This story ran in The Seattle Times on June 23, 1996
By Sharon Boswell and Lorraine McConaghy Special to The Times
MASA HAITO’S SHARP EYES AND STEADY NERVES helped him defeat 129 other pitchers in the Seattle Times-Park Board baseball contest. His 12 strikeouts in the competition at Collins Playground earned him the right to compete for the district championship in late May 1942. But Masa Haito did not pitch in the finals. And five of the top 10 honor students in the senior class at Broadway High School did not attend their graduation ceremony. They all had been “evacuated” with their families to camps in the interior — a security precaution as the United States went to war with Japan. The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 drastically altered opportunities for thousands of Japanese Americans along the Pacific coast. Overnight, many who had called Puget Sound home for nearly half a century became “enemy aliens” with their life work in jeopardy.
SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS OF JAPANESE IMMIGRANTS had first arrived in the region in the 1880s. Exclusion acts aimed at the Chinese had opened up jobs in the Northwest for Japanese laborers willing to endure the backbreaking toil required on railroad-construction crews or in area sawmills, coal mines and salmon canneries. Hoping to make fortunes quickly and then return to their homeland, Japanese workers soon found that low pay and discrimination subverted their dreams. Yet many eventually built a successful stake in the Northwest. Japanese farmers turned hundreds of acres of stumpland in Bellevue and the White River Valley into farmland yielding berries and vegetables in abundance. Some sold their harvest at the Pike Place Market; by the 1930s, an estimated 75 percent of all produce grown in the region came from Japanese farms.
JAPANESE AMERICANS ALSO OWNED SERVICE BUSINESSES AS DIVERSE AS HOTELS, laundries, banks, groceries, bathhouses and restaurants. In Seattle, a vibrant Japanese district emerged, initially centering in Pioneer Square but soon moving eastward along Yesler and Jackson streets, forming Nihonmachi — Japantown. Immigration laws denied most first-generation Japanese naturalization rights, but their children, born in the United States, were full citizens. Within the Japanese community, institutions such as the Nippon Kan Theater and the Japanese Language School encouraged members of the second generation — the Nisei — to respect traditional cultural values. Yet the desire to become “true Americans” remained, despite the racism of fellow citizens. Wary of successful Japanese entrepreneurs, Seattle businessmen had formed an Anti-Japanese League in 1919; two years later, the state Legislature passed an Alien Land Law, prohibiting the sale or rental of property to anyone ineligible for citizenship. On Dec. 7, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, drawing the United States into World War II.
AFTER PEARL HARBOR, THE REGION’S JAPANESE RESIDENTS BECAME TARGETS of even stronger suspicion and abuse. In Kent, which had the area’s largest Japanese-American population, the mayor activated home-defense units to combat sabotage. Several hundred “aliens” from throughout the area were rounded up, while a curfew was imposed on Japanese in Seattle. Many of the city’s other Asian residents sported buttons such as “Chinese” or “Not from Nippon.” Others responded with sympathy for loyal Japanese citizens caught in the web of war. The Medina School principal used his own car to pick up Japanese-American children denied rides on public buses, and the Council of Churches made a plea for citizens to refrain from “prejudice and bitterness” against their Japanese neighbors. The Times, which had earlier editorialized about the “Little Madmen of the East,” now urged readers to avoid hysteria.
Prominent Japanese citizens publicly expressed their dismay at the actions of the Japanese government, and more than 1,300 crowded into the Buddhist Temple to pledge allegiance to the United States. Japanese men, some in their 60s, registered for military service.
Despite such demonstrations of loyalty, most local residents failed to protest plans to evacuate the Japanese as authorized by Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin Roosevelt in February 1942. The Times spoke for many in trusting the military and the FBI to decide whether it was necessary to resettle these “enemy aliens,” never mentioning the Nisei’s rights as citizens.
