Excerpts from Stanley Hayami's diary:
December 7, 1942
Today was the day last year in which this whole mess started.
I was busy outside that morning so I didn't hear about it when it happened. ...Then tuning in on a news broadcast I heard the stunning news. "Pearl Harbor bombed!!" "About fifty planes came over the harbor at etc." I turned off the radio and rushed out front and told pa + ma.
That night we all felt as if we were still having a nightmare.... we all went to sleep wondering what was going to happen to us. Little did I know then that one year from then I would be in Heart Mt. Wyo.in a evacuation camp.
January 1, 1943
Last year at this time, I was home in San Gabriel, California... Gosh a lot happened last year. In the spring we had to work hard to sell out our stock. At Easter we quit, handed over the nursery to Mr. Dailey. We moved to Los Angeles for a month until evacuation to Pomona Assembly Center. After Pomona we boarded a train and after about 3 ½ days of traveling thru Nevada, Utah, and Colorado we reached this camp in Wyoming. And here I am today hoping that next year at this time, I'll be home or someplace else outside of camp.
January 28, 1943
I got my algebra paper back today. Doggone! Another "F." Got to do something about that. Maybe do my homework twice will help. The government has decided to take Nisei from camp and use them in the army. Maybe next year I'll be drafted.
February 12, 1943
Last Tuesday night I went to a meeting held by the army concerning the new order opening voluntary enlistment in the army. There were four men from the army altogether... They gave a lot of talks telling us how we would benefit if we volunteered... Said that the reason why they wanted to put us in a separate combat unit was for publicity. A lot of people wanted to know if they could have some guarantee so that after the war was over, they wouldn't have their citizenship taken away, + the lands they own taken. They answered that we would be protected by the 14th amendment in the Constitution. Then one man says, "well the 14th also is supposed to have kept us out of camp, what about that? The army men answered by saying that in time of war the 14th + such do not hold + the army has control + can do practically anything. Then one man says "what the heck, are we going to get kicked out every time a war comes up." Then the army man says that he agrees that a great injustice was done us ...He says that if we volunteer it'll do a lot to show our loyalty, and improve the relations and opinions of the American people toward us. It'll show that we are truly Americans, because we volunteered despite the kicking around that we got. On the other hand however he says that if we all do not volunteer it'll be the other way around. Instead of improving our relations with the other Americans it would make it worse...
October 1, 1943
....The radio gave reports today that Japanese troops are fighting in Italy now--Japanese American troops. A German prisoner saw them and was amazed. Hope they do good.
December 23, 1943
Today was my birthday. Am 18 now. Guess I'm getting to be an old man. I'm still not in college though.
August 20, 1944
Well it's been a very long time since I last wrote. Things have happened too... around May I went to Denver and took my army physical which I passed!... About two weeks after taking my physical, I graduated high school. We had caps and gowns and all...
...Well France has been invaded and the allies are now close to Paris. Saipan Island in the South Pacific has been taken with the result that Premier Tojo and his entire staff was forced to quit. Hitler has been almost killed. In Italy the Japanese Americans are doing a wonderful job. The 100th is the most decorated outfit in the army. Willie wrote from someplace in Italy. Hasn't seen action yet. Two of last years volunteers from our camp have already met their death.
Heart Mt. has been a dead place, a wonderfully live place too. Dust has blown through it and snow storms too. Someday, from a foreign battlefield I shall remember it with homesickness...
The Duty of Every Male Citizen
A glimpse into the intertwining issues of selective service requirements, civil rights, and loyalty as experienced by two Southern California Japanese Americans during World War II.
Introduction by Martha Nakagawa, In Times of War
Originally produced and published under KCET Webstories