Brothers Mamoru “Mori” (left) and James Tanimoto were among 35 Nisei men from Block 42 who were sent to Klamath Falls jail after they answered “No” on the loyalty questionnaire.
The event also will share insight on the Suyama Endowment, which strives to preserve the history of Japanese American dissent during World War II.
By P.C. Staff
Even before Tule Lake became a notorious segregation center that imprisoned alleged troublemakers during World War II, the camp was wrought with unrest.
In 1943, the Tule Lake administration had the men of Block 42 arrested to make an example of what could happen if others in the camp refused to register for the controversial loyalty questionnaire.
The public arrest of the Block 42 men frighten some Tulsans into complying with the War Relocation Authority’s orders by registering for the loyalty questionnaire, while it angered others to become more defiant.
Brothers Mamoru “Mori” and James Tanimoto will share their experiences of being among the Block 42 men who were arrested indefinitely without charge and sent to either the Klamath Falls or Alturas jails and then imprisoned at Camp Tulelake, a former Civilian Conservation Corp camp.
The program is set to take place on March 7 from 1-3 p.m. at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California in San Francisco and is co-sponsored by the National Japanese American Historical Society and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center’s Eji Suyama Endowment, which strives to preserve the history of Japanese American dissent during WWII.
The Tanimoto brothers will be joined by Lane Hirabayashi, professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the George and Sakaye Aratani chair in Japanese American Incarceration, Redress and Community.
A portion of the program will also be devoted to the Suyama Endowment. Prof. David K. Yoo, director of the Asian American Studies Center and Department, will discuss how the Suyama Endowment will work to preserve the experiences of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team draftees, Army and draft resisters, No-Nos, renunciants, conscientious objectors and other Nikkei dissidents of WWII.
Samples of documents and artifacts donated by generous Nikkei dissidents will be shared. In addition, Tam Nguyen, AASC Information Technology coordinator and Suyama project co-coordinator with Martha Nakagawa, will give a demonstration of the website that was created to enhance access to this collection.
The Endowment is named after Eji Suyama (1920–2009), a 442nd RCT soldier who was one of the few to survive the fierce battle to rescue the Texas “Lost Battalion” from behind enemy lines during WWII. He was also one of the few Nisei veterans to publicly support the stand of the WWII Nisei dissidents.
Come hear this first-person account of a little-talked part of World War II history and learn how you can help preserve the history of the dissidents through the Suyama Project.
For more info, please contact the UCLA Asian American Studies Center at (310) 825-2974 or visit the website at www.suyamaproject.org.