Friday, September 10, 2010

Love and Caring: Fred Hoshiyama, YMCA Leader

Fred Hoshiyama was born in 1914 in Livingston, California, where his parents helped to establish a farming community called the Yamato Colony. At the age of eight, he lost his father and had to help his mother on their “dirt farm.” He was attending University of California, Berkeley, when Pearl Harbor was bombed. At the Tanforan Assembly Center, California, and the Topaz incarceration camp, Utah, Fred organized YMCA programs for the young people (photo is of Boy Scouts at Topaz). His work in camp was a prelude to a lifetime career with the YMCA. Most notably, he developed NYPUM (National Youth Program Using Mini-Bikes), a program aimed at engaging high-risk youth in productive activities. In his interview excerpt, Fred describes how social differences were equalized in the incarceration camps.

View the Archive Spotlight interview excerpt:
See other Archive Spotlights

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Real Friends: Standing by the Japanese Americans

“Everywhere there is community feeling to be mended, vicious legislation to be defeated, many urgent jobs calling for attention from real friends of the real America.”—Letter from Friends of the American Way, a Quaker committee

Whether through principle or personal attachment, true friends of Japanese Americans did not abandon them after the attack on Pearl Harbor, when in public perception they were suddenly equated with the enemy. Interviews and documents preserved in the Densho digital archive give poignant testimony to the consolation that Japanese Americans felt when schoolmates, neighbors, and customers stood by them in spring 1942 and during their years of incarceration. Less cheering are the stories of long-time acquaintances turning their backs on Japanese American families when they most needed moral and financial support. While there is ample documentation of opportunistic Caucasians taking advantage of a population forced to “evacuate” at a week’s notice, Nisei interviewees also remember incidents of selflessness that help offset stories of self-interest.

read more of this story