Honors Japanese American Internment Camp Research Presentation
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  • The California Alien Land Law of 1913 prohibited "aliens ineligible for citizenship" from owning agricultural land or possessing long-term leases over it, but permitted leases lasting up to three years.Japanese Issei, unable to gain citizenship, were given land that West Coast American farmers did not want. They were subjected to use soil from barren wasteland near airports for agriculture before the concentration camps (personal communication, Saburo Masada, Feb 20, 2013). The law was meant to discourage immigration, primarily of Japanese immigrants, and to create an inhospitable climate for immigrants already living in California
  • From the time of California’s Alien Land Law enactment in 1913, (which not was not only California farmer’s indirect means to discriminate against the Japanese farmers because of their agricultural success in the 1900’s, but also was a means to subject Japanese farmers to barren and arid lands near Californian airports for crop production to the time), to the time of Executive Order 9066, (which forcibly removed all Japanese Issei, who could not gain citizenship in America and all Japanese Americans (Nisei and Kibei), inward and away from the West Exclusion area), Japanese Americans have been forced to farm on arid lands with low precipitation and desert soilsThese soil orders all exhibit alkaline and saline characteristics because of aridity, or the dryness. Although Japanese were experienced West Coast gardeners and farmers after adapting to wasteland American farmers did not want and before Executive Order 9066, “few evacuees had agricultural experience in [concentration camp] environments.” Internees who had agrarian backgrounds came from humid, temperate regions of the West Coast and “were typically not familiar with agriculture in arid settings.”
  • WRA determined that Japanese Issei and Nisei would be relocated to concentration camps in California, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Arkansas, Wyoming, and Idaho. Unfortunately, all camps in all states but Arkansas are included in the western state Japanese American concentration camps that are occupied by desert soils, also known as aridisols. The WRA officials hired Soil Conservation Service personnel to initiate soil conservation efforts for desert soils of Japanese American Concentration Camps. WRA officials were in ‘search’ of land with good soils to house 120,000 Japanese Americans after Executive Order 9066 was ordered, but evidently this search led them to desert soils of all eight western concentration camps. The WRA claimed their Soil Conservation Service personal were technicians who were qualified to undertake concentration camp soil conservation efforts (War Relocation Authority, Administrator). The Soil Conservation Service personnel was implemented to interpret existing soil survey data, create new soil survey data where existing data was not available, classify lands according to use capability, and recommend conservation practices needed to insure proper land use (War Relocation Authority, Administrator). The WRA did not choose land with good soil to begin with. It seems that the WRA’s hiring of Soil Conservation Service personnel was more work and government spending than necessary.Although the WRA hired Soil Conservation Service personnel that were supposedly qualified to initiate and implement soil conservation efforts for their ‘mistake’ of not finding land with good soil, does not mean they were qualified, and even if they were qualified does not mean they did their job effectively. Japanese soil chemists were hired by the WRA to help agricultural program coordinators at each camp.
  • Thesis!!This research paper addresses the soil types/profiles “within the eight western Japanese-American concentration camps in Arizona (Gila River and Poston), California (Manzanar and Tule Lake), Colorado (Amache), Idaho (Minidoka), Utah (Topaz), and Wyoming (Heart Mountain). All lay east of the Cascade-Sierra mountain ranges and all but Amache and Heart Mountain lay west of the Rockies” (Lillquist, 98).The eight Western Japanese American concentration camps’ soil orders and their respective suborders all exhibit alkaline and saline characteristics because of aridity.Alkalinity of concentration camp soil is expressed by its concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) dissolved in the soil water. Alkaline or basic, and the opposite of acidic, soil are expressed by a pH of 9 with 100 times few hydrogen ions than a neutral pH of 7. Alkaline soil is not suitable for plant growth because fewer H+ ions disturb soil weathering and nutrient availability (Chrispeels and Sadava, 2003). Did the Japanese American farmers know that sulfur was the most effective element to acidify alkaline soil or make it neutral for plant growth? Or, did they know if and when they used acidic fertilizers, such as ammonium sulfate that they would neutralize excess alkalinity? Some concentration camp soils were too alkaline and saline for any farm productivity. There seemed to be a consensus among Japanese American internees that the soils they were given were beyond restoration. “One evacuee wrote, ‘My next door neighbor is a soil chemist that leaves every morning looking for less alkali and finding more’” (Lillquist, 83).
  • Soil orders of the eight western concentration camps were combinations or arid (aridisols), youthful (entisols and inceptisols, or grasslands (mollisols) (Lillquist 82).
  • Drought… Poor soil fertility at all eight Western Japanese American concentration camps required irrigation for agricultural production because precipitation is scarce in arid climates. Irrigation of land increases soils susceptibility to salinization, or the accumulation of salts in topsoil because all groundwater and river water contains dissolved salts, but rainwater does not. Although irrigation can cause soil salinization, salinization occurs in arid regions where mean annual evapotranspiration (evaporation from the soil plus transpiration by the plants or water in the for of gas given off by soil and plants) exceeds that of precipitation.
