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

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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 conditions of 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 (ironically, one camp director had been his student at
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Editorial Reviews

SF Chronicle
An intriguing view of a shattering episode that continues to be a defining experience for Japanese Americans.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection of letters, diary entries and essays constitutes, says editor Chang, "the only first-person contemporaneous record of an individual's entire relocation experience that exists in any language." Maybe, but that doesn't make it the best account. Ichihashi was an impressive man, but not a sympathetic one, which makes his account most useful as a historical document. A first-generation immigrant, he taught history at Stanford and was a consultant at the 1921 Washington Conference, among others. After his internment at Tule Lake in May 1942, he continued as a kind of minister-without-portfolio, receiving a long line of petitioners (a 1943 article in the San Francisco Chronicle called him "The Emperor of Tulelake"). His work is helpful in understanding camp politics and issues like the registration of aliens or the segregation of the internee population into "loyal" and "disloyal." But moving, he is not. For one thing, Ichihashi is a snob ("Boxes are poor... fit only [for] kojiki [beggars'] moving. Damned!"). He was also a domestic tyrant, cutting off his only son, Woodrow, when he married a woman Ichihashi felt was beneath him ("Kid's [Woodrow's] wife sent the new year card and kid's photo with his baby; kept away from k [Ichihashi's wife Kei]"). Kei, whose letters are also included here, is the more affecting correspondent, describing hardships and attempts to create beauty with flowers made of shells or sweet potato sprouts. For many women, she writes, the camps provided an unexpected improvement. "Before they were evacuees they had to work very hard every day, so that most of them did not have enough time to learn anything." Kei herself seems torn as freedom approaches. "My `simple living and high thinking' life is ending rapidly."(Nov.)
Library Journal
Ichihashi was a senior and respected history professor at Stanford University, but because he was issei, a Japanese immigrant denied American citizenship, he and his family were interned during World War II. Unlike most issei, he spoke and wrote English fluently and kept a diary from the first notification of relocation to his return to Stanford in 1945. Chang (history, Stanford) has selected, edited, and annotated Ichihashi's diary entries; his letters to friends; the letters of his wife, Kei; and his research essays to form a chronological narrative that, while choppy, is the first comprehensive first-person account of the World War II internment by an issei. Chang's biographical essay is the first about the long-neglected Ichihashi. The diary entries effectively portray the debilitating effects of internment upon a family and especially upon an actively intelligent individual forced into lassitude. A valuable addition to larger public and academic libraries.-Katharine L. Kan, Hawaii State Lib., Honolulu
From the Publisher
"Yamato Ichihashi, a distinguished Stanford University professor, experienced, observed, and wrote about internment life . . . and his incomparably rich account far surpasses all previous internee accounts."—Yuji Ichioka, University of California, Los Angeles

"This fascinating account . . . is a particularly important source, because of the paucity of contemporary accounts. Chang's sympathetic biographical essay on this enigmatic figure provides an enthralling insight into relations between Japan and the United States in the first half of this century."—Times Literary Supplement

"[Ichihashi] was uniquely qualified to observe and record history as he lived it, and his records—along with Chang's absorbing commentary—offer an intriguing view of a shattering episode that continues to be a defining experience for Japanese Americans."—San Francisco Chronicle

"Anyone interested in the World War II incarceration experience would do well to read this important volume."—Amerasia Journal

"Upoon discovering Ichihashi's papers among Stanford's manuscript collections, Chang intended to publish them to honor his memory, add to the literature on the wartime concentration camps, and present the deeply poignant human story contained in his documents. Chang has succeeded on all counts."—Journal of American Ethnic History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804736534
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1999
  • Series: Asian America Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 584
  • Product dimensions: 6.17 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Gordon H. Chang is Associate Professor of American History at Stanford University.

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