Japanese American internment: Returning to Los Angeles

In January 1945, the exclusion mandate under Executive Order 9066 was rescinded and Japanese American internees were allowed to return to the West Coast.

After a slow start, by the summer of 1945, thousands of internees were coming back to Southern California.

An article in the Aug. 1, 1945, Los Angeles Times reported:

Back from three years in a War Relocation Authority center in Rohwer, Ark., 96 Japanese-Americans yesterday arrived in Los Angeles to resume an existence interrupted by the exigencies of a war that made the Pacific Coast a potential combat area.

As they stepped off their special train in Union Station Joichi Shimazu, father of three enlisted men in the United States Army, voiced the feelings of the whole contingent:

Ii kimochi de ne!!!”

“My, it feels good to be back!” he translated.

Shimazu, a former Long Beach farmer, was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Shizuka Shimazu, who proudly wore a three-starred service pin, and their daughter Jean, 16.

Mrs. Shimazu said that just before leaving the Arkansas center they had been visited by one of their sons, Pvt. Roy Shimazu, who was badly wounded in Italy, losing his right eye. He is a patient at the Army’s General Hospital in Beaumont, Tex. Pfc. Thomas Shimazu, 21, still is in Italy, while Pvt. Ben, 18, is in training at Camp Livingston, Louisiana. The family will settle on a farm near Talbert in Orange County, they said. …

By coincidence, as the Japanese filed into the station patio to await the transfer of their baggage, another train disgorged 400 battle-tested veterans of the Second Marine Division.

The Leathernecks, obviously surprised at the sight of [Japanese] in Los Angeles, gazed at them stonily and without comment. The marines marched away, under command of 1st Lt. Arthur F. Boehme, while the station loudspeaker system poured forth the strains of “From the Halls of Montezuma.”

The above photo gallery includes images from Los Angeles Times coverage of returning Japanese Americans from January through November 1945.

This gallery accompanies these previous From the Archive posts:

Alien Registration Act of 1940 [updated]

1941 camera and radio confiscation

Executive Order 9066: Japanese American internment in World War II

Japanese evicted from Terminal Island

Japanese Internment: Santa Anita Assembly Center

Japanese American internment: Pomona Assembly Center

Japanese Internment: Manzanar

Japanese Internment: Poston

This series of posts on the internment of Japanese Americans began in 2012.

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