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Jerome

This page is an update of the original Densho Encyclopedia article authored by Brian Niiya. See the shorter legacy version here .

US Gov Name Jerome Relocation Center
Facility Type Concentration Camp
Administrative Agency War Relocation Authority
Location Denson, Arkansas (33.3833 lat, -91.4667 lng)
Date Opened October 6, 1942
Date Closed June 30, 1944
Population Description Held people from Los Angeles, Fresno, and Sacramento, California; also held people from Honolulu, Hawaii.
General Description Located in the Mississippi River delta region 12 miles west of the Mississippi River, 18 miles south of McGehee, 120 miles southeast of Little Rock. The 10,000-acre area was impoverished and consisted of heavily wooded swampland. It was 27 miles south of the Rohwer concentration camp. Summers were hot and humid, with chiggers, mosquitoes, and poisonous snakes.
Peak Population 8,497 (1943-02-11)
National Park Service Info

One of two War Relocation Authority (WRA) administered concentration camps located less than thirty miles from each other in southeastern Arkansas, Jerome had the distinction of being the last to open and the first to close and was open for less than twenty-one months, far shorter than any other WRA camp. Jerome also had the distinction of receiving over eight hundred inmates directly from Hawai'i, the largest contingent sent to any WRA camp. All of Jerome's initial inmate population was from California, either from the Fresno area, Florin and other areas south of Sacramento, or various areas in Los Angeles County. Due in part to the Hawai'i contingent—along with a sizable "organized group" from California who favored repatriation/expatriation to Japan—Jerome had the lowest rate of "yes" answers to Question 28 , the highest rate of segregants to Tule Lake and the lowest rate of volunteers for the armed forces. Upon Jerome's early closure, most inmates went to either Rohwer or Gila River , with smaller numbers going to Amache or Heart Mountain . Jerome was also known as "Denson," which was the name of the local post office.

Pre-History and Geography

The Jerome project site consisted of 9,374 acres that spanned two counties, Chicot and Drew, in southeastern Arkansas. The inmate area was about one square mile and located along the western edge of the project, just east of Highway 165 and the Missouri Pacific Railroad Line between Little Rock and New Orleans. The camp was about a mile north of the town of Jerome, seven miles south of Dermott, and eighteen miles south of McGehee. The Rohwer camp was twenty-six miles north, on the other side of McGehee, and Little Rock was about 120 miles northwest. Most of the inmate area was in Chicot County, with the warehouse, administration, and MP areas, along with part of the inmate area, in Drew County. [1]

"The climate of the area is not too inviting," read the Jerome Final Report. Winters were cold and wet, with average temperatures in the mid-30s from November through March along with lows that dropped well below zero. Summers were hot and sticky with highs topping 100 degrees. "The humid, depressing afternoons were so enervating that the entire center ceased its activity and the inhabitants sought whatever shade they could find in their scantiest clothing....," wrote Kazuo Miyamoto about Jerome summers in his autobiographical novel Hawaii: End of the Rainbow . It was also wet: the rainfall from June 1943 through May 1944 was forty-four inches. The area was surrounded by swampy woods and prone to flooding. The water brought swarms of mosquitoes and sticky mud. "So in the winter, the rain would come, and oh, it would be all flooded," remembered Lilian Nakano. The "ground was very clay type of soil and when it rains, muddy, like you walk in the mud pie," recalled Art Ishida. "When it's summer, just dust blows all over the place, clay when it dries up gets particle so when the wind blows [it] really gets dusty." [2]

The lands that became the Jerome project had seen various unsuccessful attempts at agricultural development by private firms and the Farm Security Administration (FSA) since the early 1900s, but the problems of clearing the dense vegetation and draining the swampland proved to be too much, leaving the land largely abandoned and in government hands by the dawn of the 1940s. The WRA began efforts to acquire the land in May 1942 and set up an office in the town of Jerome in July. Work on clearing the site began on July 14 and construction began on August 1, 1942. The A. J. Rife Construction Company of Dallas, Texas, was the contractor for the buildings, while various other firms from Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas handled other aspect of the construction. A spur built by the Missouri Pacific Railroad was used for the delivery of construction material. Though inmates began arriving on October 6, construction on the camp wasn't completed until February 6, 1943. [3]

Layout and Physical Characteristics

The inmate area at Jerome was essentially square and included thirty-six square blocks , of which thirty-three were residential. Two of the other three blocks were used for schools, and the third, Block 36, was an administrative area used by inmates and WRA staff. Block 1 was at the northwest corner of the camp and block 46 at the southwest; blocks were not numbered consecutively, since vacant areas used for recreation and administrative areas were also numbered. Blocks were typical of WRA camps and included twelve barracks along with a communal mess hall, recreation room, laundry room, and bathroom facilities. The outdoor stage, auditorium, and fire department were in a large open area at the center of the camp that had been planned as the site of the high school. However, the temporary use of Blocks 23 and 33 for the schools became permanent, and construction of new school facilities other than the auditorium was abandoned. Inmate camp addresses followed the block number–barrack number–unit letter format, e.g. 39–9–F, which was the address of artist George Hoshida and his family. [4]

The military police, administrative, and warehouse sections were west of the inmate area and the hospital complex to the southwest. The inmate area was surrounded by a four-strand barbed wire fence, ringed with seven guard towers. The watch tower platforms were fourteen feet off the ground and were six by six feet. As at other camps, the MP presence was strong at first, but decreased over time, and the manning of guard towers ended in October 1943. [5]

Unfinished

Given the short interval between the commencement of construction in August and the arrival of inmates in October, Jerome may have been even more unfinished in its early months than other WRA camps. This led to a variety of problems. The first was a difficult and elongated induction process, as workers rushed to finish blocks as the inmates scheduled to occupy them arrived. Project Director Paul Taylor lamented that during the peak of inmate arrivals at the end of October, "[i]n no single instance was the block to be occupied made available to the WRA until after the train arrived." This resulted in long waits by inmates after their multi-day train rides from California. In one case, inmates on a train that arrived at 6:45 a.m. weren't allowed to enter their barracks until noon. On another day, they were not situated until 4:30 p.m. [6]

Once inmates arrived at their quarters, they found missing windows and beds, "[m]ud piled high in front of barracks," and "[l]umber strewn all over from uncompleted barracks." "You know, they moved us before the mess hall was ready or everything," recalled Yukiko Miyahara in a 2009 interview. In an early November report, Taylor noted that nine of the twenty-six populated blocks had mess halls that were not functioning and that in some cases, inmates had to walk over half-a-mile "through mud and water ankle deep" to be fed. Toilets and hot water were also missing in some blocks. Stoves were among the last items to arrive, with the last not being installed until mid-December, well after the advent of cold weather. [7]

There were other unforeseen problems with the unfinished state of the camp. Perhaps due to the haste to complete the plumbing, workers improperly sealed water pipes leading to widespread dysentery lasting one to three days upon arrival at the camp. The presence of contractors at the site also resulted in conflict with the inmates as Taylor reported that "contract laborers in here have seemed to take every opportunity to abuse evacuees." [8]

Blocks/Barracks

Each of Jerome's thirty-three residential blocks had twelve barracks that were 20 x 120 feet and divided into six "apartments," each with a door, one bed per person, one electrical outlet, and a wood burning stove for heat. The barracks had concrete foundations with wood flooring. Inmate laborers later installed gypsum board interior walls. Each barracks building had twenty-two half windows. Each of the block recreation buildings were 20 x 100 with two double doors and twenty-four half windows and cement floors. Given the wet conditions, drainage canals ran between blocks, and wooden boardwalks were installed in the school blocks and administrative areas. [9]

Latrines

Each block had an "H" shaped communal laundry/bathroom building with 20 x 90 wings connected by a 20 x 20 section that contained the 1,320 gallon coal burning water heater and served as a corridor. The laundry wing had eighteen sinks and an ironing area. The lavatory wing had men's and women's facilities that included urinals (in the men's section) and flush toilets, along with twenty showers and four bath tubs. Floors were concrete. Toilets initially lacked partitions, but they were installed later, albeit without doors. The soft water initially flummoxed some inmates, who took a while to get used to the feeling that "seemed like we couldn't wash the soap off us." [10]

Mess Halls

The block mess hall was a 40 x 100 building with twenty-two half windows, five double doors, and one single door that was divided into kitchen and dining areas. The kitchen area included three army style coal stoves, while the dining area could seat 304, enough to feed the entire block. Each of the thirty-three residential blocks eventually had its own mess hall that was supervised by an inmate kitchen steward who hired and fired the workers, who ranged in number from twenty-four to twenty-six depending on the block population. Over time, the kitchen staff became more female and by March 1944, there were 590 female workers to 394 male. Mess halls could serve meals either family style (where platters of food were brought to the table) or cafeteria style, with most mess halls choosing the latter. The cost allowance was 45¢ per person per day, but the average meal cost for the life of the center was just 37.6¢. While administrators tried to incorporate Japanese foods into the menu, the verdict was decidedly mixed. In a contemporaneous interview, Taigoro Jack Miyahara recalled that "we had no meat for three months. They gave us that dry salty old fish which made my stomach turn every time I put it in my mouth." [11]

Population Characteristics

The initial population of Jerome came from Central California via the Fresno Assembly Center and from the Los Angeles area via the Santa Anita Assembly Center . The first "advance" group of 202 people arrived from Fresno on October 6 and helped to set up the camp for the general arrivals from the two camps that began on October 11 and ended on November 3. Of the 7,674 initial arrivals, about 62% (4,761) came from Fresno and 38% (2,913) from Santa Anita. [12]

The group from the Fresno Assembly Center came not only from city of Fresno and the rest of Fresno County, but from neighboring Kings and Tulare Counties, including the towns of Delano, Hanford, and Lindsay. There was also about 1,200 from Elk Grove and Florin, large Japanese American agricultural communities further to the north. The Florin community was split by the incarceration, with community members ending up at Tule Lake and Manzanar as well as Jerome. The Los Angeles area population included a mixture of those from largely agricultural areas in the South Bay (Lomita, Torrance, Gardena, Harbor City), fishing communities near the Los Angeles Harbor such as Wilmington and San Pedro, Long Beach, and some from the "Uptown" area west of downtown that is Koreatown today. There was inevitably some conflict between the Fresno and Santa Anita populations; "I discovered that the Fresno and the Santa Anita people just didn't get along with each other," recalled Chiyoko Elizabeth Suzuki in a 1944 interview. Miyoko Uzaki cited as a reason for the conflict the "constant problems, conflicts," that the Santa Anita people had faced at that camp whereas "from our Fresno area, people were not that aggressive." [13]

Initial Arrivals from Assembly Centers
Assembly Center Arrival Date Number
Fresno Oct. 6 202
Santa Anita Oct. 11 510
Santa Anita Oct. 13 457
Santa Anita Oct. 16 476
Fresno Oct. 16 463
Fresno Oct. 18 472
Santa Anita Oct. 18 472
Santa Anita Oct. 19 355
Fresno Oct. 20 466
Fresno Oct. 22 468
Santa Anita Oct. 22 386
Fresno Oct. 24 459
Fresno Oct. 26 437
Fresno Oct. 28 438
Fresno Oct. 30 462
Santa Anita Oct. 30 257
Fresno Nov. 1 479
Fresno Nov. 3 415

Totals for initial transfers: Fresno, 4,761; Santa Anita: 2,913

Source: John L. Dewitt, Final Report: Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast, 1942 (Washington D.C.: U.S. Army, Western Defense Command), 282–84.