GOVERNMENT RESPONSE WAS QUICK: 300 Japanese Americans were removed from Bainbridge Island by the end of March 1942; 2,000 more from the Seattle area followed in April. Most initially were sent to Camp Harmony, a temporary detention center at the Puyallup fairgrounds. Here the poor food and lack of privacy gave Japanese Americans the first bitter taste of what life would be like as internees. Newspapers depicted the Japanese undergoing evacuation with good-natured acceptance. “It’s for the good of the country, so we’ll move,” one Bainbridge Island farmer was quoted as saying. But classified advertisements told a different story of lands, homes and businesses given up for fire-sale prices. Store owners quietly complained of competitors trying to buy their stock at 5 cents on the dollar. In Washington state, nearly 13,000 people of Japanese descent ultimately were sent to detention centers — most Seattleites ended up at Camp Minidoka near Hunt, Idaho, while the majority of rural Western Washington evacuees went to Tule Lake in California. There, life went on. The internees’ situation was not unlike that of several hundred Italian and German prisoners of war who were confined at Fort Lewis and Fort Lawton. But not one of the Japanese detained was ever charged with espionage or any other crime.
Years later, the American government acknowledged that even war could not justify the treatment of West Coast Japanese Americans. Apologies were made, pardons granted and monetary redress paid. But nothing could make up for all the lost opportunities — the special childhood memories of winning a pitching contest or graduating with honors that could never be regained.
Historians Sharon Boswell and Lorraine McConaghy teach at local universities and do research, writing and oral history.
Joseph Ichiuji, a Nisei veteran of WW2 (522nd Field Artillery Batallion), recalls helping to liberate a sub-camp of Dachau—ironic, given that his family back in the States were themselves interned under guard in a camp.
Ichiuji was born on Feb.14, 1919 in Salinas, CA. His father was a shoe repair owner and his mother a housewife. Ichiuji attended Pacific Grove High School and worked in a fish cannery for supplemental income.
He served in the 522nd A Battery from 1943-1946 as an artillery mechanic. Although he was drafted from the military in September 1941, Ichiuji’s duties didn’t begin until 1943 because the United States had classified all Japanese Americans as 4-C enemy aliens.
Authorizing the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas
Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities as defined in Section 4, Act of April 20, 1918, 40 Stat. 533, as amended by the Act of November 30, 1940, 54 Stat. 1220, and the Act of August 21, 1941, 55 Stat. 655 (U.S.C., Title 50, Sec. 104);
Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited and restricted areas by the Attorney General under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, and shall supersede the responsibility and authority of the Attorney General under the said Proclamations in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas.
I hereby further authorize and direct the Secretary of War and the said Military Commanders to take such other steps as he or the appropriate Military Commander may deem advisable to enforce compliance with the restrictions applicable to each Military area hereinabove authorized to be designated, including the use of Federal troops and other Federal Agencies, with authority to accept assistance of state and local agencies.
I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments, independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities, and services.
This order shall not be construed as modifying or limiting in any way the authority heretofore granted under Executive Order No. 8972, dated December 12, 1941, nor shall it be construed as limiting or modifying the duty and responsibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with respect to the investigation of alleged acts of sabotage or the duty and responsibility of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, prescribing regulations for the conduct and control of alien enemies, except as such duty and responsibility is superseded by the designation of military areas hereunder.
“This is a milestone evening because my father (who is not a theatre person in ANY way) came to the show [Pinter’s The Homecoming] this evening and at the end said, “OK, OK. You were right. It is very good. I am going to start going to more plays. This was terrific….depressing….but terrific. How do you do this 6 days a week??” The show could not get a bigger compliment!”—+ A note from our lovely stage manager, Lloyd, whose father at age 85 has finally (!) decided to start seeing more theater. Thanks to Pinter. Go figure.
Memorable production of this modern classic. Centerstage website describes it as “tough, sexy, ruthlessly funny,” which seems about right. Still disturbing, probably offensive for some. Superb cast. Worth the trip.
Among the treats: Felicity Jones as Ruth; Baltimore favorite Larry O’Dwyer as Sam; Trent Dawson as Lenny; and Jarlath Conroy as Max.
”—+ Another patron writes in response to The Homecoming. Certainly eliciting a wide and passionate range of opinions and reactions, as this play—and any Pinter piece—truly ought to.
