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Secret Manzanar Guayule Rubber Project to Be Spotlighted in Educational Forum

By August 27, 2015No Comments

By P.C. Staff

LOS ANGELES — The Secret Manzanar Guayule Rubber Project, a program sponsored by the Manzanar Committee about the high-quality, natural rubber from the Guayule (pronounced y-yoo-lee) plant that was researched and developed, in part, by Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated at the Manzanar concentration camp during World War II, will be held on Aug. 30 at 1 p.m. at the Merit Park recreation room in Gardena, Calif.

Rubber was in short supply during World War II, and with the United States in need of a new source of rubber, the United States Government invested $37 million to support the Emergency Rubber Project (ERP) in Salinas, Calif., where more than 1,000 scientists and technicians worked to plant and grow 32,000 acres of Guayule, aplant native to Mexico.

A smaller Guayule rubber project was started at Manzanar to develop techniques for faster growth of the plant and to increase yield of a higher-quality rubber.

On five acres of land, and at a cost of about $100, 40 Manzanar incarcerees produced a higher yield plant and a higher-quality rubber than the Salinas Project or natural tree rubber.

Featured at the event will be Glenn H. Kageyama, Ph.D., Professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, whose father was the late Frank Kageyama, a horticulturalist who was a key figure in the Manzanar project during his incarceration. Glenn Kageyama will speak about the history of Guayule and his father’s work. He also will demonstrate how to make rubber from Guayule.

Also featured will be Colleen McMahan, Ph.D., lead research chemist for the Agricultural Research Service Domestic Natural Rubber Project, United States Department of Agriculture, who will talk about Guayule as a domestic source of high-quality natural rubber, as well as its potential for low-cost bioenergy fuel.

The Manzanar Committee is dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the incarceration and violation of civil rights of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II and to the continuing struggle of all peoples when Constitutional rights are in danger. A non-profit organization that has sponsored the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, along with other educational programs, the Manzanar Committee has also played a key role in the establishment and continued development of the Manzanar National Historic Site.

The event is free and open to the public. The Merit Park recreation room is located at 58 Merit Park Dr.

For more information, call (323) 662-5102 or e-mail