Monday, January 25, 2010

More Photos

I've been looking around the Internet for photos to give our play context.  Ironically, some of the best photos from the resettlement era are actually idealized photographs that are gorgeous, but are essentially (some scholars say) propaganda aimed at showing Japanese Americans that it was safe to come back to the West Coast.  If I get permission - I think most of them are public domain - I may post some here.  In my search, however, I've found some photos of the internment camps and relocation centers (mostly race tracks and fairgrounds) that I've never seen before - some of them are on older postings farther back on this blog.  Here's a few more that may be of interest to you:

This might illustrate why Nisei always show up really early for everything.

Potent photographic evidence that there was anger and resistance in Camp. 
One scholar told me recently that part of the reason many Nikkei rejected John Okada's book is the fact that it seemed to "prove" that the government was right to distrust the Japanese Americans - these guys sure look like the enemy, don't they?  Of course, the evidence is overwhelming that these guys were solely inspired by their anger at being unjustly imprisoned.

Another potent image that may help to explain why so many Nisei would rather not remember those days.

The internees did a lot to make the best of a bad situation, and as a result, most of the images we have of that era show us how they were able to miraculously transform dusty barracks into what could pass for actual dwellings.  This photo, however, captures a sort of squalor that I think everyone would prefer to forget.

I believe this is the Puyallup Fairgrounds, where the Japanese from the Seattle area were taken for a few months before being moved to Minidoka.  This is where Ichiro and his family would have gone first - it's also where my mother and her family went. 
A side story:  We used to go this fair every year when I was a kid - my parents never mentioned its uglier past.  Ever.

A Minidoka "family" portrait - where Ichiro's family would be.

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