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  “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.”

~ Chet Sakura - June 12, 1942 Letter to the Eatonville Dispatch from "Camp Harmony" (Puyallup Fairgrounds)





Remembering 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 were high.)
     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.”

~ Kiyo Sato, Kiyo's Story: A Japanese-American Family's Quest for the American Dream




“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 incorrect."

~ George Takei




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