Several groups of later arrivals changed up the composition of the population. Later in November, a group of 145 who had left the assembly centers to do sugar beet work arrived. Three groups of inmates from Hawai'i arrived between November 1942 and February 1943. With the exception of Topaz , which received a smaller group, Jerome was the only WRA camp to receive a sizable group of inmates directly from Hawai'i. The first group of 107 arrived at the end of November 1942 and consisted of Japanese Americans from Honolulu. The second group of 443 arrived in early January 1943 and consisted mostly of those from islands other than O'ahu. The third group of 260 arrived in early February and included mostly fishermen and their families from Honolulu. Many of the Hawai'i group were family members of male community leaders who had been interned who came to Jerome in the hope of being reunited with their husbands/fathers. Arriving in clothing ill-suited to the local climate, other inmates raised money and collected clothing to donate to the group. The Hawai'i group was mostly assigned to Blocks 38, 39, and 40 and remained a largely separate population, though some of the young men soon gained a reputation for being "more gang-oriented from growing up in Hawai'i." Finally, 981 "loyal" inmates from Tule Lake arrived in the fall of 1943, as the "disloyals" from Jerome were removed there. [14]

Relationship to Local Community

As the only camps set in the Jim Crow south, inmates at Rohwer and Jerome faced a number of unique circumstances. Granted honorary "white" status, inmates grappled with segregated bus rides and bathrooms when they visited local towns. Both locals and the WRA made sure any interactions with locals were with white stores, churches or organizations, so as to limit contact with African Americans, who made up the majority of the local population. The influx of Japanese Americans also inspired a particularly virulent reaction from state officials led by Governor Homer Adkins, a KKK member, who instructed Arkansas colleges to not allow Japanese American resettlers and limited their work on local farms. Five anti-Japanese bills and two Senate resolutions were introduced, with an alien land law type measure that would have targeted Nisei as well as Issei passing both houses with 28–1 and 76–1 margins before being signed into law by Adkins on February 13, 1943. It was later found unconstitutional. A bill that would have prohibited "members of the Mongolian race" from attending white schools failed to pass. Adkins' successor as governor, Benjamin Travis Laney Jr., was less obstinate in opposing settlement in Arkansas after taking office in January 1945, and a handful of inmates did remain in Arkansas after the war. [15]

Dermott was the closest town to Jerome and was largely viewed as unfriendly by inmates. The tone was set early in the incarceration experience when a seventy-two-year-old local resident fired shots at Louis Furushiro in a Dermott café. A G.I. on leave from Camp Robinson on his way to visit his sister at Jerome, Furushiro managed to duck and suffered only powder burns despite being only ten feet away from the shooter, who never stood trial for the shooting. Inmates recounted being asked to leave stores and restaurants in Dermott and "soon learned to do their shopping at McGehee if possible," according to the Rohwer Community Analysis Section Final Report. Though relations improved over time, as late as May 1943, Reports Officer Charles R. Lynn noted that the attitude of Dermott locals "toward the evacuees has changed little," adding that "[a] few merchants still refuse to wait on evacuees, but their stand is getting weaker as they realize they are in the minority, that they are losing business and that we do not care how they feel." A local Dermott American Legion member also was credited by Lynn for drumming up support for the July 27, 1943, state meeting of the American Legion to pass a resolution calling for all "Japanese" to be sent to Japan after the war and to require inmates to be fingerprinted and banned from buying food in nearby towns. [16]

Personnel

Jerome had two project directors. The first was Paul A. Taylor. Just thirty-four years old in 1942, Taylor was a graduate of the University of Arkansas who had been born and raised in the state and who had worked for the Department of Agriculture since 1934. Soon after the general strike of October 1943, Taylor resigned and returned to the DoA in Washington, D.C. In his last weekly report, a defeated Taylor wrote, "This job is by all odds the toughest I have ever undertaken. I feel that the experience gained has been invaluable but I hope that I have the good judgment never to tackle another job just like it." E. B. Whitaker, the assistant field director of the WRA who had been in charge of the Little Rock office, succeeded Taylor and stayed on for the rest of Jerome's life. [17]

There were three assistant project directors. The first, William O. "Doc" Melton had formerly worked for the Soil Conservation Service out of Little Rock and was the director of operations. The second was James H. Wells, the head of administrative management, who had come from the Farm Security Administration. The third was Rune E. Arne, the chief of community management. A South Dakota native, he graduated from Grinnell College and had a master's degree from Columbia University after which he served as a state relief administrator in California and taught a class on social welfare at UC Berkeley, at which time he came to know many Nisei students. He came to Rohwer from an administrative position at Louisiana State University. [18]

Other key staffers included Project Attorneys Robert A. Leflar and Ulys. A. Lovell, both of whom had law degrees from Harvard. Leflar was a native Arkansan who staffed the WRA office in Little Rock and was a part-time project attorney at Jerome until Lovell's arrival at the end of January 1943. Lovell had a couple of lengthy leaves, at which time Rohwer's project attorney, Jack Curtis, filled in. The reports officer was Charles R. Lynn, a former reporter for the Arkansas Gazette . The school superintendent was Amon G. Thompson, the secondary school principal C. F. Hankins, and the elementary school principal Byron Thompson; all three were also native Arkansans. Community Analyst Edgar C. McVoy arrived in April 1943 and served until the office was temporarily shut down in December 1943. Rachel Sady came in from the Washington, D.C. office in April to document the closing of the camp. W.H. Ballard was the agriculture director, and Doc Hudson the chief steward. [19]

In an article he published in an academic journal in December 1943, McVoy wrote that "the majority of the administrative staff come from Arkansas and adjacent States, and their attitudes toward Negroes have carried over to some extent to their attitudes toward those of the Mongoloid race." [20]

Three different military police units guarded the perimeter and guard towers at Jerome. The first was the 329th Military Police Escort Guard Company, who were replaced in December 1943 by the 633rd Military Police Escort Guard Company. The military presence decreased over time, with their presence effectively halved when half of the 329th moved to Rohwer in the fall of 1943. The 135-man 633rd was also split between Jerome and Rohwer. By April 1944, the 633rd was replaced by a small detachment of thirteen men from the 1814th Service Unit. MPs initially manned the seven guard towers surrounding Jerome, but later decreased patrols to three towers, then stopped manning them entirely in October 1943. [21]

Institutions/Camp Life

Community Government

Given Jerome's short lifespan, inmate government was very limited in impact even relative to other WRA camps. As at other camps, administrators oversaw the election of a Temporary Community Council (TCC)—that was limited to U.S. citizens only—shortly after the arrival of inmates that was charged with making preparations for the election of a "permanent" Community Council (CC). Jerome's TCC election was held on November 17, 1942 with 3,685 casting votes, 73% of those eligible. One representative was elected from each of the thirty blocks then populated; as per WRA rules, all were Nisei, and one—Ruth Yomogida of Block 7—was a woman. At the second TCC meeting on December 1, Johnson Kobo was elected chair. Concurrently, administrators appointed recognized community leaders as block managers, many of who were Issei. [22]

Over the ensuing months, the TCC appointed committees and drafted a charter. Given the drama over the loyalty questionnaire and the ensuing segregation, the TCC decided to delay elections for the CC until after segregation. Thus, the CC election did not take place until November 13, 1943, by which time the WRA ban on Issei holding office had been lifted. Of the thirty-three elected, eighteen were Issei and fifteen Nisei. Frank Futoshi Arakawa of Hilo and Block 39—who had succeeded Kobo as chair of the TCC when Kobo resettled in Chicago—was elected chairman. But soon after the CC was elected, the closing of Jerome was announced, and, as the Community Government Final Report noted, "[t]he future of local government in the Jerome Relocation Center was now of less concern to the community and the Council" and "[a]ll thinking was directed toward the new residences of the evacuees." [23]

Unrest

Much of the unrest at Jerome stemmed from labor issues, many of them tied to camp administrators' insistence that inmates cut wood from the surrounding forests to provide fuel for the stoves that heated their barracks. The inmates—the vast majority of whom had no prior experience doing lumberjack work—objected to being compelled to do this physically demanding and dangerous work, particularly at the paltry WRA wages. As early as November 19, 1942—less than three weeks after the last inmates from Fresno and Santa Anita had arrived—tree cutters launched a strike over the quality of lunches and dissatisfaction with the $12 per month wages. Camp Director Paul Taylor agreed to bump wages up to $16. A month later, six wood cutting crews totaling about seventy-five men started a work slowdown, resulting in Taylor firing them. The wood cutting situation was described as "dire" by January 1943, as "[f]uel already in the blocks was approaching the zero point" and inmate fears were "pointing to the possibility of mass hysteria," according to the "Fuel" final report. Further coercion and the shifting of other workers to wood cutting duty followed. [24]

Unrest soon spread beyond the wood cutters. In April 1943, a dispute between inmate workers in the motor pool and their white supervisor led to the firing of two inmate foremen. Thirty of the thirty-four mechanics and shop workers walked off the job. Then in October 1943, after a trailer carrying inmate woodcutters to their jobs overturned, killing one man and sending twenty to the hospital, calls for a general strike circulated. Labor organizers put up flyers in the latrines calling for a general strike on October 25 and demanding better working conditions, higher wages, backup supplies of coal, and the removal of Taylor. Though the strike did not occur, the organizers did get one of their demands, as Taylor resigned as director a month later. [25]

Registration/Segregation/Military Service

Among WRA camps, Jerome had the lowest rate of "yes" answers to Question 28, the highest rate of segregants to Tule Lake and the lowest rate of volunteers for the armed forces . Registration at Jerome was a messy process that lasted over a month. An army team led by Lt. Eugene Silver arrived on February 6, 1943 and after a series of programs that attempted to explain the process, began registration on February 9 with Blocks 1, 2, and 3, with the goal of doing three blocks a day. Due in part to the fact that the administration did not make it clear that registration was mandatory, progress was slow, and just 700 had registered by February 13 and about 2,300 to 2,400 by February 20, about half of the total. Meanwhile, some 600 Kibei met in Block 42 and vowed not to register, and pockets of dissent materialized elsewhere. Camp Director Paul Taylor reported on February 27 that there were few "no" answers to question 28 until reaching the Hawai'i blocks, where a high percentage gave "no" or qualified answers. The camp newspaper announced on March 2 that registration was indeed compulsory, and Taylor threatened jail time for those who did not register by March 6. Camp administrators identified most of the holdouts as an "organized group" that favored repatriation/expatriation. A Committee of Six representing this group met with Taylor on the 6th and agreed to aid with the completion of registration by March 10. In the end, about a quarter gave "no" or qualified answers to Question 28, compared to 9% for the WRA camps as a whole. The percentage for male citizens was even higher, about 30%. [26]

In the midst of the registration drama, unknown assailants attacked two inmates on March 6. The victims were Thomas T. Yatabe, a Fresno dentist and JACL leader and Father John Yamazaki, a Protestant minister from Los Angeles. The latter, an Issei, had translated the "loyalty questionnaire" into Japanese at the request of administrators. Both recovered and left Jerome with their families for Chicago shortly thereafter. [27]

The presence of the "group" continued to inspire much anxiety and hand-wringing by the administration. In his April 17, 1943 report, Taylor urged the WRA to "segregate the organized group at the earliest possible moment.... [otherwise] I fear that we are going to have serious trouble." In response to members of the group requesting repatriation/expatriation, Taylor set up a repatriation office on March 29 where applications for repatriation/expatriation could be filed. For the first two weeks, 176 applications for repatriation were filed, many by inmates from Hawai'i, but none from the "group." From April 14 on, members of the group began to file applications in a highly organized, block-by-block manner under the leadership of a "committee" led by Rev. Shizuo Kai, a Kibei Buddhist priest from Fresno aided by George Kuratomi, a Kibei from San Diego, and other young Nisei and Kibei men. By early May, 1,451 had filed for repatriation, 17.9% of the total population. The "organized group"—which included inmates from both Santa Anita and Fresno—made up the bulk of this population. However, 29.2% of the Hawai'i inmates—who were largely not affiliated with the "group"—filed applications, a rate much higher than the general rate. [28]

Despite Taylor's fears, no further unrest took place once dissidents were able to formally request repatriation/expatriation, and administrators worked with leaders of the "group" to facilitate segregation hearings and the segregation process. The bulk of segregants left Rohwer in September and early October of 1943 for Tule Lake, with a second group leaving in May 1944. Jerome segregants, including Kai and Kuratomi, would go on to play major roles in the turbulent history of Tule Lake camp politics. A total of 2,147 went to Tule Lake from Jerome, while 981 "loyal" Tuleans transferred to Jerome. [29]

Prior to the restoration of draft eligibility, only thirty-seven men volunteered for the armed forces from Jerome, the second lowest figure among WRA camps. (Rohwer's was the lowest.) But as will be discussed below, there was also substantial support in Jerome for Nisei in the army who trained at nearby bases, many of whom visited a USO set up by inmates for them. Only one young man from Jerome resisted the draft , Joe Atsumi Kamanaki, who was eventually convicted and sentenced to three years in a federal penitentiary. [30]

Education

The education program at Jerome was similar to other WRA camps with regard to scope, offering K–12, preschool, and adult/night school programs. But due to the camp's late start and early closing, there were only two school years. Like other WRA camp schools, Jerome schools struggled to find adequate facilities and equipment and, along with Rohwer's, faced some unique challenges with regard to hiring and retaining teachers.

Led by school superintendent Amon G. Thompson, school personnel were among the first to arrive at the Jerome, first setting up shop in an office in Little Rock on August 18, 1942. The initial plan was to build new dedicated school buildings in double size blocks set aside for them, with north and south elementary schools and a single high school in the center of the camp. But these plans eventually fell through, and Block 23 became the elementary school and preschool and Block 33 the combined junior and senior high school. Both blocks were regular residential blocks, and the schools had to adapt to using residential barracks, mess halls, laundry rooms, and recreational halls as best they could. Though school officials hoped to open the schools in November, a delay in installing toilets in the school blocks along with the holidays, pushed the opening to January 4, 1943. The first school year ended on September 11, 1943. After a three week "summer" vacation, the second school year began on October 4 and ended in early June 1944 just prior to the closing of Jerome. Barrack classrooms were initially empty save for a handful of adult size folding chairs; over the first weeks and months of the school, folding chairs, tables built by inmate carpenters, and books and other supplies trickled in. [31]

As at other WRA camps, the teachers at Jerome were a mixture of white teachers hired from the outside and inmate teachers. About three-quarters of the white teachers were from Arkansas, as were both school principals and Superintendent Thompson. School leaders ran into some difficulty in recruiting local teachers. Since WRA teacher salaries of up to $2,000 a year were more than double what local Arkansas teachers received, local schools objected strenuously to the WRA recruiting local teachers. The WRA had to eventually agree not to hire more than one or two teachers from any one school district and to secure permission from those districts to recruit teachers. Despite the relatively high salaries, turnover was high due to the difficult conditions at the Jerome schools. The white teacher staff was augmented with inmate "assistant teachers," all of whom had some college training, but most of whom lacked experience, given that few school districts in California would even consider hiring Nisei teachers. There were about one hundred educational staffers at Jerome. Southern racial attitudes held by teachers were a problem in some cases. In a 1944 interview, Chiyoko Elizabeth Suzuki, an inmate teacher, recalled that some of her colleagues "didn't like my methods of teaching about racial tolerance so much." She added that "[m]any of them had patronizing attitude toward Nisei students and I had to combat against that. It was much worse in the high school than in the elementary school." [32]

The Denson Elementary School was located in Block 23, sharing the space with the preschool and kindergarten, which used Barracks 5 and 6, and the adult/night school, which used Barrack 1. Barrack 12 was used for offices, storage, and as an art room. The mess hall served as the auditorium, and the recreation hall and laundry room were used as night school classrooms. The barracks used for classrooms eventually had half of the partitions taken out so that they each contained three classrooms. However, windows, doors, lighting, and ventilation remained unchanged from regular residential barracks. Similarly, the junior/senior high school in Block 33 had offices in Barrack 1 and used the mess hall as an auditorium. It also used the laundry room as a science lab and the recreation room for girls' physical education. Parts of the high school also spilled over into neighboring blocks, as the boys' physical education room was the recreation hall in Block 32 and the band room in the Block 29 recreation hall. The only part of the planned new school that was actually built was an auditorium in the center of the camp that didn't open until April 1944, just two months before the camp closed. [33]

Enrollment peaked in the summer of 1943, just prior to segregation, which was also the end of the first school year. At that point, the elementary school had 936 students, the junior high school 571, the senior high school 688, the kindergarten 145, and the nursery school 249. Night school attendance peaked at 1,895 as of May 1, 1943. [34]

Recreation

For various reasons—the late arrival of inmates as winter weather began, the lack of completed facilities, and the wood cutting crisis among other things—recreational programs at Jerome got off to a slow start. Initial programs started by inmates were things that required no money or equipment, such as community sing-alongs and talent shows, which "helped quell unrest and encouraged friendly relationships among virtual strangers," according to the Community Activities Section final report. Before long, more formal entertainment programs began. The Densoneers, an eleven-piece dance band led by Frank Tashima, formed and debuted on November 24, playing one dance a week while on the Community Activities Section payroll. More elaborate talent shows, including those catering to Issei tastes, began. In early 1943, the co-op began screening movies, going from mess hall to mess hall across the camp. When the auditorium was finally completed in April 1944, the movie screenings moved there for the last weeks of the camp. [35]

Sports leagues were also late to start due to winter and the lack of facilities. Three baseball leagues and a softball league with a combined total of seventy-five teams started in March 1943 as well as thirty-six basketball teams in three leagues. Teams often took on the name of California hometowns or just block numbers. Other sports followed: a football league began in October 1943, volleyball in November 1943 and indoor sports such as table tennis in January 1944. Judo was very popular among the inmates with tournaments drawing up to two thousand spectators. Sports highlights included competition with teams from Rohwer as well as games between baseball and basketball teams made up of Nisei soldiers training at Camps Robinson and Shelby. There were also games against white teams visiting from surrounding communities. Though there were boys' and girls' scouting troops at Jerome, there was less organization and participation than at other camps. One scouting highlight was a five-day Boy Scout camping trip for seventy-five Jerome and ninety Rohwer scouts, along with boys from an Arkansas City troop. [36]

It was apparently not difficult to sneak out of the camp into the forest and many inmates recall picnicking, swimming, or fishing outside the fence. A popular pastime was to collect " kobu "— gnarled wood growths on trees, most notably the "knees" of cypress trees—from the woods, which inmate craftsmen (most of whom were Issei men) would polish and mount or craft into utilitarian objects. Concentration camp craft chronicler Delphine Hirasuna wrote that " kobu hunting was both a sport and an artistic endeavor," and that since "each kobu was uniquely shaped by nature, kobu aficionados reveled in a sense of discovery." Though these excursions were presumably against the rules, camp administrators recognized them as harmless activities and gave tacit approval, even sponsoring kobu contests. In a sign of how widespread the fad had become—and perhaps the gender dynamics behind it—Akiko Yamanaka wrote in a sardonic essay in the Denson Magnet , a camp magazine, "[i]f you are one of the many patient ladies who is tired of seeing stump after stump of gnarled, decayed pieces of wood in your room, tired of cleaning up the shavings and saw-dust of the same left on the floor, and tired of agreeing with him that they're simply beautiful, it's high time for you to go into action," before suggesting women chuck the kobu into the stove to serve as fuel. [37]

