I Call to Remembrance: Toyo Suyemoto's Years of Internment

By Toyo Suyemoto,; Susan B. Richardson | Go to book overview

13
BLOCK 4-8-E

The residents of our Block 4 were mainly from the east side of the bay— Alameda, Oakland, and Berkeley—with some from San Francisco, but we were a conglomerate of personalities with dissimilar occupational back­ grounds, and we had not known each other before the internment. Now, we were bound together by circumstance into an extended family or clan. For this disjointed period of time, we all practiced akirame (resignation, acqui­ escence). Sharing in the communal living, eating together in the mess halls, or meeting informally at night in the latrine building, wearing bathrobes and carrying towels, we learned of one another.

I observed a slim, dignified woman, past fifty, who seemed aloof although she greeted others with a smile and courteous bow. She would come alone to the mess hall and after receiving her food at the serving counter, she would glance around swiftly and go to an unoccupied table. Occasionally, if she were invited to sit with a group already seated, she would then join her acquaintances. I noticed that she did not become involved in the table talk, although if a question were directed to her, she would reply with a friendly, attentive look.

There was a grace to the movements of her hands and the bow of her head. The people of the block always spoke deferentially to this gentle Issei woman. I was told that her husband, a Buddhist bishop, was an invalid and did not venture out of the barracks, and that they had no children. She could understand the English that the younger ones spoke as they greeted her, and she seemed pleased when they did.

She carried an indefinable air of cultured descent in her appearance, unobtrusive dress, and softly modulated tone of speech; her manner gave her a bearing of imperturbability. When she and Mother greeted each other, they both exhibited something distinctively similar that must have been derived from their past. Whenever she saw my son, as I led him by the hand

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I Call to Remembrance: Toyo Suyemoto's Years of Internment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Editor's Preface xi
  • Note on the Drawings xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • Author's Preface 5
  • 1 - Berkeley 9
  • 2 - 15432 16
  • 3 - Morning of Departure 22
  • 4 - Growing Up in Nihonmachi 29
  • 5 - Intake at Tanforan 37
  • 6 - Tanforan Days 44
  • 7 - Tanforan High School 51
  • 8 - Kay's Illness 55
  • 9 - Another Move 68
  • 10 - Entry into Topaz 74
  • 11 - Settling in 79
  • 12 - As 1942 Ended 87
  • 13 - Block 4-8-E 96
  • 14 - Schooling in Topaz 106
  • 15 - Topaz Public Library 112
  • 16 - Sensei 120
  • 17 - Into Another Year 133
  • 18 - Registration for Loyalty 141
  • 19 - Weighed in the Balance 149
  • 20 - We Be Brethren 160
  • 21 - In the Length of Days 167
  • 22 - The Dust before the Wind 179
  • 23 - The Dispersal 186
  • 24 - Tree of the People (Topaz Community) 196
  • Afterword 205
  • References 207
  • About the Editor 209
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