  • Manzanar desert winds were of “high velocity and blew much of the time from early March until lat June” (Unrau, 442). Late 19th century Japanese immigrant chrysanthemum farmers in San Mateo County, located in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, provide further evidence of windy conditions at Manzanar. Japanese immigrants to America developed a method to prevent chrysanthemum buds from being damaged in wind or bleached by the sun by placing cheesecloth hoods over chrysanthemums (Fukami, 1994). The Manzanar area continues to demonstrate direct evidence of windy conditions and probable soil degradation due to wind erosion by its current windmill farm landmarks. On my study away experience to Manzanar, I witnessed a windmill farm (thousands of windmills) close to the Mohave Desert. Although no windmill was in sync with another, each windmill was continually propelled at high velocity by gusts of high velocity wind. Desertification : ultimately loss of vegetative cover.. crusted soil surface. Wind erosion. Water irosion.. extreme soil temperaters--- all leading to inability to grow crops on land… zero productivity
  • Lillquist states “parts or all of Amache and Manzanar had been previously farmed, while Unrau clarifies that Manzanar “farm field acreages were established on wastelands that had not been farmed for about 15 years” (Lillquist, 78, Unrau, 442). “Soils required clearing, drainage and fertilizers to produce crops” (Lillquist). “Supplemental fertilizers and irrigation were necessary to produce crops. Having stood idle for such a lengthy period, the fields were ‘covered with brush and badly hummocked with dunes caused by hard winds” (Unrau, 442). It is impeccable how much clearing was actually accomplished to ready the land for any agriculture. On my study away trip to Manzanar’s 44th annual pilgrimage, I was bombarded with sagebrush in every direction when I walked through land owned by the National Park Service that used to be Manzanar. In addition, more than sagebrush had to be cleared, for when I traveled up to see the aqueduct used by internees there were piles of huge and endless boulders.
  • Based on information collected at the Manzanar Interpretive Center, Executive Order 9066 was issued February 19th, 1942 and Manzanar was built in March 1942. After Executive Order 9066 it took only approximately 40 days to clear land at Manzanar and build all barracks (National Park Service). It is evident that even with the amount of sagebrush to be cleared and boulders moved, let alone some 40 barracks to be built that the government was willing to do anything to get the land cleared and incarcerate 11,000 Japanese Americans. I question why the American government would choose a land that was so labor intensive to clear for the sole purpose of incarceration Japanese Americans? It is because Manzanar is a remote destination where internees could only travel so far on train and then were bused the remainder of the way. The American government knew exactly what they were doing when they chose Manzanar, for sagebrush and boulders were of no concern as long as Manzanar was a place of isolation.
  • The native vegetation of eight Western Japanese American concentration camps was shrub steppe and desert scrub, which offered minimal O-matter. Most of the camps had no substantial O-horizon and their A-horizon was thin and lacking in O-matter. Without organic matter soil has a loss of nitrogen, which needs to be replenished before plant growth (Lillquist, 83). Japanese Americans raised shrubs at center nurseries as ornamental crops to beautify the harsh camp environments (Lillquist, 92). Japanese Americans, may have never realized that not only did shrubs beautify the land, but also gave nitrogen back to the soil- shrubs replenished soils source of nitrogen. Legume-rich cover crops, such as nitrogen-fixing alfalfa Gila River benefitted from nitrogen-fixing alfalfa (a cover crop with high biomass to give organic matter back to the soil) that was previously planted prior to Japanese incarceration (Lillquist, 83). Agricultural programs at all the camps except Manzanar, because of fear of contaminating the LA aqueduct, “managed to use livestock-manure, legume-rich cover crops, crop rotation and commercial fertilizer,” to enhance soils O-matter and return nitrogen back to the soils (Lillquist, 83).
  • Heart Mountain’s evacuee assistant farm supervisor stated that Japanese American evacuees left “one of the few enduring legacies of the relocation experience---the knowledge how to grow things in that part of the country” (Lillquist 97,98).Now, farmers today in the Sahel and Sahara regions of Africa, the most arid regions, are attempting to use the methods of Japanese Americans for agricultural productivity, the alteration of planting crops between rows of legumes to give Nitrogen back to arid soil.

Honors Japanese American Internment Camp Research Presentation Honors Japanese American Internment Camp Research Presentation Presentation Transcript

  • Manzanar, Ansel Adams, 1943 et al. Ansel Adams Manzanar Collection, Library of Congress)The Examination of Soils Used by Japanese Issei and Adolescent NiseiDuring and Before the Japanese American Concentration Camps
  • Alien land law et al. University of Washington
  • Woodcut of “No Japs Wanted Any More” (Photo courtesy of Masao Masuda and Susan ShohoUyehara, Japanese American Living Legacy/Nikkei Writers Guild)et al http://www.discovernikkei.org
  • The War Relocation Authority officialslooked for areas with:– good soil– dependable water supply– a good growing climate
  • Table 1. Physical Geography of 8 Western Japanese Americanconcentration camps. et al. Lillquist, 80.
  • “Corn Field, Indian Farm near Tuba City, Arizona, in Rain, 1941.”by Adams, Ansel, 1902-1984Photo: U.S. National Archives
  • Chrysanthemum harvestPhoto by: GIO PhotographerThe Government Information Office, Executive Yuan, R.O.C. et al
  • Dr. Gina Wenger
  • Dr. Gina Wenger
  • Ansel Adams Manzanar Collection, Library of Congress
  • Japanese Farmer. Ansel AdamsManzanar Collection, Library of Congress
  • Manzanar War Relocation Center. Owens Valley, California.1943 et al. Ansel Adams Manzanar Collection, Library of Congress
  • Crisis in the Sahel et al The Fao at Washington.
  • Willcox, Barbara. "Young boys working in a newly cropped field in Africa."
  • Works Cited• Chrysanthemum harvest. The Government Information Office,Executive Yuan, R.O.C. Web. 6 May 2013.<http://culture.teldap.tw/culture_jp/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=296>.• Alien land law. University of Washington. Web. 6 May 2013.<http://depts.washington.edu/>.• Willcox, Barbara. "Young boys working in a newly croppedfield in Africa." Evapotranspiration studies could help keepAfrica’s Sahel green . Web. 6 May 2013.<http://www.usgs.gov/blogs/features/files/2012/04/Featured.jpg>.• Windwolf.org. (2007, April). Feet on the ground: ...Soil. InWindwolf. Retrieved May 2,• 2013, from http://sci.windwolf.org/soil/orders2.htm