Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - Legacy

At a time when the War Relocation Authority was pushing "Americanization" and assimilation within the Internment Camps there were those artists who maintained and even taught traditional Japanese cultural arts. In many cases the internees had to make their own musical instruments costumes and props needed for their performances and classes.

Thanks to Bruce Kanegai for allowing me to paint a portrait of his Mother.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Tuskegee Airmen - Tuskegee Airman. Major Charles Jamerson of Pasadena CA.
Tuskegee Airman. Major Charles Jamerson of Pasadena CA.
Tuskegee Airmen
In the permanent collection of the Pentagon.
Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Tuskegee Airmen - Against All Odds Imagination Becomes Reality
Against All Odds Imagination Becomes Reality
Tuskegee Airmen
Dedicated to my friend the late Captain George Hickman Original Tuskegee Airman. George would tell me that his dream of flight began when he was a young boy. Like so many who imagined themselves above the clouds he constructed small aircraft and even small go-carts equipped with wings and fueled by a child's imagination. "You Can Be Whatever You Want To Be In This Life." -George Hickman
Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Tuskegee Airmen - Nancy Leftenant-Colon
Nancy Leftenant-Colon
Tuskegee Airmen

Nancy Leftenant-Colon always knew she was going to be a nurse, and she wanted to “do her part” for her country.

She combined these pursuits, along with her commitment to others and persistent spirit, to become the first Black woman in the regular Army Nurse Corps. August 2009 she participated in the concurrent promotion ceremony for then Brig. Gen. Stayce Harris, the first black female to command an operational flying wing in the Air Force.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Tuskegee Airmen - Lt t. General Stayce Harris
Lt t. General Stayce Harris
Tuskegee Airmen
America's first African American Woman Three Star General. Gen. Harris credits her success to the Tuskegee Airmen and the doors of opportunity that they kicked open.
Permanent Collection Pentagon
Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Tuskegee Airmen - Fear Fire and Fury.
Fear Fire and Fury.
Tuskegee Airmen
Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Tuskegee Airmen - First Lt. Fenton B. Sands
First Lt. Fenton B. Sands
Tuskegee Airmen
Sands was commissioned as an officer February of 1944. He was eventually assigned to the 477th Bombardment Group, becoming a member of a unique, select group of aviators- bombardiers, the first of their kind in the military. He was also part of the historic ‘mutiny’ of the 477th against racism and segregation that was a milestone in the civil rights movement. The war ended before the 477th was deployed overseas so Sands was honorably discharged in December of 1945.
Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - George and Kazzie Yamada
George and Kazzie Yamada
Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - An Unknowing Resistance
An Unknowing Resistance

Since their immigration to the U.S., people of Japanese ancestry as well as their family members who were born American had engaged in a variety of Japanese musical activities before during and after the war simply because they loved the art . These folks helped others to learn and enjoy these arts, and to help draw their attention away from their surroundings, giving them pride and self-esteem.

The American government had a tendency to overreact to any- thing with a tangible connection to Japan before the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans, the internees were truly in need of recreational activities – including music and dance – as means to bring enjoyment and solace to the grim and stressful camp life and to sustain hope. Having been separated from the stresses and demands of earning an independent living, the internees had an abundance of free time. Due to the high concentration of the Japanese population, instructors in a wide variety of musical forms, especially in Japanese genres, became accessible to many.The WRA tolerated Japanese cultural activities in the camps because the Japanese Americans were now under unbroken surveillance, segregated behind barbed wire fences. Yet, the degree of acceptance of Japanese cultural activity differed from camp to camp, depending on the director appointed by the WRA.

Teachers such as Bando Mitsusa and Sahomi Tachibana taught at Tule Lake. Lily Uematsu taught at Rohwer. Yukino Okubo and Yukino Okubo Harada taught at Amache.

