Letters to the Editor: Manzanar is close by. Go see it and understand what racism has done

The Manzanar cemetery monument honors people who died at the World War II concentration camp for Japanese Americans.
(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

To the editor: Thank you very much for the article, “‘There’s our family name’: Sacred book honors Japanese Americans incarcerated during WWII.”

I recently visited the Manzanar National Historic Site east of the Sierra Nevada, and was truly moved to tears at the revelation of just how much a people can react from sheer fear. While the Pearl Harbor attack was indeed tragic, it didn’t justify the lashing out at everyone of Japanese ancestry in the United States. What happened was an act of sheer racism.

I’m glad you put this out for the local community to see, especially since Manzanar is only a few hours’ drive from the Los Angeles metro area. From where I live, take Interstate 15 north to Highway 395, and you can’t miss it. It’s something that everyone should see.


Side note: Actor George Takei was an child internee, though not at Manzanar. He published the graphic memoir “They Called Us Enemy,” which tells his story very clearly. It’s available from all the usual outlets, as well as at the gift shop at Manzanar.

Steve Silverwood, Corona


To the editor: As a descendant of Japanese Americans who were imprisoned by the U.S. government, I believe that it is important to remember this history in order to heal, but also that we have to keep the chapter open so more people can learn about this injustice.

Those of us who were not incarcerated did not learn about the camps from our parents. We learned much from those who testified at the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians in 1981, and we are amazed as we continue to learn about our history in this country.

Only when we undo the root causes of the incarceration can we truly close the chapter.

Kathy Masaoka, Los Angeles