Santa Cruz County History - Executive Order 9066 and the Residents of Santa Cruz County


Full Text Newspaper ArticleWatsonville Register-Pajaronian. June 12, 1943. p. 1

Outbreaks of violence at the Poston, Ariz. relocation center

Los Angeles (UP) - Outbreaks of violence at the Poston, Ariz. relocation center late last year were caused by the return of 365 Japanese from "dangerous alien" camps in New Mexico and North Dakota, Norris James, War Relocation Authority intelligence officer, told a Dies subcommittee here.

The Japanese had been sent to camps at Santa Fe, N.M., and Bismark, N.D., as dangerous aliens, James testified, but were released to Poston after hearings before the alien patrol board which operates under the jurisdiction of the Attorney General.

"For a period of two months, from Sept. 15 to Nov. 15, a series of beatings were administered pro-American Japanese who had testified in hearings involving interned Japanese," James said. "One of those beaten was Saburo Kieo, national president of the Japanese Citizens League."

Norris added that Kieo was manhandled by eight young American-born Japanese between the ages of 18 and 20 years and that only slight disciplinary action had been taken against the men.

"The ringleader, a member of the Poston Fire Department, was put on 90 days probation," Norris said. "The other boys had received work leaves from the camp at the time, but no action was taken against them when they returned."

Norris, who established a Japanese paper at the camp, said that after working 14 months with the WRA he believed the vast majority of the Japanese harbored nothing but contempt for the United States.

"Kindness and humanitarian treatment breeds this contempt," he added. They have respect only for strong disciplinary action. "The Japanese women feel differently about it, however; they do not want to go back to the old Japanese ways."

An avowed agent of the Japanese government hired by U. S. authorities to teach wrestling at the Poston relocation center promised rewards to inmates who remained loyal to Japan, according to James. He said authorities allowed the Japanese inmates themselves to conduct a trial and punish the wrestling instructor. As punishment, James said, the Japanese appointed the instructor leader of the community planning board.

The instructor, who taught judo, a form of wrestling, twice broadcast over the camp public address system, James said, promising each inmate 10,000 yen for loyalty to the emperor. In the broadcasts the instructor identified himself as an agent of the Japanese imperial government in the camp, James said, and received applause from the assembled inmates.

Copyrighted by the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Reproduced by permission.