During the Second World War, the United States government incarcerated American Japanese ancestry and their immigrants parent

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During the Second World War, the United States government incarcerated American Japanese ancestry and their immigrant’s parents. It is approximately 230 miles northeast of Los Angeles, Manzanar; one of ten internment camps that U.S. had relocates them to detain the arrived Japanese from all over States during the wartime. For many of Japanese, Manzanar became an experience that won’t be forgotten.

Nearly 500 barracks organized to 36 blocks, Shared men’s and women’s toilets and showers, a laundry room and a mess hall. Japanese had to live in these non-suitable soldiers camps where dust covered every utilities inside and outside the war relocation center. Since most of the Japanese used to live in California and Washington, Manazar’s climate seems to be unaccustomed for them, where summer temperatures soar high and winter temperatures fall below freezing.

However, many internees attempted to adapt with the bad situation they are living in by establishing essential facilities like churches, temples and boys and girls clubs. In fact, they transferred Manzanar to a small modern American town in that time. Jeanne Wakatsuki was the youngest member in Wakatsuki’s family, a family that lived with the epic of Manzanar. A new era for Jeanne and her family has begun.

Jeanne’s Papa and Mama, as she used to call her father and her mother, Papa was interesting in collecting fruits from the trees located inside and around the camp, while Mama worked as a dietician in Manzana’s hospital. Woody, Jeanne’s brother, worked at the general store while he waits the army to induct him.

Kyio collects arrowheads and sell them to old men, and Ray plays on a local football team. Jeanne and her sisters begin to occupy themselves with multiple activities and hobbies. Therefore, Jeanne’s family has been adapted with Manzanar’s life conditions.

In 1945, The Supreme court ordered to close the Manzanar camp and the U.S. government starts to distribute loyalty statement for the Japanese inmates. The statement considered two options for them, “YES YES” or “NO NO”, picking “YES” means permission to live in America, while choosing “NO” means deportation to their homeland, Japan.

Jeanne’s family was divided in terms of loyalty to America. After Hiroshima being totally bombed by the American army, Jeanne’s father was confuse about which path he will take, he has to determine his family fate, thus he had an intense debate with his son Woody, as Woody has a stream loyalty to America, while Japanese dignity and identity strongly appears in Papa’s emotions. At the end, Jeanne’s father made his forced decision; he chose to continue his life in the United States as well as his family, where they could have a decent life, after farewell to Manzanar.


Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, Farewell to Manzanar (New York: Random House 1973).