Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura, a Japanese American, grew up in Gallop, New Mexico. He was a young man when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and President Roosevelt signed the order to move all West Coast Japanese Americans to internment camps.
“In February 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, the first of the orders that would ultimately incarcerate 120,000 West Coast Japanese, more than 60% of them citizens of the United States.”-Joe Mozingo LA Times
Partial Summary from LA Times article: This was not mandated in New Mexico because it was considered outside of the coastal military zone. Some cities in New Mexico still decided to participate in the removal of Japanese Americans. Gallop’s sheriff, Dominic Mollica, did not think it was the right thing to do. Hiroshi Miyamura went on to be a hero in the Korean War, saving his squad and another squad leader. He was captured by the Chinese and carried his wounded friend Joe Annello in a forced march. Hiroshi Miyamura won the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was greeted as a hero on his return to Gallop and was recognized with a statue, a new high school and Freeway interchange named in his honor.
Jim Kanno was one of American’s first Japanese American mayors. He spent his last years of high school in an internment camp. This LA Times article tells his story and mentions there were people in Orange County, California who helped his family save their farm while they were interned.
“The family’s neighbors in Orange County had continued to manage their farm and “turned over the next crop to them so they could sustain living expenses,” Kanno’s wife, Frances, recalled.
Were there others who did the right thing when Japanese Americans were removed from their homes? One who did was Bob Fletcher, a California State Agricultural Inspector, who gave up his job to take care of the farms of 3 Japanese American families while they were in an internment camp. Many other Japanese Americans lost their homes and businesses during the internment.
“Few people in history exemplify the best ideals the way that Bob did,” said Tsukamoto’s daughter, Marielle, who was 5 when her family was interned. “He was honest and hard working and had integrity. Whenever you asked him about it, he just said, ‘It was the right thing to do.’ ” (The Sacramento Bee/Washington Post)
Bob Fletcher died at the age of 101 in 2013. Here is his story.
There are several books about the Japanese American interment during WWII. Here’s a few:
Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki Farewell to Manzanar : a true story of Japanese American experience during and after the World War II internment / Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston.
Julie Otsuka The Buddha in the Attic
Yoshiko Uchida The Invisible Thread
This post is for We Are The World Blogfest. Co-hosts this month: Simon Falk, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Inderpreet Uppal, Sylvia Stein, Damyanti Biswas. If you would like to learn more about this blogfest and participate click on the link above. Featured image is of vintage Japanese watercolor art via Pawny on Pixabay.com