A unique aspect of Jerome and Rohwer was the connection to Nisei soldiers training at Camps Robinson and Shelby. The 100th Infantry Battalion , made up of Nisei soldier from Hawai'i, and later, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team , trained at the latter, which was about 250 miles southeast of Jerome. In response to requests by the soldiers to visit the camp, a group of inmates, led by Mary Nakahara (later known as Yuri Kochiyama ), Mary Tsukamoto , and Amy Murayama started a USO. The USO formally opened on June 21, 1943. From July 1943 until March 1944, busloads of soldiers would arrive every weekend for a Saturday night dance, and Sunday ochazuke party. In addition to the organized groups, individual soldiers dropped in from the two nearby camps as well as from eleven other army camps. By April of 1944, the peak of activity, some 400 to 600 visitors a week were coming to the USO. While the soldiers no doubt welcomed the visits, many inmates did as well. Masamizu Kitajima, who ten years old at the time, recalled the special bond the Hawai'i inmates had with the many soldiers from Hawai'i. "They want to come to see Hawai'i, Hawai'i people, so every week until they shipped out they came," he recalled. "And they would always bring presents for the kids and for us kids and stuff like that." Traffic flowed the other direction as well, as young women from Jerome and Rohwer took regular trips to Camp Shelby to attend dances with the soldiers. Nakahara also organized the Crusaders , various groups of young women in Jerome who wrote to thousands of Nisei soldiers in training and overseas. [38]

Medical Facilities

The Jerome hospital complex was located in what was dubbed Block 49, southwest of the main inmate area of the camp. Like the rest of the camp, the hospital was not complete when the first inmates arrived in October of 1942, with the first ward not being made available to the WRA until the beginning of November. Even as patients were being moved in, the windows in the ward lacked screens. The hospital complex came to include three standard wards along with children's, obstetrical, and isolation wards, along with staff quarters, an outpatient clinic, surgery room, morgue, mess hall, and warehouse storage. Most of the doctors came from the ranks of the inmates. Notable doctors included Kikuo Taira of Fresno, Sakaye Shigekawa, a pioneering Nisei woman doctor from Los Angeles, and Kazuo Miyamoto, a Nisei from Hawai'i who had previously been interned by the Justice Department. A shortage of nurses forced the closure of two wards in March 1944. [39]

One health crisis at Jerome was a severe flu epidemic that broke out in December 1943. There were 888 cases at Jerome. The epidemic caused a brief postponement of the schools reopening in the new year. There were also two syphilis outbreaks, twelve malaria cases, two of typhoid fever (the only ones in any WRA camp), and 394 cases of conjunctivitis ("pink eye"), the most of any WRA camp. [40]

Newspaper

The Denson Communique —later the Denson Tribune —was the camp newspaper at Jerome. Its first issue appeared on October 23, 1942, and it settled into issuing two mimeographed issues per week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. Starting on December 8, the Denson Jiho , a two-page Japanese language supplement, was published with the Communique . The first six issues of the Communique ran just two pages, but the page count grew steadily, reaching ten pages by May 7, 1943, with most issues running six or eight pages. The office of the paper moved several times, finally settling in a barrack in Block 36 in June 1943, where it remained for the duration. Given the short life of Jerome, its newspaper had the shortest life of any of the WRA camp newspapers, with the last issue appearing on June 6, 1944. A total of 174 issues of the issues of Communique / Tribune appeared, along with 157 of the Jiho . The paper's circulation reached 3,250, including outside sales of up to 300. [41]

The Communique / Tribune had an unusually experienced editorial staff. Its initial editor, Eddie Shimano , was a well-known journalist and activist originally from Seattle who had helmed the well-regarded Santa Anita Pacemaker prior to coming to Jerome. Other staffers included Paul Yokota, Joe Oyama, and Asami Kawachi Oyama (the latter two married just before coming to Jerome) and art and production manager Roy Kawamoto, all of whom had worked on the Pacemaker . When Shimano left Jerome to resettle in New York (he took a job as an assistant to M. Margaret Anderson, editor of quarterly journal Common Ground ) in February 1943, Yokota took over as editor with the March 2 issue, which also marked the debut of the Tribune name. Yokota, a 1941 USC graduate and later a teacher and school principal in Los Angeles, remained editor to the October 22, 1943 issue. Richard Itanaga was city editor and Ayako Ellen Noguchi (who had been editor of the Fresno Grapevine ) the feature editor under Yokota. The last editor, Harry Shiramizu, was from Kaua'i. A 1927 graduate of the University of Hawai'i, he had been an English language reporter for the Nippu Jiji , first in Honolulu and later in Tokyo and was the city editor of the The Manchuria Daily News in Japanese controlled Machukuo from 1935. Returning to Hawai'i before the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was subsequently interned and was among the Japanese Americans from Hawai'i who came to Jerome in early 1943. He returned to Hawa'ii after the war and rejoined the renamed Hawaii Times . The core staff of the Jiho included Iwao Kodama, Harry Hidotoshi Okazaki, and George Shigeyasu, all of whom remained for its entire run. The staff reported to Reports Officer Charles Lynn, a veteran journalist who had come from the Arkansas Gazette . [42]

As with other WRA camp newspapers, the Communique / Tribune was a medium for transmitting key information from the administration about such topics as housing, schools, and segregation, while also providing a platform for various Nisei columnists on lighter topics such as sports, entertainment, and gossip. It also included the comic strips "Denny" by Roy Kawamoto (March 9 to Oct. 15, 1943); "Alec" by Harry Kuwada (Oct. 22 1943 to Apr. 7, 1944); and "Chig" by Rosie Arima (Apr. 11 to June 6, 1944). Its editorials were mostly administration-friendly—for instance, encouraging inmates to work on wood cutting crews and advocating resettlement—while also decrying demoralization on the inside and racism on the outside. While journalism historian E. J. Friedlander claimed that the paper was "editorially autonomous" and "operated at least as freely as comparable commercial Arkansas newspapers of the period," in a pair of academic journal articles, later scholarship by John Howard and Takeya Mizuno document the oversight role of Lynn and the WRA Reports Office. [43]

Store/Co-op

As at other WRA camps, retail stores and services were operated by an inmate-led cooperative, whose profits were shared with inmate co-op members. The co-op effectively began in November 1942 when block managers, the Jerome Community Enterprises office, and Project Director Paul Taylor met and agreed to form a trust that would establish and run the co-op on an interim basis until an election and incorporation could take place. Out of a list of names submitted by the block managers and community enterprises, Taylor appointed five men who would serve as the directors of the trust: Ryuichi Murakami, Kaoru Kamikawa, Jiro Omata, Enkichi Shintani, and Kanichi Komoto, with Murakami named general manager. Despite some questions about the trust's legitimacy, it began to establish various enterprises in the first quarter of 1943, including dry goods and general stores, mail order and laundry services, a barber shop, radio and shoe repair shops, and a movie operation that went from mess hall to mess hall. Popular items in the dry goods store included blankets and winter clothing, while general store favorites included such items as cigarettes, soft drinks, and candy. By the spring, total sales exceeded $50,000 a month. [44]

In the meantime, the trust directors along with newly arrived co-op supervisor Mauritz Erkkila did education presentations on the co-op in the various blocks and sold co-op memberships at $5 per person that amounted to $25,000. In April, a temporary board of directors was elected and the co-op was finally incorporated as Jerome Cooperative Enterprises on July 1, 1943, the delay due in part to problems getting permission to operate in the state of Arkansas. Katsujiro Iseri, an Issei businessman from Los Angeles, was elected president, with Murakami continuing as general manager. After incorporation, a Congress of Delegates was elected by members in each block which in turn elected an eleven-member board of directors. Both bodies were composed mostly of Issei. The various enterprises continued to grow, and the first patronage rebate to members came at the end of September 1943. Erkkila and Kiyoshi Hamanaka , a Fresno Nisei, led classes on co-op principles, and the co-op even published its own newsletter. [45]

But barely six months after incorporating, the co-op had to begin the closing process. The popular Erkkila left to join the navy in December and was replaced by Don Elberson, who had been the co-op superintendent at Tule Lake and who arrived knowing that Jerome would soon be closed. After the announcement of the June closing date, the co-op leadership decided to close down operations by March 31, 1944, which would allow time for liquidation of assets and distribution of proceeds to members before the closing of the camp. This upset new camp director E. B. Whitaker, who lamented that the co-ops were "nothing more than monopolies, and the idea of rendering services rather than making money has never been put across" and lamenting that a "true co-op would never close its enterprises ninety days before the membership ceased to need its services." As something of a compromise, the co-op agreed to remain open into mid-April, and an agreement was reached to allow the Rohwer co-op to operate one store and a few other services in Jerome until closing. In the meantime, the Jerome co-op held liquidation sales to reduce inventory and sold other merchandise and their equipment to co-ops at other WRA camps. Jerome Cooperative Enterprises dissolved as of June 10, 1944. In the end, it returned $115,600 to members in dividends. [46]

Industry

Industry in Jerome was limited to goods consumed at Jerome and consisted mostly of food product manufacturing overseen by the Mess Unit. The mess hall of Block 36 was used to produce tofu, miso, ice cream, and lard, along with pickled pig's feet and "chow-chow" (relish). The Japanese food products were particularly appreciated by the inmates and included about 10,000 pounds a month of tofu, 4,000 pounds a month of miso, along with Japanese style picked daikon, nappa, and cabbage. The tofu and miso were produced mostly using the 18,000 pounds of soy beans grown at the camp. Enough tofu was produced to supply all the mess halls and the hospital at least once a week. Inmate workers also produced 3,000 pounds a month of lard from the fat of pigs raised at the camp and about 1,000 gallons a month of ice cream. The Mess Unit also oversaw the making of laundry soap out of excess kitchen fats. The 2,000 pounds a month was about half of the soap needed by the camp population. [47]

