Hunt, Id. 1943. pp. Profusely illustrated. Quarto. Molded blue leatherette with gilt inset title on front board. Occasional ink annotations and signatures throughout. Fraying to head and tail of spine. A few stray stains and fingerprints. Very good. Item #WRCAM55253
A yearbook for the first year of the the high school (grades 7-12) of the Minidoka War Relocation Center in Idaho. As with other internment camp school yearbooks, it looks eerily like any other high school yearbook from the 1940s. Located in the Magic Valley of south central Idaho in Jerome County, Minidoka was in operation from 1942-45 and was one of ten camps at which Japanese Americans, both citizens and resident "aliens," were interned during World War II. By order of President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066, all persons of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the west coast of the U.S., even though intelligence reports at the time found no evidence of fifth column activity among Japanese Americans (or Japanese immigrants) and advised against mass incarceration. At its height, Minidoka housed 9,397 Japanese Americans, predominantly from Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Each internment camp had its own schools and most produced yearbooks, just like any other school. Belonging to seventh-grader Richard Yutaka Yamano (1930-2009), this yearbook contains everything one would expect: individual photos for the seniors, group photos for the other classes; photos of class officers, faculty, clubs, sports teams, community service programs, and other activities; humorous illustrations on the endpapers, and even signatures and notes from other students and teachers wishing Richard a good summer, etc. Richard has circled his face with an arrow pointing and the note, "ME." According to the 1940 Census, Richard was from Portland (1022 SW 2nd Ave.) where he lived with his parents, Shigetaro (born in Japan) and Alice Kazuye Nawa (born in Hawaii), along with his baby brother Harry. Edited by Itsuko Teraji and Ben Ninomiya, the yearbook is a moving document highlighting the efforts of Japanese-American students and their teachers to maintain some semblance of normalcy during what must have been a terrifying and humiliating time. The large majority of the students were relocated from the Pacific Northwest (mostly Portland and Seattle), as were their teachers, who are reduced to "Cadet Teachers" at Hunt High School. The white faculty and administrators are predominantly from the Midwest. The opening dedication sets forth the internment as the student's contribution to the war effort: "We, the Americans, born of Japanese ancestry, together with our fellow citizens, are at present engaged in a great conflict which will determine whether or not we can live in a world of peace and security blessed by the four freedoms of Democracy. The members of the Memoirs staff proudly dedicate this annual to those of us who have gone off to bear arms in order that we can live in such a world." Yet, in subsequent pages, a class "Diary" reveals that life at Hunt is really quite challenging: "SEPTEMBER...Dust - blinding, penetrating, suffocating dust!...There are no school, no recreational facilities, and...no hot water. We start from almost nothing. OCTOBER...We see our first movie in the Center in a dingy dining hall...We join the harvesters to save the crop...still we have no school house. NOVEMBER... School begins!...In base, unfurnished barracks we sit at 'seat-attached' dining tables and try to study with the meager supply of books on hand...FEBRUARY...'Hunt' becomes the official school name...A volunteer fire brigade is formed. MAY...We are proud to have from among us eleven young patriots who are leaving to fight on the battlefront for America...JULY...Commencement looms before our eyes...And so, dear Diary, we say 'Goodbye'...we, the first graduating class of Hunt High School, faced the future with our heads held high." Richard finally departed Minidoka on August 4, 1945. He served in the U.S. Army, then married Mary Kondo (who was also detained at Minidoka) and settled in Dayton, Ohio. A fascinating artifact of the Japanese internment during World War II.