Countless books and magazine articles have been written about the gross injustice of Japanese-American Internment during World War II, and how hard and degrading life was in the camps. But relatively little has been published about what happened after the nightmare ended. In fact, there’s a positive story to be told—in the context of that regrettable period in American history—and Beyond The Camps captures it through interviews with former internees and their children.
Living the spirit of the Japanese term shikata ga nai, which literally means “it can’t be helped,” Japanese Americans refused to dwell on the unfairness of internment, choosing instead to “get on with life.” Exhibiting the determination, imagination, patience and resourcefulness symbolized by the ancient art of bonsai, they pursued the “American Dream”—with impressive and varied success.
Aster and George Oye were married for sixty years, and Chizuko and Dr. Dick Momii celebrated their sixty-ninth in 2017. Rose Tanaka taught in Denver public schools for twenty-five years, and Bob Sakata became one of the nation’s foremost growers of produce for major grocery chains—twenty-five million ears of corn per year! Bill Hosokawa was arguably the nation’s preeminent Japanese American journalist; George Kawamura, a prominent figure in Colorado state government for ore than to decades; and Dr. Robert Hamada, Dean of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business—to mention only a few of those whose stories are related in Beyond The Camps.
A bonus in this book is a riveting account of the bombing of Hiroshima by Michio Taniwaki, an American citizen who wound up a Japanese Army conscript rather than an internee in America, and was there, digging a bomb shelter, the day Little Boy dropped from the Enola Gay.
“Beyond the Camps is an achievement of narrative history.”
--James X. Kroll, Manager, Western History Department, Denver Public Library