understand what they were talking about in the Hokubei Mainichi newspaper.
G: What do you mean dear?
K: Well the other day I read an article titled, "Never again: The new Internment." I didn't understand it, then. This article talked about FDR's Executive order 9066. Arab-Americans are afraid they could be put into internment camps. I am beginning to understand how the Arab-Americans feel. If the Arabs who are here are being monitored, then the Arab-Americans could also be put under suspicion.

G: Yes dear, you are right. I now think you are beginning to understand my disappointment.
A: Yes, Grandmother, I think it is becoming clear. Please read more.

G: April 7, 1942

Dear Journal,

Today I took a long bus ride to Camp Manzanar. We couldn't take very much, only what we could carry. We met with others in San Jose and then loaded on to the bus. When we made it to the camp we realized that it wasn't very interesting. We were immediately herded into a line where we were given immunizations, and the crowds knocked down many young kids. (Aya takes over now and sits writing)
A: Some were vomiting while being jostled in the line. The living conditions aren't any better. Mother and I are in one small barrack that is divided in six units. In the barrack there is one bulb dangling from the ceiling, and an oil stove for heat. The washing facilities and outhouses are in a public room. I feel as if I have no privacy. Mother is going to be a teacher, and will receive between 12 and 19 dollars a month. The food is horrible and lines are long; they serve us squid and rice. They just stereotype us and figured we only eat raw fish! I have never eaten squid and I threw up after eating it. (Freeze and back to present)

K: That sounds horrible! Did you ever try to escape?
G: No, what was the use. There was barbed wire surrounding the camps as well as security guards. Sometimes we paid the guards to let us walk to the lake and swim. My mother wasn't allowed to vote anymore. The 15th Amendment of the Constitution gave her that right, but it was taken away from her and the other adults when we were interned.

K: It must have been hot in the summer.
G: Yes, I felt like I was being cooked! Listen I will read you a summer entry. (Turns pages)

August 18, 1944

Dear Journal,

I have been so busy with schooling lately. It is stifling hot here. During the days sometimes we dig holes in the sand and sit in them to cool off.
(Switches to Aya)
A: It helps cool us but sometimes scorpions bite us. We have come so far from when we first arrived. It has gotten better, sometimes we get to watch movies.
M: Hello Aya, how was your day?
A: It was hot. Have you heard from father?
M: I received a letter from him and I think you should hear it. (Reads letter aloud) My loving family, I hope you are making out well in Manzanar. I have been drafted into the Army. I can't tell you exactly where I will be but I hope to see you soon. It seems odd to fight for my country when they have been stripping us of our rights. However, I still find it my responsibility to defend our country! I love you both and will see you when the war is over. Love, Father (Letter ends)
A: I hope Father doesn't get hurt in the war. Some of my friends were taken to the camps called Topaz and Heart Mountain and their families were kept together. I wish that Father was with us.
M: So do I Aya.
(Back to the present)
K: When did you leave the internment camp?
G: We were dismissed in 1945 when the war was over.

August 15, 1945

Dear Journal,

Today WWII ended and we were dismissed. I am not sure what life holds outside of camp. It was a long journey and I am now 14! I must learn to forgive our government. (Aya Takes over here) Mother says they were just scared and I now understand that. However, I still feel what they did was wrong and just because we are of Japanese descent doesn't mean that we should have so many rights taken away. Father will be coming home from the war. I can't wait till we are all reunited again! It should have been the government's responsibility to protect us, but instead we were jailed!
(Freeze and comes back to the future)

K: Did the government ever take responsibility for taking away your rights?
G: In 1948, we were given a small amount of money when the Japanese American Claims Act was issued. In 1976 President Ford rescinded Executive Order 9066. President Bush, in 1990, made a formal apology, but that was 45 years later.
(Back to past, Kimmy writes in journal)

K: Wow Grandmother! I understand why you were disappointed. Mohammed and his family are AMERICAN citizens. It doesn't matter what a person's ancestry is, no citizen should have their rights taken away unjustly.

G: Yes, I now hope that you can understand what Mohammed is experiencing. I hope that if America goes to war against an Arab country, that those of Middle Eastern descent will not be put in internment camps.
K: Grandmother, I have learned a lot from your experiences. I will learn to have the courage and to stand up for people.
G: Just remember this quote I always refer to, "Courage is something strong within you that brings out the best in a person."

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