A cabinet shop opened on October 1942 and employed up to thirty-two men. The shop built much of the camp's office furniture. [48]

Agriculture

As with many of Jerome's programs, the agriculture program was handicapped by the camp's late start and early closure as well as early labor problems and issues with soil, drainage, and weather. Most of the potential agricultural land on the Jerome project had to be cleared of tree stumps and brush before any planting could begin. But because of the emphasis on cutting firewood for the winter of 1942–43, little labor could be spared to do this work. The largest of the three agricultural areas, an area known as Deep Elm, was three to five miles east of the camp, and inadequate food, low WRA wages, and the difficulty of the land clearing work—the Agricultural Section final report called it "an altogether disagreeable, nasty, unwanted job"— also contributed to the difficulty of finding and retaining workers. It wasn't until the spring of 1943 that any real planting of crops could begin. "We were actually planting when we should have been harvesting crops the first spring," read the final report. Despite losing many crops due to the summer heat, crops such as sweet potato (226,000 pounds harvested in October alone), turnips and pumpkins did well in the fall of 1943. And despite a difficult winter of 1943–44 that saw rain and flooding delay operations and rot some crops (an October 1943 weekly report read "all of our string beans, lima beans, tomatoes, corn, okra, and squash were completely killed"), the May 1944 harvest was "the most productive that the Agriculture Section has every enjoyed" according to a monthly report. Nonetheless, the total production of vegetables at Jerome lagged behind every other WRA camps except for Topaz. When the camp closed in June 1944, a good number of crops were left in the fields. [49]

Jerome also raised pigs that produced essentially all of the pork and lard consumed at the camp, though as with the farming operation, there were many problems. One of the reasons there was a hog program at all stemmed from a problem: that the initial handling of the camp's garbage by a local contractor fueled rumors of rampant food waste at Jerome. Starting a hog program was seen as a way for the garbage to be dealt with on site. An initial purchase of twenty head in December 1942 soon led to a continual stock of 500 to 600 head. Though there were plans to build proper pens and a slaughterhouse, these facilities were never completed, and the program had to make do with improvised facilities. As a result, many of the pigs died during the winters due to diseases brought about by flooding and the lack of shelter. While most of the slaughtering was done on site, bad weather in winter 1943–44 forced the program to send out the animals for slaughter on the outside. Nonetheless, some 375,000 pounds of pork was produced for camp mess halls. At the end of the program, 132 head were transferred to Rohwer. [50]

Religion

There were active Christian and Buddhist congregations at Jerome. The majority Buddhist population (about 70% of the total) held their first service on October 25 in Recreation Hall 3, drawing about 125, even as people were arriving at Jerome. The Denson Buddhist Church was officially founded on November 1, 1942. Rev. Gyodo Kono of Hanford led the first service and many others, being one of only two Buddhist ministers at Jerome initially. Several other Buddhist priests arrived later with the groups from Hawai'i and were also able to minister to the Jerome population. However, the Buddhist church ended up splitting over idealogy, as those who saw their futures in Japan left the Denson Buddhist Church and formed the Daijo Buddhist Church. Nonetheless, attendance at the Denson Buddhist Church Sunday service quickly grew to as many as 800. Children's Sunday School was added in November and drew up to 500. An active Young Buddhists Association (YBA) formed as well led by various Nisei young adults. The YBA printed a newsletter that covered the Buddhist community inside and outside Jerome and also published nine hundred copies of a Gatha (sermon) book, 350 copies of a textbook, and 1,200 copies of a 1944 Buddhist calendar all of which saw distribution to other WRA camps and to outside communities. Initial services were held in various dining and recreation halls throughout the camp, with Dining Hall 23 (the elementary school block) emerging as the de facto temple by early 1943. Services were sometimes also held at Dining Halls 29 or 41 in addition to 23, since they were located on opposite sides of the camp from Block 23. The hanamatsuri (Buddha's birthday/flower festival) service in April 1944 was held in the recently completed auditorium. [51]

Because they mostly weren't interned, there were many Christian ministers at Jerome relative to their Buddhist counterparts. As early as November 4, 1942, Christian ministers from the Fresno area and from Long Beach met and eventually came to form the Community Christian Church of Denson. Ministers were paid by outside Mission Boards, but at WRA wages. As with the Buddhists, services were held in various mess halls and recreation rooms throughout the camp initially, before the Block 33 mess hall (the high school block) became a de facto Christian Church. By late 1943, Japanese language services were being held in recreation halls in Blocks 31 and/or 11. Among the frequent English language sermonizers were Congregationalist Rev. George Aki of Fresno and Alameda who had transferred to Jerome from Topaz and who was later a chaplain for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; Methodist Rev. Hideo Hashimoto of Fresno; Presbyterian Rev. Shimpachi Kanow of Long Beach; and Episcopalian Rev. John Yamazaki of Los Angeles. After many of these men resettled in 1943–44, white ministers from the outside often came to deliver sermons at Jerome. Frequent Japanese language sermonizers included Salvation Army Major Masahide Imai of Fresno; Rev. Kunishichi Inori of Hanford; and Presbyterian Rev. Tatsuo Sakaguchi of Fresno. In addition to regular Sunday School and English and Japanese services, there were also various special events. One highlight was the Jerome Christian Mission of May 16–21, 1943, which featured such outside speakers as E. Stanley Jones and Jessie Trout. [52]

Father Hugh Lavery, a Maryknoll priest, was sent out to minister to the small Catholic populations at Jerome and Rohwer. He was replaced by Father John F. Swift in March of 1943. In mid-1943, a part of the Block 4 recreation hall was established as the Catholic Church. [53]

Library

Due largely to the late opening, early closing, and issues regarding a permanent space, the library program at Jerome was limited relative to other WRA camps. Though a librarian was hired in February 1943, there was no dedicated place for a library, and so it was temporarily set up in the kitchen area of the mess hall of Block 33, the high school block. Seating capacity in this makeshift space was thirty-six and conditions were "extremely crowded." When plans to build a dedicated library building were canceled, space was found for the library in Barrack 1 of neighboring Block 32. However, because of delays in clearing that barrack of the inmates living in it, the library was not able to move there until August of 1943. Librarian Erva Haselden was finally able to open the library on August 23, 1943. She was initially assisted by inmate assistant librarians Haruko Jofuku, Shizuko Nishikawa, Carol Sumida, and Alice Umeda. The original Block 33 space became a branch library for the high school, and a small branch library was eventually set up in the elementary school. [54]

As was the case in many other camps, furnishings and equipment was slow to arrive. The camp cabinet shop made book cases and a card catalog was ordered, though neither arrived until many months had passed. The library also faced what its final report called "discipline problems," blamed on adolescent boys who would gather there after school for lack of other places to go. The book stock of 2,500 at the August opening eventually reached 5,981, with 4,424 of those donated. Daily circulation averaged eighty books. A small stock of four hundred Japanese books came from the stock that had been impounded at the assembly centers; this small number of books accounted for a fourth of the total circulation each month, indicating a pent-up demand for Japanese language material. Given the library's late start and slow growth, it was just beginning to expand its services when the announcement came of Jerome's closing. Upon closing, the stock of books was sent to other WRA camps, with the Japanese books being sent to Rohwer. [55]

Closing

As part of their strategy to encourage Japanese Americans to leave the concentration camps, the WRA decided to close one of the camps at the end of 1943. The WRA chose Jerome as the one to be closed, citing as the main reasons its relatively small size; the proximity to Rohwer, where many of the Jerome inmates could presumably be transferred; and recent attrition in Jerome's administrative staff. The planned closing of Jerome by the end of June was announced on February 22, 1944. [56]

The WRA determined that Jerome inmates would be transferred to one of four camps—Rohwer, Gila River, Amache, and Heart Mountain—and distributed a "preference questionnaire" through block managers where inmates could list their preferred destinations. But inmate preferences did not match destination camp capacities, with Rohwer and Amache in particular having many more people who wanted to go there than there was available space. Committees of administrative staff made the final determinations, with priority being given to those with health-related issues, families that had members in the armed forces, and moves that would reunite or keep together families. In the end, 2,750 transferred to Rohwer, 2,077 to Gila River, 587 to Amache, and 507 to Heart Mountain. Those who transferred to Rohwer traveled the twenty-seven miles by bus or truck. The others left in six trainloads at the end of June, with the last group leaving on June 24 other than a "post contingent" of 307 that helped to close down the camp. About one hundred of Jerome's WRA staff transferred to other camps. About 45% of property at Jerome was transferred to other camps, with the rest turned over to the Treasury Department for disposal. [57]

Timeline

October 6, 1942
The first advance crew of 202 arrives from the Fresno Assembly Center.

October 23, 1942
Stanley Sunae Miyasaki is first baby born in the camp at 1:30 pm on Friday, Oct. 23. Parents Mr. and Mrs. Morito Miyasaki were from Fowler via Fresno Assembly Center. Stanley died on November 14, 1942.

November 3, 1942
The last of the groups from the "assembly centers" arrive, a contingent of 415 from Santa Anita.

January 4, 1943
Jerome's schools open.

February 9, 1943
Registration begins.

March 6, 1943
A group of men attack JACL leader Thomas Yatabe and Protestant Rev. John Yamasaki, the latter of whom had translated the loyalty questionnaire into Japanese at the request of the administration.

March 10, 1943
Registration is completed.

June 14, 1943
Three men—Tsuneto Yamato, Edward Kintoku Ige, and Jitsushige Tsuha—are transferred to the Leupp isolation center by Camp Director Paul A. Taylor.

July 3, 1943
The 100th baseball team arrives from Camp Shelby for a visit. Local Jerome teams go on to win two out of the three games they play.

August 23, 1943
Opening of Denson Library.

August 29, 1943
Thirty-eight inmates leave Jerome en route to Jersey City, where they would sail to Japan on the second voyage of the exchange ship M.S. Gripsholm .

Sept. 3, 1943
Graduation ceremonies for 59 high school seniors mark the end of the first school year.

September 15, 1943
The first train to Tule Lake leaves with 498 aboard. Subsequent trains leaving on Sept. 25 and 26 take another 992.