These qualified instructors taught Japanese cultural arts to those young and old.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - Forward

Gosei great-grandchildren and legacy of internees Dyke and June Itami who were taken from their respective homes in Seattle and incarcerated at Minidoka Internment Camp in Hunt, Idaho. The youth of these children and the teaching of their family provides a shield of innocence as they remain unperturbed by the physical and cultural differences of others.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - May Yoneko Namba
May Yoneko Namba

May Namba's life has chronicled many of life's hardest and most cherished aspects: war, incarceration, freedom, discrimination, love, family, generosity, patriotism and perseverance.

May Daty a 1941 graduate of Seattle's Garfield High School took a job with the Seattle School District as a clerk. In 1942, in the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor she was forced to resign by the school district because of a parental out-cry against Japanese American women working around the children. The fear was that one of the clerks might poison the students.

May's father, Noburo was arrested by the FBI the night of the bombing at Pearl Harbor. The family wouldn't see Noboru for 3 years.

In 1942 as a result of Executive Order# 9066 May and her family were sent under guard to the Minidoka Internment Center in Idaho. In 1944, May received a work permit to leave Minidoka for Spokane, Washington where she would be a housekeeper and nanny. Within a few months, the discrimination against Japanese Americans became intolerable. She quit her job and was then returned to Minidoka where she met her future husband, Tom Namba. Tom joined the US Army and was inducted into the now-famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team After the war May and Tom were married and raised five sons. May became active in the Japanese Americans Citizen League. Working closely with Emily Hanako Momohara, they organized the first annual Pilgrimage to Minidoka in 2003. May remained active with the Pilgrimage committees for many years to follow.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - Labor

Once Japanese Americans were removed from their homes, internment quickly morphed from a defense measure into a forced labor program. Although Japanese Americans were paid –skilled laborers received sixteen dollars a month; unskilled twelve – their rates were well below the prevailing market wage for similar jobs and their working conditions were often unhealthy.

Not long after the ink dried on Executive Order 9066, the War Relocation Authority as well as state governors and military officials placed priority on locating prison sites in areas with shortages of agricultural labor or in need of workers to build and repair structures like irrigation ditches or help private corporations build and repair railroads. Delays in the processing of checks often left prisoners without pay for months at a time. And when Japanese Americans were recruited to work for private employers harvesting crops near the camps, fees for transportation to and from the fields were deducted from their checks. To reduce taxpayer costs, inmates were expected to work to support the day-to-day operations of the camps.

Many Japanese Americans experienced pressure from the camp directors to perform these duties in order to prove their loyalty. In some camps such as Tule Lake and Manzanar in California as well as Poston, Arizona, Japanese Americans openly protested their treatment as workers and wrongfully-imprisoned citizens, mounting strikes that prompted the camp directors to reconsider camp rules and the treatment of employees.

-From the writings of Stephanie Dawn Hinnershitz.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - Sue Kikoshima as a young girl
Sue Kikoshima as a young girl

Years later Sue along with her husband, Zenshiro and their four children were encarcerated in Minidoka Internment Camp, Hunt, Idaho.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - Ellen

This is a painting of my wife, Jan's much older cousin who at the time of the rounding up of Japanese American citizens was a payroll secretary for the US Government. She was half Japanese which made her a prime candidate for incarceration. Her boss hid her in a broom closet when the authorities came looking for her. They falsified her birth documents labeling Ellen as half Hispanic and changing her name. She kept her true ethnicity secret for all of her life. She never told her Scandinavian husband nor did she ever tell her children their true racial identity. Sadly her children preceded her in death. It wasn't until her grandson saw one of my paintings on social media that prompted him to contact me which I in turn handed off to Jan. She told him that he never really was Hispanic nor was there any Hispanic blood in his own children. They were all part Japanese. It was quite a thing to see him introduce my Jan as his cousin to his other family members.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - Under Foreign Skies
Under Foreign Skies

Honoring Hawaii's Nisei Soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion.

