08 December 2007

Tessaku Seikatsu, 7 December 1943

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. 144-145:
December 7, 1943, was the second anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. A ceremony honoring the memory of fallen soldiers was held in the square in the morning. We bowed in the direction of the Imperial Palace, sang the national anthem twice, and observed a moment of silence. A speech was given by General Manager Kondo. After the ceremony, a packet of fragrant green tea, donated by the Japanese Red Cross, was distributed to each internee by the barracks chiefs. A large flag of the Rising Sun made with used paper was displayed in the Upper Town mess hall. This would have been a problem in the outside world, but here it did not seem to matter.

On December 9 it snowed heavily all day. The roads were slippery and dangerous. It was the forty-ninth day after the death in Italy of Mr. Akira Morihara, the third son of Mr. Usaku Morihara, a shopowner from Kona. A memorial service was held at the Lower Town mess hall in the afternoon, and many internees attended. This was the first service in the camp for a fallen Japanese American soldier. On the night of the tenth, the sight of the Rocky Mountains covered in snow and illuminated by the moon was bewitching and beautiful beyond description. On the night of the thirteenth, internees from Maui held a memorial service for eight Japanese American soldiers from Maui (including Mr. Yoshinobu Takei) who had been killed in Italy. The Reverends Ryugen Matsuda and Tamasaku Watanabe delivered sermons and Mr. Tokiji Takei said a few words on behalf of the families. It was later reported that, of Japanese American soldiers from Maui, 8 had been killed and 180 injured.

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