American Les Ouchida was born just outside the capital of California, but his citizenship was not much after Japan’s Pearl Harbor and the US broke into war. Based on his single Japanese ancestry, the 5-year-old and his family were taken from their home in 1942 and imprisoned in Arkansas.
They were among 120,000 Japanese Americans held at 10 internment camps during the Second World War, their only fault was “we had the latest names and the wrong faces,” said Ouchida, now 82 and living with a short drive from where he grew up and was raised as a boy because of fear of Japanese Americans coming to Japan in the war.
On Thursday, the California Legislature is expected to allow a resolution that will apologize to Ouchida and other victims of internees for the state’s role in government policy and actions that have helped to promote anti-Japanese discrimination.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order was signed. 9066 establishing the camps on February 19, 1942, and Japanese Americans are now marked on 2/19 as Memorial Day.
Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi was born in Japan and is one of about 430,000 people of Japanese descent living in California, the largest population in any state. The Democracy that represents Manhattan Beach and other beach communities near Los Angeles has brought in the solution.
“We like to talk very much about how we lead the nation by example,” he said. “Unfortunately, in this case, California led the American racist movement against Japan.” T
Conference commissions in 1983 concluded that the detention occurred as a result of “racial bias, hysteria of war and failure of political leadership.” Five years later, the US government formally apologized and paid $ 20,000 in refunds to all victims.
The money was not found instead of what was lost. Ouchida says that his father had a profitable delivery business with 20 trucks. He did not gain his business completely and died soon.
No compensation comes with California resolution. It focuses on California Legislation acts at the time to support the internees. There were two camps in the state – Manzanar to the east of the Sierra Nevada in central California and Lake Tule near Oregon state line, the largest of all the camps.
“I would like the California Legislature to continue to acknowledge and apologize to the survivors of this camp,” said Muratsuchi.
He said anti-Japanese sentiment began in California as early as 1913, when the state passed Alien Land Law of California, focusing on Japanese farmers who felt some of them in the huge agricultural industry of California. Seven years later the state barred anyone who had his Japanese descendants to buy farmland.
The internation of Ouchida, his brother and older parents began in Fresno, California. Three months later they were sent to Jerome, Arkansas, where they stayed for most of the war.
Because of their young ages at the time, many live victims such as Ouchida do not recall much of the life in the camps. But he remembers straw mattresses and little privacy.
Collective bathrooms had layers of toilets with no barriers between users. “They put a bag over their heads when they went to the bathroom” on privacy, said Ouchida, who teaches about the internees at the California Museum in Sacramento.
Before the closure of the camp in 1946, the Ouchida family was launched to a facility in Arizona. When the family was released, they took the Greyhound bus back to California. When he reached a stop sign near their congregation outside Sacramento, “I still remember that the women started on the bus crying,” Ouchida said. “Because they were at home.”
The resolution, introduced in conjunction with the Republican Leader of the California Assembly, Marie Waldron from Escondido, refers to “recent national events” and states that “learning from mistakes is a reminder of the past.” T
Muratsuchi said that this passage was inspired by migrant children who were in the US government over the past year.
Ouchida said that Japanese families were always regarded as true citizens before and after intern. He has no vitality in the US government or in the California government, choosing to focus on positive vegetation like the permanent exhibition at the California Museum which gives an insignificant insight into the internees.
“Even if it took time, we have an apology,” he said.