WWII Japanese American internment at Tucson Festival of Books


It’s that time again to spend two whole days March 11 and 12, 2017 at the Tucson Festival of Books, listening to authors, buying books, visiting literary booths, enjoying music and science exhibits, etc.  It’s like a mini  tent city that pops up on the campus every March, just before Spring  Break.  The festival is between Old Main and Campbell Avenue, all along the UA Mall, from 9:30 to 5:30 p.m on both days. Free to the public.

All info again at:  www.tucsonfestivalofbooks.org for participating authors, schedule, how to donate and help, how to get there by walking, bike, bus, car.

Of note in 2017:  attending the festival will be author Pamela Rotner Sakamoto who wrote ““Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught Between Two Worlds”.

“Midnight in Broad Daylight is the true story of a family divided by war. After their father’s death in Seattle, the Fukuhara children — all born and raised in the Pacific Northwest — moved to Hiroshima with their mother. Eager to go back to America, two of the children — Mary and Harry — returned in the late 1930s. Then came Pearl Harbor. Despite being sent to an internment camp with Mary, Harry volunteered to serve his country. Back in Hiroshima, their brothers Frank and Pierce became soldiers in the Japanese Imperial Army.”

Sakamoto will be appearing at 3 panels:

March 11, 10 a.m. at UA Memorial Student Union Gallagher Theater, 1303 E. University Blvd. on the WWII: Japanese American internment

March 12, 10 a.m. at Koffler Bldg room 204, 1430 E. University Blvd.  on Race in America

March 12, 2:30 p.m. at UA Library Special Collections, 1510  E. University Blvd.  on WWII: Asking Why, Internment and Holocaust

Also discussing the WWII Japanese American Internment Camps  will be Richard Cahan, author of “Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II”

and  Richard Reeves, author of “Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese Internment in World War II”.

Both Cahan and  Reeves join Sakamoto on the March 11 panel on the Japanese American Internment camps, and only Reeves will be the March 12 panel on the Holocaust and the Internment camps.










Carolyn’s Note: I was interviewed yesterday on KXCI Community radio about my role as a U.S. Senate Legislative Aide in the creation of the National Commission that investigated this wrong to our people during WWII. Here’s the recorded interview: https://kxci.org/2017/03/carolyn-sugiyama-classen-personal-justice-denied/. Thanks to Amanda Shauger of “30 Minutes” on KXCI  for asking me to do the interview.


  1. Day 2 – listened to Pam Sakamoto on the Race in America panel with black author Ibram Zendi, Hispanic author Tim Hernandez, white author Patrick Phillips, moderated by Tucson Weekly senior writer Jim Nintzel. The common thread was forgotten stories of racism in America — Zendi talked about how blacks were already characterized as “criminals” as slaves who tried to escape & seek justice for themselves; Hernandez told story of 28 Mexican nationals who died in a fatal plane crash in Fresno, CA (and buried in mass grave w/ no headstone); Phillips related story of his hometown in GA which had racially cleansed itself of blacks (by terrorism) in 1912, and Sakamoto spoke of the Japanese American family Fukuharas who had been interned during WWII at Gila River in Arizona. All said to fight racism now, people’s voices are needed, watch out for insidious racism (as racists are smarter & no longer using hate crime terms). Then listened to Holocaust & Internment camp talk with Reeves, Sakamoto and Hayes, moderated by Rev. John Kitagawa (whose family was interned in WA). The authors talked about demonizing people (i.e. Jews and Japanese), and were asked if they thought these camps could happen again in America. They all said to practice “external vigilism and vocalism”, to “pay attention”, that “politics matter”. Reeves thought the camps could happen again, but not Hayes or Sakamoto. Hayes (as a gay man) felt that he had seen the best in this country, but that the military in times of war could overrule the President.

  2. Full house at UA Gallagher theater to hear Richard Reeves, Pam Sakamoto, Richard Cahan. They all basically said that the camps were wrong of course. Historian Reeves misspoke date of Feb. 19 (for E.O. 9066) but said Feb. 9, said that Hawaii had no camps (not true), and that Japanese Americans were stopped at the California border & driven back by gangs of white people, were unwelcome back there when they were released from the camps in 1945. Sakamoto gave the history of meeting Harry Fukuhara in Tokyo and after years of getting to know him, decided to write his family story as a dual narrative. Cahan is a journalist/photographer and did extensive work in National Archives with 7,000 photos and urged the use of the word “incarceration” over “internment” or evacuation or relocation. He was able to identify folks from the photos and interview them or descendants. Daughter of Harry, Pam Fukuhara was present at this talk today.

    On CSPAN: https://www.c-span.org/video/?424800-2/japanese-american-internment-world-war-ii

    Questions from the audience were why people didn’t talk of the camps; Honolulu’s camp (Honouliuli, not open to public yet), did people feel that the government was “protecting” them from hostile civilians; about Good Samaritans who helped keep farms & property for Japanese Americans when they returned; other instances of hostility by FBI (property destruction right after Pearl Harbor), camps in Peru, comparison to treatment of Native Americans.

  3. Today at the UA campus — if you don’t have tickets for these events, stand in the General Admissions lines early, as 25% of the seats are left for that purpose. And don’t forget to take your printed tickets if you have them, for the volunteers to scan. Have fun today, Day 1.

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