【Lecture】The Captivity of Futoru Yoneoka at Tule Lake

Lecturer Sarah Kovner(Senior Research Scholar at the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University)
Date June 27, 2023 17:15-18:45
Venue Sophia University, Central Library 9F, Room 921
This lecture will be held in-person.
Admission: Free*Visitors from outside the university are kindly asked to register at the library entrance.
Abstract     The previously unpublished letters of Futoru Yoneoka provide an unusually revealing portrait of life at Tule Lake, the most famous of all the camps where Americans of Japanese ancestry were interned: flower-arranging and poetry-writing are juxtaposed against fires, shootings, and martial law. After requesting to return to Japan to join his parents and siblings, Yoneoka was marked “disloyal” and held from 1942-1946. But while such experiences have been documented countless times, they are rarely compared to that of others held captive during the same period, notably Allied soldiers and civilians held by Japan. Strikingly, their diaries and recollections also detail quotidian amusements against violence and rotten food. Allied POWs and internees were moved from camp to camp throughout the Japanese empire. At the time, Washington diplomats sent missive after missive detailing the torture of American servicemen held in Japanese POW camps, to which Tokyo diplomats returned cables protesting the treatment of Japanese internees at Tule Lake. Examining the particulars of these experiences can reveal the parallels and ruptures of Japanese internees in the US with those of Allied POWs in the Japanese empire, and help explain the meaning of captivity in war.
Language English