“We immensely enjoyed the show and after the show the beautiful and creative farewell to your most talented director. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity to be a part of Baltimore theatre community.”—+ A patron’s response to opening night of Pinter’s The Homecoming, Irene’s last directing project as Artistic Director. (Reference is to a lovely tribute to Irene that followed the opening performance. One white rose, given by current & former staff, artists, friends for each of the 65-odd shows she has directed here since … 1981!)
"Lives were touched ... and a conversation has been started"
A note sent to the cast and crew of ReEntry, after its recent engagement at Parris Island, performing for USMC recruits.
Dear Cast of ReEntry,
Honestly, I did not want yesterday to end. Perhaps you’ve had many experiences like that in theatre. I still am trying to figure out why but I think that it has to do with the relationships formed in such a short time, the raw truth being shared and the noble cause of people desiring to help other people. I saw all of this in you and your performance.
It was awesome - awe inspiring and I thank you.
I know that numbers are not important but from my estimation we had 300 people at MCAS base theatre on Thursday 750 people at MCRD Recruit Chapel on Friday morning and 150 people at MCRD Recruit Chapel for Friday evening
Lives were touched because of you and a conversation has been started here.
Please know of my continued support and prayers not only for the ReEntry “project” but also for you individually in your careers and also in your lives.
This marvelous bit of insider-ness, and critical analysis, seems to be making its way around the internet. David Mamet, schooling his writing team from The Unit on writing.
The lead-in pretty much sets it up. Very much worth the read.
I was having a pretty uneventful day at the office until I saw this post about a memo written by writer/director David Mamet crop up on my Twitter feed. It’s a note that Mamet addressed to the writing staff of the now-canceled CBS
show The Unit, in which he lays out some guiding principles for compelling television. According to Movieline, the memo first surfaced recently at Ink Canada.
…Overall, it offers some amusing and piercing insights into what makes good writing and storytelling. I’m left wondering though: Does Mamet’s work always live up to his high standards? Hit the jump for the full memo, and savor the intensity (capital letters are from the original).
TO THE WRITERS OF THE UNIT
AS WE LEARN HOW TO WRITE THIS SHOW, A RECURRING PROBLEM BECOMES CLEAR.
THE PROBLEM IS THIS: TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN *DRAMA* AND NON-DRAMA. LET ME BREAK-IT-DOWN-NOW.
EVERYONE IN CREATION IS SCREAMING AT US TO MAKE THE SHOW CLEAR. WE ARE TASKED WITH, IT SEEMS, CRAMMING A SHITLOAD OF *INFORMATION* INTO A LITTLE BIT OF TIME.
OUR FRIENDS. THE PENGUINS, THINK THAT WE, THEREFORE, ARE EMPLOYED TO COMMUNICATE *INFORMATION* — AND, SO, AT TIMES, IT SEEMS TO US.
BUT NOTE:THE AUDIENCE WILL NOT TUNE IN TO WATCH INFORMATION. YOU WOULDN’T, I WOULDN’T. NO ONE WOULD OR WILL. THE AUDIENCE WILL ONLY TUNE IN AND STAY TUNED TO WATCH DRAMA.
QUESTION:WHAT IS DRAMA? DRAMA, AGAIN, IS THE QUEST OF THE HERO TO OVERCOME THOSE THINGS WHICH PREVENT HIM FROM ACHIEVING A SPECIFIC, *ACUTE* GOAL.
SO: WE, THE WRITERS, MUST ASK OURSELVES *OF EVERY SCENE* THESE THREE QUESTIONS.
1) WHO WANTS WHAT? 2) WHAT HAPPENS IF HER DON’T GET IT? 3) WHY NOW?
THE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS ARE LITMUS PAPER. APPLY THEM, AND THEIR ANSWER WILL TELL YOU IF THE SCENE IS DRAMATIC OR NOT.
IF THE SCENE IS NOT DRAMATICALLY WRITTEN, IT WILL NOT BE DRAMATICALLY ACTED.
