Kaneji Domoto Diary, 1942

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Kaneji and Sally (Fujii) Domoto Collection

Kaneji's diary from March 6, 1942 - October 7, 1942, spanning the Domoto family's time from being at home in California to about a month after arrival at Amache. Early pages of the diary resemble a notebook loosely structured by date and containing a mixture of daily activities, accounting, notes from work at the nursery, and, as they prepare to leave for the assembly center, packing lists. Kan and Sally's first child Mikiko was about one month old. The first note explicitly mentioning discriminatory legislation against Japanese Americans is on Monday, March 23, when Kan changes plans after learning that the curfew has gone into effect. On April 10 there is a draft of a letter to Frank Lloyd Wright asking if he can rejoin the fellowship at Taliesin in the summer and bring his wife and child, to which Wright replies in the affirmative. (Kan would write to the Provost Marshall on April 27 enclosing Wright's invitation and asking permission to go to Wisconsin instead of to camp, but the result does not materialize in 1942). The family leaves for Merced Assembly Center on May 13, and the bulk of the diary covers the time they spent there until leaving for Amache on September 1st, 1942. During this time Kan worked on outfitting their living quarters and helping Sally take care of their daughter Miki, who was three months old and had a worrying skin condition, before becoming involved in a number of committees related to recreational activities and crafts and taking a job as a teacher of architecture and landscape architecture. The activities and governance of those committees dominate the middle and later pages of the diary. Other common topics include meals, showers, recreational activities like dances and talent shows, crafts and projects, childcare, holidays, his relationship with his wife Sally (Fujii) Domoto, various other social and familial relationships, and his building and carpentry projects. Also included are occasional sketches of designs he is working on and detailed order lists from Sears and Roebuck and Montgomery Ward. On Tuesday, August 25, his sisters Wak and Yuri left for Amache with his father, and Kan, Sally, and Miki followed a week later on September 1st. The rest of the diary concerns his involvement with the planning and construction of the barracks at Amache, as well as getting settled in the living quarters with family.




Courtesy of the Kaneji and Sally (Fujii) Domoto Collection, Densho