July 27, 2012

2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage Photos

Posted in 2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka, Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:22 am by minidokapilgrimage

2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage Group Photo by Eugene Tagawa

2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage Camp Photo by Eugene Tagawa

Here’s links to various sites where pictures from the 2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage have been posted!

Feel free to browse and use for your own personal usage but if you wish to use pictures for commercial purposes please contact us at: minidokapilgrimage@gmail.com for more information.

Ryan Kozu: https://picasaweb.google.com/103180039956765998297/MinidokaPilgrimage2012?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Eugene Tagawa: https://picasaweb.google.com/100930662448489700454/2012PILGRIMAGEA?authkey=Gv1sRgCNWPmKeykdLDfg#

Japanese internee during World War II recounts young life inside Minidoka camp

Posted in 2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , , , , , at 11:04 am by minidokapilgrimage


Japanese internee during World War II recounts young life inside Minidoka camp

Nakagawa 3 Yosh Nakagawa

July 02, 2012 2:00 am  •  By Tetona Dunlap tdunlap@magicvalley.com

MINIDOKA • Yosh Nakagawa was 11 when he thought he was going on his first vacation.

“I thought, ‘How great, we are going on a trip,’” Nakagawa, 80, said from his home in Washington. “I was a child and you never want to break a child’s dream. I learned as I grew that I was wrong.”

Nakagawa’s family lived in Seattle when the U.S. government sent a letter saying they had two weeks to vacate their home. The boy was one of more than 9,000 people of Japanese ancestry, many of whom were American citizens, removed from their homes and sent to the Minidoka War Relocation Center outside of Hunt.

“They evicted us. We were homeless, we had no place to go,” Nakagawa said.

Following the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which forced more than 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast to leave their homes, jobs and lives behind and move to one of 10 relocation centers in the U.S.

“I was a terrorist at 11 or 12 years old,” Nakagawa said. “That shouldn’t happen to anyone. America is greater than that.”

Nakagawa remembers when he realized they weren’t on vacation. There were barbed wire fences everywhere, and he was told that if he wandered into an area he was not supposed to go he would be shot.

“A child learns fear very quickly,” he said. “If your skin color was white I was afraid.”

‘Free from Our Captivity’

While growing up inside the walls of the camp, Nakagawa worked as a paper boy making a few pennies a day. He attended middle school inside the camp and was baptized in the original First Baptist Church of Twin Falls in 1945. The Nakagawa family had attended the Japanese Baptist Church in Seattle, which was closed.

First Baptist Church of Twin Falls was one of few churches in the area that allowed people from the internment camp to worship, Nakagawa said; “It was one of the churches where we could be free from our captivity.”

Nakagawa’s little sister was 8 when they arrived at the camp, but she was too young to remember much. “We grew up in two different worlds,” he said.

In 1944, Roosevelt rescinded Executive Order 9066. The last internment camp was closed in 1945.

The Nakagawa family returned to Seattle forever changed. Nakagawa’s mother, once owner of a corner grocery store, worked inside the homes of wealthy families cooking and cleaning. The family lived in a church sanctuary until they got on their feet again. The Nakagawas also stopped speaking Japanese so their children would grow up speaking English.

In 1952, Nakagawa’s parents became citizens, and they voted in every election.

“You don’t know the joy my parents had to go and vote,” Nakagawa said.

‘The Magic Valley Invites Us’

Today Nakagawa lives in Mercer Island just outside Seattle. For much of his life he was involved in the sports world and helped run a sporting equipment store in the Seattle area. He said he met several sports stars through his work, including Billie Jean King and Jackie Robinson.

He has one son and two daughters. One of his daughters, a teacher, often has her father talk to her fourth-grade class about his life inside the internment camp.

“Isn’t that ironic? That was the grade I was in when I was interned,” he said.

On June 23, Nakagawa returned again to the home of his youth, along with others who make the pilgrimage each year to the site of their imprisonment.

Nakagawa has made this trek before, he said, and never returns with an ounce of hate.

“My returning is simply this: We did not want to go there, the Magic Valley invites us and we want to go,” Nakagawa said. “It took a tragedy to show the awesomeness of America.”

Nakagawa also makes a point to visit the First Baptist Church of Twin Falls when he is in the area. He was a guest speaker June 24.

“I’m there to tell a simple story — I was there,” Nakagawa said.

The church’s pastor, the Rev. Jeff Cooper, met Nakagawa last year while attending a Baptist conference in Puerto Rico. Though Nakagawa spoke informally at the church years ago, Cooper was so impressed with Nakagawa’s story that he personally invited him.

“It’s such a tremendous story,” Cooper said. “He holds no ill will or regret. He is coming to represent the 120,000 nikkei who were interned … he’s a great man, very humble.”

Nakagawa shares the story of his childhood because he said it is a tale that does not belong to him.

“It’s not a Japanese-American story. It’s an American story of history.”

June 24, 2012

2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 10:33 pm by minidokapilgrimage

The Minidoka Pilgrimage Planning Committee would like to thank all of the participants in this year’s pilgrimage and the 2012 Pilgrimage was the 10th annual pilgrimage to Minidoka.  We express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to all those who participated.  

For pictures from this year’s pilgrimage, please check back here for updates as they get posted online.

Former WWII Internment Camp Residents Make Pilgrimage to Their Past

Posted in 2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Minidoka, Minidoka Pilgrimage, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 10:30 pm by minidokapilgrimage


Former WWII Internment Camp Residents Make Pilgrimage to Their Past

EDEN • Monica Chin looked across the high desert land that used to be Minidoka Relocation Center and shook her head.