October 13, 1943
A trailer carrying 37 woodcutters overturns, sending twenty to the hospital. Sixty-two year old Haruji Ego dies of injuries at St. Vincent's Hospital in Little Rock on October 29.

December 1, 1943
E. B. Whitaker, who had headed the Little Rock WRA office, succeeds Paul Taylor as director of Jerome.

December 1943
About 500 flu cases in the camp, with the numbers increasing. As a result, the camp administration bans all gatherings with the exception of block Christmas parties.

February 22, 1944
The planned closure of Jerome by the end of June is announced.

April 14, 1944
Dedication ceremony held for auditorium.

May 8, 1944
The first two additional groups from Jerome consisting of 497 people depart for Tule Lake. The second group of 126 departs on May 17.

June 24, 1944
The last of six trainloads transferring inmates to other camps leaves Jerome at 4 pm. The only people left in the camp are a "post contingent" of 307.

June 30, 1944
Jerome closes.

Quotes

"Surrounded by forest, muddy ground. I thought, 'What a terrible place,' wondered how long we were gonna have to be there. It was very unsettling."
Miyoko Uzaki, 2014 [58]

"So in the winter, the rain would come, and oh, it would be all flooded. And then you would be deep in mud, and things like that. It was, Jerome was very raw and crude. So with the elements like that, like rain, and sometimes a little bit snow, it became difficult, especially for my parents."
Lillian Nakano, 2009 [59]

"A lot of the kids from Hawaii like my brother were more gang-oriented from growing up in Hawaii and in the high schools and intermediate schools here in Hawaii. And so they were more accustomed to gang fighting. And so when there were fights between, the tension between the local, I mean, the Hawaii people and the mainland people, kids, they weren't... kotonks, the mainland people weren't accustomed to having physical fights. They were more, basically, just nice farm kids. And here comes these people from, kids from Hawaii, and they were more gang-oriented, so they'd gang up on some nice farm kid, basically, is what."
James A. Nakano, 2009 [60]

"The weather remained cold. The woods were getting wetter. Fuel already in the blocks was approaching the zero point. Individual fear was pointing to the possibility of mass hysteria."
Jerome Fourth Quarterly Report, 1943 [61]

"I just couldn't understand why the Nisei boys in camp were so scornful of these Hawaiian Nisei soldiers, especially my brother. Many Issei were this way too and some of the blocks refused to have Nisei soldiers at the mess halls. My own mess hall refused to give me some Japanese food for a Nisei soldier as the cook just didn't like the idea of Nisei fighting for this country. The Kibeis were very much against them too. This made me feel all the more that I was an American and on the side of the Nisei soldiers. The people in camp couldn't understand how lonesome these Hawaiian Nisei soldiers were for their homes in the islands. I got mad when they were condemned for fighting for America. I thought that all Nisei boys should be doing this."
Katsuko Yamamoto, 1944 [62]

Aftermath

Upon its closing, the Jerome site was transformed over the next few weeks into Camp Dermott, one of three POW camps in Arkansas that housed German prisoners, most from Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps. While the buildings were reused, sixteen new guard towers were built and fencing was added to subdivide it into various compounds. Camp Dermott opened in October 1944. Its population consisted of particularly troublesome German officers and a few enlisted men numbering over 7,000, guarded by 600 American military guards. Despite their reputations, thousands of POWs at Dermott were allowed to work on farms and in the paper industry for prevailing wages and were farmed out to a series of sub-camps to do so. Locals mostly welcomed them to their communities, given the severe labor shortages farmers faced, and some maintained correspondences with the ex-POWs even after they returned to Germany. By contrast, loyal Japanese Americans were prohibited by the state of Arkansas from doing such work in the state. After the war, the Germans filtered out of the POW camps over the next year, with the last leaving Arkansas in May 1946. The land that Jerome and Camp Dermott stood on was sold off, and the buildings auctioned off. [63]

Current Status of Site and Commemoration

Much of the land Jerome sat on was purchased in the 1950s by the Ellington family, who cleared it for farming, the concrete slabs and other remnants of the camp buried. A smoke stack from the hospital building was left in the field and remains there. John Ellington met many former Jerome inmates who returned to visit the site and worked with two of them, George Sakaguchi and Sam Yada, to raise awareness of the camps and eventually to build a stone marker at the site that was completed on land he donated in 1992. The ten-foot tall memorial includes text about Jerome and the mass incarceration. Former McGehee Mayor Rosalie Gould welcomed many former inmates who returned to the area and amassed a collection related to the camp. [64]

Given its short lifespan—and probably the fact that most Jerome inmates also were at other WRA camps—there seem to have been fewer organized activities by former inmates. The first Jerome reunion took place in 1987 in Downey, California, followed by a second in 1988. In 2004, "Life Interrupted: The Japanese American Experience in WWII Arkansas," a collaboration between the Japanese American National Museum and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock brought a series of traveling exhibitions, site tours of Jerome and Rohwer, and a conference to Arkansas. Kimiko Marr of Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages began organizing annual pilgrimages to Jerome and Rohwer starting in 2018. [65]

The World War II Japanese American Internment Museum is located in McGehee, Arkansas, and tells the story of the Rohwer and Jerome camps. It opened to the public in 2013.

For More Information

Books, articles, and dissertations

Bearden, Russell. "The False Rumor of Tuesday: Arkansas's Internment of Japanese-Americans." Arkansas Historical Quarterly 41.4 (1982): 327-39.

———. "Life Inside Arkansas's Japanese-American Relocation Centers." Arkansas Historical Quarterly 68 (Summer 1989): 169-96.

Friedlander, E. J. "Freedom of the Press behind Barbed Wire: Paul Yokota and the Jerome Relocation Center Newspaper." Arkansas Historical Quarterly 14.4 (Winter 1985): 3-13.

Friedlander, Jay. "Journalism Behind Barbed Wire, 1942-1944: An Arkansas Relocation Center Newspaper." Journalism Quarterly 62.2 (Summer 1985): 243-46.

Honda, Gail, ed. Family Torn Apart: The Internment Story of the Otokichi Muin Ozaki Family . Honolulu: Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, 2012.

Hoshida, George and Tamae. Taken from the Paradise Isle: The Hoshida Family Story . Ed. Heidi Kim. Foreword by Franklin Odo. Boulder: University of Colorado Press, 2015.

Howard, John. Concentration Camps on the Home Front: Japanese Americans in the House of Jim Crow . Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Takemoto, Paul Howard. Nisei Memories: My Parents Talk About the War Years . Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2006.

Ward, Jason Morgan. "'No Jap Crow’: Japanese Americans Encounter the World War II South." The Journal of Southern History 73.1 (Feb. 2007): 75–104.

Literary works/Memoirs

Kiefer, Christian. Phantoms . New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2019.

Kochiyama, Yuri, Marjorie Lee, Akemi Kochiyama-Sardinha, and Audee Kochiyama-Holman. Passing It On: A Memoir . Los Angeles: UCLA Asian American Studies Center Press, 2004.

Miyamoto, Kazuo. Hawaii: End of the Rainbow . Rutland, Vt.: Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc., 1964.

Tsukamoto, Mary, and Elizabeth Pinkerton. We the People: A Story of Internment in America . San Jose: Laguna Publishers, 1987.

Film and video

Citizen Tanouye . Produced and directed by Robert Horsing and Craig Yahata. Hashi Pictures, 2005. 58 minutes.

Harsh Canvas: The Art and Life of Henry Sugimoto . Directed by John Esaki. Japanese American National Museum, 2001. 30 minutes.

Japanese American National Museum. Life Interrupted: Reunion and Remembrance in Arkansas , 2006. [DVD compilation of short videos produced for the 2004 conference in Little Rock.]

Time of Fear . Directed by Sue Williams. Ambrica Productions in association with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2004. 56 minutes.

Archival Material Online

Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Records, 1930–1974 . The Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley. [This collection includes records of the War Relocation Authority pertaining to Jerome. Jerome WRA records have call numbers that begin with the letter "N."]

