Wade Nomura Offers Insights Into
Japanese Internment During World War II
Rotary Ventura South was honored to have Former District Governor Wade Nomura as our guest speaker on Monday, October 3. Wade delivered a fascinating presentation on the relocation of Japanese Americans during World War II.
Executive Order 9066 in February of 1942 resulted in the evacuation of thousands of Japanese Americans along the west coast of the United States. Wade noted that his parents were part of this relocation, which ultimately resulted in their internment in a camp in Arizona. Other such camps were located in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. "People were forced to leave their homes with what they could carry," said Wade, "and they were given assurance that the property they left behind would be guarded until their return, which, unfortunately, did not happen."
People lived in the relocation camps for four years, during which time they tried their best to lead normal lives, working in the professions they had before they were relocated, setting up schools and other facilities. Food was often in short supply.
Very few photographs of life inside the camps exist, due to the U.S. Government's reluctance to publicize the relocation. Wade told of one of just a few photographers, Toyo Miyatake, who was able to build a camera out of lenses and a shoe box. Wade shared several of the images he created.
Wade also noted that HR Bill 442, enacted in 1988, was designed to provide $20,000 in redress to survivors for what the government called "a grave injustice." Wade encouraged the audience members to visit Manzanar, one of the California relocation camps which is now a National Monument. "It's a sobering part of our history," said Wade, "and one that should not be forgotten."