Young Japanese man strumming a guitar inside the Tule Lake Segregation Center

After their capture in Manila by Japanese forces in January 1942 and 16 months in internment camps, Carl and Shelly Mydans finally touched American soil in late 1943. Mydans' first assignment for LIFE magazine after his repatriation was a story on Japanese internment camps on the U.S. West Coast.
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry living in the United States were removed from their homes and relocated to isolated inland areas in California and other western states. This man was one of 155 "pressure boys," men loyal to Japan who had been involved in various riots in November the previous year. Mydans reported that the boy was singing Home on the Range as he entered the barracks. "He sang it like an American. There was no Japanese accent. He looked at me the same way I guess I looked at a Japanese official when he came to check on me at Camp Santo Tomás in Manila. At the back of my mind was the thought, 'Come on, get it over and get out. Leave me alone.' This boy felt the same way. He was just waiting, killing time" (LIFE, March 20, 1944, p.31).
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Mydans, Carl
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
overall: 8 in x 10 in; 20.32 cm x 25.4 cm
place made
United States: California, Newell, Tule Lake War Relocation Center
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Carl Mydans
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Carl Mydans
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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