Authored by Brian Niiya , Densho

Footnotes

  1. A note on sources: many of the WRA documents noted below come from the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Records collection at the Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley. The first set of these records went online in August 2018 in a project funded by the Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program. They are cited below as "JAERR" along with the Bancroft call number and web link. "Site," Final Report, Jerome Relocation Center, pp. 1, 3, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:1, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6dr32n6/?brand=oac4 ; "Selective Service," Final Report, Jerome Relocation Center, p. 1, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:1, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6dr32n6/?brand=oac4 .
  2. "Site," Final Report, Jerome Relocation Center, 2–3; Kazuo Miyamoto, Hawaii: End of the Rainbow (Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle, 1964), 494; Letter, Hideko Ozaki to Otokichi Ozaki, July 21, 1943, in Family Torn Apart: The Internment Story of the Otokichi Muin Ozaki Family , edited by Gail Honda (Honolulu: Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, 2012), 135; Lillian Nakano Interview by Megan Asaka, Segment 9, July 8, 2009, Torrance, California, Densho Visual History Collection, Densho Digital Repository, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-densho-1000/ddr-densho-1000-254-transcript-0d151f25db.htm ; Art Ishida interview by Martha Nakagawa, Segment 14, Aug. 24, 2011, Los Angeles, California, Densho Visual History Collection, Densho Digital Repository, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-densho-1000/ddr-densho-1000-363-transcript-ce608e4337.htm .
  3. "Site," Final Report, Jerome Relocation Center, 1–2; Jason Morgan Ward, "'No Jap Crow': Japanese Americans Encounter the World War II South," The Journal of Southern History 73.1 (Feb. 2007), 80; Russell Bearden, "Life Inside Arkansas's Japanese-American Relocation Centers," Arkansas Historical Quarterly 68 (Summer 1989), 170; Maury A. Church, "Final Report: Operation Division/Engineering Section," p. 1, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:12, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k60k2gq7/?brand=oac4 .
  4. Church, "Final Report: Operation Division/Engineering Section," 2, 3, 5, 8, 14, 23; Paul A. Taylor, Weekly Report, Week Ending January 23, 1943, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:2, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6pk0p8b/?brand=oac4 ; "Train List for Closing of Jerome [To Rohwer]," p. 53, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N4.50:4, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6jh3t9n/?brand=oac4 .
  5. Church, "Final Report: Operation Division/Engineering Section," 12, 17; "Final Report, External Security," p. 6, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:5, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6ws91c5/?brand=oac4 .
  6. Paul A. Taylor, Weekly Report, Week Ending Noon 10-31-1942, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:1, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6tb1f1h/?brand=oac4 .
  7. Paul A. Taylor, Weekly Reports, Weeks Ending Noon 10-31-1942 and Noon 11-7-1942, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:1, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6tb1f1h/?brand=oac4 ; [Joe Oyama], "Joe's Diary," p. 9, Denson Magnet , April 1943, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.25, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k64m9bqt/?brand=oac4 ; Yukiko Miyahara interview by Kirk Peterson, Segment 10, April 10, 2009, San Diego, California, Manzanar National Historic Site Collection, Densho Digital Repository, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-manz-1/ddr-manz-1-62-transcript-6569813913.htm ; "Induction of Residents," Final Report, Jerome Relocation Center, p. 4, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:1, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6dr32n6/?brand=oac4 .
  8. John Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front: Japanese Americans in the House of Jim Crow (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), 150; Paul A. Taylor, Weekly Report, Week Ending Noon, 12-19, 1942, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:1, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6tb1f1h/?brand=oac4 .
  9. Church, "Final Report: Operation Division/Engineering Section," 2, 24; Masamizu Kitajima interview by Tom Ikeda, Segment 20, Honolulu, Hawai'i, June 12, 2010, Densho Visual History Collection, Densho Digital Repository, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-densho-1000/ddr-densho-1000-287-transcript-a3656dda57.htm .
  10. Church, "Final Report: Operation Division/Engineering Section," 2–3; Ben Tonooka interview by Martha Nakagawa, Segment 20, Los Angeles, California, February 6, 2012, Densho Visual History Collection, Densho Digital Repository, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-densho-1000/ddr-densho-1000-390-transcript-33e54e0acf.htm .
  11. Church, "Final Report: Operation Division/Engineering Section," 2; "Closing Report, Administrative Management Division, Supply Section, Mess Unit," pp. 2–3, 7–8, 11, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:9, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6cv4qvv/?brand=oac4 ; Taigoro Jack Miyahara interview by Charles Kikuchi, p. 17, The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder T1.943, http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/jarda/ucb/text/cubanc6714_b280t01_0943.pdf .
  12. John L. Dewitt, Final Report: Japanese Evacuation from the West Coast, 1942 (Washington D.C.: U.S. Army, Western Defense Command), 282–84.
  13. Dewitt, Final Report , 363–66; Chiyoko Elizabeth Suzuki, interview by Charles Kikuchi, 1944, p. 90, The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder T1.977, http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/jarda/ucb/text/cubanc6714_b283t01_0977.pdf ; Miyoko Uzaki, interview by Kristen Luetkemeier, Segment 16, Fresno, California, Sept. 11, 2014, Manzanar National Historic Site Collection, Densho Digital Repository, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-manz-1/ddr-manz-1-156-transcript-428d5eadfc.htm ; Final Accountability Rosters of Evacuees at Relocation Centers, 1944–46, Roll 6, Jerome, June 1944, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC, 2001.
  14. "Induction of Residents," Final Report, 4, 5–6; Paul A. Taylor, Weekly Report, Week Ending Nov. 28, 1942, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:1, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6tb1f1h/?brand=oac4 ; Paul A. Taylor, Weekly Reports, Weeks Ending Jan. 9 and Feb. 6, 1943 JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:2, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6pk0p8b/?brand=oac4 ; James A. Nakano, interviewed by Tom Ikeda, Segment 11, Honolulu, June 3, 2009, Densho Visual History Collection, Densho Digital Repository, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-densho-1000/ddr-densho-1000-245-transcript-f641ec364b.htm ; The Evacuated People: A Quantitative Description (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of the Interior, [1946]), 11.
  15. Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 128, 130; Ward, "'No Jap Crow,'" 77, 84, 87–89; "Special Report, Anti-Japanese Legislation," [Reports Office], Apr. 29, 1943, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder Q1.25, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k69k4jdk/?brand=oac4 .
  16. Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 132, 167; Rohwer Relocation Center Community Analysis Section, "Final Report on Rohwer Relocation Center," p. 89, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder Q4.00:4, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6b282hs/?brand=oac4 ; [Charles R. Lynn], Office of Report reports, May 31, 1943 and July 31, 1943, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.17, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6nk3n4z/?brand=oac4 .
  17. Bearden, "Life Inside Arkansas's Japanese-American Relocation Centers," 173; Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 183, 195; Paul A. Taylor, Weekly Report, November 20, 1943, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:2, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6pk0p8b/?brand=oac4 .
  18. Bearden, "Life Inside Arkansas's Japanese-American Relocation Centers," 173–74; Denson Communique , Oct. 30, 1942, 2, Dec. 22, 1942, 2, and Jan. 22, 1943, 3.
  19. Bearden, "Life Inside Arkansas's Japanese-American Relocation Centers," 174, 178; Denson Communique , Dec. 22, 1942, 2; "Final Report, Legal Division," pp. 1–2, 4, Jerome Relocation Center, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:1, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6dr32n6/?brand=oac4 ; "Final Report, Jerome: Education Section," pp. 75–76, 78, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:4, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k61j9hxz/?brand=oac4 ; "Final Report, Community Management Division, Community Analysis Section," pp. 1-2, 8, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:6, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6s188m9/?brand=oac4 ; Fresno Grapevine, Oct. 14, 1942, 3.
  20. Edgar C. McVoy, "Social Process in the War Relocation Center," Social Forces 22 (Dec. 1943), 189.
  21. "Final Report, External Security," BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:5, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6ws91c5/?brand=oac4 .
  22. "Final Report, Community Management Division, Community Government," pp. 1–3, 5–6, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:6, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6s188m9/?brand=oac4 ; Paul A. Taylor, Weekly Report, Week Ending Noon, 12-5, 1942, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:1, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6tb1f1h/?brand=oac4 .
  23. "Final Report, Community Government," 2–3, 9, 15–16, quote from page 3.
  24. Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 177–78, 182–83; Paul A. Taylor, Weekly Reports, Week Ending Noon, Nov. 21, 1942 and Dec. 19, 1942, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:1, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6tb1f1h/?brand=oac4 ; "Fuel," Final Report, Jerome Relocation Center, p. 2, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:1, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6dr32n6/?brand=oac4 .
  25. Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 185–86; 190–95; Paul A. Taylor, Reports for Week Ending October 23, 1943 and October 30, 1943, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:2, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6pk0p8b/?brand=oac4 . The man who died was sixty-two-year-old Haruji Ego of Fresno, who died in the hospital on October 29 of injuries suffered in the October 13 accident.
  26. Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 139, 207–08; [Geroge Kuratomi], "Registration in Jerome," JAERR, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N3.00, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k69z9c18/?brand=oac4 ; Paul A. Taylor, Weekly Reports, Week Ending noon, Feb. 13, Feb. 20, Feb .27, Mar. 6, and Mar. 13, 1943 JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:2, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6pk0p8b/?brand=oac4 .
  27. Paul A. Taylor, Weekly Report, Week Ending March 6, 1943, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:2, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6pk0p8b/?brand=oac4 ; Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 208. Kuratomi, the ostensible author of the "Registration in Jerome" report, was a member of the "organized group."
  28. Paul A. Taylor, Weekly Report, Week Ending April 17, 1943, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:2, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6pk0p8b/?brand=oac4 ; Office of the Project Registrar, "Repatriation," May 22, 1943, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.19, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6ht2wg4/?brand=oac4 ; Community Analysis Section, "Additional Characteristics of the Repatriates of the Jerome Relocation Center," JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.19, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6ht2wg4/?brand=oac4 . The Project Registrar's report names Mitsuho Kimura, Yukio Tanaka, and Kintoku Edward Ige, young Kibei and Nisei men, as Rev. Kai's deputies who supervised the "group's" filing for repatriation/expatriation.
  29. "Chronology of Segregation," Nov. 12, 1943, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N4.00, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k66979q5/?brand=oac4 ; Ulys. A. Lovell, Jerome Project Attorney, Reports to Philip M. Glick, September 15 and 25, 1943, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.12:2, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6x354k0/?brand=oac4 ; Paul A. Taylor, Reports for Weeks Ending October 2 and 9 1943, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:2, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6pk0p8b/?brand=oac4 ; "The Closing of Jerome Relocation Center," July 15, 1944, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.05, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6z325tq/?brand=oac4 ; The Evacuated People , 120.
  30. The Evacuated People , 49; Summary of Monthly Reports [Rohwer], Month Ending October 31, 1944, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder Q1.12:2, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6hh6jsf/?brand=oac4 .
