ERIC Number: EJ772701
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Reference Count: N/A
"We Were Still the Enemy'"
Teaching Tolerance, n30 p36-41 Fall 2006
In this article, the author presents Kenji Ima who recalls his life in America's World War II prison camps. In the summer of 1945, after more than three years in the prison camp, Kenji Ima and his friends returned home from Minidoka. Seeing the marble edifices of the King Street railroad station and the towering buildings of Seattle, "was like finding Oz," Kenji Ima remembers. But he said they were still the enemy. Their neighbor on Beacon Hill had a grocery store with a sign that said, "No Japs Allowed." Furthermore, when Kim Ima--daughter of Kenji Ima--was growing up, the Ima family occasionally mentioned her father's time "in camp." It was always called just "camp." Kim Ima prodded her father, a sociologist, for more details--first in junior high when she was writing a research paper and again in college when she wrote a one-act play about her family's silence. She decided her father's reticence must mean he had few memories of Minidoka because he was there when he was a child. But, when they attended a conference about the prison camps in California, Kenji Ima finally started talking to his daughter about the sadness he felt when he first saw Kim Ima perform "Within the Silence" five years ago. Thus, he realized that talking to his daughter and seeing her performances is a way of accepting the sadness and using the acceptance to live in the present.
Descriptors: United States History, War, Correctional Institutions, Institutionalized Persons, Personal Narratives, Racial Bias, Social Bias, Asian Americans, Coping
Southern Poverty Law Center. 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. Tel: 334-956-8200; Fax: 334-956-8484; Web site: http://www.tolerance.org/teach/magazine/index.jsp
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California