Monday, December 1, 2008
Life During Japanese Internment Camps
Many people became prejudice of the Japanese after the attacks of Pearl Harbor. These people were called “Japs” and this was, and still is a huge negative connotation. It was very common for people to want to start fights with Japanese people. Most Americans thought that the Japanese were working with Japanese government. None of the Japanese in the United States were every charged of being a spy. Some people today still have these suspicions of the Japanese.
I interviewed my boyfriend whose grandfather John Kamada spent about three years in the Fresno internment camp. His family was farmers from Fresno during this time. His family along with many others, lost everything including all their property and most of their belongings. Only a couple of months after the attacks of Pearl Harbor his family was taken away from their homes to these camps along with thousands of innocent people. The only things they could take with them were clothes, small musicals instruments, and cameras. He came to the camps on a bus as a teenager with his parents and brother.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the person who actually sent these thousands of Japanese American citizens to these camps. He also wanted to intern the German and the Italian, though the problem is these people are too hard to pick out from a crowd. Japanese people are easier targets because they looked different compared to most Americans. Internment camps were made throughout California and throughout parts of other states to target Japanese citizens. As a result most Japanese Americans who were interned during World War II have a very unfavorable view of this well known president often praised by most Americans. John Kamada is now eighty-three years old and was sent to an Internment camp in Fresno California. He today is still bitter about president Roosevelt and the pain he was put through with his family.
At the camp he lived with his family in a horse stable. In this stable the only floor was made up of horse manure covered up with some mats. The family had cots to sleep on and shared this stable with other families. A lot of the people inside these internment camps tried to make makeshift communities, so they could have somewhat of a life. They built a church and would have dances. His family could not leave just like all the others. The camps were heavily guarded with armed guards. If anyone tried to leave without permission they would be shot. Sometimes people could leave to work. They had to do odd jobs outside of the camps, though they did not make much money at all.
Most people due to the financial situation of the times, many people joined the military including John Kamada. Even when World War II was over, quite a few people were not released. This is when John decided to join the Army. This was his only way out. This was true for a lot of Japanese Americans to prove to the American government that they are true to the United States and not the Japanese spies.