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.