Morning Glory, Evening Shadow: Yamato Ichihashi and His Internment Writings, 1942-1945

Gordon H. Chang, Author, Yamato Ichihashi, Author, Gordon Chang, Editor Stanford University Press $77.95 (584p) ISBN 978-0-8047-2733-4
This collection of letters, diary entries and essays constitutes, says editor Chang, ""the only first-person contemporaneous record of an individual's entire relocation experience that exists in any language."" Maybe, but that doesn't make it the best account. Ichihashi was an impressive man, but not a sympathetic one, which makes his account most useful as a historical document. A first-generation immigrant, he taught history at Stanford and was a consultant at the 1921 Washington Conference, among others. After his internment at Tule Lake in May 1942, he continued as a kind of minister-without-portfolio, receiving a long line of petitioners (a 1943 article in the San Francisco Chronicle called him ""The Emperor of Tulelake""). His work is helpful in understanding camp politics and issues like the registration of aliens or the segregation of the internee population into ""loyal"" and ""disloyal."" But moving, he is not. For one thing, Ichihashi is a snob (""Boxes are poor... fit only [for] kojiki [beggars'] moving. Damned!""). He was also a domestic tyrant, cutting off his only son, Woodrow, when he married a woman Ichihashi felt was beneath him (""Kid's [Woodrow's] wife sent the new year card and kid's photo with his baby; kept away from k [Ichihashi's wife Kei]""). Kei, whose letters are also included here, is the more affecting correspondent, describing hardships and attempts to create beauty with flowers made of shells or sweet potato sprouts. For many women, she writes, the camps provided an unexpected improvement. ""Before they were evacuees they had to work very hard every day, so that most of them did not have enough time to learn anything."" Kei herself seems torn as freedom approaches. ""My `simple living and high thinking' life is ending rapidly.""(Nov.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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Paperback - 584 pages - 978-0-8047-3653-4
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