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

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

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

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

Synopsis

This book has a dual purpose. The first is to present a biography of Yamato Ichihashi, a Stanford University professor who was one of the first academics of Asian ancestry in the United States. The second is to present, through Ichihashi's wartime writings, the only known comprehensive first-person account of internment life by one of the 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry who, in 1942, were sent by the U.S. government to "relocation centers", the euphemism for prison camps. In the comprehensive biographical essay that opens the book, Gordon Chang explores Ichihashi's personal life and intellectual work until his forced departure from Stanford, examining his career, publications, and experiences in American academia in the early twentieth century. He also relates Ichihashi's involvement in international conferences, including the 1922 Disarmament Conference - an involvement with later consequences. Ichihashi's internment writings take various forms: diaries, research essays, and correspondence with friends and Stanford colleagues. The editor has extensively annotated and interwoven them into a coherent narrative. As a trained social scientist and an experienced writer fluent in both English and Japanese, Ichihashi was uniquely prepared to observe and record the dramatic events he experienced. In addition to Ichihashi's writings, the book includes touching correspondence from Kei to a close friend at Stanford. The editor closes the book with an Epilogue about the Ichihashis' lives after the war. Ichihashi's writings convey to us, as no other account does, the cut and drift and anxiety of everyday existence in the camps. We experience the grinding tedium and frequently harsh conditionsof daily life and the ever-present uncertainty, suspicion, and even fear that permeated the internees' existence. Equally knowledgeable about American and Japanese ways, Ichihashi offers valuable insights into administrators

Excerpt

Several years ago, when I was collecting material on Asian Americans at Stanford, I came across the personal papers of Yamato Ichihashi in the university's manuscript collection. I was acquainted with Ichihashi's classic text on the early history of Japanese in the United States, published in 1932. Other than desultory disclosures of his personal life in the book, though, I knew little about the man himself He had been a professor at Stanford, and his office was just down the hall from mine. (His office occupied an honored position on the second floor at the apex of the central quadrangle's "History Corner," with a bust of Leland Stanford just outside his window.) I also knew that he had written about a variety of subjects: the experience of Japanese in America, international relations in the Pacific, and Japanese government and civilization. I discovered that not much had been written about him, even though he had been one of the most prominent early intellectuals of Asian ancestry in the United States.

Exploring his papers further stimulated my curiosity, for I found that he had left a large amount of material documenting his life during World War II, when he and his wife, Okei, were forced to "evacuate" Stanford and join 120,000 other persons of Japanese ancestry in federal "relocation centers," the government euphemism for these prison camps. Ichihashi, 64 years old at the start of internment, knew the historical significance of the trials before him and decided, even before leaving the campus, that he would record his experiences in order one day to write an account of his life in wartime America. He never com-

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