THERE IS NO MAGIC FAIRY DUST WHICH WILL MAKE A BORING, USELESS, REDUNDANT, OR MERELY INFORMATIVE SCENE AFTER IT LEAVES YOUR TYPEWRITER. *YOU* THE WRITERS, ARE IN CHARGE OF MAKING SURE *EVERY* SCENE IS DRAMATIC.
THIS MEANS ALL THE “LITTLE” EXPOSITIONAL SCENES OF TWO PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT A THIRD. THIS BUSHWAH (AND WE ALL TEND TO WRITE IT ON THE FIRST DRAFT) IS LESS THAN USELESS, SHOULD IT FINALLY, GOD FORBID, GET FILMED.
IF THE SCENE BORES YOU WHEN YOU READ IT, REST ASSURED IT *WILL* BORE THE ACTORS, AND WILL, THEN, BORE THE AUDIENCE, AND WE’RE ALL GOING TO BE BACK IN THE BREADLINE.
SOMEONE HAS TO MAKE THE SCENE DRAMATIC. IT IS NOT THE ACTORS JOB (THE ACTORS JOB IS TO BE TRUTHFUL). IT IS NOT THE DIRECTORS JOB. HIS OR HER JOB IS TO FILM IT STRAIGHTFORWARDLY AND REMIND THE ACTORS TO TALK FAST. IT IS *YOUR* JOB.
EVERY SCENE MUST BE DRAMATIC. THAT MEANS: THE MAIN CHARACTER MUST HAVE A SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD, PRESSING NEED WHICH IMPELS HIM OR HER TO SHOW UP IN THE SCENE.
THIS NEED IS WHY THEY *CAME*. IT IS WHAT THE SCENE IS ABOUT. THEIR ATTEMPT TO GET THIS NEED MET *WILL* LEAD, AT THE END OF THE SCENE,TO *FAILURE* – THIS IS HOW THE SCENE IS *OVER*. IT, THIS FAILURE, WILL, THEN, OF NECESSITY, PROPEL US INTO THE *NEXT* SCENE.
ALL THESE ATTEMPTS, TAKEN TOGETHER, WILL, OVER THE COURSE OF THE EPISODE, CONSTITUTE THE *PLOT*.
ANY SCENE, THUS, WHICH DOES NOT BOTH ADVANCE THE PLOT, AND STANDALONE (THAT IS, DRAMATICALLY, BY ITSELF, ON ITS OWN MERITS) IS EITHER SUPERFLUOUS, OR INCORRECTLY WRITTEN.
YES BUT YES BUT YES BUT, YOU SAY: WHAT ABOUT THE NECESSITY OF WRITING IN ALL THAT “INFORMATION?”
AND I RESPOND “*FIGURE IT OUT*” ANY DICKHEAD WITH A BLUESUIT CAN BE (AND IS) TAUGHT TO SAY “MAKE IT CLEARER”, AND “I WANT TO KNOW MORE *ABOUT* HIM”.
WHEN YOU’VE MADE IT SO CLEAR THAT EVEN THIS BLUESUITED PENGUIN IS HAPPY, BOTH YOU AND HE OR SHE *WILL* BE OUT OF A JOB.
THE JOB OF THE DRAMATIST IS TO MAKE THE AUDIENCE WONDER WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. *NOT* TO EXPLAIN TO THEM WHAT JUST HAPPENED, OR TO*SUGGEST* TO THEM WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.
ANY DICKHEAD, AS ABOVE, CAN WRITE, “BUT, JIM, IF WE DON’T ASSASSINATE THE PRIME MINISTER IN THE NEXT SCENE, ALL EUROPE WILL BE ENGULFED IN FLAME”
WE ARE NOT GETTING PAID TO *REALIZE* THAT THE AUDIENCE NEEDS THIS INFORMATION TO UNDERSTAND THE NEXT SCENE, BUT TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO WRITE THE SCENE BEFORE US SUCH THAT THE AUDIENCE WILL BE INTERESTED IN WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.
YES BUT, YES BUT YES *BUT* YOU REITERATE.
AND I RESPOND *FIGURE IT OUT*.
