After the War Relocation Authority (WRA) was established, Director Dillon Myer hired John Provinse, an anthropologist, as Chief of Community Management in Washington D.C. He was the first (of 21) anthropologists employed by the WRA to research the internment camp life and help advise the camp administrators.
Poston Community Analysts
The Community Analysts were instructed to study the "causes of resistance" to the camp administration. The Community Analysts who were at Poston:
1. Lieutenant Commander Alexander H. Leighton, Medical Corps, USNR. In August 1942, Lt Cmdr Alexander H. Leighton, consultant with the Indian Personality and Research Project, headed a laboratory, which was established at the Bureau of Sociological Research.
He recruited 2 anthropologists, Spicer and Colson, and 15 Japanese Americans, and conducted research on the life within the Poston internment camp. Up until 1945, he was employed as a Special Research Physician for the U.S. Indian Service. In 1945, he worked as a Social Science Analyst for the U.S. Office of War Information. His book, "The Governing of Men", 1945 is based on his research at the Poston, Arizona internment camp.
2. Edward Holland Spicer. In 1942, he began work as a Community Analyst at the Poston, Arizona internment camp. He taught introduction to anthropology to the interested internees. In 1943, became Head of the Community Analysis Section of the War Relocation Authority, and moved to Washington, D.C.
3. Elizabeth Colson. From November 1942- September, 1943, she was an Assistant Social Science Analyst, for the War Relocation Authority on the relocation and the internee response at Poston, Arizona.
4. David Heath French and his wife, Katherine (Story) French, served as Relocation Advisers and Community Analysts with the War Relocation Authority, monitoring the conditions at the Japanese internment camps as part of a program to relieve abuses.
The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS)
The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS) was established at the University of California, Berkeley in early 1942 and was directed by Dorothy Swaine Thomas. JERS monitored the sociological, political, economic, and legal issues of the forced mass relocation. The internees who were hired documented their own and others' experiences, and reported on certain events and everyday life during the stay in the assembly and relocation centers. The extensive reports about camp life was recorded in journals, diaries, and field reports. In addition, the internees compiled case histories, conducted interviews with other internees and the WRA staff, studied group behavior, and performed statistical surveys.
The JERS staff workers at Poston were:
1. Tamie Tsuchiyama, UC Berkeley doctorate student, who agreed to join the mainlanders evacuated to Poston block 31. The authorities had prior notice that she was a JERS researcher, officially employed by the University of California, Berkeley.
NOTE: For more information on TamieTsuchiyama, visit:<http://postoninterneeobituaries.blogspot.com/2011/06/tamie-tsuchiyama-581915-5141984.html>
2. Richard S. Nishimoto, a bi-lingual Issei educated at Stanford University, who was interned with his family at Poston block 45-2-C. Initially, he worked with JERS as an assistant to Tamie Tsuchiyama, and about 6 months later, his assignment was enlarged by JERS director, Dorothy S. Thomas.
NOTE: For more detailed information about Richard S. Nishimoto, visit:
Other (internee) employees: Tom Sasaki, Chica Sugino, Hisako Fujii, Misao Furuta, Iwao Ishino, Mary Kinoshita, June Kushino, Yoshiharu Matsumoto, Florence Mohri, Akiko Nishimoto, Jyuichi Sato, James Sera, Gene Sogioka, George Yamaguchi, Toshio Yatsushiro, and Kazue Uyeno.
1. Conrad M. Arensberg. He spent one month in the Poston internment camp community conducting field work, with most of the time spent with various council members.
2. Laura Thompson, financial consultant to the community analysts.
3. Henry W. Smith, fiscal officer.
1. Starn, Orin. Engineering Internment: Anthropologists and the War Relocation Authority. American Ethnologist, Vol. 13, No. 4. (Nov., 1986), pp. 700-720. Available at: http://www.little-yeti.com/violence/readings/Engineering%20Internment%20-%20Anthropologists%20and%20the%20War%20Relocation%20Authority.pdf
3. Niiya, Brian. Japanese American history: an A-to-Z reference from 1868 to the present.
4. Hirabayashi, Lane Ryo, editor. Inside an American Concentration Camp: Japanese American Resistance at. Poston, Arizona. Richard S. Nishimoto. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press. 1995.