Previously published in Examiner
Part 6 of the Japanese Internment Series
The James Wakasa Case
The camps was surrounded by barbed wire and heavily guarded. One report of a guard shooting and killing a man named James Wakasa because he tried to leave the barracks led to a reevaluation of the internment facilities.
An investigation found that according to the coroners report, Wakasa was inside the barbwire and shot facing the guardsman. The guardsman had a court martial but found not guilty. After this horrible incident, military power was relaxed. The whole incident led to more freedom allowing Japanese people to leave the barracks and walk outside. However, only one person at a time could go into town to buy provisions for everyone. Seeing one person buying so much gave the towns people the idea that the Japanese must have had lots of money and this lead to further resentment, thinking that Japanese people had more money than the average American in these very troubled times. They did not realize that one person was not buying just for himself but for everyone in the camp.
Japanese families tried to make the best of the incarceration. They grow flowers and some even had life stock. At Topaz camp they were allowed to go into the city to put on programs or have a family picnic just outside the camp. Nevertheless the Japanese were not happy nor should they be. Imagine living behind barbed wire with guns pointing at you, imagine how women felt raising their children in that kind of environment. Furthermore, their diet did not include protein or milk for their children. Their diets resulted in the spread of diseases.
The kids were taught American freedoms behind barbed wire. Though they did get to enjoy moments of playing basketball and joining boy scouts and girl guides. Did they get to share these American freedoms, absolutely not!
Work for Japanese
The Japanese could work for small wages, but they could not leave the barracks and live in a real home. Liberty and Justice for all did not apply to these unfortunate victims of circumstances.
Japanese Canadians were interned during that second world war days, also German and Italian Canadian political activists. Adrien Arcand was a Montreal Journalist and fascist who campaigned from 1929 until his death in 1967 who was also interned. He appointed himself the Canadian führer.