A right-wing youth group called Shichisho-kai (literally "Club of Seven Lives") held its first meeting in the east classroom on the night of December 12 . I decided to attend. At the meeting, young people seated themselves in groups and roll was taken. Then they all stood up and chanted in unison: "We are the loyal subjects of the Emperor. We are determined to be reborn seven times and serve our country." After that Rev. Dojun Ochi talked about the great history of Japan, beginning with the Meiji era and going back in time. It was very interesting. The leader of Shichisho-kai was apparently a man from Tule Lake....
A rumor spread that more of these "shaven heads" would be arriving from Tule Lake.... Among the internees at Tule Lake, two groups that were constantly at odds with one another were the pro-Japan or "disloyal" faction and the pro-American or "loyal" faction. Such a division in thinking could be found at any relocation center or camp, but it was especially serious at Tule Lake. The pro-Japan group set up a spy ring to gather information on those who were sympathetic to the United States. They infiltrated various groups, placing certain individuals under surveillance and using gatherings to collect information about their enemies. They selected faction members who were to take direct action against the enemy through extraordinary measures. If this proved unsuccessful, they planned to report the enemy to the Japanese government after the war. Once a person was identified as pro-American, they intimidated him by throwing human feces at his house or even boiled feces at the windows. Families were afraid of what others might think and quickly and quietly cleaned up the mess. In July 1944, after a certain Mr. Hitomi had been murdered, fear among the pro-American internees reached a panic stage. Thirteen families fled to a separate enclosed barracks, leaving everything behind. Some of the soldiers who were asked to retrieve their possessions were said to be in sympathy with the pro-Japan group, because when they went to collect one person's belongings, they asked, "Where's the dog's luggage?"
The internee population of Tule Lake Camp was eighteen thousand in October 1944. There were many families, so the camp resembled a town in Japan. Because there were many young girls at the camp, romances blossomed. This, fanned by an uncertain future, led to rash and impulsive behavior. Forty to fifty babies were born every month. Japanese-language schools were not allowed at relocation centers, but there were seven at Tule Lake, two of which were specifically named First National School and Second National School.
15 December 2007
Tessaku Seikatsu: Tule Lake Thuggery
From Life behind Barbed Wire [鉄柵生活 Tessaku Seikatsu]: The World War II Internment Memoirs of a Hawai‘i Issei, by Yasutaro Soga [1873–1957] (U. Hawai‘i Press, 2008), pp. 168, 170-171: