Seek Truth Without Fear
“It seems strange to
see people outside the gate wanting to get in and people inside wanting to
get out, all for the mutual interest of friendly visits.”
Sakura - June 12, 1942 Letter to the Eatonville Dispatch from "Camp
Harmony" (Puyallup Fairgrounds)
Japanese Community of Yesteryear
October 23, 2017 -
Story and Photo by Bob Walter: South Pierce County Historical Society
vice-president Roni Johnson chatted with Frank Jerue of DuPont in
front of the Tofu House, when he and his wife visited town last week.
Now eighty years old, when he was only five, in May
of 1942, Jerue's family moved into one of the homes on the back
side of the Eatonville Lumber Company sawmill grounds. His father, who
had worked on the construction of Alder Dam, was hired at the mill
just before the move.
Just days earlier, those were the homes of
Eatonville's one-hundred -plus Japanese American residents.
Most of the men worked at the mill, while one family operated the mill
dairy farm. All of the residents of that small neighborhood had been
bussed to the Puyallup Assembly Center, as part of the United States
government's mass incarceration of nearly all 120,000 west coast
Japanese Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor by the nation of
Japan. (Hearing the news of the impending incarceration, a small
number had decided to voluntarily relocate to inland and mid-west
locales, though this was not without its risks, as wartime tensions
Frank remembers the layout of the little boardwalk
community, and when presented with a small, historical map
showing its layout, pointed to several buildings that he remembered
clearly. He remembers two cows or steers being butchered in the little
dairy "creamery," as he called the farm's spring house.
When asked about the flume that provided water from
the Mashel River to the mill pond, he said the flume did not
connect directly with the spring house, and that a system of water
pipes provided water for the community. He added that a small dam had
been constructed just upriver for the purpose of providing a steady
supply of fresh water.
This building - the last one remaining from that era
- is being restored by the historical society to be used as a
vehicle to inform visitors about this part of Eatonville's
history. Donors wishing to support this effort are urged to mail their
donation to SPCHS/The Tofu House, P.O. Box 1966, Eatonville, WA 98328.
Tofu House Finally Moved
to Millpond Park
Photos by Bob Walter
November 18, 2016
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“We have no one to go to for help. Not even a church. Anything goes, now
that our President Roosevelt signed the order to get rid of us. How can he
do this to his own citizens? No lawyer has the courage to defend us.
Caucasian friends stay away for fear of being labeled "Jap lovers."
There's not a more lonely feeling than to be banished by my own country.
There's no place to go.”
Sato, Kiyo's Story: A Japanese-American Family's Quest for the American
“Sometime the train stopped, you know, fifteen to twenty minutes to take
fresh air-suppertime and in the desert, in middle of state. Already before
we get out of train, army machine guns
lined up towards us-not toward other side to protect us, but like enemy,
pointed machine guns toward us.”
~ Henry Sugimoto
“The stall was about ten by twenty feet and empty except for 3 folded army
cots on the floor. Dust, dirt, and wood shavings covered the linoleum that
had been laid over manure-covered boards, the smell of horses hung in the
air, and the whitened
corpses of many insects still clung to the hastily white-washed walls.”
~ Yoshiko Uchida
"We were American citizens. We were incarcerated by our American
government in American internment camps here in the United States.
The term 'Japanese internment camp' is both grammatically and factually
~ George Takei