document, War Relocation Authority Notice of Assignment for Eddie Kagimoto, Gila River, 07051945

Description
This is a Notice of Assignment for Eddie Kagimoto, issued by the War Relocation Authority.
The War Relocation Authority was a United States government agency that was established to control the imprisonment, forced relocation, and detention of Japanese Americans during World War II. It was created after the Executive Order 9066 was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after the events of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Executive Order 9066 authorized military commanders to create exclusion zones were certain persons could be excluded from if they posed a threat to national security, and these areas encompassed the west coast. The WRA was created on March 18, 1942, a month later.
Milton S. Eisenhower fought hard against mass imprisonment, but was unsucessful. He tried to limit the imprisonment to adult Japanese men and allow the women and children to remain free, but this did not happen. Eisenhower also made sure the WRA camps would be as much like subsistence homesteads as possible. though this faced severe opposition as well. Eisenhower also stated that "when the war is over and we consider calmly this unprecedented migration of 120,000 people, we as Americans are going to regret the unavoidable injustices that we may have done."
Life in the WRA camps was hard. Those who were fortunate to have a job worked long hours for little pay; the pay rate was deliberately set way lower than what the jobs would have received outside of the camp. Non-skilled laborers only earned $14 a month, and even doctors and dentists made a small sum of $19 a month.
People focused on their hobbies, self-improvement, education, religion, and recreation to distract themselves from the hardships of camp life. Living quarters were dismal; families lived in barracks that were partitioned into cramped single-room apartments. However, the walls of the partition often did not reach the ceiling, further contributing to the severe lack of privacy in the camps.
Eddie Kagimoto and his family were imprisoned in the Gila River, Butte Arizona prison camp, where Eddie was a gardener in the Operating Services Division in July 1945 before being reassigned to be a carpenter in the Evacuee Crating division in September, 1945.
The Gila River camp was considered one of the least oppressive prison camps; it only had one watchtower, and its fences did not have barbed wire. The administrators allowed the prisoners access to the amenities of Phoenix, and gave them access to sports and arts. For example, the Butte camp had a 6,000-seat baseball field. However, it was still a prison camp, and it was vastly overcrowded. Gila was only meant to house 10,000 prisoners, but held over 13,000 at one point. Families lived in the mess hall or recreation buildings, and had to use their blankets as makeshift walls.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
07/05/1945
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
graphite (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 5 in x 8 in; 12.7 cm x 20.32 cm
ID Number
2016.3120.06
nonaccession number
2016.3120
catalog number
2016.3120.06
Credit Line
gift of Fusae Kagimoto
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Japanese American
Executive Order 9066
Data Source
National Museum of American History