“Japanese American history is not so black and white”
The past few days have been extremely eye opening for me. Seeing the actual place where the mass incarceration happened was beyond what I had expected. Before coming to Manzanar I had wondered how the place itself was going to affect us and if it was going to be an intense negative or positive experience. I would definitely say that I was moved seeing the camp itself and snippets of statements from people who endured it. It really put into perspective some of the positives and negatives of the camp and I feel like I have gained a little more insight on camp life and the conflicting choices Japanese Americans had to make at that time. Because of Manzanar, I know now that the camp and that part of Japanese and Japanese American history is not so black and white.
“Something that initially seemed more distant suddenly became very real“
The first time that I was convinced of the long lasting effects of these internment camps was the fact that I saw a survivor breaking down in tears after remembering the effects of the camps. Something that initially seemed more distant, suddenly became very real after seeing raw emotion from someone who went through it. I think that most people today have a disconnect from historical events because they have never experienced something like them before and hearing and seeing a glimpse into the lives of people who have gone through hardships destroys the disconnect and allows for people to see it for themselves first hand.
私がICU Time Travelersの活動に参加したきっかけは、翻訳活動への関心からでした。参加当時は、日系アメリカ人の強制収容の歴史について何も知らず、私が太平洋戦争中の日本とアメリカと聞いて真っ先に思い浮かべるのは、幼い頃から沢山のビデオを見て、本を読んで、教わった、広島と長崎への原爆投下と沖縄での地上戦、強制収容と聞いて思い浮かべるのは、ナチス・ドイツによるホロコーストでした。お話を聞かせていただいた生存者のJune Berkさんもおっしゃっていましたが、日系アメリカ人の方々の強制収容所での生活は、例えば戦時中の日本での暮らしや、アウシュヴィッツでの暮らし程は過酷なものではなかったかもしれません。正直なところ、翻訳活動の中で資料に触れたり、実際にマンザナーを訪れて
“I found myself clinging to my cultural ties”
I learned a lot today, things I did not expect to learn. I am from Los Angeles, specifically the Historic West Adams Neighborhood, and I always wondered why it was “historic.” The night before we met Professor deGuzman, I never expected to be hearing names from my neighborhood, quite literally places down the street from my house, streets like Crenshaw, the old bowling alley I now go for Starbucks, and Dorsey Highschool. Professor deGuzman finished the picture of what Mitch from Go For Broke started for me, the intersectionality of my community with the Japanese-American story. I appreciated Professor deGuzman’s knowledge and I see
”They saw that one of the offerings fell off the monument”
This is one of my favorite photos I took while at the Manzanar monument because it reminds me of what our entire program and time here have been about: paying respect. I was past the fence heading back to the van when I saw Mia and Kanan slowly approach the monument in unison. The lighting was good, and they were well spaced from the monument, so I snapped a few photos before heading out. They stopped, looking up at the monument, then one looked down on the ground, bent down, and appeared to reach her hand toward the monument. Finally, they looked at the monument for a little longer, before doing a little bow (see above), and
“Walking through the remains and restorations of Manzanar was a completely different experience”
No matter how many history books one reads or informational videos one watches, nothing can compare to first-hand experiences and accounts. I had thought I was well-prepared to visit Manzanar, at least in general knowledge. We, as a group, had spent a significant amount of time learning about and discussing the camps and what occurred within their barbed wire fences. However, walking through the remains and restorations of Manzanar was a completely different experience. The area is unbearably hot. It is hard to breathe, hard to move around too much. You feel perpetually dehydrated and burnt. The camp itself spreads farther than any image
“We should not repeat horrible histories”
I learned a lot. Especially the religion of Issei and Nisei left an impression on me. I had never thought about the religion of Issei and Nisei and how they tried to keep the faith in the camp. I got surprised to see the handmaking Buddhist altar because it was so beautiful and detailed that I could not believe it was crafted in the camp. Also, when I saw the bible with handwriting Japanese translated from English, I could learn how strong the power and influence of the religion in the camp have. Moreover, it was nteresting for me that the dog tags for Buddhist Japanese American soldiers have a “p” sign that shows they are Buddhist and protestant. And I
“Their actions changed a lot of things and had a strong meaning for”
Through the discussion at the Go For Broke museum, I think it is important to learn about this history to understand what happened to the Japanese Americans as we, as ‘Japanese’. As some of you mentioned in the discussion, even today, when you think of Japanese Americans, many Japanese people think of foreigners, not Japanese. On the other hand, they are not recognised as Americans in the USA. They are treated as ‘foreigners’ both in Japan and in the USA. Just as the Nisei were discriminated against during the war, this misunderstanding could lead to new discrimination and the same thing could happen again. Therefore, I
私たちはプログラムに参加するまでずっとオンライン上で活動していましたが、今回各地を訪れてみて、机上で学ぶことと実際に体験することの違いを痛感しました。2日目に訪れた全米日系人博物館では、入口付近にいた人に暴言を吐かれ、物を投げつけられました。私たちの多くがアジア人だからです。これまで勉強してきた人種差別は今でも続いているのだと肌で感じる悲しい機会でした。全米日系人博物館及びその向かいに位置するGo For Brokeでは、日系人を公に差別していたことを示す資料（ジャップ狩猟免許と書かれたバッジなど）に大きなショックを受けました。
“They had no privacy and human rights“
I could learn about Japanese Americans in this project. Before I went to the US, I only knew few facts about Japanese Americans. I wondered why America teach students history of Japanese Americans in school because Japan do not teach it. However, my thinking has changed thanks to have a lot of opportunities to learn about it. I watched a lot of sources or pictures, met with Japanese Americans, listened the story of Japanese Americans who experienced the life in concentration camp, watched concentration camps in Manzanar. I was amazed the attitude to be admitted by American society. Issei and nisei made an great efforts to be Americans.
“We become kind of “numb” or desensitized to the true terribleness of war on an individual level“
I found myself most interested in two main things on the Go For Broke National Education Center trip. The museum had an interactive virtual experience activity where you listen to testimonies divided into multiple categories. Up until this point, I had only heard about the fact that Japanese American’s fought in World War II, and while they were awarded many accomplishments, they suffered considerably.
While I think everyone agrees war is a horrible event that always includes the risk of people dying, I also feel at
“It takes a lot to be Vietnamese, and it took me a long time to be proud to be Vietnamese“
I’m feeling some sort of conflict about what it means to be Japanese American. I learned that in order to survive as a collective, the collective has to be inclusive and welcoming. But from what I know, the collective should be selective to remain strong. Maybe it’s because, in my opinion, it takes a lot to be Vietnamese, and it took me a long time to be proud to be Vietnamese. I used to be ashamed of my origins because of what was shown to me on TV about Western life, of what is accepted as beautiful by Western standards, what language is cool, and
“The days in Manzanar taught me a lot“
We looked around the places about the incarceration camp now called Manzanar National Historic Site. I heard courageous and miserable stories there. And I found an impressive phrase on board at the museum. One Camp, Ten Thousand Lives; One Camp, Ten Thousand Stories. The days in Manzanar taught me a lot.