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Scapegoat Cities

A human understanding of how the Japanese-American internment happened. 

Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been Japanese American?

Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been Japanese American?

 

In the spring of 1942 the federal government imprisoned every person of Japanese ancestry on suspicion of disloyalty.  The general who ordered the action said that it was necessary because it was impossible to distinguish a loyal from a disloyal Japanese American.

A year later, the government turned 180 degrees and announced that it could determine the loyalties of Japanese Americans and was going to do so by having the imprisoned people fill out a questionnaire.

This episode of Scapegoat Cities tells the story of how one woman, Mary Manbo (pictured above with her parents and sister), responded to the interrogation.

Mary Manbo's questionnaire and the transcript of her loyalty hearing survive in the National Archives, and this episode is drawn directly from her answers, as well as some additional research into her family's story.  If you'd like to know more about the Manbo family's experience of removal and imprisonment, check out my essay "Outside the Frame: Bill Manbo's Color Photographs in Context" in the book "Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II."  The book showcases more than sixty of Bill Manbo's beautiful photographs of life behind barbed wire at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center.

 

Mary Manbo (second from right) stands in front of a Heart Mountain barrack with her parents, Riyo and Junzo Itaya (far left and second from left respectively) and her younger sister Eunice Itaya.  Her husband Bill took the photograph, using Kodachrome slide film, a technology that was in its infancy in 1943.   Photo (c) Takao Bill Manbo.

Mary Manbo (second from right) stands in front of a Heart Mountain barrack with her parents, Riyo and Junzo Itaya (far left and second from left respectively) and her younger sister Eunice Itaya.  Her husband Bill took the photograph, using Kodachrome slide film, a technology that was in its infancy in 1943.  

Photo (c) Takao Bill Manbo.

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Bill Manbo built a little porch in front of his barrack door and marked it with the family name -- or a variation on it.  That's Bill on the left.  

Photo (c) Takao Bill Manbo.

 

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Music in this episode: Music in this episode: "Frame of Mind" by Erik Haddad;  "Ulyses," "Room with a View," "The Wrong Way,"  "Chunk of Lawn," and "Where It Goes" by Jazzhar, "Don't Fence Me In" performed by Roy Rogers.

 

A Day in the Life - August 21, 1943

A Day in the Life - August 21, 1943

Slip Slidin' Away

Slip Slidin' Away