Camp III Reunion 2011

Registration has started!

15th Poston Camp III Reunion 
April 25, 26, 27, 2011
Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino
129 E. Fremont Street
Las Vegas, Nevada 89101
Toll-free reservation: 1-800-634-3454
**Ask for the "Poston Camp III Reunion" group room rate**
(Special rates ends March 26)

April 25 Monday
3:00 PM Hotel check-in
3:00-6:00 PM Registration
No host cocktail hour
Chuckwagon BBQ Dinner Buffet

April 26  Tuesday
Special Group Reunions:
-Block 308
-Block 317
-Class of 1944
-Christian Church Gathering
-Poston Classmates

April 26 Tuesday (Afternoon)
2 Break-Out Sessions available
90 minutes with "Special Interest Speakers"
Followed by a Q A session.

April 26 Tuesday Evening 
-Entertainment by the Grateful Crane Ensemble performing "Best of the Grateful Crane"
-Group Pictures

Wednesday Morning
Sayonara buffet breakfast
Hotel check-out at 12 noon

Charter Bus Groups from Central Cal, San Diego or Los Angeles available!
Central Cal Area: Sammy Nakagawa  559-638-9510
Los Angeles Area: Babe Karasawa  562.947.1146
San Diego Area: Miki Honda  858.277.8082 or  Mich Himaka  619.660.9865

If you did not receive your information and registration form in the mail, 
call: Wendy Tsutsumi
Registration Committee chairperson

If your paid registration is received by March 5th, your name will be entered into an "Early-Bird Drawing" for a FREE 2-night stay (4/25 & 4/26) in a "Golden Nugget Suite".  Beat the rush!!

Make checks payable to: "Poston Camp III Reunion"


Bakersfield & Taft College

Japanese-American students get overdue diplomas from BC

By Jose Gaspar, Eyewitness News
May 17, 2010

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Mary Higashi Kinoshita formerly of Poston block 6-4-D (photo on the right)  was just 19 years old when her education at Bakersfield College was suddenly interrupted.
      It was war time, and the United States government issued Executive Order 9066, which meant scores of Japanese-Americans were rounded up and sent to internment camps.
     Mary's family landed in the hot dusty place of Poston, Arizona.  "I couldn't believe it," said Kinoshita. "I felt that an injustice was being done and I wondered how could America do this to me?"
      Born and raised in Bakersfield, Kinoshita attended Roosevelt Elementary, Emerson Jr. High and Bakersfield High School. None of that mattered, as Japanese-Americans were routinely sent away.
      But 68 years later, Kinoshita and three others representing their deceased family members finally got what they had been denied more than six decades ago. Bakersfield College conferred honorary diplomas and certificates of achievement to them under a new law known as the California Nisei Diploma Project.
      The project awards the diplomas on Japanese-Americans living or deceased who were denied their education as a result of being sent to an internment camp.
      Kinoshito and three others received the diplomas at the 96th Bakersfield College Commencement Ceremony on Friday.
      George Tatsuno of Bakersfield was there representing his father George Tatsuno Sr. (Poston block 14) who died in 2001.
      "To hear them talk about it is hard, but it's fitting that he would get honored today," said Tatsuno as he fought back tears.
      So far Bakersfield College staffers have found 33 former students who were denied their diplomas.

Source: http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/93837749.html

Colleges honoring Japanese-American students with honorary degrees
By Jorge Barrientos, Californian staff writer
Thursday, Feb 04 2010 

     During World War II, hundreds of Japanese-American students throughout California were denied a college education when the federal government forced them from campuses to internment camps. 
     As a way to make right of wrongs, community colleges locally and throughout the state will begin awarding honorary degrees to students and their families affected by the injustice nearly 70 years ago, officials said.
    "When you're in college, you have all these dreams you want to accomplish. Their dreams were interrupted," said Aya Ino, coordinator for the California Nisei College Diploma Project. "The honorary degree is one way to make things better." 
    Bakersfield College and Taft College in the coming weeks will start searching for possible candidates, who if still alive would be in their 80s now. According to the Nisei project, 14 students were enrolled at what was in 1941 Bakersfield Junior College. Two were enrolled at Taft Junior College. Nisei are second-generation Japanese Americans.
     Officials are also seeking those who were interned and not able to enroll in college. The project asks family members of those who are now deceased to come forward to accept the degree on their relative's behalf.
     "We would like to find as many people as possible so we can honor them with a degree," said Paige Marlatt Dorr, spokeswoman for the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office.
     Assembly Bill 37 was signed into law in October. It requires state community colleges, California state universities and University of California campuses to honor those forced to leave post-secondary studies because of federal Executive Order 9066. Colleges were notified of the program last month.
     That order, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in early 1942 after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, forced roughly 120,000 Japanese Americans into camps and incarcerated during the war.
     More than 1,200 affected students were attending 44 junior or community colleges before the order was given, according to the Nisei project.
     "This is really meaningful to the Nisei and their family members," said Cheryl Fong, project coordinator with the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office. "It's kind of like unfinished business, in a sense, that will bring some closure to an injustice."
     BC spokeswoman Amber Chiang said the college is in the beginning stages of the project, and officials will begin searching through college archives.
     "This is a really good thing," Chiang said. "This is recognizing what some of our students were put through in our nation's history."
     Around the state, several colleges and universities in recent years have held ceremonies to award degrees to Japanese Americans affected by interment including Sierra College, College of San Mateo and UC Berkeley.
If you know of someone who might qualify for an honorary degree, call Sue Vaughn of Bakersfield College at 395-4049. 