At the time of the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, there were about 1,500 Nisei soldiers in Hawaii who were drafted prior to war serving in the Hawaii National Guard which had been federalized into the U.S. Army in October. 1940. On June 5, 1942, 1,432 Nisei soldiers were then transferred out of National Guard into the “Hawaiian Provisional Infantry Battalion” and sailed from Honolulu on the SS Maui. Upon arrival in San Francisco, the War Department activated them into the “100th Infantry Battalion (Separate)”, “separate” meaning not attached to a regiment or any other military unit, literally a military orphan outfit.

The solders who had already received training in Hawaii were shipped to Camp McCoy for additional training, and finally in January, 1943 to Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi for advanced training. Throughout its journey through the training process, the 100th Infantry Battalion was under constant scrutiny from the War Department. Because of the 100th Infantry Battalion's sterling training record and the Varsity Victory Volunteers, a group of University of Hawaii ROTC students, who received positive publicity for their volunteer labor for the U.S. Army, President Roosevelt authorized the formation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) on Feb. 1, 1943. 10,000 JAs in Hawaii volunteered. out of which 2,686 were selected, and along with 1,182 from the mainland, they were sent to Camp Shelby in Mississippi for basic training.

Eventually, their superior training record as well as ongoing lobbying efforts convinced the War Department to finally send the 100th Infantry Battalion into combat. It was attached to the 34th (Red Bull) Infantry Division which landed at Salerno, Italy on September 22, 1943. The 100th Infantry Battalion became the Army's experiment to see if Americans of Japanese descent could be trusted in combat. The War Department ordered General Mark Clark to report on the 100th's performance after it first entered combat, and General Clark responded, "... I sent a cable to Eisenhower on October 8, stating that they (the 100th) had seized their objective and that they were quick to react whenever the enemy offered opposition". In five months of combat, the One Puka Puka that had landed with 1,300 men at Salerno suffered so many casualties and were down to 521 men after the battle at Cassino in February, 1944, leading war correspondents to refer to them as the Purple Heart Battalion.

If the One Puka Puka had messed up anywhere along their journey from training and into combat, that would ended the Army’s experiment for using them as front-line soldiers. But the 100th Infantry Battalion performed brilliantly, removing all doubts of their loyalty and paving the way for the future deployment of the 442nd RCT in June, 1944..

-Isami Yoshihara

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Tuskegee Airmen - Good To Be Home<br />And Still They Served
Good To Be Home
And Still They Served
Tuskegee Airmen

If you were a Tuskegee Airmen Traveling in the South no matter what your rank, no matter what your military title you were a second class citizen. It didn’t matter what your paid ticket said you had to ride coach or at the back of the bus. No matter how you decried Jim Crow you had to accept it or be jailed for daring to be the man you thought your uniform had made you. No matter how hard you fought Nazism in Europe, Bigotry was the winner back home. Thankfully a brighter day was coming in America and we as a country are blessed to know the Tuskegee Airmen were there to see it.

God Bless America.

-Guy E. Franklin

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - Even The Most Stoic of Hearts
Even The Most Stoic of Hearts

A soldier of 100th Infantry Battalion returns home to his Father.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - Best Friend Farewell
Best Friend Farewell

A moral casualty of executive order 9066 and the ensuing incarceration of Japanese Americans.

"No pets of any kind will be permitted”
— U.S. Army, “Instructions to All Persons of Japanese Ancestry”

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - Don't Tell My Girl Back Home
Don't Tell My Girl Back Home

A soldier of the 442nd RCT receives the gratitude of a villager.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - Broken Shadows
Broken Shadows

It would be fair to say that of all the people affected by the mandate of executive order # 9066 no group suffered more than the elderly Japanese Americans.

The dignity and property that had been built over a lifetime was suddenly taken as they were now face to face with hysteria and racism. Although the people would eventually be released from their forced

incarceration those in the twilight of their lives had neither the years nor the advantages of youth with which to rebuild.