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Japanese Girl Tells of Camp, 1942

//Japanese Girl Tells of Camp, 1942

Japanese Girl Tells of Camp, 1942

Clarion MastheadThis article was a front page news story in the Clarion (X2013.011.0022), the newspaper of Salem High School.  It provides excerpts of a first hand account of one of the 14 Japanese students from Salem High School who were sent to the Tule Lake Japanese Interment Camp at the beginning of WWII.  It was published in the Clarion, Monday, September 21, 1942.

Classes are carried on the year around in Newell, Calif., where the Japanese students from Salem, Oregon are now living.

Writes Haruko Tsukamoto, class of ’43, “The year is divided into quarters, and the schedule is very complicated.  Vocational students must study nine months and spend the remaining three months in training.  However, a college preparatory course is offered.  There are many new required subjects down here, which makes it very different from home.

Some of the courses offered are drafting, sewing, flower arranging, knitting, and all types of dancing.  ‘Problems of Democracy’ is a required subject.  In addition, there are many special interest clubs–to keep us out of mischie!”

[sic].

Haruko, one of the fourteen Japanese students transferred from Salem high to the Tule Lake project early last summer, admits that she is a little homesick, “because the country around here is so bare, and it isn’t a bit green like good old Oregon.  It rather reminds me of the coast, with the cabins, the sand, the mountains, and the quietness of the place.”

Largest camp of its type, the Tule Lake project includes all the Japanese from Oregon, Washington and California. Haruko reports that many of the young people are going to Idaho to work in the sugar beets.

“Here is a description of the fashions around camp. Boys wear jeans and boots.  Some of them have crew cuts, while others wear long hair.  Of course Salem boys are neater in appearance.  The girls wear slacks and act tomboyish down California way.  The Oregon and Washington people are rather quiet, since they come from smaller towns.

“They really treat us nicely down here, and the way they help us build our interests in everything is really wonderful,” Haruko concludes.

Many Japanese graduates of Salem high are now attending colleges further east.  Hiroshi Shishido is at the University of Nebraska, and Mary Terusaki is attending St. Louis University.  May Oye, editor of the 1941 Clarion Annual, will go to Cornell as a transfer from Willamette.

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