Student Relocation

Beginnings of Student Relocation

     The rather special problem represented by the Nisei college students was noted as early as March 8 (1942) by a small group of educators and YMCA and YWCA people in the San Francisco Bay area and was brought more sharply into focus on March 19 (1942) by the preliminary report of the Congressional Committee investigating the evacuation under the chairmanship of Representative John H. Tolan.  At least a week before the freeze order became effective, a Student Relocation Committee was formed on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley and rough plans were drawn up for facilitating the transfer of Nisei student to midwestern and eastern institutions.  On the very day of the Salt Lake City conference this movement was given further impetus when President Robert G. Sprout of the University of California wrote to Representative Tolan calling attention to the problem and indicating that he planned to submit proposals for solving it to the government agencies concerned.

     Meanwhile, the Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA) had been receiving requests for exemptions for a number of mixed Caucasian and Japanese families who wished to remain in the evacuated area and from the number of other Nisei who wanted to leave the area at once and join family members or continue their higher education father east.  At a conference in San Francisco on April 11, (1942) this whole question was discussed by representatives of the War Relocation Authority (WRA)  and WCCA, and a tentative plan for handling the exemption requests was agreed upon.  Although WCCA was mainly concerned about the mixed family cases, it also felt--and WRA concurred--that permits should be given in a few especially deserving cases to students and others for immediate travel eastward.
     On May 5, (1942)  Director (Milton) Eisenhower, who had been seriously concerned about the plight of the Nisei students from the beginning of the program, wrote a letter to Mr. Clarence Pickett of the American Friends Service Committee recommending the formation of a nongovernmental agency to deal with the problem of student relocation.  Eleven days later Mr. Pickett responded favorable, and on May 29, (1942) the National Student Relocation Council was formed at a meeting in Chicago attended by college and university officials from almost every section of the country.  The council, organized practically on the verge of June commencement at most institutions, was to concern itself throughout the summer primarily with the problem of facilitating Nisei student transfers in time for the opening of the academic term in the fall.  But throughout April and early May its predecessor organization, the West Coast Student Relocation Committee, had already helped about 75 Nisei students to move out and resume their studies, almost without a break, at school and colleges lying east of the exclusion zone.
Relocation Advisor at Poston

Source: WRA.  A Story of Human Conservation.  U.S. Department of the Interior. J. A. Krug, Secretary. War Relocation Authority, D.S. Myer, Director. 1946

Julia A. Goto (Poston 222-6-B), former Fresno State sophomore, majoring in pre-nursing, was the first to leave Poston to attend (Colorado) College. 7/1942

Helen K. Kazato (Poston block 227), left to attend Smith College at North Hampton, Mass. 10/1942

Kiyo Sato (Poston 229-11-AB), left to attend college at Hillsdale, Michigan 10/1942

Grace Watanabe (Poston block 215) formerly of the Novel Hut (Library) staff,  left to continue school in Evanston, Illinois.  3/26/1943

Chizu Nagareda (Poston block 32), formerly pre-school instructor at block 17,  left to enroll at the University of Colorado, Denver.  9/9/1942

George Matsumoto (Poston block 306), formerly of San Francisco, left to attend George Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, majoring in Architecture.   9/9/1942

Girl Scouts

Camp 1 Girl Scouts
Camp 2 Girls Scouts. March 1945. First row, (L-R): Teiko Oka, Emie Yuki, Kuni Ohara, Mayumi Yasumoto, Nancy Inokuchi. Back row (L-R): Akiko Nakagawa, Marion Nakamura, Sally Endo, May Gyotoku, and Leader Momo Iwakiri.
(Photo credit: M. Nakamura Masada.) 

The Girl Scouts were organized in 1942 with Poston camp 2 taking the lead. By December 12, 1942, 12 troops were active. Eventually, 4 troops were established in camp 3 and 11 in camp I. 