Source: http://www.bakersfield.com/news/local/x854214187/Colleges-honoring-Japanese-American-students-with-honorary-degrees

Finding Poston's Girl Scouts

An Arizona historian’s search to identify Girl Scouts in a black and white photo from a World War II internment camp reunites a group of women over six decades later. 

By Nalea J. Ko, Reporter

Pacific Citizen Newspaper
Published Feb, 4, 2010

After over six decades, certain memories from Marion (Nakamura) Masada’s (Poston 211-1-B) time at the Poston internment camp in Arizona have faded from her mind. She remembers munching popcorn and staying up late the night before her family was forced from their home and incarcerated behind barbed wire.

The identification number 13141 that was assigned to her family was burned into her memory by her mother, who feared that her children would become lost in the identical barrack housing.  But the 78-year-old can’t recall other details of being incarcerated like the trip from her family home in Salinas, Calif. to the camp.

Other memories of camp life during World War II were preserved in time through photos Masada kept over the years. She eventually settled down in Fresno, Calif.
One of those black and white photos was of 12-year-old Masada, her Girl Scout troop and leader from the Poston II internment camp.

On the back on the photograph the scouts scrawled their names next to the date, 1945. Those names would become key information to Arizona historian, Nancy Buell, who had been researching different Girl Scout troops for years. It would also serve to reunite a group of Japanese American women over six decades later.

“It was just the most wonderful feeling,” Masada explained about hearing from some of the women, who were pictured in the 1945 Girl Scout photo. “I had always in my heart wanted to locate and hear about what happened to their lives.”

After hearing from Buell, who was conducting research for the Girls Scouts 100th anniversary in 2012, Masada put a notice in Asian Pacific American publications to locate the scouts. The notice, published in tandem with Masada’s Girl Scout troop photo, requested help in locating those in the image. Friends and relatives contacted many of the Girl Scouts soon after the photo was published.

“There’s so many people sending me these articles,” explained former Girl Scout Sally Hirai, 77, a Washington state resident. “I’m the one in the pigtails. I must have been mad that day [laughs].”

With the assistance of other community members, the notice would eventually help locate the nine Girl Scouts and leader pictured in Masada’s photo. Many used the opportunity to catch up with old acquaintances. “We talked for over an hour. We haven’t talked for over 65 years, or more,” said 77-year-old Jane “Teiko” Oka about speaking with Masada over the phone.

Looking at the photographed faces from her past, Masada recounted the stories she heard about each woman after reconnecting with them. Two of the former scouts,
Akiko Nakagawa and Mayumi Yasumoto (their maiden names), had previously died. Masada explained that the leader, Momoko Iwakiri, was believed to be in a nursing home in Texas. 

The search for the identity of the Girl Scouts began with Buell, who wanted to document their experiences in the troop. Buell says every internment camp had Girl Scout troops. But each Girl Scout has a different story to tell, she says. “As many as I can talk to the better,” Buell said. “It’s a continuing puzzle.” But like Masada many of the other Girl Scouts say their memories of the troop are limited.

“We weren’t very active so I guess that was one of the reasons,” said May Sasao, 77, who now lives in San Jose, Calif. “We really didn’t do that much while we were in camp. I remember going for a hike, but I don’t remember any major projects we did or anything like that.”

The details about their time in the Girl Scouts are a little fuzzy. But most remember the troop going on a hiking trip to the Colorado River and getting lost. Oka recalls another hiking trip to the mesas.  Buell was interested in learning how the Poston Girl Scouts
 obtained their uniforms. But each Girl Scout had a different theory. Some thought their mothers sewed the uniforms. “We had to buy them. I think they ordered it at Sears or Montgomery Ward,” said 78-year-old Nancy “Nobuko” Mukai.

“I don’t know whether we had to buy our uniforms — we probably did,” Oka explained. “I was looking at the photograph and I thought ‘Oh, my God! My parents had to buy that. They were earning $156 a month!”

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, some 120,000 Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals were incarcerated beginning in 1942. Poston was comprised of three different camps, which were built along the Colorado River Indian Reservation.
At Poston, which was operated by the War Relocation Center, internees were used as laborers. Some 18,000 internees were housed at Poston, according to the Poston Restoration Project. Detainees were released in 1945.

Those in the Girl Scout troop say the living conditions at Poston were cramped and dusty. 

“I remember how hot it was. We got sick when we first rode the train. We were from Salinas,” said 78-year-old Kaye “Kuni” Nakayama. “They had scorpions and rattlesnakes. Things like that I remember.”

Most of the former Girl Scouts say they joined the troop to occupy their time at camp.
“I know we made origami for the popcorn to sell. We used to sell those,” Mukai said, who added that they did not sell cookies then. “I used to take care of my grandma so she would give me her share.”

Some of the former Girl Scouts say they have kept in contact with a few of the other women from their troop. Masada hopes to hold a reunion for all of the former Poston Girl Scouts in her troop. “I’m going to suggest that we meet in San Jose,” Masada explained. “Wouldn’t that be nice?”

Having reconnected with her old Poston camp acquaintances, Masada has been adding her fellow Girl Scouts’ contact information in her new address book.  “If you saw my address book now, it’s a mess,” Masada explained. “I bought myself a new one. I’ve been little by little sticking in addresses in my book. So I have three address books now [laughs].”

Source: http://www.pacificcitizen.org/site/Default.aspx?tabid=55&selectmoduleid=373&ArticleID=779&reftab=36&title=Finding_Poston%E2%80%99s_Girl_Scouts