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March 13, 1997 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-13

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NATION/WORLD

The Michigan Daily -®Thursday, March 13, 1997

Japanese-American orphans lived in war camps

Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES - The U.S. Army took
three-year-old Annie Shiraishi Sakamoto away
in the summer of 1942.
Before the soldiers came, Annie lived at a
*atholic orphanage in Los Angeles, the unwant-
ed baby of a single mother and a married gar-
dener.
Maryknoll nuns took care of the :girl - first
brought to them as a two-pound premature
infant, sick with double pneumonia - until she
was forced to leave the only home she knew.
She was one of 101 Japanese American
orphans and foster children - some as young as
six months - quietly rounded up by soldiers
during World War li. The children, some with as
First lady
imeets
Arkansas
educators
PLITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A
&cade ago, angry teachers stared con-
temptuously at Arkansas' first lady as
she walked through a packed school-
room for a speech. Harsh whispers
turned to grumbling. Then hissing.
"It's all right," Hillary Rodham
'linton assured a friend, a fellow
Arkansan who was shocked by the
reception. "Someday they'll under-
stand.
Slowly, many critics did: Teacher
tests and higher apademic standards
pushed in 1983 by Mrs. Clinton and
then-Gov. Bill Clinton modestly
improved Arkansas schools.
Mrs. Clinton, who chaired the panel
* hat recommended overhauling the
tate's education system, returned
Tuesday to her adopted home state and
promoted her husband's latest stab at
school reforms - this time on the
national level.
The trip was part of a broad, long-
term strategy to polish Mrs. Clinton's
public image; she wants the general
public, even her harshest critics, to
understand her better.
On a sunny, spring-like day, the first
*ady viewed tornado damage, delivered
an address on school standards, toured
a children's hospital and discussed a
scholarship program for single parents.
She stood beneath the tattered rem-
nants of an awning stuck high in an
uprooted tree and consoled tornado
victims in Benton, Ark.
"rm .terrified," said Shari Dunn,
whose mother- and father-in-law were
killed by a twister that left their trailer
#?ark a pile of lumber, metal and debris.
"How could you not be?" Mrs.
Clinton asked.
In a speech to school administrators,
Mrs. Clinton forcefully supported her
husband's call for standardized testing
that would measure students against
world standards. It would allow "local
districts and states to take an honest
stock of themselves," Mrs. Clinton told
school administrators.
Later, at the single-parent scholar-
ship event, Mrs. Clinton said the new
welfare legislation requires the pri-
vate sector to help welfare recipients
get on their feet. "With the presi-
dent's signature on welfare reform,
we no longer have a national safety
net. We have a big challenge ahead of
us," she said.

little as one-eighth Japanese ancestry, were sent
to a hastily built orphanage at the Manzanar
internment camp, 200 miles northeast of Los
Angeles.
The story of the orphanage, known as
Children's Village, is a largely untold chapter in
the history of the camps. For more than 50 years,
the orphans rarely talked about their war years,
and the few remaining government documents
on Children's Village are in vaults at the
National Archives in Maryland.
Now, scholars at California State University,
Fullerton, are beginning the first comprehensive
study of the orphanage. Their project has taken
on a sense of urgency with the recent deaths of
several orphans and the fading memories of oth-

ers.
The orphans want
Children's Village
written before it's too
late.
"(We need) to cite
the injustice of inno-
cent young people
being targeted by
prejudice," said
Sakamqto, 57, a Los
Angeles registered
nurse. "It shows what
human nature in any

to see the history of

Manzanar's top official denounced the govern-
ment's treatment of the orphans in his final 1946

If was a very
lonely place and
sad too."
- Francis Honda
San Diego resident

report on me camp.
"The morning was spent
at the Children's Village,"
Manzanar director Ralph
Merritt wrote, describing
Thanksgiving Day 1942,
"with the 90 orphans (to
date) who had been evacuat-
ed from Alaska to San Diego
and sent to Manzanar
because they might be a
threat to national security.

sion to detain the children, who were a
institutionalized, underscores the wartim
Japanese hysteria.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in
the Army evacuated about 120,000 res
of Japanese ancestry from the West C(
its zeal to guard against espionage and
tage.
San Diego resident Francis Honda wa
year-old orphan when authorities moved1
Children's Village, the only orphanagea
the 10 war relocation camps.
"It was a very lonely place and sad too
babies crying and nothing to do" Honda
government commission on the inter
camps in 1981.

history is capable of doing"
Even without the hindsight of history,

What a travesty (of) justice!"
Some former internees say the Army's deci-

. .
..
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