Returning home

When the camps closed, Japanese Americans were handed $25 and put on trains headed for the places they had been forcibly removed from nearly four years earlier. Harassment was common -- many returning Japanese Americans were greeted with signs reading "No Japs Allowed." Other discovered their property had been vandalized or stolen. Homes and businesses that had been boarded up or left in the care of others were abandoned and stripped of furnishings and goods. For the majority, who did not have homes to return to, housing was the most serious problem. Housing discrimination was severe in many areas and persisted to varying degrees until the civil rights legislation of the 1960s. Former camp inmates with no other options moved into hostels and converted community institutions with conditions not much better than the camps they had just left. Although this period was stressful, it is remembered as a time when people came together to share what they had.

World War II (20)
Leaving camp (83)
Returning home (800)

Related articles from the Densho Encyclopedia :
Alien land laws, Hood River incident, Kazuo Masuda, Return to West Coast

800 items
Kay Matsuoka Segment 40 (ddr-densho-1000-48-40)
vh Kay Matsuoka Segment 40 (ddr-densho-1000-48-40)
Returning to Fresno, California, after the war: struggling with illness and making a living
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-123)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-123)
Excerpt: "Thank you very much for your letters." Sent from Manzanar concentration camp, California, possibly to Camp Robinson, Arkansas.
Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-143)
doc Letter to a Nisei man from his sister (ddr-densho-153-143)
Excerpt: "Okay, okay! I'm writing! Please don't get angry!" Sent from Los Angeles, California, possibly to Camp Robinson, Arkansas.
Issei man in Los Angeles (ddr-densho-242-16)
img Issei man in Los Angeles (ddr-densho-242-16)
Caption by Ike Hatchimonji: "Los Angeles - around 1947-48. Kumezo Hatchimoji at his home."
WRA booklet:
doc WRA booklet: "West Coast Incidents" (ddr-densho-274-29)
Booklet produced by the War Relocation Authority (WRA) that features clippings from major U.S. newspapers on Japanese Americans.
The Newell Star, Vol. II, No. 9 (March 2, 1945) (ddr-densho-284-58)
doc The Newell Star, Vol. II, No. 9 (March 2, 1945) (ddr-densho-284-58)
Selected article titles: "More Internees to Leave Sunday" (p. 1), "WRA Determined to Close Centers-Myer" (p. 2), and "GI's May Visit Interned Kins" (p. 4).
Hostel, Japanese language school (ddr-densho-31-1)
img Hostel, Japanese language school (ddr-densho-31-1)
These children are on the front steps of the Japanese language school. The school housed many Japanese Americans immediately after the incarceration. Front row (left to right): Nancy Tada and Susumu Ohashi holding Kiyomi Ohashi. Second row: Ronnie Tada, Takashi Aoki, Yoshiko Tokita, Yasuo Tokita, and Yuzo Tokita. Third row: Janet Tada, Setsuko Kojima, Peggy Ohashi ...
Advertisement for anti-Japanese meeting (ddr-densho-35-365)
doc Advertisement for anti-Japanese meeting (ddr-densho-35-365)
Advertisement for a meeting held by the Oregon Property Owners' Protective League, Inc.
Scrapbook page (ddr-densho-35-371)
doc Scrapbook page (ddr-densho-35-371)
Newspaper clippings from the Oregon Journal and an advertisement for a mass meeting from the Gresham Outlook.
Scrapbook page (ddr-densho-35-353)
doc Scrapbook page (ddr-densho-35-353)
Newspaper articles from the New York Times, Oregonian, and Pacific Citizen all describing public reactions to Japanese Americans returning to the West Coast. One of the articles is titled "Union Limits Nisei to Ex-Service Men: Teamsters' Union Says it Will Oppose All Other Japanese in West Coast Jobs."
Couple reclaiming property (ddr-densho-36-6)
img Couple reclaiming property (ddr-densho-36-6)
Japanese Americans waiting to reclaim their property after World War II.
Perry Dobashi Interview Segment 11 (ddr-jamsj-2-3-11)
vh Perry Dobashi Interview Segment 11 (ddr-jamsj-2-3-11)
Returning home after the war, restarting the family business

This interview was conducted by the Japanese American Museum of San Jose, and is part of a project entitled "Lasting Stories: The Resettlement of San Jose Japantown," a collaborative project between the Japanese American Museum of San Jose and Densho.

Eiichi Edward Sakauye Interview Segment 27 (ddr-jamsj-2-7-27)
vh Eiichi Edward Sakauye Interview Segment 27 (ddr-jamsj-2-7-27)
Returning to San Jose before the West Coast was opened for Japanese Americans
Shigeko Sese Uno Segment 24 (ddr-densho-1000-98-24)
vh Shigeko Sese Uno Segment 24 (ddr-densho-1000-98-24)
Returning to Beacon Hill in Seattle, Washington, arriving to a vandalized home and getting involved in the community again
Marjorie Matsushita Sperling Interview Segment 22 (ddr-densho-1000-273-22)
vh Marjorie Matsushita Sperling Interview Segment 22 (ddr-densho-1000-273-22)
Returning to Wapato, observing changes in the Japanese American community

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department ...

Mako Nakagawa Segment 19 (ddr-densho-1000-66-19)
vh Mako Nakagawa Segment 19 (ddr-densho-1000-66-19)
Parental discussions and anxiety surrounding where to go after leaving camp
Mako Nakagawa Segment 21 (ddr-densho-1000-66-21)
vh Mako Nakagawa Segment 21 (ddr-densho-1000-66-21)
Parents' struggles to reestablish their lives and find work
Junkoh Harui Segment 26 (ddr-densho-1000-11-26)
vh Junkoh Harui Segment 26 (ddr-densho-1000-11-26)
Lessons learned from rebuilding, the importance of honor, dignity, and family legacy

This interview was done outdoors in the Bainbridge Gardens Nursery which resulted in increased background noise and frequent interruptions by the business P.A. system.

Junkoh Harui Segment 17 (ddr-densho-1000-11-17)
vh Junkoh Harui Segment 17 (ddr-densho-1000-11-17)
Positive memories of returning to school on Bainbridge Island, Washington after leaving camp

This interview was done outdoors in the Bainbridge Gardens Nursery which resulted in increased background noise and frequent interruptions by the business P.A. system.

API