Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

December 7, 2012

December 7, 1941

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Christopher Bellavita on December 7, 2012

December 7 1941

December 7, 1941, Seattle, Washington (diary translation)

“When I came back from church today, I heard the dreamlike news that Japanese airplanes had bombed Hawaii. I was shocked beyond belief. I sat in front of the radio and listened to the news all day. They said that at 6 a.m. Japan declared war on the United States. Our future has become gloomy. I pray that God will stay with us.”

Dec 12

December 12, 1941, Seattle, Washington (diary translation)

“It was fair and clear weather today. I spent all day at home. Starting today we were permitted to withdraw up to $100 from the bank. This was for our sustenance of life, we who are enemy to them. I deeply appreciated American’s large heartedness in dealing with us.”

Dec 25

December 25, 1941, Seattle, Washington (diary translation)

“Christmas in the time of war. We spent time at home quietly as all of the family joyfully got together. For this we were all thankful. We had a pleasant Christmas, with Roger as the center of attention.”

Jan 5

February 3, 1942, Seattle, Washington (diary translation)

“I finally decided to register my fingerprints today after putting this off for a long time. Mrs. Sasaki and I went to the post office at the appointed time of 9 a.m. We finished the strict registration two hours later. I felt that a heavy load had been taken off of my mind.”

April 3

April 8, 1942 Seattle, Washington (diary translation)

“Today most of the stores in the Japanese section of town closed down. In this manner, our community of 40 years has come to a profound end. Reminiscing over the past, my eyes filled with tears. I had high blood pressure again so I received a second injection. I stayed in bed and rested, but my heart was filled with deep emotions thinking about the future.”

April 28

April 21, 1942 Seattle, Washington (diary translation)

“At last the order for evacuation was given formally by General DeWitt. There were some limitations to the first move. Kazuo (son) along with some others will leave here on the 28th as an advanced party. In haste, we prepared for the leave.”

April 29

April 28, 1942 Camp Harmony Assembly Center, Puyallup, WA: (diary translation)

“At last the day had arrived. It was time to leave Seattle, the city where we have lived for such a long time. Even though I tried not to cry, the tears flowed. Our group of 370 working people departed at 9:30 a.m. in a long string of cars and buses. We arrived at Puyallup at 11:30 a.m. We settled into our assigned place, A-2, number 27. We were all very dissatisfied with our army cots and cotton mattresses. Until late at night we heard a mixture of hammering and the crying voices of children. With much difficulty, I was eventually able to fall asleep.”


The images were created by Japanese-American Roger Shimomura. The words are translated from his grandmother’s diary.

The remaining images from Shimomura’s “An American Diary,” describing his family’s internment during World War II,  can be seen at this link.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

December 7, 2012 @ 10:25 am

Thanks Japan! Why? My parents had been told they could never have children. They adopted a little girl born March 17th, 1939 deceased November 19th, 1976 leaving a husband and two children 7 &5!

I was born 8 months and 27 days after the Pearl Harbor attack. Therefore my conclusion that only an attack the magnitude of Pearl Harbor could have scared me out of my parents. My father came to the hospital with me in my Mother’s arms to inform her he had enlisted in the US Navy and would be reporting to duty shortrt CK

Comment by William R. Cumming

December 7, 2012 @ 10:33 am

I was born 8 months and 27 days after Pearl Harbor. My parents had been told they could NOT have children.
With me in her arms in the hospital my DAD informed my MOM that he had enlisted in the US Navy! Enlistments were for the duration. Discharged in early 1946!

Comment by Michael Brady

December 7, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

When America fails to live up to its laws, ideals, and aspirations it sometimes does so in a big way. The internment of Japanes-Americans was one of those times. In my youth I knew the Matsuura family. Mr. and Mrs. met in the camps and both enlisted to serve the war effort. After the war they took up new lives, their former existence forever interrupted by this ugly spasm of institutionalized zenophobia, racism, and bigotry. They seemed sad about the internment but not bitter. In their lived response to this injustice they were better Americans than those who imprisoned them, and those who stood by and watched…

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