There were 18 leaders and 10 other adults, both evacuee and appointed personnel who volunteered to work with the Girl Scout groups. 

The Girl Scouts of Poston were affiliated with the Regional Girl Scout Headquarters in Palo Alto, California. Miss Vaal Stark, Regional Director of Girl Scouts, visited the center on at least one occasion.  A Girl Scout representative took part in the Youth Conference in April, 1945. She worked directly with the leaders and troops and provided a very much needed stimulus. 
Girl Scouts

     Yone Yamaguchi was selected leader of Poston III's Girl Scout troop of 20 members.  Next meeting will be Sept. 26, 4 p.m. and alternating Saturdays thereafter.

Source: Poston Chronicles, September 15, 1942 

Selective Service Violations by Disposition & Reported Casualties

Table 50.  Selective Service Violations by Disposition: Japanese Americans at WRA Center Who Refused to Report for Physical Examination or for Induction. 

Colorado River Center   Total:  112 violations

Charges Dismissed: 0

Awaiting Trial
-In Jail: 1
-Released on bond: 0

Volunteered prior indictment: 6

-Convicted:  106
-Released: 0

Table 50 reflects in part evacuee reaction against the reestablishment of Selective Service resulting from a feeling that Japanese Americans had been denied many of their constitutional rights and that, if inducted, certain discriminations would still be practiced against them.  Of the 315 total arrests from all 10 WRA Centers Selective Service violations, 263 resulted in convictions and 28 releases.
Table 51.  Reported Casualties by Location of Next of Kin: Japanese American Soldiers Who Resided in or Whose Next of Kin Resided in a WRA Center, November 30, 1945

NOTE:  This report is limited to (1) casualties reported to center administrative personnel as having occurred to soldier members of evacuee families; and (2) casualties carried in War Department Releases and identified as having occurred to soldiers who resided in or whose next of kin resided in a WRA Center.  Numbers in this report refer to individuals suffering casualties. i.e., a soldier wounded two or more times is carried as one casualty.

Location of Next of Kin:  Colorado River 

TOTAL:  104 casualties

Killed: 16

Wounded: 86

Missing: 2

Source: War Department Casualty Releases and Reports from WRA Centers.

Source: "The Evacuated People A Quantitative Description.  U.S. Department of the Interior.  J.A. Krug, Secretary.  War Relocation Authority D.S. Myer, Director. 1946

Inductions into Armed Forces

Table 49.  Inductions into Armed Forces: Japanese Americans Inducted From WRA Centers.   From Inception to Closing

NOTE:  This report is limited to those WRA center residents and relocated evacuees visiting at centers who were inducted directly from centers, and excludes (1) evacuees inducted prior to evacuation, (2) relocated evacuees volunteering and called by Selective Services who did not return to a center for induction.

 (War Department Releases indicate that between November 1940 and December 1945, 25,778 Japanese Americans were inducted into the Armed Forces--436 officers, and 25,340 enlisted men--with the estimated 13,528 from the mainland and 12,250 from Hawaii.)

Colorado River Center  Total.......... 611

Volunteered  prior to1/20/1944.......116....(1)
Inducted after 1/20/1944................. 495.....(2)

(1) Does not include volunteers not accepted for service.
(2) Includes volunteers and Selective Service inductions (Selective Service was re-established for Japanese Americans on 1/20/1944)

Source: Reports from WRA Centers

Table 49 presents the number of Nisei volunteers who were accepted for service prior to the reestablishment of Selective Service on 1/20/1944, and the number inducted from the WRA center after the reestablishment of Selective Service.  The first category is limited to those evacuees whose final departure from a relocation center was for evacuees who entered the services after they had relocated.  The latter category refers to actual inductions from the WRA center and includes a limited number of relocated evacuees visiting at centers who were inducted directly from the center. 

