Table of Contents
DoJ and US Army Facilities
Confinement and Ethnicity:
An Overview of World War II
Japanese American Relocation Sites
by J. Burton, M. Farrell, F. Lord, and R. Lord
Chapter 13 (continued)
Tule Lake Relocation Center
Around the edge of the central area there are pulled foundation blocks
of a few of the large watch towers built in 1942 (Figures 13.45 and
13.46). No intact watch tower foundations are present around the central
area. However, at least one intact 1943 watch tower foundation is
present at the hog farm (see Outlying Areas below). The perimeter patrol
road on the north and east sides of the central area is still used. Also
along the northern perimeter is one of the most poignant features at the
site: standing sections of the six-foot- high "man-proof" fence of chain
link and barbed wire (Figures 13.47-13.48). The entrance road on the
east end of the central area is still in use, and the concrete
foundation slabs of the inner and outer sentry buildings and remnants of
rock work near the outer sentry post are still present (Figures
Figure 13.45. Watch tower foundation blocks at Tule Lake.
Thirty-three World War II-era buildings in the military police compound
are currently used for homes or outbuildings (Figures 13.52-13.54). Many
of the buildings have been modified, but others apparently have had very
little work done on them since the 1940s. The original functions of
these houses and outbuildings include 13 barracks, five recreation
buildings, three officers' quarters, three supply buildings, two mess
halls, two classroom buildings, half of the administration building, the
cold storage building, the fire station, and the post exchange (Figures
13.55-13.60). There is a concrete slab foundation at the theater/chapel
location and one additional standing building to the south in the
military police motor pool area. The original paved roads of the
military police compound are all still used.
Figure 13.54. World War II-era buildings remaining in the military police compound.
(click image for larger size (~84K) )
East of the military police compound the jail still
stands, abandoned. The jail, within a Caltrans maintenance yard and
surrounded by a fence with a locked gate, was documented in 1989 by the
Historic American Building Survey (HABS Number CA-2279). No remains of
the adjacent stockade are apparent.
The one-story concrete jail is made of
steel-reinforced concrete walls and a similar flat concrete roof
(Figures 13.61 and 13.62). There are six identical cells in the
building, four against the northwest wall and two against the southeast
wall. Each cell had six bunks, a toilet and a wash basin (Figure 13.63).
There is no evidence of electricity in each cell, but the building was
wired. Apparently a single cast-iron coal burning stove in the entrance
room heated the entire building (Figure 13.64).
There are numerous pencilled inscriptions on the jail
cell walls. Many are simply doodles, but others include names, dates,
and political statements. Some are in Japanese and some are in English
(Table 13.2; Figures 13.65-13.66, cover art). It is apparent that in
some cases the writer was lying on his bunk since the writing is 90
degrees from the horizontal.
Table 13.2. Selected Pencilled Inscriptions on
the Walls of the Stockade Jail.
||"The Great Japanese Empire" (dai nippon teikoku) and the word "window"
||"Down with the United States"
||Three times the ideogram for "tadashii;" this is a
Japanese/Chinese, way of counting off, as Americans use 1111 and then a
diagonal line; the character has five strokes, so a complete character
(all of these are complete) counts off "5"
||Right portion of left set reads: "Kaishaku wo tanomu,
meaning "Please he a second when I commit Harakiri."
Left portion of left set reads: "Mondai no kaishaku," meaning
"Interpretation of problem."
Both portions use the word "kaishaku," though they have different
meanings. A Chinese translator translated the right portion as "Today
was wrongfully accused of disorder problem" and the left portion as "The
explanation of the problem."
Upper right character not clearly written but seems to be the male first
name Akira; other characters in that set are illegible.
||Left column: (indistinct) Yamaguchi Terasu (a male
name, Terasu Yamaguchi) Iwakuni City (in Japan), the last character is
"vehicle "which does not seem to fit, or if badly written, Ô"east")
Middle column: Kono (or Kawano) Toshisen (a male name, Toshisen Kono or
Kawano) 1919 (one more character, illegible)
Right column: September 29, 1945
||Graffiti with parts of names and words in hiragana (one
of the Japanese phonetic systems); legible characters include "center,"
"loyalty," and "useful lecture" (story, information)
||When the golden sun has sunk beyound the desert horizon
and darkness followed, under a dim light casting my lonesome heart
||Show me the way to go to home
|20 years old 4315 C-D||MAMORU Yoshinota 5/24/45||-- 180 days||-- KU..AMATA||18 years old 1406-4-||HAMOYOKOI 6/17/45||-- 270||-- NA..Ta
||3.. years old 580-B||MASAKI NISHU 5/24/45||-- 180||-- KOMA...TO
||19 years old 1806-B||MASHHAIU YOS...IA||-- 180||-- HUS...U..