By: Junpei Yamaguchi
CN: Internment, War, Covid
Setting: An eighth grade U.S. History classroom in 2005.
Cast: 14 year old Junpei, relegated to the very back of the classroom due to regularly falling asleep in class and the teacher getting tired of it and banishing me out of the way entirely.
Mr. Federighi stands at the front of the classroom and tells us about the brave 442nd regiment of World War II. Thousands of brave nissei men off to fight the nazis while many of them left their families not in their homes, but in concentration camps sealed with barbed wire… Put there in the name of freedom.
Their land and property was seized, and sold by the US Government for profit that the victims wouldn’t see a penny of. People who looked like me, or even *whiter* than me… Just one grandparent was enough to justify imprisonment… People who looked like me were shipped across the country to some of the most miserable places on the continent.
Hot dusty summers, hardly arable land that these enterprising farmers managed to grow in *anyways*, machine guns pointed at them, mold in the rice… There was no going to the grocery store. If you weren’t in a camp where anybody had thought to bring seeds, or where the soil was simply too barren, it was moldy gruel, and gruel alone. Even those who had grown food, it was sparse at best. It supplemented, it did not alone feed.