Senate Report: UnAmerican Activities

Report of the Joint Fact-Finding Committee on Un-American Activities in California
The Relocation Center at Poston
      Committee representatives undertook to investigate reliable reports of Japanese evacuees coming into California across the Arizona border at Parker, Arizona, despite the order of General De Witt barring all persons of Japanese descent from most of the California area for the duration of the war. The only exception to this rule was by permission of the Army.
      The War Relocation Center at Poston is near Parker, Arizona. The committee learned that parties of evacuees were in the habit of driving Government trucks and were observed on picnic parties at points from 14-22 miles from the center. It was not unusual for parties of evacuees, driving Government trucks from Poston, to visit cocktail lounges.
     Large slabs of laminated rock covered with century-old Indian hieroglyphics, were pried loose with crowbars and hammers in the Arizona desert and transported to Poston for Japanese fish ponds.
     Parties of Japanese evacuees journeyed by Government truck to the town of Parker on shopping tours. Government trucks from Poston, driven by evacuees, came to Parker daily to pick up hundreds of railway-express packages at the platform of the Santa Fe railway station. The packages were taken back to the center and distributed to the addressees without inspection by the center authorities.
     Committee investigators met the trains that stop at the Santa Fe station at Parker and on several occasions took photographs of Japanese who were visiting friends in the Relocation Center. Japanese evacuees boarded the train at Parker and rode into California, either to points within the State or for destinations out of the State via some California junction point. The railroad followed a route on the California side through a large area of desert country where American tank forces were holding dress rehearsals for battle.
     The committee had been informed, prior to this investigation, that Japanese evacuees had been coming into California by walking across the sand-bars at a low point in the Colorado River. 
     The citizenry of Parker, Arizona, and witnesses on the California side of the river laughed when their report was repeated to them. The committee learned that the Japanese merely drove across the bridge from the Arizona side to the California side and made no attempt whatever to conceal their movements. They were never accompanied by civilian employees of the Relocation Center or by Caucasian guards.

Respectfully submitted.
Jack B. Tenney, Chairman
Hugh M. Burns
Nelson S. Dilworth
Jesse Randolph Kellems, Ph.D
Randal F. Dickey

Source:  Senate Journal of April 16, 1945. Part of the Report of the Committee on Un-American Activities; "Japanese Problems in California"; published by the Senate of the State of California


Block Gardeners Get Flower Seeds
     Residents will soon be able to inhale the beautiful scent of lowers, when all the Blk. gardeners get their seeds planted, given by the Agr. Dept. at the recent meeting.
     Distributed flower seeds were Calendula, Gaillardia, Kochia, and Sweet Peas.  They will bloom next spring.
Source: Poston Chronicles, September 9, 1942.

Flower photos: 





New Well Ready for Poston III
Drilling fresh water well
     A 20-hour test Tuesday night proved Poston III's second well for domestic use to be an exceptionally fine one, producing 800 gallons per minute.
     Although an analysis of the water was not available, the quality of the water was considered very good.
     The new well is 260 feet deep with a pumping level fo 73 feet.  A 14" casing was used, according to a foreman of the E. Brockman Drilling Constructor, which put in the well.

Source: Poston Chronicles September 10, 1942.

Violence Report

There have been numerous acts of violence at the Colorado River Center, which are set out  chronologically. 

1943 Report

September 12, 1942

     [Kay Nishimura] was attacked by an unknown group of 6 or 7 men. Several of Nishimura's friends were near the scene of the attack, which occurred at night, and intervened, and he escaped serious injury. 

     XXX formerly worked closely with the El Centro, California, Police Department, the Imperial County, California, Sheriff's Office, the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service as an Interpreter, and for other Federal agencies.
October 17, 1942
      [XXX] was attacked by 3 men at 11:45 PM while walking to his barracks. XXX had incurred the ill will of a number of persons at Poston by virtue of his known desire to enlist in the United States Army and serve in the Japanese Language School at Fort Savage, Minnesota. XXX was warned through his parents that if he persisted in his desire to enlist, he should expect to be beaten up as it was coming to him.

      The United States Army has been interested in recruiting Japanese for the Japanese Language School at Fort Savage, Minnesota, and a number of rumors have persisted that all Japanese to enlist in the Army have been threatened with beatings.

October 18, 1942
      At about midnight on this date a group of men broke into the room of  [Francis XXX] and proceeded to beat him up. XXX was hospitalized for 5 days. 
     Reportedly XXX had taken some kind of correspondence work in criminology and had made numerous remarks that he was working for the Government. XXX was later released from the camp, and is now residing in Glendale, Arizona.

November 1, 1942
      XXX together with his wife and son, was attacked by 5 men who came to their barracks at night. XXX is a member of the American Legion and served in the United States Army during the last war. He was hit over the head by what was believed to have been a lead pipe, and was hospitalized for several days.  

Kay Nishimura
     XXX had been very active in the Department of Agriculture of the camp, was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Poston Community Enterprises, and had been exceedingly active in efforts to promote and carry out various work policies of the administration.

Source: Memorandum RE: War Relocation Authority-Riots, Strikes, and Disturbances in Japanese Relocation Centers.  1943.