“Did I go through all this?” she wondered aloud.

Seventy years ago, Chin lived inside the barbed wire compound about 15 miles northeast of Twin Falls. She was a bewildered 14-year-old girl who was incarcerated with thousands of other Japanese Americans during World War II.

Chin and dozens of others with personal memories of the internment camp visited the site Saturday during the annual pilgrimage. She said it wasn’t a bad feeling to be back, although it took years to make peace in her mind.

“For a long time I didn’t want to talk about it,” Chin said. “There was all that time wasted and all the (financial) loss.”

The New Castle, Wash., resident expressed happiness that her children from Seattle and California could be on hand Saturday to learn about their family’s past.

The Minidoka camp, one of 10 such facilities in the U.S., housed from 9,500 to 9,800 people at any given time, according to Anna Tamura of the National Park Service, who led a group through the grounds that now comprise the Minidoka Internment National Monument.

The camp operated from 1942 until November 1945.

Dennis Creed’s wife, Brenda, was born there in 1944.

“It wasn’t fair, but it is nice they’re bringing this to light so it never happens again,” he said.

Although a couple of barracks and a building that served as a fire station remain, most of the camp has long been dismantled.

“I feel lost because there are no landmarks,” said Tokuko Murdoch of Arlington, Texas, another former camp resident.

She was a child during the war, and recalled playing with friends. Murdoch didn’t consider the camp a tremendous hardship at the time, she said, although not every aspect was pleasant.

“The only thing I didn’t like was having to eat when they told you to,” she said, adding that nighttime trips to a bathroom in a laundry building weren’t fun, especially when snow covered the ground.

“Some people deny it ever happened,” Murdoch said.

John Okazaki of Los Angeles was in camp as a 14- and 15-year-old boy. He went to high school during the morning and worked as a laborer in the afternoon and on weekends, earning $8 a month.

Like some others who lived in the camp as children, he said he was too young to realize what was being taken from him.

“Everybody looked alike and you ran around with your friends,” he said.

April 17, 2012

2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage Online Registration

Posted in 2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , at 2:06 pm by minidokapilgrimage

Online registration for the 2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage is now available through Brown Paper Tickets: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/242260.

To register, you can do so either via mail or online.

Links to both versions of the registration forms are below:
Printable PDF – http://www.minidokapilgrimage.org/2012_Minidoka_Pilgrimage_Registration_Form.pdf
Online – https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/242260

2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage

Posted in 2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage, Civil Liberties Symposium, Japanese American Incarceration, Minidoka Pilgrimage tagged , , , , , , at 1:52 pm by minidokapilgrimage

Press Release – For Immediate Release

2012 Minidoka Pilgrimage June 21 – June 24, 2012
Celebrating our 10th Annual Minidoka Pilgrimage and recognizing the 70th Anniversary signing of Executive Order 9066

Seattle, WA – April 1, 2012 –Seventy years ago, almost 13,000 people of Japanese-ancestry, many of whom were American citizens, were removed from their homes and sent to a desolate “incarceration camp” near Twin Falls, Idaho.  This summer, the 10th pilgrimage will take place with former internees, their families, and friends – from Seattle, Portland and across the nation – to the former Minidoka Camp in Idaho.  This is an opportunity to learn, share memories, and ask questions about the Minidoka experience.  Consider participating as a way to bring your family together and reconnect with friends.  Participation is limited.

The 2012 Pilgrimage will include:
· Access to barrack building and mess hall.  The buildings are now safe to enter.  People will be able to go in portions of both historic buildings.
· Reconstructed fence is complete.  It runs about one mile in length from the stone entrance buildings along the North Side Canal to the historic swimming hole.  The trail is parallel to the fence, so that visitors can see the fence and walk along it.
· New collections storage building completed to house Minidoka collections items at Hagerman Fossil Beds.
· Guided tour of the Minidoka Internment National Monument by National Park Service staff.
· BBQ dinner hosted by the city of Eden.
· Commemorative Closing Ceremony at Minidoka.
· New activities for 2012 are in the works – stay tuned!

This year, the Civil Liberties Symposium sponsored by Friends of Minidoka is going to be held in Boise, ID at Boise State University. The Pilgrimage will officially begin in Boise on Thursday, June 21 and then travel down to Twin Falls, ID once the Symposium concludes on Friday, June 22.

The second day (Friday, June 22) of the Civil Liberties Symposium at Boise State University is included in both packages. For more information about the Civil Liberties Symposium or to register for the first day, please contact Hanako Wakatsuki at: info@minidoka.org.

Please review the Hotel and Information document and the Registration Form for more information on Pilgrimage packages (Seattle and Boise/Twin Falls).  This information can be found on the Minidoka Pilgrimage web site at www.minidokapilgrimage.org  (The Seattle Package cannot accommodate the 1st day of the symposium).

Registration can either be sent in via mail or done online: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/242260

This year we are very excited to be offering a SENIOR SCHOLARSHIP for this year’s Pilgrims who are over 80 years of age and older, and were imprisoned in any of the American concentration camps during WWII. Please review this Senior Scholarship Registration Form to apply for the scholarship. This can be found on the Minidoka Pilgrimage website, mentioned above.

For other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at minidokapilgrimage@gmail.com.

For those who cannot access the forms and information by computer, please leave your name and address with Ann Fujii Lindwall at 206-367-8749 and they can be mailed to you.

Contact:  Ann Fujii Lindwall
(206) 367-8749