Source: "The Evacuated People A Quantitative Description.  U.S. Department of the Interior.  J.A. Krug, Secretary.  War Relocation authority D.S. Myer, Director. 1946

Section VI Nisei in the Armed Forces

On June 17, 1942, the War Department discontinued the induction of Japanese Americans, commonly called Nisei, into the armed forces, and accordingly all Nisei were classified IV-C (not acceptable for service because of ancestry).  However, at that time there were several thousand citizens of Japanese descent from Hawaii and the mainland who were already in the Army.

It soon became apparent that there was a need for citizens of Japanese descent for teaching the fundamentals of the Japanese language to officers of Military Intelligence, and in other capacities as translators and interpreters.  The policy adopted in June 1942 was modified in the late fall of the same year, and about 160 Nisei volunteers were recruited from the various WRA centers.

With the announcement by the Secretary of War that the Army had decided to form a special Nisei combat team, a recruitment program was conducted in February and March under Army supervision at all relocation centers resulting in 1,208 volunteers from the ten centers.  The Nisei accepted from these volunteers joined with several thousand volunteers simultaneously recruited from the Hawaiian Islands and with several hundred who enlisted on the mainland outside of the WRA centers to form the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in April 1943.

The Secretary of War announced that American citizens of Japanese descent were again subject to involuntary induction through the Selective Service system effective January 20, 1944.  It was later ruled that Japanese Americans at the Tule Lake Segregation Center would not be subject to Selective Service.  It was not until November 18, 1944, that Selective Service set up procedures permitting voluntary induction of Japanese nationals.

WRA had little to do with the actual administration of the Selective Service in the relocation centers.  For the most part it was handled according to Selective Service procedure with WRA officials acting as liaison with local draft boards, supplying information to the evacuees when needed, and sometimes furnishing transportation. 

An attempt was made to keep as accurate records as possible on the disposition of all persons called or volunteering after January 20, 1944, including only those called or volunteering at a WRA center or persons returning to a center prior to reporting for physical examination or induction.  As a result, records were collected for some 6,173 persons called or volunteering, 2,795 of whom were inducted from WRA centers, 852 were placed in Class 1-A who left the center before their final status was determined, 1,446 were rejected, 315 were arrested for refusal to report for induction or physical examination, and the remainder represented those who were unable to report for pre-induction physical examinations or for induction or active duty because they had relocated before their status was determined or because of illness, etc.  No report was received from the local Selective Service boards on some 241 persons who were called.

The publication, "442nd Combat Team", complied by members of the 442nd and published by the Information and Education Section of the War Department, summarized casualties to the 442nd (which included the famous 100th Battalion) in the summer of 1945 as follows:

Killed in action...................569
Died of wounds.................. 81
Wounded or injured.....3,713
Missing in action.................67
TOTAL............................  4,430

This is not a complete report on Japanese American casualties in the European theater inasmuch as Nisei soldiers served with many groups other than the 442nd.  Neither does it include Nisei casualties in the Pacific Theater which must have been considerable as War Department figures indicated that there were some 3,000 Nisei serving in the Pacific on V-J Day.

The publication, "442nd Combat Team" referred to above, lists decorations and citations presented up to August 7, 1945, as follows:

Distinguished Unit Citation.................... 3
Distinguished Service Cross................42
Distinguished Service Medal .................1
Legion of Merit..........................................13
Silver Star ...............................................249
Oak Leaf Cluster to Silver Star.............  5
Soldiers Medal ........................................ 11
Bronze Star ............................................579
Oak Leaf Cluster to Bronze Star ........ 24
Army Commendation  ............................13
Division Commendation ...................... 62

                       TOTAL ............................1,002

Since that time the Combat Team has been awarded four more Distinguished Unit Citations, one Congressional Medal of Honor, and numerous other citations, including Silver and Bronze Stars.

Source: "The Evacuated People A Quantitative Description.  U.S. Department of the Interior.  J.A. Krug, Secretary.  War Relocation authority D.S. Myer, Director. 1946