Our new exhibit at the Hattie Weber Museum focuses on the three Japanese-Americans enrolled at Davis High School during school year 1940-41: siblings Tetsuo and Tayeko Ito, and Miyo Hiromoto. All appear in the DHS yearbook of 1941, photographed with their classes and also as participants in many of the school’s activities. Despite mounting world tensions, the spring of 1941 was a tranquil period in Davis. Tetsuo, a senior, graduated in June and had been accepted by the University Farm to pursue a degree program for the following fall. According to his senior prophecy, his ambition was to be a concert singer. He was on the basketball and track teams, and in the orchestra and chorus. His sister Tayeko, a sophomore, was her class treasurer, and Miyo, a junior, was active in athletics, chorus, and publishing.
However, the following December, everything changed for them. Shortly after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, Executive Order 6099, issued 80 years ago this year, required everyone of Japanese descent living in specific areas of Washington, Oregon, and California to prepare to be “interned” in camps located in isolated areas in the interior of the country. The justification was that they posed a security risk.
The exhibit juxtaposes the images from the yearbook with the stories of the students’ lives as presented in their obituaries, all written about 75 years after they left Davis. Read the obituaries to learn how they survived and how they regarded this period of their lives. Also included are photos of the relocation camps to which the two families were sent: Tule Lake in northern California and Amache, in southeastern Colorado; a copy of Exclusion Order 79; and a letter written by President George Bush, apologizing to those who had been imprisoned.
Appreciate this post? Come visit the Hattie Weber Museum, open every Saturday from 10am to 4pm, located a the corner of Central Park at 445 C Street in downtown Davis and share your love and knowledge of history with us.