A Letter from the Japanese Internment Camps

What is it like to have your freedom so suddenly ripped from you?


Dear James, 

I miss you. I miss our walks in the park and dates to the cinema. Ever since Executive Order 9066 everything’s been wrong. Food doesn’t have flavor anymore. Colors aren’t as bright. The only thing that remains the same is the beauty of the locket you gave me. I still keep the picture of us inside. I wish I could be with you again. 

Believe me, if I could make my eyes rounder and my hair lighter, I would. I would have chosen blue eyes and a pale skin if I’d been given the choice. I don’t know what Japan is thinking right now, but I promise you, I don’t agree with it. I’d change it all if I could. I’d walk up to Tojo, stick my finger in his face, and yell at him. Honestly, I’d probably punch him, too, if I was angry enough. Not lady-like, I know. I’m sure you’re laughing at the thought of me even making a fist. But I don’t know. Being here has changed me. 

The worst part about this place is how cramped it is. As you know, my family is just four people, so we don’t take up too much space, but we’re sharing a house (if you can even call it that) with a family of five. Two of the children are infants. Twins, like Daiki and I. They’re loud, but I help the parents out with them when I can. In return, the mother is teaching me to sew. I think the only thing keeping us all going is each other. 

So many girls here used to be in relationships like ours. A friend I made here, Akari, cried when the man she was in love with sent her a letter saying that he was going to move on. He’s stationed now somewhere in Europe (she doesn’t know where, he didn’t put it in the letter) fighting the Germans. Still others, though, don’t get letters at all. The men they love simply stop writing. It breaks their hearts. 

You won’t make me one of them, will you, James? This is the third letter I will be sending, as the two I sent before received no response. I’m hoping the letters have just gotten lost in the mail, because I’m sure you wouldn’t ignore me. Not at a time like this. Please write back. I don’t want to be in tears like Akari. I don’t want to be alone, James. Please, I beg you, don’t do that to me. 

I’ll count the days until I see you again. 

Forever yours, 

Sakura Takahashi

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