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.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - Till Death Do Us Part
Till Death Do Us Part

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

With little advance notice, owners had to quickly make arrangements for their cats, dogs, birds and other animals. Pets as beloved as a family member were hurriedly deposited with strangers or friends. Many were simply abandoned. These remain the uncounted among the 110,00 who were exiled.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - ??? Owakare
??? Owakare

A womens choral group in Minidoka Relocation Center sing carols to men who are boarding trucks on a cold December en route to a US Army induction center. Despite their incarceration, most Japanese Americans remained intensely loyal to the United States, and many demonstrated their loyalty by volunteering for military service. Of the ten relocation centers, Minidoka had the highest number of volunteers, about 1,000 internees – nearly ten percent of the camp’s total peak population.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - The Stigma of Suspected Disloyalty
The Stigma of Suspected Disloyalty
Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - The Eve Of Deployment
The Eve Of Deployment

Kumao "Hank" Mano was able to obtain the release of Hana Kikoshima from the Minidoka internment camp, and they were married in 1942. The release stated that Hana would be working for a packing plant in Quincy, WA where Hank's family was already employed.

Hank and his brother Akira "Mike" Mano joined the Army to become the last of the replacements for the 442 Regiment. Prior to his shipment overseas Hank and Hana's daughter Susan was born in Spokane, WA where Hana anxiously awaited his return. Thankfully Hank and his brother Mike survived the war to come home safely. In later years Hank would always diminish his part in the war effort by saying in his characteristic self-effacing way: "I was a replacement", because he was fully aware of the devastating losses suffered by the regiment before his enlistment.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - The Enduring Bond
The Enduring Bond

An American mother and her child, one of 5,918 Japanese American babies born in America's concentration Camps.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - Tad and Fuji Itami, Minidoka
Tad and Fuji Itami, Minidoka
Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - First Kiss
First Kiss
Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - The Weeping of the Sakura
The Weeping of the Sakura
Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - Gold Star
Gold Star

More than other internees, the Gold Star Families were subject to a particularly horrific and brutal form of irony. At the same time their loyalty was being questioned, their men were sacrificing their lives as an obligation of their American citizenship. The families had to accept the flag of sacrifice on a barren remote field of an Internment camp far from their home, incarcerated because they were suspected of not being loyal enough to the country their son, husband, brother, or father fought and died for.

Chris Hopkins - Oil Painter - Internment - Amy and the No No Boy
Amy and the No No Boy

A short story about Jim and Amy Doi their infant daughter Jan, and Tule Lake.

"We were sent to Tule Lake from Minidoka. Upon receiving his letter from President Roosevelt asking him if he would serve his country, Dad wrote back that his "country" and citizenship had been taken away. He therefore, refused to join the armed service. At Tule Lake. Dad was named Chief Construction Foreman to build more barracks, schools and mess halls."

"It was good that he stayed since I was just a little baby under a year old at the time and Mom thought I was going to die in Camp. As it was, she had a good scare when I got violently ill on the spoiled milk we were given and I remember the horrible taste and being sick. Life went on. Upon release Mom and Dad returned to Bothell to discover that the people they entrusted their home and belongings to, sold everything for their own greed. They had to restart with absolutely nothing. The Catholic Church found Dad a position at a lumber mill in Spokane which is where we moved after interment camp. Dad and Mom both worked very hard and saved in order to return to Seattle. Dad worked at the mill and Mom took in sewing alterations and took care of unwed mothers for the church in exchange for the manse they let us stay in." - Jan Doi Gerry