Violence against Saburo Kido

Saburo Kido
 September 10, 1942
      [Saburo Kido] of the Japanese-American Citizens League (JACL), was attacked by 5 assailants while en route to his home in Unit No. 2. He partially identified one of his assailants as XXX, a former Watsonville, California, high school athlete. XXX had been a member of the Poston Fire Department, and when questioned assumed full responsibility for beating up [Kido] and said that he had suggested the attack to 4 other Nisei.
Source:  FBI Memorandum RE: War Relocation authority-Riots, Strikes, and Disturbances in Japanese Relocation Centers.  1943
      At Poston, National JACL President Saburo Kido was beaten a second time in retaliation for his role in advocating the opening the draft to the Nikkei. On the night of January 31, 1943, a group of 8 assailants carried out a well planned and coordinated attack on Kido. The attackers first wedged shut the doors of Kido's neighbors so that they could not assist him. They then removed the hinges from the door of the JACL President's quarters and stormed in. In front of his wife and child, Kido was beaten with wooden clubs so severely that he had to be hospitalized for 3 weeks.53
      In response to the attack, the Poston II police arrested 8 suspects who were later described by the Poston Chronicle, as "Kibei trouble-makers." Those involved in the assault were all residents of Camp II, and ranged in age from 18-37. George Inouye, James Tanaka, Tadao Hasegawa, Tetsuo Inokuchi, Mitsuto Kurimoto, Miyoshi Matsuda, Kataru Urabe and James Toya were all found guilty of the attack by the Poston Judicial Committee, and were removed to Yuma under provisions of WRA Administrative Instruction Number 34, to stand trial. All of the attackers, except for Urabe, pled guilty to the charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Receiving 4-year sentences the attackers served their time at the Arizona State Penitentiary at Florence.      
     The charges against Kataru Urabe were eventually dropped due to a lack of evidence. One of the major reasons Urabe was released was that the 41 year old Kido refused to testify against him or any other of his assailants claiming, "they were just mixed-up kids."

Sources: Hot Enough to Melt Iron. The San Diego Nikkei Experience 1942-1946
by Matthew T. and Donald H. Estes; 53. The Pacific Citizen, 4 February 1943, Salt Lake City, Utah. 54. Poston Chronicle, 2 and 4 February 1943; The Pacific Citizen, 4 February 1943, Salt Lake City, Utah; The Pacific Citizen, 12 December 1955, Los Angeles, California

Sugar Beets, Seasonal Work

The Movement into the Beet Fields

     ..... the general pattern for the great majority of west coast people of Japanese descent in the spring of 1942 was one of closely controlled movement, first from their homes into assembly centers, and then into the barracks communities of the War Relocation Authority (WRA).
     The first major break in this pattern came on May 13, (1942) when the WRA and the WCCA (Wartime Civilian Control Agency) acceded to the persistent demands of the sugar beet producers (following a suggestion directly from the White  House) and agreed on a joint plan for permitting immediate recruitment of seasonal farm workers at the assembly centers.  Under the plan, WRA undertook to handle negotiations with the employers while the WCCA assumed at least a nominal responsibility for keeping track of the evacuee workers and assuring their ultimate return to government control.  This latter objective was accomplished without the use of troops by the somewhat ingenious devise of establishing each county of group of counties where the evacuees were to work as a restricted area under the term of Executive Order  9066 and forbidding any person of Japanese ancestry to leave the designated area without specific permission from WRA. These orders were enforceable under the provisions of Public Law 503. In addition, the WRA-WCCA agreement set forth 5 minimum requirements that had to be met before any employer's application for permission to recruit evacuee workers could be accepted:  (1) payment of prevailing wages, (2) provision of adequate living quarters (without cost to the evacuee) at or near the place of employment, (3) assurances from State or local officials that law and order would be maintained, (4) provision of transportation for the workers from the center to the place of employment and back to the appropriate center, and (5) assurances that employment of the evacuees would not result in displacement of local labor.
     Actual movement of evacuees into the beet fields started on May 21 (1942) when a small contingent of 15 somewhat uncertain recruits from the Portland Assembly Center arrived on farm lands controlled by Amalgamated Sugar Company near Nyssa, Oregon, in the extreme eastern part of the State. It extended through the rest of May and June, slacked off slightly in midsummer, and then was resumed and greatly intensified in preparation for the fall harvest.  Altogether approximately 10,000 evacuees left WCCA or WRA centers during 1942 for seasonal agricultural work, principally in Idaho, Utah, Montana, Colorado, and eastern Oregon.  Although many of them had occasional unpleasant experiences because of the widespread public misapprehensions regarding their status and a few actually ran into situations which appeared momentarily ominous, none reported suffering any bodily harm or any really serious difficulties.  By conservative estimates, they probably saved enough beets to make nearly a quarter of a billion pounds of sugar.  

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
Inspection Troupe Returns

     A committee of 5 local men who spent 2 weeks studying the beet fields in Idaho and Montana returned Wednesday. They were Joe Matsushita, Tak Takeuchi, Mako Yamamoto, Jitsuo Fukuhara and George Fukunaga. The trip was sponsored by the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company.

Source: Poston Chronicle, Friday, Mar. 26, 1943