*HOW* DOES ONE STRIKE THE BALANCE BETWEEN WITHHOLDING AND VOUCHSAFING INFORMATION? *THAT* IS THE ESSENTIAL TASK OF THE DRAMATIST. AND THE ABILITY TO *DO* THAT IS WHAT SEPARATES YOU FROM THE LESSER SPECIES IN THEIR BLUE SUITS.
FIGURE IT OUT.
START, EVERY TIME, WITH THIS INVIOLABLE RULE: THE *SCENE MUST BE DRAMATIC*. it must start because the hero HAS A PROBLEM, AND IT MUST CULMINATE WITH THE HERO FINDING HIM OR HERSELF EITHER THWARTED OR EDUCATED THAT ANOTHER WAY EXISTS.
LOOK AT YOUR LOG LINES. ANY LOGLINE READING “BOB AND SUE DISCUSS…” IS NOT DESCRIBING A DRAMATIC SCENE.
PLEASE NOTE THAT OUR OUTLINES ARE, GENERALLY, SPECTACULAR. THE DRAMA FLOWS OUT BETWEEN THE OUTLINE AND THE FIRST DRAFT.
THINK LIKE A FILMMAKER RATHER THAN A FUNCTIONARY, BECAUSE, IN TRUTH, *YOU* ARE MAKING THE FILM. WHAT YOU WRITE, THEY WILL SHOOT.
HERE ARE THE DANGER SIGNALS. ANY TIME TWO CHARACTERS ARE TALKING ABOUT A THIRD, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT.
ANY TIME ANY CHARACTER IS SAYING TO ANOTHER “AS YOU KNOW”, THAT IS, TELLING ANOTHER CHARACTER WHAT YOU, THE WRITER, NEED THE AUDIENCE TO KNOW, THE SCENE IS A CROCK OF SHIT.
DO *NOT* WRITE A CROCK OF SHIT. WRITE A RIPPING THREE, FOUR, SEVEN MINUTE SCENE WHICH MOVES THE STORY ALONG, AND YOU CAN, VERY SOON, BUY A HOUSE IN BEL AIR *AND* HIRE SOMEONE TO LIVE THERE FOR YOU.
REMEMBER YOU ARE WRITING FOR A VISUAL MEDIUM. *MOST* TELEVISION WRITING, OURS INCLUDED, SOUNDS LIKE *RADIO*. THE *CAMERA* CAN DO THE EXPLAINING FOR YOU. *LET* IT. WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERS *DOING* -*LITERALLY*. WHAT ARE THEY HANDLING, WHAT ARE THEY READING. WHAT ARE THEY WATCHING ON TELEVISION, WHAT ARE THEY *SEEING*.
IF YOU PRETEND THE CHARACTERS CANT SPEAK, AND WRITE A SILENT MOVIE, YOU WILL BE WRITING GREAT DRAMA.
IF YOU DEPRIVE YOURSELF OF THE CRUTCH OF NARRATION, EXPOSITION,INDEED, OF *SPEECH*. YOU WILL BE FORGED TO WORK IN A NEW MEDIUM – TELLING THE STORY IN PICTURES (ALSO KNOWN AS SCREENWRITING)
THIS IS A NEW SKILL. NO ONE DOES IT NATURALLY. YOU CAN TRAIN YOURSELVES TO DO IT, BUT YOU NEED TO *START*.
I CLOSE WITH THE ONE THOUGHT: LOOK AT THE *SCENE* AND ASK YOURSELF “IS IT DRAMATIC? IS IT *ESSENTIAL*? DOES IT ADVANCE THE PLOT?
IF THE ANSWER IS “NO” WRITE IT AGAIN OR THROW IT OUT. IF YOU’VE GOT ANY QUESTIONS, CALL ME UP.
LOVE, DAVE MAMET SANTA MONICA 19 OCTO 05
(IT IS *NOT* YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO KNOW THE ANSWERS, BUT IT IS YOUR, AND MY, RESPONSIBILITY TO KNOW AND TO *ASK THE RIGHT Questions* OVER AND OVER. UNTIL IT BECOMES SECOND NATURE. I BELIEVE THEY ARE LISTED ABOVE.)