  31. A. G. Thompson, et al., "Jerome Center Schools, Final Report for the Education Section," pp. 1, 23, 25, 31, 34, JAERR, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:3, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k65b08n7/?brand=oac4 ; Paul A. Taylor, Weekly Report, Week Ending Noon, 11-28, 1942, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:1, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6tb1f1h/?brand=oac4 ; Education Monthly Report, Sept. 30, 1943, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:4, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k61j9hxz/?brand=oac4 ; "Report on Denson High School," Dec. 10, 1943, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:4, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k61j9hxz/?brand=oac4 . Blocks marked 10 and 34 in early camp maps and blueprints were to be the elementary schools and Block 21 the high school.
  32. Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 113; Bearden, "Life Inside Arkansas's Japanese-American Relocation Centers," 188–89; A. G. Thompson, et al., "Jerome Center Schools, Final Report for the Education Section," 20–21, 25–26; Chiyoko Elizabeth Suzuki, interview, 94–95.
  33. A. G. Thompson, et al., "Jerome Center Schools, Final Report for the Education Section," 8, 31–33, 11, 33–34.
  34. "Final Report, Jerome: Education Section," pp. 113–18, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:4, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k61j9hxz/?brand=oac4 .
  35. "Final Report, Community Management Division, Community Activities Section," pp. 5–7, 10–11, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:6, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6s188m9/?brand=oac4 ; George Yoshida, Reminiscing in Swingtime: Japanese Americans in American Popular Music: 1925-1960 (San Francisco: National Japanese American Historical Society, 1997), 149–51; McVoy, "Social Process in the War Relocation Center," p. 189; "Final Report, Community Management Division, Business Enterprises," pp. 14–15, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:5, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6ws91c5/?brand=oac4 .
  36. Seico Hanashiro, "Sports Flip-Up," Denson Magnet , April 1943, pp. 19–20, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.25, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k64m9bqt/?brand=oac4 ; "Final Report, Community Management Division, Athletics," pp 1–2, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:6, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6s188m9/?brand=oac4 ; Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 81–84; "Final Report, Community Management Division, Scouting," pp. 2–3, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:6, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6s188m9/?brand=oac4 .
  37. For examples of stories about sneaking into the woods, see Densho interviews with Art Ishida, Segment 16, by Martha Nakagawa, Los Angeles, Aug. 24, 2011, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-densho-1000/ddr-densho-1000-363-transcript-ce608e4337.htm ; Doris Nitta, Segment 13, by Richard Potashin, Las Vegas, Nevada, Aug. 10, 2010, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-manz-1/ddr-manz-1-108-transcript-29331d4747.htm ; and Ben Tonooka, Segment 25, by Martha Nakagawa, Los Angeles, Feb. 6, 2012, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-densho-1000/ddr-densho-1000-390-transcript-33e54e0acf.htm . "Final Report, Community Activities Section," 6; Miyamoto, Hawaii, End of the Rainbow , 469–70; Delphine Hirasuna, The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942–1946 (Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2005), 44; Akiko Yamanaka, "They're Simply Beautiful," Denson Magnet , April 1943, p. 22, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.25, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k64m9bqt/?brand=oac4 .
  38. "Final Report, Community Management Division, Denson – United Service Organization," JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:6, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6s188m9/?brand=oac4 ; "Final Report, Community Activities Section," 8–9; Masamizu Kitajima interview by Tom Ikeda, Honolulu, June 12, 2010, Segment 23, Densho Visual History Collection, Densho Digital Archive, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-densho-1000/ddr-densho-1000-287-transcript-a3656dda57.htm ; Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 135–37; Diane Fujino, Heartbeat of Struggle: The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005), 48.
  39. Paul A. Taylor, Weekly Report, Week Ending Nov. 7, 1942, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:1, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6tb1f1h/?brand=oac4 ; Church, "Final Report: Operation Division/Engineering Section," 8; Paul A. Taylor, Report for Week Ending September 18, 1943, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:2, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6pk0p8b/?brand=oac4 ; W. O. Melton, Jerome Weekly Report, Mar. 4, 1944, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:3, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6pk0p8b/?brand=oac4 ; Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 121.
  40. Bearden, "Life Inside Arkansas's Japanese-American Relocation Centers," 192; W. O. Melton, Jerome Weekly Report, Jan. 1, 1944, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:3, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6pk0p8b/?brand=oac4 ; Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 109.
  41. Denson Tribune , June 6, 1944, 6, http://ddr.densho.org/ddr-densho-144-177/ ; Bearden, "Life Inside Arkansas's Japanese-American Relocation Centers," 195.
  42. E. J. Friedlander, "Freedom of the Press behind Barbed Wire: Paul Yokota and the Jerome Relocation Center Newspaper" Arkansas Historical Quarterly 14.4 (Winter 1985), 307; John Stephan, "Hijacked by Utopia: American Nikkei in Manchuria," Amerasia Journal 23 (Winter 1997-98), 16, 25, 35–36n114; Yasutaro Soga, Life behind Barbed Wire: The World War II Internment Memoirs of a Hawai'i Issei (Translated by Kihei Hirai, Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2008), 30; Pacific Citizen , Nov. 14, 1952, 8, http://ddr.densho.org/ddr-pc-24-46/ ; Denson Tribune , June 6, 1944, 6; "Joe's Diary," Denson Magnet , April 1943, p. 5, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.25, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k64m9bqt/?brand=oac4 .
  43. Denson Tribune , June 6, 1944, 6; Friedlander, "Freedom of the Press behind Barbed Wire," 304, 313; Jay Friedlander, "Journalism Behind Barbed Wire, 1942-1944: An Arkansas Relocation Center Newspaper," Journalism Quarterly 62.2 (Summer 1985): 243-46; Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 90; Takeya Mizuno, "Censorship in a Different Name: Press 'Supervision' in Wartime Japanese American Camps 1942-1943," Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 88 (Spring 2011), 129.
  44. "Final Report, Business Enterprises," 9–10, 13–15; Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 74–77.
  45. "Final Report, Business Enterprises," 20, 24–25, 27–28, 33–36, 38–39, 52; Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 77.
  46. "Final Report, Business Enterprises," 53–54, 59–62, 65–66; E. B. Whitaker, Jerome Weekly Report, Apr. 1, 1944, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:3, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6pk0p8b/?brand=oac4 .
  47. "Final Report, Administrative Management Division, Supply Section, Mess Unit," JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:9, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6cv4qvv/?brand=oac4 .
  48. Church, "Final Report: Operation Division/Engineering Section," 27.
  49. "Final Report, Operations Division, Agricultural Section," pp. 1–2, 5, 8–9 JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:11, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k64b37gd/?brand=oac4 ; "Final Report, Operations Division," p. 3, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:11, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k64b37gd/?brand=oac4 ; Agricultural Section monthly reports, Oct. 1943 and May 1944, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N2.52, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6kh0vf1/?brand=oac4 ; Paul A. Taylor, Report for Week Ending October 23, 1943, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:2, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6pk0p8b/?brand=oac4 .
  50. "Final Report, Agricultural Section," 14–17; "Final Report, Operations Division," 4; Agricultural Section monthly report, May 1944, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N2.52, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6kh0vf1/?brand=oac4 .
  51. Howard, Concentration Camps on the Home Front , 151; "Final Report, Community Management Division, Buddhist Church," JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:6, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6s188m9/?brand=oac4 ; "Farewell with Gassho," pp. 5, 24, June 1944, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.69:4, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6959qp0/?brand=oac4 ; Edward H. Spicer, Asael T. Hansen, Katharine Luomala, and Marvin K. Opler, Impounded People: Japanese Americans in the Relocation Centers (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Interior, 1946; Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1969), 128; Denson YBA Bulletin, Sept. 5, 1943, p. 4, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.69:6, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k61n878s/?brand=oac4 ; various issues of the Denson Tribune .
  52. "Final Report, Community Management Division, Community Activities Section," p. 3, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:6, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6s188m9/?brand=oac4 ; "Final Report, Community Management Division, The Christian Church," JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:6, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6s188m9/?brand=oac4 ; various issues of the Denson Tribune .
  53. "Final Report, The Christian Church," 5; Kango Kunitsugu, ed., Rohwer Reunion Booklet (Gardena, Calif.: First Rohwer Reunion Committee, 1990), p. 14, California State University, Dominguez Hills, Archives and Special Collections, CSU Japanese American Digitization Project, https://calisphere.org/item/fe7f04541439b72d9894c2871a91002e/ .
  54. "Final Report, Community Management Division, The Center Library," JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:6, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6s188m9/?brand=oac4 ; A. G. Thompson, et al., "Jerome Center Schools, Final Report for the Education Section," 92–95; Denson Tribune , Aug. 20, 1943, 1.
  55. "Final Report, The Center Library," 4–9.
  56. "The Closing of Jerome Relocation Center," July 15, 1944, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.05, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6z325tq/?brand=oac4 .
  57. Rachel Reese Sady, "Summary of Closing Procedures," July 15, 1944, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.05, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6z325tq/?brand=oac4 ; "Closing Operations," Final Report, Jerome Relocation Center, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:1, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6dr32n6/?brand=oac4 ; The Evacuated People , 13; E. B. Whitaker, Jerome Weekly Report, June 24, 1944, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N1.06:3, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6pk0p8b/?brand=oac4 ; "The Closing of Jerome Relocation Center."
  58. Miyoko Uzaki interview by Kristen Luetkemeier, Segment 13, Fresno, California, Sept. 11, 2014, Manzanar National Historic Site Collection, Densho Digital Repository, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-manz-1/ddr-manz-1-156-transcript-428d5eadfc.htm .
  59. Lillian Nakano interview by Megan Asaka, Segment 9, Torrance, California, July 8, 2009, Densho Visual History Collection, Densho Digital Repository, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-densho-1000/ddr-densho-1000-254-transcript-0d151f25db.htm .
  60. James A. Nakano, interview by Tom Ikeda, Segment 11, Honolulu, Hawai'i, June 3, 2009, Densho Visual History Collection, Densho Digital Repository, https://ddr.densho.org/media/ddr-densho-1000/ddr-densho-1000-245-transcript-f641ec364b.htm .
  61. Jerome Fourth Quarterly Report, quoted in "Fuel," Final Report, Jerome Relocation Center, p. 2, JAERR BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder N5.00:1, https://oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/k6dr32n6/?brand=oac4 .
  62. Katsuko Yamamoto interview by Charles Kikuchi, p. 56, The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: A Digital Archive, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, BANC MSS 67/14 c, folder T1.98, http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/jarda/ucb/text/cubanc6714_b283t01_0098.pdf .
  63. Merrill R. Pritchett and William L. Shea, "The Afrika Korps in Arkansas, 1943-1946," Arkansas Historical Quarterly 37.1 (Spring 1978), 1, 4, 6–7, 21–22.
  64. Frank and Joanne Iritani, Ten Visits: Brief Accounts of Our Visits to All Ten Japanese American Relocation Centers of World War II, Relocation Recollections, the Struggle for Redress, Human Relations and Other Essays (San Mateo, Calif.: Japanese American Curriculum Project, 1994), 18–19.
  65. Pacific Citizen , July 4, 1987, 3 and May 15, 1987, 3; "Life Interrupted: The Japanese American Experience in WWII Arkansas," Japanese American National Museum Press Release, July 18, 2003, http://www.janm.org/press/release/12/ ; Nancy Ukai, "Jerome and Rohwer Revisited," Pacific Citizen , May 18, 2018, https://www.pacificcitizen.org/jerome-and-rohwer-revisited/ .

Last updated Aug. 2, 2021, 6:51 p.m..