10 December 2007

Tessaku Seikatsu, 7 November 1944

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), p. 164:
The U.S. presidential election held on November 7, 1944, attracted worldwide attention. On the eighth, it was confirmed that President Roosevelt had been reelected. It would be his fourth term, an unprecedented feat in American history. We now felt that the United States would take it upon itself to end the war. On the afternoon of November 7, the Buddhist and Shinto federations sponsored a memorial service for soldiers of the Japanese Imperial Army and for internees who had died in this camp. It was held at the open-air theater, with the Reverend Kogan Yoshizumi officiating. Rev. Enryo Shigefuji of the Fresno Hongwanji Betsuin Mission suggested in his sermon that internees who had pledged loyalty to the United States and had been paroled were disloyal Japanese. Later he found himself in the same difficult position of being condemned when, ironically, he and his wife secretly applied for parole. Christians wanted to join the service, where they intended to pray for all of the war dead, but Buddhists and Shintoists insisted that only Japanese casualties be recognized, so there was no joint service. Even within our little barbed-wire world there were rigid divisions, strong divisive elements, and opposing views.

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